Veterans Studies Group Profiles

Dr. James M. Dubinsky is associate professor of rhetoric and writing in the Department of English at Virginia Tech (VT) where he directs the Center for the Study of Rhetoric in Society (CSRS). From 1998 until 2007, Jim was the founding director of the Professional Writing program, and from 2008–11, he served as founding director of VT’s Center for Student Engagement and Community Partnerships (CSECP), now VT-ENGAGE. Jim is also a veteran, having served in the U.S. Army from 1977–1992 on active duty and from 1992–2004 in the reserves before retiring as a lieutenant colonel.

Dr. Bruce Pencek is one of the founding organizers of the Veterans in Society Conference and has been Virginia Tech’s librarian for social science and history since 2001. In that capacity, he manages collections and provides research instruction and consultations to the university’s ROTC detachments, the Departments of Political Science/International Studies and History, and the School of Public and International Affairs, among others. He received his PhD in government from Cornell University and his MS in library and information science from the University of Illinois.

Dr. Kelly Belanger is an associate professor of English at Virginia Tech, where she directs the Center for the Study of Rhetoric in Society. She is coauthor of Second Shift: Teaching Writing to Working Adults and author of a recently completed book on communication strategies related to Title IX, institutional change, and college sports. She has been part of a military family for more than twenty-five years.

Dr. David Cline is assistant professor in the History Department at Virginia Tech, where he teaches courses in public history, oral history, museum studies, and historical research methods. Dr. Cline’s public history work has included museum exhibits, contributions to radio and film documentaries, and large-scale oral history projects with the Library of Congress and others. He is currently writing a book about the African American experience during the Korean War.

Dr. Eric Hodges recently completed his PhD in government and international Affairs. Eric is also a veteran, serving in the U.S. Marine Corps from 19982002.  His dissertation research focused on how military training might contribute to community engagement. Eric recently presented some of his findings at the 2013 TEDxVirginiaTech event, held at the VT Center for the Arts, in a talk titled “The Moral Injury of War.”

Barbara Weimerskirch is the associate director of the Student Success Center at Virginia Tech. Barb serves on the university’s Veterans Support Initiative team and provides transition and academic support services for veteran and military students at Virginia Tech. Barb also works closely with Veterans@VT, the student veterans’ organization at Virginia Tech. Barbara received her undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Virginia, a masters in health administration from the Medical College of Virginia at Virginia Commonwealth University, and a masters in counselor education from Radford University. Barb has deep family ties with the Navy and is a Navy brat, spouse, and parent.

Heidi Nobles is a writer and editor. She is also a research assistant with the Center for the Study of Rhetoric in Society and a long-time military brat. She earned her MA in English literature from Baylor University and her MFA in Writing (Nonfiction) from the University of South Carolina; she is currently a doctoral student in rhetoric and writing at Virginia Tech. Her first book, Hidden Histories: Stories Military Brats Lived When No One Was Watching, is due out in Fall 2015.

Daniel Pierce-Parra is a Marine Corp Veteran and current student at Virginia Tech. He is the Vice-President of Veterans@VT, Virginia Tech’s Student Veterans of America chapter. He currently works in the Office of Veterans Services on campus and is preparing to go to Officer Candidate School for the Marine Corps this summer.