Virginia Commonwealth University

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Faculty & Staff

Garret Westlake, Executive Director


Garret Westlake will be joining the daVinci Center team on July 1, 2016. His bio will be available shortly.


David Holland, Program Director for Venture Creation

da Vinci photo

David Holland’s career spanned global strategy consulting, foundation management, and fund development in the U.S. and U.K. before he transitioned to academia. At the da Vinci Center, he oversees academic and co-curricular activities in the new Certificate in Venture Creation program and collaborates with colleagues across the university to encourage an entrepreneurial culture amongst VCU students. Holland was previously Director of Grant Coordination and Entrepreneurship with the VCU School of the Arts Dean’s Office. Formerly, he developed and evaluated innovation and entrepreneurship programs internationally while a Senior Consultant with BOP Consulting, Commercial Consultant with Arts & Business, Strategy and Development Consultant with B3 Media, and Innovation Programmes Learning Manager with the innovation think-tank Nesta (formerly the National Endowment for Science, Technology, and the Arts). He continues to consult independently for clients including the Inter-American Development Bank and Salzburg Global Seminar. His research has been published in the Routledge International Handbook of Creative Learning and other writings by a range of national and international organizations. Holland is a Salzburg Global Fellow, an Evan Carroll Commager Fellow, and a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of the Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce. He holds a BA in Economics and Asian Languages and Civilizations with a Certificate in International Relations from Amherst College, and MA degrees in International Studies and Diplomacy (Economics) and the History of Art from the University of London, SOAS.


Allison Schumacher, Program Director for Product Innovation


With a passion for student success and cross-disciplinary education, Allison Schumacher joined Virginia Commonwealth University’s da Vinci Center as Program Director for Product Innovation in April 2015. Ms. Schumacher’s experience with the da Vinci Center began back in January 2010 by serving as a faculty mentor for the Center’s Product Innovation culmination course: INNO 460: da Vinci Project. She has since worked with seven cross-disciplinary student teams with various sponsors including, Pfizer, MWV, State of Virginia Agency for Aging, Science Museum of Virginia and the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce. Before joining the da Vinci Center full time, Allison was an active member of the VCU School of the Arts serving as a full time faculty member and undergraduate advisor in the Department of Graphic Design. During this time, Ms. Schumacher implemented several new advising methods to show students the paths available beyond their major. Within two years of advising all 175 graphic design students, the number of students to enroll in minors, certificate programs, study abroad, etc. grew by 327%. Allison is also a practicing freelance graphic designer with a client base focused in the Southeast U.S. Her academic research centers on cultural and memory studies with considerations for authenticity in the design. In teaching, she emphasizes the importance of research, experimentation, efficiency, and attention to craft. Ms. Schumacher holds a MFA in Visual Communication from VCU and double-major BFA in Graphic Design and Printmaking from Appalachian State University.

In her spare time, Allison enjoys gardening, book making, cooking, camping, and travel.


Somiah Lattimore, Director, VCU Innovate

Somiah Lattimore joins Virginia Commonwealth University as Director of VCU Innovate Living Learning Program (Innovate LLP). Before VCU, Somiah served as a creative consultant and student mentor for Apex Systems Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Virginia Tech. Previous professional positions include Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at Salisbury University, Director of FourDesign and Assistant Professor of Graphic Design for the School of Visual Arts at Virginia Tech, and Creative Director for Carolina Media Publishing.

Somiah is the Founder and Creative Director for Straight Up Creative, a collaborative design house and Co-Founder for Ignatius All-Natural, a skin care line featured in Whole Foods, as well as consultant for several gaming, academic advising, tourism, and commerce driven start-ups. Lattimore is an award-winning designer and creative director that has worked with clients such as NASCAR, Roush Racing, Commemorative Brands/Balfour, H. M. Terry Co. Inc., and Chatham Vineyards.

She holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Art with an emphasis in Graphic Design from Radford University and an M. A. in Instructional Design and Technology from Virginia Tech.

Amy Shankle, Program Coordinator


Amy Shankle is a Virginia Commonwealth University alumna and has worked in a variety of capacities for the university. Beginning her career, she started out collecting data for the Survey and Evaluation Research Laboratory. She then accepted a position with Records and Registration, working to assist students in graduating from the university among other responsibilities within Records. Upon leaving that position, she is now doing various administrative duties for the da Vinci Center to maintain the programs and assist students, staff, and faculty.

In her spare time, Amy enjoys helping others to train their dogs and going on adventures with her own two special pups.


Allison Stevens, Student Services Coordinator

Allison comes to the da Vinci Center from the Buckeye state.She is an alumna from The Ohio State University, with a BA in Speech and Hearing Pathology. Allison is currently in school full time working on an Associates in Applied Science in ASL-English Interpretation and is hoping to begin a career as an American Sign Language Interpreter. Allison supports both the Director of Product Innovation as well as the Director of Venture Creation in program efforts and is the first line contact for hopeful students seeking to learn more information about the certificate programs.