News and Events for VCUCHS Faculty and Staff
VCU College of Humanities and Sciences
June 2, 2015

PeRQ Award Winners in the College

Congratulations to these faculty members in the College who recently received VCU Presidential Research Quest Fund (PeRQ) awards: Terry Oggel professsor in the Department of English, Scott Gronert chair of the Department of Chemistry, and Katherine Belecki assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry. Read the abstracts of their award-winning proposals here.

Psychology Faculty Receive 3 Grants

Congratulations to these faculty members in the Psychology Department, who recently received grants from The Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth to conduct two studies and support a research coalition focused on preventing tobacco use among young people. Professors J. Randy Koch and Alison Breland will support the Virginia Youth Tobacco Projects Research Coalition, assistant professor Caroline Cobb is working with a researcher in the School of Medicine, and professors Joshua Langberg and Rosalie Corona are on a team together working with the Clark Hill Institute for Positive Youth Development. Read more at VCU News.

Community Service Opportunities

ASPiRE is offering two opportunities for VCU faculty/staff members to volunteer with youth at the Fairfield Boys and Girls Club and/or with staff members from Peter Paul Development Center to distribute food from FeedMore trucks to surrounding neighborhoods. View more details here. All VCU staff and 12-month faculty are eligible for 16 hours of Community Service Leave to participate in service opportunities in the community. View more service opportunities here.

American Postdoctural Research Leave Fellowship Awarded

Cristina Stanciu, assistant professor in the Department of English, was recently awarded a American Postdoctoral Research Leave Fellowship by the American Association of University Women (AAUW). Cristina is one of only a handful of fellows selected this year from a national pool of candidates from all disciplines. This is the first AAUW postdoctoral fellowship awarded to a VCU faculty member. During the fellowship year, Cristina will be working on preparing her manuscript for publication, The Makings and Unmakings of Americans: Indians and Immigrants in American Literature and Culture, 1879-1929. Congratulations Cristina!

Researchers Synthesize Powerful New Material

A team of scientists at VCU has synthesized a powerful new magnetic material that could reduce the dependence of the United States and other nations on rare earth elements produced by China. The team of researchers include Shiv Khanna, Massimo Bertino, Meichun Qian, (physics), Everett Carpenter, Ahmed El-Gendy, (chemistry) and Dustin Clifford. The team's findings will appear in the article Experimental evidence for the formation of CoFe2C phase with colossal magnetocrystalline-anisotropy, in a forthcoming issue of Applied Physics Letters. Read more at VCU News.

More News . . .

VCU startups get summer acceleration

Traffic increase expected for high school graduations at the Siegel Center

Psychology: VCU study finds students are eating fruits and veggies in school lunches, contradicting criticism

Statistical Sciences and Operations: Researchers combat bias in next-generation DNA sequencing.

Political Science & World Studies: Armenian genocide centennial commemoration committee of central Virginia sprints toward genocide awareness

World Studies: WWII Veteran’s Experience Commemorated with 3D Printed Figurine at Virginia War Memorial

View photos from the College of Humanities & Sciences alumni and supporters reception.

Robertson School: UVa dean's suit claims Rolling Stone depicted her as 'chief villain' - Dr. Bill Oglesby quoted

World Studies: A clash over Scientology as vote looms on a proposed church-backed drug rehab near Camp David

History: African Americans and Indians: A Complex History

Biology & History: Following the Footprints: students embark on journey down the James River

Psychology: Professor Thomas Eissenberg lends expertise on waterpipe smoking to World Health Organization report

Robertson School: To Get More Customers, Small Businesses Bake Social Media Strategy

VCU wins automatic berth in NCAA tournament


Governor's Awards for Public Service Reception

Pamela Williams, executive assistant to the director in the Robertson School, was chosen as an ambassador to represent state employees at the annual Public Service Awards reception given at the Governor's mansion on May 13. Pamela tells us, "It was an honor to be in the presence of such humble recipients and to have the opportunity to meet and interact with Governor McAuliffe." Susan Greenspoon, forensic molecular biologist in the Virginia Department of Forensic Science and an affiliate assistant research professor in the Department of Forensic Science, received the Innovation Award. The state sponsored Governor’s Awards recognize and honor outstanding employees for their hard work and dedication to the Commonwealth. Read more about the awards here.

Grant Expense Report Certification

Starting July 1, monthly certification in Dashboard for all active grant indexes will be required. If you have an active grant index, you can begin certifying now. View instructions for accessing the Dashboard and for viewing and certifying your reports here. Faculty are encouraged to become familiar with the system. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a personal tour of the PI Dashboard, please contact Brigette Pfister at to set up an appointment. You can also find a helpful guide online here.

Host an Exchange Student

The Global Education Office invites faculty and staff to host a student from the Saudi Young Leaders Exchange Program who will be studying at VCU this summer. This program will bring 12 Saudi university students to Richmond for a community engagement experience, part of which includes a weekend home-stay with a local family from Friday, Aug. 7, to Sunday, Aug. 9. For more information contact Elizabeth Hiett at

H&S Students Featured in Local News

Joshua David, a student in the Chemistry Department, was recently featured in the Richmond Times-Dispatch for his acceptance into a 10-week program at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. While there this summer, he will work with other researchers to try to develop a medication to treat the Ebola virus. Sixto Cancel, a student in the Political Science program, was recently profiled in VCU News and featured in the Richmond Times-Dispatch for his contribution to his community that led to a recent honor by the White House as a “Champion of Change.” Brian Joseph, who just graduated from VCU this May with a B.S. in Psychology and minors in Chemistry and Biology, was featured on NBC12 for his upcoming 11-month, 11-country mission trip this summer. Cadence Wilsey, a senior in the History Department, was featured in VCU News for her recent award of a prestigious summer internship with the Virginia Historical Society.

Do You Have News to Share?

If you have news to share this is a great place to do it! Please submit news and events to Denise Johnson at We will submit your news and events to the VCU Calendar, Telegram, this newsletter and our social media outlets. Keep your colleagues informed by keeping us informed!

Faculty Spotlight:

Joseph Reiner, assistant professor in the Department of Physics, has been selected as a 2015 Jeffress Trust Awards Program in Interdisciplinary Research recipient. Joseph was selected for his project, Single Molecule Forensic DNA Analysis with Laser-Induced Nanopore Heating. The total award is $100,000. His research focuses on the development and applications of single molecule measurements. His efforts have focused on the characterization and application of water-soluble metallic nanoclusters with nanopore sensing. Congratulations Joseph!

Alumni Spotlight:

Rudolph Keith Dunn, B.S. Mass Communications ’82, published his first-place 2013 Virginia Writers Club state-wide fiction short story, A Mother’s Kept Promise, in the March edition of the Linden Avenue Literary Journal. Rudolph is a former Peace Corps volunteer and has also worked as a journalist and educator teaching English. He currently resides in Richmond, where he is finishing a book of short stories about the challenges faced by children and women in the developing world. Read more about Rudolph on our website.

Student Spotlight:

Matt Leonard, a journalism major in the Robertson School, was recently awarded a prestigious Dow Jones News Fund, Inc. internship to work as a digital journalist at The Denver Post. Matt was the only college journalist selected from a Virginia college or university. This marks the third year in a row that a VCU student has been awarded a DJNF internship. Matt, who has worked as a raft guide, sees parallels between that job and his intended profession. "One of the most important qualifications for both a raft guide and a journalist is the ability to earn trust. The passengers in a raft have to trust they're in safe hands, while readers of an article have to trust they're reading honest work." Read more about Matt at VCU News.

Upcoming H&S Events

No events currently scheduled.

Selected VCU Events

• June 2: Moonlight Magic
• June 4: Resident/Fellow Research Day
• June 6: Be The Match Walk+Run
• June 9: Retirement Seminar

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The next newsletter is scheduled for June 16, 2015. Please submit content as soon as details are finalized.

If you have questions please contact Gregg Johnson at Thank you!

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