Three alumni and one faculty member were featured among The Roanoker magazine’s 40 Under 40 cohort for 2024. The Roanoker has featured the series annually since 2019 and honors young professionals working tirelessly to affect positive change across the community. Nominees are evaluated not only on their career achievements but also on other factors such as volunteerism and community involvement, awards, certifications and more.
With Virginia Western’s focus on empowering students for success and strengthening communities, the community college is pleased to see so many familiar faces included. (Alumni photos courtesy of The Roanoker.)
Congratulations to these and all of the honorees!
Daniel Hart, AS ‘11
Hart earned an Associate of Science in Business Administration from Virginia Western in 2011 before transferring to Radford. Today, he is a leading financial analyst for NorthWinds Technology Solutions, working with dental and vision insurance companies across the U.S.
Beyond his professional endeavors, Hart champions community engagement. He founded Mountain & Valley Testimonies, a ministry spotlighting personal testimonies. His commitment to empowering the community extends to teaching financial literacy classes, coaching T-ball, and volunteering with the annual Delta Dental Pro-Am Golf tournament to support the Boys and Girls Club.
Robyn Mitchell, AAS ‘16
Mitchell’s Associate of Applied Science degree in Information Systems Technology started her on a path to Roanoke College and owning her own business. She was named Artist in Residence for both the City of Roanoke’s Eureka Park Renovation Project as well as Goodwill Industries of the Valley’s Melrose Plaza project.
She focuses on building community through group art projects, which have included a mural for the Roanoke Juneteenth Family Reunion and an “End Racism Now” mural in downtown Roanoke. Professionally, Mitchell’s Lovelight Design Studio provides expertise in digital marketing, content strategy and design for clients such as Roanoke Sister Cities, Hidden in Plain Site Roanoke and The Humble Hustle Company.
Katie Struble, CERT ‘21
Struble’s most recent professional certificate in Horticulture Technology comes from Virginia Western, further advancing her career dedicated to promoting food consciousness and fostering connections between people and the land.
She has worked with Local Environmental Agriculture Project (LEAP), Lick Run Farm, Virginia Fresh Match, and the Take Root Program in Northwest Roanoke. She is currently focused on work with The Harvest Collective as well as Roanoke’s first compost facility, Star City Compost.
As a nurse educator at Virginia Western Community College, Summers plays a key role in addressing the region’s critical shortage of health care workers. She has earned a reputation for focusing on the individual nursing student, providing warmth and open communication to foster success. Seeing a need, Summers was the energetic organizer of two COVID-era virtual 5K fun runs to benefit Virginia Western’s Nursing Program Fund.
In addition to her outstanding work in the classroom and clinical setting, Summers dedicates herself to helping students affected by the opioid crisis after experiencing a tragedy in her own personal life. Summers established the Second Chance Annual Scholarship at Virginia Western for students affected by addiction and continues to organize drives and other fundraisers for the cause.
The full list of honorees may be viewed at 40 Under 40: Meet the Class of 2024 – TheRoanoker.com.