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Turner, Sanders named NSU's Outstanding Graduate Students

Sarah Turner of Tahlequah and Valerie Sanders of Glenpool are Northeastern State University's Outstanding Graduate Students for 2010.

Outstanding Graduate Students are nominated by NSU's Graduate Council and voted on by the administration and faculty. The criteria include community service and outstanding academic achievement.

Turner is a 4.0 student majoring in communications studies, a researcher and active in the Tahlequah community. She is involved with the American Association of University Women and helped the association plan its Woman-to-Woman conference at NSU. She also works full-time for NSU's Student Affairs. In 2007 she complete an international media internship in Armagh, Ireland. Her research involved the presentation of several papers at Central States Communication Association conferences, including one paper that sat on a Top Paper Panel. She belonged to Oklahoma Intercollegiate Legislature where she served as Secretary of State and Lieutenant Governor.

Turner said she felt "honored and humbled" to be selected from so many qualified candidates and thanked family and friends for their support.

"I have been at NSU since the spring of 2005, and my experience here has been life-changing," she said. "After receiving my bachelor's in mass communication in 2008, I chose to pursue my master's in communication at NSU because of the wonderful mentorship I received from the faculty in both departments."

"We were thrilled when Sarah decided to pursue a master's degree in our program," said Dr. Amy Aldridge Sanford, Turner's thesis adviser. "She has continued to excel as a top performer in classes and a presenter at conferences. Last year she had a paper selected for the top paper panel by the Women's Caucus at the Central States Communication Association conference. I've encouraged her to submit that paper to a journal. Sarah makes our program better because she inspires the students around her to work harder and think broader."

Sanders is pursuing her degree in library media and information technology at NSU Broken Arrow. She is active in the Library Media student organization and is also a member of the American Library Association and its school library division, American Association of School Librarians. In 2008 she was selected to represent NSU at ALA’s national convention held in Anaheim, Calif., through the Student-to-Staff program. Sanders has also had the opportunity to participate in presentations at Encyclo-Media, the statewide library conference held each fall in Oklahoma. In addition to her involvement in the library community, Sanders has also maintained a 4.0 throughout her time in the program.

Sanders was also honored by the recognition and offered specific thanks to her adviser, Dr. Barbara Ray, and Dr. Angel Kymes, assistant professor for Curriculum and Instruction at NSU-BA.

"As someone who began her pursuit of a master’s degree at a different university, I can say with utmost certainty that choosing to transfer and attain my master’s degree in library media and information technology at Northeastern State University was the best decision I ever made," Sanders said. "I have gained so much practical knowledge and hands-on experience through my studies at NSU that I am confident that my transition into the role of a school library media specialist will be a smooth one."

"Valerie has contributed to the learning of all candidates in the library media program with her insightful discussion and presentations," said Dr. Barbara Ray, who advises Sanders. "I know she will continue to contribute to the education of 21st Century learners as she begins her career as a school librarian.  Her enthusiasm for learning and her love of people will make her invaluable to faculty and students.  Valerie will serve as an outstanding ambassador for NSU because she exemplifies all aspects of the dedication and success that define our university."

Published: 5/26/2010 9:38:20 AM

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