Peurifoy to walk during December graduation

BLACKSBURG – Virginia Tech estimates that the school will honor approximately 2,446 students who completed their academic degrees during the summer and fall terms during its 2017 Fall University Commencement Ceremony and the Graduate School Commencement both tomorrow in Cassell Coliseum.

The undergraduate ceremony will begin at 10:30 a.m. and will also see close to 20 current Tech student-athletes earn their degrees and women’s soccer player Kallie Peurifoy is one of them. She will walk across the stage after earning a bachelor’s of science degree in environmental science.

“Both my parents, my younger sister, my older sister, my grandma, my aunt, my cousin and my second cousin’s daughter will all be there with me,” Peurifoy said. “I think a degree from Virginia Tech holds a lot of weight. As I’m applying to my grad schools and when they see I have a degree from Virginia Tech, it’s kind of impressive because it’s a very strong engineering school.

“It just means a lot and the name says a lot as well. And being a student-athlete too, with a degree from Virginia Tech just looks really good.”

Peurifoy, a Charleston, South Carolina native, is one of five departing women’s soccer players who head coach Chugger Adair will lose off his 2017 season. A redshirt-senior, she is the only one going through Tech’s December graduation ceremony tomorrow.

In what she thought would be her final season, Peurifoy played in a pair of games in 2016 before being sidelined for the rest of the year with a stress fracture in her right foot. She could have finished up her degree and graduated in May with her original class, but decided to stay and play one more season.

“I definitely didn’t want to end the way it did last fall,” Peurifoy said. “I love soccer enough to where just getting to play an extra season was worth it, no matter if we made the NCAA Tournament this year or not.

“I am thankful for everyone on the training staff, because they were so patient in helping me get back on the field. That was a very long process to actually figure out what was wrong with me. I’m also thankful for Chugger and the rest of the coaching staff because they allowed me to come back and they were very supportive and encouraging along the way throughout my injury.”

She started each of the Hokies’ 18 games during the 2017 season and tallied the only game-winning goal of her career when she put the ball in the back of the net on a free kick in the 85th minute against William & Mary in a 1-0 victory (see video below). She added a pair assists during the year and finished her Tech career with 38 starts, three goals and 10 assists.

“I think it’s been great for the program to have Kallie part of it,” Adair said. “She’s been a tremendous person and someone who’s been committed and a good member of the program during her time.

“She put her life on hold and went an extra semester just to be a part of the program after having a tough year when she was injured and couldn’t play. She just wanted to have an impact and finish her career on a positive note. She had a very good season, and we’re really going to miss her as a person and a player, and we wish her luck in the next phase of her life.”

The next phase of Peurifoy’s life includes attending graduate school and pursuing a master’s degree in environmental engineering with a focus on chemical fate and transport and land-atmosphere interactions. She’s looking into Tech’s program, but her first choice would be Colorado School of Mines, while she is also applying to Clemson and the University of Hawaii.

“I’d like to go into environmental engineering work, but I’m not exactly sure what I want to do,” she said. “My goal would be to solve all of our world’s environmental problems. I’d like to have a career in doing something like that – hopefully as I’m working towards my master’s it will help me figure it out.”

Peurifoy said her environmentalist mindset was brought on during her teenage years when she took a couple of service trips to the Dominican Republic with her church and solidified during a study abroad program with Tech – a course titled Environmental Health and Culture in Ecuador, where she went for just over two weeks during the Christmas break of 2016.

“I travelled when I was younger. I went to the Dominican Republic twice when I was around 14 or 15 on a mission trip with my church,” she said. “My most vivid memory was driving along and the beach was literally covered in plastic. All the waves were coming in and just bringing in more and more and it was really just sad to me.

“And then I had the opportunity to go to Ecuador and we went to the Amazon and stayed in the Amazon for a week. We got to see a place that was untouched by mankind. It was truly an eye-opening experience where I learned a lot and it strengthened my passion for what I want to do.”

With her playing career now over, she turns to a new chapter in her life with cherished memories and no regrets.

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