Governor's Award nominee Diane Walker-Green recognized for being a support structure in the physics department
August 19, 2013
Affectionately referred to as the “undergraduate mom” by those she works with, Diane Walker-Green is an essential member of the Department of Physics in the College of Science to both her colleagues and students, as she is the direct contact for all physics majors.
“Throughout her career, Walker-Green has been the support structure for the undergraduate physics majors and faculty in their daily interactions with students and in teaching,” said John Simonetti, associate chair of the Department of Physics. “She is completely dedicated to advancing the physics department and ensuring that every single physics major is receiving the best education possible. She makes the physics department not just a part of the college, but a home.”
Walker-Green received the College of Science Diversity Award for 2010-11 for her dedication to fostering a welcoming, helpful environment for students in the Department of Physics, as well as for her efforts in recruiting underrepresented students.
“Walker-Green strives to give her students the best college experience possible, starting before they even step foot on campus,” said Betty Wilkins, program support technician.
She created a hands-on program entitled “A Day in the Life of a Physics Major,” allowing high school and transfer students the opportunity to attend actual physics classes, meet with faculty, and have lunch with current undergraduate students.
She also spends many weeks each year on the road meeting with high school students and teachers and recruiting them to Virginia Tech, which has significantly increased the department’s number of majors.
Her work with a blind physics major, now in her third year, is particularly noteworthy. She not only recruited this student, but continues to monitor and enable her progress through the course of her studies by remaining in contact with faculty members, Services for Students with Disabilities, and the Office of Assistive Technologies.
According to her colleagues, she is known to call students into her office if she sees them passing by and hasn’t seen them recently, and students are known to come to her with personal as well as academic problems.
“She always goes above and beyond her role as advisor to make sure students feel comfortable coming to her with any variety of problems,” said Wilkins.
According to colleagues, Walker-Green is also a dedicated friend to her fellow staff members. Recently, one of her co-workers was diagnosed with cancer and she visited him each week at the treatment center during her lunch break. In addition to making the department’s work more successful and effective, she can always be depended upon to provide an ear, a helping hand, and a smile in any situation, say her colleagues.
Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.