The University of Virginia's College at Wise. Courtesy of UVa Wise.

Here’s a roundup of education briefs from around Southwest and Southside. Send yours for possible inclusion to

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UVA Wise celebrates Women’s History Month

A woman who traversed the Appalachian Trail in record time will host a guided hike and inspirational talk as part of this year’s Women History Month series sponsored by the University of Virginia’s College at Wise in late March.

Jennifer Pharr Davis hiked 47 miles per day, every day, for 46 days in 2011 when she set what was then the fastest thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail for anyone. Pharr Davis will headline the month-long series which features trailblazers from Appalachian history, sports and international studies.

All of the panels, speakers and events are open to the public and will be broadcast on Zoom. For more information, visit

“A Women’s History of Appalachia,” 1 p.m. March 8 on Zoom: Jessica Wilkerson, associate professor of history and endowed chair at West Virginia University, will talk about her new book project.

“From Obstacle to Opportunity: Women’s Sports Panel,” 1 p.m. March 20 at Cantrell Hall and on Zoom: UVA Wise student and lacrosse player Kameryn Darrington hosts a panel featuring accounts from women who have used their relationship with and dedication to sports to create community and opportunity.

“Jennifer Pharr Davis: Appalachian Trailblazer,” March 26-27: On March 26, Pharr Davis and Explore Norton will lead a hike starting at 4 p.m. at the Norton Reservoir Trailhead through Flag Rock Recreation Area trails, followed by an informal reception and kickback at Norton’s Expo Center, 115 Eighth St. S.W. 

At 1 p.m. March 27 at Cantrell Hall and on Zoom, Pharr Davis will tell her story, “A Woman’s Place is in the Record Books.”

“Rashmi Sadana: The Moving City: Gender and Mobility on Delhi’s Metro,” 4 p.m. March 29 on Zoom: Rashmi Sadana, associate professor of anthropology at George Mason University and author of “The Moving City: Scenes from the Delhi Metro and the Social Life of Infrastructure,” will discuss the ways that modern capital interests impact urban planning and the way these decisions impact gender and socioeconomics in India.

“Latinx in Higher Education: Panel Hosted by Peter Valadez,” 1 p.m. March 31 on Zoom: Karina Rufino, UVA Wise coordinator of diversity initiatives; Catalina Piatt-Esguerra, associate dean for inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility; and Maria Terry, University of Virginia human resources partner for UVA Health and School of Medicine, will talk about their experiences to overcome adversity and create opportunities for themselves and others in higher education.

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W&L announces Women’s History Month events

Washington and Lee University will honor Women’s History Month with a month-long commemoration and celebration of women’s achievements.

The Museums at W&L will host “Women in the World,” a series of short, informal lectures held in the Watson Galleries each Monday in March and the first Monday in April. The series is inspired by two exhibitions currently on view, “Mother Clay: The Pottery of Three Pueblo Women” and “Born of Fire: Contemporary Japanese Women Ceramic Artists.” The museums will provide a light lunch and refreshments. The lectures are free to attend and open to the public, but reservations are required:

  • “Women’s History and the Environment through an Artist’s Eyes,” presented by Emma Steinkraus, assistant professor of art, at 12:15 p.m. March 6. Register at
  • “Women Are People Too? The Slippery Slope of Expanding Personhood in the U.S.,” presented by Carliss Chatman, associate professor of law, at 12:15 p.m. March 13. Register at
  • “Friendship, Love, and Revolutionary Politics: Claudia Jones and Abhimanyu Manchanda,” presented by Lubabah Chowdhury, assistant professor of English, at 12:15 p.m. March 20. Register at
  • “Gender Battles: Spiritual Power and Land Rights in Southern Chile,” presented by Romina Green, assistant professor of history, at 12:15 p.m. March 27. Register at
  • “Arab Women’s Art and Activism for Social Justice,” presented by Jumana Al-Ahmad, visiting assistant professor of Arabic, at 12:15 p.m. April 3. Register at

W&L’s Gender Action Group will host “Women’s Week” March 6-10, with events each day celebrating Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day on March 8. Events include:

  • Faculty Panel on Erased Women’s History, 5:30 p.m. March 6, Hillel 101
  • Women’s History Trivia, 7 p.m. March 7, Office of Inclusion and Engagement Event Space, Elrod Commons 216
  • International Women’s Day March, March 8, outside Elrod Commons
  • Mudd Center CareLab event with Celine Leboeuf, 4 p.m. March 9, Hillel 101
  • Feminist FUDG | March 10, Arts, Recreation and Culture House

The Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program at W&L, in collaboration with the university’s history department, will host a dinner event, “What does feminism from below look and act like?” at 6 p.m. March 8 in the Center for Global Learning atrium. The event will feature guest speaker Lorena Mansilla, who will discuss working-class feminism in Argentina. Reserve a spot by emailing Cassady Sapp (

The Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program will also partner with the Roger Mudd Center for Ethics to host Céline Leboeuf as the next speaker in the Mudd Center’s “Beneficence: Practicing an Ethics of Care” series. Leboeuf is an associate professor of philosophy at Florida International University and will present a public lecture titled “How Can We Embody Self-Care? Lessons from the Body Positive Movement” at 4 p.m. March 9 in Hillel 101.

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Virginia Tech to partner on India’s first dual-degree master’s program in economics

Virginia Tech is partnering with one of India’s leading universities to develop a dual-degree master’s program in economics.

This program is the first of its kind in India, according to a news release from the university, and it will allow students to earn two master’s degrees in two years from universities in two countries.

The program was developed through a partnership with Mumbai-based NMIMS, formerly called Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies. Students will complete their first year at NMIMS and their second year at Tech’s Blacksburg campus. Upon graduation, students will receive a Master of Science in economics from NMIMS and a Master of Arts in economics from Virginia Tech. 

The dual degree program follows a similar integrated degree program between NMIMS and the Pamplin College of Business. That interdisciplinary program allows students to earn three degrees in the fields of business analytics and cybersecurity.

Sudipta Sarangi, the head of Virginia Tech’s Department of Economics, said the program will accommodate up to 30 students each year and is set to launch in July, with the first cohort of students arriving in Blacksburg by 2024. Enrollment for the first cohort has just opened.

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Mountain Gateway’s Worth honored as PTK distinguished college administrator

Benjamin Worth, vice president of academic affairs at Mountain Gateway Community College, has been selected as a distinguished college administrator by Phi Theta Kappa, the official national academic honorary society for two-year colleges.

Benjamin Worth. Photo courtesy of MGCC.

Worth came to the college in 2016. He is the school’s chief academic officer and provides leadership for 17 full-time faculty and more than 80 adjunct faculty members, in both transfer and technical programs. He oversees the academic affairs staff, as well as administrative assistants. He also serves on several committees and workgroups for the Virginia Community College System.

Worth earned his bachelor’s degree in classics from Washington and Lee University, a master’s degree in English from James Madison University, and a doctoral degree in educational policy studies and evaluation from the University of Kentucky.

An awards ceremony to honor all of the recipients of the PTK Distinguished College Administrator Award will be held April 21 in Columbus, Ohio, during the PTK annual convention.

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Schewel Lecture at University of Lynchburg explores equity, belonging in education, community

Rich Milner, a researcher, scholar and leader of urban education and teacher education, is the lecturer for this year’s Rosel Schewel Lecture at the University of Lynchburg.

Rich Milner. Photo courtesy of University of Lynchburg.

His talk, “Cultivating Relationships and a Sense of Belonging in Education and Community,” will take place at 7 p.m. March 22 in Hall Campus Center’s Memorial Ballroom.

Milner will also lead “Psychological and Mental Health During Trying Times,” a luncheon and workshop cosponsored by the YWCA of Central Virginia from 12:30 to 2 p.m. that day.

Both events are free and open to the public, but tickets are required.

In his lecture, Milner will explore ways to design and cultivate interactions, experiences, policies and practices that foster environments where people feel a deep and sustained sense of belonging.

Milner is the Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair of Education in the Department of Teaching and Learning at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of Education and Human Development.

He is the author of seven books, including “Start Where You Are, But Don’t Stay There: Understanding Diversity, Opportunity Gaps, and Teaching in Today’s Classrooms,” and is the president of the American Educational Research Association.

Reserve a spot for the luncheon workshop here and the lecture here. For more information, email

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Virginia Tech’s Bartlett receives NSF award to study soft composite manufacturing

Michael Bartlett, an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech, has received a $590,600 National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development award to research new strategies for manufacturing liquid metal-based soft composites.

Michael Bartlett. Photo courtesy of Virginia Tech.

According to a news release from Virginia Tech, these functional composites are materials that could be used to make robots and electronics that are soft, stretchable and compatible for skin-like wearable devices.

Bartlett’s team is creating new approaches for large-scale manufacturing processes. The researchers will continue studying methods of production in the lab and adapt those methods to be scalable.

The team also will work with aspiring young researchers through an outreach program and day camp, with a focus on first-generation students in K-12 and college, the university said.