VCU will kick off Research Weeks on Thursday, March 17 and will feature a number of events highlighting an array of diverse research. File photo.
VCU will kick off Research Weeks on Thursday, March 17 and will feature a number of events highlighting an array of diverse research. File photo.

VCU’s Research Weeks return to in-person events

Starting March 17, events across VCU will highlight student work and provide the university with an opportunity to promote an array of diverse research.

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DeLeon Gray, Ph.D., an associate professor of educational psychology and equity at North Carolina State University, is the keynote speaker for the kickoff event. Gray’s research focuses on belonging and how inclusion can help improve the lives of young people. Being part of a group is uplifting and can not only improve young people’s confidence but also their economic status, Gray said.

“All roads lead back to a sense of belonging, and that is something that is defined as acceptance, respect, inclusion and support,” Gray said. “Within that there are different structures and opportunities that we provide young people, and even adults, that fulfill their sense of honor and affirmation within professional and academic spaces.”

The work of facilitating belonging, he said, happens through developing strategic partnerships as well as youth initiatives. These activities can take place during school hours or after school and require consistently working with young people directly.

“The overall emphasis of my work is to find ways that young people can shine, put their stamp on the world, and own their future in ways that make society a better place and leave their communities better than how they found it,” Gray said.

Herb Hill, director of undergraduate research and creative inquiry at VCU, said he is excited about Research Weeks. It is an opportunity for students to present their work, but also a chance for the university to promote an array of diverse research. From women’s studies to genetics, undergraduate research takes place across VCU.

Hill said this year’s event shines a light on the challenges that researchers across the university have had to overcome during the past two years. Through it all, he said, VCU students produced an impressive body of work.

“What these events signal to our community is that our students, mentors and principal investigators found ways to persist and adapt in their research endeavors during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Hill said. “Research may have faced delays, setbacks and unprecedented challenges during the past two years, but it never stopped at VCU. That's a testament to the perseverance and unbounded passion for inquiry on the part of our students and faculty.”

Here is a list of the events:

School of Education annual research colloquium

March 17, 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Science Museum of Virginia, Dewey Gottwald Center, 2301 W. Leigh St.

Keynote speaker: DeLeon Gray, Ph.D., an associate professor of educational psychology and equity at N.C. State University. For more information and to register for the event:

School of Education Community Event: DEI Community Conversation

March 18, 4:30-6:30 p.m. at Peter Paul Development Center, 1708 N. 22nd St.

The community is invited to an evening with DeLeon Gray from N.C. State University as he shares his research related to promoting belonging and communal learning in Black and Latinx student populations and how it resonates in the Richmond community. Hosted by the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee in the VCU School of Education, in partnership with Armstrong High School and the Peter Paul Development Center. For more information and to register for the event:

Virginia Humanities Conference at VCU 2022

March 31 to April 1, virtual

“Plot Points: Data, Humanities and Transformation” will address the transformational possibilities at the intersection of arts and humanities, texts and data, and the digital and computational sciences. When looking for equitable solutions to critical social issues, humanities and the arts interact with collective data to lead to more just choices. This virtual conference, featuring a keynote from transmedia artist Stephanie Dinkins of Stony Brook University, is free and open to all. The event is co-sponsored by the Humanities Research Center and University College at VCU. For more information, visit:

VCU REAL: Keeping it REAL Showcase

April 4, 9-11:30 a.m. and 2-3:30 p.m. at the Institute for Contemporary Art, 601 W. Broad St.

The Keeping it REAL Showcase aspires to increase faculty and student awareness of experiential learning opportunities and models to contribute to a culture of student and faculty collaboration and innovation, and to bring visibility to the challenges and benefits of experiential learning. The morning session will feature a series of tributes, panels and conversations dedicated to the mentor and mentee relationship, resilience and persistence in experiential learning activities, and what to expect when engaged in project-based courses and experiential learning. The afternoon session will feature firsthand experiences with VCU’s experiential learning opportunities and the REAL Challenge Grant initiative.

Sponsored by VCU REAL and the REAL Council, the 2021 REAL Challenge Grant recipients, the Office of the Provost and the College of Engineering. For more information, contact:

16th annual Women’s Health Research Day 

April 12, 1-4:30 p.m. at Larrick Student Center, 900 Turpin St.

The annual program presented by the Institute for Women’s Health includes a plenary symposium, poster awards and reception highlighting women’s health research by VCU faculty and students. This year's plenary session, “Gender-Based Violence: Campus, Community and Beyond,” will feature talks by psychology professor Terri Sullivan, Ph.D., and Fidelma Rigby, M.D. For more information, visit:

25th annual Graduate Research Symposium and Exhibit

April 19, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the University Student Commons, Commonwealth Ballroom

Each spring, the Graduate Student Association sponsors a research symposium to present graduate research work to the university and Richmond community. For more information, visit:

Critical Language Scholarship Information Session

April 19, 12:30-1:30 p.m. at the National Scholarship Office, 701 W. Grace St., Room 1210, and online

The Critical Language Scholarship aims to increase the number of Americans studying critical languages and provides full funding for undergraduate and graduate students to study in foreign countries during the summer. Students from all majors, disciplines and backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Registration required.

Fulbright Information Session

April 19, 2-3 p.m. virtual

The National Scholarship Office and the Institute of International Education are presenting an information session about the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, which sends over 2,000 recent graduates and graduate students abroad each year to pursue independent research or creative projects, postgraduate study or teaching English. These are fully funded opportunities in over 140 countries. For more information or to register, visit:

Poster Symposium for Undergraduate Research and Creativity 

April 20, session one: 10:30 a.m. to noon;  session two: 1-2:30 p.m. in the  

University Student Commons, Commonwealth Ballroom

The annual Undergraduate Poster Symposium is an opportunity for students to present their research endeavors to their academic peers, members of the VCU faculty, community members, friends and family. Projects include research and scholarly work from a wide variety of academic disciplines. For more information, visit the website or contact:

Goldwater Scholarship Information Session

April 20, noon to 1 p.m. at the National Scholarship Office, 701 W. Grace St., Room 1210, and virtual

This scholarship is awarded to college students who intend to pursue research careers in STEM fields. For this scholarship, eligible sophomores and juniors are expected to write a research proposal in the discipline of their choice. This scholarship pays up to $7,500 to use toward tuition and educational fees. Click here for more information and to register to attend.

School of Dentistry Research Day  

April 21, virtual

Students will present their latest research on cancer, infection and immunology, bioengineering, new materials and new clinical methodologies and patient-based research. All sessions are virtual. For more information, contact Oonagh Loughran, Ph.D., at

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program Workshop

April 21, 2-4:30 p.m., virtual

Juniors, seniors and first-year graduate students are encouraged to attend this workshop, which will introduce the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program. Email Meredith Sisson at with questions. Find more information and register here.

Research Weeks Graduate School Workshop: ‘What is Graduate School?’ 

April 25, 4-5 p.m., Academic Learning Commons, Room 1107, 1000 Floyd Ave., virtual and in person

Students get the resources they need to take the next step in their education. Staff from the VCU Graduate School will provide information on current graduate programs, preparation for applying and how to be a competitive applicant. Register for the event here.

Research Weeks Graduate School Workshop: ‘Undergraduate Research: Your Ticket to Graduate School’ 

April 27, 4-5 p.m., Academic Learning Commons, Room 1107, 1000 Floyd Ave., virtual and in person

Undergraduate researchers who are considering graduate school can participate in a workshop and learn how to translate undergraduate research experience into admission to competitive graduate programs. Register for the event here.

College of Engineering Senior Design Expo

April 29, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Stuart C. Siegel Center, 1200 W. Broad St.

The Senior Design Expo allows undergraduate engineering students to share capstone senior projects with the greater Richmond community and increase awareness of the engineering profession among middle and high school students. The annual event offers senior design teams the opportunity to display and demonstrate their prototypes, which are the culmination of eight months of effort. The Senior Design Expo has become a signature event for the College of Engineering and VCU. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit:

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect the proper name for the College of Engineering.