The Cape Coral, Florida, native, who is double-majoring in economics and political philosophy, policy and law, will enter the UVA School of Law in the autumn, with a goal of becoming a military lawyer. She then plans to do her military training at the Judge Advocate General School in Charlottesville.
Last fall, Shapiro was commander of the 55-member Cavalier Battalion. She found her leadership skills tested after three UVA students were slain and two others wounded in a shooting on Grounds.
“It definitely was proof that I wasn’t practicing at being a leader,” Shapiro said. “I was just a leader. And I had a real impact on the people who were around me. I knew the way that I behaved was going to affect them.”
U.S. Army Lt. Col. Isaac Rademacher, commander of the UVA Army ROTC command, praised Shapiro for her reactions.
“Throughout that night, Hannah kept in contact with the groups of ROTC cadets spread across Grounds looking after each other,” he said. “She informed the ROTC cadre very early in the evening that all of the cadets were accounted for and safe, which showed excellent initiative on her part.”
The incident reaffirmed Shapiro’s commitment to the military.
“It made me more passionate about joining the military and about being in ROTC because of the people I was with,” she said. “My peers jumped into action, calling and texting everybody in the program, making sure that they were OK, keeping tabs on them.”
Shapiro’s leadership skills also extended to the University’s student-run Honor Committee, which administers the honor system.
“I served as an honor adviser for my first two years, case processing, representing students and faculty,” she said. “Then in my third year, I served as senior support officer, which meant that I organized and conducted all the training for the incoming honor advisers. And then my most recent role has been as an elected representative for the College of Arts & Sciences on the Honor Committee. So I think I’ve seen all facets of honor at UVA.”
Shapiro, whose bid to chair the Honor Committee failed, said she favors a multi-sanction system.
“I always erred on the side of wanting more means of expression for students,” she said. “There was something missing in a single-sanction system, where students weren’t able to communicate the kind of the rehabilitation that they wanted for their fellow students, the kind of community that they wanted to create at UVA. I’m happy to see a multi-sanction system that includes expulsion, because I think it provides the most robust system of students’ self-expression when it comes to creating their own community of trust.”
Shapiro said she may continue her work with the Honor Committee from the Law School, and said she sees the Honor Committee and the ROTC as sharing values and principles.
“She is not afraid to speak up and not afraid to question the main arguments and ideas presented in class,” Coppock said. “She thinks at a very high level and communicates her thoughts clearly. She is super smart, but also works hard. She has good natural intuition to hone in on the weak point in an argument and tackle it head-on. She pushed everyone in the class, me included, to think about our subject matter in new and deeper ways.”
“One of the Army values is ‘honor and integrity,’ so it’s easy to see where my role in Honor and promoting honesty and truthfulness and a community of trust at UVA plays into my role with ROTC, because as an ROTC student, you are upholding those same values,” Shapiro said.
Rademacher described Shapiro as “intelligent and engaged.”
“She recognizes the areas where she still has much to learn and she seeks information to fill those gaps,” he said. “I regularly count on her to contribute to our classroom discussions about leadership in the Army and the various challenges leaders face working through the human dimension of our leadership challenges.”
Economics professor Lee Coppock described Shapiro as an exceptional student.