Cecily Rodriguez
Cecily RodriguezManager of Applied Research

Cecily 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 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.

Andrew Sharp, Ph.D.
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.

Hilal Yalcin
Hilal YalcinResearch and Administrative Coordinator

Hilal Yalcin was appointed as a Research and Administrative Coordinator for SPIA on the Richmond campus. The role focuses on event and administrative coordination protocols related to different programs provided by SPIA. She holds a B.Sc. in Psychology from George Mason University (GMU) and has a passion for mental health awareness and organizational psychology.

During her studies at George Mason University, Hilal assisted in research at The Center for Advancing Correctional Excellence (ACE!), a graduate research lab. During her time at ACE!, she assisted Graduate students with many research studies and reports such as the JDRDC Organizational Trauma Assessment Report.

After graduating from GMU, Hilal started her journey working in customer service for CFA Institute, a financial certification institute. Hilal then progressed to the position of a Consumer Research Team Lead at a pharmaceutical research company, Celerion. She is now happy to share her diverse background in education and research with SPIA.