Here’s a round-up of news briefs around Southwest and Southside:

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Virginia Tech graduates first cohort of biomedical engineeers

Virginia Tech next month graduates its first cohort of students receiving a biomedical engineering degree — 40 students in all.

In September 2018, the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia approved the new undergraduate degree program in biomedical engineering through Virginia Tech’s  Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics. Virginia Tech’s first cohort of biomedical engineers, all students from the College of Engineering, started the program in the fall of 2019

According to U.S. News and World Report, there are 175 schools in the United States with a biomedical engineering major. Virginia Tech’s program sets itself apart from others across the country with its emphasis on foundational mechanics, according to a release from the school.

The advantage of our program is that it is distinct from other engineering majors,” said Jennifer Wayne, department head and professor in biomedical engineering and mechanics, in a statement. “It addresses a societal need of having engineers with strong foundations and an understanding of how these translate to biomedical field challenges.”

Virginia Tech’s program requires six core courses in fundamental engineering principles, such as solid mechanics or dynamics, rather than focusing on pre-medicine. The structure enables students to gain a more comprehensive understanding of engineering practice and cross-disciplinary team building. Graduates are thus primed for placement in diverse fields, from biomedical device design to medical robotics, according to the school.

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Appalachian College of Pharmacy holds summer camp

 Students who are interested in learning more about the profession of pharmacy have been invited to attend a one-day summer camp event at the Appalachian College of Pharmacy, this summer.

The June 3 day camp is geared toward high school juniors and older to give them an opportunity to experience what it is like to be a college of pharmacy student and what it takes to be a pharmacist. Students taking part in the free camp will learn from faculty members who are experts in their fields; conduct patient assessment procedures; discover pharmacy compounding techniques; practice pharmacotherapy on a human simulator; hear from ACP students about their pharmacy school experience; attend an admissions workshop session; and tour the ACP campus.

The day-long event is free and is open to students who register online at

The event will begin at 9 a.m. on June 3 and end at 4 p.m. Lunch and refreshments will be provided by the college. 

For questions about the camp, interested persons may contact or call 275-498-5272.

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Averett announces graduation speaker

Emmanuel “Manny” Ohonme. Courtesy of Averett University.

Emmanuel “Manny” Ohonme, the co-founder, president and CEO of Samaritan’s Feet International, will speak to graduates at Averett University’s Spring Commencement ceremony Saturday, May 7. The 10 a.m. ceremony will be held on Daly Field at Frank R. Campbell Stadium at Averett’s E. Stuart James North Campus, 707 Mt. Cross Rd. in Danville.

The University will graduate almost 200 students between the traditional programs and Averett Online this commencement. More than 35% of the graduates completed their degrees through Averett Online. A total of nine are veterans, and nine countries are represented including the countries of Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, Finland, France, Netherlands, Norway, Russia and Sweden. The age range of graduates is 21 to 63.

Ohonme’s Samaritan’s Feet International is a non-profit organization that shares hope with those in need by washing their feet and giving them a new pair of shoes.

Growing up in Nigeria, Ohonme received his first pair of tennis shoes at the age of nine from a “Good Samaritan” visiting his country. Those shoes became a symbol of hope as he earned a college basketball scholarship in the United States and began a career in the technology industry.

In 2003, Ohonme and his wife, Tracie, founded Samaritan’s Feet and have distributed more than 8.7 million pairs of shoes in 108 countries and over 530 U.S. cities.

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Roanoke County’s Tanglewood Mall announces new retail tenant

Skechers, a footware store, will occupy a portion of the former Stein Mart space at Tanglewood Mall in Roanoke County and will be co-located with  Burlington, according to a release from the county. Interior redevelopment is currently underway and the store opening is planned for early fall.