Goldwater Scholarship Information Sessions Sept. 26 and Oct. 1

goldMr. Jeff Wing, Director of the National Scholarship Office, will be holding an information session about the Goldwater Scholarship on Thursday, September 26 at 12:30 PM in Room 1303 at The Honors College (701 W. Grace Street).  A second Goldwater information session will be held on Tuesday, October 1 at 2 PM at the same location.

The Goldwater Scholarship recognizes students who are pursuing undergraduate degrees in STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering or mathematics) who intend to pursue research-oriented careers in these fields.

Competitive Goldwater candidates will be strong students (GPA > 3.7), will already have research experience, and will have a plan for pursuing graduate education that will lead to a career as a research scientist, engineer or mathematician.

Since 2007, nine VCU undergraduates have been selected as Goldwater Scholars.  They have pursued or are presently pursuing graduate degrees at Johns Hopkins, UCLA, Duke, UNC-Chapel Hill, Harvard and Oxford among others.  Other nominees who were not selected as Goldwater Scholars have also gone on to pursue graduate degrees at top graduate institutions.

First year students who are not yet eligible to apply are encouraged to attend one of the Goldwater information sessions to learn more about this future opportunity.

For more information about the Goldwater Scholarship, visit or or email

SEED Meeting on Thursday Sept. 26 at 6pm!

526753_314027285366491_688728640_nOur next meeting is Thursday, September 26th at 6:00 PM in room E3229 of Snead Hall/Engineering East. We will be having Kimberly Mahan, a serial Tech entrepreneur, come in to share a talk titled “Lessons from the Trenches: The Fight to start your own company.” She will also take some time to help us workshop our ideas. We hope to see you there!

Thanks to everyone who came out to Industrial Design and the Creative Process!
Franklin Bost gave an amazing talk about designing for users and taking products to market. You can see his presentation on industrial design here.

Discover. Design. Do.

Seed is a student group dedicated to pursuing medical and technologically-oriented businesses. We welcome entrepreneurs of any age and major who show enthusiasm and the will to delve into the unknown. Seed partners up with local businesses and provides opportunities for students to shadow medical professionals to develop design solutions. We have numerous interdisciplinary teams with a myriad of ideas. Come turn your idea into a reality.

Seed is a safe place to share your ideas and to collaborate with others. We aim to have students form teams around a certain product idea to create businesses. Drop us a line at if you’re interested in helping us and/or becoming an officer.

Undergraduate Research Position with Spit for Science/VIPBG

6 s4s_banner_940x136

Integrating Research and Prevention Programming to Reduce Risky Alcohol Use among VCU Students: Improving Alcohol Education at VCU

PI: Danielle Dick, PhD

CoPI: Linda Hancock, FNP, PhD

CoPI: Kristen Kidd Donovan, MPH

Project Coordinator: Zoe Neale

Description of the research:

This project is a study related to Spit for Science: The VCU Student Survey, a university-wide research opportunity for all incoming VCU freshmen, focused on understanding risk and protective factors that contribute to substance use and emotional health among college students.  We will use data from the Spit for Science baseline fall freshman questionnaire to assign up to 400 students to different alcohol prevention programming based on their individual responses to one of the drinking variables included in the Spit for Science survey.  We will then follow their drinking patterns across time to test whether tailored prevention programming is more effective at encouraging responsible choices about alcohol use.  Our hypothesis is that individuals who are assigned to a matched prevention program will show lower levels of alcohol consumption than individuals assigned to prevention as usual, and that individuals who are assigned to a mismatched condition will do worse than individuals assigned to prevention as usual.

Online alcohol education is convenient for university administrators and students alike, but its efficacy in reducing high risk drinking is low (Carey, K. et al 2012), especially among high risk drinkers, the very people administrators most wish to impact.  Testing the hypothesis that matching a prevention education program to a person’s level of response to alcohol will bring the field closer to answering the question “How can we better reduce heavy drinking among the population who is doing most of the heavy drinking?”

Description of Duties

The research assistant would have a great deal of involvement in the day to day details of running a research study. Responsibilities may include the following:

  • Project and study design in REDCap

  • Testing completed research protocols

  • Assisting with an IRB submission

  • Early data monitoring/quality control

  • Interaction with research participants

If the student matches well with this project, there is potential for continuation into 2014 when the researchers plan to analyze the data, submit papers for publication, and should the data support further study, submission of a grant application for a larger study.

Required hours/week: 10 hours/week

Eligibility requirements:

  • Psychology, Sociology, Social Work, or other social science majors preferred

  • GPA of 3.4 or higher required

  • research experience preferred

  • please submit a resume (including your current GPA), an academic reference, and a one page essay on your interest in participating in this project

  • Candidates must demonstrate an ability to learn quickly, work diligently, and interact in a professional and personable manner

Please submit your application materials electronically to Kristen Kidd Donovan at

The “Women, War and Peace” Conference at VCU is Sept. 20-21

wwp1 The 2013 Women, War & Peace conference will take place at the VCU Student Commons on September 20th and 21st.  Over the course of two days, the conference will focus on women’s roles in war and peacebuilding in West and North Africa, and how these issues can be transformed into opportunities for social and economic wellness.

The conference grew out of a partnership between Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), the Richmond Peace Education Center (RPEC), Virginia Friends of Mali (VFOM), and the Richmond Sister Cities Commission (RSCC), all of which are working hand in hand to highlight Virginia’s links to West Africa, and to develop and nurture collaboration between the schools, universities, organizations, and community groups working in the field of human development.

The conference is comprised of three main components:

Films on Women, War & Peace

The theme was inspired by the 2011 PBS series of films on Women, War and Peace, in particular Pray the Devil Back to Hell, the story of Nobel Prize winner Leymah Gbowee (founder of the Gbowee Peace Foundation) who helped lead a women’s peace movement during Liberia’s devastating civil war.  In addition to screening this film at the conference, esteemed film producer Abigail Disney will provide a keynote address on Friday night, discussing the film itself and the work of the Gbowee Peace Foundation USA.

Three other major films will be screened, including Burkinabé film La Nuit de la vérité (“The Night of Truth”), documentary The Manuscripts of Timbuktu, and Spanish film Hijos de la nubes: la última colonia (“Sons of the Clouds, the Last Colony”). These films highlight distinct and global perspectives on different aspects of women in war and peace in West Africa.

Research on Africa, with a focus on Mali 

This is the fifth in a series of African Conflict and Peacebuilding Conferences associated with the West African Research Association. Numerous discussion panels with internationally recognized scholars are the focus of the second day of the conference. Topics are organized around health, gender, the role of women in conflict, non-profits roles in peacbuilding, and Malian politics.

The Malian Ambassador, His Excellency Al Maamoun Baba Lamine Keita, will give a keynote address during day two’s luncheon and provide insight into the status of peace in Mali following the recent conflict there, after which two famous Malian peace activists from Timbuktu, Ibrahim ag Youssouf and Zakiyatou oualett Haletine will receive UN medals for their work.

Academic, Professional, and Community Development

With a strong ambition to spread knowledge about peace efforts in West Africa, the conference is holding workshops, information tables, poster sessions, and cultural events to engage attendees in discourse around the diverse fields of human development. Students, alumni, scholars, employers, and practitioners will engage with each other and strengthen the network of opportunities to contribute not only to VCU and Richmond, but to the larger global community.

Please join us in the VCU Student Commons on September 20-21, 2013.

 Contact us at
Quick Links

“Preparing for Undergraduate Research” Info Session Today at 3pm

vcu-uropThe VCU Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) will host the next info session for undergraduate students entitled, “Preparing for Undergraduate Research” on September 17, 2013.  The session is scheduled for 3pm in Hibbs Hall, room 429.

The session will provide information about upcoming opportunities for research at VCU, and will help interested undergraduates prepare themselves for a research experience.   In order to participate, students must register first by contacting Herb Hill at at least 24 hours before each session.

For more information about undergraduate research at VCU, visit us at:

“Discovery bound: From Students to Scientists”

University Public Affairs
(804) 828-6051

Friday, Sept. 13, 2013

Undergraduate research opportunities at VCU abound, spanning disciplines and campuses.

Among the chief avenues for involvement is the university’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP), a fellowship award opportunity that enables undergraduates to get hands-on experience conducting research, developing their own research projects or partnering on faculty-conducted research. In addition to university-wide efforts, some schools and departments offer special chances for research-minded undergraduates, such as in the case of the VCU School of Arts Undergraduate Student Research Grants.

In addition, VCU each year hosts Research Week, a series of events that showcase both undergraduate and graduate student research.

For additional information, visit the Office of Research’s page on resources for undergraduate research –

John Ryan, Ph.D., has much he enjoys about his work, but the VCU immunologist said one component of his job provides him with a thrill beyond all others: mentoring a student researcher who suddenly has their “aha” moment.

Something clicks for the student, who has been gaining knowledge and skills gradually in the classroom and laboratory, and they are struck with the realization, “I know how to do this.” Instead of simply following instructions, they have their own ideas. They start to solve problems independently. Their insecurity wanes, and they feel confident about their tasks and their status among the other, more experienced members of the research team. They’re no longer trainees. They’ve become full-fledged researchers.

“As mentors, we get to be the catalyst for that,” Ryan said. “To me, that’s just a tremendous sense of accomplishment. That’s really what I love about my job the very most, and there are many things I love about it, but certainly that’s something I get the most joy out of.”

Ryan, a professor of biology in the College of Humanities and Sciences, is one of a host of scientific researchers on both campuses who welcome both seasoned graduate students and green undergraduates onto their research teams.

Tamara Haque, a junior majoring in clinical laboratory sciences, currently works in Ryan’s lab. Haque has always known that she would pursue a career as a physician. However, she’d never considered integrating medical research into her professional life.

Now, though, after working with Ryan and his research team, she’s become hooked on the idea. She’s had her “aha” moment.

“The ability to have influence on knowledge, on discovery, being the person who is able to broaden the scope of knowledge that we have, feels very rewarding,” Haque said.

The research experience is a critical one for undergraduates hoping to pursue graduate school and a career in science, but the benefits do not flow just one way.

Read the full article by Tom Gresham:

VCU Student Research Organization General Body Meeting Sept. 16, tonight at 7pm!

SRO_LogoThe VCU Student Research Organization’s first General Body meeting of fall semester will be held Monday, September 16th, at 7pm in the VCU Student Commons, Virginia Rooms C&D. The Student Research Organization (SRO) was built and founded by students, for students, to promote undergraduate research at Virginia Commonwealth University.  Any undergraduate interested in research is invited to attend!

We also raise awareness of undergraduate research through educational programs, workshops, and by providing avenues to become more involved in research experiences.

At this meeting, we will discuss our overall purpose and ideas for future events, as well as present our upcoming events that we have planned for the semester.

For more information contact:

Follow us at:                                                                                                                                              

CUR Posters on the Hill – Call for Abstracts!

CUR-POH-Logo-thumb-320x78-12882In the spring of 2014, the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) will host its 18th Annual Posters on the Hill.  There will be an evening poster session and reception where students will have the opportunity to speak directly to member of Congress and demonstrate how they have been impacted by these programs.

Event Date: TBD.  The exact dates for Posters on the Hill will be set once the Congressional calendar for spring 2014 is finalized.

Submission Process

Students: The Council on Undergraduate Research invites you to submit an abstract for the 18th Annual Posters on the Hill. Your research should represent one of CUR’s Divisions (Arts and Humanities, Biology, Chemistry, Geosciences, Health Sciences, Mathematics/Computer Science, Physics/Astronomy, Psychology, and Social Sciences). Abstract submissions should describe your research, scholarship, or creative activity and discuss its significance to society (i.e. what larger issues or problems were you trying address or understand?; how does your work relate to current policy issues?).

Advisors: You will receive an email confirmation when your student submits an application.  This email will include directions on how to upload an electronic letter of recommendation.  Please note that the letter must be submitted no later than the deadline of November 4, 2013 and must be on institution letterhead.  Without a letter of recommendation, an application will be considered incomplete and will not be reviewed.  Only one letter of recommendation should be sent, and the signature on the letter must match the name of the advisor listed in the application. Multiple advisors may sign the single letter.

Questions? For questions about the submission process, please contact Mary Pat Twomey, Manager for Student Programs, at For questions regarding the event, please contact MeLisa Zackery, Director of Conferences and Meeting Services, at




Council on Undergraduate Research                                                                                            734 15th Street NW  Suite 550                                                                                            Washington, DC 20005                                                                                                               p: 202.783.4810                                                                                                                           f: 202.783.4811                                                                                                                 

RAMS-IRB Training Opportunities

Research-header_01Are you planning on submitting a research proposal that includes research involving human or animal subjects?  If so, you need to acquaint yourself with VCU’s Institutional Review Board (IRB).  Training for the electronic IRB protocol review system, RAMS-IRB is being offered throughout the fall semester on both the Monroe Park and MCV campuses.

RAMS-IRB Training will be approximately 60 minutes in length, with the initial 45 minutes dedicated to system navigation. Topics covered will include External IRB (WIRB/CIRB) initial submissions, VCU IRB initial submissions and conversion of currently approved full board and expedited studies. Training will focus specifically on RAMS-IRB navigation for the above mentioned submissions. Attendees will have the opportunity to log in to RAMS-IRB and have general system questions answered at the end of the demonstration.

Registration for RAMS-IRB Training is required. Attendance is limited to 17 participants in Cabell Library, 320 and 24 participants in Sanger Hall, B1-020. A minimum audience of 7 is required to hold the training.

To sign up or to find out how to become a RAMS-IRB Liaison, visit the website below. For more information, contact Shivi Stanley at or (804) 827-6090 or visit


“Preparing for Undergraduate Research” Info Session

vcu-uropThe VCU Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) will host the next info session for undergraduate students entitled, “Preparing for Undergraduate Research” on September 17, 2013.  The session is scheduled for 3pm in Hibbs Hall, room 429.

The session will provide information about upcoming opportunities for research at VCU, and will help interested undergraduates prepare themselves for a research experience.   In order to participate, students must register first by contacting Herb Hill at at least 24 hours before each session.

For more information about undergraduate research at VCU, visit us at: