Lauren Sisler. Courtesy of Radford University.

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

* * *

Sisler to speak at Radford as part of National Recovery Month

ESPN broadcaster Lauren Sisler will speak at Radford University on Wednesday, Sept. 28, at 7:30 p.m. as part of National Recovery Month.

Sisler, who grew up in Giles County, lost both of her parents to their concealed battle with prescription drug addiction within hours of one another when she was an 18-year-old student at Rutgers University. She will discuss that tragedy and how she was able to overcome the resulting adversity, finding her own path to a successful life and career, according to a release from Radford.

“Sports is my passion, but my purpose is to share what I learned from my parents’ story – and how I learned to fall in love with my own,” Sisler said in a statement.

Following Sisler’s presentation, there will be a short panel discussion with Reed Yearwood, Radford University’s peer recovery specialist, and Rosalind Watkins, the founder of the JHW Foundation, a not-for-profit foundation aimed at raising awareness about substance use disorders in young adults and supporting young adults in recovery.

The presentation and panel discussion provide an important opportunity for the Radford community to explore mental health and substance abuse topics, which are on the rise among college students.

“Eighteen to 24 is when most mental health and substance issues are diagnosed,” Cora R. Taylor, assistant director of Substance Abuse and Violence Education Support, at Radford University, said in a statement. “Of course, that is the age range of traditional college-aged students, so college can truly prove to be a turning point.”

* * *

Tech wins award for diversity

Virginia Tech’s Office for Inclusion and Diversity received the 2022 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education. 

As a recipient of the annual HEED Award — a national honor recognizing U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion — Virginia Tech will be featured, along with other institutions, in the November issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. This is the seventh consecutive year Virginia Tech has been named as a HEED Award recipient and also has been selected to receive the additional honor of being named an INSIGHT Into Diversity “Diversity Champion,” scoring in the very top tier of all 2022 HEED Award institutions.

* * *

Jon Mertz. Courtesy of Emory & Henry.

Social entrepreneurship expert to speak at Emory & Henry College

The founder of a social entrepreneur accelerator program in Santa Fe, N.M., will discuss the growth and opportunities of social entrepreneurship during a lecture Wednesday, October 19, at Emory & Henry College.

Jon Mertz, the founder of Santa Fe Innovates, will discuss “A New Leadership Imperative: Why Social Enterprises are the Next Generation of Capitalism and the Inherent Tensions to Resolve.” 

The discussion begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Black Box Theatre of the McGlothlin Center for the Arts and is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the Emory & Henry College School of Business and the McGlothlin Center for the Arts.

A broader view of capitalism is returning to an emphasis on a combined economic and social benefit, according to Mertz. The presentation and discussion will explore the results of recent research along with a new leadership and decision-making model for social enterprise leaders when confronting conflicting trade-offs. “Making decisions in these tension-filled dimensions requires a certain amount of professional moral courage and a willingness to act virtuously when competing emotions are evident,” Mertz said in a statement.

Mertz has served in marketing and business development executive and leadership roles for high-profile companies, including Corepoint Health, QuickArrow, Deloitte, IBM and BMC. He also has served as a political appointee in various positions in Washington, D.C.

Mertz is a doctoral candidate at Creighton University and serves as an adjunct faculty member at the University of New Mexico Anderson School of Management.  

* * *

Virginia Tech’s autism research center wins grant

Virginia Tech’s autism research center has gained grant funding to support its efforts to work directly with communities to improve access to therapy.

The Engagement Scholarship Consortium awarded Angela Scarpa-Friedman, professor and director of clinical training in the Department of Psychology in the College of Science and director of the Virginia Tech Autism Clinic and Center for Autism Research, a 2022 Research/Creative Activities Grant to support the clinic’s work leveraging community partnerships to improve access to therapy for autistic children.

The $5,000 grant follows past success with awards from the consortium. Last year, the Mobile Autism Clinic was a regional winner and a finalist for the C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship Award.