Richmond, Va.
Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014

May Student Feature 2013

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Priscilla Mpasi, VCU School of Medicine

Priscilla Mpasi

Mpasi, a member of the VCU School of Medicine’s class of 2014, was elected as national vice president of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA). She will serve a one-year term during the 2013-2014 academic year. 

The SNMA held the national election for its officers at the annual conference in Louisville, Ky., on March 31. Mpasi was one of three candidates vying for the post of national VP.

“After three long, grueling days of speeches and Q&A sessions, my name was called,” Mpasi said. “I actually won. I am still in shock and I have not had much time to process as I had to come right back to my surgery rotation and focus on being a medical student. I am so excited and honored to represent our institution in this way on the national level.”

The SNMA is the oldest and largest student-run organization focused on the needs and concerns of medical students of color. Mpasi served as president of the VCU School of Medicine’s chapter during the 2011-2012 school year and as a regional officer with the national organization this year. 

Mpasi will work alongside the national president to execute the national agenda in its commemoration year entitled “50 years: Diversifying the Face of Medicine.” As vice president, she will serve as an executive member on the board of directors, directly oversee all the national committee programs and initiatives and attend regional and national conferences to speak about health disparities and the importance of equality in health care access. 

Mpasi is the first nationally elected executive officer in SNMA from VCU. In 2003-2004, two faculty members were appointed national committee officers: Sala S. Webb, M.D., assistant professor of child and adolescent psychiatry, and Veronica Ayala-Sims, M.D., assistant professor of infectious diseases.

Engineering Students Place in Top Four in Statewide Business Plan Competition

FreeMobility, a team of undergraduate mechanical engineering students, won first place in its division in the 2013 Venture Creation Competition on Apr. 26 at VCU. Pictured from left to right: team members Matthew Schell, Justin Dickerson and John Swanson; VCU President Michael Rao; team member Jonathan Marsh; and Rodney the Ram.

A team of four VCU engineering students placed in the top four at the Governor’s Business Plan Challenge on May 2, a statewide competition hosted by Gov. Bob McDonnell and WorkIt, Richmond.

Mechanical engineering students John Swanson, Jonathan Marsh, Justin Dickerson and Matt Schell, members of the FreeMobility team, designed a stair-climbing walker intended for the elderly and those in physical therapy to gain a greater sense of freedom and independence. They competed with other undergraduate presenters from colleges and universities around the state for the $10,000 grand prize. The VCU team finished in a tie for second runner up in the competition with a team from William and Mary.

FreeMobility was the recent winner of the undergraduate division in VCU da Vinci Center’s annual Venture Creation Competition (VCC), a business plan competition held April 26. With that victory, the team received $5,000 to advance its project.