Meet the Peer Advisors

Tom Givens

Tom Givens is a junior biochemistry major with minors in chemistry and medicine and society. He plans on going to medical school after life here at Virginia Tech. Tom got into Honors in the fall of his sophomore year. Through taking the honors colloquium “This Thing Called Me,” he gained practical insight and knowledge into the medical and science fields. Biomedical ethics is a class he is planning on taking next fall. Tom has also earned honors credit through being a teaching assistant for freshman biology and through breast cancer research done at Virginia Tech Carilion. He was a mentor for the Da Vinci Living Learning Community on campus and enjoys helping other students. Tom is actively involved in the Virginia Tech chapter of the American Medical Student Association, serving as the treasurer. He is also on the exec board for the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. In his free time, Tom likes to play basketball, tennis, flag football, and be outdoors. As a peer advisor, he looks forward to meeting with new students, getting to know them, and leading them to opportunities and activities that may interest them.

Steven Hall is a junior in Mechanical Engineering with minors in Environmental Policy and Green Engineering. He has been a resident of the Honors Residential Commons housing on campus, he was a Peer Educator for Fall 2016, and he studied abroad in Riva San Vitale, Switzerland as a part of the Presidential Global Scholars (PGS) Honors Program. He was the recipient of Virginia Tech’s 2016 Global Change Center Science-Policy Fellowship, which allowed him to work as an intern for the Environmental Protection Agency. If you have any questions about research, housing, study abroad, or scholarships, Steven has the personal knowledge to get you started on the right path. Steven is excited to help students in the very same way honors faculty helped him. This is a way for Steven to give back to a community that has given him a tremendous amount already.

Steven Hall

Emily Hoyt

Emily Hoyt is a Human Development major with minors in Psychology and Professional and Technical Writing. Emily is a member of the Hillcrest Honors Community and secretary for Oxfam America at Virginia Tech. She is also the 2017 Cloyd Odyssey Fellowship winner and is a 2016 Pamplin Scholar Fellow. Emily has experience with the many ways to earn honors credit to include internships, research, honors courses, honors service learning, honors seminars, and study abroad through the Presidential Global Scholars program. Emily is very excited to become a peer advisor this year! She is most looking forward to interacting with other honors students and helping them formulate the best path for their honors education.

Rachel Kanefsky is an Animal and Poultry Science and Dairy Science double major with an interest in entering the meat science industry. She is involved in numerous clubs and organizations around campus, including Swine Club, Equestrian Club, and the Sigma Alpha sorority. She is also involved in research on campus and is eager to help others get involved. She is originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana but currently lives in Northern Virginia after having moved about four times throughout her childhood. She is so excited to be joining the honors peer advisors team because she truly enjoys helping others as well as being a part of the honors community. She lives in Hillcrest and considers the community one of the best things on the Virginia Tech campus because of how united it is. She is always available for questions and is looking forward to an exciting year!

Rachel Kanefsky

Gargie Nagarkar

Gargie Nagarkar is a senior majoring in Sociology with minors in French and Industrial Design. She is a Global Ambassador for the Cranwell International Center and a co-director for Teach For Madame, a club dedicated to teaching elementary school students French vocab and culture. She loves playing intramural soccer and rereading the Harry Potter series in her free time. Her experiences with Honors and getting honors credit include: serving as the secretary and vice president on the Honors Residential Commons Council, being a Peer Educator for the First-Year Honors Seminar, completing a faculty-student agreement, receiving the 1956 Ut Prosim Odyssey Fellowship, and doing a semester abroad with the Presidential Global Scholars Program. Gargie is looking forward to being a peer adviser and helping honors students any way she can!

Claire Neice

Claire Neice grew up travelling the world in a military family until settling in Montclair, VA for the past 10 years. Claire studies chemistry and mathematics at Virginia Tech and is hoping to pursue a Ph.D. in physical chemistry after finishing her undergraduate coursework. She performs research focusing on diffusion properties of various nanoparticles and participates in RUF, a campus ministry. Some of Claire’s favorite pastimes include hiking, camping, playing ultimate Frisbee, really anything outdoors, listening to film scores, and baking what she considers to be the best cookies in the world (oatmeal chocolate chip)!


Claire entered the Honors College in 2014 and lived in the Honors Residential Commons (HRC) for two years. She has led an Honors First-Year Seminar and participated in several HRC discussion seminars. All the opportunities and resources available at Virginia Tech and in the Honors College amaze Claire, and she is looking forward to helping other honors students navigate them as they search for their niche and pursue their passions.

Willow Pedersen

Willow Pedersen is an Accounting and Information Systems major within the Pamplin College of Business. She enjoys being a member of Rotaract, the college level of global service organization Rotary International; Chamber Singers, a VT faculty-led choir; and Horn Ensemble, an all French horn musical group. In the 2017–2018 year, Willow will serve as a Pamplin College of Business representative on the Honors College Council, as Vice President of the Honors Residential Commons (HRC) Council, and as an Apartment Fellow on the Fourth High hall of the HRC.


In Fall 2016, Willow began her involvement in Honors by working with the Honors College transition group. The group discussed what the new Honors College diplomas would look like, possible new buildings, GPA requirements, and more. Since then, Willow has learned more about opportunities within Honors, like Honors Reading Seminars, Honors College Enrichment Grants, Partners in the Parks, and more, and she looks forward to sharing this information as an HPAC Advisor. Willow loves meeting people, and she is so excited to help her peers in Honors this year!



Virginia Tech Honors College, MC 0427

116 Hillcrest Hall

385 West Campus Drive

Blacksburg, VA 24061


Fax: (540) 231-4522

Phone: (540) 231-4591