From the Dean's Desk - October 4, 2012

RU Senior Wins Microbiology Fellowship

Kimberly Filcek

Kimberly Filcek

Radford University senior Kimberly Filcek is among a small group of college and university students selected by the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) for a 2012 undergraduate research fellowship.

The competitive award is made to students who wish to pursue graduate careers in microbiology. This year the ASM awarded fellowships to 56 of the 152 applicants. Each fellow receives a stipend of up to $4,000, a two-year ASM student membership and funding to attend the ASM Presentation Institute general meeting.

Learn more.


Computer Science Major Spent Summer at NASA

Senior computer science major Garrison Vaughan put his web development and database development knowledge to use this summer at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., as a Junior IT Specialist.

"Ever since I was a kid, I've always been impressed with the amazing things NASA has done.  So being able to be an intern there is very exciting for me," says Vaughn.

During his internship, Vaughan worked with NASA scientists and system architects to move a continuous integration server, used for regression tests against a large Earth System Model, off of the main supercomputer cluster and into the Amazon Cloud.

Another project he participated in at Goddard was the development of base classes for graphing widgets, built in processing.js, used to display the current state of the main supercomputer’s nodes and file system.

His summer experience made a lasting impression on Vaughan and solidified his career goals.  "Working at Goddard has been one of the most interesting things I have ever done, and I look forward to working there for as long as I can contribute," he says.

Learn more.


Pre-med Club Hosts Physician Assistant Info Session

The RU Pre-med Club is hosting a panel of Physician Assistant students from the Jefferson College of Health Sciences on Friday, Oct. 5 at 9 a.m. in Heth Hall, room 22.

These students will discuss professional school application process, the Masters of Science in Physician Assistant Program at the Jefferson College of Health Sciences.

Biology alumnus Reese Clark, now a student at Jefferson College in the physicians assistant program, will be answering questions from RU students interested in exploring the program.


Anthropological Sciences Students Present Research at Conference


Anthropological sciences professor Cliff Boyd, physics professor Rhett Herman, and classmates William Willis, Daniel Riegel, and Jacob Conner work in the Heth Cemetery in Radford City.

Anthropological sciences alumnus and 2012 Dean's Scholar William Willis and anthropological sciences students Brandon Buck and Daniel Riegel, under the mentorship of anthropological sciences professor Cliff Boyd, recently presented their research results at the Upland Archaeology in the East Symposium at Roanoke College.

Buck, a Pulaski native and senior anthropological sciences major, began his research regarding the Heth family cemetery in Radford City as a freshman student.  "This allowed me to immediately use in the field the methods that I was learning in the classroom," says Buck.

His project is ongoing with other students in the program.  They are using ground penetrating radar (GPR) to locate possible unmarked graves within the boundaries of the cemetery.  Another goal of the project is to restore the cemetery since it has become overgrown and eroded due to decades of neglect.

Buck says this project has solidified his interest in archaeology. "My career will be in archaeology, so the projects that I have worked on and continue to work on give me the practical experience needed to achieve success within my field," says Buck.

Udall and Goldwater Scholarships Application Process Begins

Do you know an outstanding sophomore or junior student with a list of research accomplishments and a high grade point average?  Nominate him or her to be a Radford University Udall or Goldwater Scholarship nominee.

The Morris K. Udall Undergraduate Scholarship is offered to full-time sophomores or juniors who have demonstrated commitment to careers related to the environment.  Students must have at least a “B” GPA and be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national or U.S. permanent resident.  This $5,000 scholarship may be used for tuition, fees, books, room and board or other specifically approved expenses.  For more information, visit

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship is targeted to students who intend to pursue careers in mathematics, the natural sciences or engineering.

RU is eligible to nominate up to four students for this $7,500 scholarship. To be considered for nomination as a Goldwater Scholar, a student must be a full-time sophomore or junior, have a “B” or higher overall GPA, be in the upper fourth of their class, and be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or U.S. national. 

Please send names of student nominees to J. Orion Rogers by October 19, 2012.


The fall picnic on Friday, September 28 was a great success! I would like to thank everyone who was able to come and for everyone who brought food. Also, we give a special thank you to Dr. Neil Sigmon, for allowing us to use his grill and for grilling for us.

 For our meeting tonight, we will discuss our participation in the on-campus Halloween event, RU Scared, during our normal meeting time at 7 p.m., then we will  head over to Reed Hall as a group for the Planetarium show at 7:30 p.m.

On Saturday, October 13, the club will be participating in the Highlanders Festival from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. and then on Sunday, October 14 will hike the Cascades in Pembroke. We will be leaving the school around 10 a.m. for the hike.

On October 20, the CSAT STEM Club will be going to the Sinkland Farms Pumpkin Patch. Then on November 10, we will be leaving around noon to head to Dixie Caverns. Our last meeting before Thanksgiving Break will be on Thursday, November 15, and we will play board games in the Stuart Hall Lounge during our normal meeting time, rather than having a regular meeting.

If any faculty would like to be a guest speaker for our faculty guest speaker talks, please e-mail the president, Charnele Johnson at

We would love to have you speak at our meeting!

Jasmine Jackson, Secretary