Stephanie Lemus-Ortiz

Prepare for a life of COURAGEOUS LEADERSHIP


The lesson Stephanie Lemus-Ortiz would pass on to others is one she’s lived. She said, “I’ve learned that regardless of the obstacles and hurdles you may face, the goals you set for yourself can be accomplished through hard work, dedication, and perseverance.” In mid-October of her sophomore year, Stephanie unexpectedly withdrew from school for medical reasons. She was gone for a year. During that time, she considered transferring to a different university because she hadn’t found her place at Virginia Tech and figured she might be better off elsewhere.

“I was stressed about graduating on time due to scholarships that were limited to four years,” said Stephanie. “Will I finish on time? If not, how will I pay for it? I applied to George Mason, but it didn’t work out. Obviously, I was meant to be here for a reason.”

Stephanie took extra courses each semester and over the summer, and she’s now on track to graduate in May with a degree in International Studies. It would have been understandable for her to bury her nose in books to catch up on what she missed, but upon her return, she opened herself up to opportunities outside academics and finally found her home here.

“I’ve discovered while at Tech that my passion is diversity and inclusivity,” said Stephanie. “I’m interested in improving the quality of life for minority groups, people of color, first-generation students, and marginalized groups.”

As vice president of the Latino Association of Student Organizations, Stephanie had the opportunity to attend a leadership retreat with other student leaders at Highlander Research and Education Center in August. “That just ignited a fire that was dormant in me,” she said.

She also served as a lead for the Hispanic College Institute, a role in which she mentored eight teenagers who were academically strong, but for various reasons weren’t considering college. Her nominator wrote, “Stephanie was chosen quickly as a lead mainly due to her strong self-confidence, empathy, and leadership skills. She had a life-changing impact on the students in her familia. These students related to her so well because Stephanie was extremely honest about her background and her personal struggles. Her decision to share these life experiences, although incredibly difficult for her, allowed her students to discuss their own struggles and feel less alone.”

Her nominator continued, “I feel honored to know someone who has been through so much, yet is still one of the most giving, good-natured, and funny people I have ever met.”

Returning to Virginia Tech, persevering in your studies, and sharing your life experiences for the benefit and growth of others shows true courage, Stephanie. It’s my pleasure to present you the Aspire! Award for COURAGEOUS LEADERSHIP.

2017-2018 Aspirations Breakfasts*

April 27, 2018
Owens Banquet Room, 8-10 a.m.

*Registration is required to attend the Breakfast.


Aspire! Awards History


Past Recipients

April 27, 2018 Recipients

Students
Akshay Rajendran - Curiosity
Lea Neumann - Self-Understanding and Integrity
Hunter Anderson - Civility
Miguel Parrado - Courageous Leadership
Matthew Morency - Ut Prosim

Faculty/Staff
Stephany Brown - Ut Prosim

Alumni
Dan Maguire - Ut Prosim

March 23, 2018 Recipients

Students
Travis Bauer - Curiosity
Ben Batman - Self-Understanding and Integrity
Brian Kehs - Civility
Juan Hernandez - Courageous Leadership
Jaclyn Marmol - Ut Prosim

Faculty/Staff
Krista Gwilliam - Courageous Leadership

February 23, 2018 Recipients

Students
Sam Buck - Curiosity
Amy Chen - Self-Understanding and Integrity
Jaclyn Abramson - Civility
Andrew Peck - Courageous Leadership
Bethany Lackey - Ut Prosim

Faculty/Staff
Maggie Holmes – Curiosity

December 1, 2017 Recipients

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

Faculty/Staff
Chris Wise – Self-Understanding and Integrity

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