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Distinguished faculty in the College receive awards

Dr. Faye Belgrave

Dr. Faye Belgrave
Dr. Faye Belgrave

Psychology Professor Dr. Faye Belgrave received a State Council of Higher Education (SCHEV) for Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award from Gov. Tim Kaine.

Belgrave was honored for her exceptional contributions in research, teaching and community service regarding issues including substance abuse, HIV, culture and gender.

She was awarded VCU’s Outstanding Teacher Award in the fall of 2007 and the SCHEV recognition is a wonderful external complement to the university’s own honor.


Dr. Shiv Khanna

Dr. Shiv Khanna
Dr. Shiv Khanna and the Khanna Research Group

Physics Professor Dr. Shiv Khanna was recently elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society. Khanna was recognized for “his pioneering contributions to theoretical understanding of electronic and magnetic properties of clusters as well as work on superatoms forming a new dimension to the periodic table.”

His election to the APS is a well deserved tribute to his own remarkable accomplishments and to a department that has a scientific stature far beyond its size.

Learn more about the Khanna Research Group >>


Dr. Ryan Smith

Dr. Ryan Smith
Dr. Ryan Smith

Assistant Professor of History Dr. Ryan Smith, has been selected to the Organization of American Historians (OAH) Distinguished Lectureship Program for his ground breaking book, “Gothic Arches, Latin Churches: Anti-Catholicism and American Church Design in the Nineteenth Century."

The Distinguished Lectureship Program is a signature initiative of the OAH. Smith’s inclusion as an assistant professor is testimony to the positive reception and far reaching impact of his first book.


Department of Physics

The International Symposium on Hydrogen Economy (ISHE)

John Fenn
Dr. Puru Jena and Nobel Laureate John Fenn, from the Department of Chemistry at the ISHE Symposium.

The International Symposium on Hydrogen Economy was held in Richmond, Va., in November 2007. Sponsored in part by Dominion, General Motors and Philip Morris USA, the week-long symposium brought together renowned scientists and speakers to discuss the scientific, economic, environmental and societal issues concerning the production, storage and use of hydrogen as a viable energy source for the future.

The ISHE Symposium is part of the Richmond Conference series, which began in 1982. It is held
every four years and addresses cutting edge issues in science and technology. This year’s conference was organized again by Distinguished Professor Puru Jena from the Department of Physics. Jena is currently serving as a Jefferson Science Fellow at the Department of State providing advice and guidance in the development of U.S. national policy.

Jefferson Science Fellows advise and educate policy officials–including the Secretary of State – on complex, scientific issues and their potential impact on U.S. foreign policy and international relations. Following a one-year term, Jena will return to VCU, but remain available to the U.S. government as an expert consultant for short-term projects for a period of five years.

View the photo gallery from the symposium >>

Women's Studies – International Experiences

Spotlight on Shayne Thomas, class of 2009

Living on a Landfill

As the recipient of the 2007 VCU Women’s Studies International Experiences Scholarship and a scholarship from the Office of International Education, I had the pleasure of spending the fall 2007 semester studying development and globalization through the Council on International Education Exchange in Khon Kaen, Thailand.

The program was unique because of its emphasis on active and experiential learning. Instead of sitting in classrooms, students had the opportunity to live in communities and engage with community members about their lives. We spent our time in many provinces in Isan (the northeast) learning first hand about how people are affected by things such as free trade agreements, HIV, dams, mines and chemical farming.

During the last three weeks of the semester we worked on small group projects in communities we had visited. I spent my time working on a photo exhibit with a community that lives and works at the landfill in Khon Kaen. The people of Kam Bon Noi are scavengers. They sort through trash at the landfill for recyclables that can be sold at the city’s recycling center. Through their hard work, the life of the landfill has been extended by eight years. Unfortunately, scavengers make up part of Thailand’s large informal work sector and many receive no protection or benefits, despite the amount of money they are saving the city.

In hopes of spreading awareness about the community and the work they do, myself and two other students worked with community members to develop a photo exhibit, which was displayed at a human rights festival at Khon Kaen University. The exhibit included profiles of each community member who contributed to the exhibit as well as their descriptions of the photographs.

The people I met, the communities I stayed with, and the stories I heard while in Thailand will remain with me. I feel lucky to have had this experience that I want to share everything I learned. I am finishing up my last semester at VCU and hope to return to Thailand as an intern with the CIEE program in Khon Kaen. My goal is to continue to learn about community organizing and the fight to promote social justice. I plan to use my degree in Women’s Studies to develop programs aimed at women and girls.

For more information about my Thailand experience visit my blog,

The Kam Bon Noi Landfill photo exhibit will be on display at Ipanema Café, 917 West Grace Street, Richmond, Virginia, from April 6 – May 1.


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Phone: (804) 827-1351 Updated: 01/29/2009


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