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.

A&S NEXT on Friday, February 16, through Saturday, February 17, at the Omni Hotel in downtown Richmond, is a career program specifically for A&S students where we aim to give you the tools to understand your personal strengths and how you can translate your 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.

student press freedoms

Student Press Freedom

High school journalists in most states throughout the nation – including Virginia – have great limitations on their speech. High school newspapers play a vital role in nurturing the values, skills, and critical thinking necessary for active and informed citizenship, and the limitations and potential censorship of student media is a significant problem – not just for the schools and the students themselves, but also for a functioning media ecosystem. Through this case study, you will mount an argument to school administrators, the General Assembly, and to the general public about why student press freedom is an important goal for a democratic society.


Dr. Timothy Barney, Associate Professor, Rhetoric & Communication Studies
Andrew Grace, Assistant Professor, Journalism
Supporting Health and Well-being Activities in RVA

Supporting Health and Well-Being Activities in RVA

Health disparities, or differences in health that result from factors beyond an individual’s control, are exacerbated and a result of past and present context. There are a number of not-for-profit organizations that seek to improve the overall health and wellbeing of Richmond residents through community partnerships and direct service provision. Yet, these organizations cannot achieve their mission without sustainable resources. Through this case, team members will explore the public and private funding ecosystem for health and well-being activities in Richmond; identify a timely and relevant opportunity for a select community-based organization; and collaborate on the development and submission of a grant to support the organization.


Dr. Courtney Blondino, Assistant Professor, Health Studies
Dr. Margaret Tait, Assistant Professor, Health Studies
Innovative Approaches to Broadband Internet for All Virginians

Innovative Approaches to Broadband Internet for All Virginians

Fast and reliable internet access is more than ever a necessity for business, schools, and families across the state of Virginia. Yet there remain vast geographical and economic disparities. Rural areas are often underserved. Connection speeds and infrastructure installations can be weaker and less dependable in areas considered as low-income. Affordability is also an issue that the Biden-administration Affordable Connectivity Program has only recently started to address. Through this case study, your role will be to create a start-up or a non-for-profit organization that considers new technologies and business models to make high-speed internet available to all in the Richmond areas and its surrounding counties.


Dr. Michael Marsh-Soloway, Director, Global Studio
Dr. Olivier Delers, Professor, French
Equitable Climate Action in Richmond

Equitable Climate Action in RVA

How can we work towards climate action and sustainable development without increasing inequity in the City of Richmond? 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. Through this case study, you will further examine the impacts of climate change on the local community and explore interventions to address critical challenges and concerns. The case will also explore opportunities related to potential connections that the University could make in support of the goals of RVA Green 2050.


Daniel Hart, Associate Director, Sustainability and Environmental Justice 
Dr. Kyle Redican, Spatial Analysis Laboratory Director
Multilingual Student Success in Public Schools

Multilingual Student Success in Public Schools

The city of Richmond, Virginia is home to 22,000 students currently in the public school system. The overall graduation rate for students in Richmond Public Schools is 74.2%. However, the rate for Hispanic students is 44% and even lower for English Language Learners as a whole at 37.9%. The school system and local agencies are providing resources to Spanish-speaking families, but these graduation rates are not changing. What can be done? While multiculturalism is often celebrated in the public schools, bilingualism is often looked as a hindrance to teachers and students, especially with the current emphasis on standardized testing given in English. Through this case study, your task is to come up with ways to improve outcomes for this population of students and brainstorm tangible ideas for harnessing the multilingual population in a positive way.


Dr. Emmy Ready, Visiting Lecturer, Latin American, Latino, & Iberian Studies
Dr. Tom J. Shields, Associate Professor, Education and Leadership Studies

A&S NEXT Ambassadors

Headshot of Lindsey Abellard

Lindsey Abellard, '25
Health Studies Major
Biology and Data Science Minor

At Richmond, she serves as a FLU Clinic Coordinator, an Event Coordinator for Pre-Health Web, a TA for Introduction to Health Studies, and a Trip Advisor for the SEEDS Project. Off campus, she is an intern for Cancer Leaders Like Us and loves watching Korean drama's during her free time. Lindsey participated in A&S NEXT as a freshman and was an ambassador as a sophomore as well. She decided to continue as an ambassador because she loves watching the development of innovative ideas.

Headshot of Moriam Animashaun

Moriam Animashaun, '25
Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Major

At Richmond, Moriam works as Program Associate for the Bonner Center for Civic Engagement. She is also a tutor for the Academic Skills Center. She enjoyed the innovative and collaborative environment as a participant last year, and wanted to help engage other people about important topics.

Headshot of Rafael Cruz

Rafael Cruz, ’26
Health Studies and Business Administration Major

At Richmond, he serves as a class senator for Richmond College SGA, co-president of Ritmo Latino, and is also a member of SOLS. Outside of Richmond, he enjoys cooking, spending time with friends, and listening to Bad Bunny. Raf participated in A&S NEXT his first year and enjoyed collaborating with other students, faculty, and alumni to brainstorm creative ideas. He decided to become an ambassador because he had an amazing first-year experience and would love to contribute to the program’s development while cultivating a space of diverse perspectives and unconventional ideas.

Headshot of Christian Figueroa

Christian Figueroa, ’26
Biology Major

Outside of Richmond, they love playing sports and helping the community. Christian participated in A&S NEXT in 2023 and loved working in a group and the networking aspect of the program. They decided to become an ambassador because the case studies are very intriguing and the program is very enjoyable. 

Headshot of Kate Flanagan

Kate Flanagan, ’26
Computer Science Major
Sustainability Minor

At Richmond, they are part of Residence Life and Alpha Phi Omega. Outside of Richmond, they love to cook. Kate participated in A&S NEXT in 2022 and enjoyed the teambuilding aspect. They decided to become an ambassador because they want to help others make the most of the experience.

Headshot of Aaniya Forte

Anaiya Forte, ’26
Health Studies Major

At Richmond, they are a part of the Black Student Association, Ngoma Dance Company, West Indian Lynk, as well as African Student Association. She is also an Endeavor Navigator and Peer Wellness Instructor. Anaiya participated in A&S NEXT 2022 and loved the vital skills she gained from the program such as public speaking and teamwork. They decided to become an ambassador to continue to improve on the skills gained from the program and help prompt this year’s group of students to be confident in their future endeavors.

Headshot of Lizet Garcia, ’24

Lizet Garcia, ’24
Health Studies Major
Chemistry Minor

At Richmond, they are part of the Bonners Scholar Program, the secretary of Pre-Health Web & Girl Gains, and a member of Alpha Sigma Kappa, Women in Technical Studies. Outside of UR, they enjoy interning at Health Brigade, listening to music, and watching movies. Lizet participated in A&S NEXT virtually in 2021 during her first year at UR. She loved being able to collaborate with her peers and learn about the intersections between health and housing. They decided to become an ambassador to meet underclassmen in the school and connect with alumni.

Headshot of matthew karen

Matthew Karen, ’24
Health Studies Major
Biology Minor

At Richmond, Matthew is a student intern for Hillel, a mentor for the Peer Advisors and Mentor programs, a member of club tennis, and conducts biology research. Outside of class, he volunteers with Bon Secours Hospice and Crossover Healthcare Ministry as a medical scribe. Matthew has participated in A&S NEXT since 2021 and served as an ambassador during last year’s event. He has most enjoyed working with students and faculty during the event. Matthew chose to become an ambassador because it provides the opportunity to work on a unique case study, collaborate with students and professors, and network with alumni who work in a variety of different fields.

Headshot of Catherine Leeder

Catherine Leeder, ’24
Biology and Latin American, Latino, and Iberian Studies Major
Health Studies Minor

At Richmond, she is a part of Alpha Sigma Kappa, Women in Technical Studies, The Messenger, a Teaching Assistant for Introduction to Health Studies, and participates in biology research. Outside of UR, she enjoys volunteering in the community and singing. Catherine participated in A&S NEXT during her junior year and enjoyed the ability to collaborate with peers in different years and majors to work on case studies that focused on stressing topics that are impacting the Richmond area. She decided to become an ambassador because she wants to network with alumni, work with professors and faculty, and learn from new perspectives.

Headshot of Annabelle Zong

Annabelle Zong, ’26
Rhetoric and Communication and Business Administration Major

Annabelle is an international student from Shanghai, China. In her spare time, she enjoys music, theatre, reading, and photography. On campus, she works as the co-manager of social media for The Collegian newspaper, dining services student worker for the Cellar Café, and student marketing assistant for UR Involved. She is also one of the members of University Players and has participated in several mainstage productions at Richmond, including playing Soo-Jin Park in White Pearl, assistant stage manager for The Rivals, and assistant director for Fairview.

Headshot of Anne-Valerie

Anne-Valerie Clitus, ’25
Political Science and Global Studies: International Economics Major

Anne-Valerie is a junior majoring in Global Studies and Political Science with a concentration in International Economic Policy. At UR, she is an assistant at the Student Development Office, a peer editor for the Undergraduate Journal of Politics, and mentor for the FLI Program. Outside of UR, she is an International Financial and Regulatory Compliance Intern with the American Institutes for Research. Anne-Valerie loves to discover new music and volunteer time at her local church parish. She was a participant in A&S NEXT as a sophomore in 2023 and loved how the program accentuated her academic strengths in a collaborative nature. Anne-Valerie decided to become and A&S Next Ambassador to encourage other students in her field to explore their professional opportunities.