The Graduate School is dedicated to providing an inclusive and affirming environment for all students. Along with InclusiveVT, the Division of Student Affairs, and academic departments, the Graduate School offers programs and services to ensure that graduate students thrive.

Office of Recruitment and Diversity Initiatives (ORDI)

From recruitment to graduation, supporting student excellence through diversity


Provide campus leadership in collaboration with academic departments and colleges in developing, implementing, and operating events and activities that are designed to recruit and assist underrepresented students’ personal development, academic achievement, and graduation.


Provide exceptional support and retention services to American Indian, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latin@, and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, First generation, Active Duty and Veteran, LGTBQ, Non-traditional, and Differently Abled students increasing enrollment and graduation rates.  


  1. Increase the outreach, recruitment, and graduation of U.S. historically underrepresented groups (i.e., American Indian, Black/African American, Hispanic, and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander).
  2. Support students' adjustment to campus by coordinating guidance and counseling support among other campus units.
  3. Maximize collaborations with campus units and student organizations to create environments and programs to support and sustain students’ success and continuation at the University.
  4. Strategize with academic units in monitoring the progress of students and make appropriate referrals to campus units.
  5. Promote and develop educational opportunities and enrichment activities to help facilitate the educational and personal growth of student participants through organized activities and collaborative efforts with other campus units.

We help you prepare, connect, succeed, and standout.


Team Members

Dannette Gomez Beane

Dannette Gomez Beane (pgp her, hers, she) is from San Antonio, Texas and has lived in Virginia for almost 20 years. She has served Virginia Tech as a career and outreach coordinator and now director of the Office of Recruitment and Diversity Initiatives in the Graduate School. She is married with three children. Her career interests are career development, social justice advocacy, enrollment management policy, and women's issues. She is a member of the Hispanic/Latino Faculty and Staff Caucus and is an active member of her church.

Office Hours are Tuesdays 10:30am-12pm

Stephanie House-Niamke
Shekila Melchior

Stephanie House-Niamke is a third year graduate student seeking a Master of Public Administration degree. Additionally, she is seeking a graduate certificate in Women's and Gender Studies as well as a graduate certificate in Higher Education. She has a dual assistantship with the Office of Recruitment and Diversity Initiatives and the Vice Provost Office of Inclusion and Diversity. Her research interests include social policy on a university campus and the African American woman in relation to Christianity and other Abrahamic religions.

Peer Mentoring Office Hours

Wednesdays 2-5pm  

Shekila Melchior is a doctoral candidate in the Counselor Education department. Her research interests include undocumented students, human trafficking, social justice and multiculturalism in counseling and the development of the Professional School Counselor. Shekila's primary role as the graduate assistant is recruitment, the ambassador program, and cultural connect lunches.

Peer Mentoring Office Hours

Mondays 3-4pm and Tuesdays 11am-12pm

Mary Madis
Brandon Tigue

Mary Madis is a long-time Blacksburg resident who is a mother of one and has two grandchildren. She has been married to husband John for 44 years. She has a master's degree in English from Virginia Tech. Her undergraduate degree was from Seton Hall in New Jersey. Currently, she works with the ORDI and with the Graduate Curriculum Committee as well as in the Dean's suite. Mary has been with the Graduate School for 7 years. Her hobbies are playing bluegrass mandolin, traveling, and making and designing gemstone jewelry.

Hailing from the 808 by way of the 910, Brandon Tigue works with recruiting and retaining graduate students through programs and events. He enjoys long walks on the beach, counting the stars, music, and traveling to recruit new #Hokies! Brandon appreciates the knowledge of differences available when working with students from all over the world and allowing them to tell their story. A scholar once said, “Misunderstood, ain't gotta be explained, But you don't understand me, so let me explain”-LW. PEACE!  

ORDI Advisory Board

The ORDI Advisory Board members are alumni who serve a three-year term to provide guidance and support regarding the goals and vision of the recruitment, retention, and graduation of diverse graduate students at Virginia Tech.

Nayesdi Badillo-Delgado, MA, ’15, Educational Leadership and Administration

Jeremy Barksdale, MA ’12, Public Administration,  Ph.D. ‘13, & Policy and Computer Science

C.L. Bohannon, Ph.D., ’15, Architecture & Design Research

Kelly Cross, Ph.D., ’14, Engineering Education

Whitley Johnson, MA, ’16, Educational Leadership and Administration

Chris Kwaramba, MBA ’15, Business Administration

Shernita Lee, Ph.D. ‘14, Genetics Bioinformatics, Computational Biology

Michelle McCleese, MA, ’05, Sociology

Reggie Stroble, MA, ’14, Educational Leadership and Administration