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 will be honored at each celebration in the months of October, December, February, March, and April. Nominations are now being accepted for the 2021-2022 Aspire! Awards.
Aspire! Award Celebrations
Dates for the '22-'23 Aspire! Awards will be listed here as they become available.
The Aspire! Award Celebrations will be hosted in person at the Inn at Virginia Tech, unless announced otherwise.
The Aspire! Awards were established by 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, 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.
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.
General ItemMedina Etemadi
Motivated by her incredibly enthusiastic humanitarian spirit, whenever Medina Etemadi sees a need, she gets to work and inspires others to get involved.Date: Apr 15, 2022
General ItemMyriam Oliver
For Myriam Oliver, the university motto Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) is foremost in her thoughts, whether she is in class, conducting research, or at her job.Date: Apr 08, 2022
General ItemAria Hill
Consider these numbers: According to the National Council of Architectural Registration, there are more than 116,000 licensed architects in the United States. Of these 2,378 or 2% are Black. Of these, 502 are Black women. That’s just 0.4% of the total number of licensed architects in the U.S.Date: Apr 01, 2022
General ItemRo Settle
“Conflict isn’t inherently bad, but failing to address it can be.” That’s the perspective Director for Fraternity and Sorority Life Ro Settle has brought to his work at Virginia Tech for more than two decades.Date: Mar 25, 2022
General ItemCamden Osborne
In describing curiosity, Camden Osborne said, “It is one thing to wonder, but it is another to act on that inquisitiveness."Date: Mar 23, 2022
General ItemLeslie Fontaine
Leslie Fontaine’s nominator wrote, “Leslie is one of the coolest people I know, and although she’s less than half my age, I aspire to be like her when I grow up.Date: Mar 22, 2022
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