CAUS Ambassadors

CAUS Ambassadors are undergraduate students who serve as advocates for the College of Architecture and Urban Studies. Through an interview and selection process conducted by Dean’s office administrators, CAUS Ambassadors are in a position of leadership and service as they represent our student population.

In the spirit of Ut Prosim, ambassadors participate in many service-oriented opportunities. These include serving as tour guides for prospective students and their families as well as participation in recruitment events such as our Open Houses.

2016-17 CAUS Ambassadors

Ben Ackerman -- Architecture

Ackerman, Ben

Ben Ackerman

Class: 2017

Major: Architecture

Campus involvement: Chi Alpha Campus Ministries, vtONE, Intramural Soccer

Where are you from? Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Why did you choose Virginia Tech? It was definitely a mix between the “top in the nation” architecture program, the scrumdiddly-umptious campus food, and the cozy layout of the campus nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

What are your career plans? I intend to focus on the international level; working with developing communities across the world, both on the large and small scale, to reconcile good architecture with the needs of individuals.

Emily Bazemore -- Public and Urban Affairs

Emily GB

Emily Bazemore

Class: 2019

Major: Public and Urban Affairs

Hometown: Suffolk, Virginia  

Alisa Chirachaturaphak -- Architecture


Class: 2017

Major: Architecture

Hometown: Falls Church, Virginia 

Julia Costa -- Architecture


Julia Costa

Class: 2019

Major: Architecture

Minor: French and Dress Culture & Society

Campus Involvement: AIAS, Teach for Madame

Hometown: Voorhees, New Jersey

Why Virginia Tech? I chose to come to Virginia Tech because it felt like home when I visited. Many universities have impressive academic programs, so for me, what stood out about VT the most was the people here. In addition, this school has so much to offer, I knew I would be able to explore my interests both in and outside of the classroom.

Why did you choose your major? I chose architecture because it combines creativity with problem solving. As an architect, you have the power to affect the lives of other people and stimulate thought and conversation. It combines many of my interests and challenges me to further develop my intellectual and artistic abilities.

Brianna Dazio -- Interior Design

Bri Dazio

Bri Dazio

Class: 2018

Major: Interior Design

Minor: Business Leadership

Campus Involvement: Marching Virginians, IDEAS, Delta Omicron

Hometown: Red Bank, New Jersey

Why Virginia Tech? I knew from the moment that I stepped on Tech’s campus that I wanted to be a Hokie. I loved (and still do!) the school spirit, the motto of Ut Prosim, the location, the dining halls, I could go on and on. I’m so proud and happy to be a Hokie!

Why did you choose your major? When I was young, I use to watch Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and dreamt of being a designer for the show. Fast forward to picking a college major and I knew I wanted to be an interior designer to create spaces to impact people. After I graduate, I’d love to work for a firm that specializes in designing children’s hospitals to make them a friendlier atmosphere.

Lauren Delbridge -- Landscape Architecture

Lauren Delbridge Alternative

Lauren Delbridge

Class: 2017

Major: Landscape Architecture

Campus Involvement: ASLA, Sigma Lambda Alpha Honors Fraternity

Hometown: Wilkesboro, North Carolina

Why Virginia Tech? My parents both came to Virginia Tech so I grew up a Hokie. The campus is beautiful and the community is welcoming, so I fell in love with the school.

Why did you choose your major? Landscape architecture is a diverse field with a broad spectrum of work. I enjoy working with the spaces in between and making them meaningful, which is a lot of what landscape architecture is about.

Lexi Fuller -- Architecture

Lexi Fuller

Lexi Fuller

Class: 2019

Major: Architecture

Minor: Building Construction

Campus Involvement: AIAS (American Institute of Architecture Students), ZTA (Zeta Tau Alpha), NSCS (National Society of Collegiate Scholars)

Hometown: Middletown, Maryland 

Why Virginia Tech? I fell in love with the small town feel and the commitment to serving the community! It is incredible to meet someone new everyday who shares similar interests to you!

Why did you choose your major? I have always been interested in the arts, but I was never very successful at painting or drawing. I excelled in mathematics, thus discovering architecture was the perfect balance between the two!

Ali Hermsmeyer -- Interior Design

Ali Hermsmayer

Ali Hermsmeyer

Class: 2018

Major: Interior Design

Minor: French Business

Campus Involvement: Chi Omega Fraternity, Campus Crusade for Christ, IDEAS

Hometown: Clifton, Virginia

Why Virginia Tech? I fell in love with the beautiful scenery and the positive atmosphere of the campus. I was also attracted to Tech’s awesome Interior Design program.

Why did you choose your major? I chose interior design because it allows me to use my passion for creativity to design spaces to fit the needs of different people. I feel lucky to have found a field of study that lets me do what I love on a daily basis.

Chandler Hilton -- Architecture

Chandler Hilton

Class: 2018

Major: Architecture

Campus involvement: The Marching Virginians

Hometown: Northville, Michigan

Why did you choose Virginia Tech? 

I chose to study at Virginia Tech because we have a top ten rated architecture program. Not only that, but I fell in love with the community. It was a little scary to choose a school that was so far away from my hometown, but as soon as I stepped on campus I felt like I was right where I needed to be.

Why did you choose your major? 

I have always wanted to become an architect, from the time I was a child I would draw floor plans of my house, and build mansions for my barbies out of cardboard boxes. Architecture has always come naturally to me.

Sue Jung -- Architecture

Sue Jung

Sue Jung

Class: 2019

Major: Architecture

Campus Involvement: Humans of Virginia Tech, Studio Collective, Alpha Rho Chi, AIAS

Hometown: Clifton, Virginia 

Why Virginia Tech? I came to Virginia Tech because of its nationally ranked undergraduate architecture program.

Why did you choose your major? I’ve always been interested in architecture and design since childhood. I was debating between international relations and architecture when making final college decisions and I knew that I would find architecture more challenging and enjoyable. Despite its expected long hours and highly competitive environment, I enjoy studying architecture as I appreciate the experimental process and its results.

Austin Ledzian -- Industrial Design

Austin Ledzian

Austin Ledzian

Class: 2017

Major: Industrial Design

Hometown: Ocala, Florida

Campus Involvement: Studio Collective, PRISM, IDSA

Why Virginia Tech: I chose Virginia Tech for the exceptional Industrial Design program with its human-centered approach, and the light-filled open studios.

Career plans: Ideally, I would like to move to the Silicon Valley area and work for an industrial design firm with a focus on consumer electronics. Eventually I would like to go to graduate school.

Kevin Lee -- Architecture

Kevin Lee

Kevin Lee

Class: 2017

Major: Architecture

Campus Involvement: Chinese American Society, Vietnamese Student Association

Hometown: Vienna, Virginia

Why Virginia Tech? I had the opportunity to visit the campus and architecture studio environment throughout my brother’s college years and realized that I enjoyed the community and atmosphere of the school, in addition to Tech being one of the top architecture schools.

Why did you choose your major? I would say the initial decision was a result of being indirectly influenced (meaning having direct exposure to the profession) by my brother who was also studying architecture at Virginia Tech and father who was a practicing architect. However, I slowly began rapidly developing my own personal passion for architecture during my initial years at the college of architecture.

Emma Martin -- Environmental Policy and Planning

Emma martin

Emma Martin

Class: 2017

Major: Environmental Policy and Planning

Secondary Major: Planning

Minor: Sustainable Natural Environments and Public and Urban Affairs

Campus Involvement: Tri Delta, Office of Sustainability

Hometown: Richmond, Virginia

Why Virginia Tech? The first time I visited Virginia Tech was my sophomore year of high school. I chose Virginia Tech because upon visiting for the first time, I fell in love with the university. I had numerous older friends who graduated before me and became Hokies before I did, and when I visited them I felt like I belonged here. I knew that I could see myself fitting in here. I loved the sense of community that encompasses Virginia Tech, and I couldn’t wait to be a part of it as a student.

Why did you choose your major? I chose environmental policy and planning because I am interested more in the urban planning and policy aspects of the environment, as opposed to the more science and technical aspects of environmental science. I am interested in sustainably planning the space around us and use of the environment to ensure that the environmental needs of today are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Jade McNair – Building Construction

Jade McNair

Jade McNair

Class: 2017

Major: Building Construction

Home Town: Columbia, South Carolina 

Why Virginia Tech? I came to Virginia Tech for many reasons, specifically because when I came on a campus tour years ago the school’s atmosphere was amazing. VT is the only university where I felt at home when I was selecting a university. Ultimately, the fact that VT offered Building Construction as a major made my decision so much easier.

Why did you choose your major? I chose Building Construction as my major because I have always been fascinated by the anatomy of buildings. To be able to take a piece of land, and months or years later a home/office/skyscraper/etc. can stand there amazes me. I want to be a Construction Superintendent and start my own construction company one day so this was the right choice for me!

Emily Niehoff -- Studio Art


Class: 2017

Major: Studio Art

Minors: Communications and Art History

Campus involvement: BCM, RLC, CAUS and SOVA Ambassador Program, XYZ art gallery, InnovationSpace, Relay for Life, vtONE.

Hometown: Mendham, New Jersey

Why did you choose Virginia Tech? I chose Virginia Tech because of its location and size. When I was looking at colleges, I had the mindset of “if I could live anywhere for four years, where would it be.” I love the beauty of Blacksburg, the Blue Ridge mountains, and small town community. In terms of size, I love that I am in a small major inside a large school. That way I can still have that small school learning environment with all the benefits a large university has to offer such as football games, concerts, and notoriety.

What are your career plans? When I graduate I hope to get a temporary job overseas working with either an overseas ministry or working directly with missionaries. Then I wish to come back to the United States and work in either film or advertising as an art director.

Joseph Niland -- Master of Regional and Urban Planning + Natural Resources


Joe Niland

Class: 2018

Major: Landscape Architecture

Campus Involvement: Sigma Lamda Alpha

Hometown: Harrisonburg, Virginia 

Why Virginia Tech? Virginia Tech offers a wide range of options for study and extra curricular involvement. Virginia Tech is a large, well-known, and respected institution that was located close to my hometown.

Why did you choose your major? Landscape architecture is artful and creative solutions to pragmatic problems. This, combined with my passions for construction, plants, drawing, and critical problem-solving, made landscape architecture at Virginia Tech a perfect fit.

Patrick Olsen -- Building Construction


Patrick Olsen

Class: 2018

Major: Building Construction

Campus Involvement: BC Alumni Committee, Building Women in Construction

Hometown: Norfolk, Virginia

Why did you choose Virginia Tech? I chose Virginia Tech due to their phenomenal architecture school.

What are your career plans? I would love to go into the building construction industry and work as the superintendent of a large project.

Michelle Pannone -- Architecture


Michelle Pannone

Class: 2017

Major: Architecture

Minor: Industrial Design

Hometown: Flemington, New Jersey

Campus Involvement: Design for America, Phi Sigma Pi, Digital Mentorship Collaborative, Honors College

Why Virginia Tech? I initially visited Virginia Tech as a result of their well distinguished Architecture program, but I chose Virginia Tech because of all the incredible opportunities on campus and the sense of community that was evident on campus.

Why did you choose your major? From bridges that people drive over to the intimate place that they call home, the built environment is unavoidable in its very nature. I was drawn to power of architecture lies in its innate ability for it to interact with people each and every day.

Claire Park -- Real Estate and Communication Studies

(No photo available)


Claire Park

Class: 2017

Major: Real Estate

Second Major: Communication Studies

Campus involvement: 

Women’s Club Tennis Team, member of Delta Gamma, VP of PR for the Real Estate Club

Hometown: Charlottesville, Virginia

Why did you choose Virginia Tech?

I chose Virginia Tech because I am in love with the school spirit and felt most at home here.

Why did you choose your major?

I chose Real Estate because it was a brand new major starting my freshman year and I knew it would provide me so many opportunities because of its small size.

Kevin Park -- Building Construction
Kevin Park

Kevin Park

Class: 2017

Major: Building Construction (Virtual Design & Construction)

Minor: Real Estate

(Transfer students) What is your former institution? Northern Virginia Community College

Campus Involvement: BC Ambassador, Member of Constructor’s Consortium, Member of CMAA, Member of MLSoC Mentorship Program, co-founder of Enactus

Where are you from? Born in Seoul, Korea. At the age of six, I moved to Centreville, Virginia.

Why did you choose Virginia Tech? Virginia Tech was the best choice for my specific major relating to a future career in the construction industry and technology.

What are your career plans? Once I graduate, I plan to work for a company who could invest in my further education for my MBA degree. I want my experiences and skills I learn during my career to be diverse. I plan to start my career as a BIM Coordinator but also get involved in estimating and management.

Valerie Poutous -- Architecture

Valerie Poutous

Valerie Poutous

Class: 2019

Major: Architecture

Campus involvement: AIAS Event Planning Chair

Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 

Why did you choose Virginia Tech? I loved the campus and the atmosphere.

What are your career plans? I appreciate the blend of creative and technical aspects of the field.

Maddie Richhart -- Visual Communication Design

Maddle Reichart

Maddie Richhart

Class: 2017

Major: Studio Art; Visual Communication Design

Minor: Art History and Communications

Hometown: Arlington, Virginia

Why Virginia Tech? I loved Virginia Tech’s campus and student life as soon as a I came to visit my Senior year of High School! Virginia Tech was the school that felt most like home to me.

Why did you choose your major? After a year of taking classes as an undecided student, I decided to apply to the VCD program in order to push and grow my skills as a designer – three years later, I’m so happy that I did!

Avalon Roche -- Public and Urban Affairs

Avalon Roche

Avalon Roche

Class: 2019

Major: Public and Urban Affairs

Secondary Major: Economics

Minors: Arabic; Middle Eastern Studies; and Philosophy, Politics, and Economics

Hometown: Kaiserslautern, Germany 

Campus Involvement: Student Government Association, Sexual Assault and Violence Education by Students, Alpha Rho Chi

Why did you choose VT? I came to Virginia Tech initially because of the architecture program and because I’m a double legacy. I stayed because I fell in love with the school.

What are your career plans? I chose my major after completing a year in architecture, but then realized that my passion was in government and policy. I added economics to strengthen my skill set. Look for me in public office one day!

Tara Runyan -- Architecture

Tara Runyon

Tara Runyan

Class: 2017

Major: Architecture

Hometown: Picture Rocks, Pennsylvania

Campus involvement: Wesley at Virginia Tech, AIAS VT

Why did you choose Virginia Tech? I fell for the atmosphere of the campus and the opportunities l could foresee when I toured the architecture school.

What are your career plans? The stereotypical reasons at first — a major that meets in the middle for the arts and math, but then l discovered the effect that a space can have on a person and wanted to learn how to create the kinds of spaces that would make a person happy.

Andrew Stepka -- Architecture

Andy Stepka

Andy Stepka

Class: 2019

Major: Architecture

Campus involvement: Alpha Rho Chi – Professional Architecture Fraternity

Hometown: Annandale, Virginia

Why did you choose Virginia Tech? Before my senior year, I was fortunate enough to attend an Architecture camp, allowing me to be a Hokie for a week. I remember feeling very welcomed by the student counselors and the faculty. I was impressed by their kindness and professionalism. I enjoy being around nature, so the proximity of trails and mountains to campus also intrigued me. I enjoyed this taste of Tech and knew it would be a good fit for me.

What are your career plans? My imagination has always run wild when it comes to my surroundings. I look to see what works and what doesn’t and then sketch what comes to mind. I knew from a young age that being an Architect would give me the chance to go further than my sketchbook to actually enhance peoples’ surroundings.

Micajah Tucker -- Architecture

Micajah Tucker

Micajah Tucker

Class: 2019

Major: Architecture

Campus involvement: American Institute of Architecture Students, Campus and Symphony Bands, Intramural Sports

Hometown: Signal Mountain, Tennessee

Why did you choose Virginia Tech? One of the main reasons I chose Virginia Tech was because of the architecture program. The program truly lives up to its national ranking with professors that are dedicated to teaching and nurturing students’ curiosity.

What are your career plans? I chose to study architecture because I wanted to learn about the decisions and design of the buildings that I experience everyday. While I didn’t know much about the design process before coming to Tech, I’ve really enjoyed the studio culture. The classes are really engaging and give you a chance to bring space from your imagination into the world of models, drawings, or anything that you can create.

Ge Zhou -- Architecture

Ge Zhaou

Ge Zhou

Class: 2017

Major: Architecture

Minor: Women and Gender Study

Campus involvement: SAVES (Sexual Assault Educated by Students)

Hometown: Jinan, ShanDong, China

Why did you choose Virginia Tech? I chose Virginia Tech for its strong sense of community and incredible diversity.

What are your career plans? I chose architecture because it is interesting for me to discover how the designed environments influence our culture.

For More Information about the CAUS Ambassador Program

Contact Carolyn J. Harris, Director of Academic Advising at or 540-231-6415.

CAUS Ambassador Avalon Roche

Serve as an ambassador

Our Ambassadors are an inspiration to the new students we welcome into the college every year. Active participation in the CAUS Ambassador program helps to develop your leadership skills and promotes your personal commitment to serving others. The experience will broaden your knowledge of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies and its many excellent degree programs. In addition, many of our students and graduates enhance their professional résumé by including their Ambassador service.

How can someone become a CAUS Ambassador?

Each Spring the College of Architecture and Urban Studies distributes a college-wide communication to recruit students. Interested students must complete an application, submit a current résumé and a faculty letter of reference, and be interviewed. The application is distributed when the call for applicants is sent out in the Spring. Qualified candidates who exhibit an eager commitment to serve will be strongly considered to join the program.