The National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students declared Oct. 17-21 as National Transfer Student Week to honor transfer students across the country. Virginia Tech celebrated 3,031 transfer students and the staff supporting them by hosting events across departments. 

In the Department of Computer Science, there are 364 transfer students whose backgrounds range from local community colleges to universities in China. The week included events for students to connect, like a bowling night at Squires Student Center and a taco luncheon with presentations from The Women’s Center at Virginia Tech, Hokie Wellness, and VT Engage

Van Ha Tran Nguyen, a transfer student from Northern Virginia Community College, attended the transfer student welcome event as an ambassador. There, she shared her experience as a transfer student and gave advice to underclassmen. Nguyen describes the week as a success, with discussions and connections with other students as the most beneficial.

“As an ambassador, I learned more about the computer science department in order to answer other students’ questions. I got to learn many more things about the department that I otherwise would not have known,” she said. 

“The week is dedicated to highlighting successes and bridging the gap between campus offices, faculty, and staff to show that we are advocates,” explained Tonisha Montgomery, an academic advisor in the Department of Computer Science. Montgomery played a key role in planning Transfer Student Week events. She expressed that the week was essential to supporting transfer students’ journeys and bringing awareness to their challenges.

Transfer students to the CS Department enjoyed lunch on "Taco Tuesday," while gathering information from campus resources such as the Women's Center, Hokie Wellness, and VT Engage.

The event included the participation of Undergraduate Computer Science Director Paige Johnson, Department Head Cal Ribbens, faculty, and teaching assistants. There, students received advice from their peers and were provided resources for academic success. At an alumni and career connections event, students were informed of post-grad job opportunities and on- and off-campus internships.

CS Academic Advisor Tonisha Montgomery poses with transfer students at an event in March 2022.

Guiding transfer students on their journeys is especially important to Montgomery, who was a transfer student during her undergraduate years. Starting college at Francis Marion University, Montgomery transferred to Voorhees College after taking a gap year. During her gap year, she volunteered for AmeriCorps. 

“Advising transfer students is important to me because I wish I had more guidance in navigating my college career. Academic advisors help steer students in the right direction, share resources, policies, and opportunities. For some students, it is comforting to have a listening ear without judgment and share their career goals,” said Montgomery. 

Montgomery says her transfer experience was difficult as her year of travel left her with a different perspective on life and the experiential learning pushed her to mature. Due to her background, she is dedicated to ensuring transfer students have a worthwhile experience during their time at Tech. 

“As a transfer student, sometimes there is the urge to get your courses quickly and get your degree as soon as possible. It is so important to feel connected to your school, have peer support, and take advantage of the resources the institution has to offer,” she said.

If you are a transfer student new to the  Computer Science Department at Virginia Tech, please contact the CS Department's Office of Undergraduate Programs to get connected and engaged.  If you are considering transferring to CS@VT, you can learn more about the transfer process on the CS website. 

Written by Tayler Butters, a student intern in the Department of Computer Science.