Highlanders in the News: Week of April 22, 2024

Every other week, our Highlanders are using their education to do extraordinary things. Here, we’ll highlight some notable mentions from local, regional, national and international news media. Whether our students, alumni, faculty and staff are featured as subject matter experts in high-profile stories or simply helping make the world a better place, we’ll feature their stories.

Visible impact

Even while she’s currently enrolled in Radford’s Teacher Education and Leadership graduate program, Genevieve Weaver has already made broad strides in her field – earlier this month, she was named Region 5 Virginia Teacher of the Year by the Virginia Department of Education. 

Genevieve Weaver (Justin Faulconer/News & Advance)

Weaver is in the process of earning her master’s degree in special education with a concentration in visual impairment, but for the past four years, she’s worked as an adapted special education teacher at Jefferson Forest High School in Bedford County.

Her recognition was presented during an event at the school’s library on April 17, according to an article in The (Lynchburg) News and Advance.

“In this field, with adapted special education, you see progress really slowly, but the impact is clearly visible in how you’re developing relationships,” Weaver told the paper. “I really treasure opportunities to build relationships with [students] and get to know them and elevate their voice in any way I can.”

The story said Weaver has created craveABLES, an inclusive, nonprofit ice cream trailer and storefront aimed at providing employment and other opportunities to those with intellectual disabilities. She’s also a member of Global Autism Project SkillCorps and works as a court-appointed special advocate for children in foster care.

She and seven other Regional Teachers of the Year are now nominees for the 2025 Mary V. Bicouvaris Virginia Teacher of the Year Award, which will be presented later this spring.

Weaver’s award was also covered by the Smith Mountain Eagle.

In “media” res

Just five years after he earned his bachelor’s degree in art with a minor in political science, a Radford graduate has landed at what he said is his dream job. 

Geoffrey Preudhomme ’19 (right) was sworn in as a press assistant at the U.S. Department of Agriculture on March 25. (U.S. Department of Agriculture)

Geoffrey Preudhomme ’19 was sworn in as a press assistant at the U.S. Department of Agriculture on March 25 and has been tasked with composing news releases and social media for the organization, among other roles.

“It has been a huge goal of mine to assist this administration in any way that I can,” Preudhomme told the Williamsburg Yorktown Daily in a story that ran April 12. “I’m behind the scenes and helping to boost good, nonpartisan efforts to help everybody in this country.”

Preudhomme’s bio boasts a number of political-centric positions – including working as a field organizer for Sen. Mark Warner and Radford Mayor David Horton ’90 and serving as a legislative assistant to Del. Sam Rasoul (VA-11) – but he told the newspaper he’s right at home in his current post.

“My biggest goal politically has just been to simply be a presidential appointee for this administration and be part of the executive branch,” he explained. “I have no desire for higher office or to run for office or to be a lawmaker in any way. I’m happy most where I am.”

Preudhomme’s work was also the subject of an April 8 profile in the Radford News Journal

Center stage

Lighting designer Rebecca Montero ’05 is among the half-dozen stage professionals cited in a recent group of “people to watch” profiles. 

HITN_4.22.24_Rebecca Montero
Rebecca Montero (Daniel Swerdlow/American Theatre)

The article, “Six Theatre Workers You Should Know” ran March 28 on www.americantheatre.org.

Montero, originally from Salem, Virginia, now lives and works in Miramar, Florida, where she’s the production manager for NSU University School as well as the resident lighting designer at Zoetic Stage, a performance hall at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County.

Montero’s profile cites her recent lighting of Zoetic’s production of “Cabaret” and her designing of the upcoming one-woman comedy, “Cuban Chicken Soup When There’s No More Café,” which opens next week at the Arsht Center’s Carnival Studio Theater.

“It was while pursuing a theatre degree at Radford University in Virginia that professors David Wheeler and Carl Lefko steered her toward lighting design,” the profile said, “but she received ‘a well-rounded education’ that included working in the scene shop, acting onstage, directing in the school’s black box theatre and working as a lead electrician.

“She described her work as striving to ‘enhance the performance and bring it to life without the audience being aware of the technical aspects of the production.’”

According to its website, American Theatre is the nation’s only general-circulation magazine devoted to theatre.

“Wade” into a two-night engagement


Barely 10 months ago, we told you about Morgan Wade’s impressive summer plans.

A 2017 graduate of Jefferson College of Health Sciences (now Radford University Carilion) with a B.A. in health sciences, Floyd County native Wade (now a country music sensation) was preparing to drop her third album, “Psychopath,” and to play at such music fests as Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza.

But that was summer, and this is spring, and Wade will soon be circling back closer to home.

She’s set to perform solo acoustic sets across two nights, on May 15 and 16, at The Harvester Performance Center in Rocky Mount, Virginia.

Tickets went on sale Wednesday, but Wade’s fans should bear in mind that she played a pair of Harvester shows this time last May, and both quickly sold out.


Apr 26, 2024
Neil Harvey