Tag Archives: Fall 2016

School of Education: Race and Diversity Teach-in

VCU School of Education
Race and Diversity Teach-in

Featuring Dr. Leslie Jones, Biologist and Science Educator, Valdosta State University

Monday Sept 19th 5:30 to 7 Temple room 1160

Untangling Biological Diversity from the Social Construction of Race

If there is anything to be learned from recent racial events and the associated social unrest, it is the need for educational curricula to address systemic racism. Racial discrimination that goes on today had its origins in pseudoscientific studies, conducted by Europeans and Americans during the “Age of Imperialism.” In order to justify the abuse of people from other parts of the world, differences in appearance were magnified and portrayed as indications of significant biological variation. Those distortions are a painful legacy that can be easily refuted by a modern understanding of human biology. Recent progress in genomic research offers new evidence as to the superficiality of the relatively insignificant amount of genetic diversity that exists within our species. The characteristics of indigenous people all over the world demonstrate that there never were discrete racial categories and “race” has always been a cultural construct. Even though teaching in the interest of social justice is not a typical focus of science education, racism can be undermined by ensuring that basic facts about human evolution become part of the curriculum in K-16 education.

Leslie Sandra Jones describes herself as a passionate biologist who studied Equine Reproductive Physiology before developing an interest in Science Education while working at The Ohio State University. An undergraduate education at Mount Holyoke College solidified her interest in science, but it was not until her Master’s program at the University of New Hampshire that she ever considered an academic career. She teaches Evolution & the Diversity of Life for non-majors, Freshman & Senior Seminars for biology majors, and required content courses for education majors such as Integrated Science, Exploring Our Ecosystem, and the Natural History of Georgia. She created an integrated religion & science course called The Historical Basis of the Evolution/Creation Controversy as a response to the distrust of science among religious students in the region. Her most recent effort was to use an antiracist, evolutionary approach to an existing Human Biology course as the application of her current research on ways “Biology Can Become Antiracist Pedagogy.”

Virginia Conservation Network – Environmental Assembly

Virginia Conservation Network is hosting our annual Environmental Assembly on September 9th and 10th in Charlottesville, VA. Bringing together conservation leaders from across Virginia, the Environmental Assembly provides a forum for discussion on key environmental issues and an opportunity to strategize with like-minded individuals about the best ways to tackle threats to our natural environment.

This year’s Assembly will feature a lively evening reception; plenty of educational workshops; breakout sessions; and engaging field trips, including a pipeline hike, a kayaking trip down the Rivanna River, and a sustainable winery tour. The full event schedule can be found here.

We would love to have a stronger student presence at this event, as it is an excellent learning and networking opportunity with environmental organizations and legislators. Student tickets are $10 (the regular ticket price is $30), which covers the cost of the Friday evening reception and Saturday’s meals/programming. If you know of any students who would be interested in attending, please pass this invitation on to them. Please also pass this information along to any professors who are willing to share this invitation with their classes.

Please feel free to call me at Communications Manager Kelley Galownia, 804.644.0283 if you have any questions. We hope to see you in September!

Information Sessions – VCU National Scholarship Office

As many of you already know, the National Scholarship Office works with VCU undergraduate and graduate students, as well as alumni, to assist them with their applications for nationally competitive scholarships. Annually, we oversee the application processes for 20 different scholarship and fellowship opportunities, which are geared towards applicants in numerous different fields and with many different interests – from independent research, to studying or even teaching English abroad.

You will find below a calendar listing of our upcoming sessions followed by brief descriptions of each award.

Wednesday, Sept 7:
– Critical Language Scholarship (CLS), 1-2pm at VCU Globe (830 W. Grace Street), Room 1030C
Thursday, Sept 8:
– Goldwater Scholarship, 2-3pm in the Honors College (701 W. Grace Street), Room 1303
Thursday, Sept 15:
– CLS, 12:30-1:30 in the Student Commons, Alumni Board Room
– Truman Scholarship, 2-3pm, location TBD
Friday, Sept 16:
– Boren Awards, 2-3pm at VCU Globe, Room 1030C
Thursday, Oct 6:
– Boren Awards, 2-3pm in the Student Commons, Alumni Board Room
Wednesday, Oct 19:
– RISE/SMART, 12-1pm in the School of Engineering, East Hall, Room 2219
Tuesday, Oct 25:
– RISE/SMART, 2-3pm in School of Engineering, West Hall, Room 104
Scholarship Descriptions:
Boren Scholarships and Fellowships are funded through the National Security Education Program (NSEP). They provide unique funding opportunities for U.S. undergraduate and graduate students to add an important international and language component to their educations. Boren awards are targeted at geographic areas, languages, and fields of study that are critical to U.S. interests and underrepresented in study abroad 
The CLS Program is part of the National Security Language Initiative (NSLI), a U.S. government interagency effort to expand dramatically the number of Americans studying and mastering critical need foreign languages. The CLS Program provides fully-funded seven to ten week group-based intensive language instruction and extensive cultural enrichment at the beginning, intermediate and advanced levels (for U.S. citizens—both undergrads and grad students).
The purpose of this scholarship is to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers by awarding scholarships to college students who intend to pursue research careers in these STEM fields. For this scholarship, eligible sophomores and juniors are expected to write a research proposal in the discipline of their choice. Four nominees from each participating university are then chosen to compete nationally for a chance to become a Goldwater Scholar. This scholarship pays full tuition, as well as fees, up to $7,500.
RISE (Research Internships in Science and Engineering):
RISE is a summer internship for undergraduate and graduate students in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics, earth sciences, and engineering. Students are offered the opportunity to work with research groups at top research institutions and universities across Germany (the working language is English). The scholarship covers living expenses abroad, such as housing, food and health insurance.
SMART (Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation):

This scholarship aims to increase the number of scientists and engineers engaged in research with the Department of Defense. Those who apply should be earning a degree (undergraduate or graduate) in a STEM discipline. Students will be required to work on a research project with the DoD each summer. Recipients also agree to work for the DoD after graduation for one year per each year of funding received.  In addition to full tuition and fees, an annual stipend of $25,000-$38,000 will be provided.

The Truman Scholarship awards up to $30,000 to college juniors who plan to pursue graduate study in fields of public service, such as government, education, nonprofits, and public interest. Recipients must commit to work in public service for three of the first seven years after completing their graduate degree. Beyond the financial award, the Truman foundation also provides services to recipients to assist with career counseling, internship placement, graduate school admissions, and professional development.

Healthy People Penn State – Conference and Expo

Healthy People Penn State

An all-expenses-paid research conference and expo for current college juniors/seniors/graduates considering graduate school

Penn State, University Park, PA | October 12-15, 2016

The College of Health and Human Development and the College of Nursing invite juniors/seniors/graduates from traditionally underrepresented groups with solid records of academic achievement (GPA>3.25) and who are committed to research and education to attend an all-expenses-paid conference and expo to learn about opportunities for graduate study in colleges whose missions are to improve the health of individuals and communities, as mandated in the nation’s Healthy People 2020 initiative.

Conference Activities

  • One-on-one and group sessions with current graduate students and professors
  • Presentations from graduate students engaged in cutting-edge research
  • Visits with professors and to research laboratories and departments
  • Advisory sessions on applying to graduate programs
  • Group meals, tours, and social events with Penn State students and professors as well as students from other colleges and universities


Learn about the goals of Healthy People 2020, as well as modern-day threats to health and current research conducted in the College of Health and Human Development and the College of Nursing that are aimed at alleviating their effects, including:


  • Aging processes
  • Child maltreatment
  • Cognition
  • Communication disorders
  • Daily stressors
  • Disabilities
  • Diabetes and obesity
  • Genetics
  • Global health
  • Health disparities and health policy
  • Interpersonal relationships
  • Leisure and hospitality
  • Neuroscience
  • Nursing
  • Nutrition
  • Parenting and child development
  • Physical and recreational activity
  • Risky environments and behaviors
  • Sleep disorders
  • Substance abuse


Graduate Student Life at Penn State

  • What to look for in a graduate program
  • Admissions
  • GPAs and GREs
  • Research
  • Social networking
  • Graduate work-life balance

Travel and Expenses

Airfare or ground transportation to and from Penn State, lodging, and conference meal expenses will be covered by Penn State.

Additional Information / Apply Now

BIOL 498 Insects & Plants Service Learning Course

If you have experience with organic farming or are interested in exploring careers in sustainable agriculture, horticulture, or entomology, please consider enrolling in BIOL 498 Insects & Plants Service Learning.

This service-learning course “counts” as a lab and also as a capstone experience for students who have completed the biocore and are co-enrolled in BIOL 477 Capstone Experience. For more information please contact Dr. Karen Kester: kmkester@vcu.edu