Broadening the scope
February 25, 2016
Last November, Virginia Commonwealth University senior Delisa Clay was one of the 96 students out of 2,035 picked to give an oral presentation of her research at the 15th Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students in Seattle. That alone was huge.
And then she won “Best Oral Presentation” for her talk, “Defining Cellular Dynamics and Biomechanical Forces During Wound Healing in Xenopus laevis Embryos.” Only one other VCU student has won an oral presentation award at the event in the past five years. It was a big deal for Clay — and for VCU.
The competition level is high for this award. Students are judged based on their research, presentation skills and how well they answer questions about their work. “The quality of the presentations students are giving is way above what we expect normal undergrads to do,” said Sarah Golding, Ph.D., instructor in the Department of Biology at the College for Humanities and Sciences and director of the undergraduate component of the Initiative for Maximizing Student Development program.
Clay’s research is a result of her work as a scholar with IMSD. It’s one of several research training programs within VCU’s Center on Health Disparities aimed at increasing the number of people from underrepresented backgrounds obtaining a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences.
Black History Month at VCU aims to spark dialogue, celebrate black excellence
February 4, 2016
Virginia Commonwealth University will celebrate Black History Month with a variety of events throughout February that are meant to provoke thought and conversation.
“We have a month full of thought-provoking educational and social programs designed to engage and celebrate black excellence.”
“I am truly excited for this year’s Black History Month events and the dialogue that may come as a byproduct of these programs,” said Yolanda Avent, director of the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs in the Division of Student Affairs, which coordinates VCU’s Black History Month activities. “We have a month full of thought-provoking educational and social programs designed to engage and celebrate black excellence.”
All of the events will be free and open to the public, though registration may be required for certain events.
Political cartoonist Keith Knight will deliver the 14th annual VCU Libraries Black History Month Lecture, titled, “They Shoot Black People, Don't They? From Ferguson to NYC, Political Cartoonist Keith Knight on Police Violence in the U.S.” He will speak on Feb. 4 from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Lecture Hall (room 303) of James Branch Cabell Library.
Library hosts read-in to celebrate Black History Month
February 25, 2016
VCU Libraries will host a read-in celebrating Black History Month on Feb. 26.
To take part in this literary afternoon, drop by the Lecture Hall in James Branch Cabell Library (Room 303) between noon and 4 p.m. Sign up for a five-minute reading slot and read from works authored by African-Americans or about African-Americans, Africans and the diaspora. Featured readings will be scheduled at 1, 2 and 3 p.m., leaving hours of time for active participation from volunteer readers. VCU Libraries will provide a selection of literary works for reading or checking out.
First black female transplant surgeon details kidney transplant inequity
February 18, 2016
Velma P. Scantlebury, M.D., the nation’s first black female transplant surgeon, told an audience of more than 220 at Virginia Commonwealth University that blacks have a more difficult time getting on kidney transplant lists and have less access than whites to lifesaving kidney transplants.
Scantlebury’s lecture, “Health Equity in Kidney Transplantation: Experiences from a Surgeon’s Perspective,” was held last week at the University Student Commons Theater. Her lecture and a related roundtable discussion were hosted by the Black Education Association at VCU.
After 48 years, legendary educator Grace Harris retires
February 4, 2016
Grace E. Harris, Ph.D., one of the most highly regarded women in higher education, has retired as a distinguished professor of public policy at the leadership institute that bears her name. Since the formation of the Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute, Harris has served as a mentor to countless alumni and colleagues.
“Dr. Harris leaves an impressive legacy that reflects her commitment to education and to serving the community," said Niraj Verma, Ph.D., dean of the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, which houses the institute at Virginia Commonwealth University. “It has been an honor to work with such a dedicated educator whose remarkable career is a source of inspiration.”
Harris’ retirement was effective Dec. 25, bringing to an end a noteworthy career at VCU that spanned 48 years and included service as the dean of the VCU School of Social Work, as provost and as acting president. Her tenure was punctuated by a series of historic firsts — most notably a 1993 promotion to the position of provost and vice president of academic affairs, an appointment that made Harris the first African-American woman to serve as the chief academic officer of a four-year public university in Virginia.
In 1999, the VCU Board of Visitors established the Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute in recognition of Harris’ extraordinary dedication to affecting positive change within the university and beyond. The institute promotes the development of emerging leaders in academic institutions, other public, private and nonprofit organizations, and communities. Until recently, Harris had served as a consultant and contributing lecturer to the institute.