Lee News

2017 YAPD Grant Recipients Announced



The Office of Alumni Relations at Lee recently announced the winners of the 2017 Young Alumni Professional Development (YAPD) Grant.

The YAPD Grant program supports alumni participating in initiatives, events, trainings and projects related to professional development. The grant is open to all Lee University alumni, regardless of academic major or professional experience, so long as the individual is currently employed and within 10 years of graduating from a Lee undergraduate program.

“As our young alumni take their first steps in the professional world, they sometimes need a little help. That’s why we developed the YAPD grant program,” said Dr. Jerome Hammond, vice president for University Relations at Lee.

The 2017 YAPD recipients are Tiffany Blauert, Edward Christopher, Anna Douglas, Kalen Johnson, Lauren Neal, Zachary Simms, Lauren Todd and Oluwatobil (Deborah) Osikoya.

Tiffany Blauert
Tiffany Blauert

Blauert graduated from Lee in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. As a Human Resources Director for NewPointe Community Church, Blauert used the grant money toward study materials and exam fees to earn her certification in the Society for Human Resource Management – Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP).

“I was excited and honored to receive the YAPD Grant to be able to pursue a higher level of Human Resources certification,” said Blauert. “I am blessed to have attended a university that continues to be committed to my professional development and success years after graduation.”

 
Edward Christopher
Edward Christopher

Christopher graduated from Lee with a bachelor’s in psychology in 2013. He currently serves as a graduate student researcher at Purdue University. The funds from the YAPD grant helped to cover the cost of attending an annual meeting of the Psychonomic Society. By attending this meeting Christopher was able to significantly contribute to his continued growth as a scholar and professional.

 
Anna Douglas
Anna Douglas

Douglas, a PhD candidate at Vanderbilt University, graduated from Lee in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics/chemistry. The grant received was used to provide Douglas the opportunity to attend the Gordon Research Conference: Nanomaterials for Applications in Energy Technology.

“Gordon Research Conferences are among the most prestigious conferences offered in scientific fields,” said Douglas. “Last February I attended the Gordon Conference on Batteries, which was truly instrumental in my professional development with the ideas I gained from discussions with colleagues and by the professional contacts I made.”

 
Kalen Johnson
Kalen Johnson

Johnson recently graduated in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science. As a current graduate-assistant teacher at Texas A&M University, Johnson is using the YAPD funds to cover the costs to become certified as an exercise physiologist by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). The money will also help her obtain membership to the ACSM and provide means to present her current research at the annual ACSM meeting in 2017.

Lauren Neal
Lauren Neal

Neal earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Lee in 2014. She is now a graduate research fellow in the Department of Psychology at the University of Alabama. Neal received the YAPD grant for registration and travel expenses to attend the Annual Meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. By attending this conference, Neal will also get the opportunity to present her research as the first author of a poster presentation.

 
Deborah Osikoya
Deborah Osikoya

Osikoya graduated from Lee in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry. She is now in her first year as a student at the University of North Texas Health Science Center to earn her doctorate. Osikoya used the grant for travel expenses to attend the 12th Annual International Symposium on Mechanisms of Vasodilation at Mayo Clinic.


 
Zachary Simms
Zachary Simms

Simms graduated in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in music business and is now a technology support specialist at Lee University. Simms plans to use the grant money to obtain the A+ Information Technology Certification. It is the most widely recognized and respected certification in the field of IT and will help improve Simms’ educational and professional skills as a technology support specialist.

 
Lauren Todd
Lauren Todd

Todd is a recent 2016 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in forensic science at Virginia Commonwealth University. Todd will use the YAPD grant funds to cover travel and lodging expenses to attend the American Academy of Forensic Science (AAFS) Conference, where she will be inducted as a member of the AAFS. The AAFS provides leadership to advance science and its application to the legal system.

“This grant is important for young Lee alumni entering into the career world as a way to help get them to the next level,” said Patti Cawood, director of Alumni Relations at Lee. “The YAPD Grant is used as a bridge to further the recipients’ professional experience, and we are thankful for the opportunity to be a part of a piece of their journey after graduation.”

For more information or to apply for the YAPD Grant, contact alumni@leeuniversity.edu or (423) 614-8316.
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