Babak Parviz. Courtesy of Virginia Tech.

Here’s a roundup 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 us fund this position.

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AmazonVP to speak at Tech

Virginia Tech President Tim Sands is hosting a conversation with Amazon Vice President Babak Parviz on Monday, Sept. 12, at 5 p.m. at the Moss Arts Center in Blacksburg.

The event is free and open to the public. Registration is requested, but walk-ups are welcome.

The creator of Google Glass, Parviz will present his talk, “Building from the Ground up at Amazon,” and share insights from his career experiences and how Amazon built two products – Amazon Explore and Amazon Glow.   

Following his presentation, he will be joined by Sands for an interactive dialogue about potential future innovations and how his career path landed him at Amazon.

Parviz’s work has been on display at the London Museum of Science. He has received numerous recognitions and awards including National Science Foundation Career Award, MIT Technology Review 35, Time magazine’s best invention of the year (2008 and 2012), IEEE Circuits and Systems Industrial Pioneer award, Your Health Top 10 Medical Advance of the Year, and Top Invention. He was selected by Ad Age as one of the 50 most creative people in the United States. 

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Ferrum College names alumni award winners

Ferrum College has announced this year’s three annual alumni awards: Young Alumni, Distinguished Alumni and Beckham Medallion. The awards are part of a tradition begun with recognition of several college founders/leaders from the 1920’s. Winners are nominated by alumni, faculty, or staff, vetted by the Nominations Committee of the Alumni Board of Directors, and approved by the president.

The 2022 recipients will be recognized in an awards ceremony during the Homecoming Weekend festivities Saturday, October 15, 2022, at 11:00 a.m. in the Blue Ridge Mountain Room located in Franklin Hall. All Ferrum College Alumni are invited to attend.

Matthew Woods. Courtesy of Ferrum College.

Young Alumni: Matthew Woods ’12

The Young Alumni award is given to a young alumnus/ae who has demonstrated professional and personal success since graduating from Ferrum College within the last 15 years. 

Matthew Woods, a resident of Rocky Mount, has served over twelve years assisting students, educators, and schools in a variety of roles. His professional experience includes being a high school social studies teacher, middle and high school assistant principal, middle school principal, director of student support services, adjunct professor, and field instructor at the collegiate level for student-teachers. Additionally, Woods hosts an education podcast, Leading Out The Woods, and is an accomplished keynote speaker and educational consultant.    

Woods earned a Bachelor of Science in History and Social Studies from Ferrum College, a Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Administration from Virginia Tech, a graduate certificate in Education Law and Policy, and an Educational Specialist in Middle Grades Education from the University of Georgia. Woods is in the process of completing his doctoral studies in Educational Leadership and Administration from Radford University with an expected graduation date of December 2022.

Carthan Currin. Courtesy of Ferrum College.

Distinguished Alumni: Carthan Currin ’84

Carthan F. Currin, III, a resident of Richmond, graduated from Ferrum College with a degree in Public Administration. A native of Petersburg, he has held public service and economic development includes executive positions with the City of Petersburg, the County of Brunswick, and the City of Richmond. Gov. Jim Gilmore appointed him as the first executive director of the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission.

Currently, Currin serves as the president of the Commonwealth Alliance for Rural Colleges, a nonprofit dedicated to providing resources and leveraging economic development and public and private sector alliances on behalf of Appalachian School of Law, Averett University, Bluefield University, Eastern Mennonite University, and Ferrum College.

Phyllis Karavatakis. Courtesy of Ferrum College.

Beckham Medallion: Phyllis Karavatakis ’76

The Beckham Medallion, named after Dr. Benjamin M. Beckham, the first president of Ferrum College, is the highest tribute bestowed upon an alumnus/a. The distinction honors those who exemplify the College motto, Not Self, But Others and who have demonstrated exceptional career success, service to their community, and dedication to Ferrum College.

Phyllis Karavatakis, a resident of Union Hall, has been a senior/executive level manager, responsible for achieving financial performance and strategic objectives for Carter Bank & Trust, a community bank with $4 billion in assets, in Virginia and North Carolina.

A graduate of Franklin County High School, Karavatakis earned an Associate Degree from Ferrum College, a Bachelor Degree in Finance and Accounting from the University of Richmond, and completed the Virginia Bankers Association School of Bank Management through the University of Virginia. She has held multiple executive appointments including chairman and Audit Committee chairman of the Ferrum College Board of Trustees; president and board director of Southside Business Technology Center/The Launch Place; chairman of the Foundation Committee of Piedmont Arts; chairman of the Martinsville and Henry County Chamber of Commerce; and a board member of United Way of Martinsville & Henry County, Patrick Henry Community College Foundation, and Southern Virginia Recreation Facilities Authority.

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From top left: Christine Ortiz, Pamela Ronald, Robert Califf, Gurpreet Dhaliwal, Helen Mayberg, Francesca Dominici, Damien Fair, Zhengming Chen, and Paula T. Hammond will present this year’s Maury Strauss Distinguished Public Lectures, which are hosted by the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute. Courtesy of Fralin Institute.

Fralin Institute releases line-up for Strauss lecture series

The Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC has released the list of this year’s speakers who are part of the Maury Strauss Distinguished Public Lecture series.

Among the speakers are three members of the National Academy of Sciences, three members of the National Academy of Medicine, and one member each from the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Inventors, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 

The series also includes a fellow of the International Society of Mathematical Statistics, a fellow of the Academy Europaea, and the commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Here is the 2022-23 Maury Strauss Distinguished Public Lecture Series lineup:

Most lectures are in person and begin with a 5 p.m. reception, with the presentation beginning at 5:30 p.m. in 2 Riverside at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute.  All lectures are free and open to the public. To make them accessible to a wider audience, most lectures will be streamed live via Zoom and archived.