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Headshot of Cecily Rodriguez

Cecily Rodriguez

Senior Manager of Applied Research


Cecily Rodriguez has been developing, implementing, and evaluating programs and services that seek to reduce service delivery barriers and increase equitable outcomes for more than twenty-five years. At SPIA, she is responsible for designing and implementing sponsored programs to public and non-profit organizations related to public sector leadership and governance. Current projects include the development of a leadership and management program for a law enforcement agency; an Integrated Model of Economic, Environmental, and Social Programs in a state agency and an equity and inclusion assessment project for an international NGO. She is an experienced organizational development professional with a proven track record of implementing successful change management strategies. She has developed a number of products related to leadership and management talent development, team building, and organizational effectiveness. She strives to be a collaborative leader who is dedicated to partnering with coworkers to promote an engaged and empowered work culture. Along with her duties as Senior Manager for Applied Research, she also teaches courses related to social equity and policy evaluation at Virginia Tech’s Center for Public Administration and Policy.

Previously, she was the Director of Refugee Health Services Division at the United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants. She was responsible for executive leadership of grant and contract-related planning and implementation for new state health and wellness programs. Earlier work includes serving as Director of the Office of Health Equity Advancement and Workforce Development at Virginia DBHDS. Her areas of expertise include the implementation of the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services, behavioral health and wellness in migrant and refugee communities in the US, language access in the public sector, behavioral health interpreting services, social equity, and intercultural development. She is especially proud of having developed and implemented the curriculum for the agency’s leadership development program, SystemLEAD.

Cecily is a nationally recognized equity and diversity expert and a Certified Diversity Executive (CDE). She serves as the Chair of the Certification Board for the Institute for Diversity Certification; a member of the advisory committee for the National Network for the Elimination of Disparities (NNED) Steering Committee, and a member of the Henrico County Public Schools Equity and Diversity Committee.

A graduate of the Virginia Local Government Equity Clinic at UVA’s Weldon Cooper Center, she has degrees from Virginia Commonwealth University and Virginia Tech.

Headshot of Dr. Andrew Sharp

Andrew Sharp, Ph.D.

VMF Program Manager & Visiting Instructor


Andrew Sharp has a broad and diverse experience in higher education – having served in faculty and/or leadership positions at the University of Virginia, College of William and Mary, University of Richmond, South University, and Virginia Commonwealth University – and in state and local government in Virginia and Ohio. He received his PhD from the University of Birmingham (UK) and holds graduate degrees from the University of Virginia and St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. He has published his own independent research (with Brill, Routledge, Oxford University Press, etc.) in the fields of international relations, religious studies, and global ethics and has managed collaborative research efforts in higher education and the public sphere.

At the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture he managed the Thriving Cities Project, which looked at how history, education, public health, and government systems impact American cities.

In positions with state and local government, he utilized research and design thinking models and leveraged strategic collaborations to author Virginia’s first Refugee Resettlement Program Manual, write over 100 staff policy and procedures for 165 social services employees across the Commonwealth, and offer in-service training sessions on ethics, leadership, and teamwork skills.

Andrew comes from a family of teachers and enjoys working directly with students as an instructor or trainer using active learning approaches in traditional, online, and hybrid environments. He has helped undergraduates learn the fundamentals of research and served as an advisor for doctoral dissertations. He has dedicated much of his life and career to multicultural engagement, interreligious dialogue, and deep listening with compassion, which he believes are key components of a thriving civil society.

Dr. Anne Walters

Anne Walters, Ph.D

Applied Research Associate 


Anne Walters, Ph.D.  is the Applied Research Associate at Virginia Tech’s School of Public and International Affairs, Richmond Campus. Anne’s experience as both a practitioner and an academic in public administration helps her offer unique insights about public leadership. She began her career in a county housing department administering a HUD Lead Hazard Control Program. She has legislative experience from her time working in the Office of the U.S. Senate Majority Leader. Her academic work has focused on the policy processes surrounding the adoption of sick leave legislation around the country.  She has presented research at conferences for the American Society for Public Administration and the Urban Affairs Association, and she taught Political Science courses at Brigham Young University.  Her work at SPIA has focused on strategic planning and program evaluation. Anne earned her BA in Humanities from Brigham Young University, her MPA from the University of Memphis, and her Ph.D. in Public Administration from Virginia Tech.  

Headshot of Hilal Yalcin

Hilal Yalcin

Research and Administrative Coordinator


Hilal Yalcin serves as the Research and Administrative Coordinator for SPIA at the Richmond campus, where she plays a pivotal role in orchestrating events and managing administrative protocols for various SPIA programs. Armed with a B.Sc. in Psychology from George Mason University (GMU), Hilal is driven by her profound interest in mental health awareness and organizational psychology.

Her academic journey at GMU included contributing to research efforts at The Center for Advancing Correctional Excellence (ACE!), a graduate research lab. Here, Hilal collaborated with graduate students on multiple research studies and reports, including the notable JDRDC Organizational Trauma Assessment Report.

Post-graduation, Hilal embarked on a career in customer service at the prestigious CFA Institute, a financial certification institute. Demonstrating her versatility, she subsequently advanced to the role of Consumer Research Team Lead at Celerion, a prominent pharmaceutical research company. Now, with a rich tapestry of experiences in education and research, Hilal is delighted to bring her diverse skill set to the SPIA community.