Virginia Tech campus. Photo by Lisa Rowan.

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

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Virginia Tech awarded $1.5M for hydrogen storage project

Virginia Tech has been awarded $1.5 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to establish the potential for storing hydrogen underground in depleted Appalachian gas fields.

Subsurface hydrogen storage would provide a large amount of space without the need for massive above-ground infrastructure, according to a DOE announcement.

“Such operations will allow clean energy to be made available, especially during periods of low-supply and high-demand,” the announcement said. “Developing this technology could increase energy democracy, provide access to low-cost capital, increase clean energy jobs, and decrease energy burden, especially in the disadvantaged Appalachian communities.”

The grant, which Virginia Tech will combine with $375,000 in non-DOE funding for a total of $1.875 million, was part of $34 million in grants awarded to 19 projects that intend “to make clean hydrogen a more available and affordable fuel for electricity generation, industrial decarbonization, and transportation,” according to a DOE news release Thursday.

Grants also went to subsurface hydrogen storage projects in North Dakota, Oklahoma and Texas, as well as projects related to hydrogen production and transportation.

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VCOM names new dean for Blacksburg campus

The Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine has named Dr. Ronald Januchowski as the new dean of the school’s Blacksburg campus.

Januchowski started at the college’s Spartanburg, South Carolina, campus when it opened in 2011, and he is currently the associate dean for curriculum, assessment and medical education there. He is a fellow of the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians and a professor in the family medicine department of VCOM, according to a news release from the college.

Januchowski graduated from the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1993 and did a one-year internship at Botsford Hospital in Farmington Hills, Michigan. He began active duty in the Army at Fort Bragg, initially in an operational capacity and then completed his family medicine residency at Womack Army Medical Center in 1998.

He retired from active duty in 2001, having attained the rank of colonel, and went into private practice in Gastonia, North Carolina, before moving to the Spartanburg, South Carolina, area.

Januchowski succeeds Dr. Jan Willcox, who is retiring from her role as dean of VCOM-Virginia. She arrived at VCOM in 2002 and served as the college’s founding associate dean of clinical academic and research affairs. She became vice dean of VCOM-Virginia in 2010 and was promoted to campus dean in 2014. She will continue to work for VCOM and will develop further opportunities for students in clinical training and international outreach.

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Mountain Gateway CC opens first phase of new workforce center

Mountain Gateway Community College last week celebrated the opening of the first phase of its Wilson Workforce Center in Buena Vista.

When complete, the $5.5 million project will house a new manufacturing and workforce training center and will expand the college’s capacity to deliver training and award industry credentials in areas such as welding, plumbing, building trades, electrical and HVAC, according to a news release from the college.

The center is named after Buena Vista native and Washington & Lee graduate Joe Wilson, who made the purchase of the building possible, according to the release.

The new center will not supplant or replace any of the workforce programs offered on the main campus in Clifton Forge, John Rainone, the college’s president, said in the release.

The total renovation project, including the former Courtesy Motors building next door, should be completed by January 2025, the release said.