Dr. Elda Stanco Downey, PhD

Executive Director | Virginia Latino Higher Education Network


Dr. Elda Stanco Downey, PhD, is the Executive Director of the Virginia Latino Higher Education Network (VALHEN), the only volunteer-driven, 501(c)(3) statewide organization in the Commonwealth of Virginia that supports, promotes, and advocates for Latinx success and advancement in higher education. VALHEN hosts the Hispanic College Institute (HCI), a Latinx college access program recognized as a Bright Spot in Education by the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics under the Obama Administration.

Dr. Stanco Downey is on the Faculty of the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and has previously been on the Faculty at Roanoke College, Hollins University and Brown University. She has been a Visiting Scholar at the Universidad de Salamanca and Harvard University .

Dr. Stanco Downey serves on various Boards of Directors, including the Roanoke Chamber of Commerce and the United Way of Roanoke Valley. She was appointed by Governor Terry McAuliffe to the Board of Trustees of the Roanoke Higher Education Authority, and by Governor Ralph Northam to the Virginia Complete Count Commission for the 2020 Census. Dr. Stanco Downey is passionate about languages and communication, and is the Founder/CEO of Roanoke Spanish, a cultural intelligence services firm. She earned an Honors Bachelors degree in Psychology and in Romance Languages Literatures at The University of Chicago , and holds an M.A. and a PhD in Hispanic Studies from Brown University.