April 14, 2008 — University of Virginia alumna Paulianda Jones will be the keynote speaker at the second annual Graduate Student Diversity Banquet, to be held Friday, April 18 at 6:30 p.m. at the Charlottesville Omni Hotel.
Jones received her doctorate in chemistry from U.Va. in 2007, the same year she was named to Black Enterprise magazine's "2007 HOT LIST: America's Most Powerful Players Under 40." According to Black Enterprise, the list recognizes "African-Americans who have made groundbreaking contributions in the areas of business, law, finance, medicine, entertainment, politics, technology, the arts and education." Jones has been noted for her success in neuro-pharmacological research, focusing on possible treatments for Parkinson's disease and anxiety disorders. The 28-year-old Jones is currently a postdoctoral research fellow in pharmacology at Vanderbilt University. Others recognized on the list include Tyra Banks, Sean "Diddy" Combs, Venus Williams and Tiger Woods.
The Graduate Student Diversity Banquet recognizes the accomplishments of the University's diverse student populations, and gives special recognition to graduate students who will complete their degrees in 2008.
The U.Va. Graduate Student Diversity Programs, in the Office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies, was created in 2005 and is led by director Cheryl Burgan Evans, who came to the University in May 2006. Creation of the unit stemmed from a recommendation made by the President's Commission on Diversity and Equity. It exists to enhance the diversity of the graduate student population, create a culture of support and serve as a resource for administration, faculty, staff and graduate students on matters of diversity. In addition, the office coordinates recruitment and retention efforts across the University's graduate schools, supports graduate student organizations, and serves as a liaison between U.Va. and minority-serving institutions.
For information on graduate student diversity programs, visit www.virginia.edu/vprgs/gradstudies/diversity.html.