Marlena McGlothlin Lester, M.S.
Director of Advising
325 Goodwin Hall
Blacksburg, VA 24061
(540) 231-2962




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

Day Hours
Mondays 8:30 AM – 11:00 AM
1:30 PM – 4:30 PM
Tuesdays 8:30 AM – 11:30 AM
Wednesdays 1:30 PM – 4:30 PM
Thursdays 1:30 PM – 4:30 PM
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.

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:

  • National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) Outstanding Advising Award - Academic Advising Administrator (2017)
  • 2013 Governor's Award for Teamwork (with Natasha Smith), Virginia Tech Representative (2013)