Prospective students learn more about the higher education programs offered by Pamplin College of Business and Virginia Tech during HBCU/MSI Research Summit. Photo by A’me Dalton for Virginia Tech.

The Pamplin College of Business welcomed 25 visiting faculty members and students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) for the annual HBCU/MSI Research Summit.

The summit, hosted in conjunction with the Virginia Tech Graduate School, provided the opportunity to develop research collaborations between Virginia Tech faculty and visiting faculty members as well as the chance for visiting prospective students to learn more about the opportunities that Virginia Tech’s graduate degrees and programs have to offer. The three key goals of the summit are connected through research efforts, recruitment, and overall degree partnerships.

“This was my first year participating in the annual HBCU/MSI Research Summit and I was blown away by how our campus community stepped up to welcome student and faculty researchers,” said Catherine Cotrupi, interim assistant dean and director of Diversity, Inclusion, and Strategic Partnerships for the Graduate School.

“The event's goal was to initiate and strengthen research partnerships with HBCUs and MSIs, and I appreciated the myriad ways this took place. Pamplin College of Business hosted more than 20 of our 100 attendees and the level of hospitality and connectedness was truly appreciated – not only by the planning committee but also by the attendees. I had the opportunity to connect with many of the student attendees after their time spent across campus Tuesday morning, and their enthusiasm and interest in Pamplin were accelerated after their visits. I appreciate the power of our Virginia Tech community in advancing our goals for strengthening our partnerships with HBCUs and MSIs.”

Broderick Turner gives a presentation on the T.R.A.P. Lab to visiting faculty and Pamplin faculty during the annual HBCU/MSI Research Summit. Photo by A’me Dalton for Virginia Tech.

The half-day festivities kicked off in the morning with a warm welcome message from Saonee Sarker, Richard E. Sorensen Dean of Pamplin College of Business. The college’s own faculty and staff introduced prospective students to a range of different graduate disciplines offered by Pamplin at both the greater Washington, D.C., metro area campus and the Blacksburg campus. Additionally, students were given a tour of the 120,000-square-foot Data and Decision Sciences Building, which houses faculty and classes from multiple colleges, including the College of Engineering, the College of Science, and Pamplin.

“One of the most impactful things during my time at Virginia Tech was the opportunity to talk with Dr. Janice Branch Hall,” said Chilisiah Hack, an undergraduate student from Fayetteville State University. “I was encouraged to stay the course, to stick it out, and to be my own authentic self. It was very encouraging and inspiring as I continue my higher education journey.”

Visiting faculty members had the opportunity to participate in a research discussion led by Lara Khansa, Pamplin’s interim associate dean of research and faculty affairs. The discussion included a presentation by Broderick Turner, assistant professor of marketing and co-founder of the Technology, Race, and Prejudice (T.R.A.P.) Lab. The T.R.A.P. Lab is a lab group featuring research-active faculty from around the world and across multiple disciplines.

“I’m super excited to be a part of Pamplin’s participation in the HBCU/MSI Research Summit,” said Turner. “We are trying to build a partnership and a bridge that connects the research that we’re doing here at this land-grant institution with HBCUs and MSIs.

"The T.R.A.P. Lab’s goal is to ultimately bring more underrepresented minorities inside of the research kit as participants so that their views are expressed in the work, so their understandings and beliefs are in the work so that we can make this research better and we can stop pretending that stuff done with only a very small portion of the world generalizes to everybody. The only way to make things general to everyone is to bring in everyone. So, our goal is to make the tent bigger. We save us.”

Visiting faculty take notes during the research discussion. Photo by A’me Dalton for Virginia Tech.

Before the visiting faculty and prospective students made their journeys home, a meal was shared as conversations, partnerships, and networking continued. Through these partnerships and connections, Virginia Tech seeks to further enhance the overall quality of research and higher graduate education opportunities by placing diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, at the forefront of the continued pursuit of academic excellence.

“Being in a place that's as diverse as Virginia Tech and seeing the emphasis on diversity, equity, inclusion, and the extended hand to my home-serving institution by being an equal partner and engaging in preparations that will end in collaboration gives me a new perspective,” said Dina El Mahdy, associate professor of accounting with Morgan State University.

“I was privileged to have the opportunity to collaborate with Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business. Virginia Tech is very near and dear to my heart for there is a human aspect that I can feel here, the mutual collaboration, and the intent to make a difference and to engage other HBCUs to make a tangible difference. I look forward to seeing the annual summit continue for many years to come.”

Please visit the summit website for more information on the annual HBCU/MSI Summit at Virginia Tech.

Written by A’me Dalton