RICHMOND, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Virginia Bioscience Foundation, a 501(c)(3) not-for profit organization focused on promoting interest in bioscience careers among young students and strengthening Virginia’s life science workforce, today announced creation of the Jeffrey Gallagher Scholarship Fund to assist under-represented students’ attendance at summer bioscience camps. An initial gift of $10,000 was made by the Virginia Biotechnology Association (Virginia Bio) to establish the Fund, and subsequently individuals and Virginia Bio member companies matched that amount, bringing the total fund to over $20,000.
The Gallagher Scholarship Fund is intended to capture bioscience interest of students as young as possible. The funds will be disbursed by the Foundation each year through Virginia universities sponsoring summer bioscience camps or STEM camps in which biosciences are an important component. Recipients of financial aid will include females, minorities and other students who do not have the financial means to attend a camp.
“I am humbled and honored to have this fund created in my name,” said Jeff Gallagher, recently retired CEO of Virginia Bio. “We have always had a passion for exposing young students to what’s possible, and I am thrilled that we will have an enduring program that will provide opportunities for disadvantaged students to develop their interest in the biosciences.”
“We are very proud to create the Gallagher Scholarship Fund,” said Jim Powers, Chairman of the Foundation and CEO of HemoShear Therapeutics, Charlottesville. “Jeff has been a truly outstanding leader of Virginia Bio, and this is a meaningful way to celebrate his service to the bioscience community, and to help bring in new sources of talent to enjoy this amazing field and develop breakthroughs in health, agriculture and so much more.”
The Foundation also is also pleased to announce initial disbursements of funds in 2019 to the George Mason University Females of Color Under-Represented in STEM (FOCUS) summer camp and to the Virginia Commonwealth University Mary and Frances Youth Center STEM Discovery camp. The Foundation also committed funds for next year’s summer camps at GMU, VCU and Virginia Tech, to enable those programs to enroll qualified students in their communities.
“The GMU FOCUS Camp is honored to be an inaugural recipient of support from the Jeffrey Gallagher Scholarship Fund. We look forward to partnering with Virginia Bio to enhance the life sciences components of the camp and to expanding our student participation in the coming years,” Kelly Knight, Director of FOCUS.
Tina Carter, Director of the Mary and Frances Youth Center at VCU said “Discovery helps engage middle school youth to think about their goals for the upcoming school year, pathways to higher education, meaningful life skills, and potential careers. A partnership with Virginia Biosciences Foundation will enable Discovery to reach more youth and develop more classes related to Biosciences. Together, we can use an investigative approach in supporting youth to explore careers and skill development in Bioscience.”
About the Virginia Bioscience Foundation
The Virginia Bioscience Foundation is an IRS 501(c)(3) charitable not-for-profit organization affiliated with Virginia Bio. The Foundation is committed to strengthening our nation's economic future and improving human health by inspiring interest in bioSTEM careers among our students at all levels, and by bringing life science employers and educators together to align education and training with the industries current and future needs for talent. The Foundation raises funds and implements programs in bioSTEM and workforce.
The Foundation’s bioSTEM programs include meaningful student internships in businesses; teacher and student travel to bioscience businesses and bioSTEM forums; enriching educational resources for the classroom; local, state and national science fairs; and conferences that bring together teachers, curriculum developers, students and businesses to further the Foundation’s goals. The Foundation’s workforce programs include a suite of tools available to students of Virginia higher ed institutions: a unique web-based video library of onsite interviews with entry level to senior leaders in a diverse array of jobs across Virginia that life science education prepares for; a directory of life science employers in Virginia; and an Internships Awareness Center.
About Virginia Bio
Virginia Bio is the statewide non-profit trade association that serves and promotes the life sciences industry in Virginia. Approximately 300 companies spanning biopharmaceuticals, medical device, med tech, diagnostics, digital health, bioinformatics, agriculture and industrial bio and related fields are based in Virginia, mainly clustered around research universities and medical institutions in Blacksburg/Roanoke, Charlottesville, Richmond, Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia. Virginia Bio is the sole state affiliate and works closely with key national industry organizations BIO, AdvaMed, MDMA, PhRMA and We Work for Health. For more information about Virginia Bio and the bioscience industry in Virginia, please visit www.vabio.org.