New book edited by VCU professor tells story of freed Virginia slave’s journey

March 4, 2016

Virginia Commonwealth University professor has edited the first anthology of the autobiographical writings of Peter Randolph, a 19th-century former slave from Prince George County, Virginia, who became a prominent abolitionist, pastor and community leader.

Sketches of Slave Life and From Slave Cabin to the Pulpit” (West Virginia University Press), edited by Katherine Bassard, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of English in the College of Humanities and Sciences and VCU’s senior vice provost for faculty affairs, offers a window into Randolph’s experience of enslavement, emancipation and freedom.

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2016 PACME Celebration

January 5, 2016

The 2016 annual PACME Celebration will be held on April 4, 2016 at 3:00 p.m. at the University Student Commons, Commonwealth Ballrooms. Nominations are open.  For the online nomination form, eligibility and other information, visit: 2016 PACME.

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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