Laken Cooper is a model Scholar-Citizen.
When she graduates at Saturday's 2013 Winter Commencement, Cooper, a Radford native, will be the first RU student to earn a degree with Scholar-Citizen distinction.
The unique distinction recognizes students who have demonstrated excellence in their application of academic skills and knowledge to real-world issues through research, leadership and service.
"Students who graduate with Scholar-Citizen distinction have taken courses that have applied experiences and foster reflective practices. It’s about bringing theory to practice," said Erin Webster Garrett, director of RU's Scholar-Citizen Initiative. "Scholar-Citizen projects focus on real-world issues and on promoting positive social and economic change. Some projects involve community-based research or service projects, others involve simulated experiences through case-based learning, complex problem-solving, or critical application of disciplinary knowledge to real-world issues. "
There are a number of criteria each Scholar-Citizen must meet to graduate with distinction, including maintaining a B average or better in Scholar-Citizen courses, developing a Scholar-Citizen ePortfolio that documents the student’s learning and growth over time, joining the Scholar-Citizen Student Club and participating in and leading volunteer and civic engagement projects.
Cooper, a biology major who plans on applying to graduate schools this spring, has more than met the criteria and has done plenty toward applying knowledge she has gained in the RU classrooms and laboratories to real-world situations, both domestically and internationally.