Jan. 29 D.C. Area Weekly Newsletter for Graduate Students

Jan. 29, 2024

Welcome to the Virginia Tech Graduate School’s D.C. Area weekly newsletter for graduate students. We share events, services, administrative announcements, and job opportunities.

The newsletter is published on Mondays. When the university is closed for a holiday on Monday, the newsletter will be emailed on Tuesday.

You’ll find posts under the following headings:

  • This Week’s Events and Activities
  • Administrative Announcements
  • Job Opportunities
  • External Funding Opportunities
  • Upcoming Events
  • Volunteers and research participants sought
  • Ongoing Services

This Week’s Events and Activities


Monday, Jan. 29. 2:3-3:45 p.m. Virtual

Zotero is a free, easy-to-use citation manager that can help researchers save time and frustration. In this University Library workshop, you will learn the basics of Zotero, including adding references to your library, organizing your library, and using Zotero to cite references within a document (both Word and Google Docs). Register here: https://guides.lib.vt.edu/gradworkshops


Tuesday, Jan. 30, 12:30-1:30 p.m. Virtual

All research that involves human participants, including their data and specimens, must be reviewed and approved by the Virginia Tech Institutional Review Board or receive a determination from the Human Research Protection program. The purpose of this session is to provide an overview of the requirements for conducting research involving human participants at Virginia Tech. This session will educate researchers on the requirements that must be met before research is initiated, including the type of training that is required and who is eligible to serve as a principal investigator. The session will also include an overview of the different types of submissions, how to submit a project for review, and the ongoing requirements after approval or authorization is received.

Learn more and register here: https://www.research.vt.edu/events/2024/overview-of-the-requirements-for-conducting-human-subjects-resea.html?utm_source=cmpgn_rievents&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=_DM1607559


Thursday, Feb. 1, 2-3 p.m. Virtual

You need to write a literature review for your research or class, but how do you get started? What kinds of literature reviews are there? Where should you search? How do you search efficiently and effectively? Learn the answers to these questions and more in this interactive University Library workshop. By the end of this session, you’ll be able to identify different types of literature reviews, find relevant engineering and related databases, and create effective searches.

This workshop will focus on research in engineering, including computer science. Participants from other disciplines are welcome, but should be aware of the disciplinary focus of this workshop. Learn more and register here: https://guides.lib.vt.edu/gradworkshops

Administrative Announcements


Interested in being involved in student governance? Please consider applying to serve as the Graduate and Professional Student Representative to the Board of Visitors for 2024-25. Learn more and apply here: https://bov.vt.edu/Student-Reps-Apply


Virginia Tech has entered into an agreement with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) that allows eligible students to participate in the University Pass (U-Pass) Program. U-Pass provides full-time Virginia Tech students who are taking in person classes in the Greater Washington, D.C., Area unlimited access to Metrorail and Metrobus throughout the semester, for about $1 per day. The mandatory fee is included as part of the comprehensive fees package for students.
Eligible students will be notified to complete a DocuSign agreement and instructions on picking up their card from the NVC Library in Falls Church.

If you think you should be included but have not been notified, please contact gettingaround@vt.edu for more information. This is not available for part-time students per WMATA policy.


Seeking nutrition guidance? Are you interested in learning how to make food choices that support a healthy lifestyle? Maybe you need help with skills for shopping and cooking to help you reach your wellness goals. If you have any of these concerns or others, graduate-level nutrition and dietetics students are here to help.

The Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise Department at Virginia Tech offers free one-on-one nutrition counseling services (In-person or Zoom) to interested students, faculty, or staff and is now accepting new clients for the spring semester. Visit: https://www.hnfe.vt.edu/nutrition_counseling.html to learn more about the service and to register.


Virginia Tech is a member of the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL) Network, which offers a variety of programming opportunities available to graduate students and postdoctoral associates at institutions in the CIRTL Network at no cost.

This spring, the CIRTL Network schedule includes programming on a range of topics, including evidence-based teaching fundamentals, academic professional development, science communication, and teaching-as-research. Registration is open for most spring CIRTL Network programs.

You can find the full CIRTL Network spring programming schedule, including descriptions and registration information, at https://cirtl.net/events/. To learn more about CIRTL, visit the network’s website at https://www.cirtl.net/. If you have questions about CIRTL at Virginia Tech, email cirtl@vt.edu.


Deadline: Feb. 12

Graduate students presenting research conducted at Virginia Tech are eligible to apply for the Spring 2024 Travel Fund Program. Grants may cover registration, lodging, meals, abstract fees and other costs of presenting at an in-person or virtual conference with a start date from April 1-June 30. Students from all disciplines are invited to apply, even if your conference abstract has not been officially accepted. Applications due Feb. 12 at 11:59 PM.

Please e-mail Aran Garnett-Deakin at cgarnet@vt.edu with any questions, and visit https://gpss.vt.edu/programs/tfp.html for full details and instructions.

Job Opportunities

9. Outreach Assistant, Cook Counseling Center in the DC Metro Area

Application Deadline: Feb. 1

Position Summary: The Outreach Assistant (OA) will work in collaboration with the Cook Counseling Center Embedded Counselor in the Greater Washington Area, Julie Kaplan, PhD, on outreach events for students. The Outreach Assistant will help to coordinate and support outreach events for students. The OA will help to plan, schedule, and facilitate outreach events for students. Duties will include setting up food, drinks, and materials for Outreach Events, setting up technology for Outreach events, assisting with Outreach events, and helping to clean up after these events. The OA will be a welcoming presence during Outreach events, and will help with answering student questions and with the flow of the events. The OA will assist in obtaining feedback from students after Outreach events, including emailing students for feedback.

The OA will create flyers for outreach events, post flyers on campus, and help to publicize outreach events to students. The OA will also work on maintaining and updating Cook Counseling Center outreach projects, such as the post-it project. The OA will also help to maintain the Serenity Space at the NVC.

Work Schedule Requirements: This position will be 5-10 hours per week through the semester. This is an in-person position. There is no option for remote or hybrid work. The primary location for this work is the Northern Virginia Center (NVC) in Falls Church, and also at events at the Arlington campus and Alexandria campus (WAAC) several times per semester. Outreach events are generally scheduled from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday.

Other Requirements: Excellent organizational, interpersonal, and communication skills; ability to work independently and with a team; creativity and flexibility; ability to problem-solve and handle unanticipated changes and needs; energy and enthusiasm for the job; knowledge of use of standard office equipment and computer software applications, including Microsoft Word and PowerPoint.

Compensation: This is a student wage position, and the OA will be paid $15 per hour. The hours are 5-10 per week, and vary with the outreach event schedule.

To Apply: Submit materials through this Google Form (VT login required): https://forms.gle/yH6omhXsshdzqSCi8

Interested candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

External Funding Opportunities

All external funding opportunities that we are aware of can be found here: https://graduateschool.vt.edu/funding/scholarships-and-fellowships.html


Deadline: Feb. 9, 2024

The Virginia Space Grant Consortium (VSGC) is accepting applications for its Graduate Research STEM Fellowship program. A major goal of VSGC is to help produce the engineers and scientists of the future and to promote diversity in the STEM workforce.

The consortium provides fellowships of $6,000 in add-on support to graduate students to supplement and enhance basic research support.

Applicants must be U.S. citizens, be enrolled full-time in a program of study in STEM, have a specific faculty-mentored research project that has NASA or aerospace relevance, and are not graduating sooner than May 2025. For more information and to apply, visit https://vsgc.odu.edu/graduatefellowships/

Upcoming Events


Monday, Feb. 5 4-5 p.m., Virtual

Mendeley is a free, easy-to-use citation manager that can help researchers save time and frustration. In this interactive University Library workshop, you will learn the basics of Mendeley, including adding references to your library, organizing your library, and using Mendeley to cite references within a document. Find out more and register here: https://guides.lib.vt.edu/gradworkshops


Monday, Feb. 5, 8-9 p.m., Virtual

Come learn about being a Graduate and Professional Student Representative to the university Board of Visitors and find out how to apply to serve as one for the 2024-25 academic year. Current BOV Graduate and Professional Student Representative Emily Tirrell will give an overview of the position, share her experiences during the first semester, and share tips on how to apply. https://virginiatech.zoom.us/j/88291950639


Tuesday, Feb. 6, 12-1 p.m., Northern Virginia Center room T-3 and Virtual

Graduate School Dean Aimee Surprenant is hosting a roving brown-bag lunch series intended to create and cultivate a community of practice with discussions around Mentoring: challenges, opportunities, experiences. To identify those who would be interested in entering into these conversations, the Dean has reserved space around the university to get the conversation started. On Feb. 6, she will host the brown-bag lunch at the Northern Virginia Center in Falls Church.
Students, faculty, and staff are welcome to attend one, two, or all of the lunches. These conversations include discussions about challenges, opportunities, experiences, and successes. Bring your lunch and participate or just eat and listen.

Additional dates: March 18, Steger Hall conference room 118, 12-1:15 pm; April 16, 3310 Torgersen Hall, 12-1:30. Both will be available virtually as well as in person. Use https://virginiatech.zoom.us/j/81155274212


Tuesday, Feb. 6, 1-2 p.m. Northern Virginia Center room 401, Falls Church

This support group welcomes Virginia Tech graduate students, faculty, and staff in the DC Metro Area who identify as LGBTQ+, as well as those who are exploring their gender and/or sexuality. For any questions, please contact Julie Kaplan at jskaplan@vt.edu


Tuesday, Feb. 6, 3:30-5 p.m., Virtual

Come learn how to get started with this popular coding tool for writing technical papers! LaTeX (pronounced Lay-tech or Lah-tech) is a free typesetting system designed for technical publications that can be used for many writing projects. In this University Library workshop, we’ll cover how to create your first article, how to add content including text, figures and citations, where to learn more about using LaTeX, and how to get the most out of Overleaf. All are welcome to attend no matter your field or LaTeX experience level. Learn more and register here: https://guides.lib.vt.edu/gradworkshops

16. Wellness Wednesday at the WAAC

Wednesday, Feb. 7, 12:30-1:30 p.m., in the 1021 Big Room, WAAC Architecture campus, Alexandria.

This event will focus on enhancing academic success and mental health wellbeing goals.  Please join Dr. Chontrese Hayes (Graduate School) and Dr. Julie Kaplan (Cook Counseling) for a power lunch with pizza and soft drinks.


Thursday, Feb. 87, 5-7 p.m. (weekly through the semester), Virtual

Join our Spring Semester Graduate Writing Group for a relaxed and supportive space to enhance productivity. We meet virtually on Thursdays.  Hosted by the Diversity, Inclusion, and Strategic Partnerships (DISP) team, this writing group emphasizes a laid-back community. Whether you’re working on research papers, theses, dissertations, or other writing projects, our group provides a comfortable and encouraging environment. Walk-ins are always welcome, but RSVPs are appreciated. Register here: https://virginiatech.questionpro.com/DISPGSwritingSessionsInfoSheet

Join us to be part of a writing community that supports your academic goals in a low-pressure setting.


Thursday, March 21, at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA.

The Arts &Sciences Graduate Center and the Charles Center for Academic Excellence at William & Mary invite doctoral and master’s degree students in Arts & Sciences disciplines from Virginia universities to present their research at an interdisciplinary symposium at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, March 21-22, 2024. Graduate students interested in presenting their research in a talk or poster session must submit an abstract no later than January 15, 2024. Accepted abstracts to the Symposium may also be eligible to vie for awards recognizing excellence in scholarship. See the GHRS webpages (linked below) for details on abstract submission and registration. Questions may be directed to grs@wm.edu or Dr. Sarah Glosson (sgglos@wm.edu). Learn more here: https://www.wm.edu/as/graduate/graduate-symposium/

Volunteers and research participants sought


The Virginia Tech Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center (WAAC) graduate students are competing in the Solar Decathlon. This project involves a fictional proposal and design for student housing next to the WAAC, and we would love to get some feedback from the student body in the greater Washington, D.C. metro area to collect data on student housing for our project. The survey is 13 multiple-choice questions and will take just a few minutes to complete. The requirement for participating is to be a registered graduate student. If you have questions, contact jaminec@vt.edu.
The link to the survey is here: https://forms.office.com/r/hJ4kgRXQsJ


The Mind Music and Machine Lab at Virginia Tech invites participants for a study (IRB# 23-1154) to assess the emotional impact of eight six-minute music pieces.

This one-hour remote study offers $10 compensation via cash or payment apps, or course credit for eligible students. Contact Ziming Fang (joannafg@vt.edu) for details. Supervised by Dr. Myounghoon Jeon (myounghoonjeon@vt.edu).

Requirements: Have none of the following impairments: Visual, Hearing, Fine motor, Intellectual.
You are eligible if your hearing/vision is not at the level requiring device correction, or if you have successful device correction that you can bring and use during the study (e.g., eyeglasses, hearing aid).

If you are interested, please fill out this form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeAKqvxYw7QMkLxI2wqI6x79T5gjuVgYo5M4fZAneMnJb8R7w/viewform?usp=sf_link.

Ongoing Services 

  • GRADUATE SCHOOL IN THE GREATER WASHINGTON, D.C. METRO AREA: Schedule an in-person or virtual advising appointment with a Graduate School Academic Progress and Admissions advisor at https://rb.gy/80frn or send your questions to gssoncr@vt.edu. Offices are located on the fourth floor of the Northern Virginia Center (NVC) in Falls Church. Drop-in hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9-11 a.m. and 3-4:30 p.m. No appointment needed to meet with an advisor for Drop-In hours.
  • COOK COUNSELING: Schedule an in-person or virtual appointment with the Northern Virginia Embedded Counselor, Julie Kaplan, Ph.D. by emailing jskaplan@vt.edu or calling 703-635-9957.

After hours support can be found by calling 540-231-6557 or visiting ucc.vt.edu/timelycare

  • SERENITY SPACE: The Cook Counseling Center has created the Serenity Space at the Northern Virginia Center in Falls Church (NVC) in room 489, a peaceful, calm space for all graduate students to use, to take a break in the day, and to de-stress.  All students can use this room 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday. 

Please contact Julie Kaplan, Ph.D., at jskaplan@vt.edu, if you have any questions related to this space. 

  • CRANWELL INTERNATIONAL CENTER: Schedule an appointment by emailing international@vt.edu or calling 540-231-6527.
  • GRADUATE OMBUDSPERSON: The ombudsperson provides information about institutional policies and works to help individuals effectively navigate conflicts through informal, confidential conversations.

Contact for a virtual appointment at gradombud@vt.edu or call 540-231-9573.

  • AFFINITY GROUPS: Contact Assistant Dean Chontrese Hayes at chontresehayes@vt.edu for information about these student groups.
  • NORTHERN VIRGINIA RESOURCE CENTER LIBRARY: Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; Friday, 10a.m.-6p.m.; Saturday, 10a.m.-5p.m.; Sunday, Closed
  • HOKIE ONE STOP: Online links to additional resources and services available to graduate students in the greater Washington, D.C. metro area and Northern Virginia campuses. https://dcarea.vt.edu/hokieonestop.html
  • WRITING CENTER: Virginia Tech Libraries house The Writing Center, a free service for all students, faculty, and staff at the university.

The center offers real-time, face-to-face online synchronous sessions as well as online asynchronous sessions. For more information: https://lib.vt.edu/study-learn/writing-center.html

About the Newsletter and How to Submit a Post

Posts must be relevant to graduate students in the greater Washington, D.C., metro area and other Northern Virginia campuses.

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