The University of Virginia’s College at Wise Staff Council has awarded its ninth scholarship to an employee of the College.
The UVa-Wise Staff Scholarship Fund, established by the Staff Council, provides support for tuition, fees and books at the College. The council is working toward establishing an endowment of $10,000.
This year’s recipient is Kimberly Lawson. Lawson is an administration assistant for the UVa-Wise Department of Nursing.
The council relies on contributions by faculty, staff and administration for support. Gifts may be made to the Staff Scholarship fund through the Development Office or online at ww.giving.virginia.edu/wise.
For more information, contact Jessica Necessary at 276-393-0256.
The Alumni Association’s Board of Directors will host their annual retreat on the campus of UVa-Wise
The University of Virginia’s College at Wise received a Green Award from the Southwestern Virginia Technology Council for a student-led project designed to highlight how biodiversity conservation and economic development can work in tandem to benefit the region.
The award was presented to the UVa-Wise Citizen Science Institute during the 16th annual Southwest Virginia Technology Council Awards Banquet and Gala held in Abingdon. UVa-Wise was one of several organizations to receive prestigious SWVTC awards at the event, which was held at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center.
In addition to the Green award presented to the Citizen Science Institute, a project led by biology professor Wally Smith, Micronics Technologies, a water treatment technology company located in Wise County, received the Innovation award. The technology company has partnered with UVa-Wise and its faculty on its water treatment technology project. Tim and Angel Cox, who provide photography services for UVa-Wise, received the council’s President’s award for their service in helping promote the region.
“I was pleased that UVa-Wise was recognized at the gala and awards ceremony,” UVa-Wise Chancellor Donna P. Henry said. “It is encouraging to see that the work our students, faculty and staff are doing in the region has such an impact on Southwest Virginia. I was thrilled that Wally Smith and his students were recognized for their Southwest Virginia Citizen Science Initiative project. I was equally pleased that Karen Sorber and Micronics were recognized. Our faculty has been working closely with Micronics on the company’s water treatment projects.”
The Citizen Science Initiative has been in place since 2012. Smith explained that its focus, funded through a Dominion Higher Education Partnership, is to develop ways to better reach residents of rural Appalachian communities with informal science education. CSI projects include downloadable smartphone apps and student-produced ecological information, which are free to use for individuals, educators and groups across the region. Future components of the initiative will involve on-the-ground research projects and educational programs centered around an existing site in the Clinch River watershed.
“Our region has been historically underserved by the scientific community in terms of education and outreach,” Smith said. “We designed the project around the goal of being able to better reach residents of our region that might not otherwise set foot in a college classroom or interact with professional scientists.”
Smith said students have worked on the project since its inception. He credits them with developing the focus around ecotourism efforts in the Clinch River Valley.
“Through a partnership with the Clinch River Valley Initiative, we were able to craft a number of digital guides to local public lands that simultaneously act as travel guides and tools for science education,” Smith said. “For example, if someone is using our guide to the Pinnacle Natural Area Preserve, they not only get information on where major trail junctions and scenic features are, but also how some of the Pinnacle’s waterfalls, forests and unique wildlife relate to bigger topics in science such as economy and evolutionary biology. Users can upload their own pictures of wildlife from the trail to the iNaturalist app, a global citizen science platform, where they can interact with scientists and contribute their observations as real scientific data for local biodiversity.”
In the three years of its development, CSI has had more than 100,000 downloads of the project’s interpretive guides. Users have contributed observations of nearly 1,000 different species to iNaturalist.
“Some of these have actually led to the discovery of new populations of rare species that we’ve been able to publish in the scientific literature,” Smith said. “The Virginia Tourism Corporation and Heart of Appalachia Regional Tourism Authority have incorporated the students’ work into tourism brochures for the Clinch River. We’ve also partnered with Clinch River Adventures in St. Paul, Virginia to produce an audio guide for paddlers that feature biodiversity information about the Clinch. The audio guide is narrated by a professional storyteller and is set to traditional Appalachian music.”
Smith said the students have shown that biodiversity conservation and economic development can work together in unique ways to benefit the region.
“I’m thankful to the Appalachian Prosperity Project and the Dominion Foundation for funding various aspects of the initiative,” Smith added.
The CSI projects can be found at http://southwestvirginiacsi.wix.com/clinch.
Photo by Tim Cox
Tim and Angel Cox, photographers for The University of Virginia’s College at Wise, were honored Thursday with the President’s award by the Southwestern Virginia Technology Council at its 16th annual Gala and Awards ceremony.
SWVTC presented the award because the couple has promoted the region through various photojournalism works such as photographing the 2012 International Space Station downlink at UVa-Wise’s David J. Prior Convocation Center, where astronauts appeared both in person and virtually from the space station before hundreds of the region’s students who gathered on the UVa-Wise campus.
They also photographed the 2014 Aerospace Days and the 2015 Drone Jamboree, and they shared the photos with the region’s newspapers.
“Together Tim and Angel humanized modern technology through a lens as seen by our children using multiple media outlets and new social media with more know-how than most,” SWVTC officials said in making the announcements.
“We are thrilled that Tim and Angel Cox received the SWVTC President’s award,” UVa-Wise Chancellor Donna P. Henry said. “Their professionalism and ability to capture and preserve the College’s many significant milestones are so vital to the growth and development of our campus. Their tireless work to promote the region through their art has far-reaching impact on Southwest Virginia and its economic development efforts.”
“Angel and I are humbled that the Southwestern Virginia Technology Council gave us such an honor,” Tim Cox said. “Southwest Virginia is our home. It is filled with wonderful people and natural beauty and is a photographer’s dream. We are proud to do anything we can to introduce our region to those who are unfamiliar with Southwest Virginia.”
Cox expressed his appreciation to the region’s news outlets, both print and broadcast, for their willingness to use the photographs.
“It wouldn’t do us any good if we didn’t have an outlet for the photographs,” Cox said.
The awards ceremony was held at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon.
About the SWVTC
Organized in 1999, the SWVTC has a mission to lead southwestern Virginians in addressing technology issues for business, education and government with the purpose of enhancing the vitality and social well-being of southwestern Virginia.
Photo contributed by SWVTC
Robert S. Bragg has been named vice chancellor for development and college relations at The University of Virginia’s College at Wise.
Bragg, the director of development at Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources at West Virginia University since 2011, was selected for the post at UVa-Wise following an extensive nationwide search. He replaces Tami Ely, who is retiring after a long and distinguished career at UVa-Wise, a small, liberal arts college located in Wise, Virginia. Bragg will begin work at UVa-Wise on July 6. His wife, Julia, is a native of Abingdon, Virginia.
“I am so pleased that Bob Bragg will join us and lead the Office of Development and College Relations at UVa-Wise,” Chancellor Donna P. Henry said. “Bob brings a wealth of experience across capital campaigns, major gift fundraising, corporate campaigns and annual giving programs that are critical to support our Envisioning 2020 strategic plan priorities and supporting our students, faculty, staff and alumni.”
Bragg has been a development professional for more than 20 years. During his 13-year tenure with West Virginia University, Bragg successfully raised $180 million for the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources and the Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute. He led two capital campaigns at WVU, which greatly impacted these programs.
“This community is a special place, and I know UVa-Wise offers an exciting learning environment for our students,” Bragg said. “Having served at other institutions, I can say that our faculty are exceptional and our facilities are second to none. I am thrilled to serve this institution that has such a significant impact on our region.”
A native West Virginian, Bragg grew up in Williamsburg, Virginia. He is a 1980 graduate of Virginia Tech and earned an MBA and an MA in government from the College of William and Mary in 1983 and 1987, respectively.
“I am delighted that Bob Bragg has accepted the position of vice chancellor of development and college relations,” UVa-Wise Board Chair Marcia Gilliam said. “Bob brings great experience, excitement and enthusiasm to his new position, and I am certain our entire College community will welcome him with open arms. On behalf of the College Board, I extend a sincere Southwest Virginia welcome and look forward to working with him.”
Bragg oversaw the largest gift in WVU history, $45 million to name the college of engineering. He is credited with raising $1 million for an endowed teaching fellowship for young faculty. In addition, he has successfully raised funds for several endowments and programs at WVU. In his current post at the Morgantown, West Virginia school, Bragg oversaw fundraising, external relations and alumni relations for the college of 4,400 students.
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