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VTCAR News and Updates

SURF Awards Announced!

VTCAR is pleased to announce that we will be working in conjuction with Fralin to have a SURF (Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship) call for VTCAR Research.  

The application deadline is February 19th (February 21st for faculty letter of support).  Students are required to provide the following information as part of the application packet:

1. Project title

2. Project description

3. A description of any previous research experience(s). (max 200 words)

4. A description of what student hopes to gain from participation in the SURF program and how it might contribute to their career plans and related decisions. (max 150 words)

5. A description of what student thinks they can contribute to the program and why they should be chosen as a fellow. (100 words max)

6. Unofficial copy of your transcript.

7. Faculty letter of support. 


Find out more:

Fralin Life Science Institute Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) for the VT Center for Autism Research:

Program dates:  May 23 - July 29, 2016

The Virginia Tech Center for Autism Research (VTCAR) is pleased to announce a special call for research on Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) funded through the Fralin SURF program. This announcement is specifically for undergraduate students who will work with a VTCAR faculty affiliate on research that is consistent with the mission of VTCAR.   ASD is a neurodevelopmental condition that can lead to social, communication, sensory and behavioral challenges. VTCAR’s mission is to promote collaborative inter-disciplinary research in the causes, consequences, or treatment of ASD in order to improve the quality of lives of all those affected by ASD and related conditions. The center promotes research within four main core areas, including Biomedical and Imaging, Education, Technology, and Clinical Translational research.  

Application deadline:  February 19, 2016 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time

About the Program

The Fralin SURF program is a 10-week training program designed to give motivated Virginia Tech undergraduates the opportunity to engage in full time (approx. 40 hrs/wk) research and related professional development activities that mirror graduate training. The goal is to offer students experiences that will help them determine if they want to pursue a career in research while they develop skills for graduate school. The program includes weekly research and professional development seminars, periodic social events, and a final symposium during which students will present their research. Students selected to participate in this training program will receive a $4,000 stipend.

Though all Virginia Tech undergraduates considering a career in life science research are encouraged to apply, preference will be given to rising second and third year undergraduates, students with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, and students who have yet to engage in a full-time summer research experience.

Because SURF fellows must commit at least 40 hours per week to the training program, fellows are not permitted to enroll in summer classes, participate in MCAT prep courses, engage in activities for pay, or engage in other activities that may interfere with program activities.

Students must identify a faculty mentor currently affiliated with VTCAR at Virginia Tech with an ASD specific research topic before applying to the program. VTCAR faculty affiliates and research areas can be found on the VTCAR website. Faculty mentors (or designated members of their research team) will provide weekly supervision and oversight, feedback to fellows, and guidance on the conceptualization and completion of the summer project.

For more information and application instructions, apply here:


VTCAR Student and Faculty Awards Announced!

VTCAR is pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 Student Award and the 2016 Student Fellows of the year.  We are also pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 faculty SEED Award for Research Development.

Deanna Swain and Reina Factor (Psychology) won the 2016 VTCAR Student Award to fund research on “Stress and Anger Management Program (STAMP) RCT for Young Children with ASD.” We are also excited to name Deanna and Reina as our 2016 Student Fellows of the Year.

Ligia Antezana (Psychology) won the 2016 VTCAR Student Award to fund research on “Preliminary Training in Neuroimaging Methods to Examine Neurological Characteristics of Co-occurring Autism and ADHD.” 

Nina Lauharatanahirun (Psychology) won the 2016 VTCAR Student Award to fund research on “Autism Spectrum Disorder and Betrayal Aversion: An Experimental Study.” 

Mary Tackett (Education) won the 2016 VTCAR Student Award to fund research on “The Power of Story: How Culturally Diverse Children’s Books About Autism Provide Transformative Opportunities for Elementary Learners.” 


Dr. Susan White and Dr. Thomas Ollendick (Psychology) won the 2016 SEED Award for Research Development to fund research on "Exploring the Mechanistic Role of Anxiety in the Experience of Adverse Outcomes among Adults with ASD."

Dr. Amy Azano (Education) won the 2016 SEED Award for Research Development to fund research on "Development of an Evidence-based Program for Competitive Employment of Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder."



We encourage you all to wear blue on April 2, 2016 to raise Autism Awareness!



Affiliates in the News!


SAFE featured in the VT Magazine!

Affiliate Amy Azano and the SAFE program are featured in the VT Magazine!  See the article here.


STEPS Featured in the Roanoke Times

VTCAR Affiliate Susan White and the STEPS project were featured in the Roanoke Times.  See the article here.


Affiliate Awards!

Congratulations to Affiliate Michael Fox for receiving a 2015 NARSAD Independent Investigator Grant!

You can read more about Michael's work and the grant here.

Congratulations to Deanna Swain for her receipt of the Graduate Research Grant from the Organization for Autism Research

Her project is titled "Feasibility Study of Mindfulness Enhanced Pivotal Response Treatment Group Training for Parents of Children with ASD."  More information about the award can be found here.

Congratulations to Affiliate Susan White for her recent R03 Award

Contact Information

Address: 460 Turner Street, Clinical Science Suite (Suite 203), Blacksburg VA
Phone: 540-231-8747


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