When Peter Velz took a poetry class, he never dreamed it would inspire him to become both a skilled editor and a running enthusiast. Nor did he know how important the confidence he gained would help him along a career path that took him through the Obama administration to an assistant vice chancellorship.
The current COVID-19 pandemic has changed how every VTCSOM alum does their job, in big and small ways. This first story of a three-part series explores perspectives of how the pandemic is affecting alumni in Washington, Oregon, and California.
The PanJammers, an award-winning steel drum orchestra based in Blacksburg and featuring many faculty, staff, and alumni of Virginia Tech, has recorded a virtual version of the traditional graduation song for the Class of 2020.
On the second story above Joe’s Diner in downtown Blacksburg, the XYZ Art Gallery serves as a bridge between Virginia Tech and the surrounding area. As an entirely student-run venue, XYZ has been showcasing art, music, architecture, and design by and for the community for more than 25 years.
Virginia Tech’s first-generation initiative began in 2017, when first-generation students at Virginia Tech formed 1G@VT. First-Generation Student Support officially launched within the Dean of Students Office in August 2019.
Since 2016, creative technologies students have participated in the New Orleans Film Festival thanks to assistant professor Rahcel Lin Weaver's partnership as the program director of Cinema Reset. In 2019, a group of students also had an opportunity to debut one of their films in a world premiere.
Virginia Tech will celebrate the Class of 2020 during online commencement exercises Friday, May 15, at 6:30 p.m. ET. The first-of-its-kind event will feature inspirational messages from notable Hokies, including Miss America 2020 Camille Schrier, legendary defensive coordinator Bud Foster, and world-renowned poet and University Distinguished Professor Nikki Giovanni.
Jessica Schultz is the founder of an eclectic baking and crafts business called Find A Way, Bake, and Crochet, which she opened while she was in college. Her next commercial venture was the highly successful Blacksburg Bagels, which she opened in 2013 and sold earlier this year. Now, Schultz is expressing her gifts while helping to build a vibrant community in the New River Valley.
The inaugural Mitzi L. Frank Memorial Scholarship has been awarded to Jesse Janoski, a first-year graduate student in the Department of Biological Sciences, who is researching cancer and circadian rhythms.
Fenn, who graduates this December from the master's of public administration program in Arlington, says her studies have helped her see how biological data becomes vulnerable currency in the struggle for public safety.
“Our mission is a do-or-die situation,” Capt. Aaron Barragan says of his career as an Army medevac pilot. “When you are able to take part in bringing home a father, mother, son, or daughter, nothing in the world replaces that feeling."
Sammie Dailly was randomly selected for the on-field experience when she made her Senior Class Gift during a special promotion asking students to support what they love and appreciate about Virginia Tech.