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Points of Pride

GRANTS

* The National Park Service awarded $8.6 million in grant funding to support projects that preserve significant historic structures on the campuses of 18 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Virginia State University (VSU) received funding the preservation construction activities at Vawter and Storum Halls totaling $493,815 and $274,278 respectively.

* Dr. Xianfa Xie, assistant professor in the Department of Biology, was awarded a grant for $366,154 from the National Science Foundation. The award is part of the collaborative research project titled “Dimensions US-BIOTA Sao Paulo: Collaborative Proposal: Traits as predictors of adaptive diversification along the Brazilian Dry Diagonal” in collaboration with researchers at the Harvard University, Cornell University, Ohio State University, and American Museum of Natural History. The project is designed to study the biodiversity of birds, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, fungi, and plants in the less-studied Dry Diagonal region between the Amazon and coastal forests of Brazil, and Dr. Xie’s project is specifically targeted to study the bioluminescent mushrooms in the region and neighboring areas.

* The National Science Foundation awarded a grant of $299,649 to VSU for support of the project titled “Life STEM EAGER: Exploring the efficacy of an undergraduate voluntary intervention using near-peer mentoring to transfer positive behaviors through extracurricular team competition.” The grant will investigate the combined effects of non-academic peer mentoring based in black psychology and extracurricular team competition based in geocache gameplay on success and retention of STEM students.

NOTEWORTHY

* The University is ranked as the #8 Public HBCU on the 2019 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges rankings. Additionally, the University is ranked as the #19 HBCU, which is up 12 spots from the 2018 rankings where the University was ranked No. 31. VSU was also ranked on the U. S. News & World Report ranking as No. 29 as a top public school in the south and ranked No. 78 in the “Regional Universities South” category.

* In June of 2018, VSU was named the HBCU of the Year by HBCU Digest. In addition, the University’s Board of Visitors received the Best Board of Trustees of the Year award and Trojan Brianna Bundick-Kelly was named the Female Student of the Year. The HBCU Awards is the first and only awards ceremony honoring achievement at HBCUs throughout the United States.

* Jennifer Hunter, a member of the University’s Board of Visitors, was selected as one of Style Weekly’s 2018 Executive Women in Business. Hunter is the senior vice president of communications and corporate citizenship at Altria. Style Weekly selected each honoree for their hard work, determination and service to the community. Additionally, the women selected are champions of change and curious go-getters with diverse backgrounds.

* Sophomore DeVon Jackson, a psychology major, was selected as a 2018 HBCU Competitiveness Scholar, which is the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities highest student recognition. A Richmond native, Jackson completed a study abroad experience in Cape Town, South Africa this past summer as a Frederick Douglas Fellow through the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for MSIs.

* Student Government Association President Gabrielle Wilks has been selected to attend the Goldman Sachs 2018 HBCU Leadership Summit. Wilks was selected from an extraordinarily accomplished and academically talented group of 1,000+ applicants. Wilks will have an opportunity to participate in leadership and career workshops, network with professionals and potentially interview with various divisions of the firm. Wilks is a biology and mathematics major, a Presidential Scholar and was the 2018 Outstanding Sophomore of the Year.

FUNDRAISING

* Virginia State University won the 2018 Battle of the States against Norfolk State University as part of the Labor Day Football Classic. The University raised more than $198,000 to provide students more opportunities of excellence in the Land of Troy.

ALUMNI

* The U.S. Senate is considering a bill to award a Congressional Gold Medal to alumna Dr. Christine Darden in recognition of her contributions to the success of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration during the Space Race.

* Alumna Lucia “Lucy” McBath won the Democratic nomination in Georgia's 6th Congressional District on July 24, 2018.

* Alumnus and actor Rob Morgan landed a role in NBC’s television show This is Us. Morgan is best known for his role as Hap Jackson in Dee Rees' Oscar-nominated feature Mudbound. He recently completed work with Tom Hanks on Greyhound and on Last Black Man in San Francisco. His Monsters and Men is due in October 2018. Currently, Morgan can be seen on Netflix's Stranger Things, Godless, Daredevil and Luke Cage.

* Alumnus Trent Cannon was selected in the sixth round of the 2018 NFL draft by the New York Jets.

* Alumnus Rodney Robinson was named the Teacher of the Year for Virginia’s Richmond Region. Robinson is a social studies teacher at Virgie Binford Education Center, a juvenile detention center. In November 2017, he was named Teacher of the Year for Richmond Public Schools.

* Alumna Dr. Colleen Ewing has been named the director of the Virginia Veteran and Family Support Programs for the Virginia Department of Veterans Services.

ATHLETICS

* The Virginia State University Trojans men's and women's cross country teams hosted their annual VSU Fall Opener. The VSU women finished in first place. Joining the Trojans on the course were Virginia Union University, Elizabeth City State University, Shaw University and Chowan University. Competing individually were Washington Adventist University and St. Andrews University.

* On September 1, 2018, the VSU Trojans volleyball team rounded out their VSU Tournament weekend with a 4-0 record.

* The 2017-2018 Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID) Academic All-State Team comprised of 217 student-athletes from 37 colleges and universities across the Commonwealth were recognized. VaSID is comprised of sports information or athletics communications professionals from intercollegiate institutions throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. To be eligible, a student-athlete must have at least a 3.25 cumulative grade point average, and be a sophomore or higher.

VSU’s honorees are Vanessa Ruby (softball), Maurice Davis (football), Briana Williams (women’s bowling), Steven Murdock (track & field), Myia Jones (women’s volleyball) and Hunter Johnson (baseball).

* The Virginia State University women's bowling team continues to show its versatility on and off the lanes. Student-athletes Victoria Buskey, Shericia Campbell, Rhyan Crenshaw, Gabriela Mills and Briana Williams were named to the 2017-2018 National Tenpin Coaches Association (NTCA) All-Academic Team.

* Head Men’s Tennis Coach Gene Thompson was selected as one of the recipient of the Peninsula Sports Club 2018 Sportsperson Emeritus Award.

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