Cadet John Steger of Springfield, Va., a senior majoring in history in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and minoring in leadership studies was selected as Virginia Tech's 2010 Undergraduate Student Leader of the Year.
Coordinated by the Department of Student Activities, this award is one of the University Student Leadership Awards given out each year.
During the fall semester Steger served as regimental commander, the top cadet in the corps. He led the leadership training and daily operations for 769 cadets, while also serving as head residence advisor for Brodie, Rasche, and Monteith Halls. As regimental commander, he was most successful in initiating new programs and motivating the corps to excellence in the areas of academics and service.
Maj. Gen Jerrold Allen, the commandant of cadets, commented, “His greatest strengths are his ability to motivate cadets by his personal example, his commitment to never ask them to do what he is not willing to do, and by his dedication to recognize achievements by cadets.” Steger initiated cadet of the month awards for all four classes as well as recognizing cadets with a 4.0 grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) and other academic successes and he planned and led the most effective New Cadet Week training program to train the second-largest freshman class in 30 years.
Under Steger’s leadership, cadets conducted five blood drives, collecting 249 units in just one semester; mentored in the public schools; raised $11,300 for the Matt La Porte Memorial Scholarship and the National D-Day Memorial; and completed 14 other community service projects.
Steger has excelled as a leader in the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets as well as in his numerous other activities on campus. He served as the senior to the executive committee of the German Club, which was founded in 1877 to provide a social outlet for students, and is the oldest non-Greek fraternal organization at Virginia Tech.
Twice he was the cadet-in-charge of the Virginia Tech Army ROTC teams in the Army 10-mile race in Washington, D.C. In 2008, his team finished first of 49 ROTC teams and in 2009 they were first of 56 teams. He finished as the fastest cadet of 400 in 2008 and the second fastest of 475 cadets in 2009. Steger finished in the top 90 runners of all ages both years, competing against 30,000 entrants.
He was also chosen to lead the Army ROTC Ranger Challenge team. Under his leadership, this team succeeded in the regional competition and won an invitation to be one of only eight ROTC teams nationwide to compete in an international event at West Point this spring. Steger also represented his college by serving as a College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences Student Ambassador.
Upon graduation, Steger will be commissioned in the U.S. Army as an infantry officer.
Steger was also named the Outstanding Senior in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, the winner of the Frank Beamer Award for Exceptional Service presented by the The Alpha Omicron Circle of Virginia Tech, and the General George C. Marshall Award winner given to the top senior in each Army ROTC unit.
For seven consecutive years, the winner of the Undergraduate Student Leader of the Year award has been a member of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets. Below are the six previous award winners.
- 2004, Capt. Daniel Richardson, U.S. Air Force, who earned a degree in industrial and systems engineering from the College of Engineering and the W. Thomas Rice Center’s minor in leadership studies. Richardson is now flying C-17’s for the U.S. Air Force.
- 2005, 1st Lt. Dia (Kinnaman) Mitchell, U.S. Air Force, who earned a degree in management from the Pamplin College of Business and the W. Thomas Rice Center’s minor in leadership studies. Mitchell is now flying C-130’s for the U.S. Air Force.
- 2006, Special Agent Christina Royal, U.S. Air Force, who earned a degree in sociology from the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and the W. Thomas Rice Center’s minor in leadership studies. Royal is now serving as an Office of Special Investigations officer in the U.S.Air Force.
- 2007, 2nd Lt. Andrew Archut, U.S. Marine Corps, who earned a degree in history from the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and the W. Thomas Rice Center’s minor in leadership studies.
- 2008, 2nd Lt. Mark Amos, U.S. Air Force, who earned a degree in electrical engineering from the College of Engineering and the W. Thomas Rice Center’s minor in leadership studies. Amos is completing undergraduate pilot training in the U.S. Air Force.
- 2009, Adnan Barqawi, who earned a degree in management from the Pamplin College of Business and the W. Thomas Rice Center’s minor in leadership studies. Barqawi is now teaching fifth grade in Arkansas with the Teach for America Program.
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