Courtesy of Bluefield University.
Courtesy of Bluefield University.

Here’s a roundup of education briefs from around Southwest and Southside:

Tazewell expands tuition assistance program

The Tazewell County Board of Supervisors has voted 5-0 to expand its tuition assistance program to include Bluefield University. Previously Tazewell only provided tuition assistance for county residents attending Southwest Virginia Community College.

The board allocated $100,000 for the program to begin with the 2023-2024 academic year to help fill the gap a student may face after all other grants and scholarships have been used.

The program tuition assistance up to $2,500 per fall and spring semester during a period of two years subsequent of their high school graduation. Participation requires students to apply via application, receive a financial aid counseling session to determine tuition and fees, have a G.P.A of 3.0 or higher upon high school graduation and complete a minimum of eight hours of community service per semester while enrolled in the program. A waiver of community service hours will be provided to qualifying participants who are members of the National Guard.

For more information on how to apply, visit, call (800) 872-0175, or

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Research fellowship grant established at Virginia Tech

Three alumni of the Virginia Tech College of Science have established an undergraduate research fellowship grant in honor of Professor and Associate Dean Emerita F.M. Anne McNabb of the Department of Biological Sciences.

The inaugural recipient of the fellowship was Tiffany McCoy, a Class of 2022 alumna who spent the summer of 2022 and her final semester as an undergraduate student studying viruses in green algae.

McNabb worked in the college from 1970 to her retirement in 2009. In addition to her duties as researcher and teacher, she also served as assistant head for graduate studies in the department and then as associate dean in the Virginia Tech Graduate School. Her research focused on developmental avian physiology and endocrinology and environmental endocrine disruption.

The Anne McNabb Undergraduate Research Fellowship was established by biological sciences alumni Donald E. Spiers ’70, M.S. ’73, Richard L. Stouffer ’71, and John M. Ward ’71, M.S. ’71. All three went on to prestigious careers: Spiers is an emeritus professor with the University of Missouri’s Department of Animal Sciences; Stouffer recently retired as a senior scientist and head of the Division of Reproductive Sciences at the Oregon National Primate Research Center, part of the Oregon Health Sciences University; and Ward also recently retired as an emergency room physician in Texas.

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Lingjia Liu. Courtesy of Virginia Tech.
Lingjia Liu. Courtesy of Virginia Tech.

Professor receives National Science Foundation grant to improve 6G access for all

Lingjia Liu, a Virginia Tech professor in the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and director of Wireless@VT, has been awarded an $800,000 grant by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to help create next generation mobile broadband networks that increase the availability of access to users by providing seamless wireless coverage and supporting varying service requirements. 

This research is part of the NSF’s Resilient and Intelligent NextG Systems program, which combines resources and support from government agencies such as the NSF, the Department of Defense, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology with major U.S.-based telecommunications companies such as Apple, Google, IBM, Nokia, and Microsoft. The goal is to focus exclusively on NextG wireless, networking, and computing systems that may have potential impacts for the future of NextG standards.

To improve network resiliency, Liu will develop the fundamental research necessary to integrate and operate terrestrial and non-terrestrial networks, termed Ground and Air Integrated Networks (GAINs). The project will focus on the use of artificial intelligence and advanced machine learning algorithms to improve communication and computing efficiencies under this extremely dynamic environment.

A group of Virginia Tech students will be working on the project, along with students from the other universities.