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REAL Challenge Grant recipients 2020-21

The following projects were awarded REAL Challenge Grants in the 2020-21 academic year:

VCU Multilingual Ambassador Program

» Jenna Lenhardt

The VCU Multilingual Ambassador Program will support the confidence building, identity, and community building for ELL students in Virginia Public Schools' Region 1 by placing VCU students in K-12 schools to provide in-school ELL tutoring, mentoring and/or career and college readiness presentations. This program allows for cross-institution, cross-disciplinary students to engage with our community to both support their own success as well as the success of future generations of potential VCU students.

Practical Digital Health Applications

» Denise Emminger

Digital Health is rapidly becoming the future of health care — the Practical Digital Health Applications program will create a dedicated lab to serve as an incubator for innovative ideas, projects, patents, and more to expand problem-solving skills and address gaps in health care today. Among the state of the art hardware in the lab will include 3D printers, Arduino microcontroller kits, wearable activity trackers, and virtual reality headsets.

Snead Transfers Achieving REAL Success (STARS) Program

» Hawley Smyth and Cait Burns

The Snead Transfers Achieving REAL Success (STARS) pilot program offers eligible incoming transfer students a tailored university experience that meets their most urgent needs: creating a sense of belonging within their new VCU community, and jump-starting their career journey through REAL experiences. The two-year cohort program will help transfer students from the Virginia Community College System by offering them additional credentials to add to their resume, including a Design Thinking Certification and a micro-internship facilitated by Business Career Services.

The Queerantine Archive - Documenting LGBTQIA2+ Survival and Resilience During COVID-19

» B. Ethan M. Coston

Pandemics and related health emergencies, especially those that involve periods of quarantine and/or social isolation, have been associated with increases in anxiety, depression, suicidality and general despair, particularly for LGBTQIA2+ individuals. The Queerantine Archive will highlight LGBTQIA2+ survival and resilience by creating a virtual archive of LGBTQIA2+ community life during COVID-19. Through a three-credit 400-level elective, students will work to collect and curate this archive, as well as conduct interviews and put together a speaker series featuring community members, activists, and relevant scholars.

Cultivating Children's Resilience through Community-based Art Education

» Yiwen Wei

The Cultivating Children's Resilience through Community-based Art Education program aims to enhance VCU Art Education students' teaching and working experiences in K-12 school settings, particularly within low-income communities in Richmond. VCU Art Education students will conduct an in-depth study on the local community and then design an art project responding to the children’s needs, such as healing trauma through art. This project provides VCU Art Education students with the opportunity to gain a sense of their future career as an art educator, as well as to experience the value of their contributions to the local community.