Paul Knox is a University Distinguished Professor who came to Virginia Tech from the United Kingdom to teach in the Urban Affairs program. His degrees are in Geography and his interests are European urbanization and urbanism and, in particular, the social and architectural history of London. Between 1997 and 2006 he served as Dean of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, since which he has served as Senior Fellow for International Advancement, reporting directly to the university President. This has involved responsibility for the Steger Center for International Scholarship in Riva San Vitale, Switzerland, a spell as Interim Director of the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, leadership of the planning process that produced the university’s current strategic plan, the establishment of Virginia Tech’s Global Forum on Urban and Regional Resilience and, now, leading the transition of the honors program to a college.


He is a member of Virginia Tech’s Ut Prosim Society and serves on the editorial board of seven international journals. His most recent books are London: Architecture, Building and Social Change (Merrell, 2015), and Atlas of Cities (Princeton University Press, 2014), which received the Association of American Geographers’ Globe Book Award for Public Understanding of Geography. He is currently writing a book on Greater London, to be published as Metroburbia by Merrell Publishers in 2017.

Paul Knox | Founding Dean

Trudy and Andy Becker | Hillcrest Community Faculty Preceptors



Lavon serves as the Residential Learning Coordinator for the Hillcrest community and works directly with the Honors College. He received his undergraduate degree from Francis Marion University in Florence, SC, with a B.A. in English and attended the University of North Carolina Wilmington where he received his M.Ed. in Higher Education.


Prior to joining the Hillcrest community, Lavon served as a Residential Learning Coordinator for Lee Hall and worked with the inVenTs Living and Learning community. His passion and excitement for working with students to further educate, develop, and inspire them is why he continues in this field of service.


In his spare time, Lavon enjoys traveling, exercising, reading, and spending time with family, friends, and his joyful cockapoo, Decker Lee.



Lavon Davis | Hillcrest Residential Learning Coordinator

Tammy Jo Guynn | Honors Operations Manager


Mrs. Tammy Jo Guynn came to the Honors College in August 2005 from Radford University, where she worked in Undergraduate Admissions for eight years. She is dedicated to the higher education system and loves interacting with students.


Mrs. Guynn is a native of Blacksburg where she graduated from Blacksburg High School as a proud BHS Indian. She holds an Associate’s degree in Office Systems Technology with a specialization in Word Processing and an Associate’s degree in Medical Administrative Support Specialization. She continues to expand her education by taking classes when the opportunity presents itself because she believes you’re never too old to learn. Mrs. Guynn likes to travel, is an avid reader, enjoys painting, and spending time with her family.



Paul Heilker is an Associate Professor of English at Virginia Tech, where he has served as Director of the PhD in Rhetoric and Writing and Director of Composition.  He is the author of The Essay: Theory and Pedagogy for an Active Form (NCTE, 1996) and Co-Editor, with Peter Vandenberg, of Keywords in Composition Studies (Heineman, 1996) and Keywords in Writing Studies (Utah State UP, 2015).  His scholarship has appeared in such venues as College Composition and Communication, College English, Disability Studies Quarterly, Rhetoric Review, Composition Studies, Writing on the Edge, Teaching English in the Two-Year College, and The Writing Instructor.  At Virginia Tech, Heilker is a member of the Academy of Teaching Excellence, having earned both a Certificate of Teaching Excellence and the University Sporn Award for Excellence in Teaching Introductory Subjects.  He does regular outreach to regional schools as a Teaching Consultant for the Blue Ridge Writing Project, a chapter of the National Writing Project.


Central to Heilker’s recent scholarship is the idea that rhetoric is a way of being in the world through language, that discourses and their constituent genres require us to inhabit and enact strikingly different ways of being in the world through their distinctive matrices of invention, structure and style.  For instance, traditional western argument forces us to be in the world through sublimated warfare: claiming a position, defending it against attacks, then counter-attacking and defeating the opposition.  Heilker believes that we cannot effectively re-imagine the human condition as less violent using the same discursive tools that created our currently hostile conditions, that we cannot bridge our deep disagreements and schismatic worldviews using the same schemas of discourse that constructed today's antagonistic realities.  To create a less hostile and violent future, he says, we need less hostile and violent discourses, and we need to teach these alternative ways of being in the world to students.

Paul Heilker | Faculty Fellow for Curriculum Development

Amy Ingram | Honors Support Specialist


Amy Ingram is the Honors Support Specialist. Ms. Ingram’s administrative role maintains the inner-workings of the Honors College from making sure that each member of the honors staff is well trained and in compliance with university policies to maintaining a safe working environment. In her work as a liaison to students, Ms. Ingram is responsible for managing and processing forms that students submit to request honors credit. She also oversees the main honors e-mail account,


A native of Dublin, Virginia, Ms. Ingram holds an Associate's degree in marketing with a specialization in Graphic Design from New River Community College. Ms. Ingram enjoys travelling and working to support and get to know honors students.





Eric K. Kaufman is an Associate Professor and Extension specialist in the Department of Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education at Virginia Tech.  He coordinates the graduate certificate program in Collaborative Community Leadership and supports the undergraduate minor in Leadership and Social Change.  Dr. Kaufman’s research interests include collegiate leadership education and leadership development with adults in community and volunteer settings.  He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from The Ohio State University (2000); both his Master’s and his Doctor of Philosophy degrees are from the University of Florida (2004 and 2007).  Prior to joining the faculty at Virginia Tech, Dr. Kaufman was a high school Agriscience teacher in Florida (2000-2003) and then program coordinator for Florida’s Wedgworth Leadership Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources (2004 – 2007).

Eric Kaufman | Faculty Principal, Honors Residential Commons

Alyssa Lentz | Honors Assistant


Alyssa Lentz is the Honors Assistant and the first point of contact for the Honors College offices. Most of her job involves providing information for prospective students and guiding current students on how to incorporate honors into their college experience. She also enjoys managing the social media presence of the Honors College.


Alyssa has a Bachelor’s degree in English from Virginia Tech and a minor in Communication. She is a recent graduate of the Honors College and a four-year resident of the Honors Residential Commons. Her favorite parts of her college career include her study abroad in London, which helped to inspire her undergraduate research on the way social networking is changing public service media.


In her spare time, Alyssa enjoys working on her writing and traveling with friends. She can usually be found outside, appreciating nature with a book in her hand.



Christina McIntyre is the Director of Major Scholarships for the Honors College. She oversees the process for many awards, both national and unique to Honors. Christina has helped shape honors scholarships to better prepare students for national-level awards; the Honors Odyssey Fellowships, for example, emulate the application for Fulbright. Christina believes that applying for these scholarships is developmental and inherently valuable, so she encourages Virginia Tech students to take on the challenge.


From 1995 to 2007, Christina worked as a Research Associate, Instructor, Undergraduate Coordinator, and Assistant Department Head for Human Nutrition, Foods & Exercise in the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences. She joined the the Honors College staff as Associate Director in July 2007 and later became Senior Associate Director.


Christina is a member of the National ACademic ADvising Association (NACADA), the National Association of Fellowship Advisors (NAFA), and the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC). She serves as co-chair for NCHC’s committee on Major Scholarships and as a committee member for NCHC’s Partners in the Parks, a collaboration with the National Park Service. In 2012, her advising accomplishments were recognized with the Provost’s Award for Excellence in Advising and a certificate of merit from NACADA.


Outside of work, Christina enjoys hiking on the Appalachian Trail, cycling, and swimming.


“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” – Chinese proverb


Christina McIntyre | Director of Major Scholarships

Russell B. Shrader | Director of Honors Admissions


Russell Shrader serves as the Director of Honors Admissions for the Honors College. In this role, he coordinates the entire recruitment and admission process for first-year, transfer, and current Virginia Tech students entering the Honors College.


He first started working for the Honors College in August 2004 as Assistant Director. Through the years, he also has served as Senior Assistant Director and Associate Director, having coordinated the Honors admissions process, recruitment scholarship process, Odyssey Fellowship process, various teaching responsibilities (including time in Switzerland with the Honors Presidential Global Scholars), and organizational responsibilities for the Honors residential communities (Hillcrest and the Honors Residential Commons). He has presented at the National Collegiate Honors Council and Honors Education in Research Universities conferences.


Russell’s interest in college students began several years before he came to Virginia Tech. From 2000-2001, he worked at Concord University as Counselor/Coordinator for the Upward Bound Math/Science Program, which was the only program of its kind in West Virginia. This position allowed him to work with underserved and underrepresented high school student populations in southern West Virginia as they prepared to enter their college years.


Beginning in 2001, Russell worked for three years as an Assistant Director of Admissions at Radford University. While there, he traveled extensively throughout the entire New England region as well as the Hampton Roads, Richmond, Northern Neck, and Shenandoah and Roanoke Valley areas of Virginia. He left Radford in August 2004 to begin his role at Virginia Tech.


Russell hails from Princeton, West Virginia. He graduated from Concord University with a B.S. in biology (pre-med focus), and then earned a master’s degree from Marshall University in biological sciences. His master’s work focused on an ecological vegetation study of the McClintic Wildlife Management Area near Point Pleasant, West Virginia. McClintic Wildlife Management Area was the former TNT manufacturing site during World War II, which was personified in the book and movie The Mothman Prophecies. He also has completed graduate work in Public Administration and Policy.


Amber Zoe Smith is the Director of Honors Teaching and Learning. She directs the Honors College’s peer education initiatives—which include first-year seminars, reading seminars, and the upcoming Honors Peer Advising Center—and she teaches the honors peer educators. Amber has presented her research on peer education and discussion-based teaching at conferences nationally and internationally. Her work has appeared in the Journal of the European Honors Council and Honors in Higher Education. In addition to peer education, Amber enjoys helping students with writing and connecting them with the arts on campus.


Before coming to Virginia Tech, Amber taught English and tutored writing at George Mason University, and she worked as an editor at Learning Tree International.


Amber has an MFA in creative writing from George Mason University. She attended Virginia Tech as an undergraduate, where she earned dual Bachelor’s degrees in English and Spanish with a minor in music. She was also a four-year member of the Main Campbell Honors Community.


Outside of work, Amber enjoys playing the cello, swing dancing, and knitting.

Amber Smith | Director of Honors Teaching and Learning

Sara Vandyke | Director of Honors Academic Processes


Sara Vandyke is the Director of Honors Academic Processes. She is the point person should students have questions about working toward an honors diploma as well as the coordinator for the honors diploma order, which every student must complete in order to declare their honors diploma. In addition, she oversees the annual Progress Survey: a tool that helps students keep track of their honors credit year to year. Sara coordinates several merit scholarship processes, including the Academic Merit Scholarship, the Norrine Bailey Spencer Strong Start Award, the Leslie Geraldine Sherman Memorial Scholarship, the Main Campbell Award, and the Pamplin Scholars Program.


Sara has an MA in Political Science from Virginia Tech. She attended Virginia Tech as an undergraduate student in the Honors College, where she earned a BA in Political Science with a minor in Spanish. Her most valued experience in college was her time spent studying abroad in Great Britain and Europe, where she studied different forms of the parliamentary system of government.


Outside of work, Sara enjoys traveling and doing home improvement projects. She is an avid reader and is usually in the middle of several books at once.

Virginia Tech Honors College, MC 0427

137 Hillcrest Hall

385 West Campus Drive

Blacksburg, VA 24061


Fax: (540) 231-4522

Phone: (540) 231-4591