Academic News (News2Note) — May 2017

News2Note, the academic newsletter of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, is published monthly during the academic year by Debra Stoudt, associate dean for academic policies and procedures. Academic news can be submitted to her directly at

Academic News

Outcomes and impact of a health study conducted in France by Barbara Allen, a professor in the Department of Science and Technology in Society, were highlighted in VT News.

With funding from the French Agency for Food, Environmental, and Occupational Health, Allen conducted a community-based environmental health study in Fos-sur-Mer and Port-Louis-du-Rhône, both located in one of France’s largest industrial regions.

The results of the survey and study indicate a much higher level of illness and chronic health problems compared to the rest of the French population; the results have been used to advocate for environmental improvements and to justify additional health research.

ASPECT doctoral student Judson Abraham published “Just Transitions for the Miners: Labor Environmentalism in the Ruhr and Appalachian Coalfields,” ​New Political Science 39.2 (April 2017): 218–40.

Danna Agmon, an assistant professor of history and a core faculty member in the Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought (ASPECT), has been selected as the faculty principal for the Residential College at West Ambler Johnston. West Ambler Johnston is one of the 16 living-learning communities at Virginia Tech; it consists of four “houses” with 200 students each. Agmon will live in the community and facilitate lectures, social activities, and educational programs.

Mohammad Halimi, a doctoral student in the Department of Science and Technology Studies, has been awarded a research fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Studies on Science, Technology and Society in Graz, Austria, for the 2017–2018 academic year. The fellowship includes a Manfred-Heindler grant, which is designed to support research into both the continued use of renewable energies, as well as the increased efficiency of energy consumption.

The following graduate students were inducted into the Academy for Graduate Teaching Assistant Excellence on March 28: ASPECT doctoral students Anthony Szczurek and Shelby Ward as associates, and Leanna Ireland, Sociology, Audra Jenson, Philosophy, and Christopher Savage, Curriculum and Instruction, as members. The purpose of the academy is to enhance the knowledge and skills in teaching through the provision of opportunities for graduate students to receive advanced education and training in innovative teaching and learning strategies and to recognize excellence in teaching by graduate students.