Friday, June 23, 2017

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Virginia Western Community College is one of 15 institutions in the United States to become part of the 10th cohort to participate in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s (HHMI) Science Education Alliance – Phage Hunters Advancing Genomics and Evolutionary Science project (SEA-PHAGES). The project is intended to spark an interest in science among students by teaching them to creatively and critically use the scientific method to address real-world issues. 

Thus far, 142 colleges and universities, including Carnegie Mellon, James Madison University, Virginia Tech and Johns Hopkins University, have participated in SEA-PHAGES. Virginia Western is the only community college in Virginia that has been selected to participate.Training for Virginia Western faculty begins this summer and the project will be available to students as part of a two-semester course of study starting Fall Semester 2017.

“This is an exciting opportunity for students at Virginia Western to be introduced to the scientific method while significantly contributing and connecting to the larger scientific community,” says Amy White, Dean of STEM. “Our aim, along with HHMI’s mission, is to contribute to the scientific body of knowledge and inspire future scientists.”

Open enrollment for Virginia Western’s Fall Semester will begin on June 21; returning students may enroll now. To learn more about course offerings and enroll, visit: www.virginiawestern.edu or call 1-855-874-6690.

The SEA-PHAGES program at Virginia Western will be incorporated into an Introductory Biology (BIO-101) course in Fall Semester 2017 and continues into Spring Semester 2018 in Cell Biology. Students will begin by isolating novel bacteriophage viruses from local soil. They will then use various microbiological technologies to characterize the bacteriophage as well as isolate and sequence the viral DNA. The continuation of the program into Cell Biology shows students how to annotate the vial genome and learn about bioinformatics. After Spring Semester, a faculty member and student representatives will present their findings at the SEA Symposium, a scientific conference hosted by HHMI. Last year the symposium had more than 3,400 students from 84 different colleges and universities participate.

Students who complete the SEA-PHAGES program acquire many skills currently utilized in the scientific community. Students learn to maintain proper laboratory notebooks, perform many standard laboratory techniques such as polymerase chain reaction and gel electrophoresis, and employ software used for genome annotation and bioinformatics analysis.  Additionally, students gain meaningful research experience early in their academic career, which connects them to the larger scientific community and instills a true sense of discovery. 

Research has shown that students introduced early to meaningful research work are inspired to continue their education and scientific careers. Whereas, students introduced to meaningful research later in their careers see the work as validating to their choice and look to their peers ahead of them for inspiration.  Early-exposure to active participation in authentic research is contributing significantly to science and shaping career choices.

For more information about the HHMI and SEA-PHAGES, visit: https://www.hhmi.org/news/science-education-alliance-begins-its-tenth-year.

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ABOUT VIRGINIA WESTERN COMMUNITY COLLEGE

With more than 12,000 students on the college’s main campus in Southwest Roanoke City, to our satellite locations at the Greenfield Education & Training Center in Daleville and the Franklin Center in Rocky Mount, Virginia Western Community College is committed to providing affordable, accessible, and quality educational opportunities and workforce training to meet individual, community, and global needs. To learn more, visit virginiawestern.edu.

Virginia Western Community College was honored with second place in the Digital Community Colleges Survey, which recognizes the top community colleges in utilizing technology to engage students and improve learning.  The college has placed in the top three for five straight years since winning first place in 2011.    

The Center for Digital Education (CDE), in Sacramento, Calif., produces the Digital Community Colleges Survey. Virginia Western received its honor at an awards dinner on Sunday during the American Academy of Community Colleges (AACC) conference in New Orleans.

Now in its 12th year, the Digital Community Colleges Survey analyzes how community colleges use a range of technologies to improve services to students, faculty, staff and the community at large.

“This year’s survey indicates community colleges are continuing to improve efforts at creating cost-effective platforms and Open Education Resources, mobile environments, real-time resources, telepresence robots and more to create robust online and mobile environments for their students,” said Dr. Kecia Ray, executive director for the Center for Digital Education.

For more information about the Digital Community Colleges Survey, visit: http://www.centerdigitaled.com/awards/digital-community-colleges/Most-Innovative-Digital-Community-Colleges-Recognized-in-Annual-Survey-.html.


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ABOUT VIRGINIA WESTERN COMMUNITY COLLEGE

With nearly 13,000 students on the college’s main campus in Southwest Roanoke City, to our satellite locations at the Greenfield Education & Training Center in Daleville and the Franklin Center in Rocky Mount, Virginia Western Community College is committed to providing affordable, accessible, and quality educational opportunities and workforce training to meet individual, community, and global needs. To learn more, visit virginiawestern.edu.

Virginia Western Community College’s Workforce Solutions is offering pharmacy technician training that will cover the information needed to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) exam to become nationally certified. Students can become certified in just 12 weeks.

WHAT:                 Pharmacy Technician Training

WHEN:                 From 6-10 p.m. on Mondays and WednesdayMay 22-Aug. 16, 2017

WHERE:                Thomas Center, Virginia Western Main Campus, Roanoke (Directions/Campus Map)

WHY:                    Learn the skills needed to become certified by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).  Pharmacy technicians play an important role in supporting pharmacists in hospitals, health systems and community pharmacies including those found in grocery and drug stores. This program will prepare students to work with pharmacists to offer safe and effective patient care.  

COST:                    Full tuition is $2,091, including textbooks and a voucher to take the credential exam. Students may qualify for the Workforce Credentials Grant and be eligible to enroll for one-third that cost ($697). Additional funding support may be available. For more information, contact Amanda Decker at 540-857-6279.

CAREERS:             Pharmacy Technicians are in great demand in the Roanoke Valley. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of pharmacy technicians is expected to increase more than 9 percent. The average rate of pay for new technicians ranges between $12-14 per hour. Experienced technicians can leverage their experience into other healthcare careers.

QUESTIONS:       Contact Workforce Development Solutions at 540-857-6076 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

REGISTER:           https://virginiawestern.augusoft.net/  

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ABOUT VIRGINIA WESTERN COMMUNITY COLLEGE             

With more than 12,000 students on the college’s main campus in Southwest Roanoke City, to our satellite locations at the Roanoke Higher Education Center in Downtown Roanoke, Greenfield Education & Training Center in Daleville, and the Franklin Center in Rocky Mount, Virginia Western Community College is committed to providing affordable, accessible, and quality educational opportunities and workforce training to meet individual, community, and global needs. To learn more, visit www.virginiawestern.edu.

Virginia Western Community College will host a student-led “Be the Match” donor drive on April 19. Through the drive, potential donors will learn if they could provide life-saving bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) transplants.

At the drive, an individual who has battled leukemia and received a stem cell transplant will speak to perspective donors on the importance of donation. Please join us to learn how you could help those in need.

WHAT:                 Be the Match donor drive

WHEN:                 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Wednesday, April 19

WHERE:               Courtyard between Fralin Center and Business Science Building; and Pedestrian Bridge (Directions)

DETAILS:              At the drive, potential donors will complete a registration form with contact information, health information and a signed agreement to join the “Be The Match” Registry. To help you complete the form, bring along:

  • Personal identification (such as a driver's license or passport)
  • Contact information for two family members or friends who would know how to reach you in the future if your contact information changes
  • You will provide a swab of cheek cells to be tissue-typed. We will use the results to match you to patients

MORE:                  For more information on Be the Match, visit www.bethematch.org

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ABOUT VIRGINIA WESTERN COMMUNITY COLLEGE

With nearly 13,000 students on the college’s main campus in Southwest Roanoke City, to our satellite locations at the Greenfield Education & Training Center in Daleville and the Franklin Center in Rocky Mount, Virginia Western Community College is committed to providing affordable, accessible, and quality educational opportunities and workforce training to meet individual, community, and global needs. To learn more, visit virginiawestern.edu.

OurHealth Southwest Virginia magazine’s four-part healthcare education series is a step-by-step guide for those interested in pursuing a career in medicine.  

OurHealth Southwest Virginia magazine proudly presents a four-part series entitled: “How to in Healthcare”, a step-by-step guide for those interested in pursuing a career in medicine.

SWVA