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Undergraduate Student

Charles Aquilina

Geography and Environmental Science


Coming to Virginia Tech, I had no idea that you could major in the field of geography. I always knew I wanted to do something in the environmental field, and when I realized that many applications of geographic information systems (GIS) relate to the environment, I signed up. I have always been in love with the world around me. From a young age, I was afforded the luxury of a unique world view; my parents work for Initiatives of Change, an international nonprofit promoting peace in the world. As a child, I traveled to Switzerland every summer for a peace building conference. I met people from around the world who shared their experiences with me. I realized that a lot of the conflict in the world is over natural resources. This is why I want to become a leader in natural resources management — to build a lasting, sustainable, peaceful future.

My affinity for the environment around me has led me to double major in geography and environmental science. I am trying to couple environmental analysis from computers with physical science environmental analysis. Arguably, the most important issue facing the world is water quality and scarcity for people and environments. I am in classes such as Environmental Engineering and Physics of Pollution to learn how to quantify pollution in water and soil, and how to remediate such problems. I want to work as an environmental consultant, finding and remediating problems in the environment. I also want to improve human interactions with the environment, minimizing the amount of resources we misuse and throw away. I hope to live in a world where everything can be recycled or composted to make other things, much like natural systems do. I think this has to be done to ensure the future success of humanity in this world.

The best way to achieve these goals is to be a leader in the natural resources field. I believe that the Leadership Institute will empower and guide me to make the important decisions. I believe that with the right direction, I can make a difference. I will learn a lot, from how to communicate orally and in writing to managing people of various psychological types. I am fortunate to be a member of the Leadership Institute and cannot wait for all the opportunities and insights that will come about this year.

Outside the classroom, I am a leader for the alto saxophone section of the Marching Virginians. I also have been a clarinet player for the symphony band at Virginia Tech. I am a brother of Kappa Kappa Psi, the honorary and service band fraternity. I am a big believer in the pillars of Virginia Tech, such as Ut Prosim (That I May Serve). I spend my time serving the university bands and the community in various service projects. I captain my intermural soccer and ultimate Frisbee teams. I love playing, but a bigger passion of mine is to develop tactics and team chemistry in these sports. I dream of becoming a coach, as I love the technical aspects even more than actually playing.

Area of Speciality

  • Culture, Regions, and International Development; Water Science and Quality

Honors and Awards

  • Alumni Secretary for Kappa Kappa Psi, Honorary Band Fraternity
  • Section Leader for the Marching Virginians
  • Deans List, fall 2012

25th Anniversary

Celebrating 25 Years

    1992 through 2017, 25 years

Join us Sept. 15-16 to visit campus and reconnect with alumni, faculty, staff, and friends.

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Read the Summer Newsmagazine

    CNRE Newsmagazine Spring 2017


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