April 29, 2024 D.C. Area Weekly Newsletter for Virginia Tech Graduate Students

April 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 during each semester the university is in session. When the university is closed for a holiday on Monday, the newsletter will be emailed on Tuesday.

The last weekly newsletter for the Spring semester will be emailed on May 6. The newsletter will be emailed once a month during June and July and will resume weekly publication in August.

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


Thursday, May 2, 12:30-2:30 p.m., Northern Virginia Center, Falls Church lobby

This event is hosted by Cook Counseling Center in the DC Metro Area.  It’s a De-Stress event for graduate students on reading day, and is open to all students in the DC Metro Area.  We’ll have a Walk with Mindfulness Moments, from 12:30 to 1:15 p.m., and will be joined by Eli, a working service dog, and Twix, a service dog in training for Canine Companions.  We’ll meet inside the front door of the NVC, on the second floor.

After the walk, we’ll have De-stress activities in Room 200 at the NVC.  There will be time (and photos) with the dogs, adult coloring, and snacks for students.  For any questions, please contact Julie Kaplan at jskaplan@vt.edu


Thursday, May 2, 2-4 p.m. in the East/West Falls Church room on the Arlington campus.

The Affinity Groups Cultural Achievement Ceremony will celebrate the accomplishments of our graduating master’s and Ph.D. students who identify with the following communities: Asian, Black, First-Generation, GRAD Parents, Latinx, Veterans, and Women in TECH. Participating students will receive a commemorative stole which can be worn with their academic regalia during university commencement ceremonies.

For graduating students who wish to participate in the ceremony, please register at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdjiHibQs5zZBPNa0LpdxgOQpLeEMjKmBOWRbRNLAL51bZKJg/viewform?usp=sf_link.


Friday, May 3, 5-7 p.m., Northern Virginia Center Library, Falls Church

The library is extending its hours from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. for Friday. The library also will host a Cheesy Night, with a special guest, grilled cheese sandwiches, snacks, and games from 5-7 p.m. The event is free and there is no registration required. For more information, please email nvclibrary@vt.edu.

Administrative Announcements


The spring 2024 Graduate School commencement ceremony in Blacksburg for all doctoral students and interdisciplinary master’s students (MACR, MIT, TBMH) will be held on Wednesday, May 8 at 10 a.m. in Cassell Coliseum. All doctoral and interdisciplinary master’s graduates wanting to participate should complete the Commencement Intentions form through their HokieSPA degree menu no later than May 1.

All other Blacksburg master’s degree graduates will be recognized at individual college ceremonies. See https://commencement.vt.edu/schedule/spring.html for the schedule of ceremonies; contact your college to register.

The spring 2024 Graduate School ceremony in the Washington D. C. Metro Area for all doctoral and master’s students will be held on Sunday, May 12th at 1 p.m. at the George Mason University Center for the Arts. All doctoral and master’s graduates wanting to participate should complete the Commencement Intentions form through their HokieSPA degree menu no later than May 1. 


Deadline: May 10.

Faculty, staff, and students in the greater Washington, D.C., metro area are invited to share feedback about their commuting needs and desires in a transportation survey delivered by Virginia Tech Transportation Services. Responses are anonymous.  You can reach the survey here: https://virginiatech.questionpro.com/a/TakeSurvey?tt=/Vr1M1vOs%2BAECHrPeIW9eQ%3D%3D

This survey will be administered periodically through the opening of the Innovation Campus Academic Building One to help develop the transportation and parking network needed to contribute to the success of the Innovation Campus. Email and social media platforms will be used for promotion before, during, and after the survey response period.

Results will be shared via VT News and the VT News Daily email.

Questions and feedback specifically related to parking and transportation in the D.C. area may be shared via the D.C. Area feedback portal at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSehh89nRp-OvF-lK6Qsfdb6ZseYCu_UVgX2qQ5iCliaQPj5Fg/viewform


The Northern Virginia Center in Falls Church will be closed on Saturdays, beginning May 11. The building will reopen on Saturdays beginning August 24.


LDRS 5534: Cognition, Problem Solving, and Preference for Change (CRN 64647) is open to all graduate students this summer. In this course students will understand the differences in problem-solving styles and how that affects working with and leading others. You will also learn your own KAI score and what it tells you about how you solve problems, work with others, communicate, and build trust—all required for successful leadership. Questions? Contact Dr. Jerald Walz, jhwalz@vt.edu.

Job Opportunities


The Building Construction is looking for a summer wage employee who is program Proficient in Flutter, Dart, Google Maps API, Firebase and Cloud Functions. Other qualifications:

Strong understanding of both front-end and back-end development processes.
Effective communication skills and the ability to work collaboratively.
Currently enrolled as a student or recent graduate.
Experience in Data Analysis and Visualization using Python is a plus.

Job responsibilities:

Design, develop, and deploy mobile applications using Flutter.
Integrate Google Maps API for location tracking and manage data using Firebase.
Ensure cross-platform compatibility for both iOS and Android devices.
Engage with the research team to design and refine application features.
Conduct comprehensive testing and maintenance to ensure application performance and reliability.

Duration: Summer Job (3 months)
Salary: $15/hour for graduate students
Work Hours: 20 hours per week
Location: Blacksburg or remote.
Send your CV or Resume to xiangyang@vt.edu if you are interested.

External and Internal Funding Opportunities

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


Deadline: April 30

The new 2024 summer cycle of Research!America’s Civic Engagement Microgrant Program, generously supported by the Sloan Foundation, will provide support for groups led by STEM graduate students, professional students (medical, dental, nursing, pharmacy, etc.), and postdocs to create projects aimed at building dialogue with public officials, community leaders, and local community members around issues of common interest. 

We are seeking applications from groups of graduate students and post-docs for grants up to $3,000 to support a wide range of civic engagement activities. Past grantees have developed and led community-orientated podcast series, poster sessions with city council members, K-12 science fairs, professional development workshops, new campus science policy groups and much more.

Benefits of participation:
• Gain experience in science communication, science policy, public engagement.
• Build skills in program management, grant writing, and more.
• Benefit from mentoring and workshops by Research!America staff.
• Connect with program participants from around the country.
Visit this site for more information and the application: https://www.researchamerica.org/civic-science/microgrants/


Deadline, May 1

The 2024 Google P.hD. Fellowship Program, which directly financially supports doctoral students doing exceptional research in computer science and related fields, as well as connect them to a Google Research Mentor, is opening for nominations. Eligible Ph.D. Students will have completed graduate coursework by Fall 2024 (when the Fellowship begins) and remain enrolled in their program for the two years of the fellowship. Virginia Tech can nominate up to four candidates. Nomination materials include CV, letters of recommendation, dissertation proposal, a personal essay describing the potential impact of your work, and academic transcripts. Students who wish to be considered for one of Virginia Tech’s nomination spots may contact Lifu Huang (lifuh@vt.edu) or Eli Tilevich (tilevich@vt.edu) for details and with any questions. Materials for internal consideration will be due to Dr. Huang by the end of the day on Wednesday, May 1.

For information and the application, visit this link: https://research.google/outreach/phd-fellowship/


Deadline: May 1.

In combination with the Cunningham Doctoral Scholarship and the Graduate School Annual Fund, we are delighted to announce the availability of summer fellowships in the amount of $7,500 each. This supplement will be awarded as a lump sum fellowship (see note below) at the beginning of the summer. This is a one-time award, cannot be renewed, and is awarded without the expectation of any additional work on your part. Awardees must be current Ph.D. students who are working on their dissertations during the summer months. This award cannot be combined with other Virginia Tech funding sources. Priority will be given to those toward the end of their program. Financial need will be considered as a secondary factor.

Applications will be accepted until May 1. Awards will be announced soon thereafter. For more information and to apply, use this form: https://forms.gle/6vYKM9AHizoAgKeN8

NOTE: Fellowships are not considered employment. No taxes are withheld and you will not receive a W2 form at the end of the year. Fellowships will show on your 1098-T from the university and may have to be reported to the IRS on your 1040 form. However, different tax rules apply to international students. For them, the university is required to collect taxes on the fellowship and to report those amounts at year-end to the IRS on form 1042S. For more information, see IRS Publication 970: Tax Benefits for Education.


Deadline: 5 p.m. ET, May 1.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science is accepting applications for the 2024 solicitation 1 cycle for its Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) program. The award program is open to current Ph.D. students in qualified graduate programs at accredited U.S. academic institutions, who are conducting their graduate research in targeted areas of importance to the DOE’s Office of Science.

The SCGSR program provides supplemental awards to U.S. graduate students to conduct part of their graduate thesis research at a DOE national laboratory or facility in collaboration with a DOE laboratory scientist. The goal of the program is to prepare graduate students for scientific and technical careers critically important to the mission of DOE’s Office of Science. Supplemental awards are intended to cover incremental costs associated with living and travel expenses during the award period.
More information on the SCGSR program can be found at by visiting the SCGSR program website: https://science.osti.gov/wdts/scgsr. You’ll also find information on this webpage: https://graduateschool.vt.edu/funding/scholarships-and-fellowships/dept-of-energy-office-of-science-research-grant.html


Deadline: May 10.

Young leaders (individuals or groups) aged between 18 and 30 years of age who have designed and implemented initiatives that have produced real, proven societal impact and positive change in areas related to one or more of the four Globethics priorities are eligible to apply for the Globethics Youth Leadership Award. Winning the Globethics Youth Leadership Award would give winners the opportunity to build on and develop their initiatives.
The three finalists will then be invited to present at the Global Ethics Forum in Geneva, Switzerland taking place from 2-4 September 2024. During the Forum they will have the opportunity to improve their initiative and its development plan, with the support and accompaniment of a mentor, ready to present it to the Forum’s audience, constituted by experts and practitioners in the field of ethics, from different parts of the world.
Award winners will achieve recognition for their pioneering work and receive financial and mentoring support to upscale and to multiply the results of their initiative. The awards are:

• 1st prize: USD 15,000
• 2nd prize: USD 10,000
• 3rd prize: USD 5,000

All winners will also benefit from the support of a mentor for nine months.

More information about the award can be found on this document: https://globethics.net/sites/default/files/media/document/2024-03/Youth%20Leadership%20Award%202024%20-%20Information.pdf

For the application, contact Globethics at infoweb@globethics.net

Upcoming Events


Tuesday, May 7, 1-2 p.m. Northern Virginia Campus room 401.

Topic: Coming out conversations. Please join The Cook Counseling Center and the Graduate School in Northern Virginia for the Spring Q*mmunity Support Group. No need to register – just drop in! For any questions, please contact Julie Kaplan, PhD, at jskaplan@vt.edu.


Monday, May 13, and Wednesday, May 15, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Virtual (Zoom)

Join a 2-day workshop and learn key skills for programming and computing, including the command line, version control, and R on May 13 and 15 in Blacksburg and online! No experience necessary; workshops open to all VT community members. Find more information and register at Library Calendar or email ndporter@vt.edu. Here is the registration link: https://calendar.lib.vt.edu/event/12412188


Tuesday, June 18, 3-5 p.m. Northern Virginia Center room 200.

The Graduate School and and Cook Counseling Center are planning an event to celebrate Juneteenth. More information will be shared closer to the event.

Volunteers and research participants sought


The Cognitive Aging and Translational Science Lab at Virginia Tech is recruiting adults who care for an older adult. Care activities can range from helping with everyday needs (i.e., paying bills, grocery shopping, etc.) to intensive physical, mental, or emotional care.  Direct care workers are also encouraged to participate!

Participants must be 18 years of age

Participant must be currently caregiving for a person 65+
Participant must not have any major cardiovascular or cognitive conditions (high blood pressure is OK)

Participants can expect to undergo a short, 15-20 minute screening call as well as a single, 60-90 minute in-person session. This session includes participation in surveys, a short interview going over your responses, participation in a brief computerized cognitive task, and non-invasive physiological measurements (i.e., blood pressure, pulse, and brain oxygenation via fNIRS). In-lab and at-home sessions are available.
Compensation is offered in the form of a $30 Mastercard gift card.
Contact caatslab@gmail.com or call 540-231-9417 for more information and to participate.


The Relationship Experiences Strengths and Strains (REST) Lab is recruiting men who were raised by single mothers to participate in 1.5-2 hour interviews about their lived experiences, definitions of masculinity, and how personal experiences shaped masculine identities.

Participants must identify as a man who was raised by a single mother without a residential father figure (biological, step, adoptive, etc.) and be willing to complete a 1.5-2 hour long qualitative interview. Compensation, if applicable, will be a $25 Amazon gift card. More details and application information can be found here: https://virginiatech.questionpro.com/t/AVVVtZ1Yr4

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: The affinity groups are:

Asian Affinity Group
Black Affinity Group
First-Generation Affinity Group
GRAD Parents Affinity Group
Latinx Affinity Group
Veterans Affinity Group
Women in TECH Affinity Group

Join an affinity group here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdW61FGWCbuhwUhsSF2NK0rqtjSxzqz_eTFhhpJf8W74ykaKA/viewform. For more information, contact Dr. Hayes at chontresehayes@vt.edu

  • NORTHERN VIRGINIA RESOURCE CENTER LIBRARY: Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.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.

Posts must include the name and contact information of the requesting organization or person; not exceed 150 words; and not include attachments, QR codes or embedded links (no fliers or photos). Submissions will be edited to fit newsletter style and formatting requirements.

Please submit post requests by 3 p.m. Friday before the Monday on which the post is to appear using this Google form: https://gs.vt.edu/weeklylistserv.

The D.C. Area Weekly newsletters are also available at:


If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact the reference in the posting at least 10 business days prior to the event.     

If someone has forwarded this to you and you wish to subscribe, please send an email to dc-gradstudents-g+subscribe@vt.edu.

Follow us on social media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VTGradSchoolDC

Instagram: @hokieonestopdc

Have a great week!