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Education

Maggie Walker Governor’s School senior wins National Honor Society Scholarship Award 

Chosen from nearly 10,000 applicants, Pooja Muthuraj, a senior at Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School from Richmond, Virginia, has been selected as the National Winner of the esteemed $10,625 National Honor Society (NHS) Service Scholarship.

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Chosen from nearly 10,000 applicants, Pooja Muthuraj, a senior at Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School from Richmond, Virginia, has been selected as the National Winner of the esteemed $10,625 National Honor Society (NHS) Service Scholarship. NHS is supported by its parent organization, the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).

“I am so grateful for this recognition and for this opportunity to have a seat at the table with the students and educators currently creating the future,” Pooja Muthuraj said. “This scholarship means the world to me, and I have so much optimism for what is to come. Thank you to everyone who has made this possible. Seriously, thank you so much.”

When Pooja Muthuraj learned about how some girls lack access to menstrual hygiene products, she established a local chapter of PERIOD, an international organization dedicated to ending period poverty and stigma around the world. Through this organization, Pooja and other students lobbied for two statewide bills mandating that public schools provide free period products in their restrooms, and both bills passed in March 2020.

Pooja also co-founded her own nonprofit, Teen Polytx, which seeks to bridge divides between high school students from different sides of the political aisle by fostering communication and encouraging conversations about pressing societal issues. Through this group, she moderates monthly discussions open to high school students from across the state, and the organization has connected over 60 high school students through meaningful discourse.

NHS is awarding $2 million in scholarships to 600 high school seniors this year. For the first time ever, four finalists were awarded a $10,625 scholarship for embodying the four pillars of NHS membership: scholarship, service, leadership, and character. The other recipients of these awards are: Alyssa Speelman from Ashland, MT for Service; Ethan Sandoval from Pasadena, CA for Character; and Owen Zhang from Bellaire, TX for Leadership. Twenty finalists received $5,625 and Evan Osgood from Loveland, OH earned the top $25,000 NHS Scholarship. Their bios are here.  

“We’re humbled to honor these students’ powerful initiatives that have help their communities in this time of need,” said NASSP CEO Ronn Nozoe. “We need passionate and forward-looking leaders like them who combine their quest of knowledge with service and advocate for systemic change. These winners have outstanding potential, and we’re thrilled to be a part of their journey.” 

The announcement is part of NASSP’s Trailblazing Leadership Week, bringing together the 2021 State Principals of the Year and the NHS Scholarship finalists to celebrate their accomplishments and connect with one another. In addition to the gala, the day began at the U.S. Department of Education where officials met with school and student leaders to discuss the most pressing issues in education. 

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Trevor Dickerson is the co-founder and editor of RVAhub.com, lover of all things Richmond, and a master of karate and friendship for everyone.

Education

University of Richmond adds new course opportunities for 2022-2023 school year

These changes include launching the Africana Studies program and adding minors in sustainability and data science and statistics.   

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The University of Richmond has announced curriculum changes that will provide new academic opportunities for students and faculty in the 2022–23 academic year. These changes include launching the Africana Studies program and adding minors in sustainability and data science and statistics.

Africana Studies

The Africana Studies program will launch this fall with a variety of courses and programming in the humanities, arts, and social sciences. The program explores the complex socio-political landscapes, economic structures, and cultural traditions that shape, impact, and stem from the African diaspora.

“The push for this program was strong, and students will now be able to major, minor, and receive degrees in Africana Studies,” said Ernest McGowen, Africana Studies program coordinator. “It is a great opportunity to direct one’s studies towards their interests and fulfill our liberal arts mission.”

Africana Studies courses during the fall semester include “Introduction to Africana Studies” and a “Rumors of War” seminar, which will examine the history of slavery and colonization before and after 1492 and how they shape the African diaspora. The program is housed in the School of Arts & Sciences, but students may take elective courses across disciplines in A&S, the Robins School of Business, and the Jepson School of Leadership Studies.

Mathematics, Computer Science, Data Science, and Statistics

This summer, the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science became two separate departments — Department of Computer Science and Department of Mathematics and Statistics. The change is a result of growing interest in the fields of statistics, mathematical economics, and computer science. Students can now minor in data science and statistics, which focuses on collecting, understanding, and presenting data from a variety of different domains and contexts.

“Within this minor, students explore everything from data-oriented programming to the ability to identify and address the ethical and privacy concerns regarding data analysis,” said statistics professor Taylor Arnold, data science program coordinator.

Geography, Environment, and Sustainability

Starting this academic year, the Department of Geography and the Environment will become the Department of Geography, Environment, and Sustainability. Sustainability will also be offered as a minor, allowing students to explore sustainability through the lens of acting for positive change.

“We have seen a surge of deep interest over the past few years with students interested in topics related to sustainability and the climate crisis,” said Todd Lookingbill, department chair. “So many of our students want to work toward improving conditions that foster the well-being of people and the environment, and this new minor will allow more of our students to explore this critical area.”

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Education

Henrico families can get a jump on the upcoming school year at the 2022 Back-to-School Kickoff

This year’s event will be at Glen Allen High School from 4:00 to 6:30 p.m. Families can enjoy music, food trucks, and games, register for school, talk with HCPS leaders, and more.

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While school starts on Monday, August 29th, a week earlier than previous years, HCPS families can get a jump start on the new school year Friday, August 19th at the annual HCPS Back-to-School Kickoff. This year’s event will be at Glen Allen High School from 4:00 to 6:30 p.m. Families can enjoy music, food trucks, and games, register for school, talk with HCPS leaders, and more.

Shuttle services from Henrico, Highland Springs, and Varina high schools will run every 15 minutes starting at 3:45 p.m. Parents are encouraged to reserve a seat here.

Glen Allen High School is located at 10700 Staples Mill Road in Glen Allen.

For more information, please contact the Office of Family and Community Engagement at 804-226-5340.

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Business

MEDARVA Foundation opens interactive medical science learning space at Short Pump Town Center

The center, open through the end of August, will let visitors learn about human anatomy, surgery, and the MEDARVA Foundation’s work to support scientific research and medical access in Central Virginia.

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The MEDARVA Foundation has opened Surgeon Immersion, an experiential center at Short Pump Town Center, during the month of August. Admission-free, the center will let visitors learn about human anatomy, surgery, and the MEDARVA Foundation’s work to support scientific research and medical access in Central Virginia.

“We are excited to celebrate MEDARVA Healthcare’s 70th anniversary by bringing our mission directly to the community,” said Joanne Whiley, chair of MEDARVA Healthcare’s Board of Directors. “We were well known as the Richmond Eye and Ear Hospital for our first fifty years. This is a great opportunity to educate the community on the ways we have evolved since and how we provide service today.”

MEDARVA Healthcare is the last Richmond-based, independent, non-profit health system, operating MEDARVA Surgery Centers at Stony Point and West Creek, MEDARVA Imaging Center, MEDARVA Low Vision Center, and the MEDARVA Foundation.

“The MEDARVA Foundation has been quietly funding medical research at VCU Medical School and UVA Medical School, among others, as well as supporting other local nonprofits that provide direct care to the medically underserved,” explained Cheryl Jarvis, chair of the MEDARVA Foundation Board of Directors.  “But during the pandemic, we started to see the need to support younger scientific researchers as they first start out in middle and high school.  The level of work these students are performing is amazing, and when we started to think about how we could highlight them and inspire others, we developed the idea of a community space that would engage and educate.”

MEDARVA Foundation’s Surgeon Immersion will be open every day in August from Short Pump Town Center’s opening until 7:00 pm (6:00 pm on Sundays) and includes a state-of-the-art digital cadaver table, and simulated surgery kiosks, 2022 Science Fair winning projects, children vision screenings, and more.

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We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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