In the photo, a young Nigerian woman (Nneoma Nwankwo) stands with her hands clasped on the steps of a brick building. She is wearing a medallion that recognizes her as an Honors student.

Nneoma Nwankwo: From chickenpox to Undergraduate Student of the Year (Virginia Tech Honors College)

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Nneoma Nwankwo hasn’t received her American driver’s license yet. Instead, at 16, she spent her gap year helping her mom plan a gender policy dialogue with the World Bank, working at her uncle’s advertising firm, and sitting in on her mom’s Oxfam meetings in Nasarawa and in Jos, Nigeria — both far northeast of her hometown of Lagos, Nigeria. By …

In the photo, a young woman (Emily Barritt) looks toward the camera for a portrait inside of her dorm room. She sits on a computer chair at a desk under a bunked bed, from which hangs multicolored string lights.

Emily Barritt orchestrates a day 15 years in the making (Virginia Tech Honors College)

Erica Corder Photo, Writing 0 Comments

For one day last April, nearly 50 musicians took to the sidewalks on Virginia Tech’s campus to perform open-air, mini-concerts. It was a day 15 years in the works, and yet, without Emily Barritt and her enthusiasm, it may not have happened. Along with a small team, Barritt, a sophomore Honors student, McNamara Scholarship recipient, and neuroscience and chemistry double …

Illustration of newspaper pages laying on top of each other, with various headlines about famed serial killer Henry Lee Lucas.

True Crime Blacksburg: The Henry Lee Lucas Story (The Pylon)

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One of America’s most notorious serial killers was born to a poor family from Blacksburg, Virginia. He would go on to claim hundreds of lives—or so he said. “As the Texan judge set his bail for $1 million, Henry Lee Lucas laughed. The Blacksburg, Virginia-native was being charged with the brutal murders of three women, ranging from 15 years of …

Photo taken from the outside of a small office. A sign with the name "Lynn Nystrom" is visible on the periphery of the photo. Inside the office is a desk and chair and an assortment of knick-knacks like photo frames and a stained glass picture of a horse.

Lynn’s Office (The Pylon)

Erica Corder Photo, Writing 0 Comments

When Lynn died, one of the first things I thought of was her office, with its eclectic and distinctive decorations: the stained glass horses in the window, the cluster of framed photos on the filing cabinets and shelves, the beaded mobile. I thought of dropping by, often unannounced, knocking on the door, and being welcomed in by a warm hello …

In the photo, a young woman (Maggie Carolan) sits on a desk in her dorm room. Her wall is covered with decorative posters, string lights, and a hanging Australian flag.

Maggie Carolan takes on Flint, rainwater harvesting, and Stanford (Virginia Tech Honors College)

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Maggie Carolan’s freshman year spring break was where it all started. “I was going to IKEA with my mum, because IKEA’s the best,” the Stafford, Virginia native explains, pronouncing her words with a hint of an accent she picked up from her Australian mother. “We were in the car, and I get a call. And it’s Dr. Marc Edwards.” Edwards …

A photo of a group of people sitting under an outdoor gazebo, eating plates of food.

Dialogue on Race aims for action (The Pylon)

Erica Corder Photo, Writing 0 Comments

In the 1980s, a historic Black community located at the south limit of Blacksburg fought to prevent the paving of a road on their own land that led right up to their cluster of homes. Backed by the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors, developers paved the road anyway, naming it after the nickname of the family’s late matriarch, Nellie, a …

In the photo, soon-to-be President Donald Trump stands on a platform and speaks in front of a massive crowd of people.

Humans of a Southwest Virginia Donald Trump Rally (The Pylon)

Erica Corder Writing 0 Comments

When Kathy Siron dressed for the Donald Trump rally on Feb. 29, she draped her grandfather’s dog tags around her neck and pinned her other grandfather’s Purple Heart onto her shirt. Her grandfather received the Purple Heart, she said, after being shot in the head on the beaches of Normandy. He survived. And if he were alive today to see …