Aspire! Award Profiles
The Aspire! Awards recognize students, faculty, and staff who exemplify Student Affairs' Aspirations for Student Learning. Five students, one representing each Aspiration, and one faculty/staff member representing the featured Aspiration will be honored at each breakfast in the months of October, December, February, March, and May. Nominations are now accepted for the 2019-2020 Aspire! Awards.
Time: 8 - 10 a.m.
Location: Owens Banquet Room
October 11, 2019 – Curiosity
December 6, 2019 – Self-Understanding and Integrity
February 21, 2020 – Civility
March 27, 2020 – Courageous Leadership
May 1, 2020 – Ut Prosim
*Registration is required to attend Breakfasts.
The Aspire! Awards were established by the Student Affairs in 2011 as a way to recognize and celebrate the Virginia Tech students who embody the Aspirations for Student Learning.
Five times a year, five students who live the Aspirations for Student Learning are honored as recipients of Aspire! Awards. The Aspire! Awards are open to students of all majors and levels of study.
In 2013, the Aspire! Awards were expanded to include university employees who live and teach the Aspirations in their work. At each of the five Aspire! Awards celebrations throughout the academic year, one employee who has made outstanding contributions to student learning is recognized.
In 2015, the Aspire! Awards were further broadened to include the Alumni Ut Prosim Aspire! Award. Presented once each year in April, the Alumni Ut Prosim Aspire! Award goes to a Virginia Tech alumnus who represents our hopes for all students – that they live lives of curiosity, integrity, innovation, leadership, success, fulfillment, and that they continue to embody the university’s motto, Ut Prosim, as a way of life.
Aspire! Awards recipients are honored at breakfast gatherings in the months of October, November, February, March, and April. During the awards presentation, each recipient’s story is told and later featured online. The Aspire! Awards breakfasts have become an inspirational and integral part of the Student Affairs’ culture, with university, community, and family guests frequently participating in the recognition event.
Aspire! Award nominations can be made by anyone who believes an individual merits recognition for living the Aspirations for Student Learning in their daily lives. Nominations are submitted through an online form at the Aspirations website, and should include an essay of up to 750 words focusing on why the nominee fits the spirit of a specific Aspiration. Once a nomination is received, the Student Affairs’ five Aspirations committees review each submission and choose the individuals they believe best represent the essence of the Aspirations. Over the years, hundreds of nominations have been received and, as of summer 2017, 174 Aspire! Awards have been presented.
The Student Affairs’ Aspirations for Student Learning represent the pinnacle of Virginia Tech’s aspirations for and expectations of students. They are:
- Commit to unwavering CURIOSITY
- Pursue SELF-UNDERSTANDING and INTEGRITY
- Practice CIVILITY
- Prepare for a life of COURAGEOUS LEADERSHIP
- Embrace UT PROSIM as a way of life.
The Aspirations for Student Learning were developed and adopted to:
- Complement and complete students’ academic and professional education
- Challenge students to develop habits of interpersonal awareness, intentional actions, and self-reflection
- Connect knowledge to the possibilities for improving humanity near and far
- Guide them in creating a positive legacy now and in the future.
In discussing how and why the Aspirations for Student Learning were developed, Frank Shushok, senior associate vice president for Student Affairs, points to a passage in the Student Affairs mission statement, specifically, the desire to “… promote student learning, life skills, and personal growth through a strong focus on holistic student development.”
“To accomplish such a worthy goal,” Shushok said, “we had to have clarity about what we wanted for our students. The Aspirations are the result of our earnest efforts to discern what we aspired to for students and their education. It’s why the process of writing them took a year full of conversation, multiple drafts, and collective insight. By the time we ended the process, we had clarity of purpose for what we wanted to do together for our students.”
Shushok continued, “In a time when college is often associated with jobs and careers, we wanted also to accentuate the importance of character development in students. Technical skills without character and virtue, we believe, are hollow pursuits. The Aspirations are indicative of Virginia Tech’s desire for developing technical expertise in students, as well as nurturing in them a care for humanity, justice, and improving world conditions for all, in the spirit of Ut Prosim.
“We want our students to find a career, but we also want them to find a life full of meaning and purpose. That’s the biggest gift an education can provide,” Shushok said.
Dec 07, 2018
When curiosity leads to opportunity
Paolo Fermin is a member of the Honors Residential Commons in East Ambler Johnston where he serves on the HRC Council historian committee. He’s an actor in a student-led production, perfecting the art of faking death on stage. He’s also a research volunteer at the Hume Center, contributing to the study of artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Nov 20, 2018
Samantha Riggin wants to know more. More about the people she meets, more about the artifacts she encounters in her work, more about the stories that make up our history. She has what she calls “an unending desire to delve into a subject” and loves world history, cultural history, and—we especially love this one—Hokie history.
Nov 13, 2018
Jieun Chon, of JeonJu, South Korea, graduated from Virginia Tech in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in computer science and will earn her master’s degree in the same field from the College of Engineering next May. She maintains a 4.0 GPA while serving as a teaching assistant, research assistant, GitHub coordinator, founder of Korean Computer Scientists, and president of the Korean Graduate Basketball Club.
Nov 06, 2018
How one Hokie’s passion demonstrates Ut Prosim
During the second semester of his first year, Nick Kaloudis found his place at Virginia Tech. He said, “For about a week, every time I entered my residence hall I saw a flyer to join VT Engage as a student leader. After about the tenth time seeing it, I decided to apply.”
Oct 30, 2018
JT Addair shows courageous leadership by advocating for first-generation students
It takes courage to have difficult conversations with those you admire. Conversations can be especially hard when they are about a place you love with people in positions of power.
Oct 22, 2018
Campus involvement helps this Hokie practice Civility
Sebastian Andrade is passionate about people. His family. His friends. The constituents of the organizations he’s part of. It’s no wonder his top strength is Woo! This passion and strength is evident in the way he engages the Virginia Tech community.
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