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Engineering Graduate Selected as Top University Scholar

By Brendan O'Hallarn

Philip Casteen, a civil engineering major who graduated on May 7 with a 4.0 grade point average, was selected as Old Dominion University's Outstanding University Scholar for the spring semester.

He was one of six Outstanding College Scholar award recipients at the University's Student Honors and Awards dinner on Thursday, May 5. Presented by the ODU Alumni Association, the Outstanding College Scholar awards recognize the undergraduate student in each college with the highest academic average above 3.40 who has completed at least 60 hours at the university.

Casteen, a member of the Honors College, the American Society of Civil Engineers and Phi Kappa Phi, plans to pursue a master's degree in civil engineering at Old Dominion while working full time for the Virginia Department of Transportation as an engineer.

He listed as his most inspirational faculty member Jeremy Jones, an adjunct instructional faculty member with the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

The other top academic award presented May 5 was the Provost's Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher. It was shared by two students, Rachel Green, a psychology graduate from the College of Sciences, and Sarah Gorman, a graduate in art history from the College of Arts & Letters.

Green has been involved in research with three principal investigators at Old Dominion since 2013. She has one peer-reviewed publication under review and is a co-author of an editorial accepted by the Journal of Engineering Education. Her most inspirational research faculty member is Richard Landers, associate professor of psychology.

Gorman was awarded the 2015 Jane C. Waldbaum Archaeological Field School Scholarship and was selected to participate in The American Excavations at Morgantina: Contrada Agnese Project in Morgantina, Sicily. She also has published a field report on the Archaeological Institute of America website, as well as several presentations at the ODU Undergraduate Research Symposium. She selected Anne Muraoka, assistant professor of art, as her most inspirational faculty member

Old Dominion President John R. Broderick lauded the winners during the dinner.

"Those in attendance here are stellar examples of high-achieving students who take full advantage of rewarding academic and service opportunities at ODU and excel," he said.

"These activities, which take place both inside and outside the classroom, will undoubtedly assist you in future academic experiences and professional careers in business, medicine, engineering and education, among many others."

Other Outstanding College Scholars recognized May 5 were:

  • Lindsey Thomas of the College of Arts & Letters, who graduated with a degree in criminal justice and a 4.0 GPA. She selected Randy Myers, instructor in sociology and criminal justice, as her inspirational faculty member.

  • Danielle Linton Kaeck, who graduated with a 4.0 in international business, was the honor graduate of the Strome College of Business. Kaeck chose Lisa Moser, of Academic Enhancement, as her most inspirational staff or faculty member.

  • Heather Osborne was the honor graduate for the Darden College of Education, graduating with a 4.0 in physical education. Osborne selected David Branch, associate professor of human movement sciences, as her most inspirational faculty member.

  • Ellie Gaug was the honor graduate for the College of Health Sciences, graduating in dental hygiene with a 4.0 grade point average. She selected Sharon Stull, lecturer of dental hygiene, as her most inspirational faculty member.

  • In addition to being the co-winner of the Provost's Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher, Rachel Green was the Outstanding College Scholar for the spring semester for the College of Sciences. Green, who graduated with a 4.0, selected Debra Major, professor and Eminent Scholar of psychology, as her most inspirational faculty member.

Interim Provost Chandra de Silva said the University shares the pride in the students' accomplishments with family and friends of the graduates. "We are equally grateful to the faculty members who helped these students attain such stature," de Silva said.

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