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Current Scholars

Kyle Vallone


Class of: 2025
Hometown: Coto de Caza, California
School: College of Arts and Science
Major(s): Biochemistry and Communication of Science and Technology

Kyle has always been a proponent of learning through service, for both himself and those he serves. His journey in the realm of volunteerism began early in middle school with the Pacific Symphony’s musical carnivals, where he taught young children instrumental basics in “musical test-drives.” From there, Kyle’s involvements have expanded to various avenues of service, but teaching and mentoring remain a constant thread in all of his endeavors. 


As a board officer and design lead on his award-winning FIRST Robotics Competition teamKyle led multiple service initiatives, from the design of a swerve drive for low-resource teams to the organization of a new event called the Summer Series. This week-long set of virtual workshops created an opportunity for teams to exchange information and continue developing and learning during the pandemic. After noticing documentation gaps in currently available resources, he also created and publicly released a free, 30-page curriculum to teach new students the basics of the professional computer-aided design (CAD) software, SolidWorks. With the Child Creativity Lab, a nonprofit providing meaningful learning experiences for underserved students with upcycled materials, Kyle designed engaging STEAM workshops, including materials for a middle school pilot program. Outside of the STEM sphere, Kyle enjoys supporting the intellectually and developmentally disabled (IDD) community as a one-on-one peer buddy with Best Buddies. 


When the COVID-19 pandemic cut the robotics season short, Kyle quickly shifted his focus. The disturbing daily reports of personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages inspired him to use his skills with 3D printers to produce face shield parts for front-line workers. Wanting to make a larger impact, he contacted school district administrators and industry leaders to coordinate efforts with the goal of putting idle school-owned 3D printers into the hands of students ready to contribute. Within a week, Operation CAPO CARES was born and, as Kyle established a reliable supply chain, mentored volunteers on printer maintenance, and secured industry donations, it continued to grow. In the next two months, Kyle’s team of thirty volunteer students and educators printed over 12,000 PPE components to assist front-line workers locally and nationwide, including a special fulfillment request from the Mayo Clinic. Kyle is also proud of the initiative’s less tangible effectsCAPO CARES provided a rare outlet for students to practically use and develop their 3D printer skills, which they will be able to apply and hone throughout their lives and potential careers for an even greater impact. 


Kyle is extremely grateful to the Ingram family for their support of this unique program and he is looking forward to further developing as a leader and volunteer during his time at Vanderbilt. He is eager to reinforce his commitment to promoting STEM education through service by taking advantage of the Ingram Scholars Program’s unique opportunities and melding volunteerism with his studies in the areas of Biochemistry and Communication of Science and Technology. Aspiring to a career in research, Kyle hopes to add to the growing repository of human knowledge, one inquiry at a time, and he plans to eventually teach and inspire others at the collegiate level.