Engineering Communications Program - Meet the Staff
Graduate Teaching Assistants
Amilia Evans, 2nd Year PhD Student in Rhetoric & Writing (English Department)
Amilia Evans has over 13 years’ industry experience supporting and managing proposals for government contractor companies. This is her second year supporting the MSE Department through the Engineering Communications Program as a GTA. She has taught weekly writing workshops for Dr. Sean Corcoran’s Introduction to Materials Science and Engineering course as well as providing writing support for Dr. Carolina Tallon’s Physical Ceramics course project. Currently, she is managing lab report writing for Dr. Thomas Staley’s Materials Lab I course. Amilia’s research interests are in technical communication and cultural rhetorics. She is a graduate employee of VT’s Reimagining diVersiTy initiative and provides manuscript editing services for the Civil Engineering department with Dr. Matthew Hebdon. Amilia is looking forward to completing this last semester of coursework before she delves into her dissertation journey.
Priyanka Ganguly, 1st Year PhD Student in Rhetoric & Writing (English Department)
Priyanka Ganguly (Priya) earned a Master of Science in Technical Communication from Missouri University of Science and Technology (S&T) in May 2020. She also received a Master of Science in Botany from University of Calcutta (India). While studying at Missouri S&T, she worked as a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the Department of English and Technical Communication and taught Technical Writing course to the undergraduate students. She also gained experience as a technical communications intern at Shure Incorporated during the summer of 2019. Before coming to S&T, she worked in three companies in the roles of client executive, human resource executive, and customer service executive. At VT, she is working as a graduate teaching assistant in the Engineering Communication Program (ECP).
Undergraduate Teaching Assistants (UTAs)
Will Blankenship, MSE Senior
Will Blankenship is a senior at Virginia Tech studying Materials Science and Engineering while also minoring in nuclear engineering. Throughout college, Will has interned and co-oped at several GE businesses including GE Aviation, Appliances, Research, and most recently GE Hitachi. Through his intern and co-op experiences, Will has found that his passion lies in providing solutions to the green energy needs of today by working on current nuclear reactor designs and the next generation of reactors. To begin working towards this goal, Will has accepted a job at Framatome where he will be working as a materials engineer on multiple nuclear reactor related projects. Will also enjoys several hobbies including disc golf, photography, drumming, hiking, and camping.
Julia Pimentel, MSE Junior
Julia Pimentel's career and graduate school research interests focus on composite structures and additive manufacturing processes in the aerospace industry. A former engineering intern for Lockheed Martin Space, she is looking forward to working in the Materials Technology Lab next summer. She is passionate about strengthening the career and professional development skills of others via her leadership roles, especially as an ECP TA for the MSE department, mentor for the Materials Engineering Engagement Team (MEET), and Lead Ambassador for the Virginia Tech Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR). Outside of class, you can find Julia working on interdisciplinary research for the Hume Center for National Security and Technology, performing at Lane Stadium as a member of the color guard, or laughing with close friends. In any regard, Julia strives to fulfill her motto: Always Aspire to Exceed Expectations.
Ryan Friedman, MSE Senior
Ryan Friedman's research interests include the application of polymeric nanoparticles for drug delivery systems and/or immunoengineering. He currently serves as president of the Virginia Tech Society for Biomaterials as well as a mentor for the Delaware Youth Leadership Network and Materials Engineering Engagement Team. Outside of the academic field, he enjoys listening to music, playing guitar, and cheering on the Philadelphia 76ers.
Sarah Propst, MSE Senior
Sarah Propst is passionate about communication and inclusivity within STEM and interned with the Center for Communicating Science (CCS) in Fall 2020; she was also a teaching assistant for Dr. Julian’s Crystallography course. She is interested in biomimetic design, material solutions for extreme environments, and understanding the relationship between material microstructure and overall material properties. During her time at Tech, she has worked as an undergraduate researcher in Dr. Jonathan Boreyko’s Nature-Inspired Fluids and Interfaces (NIFI) Lab and interned with General Electric Aviation. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors, listening to music, and art. With a passion for both engineering and science communication, Sarah is excited to be part of the Engineering Communications Program this semester!
Christine Bala Burgoyne is the Director of the Communications Program for the Departments of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) and Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics (BEAM). Concurrent to this appointment, she serves as the publications liaison for MSE and the newsletter editor for BEAM. She holds an M.A. in English from Virginia Tech and B.A. in English Studies: Language from the University of the Philippines. Prior to her appointment, she was a member of the junior faculty at the University of the Philippines, Department of English and Comparative Literature, where she taught freshman composition and literature, introduction to linguistics, and phonology and morphology. She also worked as the technical writer and editor for Atlantic IVR, a computer telephony systems company. Her research and research interests span engineering, global, and technical communications; teaching professional, global, and technical communications in the academe and the workplace; critical discourse analysis (CDA)—discursive patterns and reproduction of ideologies in technical professions—discourse communities in engineering cultures; and Bakhtinian and Barthian studies—applications of dialogism, heterogeneity, carnivalesque, intertextuality, hybrid identities, in engineering, global, and communications.