The former Jefferson HIgh School in Clifton Forge. Courtesy of Mountain Gateway CC.

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Mountain Gateway announces new scholarship

Mountain Gateway Community College’s Educational Foundation is partnering with the Jefferson High School Alumni Association to offer a $1,000 scholarship to a deserving African American student from Alleghany County or the city of Covington.

Jefferson High School was a historically Black school in Clifton Forge, operating from 1919 to 1965, when it was closed due to integration, and became the Clifton Forge East Elementary School. The building, which no longer operates as a school, still stands on the corner of A Street and Church Street.

The Jefferson Alumni Association was formed in 1980 to preserve the legacy of the school, and to recognize its many successful graduates, who became entrepreneurs and educators, as well as business owners and leaders.

The Jefferson Alumni Scholarship has been awarded since 1990, but this is first time that the scholarship has been administered through the MGCC Educational Foundation.

The scholarship is available to graduating high school students, continuing students or non-traditional students related to someone who attended Jefferson High School. Eligible students also must have earned minimum GPA of 2.5 and reside in Alleghany County or Covington.

The scholarship will be granted for two consecutive semesters at MGCC and applies to tuition, books and approved resources for the degree or program that the student is enrolled in. The MGCC student may be either full or part time and must maintain a 2.5 GPA with no grade lower than a D.

To apply for the scholarship, go to

For more information, contact Callender at 540-968-2797 or MGCC Educational Foundation scholarship coordinator Vicki Pickle at 540-863-2835 or

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Former Gov. Jim Gilmore.

Gilmore to speak at Ferrum College

Former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore will be the inaugural speaker for the new Gentry Locke lecture series hosted by Ferrum College on Nov. 14. The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held from 6-7 p.m. on campus in the Blue Ridge Mountain Room in Franklin Hall. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Registration is required here:

The lecture series is a partnership between Ferrum College and Gentry Locke, a Virginia law firm with offices in Roanoke, Lynchburg and Richmond. The series will bring two experts and thought leaders to the college per academic year to discuss current social and cultural topics.

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Danville CC holds events for College Application Week

October 24-28 is Virginia College Application Week, and Danville Community College is celebrating with five events across Danville, Pittsylvania County and Halifax County.

Danville Community College Educational Foundation has donated three laptops to be given away to one applicant in each area of the service region. Drawings will be held after the events conclude.

Event schedule:

Galileo Magnet High School – Oct. 24

Halifax County High School – Oct. 24 and 25

Tunstall High School – Oct. 25

Dan River High School – Oct. 26

Gretna High School – Oct. 26

George Washington High School – Oct. 27

Chatham High School – Oct. 27

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Virginia Tech makes data science grant awards

In its effort to promote the research and development of data science methods in support of science research, Virginia Tech’s Academy of Data Science Discovery Fund has granted three research awards for the 2022-23 academic year. 

The projects supported in this year’s awards focus on the use of data science methods in the fields of geophysics, medicine and systems biology.

The Academy of Data Science Discovery Fund was established in 2021 to provide funding for external interdisciplinary research that includes significant applications of data science methods and advanced computing to large, complex datasets that arise in scientific research.

Open to all College of Science faculty members, including collegiate and research faculty, the fund provides up to $10,000 in funding to a single investigator and up to $20,000 for multiple investigators.

Recipients of this year’s awards are:

  • Johann Rudi, assistant professor, Department of Mathematics. Project: Mathematically modeling the Earth’s mantle convection, a central geophysical process that controls Earth’s geological evolution and the motion of tectonic plates. Rudi’s work aims to improve the understanding of the driving and resisting forces on plate tectonics by using observational data, realistic global mantle flow models, algorithms he has developed, and high-performance computing. Award: $8,461.
  • Alexandra Hanlon, professor of statistics and director of the Center for Biostatistics and Health Data Science, and Azziza Bankole, associate professor in the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. Project: Analyze data from the third phase of a study seeking to identify agitation in people 50 or older with dementia using a system called the Behavioral and Environmental Sensing and Intervention for Dementia Caregiver Empowerment (BESI). BESI is a system of body-worn and in-home sensors designed to be an unobtrusive, real-time platform that helps caregivers predict dementia-related agitation and implement timely behavioral interventions. Award: $20,000.
  • Anand Banerjee and Pavel Kraikivski, both collegiate assistant professors in the Academy of Integrated Science’s systems biology program. Project: Improved approach to the mathematical modeling of the temporal dynamics of complex cellular processes. These models have been used to study a range of cellular processes including the cell cycle (the growth and division of a cell), circadian rhythms (sleep-wake cycle), and cellular decision-making (e.g., irreversible YES-or-NO-type binary decisions during apoptosis and cell differentiation). Award: $20,000.

    The Academy of Data Science was launched in 2020 to promote the application of data science methods to help solve scientific problems and foster the development of data science methods in support of science. It serves as the interdisciplinary hub for data science collaboration and research for faculty as well as the connective fabric between the College of Science and other Virginia Tech colleges and institutes in the collaboration to develop new data science methodologies and applications.

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Women’s rugby to become varsity sport at Emory & Henry

Women’s rugby will become a varsity sport at Emory & Henry College starting in the 2023-24 academic year season, the school announced Thursday.

This move is in line with the increased interest of women’s rugby on campus as well as its status as an “emerging sport” with the NCAA, according to a news release.

Additionally, Vice President for Athletics Anne Crutchfield announced that Tom “Doc” O’Neill has been named the program’s full-time head coach. O’Neill has previously served as a part-time coach for the men’s and women’s rugby programs. He will also continue to lead the men’s rugby program.

Emory & Henry began playing women’s rugby as a club sport in 2019 as part of the non-NCAA South Atlantic Rugby Conference under the National Collegiate Rugby umbrella. Rugby first appeared on the Emory & Henry campus in 2014 with the men’s club team.