Nicole James, of Wooster, OH, a doctoral candidate in sociology in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, has been named Virginia Tech’s 2006 Graduate Woman of the Year.

James was selected as Graduate Woman of the Year based on her involvement in professional organizations, campus activities, and the graduate community, as well as her research and commitment to diversity.

“James was selected as Graduate Woman of the Year because of her exceptional academic and teaching record, exemplary service to the graduate community, and her commitment to, and creative solutions for, promoting diversity,” said Karen DePauw, dean of the Graduate School.

James, who earned her master's degree at Virginia Tech, and her bachelor's degree at Oberlin College, is a Minority Fellowship Program Fellow, sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health. Her research interests focus on mental health issues with regard to race, ethnicity, class, and gender.

In addition to her research, James has been actively engaged in the graduate and university community. She participates in a variety of campus and national organizations, including the Black Graduate Student Organization, Graduate Student Assembly, Graduate Honor System, Alpha Epsilon Lambda honor society, and the Salsa Club.

James has also served on a number of committees and on the Commission on Graduate Studies and Policies. Through her contributions, she helped enhance the professional and personal lives of her fellow graduate students, and worked to create a more inclusive campus community.

In October 2004, the Graduate Student Assembly approved a proposal to establish a university-level award that recognized one male and one female “Graduate Student of the Year.” The award is based on involvement in professional organizations and campus activities, contributions to knowledge throughout the graduate community, and a commitment to diversity. This marks the first year the award has been presented

The Graduate School at Virginia Tech promotes graduate education as a critical component in the transmission of new knowledge, research, ideas, and scholarship. It is responsible for the development, administration, and evaluation of graduate education throughout the university, providing support to faculty, staff, and more than 6,000 graduate students. The Graduate School is committed to building a diverse graduate community and vibrant intellectual environment to help prepare graduates to lead. Virginia Tech, the most comprehensive university in Virginia, is dedicated to quality, innovation, and results to the commonwealth, the nation, and the world.

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