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Katherine Madison, Natalie Walker named SREB-State Doctoral Scholars
Natalie Walker (left) and Katherine Madison

JOHNSON CITY (April 25, 2016) – East Tennessee State University students Katherine Madison and Natalie Walker were recently selected by the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) as SREB-State Doctoral Scholars.

Created in 1993, the SREB-State Doctoral Scholars Program is designed to produce more minority Ph.D. students who seek careers as faculty on college campuses.  It provides multiple layers of support, including financial assistance, academic/research funding, career counseling and job postings, scholar counseling and advocacy, a scholar directory for networking and recruiting, invitation to the annual Institute on Teaching and Mentoring, and continued early career support.

Madison, a native of Johnson City, earned a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice from ETSU and a master of education degree in early childhood and elementary education from Milligan College.  During a 15-year career as an elementary school teacher in Louisburg, North Carolina, she continually wondered why many third grade students were still unable to read and questioned what happened before they reached that grade level.

Now in her second year as a doctoral candidate in early childhood education in ETSU’s Clemmer College of Education, Madison wishes to play a role in correcting that problem.  As a researcher, she aims to look at student behavior and the types of behavioral and academic interventions that would help students perform well.

She and a colleague recently gave a presentation at The Ohio State University Parent Symposium about research on the graduation success rates of college students with dependents, and she has also presented on third grade math strategies at ETSU’s annual Early Childhood Conference.

“The SREB fellowship has opened many doors for me to pursue much-needed research in the early childhood education field,” Madison said.  “My plan is to continue to actively research in this field and to share my research with others through higher education teaching, publications and opening learning academies that will use research-based practices to prepare young children for academic and lifelong success.”

Walker is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Community and Behavioral Health in ETSU’s College of Public Health.  Born and raised in Pontiac, Michigan, she completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.  She holds master’s degrees in social work from Savannah State University and public health from Armstrong Atlantic University, both in Savannah, Georgia.

Since completing her M.S.W., Walker has gained broad work experience focusing on the health care needs of adults.  She has been the coordinator of a case management program aimed at increasing health care access for uninsured and underinsured adults, a case manager for cancer screening and specialty referral programs, a health educator for adults with chronic diseases, a case manager for a domestic violence shelter, and an advocate for victims of sexual assault.

In 2011, Walker became a certified health education specialist.  In recognition of her work with Access Connect Teach (ACT), a colon cancer screening program for uninsured adults in Savannah, she received a Health Care Hero Award from the Georgia Medical Society.  She was also selected to present a poster on the ACT program at the 83rd Georgia Public Health Association meeting.

Since arriving at ETSU, Walker has worked as a graduate assistant on two childhood obesity research projects and was a member of a work group to develop a proposal for a peer education course.  She has served as a teaching assistant for graduate-level public health courses and an instructor for an online undergraduate course, “Community Health.”

Walker is completing her dissertation, “Predicting Healthy Eating and Physical Activity among Appalachian Adolescents: A Comparison of the Theory of Planned Behavior and Social Support.”  After finishing her doctoral program, she plans to pursue a teaching or administrative position at a university and complete requirements to become a licensed clinical social worker.

The SREB, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization headquartered in Atlanta, works with 16 member states to improve public education at every level, from pre-K through Ph.D.  Its work is funded by member appropriations and by grants and contracts from foundations and local, state and federal agencies.

To date, the SREB-State Doctoral Scholars Program has more than 800 graduates, over 100 of whom have earned tenure.  It enjoys a high faculty employment rate, with most graduates serving on campuses as faculty, administrators and post-doctoral researchers.  Most of these are employed in the SREB states of Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

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