Virginia Tech has named Ritchie Vaughan, of Richmond, Va., as the Outstanding Graduating Senior in the College of Natural Resources for the 2008-09 academic year.

Vaughan is expected to receive a bachelor’s degree in forestry in the College of Natural Resources in May 2009. She has excelled both inside and outside of the classroom, and has participated in a wide range of extracurricular, leadership, and service activities.

Among her numerous awards and scholarships, Vaughan is the recipient of the Stuermann Memorial Scholarship, the Colonial Agricultural Educational Foundation Scholarship, the Virginia Tech University Honors Award and Scholarship, and the National Merit Award and Scholarship. She has conducted undergraduate research at Virginia Tech, where she studied wetland mitigation, as well as at the Catawba Sustainability Center, located in Roanoke, Va.

Vaughan is active in a variety of extracurricular and service activities. She is a member of the Virginia Tech Wildland Fire Crew, where she held the role of assistant fire management officer in 2007. Vaughan is a former teacher’s aide for a Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship course. Vaughan has participated in many service activities, including volunteering with the Christiansburg Humane Society and The Rock Climbing Gym, contributing to the Claytor Lake State Park Forest Management Plan, assisting with trail work and maintenance in Montgomery County, and working as the Blacksburg Bicycle Cooperative’s head mechanic.

The Outstanding Senior Awards are presented at the Student Honors Day Banquet each spring. These awards are co-sponsored by the Virginia Tech Alumni Association and the senior class.

The purpose of the award is to recognize outstanding student performance in each college of the university. Students are selected on the basis of their grade point average (3.4 or higher on a 4.0 scale) and outstanding performance in several or all of the following areas: academic achievement, extracurricular activities, leadership positions, and contributions of service to the university and/or community.

The College of Natural Resources at Virginia Tech consistently ranks among the top three programs of its kind in the nation. Faculty members stress both the technical and human elements of natural resources and instill in students a sense of stewardship and land-use ethics. Areas of studies include environmental resource management, fisheries and wildlife sciences, forestry, geospatial and environmental analysis, natural resource recreation, urban forestry, wood science and forest products, geography, and international development. Virginia Tech, the most comprehensive university in Virginia, is dedicated to quality, innovation, and results to the commonwealth, the nation, and the world.

Written by Megan Grubb. Grubb, of Wytheville, Va., is a senior majoring in communication in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

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