Virginia Western and VDH to host free public seminar on Ebola virus on Oct. 28

Virginia Western Community College and the Virginia Department of Health will host a panel of medical and science experts to discuss the Ebola virus. The talk will take place at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, October 28 in Whitman Theater and is free and open to the public.

WHAT: Ebola – Facts and Fallacy

WHEN: 2 p.m. on Tuesday, October 28

WHERE: Whitman Theater, Virginia Western Community College (map and parking)


Dr. Molly O’Dell, New River Valley Public Health Director, Virginia Department of Health
Dr. Thomas Kerkering, Chief of Infectious Disease, Carilion Clinic
Bob Mauskapf, Director of Emergency Preparedness and Response, Virginia Department of Health
Lex Gibson, Epidemiologist, Western Region, Virginia Department of Health
Amy White, Biology Program Head, Virginia Western Community College
John Clark, Executive Director, Near Southwest Preparedness Council
Other first responders from the region


  • The biology of this Ebola virus
  • Route and details of transmission
  • Broad public health prevention strategies
  • The proper personal protective equipment and its use
  • Screening procedures at airports and in communities
  • The process if someone is identified who may need testing
  • Treatments for infected people

RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/606244782832144/


Posted on October 21, 2014 in Campus News | Permalink

Virginia Western to offer students greater STEM opportunities through NASA grant

Virginia Western Community College students pursuing studies in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) fields have access to new scholarships, research experiences, internships and courses thanks to a NASA grant awarded to the Virginia Space Grant Consortium.

STEM Takes Flight logoThe Consortium’s newly announced program, STEM Takes Flight at Virginia’s Community Colleges, is designed to provide scholarships as well as real-world work and research experiences that foster community college retention in STEM academic tracks through graduation with an associate’s degree or transfer to a four-year institution. Faculty professional development is also offered. The STEM Takes Flight website at www.vsgc.odu.edu/stemtakesflight provides detailed information on all program components described below and links to applications.

STEM Takes Flight at Virginia’s Community Colleges partners include: the Virginia Community College System (VCCS), Eastern Shore Community College, Virginia Western Community College, Thomas Nelson Community College, NASA Langley Research Center and NASA Wallops Flight Facility.

“We are thrilled that Virginia Western students are going to have an opportunity to work with NASA and gain valuable experience in the STEM fields,” said David Webb, a mechanical engineering technology professor who is heading the college’s involvement. “They will get to see the real-world applications of their education and will have a chance to give back in the form of service learning.”

A system-wide online course led by Virginia Western and Thomas Nelson Community Colleges will allow faculty-led student teams to tackle the issue of sea level rise and its impact on coastal communities and ecosystems. A service-learning component will bring them to NASA Wallops where they will use geospatial technology and a review of the historical data to study the impact at NASA Wallops. The Old Dominion University’s Mitigation and Adaptation Research Institute (MARI) will advise the teams and provide webinars on the science of sea level rise.

The Community College Bridge Scholar (CCBS) component will provide a $5000 award and mentoring to 15 students during the spring 2015 semester and 2015 – 2016 academic year. Freshmen students can apply in fall semester 2014 with applications due November 17. CCBS will help bridge students to next steps in higher education or employment through coaching and mentoring by VSGC staff, four-year college faculty, and by upper classmen.

Through the Build/Fly/Learn component, selected students will work in teams to undertake hands-on paid summer research projects at NASA Langley Research Center. Individual paid student summer research projects at NASA Langley Research Center and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Wallops Flight Facility will also be offered.

These opportunities will be open to a total of 38 community college students who have completed their freshman year and are rising sophomores or in their sophomore year at the time of the research experience.

Ten students will receive grant-sponsored internships through the Consortium’s Commonwealth STEM Industry Internship Program. The program is already open to community college students; however, the additional sponsored funding will increase the number of community college students who can be placed. This aspect of the STEM Takes Flight program seeks to reinforce the value of community college students to employers and increase their retention.

Community college faculty will benefit from the STEM Takes Flight program through a residential professional development workshop in STEM disciplines, scheduled to take place at NASA Wallops Flight Facility in early June 2015. The workshop will focus on the integration of STEM in the NASA workplace. Twenty faculty participants will experience a hands-on case study that will assist them in educating their students about the importance of team work, technical skills and problem solving.

Two additional new courses will be offered. Two multi-disciplinary courses designed to engage community college students in mission development and planning will be available through Eastern Shore Community College. Students will develop and fly a sounding rocket payload as part of RockSat-C, a student flight opportunity at NASA Wallops in summer 2016.

The initiative also has the support of Governor Terry McAuliffe. “The initiative includes an excellent collection of STEM programs,” he notes. “The goals align with those of my administration to support STEM education and workforce training for Virginia students.”

VCCS Chancellor Glenn Dubois states, “Providing paid real-world work and research experiences for students, scholarship support, and faculty professional development that can bring the excitement of NASA missions and interdisciplinary teamwork into the classroom are worthwhile and impactful opportunities which I heartily support.”

The NASA grant provides $500,000 in funding for a two-year award period. The Virginia Space Grant Consortium (VSGC), which is celebrating its 25th year, is a coalition of the Virginia Community College System, five Virginia colleges and universities, NASA, state educational agencies and other institutions representing diverse STEM and aerospace education, research and workforce development interests.

VSGC affiliate members include: Virginia Community College System; College of William and Mary, Hampton University, Old Dominion University, University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, NASA Langley Research Center, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Wallops Flight Facility, Science Museum of Virginia, State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, Virginia Department of Education, MathScience Innovation Center, Virginia Air and Space Center, and Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology.

Posted on October 10, 2014 in Campus News | Permalink

Human Trafficking Public Forum on 10/28

Please join elected officials, law enforcement personnel and victims for an important free public forum: The Face of Human Trafficking.

Date: Tuesday, 10/28/2014

Time: 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Location: Virginia Western Community College Whitman Theater
Registration: By October 24, 2014 at www.streetevent.org.


Opening speaker:

8:30 – 8:45 a.m.: Congressman Bob Goodlatte


8:45 - 9:30 a.m.: Deanna Wallace – Homeland Security Investigations, DC Office and Andrew Kondisko – Homeland Security Investigations – Resident in Charge of Harrisonburg Office

9:30 – 10 a.m.: Tanya Street – prior Human Trafficking Victim


10:15 - 11 a.m.: Erin Kulpa – Assistant US Attorney & Community Outreach Coordinator

Speakers that will relay information pertaining to local movement in Human Trafficking:
11 – 11:15 a.m.: Gary Clore – Manager, Gang Unit, Department of Corrections
11:15 - 11:30 a.m.: Sgt. William Drake – Roanoke City Police Department

Special presentation regarding the William Douglas Foundation
11:30 - 11:45 a.m.: Christy Spencer – Teacher at William Byrd High School, which received the William Douglas Foundation grant

Question & Answer Panel speakers include:
Keith Farmer - Straight Street
Tanya Street – Human Trafficking Victim
Christy Spencer - Teacher, William Byrd High School
Deanna Wallace – Homeland Security Investigations
Gary Clore - Department of Corrections
Sgt. Drake - Roanoke City Police Department
Erin Kulpa – Assistant U.S. Attorney
Bryan Alphin – Public Affairs Liaison, Congressman Bob Goodlatte, House Judiciary Committee

Closing Speaker:
12:15 – 12:30 p.m.: Judge Philip Trompeter – 23rd District Juvenile Court

Posted on September 29, 2014 in Campus News | Permalink

Virginia Western awarded nearly $800,000 NSF grant for Mechatronics

Virginia Western Community College announces that it has received a grant for $787,849 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Advanced Technological Education (ATE) to transform mechatronics engineering education in the Roanoke Region. The project will build upon a previously NSF-funded initiative to facilitate collaboration between the manufacturing industry, Virginia Western faculty and secondary career and technical educators.

“This is the single largest NSF grant Virginia Western has ever received and it will have a direct impact on students,” said Dr. Robert H. Sandel, President of Virginia Western. “We are thrilled that the NSF recognizes the college’s importance to the local economy and I believe this will continue to strengthen the region’s manufacturing industry. It’s affirmation of the outstanding work faculty members like Dan Horine are doing to provide students with the skills they need for lasting careers.”

The primary objective of the funded project, Partnership for Advanced Career Education in Mechatronics Engineering (PACE ME), is to strengthen Mechatronics technician training pathways from secondary to post-secondary education through a direct link from industry to the classroom. To achieve this mission, the program will focus on the following three goals, 1) Increase and improve the ability of high school and college faculty to provide mechatronics technician training aligned with industry requirements; 2) integrate and expand manufacturing industry involvement through mentorships and internships, and; 3) increase student diversity through recruitment, retention and outreach in Mechatronics engineering technology.

"Mechatronics is thinking about the end in mind and [about] how we are going to integrate these systems from the beginning,” said Horine, who is the principal investigator on the grant and Virginia Western’s program head of Mechatronics Systems Engineering Technology and Energy Management Systems. “I want mechatronics and the integrated approach to be a way of teaching that sets our students up for success.”
This summer, Horine was selected nationally as Educator of the Year at the NSF-sponsored High Impact Technology Exchange Conference (HI-TEC) in Chicago. He was recognized for developing the Mechatronics Systems Engineering Technology associate in applied science degree. There are currently more than 40 students studying mechatronics systems at Virginia Western and more than 250 high school students in the “pipeline” that was developed in part through a previous NSF grant. Industry input from an advisory panel helps inform curriculum.
“If the industry likes what you do, they are going to want more of your graduates,” Horine said. “Right now, the demand for our students is exceeding enrollment. That’s why it’s increasingly important to show students that with the right training, there are great jobs available to them.”

The new PACE ME grant will add apprenticeship experiences for Virginia Western mechatronics students, a fabrication laboratory for faculty professional development, and more outreach to underrepresented minority students. The project was named in honor of the late Gerald “Jerry” Pace, a prominent local manufacturing businessman and long-time supporter of Virginia Western who was instrumental in the creation of the Salem School System and the Community College Access Program (CCAP).

“Jerry had a vision for the continuing economic prosperity in the Roanoke Region and he knew the significant role that education must play,” Horine said. “His ideas and dedication truly inspired this project.”

Educational Partners on the grant include: Bedford County Schools, Botetourt County Schools, Craig County Schools, Franklin County Schools, Roanoke County Schools, Roanoke City Schools, Salem City Schools, Blue Ridge Community College and Tidewater Community College. Industry partners include: Gala Industries, Siemens Corporation, Optical Cable Corporation, Plastics One LLC and Metalsa.

Posted on September 5, 2014 in Campus News | Permalink

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