Engaged Student: Reggie Pinder
Recruiting the next round of Hokies is no easy task, but Hokie Ambassadors take on the challenge as a labor of love, especially the organization’s president.
“Virginia Tech is the place where everything makes sense, minus organic chemistry,” jokes Reggie Pinder of Frederickburg, Va., a senior majoring in human nutrition, foods, and exercise in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “It’s where I can find all of my friends. It’s where I feel I’m making a difference in others’ lives, and that is my main goal.”
Hokie Ambassadors normally have from 70 to 130 current students on their rosters to give tours throughout the year to prospective students and their families, often providing them with their first impressions of the campus and its community.
“It’s an indescribable feeling when students come to me after a tour and say that I have convinced them to come to Virginia Tech,” Pinder says. “In my opinion, being a Hokie Ambassador is more than just giving a tour of campus. Instead, it’s showing parents and students the ins and outs of why we call this place home. It’s making a connection with each family and letting them know that no matter where they come from, or what they plan on studying, we have a place for them here.”
Pinder interviewed for a spot as a Hokie Ambassador in the spring of his freshman year. By his second year, he went through training, became a full-fledged member, and applied for a leadership role. He served as director of public relations and now is president.
While giving a tour, his favorite thing to drive home is the strength of the Hokie Nation, Pinder says. “Whether it be an alum giving an extra football ticket to a student, or one Hokie helping another find a job, the Hokie Nation is huge and always there to help.”
His tours have not been without a few hiccups, normally without his guests being the wiser. His most embarrassing moment, however, was on his first solo tour when he forgot to bring the combination to a model room’s lock. Luckily, a tour not far behind was able to give his group access. “The second I finished the tour, I got a marker, wrote the code on a piece of tape, and put it on the back of my nametag so I wouldn’t forget it. Now, going into my senior year, the original tape is still there.”
Pinder has also stayed busy as a teaching assistant, a residential advisor for the Summer Bridge Program in the College of Science, and as mentor for Da Vinci: The Biological and Life Sciences Learning Community. “I encourage other students to get involved with programs like these, because they all teach you to take a step back and look at the community on a scale greater than yourself,” Pinder says.
Pinder’s future includes the desire to go to medical school. To prepare, he has dived headfirst into clinical experience, such as serving as a student athletic trainer and volunteering for the Blacksburg Rescue Squad. He also worked as a physical therapy technician for two summers.
Pinder hopes those clinical experiences – combined with his academic record and community outreach activities – will pay off for him so that he can stay in Blacksburg and attend the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine. “Going to VCOM would allow me to stay in the area. But most of all, it allows me the chance to wear my maroon and orange every day.” With his level of the Hokie Spirit, it is unlikely those colors will ever leave Pinder’s wardrobe, even if he leaves Blacksburg.