The Class of 2015: Jordan Booker balances scholarship with service
Jordan Booker, from Roanoke, Virginia, is a Hokie through and through.
He graduated from Virginia Tech in 2009 with a bachelor's degree in psychology and minors in biology and medicine and society in the College of Science. He earned his master's degree from the developmental and biological psychology programs in 2011.
This spring he will add a third Virginia Tech degree to his resume when he is awarded a Ph.D. in psychology.
“Each time, I weighed the different opportunities for professional growth and the great community here and they were the big selling point each time,” Booker said. “I'm glad to say the great things I expected of the people and the resources at Virginia Tech exceeded my expectations at each stage.”
Booker has focused his doctoral studies on developmental science. His dissertation, titled “Effects of emotion- and gratitude-focused expressive writings on incoming college students’ adjustment,” reflects his deep interest in finding out what makes young people tick, particularly from a strengths-based perspective.
“I’ve developed a strong passion to contribute to learning and development for rising generations, whether through teaching, research that addresses adjustment among children and adolescents, or mentoring rising scholars,” Booker said. His experience in the field includes positions as research assistant in the Social Development Lab and clinical assessment assistant in Virginia Tech’s Child Study Center.
Booker has been recipient of many awards and fellowships, including the prestigious Southern Regional Education Board Doctoral Fellowship. He has published and presented numerous scholarly papers and has taught courses in developmental psychology, social psychology, and ethics in teaching workshops.
Booker balances academic scholarship with service and involvement outside the classroom. As a first-year student, he joined the Marching Virginians and was drum major for two years. He was a student ambassador for The Capital Campaign for Virginia Tech. He was a peer mentor for the university’s Initiative to Maximize Student Diversity and a student advisor at Smith Career Center. He served on the College of Science Dean’s Leadership Council and was a member of the Graduate Student Think Tank to the Board of Visitors. For two years, Booker served as chief justice of the Graduate Honor System, a standard of academic integrity that requires all graduate students to exercise honesty and ethical behavior in all their academic pursuits.
“Those kinds of activities helped me gain a strong appreciation for student engagement and university service that I carried into my graduate years and have enjoyed maintaining, whether with research mentoring or participating in the Graduate Honor System,” Booker said.
Booker said that one of the highlights of his time at Virginia Tech was a collaborative project between the Marching Virginians and Community Housing Partners to build a home for a family in need. The project was undertaken in honor of Ryan "Stack" Clark, who was a Virginia Tech senior when he died on April 16, 2007. Clark was a baritone player with the Marching Virginians and a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. “It was a wonderful way to recognize his impact and to contribute to service in the community,” Booker said.
Booker’s long-term goal is to remain involved with teaching and research in higher education. His advice to other students: “Always be willing to learn from your mistakes and keep an eye on the long-term goals. It's easy to stay stuck in a rut if you're unaware of needed changes or unwilling to make them.”
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.
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