What Makes a Safe Zone Facilitator?

All of our Safe Zone facilitators are volunteers who serve in other capacities at the university, primarily as faculty or staff. They have been Safe Zone certified (which requires taking Safe Zone 101 and at least one additional Safe Zone session). We thank our Safe Zone facilitators for their commitment to LGBTQ+ inclusion at Virginia Tech and to educating others on LGBTQ+ identities and issues.

About Our Facilitators

Alison Sibol
Alison Sibol graduated from the University of South Florida in 2011 with a B.A. in Statistics and a B.S. in Biology. She relocated to Virginia Tech to take a job supervising math tutors at the Math Emporium and she is currently working on her master's degree in public health. While she has always been interested in disciplines of science and math, an interest in social justice issues has been ignited in recent years. She hopes to continue to fight for social justice issues and expand her role in working towards equality for all in the coming years.

Dr. Amanda Morris
Amanda Morris has been a Safe Zone coordinator since 2012. She leads Safe Zone 101 and developed the Legal course. In the community, she also serves as the Faculty and Staff LGBT Caucus co-chair and a strong advocate on campus. In her spare time, she is an assistant professor in the chemistry department and works in the area of solar energy.

Anthony Wright de Hernandez
Anthony is the diversity resident librarian at Virginia Tech. He holds an MLIS from the University of Washington, Seattle and a B.A. in community studies from the University of Massachusetts, Boston. He currently serves on the American Library Association's Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender Round Table and as a judge for the Virginia Library Association Graphic Novel Diversity Awards.

Ashish Agrawal
Ashish Agrawal is a Ph.D. student in Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. His research focuses on exploring the experiences of instructors when they cross cultural boundaries. In addition to being a facilitator for the Safe Zone program, Ashish is also closely involved with and has worked on various projects with AcrossBorders@VT, QGPA, and the LGBT facilitator with the Diversity Development Institute. Prior to starting his Ph.D., Ashish earned his bachelor’s from Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee and master’s degree from Virginia Tech, both in electrical engineering.

Catherine Cotrupi
Catherine Cotrupi completed her master's degree in sociology in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech in 2011. While a graduate student she founded Queer Grads and Allies and served as a GA in the Graduate School. From 2011-2013 she was the LGBTQ Coordinator and advised the LGBTA and oversaw the redesign of the Safe Zone program. Since then she has continued involvement with campus-community relations by serving as the Community Engagement Manager at the University of Southern Indiana. She currently serves as the Assistant Director for Student Engagement with VT Engage working to engage students in partnering with local organizations working on community-identified need.

Dr. Christian Matheis
Christian Matheis is a visiting assistant professor of Government and International Affairs in the School of Public and International Affairs at Virginia Tech. He specializes in ethics, political philosophy, and philosophy of liberation with concentrations in feminism, race, indigeneity, and global justice. His recent research focuses on philosophical conceptions of solidarity in liberatory movements, problems of recognition and identity politics in liberal models of social justice, moral criteria for regulating how state administrative agencies treat refugees, critiques of immigration and border policies, critiques of whiteness studies, and the aesthetics of race.

John Gray Williams
John Gray serves as the Recruitment and Career Development Coordinator for Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment, where he works to recruit prospective high school and community college students to attend Virginia Tech to study in one of the 11 programs the College has to offer. He received his master's degree in college counseling from the University of Delaware in 2012, a bachelor's degree in public & urban affairs, and a bachelor's degree in geography from Virginia Tech, both in 2007. He has long been an outspoken advocate and activist in the LGBTQ community at Virginia Tech, both as an undergraduate student and now as a faculty member. He has long been fascinated with the queer experience, queer theory, and the intersectionality of identities. He is also a self-identified map geek, enjoys traveling, and loves road trips with a passion (having been on three cross-country road trips, and visited 47 states!).

Dr. Jordan Harrison
Dr. Jordan Harrison is a staff counselor at Virginia Tech’s Thomas E. Cook Counseling Center and holds a degree in clinical psychology from Xavier University in Cincinnati, OH. This is his first year working at Virginia Tech and he has facilitated the LGBTQ Mental Health Safe Zone training. He also leads the Gender and Sexual Diversities Group at Cook Counseling and facilitates the HokiePRIDE Peer Support Group on Monday nights.

Katie Mey
As the Gender-Based Violence Prevention Coordinator at the Women’s Center, Katie serves the VT community by providing outreach and education on issues related to gender-based violence, including all forms of sexual and relationship violence, abuse, stalking, harassment, and cyber harassment. As a part of the Safe Zone program, Katie assisted in the creation of a workshop that deals with the historic and contemporary nuances of these types of violence as they pertain to LGBTQ+ folks.

Lia Kelinsky
Lia is the Assistant Director of Intercultural Initiatives at Cranwell International Center. She holds a B.S. in psychology from Hollins University, and a M.S. in agricultural extension and education from Virginia Tech with focuses on leadership and program evaluation. She grew up as the daughter of a diplomat, and attended four different high schools in three different countries. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in agricultural, leadership, and community education. When not in the office, you can find her riding up mountains on her road (or mountain) bike, working on a home garden, trying out arm balances in yoga, or hanging out with her partner, Emma and black lab named Olive.

Lindsay Whittaker
Lindsay Whittaker is an M.A. student in philosophy at Virginia Tech. Lindsay specializes in ethics, epistemology, and philosophy of liberation with concentrations in food ethics, pet food, epistemic injustice, and feminism. In addition to being a facilitator for the Safe Zone program, Lindsay is also a facilitator with Diversity Development Institute. Prior to Virginia Tech, Lindsay earned bachelor’s degrees in Greek, Latin, and philosophy along with a minor in sexuality and gender identity studies from the University of Vermont.

Michaela Podolny
Michaela is an international studies and religion & culture student in the class of 2018. She has served as both secretary and Vice President of HokiePRIDE, and facilitates sessions on Sexuality and Spirituality, and focuses on affirming LGBTQ+ members of faith communities through liberation and reclamation. She also works with allies to create safe and inclusive spaces for faith practice.

Mikey Erb
Mikey graduated in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in international studies and a minor in advanced French for business. He served as the president of HokiePRIDE from February 2016 through May 2017.