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May 19, 2006
Vol. 36, Issue 9
Back Issues
Another notch on the educatonal belt of prodigy and peace activist Greg Smith
Undergrads pursue research
Holt 'Everywoman' of opera
Deep-sea research
Law studies go global
Darden's India program
Wise decisions
Moore follows grown-up desire to be doctor
Lending a hand learning a lot
Post-Katrina Mississippi
Students vie - and place - in international competition to rebuild New Orleans
'The angels among us' 2006 Sullivan Award winners
An engineer without borders
'Academically strong and socially aware'

Talking to Thomas Jefferson's horse

Rescuing U.Va.'s 'trail blazers'
Truman scholar defers N.Y.C., job, grad school for New Orleans relief
U.Va. students win prestigious scholarships
Guiding the way
The power of reading Harry Potter
Kremer's journey from doctor to nurse
Todd Aman: A feminist activist at U.Va.
Shoshana Griffith: Citizen of the world
Jackson blends business savvy with passion for music



News briefs

U.Va. No. 1 producer of Peace Corps vols
For the fifth consecutive year, U.Va. ranks No. 1 among comparably sized universities in sending its graduates into Peace Corps service to work in countries throughout the world.

More than 400 U.Va. graduates have served in the Peace Corps since 2000, and more than 800 throughout the Corps’ 45-year history.

U.Va. No. 1 public for black graduation rate
For the 12th straight year, U.Va. has posted the highest graduation rate for African-American students among major public institutions, according to an annual survey published in March by the Journal of Blacks in Higher

Data published in the journal show that the six-year graduation rate for African-American students who entered U.Va. in the fall of 1998 is 86 percent.

U.Va. is the only public institution in the top 20 of all colleges and universities and is the leader among flagship state universities, according to the journal, which used statistics compiled by the NCAA.

The next-highest rates among the flagship universities were 70 percent at the University of California at Berkeley and the University of New Hampshire, 69 percent at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and 67 percent at the University of Michigan.

The graduation rates at flagship state universities are especially important, the article asserts, because “America’s large state universities educate three-fourths of all African-American college students.”

Nationwide, the graduation rate for black students is 42 percent, and the journal lists several factors as possible explanations for the high rates at schools like U.Va. These include orientation and retention programs, curricular issues, a critical mass of black students on campus, favorable racial climates, locations near African-American population centers and the availability of financial aid.

An April 6 editorial in the Richmond Times-Dispatch calls U.Va.’s numbers “impressive” and notes that U.Va. does not hold the distinction “by accident,” but rather by diligent effort.

Likewise, a May 16 article by the New York Times called the U.Va. graduation rate for African-American students “particularly noteworthy” and cited peer support and mentoring as likely keys to U.Va.’s success.
life vest design wins internat’l prize

When Adam Malcom sat down to design a new life jacket, the mechanical engineering student asked himself a simple question: what would he be willing to wear?

His answer — a slender belt from which a series of inflatable bladders deploy when necessary — was the winner of an international competition sponsored by Boat U.S. Foundation for Boating Safety and the Personal Flotation Device Manufacturers Association.

Malcom’s design was chosen from 182 entries submitted by both individuals and companies. He received the prize, which included a $5,000 cash award, at the Miami International Boat Show, the largest of its kind in the world, on Feb. 16.

For Malcom, the traditional, bulky orange life vests have always been a bother to wear. And he’s not alone. Coast Guard studies show boaters’ failure to wear life vests is the cause of as many as 400 deaths a year.
With that in mind, Malcom designed a vest that would be comfortable, maneuverable, unobtrusive and reliable. 

Malcom, who earns his master’s degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering on Sunday, has begun filing a provisional patent for his device and soon will be working on a prototype and market study.
Darden DVDs available

The Darden School is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a DVD, a one-hour-and-15-minute video that features historical footage of both Darden and U.Va. The DVD offers a beautifully crafted account of the establishment of the Darden School that should appeal to anyone interested in University history.

Darden’s 2006 graduates will receive a free copy of the video. A limited number of copies also will be given to members of the U.Va. community. Call 924-3900 to reserve a copy.

Where grads are headed
Some U.Va. students start their fourth year of college with jobs already in their pockets.

Recruiting now begins in the students’ second year, when potential employers interview students for internships, said James L. McBride, executive director of University Career Services. Employers use the internships as a three-month job interview, he said.

“Last year, 65 percent of our students … had internships and 63 percent got offers,” said Tom Fitch, assistant dean of commerce career services. “Of those, 32 percent accepted.”

About 20 percent of the rising fourth-year engineering students begin their last year with a job, said C.J. Livesay, director of engineering career development. He estimated that about 70 percent of graduating engineering students would already have jobs, paying from $40,000 to $65,000 a year.

About 72 percent of commerce students also already have jobs, Fitch said, with salaries ranging from $35,500 to $56,000 a year.

According to 2005 figures, 26 percent of College graduates were going to graduate or professional schools; 16 percent were headed to jobs in education; and 9 percent were going into banking and financial services.

The remaining 49 percent are moving into fields ranging from law to religion. Salaries for College students ranged from $18,000 to $70,000 per year.

Fitch said that 49 percent of commerce students were bound for financial services jobs, 25 percent were going into consulting, 12 percent were headed for sales and marketing, and 11 percent were going into accounting.

Engineering students are entering the best job market Livesay has seen since 1999. The engineering job market is also changing, shifting from manufacturing and design work to more financial services, management and consulting.

U.Va. Ranks High
According to U.S. News & World Report’s rankings of best colleges, U.Va. continues to hold its own and remains the No. 2 best public university. In the nine years since U.S. News began ranking public universities as a separate category, U.Va. has ranked either No. 1 or No. 2.

U.Va. continues to rank in the Top 25 among the best of all national universities, public and private, tying with Georgetown University at No. 23.

U.Va. also continues to be ranked in the Top 25 in the Great School, Great Value category, coming in at No. 17, up from No. 21 last year.

Five of U.Va.’s graduate schools are again ranked among the nation’s best, according the U.S. News’ 2007 edition of America’s Best Graduate Schools.

The School of Law retained the eighth place ranking it earned a year ago.
The Darden School of Business is tied for 13th, up from 14th a year ago. The School of Medicine was ranked 25th in research, up one spot from last year. The Curry School of Education is 19th, up from 22nd last year.

The School of Engineering and Applied Science came in at 38th after a significant rise last year.

U.S. News also ranks individual areas. U.Va. ranks ninth for international law; seventh for Darden’s management program; in a tie for sixth for Darden’s nonprofit program; fourth for special education; seventh for secondary education; in a tie for eighth for elementary education; and 10th for curriculum/instruction.

For rankings, including those by Kiplingers Personal Finance magazine, BusinessWeek, Princeton Review, Forbes and the National Research Council, visit: www.virginia.edu/Facts/Glance_Rankings.htm.

Gov. Kaine to speak at Finals, Wolfe at Valediction
Virginia Gov. Timothy Kaine will be the commencement speaker at Final Exercises on Sunday, May 21. As part of the 177th U.Va. commencement, Kaine will speak on the Lawn at 10 a.m., following the traditional academic procession.

Kaine has made education a priority throughout his public service career, from his first public position as a Richmond city councilman (1994-1998) to his two terms as mayor of Richmond (1998-2002), through his term as lieutenant governor (2002-2006) and now as Virginia’s 70th governor.

Calling education “the most important issue facing Virginia today,” Kaine’s current priorities include creating a new public university in Southside; funding early childhood education, including universal access to pre-kindergarten; fully funding the Standards of Quality program at the K-12 level; and eliminating the remaining underfunding of Virginia colleges.

Kaine grew up in the suburbs of Kansas City. He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Missouri and his law degree from Harvard University.

In addition to Kaine’s talk on May 21, Finals weekend features Valedictory Exercises on Saturday, May 20. Bestselling American novelist and journalist Tom Wolfe, a native of Richmond, has accepted an invitation from U.Va.’s fourth-year class to be the featured speaker at Valediction, where class awards also are announced and the class gift is presented. Wolfe will speak at 11 a.m. on the Lawn.

Wolfe’s most recent novel, “I Am Charlotte Simmons,” published in 2004, chronicles the life and times of university students on a fictional college campus. But he is best-known for his 1987 novel, “The Bonfire of the Vanities.”


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