Mercedes Ramírez Fernández Ph.D.

Associate Vice Provost for Strategic Affairs  & Diversity

336 Burruss Hall (0216)

(540) 231-6280

Responsibilities: Students, Curriculum, Climate

Bio: Mercedes Ramírez Fernández serves as Associate Vice Provost for Strategic Affairs and Diversity.  In her capacity, she develops and supports innovative programs and policies relevant to diversity and inclusion across campus around issues concerning students, campus climate and curriculum.  She has more than 20 years of experience in higher education administration in diversity, inclusion and equity, student academic affairs, and program development.  Mercedes earned a doctorate in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania, an MA in Counseling and Human Development from the University of Iowa, and a BA in Psychology with a concentration in Spanish Literature from the University of Puerto Rico. 

Most recently, Mercedes was the interim Assistant Chancellor/Assistant Provost for Student Diversity at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.  Her role at Illinois centered on efforts to enhance campus climate, creation of strategies to strengthen enrollment management, development of programming to foster retention, academic enrichment and timely completion, and the advancement of curricular initiatives that promote understanding across difference including but not limited to race, ethnicity, capabilities/abilities, gender/gender expression, sexual orientation, nationality, socio-economic class, and language.  As Co-Chair of the Committee of Race and Ethnicity, Mercedes worked with a team of faculty, students and administrators who successfully carried a resolution through campus governance, changing the general education requirements to ensure that every undergraduate at Illinois takes a course about the experiences of United States racial, ethnic minorities, and other socially significant identities.  



Marcy Schnitzer Ph.D.

Assistant Provost for Diversity & Strategic Planning

336 Burruss Hall (0216)

(540) 231-7500

Responsibilities: Faculty, Strategic Planning, Research, InclusiveVT

Bio: Marcy Schnitzer is Assistant Provost for Diversity and Strategic Planning. In this position, she supports the InclusiveVT structure through strategic planning and engagement with colleges and departments. She also assists the AdvanceVT/InclusiveVT team in its work on increasing faculty diversity. Marcy also reviews institutional data and research, maps institutional diversity efforts; and reports on activities in recruitment and retention, climate, curriculum and scholarship, and institutional change. Marcy joined the former Office for Diversity and Inclusion in 2012, as a consultant on the Virginia Tech’s Diversity Strategic Plan, and later as Associate Director for Diversity Strategic Planning and Improvement. She received her PhD in Planning, Governance, and Globalization from Virginia Tech in 2010.

Dr. Schnitzer has over 20 years experience working with diverse and underrepresented communities, which she brought with her to Virginia Tech in 1995 as Assistant Director of the Service Learning Center at Virginia Tech (now VTEngage). She considers her work in communities as her primary education, which has informed and motivated her scholarly and teaching interests. She is keenly interested in issues of power and representation of marginalized populations, which is reflected in her research on grassroots involvement in participatory decision-making. Marcy is dedicated to making issues of diversity and inclusion central and integral in teaching, research, and engagement in higher education.


Michele Deramo Ph.D.

Director of Diversity Education & Programs

336 Burruss Hall (0216)

(540) 231-7500

Responsibilities: Training, Education, Programs

Bio: As the director for Diversity Education and Programs, Michele Deramo is responsible for strategic education initiatives including professional development for Diversity Committees and Inclusive VT representatives, and inclusive pedagogy. She also facilitates Diversity Development Institute workshops on the Fundamentals of Diversity-Appreciating Differences and Religious Pluralism, as well as teaches the undergraduate course, Race and Gender in Religion and Culture.

Prior to her current position, Deramo directed the Diversity Development Institute and was the founding director for the former Service-Learning Center in 1995. In 2008 she received a commendation from the Gulf-South Summit on Service-Learning and Civic Engagement through Higher Education for Outstanding Contributions in the field.



Ellington Graves Ph.D.

InclusiveVT Faculty Fellow

562 McBryde Hall

(540) 231-7343

Responsibilities: Faculty Research and Curriculum



Marcie Bishop

Administrative Assistant to Menah Pratt-Clarke

336 Burruss Hall (0216)
(540) 231-7500

Responsibilities: Calendar, Office Management

Bio: Marcie serves as administrative assistant for inclusion and diversity. She has over 35 years of customer service experience. Responsibilities include: greeting visitors and directing incoming calls, reserving conference room spaces, calendar/appointment management, scheduling meetings with various groups, department heads, faculty and students. 


Leemar Thorpe

Program Specialist

336 Burruss Hall (0216)
(540) 231-6443

Responsibilities: Communications, Finance, Event Planning

Bio :


Laura Copan

Marketing Coordinator

336 Burruss Hall (0216)
(540) 231-6443

Responsibilities: Communications, Social Media Outlets

Bio: Laura Copan communicates the OID's message to the university and wider community by promoting events, sharing news, curating a YouTube channel, and maintaining social media outlets. Laura graduated with a B.A. in English from Virginia Tech in 2016. She is grateful to be utilizing multimedia to promote inclusivity, and to be working alongside people who prioritize courage, commitment, and community.