Bootcamp Live 2022: Aug 9th and 18th. Rooms ALC 4100, 4110. Live Workshops, Open office hours.

About Us

Collage image of the ALT Lab team

Higher education is undergoing rapid change. We don’t underestimate the challenges facing higher education. We understand how declining public investment, enrollment stagnation, and changing workforce demands have affected institutions. We understand that affordability issues are an obstacle to true equality of access and opportunity. We believe the missions of universities to expand knowledge, tackle big questions, and promote civic engagement is critical to our communities, locally and globally. We believe technology is a critical tool in meeting these challenges and preserving the value of the university.

We’re intrigued by other institutions successes with large-scale and competency-based degree programs. We don’t think the MOOC is dead. We’re curious how artificial intelligence and virtual reality will change education in the future. We’re excited about the ways technology can make our spaces more accessible and inclusive.

We’re also committed to making sure best practices and strategies faculty use to cultivate knowledge and promote inquiry in the students they teach don’t get swept away in all this change. We believe pedagogy should inform the use of technology, not the other way around. We make that our number one priority when developing online and technology-enhanced courses.

We are a team of educators with skills in design, development, and technology. We keep up with the current best practices in accessibility, instructional quality, student success, and faculty satisfaction. We believe in continuing to strive to deliver high-quality learning experiences with strong student outcomes at affordable and accessible rates.

We want to work with our colleagues to solve problems, create opportunities, and engage students.

What problems do you see?
How can we help?

Our Team


Faculty bio picture for Judith F. Kornberg, Ph.D.

Judith F. Kornberg, Ph.D.

Interim Executive Director

I am a career higher education administrator and academic leader with extensive experience and success developing academic programs and processes. My experience in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors widens my understanding of organizations and how they successfully function. I have held the key academic titles of associate provost, academic dean for graduate, undergraduate, professional studies and continuing education, as well as program director for sponsored research/development and instructional technology, respectively. I am particularly well-skilled in academic policy creation and enrollment management for both non and for-profit institutions. My accreditation experience includes acting as a regional and programmatic evaluator (MSCHE/CAEP), leading accreditation review teams (MSCHE/CAEP) and applications for regional candidacy (SACS COC), and serving as a consultant to institutions undergoing accreditation. I am pleased and proud to be responsible for the establishment of many partnerships and collaborations with both educational and private entities, gaining valuable experience for students and faculty. I have well-demonstrated experience leading projects and working collaboratively with constituencies. With my colleagues, I have been actively involved in the creation of focused-training and professional development programs. I am an experienced instructor of graduate and undergraduate studies, teaching courses at numerous colleges and universities.
Faculty bio picture for Becky Aycock

Becky Aycock

Human Resources and Operations Administrator

For more than 25 years, I have served VCU in an administrative capacity beginning in Continuing Education in the School of Education, which shifted to an entrepreneurial unit, SOE Associates, and then the Center for Professional Growth before the office was merged with Continuing Studies and placed under the Office of the Provost as the Office of Continuing and Professional Education. VCU Online merged with the Office of Continuing and Professional Education in 2021, so I now serve the larger unit in all things human resources as well as managing operational processes.
Faculty bio picture for Ashley Fredericks

Ashley Fredericks

Operations Coordinator

I first joined VCU in 2011 as a student worker for SOE Associates, then the Center for Professional Growth before the office merged with Continuing Studies to become the Office of Continuing and Professional Education in 2014. I served as program assistant prior to becoming the office’s operations coordinator. After VCU Online merged with the Office of Continuing and Professional Education in 2021, my role expanded to support operations for the larger unit.
Faculty bio picture for Edward Howard

Edward Howard

Director of Operations

Since 1996, I have worked in the development and delivery of adult continuing and professional education opportunities for nontraditional learners. A VCU double alum and U.S. Army veteran, I was the JJDPA compliance monitoring specialist for the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services prior to joining the VCU family. I am passionate about equity in access to higher education, and alternative pathways to workforce readiness.
Faculty bio picture for Yeimarie Lopez

Yeimarie Lopez

Compliance Administrator

Yeimarie Lopez is an advocate of accessible and equitable education as a way to create a more just society. She is a first generation college graduate who earned a baccalaureate degree in social work from Virginia Commonwealth University and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Michigan. During her time in direct social work practice, she worked with survivors of domestic and sexual violence and immigrant and refugee families. As she began her work in higher education, she focused on student engagement and advising with the goal of retaining a diverse student body. Her interest in quality assurance in education led her to higher education accreditation and compliance. As the Compliance Coordinator at VCU ALT Lab and VCU Online, she monitors ongoing compliance with a variety of state, federal, and international regulations related to online education.
Faculty bio picture for Nancy Lowe

Nancy Lowe

Administrative Coordinator and Student Adviser

Starting as office manager of the Center for School and Community Collaboration within the School of Education, I have been with VCU since 1996 and have worked in continuing and professional education for more than 12 years. With many years of experience in higher education and an extensive background in administrative roles going back more than 30 years, I am well-versed in the makings of a successful, well-run office.
Faculty bio picture for Peter Nguyen

Peter Nguyen

Associate Director of eLearning Initiatives

Peter Nguyen received his Bachelor of Arts in Biology from the University of Texas at Austin. He completed his Master and Ph.D. degree in Social Work at the University of Houston. Previously, Dr. Nguyen was the Associate Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University and Full Professor at University of North Carolina Wilmington School of Social Work. In 2019, he returned to VCU and currently serves as the Associate Director of eLearning Initiatives. Dr. Nguyen has worked in the non-profit sector throughout his career with a focus on helping abused children and their families. Dr. Nguyen has also served in various administrative roles as the BSW Coordinator, MSW Coordinator, Provost Fellow, and Interim Associate Vice Chancellor of Distance Education.
Faculty bio picture for Katey Nichols

Katey Nichols

Program Coordinator

After graduating college, I interned at a small Richmond publishing house before serving as the office manager for the VCU Honors College, then as the office manager for a local real estate brokerage. I now enjoy the opportunity to adapt my skills in event coordination and administrative work to my current role as a program coordinator.
Faculty bio picture for Michael Rawls

Michael Rawls

Financial Administrator

Michael Rawls is responsible for budgetary and financial administration. He serves in a similar capacity with VCU Libraries and has been involved in higher education finance since 2006. He has a PhD in Public Policy and Administration and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from VCU. His goal is to ensure that VCU Online and Continuing and Professional Education’s leadership team has the budget information they need to support strategic decision making and that the staff have the financial and business support they need to carry out their important mission.
Faculty bio picture for Styphenia Reliford

Styphenia Reliford

Fiscal Technician

15 years with the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) prepared me for this role. My love of helping students to be successful started in the Office of Institutional Advancement. Transitioning to the Public Relations Office allowed me to connect with students, faculty and staff on a different level.
Faculty bio picture for Aimée Walters

Aimée Walters

Marketing Manager

Before joining VCU, I spent seven years as a marketing educator with Hanover County Public Schools, where I integrated classroom instruction with supervised on-the-job training and DECA, the student organization which prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management. I was also the on-site LMS administrator. Prior to teaching, I spent 10 years with Goodwill Industries as the director of marketing and communications, serving Central Virginia and Hampton Roads, where I strengthened the brand and public support for Goodwill and its mission of helping people with obstacles to employment to reach their full potential through education, skills training and job placement services.

Instructional Design

Faculty bio picture for Elaine Reeder

Elaine Reeder

Interim Director of Curriculum Development

Elaine is an innovative designer passionate about cultivating an environment for learning. She received her BFA in Graphic Design from Rochester Institute of Technology, an MA in Educational Technologies from George Washington University, and her Ph.D. in Learning Technologies from the University of North Texas. Elaine has held positions in private industry as well as education and served as a tenured faculty member for fifteen years where she taught a variety of classes in the Computer Graphics department. She also served as Coordinator of the Department and created several new courses and programs during that time. She has made presentations at a number of conferences and published in several journals. Elaine is flexible and resourceful and enjoys learning as well as teaching. She is an artist at heart and enjoys creating visual pieces using the full spectrum of media.
Faculty bio picture for Brianne Jackson

Brianne Jackson

Associate Director of Professional Development

Brianne is a lifelong educator, which a passion for quality instruction. Dr. Jackson has an over twenty year career in education, where she has served as a teacher, curriculum developer, professional developer and new teacher mentor/coach. Dr. Jackson received her B.A. in Spanish and History from Randolph-Macon College, her M.L.A. in Ancient History and Culture from the University of Richmond in 2005 and her Ph.D. in Education from Virginia Commonwealth University. Dr. Jackson's area of research/interest is preparing faculty to teach in the online or blended environment. Of particular interest are the role of teacher presence in the virtual classroom, as well as non-linear approaches to online instructional design, two areas that are vital to meeting the needs of the increasingly diverse community of online learners. Dr. Jackson also works extensively to implement Universal Design for Learning into Online Education.
Faculty bio picture for Cynthia Agyeman

Cynthia Agyeman

Instructional Designer

Cynthia Agyeman is an Instructional Designer who is dedicated to helping educators advance their teaching strategies and developing online courses. Cynthia is a big advocate of adopting best practices that take into account the diverse and unique learning needs of students. Prior to joining the Alt Lab, Cynthia worked with the Ohio Society of CPAs to design and build courses for CPAs and accounting professionals in public, private and not-for-profit organizations. Cynthia has worked in education as a teacher, facilitator and instructional designer. Cynthia holds a Ph.D. degree in Instructional Technology and a M.A in African Studies from the Ohio University. She has a BFA degree in Painting from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana, West Africa. Her research centers on visual arts and new digital media with a special focus on the integration of emergent technologies and the aesthetic and design elements and principles to create new art forms.
Faculty bio picture for Peyton Burgess

Peyton Burgess

Instructional Designer

Peyton Burgess has designed online courses for a variety of disciplines and has taught online and face-to-face for more than five years. Peyton also designs and teaches development courses for faculty that teach online, ushering more than 100 faculty members through certificate courses thus far. He takes a student-centered approach to course design, stressing the importance of the learner experience, while also exposing faculty to effective and efficient course design and management practices. At ALT Lab, Peyton's primary focus is serving as instructor for the faculty development certificate courses Going VCU Online Level I and II. As a writer with an MFA from New York University, Peyton writes fiction and teaches composition and creative writing courses both online and face-to-face, including fiction workshops for VCU's English Department and for the publisher Catapult. His short story collection, The Fry Pans Aren't Sufficing, was published in 2016 and described by Publishers Weekly as "sometimes shocking...a fine debut from a striking new voice."
Faculty bio picture for Shelley Gross-Gray

Shelley Gross-Gray

Instructional Designer

Shelley Gross-Gray is an experienced educator with experiences working with faculty and administrators at a variety of higher education institutions. She is an experienced learning architect whose passion is partnering with faculty to create the most effective student focused learning experience possible. Shelley has earned a Professional Studies Graduate Certificate in Competency-Based Program Design from Lipscomb University, M.S. in Instructional Design and Technology from Bloomsburg University, and a B.S. in Business Administration - Management from Elizabethtown College. Shelley’s research interests focus on models and strategies for reducing student cognitive load and designing effective flow in online courses by incorporating techniques, such as TiLT (Transparency in Learning and Teaching). In her spare time you will find Shelley on the Pickleball court, golf course or attempting to play the ukulele.
Faculty bio picture for Andrew Hahn

Andrew Hahn

Instructional Designer

Andrew Hahn has built and edited courses across various fields of study. In design he takes a streamlined approach with easy-to-use technology elements in order to keep the learners focused on their materials. Prior to joining VCU Online, Andrew worked at Liberty University Online as a Course Editor and at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit as an Instructional Designer. He received his MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and is the author of the poetry chapbook, God’s Boy (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2019), which poet Randall Mann called a “raw, fearless debut.” In the fall of 2019, Andrew was invited to be the writer-in-residence at Randolph College in Lynchburg, Virginia. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, writing, and playing the piano.
Faculty bio picture for Cairo Jones

Cairo Jones

Instructional Designer

Cairo Jones is an instructional designer who is passionate about helping educators bring creativity to their online courses. While implementing best practices into the course design, Cairo strives to support faculty as they develop their teaching strategies while also creating unique learning communities. Prior to joining the Alt Lab, Cairo worked with VCU’s Online MBA program to develop courses and assist professors with the design and delivery of course material. Cairo received his BA in History from Virginia State University and loves learning about Virginia’s rich past. Outside of work, Cairo loves to discover new restaurants, spend time with family and go on new adventures with his four-legged pal, Murphy.
Faculty bio picture for Timothy Luckritz Marquis

Timothy Luckritz Marquis

Instructional Designer

Tim Luckritz Marquis loves working with faculty and departments to create online spaces in which communities can interact across disciplines, vocational goals, and backgrounds. As a designer, he focuses on how learning materials and experiences become the contours of the learning environment. Tim comes from a background as a tenured faculty member with experience teaching undergraduate and graduate students, as well as collaborating with colleagues on course and curricular planning. His academic interests gravitate toward interdisciplinary humanities, critical theory, and intercultural engagement. He has a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Yale University and has written a book and various articles and essays on ancient history, itinerancy and mobility, ethnicity, and sexuality. A New England kid at heart, Tim is devoted to Richmond. Between household projects and community events, he and his partner chase their two kids around the city.
Faculty bio picture for Aisha McGriff

Aisha McGriff

Instructional Designer

Aisha McGriff is passionate about working with faculty to turn their visions for their online classes into a reality. A North Carolina native, she holds a BA in psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a MA in Sociology from North Carolina Central University, and a MA and a PhD in American Culture Studies from Bowling Green State University. Aisha began her academic career in Chattanooga, TN where she was a professor of Sociology and Women’s Studies before becoming an instructional designer. Prior to joining the ALT Lab, Aisha developed and taught face to face, hybrid, and online courses for Chattanooga State Community College, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and TN eCampus. Her research areas of interest include how to make instructional technologies more accessible, pedagogical techniques to engage diverse student populations, and how to reduce unintentional bias in the classroom. When not geeking out about instructional design, education, and the future of academia, Aisha can be found wandering around in nature, knitting socks, or daydreaming about new ways to play with fiber and textiles.
Faculty bio picture for Michael Schad

Michael Schad

Instructional Designer

Michael Schad loves creating comprehensive online instructional content to communicate complex ideas as simply as possible.  Prior to coming to work at the AltLab, Michael enjoyed attending VCU School of Education in pursuit of his PhD in instructional technology where he had many opportunities to assist undergraduate and graduate students with the integration of technology into their praxis.  In addition to his interest in technology, Michael spent several years teaching middle school English and history. He is interested in the ways technology influences society, especially the ideas expressed by Marshall McLuhan through the concept of the “Global Village”. Michael is also the current chairperson for the Premier League team Wolverhampton Wanderers fan club in Virginia, and enjoys cheering his club on as they compete in the Europa League this year.  When not working or watching football, Michael likes to ride his bike around Richmond.
Faculty bio picture for Rebecca Stooks

Rebecca Stooks

Instructional Designer

Rebecca Stooks is a Richmond native and, prior to joining ALT Lab, she taught English at a high school in Henrico County for 10 years. In that time, she taught a variety of different courses, but she is most proud of her involvement in helping to lay the groundwork for her school's dual enrollment program with a local community college. Her years as a public educator have made her a pro when it comes to practical teaching techniques, creative approaches to delivering content, and differentiating instruction to cater to all learning styles. Rebecca obtained both her bachelor's and master's in English from Longwood University, with focuses in education and writing. When she isn't working or trying to keep up with her active toddler, Rebecca loves writing speculative fiction (that's fancy talk for sci-fi and fantasy); she has even published a few short stories and she fancies the idea of one day publishing a novel.
Faculty bio picture for Deverick Strand

Deverick Strand

Instructional Designer

Deverick Strand is an Instructional Designer committed to enhancing the online student experience through the implementation of best practices and considerations of accessibility. Prior to joining VCU Online Deverick worked in K12 teaching and professional development where he focused on technology integration and engaging instructional pedagogy to meet the needs of all learners. He looks forward to adding those experiences mixed with his love of educational technologies to reach even more students. When he’s not designing quality online instruction, Deverick enjoys pursing his new found love of running and acting like a tourist in the city he’s lived in for 20 years.
Faculty bio picture for Ginny Thompson

Ginny Thompson

Instructional Designer

Ginny Thompson enjoys supporting faculty with the creation of engaging digital learning environments. Prior to joining to Virginia Commonwealth University, she was an instructional designer for six years at St. Vincent’s College in Bridgeport, Connecticut, helping to launch several online programs, including an RN-BSN program. Ginny has experience evaluating the quality of online courses, holding a Quality Matters Peer Reviewer certification. She taught Educational Technology at Notre Dame of Maryland University in Baltimore, Maryland for five years and has a masters degree in Education from the University of Michigan. A recent transplant to RVA, she enjoys hitting the Buttermilk Trail, riding her bike in the Fan and learning more about street photography.

Media Production

Faculty bio picture for Molly Ransone

Molly Ransone

Associate Director of Media Production

Molly B. Ransone is passionate about making educational media that amuses and inspires people to learn voraciously. As the Associate Director of Learning Media at VCU ALT Lab, she uses that passion to produce high quality media content for online and face-to-face classes with the goal of aiding faculty in bringing their subjects to life and increasing student engagement. A long time participatory culture advocate, she wants to see everyone try their hand at creativity and media making, and loves working with faculty on designing multimedia student assignments. Prior to moving to Richmond, Molly was the Creative Services Coordinator in Academic Technology at San Francisco State University, where she earned her master’s degree in Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts.
Faculty bio picture for Alex DeBord

Alex DeBord

Media Specialist

Alex DeBord is an aspiring filmmaker and motion graphics artist with a passion for storytelling and visual effects. He aims to create more immersed digital environments that allow creativity and expressions to become commonplace in any learning environment. After being a freelance video editor and videographer for some years, Alex is now excited to make an impact on educational media that benefits both the faculty and the students involved in it.
Faculty bio picture for Moaz Elemam

Moaz Elemam

Media Specialist

Moaz Elemam is an artist from Virginia. After studying video and animation at VCUarts, he worked as a freelance animator, illustrator, and video editor. A love of reading and learning has always informed his work, and now he’s excited to be at VCU ALT Lab making educational media - a natural synthesis of those interests.
Faculty bio picture for Melanie Felix

Melanie Felix

Media Specialist

Melanie Felix is a Kinetic Imaging alumna with a passion for motion design, cultivating creative spaces, and putting the tools for visual expression into the hands of everyone. She was previously a student assistant in The Workshop at VCU and a digital media lab specialist & instructor at the Varina Library. Melanie is excited to make an impact on learning at VCU through educational media.
Faculty bio picture for Amber Hooke

Amber Hooke

Media Specialist

Amber Hooke is a video editor and animator from Richmond, VA with a love for visual storytelling and creative animation. She is a graduate from VCU with a BFA in kinetic imaging and a minor in creative writing. After working for the VCU Student Commons as a student she is excited to be back at VCU, and is looking forward to working with the ALT Lab to create quality educational content. Amber loves listening to podcasts and playing videos games, and she can often be found walking her dog or doodling in one of RVA’s many coffee shops.

Web Development & R+D

Faculty bio picture for Kate Lewis

Kate Lewis

Web Developer

Kate Lewis received her Bachelor's of Applied Technology from BYU-I where she studied web design & development and databases. She joined the ALT Lab in May 2021. Kate is passionate about creating functional, user-friendly websites. In her freetime, Kate enjoys playing video games, reading, and cooking.
Faculty bio picture for Matt Roberts

Matt Roberts

Web Developer

Matt Roberts’s two favorite words ending in ‘y’ – Technology and Simplicity – are at the core of his world of Web Development and Design at ALT LAB. Using his background in communications, design, and coding, he strives to make things with technology that are simple to use and understand for all users. As an alumnus of VCU, he’s thrilled to be sharing his talents with his alma mater. While not thinking in pixels and code, he enjoys running – sometimes to and from things, imaginary and real.
Faculty bio picture for Rochelle Robinson

Rochelle Robinson

Web Developer

Rochelle is an experienced front-end web developer focused on custom theme and plugin development, digital marketing strategy, and enterprise software design. She is a proud advocate for projects and opportunities that positively impact and promote technology in underrepresented communities. You can also find her upcycling or refurbishing furniture in an effort to minimize global waste.