Kasey Kraft

Prepare for a life of COURAGEOUS LEADERSHIP

Kasey KraftThe Corps of Cadets has a most demanding set of standards: its honor code, foundational values of the War Memorial Pylons, the Cadet Oath, and its vision to develop leaders who have the highest standards of integrity. The leaders of any organization understand that its values and tenets must be embraced and upheld by its members. The most challenging condition of upholding prescribed standards is peer accountability; when some members choose not to embrace those principles and other members become aware of the noncompliance. This is especially trying in the social environment of a university community, with young people striving to gain and maintain acceptance of their peers.

Cadet Kasey Kraft joined the Corps of Cadets last fall as an on-campus transfer from civilian to cadet status. She admired the cadets’ values, engagement within the Virginia Tech community, and aspirations to serve as leaders with exemplary character in both military and non-military professions upon graduation. She joined the Virginia Tech Naval ROTC unit and the corps to chart a path to becoming a naval officer—just as her grandfather and her uncle had done. With her experience as a Virginia Tech student the previous academic year, Kasey was a leader among peers, assisting the first-year students with their academic routines and answering myriad questions about campus life. Early in fall semester, she said she was glad she joined the corps and ROTC programs, and exceedingly proud of her transition to the demanding military-structured learning community with her fellow first-year cadets.

Cadet Kraft’s corps experience dramatically changed on the last weekend in September. Kasey heard that at least two of her fellow first-year cadets, one under the legal age, had allegedly consumed alcohol while on pass. Having reflected on the remarks she heard from the Commandant of Cadets, other members of the corps staff, her understanding of the Cadet Oath and the personal conduct briefing all cadets had received, Kasey confronted the two cadets and determined the allegation to be true. She advised these two first-year male cadets that they had a responsibility to self-report their breach of conduct, and that, failing to do so, she would report their misconduct for appropriate adjudication. As can be imagined, Kasey was challenged by the cadets—yet she was uncompromising in her intentions and clearly stated so. Primarily due to her conviction, the two cadets self-reported and were held accountable for their misconduct, with sanctions to include an assessment by the Campus Alcohol Abuse and Prevention Center and instruction on making appropriate recreational choices. For taking a stand on the Corps of Cadets conduct standards, Cadet Kraft experienced a cool reception from some of her peers, to whom she had provided significant assistance, and she experienced disappointingly hostile interaction with the two males who violated cadet regulations.

Near the end of the semester, Cadet Kraft met with her commanding officer to discuss her cadet and leader development progress. He asked her to reflect on her role in ‘encouraging’ her two peers to self-report their conduct infraction. She shared that she was disappointed—first, that the two young men did not embrace the cadet standards as most other cadets do; and second, because of their subsequent harsh relationship with her. However, Kasey said she would do the same thing again because it was the correct thing to do and doing anything less would be a compromise of a leader with exceptional character. She also said that as a result of the sanctions the two cadets received meaningful assistance that they may not have experienced otherwise.

This is the story of an individual’s own personal, courageous action at the cost of peer acceptance. Kasey said, “‘Have the courage of your convictions’ was a phrase I heard countless times growing up. It is by far the best piece of advice I have ever gotten. I see so many people my age give up who they are and what they believe in to be the person they think their peers want them to be. It breaks my heart. Respecting others while still standing up for what I feel is right, and staying true to my morals and ethics has never failed me. Courage is not a character trait others view with disdain, it is one they respect. While the right thing isn’t always the easiest thing, the ability to choose between the two is what sets a person apart.”

For having the fortitude to speak up; for risking her own comfort and security; for upholding the Corps of Cadets’ stringent standards; and for inspiring us all with her actions, Cadet Kasey Kraft is selected recipient of the Aspire! Award for COURAGEOUS LEADERSHIP.

Aspire! Awards History

Past Recipients

April 27, 2018 Recipients

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

Stephany Brown - Ut Prosim

Dan Maguire - Ut Prosim

March 23, 2018 Recipients

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

Krista Gwilliam - Courageous Leadership

February 23, 2018 Recipients

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

Maggie Holmes – Curiosity

December 1, 2017 Recipients

Angel 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