Amanda McGrath
Self-understanding and Integrity


Amanda McGrath "Constantly seek out ways to make yourself and others around you better." That is the simple philosophy Amanda McGrath from Springfield, Vt., a senior majoring in history in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Studies, employs in her daily life as a student, scholar, and member of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets.

When she was selected to participate in the 2011 Olmsted Foundation’s undergraduate overseas travel and cultural immersion program, McGrath had never been outside the United States. The Olmsted program allows future officers to acquire an in-depth understanding of foreign cultures, further equipping them to serve in positions of responsibility as leaders in the Armed Forces. As an international traveler for the first time, McGrath embarked on a two week trip to Panama in May 2011. It was a learning experience she says changed her life. "It highlighted important skills and knowledge needed to be a well-rounded military officer in our current global environment," she said.

As McGrath and her fellow travelers absorbed Panamanian culture, language, and history, they got a behind-the-scenes look at the American embassy and toured the Panama Canal. "We got a sense of past US presence and how proud the Panamanians are that they have full sovereignty of their country and control over their country’s most valuable landmark."

A service trip to a children’s mission in Colon on the Caribbean Sea coast gave McGrath what she called the most humbling experience of her life. "The children there taught me more Spanish than I had ever learned in a classroom. Working at the mission really made me stop and think about how much we take for granted and how far a little bit of work can go," she said.

A well–recognized and decorated cadet, McGrath commands a battalion of more than 300 cadets this semester. "It is challenging, leading your peers, but extremely rewarding and an excellent opportunity to learn about and practice my leadership."

For her willingness to experience, explore, and understand the values and principles her community and the many cultures she will encounter as an Air Force officer, McGrath was recognized with an Aspire! Award for pursuing Self–understanding and Integrity.


2015-2016 Aspirations Breakfasts*
February 19, 2016
March 18, 2016
April 22, 2016
Owens Banquet Room, 8-10 a.m.

*Registration is required to attend the Breakfast.


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

Glady Sartin – Self-Understanding
      and Integrity

Past Recipients


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