Thomas Nelson Students Named to All-Virginia Academic Team

Published: May 10, 2007

 Thomas Nelson Community College students Kristine “Kit” Brady Rodriguez and Qian Yi “Sandy” Lau Li have been named to the 2007 All-Virginia Academic Team. Selection is based on the nominations submitted by two-year colleges for the All-USA Academic Team, an international competition co-sponsored by Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society, USA TODAY and the American Association of Community Colleges.

Rodriguez, who has been a student at Thomas Nelson Community College since 2004, will be graduating this semester with an Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts with a 4.0 grade point average or GPA. In the fall, she will transfer to the College of William & Mary to pursue a bachelor’s degree in English. Rodriguez has been a member of Phi Theta Kappa since December 2005 and has served this organization as treasurer and as co-chair of the Honors Committee. She has also been a participant in the Regional Honors Institute. Rodriguez has been actively involved with the Nelsonite, the College’s student newspaper, as the features editor and staff writer.

In a recent student writing competition, she received a second place award in the Essay Writing category and two honorable mentions in poetry. “Thomas Nelson has been one of the best experiences in my life,” says Rodriguez. “At Thomas Nelson Community College, I found great instructors who helped me realize my potential. I studied hard and tried to participate in some of the many extra-curricular opportunities available at the College.” Rodriguez is a literacy tutor for high school and middle school students. The Hampton resident is married to husband Luis and they have two grown twin children and a granddaughter, Sofia.

Lau Li has been a student at Thomas Nelson Community College since 2000 when she began taking classes in English as a Second Language. This spring, she will be graduating with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Photography and in the summer will attend Rochester Institute of Technology where she will pursue a bachelor’s degree in Fine Art Photography. “My ultimate goal is to become a successful photographer,” Lau Li said. “I believe the photographical art can be a bridge to connect and improve understanding between people from different cultural backgrounds. I deeply believe photography is the best way to capture, represent, express and share my point of view, my perspective and my thoughts and understanding of the diversity in humankind.” Lau Li has been the recipient of several awards at student photo contest held at the College. She has also been the president of the College’s student Photography Club.

Lau Li has also volunteered for community organizations such as the LINK – Living Interfaith Network, a non-profit organization in Hampton Roads, has served as a staff photographer for the Nelsonite, the College’s student newspaper and has also volunteered at conferences for the Society for Photographic Education.

A Chinese immigrant, Lau Li lives in Newport News with husband Peter K. Lau. Lau Li became a United States citizen in 2006.

Students named to the 2007 All-Virginia Academic Team were recognized by the Virginia Community College System during an awards luncheon which took place on Wednesday, April 18 at the Omni Hotel in Richmond. Rodriguez and Lau Li were accompanied by Dr. Richard Fleming, Vice-president of Academic Affairs at Thomas Nelson Community College. Both students received a medallion and a certificate in recognition of their scholarly achievements and their involvement with the community.

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Release #07-0539

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