Economic Development Specialist
Phone: (540) 231-9940
Sarah Lyon-Hill became an economic development specialist in the office in 2014. As a graduate student in the OED, her work ranged from researching how to most effectively gauge and articulate economic impact of a university system (ongoing); to assisting in an examination of economic and community development opportunities resulting from the creation of a Community Kitchen in the City of Roanoke (2012); to facilitating a community meeting in the Town of Tazewell to develop a community-driven vision for economic development (2013); to leading a team of faculty in a feasibility study for a possible viticulture and ecology center in Loudoun County (2014).
Now as a full-time specialist, her role is to link university expertise and resources with the commonwealth’s communities and industries. Lyon-Hill can provide support and insight into projects requiring feasibility studies, economic impact analyses, market analyses as well as broader content specific program coordination in which the client, OED and Virginia Tech faculty work closely to design and development a project to meet the needs of the clients and involved community stakeholders.
Lyon-Hill’s background lies in international and community development, where she studied and engaged in collaborative governance and non-profit activities. As a Peace Corps volunteer in Niger, she worked with individuals and organizations to coordinate community projects such as a women’s micro financing project. Her experience culminated in a master thesis which explored how education policy is adapted at the local level and ways in which local entities may better collaborate both locally and regionally to improve education within their communities. Now as a third year PhD student in Virginia Tech’s School of Public and International Affairs, Sarah pursues her interest in community development by studying methods of encouraging greater community collaborate, connectivity and bottom-up reform through the theatre arts.