Engel Hall News, Winter 2017

TR Number




Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Virginia Tech


Dear Alumni and Friends of Biochemistry, Happy Holidays from Engel Hall. We are grateful for your support of our academic and research programs. We continue to educate eager students who benefit from a strong legacy of outstanding Biochemistry alumni. This year saw a greater investment in our department from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences as we hired three new Assistant Professors (Justin Lemkul, Brandon Jutras, and Clement Vinauger), a research Assistant Professor (Chloe Lahondere), a Collegiate Assistant Professor (Sasha Marine) and a second Academic Advisor (Molly Wilson). These talented and energetic young scientists are helping us to update and transform our programs, and we hope to tell you more about their achievements in future newsletters. The biggest news in our undergraduate program is that our two Academic Advisors are running a successful Peer Mentoring program. Every first-year Biochemistry student was matched with a Peer mentor this Fall. Peer mentors earn money that helps defray their college costs, and provide us with unique expertise in helping first year students transition to college life. We also have developed Chemistry study sessions that are helping our first-year students develop critical thinking and quantitative problem-solving skills. Our advanced undergraduates continue to benefit from the our 6-credit laboratory course. 77% of our 500+ undergraduate majors perform undergraduate research at some point in their career, solidifying their Biochemistry experience. Our graduate students are also breaking new ground by forming the Biochemistry Graduate Student Association (BcGSA), which organizes social and professional development events throughout the year, and gives our graduate students the chance to make decisions on travel support and seminar speaker invitations. Both the Peer-Mentoring and BcGSA programs benefit from your generous donations to our Biochemistry excellence fund, which gives us flexibility to impact our students in ways not allowed by state budgets. Glenda Gillaspy Department Head