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Monday, Oct. 6, 2014 5:24 p.m.

GW Museum to open in March

Updated: Oct. 7, 2014 at 1:28 p.m.

This post was written by assistant news editor Jacqueline Thomsen.

The GW Museum will open to the public March 21, after construction was completed this summer. Jordan McDonald | Hatchet Photographer

The GW Museum will open to the public March 21, after construction was completed this summer. Jordan McDonald | Hatchet Photographer

The GW Museum and Textile Museum will officially open to the public this spring.

The museum complex will open March 21, almost four years after the University first announced the projects. Construction was completed on the 46,000-square-foot building on the corner of 21st and G streets this summer.

“We look forward to celebrating the results of these efforts with the University community and many others when the museum opens this March,” museum director John Wetenhall said in a release. “The opening shows should be spectacular.”

The GW Museum will feature artifacts from the Textile Museum and exhibits from donor Albert Small’s Washingtoniana collection. Two of the three opening exhibits will feature items from the Washingtoniana collection, and the third will be the Textile Museum’s largest to date.

The conservation and collections resource center on the Virginia Science and Technology Campus will hold remaining museum pieces.

GW expanded the original budget and size of the facility 50 percent last May to house additional collections and exhibits. Most of the donations for the museum came from Small’s collection and the Textile Museum.

The GW Museum opened in June for a preview with 400 guests, but none of the textiles, artifacts or other exhibits had been moved into the building.

This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that GW decided to expand the facility’s size and budget in May. It actually did so in May 2013. We regret this error.

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The Silver Line saw its first full day of service Saturday. Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer

The Silver Line saw its first full day of service Saturday. Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer


After a five-year wait, the Silver Line made its first trips out of Virginia and into D.C. on Saturday.

The Metro’s first new line in more than two decades opened at noon, giving residents near the first five stops – McLean, Tysons Corner, Grensboro, Spring Hill and Wiehle-Reston East – easy access to the District.

The extended reach also helps GW shorten its shuttle service to the Virginia Science and Technology Campus by about 10 miles. The University is shifting its shuttle service from the Orange Line’s West Falls Church stop to Wiehle-Reston East.

Metro will now reach more towns in northern Virginia and will provide a straight shot to Tysons Galleria, one of the largest shopping malls in the country.

And this is just the first phase of Silver Line construction, which has already run up a $2.9 billion bill. Another $2.7 billion will make Metro services extend to Dulles International Airport by 2018.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority has spent $750,000 advertising for the Silver Line, with ads suggesting it could swell the city’s dating pool or bring commuters to dance with joy.

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The Virginia Science and Technology Campus will get $850,000 worth of new signs to help draw attention to the sparse but growing campus. Hatchet File Photo

The University will spend $850,000 on new signs to help its four academic and research buildings on the Virginia Science and Technology Campus stand out on its suburban highway in Ashburn, Va.

The funds, approved this month by the Board of Trustees, will help pay for GW-branded signs to help draw attention to the 120-acre Virginia campus, which the University is looking to build up by adding buildings, research centers and graduate programs there.

Now, the campus is sprawled along Route 7 in Loudoun County, where jobs have sprouted and the economy has boomed – making it an attractive location for GW to do research and make connections with the local government.

The new signs will be installed this summer and fall to help unify the campus, Virginia campus dean Ali Eskandarian said in an email. The campus will add 38-foot-wide entrance signs, pole-mounted flags, logos for its four buildings and signs to direct cars and pedestrians.

“The new signage will create a visual presence for the campus as well as increase the ease of wayfinding on the campus and enhance both the ‘campus feel’ and campus connectivity,” Eskandarian said in an email.

The approved funds were part of the nearly $8 million pegged for capital repairs next year. Of the about $17 million earmarked for capital repairs through 2016, nearly all will be covered by operating revenues, which are made up mostly by tuition dollars. Other capital projects, like new construction, are covered by fundraising and I.O.U.’s.

The Virginia campus, which is about a 45-minute bus ride away from Foggy Bottom, houses 17 research laboratories and nearly 20 degree programs. The School of Nursing is based on the campus, as well as several programs within the College of Professional Studies.

The University is also building a 22,000-square-foot museum and art storage facility on the campus, which is expected to be finished by the end of the year and has cost GW about $7 million so far. About 30,000 more square feet will be set aside for academic and research space in the building, which will hold collections for the GW Museum.

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Keith Crandall, Brigham Young University's biology department chair, will head up GW's Computational Biology Institute starting July 1. Photo courtesy of the Office of Media Relations

A research center that Vice President for Research Leo Chalupa called a top priority in 2009 now has its first director.

Keith Crandall, chair of the biology department at Brigham Young University, will steer GW’s Computational Biology Institute as it gets off the ground this fall. After an 18-month director search, the University announced Crandall’s hire Monday. He will start the job July 1.

“We have an amazing opportunity in this new genomics era to be world leaders in developing and implementing computational approaches to broad questions from biodiversity crisis issues to translational medicine,” Crandall said in a release. “With the exceptional faculty and outstanding leadership at GW, the institute is sure to be a huge success. I can’t wait to get started.”

Once it moves beyond its developmental stage, the research center will weave biology with computer science to study the data found in genetic mapping and DNA sequencing. The institute, to be housed on the Virginia Science and Technology Campus, will have an interdisciplinary focus – a research strategy trumpeted by GW administrators and researchers.

Chalupa pointed to computational biology as a key research area when he took on his role as the University’s first chief research officer in 2009. In May, the Board of Trustees also set aside $3.1 million for the coming fiscal year to hire research-oriented faculty in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences.

“I believe Dr. Crandall’s recruitment as the founding director of the Computational Biology Institute will be the driving force toward more cross-campus research in many fields, including computer science, evolutionary biology and personalized medicine,” Chalupa said in the release.

Crandall boasts several research credentials, including a distinction as a “highly cited” researcher by Thomson Reuters Web of Knowledge in 2010, which only one-half of 1 percent of all publishing scholars receive. Two GW researchers got the nod that year.

His research on how oil spills affect crustaceans is a key piece of a $6-million Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative – money that he will bring with him to GW. He also earned a $350,000 grant from the National Science Foundation last month that will outline the first comprehensive “tree of life” for all 1.8 million named species.

Chalupa has said hiring researchers who bring significant grant money to the University was critical to boost its reputation as a premier research university.

That grant money will also be important for Science and Engineering Hall funding. A December report from Executive Vice President and Treasurer Lou Katz projected a $55-million net increase in indirect cost recoveries from research grants, which compensate the University for lab and equipment use, to pay for the $275-million building through 2022.

The Office of the Vice President for Research is also trying to play catch-up to launch an autism research institute – trying to raise $10 million for the project.

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Ellen Zane, who left her post as the chief executive officer of Tufts Medical Center last fall, will speak to School of Nursing graduates in May. Photo courtesy of the Office of Media Relations

A member of the University’s Board of Trustees and the first female chief executive officer of Tufts Medical Center will address the School of Nursing at its May 19 graduation ceremony.

Ellen Zane, who earned a bachelor of arts from GW in 1973, will speak to the second-ever graduating class for the nursing school, a 15-month program that was established in 2010 on the Virginia Science and Technology Campus.

Last fall, Zane retired as the CEO of Tufts Medical Center, which she steered for seven years, helping the medical center recover from mounting financial losses.

She was appointed to GW’s Board of Trustees in 2010.

Geraldine Bednash, chief executive officer and executive director of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, spoke at last year’s graduation ceremony.

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Members of the Innovation Task Force's steering committee pitch ideas for a Summer of Service program to members of the GW community. Cécile Schilis-Gallego | Hatchet Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Liza Dee.

The Innovation Task Force unveiled its top proposals Tuesday for the next phase of the University-wide cost-saving initiative, including pitches to expand online learning and alternative academic programs.

Students, faculty and staff discussed the 12 ideas, which ranged from online programs for veterans and high school students to a three-year graduation option, at a showcase in the Marvin Center.

The dozen proposals will be whittled down to six concrete plans over the next six months.

The event marked the fourth round of ideas since University President Steven Knapp created the Innovation Task Force in 2009 to build up enough savings for a $60 million annual investment in academics, student life and research after it first five years.

James Mahshie, a professor of speech and hearing sciences who helped lead the phase four innovation team, said while it was tough to keep up the momentum in another phase of the initiative, he was confident in the proposed ideas.

“To be honest, we sort of panicked,” Mahshie said. “We thought, ‘Oh God, all the good ideas have been taken.’ However, through the process of assembling the 13 people that were on this task force, we really started cranking. In the end, the 13 came up with 12 [ideas].”

Among the ideas introduced was a pre-health professional certificate program on the Virginia Science and Technology Campus, which would allow recent college graduates to take math and science credits before applying to medical, nursing or veterinary schools. The certificate program could add $1 million in revenue by bringing in students who would not count under the city-imposed enrollment cap.

Other revenue-generating proposals would seek to introduce the University to a wider audience. A Summer of Service program, estimated to provide $100,000 in revenue, would attract students from other universities to GW for a summer of volunteering and earning college credit in the D.C. area.

A plan to offer college courses to high school students, which estimated $2.5 million in revenue generation, would also look to enhance GW’s reputation by allowing students from all over to take GW classes online for transferable college credit.

Gary Naegel, the Graduate School of Education and Human Development’s director of personnel and finance, said the program would “get GW out of geographic zone that it’s been dependent on for the last couple of years,” referring to the reliance on key states like New York and New Jersey to feed applicants into the University.

The University could also save $480,000 by filling the 20 apartment units in Columbia Plaza that go unoccupied every month by targeting international students coming to the GW Law School.

The ITF’s first three phases of cost-saving ideas have already produced $43.4 million in annual savings, ITF co-chair Dave Lawlor said.

A second showcase – discussing the same ideas – will be held Thursday at the Virginia campus.

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Emily Huebner, left, Laxmi Patha, middle left, Marissa Gillwald, middle right and Asad Zaheer, right, participate in the Science, Technology and Engineering Day for high school students at the Virginia Science and Technology Campus. Freddo Lin | Hatchet Photographer

ASHBURN, Va. – About 150 high school students from across Loudoun County, Va. donned hazmat suits and tested earthquakes in workshops with science and engineering professors Friday at the Virginia Science and Technology Campus.

The sixth annual Science, Technology and Engineering Day looked to draw students in with an intimate look at the ongoing research on the campus that houses some of the University’s engineering and nursing programs.

“The idea is to get them hooked and encourage them to study science, engineering and technology. We just want to excite them to go into those fields,” assistant professor of engineering and applied science Pinhas Ben-Tzvi said. “It’s important to have outstanding students at this age to get excited about it and get advanced degrees in those fields because there’s a lot of need nowadays and it’s projected to be even more need in the future.”

Ben-Tzvi taught the basics of robotics to the students, who also shuffled to workshops on car crash test analysis and the future of energy.

Evan Smith, a student at Woodgrove High School, said the robotics workshop piqued his interested in electrical engineering.

“I’ve always liked to build things. I was definitely good with Legos,” Smith said. “It’s been neat to just get thrown into it.”

Another workshop showed the high school students how first responders protect themselves against fire or chemicals, but Scott Solomon said he tried to show students the hidden cost of emergency response as well.

“There are a lot of factors that people don’t consider, like the cost. These suits are $2,000 a-piece, single-use suits,” said Solomon, senior assistant director of GW’s Center for Preparedness and Resilience. “You also have heat stress. All of these suits put a huge burden to the cardiovascular system, and yes you’re protected from a chemical or biological agent, but you could have heat stress or heat stroke.”

Students wore gas masks and hazmat suits in a crash course of emergency response and introduced emergency scenarios to gauge which equipment was needed.

Former astronaut Frank Culbertson also delivered a keynote address about the future of space and science programs.

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Among the National Crash Analysis Center's existing technology is a driving simulator. FIle photo

Correction appended

GW will join forces with Toyota to develop new crash test technology, the University announced today.

The National Crash Analysis Center, an automotive and highway safety research group housed on the Virginia Science and Technology Campus, will build crash test models as a partner with Toyota’s Collaborative Research Center.

Toyota will ask GW researchers to build a computer simulation model to advance the auto company’s THOR dummy model, which assesses chest, neck and leg injuries in head-on crashes.

“This model will allow researchers and engineers to simulate real world crash scenarios and assess occupant injury risks,” Steven Kan, director of the National Crash Analysis Center, said. “As result of this research, for the first time we will be able to use computer simulation to evaluate real world vehicle collisions.”

Toyota launched their research effort last year, spending $50 million to partner with universities to study the future of auto safety. Virginia Tech will partner with GW and Toyota for crash test dummy simulation.

In the National Crash Analysis Center, federal highway and transportation officials team up with professors and researchers in the School of Engineering and Applied Science to study transportation safety.

The Hatchet incorrectly referred to the National Crash Analysis Center as the National Crash Test Analysis Center.

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Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011 4:51 p.m.

Free apples mark the fall season

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Zoe Mackay

Autumn has officially begun at GW.

To mark the season, GW hosted Apple Day, an annual tradition distributing free apples to students and staff.

About 6,000 apples are sitting in bushels in various locations on the Foggy Bottom, Mount Vernon and Virginia Science and Technology campuses, including the Marvin Center, Duques Hall, and the Lerner Health and Wellness center.

GW hosts Apple Day “to build a sense of community and to celebrate the fall season by offering a healthy snack to students, faculty and staff on their way to work and class,” Kathryn Bugg, executive director of University events, said.

For the first time this year, Whole Foods is sponsoring the event, which is coordinated by the Office of University Events.

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President Steven Knapp and GW School of Nursing Dean Jean Johnson met with Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell Thursday morning in Richmond, Va. Photo courtesy GW Media Relations

GW was recognized by Virginia’s General Assembly Thursday for its work in higher education in the state, in the same week that Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell announced a higher education bill affecting Virginia’s colleges and universities.

University President Steven Knapp met with McDonnell,  Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and about 20 legislators Thursday morning to discuss GW’s role in relation to the bill, which is aimed at increasing access for Virginians to higher education, and preparing students for high-demand fields like science, technology, engineering and math – known as STEM – as well as healthcare.

The bill also incentivizes “public-private collaboration on STEM-related and other commercially viable research,” according to a news release from McDonnell’s office.

In an interview after the meeting, Knapp said the University’s Virginia Science and Technology Campus would be recognized in both chambers of the Virginia legislature through resolutions thanking GW for its efforts in higher education and contributions to the economy.

GW started offering classes in Hampton Roads, Va., in 1958. Today it also offers courses in the cities of Arlington, Alexandria and Ashburn. The University’s Virginia Science and Technology Campus was established in Loudoun County, Va. in 1991, and now houses the new School of Nursing along with other programs.

“We’re growing rapidly our presence in Virginia,” Knapp said, noting that the goal of the legislation proposed by the governor is consistent with GW’s efforts.

Knapp called GW “one of the important economic engines” in Virginia and said the University can help meet a nursing shortage and demand for other fields.

While GW sees some graduate tuition on the Virginia Campus coming through the state’s Tuition Assistance Grant Program, Knapp said any funding for GW from the new legislation would come in the form of tuition assistance for Virginia residents to enroll at GW.

Knapp said other incentives in the works in separate legislation could include “tax incentives that make it easier to partner with companies.”

He noted that private companies helped build the University’s nursing program, and said the University wants to continue building partnerships and coalitions in the area.

More than 2,000 GW students currently take classes in Virginia, and GW also has partnerships established with local schools like George Mason University and Shenandoah University.

Knapp said GW’s reputation is “really growing” in Virginia, and added that McDonnell said he wanted to help GW in any way he could.

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