The Office of Student Programs at Virginia Tech has selected Nicole Benincasa, a junior from Goode, Va., to receive the 16th annual A. Alan Baird Award. Benincasa, a senior public and urban affairs major in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, 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.

“Alan 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 the Division of Student Affairs. The A. Alan Baird 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.

Other nominees this year are:

  • Zack Biskaduros of Chantilly, Va., a freshman general engineering major in the College of Engineering;
  • Rebecca Layman of Leesburg, Va., a senior political science major in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences;
  • Katherine Haimann of Blacksburg, Va., a senior civil engineering major in the College of Engineering;
  • Allison Wentz of Charlotte, N.C., a senior industrial and systems engineering major in the College of Engineering;
  • Taris Mullins of Manassas, Va., a senior English major in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences;
  • John Kollar of Manassas, Va., a sophomore electrical engineering major in the College of Engineering.


This year’s award recipient, Nicole Benincasa, demonstrates outstanding leadership and a dedication to the betterment of the local community with her involvement as resident advisor for New Residence Hall East and Peddrew-Yates, president of the urban affairs and planning student association, assistant student manager at Deet’s Place, environmental chair of the young democrats, member of Gamma Beta Phi honor service society, member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and an honors student at Virginia Tech with a 3.81 grade point average (on a 4.0 scale).

“This is a woman who is sure to leave a legacy of positive change,” said Don Harvey, unit manager of Deet’s Place. “She takes the slogan ‘think globally, act locally,’ to heart and will carry our motto Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) on with her to the benefit of whatever community she may find herself in.”

Spencer presented Benincasa 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.