News and Events for VCUCHS Faculty and Staff
VCU College of Humanities and Sciences
April 21, 2015

Middle East Research & Cooperation

M. Samy El-Shall, professor in the Department of Chemistry, will present this year's Elske v.P. Smith lecture today, April 21, at 6:30 pm in the Student Commons Theater. His lecture, VCU Opportunities for Research Cooperation and Science Diplomacy in the Middle East, will discuss several new approaches to enhance and accelerate the international role of VCU in creating strong partnerships in science and technology with the Middle East. View the flyer here.

Staff Award Winners Announced 

The inaugural winners of our staff awards were announced at our Faculty and Staff Awards and Retirees breakfast on April 15th. 10 staff members were nominated for a total of three awards. The winners were: Leadership Award -- Edith Allin (Chemistry and Forensic Science), Excellence in Service -- Virginia Schmitz (English), Impact Award -- Ramont Reed (HASTECH) The nominees were: James Greg Hellman (World Studies), Yin Huang (Psychology), Lucy Hudson (Statistical Sciences and Operations Research), Kathleen Murphy (History), Timothy O’Dell (Biology), Elizabeth Pishchalnikova (World Studies), Brianne Steenburg (World Studies).

Workshop on Research Procedures

The Office of Sponsored Programs is holding a workshop on Monday, April 27 in the Student Commons Forum Room from 2:00-4:00 pm to familiarize you with the new electronic system being implemented by OSP to replace VCUeRA/InfoEd. The new system is called RAMS-SPOT, and is set to go live for ALL grant proposals on May 1. This means that if you plan to submit a grant after that date, you must use RAMS-SPOT. Please RSVP to Brigette Pfister at

Quest Global Impact Award Winners

Congratulations to the following winners of Quest Global Impact Awards sponsored by the Global Education Office: Scott Gronert (Chemistry), Richard Godbeer (History and Humanities Research Center), Susan Bodnar-Deren and Dingani Mthethwa (World Studies), Marcus Messner (Robertson School), Bernard Means (World Studies), Anton Brinkwirth (World Studies Media Center). The complete list can be found here.

Armenian Genocide Centennial

The American Genocide Centennial commemoration continues with the William & Mary Middle Eastern Music Ensemble on Thursday, April 23 at 5:00 pm in the Student Commons Theater. Following the concert, Paul Bartrop, an award-winning scholar of the Holocaust and genocide, will speak in the Academic Learning Commons Auditorium 1107 at 7:00 pm. View more details about the Centennial events here.

Community Engagement Awards Grant to AFAM Professor

Vivian Dzokoto, associate professor in the Department of African American Studies, was recently awarded a grant from the VCU Council for Community Engagement in support of her project titled, $avings and Wealth as Goals in African American Youth ($WAGIFY). The project aims to develop a culturally-tailored financial literacy program for African American youth in Richmond. Vivian has assembled an interdisciplinary team of scholars that includes Faye Belgrave in the Department of Psychology.

Undergraduate Poster Symposium

The Office of Research Undergraduate Opportunities Program presents the 7th Annual Poster Symposium for Undergraduate Research and Creativity on Wednesday April 22nd from 11 am-2 pm in the Commonwealth Ballrooms and Richmond Salons. At 12:30 pm they will host remarks from our new Provost, Dr. Gail Hackett, and Vice President for Research and Innovation, Dr. Frank Macrina, and recognize outstanding faculty members for their mentorship of our undergraduates. Learn more.

Cheating: How Honest Are We?

The Philosophy and Public Affairs Lecture Series features Christian Miller, Wake Forest University, who will present a lecture titled, Cheating: How Honest Are We? on Thursday, April 23 at 7:00 pm in Room 2104 of the Academic Learning Commons. View the flyer here.

Cuba in Transitions: Hispanic Caribbean Society

The Alexandrian Society Spring Symposium, Cuba in Transitions: Perspectives on a Hispanic Caribbean Society, will take place on Wednesday, April 22 from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm in the Commons Theater. It will feature experts on Cuban society and history from the United States and Canada who will come to VCU to present their perspectives on the dynamic changes that have been an integral part of Cuban history. View the event flyer here.

Corona Wins Two Awards

Rosalie Corona, associate professor in the Department of Psychology, was honored as a faculty winner of a VCU 2015 PACME award for her contributions to multicultural enrichment here at VCU and in the Richmond community. In addition, she was awarded the 2015 American Psychological Association Minority Fellowship Program Dalmas Taylor Award for her outstanding contributions towards the development of ethnic minority psychologists.

More News . . .

World Studies, Robertson School, & Psychology: VCU highlights six student projects in honor of Research Weeks

Kinesiology: In the running: VCU RUN LAB teaches smarter running through science

History: Racism in advertising, cartoons, movies is focus of new book co-authored by VCU history professor

Physics: Predicting pentagonal graphene

View photos from the Faculty and Staff Awards Breakfast.

Political Science: Secrecy in the “Sunshine Era”: an interview with Jason Arnold

African American Studies: A conversation with Adam Ewing: Understanding the real legacy of Marcus Garvey

English: Tapping Into Open Minds Behind Bars

Robertson School: Robertson School hosts Virginia Communication Hall of Fame to honor media pros

View photos from the 28th annual Virginia Communications Hall of Fame.

Psychology: Limits of our current reactive mental health care system

History: Book review (Nonfiction): “The Curious Mister Catesby: A ‘truly ingenious’ naturalist explores new worlds”

Mushroom farming business and a no-tears onion cutter win VCU Venture Creation Competition

VCU women's tennis team add to A-10 title string

MFA Visiting Writers Series

The Department of English MFA Program in Creative Writing presents an evening with Erin McGraw and Gregory Donovan on Thursday, April 23 at 7:00 pm at the Scott House. Erin is the author of six books. Her stories and essays have appeared in The Atlantic, STORY, Allure and Good Housekeeping. Gregory is an associate professor in the English Department and author of the poetry collection Calling His Children Home. This reading launches his new book, Torn from the Sun. More here.

Discussion of Diversity at VCU

VCU’s Director for Diversity Education and Retention Initiatives, Idella Glenn, will speak on Tuesday, April 21 at 7:00 pm in Harris Hall Auditorium. Join her as she engages in conversation with participants of the Suddenly at VCU campaign, part of the African & African American Student Empowerment Project; presented by the Department of African American Studies Student Organization. View the flyer here.

Civil Rights & Social Change Historian to Speak at VCU

The Department of African American Studies and VCU Globe welcome Dr. Nico Slate, Professor of History at Carnegie Mellon University to VCU on Monday, April 27. Dr. Slate will discuss his research on Civil Rights Activist Pauli Murrary at 12:30 pm at The Depot. He will also lead a discussion on best-practices in global service learning and social change at 3:00 pm in the West Grace North Residence Hall Fireplace Lounge. View the flyer here.

Staff/A&P Faculty Awards Deadline

The deadline to nominate someone for the President's Awards for Staff and Administrative & Professional faculty is April 24. Staff and A&P faculty are eligible for The President’s Award of Excellence, which recognizes one exceptional person for his or her contributions to VCU throughout his or her career, the President’s Outstanding Achievement Award, and the President's Service Excellence Award. Criteria and instructions for these awards can be found here.

Meet VCU Author Christopher Brooks

Christopher Brooks, professor in the School of World Studies and author (with Robert Sims) of Roland Hayes: The Legacy of an American Tenor, will discuss his new book on Wednesday, April 29, 7 pm at the Depot, 814 West Broad St. View the flyer here.

Add Us To Your Google Calendar

The College has a public Google calendar that we regularly update with events from our departments, schools, and various programs. You can add our calendar to yours by selecting the +Google icon in the bottom right corner. We are happy to include events hosted by your department/units. Email your events to

Evolution of Human Health & History

Christopher R. von Rueden, University of Richmond, will present the final Spring Anthropology Speaker Series lecture, The Evolution of Human Health and Life History: Lessons From Small-Scale Societies, at 3:00 pm in the Student Commons Theater on Friday, May 1. View the flyer here.

2015 Student Awards Night

Awards Night for students in the College was held on Monday, April 6th in the Student Commons. A total of 177 students were honored. Seniors with a cumulative 4.0 grade point average were given the Dean’s Scholar Award, and students were recognized for outstanding research, exemplary public service, notable creative achievements, excellence in teaching and leadership, and other accomplishments. View a list of the winners here. View pictures from the ceremony here.

Share Your News With The College

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:

Adam Ewing, assistant professor in the Department of African American Studies, was recently awarded the Bernath Book Prize by The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations for his first book, The Age of Garvey. Adam's book examines the history of Garveyism, the movement started by Jamaican activist Marcus Garvey in the early 20th century. He was also recently selected as the first participant in a new conversation series from the Richmond Times-Dispatch where he discusses the real legacy of Garvey. VCU News has featured Adam in its April faculty and staff features. Read more here.

Alumni Spotlight:

Kevin Powers, BA English ’08, was just named a 2015 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow in support of his forthcoming second work of fiction. "To be among the list of people who have received the fellowship and completed work with the help of the Guggenheim Foundation, it's just really humbling," Kevin said. His most recent work, The Yellow Birds, was named one of The New York Times' 100 Most Notable Books of 2012 and received The Guardian First Book Award and the 2013 Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award. Kevin currently serves on the College's Advisory Board. Read more about Kevin and his work at VCU News.

Student Spotlight:

Tess Drazdowski, a fourth-year doctoral student in the Department of Psychology, was recently named a winner of the Association for Psychological Science Student Research Grant Competition, which provides small funding to support research in its initial development stages. Tess received the prestigious seed grant to study why people take prescription drugs for nonmedical purposes and what motivates them to continue using them. Tess's adviser, Wendy Kliewer, professor and chair of the Psychology Department, said that Tess is a "real go-getter" who takes initiative to pursue research that is both interesting and important to society. Read more at VCU News.

Upcoming H&S Events

• Apr 21: Chemistry Seminar
• Apr 21: Elske v P Smith Lecture featuring Samy El-Shall
• Apr 21: Poetry Through the Ages and Languages
• Apr 21: The “REAL” vs. “PERCEIVED” State of Diversity at VCU
• Apr 22: Alexandrian Society Spring Symposium
• Apr 22: Diversity Conversation & Campaign Launch
• Apr 23: Chemistry Seminar
• Apr 23: Philosophy and Public Affairs Lecture: Cheating - How Honest Are We?
• Apr 23: Political Science: The Armenian Genocide Centennial
• Apr 23: Visiting Writers Series: Erin McGraw & Gregory Donovan
• Apr 27Gandhi in Virginia: Pauli Murray’s Satyagraha
• Apr 27The Social Change Semester
• Apr 29VCU Author Christopher Brooks
• May 01: The Evolution of Human Health & Life History: Lessons From Small-Scale Societies

Selected VCU Events

• Apr 22: Poster Symposium for Undergraduate Research and Creativity
• Apr 23: Global Education: Armenian Genocide Centennial Lecture
• Apr 28: Bon Voyage at the Science Museum of Virginia

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The next newsletter is scheduled for May 5, 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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