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OAAA E-Weekly Newsletter

The Office of African-American Affairs  Newsletter Highlighting Events and Opportunities for OAAA Students

"Young, Gifted & Black:

40 Years of Preparing Students for the Quest"

Special Announcement

2021-2022 OAAA / GradSTAR Faculty-Student Mentoring Program!
Application Deadline: Tuesday, September 7 at 5:00 pm

Information and applications are on line now 


The Office of African-American Affairs (OAAA) is on FACEBOOK!
LIKE US to keep up-to-date with events and more info about OAAA!


Fall 2021 Academic Calendar

August 20 - August 23:  
Fall Arrival & Orientation

August 24: 
Courses begin (Add/Drop/Withdrawal Deadlines)

October 9 - October 12: 
Reading Days

October 22 - October 24:   
Family Weekend 
(Go to Family Weekend)

Quote of the Week

“I would like to be known as a person who is concerned about freedom and equality and justice and prosperity for all people.” Rosa Parks

Spotlight on Student Achievements

Faculty & Staff Spotlight: Angela Ragland Comfort


 Ms. Comfort is the Office Manager and Fiscal Administrator for the Office of African-American Affairs. Ms. Comfort began working at UVA in the  Summer of 2004, this time includes 2 years with the Housing Division and 15 years at OAAA.  Angela is the “to go” person at OAAA handling everything from overseeing the day-to-day operations, budgeting and being a support system for students. Angela is a lifelong Virginian and proud mother to 8 extraordinary children. Being a mother is everything to her and she enjoys every moment from attending their sports games to their graduations!  Ms. Comfort lives in Louisa Virginia.


You can nominate someone (not yourself) to be in the Spotlight. Send your nominations to Dean Antoinette Thomas ( every Thursday by 12 noon.

Quote's Corner


Rosa Louise McCauley Parks was an African American civil rights activist whom the U.S. Congress later called the "Mother of the Modern-Day Civil Rights Movement." On December 1, 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, Parks, age 42, refused to give up her seat to make room for a white passenger. Parks' action sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott and became an important symbol of the modern Civil Rights Movement. Parks became an international icon of resistance to racial segregation. She organized and collaborated with civil rights leaders, including boycott leader Martin Luther King, Jr., helping to launch him to national prominence in the civil rights movement. At the time of her action, Parks was secretary of the Montgomery chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and had recently attended the Highlander Folk School, a Tennessee center for workers' rights and racial equality. Nonetheless, she took her action as a private citizen "tired of giving in". Although widely honored in later years for her action, she also suffered for it, losing her job as a seamstress in a local department store. Eventually, she moved to Detroit, Michigan, where she found similar work. From 1965 to 1988 she served as secretary and receptionist to African-American U.S. Representative John Conyers. After retirement from this position, she wrote an autobiography and lived a largely private life in Detroit. In her final years she suffered from dementia and became embroiled in a lawsuit filed on her behalf against American hip-hop duo OutKast. Parks eventually received many honors ranging from the 1979 Spingarn Medal to the Congressional Gold Medal, a posthumous statue in the United States Capitol's National Statuary Hall. Her death in 2005 was a major story in the United States' leading newspapers. She was granted the posthumous honor of lying in honor at the Capitol Rotunda.

Opportunites with Deadlines

WHAT is VISAS?  Volunteers with International Students, Scholars, and Staff (VISAS), part of the Center for American English Language and Culture (CAELC), is an organization that provides programming to English language learners at the University of Virginia and its extended community. HOW can I get involved? Apply to VISAS by Monday, September 6 at 11:59 PM EST. If you are an English language learner, please apply HERE If you are a UVa student with high-level English proficiency who would like to become a volunteer, please apply HERE  If you are a RETURNING volunteer with VISAS, please register HERE  Interest Meeting with VISAS Interns will be held:Sunday, September 5th, 7-7:30 PM in Clark 107
Check out our website at for more information! Email us at with questions!

The Innovation Associate Program
Application Deadline: Monday, September 13 at 9:00 AM EST

This fall, the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the Georgetown University School of Medicine is offering exciting internship positions for undergraduates and graduate students interested in being part of a dynamic, student-led team. The Innovation Associate Program explores diversity strategies in education, medicine, health care and policy work at the Georgetown University School of Medicine. For more information, please visit our website. Apply Here

Ridley Scholarship Fund Awards Available to Non-Ridley Students Available
Ridley scholarships that extend beyond current scholars:

Ravenell “Ricky” Keller III Memorial Fund

The Ravenell (Ricky) Keller III Scholarship Award was established to perpetuate the memory of Ravenell “Ricky” Keller. Ricky was a 1985 Honors graduate of the College, where he was a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., the IMP Society of Leaders, the University Guide Service and the Board of Trustees for the Class of 1985. Upon his passing, it became known that he was also a member of the Seven Society. Ricky participated in the First Years Seminars program and received the First Year Academic Achievement Award, the Afro-American Scholars Award, the Fraternity Leadership Achievement Award, and the John Kenneth Crispell Memorial Award. He participated in the Study Abroad Program, which afforded him the opportunity to study at the London School of Economics. The Keller Scholarship is available to all African-American UVA students who qualify. Students are eligible to receive a one-time grant to supplement a study abroad experience during a semester, summer or J-term.

National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS)

Students have the opportunity to embark on a fully funded wilderness expedition, and leadership training through the NOLS Gateway partnership. Since its founding in 1965, the National Outdoor Leadership School has aimed to provide the environment and training necessary to help participants discover their full leadership potential. Through the NOLS Gateway partnership, the organization has had the opportunity to collaborate with organizations across the country to award full-tuition scholarships to exceptional youth who would otherwise not have access to NOLS expeditions. Each summer, up to 150 youth from up to 50 official partner organizations expand their leadership and wilderness skills at one of NOLS' seven domestic operating locations. Thousands of Gateway Partner Program graduates are now leading others in industries from conservation to software development.


Ridley-Sabato Capitol Hill Internship Stipend (Not Yet Awarded)

At least one student will be provided with a $5000 stipend as they pursue experiential learning in the fields of politics, government, and public service. The intent of this stipends is to relieve some of the financial burden associated with the acceptance of a political or governmental internship, and as such, recipients may use it to cover housing, transportation, food and business clothing expenses associated with said internships.

Truist Ridley Leadership and Financial Education Academy (Set to Begin in January 2022)

Partnering with the BB&T Leadership Institute in Greensboro, North Carolina, and the UVA Career Center, the academy program will feature participation by Truist executives in teaching students about financial services, asset management and advisory services, technology, data sciences and operating careers, as well as participation by partners from consulting, legal, financial planning, accountancy and related fields.  It will also feature leadership and well-being course instruction from the Leadership Institute’s award-winning faculty. The initial funding will provide for two summer’s worth of 3-to-4 cohorts of 15 students to participate. Over a two-year period, the pilot program will support up to 120 African-American students at UVA. This will provide these rising second year students with an early experience of Truist’s commitment to teammates and diversity and inclusion, and a valuable addition to career resumes.  For Truist, it provides a remarkable opportunity to connect with high-quality cohorts of students in an authentic setting and create brand awareness of the opportunities Truist is committed to providing. 

Richmond Ridley Clarence Cain Endowed Fund

The Ridley Club of Richmond, Virginia sponsors a full tuition-and-fees award for an exceptional African-American student from the Richmond, Virginia area. This scholarship has been the result of the collective efforts of Richmond area alumni and businesses, and will provide four years of financial support for one of the Richmond area’s best scholars. Richmond area alumni continue to raise funds toward this geographic scholarship – the first of its kind for the Ridley Fund – and encourage others to support this effort.

Michael Russell Engineering Scholarship

In 2007, School of Engineering and Applied Science alum Michael Russell of Atlanta, GA established a scholarship fund for African-Americans pursuing a degree in the School of Engineering and Applied Science at UVA. They are expected to possess the leadership and scholarship qualities that typify all Ridley Scholars.


The Gregory Ledford Endowed Fund

In 2007, McIntire School of Commerce graduate Gregory Ledford established the Gregory Ledford Endowed Scholarship to benefit a rising third year African-American Commerce School student. This scholarship provides full tuition-and-fees for two years for an African-American student who has been admitted to the School of Commerce. Preference is given for students concentrating in Finance. The chosen scholar must have a high grade point average and must demonstrate involvement in University, community or other individual extracurricular pursuits.

The Sylvia V. Terry Scholarship

Named for legendary OAAA Dean Sylvia Terry, the Terry Scholarship recognizes the scholastic and community achievements of Black or African-American students at UVA. The scholarship provides two years of full tuition-and-fees support for the recipient. Ideal applicants are rising Third Year students with strong grades, leadership activities, and community service. Because of Dean Terry’s pivotal role in creating the Peer Advisor Program, preference is given to academically strong candidates with significant experience as mentors. 

The Dr. Derek E. Brown Scholarship 

The Dr. Derek E. Brown Scholarship was created to remember Dr. Brown’s dream of helping African-American male students seeking admission to medical or dental school.  This award is designed to help qualified male students defray the high cost of applying to medical or dental school. Ridley is currently in the process of restructuring this award to benefit recent UVA graduates.

The Paige Pre-Medical Fund

This scholarship is designed to help pre-med students defray the high cost of applying to medical school. The applicant must be a fourth-year African American student at the University of Virginia who has taken all pre-medical requirements and the MCAT. Applicants must be planning to enter medical school immediately after graduating. One winner will receive a $1,500 scholarship (non-renewable), which they may use to pay for medical school application fees and interview expenses.

Annetta Thompson Fund

Family and friends honored the life of the first full-time administrator for the Walter N. Ridley Scholarship Fund by establishing this fund in 1999. The Annetta Thompson Scholarship is awarded to a deserving 4th-year Ridley scholar who exemplifies Annetta Thompson’s commitment to education. Annetta Thompson received her bachelor’s degree in education from UVA in 1973. She valued the role of education and the importance of creating opportunities for young people pursuing an education. Annetta’s hard work and diligence during her tenure as the fund administrator contributed to the tremendous growth and success of the Ridley Fund.

This Week in Black History

Did you know?   In the United States, anti-miscegenation laws (also known as miscegenation laws) were laws passed by most states that prohibited interracial marriage and interracial sexual relations. Some such laws predate the establishment of the United States, some dating to the later 17th or early 18th century, a century or more after the complete racialization of slavery. Most states had repealed such laws by 1967, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Loving v. Virginia that such laws were unconstitutional in the remaining 16 states. The term miscegenation was first used in 1863, during the American Civil War, by journalists to discredit the abolitionist movement by stirring up debate over the prospect of interracial marriage after the abolition of slavery. Typically defining mixed race marriages or sexual relations as a felony, these laws also prohibited the issue of marriage licenses and the solemnization of weddings between mixed race couples and prohibited the officiating of such ceremonies. Sometimes, the individuals attempting to marry would not be held guilty of miscegenation itself, but felony charges of adultery or fornication would be brought against them instead. All anti-miscegenation laws banned marriage between whites and non-white groups, primarily Black people, but often also Native Americans and Asian Americans. In many states, anti-miscegenation laws also criminalized cohabitation and sex between whites and non-whites. Although anti-miscegenation amendments were proposed in United States Congress in 1871, 1912–1913 and 1928, a nationwide law against mixed race marriages was never enacted. Prior to the California Supreme Court's ruling in Perez v. Sharp (1948), no court in the United States had ever struck down a ban on interracial marriage. In 1967, the United States Supreme Court (the Warren Court) unanimously ruled in Loving v. Virginia that anti-miscegenation laws are unconstitutional.

Did you know?  The dance art form of stepping – one that was historically used as a form of communication – uses the body as an instrument to produce rhythms and sounds through hand claps, spoken word and footsteps. It can be performed as an individual, but it is mostly known as a group effort fostering the importance of working as a team. It can be traced to the peoples and cultural dance traditions of Africa, specifically, the “Gumboot Dance”. It was a way to survive the isolation workers felt under the weight of the migrant labor system and the oppressive laws. In the mines, talking was forbidden. Rather than spend the money needed to properly drain the shafts they issued rubber gumboots to the workers. Workers learned to send messages to each other by slapping on their boots. Faced with this repressive regime, workers adapted traditional dances and rhythms to the only instruments available — their boots and bodies. The songs that were sung to go with the frenetic movements dealt with life.  Some “enlightened” employers eventually allowed the best dancers to form troupes to represent the company, to entertain visitors and for PR. It was not unusual for these performers’ songs to openly mock their bosses and criticize wages and conditions, while the bosses were blissfully ignorant of the content, sung in Xhosa, Sothu or Zulu. With a focus on precise foot movements and hand clapping, gumboots used dance as a means to communicate. Stepping in the U.S. can be traced as far back as the 1920’s during fraternity pledges at Howard University. As stepping evolved into the 1940’s and 50’s, various elements of military drill formations became prevalent; partially because many military men joined fraternities upon returning from WW II. Because of this evolution, step shows became the format of choice to display pride in one’s group.

OAAA Announcements & Services

Meet the OAAA Deans and Staff
September 2 – 12:30 pm & Wednesday, September 8 - 1:00 - OAAA Main Conference Room -- #4 Dawson's Row
Come to an informal open-house at OAAA to meet the deans, staff, and find out what services are available this year. Refreshments!

Black Friday
Every Friday (Starting Friday, September 3) - 1:30 pm - Dawson's Row #2 (W.E.B. DuBois Conference Room)
Come & join us for food & fellowship!

OAAA / McIntire School of Commerce Information Session
Monday, September 6 – 6:00 pm-7:00 pm – W.E.B. DuBois Conference Center - #2 Dawson's Row
A McIntire Admissions representative will answer questions and give helpful tips on what it takes to be accepted into the "Comm School." Please RSVP space is limited. If you cannot attend, contact Ms. Carter to schedule an advising appointment with Dean Thomas. Refreshments!

OAAA/GradSTAR Lunch Series: Tuesdays @ DuBois
Every 2nd & 4th Tuesday (Starting September 14) – 12:00-2:00 pm - W.E.B. DuBois Conference Rm #2 Dawson’s Row
Join Dean Antoinette Thomas for lunch and conversation. Space is limited. You must RSVP to reserve your spot.


OAAA Tutoring for Fall 2021 Contact: Dean Thomas for more information

OAAA tutors meeting dates & times via Zoom: (Starting Tuesday, September 7)

OAAA Calculus & Statistics Tutoring with Travis Elliott

Tuesdays – 1:00 pm-3:30 pm – (in person) W.E.B. DuBois Conference Room #2 Dawson’s Row
Thursdays – 2:00 pm-4:30 pm – Zoom Room

OAAA Organic Chemistry Tutoring


OAAA Chemistry Tutoring with Yvette Gamor
Thursdays - 5:00 pm-7:00 pm – (in person) W.E.B. DuBois Conference Room #2 Dawson’s Row

OAAA Biology Tutoring




Contact: Dean Mason for more information on:

  • Black College Women (BCW) Book Club
  • Black Male Initiative (BMI)
  • Black President’s Council (BPC)
  • Black College Women (BCW) - In the Company of my Sister

Upcoming Events

Fellowships Series
There are awards for students at all stages (undergraduate, graduate, professional) – and even alumni. It is never too early to start learning about these opportunities. Special events and sessions with unique times or locations are marked with asterisks (*) below.

Foreign Service Awards (Payne, Pickering, & Rangel)
Monday, August 30 – 4:00 pm-5:00 pm – Rotunda Multipurpose Room (121)

Interested in a career with the State Department or USAID? This session will highlight opportunities to get involved with each agency’s Foreign Service with an emphasis on the Payne, Pickering, and Rangel, which provide a professional pathway, fund a master’s degree, and provide relevant internship opportunities.

Gilman Scholarship Information Session
Monday, September 6 – 4:00 pm-5:00 pm – Rotunda Multipurpose Room (121)

The Gilman Scholarship Program awards up to $5,000 for students to intern or study abroad, and there is up to $3,000 in supplemental funding for students studying a critical need language. Must be eligible for a Pell Grant or the dependent child of an active-duty military member to apply.

Introductory Workshop
Monday, September 13 – 4:00 pm-5:00 pm – Rotunda Multipurpose Room (121)

Don’t know what fellowships are? Wondering what the point of pursuing any of them might be? Come enjoy a chance to envision yourself as an applicant for these incredible opportunities. This workshop is most appropriate for first and second years or older students who have yet to be exposed to the Office of Citizen Scholar Development.

Truman Scholarship Information Session
Monday, September 20 – 4:00 pm-5:00 pm – Rotunda Multipurpose Room (121)

Are you a dynamic leader? An activist dedicated to positive change? Committed to public service? If you answered 'yes' to any of those questions, you should consider the Truman Scholarship, which provides $30,000 toward graduate school and access to a network of incredible leaders. Come even if you aren’t sure about the graduate school part. Apply as a third year.

Goldwater Scholarship Information Session
Monday, September 27 – 4:00 pm-5:00 pm – Rotunda Multipurpose Room (121)

Do you love research? Are you considering pursuing research science, mathematics, or engineering as a career? Are you simply a STEM student and want to at least explore an exciting opportunity? Come learn about the award and the process for nomination by the University of Virginia. Apply as a second or third year – so first years should definitely come!

Global Markets Group
Tuesday (8/31) & Wednesday (9/1) – 7:00 pm-8:00 pm – Rouss-Robertson Hall Rm. 223

Invest with GMG! Global Markets Group (GMG) is reaching out to all first and second years interested in investing! GMG is a McIntire-Affiliated CIO that manages a $20,000 portfolio. Our portfolio consists of public equities across continents, as members specialize in global sectors. Once accepted, probationary analysts participate in an 8-week training session to learn the basics of investing, finance, accounting, and valuation. GMG hosts networking sessions and brings in speakers from hedge funds, private equity firms, and investment banks. GMG also has several social events for members to get acquainted with each other throughout the semester. Additionally, GMG members have gone on to work for top financial services firms, including (but not limited to): Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, KKR, Evercore, Credit Suisse, Houlihan Lokey, Guggenheim, and many others. Interest forms are located on the website. Applications Due: Friday (9/3) at 5:00 pm.  For more information!  Contact Name: Yoseph Fasil

Peer Financial Counseling Available!
Tuesday-Thursday – 1:00 pm-5:00 pm – Georges Student Center Room 245

Peer Financial Counseling offers all UVA students one-on-one help from trained peer counselors on a variety of topics including budgeting, student loans, personal credit, basic investing, and more. Our counselors understand the stresses that come with being a college student and want to help you better manage those factors while in school. Write to us at to schedule an appointment! For More Information! Contact Name: Dustin Ciraco


Undergraduate Research and Creative Inquiry Series
Every 1st and 3rd Wednesday – 4:00 pm – Clemons Library Room 204

We will have a workshop to support undergraduate research and creative inquiry. Every first Wednesday is a session entitled, ‘Getting Started in research and creative inquiry.’ Schedule: (full schedule to be posted by September)