Jefferson Trust awards $98,000 in Flash Funding grants

The Jefferson Trust has awarded just over $98,000 across sixteen Flash Funding grants since January. “The flash funding proposals received this spring were fascinating. It’s impressive to see so many students and faculty at UVA focused on making an already great institution even better,” shares Amy Bonner, Director of Grants for the Trust.

Half of the sixteen flash awards were made to students or student groups focused on improving the UVA experience: an art contest in the chemistry building, mapping the health system and several film projects. Another group of flash grants involve partnerships with community groups — the Upper Mattaponi Indian Tribe, local Emergency Services and even hikers on North Grounds.

Different than the Jefferson Trust’s Annual Cycle grants, Flash Funding grants are capped at $10,000 per project and are awarded monthly beginning in January.

The 2022 Flash Funding grants:

Accesibilizing UVA Health: A Navigational Experience: $7,480

A student-led initiative of the Health Sciences Library, this project aims to create an accurate virtual map of the UVA Health System. The app will provide step-by-step walking instructions to promote patient independence and familiarity with the hospital. This work will also create the foundation for streamlined processes to expand both outpatient clinics as well as other University buildings.

STEM-Themed Art Contest for Chemistry Building: $2,500

This art contest will blend art and science by bringing student and faculty produced art to the walls of the chemistry building.

“One Size Fits All” Short Film and Impact Campaign: $7,834

Funding supports a short film exploring satirical commentary on body image, social media and how companies manipulate us. In addition to the film, an interactive website will be created to provide a meeting place for viewers to think, talk and organize change.

From Chaos to Chaos: Documenting Afghan Women: $10,000

This project will include a film amplifying and sharing the stories of Afghan women in the UVA community and pilot a support and wellness program.

Charlottesville Analog Film Festival: $5,320

This student-led project will create a series of short analog films, which will premiere at an open-community film festival in Charlottesville in fall 2022. The project will involve community partners Visible Records and Light House Studios.

The Historical Landscape of North Grounds: $6,735

The UVA Law Library is creating and installing interpretive panels along the Rivanna Trail in UVA’s North Grounds to inform and bring awareness of the people — free and enslaved — who lived and labored on this UVA property.

Upper Mattaponi Land Use Study: $10,000

A collaboration between UVA’s Native & Indigenous Relations Community (NIRC), the School of Architecture and the Upper Mattaponi Indian Tribe (UMIT), this project was developed in response to efforts at UVA to build and improve relations with Native nations across Virginia. A team of faculty, staff and students will work with the tribe to assess their needs and desires for development and provide UMIT with a professional study and land use report to guide their efforts.

Developing Future Leaders in Autism Healthcare Through Emergency Medical Training: $9,973

This project aims to develop and distribute evidenced-based, community-informed Autism Response Protocol (ARP) to EMTs across Virginia through various trainings. Creating hands-on opportunities for students to learn about autism spectrum disorder (ASD) will fill a major gap in current curricula and facilitate their future leadership in medicine.

Large Format 3D Printer: $1,000

This student-led experiential project aims to explore how 3D printing can be scaled from small desktop machines to large desk-sized machines while maintaining accuracy and precision.

Zora’s Daughters Choosing Brilliance Lecture: $1,000

Zora’s Daughters is a popular podcast focusing on contemporary issues from a Black feminist lens using anthropological concepts and key texts. Students interviewed Zora’s Daughters creators about their production process, as well as the cogency of anthropological thought in public discourse.

Tangential Timber: Non-Linear Wood Masonry: $7,000

This project seeks to demonstrate an application for irregular waste timber by developing a digital fabrication workflow to process cross sectional slices of logs (“cookies”) into structural blocks. The project will culminate in a physical prototype installation demonstrating the novel construction and material strategies developed.

Darden African Business Conference: $7,000

Funding supports a conference focused on “Emerging Trends in Africa’s Creative Economy.” Conference attendees will improve their knowledge of the interplay between Africa’s economic development and its creative sector, gain an awareness of the difference in various African countries, and increase the number of African business cases studied in Darden classrooms.

Taste of Home Open Fair: $752

Two chefs from diverse, underrepresented backgrounds will cook meals that UVA community members can enjoy at the Taste of Home multicultural fair, which introduces unique cultures through ethnic cuisine.

3D Scanning at the Visual Resources Center: $8,660

Funding will purchase a 3D scanner for the Visual Resources Center at the Art Department, which is a hub of 3D modeling, printing and other digital creative services for students, faculty and staff.

History of Law Enforcement with an emphasis on UPD: $2,800

Bringing UVA students, faculty and citizens of Charlottesville together, the University Police Department (UPD) will host and participate in a panel discussion and workshop to discuss African American and Monacan Tribal Nation relationships around the history of law enforcement while promoting and fostering healing to both law enforcement and citizens.

Psychology School Outreach Days: $9,962.74

Eighth graders from across central Virginia will come to UVA for a day of hands-on learning to explore psychology and brain science.

Grant Projects in News

It’s been a busy spring for many grant projects! Learn about a few that have received University publicity:

Learn more in this UVA Today article about the inspiration and research occurring from 2022 annual grant project, Searching for Hidden Chambers in the Temple of Kukulcán at Chichén Itzá.

Optimizing Pediatric Donor Heart Utilization received an annual grant in 2022 to use big data analytics to improve pediatric heart transplants. Find out more about their work in recent UVA Engineering and UVA Today features.

“Madayin: Eight Decades of Aboriginal Australian Bark Painting from Yirrkala” is the first major exhibition of Aboriginal Australian bark paintings to tour the U.S. It opens in September 2022 at the Hood Museum. Kluge-Ruhe received a Trust grant in 2019 to help produce the accompanying catalog, a 352-page piece in both Yolngu Matha and English [the first ever international touring exhibition catalog in an Australian language]. Read more about the significance of this exhibition.

The Holsinger Portrait Project is uncovering photos, researching, and telling the stories of Black Charlottesville residents. Learn about this 2022 grant project in UVA Today.

Left: A wood structure designed by Somewhere Studio, operated by Jessica Colangelo and Charles Sharpless, both from the University of Arkansas. Right: a structure made from mycelium blocks.

The Biomaterial Building Exposition has been researching and exploring innovative approaches to biomaterial construction techniques. Learn more about the work of this project, a 2021 grant recipient, in these features: UVA TodayArchinect News, Inform Design + Innovation, and C-ville Weekly.

Our 2022 flash grant awards were determined this spring! See recent features in NBC29 and The Daily Progress.

Upcoming Grant Project Events

The Holsinger Portrait Project pop-up exhibition is at the Northside Library through March 31. The New Negro in Charlottesville and Albemarle: Portraits from a Century Ago: Pop-Up Portrait Exhibition features portraits of local African Americans, commissioned from R.W. Holsinger’s photo studio, during the first decades of the twentieth century.

March 31: Infectious Disease in 3D is hosting their Spring Virtual Reality Symposium! The ID in 3D team will share sneak peaks of their virtual animation, which highlights virtual reality’s applications for medical education.

April 1-2: The Darden African Business Organization is hosting ‘Emerging Trends in Africa’s Creative Economy’ Conference. The conference aims to provide attendees with a better understanding of the interplay between Africa’s economic development and its creative sector, and to better understand the differences in various African countries.

Girls Maker Camp promo

April 3: Girls Maker Day for local middle school girls! Hosted by the Women’s Maker Program, from the Robertson Media Center, the camp focuses on hands-on creative activities, allowing participants to learn about cutting-edge makerspace technologies.

April 22: “Price it Like a Pro with Paddy Johnson!” StARTup Studio’s panel discussion focuses on the steps of pricing your artwork appropriately, so creative artists can confidently sell for any context.

May 31: “2020: Extraordinary Moments” is looking for the positive; creating a documentary, magazine, and showcase exhibition to highlight meaningful moments from the UVA community, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Submit your work by May 31, 2022. The work will be exhibited at the 2020: Extraordinary Moments showcase in fall 2022.

Puglia Neurodevelopment Lab is enrolling 0-12-month-old premature babies to participate in a research study. The goal of the study: to develop new universal screening protocols for social processing disorders. If you’re interested in participating and have questions, contact: pugliadevneurolab@virginia.edu.

Cavalier Autonomous Racing Team leaves their mark

The Cavalier Autonomous Racing Team with their car
Photo Credit: UVA Engineering/Chris Tyree

In late October, the Cavalier Autonomous Racing team competed in the Indy Autonomous Challenge at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The team finished as the fastest all-American self-driving car, reaching speeds of 120 mph.

Faculty advisor Madhur Behl received a $50,000 Trust grant in 2020 to help establish the Cavalier Autonomous Racing Club. The team worked for more than a year to develop, test, and modify their car and software to be race-ready. Despite COVID delays, the team continued to innovate, remained positive, and worked diligently to create a winning car. We’re thrilled to see their progress and the impact they’ve made, and we’re excited for the future!

Grants in the News

Ziyuan Wang
Third-year physics and psychology major, Ziyuan Wang, works on an apparatus to observe the behaviors of superfluid helium droplets. (Photo by Dan Addison, University Communications)

Many grant projects have been busy this fall by continuing their work, conducting research, and hosting events. Their efforts have drawn attention from news outlets in Charlottesville, in Virginia, and beyond.

A 2021 annual grant recipient, the Fralin Museum’s “Skyscraper Gothic” exhibit was featured in the Wall Street Journal and is open through December 31, 2021.

In September, the UVA Student Veteran Center opened in Newcomb Hall, receiving coverage from UVA Today, Cavalier Daily, NBC29 News and CBS19 News. The Trust awarded an annual grant in 2019 to the Student Veteran’s Support Initiative, which helped fund their new center.

A student partnership with the Lake Traverse Reservation in South Dakota received an annual grant in 2018. With continued support, the team has experienced consistent growth and expanded impact of their work, as featured in UVA Today.

The Architecture of The Green Book: A Digital Database received a flash grant in February 2021. This UVA Today article highlights the team’s motivation behind the work, their progress and next steps.

nanoSTAR Summer Program for Entrepreneurial Nanoscale Engineering received an annual grant in 2020. The project was delayed due to COVID, but this UVA Today article provides a great overview of some of the work and research that started this summer.

“Words on Paper, Write Climate” received an annual grant in 2018. While funding from the Trust finished a year ago, they’re still partnering around the community, as shown on NBC29 News.

We are thrilled to see the hard work of our grantees and impact of their projects highlighted!

Grant Projects in the News

A small autonomous car built by the Cavalier Autonomous Racing Club

Many grant projects are working over the summer, and their efforts have been highlighted in news outlets!

The Cavalier Autonomous Racing Club is testing, training, and preparing to race at the Indy Autonomous Challenge in October. To take a look behind the scenes and follow their journey, visit the School of Engineering and Applied Science’s YouTube page.

UVA’s School of Architecture arctic exhibition has opened at the Venice Biennale; the team received a Trust flash grant in 2020.

Trust funding is supporting UVA’s partnership and work in the “Green Book” digital project, which received a flash grant in 2021.

UVA Edge, a 2021 annual grant recipient from the School of Continuing and Professional Studies, has recently launched a partnership with Univision to provide employees access to higher education workforce development.

Teachers in the Movement received a Trust grant in 2014 as they began capturing early oral histories from educators who taught between 1950 and 1980 throughout the South. They’ve launched a podcast featuring the voices and stories of those teachers.

IMPACT

Hoos First Look students

It can be hard to measure impact that a grant project has on its intended audience, the broader University, or even the projects directors. However, two projects funded by the Jefferson Trust in the past year are already starting to make waves across the University.

Hoos First Look, a 2019 grant recipient, provides 20 low-income, first generation prospective high school juniors with an immersive weekend orientation visit to Grounds, where they learn about the college application and financial aid processes, while getting a glimpse into the University Community and fostering relationships. The program is run by current UVA students, most of whom are first-gen themselves, automatically creating a unique bond among the visiting high-schoolers and UVA students. One participant from the program’s fall 2019 cohort shared, “Hoos First Look allowed me to feel one step closer to reaching my goal of attending the University… this campus visit made me more excited to apply to the University of Virginia. The University remains my No. 1 choice and now, more than ever, I’m going to continue to meet every goal I have for myself and continue to prepare for the application process come senior year.” The impact that it has had on the current UVA students helping to run the program is also great, as current co-chair Joanne Lee shares: “It was so amazing to see how we touched these high schoolers’ lives. I know that I can serve as a mentor for them and help them find these resources.”

Classroom chalkboard with Flux's "7 Slam Commandments"Another program enhancing the UVA student experience is Flux, the University’s only slam poetry group. In fall 2019 they held multiple poetry slams as qualifiers to determine which poets will represent UVA at the College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI) in April 2020. Two important dynamics of Flux are audience engagement and creating a safe space; attendees are encouraged to snap, clap, and cheer throughout the poet’s readings, while cultivating an environment where everyone in the room feels respected and heard. A first-year student and participant in the slam commented, “The atmosphere is just incredible…it’s one thing to write a poem … but it’s another thing to perform it for people that are like an incredible community … snapping and cheering.” Another poet shared, “I thought it was really cool that a lot of people brought really personal poems, and I thought it was really cool how open everyone was about their stories.”

For more updates on funded projects and their impact on the University and beyond, visit our Facebook page.

Hackathon Flash Grant leads to Seven Society Recognition

Students participating in hackathon

Women in Computing Sciences (WiCS) is a student-led organization that supports, celebrates, and encourages the growing community of women in computing and technology fields. Through this organization, two of its current student leaders found their place and majors at UVA, which has motivated them to grow and give back to an organization that has meant so much to them. Emily admits, “going to an early hackathon made me realize there is more to computer science than tests, assignments, and theories. The field is vast, practical, and exciting! I wanted to pass on what I had learned to others as a hackathon co-chair, helping create WiCS very own hackathon.”

It was this motivation that led WiCS to apply to the Jefferson Trust in the inaugural round of Flash Funding in spring 2019. Gabby admitted, “We realized we didn’t have enough funds for our spring hackathon…It was our first time planning an event for nearly 60 attendees. In order to build a spectacular event, we needed another source of funding. Luckily, Jefferson Trust’s mission to improve the UVA student experience aligned with our own, so we took the opportunity to apply.” Upon applying for their grant (and receiving funding), the primary goal for WiCS was to “create a positive space where students could make mistakes and not be afraid to try something new.” They wanted to host a hackathon that inspired students, specifically minorities and underrepresented groups to pursue computer science and related tech fields.

Post-event, Gabby and Emily see their “Hack to the Future Hackathon” as a great success! It was the third hackathon WiCS has done as an organization, and the group had nearly 60 participants; 60% that were female and over 70% of registrants of a minority ethnicity. The team was also impressed with how successful the event was, considering how young their team of planners were. Gabby and Emily shared, “Our hackathon committee was made up of primarily first-years and women who were unfamiliar with how hackathons worked. No one from our team had ever been tasked to create a hackathon before…In general, we learned that a group of hardworking people with big tasks to accomplish can achieve whatever they put their minds to, and this was surprising given how young and new our team was.”

Participants posing with the WICS Hack to the Future event sign

Impact like this—immediate use funds focused on student projects, enhancing the student experience—is what led the Jefferson Trust to create the Flash Funding Cycle. Funding from the Trust allowed WiCS’s event to happen, and it also “allowed the event to be successful in that many of the women who helped plan the event or attend the event, got funneled into higher leadership roles in the WiCS community afterwards.” The event was also acknowledged with a letter from the Seven Society recognizing the organization’s contributions to minorities and underrepresented groups in the technology space.

The Jefferson Trust looks forward to supporting other student-focused projects through Flash Funding in the spring of 2020. Visit https://jeffersontrust.org/apply/ for more information, or attend one of our upcoming Flash Funding info. sessions in Clemons Library:

  • Thursday 11/21 @ 5pm
  • Sunday 11/24 @ 3pm
  • Tuesday 12/3 @5pm
  • Thursday 12/5 @5pm

Best laid plans…

What do you do when things don’t go according to plan? How do you make the best of a less-than-ideal situation? As two recent grant recipients have learned, sometimes you have to scramble and start over. The Jefferson Trust can help.

In 2017, Neeral Shah received grant funds to create a Visiting Scholars Program for Underrepresented Minorities in the Gastroenterology (GI) Program. His original vision was to bring residents to UVA to shadow physicians and gain exposure to the fantastic program here, with the ultimate goal of attracting competitive residents to UVA.

His idea hit roadblocks early on. Because of restrictions due to credentialing regulations, the visiting residents could observe only. This resulted in less interest than anticipated. In addition, applications for the program opened in August of 2017 – the events that occurred on August 12th that year “changed the landscape” in Charlottesville, and made it much more difficult to entice minorities to the area. “This is when I approached the Trust about changing my goals and finding a way to still highlight the great work we are doing here and finding a way to get underrepresented minority residents to visit.  Attending our annual conference with their expenses paid for seemed to be an opportunity that interested residents,” said Shah.

“Since changing the opportunity to attend our conference and meet our faculty and fellows in training, it has been very popular.  We were able to select 3 scholars last year who gave very positive feedback about the program. Two were applying for GI fellowship this year.  Both of these scholars applied to our program.”  Shah reported that they “would have never known about UVA if it had not been for the Jefferson Trust program that allowed them to attend our annual conference.”

A 2018 grant to the School of Nursing also faced some challenges. The program goal of expanding an existing relationship with the Bluefields Indian and Caribbean University School of Nursing (BICU SON) to focus on the health impacts of climate change and the public health nursing role in community preparedness remains the same. However, due to political unrest in the region that ramped up just as funding was awarded, it was no longer safe to take UVA nursing students to Nicaragua.

After reaching out to the Trust and receiving encouragement to adapt the program, project leader Emma Mitchell decided to flip the model. Rather than take a small group of UVA nurses to Nicaragua, they brought their partners to UVA! “Our biggest success to date has been flipping our model to being about bringing expertise to UVA, and amplifying the impact of our project to more UVa students,” Mitchell said. “In Fall 2018 when we invited the two partners from Bluefields, they were able to meet with, present to, or guest lecture for over 200 UVA undergraduate and graduate students during their week-long trip to UVA.”

While both Shah and Mitchell admit they were disappointed when each realized their original plans were not going to work out, both are pleased with the revisions they were able to work out with the Trust, and the successes they’ve seen so far. Mitchell shares, “We continue to appreciate the support of our mentors and of the Trust in adapting our activities to ultimately meet our goals.”

The Growth of Big Data

Phil Bourne, director of the UVA Data Science Institute

In 2013 “Big Data” at UVA included a $100,000 Jefferson Trust grant that helped:

  • support the creation of fellowship opportunities for graduate students from different departments to work together on important problems requiring data science for their solution
  • provide opportunities for cross disciplinary collaborations
  • provide greater visibility to the innovative and important data science work occurring at UVA

“In 2012 there were no pan-university institutes, and not as many interdisciplinary collaborations happening. The idea to put graduate students at the center of this was key because we intended to “use” them as gluons of sorts that would also facilitate exchanges and collaboration between their faculty advisors/mentors, and undergraduates working on the project” shares Phil Trella, Director of the Office of Graduate & Postdoctoral Affairs, and co-signer on the original grant.

Fast forward to spring 2019, and the University announced that the School of Data Science will be the institution’s next school. This is something neither Trella nor Don Brown, Founding Director of the Data Science Institute (DSI), ever envisioned in the early days of “big data”. “We did hope to grow DSI to be “the” major research institute at UVA” Brown admitted. Trella believes “…a lot has happened (quickly!) with convergence toward common methodologies, practices, philosophy, etc. that has moved data science from a loose set of tools and problems toward a new and burgeoning discipline.” Both Trella and Brown, along with Phil Bourne, current Director of the Data Science Institute, attribute DSI’s success to positively fostering collaborations between disciplines, support from senior leadership at UVA, and collaboration of faculty members in schools across the University. “A vision of a School without walls which supports interdisciplinary research and education at a time of extreme demand for data science expertise across all sectors” shares Bourne.

“The Jefferson Trust’s early investment in novel (high risk!) research I think allowed us to demonstrate that data science really touches upon all fields.  We’ve had fellows in our program now from virtually every school and across divisions including humanities, life sciences, social sciences, etc. It was a challenge at first getting students to think of data science as something that could not just inform, but be integrated into, their work but these days we have far less convincing and explaining to do on that front” explains Trella. Bourne says that the Trust’s recent grant to the Data Science Institute to support collaboration with the local community is a further example of support which cross-cuts both UVA’s mission at large and that of the School of Data Science.

As the School of Data Science looks to the future, Bourne admits the difficult part will be deciding what not to do at a time of enormous demand. “We will share a strategic plan which addresses this challenge with clear goals and deliverables over the next 5 years.” Brown also shares some challenges will include hiring world class faculty to create the research and educational programs that will make us international leaders, creating new Ph.D. and undergraduate programs that will enable us to educate the next generation of leaders in data science, addressing and prioritizing new and emerging research challenges in data science, machine learning, artificial intelligence and their applications, and responding to the needs of UVA, Virginia, and our local community for data science services.