Allison Laclede

Commit to unwavering CURIOSITY

Esther Moon Allison Laclede’s mom has found a unique way to encourage her daughter: by sending inspirational coffee mugs to Allison’s cadet barracks. Allison’s shelf is lined with mugs reading, “Sometimes, on the way to a dream, you get lost and find a better one,” and “Wherever life takes you, trust your journey.”

Her journey at Virginia Tech can be epitomized by the first mug, and her future will be shaped by the second. And, if she collects mugs from different places she’s travelled, Allison’s shelf is sure to be overflowing to showcase all her adventures.

Growing up with a father in the Navy and two brothers in the Air Force meant growing up with a passion to serve. Allison said that this drive within her was a door she was never able to close. She currently serves as the Second Battalion S1 and is tasked with administration and distribution of information to over 300 cadets. She has been the Cadet Alumni Liaison, platoon leader, squad leader, flight commander, fire-team leader, and physical fitness officer.

But, in 2013, Allison’s curiosity took her Virginia Tech experience on a detour. As she was scrolling through the seemingly endless emails she’d received that morning, a subject line caught her eye. Her college was offering a month-long trip during the summer of 2013 to assist a college program at the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya. Remembering what her mom’s coffee cup taught her—that sometimes, on the way to a dream, you get lost and find a better one—Allison decided to spend her summer in Kenya.

There, Allison tutored refugees, assisting in writing, assignment comprehension, English literacy, and computer skills.

She said, “I call refugee studies my accidental passion.”

Since her trip to Kenya, Allison has completely immersed herself in fighting for refugees’ rights. She organized an alternative spring break trip to Louisville, Kentucky, taught English in Myanmar, and interned with Catholic Charities Migration and Refugee Services to orient new families into the United States.

She’s recognized the importance of refugee children being proud of their accomplishments in the midst of adversity, so she organized an end-of-year awards banquet for students in the Virginia Refugee Student Achievement Program.

Her nominator said, “I would be hard-pressed to find anyone that gives more of their self. Allie is fearless, and Allie is selfless.”

Through Virginia Tech’s Coalition for Refugee Resettlement, Allison takes weekly trips to Roanoke with other students to teach English skills and prepare refugees for citizenship classes. As Deputy Program Coordinator, she uses her experience help student tutors understand how to best teach English as a second language.

Allison recently completed a 36-page research paper entitled This Place Will Become Our Home: Forced Relocation and Crisis in Refugee Resettlement, where she unpacked the gaps and issues refugees face as they acclimate into the country. She said, “People think I’m crazy, but I would totally do it again. My pride and joy is that work.”

Following graduation this spring, Allison will leave for intelligence school and enter the Air Force soon after. She says, “I believe in what we’re doing overseas and in the mission of the United States Air Force. The idea of getting my hands dirty and seeing for myself what is going on is so important to me.”

For her passion for refugee rights, her commitment to bettering the lives of others, and her willingness to simply go and serve, I’m pleased to present the Aspire! Award for CURIOSITY to Allison Laclede.

2017-2018 Aspirations Breakfasts*

February 23, 2018
Owens Banquet Room, 8-10 a.m.

*Registration is required to attend the Breakfast.

Aspire! Awards History

Past Recipients

December 1, 2017 Recipients

DeAngelo Haynes - Curiosity
Hadley Carter - Self-Understanding and Integrity
Nick McDaniel - Civility
Stephanie Lemus-Ortiz - Courageous Leadership
Noah Jennings - Ut Prosim

Chris Wise – Self-Understanding and Integrity

October 27, 2017 Recipients

Jordan Kuhn - Curiosity
Joseph Walker - Self-Understanding and Integrity
Harley Curran - Civility
Fahad Ashraf - Courageous Leadership
Julia Monroe - Ut Prosim

Laurie Fritsch – Curiosity

April 21, 2017 Recipients

Bobby Hollingsworth - Curiosity
Annemarie Bresson - Self-Understanding and Integrity
Christopher Bardo - Civility
Nala Chehade - Courageous Leadership
Elizabeth Galbreath - Ut Prosim

Hillary KovacsUt Prosim

Robert and Kara JuliusUt Prosim
Jerry Colyer [posthumous award] – Ut Prosim

March 17, 2017 Recipients

Mitch Clements - Curiosity
Samantha Nichole DiBiaso - Self-Understanding and Integrity
Maria Jernigan - Civility
Manjot Kaur - Courageous Leadership
Stephen Pistoia, Jr. - Ut Prosim

Lt. Tony Haga – Courageous Leadership

February 17, 2017 Recipients

Danielle Jeffers - Curiosity
Colleen McGovern - Self-Understanding and Integrity
Min Kyung “Julie” Sim - Civility
Lamont “Gucci” Livingston - Courageous Leadership
Jacob Long - Ut Prosim

Alece Alderson – Civility

November 4, 2016 Recipients

Rhiannon Hasenauer - Ut Prosim
Zack Sever - Civility
David Gardner - Courageous Leadership
Zachary Hoopes - Curiosity
Bridger Johnson - Self-Understanding and Integrity

Jon Fritsch – Self-Understanding and Integrity

October 7, 2016 Recipients

Zachariah Ewen - Ut Prosim
Jordan Evans - Civility
Megan Lee Myklegard - Courageous Leadership
Alex Hamilton - Curiosity
Bryan Faulkner - Self-Understanding and Integrity

Catherine Cotrupi – Curiosity

April 22, 2016 Recipients
Samantha Hall - Ut Prosim
Charelle Berry - Civility
Audrey Semel - Courageous
Jess King - Curiosity
Mike Schoka - Self-Understanding
and Integrity

Frances KeeneUt Prosim

John GrahamUt Prosim

March 18, 2016 Recipients
Joe Frazier – Civility
Nina Miller – Self-Understanding
and Integrity
Jacob Rosenthal – Curiosity
Haley BurgessUt Prosim
Tanushri Shankar – Courageous

Susan Anderson – Courageous

February 19, 2016 Recipients
Javier González-Rocha – Self-Understanding and Integrity
Obaid Rehman – Civility
Claire Kelling – Courageous
Meghan McLoughlinUt Prosim
Erica Nagotko – Curiosity

Anthony Purcell – Civility

November 13, 2015 Recipients
Kelsi Faley – Self-Understanding
and Integrity
Nivedha Balan – Civility
Rachel Cotton – Courageous
Ryan HopkinsUt Prosim
Caroline Amodeo – Curiosity

Gladys Sartin– Self-Understanding
and Integrity

October 2, 2015 Recipients
Walter Gonsiewski – Self-Understanding
and Integrity
Seyi Olusina – Civility
Skyler Mueller – Courageous
Anastasia MatusiewiczUt Prosim
Natasha Laramie – Curiosity

Vera Kidd – Curiosity

April, 2015 Recipients
Ankit Saigal – Curiosity
Baker Martin – Courageous
Nicole Selz
Self-Understanding and Integrity
Brett MontagueUt Prosim
Conor Cosgrove – Civility

Residence Life Resource Officer John TarterUt Prosim

Robby MoserUt Prosim

March, 2015 Recipients
Juan de la Rosa Diaz – Courageous
Jamaica Sykes – Curiosity
Luke Birch
Self-Understanding and Integrity
Jake VoorheesUt Prosim
Turki Saad Al-Zahrani – Civility

Captain Jim Snyder – Courageous Leadership

February, 2015 Recipients
Catherine Goggins – Courageous
Allison Laclede – Curiosity
Samuel Aguilar Chavez
Self-Understanding and Integrity
Larissa PeraraUt Prosim
Lauren Cashman – Civility

Jay Read – Civility

November 14, 2014 Recipients
Andrew George – – Courageous
Esther Moon – Curiosity
Kaleigh Leal – Self-Understanding
and Integrity
Stephen Bennett Ut Prosim
Philip Norman – Civility

Scott Busiel – Self–understanding and Integrity

October 3, 2014 Recipients
Patrick AckerUt Prosim
Ethan Poole – Civility
Danielle Smalls – Courageous
Emily Neer – Curiosity
Austin Dickey – Self-Understanding
and Integrity

Robin Boucher – Curiosity

April 25, 2014 Recipients
Brent AshleyUt Prosim
Anna Isserow – Civility
Daniel Evans – Courageous
Jacalyn Polis – Curiosity
Neal Moriconi – Self-Understanding
and Integrity

Tricia SmithUt Prosim

March 21, 2014 Recipients
Meredith Cahill
Natasha Chadha
Wes Williams
Emma Cohen
Emily Blair

Belinda Pauley

February 21, 2014 Recipients
Meghan Gilliam
Steven Gethard
Kylie Gilbert
Ashley Taylor
Emily Brown

Kelley Woods-Johnson

November 8, 2013 Recipients
Jordan Disney
Kelly Berry
Daniel Pierce-Parra
Anusha Rizvi
Camryn Sorg

Lyndsy Manz

October 11, 2013 Recipients
Rob Grimm
John Turbyfill
Brendan Craig
Thomas Friss
Chris Atkins

Meredith Hampton