UVA Equity Center Up and Running With ‘FAFSA Parties’

Posted: November 18, 2019, 10:56am


The reason Alejandro Gonzalez made the 40-minute drive Wednesday night from his Greene County home to the Southwood Community Center, south of Charlottesville, was simple:  He dreams of seeing one of his three children go to a four-year college.

The college application process can pose many challenges. Inside a small room at the center, Gonzalez’s daughter, Cindy, faced her biggest test: the college essay.

Gonzalez, a senior at William Monroe High School, came to the right place. As part of a program put on by the University of Virginia’s newly established Equity Center, Gonzalez and a number of other high school students in and around Charlottesville got tips from Valerie Gregory, UVA’s associate dean of undergraduate admission, on how to write an essay, as well as the application process in general.

The evening also featured talks from associate professor of medicine Dr. Max Luna; Latino community members working in various fields; and UVA faculty members and students helped the high school students and their parents fill out Free Application for Federal Student Aid forms, better known as the dreaded “FAFSA.” (READ MORE)

Source: UVA Today (Whitelaw Reid)

On a Mission, Fourth-Year Student Aims to Bring Disability to the Forefront

Posted: November 6, 2019, 2:01pm


Ashley Heuser has been living with migraines since she was a young girl, but they got much worse shortly after she arrived at the University of Virginia. As a first-year student, she suffered stroke-like symptoms and was rushed to the emergency room. After recovering, Heuser eventually was diagnosed with sporadic hemiplegic migraines, a rare disease involving weakness of the face, arm or leg on one side of the body that can be accompanied by numbness or a pins-and-needles feeling. As you would expect, Heuser’s world was – in a flash – turned upside-down.

Fortunately, it wasn’t long before she connected with a student-run organization on Grounds that is now called Chronically Ill and Disabled Cavaliers. “That’s when I really started to find my community,” Heuser said. “It really helped with claiming my identity as a disabled woman. “It was no longer myself against my body. It was just, ‘My body is what it is’ – and there’s a lot of power in recognizing that.” Now a fourth-year student, Heuser is president of the organization. In addition, she serves on UVA’s Disability Advocacy and Action Committee and is the student administrator for the Disability Studies Initiative. (READ MORE)

Source: UVA Today (Whitelaw Reid)

UVA Announces Living Wage for Contracted Employees

Posted: October 25, 2019, 11:10am


University of Virginia President Jim Ryan today announced that the University’s major contractors, working in partnership with UVA, are raising the wages of their full-time employees to at least $15 an hour, effective Jan. 1. 

The news follows the announcement in March that the University would begin paying all its full-time, benefits-eligible employees a living wage of at least $15 an hour in January. At the time of that announcement, Ryan promised that University leaders would work on a plan to extend the same commitment to contracted employees who work at UVA.

After months of extensive analysis and discussion with contractors, Ryan announced today that the change will increase the wages of more than 800 full-time contracted employees, which represents nearly 90% of full-time contracted employees who work regularly on our Grounds and currently earn less than $15 an hour. When combined with earlier-announced raises to full-time employees of the University, this means that roughly 96% of the University’s full-time and contracted full-time employees will earn at least $15 per hour as of Jan. 1. (READ MORE)

Source: UVA Today (Wesley Hester)

UVA Announces President’s Council on UVA-Community Partnerships

Posted: October 22, 2019, 9:30am


The University of Virginia has created the President’s Council on UVA-Community Partnerships to work with UVA President Jim Ryan on issues including jobs and wages, affordable housing, equitable health care and youth education.

The council will be a more long-standing iteration of the UVA-Community Working Group, which Ryan established last fall to examine how the University could strengthen its relationship with surrounding communities. Members, listed below, served on the UVA-Community Working Group and include community leaders and faculty and staff members. First-year student Zyahna Bryant of Charlottesville will serve as a student member, succeeding recently graduated law student Toccara Nelson, who served on the original working group.

The council will meet with Ryan three to four times each year while inviting additional community members and UVA faculty, staff and students to be involved in smaller groups to work on specific initiatives. (READ MORE)

Source: UVA Today (Caroline Newman)

UVA Shines Light of Recognition on African American Nurses It Trained Decades Ago

Posted: October 18, 2019, 11:57am


Decades ago, African American people from different walks of life within Central Virginia converged at Burley High School. Their common goal: to become licensed practical nurses through a University of Virginia academic program.

The LPN program, initially a joint venture between the UVA Hospital and Jackson P. Burley High School begun in 1951, was an effort to address a nursing shortage. About 150 African American women (and a few men) were educated in the segregated program. They served alongside white nurses, treated patients of every race, and ran clinics. But despite receiving their education in a UVA program, they were not considered University alumni.

Now these nurses, many still practicing patient care, have received the University’s recognition – and the UVA alumni status – that they deserve. (READ MORE)

Source: UVA Today (Anne Bromley)