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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

“Swipe or No Swipe: Trivia Tuesdays" Lookout for the email today!!!!

At this point in the semester many of you are either low on or completely out of meal swipes. With this in mind, OAAA is providing our students a new and fun way to win a gift card. We introduce to you “Swipe or No Swipe: Trivia Tuesdays.” Make sure to pay attention to your emails because on Tuesdays we will be sending out trivia questions. In order to win the prize you must answer the question correctly and fast. There will be a link provided in the email for you to submit your answers. You will be able to find the answers mostly from information in the E-Weekly. However, at points throughout the semester there may be a few questions that are about OAAA staff or random trivia questions. You will need to be on top of your game! Once answers are submitted, the two people who submitted the correct answer with the fastest timestamp will be deemed the winners. We will contact the winners via email. Winners will receive a gift card to help towards a food purchase. Remember to pay close attention to the OAAA E-Weekly each week because there might be a hint about the Trivia Question of the Week. Good luck and have fun! 


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

November 24 - November 28:     Thanksgiving recess

December 7:      Courses end

December 8:      Reading Day

December 9 -    Examinations (Go to Exam Schedule)

December 12 - December 15:      Reading Days

December 17:    Fall degrees conferred (no ceremony)

Quote of the Week

“Let us not assume for one moment that our work is done, the struggle for equal justice continues.” Fred David Gray

Spotlight on Student Achievements

Bezawit Gashe

Bezawit or Beza for short, is a third year in the College of Arts and Sciences from Lorton, VA (NOVA). Bezawit is majoring in Human Biology and minoring in Data Science on the pre-med track. Due to her immense love of children, her plan is to become pediatrician. She believes that her innate desire to help others and joining the force that helps children stay on the right track to a long and healthy life will help combine the best of both worlds into a career she will adore/cherish and value. Bezawit is currently the secretary for the Daniel Hale Williams Pre-Health Honor Society, on the executive board (Committee for Internal Development, CID) for the Peer Advising Program under OAAA, an intern in the Guler Malaria Lab at UVA for ID in 3D project, a volunteer for Loaves and Fishes, a nonprofit organization, which packages and distributes food to those seeking assistance within and around the Charlottesville community, and she is also a part of Project Ina Research Team.


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

Fred David Gray Sr. (born December 14, 1930), Civil Rights Attorney, Member Alabama House of Representatives, preacher and activist. Gray defended Rosa Parks and Claudette Colvin and provided legal counsel to Martin Luther King, Jr. King once described lawyer and activist Fred Gray as “the brilliant young Negro who later became the chief counsel for the protest movement”. He litigated several major civil rights cases in Alabama, such as Browder v. Gayle, which reached the United States Supreme Court for rulings. He served as the President of the National Bar Association in 1985, and in 2001 He was elected as the first African-American President of the Alabama State Bar. Gray was ordained a Christian minister as a teenager and, following high school, he received a BS from Alabama State College for Negroes (1951) and an LLB from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio (1954). Gray then returned to Montgomery to open his private law practice while also serving as minister to the Holt Street Church of Christ.

Opportunites with Deadlines

SPECIAL OPPORTUNITY FOR 4TH YEARS, J-Term Course for 12 students - a two-week series of conversations in Washington, D.C. with national leaders about President Biden’s First Year in office. Application deadline is Nov 5. More info and link to application below. All housing and meal costs will be provided.  Students will be responsible for their own travel to and from DC, though financial support could be available for students with need.
J-Term Course:  President Biden’s First Year
Course Description: This seminar will provide for 12 students a two-week series of conversations in Washington, D.C. with national leaders about President Biden’s First Year in office, just as that year ends. Students must submit an application and finalists will be interviewed the week of November 15.Students will get immediate, direct engagement with senior White House and executive branch officials, as well as Congressional, journalist, think tank and advocacy group officials.The course will consist of two or three conversations per day.  Each student will be responsible for leading at least one of these conversations, and also participating in all of the conversations.  Each conversation will require preparatory reading materials about the office-holder, the relevant government institution, the issues at hand, and the particular challenges of managing a presidential first year.The officials will be offered the option of having these conversations either as off-the-record or as recorded for either podcast or video-re-broadcast. 

Associate Community Organizer
Positions begins: Monday, January 10, Monday, May 9, and Monday, August 8, 2022

Starting salary $40,500/year + benefits. Positions open in: Florida: Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Manatee County, Miami, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, Tampa; Kansas: Lawrence, Wyandotte County, Johnson County; Kentucky: Lexington; South Carolina: Charleston, Columbia; Virginia: Charlottesville, Richmond; Lead Community Organizer / Executive Director positions begin Fall 2021 in: Florida: Brevard County, Sarasota; Kansas: Wyandotte County. DART organizations are diverse coalitions that include communities of color, low-to-moderate-income communities and immigrant communities. We strongly encourage people from these backgrounds, as well as fluent Spanish speakers and DACA recipients, to apply. To apply or learn more about DART, visit or find us on Instagram and Facebook @theDARTcenter. Still have questions? Contact Moe or (602) 510-4658.

Ridley Scholarship Fund Awards Available to Non-Ridley Students Available

Ridley scholarships that extend beyond current scholars:

Ravenell “Ricky” Keller III Memorial Fund

Deadline for Spring 2022: Monday, November 15, 2021

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.

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?  October 25, 1940 -- On this day, General Benjamin O. Davis Sr. became the first African American general in the U.S Army. Born in Washington D.C., General Davis attended Howard University and would later join the United States military and earned his way as a temporary first lieutenant in the all African American 8th United States Infantry Unit. As time progressed General Davis moved up and would become the first African American general in the U.S. army. Serving in the Spanish-American War, Philippine-American War, and World Wars I and II, he was later awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, the Bronze Star, Croix de Guerre with Palm from France, and the Star of Africa from Liberia. General Davis passed away on November 26, 1970, at the age of 93 leaving behind a legacy for future African American soldiers to follow.



Did you know? October 26, 1911 - On this day in history legendary Gospel singer Mahalia Jackson was born. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, Jackson began singing at the four years old in the Mount Moriah Baptist Church. As a teen she moved to Chicago and became a member of the Johnson Gospel Singers for several years. Jackson’s career began to take off while working with gospel composer, Thomas A. Dorsey performing around the U.S. While pursuing her passion as a singer, she took on several jobs working as a laundress, beautician, and flower shop owner before her music career elevated to an entirely new level. Jackson’s first major hit was “Move on Up a Litter Higher, released in 1947, which sold millions of copies and became the highest selling gospel single in history. By 1954, after reaching new heights, Jackson had her own gospel program on the CBS television network. In the process of branching out Jackson made her debut on the Ed Sullivan Show and the film “Imitation of Life”. She was a sensation both in the U.S. and internationally. She sang at President John F. Kennedy’s Inauguration and at the March on Washington at the request of Dr. Martin Luther King. Jackson passed away in 1971 due to a heart attack leaving behind an empowering and passionate sound that has influenced singers that have come after her outstanding career.

OAAA Announcements & Services

OAAA/GradSTAR Lunch Series: Tuesdays @ DuBois
Every 2nd & 4th Tuesday – 12:00 pm-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.

Black Fridays
Every Friday - 1:30 pm - W.E.B. DuBois Conference Rm #2 Dawson’s Row
Come & join us for food & fellowship!


OAAA Tutoring for Fall 2021 Contact: Dean Thomas for more information
OAAA tutors meeting dates & times via In-Person & Zoom

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 Passcode: 082999

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
Email for Zoom appointments if needed.

OAAA Biology & Chemistry Tutoring with Kamryn Crowder
Tuesdays – 11:00 am-1:00 pm – (in person) W.E.B. DuBois Conference Room #2 Dawson’s Row
Email for Zoom appointments if needed

OAAA Organic Chemistry Tutoring with Heran Tadesse
Mondays – 12:00 pm-2:00 pm – (in person) W.E.B. DuBois Conference Room #2 Dawson’s Row
Email for Zoom appointments if needed



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

UVA URNTalks Presenters
Sign up by: Wednesday, October 27 by 11:59 pm – Use this link to Sign Up
URNTalks are biweekly student-run research discussion forums organized by the Undergraduate Research Network. These forums are an opportunity for students to talk about their research while also gaining valuable experiences preparing and presenting their work. Research talks from all disciplines are encouraged! Want to be a presenter at one of the upcoming URNTalks meetings? For information more. Contact Name: Jules Tsanang 

Virtual Meditation on the Lawn 2021 Fall
Monday November 1 -- 7:45 am-8:00 am (ET) -- Register
The Virtual Meditation on the Lawn will be led by Leslie Hubbard, the Contemplative Sciences Center’s Program Director for Student Engagement and Contemplative Instruction. Join us on most Mondays, Learn more! Contact Name: Kimberly Vo

A Sojourner’s Truth: Choosing Freedom and Courage in a Divided World: An evening with Natasha Sistrunk Robinson
Thursday, November 4 – 6:00 pm-7:00 pm – Dome Room of the Rotunda
A free public lecture open to all.  Seating is first come, first served. Natasha Sistrunk Robinson is an international speaker, mentoring coach, and thought-leader with more than 20 years of leadership experience in the military, federal government, church, seminary, and nonprofit sectors. She is the author of A Sojourner’s Truth and Mentor for Life, numerous articles, videos and blog posts. She is the President of T3 Leadership Solutions. Inc. and the Visionary Founder and Chairperson of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Leadership LINKS, Inc. and host of A Sojourner’s Truth podcast.   Natasha is a doctoral student at North Park Theological Seminary, a graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary Charlotte (cum laude, M.A. Leadership) and the U.S. Naval Academy. Natasha has served with the Marine Corps and Department of Homeland Security. For More Information. Contact Name: Alice Opiyo


Experiencing the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers at UVA
Friday, November 5 –11:00 am
Join Natasha, as descendant of the enslaved community Carolyn Mitchell Dillard, guides her through the MEL and engages in an impromptu conversation around the power of generational trauma and the hope of healing.
Free and open to all.  Meet at the Memorial     Contact Name: Alice Opiyo

VCU BSDP Virtual Open House
Tuesday, November 9 – 4:00 pm-6:00 pm (EST) -- Register Here

The Biomedical Sciences Doctoral Portal (BSDP) at Virginia Commonwealth University is hosting a virtual open house and we would like to invite you to join us. The BSDP oversees admissions for and recruits students into six Ph.D. programs within the School of Medicine. During the open house, Dr. Roxann Roberson-Nay, Assistant Dean for Graduate Recruitment and Admissions, will introduce the BSDP; the six Program Directors will provide information about their programs; you will have the opportunity to engage with students from each of the six programs in separate breakout rooms; and there will be plenty of time for questions.

What does Good and Great mean to you? UVA students participate in a Focus Group
Wednesday, November 3 – 6:00 pm - Newcomb 182, Friday, November 5 – 1:00 pm - Newcomb 182, Wednesday, November 10 – 6:00 pm - Newcomb 182, Friday, November 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm - Newcomb 182

The UVA Vice Provost Office for Academic Outreach and the UVA Career Center invites students to participate in a unique opportunity to share their experiences of how UVA’s goal of being both a “great and good” institution is impacting their college experience and translating into their future careers. Interested students will attend an in-person 1.5 hour focus group meeting where they will share and discuss their experiences. All participants will receive a $15 gift card for their time. For More Information. Contact Name: Matthew Slaats

Mindfulness Meetups
Mondays (Now - Dec 6) – 7:00-8:00 pm & Fridays (Now – Dec 3) -- 10:00 am-11:00 am
We welcome all UVA undergraduate and graduate students to join one of our Mindfulness Meetup groups co-hosted by CSC and CAPS. Groups meet for one hour each week to learn about and practice mindfulness in a safe and supportive space. Currently, groups meet on Mondays and Fridays. New dates and times available based on student input. Learn more and register


Breath and Body Work for Brothers
Mondays – 7:00 pm-8:00 pm (EST) -- Register
On Zoom or in-person in McLeod Room 2010 Instructor: Carringon Kernodle Learn more Contact: Kimberly Vo

One-On-One Office Hours Sign-Up
Tuesdays – 9:00 am-11:30 am EST & Wednesdays – 1:00 pm-3:30 pm EST with Ryan Sherman, Academic Coordinator / Tuesdays & Wednesdays 9 AM - 12 PM EST with Jessica Livingston, Direction of Student Affairs
Meet with us to discuss our majors and get specific questions answered about transfer credits, academic requirements, recommended courses and more

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)

Santosha for Sisters
Wednesdays – 7:00 pm-8:00pm (ET) -- Register
On Zoom or in-person in McLeod Room 2010 Instructor: Carringon Kernodle  Learn more  Contact Name: Kimberly Vo

Yoga Book Club: Bhagavad Gita
Most Fridays through the fall -- 9:00 am-10:00 am (ET)
Join the Contemplative Sciences Center’s (CSC) all-level discussion of the Bhagavad Gita, an ancient Indian text covering the underlying philosophy of classical yoga practices. No prior experience with the text is required. You may drop in on any session. Discussions, led by CSC’s John Bultman. Free and open to the public. Learn more and register Contact Name: Kimberly Vo


Connect with the School of Education and Human Development (EHD) – Zoom and In Person Opportunities!
EHD offers majors that lead to careers in teaching, public health, speech pathology and audiology, research, education policy and more. Connect with us by signing up for our mailing list or attend one of the upcoming events.

Walking Tour Sign Up
Open to current students, prospective students and families – get a tour of our buildings and meet with one of our EHD Student Ambassadors! Sign Up Here!


UVA Mutual Aid Free Store
Donate Today!
UVA Mutual Aid has created a radical community of care at UVA since it’s inception in March of 2020. As we implement our broader goals for Mutual Aid at UVA, the next step in our journey is to create a free store with resources. The free store will include clothes, healthcare products and more for all university students and workers. Follow us for updates and to join us in galvanizing change towards an equitable UVA. Please donate and share today! For more information. Contact Name: Sarandon Elliott