Leaders for Our Future
Our students have never been more diverse or more gifted or more committed to the common good.
Since 1819, the University has fufilled its founder’s expectation
of being a national institution, drawing students from
every state as the country expanded.Today the University’s reach
extends around the globe, and the diversity of talented young
women and men now tempted by the cup of knowledge at
Virginia goes well beyond geography.
The Class of 2008, which moved into the first-year residence
halls this fall, reflects the student body’s geographic, demographic,
and academic breadth. Virginians make up 67 percent
of the undergraduate class, which also includes students from
Korea, China,Turkey, India, and Canada, among other countries.
African American students and black students of other
nationalities make up 10 percent of the 3,096 new students
who enrolled this year, up from 9 percent last year. The
percentage of Asian, Asian American, Hispanic, and Latino
students also increased.
These students are as academically gifted as they are
diverse. The combined SAT scores of the middle
50 percent of the entering class ranged from 1,250
to 1,430, an increase of ten points on each end of
the spectrum over the previous entering class.
Eighty-three percent of incoming students ranked
in the top 10 percent of their high school classes.
Now that we have drawn these extraordinary
young people into our community, we bear a great
responsibility.We must provide them with abundant
opportunities for developing their intellects and
their leadership abilities, as well as a nurturing and
welcoming environment that respects and celebrates
the tapestry of backgrounds and heritages they represent.
We also must ensure that they have the means to
take full advantage of all that is now before them.
Actor Sean Patrick Thomas (College '92) is raising national awareness of AccessUVA.
ACCESS AND AFFORDABILITY
This year the Board of Visitors unveiled AccessUVA,
an unprecedented financial-aid program designed to keep
a University education affordable for all students who qualify
for admission. The board has committed $17.9 million
annually to the program, which will address the needs not
only of low-income students, but also of those from middleincome
families increasingly squeezed by rising tuitions and
other costs resulting from decreased state support.
AccessUVA provides loan-free financial-aid packages for students
with the greatest need (those whose family incomes are 200
percent of the federal poverty level or lower), and it places a cap
on need-based loans for middle-income students who qualify for
financial aid, making up the difference with grants. Under this
limit, no baccalaureate student will graduate with a debt burden
greater than one year’s total in-state cost of attending the
University, this year about $16,000. Simply put, AccessUVA
is one of the most far-reaching financial aid programs on any
public campus in the United States.
With its emphasis on grants and limited loans,
AccessUVA will enable all students to take an active
role in extracurricular and leadership opportunities and
will give them greater freedom to pursue graduate
study or public service careers. The University has
mounted a national awareness campaign for the
program, with actor Sean Patrick Thomas
(College ’92) generously contributing his talents
as spokesperson. Known for his roles in such
films as Save the Last Dance and Barbershop, he
benefited from need-based aid as he pursued his
drama degree at the University.
The class of 2008 joins a student body noteworthy
for its intellectual curiosity, personal
initiative, and commitment to the public good.
These qualities are clearly evident in the students
who won prestigious scholarships this year.
David Buckley (College ’04) will enter a year of
graduate study at Queen’s University Belfast as a George
J. Mitchell Scholar. A Jefferson Scholar, Mr. Buckley
majored in political and social thought and international
relations, with a minor in religious studies. The
second Mitchell Scholar from the University in as
many years, he will study comparative
Kurt E. Mitman (College ’04) will
pursue a master’s degree in physics at
Oxford as the sixth Marshall Scholar
from the University. An Echols Scholar and the winner of a
Goldwater Scholarship, Mr. Mitman received a Harrison
Research Award to investigate the neural basis of cognition. He
was also a Lawn resident and a member of the University Guides.
Third-year student Markus Weisner received a Truman
Scholarship, a federal award for students who plan to pursue a
career in government or public service. A systems and information
engineering major, Mr.Weisner received $30,000 to complete
his undergraduate studies and to pursue graduate study and
Marshall Scholarship winner Kurt Mitman worked with neurosurgery professor
William B. Levy, at right, to explore the neural basis of cognition.
Four more students received Goldwater Scholarships for study
in mathematics, science, and engineering. Bringing to forty
the number of University students
to receive the award,
they are Brenda N. Goguen, a
third-year double major
in biochemistry and biology;
Arsalan Tavakoli-Shiraji, a
third-year double major in
computer science and economics;
Margaret E. Samra, a
third-year Jefferson Scholar
with a double major in biology
and Latin American studies;
and Yogesh Surendranath, a
second-year double major in
biochemistry and physics.
Each will receive up to $7,500.
|Young Women Leaders
In elementary school, girls
believe they can be anything
they wish, but by middle school
they begin to lose confidence.
Unattainable body ideals projected
by the media can be
particularly harmful. Peer pressure
can lead to unfortunate
lifestyle choices, such as drug
and alcohol abuse. To combat
these problems, the Women’s
Center and the Curry School of
Education developed the Young
Women Leaders Program, which
matches middle-school girls
with college-age mentors.
Since it was established in
1997, the program has trained
more than 550 University
women to nurture competence
and leadership potential in
adolescent girls from area
schools, many from minority
backgrounds. The program has
been so successful that seven
other universities have adopted
it, most recently historically
black Fisk University. With gifts
from the Alcoa Foundation,
Scott McDonald (McIntire ’86,
’90), and other donors, the
Women’s Center recently developed
a new space for the program,
equipping it with computers
and other learning resources.
At the Women’s Center, student
mentors boost confidence in
Gregory Smith, who enrolled
in the University in 2003 as
a 13-year-old graduate student,
was named to the Hall of
Fame for Caring Americans,
receiving a $2,000 scholarship.
He is founder of International
JOINING THE QUEST FOR KNOWLEDGE
Typically the preserve of
faculty members and their
graduate assistants, research
has become an integral part
of undergraduate education at
the University. Undergraduate
researchers work side-by-side
with some of the University’s
most distinguished faculty,
conducting sustained, indepth
investigations of complex
problems under rigorous
standards. In the School of
Engineering and Applied
Science, research for the
fourth-year thesis has been
a key component of engineering
education at the University
since Dean William M.
Thornton introduced the
requirement a century ago.
The best of this work is recognized
each year in the school’s
Undergraduate Research and Design Symposium. The symposium’s
most recent first-place winner was Neda Cvijetic
(Engineering ’04), whose research focused on overcoming the
"last mile" problem, when data carried by fiber-optic networks
hit traffic jams just before reaching homes and offices. She examined
the pros and cons of using pulsed laser arrays rather than
wires and cables to bypass these snarls.
To encourage students across the University to engage in academic
inquiry, the College of Arts and Sciences created the
Center for Undergraduate Excellence, or CUE. In addition to
helping students identify faculty mentors and develop research
proposals, CUE administers a number of funding programs,
including the new Double ’Hoo Research Awards. Distributed
for the first time in April, the awards support pairs of undergraduate
and graduate students who work jointly on a research topic.
The eight winning projects range from archaeological investigations
of Roman Britain and southern Benin to experiments
involving tungsten dearomatization reagents.
CUE also oversees the Harrison Research Awards. Launched
in 1999 with a gift from the late David A. Harrison III (College
’39, Law ’41), the Harrison Research Awards today are sustained
through the generosity of his family. In 2003–2004, they provided
a total of $160,000 for forty-three student projects.With
nearly a third requiring work in a foreign country and 25 percent
involving community service, the projects are helping to fulfill
key Virginia 2020 goals.
Edward Benson (Engineering ’05), a computer science major
and Jefferson Scholar, received a Harrison award for his project
"Video Surveillance and the Privacy Arms Race." His study took
him to London and Washington, D.C., where he interviewed
police officers, government officials, store owners, and people on
the street. Using maps of several camera networks, he also took
walking tours to experience the effects of video surveillance in
everyday life. Wynn Lei Nyane (College ’04), a native of the
former Burma, used a Harrison award to document the plight of
displaced Burmese children in Thailand, where they suffer from
squalid living conditions, lack of food, and woefully inadequate
health care and education.
With a Harrison Research Award, Wynn Lei Nyane revealed the plight
of displaced Burmese children in Thailand.
IMPROVING GRADUATE LIFE
As it fosters a superb undergraduate experience, the
University is working to enrich graduate life in comparable ways.
Graduate students are vital partners in the academic enterprise,
and by increasing funds for fellowships and graduate services, we
will improve the University’s teaching and research programs.
Expanding our capacity to recruit the best graduate students
enhances our ability to retain the best faculty, who in turn raise
the University’s stature and its ability to compete for the most
promising students, both graduate and undergraduate.
With fellowships provided by generous benefactors, graduate
students are making their mark in every academic discipline at
the University. Ross Altheimer, who received the Architecture
School’s Nix Travel Fellowship, explored more than 500 kilometers
of subterranean Paris for his thesis,
which focuses on ruptures caused by
old quarry spaces beneath the 14th
Arrondissement. Montana McCormick,
who received the Curry School’s Jean R.
Butcher Fellowship, supervises student
teachers and conducts research on adolescent
literacy. She also is helping refine the
University’s Phonological Awareness
Literacy Screening (PALS) pilot program
for preschoolers. PALS is a screening tool
used by 98 percent of school districts in
Virginia to assess reading problems.
Curry graduate student Montana McCormick conducts research on adolescent
literacy and has refined literacy instruction for preschoolers.
Rob Stevens, the William Ballard, Jr.,
Fellow in mechanical engineering, uses
lasers to study microscale heat transfer,
measuring resistance to the flow of energy at the interface of two
heated materials. Creative writing student Nick Taylor is using
an award from the William R. Kenan, Jr., Endowment to conduct
research for his short-fiction series, 52 East Lawn: Stories
from the Academical Village, told through the eyes of students who
occupied the same Lawn room at different points in the
A TRADITION OF PUBLIC SERVICE
Faculty such as Jeffrey Corwin, left, an expert on
the restoration of hearing loss, routinely work
with undergraduates in their labs.
The University consistently ranks among the top producers
of Peace Corps volunteers, with more than seventy alumni
now serving in foreign posts. This reflects the long tradition of
public service in our student culture. The most visible manifestation
of this volunteer spirit is Madison House, the organization
that channels student energy into programs that benefit the community.
This past year, Madison House volunteers worked at
some 120 sites, ranging from area schools to migrant camps. In
all, they touched the lives of 17,000 individuals.
The ethic of public service is deeply inculcated in the Law
School, where students lend their aid in
such programs as the Volunteer Income
Tax Association. Participants help lowincome
citizens prepare their taxes, ensuring
that they receive all the credits and
deductions to which they are entitled.
Reaching across international boundaries,
members of Nursing Students Without
Borders are raising funds to build a clinic
in El Salvador, and the students who
formed a chapter of Engineering Students
Without Borders traveled on environmental
service missions to Mexico and southern
Africa. These students are applying
what they learn in the classroom to realworld
problems around the globe.