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Lauren Bulka takes on new role to support university’s strategic initiatives in the NCR

Lauren Bulka Lauren Bulka

Lauren Bulka has been named coordinator for Strategic Initiatives for National Capital Region Operations (NCRO), effective December 1. In this newly created position, Bulka will have combined roles in organizational management, professional relationship and community partnership development, and strategic planning. She will report to NCRO Director Nick Stone.

“I’m excited to welcome Lauren to our team, someone with experience in building and fostering productive partnerships within the university, with local governments, and with external partners and stakeholders,” Stone said.

“The NCR offers tremendous potential to Virginia Tech students and faculty alike – collaborations in research and innovation, mentorship, hands-on problem solving across multiple sectors, policy and service opportunities from a local to an international scale – but taking advantage of all this requires someone to focus on and coordinate a lot of moving pieces. That is what we believe Lauren will help us do,” said Stone.

“Given the emphasis that both President Sands and Provost Rikakis have put on the National Capital Region to implement new and innovative directions for Virginia Tech, we felt it was important to have someone who could work with NCRO leadership to provide complex relationship management and support for strategic initiatives in the region,” said Steve McKnight, vice president for the National Capital Region (NCR).

For the past year, Bulka has served as a research assistant at the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech where she has coordinated, managed, and supported an internal, interdisciplinary work group for President Sands’ multi-phase Global Innovation District Initiative.

Bulka also conducted high-level research for the Arlington Metrics Initiative designed to help Arlington County better understand and communicate its economic successes, goals, and challenges.

“Lauren has been an extremely valuable liaison across all programs as we have developed ideas for the Global Innovation District. She has kept us on track as we work together to contribute to our communities in the National Capital Region,” said Metropolitan Institute Director Susan Sterett.

Bulka received a bachelor of urban and environmental planning degree with honors from the University of Virginia in 2011 and a master of urban and regional planning degree from Virginia Tech in 2013.

While earning her master’s degree she was a research assistant at the Metropolitan Institute, working with research Assistant Professor Joe Schilling on Strong Cities, Strong Communities Initiative Fellowship Placement Pilot Program funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and administered by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the Vacant Property Research Network funded by the Ford Foundation.

In 2013, Bulka was recognized as Graduate Student for Service to the Program by PlanVirginia and in 2012 she received the American Planning Association Virginia Award for Graduate Student for Professional Promise. Both awards are by nomination from Virginia Tech faculty. Since 2012, she has presented posters and papers at a number of national and international professional meetings and conferences.

Posted December 2, 2015