Nov ’16 Newsletter: Trustee Spotlight – Noreen Poulson

Trustee Noreen Poulson COL ’78

Trustee Noreen Poulson COL ’78

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Noreen Lavan Poulson graduated from the University of Virginia in 1978. As a member of one of the first classes to accept women in the College, she found academic, athletic and service opportunities to be readily available and exciting.  While majoring in English, Noreen played varsity field hockey, becoming a co-captain her fourth year; was briefly a walk-on for the varsity basketball team; and was selected as a member of the softball teams that represented UVA at Virginia State Tournaments, the forerunners of varsity softball teams throughout the state. Off-season, she could be found participating in intramural athletics and met her husband, John “Jack” Poulson (Com ’78), while playing water polo at Mem Gym.

Having been raised in a family where giving back was considered an integral part of daily life, Noreen became a Resident Advisor as well a tutor for the Summer Transition program. Sponsored by the Office of Admissions, this program was established to assist incoming first year students in need of pre-matriculation academic support.

As an alumna, Noreen decided the best way to continue giving back to the University was to join the Jefferson Trust. In her own words:

“One of the most intellectually exciting aspects of being a Trustee is exposure to a broad range of initiatives that arise from students, faculty and staff pan-University to enhance the student experience and strengthen UVA’s global reputation for excellence.

I have been a Trustee for six years, and it has been rewarding to see the Jefferson Trust model of providing seed money to support development of new ideas launch opportunities that have gained permanent funding from other sources because of the positive impact grant recipients have made on the life of the University.

Having served as a Resident Advisor in college and graduate school and currently working with low-income college-bound students, I have a keen interest in student-led grants. I particularly enjoy listening to students pitch a grant proposal about which they are passionate. Over my six years with the Trust, I have had the privilege of watching several student-led grants prove to be ahead-of-trend; upon achieving success, these initiatives are now having lasting impact as permanent programs with ongoing funding.

One such grant is called “Flash Seminars.” Begun in 2011, these student-driven one-time seminars are quickly organized, similar to Flash Mobs, on current events topics, drawing on speakers from around the University who are subject matter experts. Topics have ranged from “Revolutionizing Design: 3D Printing” to “The 2016 Electoral Map.”

Also, as part of the Jefferson Trust’s Trustee Mentoring Program, I have had the honor to mentor the remarkable “HeArt of Medicine” grant. Begun by a collaborative group of nursing and medical students under the guidance of Dr. John A. Owen,(EdD, MSc) the grant recipients developed an extracurricular workshop series to take an in-depth look at both the science and art surrounding death, dying and end-of-life care. A modest grant (in terms of dollar amount received from the Trust), this program now reaches 100% of medical students and a large number of nursing students and has the phenomenal ability to touch each of us in our life journeys. The HeArt of Medicine grant seeks to make conversation and medical information about death and dying more open and approachable to the nursing and medical students who are becoming our health care leaders of the future. This program has the potential to touch the lives of even more people, as it could be a replicable model for other nursing and medical schools.

 Please consider the Jefferson Trust and join us in helping to select and fund ground-breaking new ideas at the University.”

Noreen as mentor to HeArt of Medicine grant recipients

Noreen as mentor to HeArt of Medicine grant recipients

Nov ’16 Newsletter: Jefferson Trust’s innovative support for UVA attracts national attention

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The Jefferson Trust endowment was featured by the nationally published Chronicle of Philanthropy as a unique and highly successful way to support “ideas from students, faculty and administrators that get little funding from the state and heavily restricted university coffers.” Distributed to over 125,000 non-profit professionals, the article attracted national attention and interest from other state institutions of higher education, including the University of North Carolina.

View the full article.

Nov ’16 Newsletter: Record Number of Grant Proposals Received!

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This October, the Jefferson Trust received a record number of proposals – 67 to be exact – requesting
more than $3 million in combined funding.  We also had a record number of student-led submissions – 23 in total!  Proposals were received from nearly every school at the University, several related
centers, and, of course, student organizations.

Trustees have begun reading all 67 proposals, the first of several steps in the intensive review process. Next, trustees may reach out to applicants for clarification on details and will seek the opinions of top University leadership in their efforts to select the best projects. As a final step in the process, some applicants will be invited to a Q&A session with the full Trustee board, held in late January.  All applicants will be notified of funding status in February, although formal announcement of the 2016-17 grants will be made in April.

For more information on the annual grant cycle, visit our Apply page. For More information about recently funded projects explore our website.

Nov ’16 Newsletter: A “venture” investment that pays unique dividends

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The Jefferson Trust has been described by many as a “seed-fund”, a form of “venture capital”, and “donor-directed investment” that is made available to any of UVA’s wide variety of schools, centers and organizations.  This unrestricted endowment annually supports worthy projects proposed by students, faculty or staff that encourage collaboration, creativity and leadership, in all areas of the University community.

What makes it even more unique is that the alumni and parent donors to this endowment act as “trustees” of their investment, and are active in the decisions regarding which grant projects to fund each year; helping to shape the institution for the future.  Want to get involved? Contact Kaye Forsman, Senior Director of Development at (434) 243-8118 or at for more information.

August ’16 Newsletter: Now Accepting 2016-17 Grant Applications: Deadline September 30, 2016

The Jefferson Trust is pleased to announce that the application for funding for the 2016-17 grant cycle is now available. Grant proposals will be accepted through September 30, 2016. See below for details on Information Sessions.

Each year, the trustees of the Jefferson Trust solicit proposals from UVA students, faculty, and organizations of any school, department, or program, for initiatives that will enhance the University of Virginia as a preeminent global institution of higher learning.

Information Sessions: The Jefferson Trust will hold information sessions open to all potential grant applicants on Friday, September 2 at 10:00am and on Wednesday, September 7 at 4:00pm. The sessions will be held at Alumni Hall. A video of a session from 2012 is available on our website.

Visit our website to find more information on recent Jefferson Trust grants, grant guidelines and FAQ’s, and the proposal template.

Funding available for both student-initiated and globally –oriented grants!  As a result of leadership gifts from Trustees Dan Adler and Larry Sperling, grant proposals from students, as well as proposals that support global initiatives are being solicited.  Download our application template here. For more questions, contact Amy Bonner at 434-243- 9078.

August ’16 Newsletter: Announcing the new Chair and Vice Chair of the Jefferson Trust

Ashley Thompson ManningJRutroughWith the start of the 2016-17 academic year, the Jefferson Trust welcomes new Chair of the Jefferson Trust, Jim Rutrough (College ’71)  and Vice Chair Ashley Thompson Manning (Commerce ’97).

Although new to the Jefferson Trust Chair position, Jim Rutrough has been an active Trustee since 2011 and has acted as Vice Chair of the Trust for the past two years.  Prior to that, he served as the Development Committee Chair.  Jim sits on three other UVA-affiliated boards: the Alumni Association Board of Managers, the Jefferson Scholars Foundation, and University Physicians Group, where he serves as Chair. An avid Virginia sports fan, Jim is also active with the Friends of Virginia Baseball!

His enthusiasm for the many projects and programs that the Jefferson Trust funds each year is heartfelt and highly contagious. “Without the Jefferson Trust, lots of great things that this University needs just might not happen,” he said. “The unique proposition of the Trust is its ability to encourage both students and faculty to pursue those entrepreneurial and collaborative ideas in an area of learning that would not find early-stage funding anywhere else.”

Ashley Thompson Manning joined the Jefferson Trust in 2015; she is also a member of the Alumni Association’s Board of Managers.  While on Grounds, she served on class councils and was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma. Ashley is active in numerous charitable organizations. A native of Memphis, she gives back to that community mainly through Memphis Athletic Ministries and she remains actively involved in charitable causes in all of the cities in which she has resided.

Ashley is the Vice President of the PeyBack Foundation that she and her husband Peyton established in 1999 to promote the future success of disadvantaged youth. Ashley has worked in real estate development since 1997.  She was the Vice President of the Jupiter Group where she was involved in the urban development and revival of downtown Indianapolis.  She is currently the President of LAT Properties, LLC, a real estate development company she started in Denver.

August ’16 Newsletter: Become a part of the Jefferson Trust legacy…

Join with other UVA alumni, parents, and friends in providing catalytic, “seed money” support for new and worthy research, projects, and initiatives brought forth by enterprising students, faculty, and organizations from across Grounds.  Your gift will make an immediate impact and also provide tax benefits; and can be funded using a variety of assets including appreciated stocks and bonds, real estate, or other personal property over a multi-year pledge agreement.

A gift to the Jefferson Trust is also recognized as part of a donor’s cumulative lifetime giving by the University Lawn Society, and can be credited toward class reunion giving goals.  For more information, please contact Kaye Forsman, Senior Director of Development at 434-243-8118 or

Thank you!

August ’16 Newsletter: Center for Media Citizenship

In 2012, the Trust provided funding to allow two alumni, in partnership with WUVA and the Department of Media Studies, to develop a Center for Media Citizenship

August ’16 Newsletter: 3-D Bioprinting at UVA

BioMedical Engineering, University of Virginia, April 2016

Jefferson Trust funding will help train a new generation of leaders in the field of 3D bioprinting. UVA research laboratories house two state-of-the-art 3D bioprinters, of only 4 in the country with this high level of precision, and researchers are ready to capitalize on this advantage.

Grant funds will be used to expand research opportunities using the 3D bioprinters through four targeted areas:

Seed funding for research projects. Collaborative and interdisciplinary projects will span different areas of medicine and focus on the development of new treatments for different diseases and disorders.  Research teams will include undergraduate students, medical students, and medical residents, and will create unique, hands-on learning experiences.

Software to replicate individual human anatomy. In order for 3D bioprinting to produce tissues that perfectly match the human anatomy they hope to reproduce, medical images must be converted into computer aided design files that prescribe the shapes and sizes of the tissues.

Monthly 3D bioprinting research meetings will allow collaborative teams to share protocols and data, troubleshoot issues, and brainstorm for one another’s projects. These meetings will accelerate research by creating opportunities for teams to learn from one another as they tackle different clinical applications of the 3D bioprinters.

Annual 3D Bioprinting symposium will bring together researchers and community members from across the region. UVA Faculty and students will learn from other experts and share their own expertise. The symposium will also highlight UVA’s unique advantages in 3D bioprinting and establish UVA as a leader in the field.

To read more about the 3D Bioprinters and learn about the bioprinting process, check out this Virginia Magazine article.

May ’16 Newsletter: Jefferson Trust Announces 2016 Grant Awards

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Jefferson Trust Awards WinnersFrom helping prepare the next generation of professors and school leaders to providing a platform for collaborative research at micro and nano scales, the Jefferson Trust, an initiative of the University of Virginia Alumni Association, awarded 18 grants totaling more than $775,000 to University entities on Friday, April 15. 

Established in 2006, the Jefferson Trust is an unrestricted endowment that distributes funds annually through a University-wide grant program. The mission of the Trust is to pursue excellence across the University by supporting initiatives that enhance teaching, scholarship and research; allow faculty and students to work closely together while engaging in hands-on learning; and allow the University community to make an impact on other communities—locally, nationally and globally.

This year, a $50,000 grant will help support Experiential Career Development within the UVA Career Center. In order to better prepare students for a competitive job market, the center plans to launch a new professional development course for second- and third-year students that secures internships and integrates one-on-one alumni mentoring.

“In today’s job market, students need a competitive advantage,” said Associate VP of Career and Professional Development Everette Fortner. “The Jefferson Trust’s support of a ‘guaranteed internship’ course provides just such an advantage.”

In addition, a $60,000 grant for Developing Leadership in 3-D Bio printing will provide research funds for the Biomedical Engineering department’s two state-of-the-art 3-D bio printers. The funding will be used for interdisciplinary research projects as well as providing UVA students with hands-on training in 3-D bio printing.

“Since their arrival on Grounds eight months ago, our 3-D bio printers have stimulated overwhelming interest from faculty and students at all levels across the university—from first-year undergraduates through medical residents,” Professor of Biomedical Engineering Shayn Peirce-Cottler said. “This project will provide a more defined, accessible, and visible forum to facilitate collaborative research and training in 3-D bio printing.”

Since its first grants were awarded in 2006, the Jefferson Trust has given $5.5 million to fund 141 initiatives spanning a broad range of schools, departments, student groups and academic centers at the University.

Other 2016 grants include:

Preserving Self-Governance for Our Third Century ($47,235)
In the next five years, the University will hire nearly five hundred new faculty members, who will surely be among the world’s foremost thought leaders. However, there is no assurance that they will be stewards of the University’s culture of self-governance. This project is a combined effort of the University’s Student Council, Honor Committee and Judiciary Committee in partnership with the Faculty Senate to ensure that the next generation of faculty is as supportive as the last. The program’s aim is to offer orientation and continuing education for new faculty entirely directed by students actively involved in the three organizations.

Jefferson Society Archives Project
The history of the Jefferson Society is in many ways the history of the University of Virginia. The approximately 32,500 archival items represent crucial pieces of University history that have fallen into disrepair and become inaccessible to the University community. The Jefferson Society Archives (JSA) Project will hire students to organize the collection and collect metadata to create a comprehensive archival inventory. They will create high-resolution images for 5,000 items in the collection using the Special Collections Library. Finally, the Society will develop a website to house its images/inventory to make them accessible.

Planning Jefferson Institute for Engaged Youth ($59,500)
The establishment of an institute focused on youth as assets can further distinguish UVA in relation to its mission of research, teaching and public service. Spearheaded by the Curry School of Education, these funds will support the planning phase of a proposal for a new pan-University Institute for Engaged Youth to promote scholarship, policy analysis, programming, education and service focused on youth as assets.

Curry Teacher Education ($67,375)
The Curry Teaching Fellowship is a proposed partnership between Virginia school divisions and the UVA teacher preparation program to better align critical school needs with teacher training. The intent of the Fellowship is to identify and support teaching candidates in much-needed subjects (e.g. special education, elementary education, math) from teacher training into their first year of employment by:  sharing recruitment, application, and fieldwork oversight between school and Curry personnel; continued formal mentoring and success measurement of alumni by the division and Curry through the first year of employment; and enhancing the financial support for candidates during their final year in the Curry program.

Mass Cytometry Antibody Bank ($35,000)
Mass Cytometry is a new technology that allows the simultaneous measurement of up to 100 different cellular attributes of thousands of individual cells. The major limiting factor for researchers in accessing this technology is the high cost of buying the necessary antibodies for an experiment. This grant will  establish a crowdsourced antibody bank as a mechanism to overcome this financial obstacle. The funding will support the initial stocking of this bank, which would eventually become self-supporting through future crowdsourced donations.

The Daedalus Project ($10,320)
There is a large dichotomy between the interests of students and what they end up studying. More than 70 percent of college graduates work in fields unrelated to their majors. Through a network of hands-on, project-based seminars, led by upperclassmen in the various undergraduate engineering disciplines, the Daedalus Project helps new, undecided engineering students discover their passions.

Cavalier Outdoor Adventure Retreats ($11,592)
COAR (Cavalier Outdoor Adventure Retreat) is a unique three-day outdoor orientation program piloted during the summer of 2015 as part of Summer Orientation. Throughout July, COAR leaders took groups of 10 first-years to Shenandoah National Park, where they participated in hiking excursions and team-building activities. The program proved to be a huge success, and with Trust funding, the number of trips will double for the summer of 2016.

The Automata Ambassador Program ($45,000)
The Center for Automata Processing (CAP) is a bold new initiative by UVA to research innovative Big Data solutions through the new Automata Processor (AP). CAP researchers have shown marked improvement in Big Data processing using AP technology. CAP is now at the stage of building industry and government partnerships to explore AP applications. hrough a pilot ambassador program, Automata Ambassadors can collaborate across disciplines to identify and solve Big Data issues faced by UVA research groups. The end-to-end problem-solving process will provide invaluable experience for UVA student ambassadors.

Songs of Virginia Songbook ($25,000)
The University Singers and the music department choral program (with Prof. Michael Slon serving as project editor) will research, produce, and publish a commemorative edition of the University of Virginia’s songs, in the form of a hardbound book.

Construction of Tissues in Vitro ($92,138)
The shortage of donor organs for transplantation has led the field of Regenerative Medicine to explore the possibility of producing organs in vitro from a source of embryonic stem cells. A few labs have shown that they can sometimes produce parts of organs or miniature organs by soaking stem cells in various culture media. This project uses a different and innovative approach, based on past results and expertise, allowing them to take control of embryonic stem cells and imposing them with a precise set of information. The goal of this project is to define optimal conditions to induce mouse embryonic stem cells to start differentiating and organizing themselves into full tissues, and in a reproducible manner.

Founders- and Funders-in-Residence ($24,000)
TheFounders- and Funders-in-Residence programs will expand upon the new and ongoing connections that can be made between students and professionals in the new venture community. These individuals will be invited to  Grounds, and  become engaged in a variety of opportunities; including special programming (speaking engagements, dinner events, mentoring, competitions), courses (guest faculty, project partners), and research (practice-oriented research and case writing).

‘Medical Innovation + Human-Centered Design’ Program ($71,463)
Modern-day epidemics, such as childhood obesity, require new types of population- and community-based solutions. At the same time, advancements in fields like genomics create capacity and demand for highly individualized data-driven care regimens. Future doctors will be called upon to integrate these changes into not only their own medical practices, but also into novel systems of care delivery that reflect these new realities. To address this, a new Medical Innovation & Human-Centered Design program will train UVA medical students in human-centered design (“design thinking”) and provide real-world opportunities to apply these principles, tools and procedures.
2-day Roundtables at SALALM 2016 ($10,000)
A group of Latin American Studies practitioners from a broad range of fields will be invited to  participate in a conference that will focus on the many ways in which individuals and institutions are facing globalizing trends in academic realms. The goal of the conference is to consider and question Latin American Area Studies as a focus of research and critical attention.

Co-create UVA ($25,230)
Co-create UVA aims to transform UVA’s educational culture and pioneer a national model for students and faculty reinventing higher education together. Co-create UVA will enhance the student experience at UVA on two levels: the student participants in the programs will have powerful opportunities to lead the growing movement of student-faculty collaboration; and the general student body (e.g. students enrolled in a course receiving student consulting) will reap the benefits of the enhancements made to their learning environments.

Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Teaching Seminar ($57,532)
To support  graduate students as they learn how to teach science in higher education,  an innovative, interdisciplinary 1-credit teaching seminar course will be developed and implemented  in chemistry, astronomy, biology, and physics. This course will include collaboration across departments and with North Carolina State University—where a successful teacher preparation program for graduate students currently exists.

The Legacy of the Samuel Kootz Gallery ($52,000)
“The Legacy of the Samuel Kootz Gallery,” an exhibition and catalogue from The Fralin Museum of Art, will present works by the European and American modernist artists represented by Kootz, and highlight the impact of his promotion of these artists on the postwar art world. The catalogue itself will be a lasting resource for scholarly research as well as a critical teaching tool to promote this creative lens for examining postwar art in America.

For additional information or photo/video requests please contact:

Amy Bonner, Grants Administrator, 434-243-9078 or

Wayne Cozart, Executive Director, 434-962-7901