Amy Phillips. Courtesy of Mountain Gateway
Amy Phillips. Courtesy of Mountain Gateway

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

Mountain Gateway Educational Foundation names new executive director

Amy Phillips has joined the Mountain Gateway Community College Educational Foundation as its new executive director, MGCC President John Rainone announced.

The Bath County native and resident also serves as the director of institutional advancement and public information officer for the college.

Phillips has spent more than 20 years working in the health care industry, as manager of development, marketing and communications at Bath Community Hospital in Hot Springs and then as development officer for operations at the Augusta Health Foundation in Fishersville.

Phillips is a first-generation college graduate who attended several of Virginia’s community colleges while she was pursuing her associate degree, working full time and raising a family.

Phillips enrolled in a variety of courses all over Virginia, to coordinate her own busy schedule with courses she needed to complete her degree. Most were online; others she attended on campus, including at Virginia Western, Northern Virginia, New River, J. Sargent Reynolds, Tidewater and Mountain Gateway (then Dabney S. Lancaster) community colleges.

Phillips holds an associate degree from Northern Virginia Community College and a bachelor of science degree in leadership and organizational management from Eastern Mennonite University. She also holds a certificate from NOVA in promotions, public relations and social media as well as a fund development certificate from the University of Richmond. A 1998 graduate of Bath County High School, she and her husband Rocklynn have two sons, both juniors at Covington High School.

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Virginia Tech receives grant for 3D printing technology

Virginia Tech has received a 2023 Defense University Research Instrumentation Program grant to purchase cutting-edge 3D metal printing technology to boost education and research in advanced manufacturing and new materials development. 

The U.S. Department of Defense award will fund up to $800,000 for the purchase of a computerized additive friction stir deposition machine that will be housed in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and be made available to interested researchers from across the university and beyond.

Virginia Tech was one of 77 universities to receive a total of $59 million for the purchase of critical research equipment funded this cycle through the federal program.

Hang Yu, associate professor of materials science and engineering in the College of Engineering, is the primary investigator on the award. He recently published the first textbook on the technology and has partnered with Christiansburg-based Meld Manufacturing, which has patented a process used extensively by industry and the military.

A range of co-primary investigators from several engineering disciplines are named in the award, including Yu’s colleagues in materials science, Alex Aning and Wenjun Cai. Others include Chris Williams in mechanical engineering, James Kong and Xiaowei Yue from industrial and systems engineering, Yao Fu in aerospace and ocean engineering and Dave Higdon from statistics.

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WCC Jamboree to feature Jerry Steinberg and His Dixie Blue Grass Boys and The New Ballard’s Branch Bogtrotters on Jan. 21

Wytheville Community College is sponsoring its free monthly Bluegrass and Old-Time Jamboree, this time featuring Jerry Steinberg and His Dixie Blue Grass Boys and the New Ballard’s Branch Bogtrotters at 7 p.m. Jan. 21.

The Jamboree will be held in the William F. Snyder Auditorium on the WCC campus, 1000 E. Main St. in Wytheville.

Jerry Steinberg and his Dixie Blue Grass Boys is a traditional band featuring three-part harmony as well as instrumentals. The band consists Jerry Steinberg, bass; Adam Borrows, fiddle and mandolin; Mikayla Burrows, guitar; and Lee Dunbar, banjo. Steinberg is from Salem and plays the doghouse bass. He has worked with Jim Eanes, Curly Seckler and the Nashville Grass, and Jimmy Martin and the Sunny Mountain Boys.

The New Ballard’s Branch Bogtrotters come from Galax and have won the first-place old-time band prize at the Old Fiddlers’ Convention in Galax eight times. The Bogtrotters have played at several notable festivals, including the Chicago Folk Festival, Merlefest and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

Jerry Steinberg and His Dixie Blue Grass Boys will perform at 7 p.m., and the New Ballard’s Branch Bogtrotters will perform at 8 p.m. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.

The event is free and open to the public. Donations will be accepted to help defray the travel expenses of the bands.