BLACKSBURG — Virginia Tech junior Caroline Amodeo recently completed a research project influenced by both her majors, Spanish and music. She studied the way Flamenco artists sing, and composed and performed a piece for the trumpet in keeping with that musical tradition.

She’s also been researching musical terminology and Latin American culture to prepare for an upcoming study-abroad trip. Amodeo credits Virginia Tech’s honors program with making such experiences a reality, and she is grateful for the generosity of David and Barbara Calhoun, which made it possible for her to come to the university.

A native of Blacksburg, Amodeo is one of 16 students benefiting this year from scholarships endowed by the Calhouns within University Honors. Calhoun scholarships range from $1,000 to full tuition, fees, and room and board, and are targeted to first-generation college students, members of underrepresented groups, or students who are majoring in the liberal arts or humanities.

Amodeo, whose achievements recently earned her an Aspire! Award, said her Calhoun scholarship “made it possible for me to come to Virginia Tech.”

She said the scholarship also has helped her personalize her education with rich experiences, such as her recent research project and planned trip abroad.

“I really believe in having a tailored education,” Amodeo said. “You get out of your education what you put in, and the Calhoun scholarship has really enabled me to do that. I feel like it’s setting me up for success in the future by giving me opportunities now to independently investigate what I’m interested in.”

Christina McIntyre, interim director of University Honors, said the scholarships are a powerful recruiting tool for the university and allow students to come to Virginia Tech without finances becoming an issue.

Amodeo and her fellow Calhoun scholars recently met with David and Barbara Calhoun. It was the first time Amodeo had met the couple that has played such an important role in her education.

She said that, at first, the meeting was intimidating, as she learned about the impressive projects of other Calhoun scholars. Nonetheless, she said she enjoyed the experience, and was struck by something the Calhouns said.  

“They challenged us to have bigger aspirations with societal and global impacts, instead of just focusing on a degree,” Amodeo recalled. “It’s made me think a lot about what kind of difference I can make.”

Written by Annie McCallum