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From 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 ($33,615)
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