Skyler Mueller

Prepare for a life of COURAGEOUS LEADERSHIP

Skyler Mueller Being a courageous leader never crossed Skyler Mueller’s mind, even as he stood before a room full of students, talked about his privilege as a white male, and boldly spoke out against racial disparity.

He never intentionally sought out this aspiration because he was so busy simply living it.

Skyler said, “It’s an empowering thing to admit that to myself. Yes, I’m a courageous leader. I think there’s a lot of triumph in being flawed and still being able to be a courageous leader. I guess I received this award because I’m trying. I’m living with a purpose. It’s really humbling and encouraging to get told you’re doing a good job.”

When asked about his passions, Skyler listed off a multitude. He’s passionate about social justice and learning more about his privilege. He’s passionate about racial issues, topics of identity, learning about the African American experience, and literature. He cares deeply about service, and he says the best way to approach the world is to be others-minded.

But, most of all, Skyler is passionate about people. He said, “If I died today and people talked about my biggest accomplishment, I hope it’d be the deep connections with the ones I love and care about.”

It was those connections that landed him in front of a seminar about race put on by Seyi, another recipient of this month’s Aspire! Awards. Seyi asked Skyler if he’d be willing to share a bit about what it looks like to be a white, heterosexual, cis- male in America, and, with humility and bravery, he told it like it is.

His nominator said, “He will be the first to tell you about how his identities impact his journey in this world.”

Skyler said, “We understand much more about the world and people by caring to listen to other perspectives. Why are people upset about policing? Why do people say ‘hands up, don’t shoot’? Why do people burn American flags? Why is there wealth disparity across racial lines? I’ve found a lot of value in asking questions about how our world works, and I hope others would do the same.”

Skyler is a resident advisor in the Honors Residential College, and he said that the first-year students keep commenting on how bluntly Skyler asks deep and significant questions. He says he has a passion for hearing the stories of people, and he thinks questions hold a lot of power.

This summer, Skyler interned with the Intercultural Engagement Center to deepen his own learning and to contribute to inclusion efforts on campus.

A constant on the Dean’s List, Skyler is studying English with minors in philosophy and African American Studies. He serves as a Writing Center coach and is a brother Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed service fraternity. When he leaves Virginia Tech, Skyler hopes to be involved in youth development in some capacity, whether that’s through teaching high school English or working in collegiate student affairs.

His nominator said, “Skyler is a student who is comfortable in his own skin, who genuinely seeks to understand the dynamics of social justice, and who has never met a stranger. He is comfortable and willing to be vulnerable, and he allows others the grace to do the same.”

For his desire to make the world a better place for all people and his courage to pave the way, I’m pleased to present the Aspire! Award for COURAGEOUS LEADERSHIP to Skyler Mueller.

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