Anastasia Matusiewicz

Embrace UT PROSIM as a way of life


Anastasia Matusiewicz In October of her sophomore year, Anastasia Matusiewicz tagged along with some friends to check out a Students Helping Honduras meeting, though she admits that it was solely to avoid doing homework. The very next night, she signed up to travel to Honduras with the organization, though she admits that was just to do something fun for winter break.

Following that trip, her life trajectory changed drastically.

She returned to Virginia Tech and changed her minor from German to Spanish so that she could better understand the Hondurans. She started dreaming big dreams about what she could do to make the impoverished country a better place. Then, she started making things happen.

Honduras is one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere and has the highest murder rate in the world. One thousand rural villages across the country lack adequate access to schools, exiling children to abandoned buildings for a makeshift education maybe once a week.

In 2013, parents in the village of Panchame approached Students Helping Honduras because they were concerned that their children, who were dropping out at an alarming rate after sixth grade, would join local gangs.

To remedy the dire situation, the organization, of which Ana is president, focused their efforts on getting kids off the streets and into schools. The former school in Panchame was overcrowded, forcing students outside to complete their schooling in the unpredictable nature of Honduran weather. Ana and her team from Virginia Tech planned to build a schoolhouse with three classrooms.

Ana said that the most incredible part of the project was when the Panchame parents fundraised for extra supplies to build an additional classroom and small office.

Ana said, “When we started, it was nothing more than a pile of dirt, but now, it is a beautiful four classroom middle school—painted maroon and orange in honor of the Hokies!”

Her nominator, a fellow student, said, “Like many other international studies majors, Ana learns every day about the problems that plague underdeveloped countries and theories about how to improve these regions. But Ana has gone beyond the classroom, turning theory into practice and demonstrating that you don’t need to be a member of a community to be an advocate for that community.”

In the past two years, Ana has visited Honduras seven times. Last winter, she was one of three students invited for the ribbon cutting of the newly built school. Ana said, “All the hard work we put into the past few years paid off in that moment. I kind of realized I was working for something beyond myself.”

Not only does Ana work with Students Helping Honduras, but she also has become one of the strongest voices for Latinos at Virginia Tech. Last semester, she was part of a group that brought family members of Mexico’s 43 missing students to campus to bring national attention to the cause.

Ana travels to Roanoke weekly to help refugees refine their English language skills. This past summer, she spent six weeks in Honduras to teach English at a summer camp.

Following graduation this spring, Ana hopes to work for Teach For America and continue her work with the Latino community in the United States. At some point, she’d like to go to law school to study immigration law.

Her nominator said, “Though we all strive to live by the Aspirations for Student Learning, I have met few people that do this with as much devotion and outward expression as Ana.”

For her courage, her tenacity, and her selflessness, I’m honored to present the Aspire! Award for UT PROSIM to Anastasia Matusiewicz.


2017-2018 Aspirations Breakfasts*

October 27, 2017
Owens Banquet Room, 8-10 a.m.

*Registration is required to attend the Breakfast.


April 21, 2017 Recipients

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

Faculty/Staff
Hillary KovacsUt Prosim

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


Aspire! Awards History


Past Recipients

April 21, 2017 Recipients

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

Faculty/Staff
Hillary KovacsUt Prosim

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

March 17, 2017 Recipients

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

Faculty/Staff
Lt. Tony Haga – Courageous Leadership

February 17, 2017 Recipients

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

Faculty/Staff
Alece Alderson – Civility

November 4, 2016 Recipients

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

Faculty/Staff
Jon Fritsch – Self-Understanding and Integrity

October 7, 2016 Recipients

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

Faculty/Staff
Catherine Cotrupi – Curiosity

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

Faculty/Staff
Frances KeeneUt Prosim

Alumni
John GrahamUt Prosim

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

Faculty/Staff
Susan Anderson – Courageous
Leadership

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

Faculty/Staff
Anthony Purcell – Civility

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

Faculty/Staff
Gladys Sartin– Self-Understanding
and Integrity

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

Faculty/Staff
Vera Kidd – Curiosity

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

Faculty/Staff
Residence Life Resource Officer John TarterUt Prosim

Alumni
Robby MoserUt Prosim

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

Faculty/Staff
Captain Jim Snyder – Courageous Leadership

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

Faculty/Staff
Jay Read – Civility

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

Faculty/Staff
Scott Busiel – Self–understanding and Integrity

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

Faculty/Staff
Robin Boucher – Curiosity

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

Faculty/Staff
Tricia SmithUt Prosim

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

Faculty/Staff
Belinda Pauley

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

Faculty/Staff
Kelley Woods-Johnson

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

Faculty/Staff
Lyndsy Manz

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

Faculty/Staff
Meredith Hampton