Highlanders in the News: Week of April 8, 2024

Every other 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.

On the rebound

A sophomore guard for the Highlanders men's basketball team is coming back strong after an unexpected and harrowing timeout.

Kyle Burns (Photo: Fox 5 Atlanta)

An April 1 story by Fox 5 (Atlanta) caught up with Kyle Burns, a sports management major from Marietta, Georgia. 

Burns earned an athletic scholarship to attend Radford in fall 2022, but he fell ill that summer and was later diagnosed with a brain abscess brought on by a sinus infection, a condition that required him to undergo three surgical procedures.

In Fox 5's story, one of Burns' doctors, a neurosurgeon, said the circumstances of his illness were incredibly rare, springing from "an anatomic anomaly" and that "most people would not develop this from sinusitis."

After completing physical therapy, Burns rejoined the Highlanders basketball team last fall, scoring 14 points in his first game. He said getting back in the game has aided his recovery.

"I'm free on the court," Burns told Fox 5. "It's just like therapy, honestly."

A "Hub" for business

Radford's new 12,581-square-foot economic development support center is the subject of a March 28 profile in Virginia Business Magazine

Vice President of Economic Development and Corporate Education Angela Joyner at The Hub at Radford University (Photo: Virginia Business Magazine/Don Petersen)

The Hub at Radford University opened in October with goals that include pairing students with viable internships, promoting workforce training and strengthening bonds between the school and regional businesses.

The facility is home to the Radford University Division of Economic Development and Corporate Education and the Vinod Chachra Innovative Mobile Personalized Accelerated Competency Training (IMPACT) Lab.

"One of our objectives, as we move forward, is identifying companies who may want to have a footprint in the region and hire our students," Radford's Vice President of Economic Development and Corporate Education Angela Joyner told Virginia Business magazine.

The Hub sits on East Main Street, at the foot of Tyler Avenue, which positions it firmly as part of the city's commercial stretch but within close sight of campus.

 "Our location … is symbolic to the vital role we play as an anchor institution and as a strong contributor to the well-being of the city of Radford and the region," Joyner said in the article.

Digging "In the Dirt"

A filmmaking alum whose camera frequently focuses on cycling is returning to campus to screen and discuss his latest movie. 


T.C. Johnstone '96 will present his documentary "In the Dirt" on Monday, April 15, at 3:30 and 7 p.m. at the Hurlburt Student Center Auditorium. The movie focuses on the popularity of mountain biking across the more than 27,000 square miles that comprise the Navajo Nation. Here is a trailer for the film.

Both screenings will feature a Q&A with Johnstone and are sponsored by the Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism, the College of Education and Human Development, the Honors College, the Center for Diversity and Inclusion and Cinema and Screen Studies.

In February, Johnstone was interviewed by KSUT Public Radio, and the director talked about what he learned while making the film within the Navajo Nation.

"I think a big piece of this to me was just to learn that they were willing to look past my skin color, to allow me in and to help me understand what this world looked like, and we were having fun doing it," he said. "I was seeing things that I had never seen and learning about culture and treated like family, and that's rare."

Johnstone previously directed 2012's "Rising from Ashes," which told the story of the first Rwandan national cycling team. 

Extra credit


In March, Radford University announced the launch of its Highlander Works Grant program, which helps pay for costs students incur when they're undertaking for-credit internships.

The program provides funds to cover such expenses as housing and transportation, and The Roanoke Times had coverage of the news, as did television stations WFXR and WSLS.

"These grants will allow for the students to feel better about their internship, feel more secure about their internship, and make the most of a valuable internship opportunity," Patrick Reed, Radford's director of executive communications, said in a WSLS spot that ran March 28.

The Highlander Works Grant Program is supported by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) through Virginia Talent + Opportunity Partnership (V-Top).

More information about the Highlander Works Grant program is available here

Apr 12, 2024
Neil Harvey