An innovative scholarship program is preparing ACSAT students to become leaders.
Radford University conferred degrees on 1,887 undergraduate and graduate students.
George M. Harvey Sr. awarded honorary degree at Commencement.
Using creativity to overcome real-world challenges.
IT students and faculty excel in cybersecurity activities.
Graduate program sparks success on the job.
The international reach of Radford University continues to expand.
Angela Joyner jumpstarts campus Career Center.
An innovative scholarship program is preparing Artis College of Science and Technology (ACSAT) students to become the leaders of tomorrow.
ELITES, Emerging Leaders in Technology, Science and Mathematics (STEM), is a unique opportunity for students to develop and enhance key leadership skills that are not generally associated with STEM areas of study.
Assistant Professor of Mathematics Jean Mistele, the ELITES student advisor, explains: “The idea of STEM leaders is different than what you typically think about organizational leaders, where you want an outgoing personality to lead the people in the organization. STEM leaders generally are going to be leaders within a lab environment or a leader in the research field.”
Many STEM students are introverted, Mistele added. Their comfort zone is often in front of a computer screen or behind a microscope. By encouraging them to interact with other students and faculty, practice public speaking and engage in research, students will enter the workforce better prepared to tackle challenges, embrace diversity and lead others in a STEM field.
Currently, ELITES is part of the RU-NextGen: Preparing the Next Generation of Leaders in Science, Technology and Mathematics project funded in 2014 through 2019 by the National Science Foundation.
As of spring 2017, five students have graduated with ELITES distinction.
Rising sophomore and Bland County, Virginia, native Cole Faulkner, a pre-med student majoring in biology, said ELITES has pushed him to be more active on campus.
“The program was a great choice to make because it can and has already helped further my career as an undergraduate student,” he said. “It takes a lot of time out of my week, but it’s worth it.”
ELITES students sharpen their skills in four distinct categories: research, communication, career development and management and service. Tasks within each category are assigned points, ranging from one to 10. To successfully complete the program, a student must earn a minimum of 20 points.
The extracurricular activities the students engage in, the posters and research they present, the symposiums and conferences they attend, the internships they apply for — all the tasks are STEM focused, Mistele said.
A major component of the program is faculty mentorship through research studies and other types of projects.
Mistele is in regular contact with students to make sure they stay on track. Her major concern is ensuring the students are academically strong, followed by their progress in ELITES. Students are encouraged to engage with their professors to reach academic success and success in the program by engaging in research projects and learning about other opportunities in which they can enhance their STEM leadership skills.
The program was a great choice to make because it can and has already helped further my career as an undergraduate student."
“It’s definitely not a program where they leave you and let you go about your day,” said biology major Kyanna Jenkins. “They check in on you and form a bond with you.”
Jenkins, a rising senior, has been participating in undergraduate research since her freshman year with Associate Professor of Biology Tara Phelps-Durr.
“It’s been amazing,” said Jenkins, who conducts botany research. “ELITES has pushed me to do these things; to strive beyond just getting a good GPA.”
In addition to pursuing undergraduate research, Faulkner is also a teaching assistant and peer mentor – two tasks he can check off his ELITES list.
“Being a peer mentor has been a fulfilling role to play,” he said. “Just telling other students, ‘Hey, I’ve been in your shoes.’ ‘I know what you’re going through.’ ‘I’m here to help you succeed.’”
ELITES was one of the main reasons Jenkins, of Norfolk, decided to attend Radford University.
Hanna Mitchell ’17, of Vienna, Virginia, was part of the first cohort of students to be accepted into the ELITES program in 2014. She is one of three who graduated with the distinction this spring.
While at Radford, Mitchell admitted she was one of those rare “extroverted” STEM students.
“I’ve always been really outgoing. I was president of the STEM Club and Math Club,” she said. “But ELITES gave me added reassurance that I was on the right track.”
With that extra confidence boost in her pocket, Mitchell said she’s now exploring graduate school programs. She wants to work with young women and show them how being involved in STEM fields can improve their self-esteem.
Video: Watch highlights of the 2017 spring commencement ceremonies, held May 5 and 6, featuring keynote speaker Frank M. Beamer, M.S. '72, former Virginia Tech Head Football Coach.
But more than anything, always stay humble and kind."
Radford University conferred degrees on 1,887 undergraduate and graduate students at its spring commencement ceremonies May 4-5, culminating with the undergraduate ceremony on Moffett Lawn.
“It’s been a really great four years at Radford University, and coming here was the best decision of my life,” said Lauren Gallops as she waited for the main ceremony to begin on a cool and occasionally rainy Saturday morning.
“I’ve really been able to connect with professors, and I’ve made so many lifelong friends here,” said the public relations major from Roanoke. “I’m going to be leaving a piece of myself here and taking a piece of Radford with me as well.”
Radford alumnus and retired Virginia Tech football coach Frank M. Beamer, M.S. ’72 served as keynote speaker. Beamer received his Master of Science in Guidance and Counseling from Radford College in 1972.
“I’m proud of my degree and as I look around today, I can see that the class of 2017 has greatly enhanced my degree,” Beamer said. “So, thank you to all my fellow alumni.”
Beamer spoke of overcoming adversity and preparing for success, citing his mother Herma Beamer, a 1936 Radford graduate, as an uplifting example.
“As you embark on your career, as you put your degree from Radford University to work, each of you are going to face adversity. It’s going to happen, so prepare for it each day,” Beamer said. “But more importantly, prepare each day for how you will react to the situation. You may not be able to control what happens to you, but you can control how you respond. My mother taught me that at an early age.”
Beamer asked the graduates to draw inspiration from a famous speech from a basketball coach, the late Jim Valvano, and from a song by one of his favorite country music artists, Tim McGraw.
“As you begin your life after college, there will be times when it seems like there’s a mountain to climb. You’re going to face adversity, but you can climb it,” he said. “You can make it to the peak by preparing each day for how you will handle adversity. Dream big and remember: laugh, think, cry. But more than anything, always stay humble and kind.”
Beamer was awarded an honorary doctoral degree following his commencement address.
Beamer encouraged the graduates to be thankful to people who helped them toward their goal of graduating.
“There are a great number of people who have helped you get here today,” he said. “Many have given you guidance, support and direction. Make sure you thank them today. Make sure you tell them you love them today.”
Following his address, Beamer was awarded an honorary doctoral degree “in recognition of the invaluable lifetime achievements created through unyielding commitment, dedication, leadership and unwavering compassion,” said Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Joe Scartelli.
Presenting the honor was Radford University President Brain O. Hemphill.
“Coach Beamer, by the authority invested in me by the Radford University Board of Visitors, as president I hereby formally confirm upon you the honorary doctorate of public service degree,” Hemphill said. “Dr. Beamer, you are now a double alumnus of Radford University. Thank you for your many contributions to the Radford family and the New River Valley.”
Later in the ceremony, Hemphill awarded local business owner and pillar of the Radford community George M. Harvey Sr. an honorary Bachelor’s in Business Administration.
Presiding over his first spring commencement, President Hemphill told the graduates that a Radford education “prepares you for a life of service, not only to your family, but to those in need. I am confident that you will take your Radford education with you on the journey ahead. I urge you to continue to make education a lifelong pursuit.”
The majority of this year’s graduates — 95 percent — were Virginia residents. Graduates came to Radford from 112 Virginia localities, which accounted for 84 percent of the Commonwealth.
The remaining graduates came to Radford from 17 other states, including Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Graduates also represented 19 foreign countries, including Ethiopia, Ghana, Canada, Honduras, India and the United Kingdom.
The number of first-generation graduates totaled 596, 36 percent of the graduating class.
Another unique statistic of the Class of 2017 are graduates ranged in age from 19 to 57, and eight graduates celebrated birthdays on commencement day.
George M. Havery Sr. awarded honorary degree at Commencement.
A beloved member of the Radford community and Highlander family, George M. Harvey Sr., was honored May 6 during the University’s spring 2017 Commencement Ceremony on Moffett Lawn. Radford University President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D., bestowed upon him an honorary Bachelor of Business Administration in recognition of his lifetime achievement in business and faithful service to his community.
“George is a great supporter of the University and a great friend. He is a true Virginia gentleman. Throughout his many business endeavors, he was engaging in innovation before people even thought of innovation. He is one of the great examples of someone ahead of his time. His success in business and his dedication to his community has made a positive impact on Radford University, the Radford community and the New River Valley,” said President Hemphill.
Bruce Cunningham, interim vice president for University Advancement, a Radford native and grandson of Radford University’s second president, David Wilbur Peters, Ph.D., remembers his father calling George M. Harvey Sr. “Big H.” He said Harvey has been a role model and inspiration for him and so many others. “George has been so much a part of the community and Radford University. This honor is so fitting,” said Cunningham.
After serving in the U.S. Army and taking classes at the National Business College in Roanoke, George M. Harvey Sr. began his professional career owning a service station, then a used car dealership, gas distributorship and a new car business. With each business success, he would use his profits to invest in the next and even more successful business. His son Brad Harvey said that his father’s success came from the way he treated people. “Dad would say ‘always tell the truth, be honest and good things will come,’” said Brad Harvey.
In 1959, George M. Harvey Sr. founded what we know today as Harvey’s Chevrolet. In 1989, Time magazine named Harvey a Quality Dealer Award finalist, and his selection was announced by Time magazine at the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Convention in New Orleans on Jan. 28, 1989. He was only one of 10 dealers nationwide to be named a finalist for his outstanding business performance and exceptional community service.
In addition to working hard and being a successful businessman, Harvey is dedicated to his community. He has held positions on boards of directors in the areas of health care, banking, education and community organizations. During Radford University President Donald Dedmon’s tenure, Harvey served as the second president of the Radford University Foundation Board of Directors.
“George Harvey Sr. is recognized today for his commitment to his community, his accomplished career, his role in the economic prosperity of this region and what he does every day to make the New River Valley a wonderful place to live and work,” said Joe Scartelli, Ph.D., interim provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “I know you serve as a role model for so many people and hope that the graduates here today will also be inspired by your success.”
When George M. Harvey Sr. accepted the degree from President Hemphill, he humbly told the audience of graduates and their families “this is not my day, this is your day, the day that you are graduating. You’re getting your degree and you’re in your 20s. I’m getting mine when I’m 89!,” said Harvey. He said to the crowd of 1,800 graduates and their families that “the most important part of Radford University is the students. Radford University is here to give our students a quality education at a reasonable price,” said Harvey.
“I just want Radford University to grow and prosper. That’s my goal. With Dr. Hemphill’s ability, energy and willingness to work, I believe we can accomplish that,” said Harvey.
Commencement days are nothing new for Harvey. He has five children and 15 grandchildren, and “I’ve been to a few of them over the years, but this is the first one that I’ve been to for myself,” he said after the Commencement ceremony. “It was a great event. To have my children and grandchildren here with me made it even more special.
Around campus, Radford University has places for students and faculty to devise solutions to the problems of a modern world. These unique places house the Maker community on campus.
Radford was named a Make School by the Make School Alliance in 2016, joining 47 other colleges and universities, such as Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, Yale and Penn State, to earn that designation.
The MakerSpaces, where the modern solutions are created, are located inside Peery Hall, the Department of Design Make Lab and the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning New Media Center. Some of the materials inside the spaces include 3D printing and design, programming and microcontrollers, electronics, power and hand tools, e-textiles, fabrics and multimedia.
The MakerSpaces allow for faculty and staff to collaborate — outside and inside of the classroom — to enhance learning through practical hands-on experience.
Radford has a freshman learning community built around the existing Maker community and lifestyle. The living-learning community in Peery Hall is open to all incoming freshman at Radford, regardless of their major.
“They will have greater access to the makerspace than the general student population,” said Physics Professor Rhett Herman. “They have workshops during the semester that teach them design, thinking, process and technical skills that most people don’t have the opportunity to learn while in college.”
Herman said that the living-learning community looks for creative students — ones who identify a problem and create a solution.
“The presence of two interdisciplinary, campus-wide MakerSpaces — the New Media Center and the Peery MakerSpace — along with the interdisciplinary livinglearning community, reinforce the broad scope of our Maker movement,” said Assistant Vice Provost of High Impact Practices and Professor of Sociology Jeanne Mekolichick.
Through community outreach, Radford University faculty and students also work with local schools.
“Society needs graduates who are prepared to work in diverse teams, understand how to approach complex problems, communicate outside of their discipline area and understand the value of failure,” Mekolichick said.
Students who adopt the Maker mindset will see themselves as creators, problem solvers and team members. Radford students will also have tangible products to present potential employers.
“This is the power and impact that the Maker movement can have on our students,” Mekolichick said.
This spring, the Radford University Department of Information Technology continued to lead the charge in cybersecurity education.
In February, the Radford University Cyber Defense Club earned second place at the inaugural Virginia Fusion Cyber Cup Competition, at which schools from across the state competed in cybersecurity challenges.
Team members, coached by Associate Professor of Computer Science Prem Uppuluri, included Jacob Walters, Mehdi Himmiche, Harry Frank, Joey Burt ’17, Michael Basala and Sean Anderson. Joining the participating team members were students Ben Adams, Carlie Addicks, Danielle Pompa and Matthew Wallace ’17, who served as observers to prepare for future competitions.
During the competition, teams tackled problems in scenarios designed to model real-world computer security challenges across a range of categories that include cryptography, network traffic analysis, reverse engineering, steganography, memory forensics and pen-testing.
Radford University faculty members have also showcased their cybersecurity expertise at several on- and off-campus functions.
In March, Uppuluri was featured at the Making Connections cybersecurity conference in Roanoke. There, he sat on a panel with Gen. James Clapper, former director of National Intelligence under President Barack Obama. Uppuluri shared Radford University’s efforts to prepare students for the cybersecurity workforce and stressed the sooner students are introduced to cybersecurity practices, the more their interest will grow. He also suggested educators think of ways to incorporate cybersecurity training into everyday lessons.
The conference, hosted by Roanoke County Public Schools and the Virginia Society for Technology in Education, was a new technology summit held with the goal of increasing the pipeline of students in cybersecurity.
The demand for cybersecurity professionals is projected to far exceed the number of graduates produced by higher education."
Radford University has been at the forefront of that effort in Virginia with programs such as a class for middle and high school students entitled “Data Security, Ethics and Privacy,” as well as with training for teachers and other faculty members. Uppuluri, along with additional members of the Department of Information Technology faculty, created this programming, secured grant funding from the National Security Agency (NSA) and established the Center for Information Security at Radford University.
“The demand for cybersecurity professionals is projected to far exceed the number of graduates produced by higher education,” said chair of the Department of Information Technology Jeff Pittges. “Our department is committed to providing the highest quality cybersecurity education to ensure that our graduates master the necessary skills and best practices to protect the Commonwealth and the nation.”
To further pique students’ interest in cybersecurity, Radford University hosted in April one of the Commonwealth’s largest cybersecurity competitions, called “Capture the Flag.” More than 250 students, representing 63 teams from 28 high schools and three community colleges, participated in the competition, which was co-directed by Uppuluri and Professor of Information Technology Joe Chase.
These events are the most recent in a series of intentional activities by the Radford University community to enhance cybersecurity training.
In June 2016, Radford University was designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CDE) by the NSA and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Radford University is one of only seven four-year institutions in Virginia to earn the prestigious national CAE-CDE designation.
Graduate program sparks success on the job.
A graduate degree is a solid investment that can take a career to the next level.
Radford University serves those aspiring to open new doors for professional advancement or to stand out from the competition in today’s job marketplace. Its rich menu of programs can sharpen professional skills and broaden knowledge.
Master’s degrees are a popular way to enable career change or career advancement. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the number of master’s and doctoral degrees conferred is expected to continue increasing through 2022-23.
A graduate degree has the potential to significantly increase earnings. On average, employers will pay 21 percent more to those who hold a master’s degree than to those with a bachelor’s degree, according to 2015 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Several of Radford University’s largest graduate degree programs — in fields of education, healthcare and social service and business — are among those fields in which the master’s degree can pay the greatest financial dividends.
“A hallmark of the Radford graduate school experience is the focus on advanced professional training and applied research as preparation for professional success,” said Acting Dean of the College of Graduate Studies and Research (CGSR) Laura Jacobsen.
Graduate study is a central part of the Radford campus fabric.
The CGSR coordinates RadfordUniversity’s rich menu of graduate offerings:
- Twenty-two master’s programs in 17 disciplines
- Three doctoral programs
- Eleven post-baccalaureate certificates
- One post-master’s certificate
According to Jacobsen, additional program options are being developed. These include innovative options using online and hybrid delivery formats, thereby providing flexible learning paths.
Those looking to enhance their credentials at Radford University will find a highly supportive environment. A core strength of Radford University’s graduate school experience is the engaged faculty who embrace teaching and provide significant, close professional direction.
The cohort of Radford University graduate students receives solid support. Nearly half of all full-time Radford University graduate students have some form of assistantship or fellowship. Additionally, more than 70 Radford University graduate students in the 2016-2017 academic year received professional development awards supporting their travel to present at professional conferences.
“The facilities for many of our programs are designed for innovation. They are creative, high-tech platforms for 21st-century teaching and learning that forge connections to advanced professional careers,” Jacobsen said. “Our program facilities are now as modern and strong as the faculty who teach and as the programs themselves.”
There are inherent values of a postgraduate degree. Some are career-related, according to Jacobsen, such as improved earning potential and broadened job opportunities. Jacobsen added that other personal benefits such as challenging one’s self, building new professional relationships, sharpening leadership skills and having freedom to deeply explore personal interests, make graduate study and a master’s degree a solid investment with a lifelong return.
“At Radford University, we are invested in each graduate student’s success,” Jacobsen said.
The international reach of Radford University continues to expand.
With the signing of a Study Abroad Agreement with Monash University by Radford University President Brian O. Hemphill in November, Radford University will reach “Down Under.”
Monash, Australia’s largest university, is highly ranked in the London Times’ Higher Education World University Rankings and by the U.S. News & World Report. Based in Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city, Monash has four campuses and 70,000 students, including 25,000 international students.
“This is an exciting way to further globalize the Radford University community and enrich our students’ collegiate experience,” said President Hemphill.
Monash has a global footprint, with four Melbourne-area campuses, satellite campuses in China, India, South Africa and Italy and a network of international partners.
Radford University is exploring a Chinese connection as well. President Hemphill welcomed colleagues from the Shandong Youth University of Political Science in China to discuss potential student and faculty exchanges, joint degree programs and other international collaborations.
Shandong Youth University of Political Science is a 12,000-student university, located in a populous and affluent east Chinese province, that grants bachelor’s and associate’s degrees in disciplines such as economics, design arts, information technology and political science.
“Agreements can give professionally and personally life-changing opportunities both to our students and the international students we welcome to our campus,” said International Education Center (IEC) Director Paul Currant.
Through the IEC, Radford University students can study abroad for a semester, academic year or on one of many short-term programs. Among Radford’s expanding international exchange partners are France’s Blaise Pascal University and EMLyon Business School and ESDES School of Business and Management; Kassel University in Germany; Japan’s Osaka University of Commerce and Kansai Gaidai University; and the University of Glasgow in Scotland.
Angela Joyner jumpstarts campus Career Center.
Angela Joyner is on a mission to take Radford University's Career Center to a new level. She wants to help students find their path to career happiness and success.
The Center's executive director is driving an effort to “evolve the center to focus on three areas that will have the most positive impact on our students” and engage alumni, she said.
Joyner, who began her role at Radford University in June 2016, is determined to create more experiential learning opportunities for students, develop talent and build stronger collaborative communities.
“We want to create a culture where every student has the opportunity to participate in at least one experiential learning activity,” Joyner said. “Whether it be internships, student research, study abroad, work-study or job shadowing, we would like each student to engage in activities that will put their classroom work into practice.”
Application-based experiences, Joyner said, will further develop Radford University students to be engaged contributors in the future.
Radford University has an abundance of talented students who can fulfill those roles, and Joyner aims to provide them with rich personal and professional development opportunities.
“We want to focus on competencies that are highly desired by employers and required for success in the workplace today,” she said. “This holistic approach to talent development, not just career placement, will help students be stronger leaders and give them the ability to integrate their classroom learning with their unique talents.”
Joyner wants to help those talented students connect with industry experts, employers, mentors and alumni. “These communities will also help students connect with others who are interested in the same fields and industries so that they can build strategic relationships that will last a lifetime,” she said.
Before coming to Radford, Joyner served as vice president and general manager of ConAgra Foods in Naperville, Illinois. Her previous higher education experiences include teaching as an adjunct professor of brand management at the Paul Merage School of Business at the University of California, Irvine.
Joyner, who is “unapologetically doing what I love,” holds a bachelor’s degree from North Carolina State University, an MBA in marketing from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and a doctorate of philosophy from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.
Her greater mission at Radford University is to provide strategic leadership for developing, implementing and evaluating recruiting systems, programs and events to connect employers with Radford University students, faculty and alumni.
We want to focus on competencies that are highly desired by employers and required for success in the workplace today."
“I am excited about the future of the Career Center and how we can help our students be successful,” Joyner said. “With the challenges our world is facing, our students are being called to solve complex problems, serve their communities and add value to their future organizations.
Joyner has spoken to groups of alumni throughout the year and encouraged them to connect with the Career Center and help students find internships and employment upon graduation. During the Alumni Volunteer Summit on campus in February, she discussed ways in which alumni can become more involved.
Rodney Crowe ’89 was a finance major at Radford University and attended the Career Center workshop during the summit. He says that he attended the summit because he wants to give back to the University. He works in the finance area of federal contracting and has ideas for classes that would better prepare students to work in his area of business.
“I see a need and I see how Radford can help fill it,” said Crowe, who is also interested in providing internship opportunities for Radford University students.
“We have to inspire and equip our students so that they can confidently leave their unique contribution in the world,” said Joyner. “Our commitment is to help individuals and organizations thrive. My belief is that our relationship with Highlanders should last a lifetime.”