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School of Graduate Studies


  1. The relationship between graduate education and the public good is currently receiving increased attention and promotion by several national organizations including the Council of Graduate Schools.
  2. This award is designed to encourage and recognize graduate student service projects at ETSU that enhance the public good, broadly defined as service to the community or university.

Award Details

  • One award is given out each year.
  • The award consists of a plaque and a monetary honorarium of $250.00.


  1. Service must have "promoted the public good" not for personal or financial gain.
    • Common examples include defense, law enforcement, environmental goods, health promotion, counseling, support services, public education, global needs, humanitarian aid, public history projects, and information management.
  2. Service should be directly related to the graduate student's educational experience at ETSU.
  3. No paid services may be considered.
  4. Service effort must have occurred during the student's graduate tenure at ETSU.
  5. Students may receive this award only once.


  1. The student is nominated by an ETSU graduate faculty member using the nomination form.
  2. Although individual departments may wish to develop their own nomination procedures, all nominations for the award must be routed through and approved by the Department Chair.
  3. All nomination materials must be sent to Associate Dean Scott Kirkby either by email at or by mail at the following address:

    School of Graduate Studies
    Attention: Dr. Scott Kirkby, Assistant Dean
    ETSU Box 70720
    Johnson City, TN 37614

Application Packet

    1. A letter of nomination from the Graduate Coordinator that includes a description of the service project, and it must be cosigned by the Department Chair.
    2. All nominees are required to submit a service portfolio that includes the following information:
      • A service philosophy statement written by the student.
      • A letter from the nominee describing the service including the time and/or level of commitment required to complete nomination project(s).
        • Note: The letter may include any additional service activities (ex. ETSU sponsored projects) that are not directly related to the nominee's program of study.
    3. Two letters of endorsement that address the significance of the impact of service(s) performed.
      • One from the supervisor of the services performed.
      • One from anyone in the community who has had an opportunity to observe the performance of the service.

Application Deadline

      1. The application deadline is March 1st each year.
      2. Decisions should be reached by the first week of April.
      3. A committee of one Graduate School dean, two Graduate Council members, and two regular full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty members with graduate status will evaluate the applications.
      4. Grant recipients will be notified through a letter from the School of Graduate Studies. Notification will occur by the beginning of April. Copies of the letter will be sent to their advisory committee chair and their departmental chair. An award ceremony will be held later in April to recognize award recipients.

Alexandria Staples

Alexandria Staples
Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology

Nominated by Dr. Lindsay

Highlights from the Nomination: ...organized the Third Annual Tri-Tenn Conference on Dysphagia and Voice Disorders continuing education event. ...collaborated with faculty to offer a “Lunch ‘n’ Learn” professional development series. ...[led] the ETSU [National Student Speech Language and Hearing Association] Chapter to “Gold Chapter Honors” for the fi rst time in history, which is an honor only twenty-six other speech-language pathology programs in the nation achieved.


Graduate Student Award for Service Projects that Enhance The Public Good (2016)

Bethesda J. O'Connell
D.PH., Public Health

Nominated by Dr. Deborah Slawson

Description:Maternal and child health in low-resource communities is my passion and the focus of my service efforts. Health outcomes are worse in low-resource settings both in the United States and around the globe. The fact that health is lower simply because of resources is unjust. Low-resource circumstances are often least favorable for the health of women and children. I believe that regardless of where they live, people should have the same right to health. In order for health outcomes to improve in low-resource communities, long-term investments of time, energy, and finances are necessary. This is why I have been working consistently in one specific community, Cyegera, in the country of Rwanda for about seven years. It is also why when I work in communities, I work with organizations that have a long-standing presence and relationship with the people. Further, this is why I have pursued public health education that gives me the expertise to write grants, design and carry out programs to improve maternal and child health in low-resource communities. My service philosophy is a long-term investment in the health of women and children living in low-resource communities.



Graduate Student Award for Service Projects that Enhance The Public Good (2015)

Julia E. Ledesma de Rusinol
Liberal Studies

Healthcare Translation and Interpreting Certificate

Nominated by Dr. Ardis L. Nelson

Description:This project was intended to improve the quality of the translation work produced by undergraduate students of Spanish for the Service Learning portion of the Interpreting and Outreach class, with the overall goal of conveying with accuracy the linguistic and cultural diversity of the Hispanic members of the community interviewed by journalism students of the Department of Mass Communication. The project required designing instructional materials, glossaries and schedules that serve as a blueprint for future Graduate Assistants' work as Spanish Editor of El Nuevo Tennessean. The benefits extended to graduate students in the Health Care Tranlation and Interpreting Certificate program, who refined their skills as editors and proofreaders while participating as translation reviewers. The final translations reflected positively the team dynamic established and were genuinely welcomed by members of the Spanish-speaking community reached by the bilingual publication. Such teamwork was aopplied more recently to the translation into Spanish of the texts displayed at the "Unicoi County's Farm Heritage, 1945-2014: Seeds of the Past, Seeds of the future" exhibit, prepared by the Documenting Community Traditions classes of the Appalachian Studies program. Another service project that benefit both ETSU students and the Hispanic community is the eLearning module, "Working with Healthcare Interpreters, " created as the culminating project for the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies to educate students in the medical, pharmaceutical, dental hygiene, and other healthcare fields about the importance of enabling communication with Limited English Proficient (LEP) patients through the services of a qualified fully bilingual and bi-cultural healthcare interpreter. All three projects served to channel this graduate student's vocation to serve the region's Hispanic community in their insertion into the local culture and language.


Graduate Student Award for Service Projects that Enhance The Public Good (2014)

Larry L. Bowman

Tennessee Department of Education Curriculum Standards for Science Education and Next Generation Science Standards for K-12 Guidemaps

Nominated by Dr. Aimee Lee Govett

Description: The Framework for K-12 Science Education (July 2011) developed by the National Resource Council (NRC), draws on current scientific research and best practices for teaching science effectively. This laid the foundation for the spring 2013 release of the NRC's Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), a national set of science standards aligned to the Common Core State Standards. As Tennessee began considering in earnest whether they would adopt and follow the NGSS, and, if so, to what extent the new State Standards would conform to NGSS, it became critical that teachers, administrators, and lawmakers understood the NGSS, especially in the context of Science teaching in Tennessee. In order to facilitate this understanding, Larry Bowman created a series of posters that showcase correlations between the current Tennessee Department of Education Curriculum Standards for Science Education (TNCSSE) and to the substantially different and forward-looking NGSS. The 18 posters serve as a complete guidemap of the TNCSSE to NGSS. The 18 posters serve as a complete guidemap of the TNCSSE to NGSS for grade levels K-12 and are currently being used as a resource by the Chair of the State Committee for Tennessee's adoption of new Science standards. Additionally, educators can use the guidemaps as a way to adapt their current and past lesson plans to the NGSS by easily visualizing inclusions and exclusions between the two sets rather than writing new curricula and lessons. These posters can also be used by other states, especially in the Southeast, that have science standards similar to Tennessee's. This produce is an outcome of Science First!, a grant funded through the National Science Foundation Division of Graduate Education.


Graduate Student Award for Service Projects that Enhance The Public Good (2013)

Ha-Jung Grace Sung

Mountain States Health Alliance's Volunteer Music Program

Nominated by Dr. Aruna Kilaru

Description: Ha-Jung Grace Sung has been volunteering with the MSHA Volunteer Music Program since November of 2011. The Volunteer Music Program at the Johnson City Medical Center begins every Sunday afternoon. Musicians perform for the patients and staff, not only in the public, but also individually by request. Escorts take the musicians to a suitable area to perform and check the proper circumstances with nurses and the staff before performances. They share the music with patients, their families and the hospital staff to help them release stress and raise spirits.


Graduate Student Award for Service Projects that Enhance The Public Good (2012)

Kari Roueche
Liberal Studies

The Muriel C. Spoden Collection

Nominated by Dr. Marie Tedesco

Description: This Work Links directly to creating awareness of the history of a community, to its collective memory, and to its identity. No community thrives without a sense of its history and identity; preservation of archival documents is one way to create awareness of its history and to contribute to creation of identity. But preservation of documents and processing of archival collections by itself is insufficient. As postmodern scholars of archival thought insist, the archivist, who through her preservation and processing work has collaborated in the meaning-making of the collection’s documents, must be active and engaged in outreach work that informs the community of the availability of historical materials. The outreach efforts that employed Web 2.0 tools (e.g. Facebook, Youtube) to publicize processing work, has created awareness of the collection’s existence; this awareness will, no doubt, translate into usage of the documents; this usage, in turn, will lead to scholarly and lay writings on the collection. They may also convince others to follow the lead of Muriel C. Spoden by becoming active promoters of the history of Northeast Tennessee.


Carol B. Patton
Technology and Geomatics

Project 2009 Blue Plum Animation Festival

Nominated by Dr. Andrew Clark

Description: The Blue Plum Animation Festival was initiated in 2005 with the intent to bring a new form of art to the Blue Plum Music and Arts Festival in the form of a contest where animations are submitted from around the world. Carol was the third general student manager of the festival and made significant improvements in the process of managing the festival. Carol effectively managed the intense 9-month process leading up to the event, and produced a Blue Plum Animation Festival Process Book for the next student managers. The Animation Festival provides an excellent opportunity to build a relationship between "Town and Gown" and provides an opportunity to highlight digital media education, where ETSU excels.


Lee Ann Davis
Professional Studies

Project S.L.I.C.K., Girls, Inc. of Kingsport, TN

Nominated by Dr. Jo Lobertini

Description: The purpose of S.L.I.C.K. is to teach young women in 4th and 5th grades the importance of servant leadership. The curriculum will explain that by using servant leadership they can lead people by serving them and helping them to grow. The girls will learn and practice both the servant and leader aspects of the philosophy. Servant leaders bless the world as they use God-given guidance and talents for the good of all people. By taking on this lifestyle and leadership adaptation, then these young ladies, who may one day lead future generations will be served.

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