Introducing the School of Dentistry alumni engagement officer

Joy Gilchrist

Joy Gilchrist

VCU Alumni expanded its team this past fall with the addition of a new role: the alumni engagement officer. With six AEOs onboard, they’re now busy planning and executing dynamic programming for VCU’s colleges and schools, all geared toward boosting alumni involvement and support. 

Joy Gilchrist, alumni engagement officer for the School of Dentistry, gives us a glimpse into who she is beyond her CV.

What’s your hidden talent?

I am an avid baker and enjoy sharing and trying new recipes. I really enjoy making homemade cinnamon rolls.

What would you do if you weren’t an alumni engagement officer? 

I imagine working for a smaller nonprofit in community engagement or development work. My career started at the local nonprofit level and I am grateful for the professional and personal development it afforded me. 

What’s the most important item on your bucket list (if you have a bucket list)?

I want to travel to as many places around the world as possible. Annually, I try to plan a trip with friends, family, etc., to reach this goal. My goal for next year is to plan a three-week tour through Europe.

What was your favorite subject in school?

History. I’ve also loved learning about why and how history came to be and how we can grow and be better from it. 

What’s your favorite way to unwind? 

I love listening to music of all types! I believe there is a song or album that encapsulates most moments in life. Every Sunday morning, I light a candle, play a new album, and prepare myself for the week ahead. (I highly recommend “Volcano” by Jungle!)

What’s your favorite local restaurant/food truck/brewery? 

Liberty Public House. I love supporting local businesses, and I'm always open to new suggestions.

What is your top priority for engaging alumni?

I want to increase their sense of belonging and create lifelong learning and networking spaces. Alumni are an invaluable resource to our students, and their engagement is critical to the success of any institution. I look forward to building relationships with all our dentistry alumni!

Do you have a city or spot Joy should add to her list of trips to take? Or do you want to learn more about how you can connect with the School of Dentistry? Email her at