VTV Family Outreach Foundation Board of Directors
Joe Samaha, President
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 Samahas have resided in Centreville since 1987.
Having grown up in a close-knit Lebanese community, Joe was heavily influenced by his Lebanese heritage and the challenges confronting the Middle East. At American University, Joe majored in International Relations and Political Science. Upon graduation, Joe enrolled in the Master’s Program in International Relations at the American University in Lebanon.
After marrying Mona in Beirut in 1982, Joe worked with his father in The Samaha Corporation, an international trade firm in McLean, Virginia. During this period, Joe traveled extensively throughout the Middle East, Asia, and Europe. Joe eventually gravitated to the real estate business, and he remains in that business today.
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, Vice President
Brad Updegrove is currently employed as a Commercial Services Manager for the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson. In his current position, Brad is responsible for providing procurement support to the Janssen pharmaceutical sales and marketing teams. Specifically, his team is responsible 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.
Jody McQuade, Treasurer
Jody McQuade, a Certified Real Estate Specialist and Accredited Buyers Representative, has been a Realtor Associate for 21. 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.
Jody is a Single Mom to 3 of the best kids in the world. After her son, Sean, was wounded on April 16, she helped form VTV and has served as Finance Chair since its inception.
Stephanie Herbstritt, Secretary
Stephanie is a passionate 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. She graduated from Penn State in May 2011 earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Engineering and a minor in Environmental Engineering. She obtained her professional engineering-in-training certificate upon graduation. Currently, she is working towards her Master’s degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Agricultural and Biological Engineering where she is also employed as a graduate research assistant in the Soil & Water Resources group. At the University of Illinois, Stephanie is involved in the Alpha Epsilon Honors Society as the organization’s vice president, the ABE graduate student organization, Society of Women in Engineering as the group’s social chair, and the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. Stephanie is also a fanatical runner. She enjoys participating in charity races and helps organize Herbie’s Hometown Loop, an annual running and biking event help in memory of her brother, Jeremy. She is always hungry for more time spent in nature. She enjoys hiking, kayaking, biking, and climbing. 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.
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.
Patricia (Pat) A. Craig is sole proprietor of P.A.C. Consulting and graduate candidate at New England College majoring in Public Policy. She received her B.A. from Augusta College. Pat has used her organizational management and development skills supporting several non-profit community- based organizations such as United Way, YMCA, American Red Cross – OCONUS, and as a manager of 5000 volunteers. As executive director of an international dropout prevention organization, she used her ability to help schools increase graduation rates and maintain school attendance, write and receive grants and coalition training for her organization. Pat’s career supported development projects of over 6M dollars. Committed to civic and volunteerism, she earned class seats in Leadership Brevard; Brevard Insight, Leadership Augusta; and Chaired several Boards of Director with property and operating assets of over 2M dollars. Continual service has Pat as a committee member of The Ryan Clark Scholarship and Community Service Award and The Ryan Clark Memorial Committee. For her work supporting organizational and community development, Pat earned several accolades including the President’s Volunteer Service Bronze, Silver, and Lifetime Gold Awards (2006). Pat proudly attends Hemingway African Methodist Episcopal.
Rachael Forsman is a 21 year old resident of Vermont who graduated from Johnson State College last December. She graduated with a B.S. in Wellness & Alternative Medicine and a minor in French. During her time at JSC she also took a summer semester in India and Bhutan studying Asian philosophy and art. She also spent time interning at chiropractic and naturopathic offices, which was an amazingly informative and rewarding experience. She currently works as a restaurant supervisor at the Great Room Grill at Stowe Mountain Resort, and she also waitress for the Stowe Mountain Club. In the future she would love to travel and then pursue her love for Ayurvedic Medicine (traditional medical system of India) by becoming an Ayurvedic Health Coach. She is the cousin to injured student, Sean McQuade.
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. She was employed as a Physician Assistant in State College, Pennsylvania until 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. Somewhere along the ride she discovered her love for writing. 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. An avid runner, she has completed over a dozen marathons and ultra-marathons. She enjoys participating in weekend 5K charity races and, with her family and friends, organizes Herbie’s Hometown Loop, an annual running and biking event held in memory of Jeremy in their hometown of Bellefonte, PA.
Barbara La Porte
I've 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. I applaud all VTV's endeavors and hope to contribute to its future growth as a well recognized advocate for the well being of students. I 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. We need to have awareness and education in order to achieve early intervention and support initiatives. My proudest title is simply Mom. I have one treasure in heaven, Matthew and one treasure beside me, Priscilla. I learned to be their advocate, and in turn I want to help the children of others. My husband Joe and I live in northern New Jersey and often vacation in Virginia and Florida. I've been an office manager for an architectural firm for 14 years. I recently received my Masters degree in Theology. The pursuit of this degree challenged me to look beyond myself and to find wholeness by the giving of myself to others.
A native Floridian and currently residing in Harrisonburg, Virginia, Lolly married her husband, Dennis, in 1984. The couple have two children, Heidi and Wendy. Lolly graduated from James Madison University with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Physical Education and later earned a Certificate in Gerontology. Lolly's primary focus areas are mental health initiatives and establishing a culture of positive energy across all age spectrums to avert future violent events. Creator of the inaugural Intergenerational Day Camp in the Summer 2011, Lolly incorporated the themes of Peace- Building and Cultural Diversity and appreciated the support of the VTV Family Outreach Foundation. She was also instrumental in organizing a fundraising campaign and premeire of the commissioned handbell piece, Through the Storm, Hope Endures in May, 2013. She appreciates the support of the VTV Family Outreach Foundation on these initiatives.