President’s Message


Dear friends,

I hope that everyone is enjoying an early summer. The good news is that the flowers are blooming and the grass is nice and green.

As usual, this newsletter is full of exciting news of the activities of the Virginia Academy and its members. First, plans are underway for another exciting Annual Summit to be held in Richmond on October 28-29, 2024.  The topic, “Bridging the Gap: Charting the Future for Renewable Energy for Virginia,” is a timely and important topic. The Summit will be hosted by Dominion Energy at its Innsbrook facility in Glen Allen, Virginia. Topics will include energy demand, generation, regulation, and workforce needs. I hope that you are planning to be with us in Richmond.

The Virginia Academy is hosting its fifth cohort of COVES Policy Fellows. 2024 is looking to be the best year for the program since its inception. We had over 40 applications for 16 positions. Because of the quality of the application pool, we were able to attract more positions from the universities.  In addition, we have a large set of host requests that includes both legislative offices and a number of executive offices. The exposure to the Virginia Academy is greatly enhanced by the COVES Policy Program.

We are pleased to introduce you to two outstanding individuals added to the membership of the Virginia Academy this year due to their election to the National Academy of Engineering. One is the current director of the U.S. National Science Foundation with a strong record in knowledge enterprises that have advanced research innovation, strategic partnerships, entrepreneurship, global development and economic growth. The other individual has over thirty-five years of senior leadership/management experience leading large engineering, construction, technical, and professional services organizations with up to 17,000 employees and a $32B annual program.

Thanks to Google Alerts, we have a new section that describes some of the exciting activities and accomplishments of our members. I hope that you enjoy reading this new section. Please let me know if I missed something our members should know about you.

The Virginia Academy will be hosting the fifth cohort of Commonwealth of Virginia Engineering and Science (COVES) Policy Fellows from May 28 – August 16, 2024. We are having our best year ever in terms of both excellent applicants and interested hosts. We had over 40 applications and are able to support 16 of them thanks to the additional funding from our supporting institutions. We have more new hosts with three of which are legislators.

I am pleased to announce that our association manager, Nicole McAllister, has been promoted to assistant vice president at McGuire Woods Consulting. She is also currently pursuing her Certified Association Executive designation with the American Society of Association Executives.

It is also a pleasure to introduce you to one of our accomplished members. In this issue, we profile Professor Lance Collins. Dr. Collins is an engineer and professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Virginia Tech. He was previously the Joseph Silbert Dean of Engineering at the Cornell University College of Engineering and is now the inaugural vice president and executive director of the new Virginia Tech Innovation Campus in Northern Virginia. I know that you will find this interview informative.

As you can see, the Virginia Academy and its members and friends are very active.  I hope that you find this newsletter informative and enjoyable. Please feel free to contact me if I can be of any assistance.

James (Jim) H. Aylor
Virginia Academy of Science, Engineering, and Medicine

Announcing 2024 VASEM Summit


Explore the impact of increased electrification in the Commonwealth. Join us for presentations and discussions on building a sustainable tomorrow with the shift towards renewables, advances in generation, transmission and storage while advancing workforce development opportunities for economic growth and job creation throughout the Commonwealth.

Come and hear Director Glenn Davis describe Governor Youngkin’s All-American, All-of-the-Above Energy Plan for Virginia.  Director Davis feels strongly that with bold action and innovative solutions, the Commonwealth can drive meaningful progress and build a stronger, more resilient energy system that benefits all Virginians.

In May 2023, Virginia Governor Younkin appointed Glenn Davis to fill the role as the director of the Virginia Department of Energy (Virginia Energy). Davis was most recently serving the Commonwealth as a Delegate from Virginia Beach. He was first elected in 2014 and chaired the House’s Education Committee and led the Governor’s Cybersecurity and I.T. Transition team during his service. Davis was a technology business owner before leaving the private sector to join Virginia Energy.

VASEM New Members


Mr. Michael Loose

Mr. Loose has over thirty-five years of senior leadership/management experience leading large engineering, construction, technical, and professional services organizations with up to 17,000 employees and a S32B annual program. He retired from the Parsons Corporation as the Corporate Operations Officer and member of the Executive Leadership Team and previously served as the Parsons Corporation Transformation Program Manager. He also served as the Parsons Government Services lnfrastructure and Environmental (l&E) Division Manager. Mr. Loose is a retired U.S. Navy Vice Admiral (3-Star). An extraordinary change agent and pacesetter of enduring excellence, he has exceptional leadership, organizational, and communications skills. His special skills and representative accomplishments include 1) executive leadership, 2) P&L/Resource management, 3) strategic planning, 4) project execution, and 5) talent management.

His major accomplishments include commanding a U.S. Navy Mobile Construction (Seabee) Battalion leading them to achieve the ‘Best of Type’ for the Pacific Seabees and the Peltier Award as the best Seabee Battalion in the U.S. Navy. His awards include the ASCE John L. Parcel-Leif Sverdrup Civil Engineering Management Award and the ASCE Henry L. Michel Award for Industry Advancement of Research in recognition of innovative construction, engineering, public works delivery, and acquisition methods and processes as Commander, Naval Facilities Engineering Command. He also received the William H. Wisely American Civil Engineer Award ASCE Outstanding Projects and Leaders (OPAL) Award for Lifetime Achievement in Management SAME Academy of Fellows Golden Eagle Award and the University of Kansas Distinguished Engineering Service Award. He is also a registered professional engineer.

Dr. Sethuraman Panchanathan

Dr. Panchanathan was elected as a member of the 2024 class of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). As a member of the NAE, he automatically becomes a member of the Virginia Academy of Science, Engineering, and Medicine.

The Honorable Sethuraman Panchanathan is a computer scientist and engineer and the 15th director of the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF). He was nominated by the President of the United States and then unanimously confirmed by the Senate on June 18, 2020. The NSF is a $9.06 billion independent federal agency charged with advancing all fields of scientific discovery, technological innovation and STEM education.

A leader in science, engineering and education, Panchanathan has built a distinguished career in higher education and government over three decades. He has designed and built knowledge enterprises that have advanced research innovation, strategic partnerships, entrepreneurship, global development and economic growth.

As NSF director, Panchanathan maintains leadership roles on several key interagency councils and committees, including serving as co-chair of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship and as a member of the White House CHIPS Implementation Steering Council and the White House Gender Policy Council.

Panchanathan previously served as executive vice president of the Arizona State University Knowledge Enterprise, where he also was chief research and innovation officer. He was also founder and director of the Center for Cognitive Ubiquitous Computing at ASU. Under his leadership, the university increased research performance fivefold, earning recognition as the fastest growing and most innovative research university in the U.S.

Panchanathan’s scientific contributions have advanced the areas of human-centered multimedia computing, haptic user interfaces and ubiquitous computing technologies for enhancing the quality of life for individuals with different abilities, machine learning for multimedia applications and media processor designs. For his scientific contributions, Panchanathan has received numerous awards and honors. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association for Computing Machinery, and other prestigious science and engineering organizations. Before joining the NSF, Panchanathan served by presidential appointment on the National Science Board, where he was a chair of the committee on strategy. Additionally, he was chair of the council on research of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and co-chair of the extreme innovation task force of the Global Federation of Competitiveness Councils.

Member Profile: Lance Collins - Catalyzing the Tech Ecosystem at the Innovation Campus


Lance Collins is quick to credit the role of “dumb luck and timing” in establishing the trajectory of his career, but the enjoyment he gains from taking on new, more complex challenges is equally responsible. This openness led him to straddle the borders of chemical and mechanical engineering and pursue the physical models of cloud formation required to accurately forecast climate change, the kind of work that earned him membership in the National Academy of Engineering. And it is why, after serving as dean of engineering at Cornell for a decade, he accepted the offer to become inaugural vice president and executive director of Virginia Tech’s Innovation Campus in Alexandria, taking on the dual challenge of building a new campus and forging a new campus culture.

As dean of engineering, Collins was part of the team that, in 2011, won the city-sponsored competition to create a new applied sciences and engineering campus in New York City, besting 18 of the world’s leading institutions. “In my role at Cornell, I was on the Ithaca side of the team,” Collins said. “I was curious to find out what it would be like to be on the scene and build something from scratch. I felt some of the lessons learned from Cornell Tech would enable us to do a few things a little differently.”

Getting It Right from the Start

Like Cornell Tech, the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus combines economic and academic goals. Its aim is to “catalyze the tech ecosystem” in the Capitol area, addressing “real-world, human-centered challenges derived from technically innovative companies and government agencies.” In other words, it combines traditional academic pursuits like advancing the frontiers of knowledge and educating the next generation with economic development. “What is interesting to me is the notion of a blended mission,” Collins said. “That’s the magic: trying to get the campus aligned with that extra piece of the mission.”

For Collins, that has meant taking a deep dive into a region dominated by federal agencies and the contractors that serve them and building a program that reflects its distinctive characteristics while addressing state priorities. As an example, Collins cited the campus talent investment program. To address its shortage of skilled high-tech workers, Commonwealth stipulated that 50 percent of the students at the Innovation Campus should come from Virginia. This emphasis also makes sense in a region in which citizenship is a prerequisite for gaining the security classifications that public and private enterprises require. Graduate computer science and engineering programs like the ones the campus offers typically skew toward international students.

“Because of this mandate, we are building a very different-looking pipeline than other campuses,” Collins said. Virginia Tech has signed articulation agreements with a number of Virginia schools that make the Innovation Campus the logical next step for their computer science graduates. For instance, some of the undergraduate courses offered at these institutions count toward fulfilling Virginia Tech’s Master of Engineering requirements.

The need to reach more Virginia students is one reason diversity is a foundational principle of the innovation campus. “There is talent from women and underrepresented minorities that we in Virginia have historically not been effective in engaging,” Collins said. “There are capable people who may not think about our program because they don’t think they would belong. We want to change that.”

The advantages of pursuing a more diverse campus, however, go beyond attracting more qualified students to the campus. “Diversity brings a richness of viewpoints and perspectives that elevate our culture and our programs,” Collins said. “Diverse institutions perform at a higher level because more ideas are put on the table.”

Creating Eye-Opening Experiences

Collins recognizes that sustainable gains in diversity require an investment in K-12 education. Part of Boeing’s record $50 million investment in the Innovation Campus is being devoted to funding pathway programs in Alexandria City Public Schools for underserved students. “We’re working with the school system to bring what we call computational thinking to teachers and students from kindergarten on and increase excitement about STEM degrees and technology-related careers,” he said.

Collins knows from his own experience how powerful such programs can be. Growing up in a Long Island suburb, he excelled in math and science but had no notion of engineering until he participated in a two-week Minority Introduction to Engineering (MITE) program at Lafayette University. “There was an audible click,” he recalled. “The experience made me feel vibrant and alive, and I came home and said I want to be an engineer.” Collins intends to foster that process, creating eye-opening experiences for young people that are as powerful for the current generation of students as they were for him.

2024 COVES Fellows


The Virginia Academy is hosting the fifth cohort of Commonwealth of Virginia Engineering and Science (COVES) Policy Fellows from May 28 – August 16, 2024. With this fellowship, graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in STEM-H fields will serve as science advisors and gain public service and policymaking experience in various potential host offices. The fellowship will begin with an in-person orientation and science policy bootcamp in Richmond, VA on May 23 – 24, 2024, which will feature speakers involved in science policy as well as many workshops to build skills in science communication and policy engagement. Fellows will begin full-time work in their host offices on May 28, 2024. The program will conclude with a convocation event to allow the fellows to highlight their work on August 30, 2024.

The new application timeline we piloted this year paid off as evidenced by the significant increase in applications we received. This year, we received 44 applications from 8 participating universities (VT, UVA, VCU, ODU, W&M, GM, NSU, and VSU). The selection committee was pleased and impressed with the interest and competitiveness of the applications we received. With the support of the universities and generous sponsorship from The MITRE Corporation, Huntington Ingalls Industries, and Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation, we selected 17 fellows for participation in the 2024 program – our biggest cohort to date!

The COVES Program Coordinator, Sarah Hall, has recruited 19 potential host offices for this year’s program, including 11 executive agencies, 3 legislative commissions, 3 legislators’ offices, and 2 nonprofit companies. Of the 19 offices, 8 are new to the program this year. Fellows are currently interviewing and will be matched with their host office by May 10, 2024. For the first time in the program, most host office placements will be in-person across the state!

Congrats to the 2024 COVES Fellows!

  • Yasasi Abeysinghe – PhD Computer Science, ODU
  • Laura Akesson – PhD Physics & Astronomy, GM
  • Jemelyn Baldisimo – PhD Ecological Sciences, ODU
  • Elizabeth Beyer – MS Civil & Environmental Engineering, VT
  • Bernard Boston – PhD Materials Science and Engineering, NSU
  • Kiara Brown – PhD Developmental Psychology, VSU
  • Pavan Chaitanya – MS Mechanical & Nuclear Engineering, VCU
  • Zach Dawson – PhD Experimental Pathology, UVA
  • Carreen de Cardenas – PhD Civil Engineering, UVA
  • Synphane Gibbs-Shelton – PhD Pharmacology, UVA
  • Lucas Goodman – PhD Planning, Governance & Globalization, VT
  • Julia Hsin-Ping Hsu – PhD Information Science & Technology, GM
  • Kylor Kerns – PhD Environmental Science, UVA
  • Prianka Mandal – PhD Computer Science, W&M
  • Gates Palissery – PhD Translational Biology, Medicine, & Health, VT
  • Mark Schwartz – PhD Biomedical Engineering, UVA
  • Mikala Simons – MS Computer Science, VSU

Virginia Academy Members in the News

Dr. Robert Kahn receives the IEEE Medal of Honor
Robert E. Kahn, 1994 Marconi Fellow, a pioneering figure in the field of computer networking, has been awarded the prestigious IEEE Medal of Honor. His groundbreaking work, alongside Vint Cerf, led to the development of the TCP/IP protocols, which form the backbone of the modern Internet. Kahn’s contributions have revolutionized communication and connectivity worldwide. His dedication to innovation continues to inspire future generations of technologists. Dr. Kahn will receive his award at the 2024 IEEE VIC Summit and Honors Ceremony on May 3, 2024, in Boston, Massachusetts.

Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn on CBS Morning News

On March 19, 2024, the founders of the Internet, Steve Crocker, and VASEM members, Bob Kahn and Vint Cerf, were featured on CBS Mornings by Tony Dokoupuil. The writer of the announcement noted that their journey began with a simple, yet revolutionary, idea: developing the technologies and software necessary to send data from one computer to another, eventually reaching across the globe. Despite their monumental achievements, these innovators remain modest about their contributions. “One of the big issues about the internet is that most people don’t really have a good idea of what it is,” Kahn said. The ease of spreading misinformation and disinformation has become a significant concern. Cerf said he has no regrets and sees the internet’s misuse as a human issue, not a technological flaw. “It’s their responsibility,” Cerf said.

Dr. Heidi Shyu is Keynote Speaker

Heidi Shyu, U.S. undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, is a keynote speaker at the Pacific Operational Science and Technology Conference in Hawaii in March 2024. The largest-ever Pacific Operational Science and Technology Conference included 1,900 representatives from 15 nations across the Indo-Pacific. Shyu noted that the Defense Department “cannot afford for useful research to languish in the laboratories, for bureaucratic processes to prevent engagement with innovative private companies or to allow old paradigms to prevent collaboration with some of our most trusted partners.” The challenge, participants said, is to bridge the gap between innovation and practical application for the defense of the US.

Undersecretary Shyu also spoke at the AFCEA International and inaugural TechNet Emergence Conference held in Reston, Virginia on March 11-12.  Shyu explained that the U.S. Department of Defense’s Research and Engineering arm is partnering more and more with allies and partners to rapidly bring in key technologies. She also noted that the department is pinpointing countries that can offer emerging technologies or other products that can close U.S. capability gaps, and then is working through the partnerships to quickly bring the prototypes and solutions into the U.S. military. “I have never engaged so much with allies and partners before,” the undersecretary exclaimed. “We have numerous bilateral and tri-lateral agreements. Last year alone, I visited seven countries, [including Italy, South Korea, Norway and Australia].” Later this year, Shyu is visiting BeverlyFinland, Belgium, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

UVa Health University Medical Center ranked #1 hospital in Virginia

Newsweek’s “World’s Best Hospitals 2024” guide ranks UVA Health University Medical Center as the No. 1 hospital in Virginia. The newsmagazine also rates UVA as the No. 39 hospital in the United States and among the world’s top 250. Dr. K. Craig Kent, UVA Health’s chief executive officer and the University of Virginia’s executive vice president for health affairs and Virginia Academy member, said the rankings highlight a commitment to creating “destination” patient-care programs outlined in the health system’s 10-year strategic plan. “Our goal is to become the top public academic health system in the country, and this ranking shows the great strides we are making,” he said. “It’s a tribute to every member of our team and their commitment to provide exceptional patient care.”

Beverly Malone Named Most Influential People in Health Care

Modern Healthcare, the leading mainstream publication in health care, has named National League for Nursing President and CEO Beverly Malone, PhD, RN, FAAN to the prestigious ranking of 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare for 2023. Dr. Malone has been repeatedly included in this elite annual list of the 100 top health care executives, medical professionals, policymakers, and leaders in government, business, and the nonprofit sector selected from a competitive field by senior editors of the magazine in consultation with a panel of knowledgeable insiders.

In congratulating Dr. Malone, NLN Chair Patricia Sharpnack, DNP, RN, CNE, NEA-BC, ANEF, FAAN, Dean and Strawbridge Professor at the Breen School of Nursing and Health Professions at Ursuline College in Ohio, said, “On behalf of the National League for Nursing Board of Governors, I applaud this well-deserved honor for Dr. Malone. Her passionate commitment to excellence, integrity, diversity and inclusion, and brilliant spirit of collaboration have been the driving force behind so many of the partnerships the National League for Nursing has forged with leading corporations, organizations, and health and hospital institutions to support nursing and nurse educators throughout higher education.”

Pamela Melroy receives 2023 Wash100 Award

Dr. Pamela Melroy, NASA Deputy Administrator, is a first-time inductee in 2023 into the Wash100, an elite selection of public and private sector leaders who have made significant contributions to the government contracting industry. The award is a tribute to her advocacy of commercial innovation in aeronautics and space exploration. Pam is an incredibly capable NASA deputy administrator whose career builds upon her impressive experience as space shuttle commander (STS-120), NASA astronaut and member of the Astronaut Hall of Fame,” said Garrettson, founder and CEO of Executive Mosiac who created the Wash100 Award. “Through her achievements and important continued work at NASA, she inspires many more women to follow a path of STEM, leadership and adventure,” he added.

Since 2002, Executive Mosaic has been the leader in connecting, promoting and branding executives of consequence through exclusive peer networking events and media.

Jack Stankovic receives IEEE Medal

John A. “Jack” Stankovic, the BP America Professor Emeritus in the University of Virginia Department of Computer Science, can add the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ 2024 Simon Ramo Medal to his list of professional accolades. Medals are in the top hierarchy of awards given by the IEEE. His citation for the Simon Ramo Medal recognizes his accomplishments in all of his areas of research: “For contributions to the theory of real-time and resource-constrained, distributed systems and the practice of cyber-physical and health systems.”

His more than 400 papers have earned two test-of-time and nine best paper awards, plus 11 runners-up, and he’s been cited nearly 68,000 times. He was the editor-in-chief for the IEEE Transactions on Distributed and Parallel Systems and was founder and co-editor-in-chief for the Real-Time Systems Journal and the Association for Computing Machinery’s Transactions on Computing for Healthcare. Stankovic, who recently retired, mentored 48 Ph.D. students and eight postdocs. He served as chair of UVA’s Department of Computer Science from 1997 to 2004 and was a co-founder and director of Link Lab, UVA Engineering’s multidisciplinary center for cyber-physical research.

Steven Woolf speaks to US News and World Report

Dr. Stephen Woolf, professor in the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, recently spoke with U.S. News about the value of life expectancy as a health metric, public misconceptions about what it reflects and ways in which the measure can inform policies aimed at addressing health inequities. Access the interview below:
EXPLAINER: What Is ‘Life Expectancy,’ and Why Does It Matter? | Healthiest Communities Health News | U.S. News (

Arati Prabhakar provides opinion piece for

Dr. Arati Prabhakar, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, provided an opinion piece on President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot program. The Biden Cancer Moonshot has set ambitious goals to cut the cancer death rate in half by 2047 — preventing more than four million cancer deaths — and to change the experience of patients, families, and caregivers. Access the opinion below:
‘Moonshot’ against cancer aims to help Americans navigate cancer diagnosis to a better outcome: Arati Prabhakar –

Sethuraman Panchanathan to speak at 2024 Northeastern University Graduation

Dr. Sethuraman Panchanathan, the director of the National Science Foundation, will be the speaker at Northeastern University’s 2024 graduate commencement ceremony. Panchanathan, an engineer and computer scientist, previously visited Northeastern in October 2023 to speak at the grand opening of EXP, the university’s newest building. Past speakers at the graduate commencement ceremony include Chrystia Freeland, minister of finance and deputy prime minister of Canada, in 2023 and National Public Radio journalist Leila Fadel in 2022.

Dr. David Wilkes receives the prestigious Trudeau Medal

Dr. David Wilkes, dean emeritus of the School of Medicine at the University of Virginia, received the 2024 Edward Livingston Trudeau Award from the American Thoracic Society (ATS). The Trudeau Medal is one of 15 Respiratory Health Awards from the Society. All 15 awardees will be formally recognized as part of the ATS 2024 International Conference in San Diego. The awards represent outstanding respiratory health contributions through various means, from research and diagnosis to education and advocacy.

The Edward Livingston Trudeau Medal recognizes major contributions to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of lung disease, critical illness, or sleep disorders through leadership in research, education or clinical care, and acknowledges exemplary professionalism, collegiality and citizenship in the ATS community.

Wilkes served as dean of the University of Virginia School of Medicine from 2015 to 2021 and currently serves as dean emeritus. He previously served in positions of increasing responsibility at Indiana University School of Medicine, most recently as the Executive Associate Director for Research Affairs and as the August M. Watanabe Professor of Medical Research between 2009 and 2015. Dr. Wilkes is the co-founder of ImmuneWorks Inc., a biotechnology start-up company, and has served as its chief scientific officer since 2005. Since 2006, he has served as the National Director of the Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. This program seeks to increase underrepresented minority physician-scientists at leading medical schools in the United States. Dr. Wilkes is a military veteran, having served three years as a major in the U.S. Air Force Medical Corps. In 2020, he was elected to the National Academy of Medicine.

Virginia Provides $20 Million to Space Authority


(Excerpted from Virginia Mercury)

In December 2023, the Commonwealth Transportation Board allocated $20 million to the Mid-Atlantic regional Spaceport to aid the commonwealth’s economic development efforts in the aerospace sphere. The allocation was recommended by Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s administration and got unanimous approval. Commercial flights into space are still a ways away from being launched in Virginia. But the industry is weighing the possibilities as operations continue to expand at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island. “It’s a neat idea,” said Major General Ted Mercer, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Spaceport Authority. “If nothing else, flying space tourism out of [the spaceport] would be neat.”

The action follows Northrop Grumman’s announcement that it will partner with Firefly Aerospace to develop two new rockets. The authority will use the $20 million to modify one of its three East Coast orbital launch pads to accommodate larger rockets such as the Antares rocket, which can carry more than 17,000 pounds and is primarily used to supply NASA missions.

Virginia Academy's Association Manager Promoted to AVP at McGuire Woods Consulting


Nicole McAllister of MWC Consulting was promoted to assistant vice president. Her primary focus is working with associations to help them reach their strategic objectives and manage their day-to-day operations as well as communications, development and project management, legislative efforts, and volunteer engagement. She is currently pursuing her Certified Association Executive designation with the American Society of Association Executives.