Beyond Boundaries Scholars

The Beyond Boundaries Scholars program doubles the impact of qualifying scholarship gifts that help underrepresented and high achieving students.

Qualifying gifts may be made in the amounts of $3,000, $5,000, $7,000, or $13,000, and will be matched by the university, dollar-for-dollar.

To learn more about this special way to increase the power of your giving, contact Judy Wolfe at 540-231-2873 or


Thanks to over 120 generous donors to the Beyond Boundaries Scholars program, more than 231 Virginia Tech students are on track to realizing their dreams. Every one of has an inspiring story. We hope you enjoy reading several of them, below.

Alonzo Lapitan

Alonzo Lapitan wants to follow in his father’s footsteps by starting his own business, and he plans to build on his Virginia Tech experience to do so.

A member of the Class of 2021, the Virginia Beach native aspires to have his own construction firm one day. He majored in building construction to prepare.

“Going to college has always been a dream of both mine and my parents,” Alonzo said. “They both started working at the age of 19 so that they could raise me and never got the chance to go to college. Being a Beyond Boundaries Scholar has added to the responsibility I feel to make the most out of every moment and embrace every opportunity I have here at Virginia Tech, because I am no longer doing it for just myself; I am doing it for everyone who has helped me get to where I am today.”

Olivia Fox

Childhood trips to an aquarium sparked Olivia Fox’s fascination with wildlife, which has only grown with time.

She had her eyes set on transferring into Virginia Tech from community college, when the offer of a place in the university’s Beyond Boundaries Scholars program changed her equation for paying for college and allowed her to enroll in 2017. Since then, the Virginia Beach native has made the most of opportunities to learn inside of the classroom and out, including helping a professor identify different species in footage from camera traps in Belize, and volunteering at Roanoke’s Mill Mountain Zoo as a member of the Wildlife Society at Virginia Tech.

Olivia said volunteering at the zoo was particularly special as it represented “the opportunity to do what others had once done for me, and pass on my love of wildlife to young children.”

Kymani Gray

Kymani Gray’s mother encouraged him to explore architecture as a career because she knew how much he loved to draw.

But it was seeing the devastation Hurricane Sandy caused to his home state of New Jersey that helped cement Kymani’s decision to turn his interest into a career path and enroll in Virginia Tech’s architecture program in the fall of 2018.

“We were out of power for two weeks and ended up going to stay with relatives,” he recalled. “It made me want to learn about making hurricane-safe buildings.”

Kymani said he was attracted to Virginia Tech by its high rankings and reputation in architecture, and by the Beyond Boundaries Scholars program that helped reduce his cost as an out-of-state student.

“It definitely adds so much not having to worry nearly as much about paying for my degree here,” he said.

Ann Marie Paul

Ann Marie Paul’s hands-on experience erecting sheds and eco-cabins during a high school class led her to major in building construction at Virginia Tech.

“I love it,” the native of State College, Pennsylvania, said of her university program. “It’s very different from my experience in high school because you get to see the project-management side. We just had two representatives from Whiting Turner visit and talk about how large projects are broken down, like a 24-story hospital in downtown Baltimore.”

A 24-story hospital is a far cry from an eco-cabin, but Ann Marie, a member of the Class of 2022, said she is excited to build skills she can test on a larger scale.

“I think someday I want to manage big projects,” she said. “This is the right place for me, and I would not be able to be here without the generous Beyond Boundaries Scholars program. I really appreciate it.”

Alex Austin

Pushing yourself hard does not suit everyone. But Alex Austin welcomes a challenge. As a freshman he juggled first-year duties in the Corps of Cadets with the College of Engineering’s demanding curriculum and admits “you really need to learn to manage your time.”

Having done that, he’s added a new goal: becoming a Naval Aviation Officer.

“If I can physically do it and mentally do it I just feel that I have a duty to do it,” said Alex, who is from Colt’s Neck, New Jersey, and is in the corps’ Delta Company.

Melissa Pineda-Perez

Melissa Pineda-Perez’s parents came to the United States to get medical help for her older brother when he was a baby.

“They didn’t plan to stay at first, but did, and raised four children here, including me,” she said. “My father built a construction business and was just so determined. When he came here, didn’t know how to read or write, but he learned to read, write, and to speak English.”

Melissa draws inspiration from her parents as she strives toward her own ambition. All three of her older siblings enrolled in college, but she plans to be the first doctor of veterinary medicine in her family. A member of the Class of 2022, she majored in animal science in hopes of becoming a small-animal veterinarian.

“I really appreciate the Beyond Boundaries Scholars program scholarship,” said Melissa, who is from Manassas, Virginia. “It helps me focus on academics and not stress about my financial situation.”