COVID-19 Communications Header Thin

COVID-19 supplies vending machines

Students, faculty and staff can use their VCU ID to obtain hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes and face coverings from vending machines. Individuals are alloted one swipe per item per month (i.e., one of each item can be obtained each month).

Vending machines will be located on the Monroe Park Campus at:

  • Bowe Street Parking Deck
  • Snead Hall, East Hall (Closest location for Engineering. The machine is at the security desk inside the crescent entrance)
  • T. Edward Temple Building
  • James Branch Cabell Library
  • Student Commons

Vending machines will be located on the MCV Campus at:

  • Larrick Student Center
  • Tompkins-McCaw Library
  • McGuire Hall and Annex
  • McGlothlin Medical Education Center
  • Hunton Student Center

VCU Engineering returns to campus

Preparations are under way on campus as VCU Engineering follows the university’s phased return for the fall semester — and our new normal. Together, we’re confident we can overcome any challenges we will have to face. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Students who plan to live on campus this fall must test negative for COVID-19 before moving in. VCU is mailing personal testing kits to residential students, at no cost to the students.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits are available for supervisors to pick up for their returning employees in Phase III:
    • Weekdays: 11 a.m.-noon | 3-4 p.m.
  • At these locations: West Hall, Room B4 | BioTech8, Room 453
    • Employees and students must wear face masks. Please adhere to the 6-foot physical distancing guidelines.
  • The fall semester begins Aug. 17 (this is a change from Aug. 18). Some employees will continue to telework.

Check for the latest about VCU’s reopening at Look for more information specific to VCU Engineering in your email in the coming weeks, with a regular newsletter resuming in mid-August.

If you haven’t been on campus lately, check out the progress on the Engineering Research Building, which continues to take shape and is expected to open later this year.

Engineering Directional Pathways

Please see the building floor plans below that depict adjusted traffic flow and details building access points, hand sanitizer filling stations and the disinfecting stations.

Biotech 1 Floor Plan | Biotech 8 Floor Plan | East Hall Floor Plan | West Hall Floor Plan |

VCU's start date for Monday classes for the fall 2020 semester is August 17.  Some course sections in the Schedule of Classes may present a start date of August 18 (Aug 18, 2020). This date was the previous fall start before the official change was made to the Academic Calendar. Please plan to attend your initial class meeting for Monday courses on August 17, 2020.

B. Frank Gupton, Ph.D, receives Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund award

B. Frank Gupton, Ph.D., has received grant funding for his work to develop specialty catalysts for pharmaceutical applications. Gupton, who is VCU's Floyd D. Gottwald Junior Chair in Pharmaceutical Engineering and professor and chair in the Department of Chemical and Life Science Engineering, received $150,000 in matching funds through the Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund program administered by Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology.

Wellness Wednesdays

Virtual Cider and Chocolate Tasting with Blue Bee Cider (for faculty and staff only)

Blue Bee Cider, in Richmond, is the state’s first urban cidery and has pioneered many cider styles in Virginia. For this tasting at 4 p.m. Wednesday, June 24, Blue Bee is pairing ciders with a craft chocolate bar from a local chocolatier, Taylor Made Chocolates. Join the virtual tasting.

Watch your email for upcoming sessions including hip-hop cardio and meditation.

Bright ideas wanted!

Got a great idea that will help VCU Engineering reach its goals? Maybe you’ve got an idea that will bring more students here, increase satisfaction for our current students or strengthen community partnerships. We want your input. Bright Ideas is a chance for all of us to share creative and thoughtful ways the college can continue growing. Submit your ideas here. Every idea will be considered.

Engineering Shout-out to Beni Meyers, M.S.

Congratulations to Beni Meyers, M.S., senior enrollment counselor in VCU Engineering’s enrollment office, who recently earned a Master of Science in sociology. His academic work includes research in the exercise field, specifically habits and modes of exercise across genders.

Got good news to share? Let us know so we can celebrate with you!


Dear CoEgr Colleagues:

We are nearing the end of the 2019/2020 fiscal year, and what a year it has been. We have weathered Phase I of the COVID-19 crisis together. I appreciate your support in the difficult changes we have had to make. I don't think that any of us think 2020/2021 will be easier, but we are battle hardened now and better able to cope in a proactive manner with the challenges we will undoubtedly have to face.

We are fortunate that the College was in better shape financially than other parts of the university, hard as that might be to believe. We are also in better shape than other universities in the state, in part because we don't rely on international student tuition. There are other reasons that as difficult as this spring has been, it hasn't been so very bad that we have had to downsize our faculty and staff and why I am hopeful that this summer and fall will be tolerable.

Just to give you an idea of the amazing feats we have accomplished from our homes:

1. Our faculty have been a big part of the equation. I've said to anyone who will listen that the faculty amazed me with their positive attitude when faced with the need to convert to remote teaching and the skill with which they did exactly that. Many of the faculty are perfecting their classes taking full advantage of the university's resources for online instruction. The concern that our colleagues showed their students is evident in the testimonials I have received from them. It also shows in the success of our freshman recruiting success. Many of the faculty made personal calls to applicants, helping them to see the value of a VCU Engineering education.

2. The finance team (John Leonard, Bill Bulbrook, and crew) have had to function with the university administration making budget planning a moving target. Over the past few years, we have been able to make equity raises, thereby reducing gender disparity and salary compression. We have been able to provide merit raises and bonuses. And we have been able to hire new faculty at market rates. This has been in no small part due to their careful administration of our funds. We have also been able to purchase critical instruments in addition to HEETF funds and we have provided scholarships to undergraduate students in addition to those provided by the Foundation and the University. You can argue that all of this might not have been necessary, but I would put to you that it was and is indeed necessary. Faculty and staff should, indeed must, be paid equitably. I believe that every hire we have made has been worth the cost, both in terms of salary and in order to provide them the ability to establish a productive career. And we cannot deny students the money they need to pursue their education if there is a way to make it possible.

3. Our student success and enrollment concerns are being addressed in important ways and we are winning. Gregory Triplett's team under Mark Meadows has beaten the university downward trend in recruiting, particularly from community colleges and our transfers are actually up, while first time freshman enrollment has the potential to be better than last year. Our advisors are working 24/7 to keep our students on track. Our new peer mentoring program, the brainchild of Ram Gupta, is working. Teaching scores are up and DFW rates are down. We have a fantastic reputation in the community thanks to Jenilee Stanley-Shanks and her team, which is helping us to build a solid pipeline of engineers to be. Anita Taylor and Laura Lemza are getting our students ready to face their careers and our co-operative education program is holding its own even as the economy is suffering. We consistently hear that our students are well prepared and are sought after by their new employers.

4. Our facilities continue to be first class. Zvi Schwartz, Cindy Lovelace and their crew have taken amazing care of us over the past three months. Of course, we have become spoiled by their care, and maybe we don't thank them enough for all that they do. All of this is happening even as our new building is nearing completion. Yet, orders keep arriving, repairs keep being made...we are living well. And...our computers keep computing, even at a distance. Anil and crew have them humming, so for all intents and purposes, we function as if we were in our buildings. I can't tell you how many times I have sent an emergency email to Justin or Cody and watched them fix the problem remotely.

5. Our human resource crew under Meredith Stockman has borne the brunt of much of the COVID-19 crisis. The amount of paperwork that the university has required has been phenomenal. Meredith and her team have been working on our behalf all day and for many days over the past few weeks, most of the nights, including weekends, to meet the demands put on them by the university. Meredith has pushed hard to get all contracts done in time, not to mention documents requesting exceptions of all kinds. Lindsey is soon to leave us to take on the reins of HR for two other units and while I am proud of her, I am loath to see her go.

6. Grants management has not skipped a beat. Ashley Tankesley has seamlessly managed the change in Karen Horner's responsibilities and has shepherded the College through the submission of new grants (yes, our faculty have been very busy), the record keeping on existing grants, and the phenomenon fondly known as Gupton, Inc. I can tell you that Ashley, Tina Cunningham from OSP, Liz Brooks from Legal, and I spent the Memorial Day weekend working through the Phlow contract with VCU so that Phlow could make its deadline with BARDA, a major government funding agency. The Medicines for All Institute (M4All) continues to do great work of importance to the country and I for one am grateful to all of the faculty and staff, both working directly on research, and in support roles within the College who have helped make their success possible.

7. What about all those impressive stories we have been reading in our COVID-19 newsletter? Where would we be without MarComm, Kendra, Rebecca, Emi, Alex, Dustin and Dan. They have kept our spirits up with wonderful news about our students, our alumni, and our faculty and staff. They have kept us current on decisions at the university level. We shouldn't forget Wellness Wednesdays here either (thank you Allison). Nor should we forget that many of those stories MarComm has shared with us have focused on innovations by our faculty and students (Tom Roper and Ram Sanitizer; Charles Cartin and his colleagues and the VCU Ventilator; our BME students and sterilizing masks under UV) get the idea.

8. And last, but never least, our chairs, associate chairs, and program directors. All I can say is WOW. What a team I get to work with. I value your counsel and am confident in the knowledge that you care for each and every member of your departments. Your concern for their well being is evident in all you do. I hope they appreciate you like I do. Shame on them if they don't.

I could go on and on. I am so proud to be a Ram Engineer. We are building an environment that is inclusive to all. I appreciate that hard times are ahead, but I can't imagine a place I would rather be than with you.

Back to work!


Q&A forum on the Fall 2020 semester at VCU Engineering

Five takeaways

Students, faculty and staff tuned in via Zoom June 16 for a Q&A forum about the return to campus at VCU Engineering. Gregory E. Triplett, Ph.D., the college’s senior associate dean for academic affairs, led the discussion, which had more than 170 attendees. Here are five key takeaways.

Investigating materials in extreme conditions

VCU Engineering researcher part of multi-institutional team working to help mitigate risks associated with weapons of mass destruction

Gennady Miloshevsky, Ph.D., is VCU’s principal investigator on a $30 million grant from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) to 18 major research institutions working to better understand the behavior of materials in extreme conditions caused by weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

Miloshevsky, an associate professor in VCU’s Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering, is an expert in computational physics with a focus on materials and radiation shielding. Under this grant, he will conduct computational research on the behavior of satellite materials in WMDs outside Earth’s atmosphere, where they are exposed to extreme temperatures, ultra-high pressure and other conditions that can cause exo-atmospheric nuclear detonation.

Engineering Shout-out: BME major Lise Mychaleckyj

Kudos to biomedical engineering major Lise Mychaleckyj, who is one of VCU’s three recipients of the 2020-21 Boren Scholarship.

VCU awards first digital tech badges to Capital CoLAB graduates


Virginia Commonwealth University has become the first higher education institution in the Capital Region, which includes Richmond, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, to issue web-enabled digital badges to students completing the Capital CoLAB Digital Tech Credential.

The four students completed courses in computers and programming, data science skills and cybersecurity skills to earn the generalist credential, which provides students in non-STEM majors sought-after digital technology skills.

Wondering about the fall semester?
Tune in tomorrow at noon

While we are excitedly and carefully making plans for the fall semester, we know you have questions and want to be prepared. VCU College of Engineering is hosting a Q&A forum at noon, tomorrow, Wednesday, June 17, to discuss the upcoming fall semester and to answer your questions. This forum will be guided by Gregory Triplett, Ph.D., senior associate dean for academic affairs, and will last as long as necessary to provide the most complete information possible. Tune in through this Zoom link.

Wellness Wednesday presents Spanish Guitar with Craig Perry

Join Craig Perry at 11 a.m. Wednesday, June 17, for a Spanish guitar concert. Perry holds a bachelor’s degree in classical guitar performance from VCUarts, where he studied with David Robinson and was a recipient of the Jesú Silva Merit Scholarship. He has been in master classes with world-renowned artists and performs nationally. Enjoy the mini-concert on Facebook Live.

Note: You do not need a Facebook account to tune into this session. Simply click the link and join!

Shout-out: Mohamed Gad-el-Hak, Ph.D., honored in Journal of Fluids Engineering

“Visionary.” “Indefatigable.” “Ahead of the curve.” These are just a few of the terms used to describe Mohamed Gad-el-Hak, Ph.D., professor emeritus in the Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering, in the July 2020 issue of the Journal of Fluids Engineering. The tribute, titled “Homage to a Legendary Dynamicist on His Seventy-Fifth Birthday,” was authored by six scholars from research universities across the U.S. and abroad.

Returning to campus

Faculty and staff members returning to campus must first complete mandatory “Reboarding at VCU” training. Faculty, staff and hourly employees will find the training in Talent@VCU. Student, postdocs and others will find the training in Blackboard. Those who supervise others will also be required to complete a second module of training, also found in Talent.

Operations manager Cindy Lovelace has been designated Engineering’s return to campus coordinator. Please let her know when you are planning to be on campus.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits are available for supervisors to pick up for their returning employees:

  • Weekdays: 11 a.m.-noon | 3-4 p.m.
  • At these locations: West Hall, Room B4 | BioTech8, Room 453

Please be advised that you must have submitted the HR form to return to campus and to receive a PPE kit. If managers/supervisors cannot pick them up for your group, please let Cindy know the name of the designated representative from your area.

Reminder: Q&A forum - What to expect in the fall semester

While we are excitedly and carefully making plans for the fall semester, we know you have questions and want to be prepared. VCU College of Engineering is hosting a Q&A forum at noon, Wednesday, June 17, to discuss the upcoming fall semester and to answer your questions. This forum will be guided by Gregory Triplett, Ph.D., senior associate dean for academic affairs, and will last as long as necessary to provide the most complete information possible. Tune in through this Zoom link.

Shout-out to recruiting

Biomedical Engineering freshman Amber

Welcome to Amber, one of the incoming biomedical engineering first-year students! VCU Engineering is thrilled to welcome the incoming class of 2024, along with incoming transfer students and grad students. The college’s recruiting efforts have included many new steps to reach all accepted students — including mailing individual, hand-written notes. It looks like those efforts have been well-received!

Magnetic devices to improve artificial networks

Jayasimha Atulasimha, Ph.D.

Jayasimha Atulasimha, Ph.D., Qimonda Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering, is principal investigator on a $450,000 collaborative grant from the National Science Foundation for a new method that could drastically reduce the power needed to operate artificial neural networks that are used in smartphones, medical technologies and other devices that use embedded systems.

COVID-19 emergency relief funding

Students: Have you experienced a hardship related to the disruption of VCU on-campus operations due to COVID-19 that resulted in reduced income or extra expenses? Find out if VCU’s office of financial aid may be able to help. Students can access federal emergency relief information on the financial aid website.

Wellness Wednesdays: Relaxing Yoga with J Miles

Yogi J Miles, co-founder of the Project Yoga Richmond organization, will teach a 30-minute yoga session for all ages at 11 a.m. Wednesday, June 3. J, who also trains teachers at Om On Yoga, has crafted a style tempered by humor, relies on the importance of breath and aims to create for each person a fluid, sustainable and enjoyable practice. J’s influences include Swami Satchidananda’s Integral Yoga, ashtanga and Jivamukti Yoga. Join the class through this Zoom link.

Shout-out to alumna Racheida Lewis, Ph.D.

Racheida Lewis, Ph.D.

Racheida Lewis, Ph.D., (B.S.’13), assistant professor at the University of Georgia College of Engineering, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, is principal investigator of a National Science Foundation RAPID grant to study how the pandemic is impacting students historically underrepresented in engineering.

President Rao announces plans for phased return to campus

VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D., announced plans on June 3 for a phased reopening of the campus to students, faculty and staff, with the fall semester officially beginning Aug. 17. Details about the return to campus are available on the new One VCU: Responsible Together website. Links at the top provide student-specific or faculty/staff-specific information. This site will continue to be updated with new information as it becomes available. Likewise, VCU Engineering will continue to communicate engineering-specific information as that also becomes available. Check the engineering website and this twice-weekly newsletter for the latest.

VCU Engineering students receive national scholarships from the American Nuclear Society

Dimitris Killinger and Sierra Tutwiler

Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering students Dimitris Killinger and Sierra Tutwiler have received national scholarships from the American Nuclear Society (ANS) for 2020-21. Criteria for these highly competitive scholarships include academic excellence, career goals and leadership in ANS. Read more about these students and their awards.

Wellness Wednesdays programming poll

Attention, faculty and staff! Thanks to popular demand, permission has been granted to continue Wellness Wednesday programming through the end of summer. What would you like to see future sessions include? Any thoughts on the best time for these programs? Please share your thoughts in this poll.

Bright Ideas wanted!

Got a great idea that will help the College of Engineering reach its goals? We want to hear from you! Maybe you’ve got an idea that will bring more students to VCU Engineering or increase satisfaction for our current students. Or maybe your idea is a way to enhance our reputation or strengthen community partnerships. Whether it’s about saving money, generating money or other ways we can grow as an organization, we want your input. Bright Ideas is a chance for all of us in the VCU Engineering community to share creative and thoughtful ways the college can reach its goals and continue growing as an organization. Submit your ideas here. Every idea will be considered.

Resources During COVID-19

University Updates

Research Information

Engineering COVID-19 Updates

Engineering Career Services

VCU Engineering return to campus coordinator