Nicole Hersch, Sarah Bush, and Shelby Ward are three of the six graduate students named Citizen Scholars in 2018.

The Graduate School honored students as Citizen Scholars
Nicole Hersch, Sarah Bush, and Shelby Ward are three of the six graduate students named Citizen Scholars in 2018.

The following students are the 2018 Citizen Scholars:

Nicole Hersch, of San Diego, California, is earning a master’s degree in landscape architecture from the College of Architecture and Urban Studies. She created a case study of the Stroubles Creek Watershed focused on restoring its aesthetics. The project aims to support the current Stroubles Creek Restoration Initiative established in 2014 by starting a native plant propagation program. “My goal is to propagate 500 hundred plants for the Stroubles Creek Watershed and utilize my landscape architecture training to find locations for these plants,” she explained “This project will only be successful by building relationships and through community mobilization.”

Sarah Bush, of St. Marys, Penn., is a Ph.D. student in the Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education program. Her project focused on creating a Teen Excellence in Leadership Institute (TELI) Handbook for youth programs in Virginia and across the country. She served as a leadership team member for the institute and worked with 4-H and FFA members across the state and found a need for such a handbook among Virginia programs and for those in other states wishing to replicate the commonwealth’s TELI model in their own programs. The handbook will be published by the Cooperative Extension Press. “I gained a great deal of insight into leadership program development, implementation, and evaluation,” Bush said of the process. 

Shelby Ward, of Bluefield, is a student in the Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical and Cultural Thought (ASPECT) program in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. Her work focused on participatory tourist mapping and autoethnography in Sri Lanka. This arose from talks with people who were affected by the tourism industry in that country. “I asked individuals to draw or map what they wanted tourists or strangers to know about Sri Lanka,” she said. Themes that emerged from the exercise included culture, former war zones, and nature. She hopes the data associated with the study will help illustrate “how maps influence social understandings of a country, including geopolitical implications of mapping a country, even or especially in tourist maps,” she said.

Megan Lorincz, Joanna Papadopoulas, and Fadoua El Moustaid were named Citizen Scholars for 2018.
Megan Lorincz, Joanna Papadopoulas, and Fadoua El Moustaid were named Citizen Scholars for 2018.

Megan A. Lorincz, of Williamsburg, Virginia, who is earning a master’s degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs from the School of Education, focused on living learning and leadership for her project. She said the idea arose from thinking on how she could use her degree to give back to the local community. She combined her work with the student-led Oak Lane Community Council to create a service-learning project. “I facilitated the development of the philanthropic service plan from its inception to implementation,” she said. The group coordinated several clothing drives to benefit the Radford Clothing Bank, which gives free clothing to families who otherwise could not afford them.

Joanna Papadopoulos, of Ewing, New Jersey, is a Ph.D. student in the School of Education’s Curriculum & Instruction in Integrative STEM Education program. Her project, Hands on Science with a Dash of Math Night, created a community science evening at Antheil Elementary School in Ewing, Township that was held in February. There were games, demonstrations, activities, and a grand finale Soda and Mentos geyser show, performed by the school’s principal and assistant principal. “Hundreds of Ewing students, parents, and staff who have a passion for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) attended this event to explore many different STEM activities,” she said. 

Fadoua El Moustaid, of Marrakesh, Morocco, is a PhD student in Biological Sciences. She mentored an undergraduate student using computer modeling to track disease and helped the student develop biological models to study the transmission process of West Nile Virus. “We met once a week to go over what he learned together and I explained to him the mathematical and statistical methods he needed to develop a model,” she said. That effort led to a new mentorship project with two undergraduate students. “Coming from a quantitative background myself, I understand their struggle and what they need to succeed and hopefully pursue a graduate degree,” she said.