The Beyond Boundaries Scholars program doubles the impact of qualifying scholarship donations helping underrepresented and high-achieving students.
Thanks to dozens of generous donors to the program, 137 new Virginia Tech students are on track to realizing their dreams. Every one of them has an inspiring story. We hope you enjoy reading several of them below.
Matthew Brockmeyer grew up with his eyes on the stars.
"I've always been fascinated with rockets, planes, books about space, and anything of the sort," he explained, "so much so that my dad used to always joke with me by asking, 'When are you going to build me that rocket?' "
Matthew may very well get the last laugh. A freshman at Virginia Tech who hails from Manorville, New York, he is studying general engineering for now, but ultimately plans to major in aerospace engineering, which is just what you do to become a rocket scientist.
"I really liked this school," Matthew said of Virginia Tech. "But without this scholarship I probably couldn't afford to come here as an out-of-state student. I don't think I'd be able to achieve the same dreams without having this caliber of education."
Jasmine Castillo learned to value education from her mother, who left high school when she had Jasmine's oldest sister and never made it back.
"She's had two jobs for most of her life, sometimes even three," said Jasmine, a freshman from Fairfax, Virginia, who is majoring in history and political science. "She moved us around to better locations, even though it was way more expensive. She always wanted us to get the best schooling possible ... and she made sure all of us graduated."
A child of immigrants, Jasmine wants to become an educator in order to "teach what it means to be a citizen in America, and how important it is to participate and be knowledgeable about what's going on."
On being invited into the Beyond Boundaries Scholars program, Jasmine rushed to tell her mother the good news.
"We were just all really excited," she said. "The scholarship was super important, especially with the situation at home, with my mom having to pay for my other two sisters to go to school."
Along with an opportunity, Jasmine's scholarship provides her inspiration as she works toward her goals at Virginia Tech.
"If people ask me, 'So why are you here?' I'm just like, 'I have people counting on me.' And those people are the scholarship donors — as well as my family."
The Beyond Boundaries Scholars program doubles the impact of qualifying scholarship donations helping underrepresented and high-achieving students
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donors to the program as of
donated to the program
from which Beyond Boundaries Scholars have come
Scholarship funding through the program, thanks to
VIRGINIA TECH'S ONE-TO-ONE MATCH OF DONATIONS
While in the eighth grade, Kennedy McLeod underwent surgery that kept her in the hospital for a week. She left wanting to become a nurse, and still does.
"The nurses would come in all the time, and I realized I would like to do that for a career, too," said Kennedy, who hails from Columbia, South Carolina. "It's helping people and communicating with them in a hospital environment."
When she first visited Virginia Tech, Kennedy knew little about it other than that an older cousin had gone there.
"I visited the campus and it was beautiful," Kennedy said. "This became my dream school in my head. Then I went through a process of coming to terms with the fact that since I was from out of state, the tuition was too high for my family and I to pay without severe student loans. For like a year, I would just be so upset thinking about how I couldn't come here."
News that Kennedy had been offered a spot in the Beyond Boundaries Scholars program changed the equation for her and her family.
"This scholarship means the world to me," she said. "I've always wanted to get out of my comfort zone and go to a completely new area from where I grew up and lived my whole life. This scholarship is what allowed me to actually pursue that, and I'm forever grateful."
While growing up in Newport News, Virginia, George Wenn III loved spending time in a strip of forest near the railroad tracks behind his home. It led him to appreciate nature, and to Virginia Tech, where he has majored in wildlife conservation, with a minor in urban policy and development.
"I want to be able to help businesses work efficiently and effectively so that they're getting profits while also being friendly to the environment," George explained.
George was certain he wanted to attend Virginia Tech, which had programs in the College of Natural Resources and Environment that directly aligned with his career goals. He wasn't sure he and his family could afford it. Then George got the email.
"When we learned about the Beyond Boundaries Scholars program it made Virginia Tech a real option for us, and here I am," he said. "Everything is exactly as I hoped it could be. I'm at the school where I want to be, in the exact major I want to be in. This scholarship gives people the feeling that we can accomplish our goals if we set our minds to it and work hard. That feels great."
Tremendous, collective impact
The success of the Beyond Boundaries Scholars program is a credit to dozens of generous donors.