Virginia Tech has named Amrita Raja, of Salem, Va., as the Outstanding Graduating Senior in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies for the 2008-09 academic year.

Raja, a double major in interior design and French, is expected to graduate in May of this year, receiving an honors baccalaureate diploma. She has not only excelled academically, but has contributed her time to a variety of extracurricular and leadership activities.

“Amrita is without question the best student I have encountered during my 17-year career,” says Greg Tew, interior design program chair.

Raja is a member of the service organization, Interior Designers for Education and Sustainability (IDEAS), in which she served as the groups president for the 2007-08 academic year and as their Webmaster for the 2005-06 academic year. As president of the organization, she helped the group adopt new service projects, including Y-Toss, The Big Event, and an annual Cancer Walk fundraiser. Additionally, she is a member of Cercle Francophone, a club for French students, where she held the vice president position for the 2006-07 academic year.

The awards and honors that Raja has received during her time at Virginia Tech are numerous. She received first place for designing the headquarters for Whole Foods Market in the 2008 KSA Corporate Design Competition. Raja is also a member of Phi Beta Kappa national honor society. Her scholarships include the Robert Turner Fontainebleau Scholarship, the Alumni Presidential Scholarship, and the Class of 1954 Scholarship Finalist.

Raja has contributed her talent as a freelance graphic designer to small businesses in Southwest Virginia, as well as worked as a freelance writer and illustrator for The Roanoke Times, where she covered film-related events and designed art for stories. Her writing has also been featured in The Washington Post, where she worked as a guest writer.

The Outstanding Senior Awards are presented at the Student Honors Day Banquet each spring. These awards are co-sponsored by the Virginia Tech Alumni Association and the senior class.

The purpose of the award is to recognize outstanding student performance in each college of the university. Students are selected on the basis of their grade point average (3.4 or higher on a 4.0 scale) and outstanding performance in several or all of the following areas: academic achievement, extracurricular activities, leadership positions, and contributions of service to the university and/or community.

Virginia Tech’s College of Architecture and Urban Studies is composed of four schools: the School of Architecture + Design, including architecture, industrial design, interior design and landscape architecture; the School of Public and International Affairs, including urban affairs and planning, public administration and policy and government and international affairs; the Myers-Lawson School of Construction, which includes building construction in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies and construction engineering management in the College of Engineering; and the School of the Visual Arts, including programs in studio art, visual communication and art history.



Written by Megan Grubb. Grubb, of Wytheville, Va., is a senior majoring in communication in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.