Courtesy of University of Lynchburg.

Here’s a round-up of education briefs from around Southwest and Southside. Want more education news? There’s no full-time education reporter west of Richmond. You can help change that. Help fund us.

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Lynchburg to launch program for those 50 and older

The University of Lynchburg is launching LIFE@Lynchburg, a weekly program that brings together people aged 50 and older to learn about a variety of topics.

School president resident Alison Morrison-Shetlar established similar programs at two previous institutions, Elon and Western Carolina universities.

“It has been my experience that, once here, LIFE@Lynchburg members will meet new friends, make connections with our students, and become involved in the life of the University,” she said in a statement.

The program, which takes place from 10 a.m. to noon each Wednesday in Schewel Hall’s Sydnor Performance Hall, begins on Sept. 7. Ten sessions are planned each semester with topics for Fall 2022 covering a wide range of themes, including the cultural and political history of Lynchburg.

The curriculum was developed by community members, and classes will be presented by community members or faculty and staff of the University. Future topics will be determined by LIFE@Lynchburg membership.

There is no academic credit for the sessions. Members enjoy a number of perks, including student pricing at Burton Dining Hall, free access to theater and music performances and talks on campus, and borrowing privileges at Knight-Capron Library.

Annual membership (20 classes) is just $150 per person, a semester pass (10 classes) will cost $85, and individual sessions are $12 each. Members also may purchase a guest pass for $5 per session. Attendees may sign up online or by calling 434.544.8084.

For more information, visit the LIFE@Lynchburg website or email Sarah Rhodes at

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Hollins gets federal grant for study abroad programs

Hollins University is one of 44 colleges and universities across the United States selected to receive funding support from the U.S. Department of State’s Increase and Diversify Education Abroad for U.S. Students (IDEAS) Program.

Hollins and the other schools chosen will use the IDEAS grants to create, expand, and/or diversify American student mobility overseas in support of U.S. foreign policy goals. The program is funded by the U.S. Department of State and supported in its implementation by World Learning.

 “The grant will fund a new program, “Building Capacity in Kenya and Expanding Student Access to Global Experiences,” which will focus on democracy, human rights, and global health from an interdisciplinary and intercultural perspective with our new international partner, Kenyatta University in Nairobi,” said Ramona Kirsch, Hollins University’s director of international programs, in a statement. The grant will also enable us to move strategic diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives forward in our study abroad programming.

Each IDEAS grant carries a maximum allotment of $35,000 and Hollins was awarded approximately $34,800.

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A check presentation was held on the Christanna Campus in Alberta as Dr. Quentin R. Johnson, SVCC President and Dr. Daryl Minus, Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Success accepted the donation from Rob Propes, Urban Grid Development Manager and Dave Whittington, Urban Grid Consultant. Courtesy of Southside Virginia Community College.

Solar developer donates to Southside Virginia Community College for scholarship

Southside Virginia Community College has received a $9,000 grant from Urban Grid to fund its Career Coaching Program and a scholarship for the entry-level solar worker training program.

The grants are part of “Urban Grid Gives,” which which the company donates to communities where Urban Grid solar projects are being proposed, developed and constructed.  

Urban Grid is developing solar projects in 12 states.

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Top row: Julia Basso, Meagan Brem. Bottom row: Luke Juran, Alasdair Cohen, and Leigh-Anne Krometis are the 2022-23 ISCE Scholars. Virginia Tech photos

Tech institute names faculty teams for scholars program

The Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment at Virginia Tech has named four interdisciplinary faculty teams, representing 10 departments and six colleges, as recipients of the 2022-23 ISCE Scholars Program.

With up to $30,000 each, the research teams will conduct preliminary studies to make themselves more competitive for external funding from agencies such as the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and other sources of public and private funding. Not only do the faculty teams receive financial support to conduct their projects, but they also receive technical assistance and mentoring as they submit grant applications to funding agencies.

The following are a listing of this year’s recipient teams and their research projects:

Decreasing Intergenerational Trauma through Dance: A Program for Mothers with PTSD and their Children, led by Julia C. Basso, principal investigator and assistant professor of human nutrition, foods, and exercise in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; Martha Ann Bell, University Distinguished Professor of Psychology in the College of Science; Rachel Rugh, adjunct professor of performing arts, and Jody Russon, assistant professor of human development and family sciences, both in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. Using dance as a means for establishing healthy mother-child interactions, the researchers are interested in whether a mother with post-traumatic stress disorder can establish a healthy attachment with her child to decrease the likelihood of passing on trauma from one generation to the next.

Using Remote Alcohol Monitoring to Identify Contexts of Alcohol-Related Intimate Partner Violence among Young Adult Drinkers, led by Meagan Brem, principal investigator and assistant professor of psychology; Warren Bickel, director of the Addiction Recovery Research Center and professor with the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC; and Alexandra Hanlon, director of the Center for Biostatistics and Health Data Science, all from the College of Science. Researchers seek to learn the association between breath alcohol content and intimate partner violence and the context in which the risk for alcohol-related this type of violence increases.

Deploying an Upscaled Silver-Ceramic Technology to Disinfect Drinking Water in School and Community-based Settings, led by Luke Juran, principal investigator and associate professor of geography in the College of Natural Resources and Environment; and Alasdair Cohen, co-principal investigator and assistant professor in population health sciences in the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. The researchers are looking at the ability to disinfect children’s drinking water stored in large tanks, using silver-ceramic technology, in four identified schools in the poorest regions of India. They also will conduct surveys to determine the effectiveness of and need for interventions regarding healthy washing and sanitization knowledge in the schools and surrounding communities.

Understanding the Economic and Health Outcomes Associated with Supplemental Potable Water Use in Central Appalachia, led by Leigh-Anne Krometis, associate professor of biological systems engineering, which is in both the College of Engineering and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; and, Kimberly Ellis, associate professor of industrial and systems engineering, in the College of Engineering; Alasdair Cohen, assistant professor in population health sciences in the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine; Austin Gray, assistant professor of biological sciences in the College of Science; and Kang Xia, professor of plant and environmental sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Researchers want to quantify the economic and health implications of using multiple water sources, such as bottled water, when in-home piped water is not accessible.

Learn more about the ISCE Scholars Program.