2017 VTV Board Members
The VTV Family Outreach Foundation’s elected Board of Directors are dedicated individuals that contribute their time, talents and resources to our mission of raising the bar in school safety.
A life-long resident of Northern Virginia, Joe graduated from Bishop Denis J. O’Connell High School in 1973 and from American University in 1977. Married to his wife, Mona, in 1982, the couple had three children: Omar, Randa, and Reema. The Samaha’s have resided in Centreville since 1987.
Since the Virginia Tech tragedy, Joe and Mona have established scholarships and funds, including the Angel Fund, in memory of their daughter, Reema. Joe has been a tireless advocate on behalf of the Virginia Tech families and serves as the first president of VTVFOF.
Brad Updegrove is a Commercial Services Manager for the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson. Brad provides procurement support to the Janssen pharmaceutical sales and marketing teams – specifically for the management of the external commercial supply base. Previously, Brad held similar positions in J&J’s Consumer Group of Companies. Prior to joining J&J, Brad was employed at Ford Motor Company, and Exel Logistics.
He currently sits on the Board for Junior Achievement of New Jersey. Brad holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Logistics and a Master of Business Administration degree from The Pennsylvania State University. He currently resides in Princeton, NJ with his wife Jen Herbstritt.
Alec Calhoun is a 2008 graduate of Virginia Tech with a B.S. in Engineering Science and Mechanics. Originally from Waynesboro, Virginia, Alec relocated to central Illinois to take job as a hydraulic design engineer in 2008. He hopes to serve the Board in promoting campus safety, and honoring the memories of those we lost in 2007.
Stephanie is an engineer who initially pursued her degree under the advice of her eldest brother, Jeremy, who was murdered while pursuing an advanced degree in engineering at Virginia Tech. Jeremy was unable to see Stephanie become an engineer but his memory motivates her to find meaning in her education, perseverance to finish her degrees, and a will to impact the world in a positive way with them.
Stephanie is passionate about helping VTV ensure campus safety and remember the victims of the Virginia Tech tragedy and all victims of violence in schools. Stephanie feels she possesses the essential skills to help carry out VTV’s mission. And she has faith that through the VTV Foundation, she can help build a solution to ending violence in this world.
Jen Herbstritt graduated from Penn State in May 2003 earning Bachelor of Science degrees in Life Sciences and Psychology. Thereafter, she earned a Masters in Health Sciences from the Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania in May 2005. ln April 2008 when she resigned from her position to bike across the United States in honor of her older brother, Jeremy, who was murdered at Virginia Tech.
After the ride, she relocated to Princeton, NJ with her husband, Brad, where she worked as Adjunct Faculty in the Biology Department at Middlesex County College and as a part-time lecturer in the Exercise Science Department at Rutgers University. She wrote and self-published a book about her bike ride across America and journey through grief entitled, Leaving Virginia: A Bike Ride Across America in Memory of Jeremy. She is currently working on a second book with the working title, Watermelon Bubblegum: An Anorexic’s Antics on Food, Love and Life.
Joseph is an environmental engineer, musician, and outdoor enthusiast living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 2007, while Joseph was studying at Penn State University, his older brother Jeremy lost his life in the Virginia Tech tragedy. Joseph now serves the VTV Board to promote a message of peace and comfort to those in the wake of tragedy as well as working to make our cities, schools and public spaces safe for all.
Barbara La Porte
Barbara has watched the VTV Family Outreach Foundation grow over the years into an established organization with hands reaching across the aisles to forge new alliances in the areas of campus safety. She applauds all of VTV’s endeavors and hopes to contribute to its future growth as a well-recognized advocate for the well-being of students. She would like to direct some of VTV’s attention to educating young adults and families on wellness and reducing the stigma associated with mental illness. Barbara believes we all need to have awareness and education in order to achieve early intervention and support initiatives.
Her proudest title is simply “Mom.” She has one treasure in heaven, Matthew, and one treasure beside her, Priscilla. Barbara learned to be their advocate, and in turn she wants to help the children of others. She’s been an office manager for an architectural firm for 14 years. She recently received her Master’s degree in Theology. The pursuit of this degree challenged Barbara to look beyond herself and to find wholeness by the giving of herself to others.
Jody McQuade, a Certified Real Estate Specialist and Accredited Buyers Representative, has been a Realtor Associate for 21 years. She also works as the Office Manager and Administrative Assistant for CENTURY 21 Hughes-Riggs Realty, Inc., in Woolwich, New Jersey. Jody is also a Licensed Title Agent and Notary Public. She is a member of the Gloucester/Sales County Board of Realtors Education Committee and also Owner/Manager of Assets and Property Management Company.
After her son, Sean, was wounded on April 16, she helped form VTV and has served as Finance Chair since its inception.