Virginia Western awarded national grant to support STEM education

ROANOKE —Virginia Western Community College is one of 10 community colleges nationally selected as the latest cohort to participate in an initiative that advances STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) technician education programs. Through the MentorLinks: Advancing Technological Education program, Virginia Western will be paired with experienced community college mentors with extensive experience in planning and implementing advanced technology programs.

For Virginia Western’s project, the Biology Department in the School of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) has been approved to develop a Career Studies Certificate (CSC) in Biotechnology. This certificate will provide students with relevant skills and knowledge in the topics of biotechnology. The program will begin in fall of 2015 and will feature three new courses to provide students with a strong overview of the techniques utilized in biotechnology research as well as core laboratory skills that will relate to a variety of different biotech technician jobs or transfer to a four-year institution.

Mentors from City College of San Francisco will work closely with Virginia Western Biology faculty members Stacie Deaver and Amy White on activities such as curriculum development, industry engagement, faculty development, student recruitment and retention, and experiential learning experiences and development for both faculty and students.

Virginia Western was awarded $20,000 in seed money for the two-year grant period, to support travel to national meetings and events and biotechnology program development. MentorLinks is led by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

“Virginia Western understands the importance of STEM technical education to our local economy and workforce,” said Dr. Robert H. Sandel, President of Virginia Western. “We are very excited that this grant will help us in planning and implementing innovative programs that will benefit the region for years to come.”

AACC has managed the small, yet transformational MentorLinks project since 2002, where assistance to 34 colleges has resulted in the creation of 103 new courses, 15 new associate degrees and 25 new certificates; the development of several industry partnerships and internship sites; STEM program enrollment increases ranging from 14 percent to 350 percent; and the leveraging of more than $3.5 million in additional grant funding. Many of the previous colleges have applied for and received additional NSF grants as a result of their MentorLinks experience.

In addition to Virginia Western, the other selected mentee colleges for the 2014–2016 MentorLinks initiative are Harrisburg Area Community College (Pa.), Irvine Valley College (Ca.), Kapi'olani Community College (HI), Mohave Community College (AZ), Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College (SC), Patrick Henry Community College (Martinsville, Va.), Shoreline Community College (WA), Texas State Technical College Harlingen (TX) and Tri-County Community College (SC).

Posted on July 18, 2014 in Campus News | Permalink

Open House for Culinary Arts Students

Students enrolled in the Al Pollard Culinary Arts Program are required to attend an open house meeting on Wednesday, August 20 from 5-7 p.m. in the Claude Moore Building, Room 106. Please plan to attend.

Posted on July 16, 2014 in Campus News | Permalink

Boots2Books 5K race to support veterans at Virginia Western

Virginia Western Community College announces that it will host its first Boots2Books 5k race beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 30. The race was conceived and developed by members of the Virginia Western Armed Forces Student Association and it will benefit the Virginia Western Educational Foundation’s Veterans Assistance Fund.

“Despite the supports and funding available to veterans as they return to college and prepare for the workforce, many still find themselves needing help,” said Matthew Jones, president of the Armed Forces Association. “As a veteran myself, I knew I wanted to do something about it. The support of Virginia Western and community partners to make this race a reality has been amazing.”

Participants can find details about pre-race registration online or through the mail prior to Aug. 15 at www.virginiawestern.edu/community/boots2books.php. The pre-race registration fees are: general public runner, $30; VCCS student or employee, $20; Veteran or active military, $15; walker, $10. Runners can register the day of the race for $35.

The certified 5k race course will begin on Virginia Western’s campus and feature challenging climbs through the adjoining Jefferson Hills neighborhood before finishing back at the college. Post-race refreshments and entertainment will be available at the finish.

The Veterans Assistance Fund is an emergency fund for military and veteran students to provide financial support to cover the cost of books, emergency educational expenses or other financial needs in the case of a life-changing event and to support the mission of the Armed Forces Student Association. The mission of Armed Forces Student Association is to assist new military and veteran students with adapting to college and civilian life. The Association provides a positive social environment for new military and veteran students as well as brings an understanding of military life to the faculty and other students at Virginia Western. Members of the community can find information about supporting the Veterans Assistance Fund by visiting: www.virginiawestern.edu/foundation.

Posted on June 25, 2014 in Campus News | Permalink

Dual enrollment puts high school students step ahead at graduation

Northside High School's Tyler Langhorn is a student earning his high school diploma along with a degree from Virginia Western Community College thanks to taking dual enrollment classes at his school. He'll bring those college credits with him to a four-year college, saving himself time and money.

Read about Tyler at: http://www.roanoke.com/news/local/roanoke_county/northside-senior-snags-both-high-school-diploma-and-a-certificate/article_0841339c-ed19-11e3-875d-001a4bcf6878.html.

Find out more about dual enrollment at: http://www.virginiawestern.edu/admissions/dualenrollment/.

Posted on June 6, 2014 in Campus News | Permalink

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