VCU News: $1.48M grant to aid community college students from underrepresented groups interested in biomedical sciences
VCU News has recently published an article featuring the recently renewed Bridges to the Baccalaureate grant in VCU Biology. This program, lead by Karen Kester and Sarah Golding and with academic advising from Alvin Bryant, aims to help underrepresented community college students successfully transfer into a four-year institution.
Karen Kester is an Associate Professor in VCU Biology who runs an insect ecology and behavior research lab. Sarah Golding is an Assistant Professor and Director of Undergraduate Research in VCU Biology. Alvin Bryant is an Assistant Director of Undergraduate Advising for VCU Biology.
3 Biology Faculty Receive CHS Seed Awards
The College of Humanities and Sciences announced today that three VCU Biology faculty would receive Seed Awards for 2018. Scott Gronert, Associate Dean for Research writes, “the Seed awards were established to foster the development of successful grant proposals and nationally or internationally peer-reviewed scholarly and/or creative works.”
Assistant Professor Leslie Bulluck (pictured above, left) will receive a Seed award for her project “Using DNA barcoding to measure diet variation of a riparian consumer.”
Associate Professor Bill Eggleston (pictured above, center) will receive a Seed award for his project “Molecular analysis of loss of canalization and habituation in maize.”
Associate Professor Karen Kester (pictured above, right) will receive a Seed award for her project “Save the wasps! Maintaining productive collaborations and nurturing future funding opportunities.”
3 Biology Faculty to Develop Open Educational Resources for Biology Core Course
VCU Biology congratulates Instructors Ching-Yu Huang (pictured, left) & Jonathan Moore (pictured, right), and Associate Professor Dianne Jennings (pictured, center) for being granted an Affordable Course Content Award for their proposal, “Adopting and developing free open education resources for BIOL 151.”
Huang, Jennings, and Moore were awarded a total of $18,717 to develop lesson plans for BIOL 151 Introduction to Biological Sciences I that would rely on open educational resources which would be free to students as an alternative to traditional textbook-based options. The award money will contribute to additional time and resources spent creating, implementing, and reviewing changes to the way BIOL 151 is conducted. The successful implementation of this proposal is estimated to save each student an average of $237 which would amount to total savings of $308,555 for the student population in a semester (based on estimated enrollments and textbook costs for Fall 2018).
BIOL 151 Introduction to Biological Sciences I is the first of two sequential courses in the biology department that all students pursuing a major or minor in biology are required to complete and that serves as a collateral requirement for numerous other areas of study at VCU.
Wenheng Zhang named 2018 Biology Faculty of the Year
VCU Biology is thrilled to announce the 2018 Faculty of the Year: Wenheng Zhang!
Wenheng Zhang, PhD is a renaissance person who with sophistication, precision, humility, immense passion, and extending benevolence inspires her students everyday. In addition to teaching undergraduate courses, Zhang has mentored numerous undergraduate and graduate students as an Independent Study, Directed Study, thesis, dissertation, and postdoctoral supervisor. Her major accomplishments include identifying a new rheophytic orchid species, attaining ongoing funding from the National Science Foundation, and publishing in major journals such as PNAS and American Journal of Botany. Her research utilizes evolutionary developmental techniques to elucidate on plant morphologies that have daunted botanists for centuries, causing journals to seek her opinion.
Zhang was awarded the 2018 Faculty of the Year at the 2018 GOBS & ILSSO Picnic. Her name has been placed on the ‘Faculty of the Year’ plaque displayed outside of the VCU Biology main office and she also received a personal plaque.
The picnic was hosted by the Graduate Organization of Biology Students and the Integrative Life Sciences Student Organization.
Biology Faculty & Staff Receive Multiple Awards and Honors at CHS Awards Ceremony
A staggering number of VCU Biology faculty and staff received various awards and honors at this year’s College of Humanities and Sciences Faculty & Staff Awards and Retirees Breakfast. The awards and honorees are as follows:
Excellence in Scholarship Award (Math/Science)
Distinguished Advising Award
Distinguished Adjunct Award
Academic Year 2018 Retiree
The Department of Biology congratulates these faculty & staff and is privileged to have such talented and passionate people making the department so outstanding.
Biology Grad Student Awarded a Virginia Sea Grant Fellowship
Virginia Sea Grant announced that Benjamin Nettleton (pictured above on the right), an MS student in biology, was awarded a Commonwealth Coastal & Marine Policy Fellowship. Nettleton will be partnered with The Nature Conservancy’s Virginia Coastal Reserve.
Nettleton pursues his MS degree as a member of Assistant Professor Julie Zinnert’s Coastal Plant Ecology Lab.
2 Biology Students Received Baldacci Student Experiential Learning Awards
On behalf of Interim Department Chair Bonnie Brown:
The inaugural recipients of the College of Humanities and Sciences Baldacci Student Experiential Learning Endowed Fund grants (resulting from a generous gift from David and Michelle Baldacci) have today been announced and Department of Biology students received 2 of 12 awards! These awards give financial support to academically promising College of Humanities and Sciences undergraduates so they can pursue internships, conferences, research, domestic or study abroad, and/or social entrepreneurship opportunities. Our students who received Baldacci Student Experiential Learning Endowed Fund Awards are:
Sean Hubbard (Biology, Class of May 2020) will participate on an expedition as a research assistant in Guyana, led by Operation Wallacea, which will journey to a protected reserve called Iwokrama in the undisturbed primary rainforest of the Guiana Shield region.
Samantha Moon (Biology, Class of May 2019) will study abroad, with Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia in summer and fall 2018.
Thanks also to Dan Carr and Sarah Golding in Biology who were among the 10 faculty who reviewed 108 applications!
2018 Awards Ceremony Honors Biology Students
On April 6th, the Department of Biology honored nine students at the annual College of Humanities and Sciences Award Ceremony. The department recognizes these individuals for their outstanding work in their academic career, research, teaching, community contributions, and humanitarian efforts. We congratulate these students and look forward to their continue excellence.
2018 Award Recipients
- Sravya Uppalapati, Mohamed Shaaban Humanitarian Award
- Sarah Ingram, Outstanding Biology Graduate Teaching Assistant Award
- Benjamin Nettleton, Outstanding Biology Masters Student in Ecology
- Farahnoz Khojayori, Outstanding Biology Masters Student in Evolution
- Joseph Brown, Outstanding Biology PhD Student in Ecology
- Rohan Kankaria, Outstanding Biology Senior Award
- Nitika Gupta, Outstanding Biology Undergraduate Student in Cellular & Molecular Biology
- Emma Davis, Outstanding Biology Undergraduate Student in Ecology
- Heather Caslin, Outstanding PhD Student in Cellular & Molecular Biology