Katy Pellien's future students had better stay on their toes, because their teacher doesn't know the meaning of second best.
Pellien graduates from Radford University at 2012 Winter Commencement on Dec. 15 with a degree from the Department of Exercise, Sport and Health Education with a concentration in physical and health education teaching.
"I want to encourage people to live a healthy lifestyle," Pellien said, "and Radford has helped me learn how to do that."
She recently completed a student teaching assignment at McHarg Elementary in Radford and will pursue job possibilities in Northern Virginia after graduation.
The Woodbridge native has continually gone above and beyond during her Radford career. She received the Outstanding Major Award from the Virginia Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance; the Student Teacher of the Year Award from the Department of Exercise, Sport and Health Education (ESHE); and she is a Dean's List student.
"I didn't know what to say when I won the Outstanding Major Award," Pellien said. "I was just speechless. I had a really great feeling of accomplishment."
Pellien was nominated for the Outstanding Major Award by RU Professor Jon Poole. The award is given to a student with "outstanding personal qualities, high ideals, good scholarship and professional ethics."
"I've had such good relationships with the professors and other students in my department," Pellien said. "They always helped give me the best opportunities to succeed."
Initially attracted by the small class sizes and quality of the ESHE major, Pellien quickly became involved in the larger campus community. In addition to her academic work, she has worked as an operations assistant for the Department of Student Activities for the past two and a half years.
"Katy's job involves everything from setting up rooms for conferences to locking down buildings," said Benjamin Litvak, the program coordinator for operations training and education. "She is an extremely responsible individual."
Despite her accolades and exceptional performance on the job, Pellien has always remained a humble team player with a good-natured attitude, Litvak said. "I know she's going into physical education, but she will succeed in anything she tries," he said. "She has the personality to really motivate and guide young minds."
Although Pellien is looking forward to her next goal—securing a post as a physical education teacher—her years at Radford will always be a high point of her life, she said. "This place is perfect, and it has prepared me for the real world. I can't imagine spending the past four years anywhere else."