Six Virginia Tech students are preparing for unique trips and experiences that will enhance their undergraduate education experience, thanks to University Honors Odyssey Fellowships and support from generous donors.

Students who apply to the fellowships design an experience, which typically includes travel (domestic or international), internships, shadowing, research, or other experiential learning opportunities.

The 2016 Odyssey Fellowship winners include:

  • Class of 1954 Fellowship: Maria Jernigan of Virginia Beach, Virginia, a triple major in philosophy, Spanish, and theatre arts in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. Next summer, Jernigan plans to visit schools in Estes Park, Colorado; Westmead, Australia; and Auckland, New Zealand, to observe different implementations of project-based learning and understand how the model may be adopted for wider use in U.S. public school classrooms.
  • Class of 1956 Ut Prosim Fellowship: Gargie Nagarkar of Herndon, Virginia, who is majoring in sociology in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. Next summer, she plans to travel to India to develop health and hygiene lessons for underserved populations.
  • Austin Michelle Cloyd Fellowship: Lea Koehler of Ashburn, Virginia, who is majoring in business information technology in the Pamplin College of Business. She plans to use her background in information technology to prevent structural impediments to the integration of refugees. This summer, she is working with Catholic Charities Migration and Refugee Services in Arlington, Virginia. Later this summer, she will be visiting the organization Give Something Back to Berlin in Berlin, Germany, and will work there next summer as well.
  • Jerry and Leslie Gough Fellowship: Thomas Jacobs of Henrico, Virginia, a double major in biological sciences in the College of Science and English literature in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. This summer, Jacobs will travel to the Sichaun University of Medicine Hospital in Sichaun Province, China, to observe the practice of traditional Chinese medicine in conjunction with modern medical practices.
  • Wayne and Claire Horton Fellowship: Richard Tan of Arlington, Virginia, who is majoring in aerospace engineering in the College of Engineering. Next summer, Tan plans to gain experience in researching and developing efficient and environmentally responsible aircraft with SAFRAN in Toulouse, France, as well as studing the effect of the aerospace industry on society. He will also enroll in the Université de Toulouse II to study French.
  • Patricia C. Perna Fellowship: Erin Hamric of Pulaski, Virginia, who is majoring in human nutrition, foods, and exercise in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Next summer, she plans to experience how alternative medicine has been incorporated in treating illnesses and improving quality of life through shadowing experiences in integrated oncology treatment at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and acupuncture at Yo San University in Los Angeles, California.

The students propose their own plan during the application process to cater to their specific interests and goals. Some fellowships have requirements, such as major, year, or promotion of certain qualities, like social justice or volunteerism.

Students apply for Odyssey Fellowships in the fall of their second year at Virginia Tech with award selection that spring. Transfer students may apply provided they have at least four semesters remaining at Virginia Tech at the time of the award to give enough time to plan and execute their proposed experience. Interested honors students are encouraged to contact University Honors to discuss qualifications and the application process.

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