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Alumni Awards

Rob Capra
Rob Capra
Betsy Bizot
Betsy Bizot

2021 Distinguished Alumni Awards Conferred

The Department of Computer Science is pleased to formally recognize Rob Capra  ('06) and Betsy Bizot ('78) with 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award distinctions.

Capra is the second recipient of the department's Distinguished Early Career Alumni Award. This distinction is conferred to an alumni whose degree was awarded within the past 15 years and who has demonstrated extraordinary leadership in the computing field in his career whether industry, government, or academia. 

At the Department of Computer Science annual awards banquet on April 29, Capra shared, “Don’t forget to look up and look at the broader picture of what is going on. I get it, I’m a geek, I like to put my head down and solve the problem by writing a computer program."

He further added, "And sometimes that is what we need, but sometimes life is not just an optimization problem. We need to think about how technology integrates with the world, how it integrates with people’s lives, and the impacts that our decisions as engineers and computer scientists make.”

Read more about Rob Capra and why he emphasizes the importance of 'looking up.' 

Bizot, who currently serves as a senior research associate at Computing Research Association (CRA), is the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award. This annual award recognizes outstanding achievements and contributions in research and/or practice. Bizot emphasized the need to be adaptable and flexible in this changing environment. "There is almost nothing that can’t be combined with computing: digital media, digital humanities, informatics, data science, and computing as a tool for other sciences," she said. "And looked at from the other direction, the basic analytical tools of computer science and computational thinking can apply to almost anything--think big!"

Read more about Betsy Bizot and how she has made a career of 'thinking big'.

Alumni of the Department of Computer Science are eligible for the below department and College of Engineering awards. You can nominate a fellow alumnus or alumna by filling out this form.

Department of Computer Science Distinguished Alumni Award

This award is given to a department alumnus or alumna who has demonstrated extraordinary leadership in the computing field in his/her career whether it has been in industry, government, or academia. The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes outstanding achievements and contributions in research and/or practice. It is expected that the awardee will visit the department to receive their award and give a presentation to faculty and students.

Previous Distinguished Alumni include:

Greg Lavender (2010)
Lucy Nowell (2012)
Bo Begole (2013)
Jamika Burge (2015)
Keith Sturgill (2017)
David Lavery (2018)
Dan Larimer (2019)
Joshua Mindel (2020)
Betsy Bizot (2021)

To read more about one of these winners, click on their name above.

Department of Computer Science Distinguished Early Career Alumni Award

This award recognizes similar achievements as the Department of Computer Science Distinguished Alumni Award, however this award is intended for an alumnus or alumna whose degree was awarded within the past 15 years.

Previous Distinguished Early Career Alumni include:

Mario Calixte (2020)
Rob Capra (2021)

College of Engineering Distinguished Alumni Award

This award recognizes extraordinary achievement in engineering and service to Virginia Tech of an alumnus or alumna of the College of Engineering.

Recent winners include: 

Kathy de Paolo (2019)
Joseph Loring (2012),
Mary Miller (2013).

College of Engineering Outstanding Young Alumni Awards

This award recognizes similar achievements as the College of Engineering Distinguished Alumni Award, however this award is intended for an alumnus or alumna whose undergraduate or graduate degree was awarded within the past 10 years.

In 2014, the winners were David Childress (BS CEE 2006) and Pardha Pyla (PhD CS 2007).

Membership in the College of Engineering Academy of Excellence

Admission to the Academy requires clear evidence of visible outstanding leadership in the alumnus's or alumna's field of engineering during their career. Computer Science alumni members currently in the Academy of Excellence include: Mary Miller (2010)Greg Lavender (2014)Lucy Nowell (2018).