Turn Your Education into a Career with Passion and Purpose

You're a Spider, so you dream big. You don't want to land just any job after UR, but a purposeful career you're passionate about.

At A&S NEXT, a career program specifically for A&S students, we aim to give you the tools to understand your personal strengths and how you can translate your Richmond education into a career that you love. You'll meet alums with unexpected and interesting career paths and you'll gain hands-on experience exploring and solving real-world problems alongside alums and faculty who work to solve these problems in their own careers every day.

Register by December 2

Seek Solutions to Contemporary Issues

Public Art

Public art comes from and engages with audiences from all walks of life. For decades, it has taken a myriad of forms beyond sculptural depictions of men and horses generating both controversy and widely appreciated enrichment of our shared public spaces. In particular, Richmond’s public art, whether in the form of murals, graffiti, or other media, is generating a renewed and vibrant cultural energy. Feeding into national narratives, and engaging residents in new ways, it allows for varied participation and community creation. This case will explore the critical role arts, media, and culture play in the life and livelihood of individuals and the Richmond community.

Faculty & Alumni Moderators:

Dr. Nicole Maurantonio, Professor of Rhetoric & Communications
Sandy Williams IV, Assistant Professor of Art
Clara Aus, '19, Monitor at Studio Two Three and Social Media Intern at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
Rachael Chudoba, GC'25, Senior Strategist at Performance Art
Kristen Fusselle, '08, Regional Fine Arts Program Manager at GSA
Natalie Meyer, '10, Senior Project Manager at The Martin Agency 

Pandemic Reverberations

COVID-19 has reportedly resulted in 6.5 million deaths worldwide and approximately 1 million in the US. Moreover, it revealed the ancillary ramifications of pandemic threats. Disruption of healthcare services coincided with a spike in opioid overdoses. Manageable long term health issues emerged as drivers of high mortality rates. Anti-vaccine conspiracy theories exploded across the internet, causing vaccine hesitancy and aiding a resurgence in polio and measles. Twenty years of progress in math and reading evaporated for American 9-year-olds. The economy was hit by supply-chain bottlenecks, inflation, price-gouging and interest-rate hikes. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, global prevalence of anxiety and depression increased by twenty-five percent. This case hopes to broaden the scope of last year’s work on Covid-19 towards understanding the ongoing consequences of the pandemic.

Faculty & Alumni Moderators:

Dr. Jory Brinkerhoff, Associate Professor of Biology
Dr. Kristjen B. Lundberg, Associate Professor of Social Psychology
Leah Adams, '08, Assistant Professor at George Mason University
Sara Cloonan, '19, Research Associate at Arizona State University
Shaun Lamm, '17, Mental Health Counselor at Waves Psychotherapy Solutions P.C.
Sara Messervey, '20, Qualified Mental Health Professional at The MARCS Agency

Political Polarization

The 2020 global pandemic made acute political polarization around the world. From India to Poland to the United States, and to other democracies, polarization disrupts party systems, and intensifies socio-economic and cultural anxieties. As conflicts widen existing divides and create new ones, communities across the democratic globe strive to address how opportunity is distributed in a local-global economy, and how to adapt to growing diversity and proximity, both physical and virtual, in interconnected societies. In the U.S., stark disagreements on racial justice, climate change, law enforcement, and international engagement seem to have taken on lives of their own separate from fact or solution. This case explores how and why people in the U.S., and specifically, in Richmond, VA, wrestle with deepening political fissures.

Faculty & Alumni Moderators:

Dr. Lynne M. Bland, Secondary Social Studies Curriculum Specialist and Adjunct Assistant Professor
Dr. Patricia Stohr-Hunt
, Assistant Professor of Elementary Education
Darden Copeland, '00, Managing Director/Founder at The Calvert Street Group
Christine Godinez, '14, Legislative Analyst at the RAND Corporation
Abi Olvera, '12, Foreign Services Officer - Sabbatical
Donald Pollard, '16, Legislative Assistant at United States Senate

Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Innovation and entrepreneurship are cross-disciplinary areas that benefit from the perspectives and problem-solving skills of people from many fields of study. Society needs creative, flexible, and innovative individuals to address some of the most difficult challenges facing our world today. This case study will explore digital innovation and how technology can be utilized to drive new endeavors that enhance the human experience.

Faculty & Alumni Moderators:

Dr. Olivier Delers, Professor of French
Dr. Michael Marsh-Soloway, Director of Global Studio
Brenden Carol, '17, Lawyer at New Jersey Appellate Courts
Elizabeth Harrison, '21, Client Success Manager at Gartner
Virginia Sun, '21, Economic Analyst at U.S. Department of the Treasury
Evan Williams, '14, Senior Director at Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness at U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Sustainability & Climate Change

RVAgreen 2050 is the City of Richmond’s equity-centered climate action plan focused on creating a healthy and resilient city. The plan outlines a number of goals, and emphasizes the need to involve the entire community in developing sustainable solutions that address the challenges of climate change. This case will further examine the impacts of climate change on the local community and explore interventions to address critical challenges and concern.

Faculty & Alumni Moderators:

Daniel Hart, Associate Director of Sustainability and Environmental Justice
Dr. David Salisbury, Associate Professor of Geography and the Environment
Rong Bao, '21, Graduate Student at Yale School of the Environment
Peter Braun, '21, Community Engagement Manager at Capital Region Land Conservancy
Nia Cambridge, '20, Ph.D. Student at Rutgers University
Fritz Hoogakker, '11, Fisheries Biologist at Dominion Energy
Evan McCarthy, '16, Land Representative at Resource Environmental Solutions LLC

Weekend Overview

Friday, January 27

A&S NEXT begins with an opportunity for participants to learn about their personal strengths and how they can be applied in individual and group settings. Students will then dig into their case studies, guided by the advice of faculty and alumni who are experts in that field. Each group will develop a presentation highlighting their findings and proposed solutions. The day will conclude with an opportunity for students to chat with faculty and alumni and gain insights that can help them with their major and career exploration.

Saturday, January 28

On Saturday morning, each student group will deliver their presentation to an audience and have an opportunity to learn about the topics other student groups examined. At the conclusion of the program, students will reflect on their A&S NEXT experience and identify next steps for further exploration.


A&S NEXT Ambassadors are students who previously participated in A&S NEXT. The Ambassadors contribute to the planning and promotion process for the program, as well as serve as peer mentors to student participants in the program.

Lindsey Abellard

Lindsey Abellard, ’25

Biology & Health Studies

Lorena Campos-Castro

Lorena Campos-Castro, ’25

Pre-Business, Consulting

Jimmy Cheng

Jimmy Cheng, ’25


Elspeth Collard

Elspeth Collard, ’23

Environmental Health

Brendan Crockett

Brendan Crockett, ’23


Haley Gladden

Haley Gladden, ’23

Health Studies

Matthew Karen

Matthew Karen, ’24

Health Studies

Caleb Kwakye

Caleb Kwakye, ’25

Computer Science

Beza Mulatu

Beza Mulatu, ’25

Biochemistry & Business Administration