David Hernandez

Prepare for a life of COURAGEOUS LEADERSHIP


David HernandezDavid Hernandez dreams big. He intends to leave a positive legacy on this campus and beyond. He said, “I want to put Virginia Tech on the map when it comes to advocating for workplace equality, and I want to help foster a network of aspiring LGBTQ professionals from across different universities and around the world.” If his activity this year is any indication, he is well on his way to doing so.

David is founder and president of the Virginia Tech chapter of oSTEM, which stands for Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. The purpose of oSTEM is to promote leadership, development, and success for LGBTQ students in STEM fields of study, and to provide a platform to connect students with supportive professionals and academics.

David said, “In 19 states, including Virginia, there are no mandates in place that prohibit workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. This year, I have been working hard and getting involved in organizations that aim to show people that it is okay to be oneself in the workplace; I want to put an end to workplace discrimination, promote workplace diversity, and provide more opportunities for LGBTQ individuals to succeed in the workplace.”

It's been tough getting the oSTEM chapter started, but the ball is rolling and David is hoping for big things next year. He said he has learned that starting something from the ground up takes a lot of hard work; it takes a lot to establish something where there was nothing before, and sometimes it can take a toll on oneself.

His nominator wrote, “As an undergraduate studying computer science, David is challenged academically by one of the most rigorous academic programs on campus. His time could easily be filled with homework and projects alone. Yet David is driven to better his community. Even more impressive is that as an out, gay man of color, he puts his identity on the line every day, speaking on behalf of countless other LGBTQ students in STEM fields and garnering support, without knowing what sort of reaction he might get, since LGBTQ issues are still seen by some as taboo.”

David is a junior majoring in computer science and applied discrete mathematics. He is passionate about cryptography and number theory; he finds numbers enthralling and said that cryptography is one of the most important and pertinent applications of number theory in today's digital world.

He is a dean’s list student and has tutored several other students in calculus, logic, linear algebra, and combinatorics, which Wikipedia defines as “a branch of mathematics concerning the study of finite or countable discrete structures.” He is site coordinator for a community service group that educates retired people about computer science and technology. He is a member of the Cyber Security Club at Virginia Tech and the Gamer's Group of Virginia Tech.

When he was notified of this award, David said, “I never really thought that what I have been doing was anything particularly exemplary, but after stepping back and examining my progress throughout the year, I've realized that supporting something you care about can inspire others to do the same—and that great things have been accomplished with something as small as a whisper.”

For taking a stand at great risk to himself to lead our campus along the path of inclusivity; for living the Principles of Community and challenging others to as well; for truly leading by example; and for his advocacy to end workplace discrimination and promote workplace diversity, David Hernandez has been chosen recipient of the Aspire! Award for COURAGEOUS LEADERSHIP.


2017-2018 Aspirations Breakfasts*

December 1, 2017
Owens Banquet Room, 8-10 a.m.

*Registration is required to attend the Breakfast.


Aspire! Awards History


Past Recipients

October 27, 2017 Recipients

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

Faculty/Staff
Laurie Fritsch – Curiosity

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