New River Community College. Courtesy of NRCC.
New River Community College. Courtesy of NRCC.

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NRCC offering free computer tune up

New River Community College will hold a Cyber Day event on Saturday, December 3.

Cyber Day is an event where anyone can bring their laptops, desktops, tablets and phones for a free tune up and virus scan. The NRCC Computer Club is hosting the event from 9 a.m. to noon in room 127 at the college’s Christiansburg site located in Uptown Christiansburg.

There will be several students and Dr. David Filer, NRCC information systems technology professor and club advisor, working on the systems at the event. Any Windows or Android device is welcome.

The NRCC Computer Club focuses on the skills of repairing and creating computers for campus and community use. For more information about Cyber Day, contact Filer at or (540) 674-3600, ext. 4272.

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University of Lynchburg professor to study spiders in Panama

Lynchburg biology professor Dr. John Styrsky is returning to Panama to study orbweaver spiders. Styrsky and two professors from partner universities recently received a $120,000 grant from the Republic of Panama’s National Secretariat of Science, Technology, and Innovation.

The two-year grant will fund travel expenses, equipment, and chemicals, and will also enable university students, including one from Lynchburg, to participate in the research.

Between 2008 and 2014, Styrsky took six Lynchburg biology majors to Panama to study the acacia orb weavers. With the grant — $5,000 of which is set aside for Lynchburg — he will return to Panama with one student, likely in the summer of 2023 or 2024.

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Smyth County chamber announces scholarship winners

The Smyth County Chamber of Commerce announced the 2022 Tom Burkett Scholarship Winners. The Tom Burkett Scholarship was established in 1997 by the outgoingExecutive Director, Tom Burkett. The scholarship is to be presented to a college-bound senior from each of the three county high schools. The scholarship award consists of a letter of award, a recognition certificate, and $500.00. The 2022 award winners are Ezrah Pennington from Marion Senior High School, Lexa Somervell from Chilhowie High School, and Abigail Parkey from Northwood High School.

Pennington plans to receive her degree in medical sonography. She has a 4.2083 GPA and is active in volleyball and basketball, is the SCA President, is in Beta Club and Hurricanes for Christ Club. She is a volunteer for the Special Olympics. Ezrah has received the Sportsmanship Award and is the captain of the volleyball and basketball team.

Somervell plans to major in Forensic Science and has a GPA of 4.375. She is on the CHS swim team, is the Scholastic Bowl Team Captain, and a Henderson School of Music guitarist. She also has received perfect attendance, all A’s honor roll, is a Beta Club member, received the Rural & Small Town Nation Recognition Award, and was 2nd place Scholastic Bowl Champion.

Parkey plans to become a licensed social worker and has a GPA of 4.2083. She is active in the French club, is the FBLA Historian, and is a member of Beta Club. She was named Employee of the Quarter at Starbucks, has received honor roll, French Outstanding Student for two years, was a Governor’s School Student with Advanced Placement, was an elite learning student, and a dual enrollment student at Virginia Highlands Community College.

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Anthem gives grant for food, housing security for community college students

The Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation has awarded $125,000 to the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education to help community colleges students secure resources to alleviate food, housing and other insecurities that stand in the way of their success.

“It’s hard to concentrate on your studies when you’re having trouble paying for food, housing, childcare, transportation and other basic needs,” said Jennifer Sager-Gentry, Executive Director of the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education, which received the donation on behalf of Virginia’s Community Colleges.  

The Anthem Foundation grant will be used to boost student awareness of Single Stop at fourteen community colleges in Virginia’s “rural horseshoe” region.  Single Stop is an online screener tool on campus that quickly connects students with federal, state and local assistance programs.

So far this year, Single Stop has been used by more than 9,700 Virginia community college students statewide, connecting them with more than $21 million in benefits they were entitled to receive.

Fourteen Virginia Community Colleges that serve the region will receive the Anthem grants to promote Single Stop among their students.

  • Blue Ridge Community College
  • Danville Community College
  • Eastern Shore Community College
  • Laurel Ridge Community College
  • Mountain Empire Community College
  • Mountain Gateway Community College
  • New River Community College
  • Patrick & Henry Community College
  • Paul D. Camp Community College
  • Rappahannock Community College
  • Southside Virginia Community College
  • Southwest Virginia Community College
  • Virginia Highlands Community College
  • Wytheville Community College