Perhaps the greatest legacy of an alumnus, said Kevin Lane, a principal at Deloitte who received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting, is in the other Hokies they inspire and whose lives they touch or make a difference, not just in building successful careers but in developing a deeper and richer relationship with Virginia Tech.
Brittany Steffens knows some people might not see the immediate connection between her work with the Office of Academic Integrity and her future career as a physician, but her experiences have been foundational for her future.
Kozak earned his bachelor’s degree in engineering physics and a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh. His research interests revolve around making systems smaller and more efficient.
Forouzesh, a doctoral candidate in the computer science department in the College of Engineering, will join the faculty at California State University, Los Angeles as a tenure-track assistant professor of computer science.
A doctor of veterinary medicine candidate in the dual D.V.M/Master of Public Health program, April Gardner is this year’s recipient of the veterinary college’s Outstanding Graduating Student Award. She completed her M.P.H. in December 2019.
Although animal and poultry sciences and theatre may seem like worlds apart, this enterprising senior has blended her skillsets to help other students in scientific disciplines be better communicators.
Rasheed’s academic talents earned him eight Letters of Distinction awarded to top-performing students in various disciplines. In addition, he was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society, an exclusive recognition reserved for only 15 percent of a medical school class.
Luo credits his roles at Virginia Tech as a resident advisor and an officer in a student organization for helping to prepare him for the work world by giving him lots of opportunities to develop and hone his leadership skills.
Five years ago, Haacke suffered a traumatic head injury. Now, she is graduating from the Virginia Tech School of Neuroscience as the winner of a Fulbright Scholarship and with the honor of being named the 2020 Virginia Tech Undergraduate of the Year.
Education wasn’t emphasized for her growing up and college was not something that was discussed in childhood. In middle school, Ashley Yanego took an agricultural education class that, undoubtedly, changed her life – not only because of the topic but also because of her teacher.
Astrid Meenan has advice for new Virginia Tech students: “Keep an open mind to opportunities. Don’t automatically think it’s not for you or that just ‘other people do that.' Virginia Tech opened so many opportunities for me.”
As a sustainable biomaterials major, Daniel Grizzard has been able to merge his passion for helping others with a field of study that strives to develop solutions that will lessen environmental impacts.
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.
Virginia Tech President Tim Sands acknowledged the mixed emotions he has heard from graduating seniors as the spring semester has been upended — but knowing that graduates and families needed time to plan for commencement activities, and knowing the fluidity of the ongoing pandemic and the responsive measures that the nation is taking, Sands and other university leaders set in motion a plan for a truly memorable celebration in September.