A student’s busy academic schedule and rigorous field of study are often what come to mind when thinking about a collegiate education.
But Virginia Tech students spend the vast majority of their time outside the classroom. The Division of Student Affairs created the Keystone Experience to capture what they learn during that time. The initiative helps students explore, practice, and live the Aspirations for Student Learning in a holistic sense, while reflecting on and understanding their strengths and goals in the context of service to others.
Fifteen students have been recognized as the inaugural cohort of Keystone Fellows, a group who embody the Aspirations for Student Learning in their classrooms, student organizations, residence halls, places of employment, and within their social groups. Keystone Fellows personify a commitment to learning — both inside and outside the classroom — and they are devoted to improving themselves to better the world around them.
“Our Keystone Fellows represent our Aspirations for Student Learning at their very best,” said Patricia A. Perillo, vice president for student affairs. “They are students who know, in their head and heart, what it means to be a Hokie—to be curious, to pursue self-understanding and integrity, to practice civility, to prepare to be a courageous leader, and to embrace Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) as a way of life. The potential in these students is extraordinary, and we in student affairs cannot wait to see the impact they’ll make on our university and beyond.”
The inaugural cohort is made up of one first-year student, three sophomores, two juniors, eight seniors, and a December 2015 graduate. Fellows are pursuing a wide range of majors, and they are involved in the full gamut of organizations, activities, and communities at Virginia Tech.
In the application process, the 2016 Keystone Fellows created digital stories, “This I Believe” statements, and an ePortfolio. A letter of recommendation was submitted for each applicant.
On Tuesday, April 19, the Keystone Fellows were inducted in a celebration with special guests from across the university, including President Tim Sands, Provost Thanassis Rikakis, and Vice President for Student Affairs Patty Perillo. Each Fellow selected a mentor to participate in the pinning ceremony, underscoring the impact of mentorship in the Fellows’ success.
- Patrick Acker of Midlothian, Virginia, a senior majoring in industrial and systems engineering in the College of Engineering, pinned by Mike Abbott, owner and managing editor of Cambrian Design and Development
- Samuel Aguilar-Chavez of Winchester, Virginia, a senior majoring in political science in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Science, pinned by Xavier Medina, former assistant professor of political science
- Nivedha Balan of Basking Ridge, New Jersey, a first-year university studies major, pinned by Catherine Cotrupi, assistant director for student engagement with VT Engage
- Kelly Berry of Rhoadesville, Virginia, a December ’15 agricultural sciences graduate in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, pinned by Bret Gresham, director and campus minister of the Wesley Foundation at Virginia Tech
- Kevin Carney of Gloucester, Virginia, a senior majoring in food science and technology and biological systems engineering in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Engineering, pinned by Joseph Welsh, Residential Learning Coordinator
- Veronica Demarest of Haymarket, Virginia, a junior majoring in human nutrition, food, and exercise in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, pinned by Melissa McLevain, Residential Learning Coordinator
- Ryan Hopkins of Martinsville, Virginia, a senior majoring in psychology in the College of Science, pinned by Dakota Farquhar-Caddell, assistant director of New Student and Family Programs
- Claire Kelling of Morrow Ohio, a senior receiving a dual degree in statistics and economics in the College of Science, pinned by Susan Anderson, senior instructor in mathematics and faculty advisor for Womanspace+
- Meghan McLoughlin of Poolesville, Maryland, a sophomore majoring in applied economic management in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, pinned by Heather Evans, director of the Leadership Education Collaborative
- Maddie Mitcham of Virginia Beach, Virginia, a sophomore majoring in international studies and geography in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and the College of Natural Resources and Environment, pinned by Tom Tillar, former vice president for alumni relations
- Ariana Mollers of Chantilly, Virginia, a senior majoring in public relations in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, pinned by Ryan Beck, graduate advisor for the Student Government Association
- Seyi Olusina of Beaverdam, Virginia, a sophomore majoring in human nutrition, food, and exercise in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, pinned by Jay Read, former student life coordinator in the Honors Residential College
- Tanushri Shankar of Rockville, Maryland, a senior majoring in public relations in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, pinned by Joseph Edens, assistant director for Student Government Advising
- Patricia Shorter of Gloucester, Virginia, a senior majoring in biological sciences in the College of Science, pinned by Kevin Carney, fellow student and inaugural Keystone Fellow
- Hannah Thomas of Troy, Illinois, a senior majoring in political science in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, pinned by Gina Tamburro, associate director of Student Engagement and Campus Life and faculty advisor for Virginia Tech Union
For additional information about each of the Keystone Fellows and to view their digital stories, visit the Keystone Fellows website.
Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.
Written by Holly Paulette.