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Juneteenth: Creating Local Change in Celebration of Current and Future Black Scientists

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June 20, 2023

8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC
2 Riverside Circle, Roanoke, Virginia


Creating Local Change in Celebration of Current and Future Black Scientists

The Virginia Tech community will acknowledge celebration of Juneteenth on June 20 at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC in Roanoke. The day's events will consider and discuss the challenges and opportunities we have in the scientific community to be thoughtfully and strategically inclusive in both how we conduct research and in who is conducting that research. Participants will engage in discussions with thought leaders with the goal of creating actionable plans for each of us as individuals and for the groups in which we work. 


8 a.m.: Breakfast (Riverside 2 Cafe)
9 a.m.: Welcome (Room M106, Riverside 2)
9:10 a.m.: Opening Remarks by Michael Friedlander, Ph.D.
9:30 a.m.: Keynote Speaker Erin Lynch, Ed.D., CRA
10:30 a.m.:  Break
10:45 a.m. - 12:20 p.m.: Lightning Round Topics and Speakers
    10:55 a.m.: Archie Freeman, III, M.S.
    11:25 a.m.: Michele Deramo, Ph.D.
11:55 a.m.: Panel Discussion with All Guest Speakers
12:30 - 1:30 p.m.: Lunch and Discussion (G101 A/B, Riverside 4)

Keynote Speaker


Erin Lynch, Ed.D., CRA

Erin Lynch, Ed.D., CRA

"To Remain Quietly No Longer: Celebrating Blacks in Biomedical Sciences"

Quality Education for Minorities Network

Dr. Lynch’s research area is strategic planning and program development. Her work is in educational assessment and evaluation, and systems change in equity centeredness. She has served as president of Quality Education for Minorities (QEM) Network; associate provost of scholarship, research, and innovation and dean of graduate school at Winston-Salem State University, a North Carolina HBCU; research director of the Center of Excellence of Learning Sciences (COELS) at Tennessee State University, and a faculty member in the College of Education at Austin Peay State University. As a researcher she has been funded in intervention development for historically marginalized minority groups and adult learners. Her research in funding equity and R&D productivity seeks to support minority serving institutions. She has produced over $600 million in proposals, and is published in the topics of leadership, HBCUs, innovation management, and instructional design. 


Lightning Round Speakers

Archie Freeman

Archie Freeman, III, M.S.

"Adjustments Are Necessary"

Chief Academic Officer
Roanoke City Public Schools

Michele Deramo, Ph.D.

Michele Deramo, Ph.D.

"How To Be a White Ally"

Associate Vice Provost of Diversity Education & Engagement
Office for Inclusion and Diversity
Virginia Tech

Previous Juneteenth Events

Juneteenth Celebration of Black Engineers and Scientists

June 17, 2022


Speakers and Panelists

Vernal Branch

Independent Research Patient Advocate

Lance Collins, Ph.D.

Inaugural Vice President and Executive Director
Virginia Tech Innovation Campus
Virginia Tech 

Sylvester Johnson, Ph.D.

Assistant Vice Provost for the Humanities
Director, Center for Humanities
Virginia Tech

Margie Lee, D.V.M., Ph.D.

Professor and Department Head
Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology
Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine
Virginia Tech

Aziza Platt, Ph.D.

Licensed Psychologist and Health Disparities Researcher

Manu Platt, Ph.D.

Wallace H. Coulter Distinguished Professor
Associate Chair for Graduate Studies and Diversity Director
Georgia Tech


Pernessa Seele, Ph.D.

Founder and CEO
The Balm in Gilead, Inc.


Kaela Singleton, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow
President-Elect, Black in Neuro
Emory University