The recipients of the inaugural Virginia Tech Illuminator Award have been announced. 

The awards will be presented to four members of the Virginia Tech community who have outstanding abilities, innovative ideas to fuel the future, well-honed leadership skills, and a commitment to service that makes a difference.

"Illuminators are members of our university community who demonstrate what it means to 'invent the future' by creating, researching, or developing a new or better idea that will help cure, create, or improve in the future," said Melissa Richards, assistant vice president for marketing and publications. "These award winners may also be community members who go above and beyond the call of duty in their job descriptions by way of stellar customer service for the betterment of the university or exemplary leadership for the betterment of the future of society or a charitable cause."

Receiving the faculty Illuminator Award is Associate Professor Jaime Camelio, who serves as the graduate program director for the Grado Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering in the College of Engineering. Camelio also directs the Center for Innovation-based Manufacturing and the Intelligent Manufacturing and Assembly Systems laboratory.

Receiving the staff Illuminator Award is Victoria Ratcliffe, who made exemplary contributions in the area of research education. Ratcliffe, who is manager of research education and development in the Office of the Vice President for Research, worked with the Faculty Development Institute to create Scholar-based, yearlong mentorship and training programs for new employees in the Office of Sponsored Programs.

The graduate student Illuminator Award recipient is Shernita Lee of Birmingham, Ala. A two-term president of the Black Graduate Student Organization at Virginia Tech, Lee is committed to providing academic and professional development opportunities, support groups, and social events to empower the black graduate student community. Her most recent accomplishments include publishing in the Journal of Cancer, presenting at several conferences, hosting undergraduate students for a summer research experience, and serving as president of Alpha Epsilon Lambda, the honor society of graduate and professional school students. She was recently named Virginia Tech's 2013 Graduate Woman of the Year.

The undergraduate Illuminator Award recipient is Martin Mock of Denver, a senior majoring in mechanical engineering with a minor in green engineering. Mock, an Eagle Scout, member of the Virginia Tech Ski Team, and team leader for both The Big Event and Relay For Life, is a subteam member of the Hybrid Electric Vehicle Team.

The Illuminator Award recipients were selected from a group of 13 nominations submitted before Feb. 28. The awards will be distributed on June 4.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

Written by Cecelia Crow.

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