Since Graduation: After graduating I went into the Peace Corps. From 2006-2009 I served in Mali as a Water and Sanitation Volunteer. After returning to the States, I worked as a consulting engineer for about 18 months before realizing that that wasn’t what I wanted to do and going back to graduate school. I graduated from Marquette University in May 2013, and am now working for a Swiss NGO called Medair as a Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Project Manager in Zahle, Lebanon.
news & announcements for alumni
Hey NLCF Family!
This past year since graduation from my Masters program at Tech has been a whirlwind, but a fun, insightful one. I’m now working for Northrop Grumman in its Future Technical Leader’s program as a System Engineer. Everyday in this job, I’m constantly reminded that God is an unbelievable provider and orchestrator, because I look at my “4.0 GPA Aerospace PhD from MIT” colleagues and wonder how in the world I was able to even apply for this program :). God has also been providing me with unique opportunities with my program counterparts to come along side them and have some neat conversations as we get to know each other. For example, the last three weeks I’ve been temporarily staying with a co-worker in the program up near DC until I permanently move in, and its been neat to see where our conversations end up going in regards to faith, God, social issues, etc.
Additionally, God’s blessed me with the opportunity to live with another colleague of mine and his friend this upcoming year, and I’m really looking forward to doing life with them and sharing Christ’s love with them as well!
As some of you may know, I’m engaged now! Another huge blessing! And also the fact that this summer is the first time Olivia and I are working/living in the same town in all the 3 years of being together has afforded us the opportunity to start building our relationship and faith as a unit in ways that we haven’t been able to before (church hunting, weekly couple bible studies, serving others through sharing our love of food and cooking!)
Even though this past year was exceptionally busy, busier than my busiest moments of grad school at times, I learned one big thing: if you can filter through all the noise, clutter and excitement of a new chapter of life, God is still there, constant, providing, and running towards you.
I miss NLCF and the Engage Groups and all the kingdom work you guys are doing! Praying for y’all constantly! God bless!
Involvement in NLCF: I was a deacon and a homegroup leader, also involved in follow-up, greeting, and prayer. I was a part of LT 2000, 2001, and 2002 – some of the best times of my life.
Since Graduation: I’m a Director with CapTech Consulting in Richmond, Virginia, heading up the User Experience team. My wife, Katie, and I have a wonderful daughter, Grace, and lead a small group out of our home.
I lead our local missions efforts in the city for Commonwealth Chapel. Our current focuses are poverty, education, and job training. We’re actively involved in a variety of ministries helping the formerly homeless and children in poverty.
Contact me to talk more; I’m willing to help in any way I can to help NLCF alumni transition through graduation!
After my husband, Bladimir, finished his master thesis at Virginia Tech, we had been working on our admissions to the PhD program. Our plan was to come back to Virginia Tech in January 2012, but my husband got accepted at Georgia Tech to work with the president of the university. Our plan to come back to Blacksburg changed, so I was working on my application to Georgia Tech when I found out I was pregnant!!! 2 years trying to get pregnant, and we decided to stop trying to get back to school, and then the pregnancy test came back positive!
Nicole (Bonfiglio) Schmitt, Vocal Performance/Music Education, 2011
Upon graduation, Alex got hired at Patrick Henry High School in Roanoke City as the Band Director. Nicole got hired as the Choral Director at Staunton River High School and Middle School in Bedford County. Both moved to downtown Roanoke and have been really busy building and re-building our music programs. Alex has brought his Marching Band to multiple competitions, bringing home many awards! And Nicole has built her group from the bottom up, completing two successful musical productions and multiple high scores at performances! They both LOVE their jobs and are very blessed to work with music and young people!
The focus is starting to shift as they get married! They will be married in Blacksburg (of course) June 15, 2013. They are excited to live their lives for Christ in this new community, work force, and new family through marriage. They are excited to spend the summer adjusting to this exciting new normal and building the foundation to be an awesome HOKIE married couple!
Here’s a brief update from NLCF alumni Jamey and Lesley Smith who have been raising support and preparing to work with our sister church in Danli, Honduras:
“For those who don’t know, we had been praying since we began this process but even more earnestly since we got married that we would be at 100% of our initial support goal of recurring giving that we needed to raise for GCM by the first of June. We are so incredibly amazed and thankful to be able to say that by the first of June we hit 100% of our initial goal for GCM with current recurring giving!!! Praise the Lord!! Obviously, this is an enormous milestone for us, to know that the Lord has prepared the way for us to go and provided for us completely. We feel so blessed by this amazing timing, and could not be more excited for all that this opens up for us now.
What is wonderful about having completed our initial support raising for GCM is that we can start taking bigger steps towards preparing to leave such as purchasing plane tickets and obtaining our visas. We will be spending June and July based out of Jamey’s parents’ home in Covington, as well as traveling substantially to raise additional support to help fund our start-up costs for moving internationally. We will also be spending the summer learning Spanish and preparing to leave soon!”
What church I go to: Commonwealth Chapel. Awesome church.
1. What led you to decide to join the staff team? I grew up in love with Virginia Tech. Both my parents graduated from Tech and I’ve been coming to football games since I was 6 months old. There was never any question about where I was going to go to college. When I came to Tech, God led me to the amazing community that is NLCF and I came to NLCF the first Sunday of my freshman year. During the summer following my freshman year, I had moment where God made it clear that He wanted me to go into vocational ministry. I was on plane ride home from a mission trip to Costa Rica and I just started crying for no reason at all. It was easily the craziest moment of my life. I was sobbing uncontrollably and I had no idea why. Yet somehow in that moment, I felt God say almost audibly that He was calling me to spend my life in serving the Church and leading others to do the same. From that point on, I began trying to figure out what that looked like practically and where exactly God was calling me to. Jim started talking to me about the possibility of coming on staff about midway through my junior year. At first, I was skeptical. It just wasn’t the life that I had pictured. But slowly over the next year or so, God made it clear that I belonged at NLCF. I realized that He had been preparing me for this since I was kid. Why would I not want to serve and lead in an amazing church where I could continue to proclaim the Gospel and make disciples at Virginia Tech? I feel so incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to reflect the light of Jesus to the community that I love so much and lead others to do the same.
2. What do you hope to do as a part of your ministry? I hope to continue discipling students through huddles and Engage Groups. I’m really passionate about discipleship because of what I see Jesus doing in the Scriptures. He spent the vast majority of His time living life with and pouring Himself into twelve guys. I’ve seen and experienced firsthand how these types of relationships can have a huge impact on a person’s life. I hope to make disciples who will in turn make disciples themselves.
3. What are you most excited about? I’m really excited about the opportunity to help equip and empower to students to pursue Jesus and His purposes in our community. Virginia Tech is in desperate need of students and leaders who are willing to follow Jesus no matter where He leads them. I’m excited about playing a role in leading students closer to Jesus and challenging them to hear His voice and obey.
What are you most nervous about? I’m nervous about stepping into a level of ministry where I have no experience. While I led an Engage Group and a huddle during my time as a student, I have never had to think about my ministry on a church-wide scale. I think coming on staff will present new challenges and I will face things I’ve never faced before. Any time you are stepping into a new role or a new situation, there are some feelings of inadequacy. I trust that God has prepared me for what’s to come and will walk with me through whatever challenges and difficulty I face.
4. How can NLCF pray for you? I would greatly appreciate prayers for God to go before me and prepare the hearts of the people who will support me. I live in a small town and often when I tell people that I’m going to be raising support in order to do what God has called me to do, they don’t really get it. They’ve seen international missionaries raise support and they understand that. But the idea of someone raising support to work on staff at a church in southwest Virginia is foreign to most people. My prayer is that God would prepare the hearts of the people there to participate in the work of the Gospel. Also please pray that my life during this season will be marked by closeness to God. I want to be found walking closely with Jesus and allowing Him to be my provision regardless of how things are going with support raising.
1. What are you doing next?
Serving the community of Northstar Church (in Blacksburg) with my studly husband-to-be!
2. What new things are you most excited about?
Marrying Ryan, living in a cool apartment together, but still getting to eat Gillies breakfast several times a week.
3. What will you miss most about nlcf?
The girls in my Huddle: they give the best hugs ever and laughing with them is a blast! And staffers that dare each other to wear adult diapers. And 130 jackson- it’s a great venue!
4. One of your favorite memories from working with nlcf?
I loved heading up the Hokies for the Hungry with the Marching Virginians! And how could I forget the “Call Me, maybe” parody… maybe the highlight of my musical career. (soooo much sarcasm!)
5. How can nlcf pray for you as you go through these changes?
Prayers for obedience and grace in ministry and marriage! That I allow God to do all the heavy lifting and I am merely an instrument of His glory.
6. Something you learned from your time with nlcf?
There is not enough room to write all that! NLCF has taught me about what it means to be in ministry, how to balance your work load and your personal life, how to keep Christ as the priority, disciple in work, flexibility in schedule, grace in personal relationships, humility in instruction, having joy in your work and what a blessing it is to enjoy what you do!
7. Favorite memory with the staff team?
When we had an at-length discussion about wearing adult diapers for the day and Jim was ready to go out and get it started, only to come back and report that Tracy said “Absolutely not.”
Alumni – every May we send out Virginia Tech/NLCF graduates from Blacksburg to places all over the world. One of the biggest challenges of their move is finding a new church community. This is a key way you can continue to remain involved with NLCF, by telling us about the church you’ve found and helping our graduates find a new place to get connected! Many of our graduates move to some of the same areas – Northern VA, D.C., Richmond, and North Carolina (Charlotte, Raleigh). If you have a church you want to share about in one of these areas, please let us know a little bit about it (the feel, the size, what you like about it), AND if you’d be okay with us helping our graduates get in touch with you if they have questions!