An interview with Jill Lepore, author of 'The Secret History of Wonder Woman'

February 25, 2016

“The Secret History of Wonder Woman,” Jill Lepore’s riveting exploration of the creation and history of Wonder Woman, touches on a wide range of characters and topics beyond the pages of the superhero’s long-running comic books. Chief among them is William Moulton Marston, the character’s eccentric creator, but the book also tackles psychology, medicine, the American family, Planned Parenthood, the lie detector test, the women’s suffrage movement, comic book culture and much more.

The result is a book that the Los Angeles Times called “its own magic lasso, one that compels history to finally tell the truth about Wonder Woman – and compels the rest of us to behold it.” Alison Bechdel, the author of “Fun Home,” among other works, said, “In the nexus of feminism and popular culture, Jill Lepore has found a revelatory chapter of American history. I will never look at Wonder Woman’s bracelets the same way again.”

This year, Virginia Commonwealth University selected “The Secret History of Wonder Woman” as the inaugural selection of the university’s Common Book program, which encourages the entire VCU community to read a single book and attend conversations, events and other learning opportunities surrounding the book throughout the academic year. The Common Book program is an expansion of the summer reading program VCU launched in 2006.

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3-D-printed artifacts — and George Washington’s signature — give the blind and visually impaired a chance to feel history at Richmond museum

February 18, 2016

At the Virginia Historical Society, Kimmy Drudge, a 14-year-old from Chesterfield County who is visually impaired and a massive Star Wars fan, is about to “see” — but with her hands — George Washington’s signature from a letter written in 1775.

“This is it! This is it!” she says, bouncing with excitement.

Andrew Talkov, vice president for programs at the Richmond museum, hands Drudge a 3-D-printed version of Washington’s signature, produced a week earlier in Virginia Commonwealth University’s Virtual Curation Laboratory.

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Broadening the scope

February 25, 2016

Last November, Virginia Commonwealth University senior Delisa Clay was one of the 96 students out of 2,035 picked to give an oral presentation of her research at the 15th Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students in Seattle. That alone was huge.

And then she won “Best Oral Presentation” for her talk, “Defining Cellular Dynamics and Biomechanical Forces During Wound Healing in Xenopus laevis Embryos.” Only one other VCU student has won an oral presentation award at the event in the past five years. It was a big deal for Clay — and for VCU.

The competition level is high for this award. Students are judged based on their research, presentation skills and how well they answer questions about their work. “The quality of the presentations students are giving is way above what we expect normal undergrads to do,” said Sarah Golding, Ph.D., instructor in the Department of Biology at the College for Humanities and Sciences and director of the undergraduate component of the Initiative for Maximizing Student Development program.

Clay’s research is a result of her work as a scholar with IMSD. It’s one of several research training programs within VCU’s Center on Health Disparities aimed at increasing the number of people from underrepresented backgrounds obtaining a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences.


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Black History Month at VCU aims to spark dialogue, celebrate black excellence

February 4, 2016

Virginia Commonwealth University will celebrate Black History Month with a variety of events throughout February that are meant to provoke thought and conversation.

We have a month full of thought-provoking educational and social programs designed to engage and celebrate black excellence.

“I am truly excited for this year’s Black History Month events and the dialogue that may come as a byproduct of these programs,” said Yolanda Avent, director of the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs in the Division of Student Affairs, which coordinates VCU’s Black History Month activities. “We have a month full of thought-provoking educational and social programs designed to engage and celebrate black excellence.”

All of the events will be free and open to the public, though registration may be required for certain events.

Political cartoonist Keith Knight will deliver the 14th annual VCU Libraries Black History Month Lecture, titled, “They Shoot Black People, Don't They? From Ferguson to NYC, Political Cartoonist Keith Knight on Police Violence in the U.S.” He will speak on Feb. 4 from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Lecture Hall (room 303) of James Branch Cabell Library.

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Library hosts read-in to celebrate Black History Month

February 25, 2016

VCU Libraries will host a read-in celebrating Black History Month on Feb. 26.

To take part in this literary afternoon, drop by the Lecture Hall in James Branch Cabell Library (Room 303) between noon and 4 p.m. Sign up for a five-minute reading slot and read from works authored by African-Americans or about African-Americans, Africans and the diaspora. Featured readings will be scheduled at 1, 2 and 3 p.m., leaving hours of time for active participation from volunteer readers. VCU Libraries will provide a selection of literary works for reading or checking out.

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