Greetings Alliance colleagues, students, and friends,
Congratulations to all on a successful first year of our Mid-level Phase! With our second grant from the National Science Foundation, we coordinated many events across the Alliance which further our goal of diversification of the STEM workforce, with an emphasis on increasing the number of underrepresented minority students earning baccalaureate degrees and matriculating to graduate school.
The 6th Annual VA-NC Alliance Undergraduate Research Symposium hosted by Virginia Commonwealth University this past April was outstanding. It included over one hundred twenty participants from all partner schools, and offered our talented students the opportunity to present research to faculty and peers. I look forward to the next symposium to be held at Elizabeth City State University on February 2-3, 2014.
This summer was a busy one. George Mason University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Elizabeth City State University, Piedmont Virginia Community College, and the University of Virginia hosted successful transition programs. These residential and online bridge opportunities eased incoming first year students’ transitions from high school to college. Over ninety students engaged in fundamental courses such as chemistry, mathematics, physics, writing preparation and research compliance as well as student development topics including critical thinking, study skills, and public speaking.
The University of Virginia welcomed our fourth cohort of the VA-NC Alliance Summer Research Program this summer. Eleven students from six partner institutions conducted research in U.Va. faculty members’ labs in the fields of astrochemistry, biology, chemical engineering, chemistry, and engineering education.
In October, the Center for Diversity in Engineering at U.Va. hosted a G.R.A.D. (Getting Ready For Advanced Degrees) Lab workshop with the national GEM Consortium. Fifty students participated, with over half of the attendees coming from partner schools. Students visited labs, and met with faculty and grad students. Dr. Stephanie Adams, chair of the Engineering Education Department at Virginia Tech, served as the keynote speaker.
Early this fall, Dr. Alok Berry of George Mason University shared sad news with us about the passing of Dr. Bernard White on September 20, 2013. In addition to serving as the principal investigator for the VA-NC Alliance at George Mason, Dr. White was the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies and Associate Professor of Engineering (please see this link to his obituary). A fund for minority engineering students is being established in his memory. Contributions may be made to: The E. Bernard White Memorial Scholarship Fund to honor minority students in the Volgenau School of Engineering. Checks may be made payable to: George Mason University Foundation and sent to: Jennifer Lamb, Volgenau School of Engineering, 4400 University Drive, MS4A3 Fairfax, VA 22030. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with Dr. White’s family and the GMU community.
I encourage you to forward this e-newsletter to individuals who may be interested in reading about our students and their successes, and who may wish to make a donation to the VA-NC Alliance. Donations may be made using the “Make a Gift” button on the left side of this webpage, and however large or small, will help us reach our goal of increasing minority representation in the STEM fields.
I wish you and your loved ones a happy holiday season!
Marcus L. Martin, M.D.
Around the Alliance in Fall 2013
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