2020 Commencement Celebration

Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures

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Congratulations to Our Graduates!

Bachelor of Arts in Foreign Languages

 
Claudia Nicole Abernathy
Trevor M. Barnes
Alexi Jai Henderson, Cum Laude
Raymond Hong Lin, Cum Laude
Katelyn Marie Russell, Summa Cum Laude
Zachary Ryan Weeks, Summa Cum Laude
Sierra Bailey Witt, Magna Cum Laude, Honors Scholar
 
Emily Aili Hay
Doreen Ndizeye
Haley Allison Noble
 
Lena Maxine Campbell, Summa Cum Laude
Liam Houston Reilly
 
Alisa K. Bondar, Cum Laude
Justin Sjon Clipson, Cum Laude
Eleni Irene Demos
Jessica Ann Dobrowolski
Sampson Lanier Eason, Magna Cum Laude
Samantha Rochelle Fulgham
Kyran Danielle Goodison
Caleb William Gore, Magna Cum Laude
Marcella Mina Kaplan, Magna Cum Laude
Shawntal Manlangit Kassouf
Chase Nicholas Liddon, Cum Laude
Gabriel Elias Lopez
Djamila Anastasia Lou, Magna Cum Laude, Honors Scholar
Oliver Ian McKellips
Meredith Anne Oakes, Cum Laude
Adam Milosz Olszewski, Summa Cum Laude
Isaac James Patterson, Magna Cum Laude
Sasha Marie Reynolds, Cum Laude
Samuel Myers Tyson, Cum Laude
Nicholas Robert Uliano, Magna Cum Laude
 
Kathryn Grace Berry
Addison Leigh Blackwell
Christina Ashley Booth
Alexis McKenzie Braswell
Leah Meri Caggiano, Summa Cum Laude, Honors Scholar
Sarah Gayle Chester
Emily Lorena Desouza
Colleen Renee Dommel
Katriona L. Felkel
Kaitlyn Sierra Gallagher, Summa Cum Laude
Natalie Grace Hartzell
Jennifer Melisa Hernandez
Martha Campbell Holland
Jake Patrick Hughes, Magna Cum Laude
Lee Field Jewett, Cum Laude
Lani Elizabeth LeStourgeon, Summa Cum Laude
Lindsey Michela Lozoskie, Magna Cum Laude
Clayton Vander Marshall
Jacob Ryan Martin, Cum Laude, Co-op
Brenden Edwards McQueeney, Magna Cum Laude
Elisa Mariann Nicolini
Malari Elaine Nizamuddin
Hector Pardo, Jr.
Jhorgely Karen Pinto Villanueva
Hannah Alexander Rector, Cum Laude
Marit Alice Riley, Cum Laude
Taylor Richard Rudd
John Lindbergh Staples
Dennis Alexander Trujillo
Sarah Fernanda Vasquez
Lauren Alexandra Weaver, Magna Cum Laude, Honors Scholar
Megan Alexandra Wilkins, Magna Cum Laude

Master of Arts in Foreign Languages, Cultures, and Literatures

 
Teresa Apple Fleming
Katherine Graves Jezierski

Awards and Honors

Lena Maxine Campbell

Lena Maxine Campbell graduates summa cum laude with dual degrees, a B.A. in German and a B.S. in mechanical engineering.

Lena Campbell

Since her first semester at Virginia Tech, Lena has excelled academically, shown an exemplary work ethic, taken part in co-curricular activities, and engaged in service. Assuming leadership roles in diverse activities, she shows a sense of social responsibility that reflects the university motto of Ut Prosim (That I May Serve). Lena’s interests range from German language and culture to music and mechanical engineering. In pursuit of these diverse subjects, she repeatedly demonstrates an ability to think and work across disciplines, drawing connections in an effort to better understand the world. She uses these skills to help others, serving as the German program’s peer tutor for the past two years and volunteering with Teach for Jamie, a student-led after-school program that brings German instruction to Blacksburg elementary schools.

Having joined The Marching Virginians as a first-year student, Lena has led the 36-member clarinet section since 2018. She played with the Virginia Tech Symphony Band and volunteered with various pep bands, performing at high schools and other area venues.

Through her mechanical engineering major, her research-related and project-based experiences revolved around the creation of devices intended to improve the lives of others. She has been part of teams that developed and planned a drone suitable for medical deliveries, a Rube Goldberg machine intended to support the teaching of physics, and a public transportation wheelchair lift.

Despite all these commitments, every year she found time to participate in the Big Event and Relay for Life. Lena’s engagement and dedication were recognized with a 2018 Wenger Family Scholarship, a highly prestigious and competitive award made to a well-rounded student who has demonstrated academic excellence, leadership, and extracurricular engagement. A member of the Society of Women Engineers and of Delta Phi Alpha, the national German honor society, Lena Campbell has truly made the best of her four years as an undergraduate at Virginia Tech.

We congratulate Lena on her achievements and wish her all the best for her life after Virginia Tech!

Gabriella Gagliano

Graduating with a major in physics and minors in Spanish and Chinese, Gabriella Gagliano has gone beyond the demands of her language classes during her time at Virginia Tech. She participated and took leadership positions in Chinese and Spanish student cultural organizations, such as the Chinese Exchange Culture Spark, the Association of Chinese students and scholars, and Olé at VT.

Gabriella Gagliano

Gabi’s commitment to learning will continue after graduation, when she enters the Ph.D. program in physics at Rice University, where in addition to pursuing advanced graduate study, she will continue her language pursuits by seeking academic and work opportunities abroad. She has shown an extraordinary capacity to establish connections between the complex theoretical concepts studied in class and real-life events. Her magnetic personality, outgoing nature, and her no-matter-if-I-am-not-perfect-the-important-thing-is-to-try kind of attitude encouraged her classmates to constantly participate in language classes, and to never give up trying. She has always excelled in language learning, whether in reading, writing, or communicating. Her dedication to learning and compassion for service makes her an excellent role model.

Apart from her outstanding dedication inside and outside the classroom, Gabi has also participated in different activities abroad, such as Helping Trujillo, a nongovernmental organization in Peru for which she taught English to a group of 40 students. She has studied abroad at Shandong University in Jinan, China, and interned in Shanghai. She also worked as a homestay tutor of English in Shanghai during her multiple visits to China during her time at Virginia Tech, most recently during this past winter break.

Congratulations, Gabi!


Katelyn Marie Russell

Katelyn Marie Russell has been awarded the 2020 Linda Plaut Prize, named after a beloved faculty colleague. Graduating summa cum laude, Katie is a classical studies major with a history minor. She has been inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and is a member of the national classics honor society Eta Sigma Phi. She studied abroad at the Steger Center in Riva San Vitale, Switzerland, and in Rome. She served as teaching assistant for the Greco-Roman Myth course.

In her all-too-brief two years studying classics at Virginia Tech, Katie was a pleasure for all her teachers, intelligently engaging in all classes for the major, making excellent contributions both inside and outside of the classroom. The faculty of the interdisciplinary program in classical studies is happy to recognize Katie’s accomplishments with the Plaut Prize.

 

Zachary Ryan Weeks

Zachary Ryan Weeks has been awarded the 2020 Tom and Sharon Watkins Prize, named after two beloved faculty colleagues.

Zachary Weeks

Zach graduates summa cum laude with a double major in classical studies and in religion and culture. Zach has been inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and is a member and officer of the national Classics honor society Eta Sigma Phi. As president of the Classics Club, Zach excelled at outreach and inspired other students. He studied abroad at the Steger Center in Riva San Vitale, Switzerland, and in Rome. He worked alongside faculty as a teaching assistant for ancient Greek for many semesters, while also working in the front office of the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures.

Zach’s insights and enthusiastic embrace of every topic he studied made it a pleasure to have Zach in class and in more informal academic gatherings.

The faculty of the interdisciplinary program in classical studies is happy to recognize Zach’s accomplishments with the Watkins Award. 

Doreen Ndizeye

Doreen Ndizeye decided to double major in international studies and in French because of her own cultural background and interest in understanding how different institutions play a large role in the global sphere. She was able to connect both majors during an internship in the Bureau of African Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, where she communicated with government officials and diplomats during meetings in both French and English. This opportunity was made available through the Washington Semester in Global Engagement program.

Doreen Ndizeye

A recipient of a Presidential Scholarship Initiative Award, Doreen has also made the Dean’s List consistently throughout her time at Virginia Tech. Professors laud her superior work and minute preparation for all her classes. She contributes thoughtful reflections to in-class discussions while asking pointed, relevant questions. In her advanced courses, her analyses of a variety of literary and cultural texts were consistently excellent.

Doreen’s linguistic skills in French are equally notable. An advanced writing course allowed her to express her creative side. Doreen excels in speaking, one of the most difficult skills to master.

After summer positions and internships in both private businesses and government agencies, she will begin her career as management consult analyst at Accenture Federal Services in Arlington, Virginia.

Doreen deserves recognition for her hard work, drive to succeed, maturity, intellectual acumen, and talent for the French language. Sincères félicitations!

Lena Maxine Campbell

Lena Maxine Campbell graduates summa cum laude with dual degrees, a B.A. in German and a B.S. in mechanical engineering.

Lena Maxine Campbell

Since her first semester at Virginia Tech, Lena has excelled academically, shown an exemplary work ethic, taken part in co-curricular activities, and engaged in service. Assuming leadership roles in diverse activities, she shows a sense of social responsibility that reflects the university motto of Ut Prosim (That I May Serve). Lena’s interests range from German language and culture to music and mechanical engineering. In pursuit of these diverse subjects, she repeatedly demonstrates an ability to think and work across disciplines, drawing connections in an effort to better understand the world. She uses these skills to help others, serving as the German program’s peer tutor for the past two years and volunteering with Teach for Jamie, a student-led after-school program that brings German instruction to Blacksburg elementary schools.

Having joined The Marching Virginians as a first-year student, Lena has led the 36-member clarinet section since 2018. She played with the Virginia Tech Symphony Band and volunteered with various pep bands, performing at high schools and other area venues.

Through her mechanical engineering major, her research-related and project-based experiences revolved around the creation of devices intended to improve the lives of others. She has been part of teams that developed and planned a drone suitable for medical deliveries, a Rube Goldberg machine intended to support the teaching of physics, and a public transportation wheelchair lift.

Despite all these commitments, every year she found time to participate in the Big Event and Relay for Life. Lena’s engagement and dedication were recognized with a 2018 Wenger Family Scholarship, a highly prestigious and competitive award made to a well-rounded student who has demonstrated academic excellence, leadership, and extracurricular engagement. A member of the Society of Women Engineers and of Delta Phi Alpha, the national German honor society, Lena Campbell has truly made the best of her four years as an undergraduate at Virginia Tech.

We congratulate Lena on her achievements and wish her all the best for her life after Virginia Tech!

Chase Nicholas Liddon

While at Virginia Tech, Chase Liddon established himself as a leader among his peers and classmates both in Blacksburg and abroad. In addition to his other duties, he worked as a tutor with several other cadets studying Russian. He was twice selected as an awardee for Project Global Officer and made two trips abroad, studying Russian in Latvia.

Chase Nicholas Liddon

Following graduation, Chase is planning to commission in the U.S. Navy and will pursue a master’s degree in Russian language and culture with the goal of working as a translator for the military and eventually the U.S. Department of State.

Jake Patrick Hughes and Brenden Edwards McQueeney

Jake Hughes and Brenden McQueeney are co-recipients of the 2020 Outstanding Spanish Major award. Each graduates with a dual degree, exemplifying the value of interdisciplinary work by interlacing fields of science and cultural knowledge. Jake and Brenden have demonstrated the relevance of understanding phenomena from both perspectives, having completed an independent study on the rise of epidemics and the perception of the spread of disease across national boundaries.

 

Jake Hughes
Jake Patrick Hughes

Jake graduates summa cum laude with a B.A. in Spanish and a B.S. in biology with the pre-veterinary option. After graduation, he will pursue a degree in veterinary medicine. Throughout his tenure at Virginia Tech, Jake has taken on various leadership roles across the university. Beginning with his first eligible semester, he became a member of the Spanish National Honor Society, Sigma Delta Pi, for which he became involved with varying outreach and service projects. In his junior year he accepted the position of vice president, and in his senior year he led the Honor Society in the role of president.

Brenden graduates magna cum laude with a B.A. in Spanish and a B.S. in biology. Brenden’s postgraduate goals include medical school, where he expects to use the Spanish language as a fundamental part of his career. 

Brenden McQueeney
Brenden McQueeney

Over the summers, Brenden has begun to use his Spanish as he builds his experience in clinical environments through shadowing doctors with different medical specialties. Throughout his time at Virginia Tech, he has been an active member of the Spanish National Honor Society, assuming various leadership positions in the organization. He accepted the position of treasurer and added vice president to his responsibilities his senior year.

Jake and Brenden have impressive individual accomplishments, but often it is difficult to separate them when the faculty members think of their class engagement and extracurricular work in the Spanish program. Their professors remember both Jake and Brenden as actively involved in class discussions and serving as strong peer mentors. They both often initiated further discussion on cultural topics in class that encouraged their classmates to participate actively.

Outside of the classroom, Jake and Brenden not only created multiple opportunities to engage in outreach, but they also supported academic events and helped with study abroad information sessions. After having studied abroad in Madrid, Spain, Jake and Brenden shared their experience and appreciation with future students.

Beyond Virginia Tech, Jake and Brenden organized talks with local high school students to discuss the value of studying Spanish and its role in informing their respective careers. While their paths now diverge, we can only imagine that someday a Hughes Veterinary Clinic will be located next to a McQueeney Medical Office. Their work during the past four years in the classroom and beyond has made the Spanish faculty proud.

We shall miss you both in class, but now watch from afar, as you continue to achieve great success in your future endeavors.

Congratulations from our faculty members!

Esther Bauer
Sophia Tingting Zhao
Vinodh and María del
Patrick Ridge
Yuliya Minkova
Navdeep Sokhey
Nadine Adel Sinno

University Ceremony

Virtual Ceremony
Watch HokieBird reveals, tassel turns, and inspirational messages from Hoda Kotb and Nikki Giovanni.

Reading of Undergraduate Names
The names of undergraduates can be heard in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures video.

Reading of Graduate Student Names
The names of master’s degree recipients can be heard on the Graduate School page.

A Note on Dual Majors
Students with more than one major may hear their names read in the video of their primary major’s department.

Commencement Program

Willy in Mortarboard at the Moss Arts Center

Willy, one of our college mascots, has donned a mortarboard in solidarity with Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures graduates.



Share Your Celebration

Haley Fugate

Join the #HokieGrad conversation! Tag your photos and videos with #HokieGrad on Instagram and Twitter, or upload your photos and videos to the 2020 #HokieGrad Photo Album on Facebook.

 

Draper, a hound, stands on the Blacksburg campus with the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences Building in the background

Tag your college on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!

Gabi Gagliano

Please consider adding #VTMCLLGraduation to your social media posts and tagging the department on Facebook (@FLLVT)!