Progress Notes | May 2021

This Saturday, we will graduate 38 students – the class of 2021, our 8th class. When they arrived for orientation 2017 we featured some interesting facts in a media advisory.

  • Students receiving offers of admission represented less than 1% of applicants.
  • Twenty percent of the class had graduate degrees.
  • Biology, neuroscience, and biochemistry were the most popular undergraduate majors.
  • Female students were the majority, a first for VTCSOM.
  • Five students were undergraduate Hokies.

We greeted the class of 2021 with high expectations for success, and their achievements have indeed been impressive. In addition to fulfilling the rigorous requirements of our four curricular domains, the class distinguished themselves through their community engagement. Their commitment was evident from day one, well before COVID-19 arrived, and continued over the past year even as the class adapted to the restrictions on away rotations and the uncertainties of virtual residency interviews.

Among the impressive match results this year was a first for VTCSOM – the greatest number of students selecting pediatrics (6) and obstetrics and gynecology (6). We will celebrate more about the class of 2021 when they receive their M.D. degrees on Saturday.

In keeping with COVID-19 safety practices set forth by Gov. Northam, graduation attendance will be limited. Please join us in celebration by watching the event livestream.

Lee A. Learman

Vaishnavi Sridhar: VTCSOM 2021 Outstanding Graduate Award


  • Best of luck to Quinn Adams who left last month to pursue other adventures.
  • Special recognition to faculty member Felicity Adams and first-year student Catherine Lavallee for taking part in the neurodiversity panel on April 21, along with VT graduate student Hani Awni, VT instructor Elizabeth McLain, and family therapist Chris Brown. Thanks also goes to the basic science education team for organizing this wonderful event and Renée LeClair for acting as moderator. 


Helena Carvalho was first author on two recent publications: Conceptions of learning and teaching for faculty who teach basic science in Medical Science Educator and Keep your droplets to yourself: Universal use of face masks along with social distancing in the Brazilian Journal and Health and Biomedical Sciences.

head shots. details below
Gwen Ghee, Jason Kuno, Brian Stanford


We welcome three new additions to the VTCSOM family: 

  • Gwen Ghee, Administrative Assistant in the Dean’s Office
  • Jason Kuno, Clinical Science Manager
  • Brian Stanford, Facilities Manager

Welcome to New Faculty

In this new monthly section in Progress Notes, we will recognize new faculty members at VTCSOM. For this inaugural notice, see who has joined us since January 1, 2021.

Dr. Simona Kwon

Diversity and Inclusion Notes

  • On Tuesday, May 11, Dr. Nina Ha, Director of Virginia Tech's Asian Cultural Engagement Center will facilitate the May Diversity Lunch and Learn to discuss a presentation by Dr. Simona C. Kwon: Asian Americans and Health Equity: Dismantling Stereotypes.
  • May is:
    • Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
    • Jewish American Heritage Month
    • Mental Health Awareness Month
    • Older Americans Month
  • Holidays and celebrations in the month of May:
    • 2: Orthodox Easter
    • 5: Cinco de Mayo
    • 6: National Day of Prayer
    • 9: Laylat al-Qadri
    • 12-13: Eid al-Fitr (sundown to sundown)
    • 16-18: Shavuot (sundown to sundown)
    • 17: International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia
    • 21: World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development
    • 26: Vesak/Visakha Puja
    • 31: Memorial Day

Humanism Notes

The pandemic and political polarization have challenged the cohesion of many communities. We have had few opportunities to engage with each other humanistically, discuss our concerns and perspectives, and identify common ground for the future. Communities that face the post-pandemic recovery together are likely to be more successful than communities that remain siloed in traditional camps based on politics, age, gender, economic attainment, race, religion and nationality. These camps come with identity labels that discourage people from understanding each other’s unique life stories.

A website called “Living Room Conversations” provides a virtual platform to support dialogue across an impressive range of topics. Conversations like these have a purpose deeper than the topics themselves, and that is to expand each participant’s understanding of the human capital available to meet our community’s greatest challenges and opportunities.

Take Note

  • While the search is underway to fill two positions in the library--head librarian and library specialist-- please take note of the library’s staffing schedule in the interim.
  • Virginia Tech is asking the university community to voluntarily report whether they have received a COVID-19 vaccine. If you have received a vaccine (either a single dose vaccine, the first of a two-shot vaccine, or if you received both doses of a two dose vaccine), please visit this online form and tell us what you have received. Names will be held confidential.
  • Past issues of Progress Notes are available on the website.

Upcoming Events

Paint your Pet Art Show

The Last Note

Our halls are filled with paintings of our (mostly) furry friends, thanks to a collaboration with the Taubman Museum of Art. Students, faculty, and staff participated in a virtual "Paint Your Pet" activity. We chatted with two students about why the activity was meaningful to them. Check out all of the paintings without needing to come to the building in person.

Add Your Own Note

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