Corps of Cadets

  • Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets

    Cadet Kristine Irene Mapili (far right) seeks to learn inside and outside of the classroom.

  • Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets Kristine Irene Mapili

    In the fall, Cadet Kirstine Irene Mapili will begin graduate studies in civil engineering at Tech.

Leader, scholar

by Carrie Cox '99

There are more than 270 cadets who joined the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets with more than military service in mind.

Regardless of their career path, cadets in the Citizen-Leader Track, organized into the VPI Battalion, aspire to lead others. The battalion's vision is to graduate individuals with character, confidence, and wellness to lead successful lives in the service of others.

Cadet Kristine Irene Mapili, of Triangle, Virginia, a senior majoring in civil engineering, uniquely embodies the program's values. "Leadership is service, not position," said Mapili, who as VPI Battalion's executive officer was second in command. "Titles and ranks don't mean as much to me as whether or not someone genuinely cares about those around them."

Mapili's resilience, maturity, academic achievement (she carries a 3.5 GPA), and selfless commitment to others make her stand out. In fall 2015, as the 2nd Battalion's chief administrator for more than 320 cadets, she implemented an information-sharing network for activities that increased the cadets' involvement on campus. Additionally, she started a ride-sharing initiative for Thanksgiving and end-of-semester breaks, that helped cadets, especially first-year cadets, travel home. Because of her impact as a cadet, Mapili was recently named the VPI Battalion Outstanding Graduate for the Class of 2016.

Mapili's academic pursuits are equally noteworthy. In summer 2014, with partial financial support from the corps, Mapili visited Morocco, Sri Lanka, and Turkey as part of her 21st Century Studies program, building upon a year-long course sequence offered by the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. More recently, Mapili won third place in the Marr Technical Paper competition at the Virginia Student American Society of Civil Engineers' conference, the first time since 2012 that a Virginia Tech student had placed in the competition. As a member of the university's Flint Water Study Team, Mapili wrote her paper on corrosion in copper pipes.

"Mapili clearly represents the type of scholar and leader that Virginia Tech and the Corps of Cadets strive to develop: a person who seeks to learn inside and outside of the classroom and builds upon a foundation of serving others," said Capt. James Snyder, deputy commandant for the 2nd Battalion.

After a summer internship with engineering firm Hazen and Sawyer, Mapili will return to campus as a fifth-year engineering student. Following graduate school, she plans to join the Peace Corps.

Lt. Col. Carrie Cox (M.S. civil engineering '99), formerly the Corps of Cadets' executive officer, now teaches Air Force ROTC at Tech.