COVID-19 Communications Header Thin

July/August summer classes move to remote instruction

Male student at computer

As the university continues making plans for returning, the decision has been made to move the summer classes that begin in July to remote instruction. Remote instruction was announced for the May and June sessions on April 3. Instructional modes for summer classes on the MCV Campus vary by school. Students should contact their dean’s offices for additional information.

Additional details about this announcement, including FAQs, are on the summer studies 2020 update webpage. Please contact VCU Summer Studies at summer@vcu.edu with any questions.


Wellness Wednesday presents Desi Dancing with Laurel Victoria Gray

Join educator, scholar and performer Laurel Victoria Gray at 11 a.m. Wednesday, June 3, for a beginner lesson in Desi dance, a style derived from Indian, Bengali and Pakistani traditions. Known as “the pioneer of Uzbek dance in America,” Gray founded the award-winning Silk Road Dance Company in 1995 and has lectured and performed throughout the world. The entire family is invited to participate in this 45-minute dance lesson through this Zoom link


Shout-out to Cindy Lovelace and the facilities team!

Cindy Lovelace

From rebooting servers to receiving packages and even watering plants people had to leave behind, Cindy Lovelace and the VCU Engineering facilities team are keeping it “business as usual” in a most unusual time. Read more about these essential personnel. 

How to avoid the next health care supply shortage

Virginia Business features message from Barbara D. Boyan, Ph.D., B. Frank Gupton, Ph.D., and Eric Edwards, M.D., Ph.D.

In Virginia Business magazine, VCU Engineering Dean Barbara D. Boyan, Ph.D. and the founders of Phlow Corp., discuss how to prevent a shortage of essential generic medicines. “Now is the time to come together and bring back generic pharmaceutical manufacturing back to American soil,” they write.


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.


Handshake tips

Since mid-March, there has been a 257% increase in employers reaching out directly to students through Handshake. The likelihood of connecting with an employer on Handshake has never been higher and the key to unlocking this experience is your Handshake profile. Use this resource as a guide to get your Handshake profile in tip-top shape.


Shout-out to this year’s DERI cohort

Today (Thursday) at 3 p.m., the Dean’s Early Research Initiative (DERI) invites you to attend the DERI Symposium to celebrate the research that the current DERI cohort has accomplished over the last year. The new DERI cohort will also be announced.

Abstracts and posters being presented are online.

Harnessing supercomputers in the race against COVID-19

Photo of Michael H. Peters.

Michael H. Peters, Ph.D., is using powerful supercomputers at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley to investigate the “spike” protein of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Through advanced computer simulations, Peters is seeking to understand the mechanistic action of the spike protein, which plays an important role in attaching to human cells and infecting the body. He has identified a possible factor that may be able to restrict an important action of this key protein.


Wellness Wednesdays: Art with Heart led by Addi and Chase Bender

Get out your colored pencils, crayons or markers at 11 a.m. tomorrow (Wednesday, May 27) and join art educator Addi Bender and his son Chase for a family/household-friendly art activity. Bring a big piece of paper to create a collaborative heart drawing. Addi holds a Bachelor in Fine Arts with a concentration in painting and a Master of Arts in teaching. Tune in through this Zoom link.


Shout-out to May grad Kiana Jackson: inspiring girls worldwide

Photo of Kiana Jackson on the CBS6 news.

Electrical and computer engineering major Kiana Jackson’s graduation photo landed on the E! News website as one of “20 Seniors Who Refuse to Let Quarantine Ruin Their Graduation” and an E! News Instagram post. With nearly 130,000 likes — and counting — the social media love has poured in from girls from France and Nigeria. Then, WTVR CBS 6 took note and featured Jackson as well. Wow!

VCU Engineering 2019-20 Year in Review

Does last fall seem like a decade ago? Relive a few 2019-20 milestones and rediscover what makes Ram Engineers great in this highlight reel.


Data modeling for pandemic response

preetam ghosh and josh yackel

Winning the war against COVID-19 requires data — and plenty of it. To fortify central Virginia’s arsenal, Preetam Ghosh, Ph.D., and experts at VCU Health have built a data model to better understand the spread of COVID-19 across the region bordered by Fredericksburg, the North Carolina border, Hampton Roads and Charlottesville.


Shout-out to ‘Engineers Make It Real’

VCU Engineering Annual Report cover

Kudos to Engineers Make It Real, the college’s most recent annual report, which received top honors at the 73rd Virginia PR Awards on May 18. These awards are presented by the Virginia chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. See their announcement on Facebook

Faculty members receive promotions and tenure

Collage of Faculty Headshots

Join us in congratulating eight faculty members who recently received academic promotions and tenure. These promotions will take effect July 1. 


Graduate assistants honored at virtual awards ceremony

VCU Engineering celebrated its hard-working graduate research assistants and graduate teaching assistants at a virtual ceremony held by Zoom teleconference May 14. Finalists for graduate assistant awards were presented and winners in each category were named.


Wellness Wednesday: Freedom Fitness with Mallory Schwartz

Join your colleagues at 11 a.m. Wednesday, May 20, for Freedom Fitness with Mallory Schwartz, part of VCU Engineering's Wellness Wednesday series. Schwartz, a dancer, nutrition consultant and fitness instructor, will lead a group fitness session that the whole family can enjoy. Join here.


Shout-out to incoming Ram Engineer-athlete Karah Moore!

Student in Track Uniform

VCU Engineering’s tradition of student-athletes continues. Shout-out and welcome to 200- and 400-meter runner and incoming BME major Karah Moore! 
See full post on Instagram

VCU Engineering lab produces hand sanitizer

When the COVID-19 pandemic emptied store shelves of in-demand products, Thomas D. Roper, Ph.D., figured his VCU Engineering lab could help with one of them: hand sanitizer.


Log in and learn something new

VCU offers many online classes for employees through Talent@VCU. These are just a few of the options you’ll find:

  • Creating Your First Android App with Kotlin
  • Writing in Plain English
  • Programming for Non-Programmers
  • Singing Lessons: 2 Foundational Exercises
  • Computer and Text Neck Stretching
  • Success Habits
  • Creative Exercises to Spark Original Thinking
  • Financial Wellness: Managing Personal Cash Flow
  • 32 Ways to Make Extra Money

Kudos to VCU Engineering’s UROP participants!

A number of VCU Engineering undergraduates and faculty mentors will receive funding through VCU’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) for collaborative research projects during the summer and upcoming academic year.

The results are in!

Capstone Design 2020 winners celebrated in historic ceremony


Capstone Design made history in 2020 with its first-ever virtual awards ceremony held May 8. Learn more and see the winners circle.


Wellness Wednesdays

Virtual Craft Beer Tasting with Hardywood Brewery (for faculty and staff only)

Hardywood Brewery helped pave the way for RVA’s craft brewery movement. For this tasting, Hardywood has created a special craft beer and swag package for VCU Engineering faculty and staff. For ordering information, please contact Allison Singer.

At 4 p.m. Wednesday, May 13, a Hardywood connoisseur will lead the tasting and share information about the craft beers included in the VCU Engineering swag package. Join the tasting via Zoom.


Shout out to Ram Engineer-athletes!

Ram Engineers who are also student-athletes know how to excel in sports. They also know how to calculate the vectors behind a winning volleyball spike, build data models to predict runs-batted-in and — well, you get the idea.

An engineering shout-out to two first-year students who are continuing VCU Engineering’s tradition of student-athletes:

Incoming VCU volleyball player and BME major Corinna Jones

Incoming VCU baseball pitcher and MNE major Justin Humenay

Looking forward to being back together

Dean Boyan cheers everybody on at the end of a semester like no other — and looks ahead to the return to campus.


A ‘Tom Sawyer type of adventure’

Sam Cole working in a lab

After dropping out of college, Sam Cole worked along the Gulf Coast as a tugboat deckhand and tankerman. His path brought him to VCU, where he will graduate with a degree in mechanical engineering. What’s next? He plans to enter VCU’s biomedical engineering doctoral program.


Calling all seniors

Help us permanently document the most historic graduation in VCU Engineering history thus far. If you have a photo of yourself in a cap and gown (see below), a video message — or something else entirely — email the file to diwagner@vcu.edu. Next week, check out your alma mater’s homepage.


Engineering shout-out to #VCU2020

Mashaba Rashid Instagram post

Congratulations to biomedical engineering major Mashaba Rashid (whose undergraduate research photo ended up on the side of the building) and all of the Class of 2020!

The VCU Engineering difference

You know there’s something different about VCU Engineering — but what is it, exactly? Find out in less than two minutes.

VCU Engineering faculty win COVID-19 research funding

Several VCU Engineering researchers were selected to receive the first round of awards from the VCU COVID-19 Rapid Research Funding Opportunity:

  • Daniel Conway, Ph.D.: “Characterizing the Importance of Nuclear-cytoskeletal Transport in SARS-CoV-2 Viral Pathogenicity”
  • Michael Peters, Ph.D.: “In-Vitro Testing of a Small Peptide Binder to SARS Cov-2 Spike Protein
  • Thomas Roper, Ph.D.: “Proposal for In-vitro Testing of VCU Proprietary Antivirals Against Coronaviruses”
  • Wei-Ning Wang, Ph.D.: “Development of an Antiviral Face Mask to Capture and Inactivate Novel Coronavirus”
  • Gregory Buck, Ph.D.: School of Medicine, affiliate in VCU Engineering’s Department of Computer Science, “Epidemiology and Evolution of SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 and the Human Microbiome”

As Dean Boyan said on Twitter, “The College of Engineering is proud to say that our faculty are making a difference in meeting the COVID challenge now and even better, the knowledge they gain will help us to overcome future challenges. Go Rams!”

Top-ranked: biomedical engineering graduate program

BME US News & World Report

Hats off to the Department of Biomedical Engineering, a top-ranked graduate program according to U.S. News & World Report!

Wellness Wednesdays

Cooking with Mike Ledesma, Owner and Executive Chef at Perch

The savory vegan/vegetarian cake is a hit dish at Perch, a fine dining Filippino restaurant in Scott’s Addition, and executive chef Mike Ledesma will show you how to make it at home tomorrow (Wednesday, May 6) at 5 p.m. Hailing from Hawaii and trained by Japanese chefs, Ledesma has skillfully cooked his way through a bevy of cultural cuisines. Tune in via Zoom.

Engineering shout-out to Demo Day competitors

2020 Demo Day Awards

VCU Engineering students and alumni answered the call for new ideas to fight COVID-19 for VCU da Vinci Center's Healthcare Sprint competition. Others also had projects competing in the Pre-X competition. Great job to all!

Ram Gupta, Ph.D.

Ram B. Gupta, Ph.D., elected AIChE Fellow

Ram B. Gupta, Ph.D., associate dean for faculty research development and professor in the Department of Chemical and Life Science Engineering, has been elected a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE).

Gupta, whose research focus areas include batteries, sustainable energy and biofuels, is the first faculty member at Virginia Commonwealth University to reach AIChE’s highest grade of membership. The honor reflects a member’s distinctive professional achievements and accomplishments.


COVID-19 Survey Opportunity: Weigh in on student access to food and basic needs

Attention, VCU students 18 and older: Help VCU researchers assess student access to food and basic needs before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Take the 10- to 15-minute Food Access & Well-Being Survey. Participants may enter a drawing for cash compensation.

Survey: https://bit.ly/3czkJ7m.

Accessible flier: https://bit.ly/3cHugtp

This survey is administered by Youngmi Kim, Ph.D., associate professor in the School of Social Work. It is part of VCU’s iCubed Sustainable Food Access project.


Got Capstone project images?

VCU Engineering class of 2020, your place in history is assured. You are the first class to make Capstone Expo virtual, and you’re doing it in style. Help us document this first-of-its-kind expo — and celebrate your achievements — by sending photos and/or videos of your projects to this email.


Survive and Thrive pop-up webinar this evening at 5 p.m.

Join VCU experts at 5 p.m. this evening (Thursday, April 30) for “Personal finances in the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.” This moderated panel discussion will focus on the financial uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 crisis. It is part of VCU’s Survive and Thrive pop-up webinars, designed to provide insights and advice on common COVID-19 concerns.

Learn more and join in.


Engineering shout-out to Meredith Stockman

Kudos to Meredith Stockman, SHRM-CP, VCU Engineering’s director of human resources, who received a shout-out from the Richmond chapter of the Society for Human Resources Management for her service as co-chair of the organization’s Volunteers Committee.

Man sitting at a computer

Check out Engineering's online summer courses

Put your education on the fast track AND enjoy the flexibility of online learning by enrolling in one of VCU Engineering’s summer courses. All summer 2020 sections will be taught remotely, so you can participate from wherever you are. The college is offering a range of undergraduate and graduate options including circuits, heat transfer and effective technical writing.

This is also a perfect opportunity for non-computer science majors to gain the technology skills employers most want by beginning the Fundamentals of Computing specialization (see CMSC 191).

Need another reason to take advantage of these opportunities? Fees for summer 2020 courses are discounted.

Learn more and register.

Mark your calendar: 2020 Capstone Design Expo

The 2020 Capstone Design Expo has transitioned to an online event. Join us for a live awards ceremony to celebrate the winners from 1-3 p.m. Friday, May 8 at this Zoom link.

Click here to view projects.

Wellness Wednesday: Piano Performance by Ian McGuire

VCU Engineering’s Wellness Wednesday continues at 11 a.m. on April 29 with a live piano performance by Ian McGuire, a Philadelphia-based pianist who performs nationally. As with all Wellness Wednesday sessions, only the instructor or performer will be visible, but participants can always chime in on the chat sidebar with questions or comments. The dean’s office, which is organizing these sessions, hopes to “add positivity to your day, and connectivity to your community and home.” So, join in via Facebook Live.

Survive and Thrive pop-up webinar this evening at 5 p.m.

VCU is offering a series of Survive and Thrive pop-up webinars designed to provide advice on common COVID-19 concerns. Join VCU experts at 5 p.m. this evening (Tuesday, April 28) for “Children and COVID-19 strategies to support education and development.” This moderated panel discussion will center around how to handle the responsibilities of working, parenting and homeschooling.

Learn more and join in.

Engineering shout-out to baker, artist, computer scientist @paislxy

Put a decadent cinnamon roll recipe, a smooth jazz score and a cameo appearance by an adorable dog together and you have this video, courtesy of @paislxy, a kinetic imaging and computer science student.

See the full post and video on Instagram.

cinnamon roll recipe on instagram

Virtual Capstone Expo 2020

Please join us for a virtual Capstone Design Expo award ceremony from 1-3 p.m., Friday, May 8. Each year, the Capstone Design Expo showcases the senior design projects of VCU Engineering’s graduating class. This year’s ceremony will celebrate the same caliber of engineering projects, but by necessity, will be different with a virtual ceremony replacing the usual large expo. However, in true Ram Engineer fashion, these students showed grit and tenacity in getting their projects across the finish line, despite working remotely for the last half of the semester.

Project posters, abstracts and presentations will be open for viewing starting Monday, April 27, on the Engineering Capstone website and will culminate with an awards ceremony and presentation of the winning projects on May 8, accessible by this Zoom link.

Project highlights from this year include a dissolving communication system for submarines, a collective-force driven robot and a skin conductance measurement device.

Students, please send images of your projects, either photographs or videos, to this email. We would like to use those to help celebrate this event.


Help VCU researchers better understand students’ social networks in a paid study

VCU researchers are pilot testing a questionnaire to better understand the social networks of college and graduate students. They are seeking to learn about the people students rely on during difficult times and the different ways that students communicate with those people. Participants in the study will complete a questionnaire and will be compensated. Read more and learn how to participate. 

 


Engineering shout-out to Tucker Matthews (B.S. ’14)

A Ram Engineer shout-out to Tucker Matthews, P.E., a 2014 mechanical engineering graduate who is using his 3D printer to fabricate National Institutes of Health-approved face shields. Matthews is donating completed personal protection equipment to healthcare workers in Richmond.

See the full post on LinkedIn.

Tucker Matthews

A 3D printed ventilator

Engineering researcher and medical experts design DIY ventilator kit

To address supply shortages resulting from COVID-19, an interdisciplinary team has designed a ventilator that hospitals, health systems or makerspaces can produce using a few tools and a 3D printer. Charles Cartin, Ph.D., associate professor of mechanical and nuclear engineering and director of makerspaces and Adam Hamel, the lab technician for the Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering Innovation Lab, worked with VCU medical experts to develop a ventilator that non-engineers can fabricate easily. Read more.


Research Week Information Sessions this Thursday

In conjunction with this year's (Virtual) Research Week, the National Scholarship Office (NSO) will offer a series of information sessions on Thursday, April 23. These info sessions will be held online, via Zoom. 

Those interested in attending can register for the individual sessions here. The Zoom link is on the registration forms and will also be emailed to those who indicate they are planning to attend.

Here's the line-up:

11:00 a.m. Goldwater Scholarship: For rising sophomores and juniors in STEM disciplines who are interested in research careers.

12:30 p.m. Fulbright Student Scholarship: For rising seniors, graduate students and soon-to-be alumni in ALL disciplines who are interested in teaching English or pursuing research, study or creative projects abroad. (There is a separate link to register for the Fulbright info session here.)

2:00 p.m. Critical Language Scholarship: For all students — undergraduate and graduate — who will be taking classes in fall 2020 and are interested in studying languages critical to U.S. security and diplomatic interests.

3:30 p.m. National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship: For rising seniors and first-year graduate students in STEM-related disciplines.

Students who are interested in learning more about any of these opportunities, but are not able to attend the information sessions, are welcome to make an appointment to meet with Dr. Meredith Sisson or Jeff Wing in the NSO.


Wellness Wednesdays are here!

Attention, faculty and staff: VCU Engineering is now offering virtual Wellness Wednesday sessions on topics related to health, the arts, food and culture. During each session, the instructor or performer will be visible. As the viewer, you will be hidden — but can always chime in on the chat sidebar with questions or comments. The dean’s office, which is organizing these sessions, hopes to “add positivity to your day, and connectivity to your community and home.” The series kicks off Wednesday, April 22, at 11 a.m. with a meditate, breathe and stretch session led by Jessica Camilli. Check your email for webinar details and registration information.  


Engineering Shout-out: Rising senior featured in VCU’s ‘Make it real’ campaign

Dr. Lewinski working with a student in a lab

Students: You still have access to college lab software. Here’s how:

A message from the Engineering IT Team

For those who don’t have access to lab software on a personal computer at home, (especially MacBooks), you can connect remotely to a VCU Engineering lab computer to access Windows-based programs such as SolidWorks and ANYSYS.

VCU Engineering has a limited number of licenses for VCU’s App2Go Citrix server and is providing this resource primarily for students who genuinely need access to software in the labs. You don’t need to apply for an account. Learn how to install the Citrix Workspaces software on your computer (Windows or Mac) here: https://wiki.vcu.edu/x/Oa0tBg. Please log out when you are not using it to allow your fellow students to use the system.

We know this is a challenging time and we’re here to help you. Thank you for being flexible. Email egrfixit@vcu.edu if you have any questions about using this resource.


Time for the great outdoors (because we need it more than ever)

Spring is here, so it’s time to get outside — responsibly. Check out VCU Outdoor Adventure Programs’ #OutdoorSocialDistancingChallenge.

Each week @vcuoap posts outdoor challenges that allow for social distancing. Look for challenges posted to @vcuoap on Instagram, then head outside! You’ll get fresh air, exercise and may even win a prize.


Engineering Shout-out: A voice for #orthoresearch

Evan Buettmann, Ph.D., is chair of the new social media liaisons committee of the Orthopaedic Research Society. He’s a biomedical engineering postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Henry Donahue, Ph.D. Follow @EvanBuettman on Twitter and join the conversation.

ORS Shoutout


Karla Mossi, Ph.D.
Meet Tiny, the not-so-tiny dog of Karla Mossi, Ph.D., associate professor of mechanical and nuclear engineering. Show us your furry office companions using by tagging us on social media!

A message from Dean Boyan

With a cameo appearance by her four-legged assistant Spirit


Want to keep on partnering? Check out these resources

VCU’s Keep on Partnering site is your source for resources and guidance to support community-based partnerships online. Learn about virtual volunteering opportunities, best practices and how-tos for remote partnership development. There’s also handy information about workflow management and guiding principles for community-engaged work in times of crisis.  


Engineering Shout-out: Ram Engineers power through

Props to biomedical engineering major Ireleigh O’Malley, a rising sophomore. Ireleigh is just one of the many Ram Engineers managing to get it all done — despite changing circumstances.

Check out this feature on CBS 19


Question of the week

You’ve met Dean Boyan’s pets. Now show us yours!

Share your answer — and find out what others said — by tagging us on social media.

VCU extends telework period

VCU announced Thursday that non-designated employees will continue to telework until Wednesday, June 10. Please work with your supervisor for questions about work during this period. Engineering’s Human Resources team is also available to answer your questions about working remotely. Please remember, you may still use your leave time and take days off during this remote period. Consider using leave time to prevent burnout and give yourself a much-needed break from the daily stress. Work with your supervisor to schedule time off as needed. VCU’s Human Resources Office offers many telework-related resources here.


General Dynamics Information Technology will now take your questions

Do you have questions about entering the job market, what your resume should include or how digital proficiency plays a role in just about every job? Join the Capital CoLAB Ask Me Anything video conference call Monday, April 13, at 7 p.m. for answers to those questions and more. Adrienne Alberts, director of strategic talent programs at General Dynamics Information Technology, will share expert tips on making the transition from school to work, building your career and demonstrating the technical skills needed to land that first job.

RSVP for this event


Engineering Shout-out to the creators of Prehendo

Prehendo rendering

Kudos to the computer science and kinetic imaging students who designed Prehendo, a virtual environment that guides the user to the space between perception and reality. 

Learn more.

 

Meet the SMART scholars

Two computer engineering majors recognized with major U.S. Department of Defense scholarship

Computer engineering majors Papa Beye and Michael Kimbrough

A junior who built his first radio in ninth grade and a senior with a penchant for updating old-school computer systems are finishing the school year as SMART scholars — recipients of the Science, Math and Research for Transformation (SMART) scholarship, an award established by the U.S. Department of Defense to support the country’s top science and engineering students.


Discounted fees for summer 2020 classes

VCU has announced discounted per-credit-hour rates on select mandatory fees for summer 2020 classes. 

  • The university fee will be discounted by 50 percent, moving to $26 per credit hour from $57 per credit (capped at $339). 
  • The online fee of $55 per credit hour (capped at three credit hours) will be waived for the summer session.

The university is offering more than 1,200 undergraduate and graduate courses this summer. Registration for Summer Studies is now open. Additional information is available on the VCU Summer Studies website.


Shout-out to the VCU Scavenger Hunt developers

VCU Scavenger Hunt on Reddit

A team of computer science students has created a VCU scavenger hunt app that helps first-year VCU students learn their way around campus. Are you an Android user? If so, you can download it now and give it a whirl. Read the full post on Reddit.

VCU Engineering students, alumni honored in NSF graduate fellowship program

From left: Shuyu Tian, Justin Yirka, Austin Gouldin, Campbell McColley

Two VCU Engineering students and two alumni have received recognition in the highly prestigious National Science Foundation’s (NSF’s) Graduate Research Fellowship Program.


Capital CoLAB Career Chat Webinar with Capital One today at 2 p.m.

Wondering what your first day on the job will be like or what your first year will hold? Join the Capital CoLAB Career Chat Webinar with Capital One today at 2 p.m. You'll hear from recent hires and HR professionals and discover the importance of digital tech skills in day-to-day life at Capital One. 

Capital One employees will answer your questions and share information about the Capital CoLAB Digital Tech Credential. See how the credential can set you apart from other candidates in the job market. RSVP for the Webinar


Shout-out to volunteer mask makers

VCU Health Facebook Post

A Richmond volunteer sewing group that includes employees of VCU Engineering and VCU Health has churned out some 900 masks and mask covers to donate to VCU Health. Learn to make your own with this tutorial.

Students: get help for your job search

Engineering Career Services hosts new Ask Me Anything Hours

Engineering Career Services can help you through the process of job searching during the COVID-19 pandemic. During these uncertain and constantly changing times, it's important to remember that employers are still hiring. If you're worried your internship may be affected, need help with your job search or have any career-related questions, contact Engineering Career Services. Make a virtual appointment with an adviser on Handshake or drop in to an Ask Me Anything Hour on Tuesday, April 7, or Wednesday, April 8, 2020, from 3-4 p.m. at https://vcu.zoom.us/j/775014973.


Virtual VCU

Many of the services VCU students rely on have moved to an online format temporarily, allowing them to continue to support students. To see a comprehensive list of services that remain available to students in a virtual format, visit: https://covid-19.vcu.edu/virtual/.


Engineering Shout-out for Code Beats

Kids, parents and STEAM educators all enjoyed last week’s Code Beats camp put on by David Shepherd, Ph.D., and his students. By creating hip hop beats, campers learned basic computer programming skills. Aimed at middle school students, it was also a hit with younger children (and grownups)!

All together, now

Different majors, same conclusion: VCU Engineering is where these undergraduate students have found their home. Hear their takes on the VCU Engineering difference. Learn more at https://egr.vcu.edu/admissions/.


Reach out and stay connected

Staying safe by staying home doesn’t mean you have to be disconnected and isolated. If you’re feeling lonely, sad or anxious, get in touch with your social support networks. Pick up your phone or try a new app to connect with friends, family and neighbors. Some of our Ram Engineers have been using Skype and Discord to stay in touch. Slack and Google hangouts are other ways to meet face-to-face — virtually. We’re all in this together. For more resources on emotional wellness, go to https://ramstrong.vcu.edu/covid-19/


VCU alumnus in the news

Zach McAfee

Mechanical engineering alumnus Zach McAfee (B.S.’04), founder of Sim Seats, is featured on WTVR 6 News Richmond. The company designs and fabricates driving simulators — currently the only way for race car drivers to hit the tracks.


Question of the week 

Who will you connect with or check on today? 

Share your answer — and find out what others said — by tagging us on social media.

 

How VCU Engineering is operating during COVID-19

Marketing and Communications

The Marketing and Communications team is focused on driving results for VCU Engineering’s major goals: recruitment and retention, reputation and rankings, and research and resources.

During this period, the team will prioritize communication related to COVID-19, producing a daily newsletter with ongoing updates for the college, assisting in communications about canceled events and focusing on important messaging from the dean and senior leadership. Ongoing efforts include campaigns to drive freshman enrollment for fall 2020, enrollment in Fundamentals of Computing courses and publicizing the great stories of VCU Engineering.


Walk-to-Run Incentive Program

Need a little motivation to get your steps in — and get outside? VCU RecSports is kicking off a five-week challenge to go from walking to jogging or running three miles. Tune in live on Instagram Tuesdays and Thursdays to learn about that day’s training. Check in every week and register to win a prize!


Welcome, new Ram Engineers

Coming soon: Class of 2024

VCU logo drawing

A big Ram welcome to @casonwillingham16, who will be starting at VCU in the fall and is considering mechanical or biomedical engineering. He claims he doesn’t normally draw but shared this freehand drawing of the VCU logo. Nice work!

How VCU Engineering is operating during COVID-19

VCU College of Engineering Foundation

During the teleworking period, the VCU Engineering Foundation is continuing to provide stewardship and communicate regularly with the college’s friends and donors. They are also in touch with sponsors of events that have had to be canceled or postponed. The foundation office continues to oversee corporate relations and is working with Engineering Career Services to help ensure that corporate partners stay engaged. Regular committee meetings are going forward remotely and plans for full Board of Trustees meetings are in the works.

Reach the VCU Engineering Foundation team by calling their office lines, which will ring their mobile phones, during business hours. They are also available by email.


Put ‘Zoom Bombers’ out of business with these security tips

A number of recent media reports have highlighted the phenomenon of “Zoom Bombing,” where certain bad actors — often not actual students — use Zoom’s sharing feature to disrupt classes. Faculty members: Don’t let it happen to you. Here’s how:

  1. Control access to your meetings. Don’t post your personal meeting room link on public sources such as social media. Disseminate meeting links through email messages to specific individuals or post links on Blackboard or other pages accessible only to enrolled students.
  2. Learn from the pros. VCU’s Information Security Office has developed Zoom Meeting Security Guidelines (PDF) with many helpful hints for keeping meetings secure.
  3. Optimize your sharing settings. You always have the option to change your settings to limit content sharing to yourself, as host. Find this setting on your Zoom Profile page under Settings > Meeting > In Meeting (Basic).
  4. Don’t forget you can change settings during a meeting. If you need to change the share setting in the middle of a meeting, click on the caret next to the “Share Screen” icon on your meeting toolbar and choose “Advanced Sharing Options.” Select “Only Host” or “All Participants,” depending on your needs. Note: This change will only last the duration of the meeting. To make your choice the default, see tip number 3 above.

Contact mssvideo@vcu.edu with any questions or concerns about Zoom.


Engineering Shout-Out to Dr. Cartin

See the full post

Screenshot of an email to Dr. Cartin

How VCU Engineering is operating during COVID-19

Career Services

Engineering Career Services continues to serve all engineering students through structured professional development opportunities and employer engagement.

During the telework period, the career services department is focused on helping all current internship and co-op students manage changes required because of COVID-19. The team is also working with employers to share best practices for remote internships and encourage virtual engagement with students.

Engineering Career Services continues to reach out to students weekly with a jobs newsletter that now includes opportunities for virtual engagement with employers and continues to teach professional development, internship and co-op courses. They are working to move the professional development course to an asynchronous online course. The department is also planning for fall employer recruitment events.


Telemedicine option lets employees see providers and maintain social distancing

The Department of Human Resources Management shared that all employees enrolled in any of the COVA plans (COVA Care, COVA Healthaware and COVA HDHP) have access to telemedicine (related to COVID-19) until June 14, 2020. This is an excellent benefit so you don’t have to go out of the house unnecessarily. Learn more.


Engineering Shout-Out to Professor Hadimani

A screenshot of a LinkedIn post

How VCU Engineering is operating during COVID-19

Information Technology

During the teleworking period, VCU Engineering’s information technology (IT) team’s main focus is supporting remote teaching. The IT team provides remote help to engineering students, staff and faculty at both VCU campus plus the Bio+Tech Park.  

Users who need help should email egrfixit@vcu.edu


A comprehensive digest of resources for these times

The VCU School of Social Work Staff Council has pulled together a massive digest of tools for the new normal brought about by COVID-19. Instead of Googling dozens of search terms, check out this resource. You’ll find ideas for self-care, livestream events, help for homeschooling and professional development, resources from the government and nonprofit sectors — and more.


Question of the week:

Self-care is important. How have you been taking care of YOU lately?


Engineering Shout-Out

BEST lab tweet

How VCU Engineering is operating during COVID-19

A fireside chat with Dean Boyan (Watch for an appearance by Easton)


We asked and you answered

Online tools that are helping you Ram on

Last week's question was “What’s the online tool you could not live without right now?” Answers included Skype, Google Drive and MATLAB. This week, it’s all about taking care of you. Share your favorite self-care strategies on social media. 


Question of the week:

Self-care is important. How have you been taking care of YOU lately?


Engineering Shout-Out

BEST lab tweet

How VCU Engineering is operating during COVID-19

Facilities

The college’s facilities department is in charge of security, maintenance, receiving, inventory and oversees construction on the Engineering Research Building (ERB). 

VCU Engineering’s buildings (West and East Halls and Bio+Tech 1 and 8) are currently operational. However, these buildings are locked 24/7 and open to essential personnel only. 

East Hall will continue to receive packages. Members of the facilities team are monitoring deliveries throughout the day and are open for pick-ups from 2 to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. 

West Hall is also receiving packages and offers pick-ups from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 3 to 4 p.m.

Bio+Tech 1 and 8 are open for receiving packages, as well. 

Facilities continues to coordinate ERB activities with the appropriate offices.


New Zoom backgrounds make it easy to show (or hide) where you’re coming from

No time to stage a Zoom-worthy space for your next virtual meeting? Or maybe you just want to show your Ram Engineer pride. Marketing and communications has you covered with a suite of branded Zoom backgrounds. This resource also comes with simple instructions that will have you up and running — in a lot less time than it takes to clean an office. 

How you can help: VCU Medical Center needs PPE 

The VCU Medical Center is in need of the following personal protective equipment (PPE):

  • Surgical masks
  • N95 masks
  • Face shields
  • Disposable gowns
  • Latex-free gloves
  • Goggles
  • Shoe covers
  • Head covers
  • Germicide wipes

If your laboratory has these items, please consider donating them to the hospital. Faculty members may want to ask students who have worked in their labs about inventory of these essential supplies. 

Donations may be dropped off at the valet entrance of the VCU Medical Center Gateway building at 1200 E. Marshall St., Richmond, VA 23298. Donation drop-off is open Monday through Friday, from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. If you are unable to drop off, contact Nathan Cunningham at Nathan.Cunningham@vcuhealth.org to coordinate a pick-up.


Got an idea for a COVID-19-related solution?

The VCU da Vinci Center for Innovation has a sprint for you

The Health Innovation Consortium (HIC) and the VCU da Vinci Center for Innovation are partnering to create a series of virtual healthcare sprints. All VCU students are invited to team up and create COVID-19-related solutions through healthcare and innovation. And there are cash awards: $1,000 per team member, with a limit of $5,000/team. Multiple groups can win. Learn more here. Contact davincicenter@vcu.edu with questions.


Engineering Shout-Out

Berger Twitter

How VCU Engineering is operating during COVID-19

Academic Affairs

The academic affairs office is responsible for undergraduate and graduate program support, financial management of student support programs and enrollment management.

Academic affairs offers remote access to students because in-person meetings are not possible at this time. During this mandatory telework period, the academic affairs office is holding daily Zoom meetings within the office and weekly Zoom meetings with program directors. The team is also working closely with VCU’s grants, human resources and finance offices to ensure students have the resources they need.

The academic affairs office is working on several new enrollment, retention, professional development and degree completion projects during this teleworking period.


VCU Engineering offers free resources for parents who are suddenly homeschooling

The VCU College of Engineering has free programs and resources for parents who are suddenly homeschooling.

A free online coding camp for middle school students called Code Beats will be offered next week by David Shepherd, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Computer Science. With a multidisciplinary team of VCU faculty members, Shepherd is turning to hip-hop music as an effective — and more importantly, fun — way to teach basic computer science concepts.

From Monday through Thursday, campers will go through a lesson and work on their own projects. On Friday at 5 p.m., the students will livestream a Friday Night Code Beats Tournament in which the students and families can vote for a winner.

VCU Engineering also offers a free online Early Engineers Handbook of kid-tested engineering learning activities for students in grades K-8. Provided by the Office of Community Outreach and Engagement, the handbook sparks curiosity and introduces/reinforces STEM concepts. No special equipment is required; just ordinary household items. There’s also a free, online book of paper airplane designs.


Engineering Shout-Out

We salute the women veterans who make up the VCU Engineering ranks, including Carolyn Galcik, Laura Lemza, Bridget Thompson-McInnes, Ph.D., Sachiko Murakami and Autumn Randell. The skills and knowledge you gained while serving the nation are on full display here, as well. Thank you for your service — and for making VCU Engineering great.

How VCU Engineering is operating during COVID-19

Academic Advising

The Engineering Office of Student Services is ready to help students every day. This office oversees curriculum advising for all undergraduate students while also coordinating with faculty on retention efforts, classroom issues and course scheduling.

Since moving to a remote platform, their work priorities have not changed. They are meeting with students via Zoom, phone and email. Director Jennifer Rivers and her team are working to help students overcome any adverse situations students may encounter during this remote period. This team is meeting regularly through Zoom and interfacing daily through ongoing email threads. Students, if you need assistance from Student Services, please email Jennifer Rivers.

Remote Advising Details


Let’s get moving

VCU Rec Sports offers virtual fitness programs

Feeling the need to get up and move? VCU Recreational Sports has you covered. The gym may be closed, but VCU RecSports has created a portal of virtual sports and fitness programs for all VCU students, faculty and staff. Categories include indoor and outdoor fitness activities, online sports and fitness tutorials, with new content coming regularly.

And don’t forget your [virtual] cooperation and collaboration muscles. Check out RecSports’ Virtual Escape Rooms. There, you and up to seven of your friends and colleagues can embark on a one-hour, guided experience in real time and discover how to communicate and work creatively using online communication.


Question of the day:

What’s the online tool you could not live without right now?

Share your answer — and find out what others said — by tagging us on social media.</p

How VCU Engineering is operating during COVID-19

Purchasing

Each day, we will profile a department within the College of Engineering and share how it is operating during the telework period of COVID-19. Today, we feature Finance and Accounting with important information about purchasing.

The finance team is responsible for procurement and ordering, travel management, budget and cash flow and financial reporting and reconciliation. During the telework period, the standard ordering process will remain in place for the foreseeable future. We expect delays as supply chains weaken over time. All university travel is currently on hold. Reporting remains available through the Finance Dashboard, which is always open or by sending an email request to Bill Bulbrook. The finance team is communicating via email, phone and Zoom.

University Procurement Services is working to implement temporary process and procedure changes to help departments continue operating. They have provided an FAQ and information that will be updated regularly.

Here’s helpful contact information:

Please keep in touch with the finance team if you need any help. They would love to hear from you.


Video communications tip for teleconferences

Non-verbal cues of communication, such as facial expressions and body language help foster a deeper and more meaningful connection. If you have the option, please use your video during teleconferences. And as an added bonus, sometimes a pet makes a cameo appearance!


Question of the day:

What’s the online tool you could not live without right now?

Share your answer — and find out what others said — by tagging us on social media.

Engineering News Briefs

VCU Engineering needs to know about all student internships

If you are currently serving as an intern, are planning a summer internship, or you recently completed an internship, the College needs to know. College leaders are working with companies to preserve this valuable educational experience. Please upload your internship information to Handshake using this link, if you haven’t already done so. Screenshots of this process and detailed directions are available here.

Our community will return

Yeah - the current situation isn’t much fun … but we’re Ram Engineers and we have a great sense of community!  Please know that the fun activities that brought us together in the past will return and we will come together again, whether it’s food trucks, cookouts, student org activities or all types of events, our engineering community will be reunited. Take heart! We’ll see you soon. In the meantime, know that we’re here for you. Please connect with your professor or supervisor about any concerns or challenges you’re experiencing. And let us know creative ways you’ve found to power through the challenges. Tag us at #EngineersMakeItReal.

Video communications tip

Non-verbal cues of communication, such as facial expressions and body language help foster a deeper and more meaningful connection. If you have the option, please use your video during teleconferences.


How VCU Engineering is operating during COVID-19

Human Resources

Each day, we will profile a department within the College of Engineering and share how it is operating during the telework period of COVID-19. Today, we feature Human Resources (HR).

The HR team will emphasize COVID-19 guidance regarding telework and designation to be on campus for our employees. In addition, this team remains focused on faculty hiring and onboarding, assisting managers with current searches, immigration changes/guidance, benefit changes, timekeeping for the entire college, managing any special leave requests and assisting managers in developing thoughtful projects their employees can work on, if needed.

This team remains the first point of contact for all engineering HR-related inquiries. Please contact them to seek guidance on working through concerns, advice on complex/confidential matters such as contract development and execution as well as any employee relations issues. The HR team is communicating daily through Zoom, email, Google Hangouts and phone to ensure work continues moving and will disseminate pertinent HR updates as needed.


VCU Parking and Transportation updates

VCU Parking and Transportation will issue prorated refunds for all standard student commuter and 24/7 commuter permit holders for the remaining months in the spring 2020 semester. Commuter permit holders will be refunded for April and May 2020, and 24/7 permit holders will be refunded for April, May and June 2020. Refunds do not apply to evening permits.

Student Subscriber Details Employee Subscriber Details

Engineering News Briefs

VCU Engineering needs to know about all student internships

If you are currently serving as an intern, are planning a summer internship, or you recently completed an internship, the College needs to know. College leaders are working with companies to preserve this valuable educational experience. Please upload your internship information to Handshake using this link, if you haven’t already done so. Screenshots of this process and detailed directions are available here.

Our community will return

Yeah - the current situation isn’t much fun … but we’re Ram Engineers and we have a great sense of community!  Please know that the fun activities that brought us together in the past will return and we will come together again, whether it’s food trucks, cookouts, student org activities or all types of events, our engineering community will be reunited. Take heart! We’ll see you soon. In the meantime, know that we’re here for you. Please connect with your professor or supervisor about any concerns or challenges you’re experiencing. And let us know creative ways you’ve found to power through the challenges. Tag us at #EngineersMakeItReal.

Video communications tip

Non-verbal cues of communication, such as facial expressions and body language help foster a deeper and more meaningful connection. If you have the option, please use your video during teleconferences.


How VCU Engineering is operating during COVID-19

Human Resources

Each day, we will profile a department within the College of Engineering and share how it is operating during the telework period of COVID-19. Today, we feature Human Resources (HR).

The HR team will emphasize COVID-19 guidance regarding telework and designation to be on campus for our employees. In addition, this team remains focused on faculty hiring and onboarding, assisting managers with current searches, immigration changes/guidance, benefit changes, timekeeping for the entire college, managing any special leave requests and assisting managers in developing thoughtful projects their employees can work on, if needed.

This team remains the first point of contact for all engineering HR-related inquiries. Please contact them to seek guidance on working through concerns, advice on complex/confidential matters such as contract development and execution as well as any employee relations issues. The HR team is communicating daily through Zoom, email, Google Hangouts and phone to ensure work continues moving and will disseminate pertinent HR updates as needed.


VCU Parking and Transportation updates

VCU Parking and Transportation will issue prorated refunds for all standard student commuter and 24/7 commuter permit holders for the remaining months in the spring 2020 semester. Commuter permit holders will be refunded for April and May 2020, and 24/7 permit holders will be refunded for April, May and June 2020. Refunds do not apply to evening permits.

Student Subscriber Details Employee Subscriber Details

Resources During COVID-19

University Updates

Research Information

Engineering Career Services