Dan Harrington. Courtesy of Virginia Tech.

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 this position.

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Harrington retires from Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine

Dan Harrington, vice dean of the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and formerly the vice president of academic affairs at Carilion Clinic, will retire Sept. 30. Harrington played an integral role in establishing the school, according to a release from Tech, which called him “the living history” of the school.

“What I’m most proud of is to have been part of this incredible group of people from academia and health care who have come together to develop this school and change Roanoke,” Harrington said in a statement. “It’s really changed this community for the better, and to have even been a small part of that has been wonderful.”

Harrington grew up in West Virginia, graduated West Virginia University’s medical school with Alpha Omega Alpha honors and went to the University of Virginia for a five-year residency in internal medicine and psychiatry, which was a new program at the time.

After a series of faculty roles at UVa, Harrington had a meeting with his mentor and the chair of the psychiatry program that would change the trajectory of his career and life. 

“He said, ‘Carilion is starting a psychiatry residency program. What do you think about moving to Roanoke?’” Harrington recalled in a statement. “I said, ‘Not much. Are you firing me?’ And he said, ‘No, you know you will always have a job here. But if you go to Roanoke, I think you have a chance to develop something that is all your own.’”

Harrington moved to Roanoke in 1990.

Joining Carilion, he developed the psychiatry residency program, took on additional leadership roles, and eventually became the head of all residency programs. In 2006, Carilion’s chief executive officer came to Harrington with another opportunity to develop something new.

“Ed Murphy called me in and asked what I thought about starting a medical school here along with Virginia Tech,” Harrington said in a statement. “He gave me and Donna Littlepage, who was in the finance department, about a week to put together a plan of what it would look like. And you know what, most of that plan came true.”

Harrington traveled around the country with Murphy and then Virginia Tech President Charles Steger to learn from other medical schools and develop the problem-based learning format that VTCSOM has today. Harrington was on board when Cynda Johnson became the founding dean of VTCSOM, and he served as interim dean when she retired. He become widely known as the first person arriving at the VTCSOM building every day at 5 a.m.

After his daughter Morgan’s death in 2009, the Morgan Dana Harrington Memorial Scholarship was established at the medical school. Other memorials he was involved in were the Morgan Harrington Educational Wing at OMNI Village in Zambia, and Help Save the Next Girl, a national nonprofit that educates children and young adults about the need for safety and personal responsibility.

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Helen Weng. Courtesy of W&L

Helen Y. Weng is the next speaker in the Mudd Lecture Series

Helen Y. Weng, a clinical psychologist, neuroscientist and research associate at the University of California, San Francisco Osher Center for Integrative Health, will give a lecture at 5 p.m. Sept. 22 in Stackhouse Theater as part of Washington and Lee University’s Mudd Center for Ethics series on “Beneficence: Practicing an Ethics of Care.”

Weng’s lecture, which is free and open to the public, is titled “Intersectional Neuroscience: Bringing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to the Neuroscience of Meditation.” This event can also be accessed via livestream.

Weng’s research focuses on meditation and how it may improve social and physical health. Through research, she developed new ways to quantify meditation skills using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and machine learning to identify mental states of body awareness during meditation.

Weng’s clinical interests include integrating compassion and mindfulness meditation with psychotherapy to treat mood and anxiety disorders, particularly for LGBTQ clients. She completed her graduate work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Healthy Minds and Department of Psychology demonstrating the effectiveness of short-term compassion meditation in increasing both altruistic and neural responses to suffering.

In 2019, Weng received the Mind and Life Institute Service Award and was named one of the 12 Powerful Women in the Mindfulness Movement by mindful.org. She gave a presentation to the Dalai Lama in 2012 and 2016. Her work has been featured in a variety of public news outlets such as Huffington Post, Mindful Magazine, NPR and The New York Times.

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Terelle Cadd. Courtesy of Virginia Tech.

Tech doctoral student recognized by Aviation Week

Virginia Tech aerospace engineering student Terelle Cadd has recently been selected as one of Aviation Week’s “20 Twenties” for 2022. Cadd, along with 19 other students, was identified as one of the top aerospace-bound individuals from an international field of highly qualified candidates.  

The annual award, sponsored by Aviation Week in collaboration with Accenture and Hexcel, recognizes STEM students nominated by their universities on the basis of their academic performance, civic contribution, and research or design projects. The winners are invited to Washington, D.C., this fall to attend the 20 Twenties Awards Luncheon at the Watergate Hotel and Aviation Week Network’s 65th Annual Laureate Awards and Dinner at the National Building Museum.

Cadd is the third Virginia Tech student to receive the prestigious “20 Twenties” honor from Aviation Week since the program launched in 2013. He follows fellow aerospace and ocean engineering graduates James “JP” Stewart, who received the award in 2016, and Samantha Rocker, recognized in 2019. 

A 2022 graduate and current Ph.D. candidate in the Kevin T. Crofton Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering, Cadd’s journey has been somewhat nontraditional compared with his peers. A former warehouse package handler for United Parcel Service Inc., he pursued community college studies to better prepare for his desired path to engineering. He transferred into the department of aerospace and ocean engineering at Virginia Tech in the fall of 2019.

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Patrick & Henry CC receives funding to boost short-term training opportunities.

Patrick & Henry Community College has received $138,271 as part of the Road to Success In Virginia Program. This program seeks to prepare Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients for employment leading to self-sufficiency and independence from temporary benefits. The program will serve as an entry point into career pathways for TANF recipients and provide an opportunity for partners to collaborate to enhance career pathways that support sector strategies. The program design will incorporate in-demand, industry recognized, credential-based training, work readiness development, and wrap around coaching to assist TANF recipients in obtaining self-sufficient employment.

Funding is provided by Temporary Assistance for Needy Families – U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through a partnership with the Virginia Community College System.

RSVP is designed for the improvement and/or development of programs that support the following priorities: (1) increasing the attainment of postsecondary credentials and degrees in regional demand, (2) increasing self-sufficiency through stable, continuous employment, (3) reducing reliance on temporary benefit programs such as TANF, (4) fostering a culture of adult learners using the career pathways model for economic stability.

As a sub-recipient of the RSVP funds, Patrick & Henry Community College will use the funding for the following:

  • Address barriers to employment to include career and success coaching; cognitive behavioral therapy; integrated, contextualized adult education and basic skills instruction; digital literacy training, and a cohort design.
  • Post-secondary training leading to in-demand credentials, to include occupational training in regionally high-demand fields that leads to industry-aligned credentials, programs of study in credit or noncredit areas.
  • Post-training employment and retention, to include job search, preparation, and placement activities, financial literacy, soft skills development, work-based and experiential learning opportunities, employment retention strategies and support.

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