The Office of Student Programs at Virginia Tech has selected Manisha Patel, a junior from Danville, Va., to receive the 15th annual A. Alan Baird Award. Patel, a double major in economics in the College of Science and history in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, was selected for demonstrating outstanding leadership and dedication to the residence hall program and the Virginia Tech community.

The award was created in memory of A. Alan Baird, who was an active member of the campus community during his time at Virginia Tech. The award is presented annually to the student who has made the most outstanding contribution to the residence hall program during, or culminating in, the current academic year.

Patel has served as president of the Virginia Tech Residence Hall Federation since May 2005 and held executive positions as state board member and assistant director of affiliations for the Virginia Association of College and University Residence Halls, general assembly liaison for her residence hall council, and Residential Leadership Community coordinating community representative. She is also a member of Alpha Gamma Delta international women's fraternity and the National Residence Hall Honorary. According to one nomination, Patel makes an effort to know every RHF member by name.

Twenty-one outstanding students were nominated by their peers, faculty, and staff for the 2006–2007 academic year in addition to Patel:

  • Melissa Brown of Manassas, Va., a sophomore management major in the Pamplin College of Business;
  • Meagan Callihan of Virginia Beach, a senior biology major in the College of Science;
  • William Carver of Fredricksburg, Va., a senior aerospace engineering major in the College of Engineering;
  • Kaitlin Censky of Perkasie, Pa., a junior biological sciences major in the College of Science;
  • James Dickhans of Sewickley, Pa., a senior mechanical engineering major in the College of Engineering;
  • Brianne Hession of Fredricksburg, Va., a sophomore University Studies major in the University Academic Advising Center;
  • Peter Kauffmann of Glen Allen, Va., a junior civil engineering major in the College of Engineering;
  • Priyanka Malla of Centreville, Va., a junior industrial and systems engineering major in the College of Engineering;
  • Kristal Newer of Poquoson, Va., a senior human, nutrition, foods, and exercise major in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences;
  • Jessica Preskitt of Glen Allen, Va., a sophomore animal and poultry sciences major in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences;
  • Erin Rubin of Oak Hill, Va., a senior biochemistry major in the College of Science;
  • Andrew Sowell of Gloucester, Va., a junior agricultural and applied economics major in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences;
  • Eric Smith of Ararat, Va., a junior mechanical engineering major in the College of Engineering;
  • Holli Smith of Virginia Beach, Va., a sophomore biological sciences major in the College of Science;
  • Jeyfe Sucgang of Virginia Beach, a junior biology and psychology double major in the College of Science;
  • Jeananne Tiffany of Spotsylvania, Va., a senior psychology major in the College of Science;
  • Christopher Trotman of Chesapeake, Va., a junior electrical engineering major in the College of Engineering;
  • Leviticus Williams of Chester, Va., a sophomore University Studies major in the University Academic Advising Center;
  • Jonathan Zaremba of Poquoson, Va., a junior hospitality and tourism management major in the Pamplin College of Business;
  • Phillip Zellner of Newport News, Va., a graduate student studying electrical engineering in the College of Engineering.


"Alan Baird was an exceptional student leader with high energy, enthusiasm, gifted leadership skills, charisma, and a very caring attitude about his fellow students," said Edward Spencer, associate vice president for Student Affairs. Spencer presented Patel with a commemorative plaque in recognition of her achievement. In addition, she will receive a cash prize and her name will be inscribed on the Baird Award recipient plaque displayed in 109 East Eggleston Hall.