Highlanders in the News: Week of Jan. 9

Every week, our Highlanders are using their education to do extraordinary things. Here, we’ll highlight some notable mentions from local, regional, national and international news media. Whether our students, alumni, faculty and staff are featured as subject matter experts in high-profile stories or simply helping make the world a better place, we’ll feature their stories.

Zach Collier, Ph.D.

Two from ‘40’

A pair of Radford University faculty members have been included on The Roanoker magazine’s latest “40 Under 40” list of young professionals to watch.

First up: Zach Collier, Ph.D., an assistant professor of management. Collier is an expert on supply chains involving semiconductors, and he’s written extensively about the political and technological issues tied to those components.

In April, he published an opinion piece on the subject for Newsweek, and last summer Collier was both interviewed by CNN and had a guest spot on the Global Auto Industry podcast. In the fall, he presented a strategy for dealing with semiconductor shortages for Supply Chain Quarterly and also offered a ‘state of the union’ overview for Industry Week.

All told, he’s authored more than 50 journal articles, chapters and conference papers in his field of expertise.

With regard to his role as a local educator and scholar, Collier offered The Roanoker a similarly technologically minded parallel.

“A community is kind of like a machine – you get out of it what you put into it,” he said. “I feel like the people living there should try to find creative ways to make it the best place it can be.”

Branden Robertson

Also tapped by the Star City magazine was Branden Robertson, who starts this semester as adjunct faculty at Radford University Carilion, teaching public health and healthcare leadership.

Robertson, 33, is the director of quality and patient safety at Carilion Clinic in Roanoke, where he’s worked for just shy of a decade.

In his profile, Robertson said his occupation intermingles neatly with his passion for “improving safety and inefficiencies,” which makes his work easier.

This year’s “40 Under 40” class was culled from 112 nominations throughout the area.

“We could not have asked for a more impressive group of young professionals in the Roanoke Valley,” the magazine’s editors wrote. “It is so exciting to know so many are doing so much in our region.”

Andrea Gee

Filling a need

Virginia currently has 4,510 job openings for nurses, with more than 500 of those in the Roanoke area, according to a Jan. 8 story in The Roanoke Times.

The article focuses on some of the ways Carilion Clinic and other local medical systems are partnering with schools – including Radford University – to help offset those shortages.

At the article’s center is Andrea Gee, a student in the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program at Radford University Carilion, as well as a Carilion Clinic patient care technician.

Gee told the newspaper that she was married, had a child and had worked in a bank for six years when she made the move to follow what she believes is her calling and become a registered nurse.

“I always took care of people, since I was a kid,” she explained.

The cost of her education is covered by the Carilion Clinic Foundation’s Doris and Lynn Morris Scholarship, the story said, and that allows her more freedom and flexibility as she finishes her studies.

“I have a great support system from my unit directors to my husband, family, and friends,” Gee said. “Without their support, I would not be almost finished with the ABSN program.”

Shaunda Macomber

“Farm livin’ is the life for me….”

By day, Shaunda Macomber is Radford’s financial aid office’s assistant director of special populations.

Nights and weekends and most times in between, however, she directs a different kind of special population – one involving 11 hens and a rooster, a barn cat and two dogs, a quartet of sheep and, coming soon, possibly a few lambs.

How did she become the head of Old Macomber’s Farm & Homestead, a 17-acre spread not far from the Pulaski County line?

It’s a tale that involves several elements, not least of which is Maggie, a footloose hen from her childhood, and Macomber recently shared her backstory with The Delmarva Farmer for a Jan. 6 profile.

She also talks about how the pandemic affected agricultural businesses; her crash course in the processing and dyeing of wool; and her goal of operating a modern farm in a tricky economy.

“We are trying to be more self-sustainable,” Macomber explained. “I can do a wide variety of things with the wool from our sheep, and we will sell the lambs either locally or through the New River Valley Sheep and Goats Club’s program.”

Jan 13, 2023
Neil Harvey
540 831-5150