University of Virginia
University of Virginia

e-News from the VA-NC Alliance

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Speakers at the recent panel discussion "I Have a Dream: Visions of Engineering in the Twenty-First Century", part of the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Community Celebration events held at the University of Virginia.

Above, left to right:

  • Robert Bland, the first African American graduate of the U.Va. School of Engineering & Applied Science, and CEO of the Conejo Compassion Coalition in Newbury Park, California

  • Dean of the School of Engineering & Applied Sciences, & Louis T. Rader Professor of Electrical Engineering James Aylor

  • Frederick Tracy Morse Professor of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering Pamela Norris

  • Third-year Mechanical Engineering Major Andrew Johns, member, American Indian Science and Engineering Society

  • Third-year Biomedical Engineering Major Loren Murphy, president, U.Va. Chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers

  • Fourth-year Biomedical Engineering Major Caroline Higgins, president, U.Va. Chapter of the Society of Women Engineers

  • Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering Edward Botchwey

  • PhD Candidate in Chemical Engineering Ernie Perez-Almodovar

Spring 2011

Dear Partners,

Welcome to the spring semester of 2011!  Fortunately, we haven’t received as many inches of snow as last year, although I believe our friends in North Carolina again have had more snow than usual.  The weather held throughout most of the extensive Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration here in Charlottesville.  During the Celebration we hosted keynote speaker and political strategist, Donna Brazile and featured documentaries such as Freedom Riders and Papers.   Panels discussed a number of topics including “I Have a Dream: Visions of Engineering in the Twenty-First Century”, which was moderated by the first African American graduate of U.Va.’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, and focused on broadening and diversifying the field.

As a community we also discussed The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, which tells the story of an African American woman whose cells were used in medical research without her informed consent.  Her cells became HeLa, the first immortal cell line, which is familiar to any researcher in biology and instrumental in developing the polio vaccine, research on cancer,  AIDS, gene-mapping and much more.  As a result of stories such as Henrietta’s, as well as the infamous Tuskegee syphilis study, research volunteers and patients are now protected by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) process. By now some of you will have submitted a proposal to your institution’s IRB board for research projects.  Many of you are currently involved in research for which a professor has requested IRB approval.  I highly recommend to any researcher that he or she read this book in order to learn from history.

Whether during the academic year or during the summer, VA-NC Alliance students have been conducting research at their home institutions, sister schools, and abroad.  From my personal experience as a chemical engineer and medical doctor, I will say that more than ever research is an essential ingredient to an undergraduate education in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields.  In the long run it will be much more beneficial to find a research internship this summer than a part-time job. 

There are many options, from Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs), to an internship to the Alliance Summer Research Program at U.Va., to the Undergraduate Summer Research Internship at Virginia Tech.  Make an appointment to discuss the possibilities with your LSAMP advisor, who will have an updated list of opportunities sent weekly to all VA-NC Alliance personnel.

Speaking of research, the Alliance’s Fourth Annual Symposium will be held April 13th and 14th at U.Va.  We are excited to host the symposium the same week as President Teresa Sullivan’s inauguration.  She is the first woman and eighth president of the University of Virginia.  Alliance students and faculty will have the opportunity to attend some of the inaugural activities offered.  If you are a student, please log on to the Alliance website or click here for the symposium’s registration materials, as well as information about entering the poster and oral presentation competition.



Marcus L. Martin, M.D. 


Save These Dates!

  • VA-NC Alliance Symposium, registration & presentation submissions : March 1st
  • VA-NC Alliance Summer Rsearch Program Application deadline : March 1st
  • VA-NC Alliance Symposium : April 13th - 14th
  • VA-NC Alliance Summer Research Program : begins June 5th

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Around the Alliance in Spring 2011

Bennett College for Women

Bennett College for Women's Alliance scholars present research around the country
The fall semester brought some great changes to the VA-NC LSAMP program at Bennett... Read more.

Elizabeth City State University

ECSU Alliance faculty stay on top of the most recent tech trends in robotics, virtualization
LSAMP students at Elizabeth City State University are taught by faculty who remain involved in cutting-edge research on a variety of topics… Read more.

George Mason University

GMU LSAMP students hold leadership positions, take multiple awards across campus
GMU LSAMP students are making their presence known ...Read more.

Johnson C. Smith University

JCSU receives NSF grant as an I-cubed project in 2010

JCSU's One-Stop Academic Student Integrated System (OASIS) has been designated as an NSF Innovation Through Institutional Integration Project…Read more.


Saint Augustine's College

Peer assistance in the Saint Augustine's LSAMP program: one student's story
Jamal Pearce, a junior at Saint Augustine's College, writes about his experience as an LSAMP peer teacher Read more.

University of Virginia
UVA LSAMP pipeline continues to provide student opportunities

Throughout the summer of 2010, the Center for Diversity in Engineering (CDE) worked diligently to recruit science, technology, engineering, and math students Read more.


Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU Alliance summer program eases the transition for new students
The VCU Summer 2010 Transition Program welcomed nineteen students from a variety of STEM majors …Read more.

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Virginia Tech LSAMP hosts prospective graduate students at annual retreat
In September, VT-AMP along with the Virginia Tech McNair Scholars Program and the Virginia Tech Graduate School hosted a Graduate Application Retreat ...Read more.



e-News Archives:

08/01/2010 Fall, 2010 e-newsletter

02/10/2010 Spring, 2010 E-newsletter

09/29/2009 Fall, 2009 E-newsletter

02/18/2009 Spring, 2009 E-newsletter