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Our students in the greater Washington, D.C., area are connected to the Blacksburg graduate community in a number of ways, but also form a unique sense of community all their own. Some activities and events are informative and others are designed just to have fun.

The Community Café at the Northern Virginia Center often serves as the setting for these activities.

Graduate students participate in sports like basketball games between faculty and student teams and soccer games. The College of Engineering recently sponsored a ping pong tournament for faculty, staff, and students. Awards went to the tournament’s first place winner Ph.D. student Chiung-Ting Wuf; and to master’s student Padmaksha Roy and Ph.D. student Alireza Famili, who took second and third place, respectively. All three are in the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Annual holiday celebrations include Halloween pumpkin carving, a partially catered/partially potluck Thanksgiving lunch, and a Lunar New Year party.

Other activities include Facts & Snacks gatherings where students find out what is going on at Virginia Tech -- like the new Innovation Campus, for example -- and hear from experts in their fields. There are also periodic visits with the Graduate School dean that offer students a good opportunity to ask any questions or express any concerns they may have. 

More than 300 alumni, students, faculty, and administrators gathered in late April 2019 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Virginia Tech’s graduate education programs in the greater Washington, D.C. area. With the WAAC (Washington Alexandria Architecture Center) band playing in the background, guests mingled with President Tim Sands, Executive Vice President and Provost Cyril Clarke, college deans, members of the Board of Visitors, university faculty, and the HokieBird in a tent at the Northern Virginia Center. Banners and tables with program brochures and posters in the center’s hallways offered visitors a chance to explore the range of degrees offered in the region by the university’s colleges. 

All aspects of being a student in the Department of Computer Science are covered during Orientation Week at the beginning of the semester. Sessions include an introduction to faculty, information on curriculum and research opportunities, available resources, student events, and advantages to living in the metro DC area.

At a free annual Job Fair, organized by the D.C. Metro Area Chapter of the Virginia Tech DC area Alumni Association, top employers from the Maryland, D.C., and Virginia area gather to recruit qualified personnel.  Students about to graduate benefit from this event and current graduate students man a table where they can talk to prospective students about the master’s and Ph.D. programs that the Department of Computer Science offers in the area. 

While graduating students are welcome to attend Commencement in Blacksburg, Virginia Tech has held its own ceremony in the greater Washington, D.C., area since 1981. Graduates gather with family members and friends to celebrate their achievements. Current students volunteer their help to make this a memorable event.