Highlander Highlights: Week of April 7

Students present their research and experiences to President and BOV 


A small group of Radford University students had an opportunity recently to speak about their research, class-based projects and internship experiences with Radford President Bret Danilowicz, Ph.D., and members of the university’s Board of Visitors. The students set up posters that showcased their work on third floor of Kyle Hall on March 23, just outside the room were BOV committee meetings were in session throughout the day.

Participating in the “Experiential Learning on Display” program were students representing all colleges across the university and in various stages of their academic careers. The program was designed to help students build career-ready skills and create opportunities to further practice their networking skills.

Students who participated were Dajai Barrett, a senior criminal justice major from North Chesterfield, Virginia; Crystal Black of Greensboro, North Carolina, who is enrolled in the Doctor of Nursing Practice program; Caleb Bradley, a senior computer science major from South Hill, Virginia; Fallon Bursey, a senior marketing major from Eagle Rock, Virginia; Caroline Cooper, a senior communication major from Salem, Virginia; Ashley Glover, a first-year music therapy student from Richmond, Virginia; Benji Pinckney of Grayson County, Virginia, who is earning a master’s degree in education, instruction and curriculum; Troy Stallard, a biomedical science major from Bedford, Virginia; and Yasmine Tyler, a master of social work student from Louisa, Virginia.

Four students presented together a project that examines the effects of and potential solutions for food insecurity in Southwest Virginia. Presenting students were: McKenzie Cheynet, a first-year biology major with a focus on pre-dentistry from Blacksburg, Virginia; Sophie Crawford, a first-year psychology major from Roanoke, Virginia; Abby Harrigan, a junior allied health sciences major from Manassas, Virginia; and Anika Thompson; a junior nursing major from Beckley, West Virginia.

“It was an amazing opportunity to share my work and network with successful individuals,” Bursey said about presenting to the president and Board of Visitors members. “It was very exciting to share with them the research I've been working on, seeing their excitement for my work and receiving amazing encouragement for my academic and professional career. It was an amazing experience that I was given such a prestigious opportunity, and I am so grateful!”

Bradley said he enjoyed meeting with President Danilowicz and the BOV members, who were “very engaged” with the students, which made it “a fantastic experience.”


Student media members gain valuable insight at NYC conference 


Four members of Highlander Student Media traveled to New York City over spring break to learn from media professionals at the College Media Association national conference at the Marriot Marquis in Times Square.

“This conference had speakers from all different sectors of media come to talk to students from all around the country,” explained Bailey Newton, editor-in-chief of The Beehive, Radford University’s campus yearbook.

Among the guest lecturers speaking at the three-day conference was The New York Times managing editor Marc Lacey.

“This opportunity gave students the chance to not only learn about their own publication but also other publications, other media outlets and it also had chances for scholarships, internships and connections with other advisors and colleges around the United States,” said Newton, a junior art education major from Charlottesville, Virginia.

The conference, Newton noted, gave the Radford team “more knowledge on how to make our publications better, how to advertise and how to make staff more excited.”

Joining Bailey in New York were Radford students Carley Fagan, editor-in-chief of Exit 109; and Radio-Free-Radford vice president Stephanie Perez as well as social media intern Grace Sears.

Professor of English David Beach, Ph.D., “was with us on this trip and always made sure we were good, taken care of, having fun and learning,” Newton said.

Students do their part to replenish forest on strip-mined land


Seven hundred miles from Manhattan, another group of Radford students and faculty were busy getting their hands dirty during the first three days of spring break, planting trees to help restore Appalachian forest on strip-mined land in Eastern Kentucky.

The Radford group collaborated with the Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative and Green Forests Work, which has been working for years to develop best practices for re-growing forests on the abandoned land, “and that is planting trees,” said Associate Professor of History Brock Cutler, who organized the trip.

The Radford group, made up of 15 students and three faculty members, planted more than 1,200 native hardwoods and pine trees on two and a half acres. “The goal is to reproduce the native Appalachian forest of the region,” Cutler said. “It’s hard work, but the students really enjoyed it.”

During their stay in Kentucky, the Radford group lodged in bunk houses at a research station at Lilley Cornett Woods and hiked through old growth forest there. The day after they planted trees, the group toured a retired tunnel mine in Lynch, Kentucky, learning about this history of the region and what mining meant to the community.

“We want our students to go out and see that these are communities that have people in them that work in the community and care about their environments,” Cutler explained. “And, we want them to get hands-on experiences, and one of the best ways to actually learn about a place or a subject is to go out and do work there.”

Participating students were: Nina Becksted, Jordyn Harris, Marinna Hurst, Shailis Joplin, Sierra Kanak, Gifty Kwofie, Ian Lupisella, Grace Osborne, Sara Quintin, Rylie Rollins, Tara Sbitany, Jadyn Sposto, Aidan Velasco-Zimmerman, Luc White and Erica Williams.

Along with Cutler, Professor of Religious Studies Paul Thomas and Associate Professor of Biology Matt Close accompanied the students on the trip.

Apr 7, 2023
Chad Osborne
(540) 831-7761