David Johns.

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Ferrum College president one of four finalists

Ferrum College President David Johns is one of four finalists for the presidency of Northern New Mexico College, a state-supported school in Española, New Mexico.

According to a release from the school reported by the Santa Fe New Mexican, one of the other finalists is New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas.

All the finalists are scheduled to make public appeances on campus; Johns will be there today. One of his events will be live-streamed at https://nnmc.zoom.us/j/95303844727 at 3 pm EST.

Johns has been president of Ferrum since 2018. Northern New Mexico College was established in 1909, became a community college in 1977 and a four-year school in 2005. The school had an enrollment of 1,135 in 2020, according to the New Mexico Higher Education Department. Ferrum’s enrollment is 783, according to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.

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Fralin Life Sciences Institute names new executive director

Robin McCarley has been named the new executive director of Virginia Tech’s Fralin Life Sciences Institute, effective Dec. 1. 

Robin McCarley. Courtesy of Virginia Tech.

McCarley, currently the Barbara Womack Alumni Association Endowed Professor of Chemistry at Louisiana State University, was chosen after a national search, according to a news release from Tech.

X.J. Meng, University Distinguished Professor at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine and professor of internal medicine at Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, has served as interim executive director since last December.  

McCarley will oversee investments, including recruitment and startup support for new faculty members, retention of established faculty members, investments in thematic research centers, seed funds for new research projects, equipment purchases, graduate student recruitment, undergraduate research support, and support for outreach activities.

McCarley received his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prior to joining Louisiana State University in 1992, McCarley was with the University of Texas at Austin as a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow.

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Tech professor receives $1.9 million grant from NIH

Emily Mevers, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry, part of the Virginia Tech College of Science, recently received a five-year, $1.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health that aims to leverage the microbiomes of marine egg masses for the development of next-generation antibiotics to treat emerging pathogens.

The specific grant is an Early-Stage Investigator Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award, which provides young investigators with the flexibility to pursue a breakthrough discovery by following up on unexpected findings that were not in the original research proposal.

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Nora Jones. Courtesy of Virginia Tech.

Tech alumna to speak as part of National Women in Entrepreneurship Week

Nora Jones, Virginia Tech alumna and founder and CEO of Chaos Engineering startup Jeli, will host a networking event and deliver a keynote address at the Apex Center for Entrepreneurs on Tuesday, Oct. 18, in celebration of National Women in Entrepreneurship Week. 

In her keynote discussion, titled “Learning from Failure: From Virginia Tech to Jeli,” Jones will highlight the lessons she learned from the highs and lows of her entrepreneurship journey.

Prior to founding Jeli, Jones held positions as the head of Chaos Engineering and Human Factors at Slack and as a senior software engineer at Netflix.

Jones’ work focuses on the sociotechnical aspects of engineering and how people and software work together in practice in distributed systems.

During the Oct. 18 event, there will be a social and networking session with Jones at 6 p.m. prior to the keynote address at 7 p.m. For more information on the event and to RSVP, please visit the Nora Jones event page.