From building a cosmic-ray telescope for student research projects to creating and crafting an online tour experience of Grounds for prospective high school applicants from around the world, the Jefferson Trust, an initiative of the University of Virginia Alumni Association, awarded 19 grants totaling $727,947 to University entities Friday on the steps of the Rotunda.
Established in 2006, the Jefferson Trust is an unrestricted endowment that distributes funds annually through a University-wide grant program. The trust’s mission is to support initiatives that enhance teaching, scholarship and research, allow faculty and students to work closely together while engaging in hands-on learning, and enable the University community to make an impact on other communities locally, nationally and globally.
One such grant is a $20,771 award to help support the student Solar Car Team of the School of Engineering and Applied Science. This project is designed to bring a new dimension to experiential learning at UVA that will not only elevate the intellectual pursuits of the students involved, but also the recognition of UVA engineering on the national scale. Fourth-year mechanical engineering student En De Liow, who leads the all-student team, thanked the trust’s board for its support.
“The Jefferson Trust has been tremendous in helping us gain enough momentum to revive the Solar Car Team,” Liow said. “On top of offering vital financial support to the team, having a mentor from the board advise the team really guides us toward sustainable growth and our long-term goal of creating a diverse experiential learning platform for students.”
In a project designed to bring together faculty members from different schools and a variety of perspectives to examine how the University approaches disabilities, the trust has awarded a $45,000 grant to the new Disabilities Studies Initiative.
Faculty team leader and English professor Christopher Krentz welcomed the support. “These funds will allow us to hire a part-time graduate student administrator, sponsor more events and spark awareness of disability as a revealing category of analysis, like race and gender, across disciplines, with an aim to establish a rigorous disability studies minor at UVA,” he said.
The School of Law will also receive a grant to support the Digital 1828 Catalogue Collection Project. This $29,419 grant will digitize and curate on a special website Thomas Jefferson’s 1828 collection of law books, representing his vision for a holistic legal education. Under the supervision of Digital Collections Librarian Loren Moulds and James Ambuske, a postdoctoral fellow in digital humanities, student workers will carefully scan and digitize Jefferson’s books, expand interpretive work on the collection and create a virtual bookshelf for perusing the collection, which will be open to the public.
Since its first grants were awarded in 2006, the Jefferson Trust has given $6.3 million to fund 160 initiatives spanning a broad range of schools, departments, student groups and academic centers at the University.
Other 2017 grants include:
Simulations in Teacher Education ($50,000)
This project is a research study that will foster better understanding of the benefits of training simulators for Curry School of Education faculty, teachers-in-training and their future students.
Undergraduate Exploration with Cosmic Rays ($26,650)
This project will build a portable cosmic-ray telescope to be used initially for student research projects at Fermilab near Chicago, and long-term, in the undergraduate physics laboratory at UVA.
Logistical Pathways to Critical Diversity ($100,000)
This project will address differential outcomes for underrepresented minorities in engineering, leading to the ability to radically transform the student experience at UVA and create a model with broad national applications.
Diet and Nutrition Intervention Lab ($40,000)
Designed to meet needs for student training and intervention research, especially child nutrition to prevent obesity, the Diet and Nutrition Intervention Lab will offer a resource to teach students applied nutrition.
Inaugural Diversity Funding: “McIntire Allies” and “Diversity Dialogues” ($15,000)
This project will create diversity and inclusion student programs, which will raise awareness of diversity issues, promote understanding of differences and build stronger support networks for underrepresented students in the McIntire School of Commerce.
Teaching Methods Course for Engineering TAs ($89,088)
This project will design a course that will engage undergraduate peer leaders and graduate teaching assistants in understanding both theoretical and practical aspects of teaching, and will influence thousands of undergraduate students each semester through improved instructional practice of 30 to 40 teaching assistants.
Global Leadership Forum 2017 ($50,000)
The funds will support a weeklong event that will convene 50 emerging leaders from 25 countries and an equal number of UVA students to discuss pressing current issues in equal access to quality education for women and girls worldwide.
UVA Landscape Studies Initiative ($83,000)
This initiative uses landscape studies as a transdisciplinary lens to bridge the humanities, biophysical and social sciences, and design disciplines to explore and understand entanglements in the human and non-human world.
Advanced Disease Life Support Program ($57,700)
Advanced Disease Life Support is a novel interdisciplinary program that educates and empowers health care providers with the essential principles to care for persons with advanced, complex illnesses in an inter-professional team setting.
UVA Neurosurgery Teaching and Mentoring Initiative ($6,670)
This project will provide a digital platform that includes personalized clerkship schedules, interactive neuro-anatomy modules, research papers and videos of operating room techniques and procedures to foster early interest in neurosurgery and set an example of UVA leadership within the national academic medical community.
Virtual Tour-University Guide Service ($60,000)
The University Guide Service will craft an online tour so that high school students from all over the world can “see” the Grounds for themselves, hopefully inspiring prospective students to make an in-person visit who may not have otherwise.
Visiting Scholar Program for Underrepresented Minorities in GI ($17,400)
This program is focused on bringing underrepresented minorities to UVA School of Medicine, making them aware of the strengths of the gastroenterology program and the opportunities available at UVA, including rare exposure to liver transplant services.
The Jefferson Trust Daniel S. Adler Student Grant: College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational ($7,375)
The funds supported the 2017 Flux Slam Poetry Team by enabling them to represent UVA at the College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational. The event attracts 70 colleges from around the world each year.
“Mapping” is a cross-disciplinary, student-led project marking the achievements in African-American history around the University.
Q* Anthology of Queer Culture ($7,674)
Q* Anthology of Queer Culture is a student-run annual literary magazine and online platform that publishes fiction, nonfiction, poetry and visual art related to LGBTQ (or “queer”) culture.
Hoots Tutoring ($4,400)
Hoots is a tutoring program whose goal is to shift the focus from department-based tutoring programs to a universally accessible system.
More details on these projects can be found at the Jefferson Trust website.