Two doctoral candidates have been selected as the 2009 Graduate Man of the Year and Graduate Woman of the year in recognition of their outstanding academic accomplishments and their commitment to service within the community.

The graduate man and woman of the year awards recognize students with high academic achievements and contributions in research, teaching, and scholarship, who are actively involved with professional organizations, campus activities, and the graduate school community and have shown a strong commitment to diversity on the Virginia Tech campus.

Laura Freeman, of Burke, Va., is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Statistics in the College of Science. During her tenure at Virginia Tech, she earned the Department of Homeland Security and the Amelia Earhart Fellowships, in addition to holding numerous leadership positions on campus.

Also, Freeman was named the first director of the Laboratory for Interdisciplinary Statistical Analysis (LISA), which exists to assist scholars from all disciplines with data analysis. Most recently, she was elected Graduate Student Assembly (GSA) president-elect for the 2009-10 academic year. Her research combines discipline interests by employing statistical models for engineering analyses.

“It is a great honor to be recognized and to know that graduate students are valued for the many roles we play at the university,” says Freeman.

Tremayne Waller, of Martinsville, Va., is a doctoral candidate in the School of Education’s curriculum and instruction program.

He is a motivational speaker on topics such as student transition to college, and the persistence of underrepresented students in engineering and science.

Among his other leadership pursuits, Waller served as director of the Student Transition Engineering Program (STEP), which is housed in the Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity. Under Waller’s leadership the STEP program has seen both an increase in participation and a greater success rate for participants. In addition to his academic interests, Waller is active with the Martinsville and Henry County Community Service Outreach Programs and the Martinsville Junior National Society of Black Engineers.

“This award is significant to me because it acknowledges the diverse activities of graduate students who implement the university’s mission ‘That I May Serve’ everyday,” says Waller.

“Laura and Trey exemplify a high quality graduate experience that combines scholarship, leadership, and community engagement. Their efforts blend the citizen-scholar model in the most successful and relevant way,” said Karen P. DePauw, vice president and dean for graduate education.

2009 Graduate Man of the Year and Graduate Woman of the Year awards were presented at The Graduate School’s Annual Awards Banquet held in the Graduate Life Center, in March.

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