Welcoming 2023 Incoming Stamps Scholars
The Virginia Tech Honors College welcomes ten Stamps Scholars of the incoming Class of 2027.
Stamps Scholars are chosen based on strong leadership potential, academic merit, and exceptional character. Since 2014, the Virginia Tech Honors College and the Stamps Scholars Program have partnered together to award Stamps Scholarships that help driven and talented student leaders to achieve their educational and life goals.
“This year’s cohort of incoming Stamps Scholars had impressive academic and extracurricular accomplishments and considered multiple top-ranking universities. We are honored that they chose to partner with Virginia Tech and the Honors College for their undergraduate education,” said Russell Shrader, Director of Admissions and Scholarships for the Honors College. “We look forward to their continued success and involvement with the university.”
Within Virginia Tech’s student body, Stamps Scholars have a distinguished and impressive track record of leadership. Scholars have served as CEO for the SEED student investing team, been Ring Dance chair, won national competitions in mathematics, been nominated for national fellowships, led students to promote cultural understanding and environmental advocacy, and more.
Roe and Penny Stamps created the Stamps Scholars program in 2006 for undergraduates at their respective alma maters, Georgia Tech and the University of Michigan. Since then, the Stamps Scholars community has grown into a nationwide network of colleges and universities, with more than 2,300 current and alumni scholars.
The Stamps Scholars program covers all expenses for four years of undergraduate study and includes an enrichment fund that scholars can use for their academic and professional development. Other benefits include participation in a national day of service, access to a growing network of scholars and alumni, and opportunities to attend biennial conventions, where scholars are able to network with one another and learn from recognized leaders.
“Virginia Tech Stamps Scholarship are part of a larger, nation-wide community of Stamps Scholars,” said Christina McIntyre, Director of Professional Development and National and International Scholarships for the Honors College. “The Stamps network is supportive, creative and inspirational.”
Meet our 2023 Incoming Stamps Scholars
Lia Corning is from Smithfield, Virginia, and is planning to study Neuroscience at Virginia Tech. She is pursuing the field because she has always been intrigued by the numerous questions left unanswered about the human brain. After volunteering at a local hospital, Lia was able to understand her passion for direct patient care. She values the reminder that hospitals provide regarding the importance of compassion and empathy toward others.
Following undergrad at Virginia Tech, she wishes to pursue medical school so she can work toward becoming a neurologist, specifically researching neurodegenerative diseases and disorders. She hopes that through working in the medical field, she will have the opportunity to educate the public on many of the misunderstandings surrounding mental disabilities. She feels strongly that education can break boundaries and help to bring people together.
Lia believes that being a Stamps Scholar will help her reach her goals, as the entire community works to encourage each peer in their personal endeavors. Furthermore, the Stamps Scholars Program will also help her to pursue undergraduate research — allowing her to make important connections and gain hands-on experience while staying up to date with new discoveries in the field. She is additionally excited about the opportunities to study abroad and explore new countries, hoping to learn about medical practices in foreign countries in order to further her knowledge and apply them to future endeavors.
Samanvitha (Samanvi) Dammalapati graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia. Samanvi plans to major in Clinical Neuroscience and enter the medical field after graduation.
From a young age, Samanvi was fascinated by the unsolved mysteries of the human brain. In her school's neuroscience laboratory, she researched the relationship between sleep deprivation and epilepsy. Hoping to investigate the brain even further, she was naturally attracted to Virginia Tech after learning about the incredible opportunities and research facilities in the School of Neuroscience.
Samanvi has been an avid debater for seven years, leading her high school's Congressional Debate Team as the co-captain, mentoring novices, and finding tremendous success at national tournaments. She has also interned at MITRE for two summers, developing epidemiological models and researching advancements in synthetic biology. Her passion for research and development resulted in one of her proudest accomplishments, winning the CONRAD Challenge environmental category, where her team designed a product that filters methane in water—and obtained a provisional patent.
Embracing VT's motto Ut Prosim, Samanvi deeply values giving back to her community. Before sunrise, she regularly volunteers at her hospital's surgical department, helping patients and providers. Additionally, she enjoys working with children with developmental disabilities in residential centers, and as co-president of her school's psychology club, she emphasizes shedding light on psychiatric conditions. Samanvi is excited to utilize the Stamps network and enrichment fund to aid individuals with disabilities while exploring the rapidly advancing intersection between neuroscience and healthcare.
During her spare time, Samanvi often hikes on nature trails, plays board games, and tends to the tropical plants in her garden.
Rebecca Donovan is from Ellicott City, Maryland. Raised by two Virginia Tech alums, she has been a cheerleader for the Hokies since birth. She is looking forward to attending football games and joining in on the school spirit. Rebecca also loves to be outdoors; hiking, running, or mountain biking, and is excited to explore Blacksburg. Her experience working in a bike shop and on a robotics team has led her to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering. She hopes to get more people on bikes, changing the way we view transportation and exercise.
Rebecca is passionate about protecting our environment and is excited to explore how developing technologies can increase sustainability. One of her biggest draws to the school was the amazing community at Virginia Tech. Volunteering has had a huge impact on her life and as a Stamps Scholar she will lead initiatives to bring the community closer together.
To Rebecca, being a Stamps Scholar means being an empathetic and encouraging leader who will get stuff done. She hopes to use the lessons she learned as a Green Club president to enact change on a larger scale at Virginia Tech. Rebecca can’t wait to have new experiences at VT and grow as a person; she hopes to take advantage of every opportunity.
Anna Gomer is from Suffolk, VA. She knew that Virginia Tech was the right school for her when she toured the beautiful campus and was exposed to the spirit of current students and Hokie alumni. Hokies are passionate about their personal interests and the community to which they belong, which is exactly what Anna was looking for.
Anna plans to major in Environmental Conservation and Society and hopes to pursue an advanced degree in her field. She is passionate about wildlife and sustainability. She hopes to one day be a part of an organization that works to improve the interactions between human and wild animal communities.
In addition to the environment, Anna’s passions include traveling, dancing, and cooking. She will be studying abroad in Switzerland in 2025 through the Honors College. Anna has been dancing for over a decade and hopes to continue at VT.
As someone who has lived in the same town all her life, Anna is most excited to meet new people and have new experiences while at Virginia Tech. She is excited to hike beautiful sites in Southwest VA and jump to Enter Sandman in Lane Stadium. She plans to join a service focused student organization and loves being involved in her school community outside of academics.
To Anna, being a Stamps Scholar means being dedicated to your academic goals and using the skills acquired through your experiences to help others. Anna appreciates the support and connections to like-minded individuals that the Stamps Scholarship will provide.
Julia Hocker is from Arlington, Virginia. She was drawn to Virginia Tech by its top-ranked engineering program, vibrant community, and strong dedication to its motto, Ut Prosim.
In high school, Julia discovered her interest in calculus and physics, so it was a natural decision for her to choose Mechanical Engineering as her degree. Through her studies, she hopes to explore soft robotics and its application to prosthetics to make them more accessible to those in need, like the elderly and disabled veterans.
Julia has been playing piano since she was five. She loves the versatility of the piano, and recently she has been trying her hand at jazz and improv (inspired by the Pixar movie Soul). Julia is also passionate about filmmaking and its ability to weave different styles of art – such as writing, music, and visual storytelling – into one art form. She has won multiple awards for her films, including first place for her documentary in the National History Day competition for the state of Virginia. Five of her films have been shown at international film festivals. She hopes to continue exploring her passion for film at Virginia Tech.
Julia is also avidly interested in the Industrial Revolutions of Europe and the United States – how breakthrough technologies and changes in workplace organization caused one of the greatest societal shifts in history.
Julia is proud to be a Virginia Tech Stamps Scholar and a National Merit Scholar, and she is thrilled to be joining such a dedicated and service-oriented community.
Jessica May is from Clifton, Virginia. Jessica was inspired to become a Hokie after visiting the beautiful campus and hearing about the wonderful opportunities available for engineers. Jessica is excited to explore her interests, made possible by the world-class equipment and professors found at Virginia Tech.
Aside from her interests in engineering, Jessica loves giving back to her community, whether that’s through helping run her school’s National Honor Society or volunteering. In 2022 alone, Jessica spent over 320 hours volunteering. Her main volunteering experiences have been teaching children with disabilities how to swim, helping out in her local emergency room, and teaching classes at her local Chinese school. To continue giving back to her community, Jessica hopes to utilize her Stamps Scholarship to pursue overseas social work internships with non-profit organizations.
As a Stamps Scholar, Jessica looks forward to connecting with all the other Stamps Scholars at the Biennial Convention, where she’ll get to participate in seminars discussing challenges that face the world today. Hearing about the accomplishments of other Stamps Scholars inspires Jessica to become a more well-rounded individual who is both an effective leader and team player.
Outside of the classroom, Jessica loves sharing her interests with those around her, from teaching summer chemistry as a teacher’s assistant to presenting at biotechnology club. Beyond the academic sphere, Jessica loves playing tennis with her teammates and attending football games with her friends. In her free time, Jessica enjoys hiking and playing spikeball.
Lea Padden is from Baltimore, Maryland. Lea plans on majoring in biomedical engineering at Virginia Tech. She is most excited for the football games, school spirit, and plans on getting involved in the school community through clubs, organizations, and undergraduate research.
One of Lea’s main passions is dance. Lea has been dancing since she was four years old and plans to continue in the Virginia Tech dance company. Lea is trained in ballet, modern, contemporary, and jazz, and most recently performed the Sugar Plum Fairy in the Nutcracker and Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. Additionally, Lea plays soccer and lacrosse, and was a cheerleader for her high school.
Leadership has always been an important value for Lea. She was president of Math Honor Society, Vice President of National Honor Society and the National Honor Society for Dance Arts, an Executive Officer for the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Funds (UNICEF) as well as a student leader at her local dance studio.
As a Stamps Scholar, Lea will continue to develop her leadership skills. Lea is excited to join the strong network of hardworking and persistent Stamps Scholars. Lea plans to study abroad and give back to the Stamps community. Currently, Lea volunteers for Animal Rescue Inc. where she takes care of homeless cats and works with a UNICEF chapter to raise funds for underprivileged youth. Lea wishes to continue these efforts in the future. The accomplishments of current and alumni Stamps Scholars inspire
Lea to work hard and achieve her goals.
Kate Paff is from Howell, New Jersey. Although what first drew Kate to Virginia Tech was the impressive architecture and the stellar reputation of its Animal Science program, the welcoming community and Hokie culture solidified her decision to make VT home. She plans to major in Animal and Poultry Sciences on the Pre-Veterinary track and strives to become an Equine Veterinarian while doing research one day.
Kate's academic interests lie mainly in biological processes, such as how various cells can communicate and work together to create one cohesive being. However, she also enjoys breaking down the skeleton of a literary work to analyze each bone that composes it. Kate's favorite part of earning the International Baccalaureate Diploma was conducting research for her Internal Assessments and Extended Essay. Some of this research surrounded the correlation between a horse's age and the energy its manure emits when burned in a calorimeter, and the efficacy of satire in a song that depicts the stereotypical form of OCD.
Outside school, Kate works at an ice cream shop near the Shore and rides or volunteers at a non-profit therapeutic and non-disabled horseback riding facility. When she is not working, riding, or volunteering, Kate enjoys reading, listening to classic rock music, and hanging out with her dog Frankie or friends.
One of Kate's passions is continuously learning and applying that knowledge to teaching and helping others. That is why being a Stamps Scholar is so important to her: she wants to employ all the resources being a Stamps Scholar affords her to give others - humans and animals alike - a voice.
Summer is from Williamsburg, Virginia, but was born a cheese head in Lacrosse, Wisconsin. She became interested in Virginia Tech because of their unique animal science program, connection to the vet school, and equine research opportunities. Summer intends to major in Animal and Poultry Science with a pre-veterinary emphasis. She has been interested in attending vet school since she was in pre-school and is excited to pursue the start of her education at Virginia Tech. She hopes to eventually use her knowledge to help expand the veterinary field in her current area of interest, which is radiology.
Summer started riding horses at age 6 and used her experience with horses to serve at a therapeutic riding center. She helped many participants experience the joy of riding and trained new volunteers to do the same. She also gained valuable leadership experience through working with the Students of the Year campaign for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, a foundation that was instrumental in her grandfather’s recovery from cancer. Summer is excited for the opportunity to continue her commitment to service through the Stamps Scholarship at Virginia Tech. The Stamps scholarship provides an incredible network of passionate people that Summer is honored to join.
Outside of academics, Summer has invested a lot of time in competitive Irish dancing, which she started when she was just 3 years old. Through years of Irish dance, she has been able to travel and compete internationally, which has been one of her favorite parts of her dance experience. Summer also enjoys CrossFit, paddle boarding, and spending time at the beach. She loves listening to country music and is a proud owner of the Green Bay Packers.
Kyle Walker is from New Market, Maryland. Kyle first knew he wanted to attend Virginia Tech after being blown away by the beautiful campus and incredible academic resources on a visit in the summer of his junior year. Following additional visits, he is excited to experience Virginia Tech’s collaborative atmosphere and be part of a strong community.
At Virginia Tech, Kyle plans on majoring in electrical engineering with a potential Honors Minor in Collaborative Discovery. In the future, he is interested in working on developing electrical components and circuitry for electric cars.
From a young age, Kyle has always deeply been involved in sports. Kyle was the captain of his high school’s cross country, soccer, and track and field teams. In his senior year, he was the leading scorer for the Linganore High School soccer team with 10 goals, and won a county title and two conference titles in the 800 meter dash for the track and field team. He is planning on participating in intramural soccer at Virginia Tech and looks forward to supporting the varsity athletic programs as a fan.
Over the next four years, Kyle is excited to challenge himself academically at Virginia Tech and become a valuable asset to the Stamps community. He is most looking forward to collaborating with others, forming valuable connections with like-minded students, gaining real life engineering experience, and of course eating all of the delicious food provided at Virginia Tech.
What is the Stamps Scholarship Program?
The Stamps Scholarship Program is a nationally prestigious merit scholarship program and community that helps exceptional students become meaningful leaders throughout society.
The first Stamps Scholars programs launched in 2006 at the University of Michigan and Georgia Tech, and since then, the program has grown to nearly 40 schools across the country. In 2019, 217 Stamps Scholarship recipients will join our community of more than 2000 Stamps Scholars and alumni.
Stamps Scholars are among the recipients of other prestigious awards, including Rhodes, Fulbright, Goldwater, Marshall, Beinecke, and National Science Foundation scholarships.
Scholars receive annual awards that range from $5,400 to $75,000 (four-year awards total an average of $21,600-$300,000) with additional funds for enrichment activities such as study abroad, academic conferences, and leadership training. The Strive Foundation and partner schools evenly share the costs of the awards.
Interested in becoming a Stamps Scholar?
Students who are applying to Virginia Tech this year and are interested in pursuing the Stamps Scholarship can learn more about the application process here.