Editor’s note: With Virginia Tech Giving Day 2022 beginning at noon Feb. 23, a series of stories highlighting the impact of donations are featured on VTx this month.

Virginia Tech was Samantha Corduan’s dream school. But she’s from Edenton, North Carolina, and didn’t know if she could afford out-of-state tuition. Then she got an email from the Stamps Scholars program at the Honors College notifying her she had earned a full-ride and an enrichment fund for college.

Her dream of attending Virginia Tech was now a reality, and so would her dream of studying agricultural science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

“Getting this scholarship was the best feeling in the world,” Corduan said. “I'd always wanted to go to Virginia Tech, and that was the ‘Oh my goodness, I'm actually able to go to Virginia Tech moment’ for me. I’m so thankful to be a Hokie.”

Corduan’s family farm goes back five generations, and she has been surrounded by agriculture her entire life.

“I was immersed in agriculture from a young age and it’s something I want to continue because of the impact agriculture has on all of our lives each day,” said Corduan, who just wrapped up her first semester as a freshman. “I want to make an impact on others because this is a vital industry that people just don’t know enough about.”

What reinforced Corduan’s dream of studying agriculture sciences goes back to her days in 4-H.

She spent 13 vital years in the youth development organization, experiencing everything 4-H had to offer, including overnight camps, workshops, conferences, and more.

4-H agents she met along her journey encouraged her to follow her agricultural dreams, but one moment from 4-H impacted her the most.

She attended 4-H camp throughout her childhood and one year the camp was agriculture-related. The youth would travel out into fields, look at the various crops, and hear from both farmers and producers.

“That was a real lightbulb moment for me,” Corduan said. “I remember there was this one lady who talked to us and she had studied agricultural communications and did a lot more of the marketing side of agriculture. That just really stuck with me because I saw some people are just sharing agricultural knowledge with others.”

That inspiration stuck with her and has since evolved to include a geographic information systems minor for work with precision agriculture.

To fully maximize her academic experience at Virginia Tech and to use her Stamps Scholarship, Corduan, a member of the Honors College, will study abroad in Riva San Vitale, Switzerland. There, she will study the agricultural similarities and differences between the United States and Switzerland, all while expanding her world view and recognition of the global land grant. 

Without the support of scholarships, Corduan wouldn’t be able to attend her dream school or have a life-changing world experience.

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