Engineering Education at Virginia Tech
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Marlena Lester, M.S.
Director of Advising

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331 Goodwin Hall
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Ph.D. Candidate, Higher Education, Virginia Tech

M.S. Corporate and Professional Communication, Radford University 2005

B.S. Communication (Concentration in Public Relations), Radford University, 2003

A.A.&S. Southwest Virginia Community College, 2002

Certificate, Radio/TV Broadcasst Production, Southwest Virginia Community College, 2002

Office Hours: Appointment Only
Mondays 8:30 - 11:00 & 1:30 - 4:30
Tuesdays 8:30 - 11:30
Wednesdays 1:30 - 4:30
Thursdays 1:30 - 4:30
Fridays No Office Hours


Marlena Lester is the Director of Advising for the department. She leads the undergraduate advising team and oversees the entire advising process for all General Engineering students, including New Student Orientation.

Marlena's strives to transform the advising experience for students and advisors through communication, collaboration, and consistency. She has presented her innovative initiatives regionally, nationally, and internationally.

Marlena completed her bachelor's and master's degrees at Radford University where she focused on communication. She is also currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Higher Education at Virginia Tech.

Career Highlights:

  • Developing a hands-on, minds-on orientation model for all first-year engineering students
  • Leading the effort to develop a comprehensive engineering major exploration tool, Explore Engineering
  • Enhancing the academic planning resources available for first-year engineering students
  • Creating the Engineering Education Academic Advising Learning Outcomes
  • Co-chair of the 2015 First Year Engineering Experience Conference
A summary of accomplishments and supplemental documentation have been hyperlinked to illustrate key initiatives.

Awards & Honors

  • 2013 Governor's Award for Teamwork (with Natasha Smith), Virginia Tech Representative

Engineering Education at Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech
Engineering Education (MC 0218)
345 Goodwin Hall
635 Prices Fork Rd
Blacksburg, Va 24061
(540) 231-6555
Fax (540) 231-6903