Student Opportunity Achievement Resources (SOAR)




Virginia Tech has set forth ambitious goals as part of InclusiveVT – the institutional and individual commitment to Ut Prosim (that I may serve) in the spirit of community, diversity, and excellence. Project 2022 seeks to increase underrepresented minority student enrollment to 25% by 2022. In addition, Virginia Tech seeks to eliminate the graduation gap for underrepresented minority students. To complement existing resources and offices, the Student Opportunities and Achievement Resources (SOAR) program, implemented in spring 2019, is a unique partnership with the academic colleges, as part of the InclusiveVT structure.


To achieve the 25% underrepresented minority student enrollment goals of Project 2022 and to promote the academic and personal achievement of underrepresented minority students within the unique climate and culture of academic colleges.


In partnership with Enrollment Management and academic colleges, SOAR will support the Black College Institute, Native American outreach, and the Hispanic College Institute to increase minority student enrollment. To assist with the academic and personal achievement of minority students, SOAR will sponsor communities of scholars -- unique learning communities focused on the intellectual connection of students in partnership with each college. SOAR will also assist in the development and monitoring of Personal Learning Achievement Narratives (PLAN) -- individualized guides for student achievement.

Studio portrait of Faith Hawkins.


  • Support the recruitment of high achieving, intellectually curious underrepresented minority students through high quality, experiential and residential summer programs, in partnership with Enrollment Management and academic colleges.
  • Empower underrepresented minority students, in collaboration with academic colleges, by creating a Community of Scholars within each college – a community guided by a commitment to academic excellence. As an intellectual and academic community, the Community of Scholars will provide spaces for unique conversations about the experiences and opportunities that exist to support the success of underrepresented minority students based on the unique climate and culture of each college. Grounded in a commitment to academic achievement, the Community of Scholars integrates a complementary focus on social and cultural experiences through referrals and collaboration with other campus programs and offices.
  • Develop minority student leadership through the InclusiveVT Student Representative Internship Program.  Through the internship program, student interns gain significant leadership experience through supporting fellow students by assisting in identifying potential barriers and challenges to student success and serving as a resource for the Community of Scholars. 
  • Create Personal Learning Achievement Narratives (PLAN) to support underrepresented scholars in developing their guide for their collegiate experience. Students participating in the Community of Scholars program will develop a PLAN to support their holistic experience at Virginia Tech.  Progress towards the goals associated with the PLAN will be monitored by semester.
  •  Collaborate with campus partners -- cultural and community centers, living-learning communities, the Dean of Students Office, Enrollment Management, the Student Success Center, the Career Center, New Student Programs, and a range of other programs and offices.
  • Monitor institutional data on underrepresented minority student achievement    


Natasha Saunder

Natasha Saunder

Director of SOAR
SOAR House
207 W. Roanoke St (0305)

Liaison to CALS and CNRE
InclusiveVT Interns: Desiree Velez, Sierra Coley, and Lis Mota


Duston Scarborough

Associate Director of SOAR
SOAR House
207 W. Roanoke St (0305)

Liaison to Pamplin and CAUS
InclusiveVT Interns: Ayi Gbedeg, Jazmine Harris, Matias Montenegro Sandoval, Isabel Baba


Errol Arcienega

Program Manager of SOAR
SOAR House
207 W. Roanoke St (0305)

Liaison to CLAHS and COS
InclusiveVT Interns: Jed Osei, Isabella Schwartz, Elizabeth Owusu, Gina Vandivier


Linwood Moore

Data Manager/Project Assistant for SOAR
SOAR House
207 W. Roanoke St (0305)


Jamelle Simmons Ph.D.

Special Programs Manager 
SOAR House
207 W. Roanoke St (0305)

Liaison to COE
InclusiveVT Intern: Isabella Lerer


Chantel Simpson

Graduate Assistant
SOAR House
207 W. Roanoke St (0305)

InclusiveVT  Interns

Left to Right Back Row: Matias Montenegro, Sierra Coley, Gina Vandivier, Isabel Baba, Isabella Schwartz, Ayi Gbedeg, Jed Osei - Left to Right Front Row: Lis Motas, Jazmine Harris, Elizabeth Owusu, Isabella Lerer, Desiree Velez - Not Pictured: John King
  • Isabel Baba - Year: Sophomore; Major: Management; College: Pamplin 
  • Sierra Coley - Year: Sophomore; Major: Human Nutrition Food and Exercise (HNFE); College: CALS 
  • Desiree Velez  - Year: Junior; Major: Biochemistry; Minor: Spanish; College: CALS 
  • Ayi Gbedeg - Year: Sophomore; Major: Building Construction and Real Estate; Minor: Spanish; College: CAUS 
  • Jazmine Harris - Year: Sophomore; Major: Fashion Merchandising & Design; College: CAUS 
  • John King - Year: Freshman; Major: Accounting and Information Systems; College: Pamplin
  • Isabella Lerer - Year: Freshman; Major: Engineering; College: COE 
  • Matias Montenegro Sandoval - Year: Freshman; Major: Architecture; College: CAUS
  • Lis Mota - Year: Senior; Major: Wildlife Conservation; College: CNRE
  • Jed Osei - Year: Sophomore; Major: Clinical Neuroscience and Psychology; College: COS
  • Elizabeth Owusu - Year: Freshman; Major: Sociology and Criminology; College: CLAHS
  • Isabella Schwartz - Year: Junior; Major: Psychology; Minor: Spanish; College: COS
  • Daniela (Gina) Vandivier - Year: Sophomore; Major: Political Science and Human Development; Minor: Sociology; College: CLAHS

Contact Us

SOAR House
207 W. Roanoke St.
Blacksburg, VA