Virginia Tech Graduate School honors outstanding students and faculty

The Virginia Tech Graduate School recognized two students and one faculty member for their outstanding performances at the veterinary college at the school’s annual awards dinner during Graduate Education Week.

The veterinary college's Outstanding Master's Degree Student was Noelle Muro (left) and its Outstanding Doctoral Degree Student was Shaohua Lei (right).

Shaohua Lei, of Yongzhou, China, received the Outstanding Doctoral Student Award. Lei, a graduate student in the biomedical and veterinary sciences program, works in the laboratory of Lijuan Yuan, associate professor of virology and immunology in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology. In nominating Lei, Yuan, who also won the Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award, described how he has “many innovative ideas and the drive, the capability, and organizing skills to put his ideas to work.” Moreover, Yuan said that Lei has a “clear vision about how to prepare himself for a successful research career that will have a direct impact on improving human and animal health.”

Noelle Muro, of East Haven, Connecticut, received the Outstanding Master’s Degree Student Award. Muro works alongside Robert Gilley, associate professor of surgery in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, and is also a student in the biomedical and veterinary sciences program. Gilley described Muro as a “hardworking and committed graduate student who goes above and beyond the requirements of her master’s program.” When nominating Muro for the award, Gilley also enumerated Muro’s numerous accomplishments, stating what she has done “takes stamina, academic rigor, an unfailing positive, professional attitude, time management and multitasking skills, and an indestructible enthusiasm.”

Lijuan Yuan received the Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award.

Lijuan Yuan, associate professor of virology and immunology in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, received the Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award. Yuan has been actively involved in the mentorship of as many as 16 graduate students in a given year and serves on several committees, including the ICTAS Advisory Board, Graduate Affairs Committee, and Graduate Selection Committee for the Interdepartmental Microbiology Graduate Program.

Through her commitment and dedication, her graduate students have repeatedly won awards for their work and her high standards for student scholarly activity has resulted in 94 publications in peer-reviewed journals. In nominating Yuan, one student observed how she has “continuously demonstrated great support and guidance for graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, visiting scholars, undergraduate students, and technicians in her lab.” Another student described how Yuan not only has “an extensive knowledge of her many research interests... she has blended these vastly different concepts into a successful and forwarding-thinking research program.”

The winners will also be recognized during the graduate commencement ceremony on May 11.