Nursing: Faculty member honored by Virginia March of Dimes

Jeanne Salyer, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Adult Health and Nursing Systems, VCU School of Nursing

Jeanne Salyer, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Adult Health and Nursing Systems, VCU School of Nursing

The March of Dimes Virginia Chapter recognized Jeanne Salyer, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Adult Health and Nursing Systems, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Nursing, for her contributions to congestive heart failure research and her dedication to nursing education at the Nurse of the Year Gala on Nov. 1.

Salyer, who has taught at the School of Nursing for more than 30 years, received the education, research and author award at the fourth annual event.

“Dr. Salyer is persistently seeking ways to make a difference in nursing care to optimize congestive heart failure patients’ quality of life,” said Kyungeh An, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Adult Health and Nursing Systems at VCU.

Salyer has taught undergraduate, graduate and doctoral classes at the School of Nursing in addition to mentoring students in the doctoral program as their adviser and serving as a dissertation chair.

“She always keeps the office door open for students,” An said, adding that Salyer is a great mentor to less experienced faculty members as well. “Such mentoring upholds VCU School of Nursing’s reputation as a workplace where everyone can grow while they pursue their career in education, research and practice.”

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Pharmacy: Fall picnic fosters fun

First-year Pharm.D. students reigned supreme in the School of Pharmacy fall picnic’s tug-of-war contest … while Dean Joseph T. DiPiro discovered that one of his new responsibilities was to serve as judge in this important rite of passage.

For the first time in recent memory, a faculty team won the volleyball rivalry against students. Hundreds of hot dogs and hamburgers helped fuel competitors.

See photos from the School of Pharmacy’s fall picnic at Shields Lake Shelter in Richmond’s Byrd Park.

Business: Mentors needed for Ram to Ram program

ramtoramThe VCU School of Business is looking looking for alumni and friends of VCU to help students develop into professionals through the Ram to Ram program.

Students need exposure to the professional world to be successful, and this program facilitates these experiences through informational interviews and mentoring opportunities.

If interested, please register today.

VCU Libraries: Dust off your thesis or dissertation

ScholarsCompass_t4-compressorThe VCU Libraries now offers an exciting new program that captures and publishes for free the intellectual work of the university. Alumni are invited to participate.

Scholars Compass launched this fall. It is a digital university “press” that preserves and electronically disseminates articles, book chapters, presentations, data and other work produced by faculty, students, staff and alumni. Some 4.500 items are currently housed in Scholars Compass. Hundreds of items are downloaded daily by interested readers. The platform is optimized so the content can be easily found by Google and other search engines, which helps make it popular.

A large part of Scholars Compass is the collection of Electronic Theses and Dissertations produced by recent generations of students. Since 2009, required papers have been filed electronically.

Older alumni well remember burning the midnight oil as a grad student, typing their papers, using reams of paper to print it, and delivering the required copies on deadline to their academic department and to the library, which shelved yours along with thousands of other student works.

Now, with your permission, VCU Libraries will take those dusty volumes, feed them through high- speed scanners, index them so they can be easily found by anyone on the Internet, and deposit them in Scholars Compass.

Why get involved? Your work can help others worldwide as they can learn from prior research. You will help strengthen VCU’s scholarly reputation by adding your work to Scholars Compass. You will receive reports on how many times people have read your opus.

How cool is that?

To give VCU Libraries permission to scan your graduate paper and to add it to Scholars Compass, please contact or call Sam Byrd at (804) 827-3556. Your readers are waiting for you!

To learn more about VCU Libraries, to receive email updates on initiatives like Scholars Compass and invitations to free educational programs sponsored by the Friends of the VCU Libraries, contact Kimberly Separ (M.A.’97/A), director of development and community relations, at (804) 827-1163 or or join online.

Pharmacy: Alumni participate in VSHP Fall Seminar and Residency Showcase

The 2014 Virginia Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists Seminar and Residency Showcase attracted a number of VCU School of Pharmacy students as well as some familiar (and recent) alumni faces. Among the residency locations represented were Riverside Regional Medical Center in Newport News with Lindsay Fournier (Pharm.D.’14/P), VCU Health System with Natalie Nguyen (Pharm.D.’14/P) and WellPoint with Jeremy Landsheft (Pharm.D.’14/P).

Several SOP alumni are 2013-14 VSHP officers: Brian Baird (Cert.’01/En; Pharm.D.’03/P), president; Jerry Martin (B.S.’88/P; M.B.A.’01/B), immediate past president; Bob Stoneburner (B.S.’74/P) and Emily Dyer (Pharm.D.’07P), members at large. (If we missed anyone, please let us know! Email Ashley Street is president of SVSHP, the student chapter of VSHP, and the faculty advisor is Leigh Anne Hylton Gravatt (Pharm.D.’03/P).

See the entire VSHP roster, including regional officers and committee chairmen.

Alumni return to bid farewell to VCU Career Services adviser

Joe Lyons and alumni

Joe Lyons and alumni

People throw around the phrase “force of nature” a lot. Joseph Lyons is a force. Students just gravitate to him. Spend 5 minutes with Lyons and you’ll feel like you’ve known him for decades.

“He’s kind of a big deal to me…a superman, like a colossus, really. The number of men that I look up to in life can be counted on one hand, without the thumb.  Mr. Lyons is, has, and always will be on that list,” Rodney Stokes (B.S.’04/B) said.

Lyons, a 24-year Virginia Commonwealth University employee, left on Nov. 13 to serve as associate director of Career Services at Virginia State University. He didn’t depart without a proper send off from a few students he’s helped along the way.

On Nov. 11, a dozen alumni traveled from around the state to take Lyons out for a farewell lunch. His enduring commitment to them fueled their journey.

“He has been a voice of reason at times when all options, so I thought, were exhausted. Joe is an excellent friend and a father figure to me. He always knew when to give me a hug or a kick in the hind parts,” said Clarence Bivens, a former student.

During his 24 years at VCU, first as an academic adviser and then as a career and industry adviser with VCU Career Services, Lyons forged strong bonds with students. He could often be found chatting with students in the University Student Commons or inviting them to join his family for Sunday dinner in his home.

Lyons came to VCU in 1985 to work with conditionally-accepted students and then left for a position at Virginia State University. He returned to VCU in the early 90’s as an academic adviser and later transitioned to working in career services.

“I’ve literally grown up professionally at this institution,” Lyons said.

Throughout his time as a career and industry adviser, Lyons witnessed many changes in the career and professional development services offered to students and alumni. As VCU Career Services continued its evolution, Lyons played an integral role developing and expanding the career ambassador program, a year-long career leadership program for undergraduate students.

Throughout all of it, Lyons remained devoted to his alumni. When Career Services staff asked visiting alumni if they had an appointment, the most common response was, “No, I just texted Joe.”

“Mr. Lyons was the parent I needed while I was away from home. He never hesitated to tell me to get my act together, he never sugar coated things and always pushed me to make the most of the opportunity I had at VCU,” Derrick Moseley (B.S.’02/B) said.

The students Lyons advised and mentored have gone on to successful careers, started families, and earned Ph.Ds. and master’s degrees. Lyons has even given his permission and blessing for a marriage for one VCU alumnus.

“To see how they have just become adults and professionals, and to have a fraction of a contribution to that, is just exciting. Who can have job a where you make this little contribution and it just multiplies and grows,” Lyons said.

In his role at Virginia State University, Lyons will continue to advise students and will work on expanding STEM career and professional development opportunities. His new office is five minutes from his house. He’s considering getting a bike so that he can, as he puts it, “be one of those old men in a suit who rides a bike to work.”

Pharmacy: School wins national community engagement award

MagrathFourteen VCU School of Pharmacy (seven alumni among them), 35 residents and more than 500 students contributed to a program that won the 2014 C. Peter Magrath University Community Engagement Award.

The Pharmacist Collaborative Care and Outreach in the Community program covers the school’s community partnerships and outreach programs since 2001, which have resulted in more than 20,000 patient care encounters.

The award, sponsored by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, was accepted at APLU’s 127th Annual Meeting by Cathy Howard, vice provost for the VCU Division of Community Engagement. This is the first time VCU has won an APLU award.

School of Pharmacy Dean Joseph T. DiPiro said, “This is a terrific recognition of our efforts and a great incentive to build these programs further.”

SOP faculty alumni who have worked closely with PCOC are Krista Donohoe (Cert.’10/AHP; Pharm.D.’10/P), Kelly Goode (B.S.’89/P; Pharm.D.’94/P), Sharon Gatewood (B.S.’97/H&S; Pharm.D.’02/P),  Brigitte Sicat (Pharm.D.’98/P), Evan Sisson (B.S.’92/P; Pharm.D.’94/P, M.S.H.A.’96/AHP), Patty Slattum (B.S. ’85/P; Cert.’92/AHP; Ph.D.’93/P) and Tyler Stevens (Pharm.D.’06/P). Hundreds of students – too many to name! – who now are alumni also served as part of the program.

Learn more about the Magrath Award.

Life Sciences: NOAA awards VCU grant to lead oyster reef research

oystersResearchers at Virginia Commonwealth University‘s Rice Rivers Center have been granted $181,000 to examine the natural benefits restored oyster reefs provide to various fish species. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Chesapeake Bay Office awarded the grant that will fund research on Virginia’s Piankatank river.

The Nature Conservancy, Virginia Marine Resources Commission and Army Corps of Engineers are working together to replenish the Piankatank river with oysters, using restored reefs to provide habitats for fish and crabs. VCU researchers will examine how these efforts are enhancing fish populations and diversity compared to areas that have not been restored. Additionally, the NOAA will use sonar to map and survey the bottom of the river in order to identify the best locations to site future oyster restoration projects.

“The cooperative nature of this project allows us to quantify an important ecosystem service of oyster reefs – the production of ecologically and commercially important fish,” said principal investigator Stephen McIninch, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Center for Environmental Studies, VCU Life Sciences.

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