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College of Health Sciences' Devon Taylor Honored as University Scholar for 2012

Devon Taylor, who will graduate May 5 from Old Dominion University with a 4.0 grade point average and go on to become the first Monarch to attend Harvard Medical School, has been named ODU's University Scholar for 2012.

Taylor, the former high school truant who has made headlines at ODU because of his perfect grades and national prominence as an undergraduate researcher, won a full scholarship from Harvard. He received the University Scholar award during ODU's annual Student Awards Dinner on Thursday, May 3. Taylor was one of six Outstanding College Scholars who were honored prior to the May 4 and 5 commencement ceremonies.

As a teenager in Flint, Mich., Taylor lived in a housing project and barely managed to graduate from high school. He joined the Navy, and for nearly a decade he worked in the service's nuclear power program. In the back of his mind throughout that experience, however, was a long-standing dream to be a physician. He wanted to deliver health care to the less fortunate, to people such as the neighbors he remembered from Flint who didn't see a doctor very often and were uncomfortable with the interaction when they did.

When Taylor left the Navy in 2009, he enrolled in ODU's College of Health Sciences. As a nominee for the Outstanding Scholar award from his college, he selected Jacqueline Sharpe, senior lecturer in community and environmental health, as his most inspirational faculty member.

Five other soon-to-be graduates were honored at the dinner as Outstanding Scholars from their respective colleges. Also recognized were the students' most inspirational faculty members.

Amanda Schwartz, an art history major with a minor in international studies, was selected as the Outstanding Scholar for the College of Arts and Letters, with a 4.0 GPA. Schwartz, from Chesapeake, named Robert Wojtowicz, professor of art history, as her most inspirational faculty member. Schwartz was a presenter at the Undergraduate Research Symposium this year, and plans to pursue a master's degree.

Gina Lucy, a marketing major from Virginia Beach, was named the Outstanding Scholar from the College of Business and Public Administration. Lucy, who graduates with a 4.0 GPA, named marketing instructor Michelle Carpenter as her most inspirational faculty member. Lucy is a member of Gamma Sigma Sigma sorority and was one of the student volunteers who participated in a project documenting Homecoming 2011.

Meredith Laverdure, a speech-language pathology major with a 3.98 GPA, was selected as the Outstanding Scholar from the Darden College of Education. Laverdure, from Oak Hill, Va., named Corrin Richels, assistant professor of communication disorders and special education, as her most inspirational faculty member. Laverdure was a member of the ODU women's varsity rowing team.

Thomas Buck, a mechanical engineering technology major, was selected as the Outstanding Scholar from the Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology. Buck, from Clearfield, Pa., graduates with a 4.0, and will be commissioned as an ensign with the U.S. Navy, assigned to the USS Jason Dunham DDG109. Buck named Tony Dean, associate director of ODU's Institute for Ship Maintenance, Repair and Operations, as his most inspirational faculty member.

Jennifer Thomas, a physical oceanography major with a minor in mathematics, graduating with a 4.0 GPA, is the Outstanding Scholar for the College of Sciences. Thomas, who is from Virginia Beach, named Malcolm Scully, assistant professor of ocean, earth and atmospheric sciences, as her most inspirational faculty member. A summer student Fellow at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and a Hollings Scholar with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Thomas will continue her studies at Oregon State University.

This article was posted on: May 4, 2012

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