Senior Spotlight: Rachel and Riki


This past Tuesday, I had the pleasure of photographing Rachel & Riki, two cousins who are both embarking into the post-grad world this May together! Photographing these two was so fun and easy because you could tell how strong their family bond is and they were so comfortable together. This is going to be a long blog because I want to share both of their stories but here it is!


"My time at Virginia Tech ended too quickly for comfort. I entered VT as a Junior, after
transferring from New River Community College, so I never really had the chance to find that core group of friends that you do during your Freshman year. I was lucky enough, though, to have my cousin, Riki, as my first year roommate and I was able to have the dorm life experience. We had hall showers so it felt more like summer camp than college those first couple of nights.
Our dorm was struck by lightning during a storm causing the fire alarm to go off, a cockroach fell on my shoulder as I was bushing my teeth one morning (we killed it), and were once awoken by Cadets at 4:30 am training outside our window. Even though dorms kinda suck, I consider myself lucky enough to have had made those memories.

Going into spring semester of my Junior year I promised myself that I would join a club or organization or something just too busy myself a little. I never pictured myself as a sorority girl but, Theta found me one day as I was walking through Squires. I attended information sessions and the meet and greets where I was meeting new people left and right and I couldn’t help but think “Oh this is amazing!” I joined Kappa Alpha Theta in the spring of my Junior Year, ran for office, and became the first Archivist for the Epsilon Nu chapter. I met an amazing group of women that quickly became my friends and from then on my experience in Greek Life has been great! I’ve only been a member of Theta for one year but I am blessed and thankful to have met the women that I did. I am so excited to watch my Theta’s grow and mature and become extraordinary women.

As for me, my “degree dream” is to become a curator of a museum or the director of an
art gallery (degree dream- a career related to your degree or major). I love history and what it
tells us about humanity which is why I decided to study Art History. My dream that is not related to my degree would to about becoming a traveling photographer, meeting amazing people, and sharing their stories with the world; bonus points if National Geographic offered me a job. I’m only 21 years old, and 80% of me is not ready for a 9-5 or anything that falls under the category of adulthood, therefore my plans following graduation are kinda in the wind."


"Since coming to Virginia Tech to study Landscaping and Turfgrass Management,
I have had nothing but positive and successful experiences. It has furthered my passion for horticulture by teaching me about specific topics and concepts. I am appreciative of my professors for pushing me to achieve goals and reach my full potential. They have taught me practical career skills and life lessons that will be beneficial down the road. I have been able to connect with students that share the same interests and ideas as I do. Along the way, I have made memories and friends that will last a lifetime. During my time at college, I have experienced new situations that have led to personal growth and development.

After graduation, I hope to pursue a career in the green industry. To reach this goal, I intend to first gain experience through working with professionals in my career field. I hope to gain knowledge and resources that I can use in my future business decisions. My business goals include establishing a greenhouse production or landscape business in my hometown. I will aim to become a successful entrepreneur in my community by providing a unique service. By attending the Agricultural Technology Program at Virginia Tech, I have made positive connections in the horticulture community that will help further my education. I now have mentors that will help me with future questions and concerns."

Kelsey Stoner