Drs. Xiang-Yang Wang and Devanand Sarkar pose with their medallions which they received when they were invested with their endowed professorships in September. Dr. Wang holds the Mary Anderson Harrison Distinguished Professorship in Cancer Research and Dr. Sarkar holds the Harrison Foundation Distinguished Professorship in Cancer Research. Endowed professorships and chairs represent the highest academic honor a faculty member can hold. Two additional department faculty members who were invested at the same ceremony was Dr. Paul Fisher who holds the FNAI Thelma Newmeyer Croman Endowed Chair in Oncology Research and Dr. Jolene Windle who holds the Irene Shaw Grigg Distinguished Professorship in Genetics Research.
Virginia “Ginny” Pallante, a Genetic Counselor and instructor in the department, co-received the Enrique Gerszten, M.D. Faculty Teaching Excellence Award, the School of Medicine’s highest recognition for teaching. She has always been an excellent teacher receiving the “Best Teacher Award” for the human genetics curriculum 17 times to date. Ms. Pallante is the course director for the M.D. Program and embraces new teaching techniques such as POGIL™ (Process-Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning). She not only uses these techniques in her own classroom but also shares her expertise with her colleagues. As a former medical student states, “Ms. Pallante is the most caring and passionate instructor I have ever had.”
Two Human and Molecular Genetics graduate students Dana Lapato and Amy Northrop placed 1st and tied for 3rd respectively in the Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) Competition. 3MT is a research communication competition which challenges students to present a compelling talk on their thesis/dissertation topic and its significance using 1 slide and having only three minutes. A third department student, Javeria Aijaz also made it to the finals. Dana will be sponsored by the graduate school to compete in the Council of Southern 3MT competition in Knoxville, TN. The 3MT presentations can be found at the VCU Scholars Compass. Pictured left to right: Graduate School Dean Doug Boudinot, Dana Lapato, Julia Meade (2nd place), Ria Fyffe-Freil (tied for 3rd place), Amy Northrop and Associate Dean Mark Schaefermeyer.
Ph.D. student Javeria Aijaz (right) receives the inaugural Jan F. Chlebowski Memorial Travel Award from the President of the Women in Science (WIS) student organization, Tanya Puccio. Dr. Chlebowski was a long-time Associate Dean of Graduate Education in the School of Medicine who passed away unexpectedly in 2018. He was also a founding co-adviser of WIS and a big supporter of graduate education. The organization chose to honor him by creating and funding a student award in his name. Photo by Erin Garcia.