Katelin Shugart-Schmidt, a master’s student in fisheries and wildlife sciences, was named Virginia Tech’s 2012 Graduate Woman of the Year. Shugart-Schmidt, who hails from Logan, Utah, and received her undergraduate degree from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in 2010, received the award and a $500 cash gift for her contributions to the Virginia Tech graduate community. “I’ve tried hard during my time here to make this a university community that is more welcoming to and supportive of graduate students of all types, and I was very honored to receive this award,” she said.

Shugart-Schmidt’s research focuses on estimating the management uncertainty associated with U.S. fish stocks, as part of an effort to better understand and manage marine resources. She has been actively involved with a number of organizations and projects at Virginia Tech. She currently serves as chief justice of the Graduate Honor System and is president of Queer Grads and Allies, a graduate student organization that provides resources and support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students and allies.

Shugart-Schmidt hopes to work alongside legislators to help turn scientific discoveries into meaningful environmental policies. “Graduate school at Virginia Tech has been an incredible journey and I can’t believe how much I’ve grown as both a scholar and a person during my time here,” she added. “We have a truly immense community of faculty and graduate students who are going to continue doing great things for this world, and I’m very grateful to be a part of it.”