Maxine Shelly Turner, or “Max” to her friends and family, was an honors student from Vienna, Va., set to graduate with a degree in chemical engineering in spring 2007. She was brilliant, beautiful, and extraordinarily talented—although she would have denied all of the above. She excelled at everything she committed herself to, including swing dancing, Tae Kwon Do, schoolwork, violin, or just her favorite video game: Zelda. She made it all look easy.
Like anyone else, she had her quirks—such as her tendency to talk to herself while playing video games, stick her tongue out for photographs, and sprawl on the living room floor in random positions and sing aloud while doing homework with her head phones on. Any given day, Max could be found in her pajamas and bunny slippers, sitting on the living room floor watching cartoons and doing chemical engineering work. She discovered, much to her delight, that Spongebob is on almost 24 hours a day. These endearing traits are undeniably a large part of what made Max so loveably Max.
But don’t let her light-hearted outlook on life mislead you; she was also incredibly motivated and ambitious. During her time here at Virginia Tech, she helped found a chapter of Alpha Omega Epsilon. One of 12 founding members, Max believed in the importance of having a professional sorority for female engineers at a school known for its excellent engineering programs. She was very active within the sorority, holding such offices as community outreach chair and professional life chair.
She was in the Hypatia class that encouraged the university to expand Hypatia from a one-year to a two-year program. She contributed to the Virginia Tech and Blacksburg community by volunteering for the Relay for Life, the Big Event, and the animal shelter.
Definitely a family-oriented person, Max loved her family very much. She was famous for being one of those rare college students who actually talked to her parents practically every day—and enjoyed it! She would regale her friends with tales of her younger brother, Anthony, and his many accomplishments in his academics, violin competitions, and soccer tournaments.
Maxine was fiercely independent and from the age of 15 worked to earn her own money. She was determined to help with all of her expenses: living, university, and otherwise.
Everyone who knew her will miss her greatly, but sadder still is the fact that those who didn’t know her will never have the pleasure. She was truly an exceptional person.
Hometown: Vienna, Virginia
Senior, Honors Program, Chemical Engineering
Student since fall 2003
Bachelor of Science, Chemical Engineering, German/Department of Foreign Languages and Literature