Mike directs the programs and activities of the study center and helps to connect others to this important work. He has a passion for helping students develop as leaders and connect their faith with all aspects of life.
Prior to assuming this role, he served six years as a Deputy Commandant for the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets, where he provided guidance, mentoring and education for cadets in a campus-based residential leadership development program. He now serves on the board of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets Alumni, Inc. Earlier in his career, Mike spent twenty years in active federal uniformed service as a commissioned officer in the NOAA Corps, where he flew aircraft and provided operational leadership for science and survey missions of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Mike is a proud Hokie and 1988 graduate of Virginia Tech, where he received his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. He earned a Master of Science in Environmental Science from Johns Hopkins University, a Master of Divinity from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC, and a Master of Theology from Duke University Divinity School. He attends Fieldstone United Methodist Church and enjoys throwing a frisbee for his golden retriever, Cooper, to catch.
DIRECTOR OF STUDENT ENGAGEMENT
Kylie leads the study center’s efforts to engage and connect students to our programs and community. She is passionate about holistically participating in God’s restorative work on earth and helping others do the same.
Her position is in partnership with the campus ministry organization – The Coalition for Christian Outreach (CCO). Kylie has worked with the CCO since 2015 after graduating with a BA in Youth Ministry from Eastern University, a small Christian liberal arts college in the Philadelphia suburbs. After a year-long campus ministry fellowship at Philadelphia University and Saint Joseph’s University, Kylie returned to her alma mater for three years to minister to students through the CCO as the Director of College Ministry at a local church.
Kylie seeks to help students reach their full potential, embrace their gifts and passions, learn to ask further questions, cultivate beauty, participate in the local church, embrace wisdom, and seek the Kingdom through their particular vocations. When she’s not meeting with students on campus, you’ll often find her cooking, running, reading, chatting with a friend, baking bread, brewing kombucha, or hiking in the woods with her husband, Nick, and their dog, Podrick. As a Shenandoah Valley native, she is thrilled to return to these old mountains.
Ralph is Senior Research Associate in the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation at Virginia Tech. He has been ministering to the VT community since 1979.
He is a founding member of CSN and current Chair of the Board. Ralph co-leads a home group for Blacksburg Christian Fellowship and along with his wife, Patricia, is a Senior Fellow for the Honors Residential College at Virginia Tech. He is also taking classes toward certification as a biblical counselor under the auspices of the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation.
Pablo A. Tarazaga
Pablo is an Associate Professor at Virginia Tech in the Mechanical Engineering Department and is a Principal Faculty in the Myers-Lawson School of Construction.
His research focus is on vibrations and structural dynamics of intelligent systems. He was awarded the 2014 Dean’s award for Outstanding New Assistant Professor at Virginia Tech and received the 2015 Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator Program Award. Dr. Tarazaga also serves as the Honors Residential Faculty in East Ambler Johnston at Virginia Tech. Dr. Tarazaga and his family (wife, 3 children and one on the way, and dog) live on campus and work towards building community and relationships in academia with students, staff, faculty and members of the community.
Pablo holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Tech (Blacksburg, VA) and a B.S. from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez in Mechanical Engineering and was born in Argentina. He also carried out his post-doctoral studies at the University of Bristol, UK.
Jonathan is Pastor of The River Church in Blacksburg, Virginia.
He has been in full time ministry since 1989, Pastoring in Pittsburgh, Florida and Colorado. In 2003 Jonathan and Robin moved to NC where he worked with The Navigators on their 20something National Leadership Team. A desire to do ministry in a different way led the Taggs to purchase and manage a restaurant until the fall of 2008, when they accepted a call to lead The River. Jonathan recently obtained his Doctorate of Ministry from Trinity School for Ministry. He is a husband and father to five, and he loves sports, the outdoors, and hanging out with Robin and the kids.
Joel is founder and chairman of JSW Financial. He holds economic degrees from LSU, Purdue and the University of Florida.
He’s also a graduate of the Certified Investment Management AnalystTM program at the prestigious Wharton School.
Joel’s passion for teaching others was first recognized as a professor at Virginia Tech, where he taught economics and consulted with agribusiness firms on financial management. His community involvement includes co-founding the New River Valley Economic Development Alliance, the Estate Planning Council of the New River Valley and the Community Foundation of the New River Valley.
Christie is Director of Finance and Operations for The Hume Center for National Security and Technology located in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center.
She holds a Bachelors degree in Civil Engineering and a Masters in Business Administration. Christie’s varied record of ministry activities at Blacksburg Christian Fellowship includes Director of Pioneer Girls, Associate Treasurer and house group co-leader. She currently serves as a board member for BCM (Baptist Collegiate Ministries) as well as the Christian Scholars Network.
Deborah Carlier was born and raised in upstate New York to Chinese immigrant parents. Keen to avoid being merely a consumer of culture, she is interested in joining others in creating things that will aid in human flourishing.
With a BA in psychology from Boston College, Deborah began a career in operations management. A short-term missions trip to Haiti shortly thereafter resulted in a career redirection into public health (Boston University, MPH) as well as development work in Southeast Asia. She later honed her skills in project management while directing a multidisciplinary research malaria project at Virginia Tech. She currently oversees web design and development for International Christian Fellowship, serves on the board of the Renaissance Music Academy, plays piano on the worship team at church, and tutors children at the Blacksburg Refugee Partnership. In her spare time, she enjoys travel, book studies with college students, going to concerts, reading, spending time with her husband Paul and catching up on life with her two adult daughters, Melissa and Megan. Her newest challenge involves learning the piano part to a Mozart trio.