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A glimpse of a future at Virginia Tech

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William E. Lavery Professor Kathleen Alexander and other Virginia Tech faculty and students welcomed minority high school students from Louisa County, Virginia, to campus for tours and discussions about their future academic and professional opportunities after completing high school. Eight of the students, along with their teachers, will join Alexander in Botswana, where she is merging wildlife conservation with community health and economic development.
Through a long-term partnership with Ms. Wanda speed, who is a teacher in Louisa County. She, together with her colleagues, have pulled together a number of students, minority students from different high schools in the county to bring them here to Virginia Tech and, and to start thinking about what their future could look like and how university education might be a part of their plan or if it's not, how it could be and how Virginia Tech might play a role in this part of an NSF supplement to grant that I have I've been able to with Ms. Speed and her colleagues to identify eight African-American students who will come with me to Botswana with their teachers. And together those students and teachers will come with me and interface with the research we're doing under NSF. Batswana scientists and technicians that are working with me together with school children and their teachers, where I work and undertake outreach under my OSF project. So bringing all that together, the vision is how can we really bring diversity to the scientific fields and realize leadership in the international space in that sector. My programs in Africa are located in Botswana and Southern Africa. I run an institute called the Joby Research Institute. And it's directed at trying to develop interactive and whole one health type of projects where we start looking at the whole gambit of a problem so that we're prepared for change and understanding how infectious diseases and landscape change, human and animal behavior all interact to influence the emergence of disease. And as we have seen before, the occurrence of pandemics. What can we do? What do we need to know? What type of trained workforce do we have to have to be ready for the next pandemic?