Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Katelin Shugart-Schmidt wins Virginia Tech Graduate Woman of the Year award

A 2010 alumna has won a prestigious award in graduate school at Virginia Tech.

Katelin Shugart-Schmidt was named Virginia Tech’s Graduate Woman of the Year. The annual award recognizes students who are deeply involved in the graduate community, contribute new knowledge through their research and teaching, and demonstrate a commitment to diversity.

Shugart-Schmidt said she was honored to receive the award, and that she traces her success in graduate school back to her undergraduate days. “It all came out of my experiences at Randolph,” she said.

Shugart-Schmidt, from Logan, Utah, majored in environmental science and minored in mathematics and biology during her time at the College. She participated in several research opportunities, including a summer internship with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. She went to Hawaii to study algae blooms, coral reefs, and conservation efforts on Waikiki beach. For that project, she won Best Oral Student Presenter at the Hawaii Conservation Conference in Honolulu.

She also held leadership roles in Randolph’s honor system, which opened doors for her to be involved in the Virginia Tech honor system. She now serves as chief justice in that program.

Today, Shugart-Schmidt is studying methods for predicting how fishing regulations will affect fish populations, considering variables such as the weather and gas prices. She hopes to graduate in December. After graduation, she wants to help make conservation policies become more effective.

“I would really like to work in the intersection between policy and science,” she said. “I would love to take scientific information and translate that into a language that our policy makers and managers can understand and deal with correctly.”