We embrace the leadership and service of all our students.

2021 Student Leadership awards Winners and Presenters

A huge heartfelt congratulations to all of our Student Leadership Awards winners.

VCU established the Student Leadership Awards to recognize students for their contributions to student organizations, community service, and co-curricular excellence.

Recap: An Award Ceremony for the Record Books!

Unforgettable, Virtual World Experience Honoring our Winners and Nominees

On April 14, 2021, VCU honored the Student Leadership Award winners at a special virtual ceremony held in Degy World.  Check out our recap video to get a glimpse of our immersive live event. Through the use of personalized avatars, guest walked, talked, and interacted with other guests at the event. It was a blast.  Congratulations to our winners!

Award Winners|At-a-Glance

Student Organization of the Year Award
The National Society of Black Engineers at VCU

Outstanding Student Organization Program Award
Mentoring Program
Emerging Healthcare Leaders

Advisor of the Year Award
Nicole Patterson, V Cubed

Outstanding Graduate & Professional
Student Organization Award
Student National Pharmaceutical Association

Creativity at Work Business Student Organization Award
Business Student Ambassadors

Resiliency Award
Science Fiction and Fantasy Club at VCU

Outstanding New Student Organization Award
Bike Club

Outstanding Community Service Award
V Cubed

Challenge the Process Award
Alpha Gamma Delta

Fraternity & Sorority Life
Emerging Leader of the Year Award
Anna Isabel Asesor

Fraternity & Sorority Life
Member of the Year Award
Gaby McInnes

Fraternity & Sorority Life
Hall of Fame Award
Yashna Nainani

Fraternity & Sorority LifeOutstanding Chapter President
Tanya Ravi

Dr. Henry G. Rhone DSA Peer Leader Excellence Award
Jordan James

Dr. Richard I. Wilson University Service Award
Liz Deibel

William H. Duvall Award
Sneha Gade

University Emerging Leader Award
Katherine Chafian

VCU Alumni Award
Chloe White

Division of Student Affairs
Emerging Peer Leader of the Year Award
Zachary Short

Division of Student Affairs
Graduate and Professional Peer Leader of the Year Award
Amanda Ferrara

Division of Student Affairs
Senior Peer Leader of the Year Award
Hudson Dizon


VCU recognizes our undergraduate/graduate students and advisors for their contributions to student organizations, community service, and co-curricular excellence. Because of their work and dedication,  VCU thrives as great place to live, learn, and grow.

Amanda Ferrara

Graduate and Professional Student Peer Leader of the Year Award Recipient

Amanda has been involved in the success of nearly every program and initiative of Leadership and Student Organizations in The Commons.

She has managed New Student Organization registration, the Find Your Fit consultation program and recently taken full responsibility over the administration of the Transfer Student Leadership program including registration, facilitation, assessment, and social programs.

She has mentored, coached, and supervised Leadership and Involvement Ambassadors supported staff during a time of strategic change and became an integral part of the work done this past year.

Anna Isabel Asesor

Fraternity and Sorority Life Emerging Leader of the Year Award Recipient

Anna is a sophomore who has had a fast start as a leader at VCU by holding the roles of chapter Vice President, New Member Educator, National Delegate, LGBTQ+ Liaison, as well as Multicultural Greek Council President.

Her nominator notes how “[Anna] cares about the people she supports and wants to see her organizations grow and progress.”

She leads with enthusiasm, a positive attitude, and a willingness to serve.

Chloe White

VCU Alumni Award Recipient

Chloe got an early start thinking about the type of alumni representative she wanted to be.

She joined STAT, Students Today Alumni Tomorrow as a first year student, while later  becoming Vice President. As part of STAT she was introduced to networking with alumni and the community, and has learned just how important doing so can be.

Chloe's work inspired her to give back by being both an active alumni, helping others make lifelong connections, and being philanthropically-minded upon graduation. She plans to pursue a career in physical therapy after graduation, as well as join the Recent Graduates Council and other VCU Alumni groups.

Gabby McInnes

2021 Fraternity and Sorority Member of the Year Award Recipient

Gabby, as a leader in her chapter, served in roles such as Director of Scholarship, Director of Recruitment, Director of Alumnae Relations, and currently Vice President of Finance.

In these leadership roles, she has overseen two of the largest pledge classes for this chapter and emphasized and improved on formal recruitment training programs.

McInnes also started "The Sisterhood of the Travelling Sigmand", a monthly, chapter-wide newsletter where sorority operations and the life events of sisters are reported to the entire chapter.

Gabby is passionate about serving her sisters and has worked tirelessly to create a supportive and encouraging environment.

Hudson Dizon

Senior Peer Leader of the Year Award Recipient

Hudson is a reliable self-starter who gets things done and goes above and beyond to create a safe and inclusive environment for all residents. This year, she served as an RA mentor and the RA Liaison for GRC’s Community Council, all while picking up additional duty shifts.

Dizon worked to mitigate conflict and crisis situations and advocated for her residents tirelessly. Her ability to connect and build relationships with her residents has supported their learning and development in challenging times.

Jordan James

Dr. Henry G. Rhone Division of Student Affairs Peer leader Excellence Award Recipient

Jordan has consistently gone above and beyond in her work with New Student and Family programs over the past few years.

She earned the recognition of her fellow orientation leaders as the winner of the Overall Staff Member of the Year twice, and was highlighted by her peers for her both her enthusiasm and her positivity.

This past summer, as a member of the Leadership team for Orientation, her efforts helped maintain and deepen the meaningful experiences provided to our new students, despite the challenges of the pandemic and a new virtual orientation process.

Katherine  Chafian

University Emerging Leader Award

Katherine was chosen to be the Networking Chair for the Society of Women Engineers at VCU during her sophomore year, her first leadership position.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions reducing in-person meetings, she had to adapt her mentorship program plan. Her ability to pivot quickly led to a virtual mentorship program that placed 24 mentees with 12 mentors, a huge success.

Her impact in her first leadership role is clearly felt in her organization, and we look forward to where she leads next.

Liz Diebel

Richard I. Wilson University Service Award Recipient

Liz founded the American Sign Language Club at VCU to bring awareness to the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing community within VCU’s student population. This club serves to advocate for the accessibility and accommodation of classes and extracurriculars to students and community members.

In the course of her leadership, membership has grown to more than 300 students across all majors and disciplines.

And, despite the challenges of COVID-19, this student led her fellow officers, in an initiative to create an asynchronous course for the students to utilize during remote learning.

Nicole Patterson

Advisor of the Year Award Recipient

Nicole has made her organization, V Cubed, a top priority by attending E-Board meetings, creating new opportunities, and encouraging the group to always dream big.

Her nominator said “The relationship [they] have built with her has been completely over a virtual platform, yet [they] feel that she understands [them] as a person and as a leader. She values [their] thoughts and has always motivated [V Cubed] to pursue goals that might have seemed big and intimidating at first.”

Sneha Gade

William H. Duvall Award Recipient

Sneha has been a dedicated leader throughout her time at VCU. Her roles have included: Presidential Student Ambassador; Member of the Senior Vice Provost Advisory Council; the Social Chair for VCU Acceleration; a Chemistry Teaching Assistant and more.

Most recently Gade co-founded V Cubed, also known as Virtual Volunteer at VCU, along with two other students. V Cubed gained over 400 members and accumulated 1,000 plus hours of service, which is even more impressive given restrictions due to Covid-19.

Described as patient, funny, and relatable, she has truly served her peers, our campus, and the greater Richmond community.

Tanya Ravi

Outstanding Chapter President Award

Over the past year, facing unprecedented challenges, Tanya worked to create a positive mindset in her membership to lift morale and maintain energy in the chapter.

Leading with compassion and understanding, she focused the chapter on progress over perfection, and creating the necessary balance to persevere.

Yashna Nainani

Fraternity and Sorority Life Hall of Fame Induction Award Recipient

Yashana is our newest inductee into the Fraternity & Sorority Life Hall of Fame.

She has excelled from her first days at VCU and made major contributions to her sorority in that time. She has consistently lived the three main values of her chapter: Friendship, Scholarship, and Encouragement.

With regards to friendship, maybe it's best said by her nominator: “Scientists may argue that the heating of the Earth is coming from fossil fuels and human industry, but another proposal could easily argue it comes from the warmth of Yashna’s heart.”

Her scholarship has led her to five straight semesters on the Dean’s List as a member of the Honors College.

Described as the “go-to” person in her chapter,  she encourages her sisters every chance she gets.

Zachary Short

Emerging Leader of the Year Award Recipient

Zachary stepped up in a time when his department was short-staffed mid-year and took the lead in working with residents and getting them access to resources they needed.

His teammates have sung his praises since he joined the team, and staff are excited to get to work with him beyond this year. He truly emerged as a leader in a short period of time and has modeled what it means to be an RA.


We celebrate and acknowledge the achievements of our student organizations, fraternities, and sororities, through their continued dedication to leadership, service, programming, and the uplifting of our VCU and Richmond communities.

Alpha Gamma Delta

Challenge the Process Award Recipient

The key for Alpha Gamma Delta was to create more sister recognition and a strong sense of sisterhood through new initiatives such as Sister and New Member of the Week, academic shoutouts, and virtual sisterhood events. Sisterhood events also included movie nights, paint activities, and an organized sisterhood retreat where sisters safely enjoyed pick-up s'mores kits.

By taking risks and breaking traditions, they have successfully pivoted to the virtual world in order to serve and support their members.

Bike Club at VCU

Outstanding New Student Organization Award Recipient

Bike Club has excelled in bringing together an amazing, unique, and beautifully diverse group of students together through the love of biking.

Together, through safe, organized rides, they encouraged exploration of the city, healthy recreational habits, and empowerment. As one nominator said, “[Bike Club] has had a LOT of success in instilling its values of mindfulness, kindness, and love to all of [their] members…”.

Business Student Ambassadors at VCU

Creativity at Work Business Student Organization Award Recipient

Business Student Ambassadors have brought their brand of creativity to bear by focusing on member development during the Covid-19 pandemic, ensuring a strong future for their organization and the services they provide the School of Business and their prospective students, families, and other guests.

They fostered relationships with VCU Career Services and alumni to provide developmental programming including resume and interviewing workshops, speaking engagements with Alumni, and participation in the District 3 CASE ASAP conference.

Emerging Healthcare Leaders at VCU

Outstanding Student Organization Program Award Recipient

Emerging Healthcare Leaders took this past year through a mentorship program to prepare pre-health students at VCU to serve both their local and global community through their chosen profession.

The program provided their members from all health disciplines to be paired with a unique graduate student mentor who was passionate about helping guide members.

With 126 participants in 63 pairings, this unique program allowed pre-health students development and networking opportunities, as well as tips critical for future academic success.

National Society of Black Engineers at VCU

2021 Student Organization of the Year Award Recipient

The National Society of Black Engineers provides both leadership, personal development, and career enhancement opportunities to their members.

As one nominator wrote: “Members are offered a secure, judgment-free zone to express their thoughts and experiences on topics such as the [Black Lives Matter] movement, Covid-19, and the presidential election.” The nominator noted that this support helped create a sense of community and belonging for their members.

To help shape the futures of the next generation’s engineers, they manage a unique outreach program, the Pre-College Initiative. This organization hosts service events that support and encourage Kindergarten through 12th-grade students through hands-on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math activities, academic games, and informative talks from working engineers.

The Scientific Fiction and Fantasy Club at VCU (Skiffy)

Resiliency Award Recipient

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Club at VCU is the first recipient of the Resilience Award. They worked harder than ever this past year to bring their community together through a safe environment to embrace their common love: science fiction and fantasy.

They quickly worked to adapt traditional programming to the virtual world by creating weekly and bi-weekly opportunities to join movie watch parties, game nights, and more social events. These were so successful that they actually raised their average attendance. Skiffy truly created a sense of belonging at a time when distance and loneliness are common.

Student National Pharmaceutical Association

Outstanding Graduate and Professional Student Organization Award Recipient

Student National Pharmaceutical Association has worked diligently to prepare their 110 members to serve and educate VCU and the surrounding communities on better health practices.

During the peak of Covid-19, boxes were packed with cleaning supplies, masks, sanitizers, gloves, and over-the-counter medications, donated by their members which were delivered to help three local free clinics.

Through initiatives such as Fighting Diabetes, the Power to End Stroke, Remember the Ribbon, Operation Immunizations, and more, they educated the community utilizing infographics, posters, and presentations.

Virtual Volunteer at VCU               (V Cubed)

Outstanding Community Service Award Recipient

V Cubed looked at the challenges presented to participating in community service in a virtual world and created something new and exciting.

Intent on helping both Richmond community organizations and VCU students during the Covid-19 pandemic, they recruited over 400 members to a new organization in a short amount of time.

Together they worked to highlight existing service opportunities and create new ones, which in turn resulted in over 1000 hours of volunteering.