Here’s a round-up of briefs from around Southwest and Southside. Send yours for possible inclusion to

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New River Community College announces new nursing scholarship

New River Community College has announced the new NRCC Nursing Scholars Program, a scholarship for outstanding high school junior and senior students who show interest and ability in NRCC’s nursing associate of applied science degree. 

Nursing Scholars will receive support from advisors who are charged with helping scholars make the best possible transition from high school through completion of NRCC’s nursing AAS degree. The scholarship consists of level one and level two awards. High school (public, private and homeschool) juniors and seniors who reside in NRCC’s service region (Floyd, Giles, Montgomery and Pulaski counties and Radford) may apply for level one scholarships.

Up to five Nursing Scholars in NRCC’s region will receive a level one scholarship that provides in-state tuition, college fees, and textbooks for five program prerequisite courses to be completed by high school graduation, according to a release from the school. (Read it in full here.) The school says “every effort will be made to award one Scholar per NRCC service region county/city.”

Students who received a level one scholarship and complete the five prerequisite courses with a grade of “B” or better may apply for a level two scholarship. Students must also complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and meet all NRCC Access to Community College Education (ACCE) admissions requirements prior to submitting a level two scholarship application.

The level two scholarship provides tuition and college fees for four semesters of required courses in the nursing AAS degree, all required textbooks and all required fees.

The first scholarships will be awarded in fall 2022. Information about the program can be found on NRCC’s website at The scholarship application will be available online beginning Feb. 10, and the deadline for application is March 15.  For more information about the Nursing Scholars Program at NRCC, contact Lynn Taylor at 540-674-3631 or  

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Michelle Theus. Courtesy of Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech professor lands two grants for the study of brain trauma

Michelle Theus, an associate professor of molecular and cellular neurobiology in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology within the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, recently secured two grants totaling nearly $4.5 million from the National Institute of Health for research related to traumatic brain injuries. 

The funding came through the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, an institute within NIH that provides support for health-related brain research and development. Theus is the principal investigator on these two grants and two other previously secured NIH grants, along with being one of multiple principal investigators on a grant from the CURE Epilepsy foundation studying the effects of traumatic injury and stroke on brain function.

One grant, totaling $2.01 million, will be used to study new mechanisms that promote entry of certain white blood cells into the immune-privileged brain and how this creates a neurotoxic environment that disrupts the blood brain barrier: a barrier that prevents immune cell entry and helps keep the brain safe and prevents proper functioning of neurons.

Theus has assembled a team that includes Virginia Tech professor Chang Lu; post-doctoral fellows Elizabeth Kowalski, Erwin Kristobal Gudenschwager Basso, Eman Soliman and John Leonard; as well as graduate student Jatia Mills.

“When that barrier is lost, and neurotoxic immune cells enter and do what it is they’re programed to do, the brain is not a conducive environment for that response,” Theus said in a statement. “Our goal is to devise innovative ways to re-tool their program, to limit their overzealous nature in a manner that enables the brain to heal as a consequence of head trauma.”

The other grant, totaling $2.47 million, allows for the study of age-dependence on the immune response. Exciting new findings from her group show that immune cell transfer from juvenile animals into adult animals exposed to traumatic brain injury resulted in substantial protection. Her long-term goal is to learn how to recondition the adult or aged immune system as a therapeutic tool to limit brain damage by taking advantage of the youthful program.

As part of her overall translational approach to science, Theus will begin to glean information from her research with animals by partnering with Biraj Patel and Eric Marvin, two clinicians in the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, to apply the work to human patient samples.

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Greg McMillan ’90, VP for Advancement, E&H; Rev. Sharon Bowers, Director of the Inclusion & Dialogue Center, E&H;  Allison Mays ’95, Major Gifts Officer, E&H; College President John W. Wells; John Holloway, VP for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, E&H; E&H music major Emily Blevins ’23, Chilhowie, VA; LeRae Collins ’08, Director of Communications with the Holston Foundation; President of the Holston Foundation Paul Bowman; and Rev. Sharon Wiley Wright ’94, E&H Chaplain. Courtesy of Emory & Henry.

New leadership program at Emory & Henry College receives $50,000 gift from Holston Foundation

The Holston Foundation has awarded $50,000 to Emory & Henry College for students to o develop key leadership skills in the area of diversity, equity, inclusion, civic engagement and social justice.

The new initiative named “Leadership Emory & Henry” invites senior high school students, current Emory & Henry students, and Emory & Henry faculty and staff/administration from historically underrepresented backgrounds, including first generation college students, to enhance their key leadership skills. The program will be offered by the President’s Office and Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

The $50,000 gift from the Holston Foundation was presented to Emory & Henry College leadership by Holston Foundation leaders President Paul Bowman and Director of Communications LeRae Collins, a 2008 graduate of Emory & Henry College, during a luncheon ceremony at the President’s home on February 1, 2022.

Founded in 1980, The Holston Foundation stewards financial resources to support the mission and ministry of local churches, institutions, agencies, and programs associated with the Holston Conference.

The program will get underway this summer and be operational starting Fall 2022. Interested students, teachers and faculty can learn more by contacting or by visiting

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University of Lynchburg announces Black History Month events

The University of Lynchburg has announced the following Black History Month events that are open to the public:

Historic interpreter and advocate Cheyney McKnight and historian Dr. Kelley Fanto Deetz will share their expertise as guest speakers at “History as Power: Racial Reconciliation and Restorative Justice through Storytelling” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 24, in the Hall Campus Center Memorial Ballroom.

All events are free and open to the public. Masks are required inside any campus building.

For more information, email the Office of Equity and Inclusion at