Brett C. Kiser of Blacksburg, who received his master of science degree in natural resource recreation from Virginia Tech's College of Natural Resources last spring, was awarded the ninth annual prestigious Gold Watch Award by the William Preston Society.

The Gold Watch Award, established in 1999, is given each year to two master’s level graduate students at Virginia Tech who present an original idea with the most potential to benefit all people.

Kiser, who also received a bachelor’s degree in geology from Virginia Tech in 2005, introduced computer-modeling methologies to the field of national park and wildlife management.

Steve Lawson, his research adviser, remarked, “Kiser’s thesis research constitutes a significant scholarly contribution, introducing methodologies previously not in practice in the field of national park and wilderness management. I am pleased that Brett’s excellence in scholarship has been recognized with the William Preston Award.”

Kiser’s thesis has also been nominated for the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools annual Master’s Thesis Award competition. He is currently a research associate in the forestry department at Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources.

The College of Natural Resources at Virginia Tech consistently ranks among the top five programs of its kind in the nation. Faculty members stress both the technical and human elements of natural resources and instill in students a sense of stewardship and land-use ethics. Areas of studies include environmental resource management, fisheries and wildlife sciences, forestry, geospatial and environmental analysis, natural resource recreation, urban forestry, wood science and forest products, geography, and international development.

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