Virginia Alumni Admission Council (VAAC)

The Virginia Alumni Admission Council (VAAC) is composed of one to two volunteers from each of the eleven VAAN areas.  These volunteers will serve a one-year term with the option for renewal should they choose.

Members of VAAC seek to identify and gather more specific feedback from on-site VAAN volunteers in order to improve and better target the outreach efforts of the Office of Admission. In essence, VAAC volunteers will provide the Office of Admission with lessons learned and further collaborate to expand and enhance outreach to underrepresented communities across the country.

VAAC Leaders

ATLANTA: Jylyan Jones (Col ’09)

Jylyan Shannon JonesParticipating on board with VAAN allows me the opportunity to give back to the UVA community in a special way. Attending UVA was one of the greatest experiences of my life, and I found it to be particularly fulfilling due to the exposure that I received as a student by meeting fellow intelligent, vibrant minority students that were also on a pursuit of educational growth and success. It is important to me that this community remains strong and excels for many years to come. That said, it has been both exciting and valuable to have the opportunity to contribute my support towards this effort through recruiting potential students that will add to the UVA community from my home in Atlanta where I was once recruited. Working with VAAN has been rewarding in many ways. I’ve mostly enjoyed sharing my experience as a Cavalier with prospective and newly admitted students, and I often resonate with the eager and tenacious spirit that students exude when inquiring about UVA because I was once that enthusiastic student. Sharing my perspective on the cultural experience UVA offered me and the academic expectations to living the “college life” away from home is both satisfying and empowering.

BALTIMORE: Sanford Williams (Law ’96)

Sanford WilliamsI’m an attorney and also the business manager for my wife’s (Dr. Anastasia Williams, Med’98) pediatric practice and a member of the Manassas City (Virginia) School Board, so I stay busy. I enjoy all of my work and am grateful that I am able to pursue a variety of interests. We have two children (Kiara Col ’11, Law ’15, and Sanford Col ’13) who have graduated from UVA, and in addition to our interactions with them, my wife and I met with a prospective student and her mom to talk about UVA. This student loved UVA and her visit to Grounds, and was happy that we were able to confirm her perceptions and validate her excited about the University. It also excited us to meet someone who was so eager to attend our alma mater. She subsequently applied to and enrolled at UVA, and playing a small part in her decision was gratifying and uplifting. VAAN is important to because I aspire to live in a society where every child has an opportunity to achieve their potential and fulfill their dreams. We need all children, of every color and background, to have access to resources, to help them and our society perform optimally. Education is a paramount of importance to reach this goal, and helping underrepresented students attend schools like UVA is an important aspect of this equation.

CHICAGO: Kristina Hamilton (Col ’09)

Kristina HamiltonAs the Senior Manager of Tobacco Control at the American Lung Association in Greater Chicago, my daily schedule usually entails meeting with my staff to discuss progress on project goals, responding to outside inquiries/requests for training and lung health resources, monitoring budgets, and writing reports. When I was a first year student at UVA, I deeply valued the mentoring and support I received from the black student body, and this is one of the many experiences I gained at the University that played a positive role in shaping me both personally and professionally. Because of my invaluable experience, contributing to efforts that help recruit underrepresented students is simply one of my ways of giving back to the University.

HOUSTON: Karla Castro (Col ’14)

Karla CastroI’m a sixth grade Social Studies teacher in Houston, and my days are extremely long and hectic – I teach 161 students, and I love ever second of it. Even as sixth graders, my students are working towards being college ready and doing whatever it takes to get there. I love my school because instead of being names after the physical rooms they are in, homerooms are named after the teacher’s alma mater, so I have 31 little Cavaliers who are already nuts about UVA. I attended Days on the Lawn/Spring Blast as a prospective student, and this experience officially convinced me to attend the University. I fell in love with Charlottesville and was amazed at how fun and friendly the students were. I volunteered with the Office of Undergraduate Admission every year to host or meet with students, and as part of the Latino Student Alliance, organized many events for prospective Latino students. In order to establish a vibrant and dynamic Latino presence on Grounds, we must first recruit Latino students and increase their numbers at UVA. The greater UVA community benefits from the diverse experiences, opinions, and talents that underrepresented groups bring to the table, every student interested should be able to see what UVA is about for themselves.

HOUSTON: Tracy Clemons (Col ’07)

Tracy ClemonsI’m a news reporter for KTRK-TV in Houston. Most mornings start with an editorial meeting where we go around the room and every reporter and producer pitches stories (what’s happening that day, what people are talking about, a tip from a source that we’d like to expand into a full story, etc.) I interview about 2-4 people each day, shoot, write, edit, and present my story live on the evening newscast. No two days are ever the same, and it’s awesome. Helping recruit underrepresented students is important to me because I was part of an underrepresented group during my time at UVA. While I did not limit my involvement to predominantly black organizations, some of my greatest experiences were as a part of these groups. Student groups such as Black Voices, the IMPACT Movement (now called One Way), and social gatherings such as BET (Black Eating Time) and the BBS (Black Bus Stop) we saw as places for us to belong and enjoy one another on a campus that didn’t always feel the most welcoming or genuinely inclusive. From my conversations with more recent alumni and current students, many organization have seen a decline in numbers and participation. Helping increase the pool of underrepresented groups at the University I love is close to my heart. Earlier this year I hand-delivered letters to prospective students and there was so much excitement on their end about the UVA and the admission process. They were eager to learn more about UVA, and I was glad to talk to them about it.

LOS ANGELES: Maria Gutierrez (Col ’00, Grad ’06)

LOS ANGELES: Parker Hudnut (Col ’95)

MIAMI: Kim Colquitt (Col ’93)

Kim ColquittI’m a commercial broker and insurance agent, so throughout the day I’m networking with brokers and realtors to increase my referral base, working on quotes we receive, writing policies, cross-selling other products, and following up with clients. I enjoy working with VAAN because it allows me to meet and connect with prospective students to answer questions regarding college. I also like helping the University increase their exposure to minority students.

NORTHERN NEW JERSEY: Lindsay Herron (Col ’04)

NEW ENGLAND: Samm Miller (Arch ’86)

ST. LOUIS: Aaron Jennings (Col ’06)

July 18, 2013 - Aaron Jennings. Photos by James Byard

I am the manager of Urban Education Initiatives at the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. My day-to-day schedule mainly consists of working with graduate students – advising and coaching in my office, and in the classroom teaching. Every capable student should have the right and access to the nation’s best public education, but unfortunately this is not the case. As a student at UVA, I worked with the Office of Undergraduate Admission to recruit underrepresented students. And now, as an alum, this commitment still stands and is even stronger given our national climate towards underrepresented populations. I enjoy the conversations I have as a VAAN member, sharing my authentic experience as an undergraduate student at UVA. These are moment that no dollar amount can capture, and for that I am grateful to be a part of these interactions.

ST. LOUIS: Jasmine Davis (Col ’04)

Jasmine DavisAs the Senior Product Manager at Wells Fargo Advisors, I’m the product owner for new-issue equities and new-issue closed-end funds. I manage the relationship between WFA and our affiliate Wells Fargo Securities. My daily schedule consists of many meetings regarding my product or new products that we want to offer to our clients. We manage a key relationship for the firm so we are always busy. Helping recruit underrepresented students is important because the experience attending UVA has created a network of life-long friends while providing me with a stellar education. I believe UVA prepared me for the workforce and showed me how to think strategically. I have learned that all colleges do not offer this so I encourage students to attend and hopefully have a similar experience. My time as a student made me want to participate in VAAN. The level of discussion that was had in my smaller classes and study groups helped me see life so differently than the way I grew up. It exposed me to ideas and ways of thinking that I wasn’t aware existed. UVA really shaped me into the adult I am today and for that I will always give back when I can.

PHILADELPHIA: Veronica Jones (Col ’96)

Veronica JonesI am the Vice President of Program Operations for the American Board of Internal Medicine. My organization administers initial and maintenance of certification to internists and related subspecialties. I manage the maintenance of certification program and my day is spent collaborating with many departments to support the program and ensure it’s relevancy for physicians. I have been concerned about the decline in African American students who attend UVA since my graduation. I view my participation on VAAN as a way to increase the percentage of under presented students that attend and graduate from the University. VAAN has provided me the opportunity to connect with fellow alumni in the Philadelphia region, and each year I partner with a classmate of mine to represent UVA at a local college fair. We treat this as our annual reunion and reminisce about our college days and discuss opportunities to support the University’s recruitment and admission efforts.