Friday, August 31, 2018

What did I do with my summer vacation? Research.

What do karate, six cats and a dog, the violin, and biochemistry have in common? Bryanna Mountford.

Reynolds Honors student Bryanna Mountford has the intense focus evident in many math, science and engineering majors. It’s the kind of focus that earned her a Black Belt in Karate at the age of 17. It’s the kind of focus that kept her in the National Honors Society throughout high school. It’s the kind of focus that keeps her practicing the guitar, violin and piano. And, it’s the kind of focus that helped her discover her passion here at Reynolds. (Bryanna is pictured here, last on the right, with her project team. Below, Bryanna strikes a karate pose.)

Bryanna may have shifted gears a bit as she figured out her major, but she readily says that’s why she came to Reynolds. From Business Administration, to science with a concentration on nutrition, ultimately to biochemistry with a focus on research, her time at Reynolds has given her the opportunity to find her way. In her first semester at Reynolds a friend told her about the Honors program. By her third semester in Spring 2018 she had been accepted. Her involvement in the Honors program garnered her the opportunity to discover scientific research. 

Bryanna’s discovery started when Professor Karen Neal suggested that she apply for an summer intern position on a research project at the University of Richmond. “I didn’t expect to get in,” said Bryanna. But on the basis of her transcripts and letters of recommendation, she did get in, and in late May, shortly after her second year at Reynolds had ended, she began working on a research project alongside sophomores and seniors from four-year institutions.
But Bryanna wasn’t involved in just ANY research project. She was part of an REU, a Research Experiences for Undergraduates program funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The REU program gives undergraduate students an opportunity to participate in nationally and internationally recognized research. REU Sites, such as the one at University of Richmond, are created based on independent proposals to initiate and conduct projects that engage promising students in research across a wide range of scientific disciplines.

Bryanna’s internship involved a biochemistry-based project. Her job, along with five other undergrads, was to grow bacteria and isolate proteins. “I enjoyed the internship much more than I thought I would. We all had different levels of experience, but that didn’t matter. The work was very fast-paced, we all pulled together, and helped each other. And, we worked well together.”

They worked so well together that Bryanna and one of her teammates were invited to an international conference in Canada to present their findings. “The conference was motivating and intimidating at the same time,” Bryanna said, “Motivating because I got to listen to experts in the field. Intimidating because some of what they said went, whoosh, way over my head. But, it was motivating too because I got to see what I could do if I went in to research.”

With only a short few weeks of summer vacation, by August 20 Bryanna was back at the books. Her goal now is to graduate from Reynolds this semester and apply to University of Richmond for the Fall 2019. Why U of R? “Well,” Bryanna says, “It’s pretty. And, it’s awesome.” After that, it’s graduate school. Being a biochemical researcher takes a bit of education, and a whole lot of Bryanna-like focus.

Reynolds MakerSpace: Bridging the Gap between 2D and 3D

“We’re on the brink of a new era of innovation. Will you survive it?
It’s better to prepare than adapt because,
by the time you see the need to adapt,
it may already be too late.”
Greg Satell, Author, Mapping Innovation, (Inc. Magazine, April 8, 2018)

Reynolds Math, Science and Engineering Department is preparing for a new era. Are you?

Innovation involves experimenting, testing, thinking differently, and creating with the mind and hands. Reynolds Professors Sylvia Clay and Salah Garada embraced the idea of innovation when they opened a “MakerSpace” in June. (Professor Sylvia Clay is pictured here with 3D printers in MakerSpace.)

With the MakerSpace launch they hosted a series of hands-on workshops. First came “3D Printing.” Next was “Robotics and Microcontrollers,” then “Learn to Crochet.” In the true spirit of innovation, those in attendance got to learn, experiment, test, think, and create with their minds and hands. The series was a success. 
If you haven’t heard, makerspaces and other innovation “labs” are popping up everywhere. While they are different from the original “hackerspaces” started in Berlin in 1995, they do share the same love and pursuit of creativity across all disciplines.

Some makerspaces are decked out with “maker” equipment like 3D printers, laser cutters, cnc (computer numerical control) machines, soldering irons and sewing machines. Others are simply a room with cardboard, legos, and art supplies. “It’s more of the maker mindset of creating something out of nothing and exploring your own interests that’s at the core of a makerspace.” ( Currently Reynolds MakerSpace has 3-D printers, computers, micro-controllers, and electronics.

To truly bridge the gap between 2D (software and a screen) and 3D (a model version), the Reynolds MakerSpace wish list includes a laser cutter, CNC router, sewing machine, and power tools. These relative low cost items would overwhelmingly enhance a “makers” ability to not only visualize, but to produce inventions. That bridge is where the whole world of ideas opens up.

Funding is an issue. An industry-recognized software company gives Reynolds math, science, and engineering students free “modeling” software (a $2,000 per student, per year value), but when it comes to bringing ideas, inventions, and innovations into reality with “maker” machinery, the options are incredibly limited. Reynolds has the 2D, but needs more 3D.

“We launched MakerSpace with what we had. We wanted to show the need for this special place where the Reynolds community can come, learn, and try new things,” said Instructor and Engineering Program Head Sylvia Clay. “Instead of just talking about building a bridge, we can come to MakerSpace and build the bridge. This is exciting for everyone.”

“Students are eager to learn this way, to go beyond their classes and be challenged,” observed Clay. “In a MakerSpace they are anxious to help one another, to share their knowledge and expertise, not just with others in their field, but across department boundaries. Reynolds MakerSpace is for everyone at Reynolds. The doors are open for all to explore their ideas and get creative.”

Haven’t visited MakerSpace yet? Plan to visit soon. The location, hours and upcoming workshops are listed below.

Location and Hours
Burnette Hall, Room 156
Fall Hours:
Mondays & Wednesdays  |  10 a.m. - 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Tuesdays & Thursdays  |   3 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Fridays  |  10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
To request an additional time, email or call (804) 523-5598. For general questions, please email Sylvia Clay at

Upcoming Workshops
DATE CHANGE: Robotics and Microcontrollers with Mr. Garada
Thu, Sep 20 | 3:00 – 4:30 p.m.
Thanks to Hurricane Florence, this workshop, originally scheduled for Thu, Sep 13, is rescheduled for Thu, Sep 20. Same time.
Ever wonder what’s behind robotics and automation? Learn the basics, then assemble and program an Arduino microcontroller that could be used on a robot or in other automation settings.

3D Modeling in Inventor with Professor Clay
Wed, Sep 26 | 3 – 4:30 p.m.
First comes the model, then the creation. Learn the basics of 3D modeling with Inventor 2019, then create your masterpiece on the computer. Come back again for the 3D printing workshop and actually print your creation!

The Internet of Things with Mr. Garada
Mon, Oct 8 | 3 – 4:30 p.m.
Every wonder how smart homes get so smart? Maybe you would like to program them yourself. Mr. Garada will explain the mysteries. Learn how devices are paired with electronics, sensors and software to connect to the internet and then be remotely controlled.

3D Printing with Professor Clay
Thu, Nov 8 | 3 – 4:30 p.m.
Think a model, make a model. Professor Clay shows the basics 3D printing, then it’s your turn to print your model! Once you’ve attended this workshop you can use MakerSpace 3D printers during open hours.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Reynolds Nursing Program Graduate Recognized

Katy Wiggins is exceptional. Her nursing career is exceptional. Katie is an exceptional graduate of Reynolds nursing program.

Katy Wiggins, BSN, RN has been recognized by the Virginia Nurses Association as one of the top 40 nurses under the age of 40 in the Commonwealth. Award winners are chosen for their professionalism in practice, their leadership, and positive promotion and advancement of the nursing profession. Katy was selected from a record number of nominations. She will receive her award at the annual Virginia Nurses Foundation Gala on September 22. 

“Katy never hesitates to roll up her sleeves and get on the front line,” says Southside Physician Network director Joanne Austin. “It is a pleasure to work with such a wonderful, caring, professional registered nurse.”* 

“This is an amazing accomplishment. It really encompasses my nursing career thus far. This award is dedicated to my family, professors, peers, managers and administrators who have helped mold me into the nurse I am today,” said Katy.* 

Dean of the School of Nursing and Allied Health Susan Hunter had this to say: “We celebrate the success of our all our graduates. We take a great deal of pride when one of them distinguishes themselves, such as Katy, with this wonderful recognition. While we take it as a compliment for the education, we offer at Reynolds, clearly, Katy has worked hard to garner the recognition within the medical community. There is nothing more powerful than having your peers recognize your work. We are very proud of her.”

Katy graduated from Reynolds nursing program in 2009. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2017 from Western Governors University and is now working on her Master of Business Administration in Healthcare Management at Western Governors. She expects to graduate in January 2019.

(*Austin and Wiggins Quotes from Progress-Index)

Reynolds Student Named 

2018 Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholar 

Of more than 1,200 applicants, Reynolds Community College student Cameron Lohmann was one of 207 Phi Theta Kappa members named as a 2018 Coca-Cola Leader of Promise Scholar. Our congratulations go to Cameron on his outstanding academic achievements and his leadership potential that have earned him this prestigious award. He was inducted into the Reynolds chapter of PTK in February 2018 (Left: induction picture)

The Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholarship Program helps new Phi Theta Kappa members defray educational expenses while enrolled in associate degree programs. Scholars are encouraged to assume leadership roles by participating in PTK programs and are selected based on scholastic achievement, community service, and leadership potential. Cameron will receive a $1,000 scholarship.

A total of $207,000 is awarded through the Leaders of Promise Scholarship Program. The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation provides $200,000 in funding for the scholarships, with $25,000 set aside for members who are veterans or active members of the U.S. military. The remaining amount is supported by donations to the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation and provides seven Global Leaders of Promise Scholarships, earmarked for international students.

“The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation has a long history of providing financial assistance to outstanding students at community colleges,” said Jane Hale Hopkins, Executive Vice President and President-Elect of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. “We are proud to partner with Phi Theta Kappa, make it possible for more deserving students to achieve their educational goals, and support tomorrow’s leaders of the global community.” 

The funds provided by the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation not only aid college completion, but also give students the opportunity to engage in Society programs and develop leadership skills to become future leaders in their communities. 

“Research shows that Phi Theta Kappa members are four times more likely to complete a college degree than their peers,” said Dr. Monica Marlowe, Executive Director of the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation. “The Leaders of Promise Scholarships recognize students for what they have achieved already and assure that financial need isn’t an obstacle to achieving their academic goals.”

Phi Theta Kappa is the premier honor society recognizing the academic achievement of students at associate degree-granting colleges and helping them to grow as scholars and leaders. The Society is made up of more than 3.5 million members and nearly 1,300 chapters in 10 nations. Learn more at

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Meet Jasmine Cook

Administrative Office Specialist

School of Mathematics, Science and Engineering

Jamine reading the Japanese novel,
A Certain Scientific Railgun.
Are you from Richmond? If not, where were you born and raised, and what brought you to Richmond?
Yes, I am a native of Richmond.

You have worked for Reynolds for seven years. What do you like most about working here?
What I like most about working at Reynolds is working with dependable co-workers in my department and other academic schools and having the opportunity to work under our school dean, Mr. Raymond Burton. Another would be getting to interact with both students and faculty with diverse backgrounds.

What is the most important lesson you have learned from working at Reynolds?
The most important lesson that I have learned from working at Reynolds is to always be accountable for my interactions with students and my co-workers. In addition to this, to be consistent with following through with my job duties.

In 2014 you got an associate degree from Reynolds. This past spring you just graduated from Liberty University with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and have been accepted into their master’s program in Criminal Justice and Public Administration. What drew you to the field of Criminal Justice, and what are your career goals?
Having been in foster care between age nine and eighteen, I was in the state care. What I desire to do with my degree is to help youth who have aged out of foster care or those who are still in foster care, but have had problems with the justice system or courts. I want to be a mentor to them and help them understand their own worth. And even though the odds are against them and having experienced adversity, they can push themselves to be able to stand on their own two feet.

To accomplish so much requires time management skills. What time management advice would you give to others?
I took four eight-week classes at Liberty University this summer (at the same time!) That requires much management of one’s time. A bit of advice that I would give to others would be to have high expectations of yourself and set goals for yourself that are both attainable and impact oneself in a positive way.

Who inspired you to push yourself educationally?
First, I inspired myself to push myself educationally. Being that I am the first out of my family to finish high school, community college and obtain my Bachelor’s degree. Second, my foster parents and my immediate family. And finally, my co-workers and my the coaches in the Great Expectations program.

One of Jasmine's drawings.
You like to listen to Japanese, Korean, and rock music. That is quite a combination. How did you get interested in Japanese music, animation, drawing, and novels?
I was interested when I was watching Saturday morning cartoons. On one channel was an anime called Sailor Moon (it was a re-run of course), and I instantly fell in love with this show. Today, I am still in love with anime and even read manga (Japanese graphic novels). I have so much manga, that I even donated a few series to the Reynolds Library. When I do listen to the music, it takes me to a different place and it is very unique, and that is why I love anime, manga and music. 

If you won $100 million dollars in the Powerball Lottery, what would you do first?
If I did win $100 million dollars in the Powerball Lottery, first I would pay my dues to the people who have helped me such as my foster parents. Because without them, I would have not been the person that I am today. My way is always giving your dues and giving back to those who have helped you along the way.