Welcoming 2021 Incoming Stamps Scholars
The Virginia Tech Honors College welcomes eight Stamps Scholars of the incoming Class of 2025.
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. Next year they will gather in Atlanta, Georgia for the national convention,” said Christina McIntyre, Director of Professional Development and National and International Scholarships for the Honors College. “The Stamps network is supportive, creative and inspirational.”
Incoming scholars and their fields of study are:
- Samantha Corduan (Agricultural Sciences) of Edenton, North Carolina
- Krish Ganotra (Engineering) of Ashburn, Virginia
- Addison Glozer (Physics) of Spencerport, New York
- Rupabali Samanta (Neuroscience) of Montgomery, Virginia
- Jacob Tatum (Meteorology) of Chesterfield, Virginia
- Samantha “Lainie” Thompson (Marketing Management) of Chesterfield, Virginia
- Diego Antonio Valencia (Mathematics) of Fairfax, Virginia
- Nicholas “Nick” Wagner (Engineering) of Burlington, New Jersey
Meet our 2021 Incoming Stamps Scholars
Samantha Corduan is from Edenton, North Carolina. Attending Virginia Tech was a natural choice for Samantha as she visited the campus as a child and experienced the excitement of the Hokie Nation. She was further encouraged by two Virginia Tech alumni who shared their experiences with her and how special it is to be a Hokie.
As an agronomy enthusiast and a member of a fifth-generation family farm, Samantha plans to major in Agricultural Science at Virginia Tech. From gleaning peanut fields, assembling cucumber boxes, and escorting farm equipment, Samantha has had her fair share of experience working hands-on in the field. Now, she is interested in studying how agriculture affects our everyday lives – and what can be done to ensure the perpetual improvement of the agriculture industry. Samantha also aspires to educate the general public on agricultural topics.
The Stamps Scholarship inspires Samantha to become a better leader and person. As a Stamps Scholar, she’s most looking forward to connecting to a network of inspiring Stamps alumni, attending leadership conferences, and participating in other programming for Stamps Scholars that will help prepare her for her future career.
Starting at five-years-old, Samantha became a member of 4-H, a youth organization based in the United States. Samantha discovered her passion for leadership as well as helping others during this experience. Since joining 4-H, Samantha has held multiple leadership positions at the county, district, and state level. In her free time, Samantha enjoys hiking, kayaking, or doing anything outdoors. One of her fondest memories is climbing Pilot Mountain with her 4-H camp.
Krish Ganotra is from Ashburn, Virginia. Krish comes from a Hokie family, which inspired him to join the Hokie nation after having an inside look at the high-spirited community, supportive culture, and prestigious educational opportunities available at Virginia Tech.
As a former researcher at the Naval Research Laboratory, Krish uncovered methods of labeling hyperspectral images with semi-supervised machine learning. He additionally interned at MITRE, a non-profit tech organization that works in public interest across federal, state, and local governments. Krish gained experience in both iOS app development and evaluating AI during his internship at MITRE. Due to these experiences and his passion for technology, Krish is majoring in Computer Science at Virginia Tech and hopes to specialize in intelligence with the goal to advance technology by working in the industry of research and development (R&D).
When Krish isn’t working on his computer, he’s most likely either playing basketball or enjoying a slice of pizza. During football season, Krish plans to support his fellow Hokies by continuing his tradition of eating pizza while watching the game. His proudest accomplishment is his record of eating 16 medium slices of pizza in one sitting. Krish claims that pizza has fueled many of his accomplishments, such as developing a recurrent neural network (a type of machine learning model) that can classify news articles as either true or false at a 93 percent accuracy.
As a Stamps Scholar, Krish is inspired to give back to the community. He hopes to conduct machine learning research, work toward solving real-world problems, and gain worldly experience by studying abroad.
Addison Glozer is from Spencerport, New York. Addison plans to major in physics and is also interested in pursuing either a minor or double major in International Relations.
The Stamps Scholars Program’s unwavering support and passion for their Stamps Scholars inspires Addison. She looks forward to experiencing other cultures by participating in study abroad programs as well as building connections with fellow Hokies and learning from faculty at Virginia Tech.
For thirteen years, Addison was a member of Girl Scouts of the USA. Being a part of this community sparked Addison’s joy for building strong friendships through service as well as fostered her passion for language. To earn her Girl Scout Gold Award, Addison created an interactive website to teach elementary students basic French vocabulary and generate excitement for learning a new culture amidst the challenges of online-learning.
In her free time, Addison enjoys unwinding by painting and staying active at aerial silks class, where she performs aerial acrobatics while hanging from a fabric.
Rupabali Samanta is from Blacksburg, Virginia. Since Rupabali is local, she has witnessed some of the amazing opportunities and programs made available by Virginia Tech. This encouraged Rupabali to attend Virginia Tech as a Clinical Neuroscience and Psychology double-major pursuing a pre-med track.
The Stamps Scholarship inspires Rupabali to go beyond her expectations of what she thought she could accomplish during college, such as studying abroad during her education as a Stamps Scholar.
Rupabali is originally from India, but she was born in Muscat, Oman. Travelling is one of Rupabali’s passions. She has visited many countries, including Greece, Australia, Switzerland, Canada, and Germany. During her free time, Rupabali enjoys art, photography, and singing. Rupabali plans to continue pursuing these activities at Virginia Tech by enrolling in choir and art classes as well as joining their associated clubs on campus.
As she trains to become an EMT, Rupabali hopes to join an EMS agency in the near future. Rupabali is also very involved in social, political, and environmental activism. She intends to expand upon this involvement during her time at Virginia Tech.
Jacob Otto Tatum is from Chester, Virginia. Virginia Tech caught Jacob’s attention when he heard about all of the research the college has accomplished along with their stellar meteorology program. After visiting the campus and experiencing the Hokie spirit, Jacob decided to attend Virginia Tech and major in Meteorology. He also plans to work toward a master’s in Business Administration.
Since he was a child, Jacob has always been fascinated by meteorology and had already decided he wanted to become a meteorologist. He’s excited about studying the sciences of the atmosphere at Virginia Tech and participating in hands-on learning opportunities like Hokie Storm Chase in order to have a better understanding of impactful severe weather systems.
Service has always been important to Jacob as an Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America. As a Stamps Scholar, Jacob is looking forward to continuing giving back to the community and holistically investing into his education. He’s also excited to surround himself with other like-minded and driven students within the Stamps foundation and Virginia Tech.
In his free time, Jacob enjoys the outdoors by kayaking, boating, fishing, hiking, and cycling.
Lainie Thompson is from Chesterfield, Virginia. The spirit and energy of Virginia Tech has always excited Lainie. It’s when she toured the campus, however, when she fell in love with Virginia Tech. Lainie plans to major in Marketing Management at Virginia Tech and also explore the possibility of a Real Estate minor.
As a Stamps Scholar, Lainie is excited to learn from other Stamps Scholars as well as expand her horizons with the possibility of international travel. Reading the stories and accomplishments of Stamps Scholars inspires Lainie to follow in the footsteps of Stamps alumni by growing strong as a leader and bringing meaningful contributions to the world.
Dance has always been a big part of Lainie’s life. As part of the travel team of Spotlight Studio of Dance, she has been able to visit and dance in many exciting locations throughout the United States and Europe. Dancing fifteen to twenty hours a week has taught Lainie a strong work ethic and teamwork. As a result, she was selected to be an apprentice to help teach and lead the studio. Outside of dance, Lainie has been working on school yearbooks since middle school and became the chief editor by her senior year of high school. When she’s not dancing or working on school projects, Lainie enjoys spending time with her friends and family.
Diego Valencia is from Herdon, Virginia. He was first drawn to Virginia Tech on a middle school field trip by all the incredible dining options. Since then, Diego has also learned to appreciate Virginia Tech’s unique and vibrant culture, its many research opportunities, and the individualized attention provided to students at Tech.
Diego plans to pursue a degree in computational mathematics on the finance track while additionally studying Chinese and business.
As a Stamps Scholar, Diego is looking forward to working and growing both individually and together with his cohort in the Honors College community. He hopes to use mathematical modeling and artificial intelligence to solve real-world problems through original research opportunities, and continuing to learn more about the world we live in by studying abroad.
Diego loves learning new things, whether it’s a foreign language or culture, a new instrument, a new sport, or trivia. For example, Diego learned to play squash in Peru many years ago and this past summer he had the opportunity to compete in the Peruvian National Youth Tournament of Squash. He also learned to play the el cajón, a percussive instrument used in Peruvian creole music, or musica criolla.
Service is also a passion of Diego’s. He has spent the past several summers participating in service learning opportunities in China, Peru, and the United States. These experiences include building houses, cleaning schools and libraries, teaching Chinese students English, and teaching and playing sports. His favorite part about service is engaging with other cultures and communities in the process.
When Diego isn’t learning something new or working on a service project, he enjoys playing trivia, basketball, tennis, volleyball, and ping-pong.
Nicholas “Nick” Wagner is from Medford, New Jersey. Virginia Tech’s strong engineering and extracurricular opportunities as well as learning the Hokie culture led Nick to becoming a Hokie himself.
Nick plans on majoring in Engineering. Since he is fascinated by the technical aspects of stage and video production, Nick is also interested in learning how to combine those interests with his engineering education.
As a Stamps Scholar, Nick is looking forward to serving his community. He is inspired by the examples set by the numerous hard-working Scholars across the country and globe.
Inside and outside of school, Nick describes his life in one word: busy. He loves being a part of various activities, such as the track and field team, serving as a student ambassador to the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, coordinating the lighting and special effects for musicals, and producing morning segments for a daily show. Nick has also become an avid golfer within recent years. In his community, Nick was also involved as a junior member of the EMS/Fire Department.
Nick is a big fan of Disney, Marvel, and Star Wars. His dream job is to become an Imagineer at Disney and help create amazing rides, shows, and experiences that make Disney parks magical.
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.