College of Arts and Sciences

The School of Graduate Studies and Research Outstanding Graduate Student of the Year Award

The Graduate Student of the Year Award is an award that recognizes one "outstanding" graduate student annually from each of the graduate programs. This prestigious award is given to a student that has exhibited extraordinary qualities in academics; research, clinical or internship areas; and in community service. The student must be in the final year of their graduate program. Each nominee was required to submit a portfolio. The 2006 Outstanding Student of the Year was selected by the selection committee using standard criteria evaluation.

Dandan Wang

Dandan Wang, Recipient of the 2006 School of Graduate Studies and Research Outstanding Student of the Year Award; Outstanding Computer Science Graduate Student of the Year is a student in the Master of Science in Computer Science and Information Technology graduate program. She earned her B.S. in Computer Science from Ningbo University in China.

Dandan has nine years of competitive software, database application development and programming experience. Her technical skills are very noteworthy. She has held numerous professional positions as Internet Database Designer /Website Administrator to Senior Software Testing Engineer.

Currently Dandan is a graduate research assistant in the Computer Science Department where she is a member of the Intelligent Information Systems Research group. Dandan has focused her research on the Intelligent Web-based Learning Systems, and web information management. She also conducts research for the National Science Foundation (NSF) funded project Topic Map Based Digital Libraries. Digital libraries are educational web applications that contain instructional materials to assist students in learning a specific discipline.

Dandan is active in her community. She is affiliated with the W-S Chinese Church and Chinese school where she volunteers every weekend. Her purpose for volunteering is to provide an environment of learning the Chinese language and culture for American Chinese students.

While pursuing her degree, active in research and community service, Dandan has maintained a 4.0 GPA. She anticipates completing her thesis this Summer.

Claudia Burkhalter

Claudia Burkhalter, Outstanding Nursing Graduate Student of the Year is a graduate student in the Master of Science in Nursing program. Claudia received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Clemson University and has also received acupuncture training in Beijing China.

Claudia currently works part-time as an Acupuncturist as she devotes her life to graduate study. Claudia has been a registered nurse since 1973. She has held many positions from Staff Nurse to Instructor for Parenting Classes for Expecting Mothers to Quality Manger.

Claudia has participated in graduate research studies; one in particular is A Case Study of Schizophrenia. This study investigated the effectiveness of diet changes and concepts of Florence Nightingale theories, to schizophrenia symptom improvement. This research was of interest to Claudia because of her personal experiences of raising her own son with schizophrenia.

Claudia has indeed struggled to pursue this MSN degree. She does not own a computer, so she has made the library her home. She has received support and encouragement from her local community while pursuing her degree. So, in an effort to give back Claudia volunteers at the Community Care Center of Winston Salem. She also takes private Spanish lessons in an effort to communicate health care concerns and advantages to the Hispanic population in her community.

Since the beginning of her matriculation at WSSU Claudia has maintained 4.0 GPA. She anticipates completing her degree requirements for the MSN in December 2006.

Carla Cooper

Carla Cooper, Outstanding Physical Therapy Graduate Student of the Year is a graduate student in the Master of Physical Therapy program. Carla received a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology from East Carolina University in Greenville, NC.

Carla has participated in many clinical internships but most recently Carla became a recipient of the Leadership for Effective Intercultural Practice clinical affiliation presented by Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center: Adult Neuromuscular Rehabilitation division in Downey CA. . This affiliation represents a prestigious honor highly esteemed by students in the nation due to Rancho Los Amigos as a pioneer institution internationally known for its outstanding achievements in Rehabilitation. Carla was one of four students selected from a national pool of 50 to participate in this honor. She is one of two students from the state of North Carolina in 2006 to participate. She is the first from WSSU to participate.

Carla is currently a graduate research assistant. Her current research topic is "The Accessibility and Use of Internet Breast Cancer Information among African-American Women." This study analyzes health disparities that exist among minority groups and how this affects the accessibility of health information systems. Carla believes her education on the graduate level at WSSU has better prepared her to serve her community. She participates in many civic/community activities.

While pursuing her MPT degree Carla has maintained a GPA of 3.78. She anticipates completing degree requirements in December 2006.

Achim Lulsdorf

Achim Lulsdorf, Outstanding Business Administration Graduate Student of the Year is a student in the Master of Business Administration program. Achim received a Masters Degree in Physics from Technical University of Clausthal in Germany.

He currently holds a fulltime position as Director of Engineering for Douglas Battery Manufacturing Company. In this position he is responsible for an annual $1 million budget and is the primary contact for the companies largest Original Equipment Manufacturer, BMW. He has international business experience as he managed joint product and technology programs with partners in Germany, Switzerland, South Africa and China.

Achim believes that engaging in family activities with his wife and children is probably the most important service he can offer his community since families are the base of the community. In an effort to serve his community he has been a guest lecturer for the UNCG Bryan School of Business and Economics and he participates and contributes to many local organizations including Berean Baptist Church, WS Rescue Mission, Salem Pregnancy Care and many others.

Although very busy in aspects of his life Achim maintained a 3.92 grade point average through out his tenure at WSSU. He completed degree requirements for the MBA in May 2006.

Velvet McGregor

Velvet McGregor, Outstanding Elementary Education Graduate Student of the Year is a student in the Master of Education in Elementary Education program. She received her Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education from NCA&T. Velvet recently received National Board Certification, the highest honor for public school teachers.

Velvet has been a teacher for 14 year. She is currently a teacher at Cook Elementary. She initiated the first Free Saturday School at Cook Elementary which was recognized by the Winston Salem Chronicle due to outstanding student/parent participation and the effectiveness on the increase of test scores.

Velvet is active in action research. Her topic is: Best Practices in Reading for African American Students. This comparative analysis evaluated methods and assessment used in guiding reading and success for all. This action research project is very useful for elementary teachers.

Velvet cares deeply about her community and therefore she is a mentor for the W-S/Forsyth County District "Support Teachers All Year Program", where she currently mentors beginning fifth grade teachers. She was recently recognized by Channel 48 for her volunteer efforts for effectively establishing volunteer partnerships within the community. Velvet is affiliated with many boards, planning committees, and professional associations. She is the Parliamentarian for the WSSU Graduate Student Association.

While engaged in many activities, Velvet has managed to keep a 3.93 GPA. She completed degree requirements in May 2006.

Teaune Vinson

Teaune Vinson, Outstanding Rehabilitation Counseling Graduate Student of the Year is a student in the Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling graduate program. She is a WSSU alumnus with a BA in Psychology.

Teaune's work, clinical and internship activities no doubt make her a qualified candidate for this award. She has served as director of a group home for level III children with behavioral and developmental disabilities. Her clinical and internship activities have extended from working with individuals with Mental retardation and autism to practical applications of classroom knowledge for Rehabilitation Counselors.

Teanue's current research for Dissociative Identity Disorder: Getting It, Living With It, and Treating It, examines symptoms, coping strategies and methods for this disorder, formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder. As a part of her academic excellence Teaune was a WSSU representative for the 24th annual Governmental Affairs Summit. The Summit's main objective is to present critical issues and proposed legislation that have a direct impact on the Vocational Rehabilitation program.

Teaune is an active community member, a W-S native who continues to participate in local events for persons with disabilities, as well as using her own talents to assist in this endeavor.

She continues to be recognized as a scholar and professional by the many professional and honor societies she is affiliated with. Teaune has maintained a GPA of 3.8. She will complete her degree requirements in December 2006. She also plans to pursue a doctorate in Social Psychology.

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