Gina B. Polychronopoulos, Ph.D.
36, Assistant Director of Assessment at Christopher Newport University, Newport News
Business community involvement:
Virginia Assessment Group Executive Board, Chi Sigma Iota Counseling Honor Society Member and Chapter Past President, National Board for Certified Counselors Member, Association for the Assessment of Learning in Higher Education Member
Virginia Symphony Orchestra Chorus, Saints Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church (Hellenic Youth Dancers, Annual Greek Festival, Choir), Virginia Arts Festival, Election Officer (York County and Norfolk)
Something that makes you stand out in your industry?
Aside from my rather long surname, I would say that what makes me unique in my industry is my background in counseling. In the assessment profession, we come from so many different disciplines, bringing our individual strengths to the table. I think my strengths are my ability to relate to others, to see the value in their perspectives and to work together in finding and achieving common goals. I believe that building positive, collaborative relationships with my colleagues is one of the most important aspects of engaging in meaningful assessment.
Someone who keeps you motivated?
My husband, Yiannis, and our son, Alexander, are my biggest supporters and greatest motivation to succeed. I want to make them proud in everything I do!
Tell us about a recent accomplishment that you’re proud of.
Earning my Ph.D. was a very proud moment for me. Our son was born during my third year of the program, and it was hard not to give up. I didn’t want to sacrifice more time away from my family, as I was already working full time while completing my dissertation. But through their endless support and love, my husband and son watched me walk (actually, dance) across that stage!
What’s a challenge you’ve had to overcome to find success?
Learning how to say “no” was a big challenge. I get really excited at new projects and research ideas, and sometimes I would take on too much at once. Figuring out how to balance my commitments helped me to focus my time and energy onto fewer projects that were the most meaningful to me. In the long run, it made me more successful.
Most important aspect you look for in a workplace?
For me, it comes down to having positive relationships with my colleagues. These are the people you spend most of your time with! Having a team of workmates who respect and support each other makes me look forward to going to work each day, and it inspires me to perform better.
What would you be doing if you weren’t in your current position?
If I were to choose something different from my current career, I would own and operate a food truck that serves Greek coffee and baked goods.
What new idea or development are you most excited about in Coastal Virginia right now?
I’m most excited about the success of the Something in the Water festival. What a proud moment for Virginia Beach and Pharrell Williams, our community’s humble champion of inclusivity and positivity. Everyone came together; it was inspiring to hear their experiences, and I feel hopeful about the future of this event to celebrate diversity and welcome all people to our hometown.
What do you think is Coastal Virginia’s biggest challenge?
Bringing the cities together and working toward common goals as a cohesive community. We can do so much more together!
Favorite place in Coastal Virginia to go on the weekends?
Without question, Norfolk is the place to go! There is always something fun to experience, whether it’s an arts or cultural festival, local performers, superb restaurants and breweries, the zoo and botanical garden or shopping at the local boutiques. My son especially loves Downtown Norfolk, so that’s where you’ll usually find us!
From her nomination:
“Gina always goes out of her way to help others and is a wonderful listener, which makes people seek out her advice and guidance, both professionally and personally. Her dedication to her family, her work and her community is admirable, and she always goes above and beyond to help people in all aspects of her life.”
—Halldora Webster, colleague and friend