Adriana Kolic to Explore Rocket Science at Virginia Tech
Class of 2020 graduate and RHS Homecoming Queen Adriana Kolic started traveling overseas at a very young age. Her travels sparked her curiosity about how planes operate and she was fascinated by the laws of aerodynamics before she even understood what they were. She remembers learning about the order of the planets in the 3rd grade and can vividly recall contemplating the idea of life beyond our planet. Adriana took up stargazing, and was mesmerized by how tiny earth is in the grand scheme of the universe. As she grew older, she has striven to find more practical ways to apply her passion for space to our world and current state of affairs. This calling has led her to Virginia Tech where she intends to study aerospace engineering and business beginning this fall.
“I chose Virginia Tech because they offer a wide variety of reputable academic programs coupled with a broad range of experiences. I know that circumstances and interests can evolve over time so it was really important for me to attend a school that has strong programs across many disciplines,” Adriana said. “I would love to combine the skills and experiences I’ve gained through my parents’ small businesses and my involvement in FBLA with my passion for space exploration and the advancement of humans becoming a multiplanetary species. I am trying to build a schedule of coursework that will benefit me in a unique way where I may gain a deeper understanding of not only the engineering of spacecrafts and the science of how humans may adapt to space, but also the business practices involved with production and scalability.”
Virginia Tech is one of the nation’s most prestigious research institutions ranking 74th in National Universities by U.S. News and World Report. The university also has a premiere engineering program ranking 13th in the nation. The aerospace engineering curriculum that Virginia Tech offers includes the areas of aerodynamics, flight dynamics and controls, propulsion, and aerospace structures. The program culminates in a nationally recognized senior-level design sequence including analysis and design of aircraft, spacecraft, and their related technologies. In her first year, Adriana plans to start off her academic journey by taking calculus, chemistry, and introductory courses in business and engineering.
Adriana admires and looks up to Elon Musk as well as her family for the role they have played in helping her pursue her calling. “Elon Musk definitely inspires the inner space explorer in everyone, but I also draw inspiration from my family,” Adriana said. “I come from a family of immigrants who came to America for a better life for themselves and their kids. I am extremely fortunate to be brought up in a community where I have many resources and am able to try different things and I appreciate it even more when I consider the struggle that my parents and family members endured to provide for their children. I’m not sure where my path at Virginia Tech will take me and I may end up somewhere doing something I had not anticipated years before. I would love to try different things during my time at Virginia Tech that will narrow my career search down a bit, but as long as I end up doing something where I am able to create a lasting impact on the world around (and beyond) me, then I will be happy. Even if I’m not the one with my hands on the rockets or in space, I would like to be doing something that will help guide the future of humanity.”
Adriana is not sure if she will be able to bring her telescope into her dorm, but she hopes to continue her stargazing pastime somewhere in Blacksburg. She’s looking forward to the possibilities of getting involved on campus and has interest in astronomy club, student government and Greek life. While Adriana was at RHS, she was also actively involved in extracurricular organizations and in the community. She was a sideline cheerleader, president of FBLA, an active member in Bridges and the Tomorrow’s Leaders program, and she also volunteered on a State Assembly campaign.
“Being a student at RHS was among the best experiences of my life,” Adriana said. “That’s not to say that there weren’t challenges - because there certainly were - but when I look back at my time at RHS I realize how much I’ve grown in such a relatively short period of time. I realize how much of an influence my friends were and how many experiences I’ve shared with them that have directly and indirectly contributed to the person I am today (mostly good things!). I also realize how difficult it must be to build and maintain a public high school like RHS with such exceptional teachers, administrators and staff, along with rigorous coursework that provides a strong foundation for success in college and beyond. I didn’t appreciate much of this while it was happening, but it didn’t take me long to consider and understand it now that I’m preparing for my life after high school. I’m fortunate to have attended RHS and I am proud to be a Ram!”
During her time at RHS, she learned a lot about herself and hopes that other students will also take the opportunity to find their passions as well. “The most valuable lesson I’ve learned is to be yourself, Adriana said. “Find what sparks passion in you and run with it. Through trying different things and staying true to what I love and not what I am expected to love, I am finding many opportunities that excite me for the future. For future students, I would say try different things! My schedules for the last four years at RHS consisted of a wide range of classes. I have always been a rather good student in the humanities, so while I took classes like AP U.S. History, I pushed myself to try AP Physics and AP Environmental Science. Although STEM was not initially my strong suit, I wanted to try different things to see what I enjoy, what I do not, and what I want to keep improving on. And aside from academics, I would also say try to enjoy your limited time at Randolph High School as much as possible. Go to sporting events, join different clubs, volunteer and show your Ram Pride! I think it's all about finding your balance with working hard and never losing sight of academics, but also finding some time to have fun and get involved.”
Congratulations Adriana on all that you have accomplished! Keep shooting for the stars, and good luck at Virginia Tech.