Jefferson Trust Grants to Support 13 Projects at the University of Virginia

April 20, 2012 — The University of Virginia Alumni Association's seventh annual Jefferson Trust grants will help develop a global leadership program for young women, benefit an online program to improve students' writing and fund a publication aimed at mentoring African-American students in higher education, among other projects.

The trust awarded 13 grants totaling $523,653. Other grants will help fund an undergraduate "research adventure" in particle physics, a series of exhibits on "Why Books Matter" by the Rare Book School and the acquisition of archival footage for a documentary of dancer-choreographer Bill T. Jones' collaborative work at U.Va.

Established in 2004 by the U.Va. Alumni Association, the Jefferson Trust is an unrestricted endowment that distributes funds annually through a University-wide grant program. The unrestricted nature of the endowment allows the trustees to pursue excellence across the entire University by supporting a variety of initiatives in programs that enhance teaching, scholarship and research; programs that allow faculty and students to work closely together while engaging in hands-on learning; and programs that allow the University community to reach out to other communities – locally, nationally and globally.

Including this year, the Jefferson Trust has awarded more than $2.8 million for 75 projects. The grant amounts have ranged from $5,000 to $150,000, and have averaged $34,200 per project. Over the years, the grants have supported everything from helping fund the interdisciplinary work of U.Va. faculty and students trying to improve the quality of drinking water in rural South Africa, to supporting an initiative to digitize and analyze a collection of historic resources for U.Va.'s School of Nursing.

This year, the trustees – led by grant committee chair Sharon Owlett, a 1975 graduate of the School of Law – carefully reviewed 40 grant applications.

Grants from the Jefferson Trust are announced each year on or around the University's Founder's Day observance, typically on the steps of the Rotunda. This year's grants – ranging from $18,450 to $86,000 – were announced April 20.

The 2012 grant recipients are as follows:

Jon D'Errico, Department of English, College of Arts & Sciences
Developing several new modules for the Schoolhouse Online project, a Web-based tool designed to address problems in college-level writing instruction. $86,000

Edward Berger, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Science
"Path Across the SEAS," an international program for engineering students and faculty to foster research and engagement in Panama. $60,000

Jennifer Merritt, U.Va. Women's Center, and Winx Lawrence, Curry School of Education
"Young Women Leaders Program: The Sister-to-Sister Project," to provide a model for providing college students with academic and service experience in global connection and civic responsibility. $50,000

Edward C. Swindler and Richard Marks, WUVA Inc.
"Virginia Center for New Media Citizenship," a partnership between WUVA and the Media Studies Department to preserve and foster student journalism at the University and at universities broadly, and to focus scholarship on navigating new media to enhance democratic processes. $46,790

Kristin L. Morgan, Office of Diversity and Equity
Funding student researchers as part of the STEM Undergraduate Summer Research Program as well as a peer mentor to serve as liaison between Piedmont Virginia Community College and U.Va. to recruit STEM students. $32,200

Siddartha Pailla, Department of Systems and Information Engineering, Engineering School
Funding formation of a student-led Entrepreneurship and Innovations Committee under the Student Council as a way to develop student entrepreneurship as an institution at the University. $22,000

Maurice Apprey, Office of African-American Affairs
Funding a special issue of the Peabody Journal of Education on mentoring African-American students in higher education, to be expanded to a book monograph, with emphasis on aligning academic achievement with high graduation rates among African-American students. $32,000

Robert Craig Group, Department of Physics, College of Arts & Sciences
Funding an undergraduate research opportunity for U.Va. physics students that will lead to doing research at the Fermi National Accelerator Lab. $28,800

Mary E. Gibson, School of Nursing, Center for Nursing Historical Inquiry
Funding toward interactive dissemination of nursing historical resources, specifically a collection of materials concerning Nancy Milio, a public health nurse who worked with the African-American community in inner-city Detroit to establish a "Moms and Tots Health Clinic" during the late 1960s. $20,893

Barbara Heritage, Rare Book School
Funding for a series, "Why Books Matter," that will inform students about the history and changing technologies of books through exhibitions and a University-wide competition. $18,450

Jeffrey J. Rossman, Corcoran Department of History, College of Arts & Sciences
Funding to develop six new courses through the Center for Russian and East European Studies to increase understanding of Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia. $42,000

Logan R. Spangler, an undergraduate in the College of Arts & Sciences
Business Ethics Society, a student group, to host a series of speakers, including CEOs from Fortune 500 companies and nationally known authors, to speak about business ethics. $25,000

Elizabeth Turner, vice provost for the arts
Funding to acquire archival footage of "100 Migrations," a collaborative work created by dancer-choreographer Bill T. Jones while a resident artist at U.Va., to be used for a documentary. $59,500