LaunchPad in the News

Here's a brief summary of some of the great work from the LaunchPAD student organization over the past year, plus the results of their efforts.

An Award for Community-engaged Work

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At the award ceremony. Back row (from left): Michelle Thompson, Kim Bowman, Dr. Ashley Bourne-Richardson,
Dr. Jose Alcaine. Front row (from left): Holly Whittenburg, Virginia Massaro, Brionna Nomi.

The LaunchPAD organization was recognized with the 2017-18 Currents of Change Award as the exemplary partnership in the student-initiated category in a May 3 ceremony at the University Student Commons.

LaunchPAD, a VCU-recognized graduate student organization made up of School of Education doctoral students from various concentrations, was honored for its work with community partner J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College. The partnership has grown the past two years to include professional development workshops and programming to benefit Reynolds honor students who may be transitioning into four-year colleges and universities.

"This award is well deserved recognition for the great work this group has done in the community," said Dr. Jose Alcaine, LaunchPAD advisor.

Kim Bowman, incoming LaunchPAD president, sees benefits for SOE students who are members of LaunchPAD.

“As a doctoral student in education, being a part of this partnership has given me an opportunity to hone my own professional practice. In thinking about how to present a topic on academic and professional work to others, I get to be reflective about my own work. I also love the conversations I end up having across disciplines with the attendees,” she said.

Brionna Nomi, current LaunchPAD president, agrees. “Partnering with J. Sargeant Reynolds has been enlightening as a doctoral student with an interest in building community partnerships between universities and other organizations. I’ve witnessed first-hand the power of relationships between students and mentors, and the power of knowledge-building among various communities of practice,” she said.

LaunchPAD is supported by VCU Student Government Association funds.

Gardening for Education

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At Cooper School. From left: Brionna Nomi, Michael Massaro, Dr. Jose Alcaine, Michael Schad, Virginia Massaro, Gabby Pickover.

Members and friends of LaunchPAD held a service day at Anna Julia Cooper Episcopal School on April 29 in Richmond’s East End. Activities included spreading mulch throughout the schoolyard and around the school. The event was organized by Michael Schad, LaunchPAD officer and doctoral student in SOE’s Ph.D. in education program. Schad helped found the Cooper School and taught English and history there prior to pursuing his doctorate.

'Dinner and Discourse' in Scott's Addition

LaunchPAD held its second annual “Dinner and Discourse: A Scholar Showcase” on May 15 at Studio Two Three in Scott’s Addition. The event is a year-end celebration highlighting student and faculty work from the previous academic year.

Dr. LaRon Scott, assistant professor in counseling and special education, and Dr. Genevieve Siegel-Hawley, associate professor in educational leadership, delivered opening remarks. More than 30 faculty and doctoral students attended the dinner.

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At 'Dinner and Discourse'. From left: Virginia Massaro, Gabby Pickover, Holly Whittenburg, Michael Schad, Kim Bowman, Brionna Nomi, Dr. Jose Alcaine.