Delaney Tifft, a senior in the Department of Human Development and Family Science at Virginia Tech, has exemplified outstanding commitment and self-understanding to an a cappella group and her on-campus job. That devotion has earned her one of Virginia Tech’s Aspire! Awards.

Virginia Tech’s Student Affairs bases its Aspire! Awards on the university’s five Aspirations of Student Learning. Anyone in the Virginia Tech community can nominate students, faculty, staff, and alumni who exemplify the characteristics of the aspirations: curiosity, self-understanding and integrity, civility, courageous leadership, and Ut Prosim (That I May Serve).

According to Tifft’s nomination, her values of empathy, integrity, and community uphold the principles of self-understanding and integrity as she strives in her job and extracurricular activities.

As a member of Sensations, an all-female a cappella group at Virginia Tech, Tifft creates music and memories, building relationships and a sense of community within her group.

“I have never had a group of female friends like I do with Sensations,” said Tifft. “The amount of empowerment we share with each other, and even the memories we’ve made together — all going toward one common goal — has really helped me understand myself and find those values.”

Sensations brings together a diverse group of people with different majors, backgrounds, and experiences. Tifft said all members must bring empathy into the group to perform well together.

Yet it all starts with the individual.

“When we are able to understand ourselves, we can really understand other people,” Tifft said.

She extends her values of empathy and integrity to her work at The Source, an on-campus resource center that helps student leaders build a foundation for their organizations. 

Two years ago, Tifft, joined with her supervisor, Morgen Snowadzky, in founding the Be Well Lead Well program at The Source. Together they help upcoming leaders link wellness with qualities of leadership. Be Well Lead Well started as an idea, but Tifft took the idea and pushed it to become reality.

Snowadzky, an assistant director of student organizations at Virginia Tech, nominated Tifft for the Aspire! award for her character, her values, and her devotion to creating a program to help others. 

“Delaney has a depth of self-awareness, an openness to taking feedback, and a commitment to doing something based on her own values, and she sees herself so integrated in the things she cares about,” Snowadzky said.

“These aspirations aren’t something for which you can just check a box,” Snowadzky added. “They are all things you actively have to pursue.”

Written by Clay Williams, a junior majoring in multimedia journalism