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December 21, 2017

Be sure to check out this list periodically for updates related to the VMNH staff, including new staff hires, scientific projects and publications, board and committee service, professional achievements, and awards. 

February 2018

Deputy Director elected VP of AFP Chapter
Ryan Barber, VMNH Deputy Director, was elected Vice President, Communications for the First Virginia (Roanoke region) Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, beginning his third year-long term in the position.

Deputy Director appointed to international fundraising committee
Ryan Barber, VMNH Deputy Director, was appointed to the Marketing, Awards & Communications Committee of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, beginning his third year-long term on the committee.

Executive Director elected Treasurer of national science organization
Dr. Joe Keiper, VMNH Executive Director, was elected Treasurer of the Association of Science Museum Directors beginning his third year-long term in the position. The ASMD is a community of science museum leaders that gather to share experiences and discuss issues related to the advancement of science museums.

January 2018

Educator taking part in professional development at Texas A&M
Educator Katie Hastings will take part in a training session at Texas A&M in the coming weeks in preparation for the upcoming exhibit In Search of Earth’s Secrets. This exhibit, to be on display at VMNH February 6-17, was made possible by a recent collaborative National Science Foundation grant. Hastings will collaborate with grant partners on education program planning and development.

Deputy Director serves as reviewer for international philanthropy award
Ryan Barber, VMNH Deputy Director, recently served as a reviewer for the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) 2018 Award for Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy. This annual award recognizes service by an individual or group of young people ages 5 to 18 who demonstrate outstanding commitment to the community through direct financial support, development of charitable programs, volunteering and leadership in philanthropy. The award will be presented at the 2018 AFP International Fundraising Conference in New Orleans, April 15 – 17.

Part-time educator appointed
Lee Sigmon-Chatham was hired as a part-time educator on January 3. Sigmon-Chatham has a master’s degree in plant biology from North Carolina State University and a bachelor’s degree in biology from Elon University. A native of Eden, NC, she now lives in Danville.

December 2017

Executive Director serves as site reviewer for AAM
Dr. Joe Keiper, VMNH Executive Director, recently served as a Visiting Committee Member at the Witte Museum in San Antonio as part of the American Alliance of Museums’ accreditation program. As the museum field’s mark of distinction since 1971, AAM accreditation offers high profile, peer-based validation of museums’ operations and impact. Accreditation increases a museum’s credibility and value to funders, policy makers, insurers, community and peers, and is a powerful tool to leverage change.

Advancement and VMNH Foundation staffer completing 10 years on health coalition board
Charlotte Harter, Administrative & Financial Assistant for the Advancement division and VMNH Foundation, is completing 10 years of service on the board of directors of the Martinsville Henry County Coalition for Health & Wellness. Harter was appointed to the board in 2007, serving as Treasurer from 2011 to 2013 and as President from 2014 to 2016. She has served as Past President (ex-officio) for the past year. The MHC Coalition for Health & Wellness promotes health and improves access to basic medical care primarily for the uninsured and underserved in the Martinsville-Henry County area.

November 2017

Project Learning Tree at VMNH
VMNH Education Manager Christy Deatherage, as well as educators Katie Hastings and Margaret Fey, participated in a Project Learning Tree K-8 Workshop held at the museum in partnership with Reynolds Homestead and Virginia Tech's Colelge Access Collarborative.  During the workshop, the staff - along with educators from across the region - investigated a variety of environmental topics through indoor and outdoor activiteis in route to becoming Project Learning Tree certified educators.

October 2017

VMNH at Hokie Bugfest
VMNH Assistant Curator of Recent Invertebrates Dr. Kal Ivanov, and museum staff, participated in the 7th annual Hokie Bugfest held on the campus of Virginia Tech. The event was visited by approximately 8,400 participants during the course of a single day and offered a great opportunity to promote VMNH and the work conducted at the Department of Recent Invertebrates.

Curator working with intern on study of blow flies
VMNH Assistant Curator of Recent Invertebrates Dr. Ivanov is working with Piedmont Governor’s School senior Kendall Copen on a medicolegal question involving the distribution and abundance of blow flies to grow our knowledge of necrophagous flies used in investigations of human death.

September 2017

Curator of Archaeology co-editor of upcoming archaeology book
Dr. Elizabeth Moore, VMNH Curator of Archaeology, is the new co-editor for an upcoming book on the prehistoric archaeology of Virginia. Sponsored by the Council of Virginia Archaeologists and funded by the Department of Historic Resources, this book will contain a series of chapters on each of the major periods in Virginia’s history prior to European contact.

New Educator appointed
Margaret Fey was hired as a VMNH Educator in September 2017. Most recently, she served as the AmeriCorps STEM Team Lead at New College institute. Prior to that, she taught elementary students in Henry County Public Schools for 9 years. Margaret graduated from the College of William & Mary with double majors in anthropology and history and earned a master’s degree in education from Averett University.

Executive Director teaching UVA lifelong learning course
Dr. Joe Keiper, VMNH Executive Director, is teaching the course "Natural History of the Blue Ridge and Valley," as part of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) program at the University of Virginia.

August 2017

Science Administrator appointed
Krystal Davis was named the museum's Science Administrator in August 2017. Davis, who previously served as an administrative assistant within the museum's research and collections department, now takes on an expanded administrative role within the department. Davis has a B.AS. in Leadership Studies from Averett University.

Part-time educator appointed
Renae Wagoner was hired as a part-time educator in August 2017. Renae has a bachelor’s degree from Mary Baldwin University and experience as a tour guide at Reynolds Homestead, a historical interpreter at Fairy Stone State Park, and a teacher’s assistant with Franklin County Schools.

Curator, director teaching online course
VMNH Assistant Curator of Recent Invertebrates Dr. Kal Ivanov and VMNH Executive Director Dr. Joe Keiper are teaching a fall 2017 web-based entomology course for forensic biology majors at Ohio Northern University. The semester long course is designed to introduce students to the history, theory, and application of forensic entomology in legal investigations.

July 2017

Executive Director leads forensics traning
VMNH Executive Director Dr. Joe Keiper led forensic crime scene investigation training at the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy in July 2017. Keiper provided training to 16 police officers, focusing on the forensic use of insects inhabiting decomposing bodies.

Curators named adjunct faculty
Several VMNH curators were appointed adjunct faculty at James Madison University beginning July 2017. Appointees include Dr. Elizabeth Moore, Curator of Archaeology; Dr. Kal Ivanov, Assistant Curator of Recent Invertebrates; Dr. Alex Hastings, Assistant Curator of Paleontology; and Dr. Nancy Moncrief, Curator of Mammalogy.

Deputy Director appointed to Virginia Fundraising Institute board
Ryan Barber, VMNH Deputy Director, has been appointed to the board of the Virginia Fundraising Institute (VFRI) for a 2-year term, from 2017 to 2019. VFRI is a statewide non-profit organization led by the six Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) chapters in Virginia.

Curator presentations at American Society of Mammalogists conference
VMNH Curator of Mammalogy Dr. Nancy Moncrief attended the annual conference of the American Society of Mammalogists in July 2017, presenting information about 2 of her collaborative research projects (ecology of raccoons on the Virginia barrier islands and morphological studies of fossil muskrats).