Nutshell Games 2022 participants at the Moss Arts Center. The winner were (from left) Prashasti Agarwal, Viverjita Umashankar, Jatia Mills, Ruixuan Wang and Jennifer Appiah-Kubi. Photo Courtesy of Carrie Kroehler.

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

* * *

90 seconds and a prop: Nutshell Games put Virginia Tech grad students in the spotlight

Thirty Virginia Tech graduate students will compete for professional development funding in this year’s Nutshell Games.

For the seventh year, the annual event will task students with presenting their research projects using everyday language and a prop in just 90 seconds, according to a release from the school.

A panel of seven judges from the university and surrounding community will evaluate their presentations and award five winners. Each will receive $500 in professional development funding.

This year’s Nutshell Games will take place at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 8 at the Moss Arts Center. Admission is free and open to the public.

Among this year’s topics: “Observing river temperatures from space,” “Body vs. bacteria: how our immune system battles Lyme Disease” and “Meeting disabled college students’ access needs.”

The Nutshell Games are one of the signature events of the Center for Communicating Science, which provides opportunities for researchers to communicate their work to audiences outside their specialties.

This year’s Nutshell Games are also a part of ComSciCon-Virginia Tech 2023, a virtual science communication conference for graduate students. 

For a full list of presenters and judges, visit

* * *

Franklin County Schools job fair set for March 18

Franklin County Public Schools will host a recruitment fair for teachers and other school staff from 9 a.m. to noon March 18.

TeachFRCO will be held at the Franklin Center at 50 Claiborne Ave, in Rocky Mount. Licensure specialists and administrators will be on hand.

The Franklin County school district serves more than 6,000 students at 15 schools. The teacher pay scale is $45,000-$72,002, according to a news release from the district.

Attendees should pre-register at For more information about the event, call 540-483-5138 or visit

* * *

Danville Community College launches CDL training program

Danville Community College is partnering with Ancora Education to launch a commercial driving license training program.

The four-week program will launch March 6 with eight students, with the potential to grow the cohort size over time, according to a news release from the school.

Tuition is $4,500, but the cost may be reduced for Virginia residents through the FastForward program, and income-eligible students can see this cost reduced even further.

For more information about CDL training, call Chad Younger at 434-797-8573.

* * *

MacArthur Award recipient to present talk in Roanoke about big data and the brain

Damien Fair, who was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2020 for his work on unraveling the underlying processes that give rise to human behavior, will speak Feb. 9 at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC in Roanoke.

Damien Fair. Courtesy of Virginia Tech.

In his lecture, “Developmental Cognitive Science in the Era of Big Data,” Fair will talk about how big data inform what we can learn about the brain, from infancy through adolescence and young adulthood. The 5:30 p.m. lecture, which will be preceded at 5 p.m. by a reception, is free and open to the public. It will be held at 2 Riverside Circle.

Fair’s talk is part of the ongoing Maury Strauss Distinguished Public Lecture series at the institute.

Fair is the Redleaf endowed director of the Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain at the University of Minnesota Medical School. He also holds appointments as a professor in the Institute of Child Development and Department of Pediatrics. His research focuses on developmental neuroscience in such areas as achievement gaps, autism, executive function and prenatal brain development. He received his doctoral degree in neuroscience from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

* * *