The Batten School Announces Class of 2022 Pilot and Legacy Award Winners

Batten's 2022 Graduates
Batten's Class of 2022 celebrate the winners of this year's Pilot and Legacy Awards during the school's signature Finals Fête gala at the Paramount Theater in Charlottesville.

The Pilot and Legacy Awards, named in honor of the Batten School’s late founder, Frank Batten, Sr., are the most prestigious student-nominated awards for graduating Master of Public Policy students and students graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy and Leadership. The award winners are selected by their peers in recognition of the positive impact they’ve made on their fellow students, faculty and staff alike.

Graduate Pilot Awards

The Pilot Awards recognize graduating MPP students who have, in their own way, led the Batten School through their excellence and outstanding contributions to the School and greater community. Mr. Batten, former Chairman and CEO of Landmark Communications, desired that his company be distinguished by two things: extraordinary dedication to public service and outstanding performance. He said these goals were “inseparable—bound up together—and the sooner we can accept this concept, the quicker we can see that our transcendent purpose must be the pursuit of excellence.” In the spirit of his words, six MPP students were selected for this meaningful honor.

Alyssa Candelmo From Candelmo’s Nomination: “Alyssa is a testament of the type of student Batten tries to mold and cultivate. As a Fellow at the Women's Center, a working student, a veteran advocate, and full-time student, she completed everything she did with impact and grace. I don’t think any of us were surprised to learn about her goal of someday running for office. Alyssa is so perfectly suited for an elected position—she is confident in her convictions and motivated by using her degree to better the lives of others. We can’t wait to volunteer for her campaign!”

Sophie Mariam From Mariam’s Nomination: “Sophie Mariam is a tireless advocate for all-things-Batten. More specifically, she spearheaded BGC’s equity centered events, provided opportunities for service in meaningful ways, and served as an undergraduate GTA for two semesters. She consistently advocated on behalf of students and served as a strong ally in Batten’s mission to be more diverse and inclusive. Sophie has poured herself into the Batten community and makes those around her feel valued and important in shaping the change we hope to see in our Batten community.”

Daniel Nakasone From Nakasone’s Nomination: “Many students at Batten have had a positive experience because of Dan Nakasone. Dan somehow manages to be "everywhere" but also fully engaged whenever you speak with him on a one-on-one basis. He cares deeply about Honor and has a strong sense of integrity that he is not afraid to share. He serves as an example for his fellow classmates, and I know he will make a similar impact in the real world after graduation. I am proud to have been a classmate of Daniel Nakasone.”

Guada Pinto From Pinto’s Nomination: “Guada has been a voice for equity, inclusion, and student wellbeing. Through intentional, capable leadership of The Equity Collab and BLN, Guada has consistently put in thoughtful work to make Batten a more welcoming, representative space for all students. What's more, Guada makes the effort to mentor younger students and ensure they can become the leaders they want to be in the Batten community. Quite frankly, Batten would not be the same place if it were not for Guada Pinto.”  

Valery Schneider From Schneider’s Nomination: “If you were to ask a Batten student: Who embodies the mission of Batten? Who lives the values of this school day in and out and guides both cohorts with courage and compassion? The answer is undoubtably Val Schneider. She is championing the work of her peers, supporting them, and going above and beyond in each way. Val is a leader in the classroom -- participating with strong insight and asking her classmates for their opinion. Val is a leader outside of the classroom -- putting on events with BGC, working in Garrett Hall last year, serving as a GTA for two different fist year courses. She emerges as the clear leader in all situations.”

Kaytee Wisley From Wisley’s Nomination: “Kaytee has proved to be one of the most intelligent, driven, and considerate members of our cohort and a true leader of the community. With her characteristic quiet leadership, she spearheaded the creation of the PRIDE group and threw herself into putting on informative events, donation drives, and community for Batten students. From the moment we arrived in the midst of the pandemic and 2020 election, Kaytee displayed great passion about not only getting to work and developing her own skills - but also lifting up those around her. Always willing to help with a project or homework assignment, she clearly enjoys helping others.”

Undergraduate Legacy Awards

The undergraduate Legacy Awards are annually presented to five graduating students who have, in their own way, demonstrated leadership at the Batten School in five separate categories, each reflecting the virtues and experiences that distinguished Mr. Batten throughout his inspirational life. “The earlier in their careers that exceptional students begin to think of themselves as future public leaders who can promote a better society, the greater the likelihood they will become such leaders,” said Mr. Batten.

Leader Among Leaders: Edward Flanagan From Flanagan’s Nomination: “Ned Flanagan sets that standard for what it means to be BUC President. Ned works tirelessly to accomplish anything and everything Batten related, and truly does it all with humility and grace. He creates a community of respect and understanding in BUC that can be felt throughout the rest of the school, and continually sets an example for effective and kind leadership. He is dedicated to ensuring that every voice feels valued and heard. I think it’s fair to say that Ned is universally beloved by everyone in our class.” 

Integrity: Donavon Lea From Lea’s Nomination: “Donavon Lea embodies the kind of intersectional advocacy I aspire to in every space they step into. I am constantly challenged by the nuanced questions they ask, encouraged by the way they show up for people, bettered by the insights they offer, and awed by their bravery and boldness in standing up for what is right. They are true to themselves. They stand in power for themselves and for others, and call all of us to a higher standard of proactive care through their example.”

 Perseverance: Mila Ho From Ho’s Nomination: “Mila’s engagement in the greater UVA and Charlottesville communities is not only a testament to her ability to persevere during tough times, but, equally significant, to help others do so as well. There are countless examples that come to mind, including her work in a medical school lab since 1st year, where she has assisted in designing health technology that is more accessible for minority population, including the disability community, racial, and ethnic minorities. She is also working with a team of physicians, professors, and grad students where she is the lead author of a publication on refugee healthcare access and barriers.”

Intellectual Curiosity: Samuel Nall From Nall’s Nomination: “Sam embodies what it means to be an intellectually curious learner. Sam consistently engages professors and classmates in class to dig deeper and fully unpack whatever topic we come across: whether its and RMDA concept, a historical example from Comparative Policy History, or a philosophical theory from Integrating Ethics in Public Policy, Sam is always curious to learn more and pose productive questions. He challenges his classmates and professors alike to look at issues from different angles, not for the sake of argument, but because he really wants us to think more deeply about the important issues we are facing in the policy world.”

Pioneer: Lauren Cochran From Cochran’s Nomination: “When I think of what it means to be an ideal Batten student, it’s Lauren Cochran. She incredibly professional, poised, polite, prepared, and respectful in every conversation. She's incredibly confident and sure of herself inside and outside of the classroom, which translates to her over and above academic achievement. She always raises important questions in class and provides insights that really add to the material. Everyone in Batten knows that she is going to succeed in everything she does after college—she has and will continue to make Batten proud!”

Garrett Hall at Sunset

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