Finding a balance: Sister in university's quadruplets creates her unique niche
Her “claim to fame” may be that she is the youngest – and only girl – in Virginia Tech’s very first set of quadruplets. But, Kate Lomaka of Henrico, Va., a sophomore majoring in human nutrition, foods, and exercise in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, is building an identity of her own just one year into her college career.
“There are so many resources at Virginia Tech. I did my best to take the opportunity to reach out to as many things as I could while maintaining a balance,” Lomaka said of her first year. “I go to the same school as my brothers but we didn’t get involved in the same things. It was really nice to branch out and find things I was really passionate about.”
In one way, it was easy for each sibling to find their own niche – they are in different majors that are housed even in different colleges: Greg Lomaka is majoring in statistics in the College of Science; Steve Lomaka is majoring in accounting and information systems in the Pamplin College of Business; and Chris Lomaka is majoring in building construction in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies.
See the Lomaka quadruplets on move-in day last year:
The close-knit siblings said they tailgated and attended football games together. They also went to church every Sunday and played on the same intramural flag football team. “Our team was called the Pod Squad because I lived in Slusher Wing where the rooms are organized in pods. The majority of the girls who are on our team were in my pod. The ‘squad’ was for the boys – my brothers and some of their guy friends,” Kate Lomaka said.
Still, Lomaka took her freshman year as an opportunity to explore her own interests and find a way to make her own mark on campus.
She was accepted into the Student Government Association’s competitive Freshman Leadership Experience (FLEX). “It was great because I got to know the 31 other freshman in the program really well,” Lomaka said. She will serve as a mentor for the new cohort this year.
Expanding on her mentorship, after a wonderful first-year experience in her residential hall, Kate applied to be a resident advisor. She will have over 30 students in her hall. “I get excited just thinking about my freshman year and how I get to share that opportunity because there is no place like this school,” Lomaka said. “I could never imagine myself falling as much in love with it as I am. I wanted any opportunity to express my love for Virginia Tech and to get others involved because that’s the way to fall in love with the school like I did.”
Lomaka will also share that love of Virginia Tech to prospective students and their families. The Hokie Ambassadors selected her as one of the organization’s newest members. The students volunteer their time to give campus tours.
“I saw being a Hokie Ambassador as a really good opportunity to work on communication skills,” Lomaka said. “I plan on being a physical therapist and communication is crucial to being successful in that field.”
She’s keeping herself on track academically to pursue that career goal, making the Dean’s List both semesters last year.
While admitting the balancing act between academics, clubs, and downtime can be difficult, Lomaka said making a priority list helped her stay on track. “Physically write a priority list down with what you have going on in school, clubs, whatever it may be. Then when you have a conflict, you resort to that list and identify where do your priorities lie. That really helped me make decisions and stay on top of all of my different activities.”
When asked about lessons learned during her first year, Lomaka said the key is to step out of your comfort zone.
“This is probably cliché, but talk to anybody and everybody. That’s how I found out about FLEX which is a great experience, that’s how I met some of my best friends in my dorm, just being friendly and open to anything that may come your way,” Lomaka said. “Not being afraid to put yourself out there because it’s intimidating but you need to step out of your safe place and learn to grow as a person.”
Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.