Virginia Tech Honors College to welcome its largest ever class of Stamps Scholars
Nine members of the incoming Class of 2024 have been selected as Stamps Scholars by Virginia Tech’s Honors College.
Hailing from four states, they will be the first cohort to arrive since the program was dramatically expanded thanks to the generous support of an Atlanta-based foundation created by philanthropists E. Roe Stamps IV and Penny Stamps.
The foundation has supported Virginia Tech Honors College students since 2014, but last year increased its level of support to provide full-ride scholarships to as many as 10 incoming students, twice as many as were eligible in previous years.
Virginia Tech is one of nearly 40 Stamps Scholars partner schools across the United States. Scholars are chosen for the strong leadership potential, academic merit, and exceptional character.
The Stamps Scholars program dates back to 2006, when Roe and Penny Stamps created merit scholarships 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.
“Stamps Scholars enrich our student body and serve as role models for their colleagues,” said Paul Knox, founding dean of the Honors College and a University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech.
Stamps Scholars have a distinguished track record of leadership within the university’s student body. 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, and led students to promote cultural understanding and environmental advocacy.
“The Honors College is delighted to have our newest class of Stamps Scholars entering in the fall 2020 semester,” said Russell Shrader, the Honors College director of admissions and scholarships. “We have students from Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania, with a wide range of majors and interests. The diversity and varied goals of the new class will provide an enriching environment for everyone.”
Incoming scholars and their fields of study are:
- Zachary Abdo (biology), of Sterling, Virginia.
- Garrett Asper (aerospace engineering), of Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania.
- Mia Hagood (computer science), of Ashburn, Virginia.
- Cameron Hogge (aeronautical engineering), of Midlothian, Virginia.
- Olivia Kastor (architecture), of Statesville, North Carolina.
- Trevor Niles (geosciences), of Stafford, Virginia.
- Teresa Thomas (computer science), of Clarksburg, Maryland.
- Waverly VanGundy (biology), of Virginia Beach, Virginia.
- Rachael Wennermark (English), of Ashburn, Virginia.
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.
“The Stamps Scholarship is a long-term investment in these young people,” said Christina McIntyre, the Honors College director of professional development and national and international scholarships. “The dividends are realized in the greater society over time, and in a wide variety of ways.”
Meet our 2021 Incoming Stamps Scholars
Zachary Abdo is from Sterling, Virginia. He is looking to pursue a degree in biology on the pre-med track. Additionally, Zachary is hoping to expand his knowledge into other areas, such as engineering and computer science, as well as connect with students from all around the world. In his free time, Zachary trains in Muay Thai, a martial art similar to kick-boxing. Zachary also enjoys building and creating a variety of things. In the past, he has made electric skateboards and 3D printers.
Garrett Asper is from Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania. Garrett intends to study aerospace engineering while also exploring computer science and Spanish. He aspires to innovate the merger of aerospace engineering technology and computer science, specifically in artificial intelligence, to eventually create fully autonomous drones. Additionally, Garrett is excited to be mentored by the faculty within the Honors College and the College of Engineering to foster his skills as well as to contribute to team efforts. Garrett conducts and leads an ongoing service effort in the Dominican Republic to expose students living in rural poverty to hands-on, project-based STEM learning. This effort takes shape both on the ground on annual service trips and digitally through videos on his YouTube channel and websites that he maintains. Garrett looks forward to merging his skill set with the skills of other innovative Hokies during his time at Tech.
Mia Hagood attends Stone Bridge High School and the Academy of Engineering and Technology in Ashburn, Virginia. She plans to pursue a degree in computer science while also learning about machine learning, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity. Mia looks forward to joining the Stamps Scholars and Honors College communities at Virginia Tech, studying abroad, and performing original research. She wants to apply machine learning and artificial intelligence to help overcome cybersecurity challenges. Mia is also excited to meet new people with diverse backgrounds and engage with others in the Hokie community. For over 10 years, Mia has been a Girl Scout and served as a voting member of the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital Area Board of Directors. Mia would like to stay involved with the Girl Scout community while in college by supporting a local troop in Blacksburg and encourage younger girls to consider pursuing a career in the STEM field. Mia also works in the Explainers Program at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Annex, the Udvar-Hazy Center. She provides demonstrations and answers questions for visitors about the history of aviation, spaceflight, and aeronautics.
Cameron Hogge lives in Midlothian, Virginia, and is graduating from Midlothian High School. He plans on majoring in aerospace engineering at Virginia Tech and participating in Air Force ROTC. Cameron hopes to grow into a strong leader through the ROTC program while also giving back to his community. Cameron has been a gymnast for 11 years, has five brothers, and enjoys the outdoors. His favorite activities include fishing, climbing, and socializing with friends.
Olivia Kastor is from Statesville, North Carolina. She will be graduating from South Iredell High School in May as a member of the International Baccalaureate Programme. Olivia is an avid lover of all things related to art and design. She is excited to attend Virginia Tech and pursue a degree in architecture as a member of the Honors College. Additionally, Olivia is interested in minoring in Spanish and landscape architecture to learn more about the environments surrounding buildings. She looks forward to interacting with the VT College of Architecture and Urban Studies faculty as well as faculty at the Honors College. Olivia hopes to gain inspiration and improve her critical thinking skills by interacting with both faculty and her fellow design peers. To give back to the community, network, and improve her understanding of architecture, Olivia hopes to become involved in a variety of clubs and organizations. She is also excited to explore study abroad opportunities because she loves to explore and learn about foreign cultures.
Trevor Niles has spent his entire life in Stafford, Virginia. Trevor intends to major in geosciences and minor in biology, in preparation for his dream career in paleontology. He hopes to work closely with paleontology professors and eventually publish his own scientific paper. Trevor was captain of his school’s Scholastic Bowl team and says nobody can beat him in trivia. He is beyond excited to live and to learn at Virginia Tech as a Stamps Scholar.
Teresa Thomas is from Clarksburg, Maryland. She is planning to major in computer science, but is also interested in economics and math. Teresa hopes to explore studying abroad opportunities and to be involved in research related to cybersecurity and/or artificial intelligence. She enjoys digital art and is currently working with a friend to produce a comic.
Waverly VanGundy is from Virginia Beach, Virginia. She is honored to be a Stamps Scholar at Virginia Tech and will be majoring in biological sciences this upcoming fall. Veterinary medicine is a passion of Waverly’s and a career she wants to explore in the future. Waverly plans on being involved in extracurricular activities and immersing herself in enrichment programs that will enable her to grow as an individual. She looks forward to forging new friendships and building lifelong connections with peers. In her free time, Waverly loves to go on outdoor adventures with her family in the mountains. Every year, her family takes a trip to West Virginia for hiking and whitewater rafting. Waverly additionally enjoys singing and often creates her own covers of current pop hits. She is excited to be a Hokie and to experience all that Tech has to offer.
Rachael Wennermark is from Ashburn, Virginia, where she lives with her parents and English Springer Spaniel. She has a wide variety of interests, including classical music (especially with the violin), hiking, faith, soccer, and baking. However, Rachael is most passionate about literature and writing. She plans to major in English and hopes to eventually publish her own books and/or research. Rachael says she writes to inspire and would like to create positive literature for middle grade students. While at Tech, she hopes to make a lot of friends, learn about a variety of subjects, and study abroad in Europe. Rachael could not be more excited to join the growing family of Stamps Scholars and hopes the program will serve as a springboard to help her have a positive impact on the world.