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ODU Recognizes Outstanding College Scholars

Ashley Shires, a graduating senior from Chesapeake majoring in biology, has been named the Outstanding University Scholar by the Old Dominion University Alumni Association.

Shires and five other students who will graduate Dec. 19 - Timothy Gorde, Volha Just, Carrie Cook, John Whitelaw, and Katie Kerr - were recognized for their academic efforts at a dinner held Dec. 17 in Webb University Center. ODU President John R. Broderick congratulated the students for representing the best of the university's strong academic tradition.

Shires, who is graduating with a 4.0, was also named the College of Sciences' Outstanding College Scholar. The graduate of Oscar Smith High School in Chesapeake plans to attend dental school. She named Douglas Mills, visiting assistant professor in the Biology department, as the person who most contributed to her success at ODU.

"Dr. Mills was always enthusiastic about every aspect of science. Outside of class, he was amiable, approachable and willing to talk about anything from biology to politics to life in general," Shires wrote about her mentor.

The other students were named Outstanding College Scholars.

Gorde of Newport News received the award from the College of Arts and Sciences. Gorde, who majored in history and political science, is graduating with a 3.99 grade point average.

The graduate of Warwick High School in Newport News cited Elizabeth Esinhart, director of the Interdisciplinary Studies and Teacher Preparation Programs; senior lecturer in Political Science; and university pre-law advisor, as his academic inspiration. "Prof. Esinhart was very helpful in advising me on what I needed to do to get where I needed to be after graduation, and was an amazing instructor in class," Gorde wrote.

Volha Just, an international business major from Virginia Beach, is the Outstanding College Scholar for the College of Business and Public Administration. The graduate of East Burke High School in Connelly Springs, N.C., is graduating with a 3.92 GPA. A married business owner and mother, Just plans to help run her family's business.

Cook, of Virginia Beach, is the Outstanding College Scholar for the Darden College of Education. A speech pathology major who graduated from Salem High School, Cook is graduating with a 3.76 GPA. She cites Anastasia Raymer, a professor of communication disorders and special education, as her academic inspiration. "Her knowledge and enthusiasm for the field of speech pathology inspired me to continue with my major…," Cook wrote.

Whitelaw is the Batten College of Engineering and Technology's Outstanding College Scholar. The Norfolk resident, who graduated high school in Calgary, Canada, is graduating with a 3.97 GPA in environmental engineering.

Whitelaw cites Jaewan Yoon, associate professor in civil and environmental engineering, as his academic hero. "Dr. Yoon is one of three faculty in the (Dept. of) Civil and Environmental Engineering who have been constantly supportive of me academically, in my activities with student organizations, professional societies, and my work," Whitelaw wrote.

Kerr was named the Outstanding College Scholar for the College of Health Sciences.

This article was posted on: December 18, 2009

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