leading collaborative Innovation

Leading collaborative innovation stems from an innate drive to remain globally competitive. Our Advanced Manufacturing division focuses on meeting and exceeding the optimization and workforce needs of new and existing industry to help them do just that. From its revolutionary home facility, the Gene Haas Center for Integrated Machining on IALR’s campus, the division employs the latest technology and strong partnerships to generate a highly skilled workforce. Plus, it offers extensive resources and services, which will include the future Center for Manufacturing Advancement, a forthcoming collaborative space for technology companies and manufacturers to optimize processes, integrate emerging technologies and discover next-generation capabilities.

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Director of Advanced Manufacturing

Troy Simpson

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Office: 434.766.6683
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Meet The Team

Industry Solutions

The advent of Industry 4.0 has created a new level of competitiveness as workforce challenges and optimization opportunities continue to grow. As technology progresses, so does the need to leverage innovative Lean Manufacturing principles and to recruit the skilled talent necessary for operational excellence. IALR’s Advanced Manufacturing division understands these needs and offers the latest technology, expert instructors and a nationally renowned training program to generate a work-ready talent pipeline. The division is also working to provide future collaborative space for manufacturers to optimize processes and stay on the cutting edge.

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Building the Pipeline

IALR’s Advanced Manufacturing division has developed an award-winning, nationally renowned workforce development program for advanced precision machining. Thanks to solid partnerships, cutting-edge equipment, an innovative experiential program and a pipeline starting as early as middle school, the program boasts a 99 percent pass rate, and its reach continues to grow. Graduates earn industry-recognized credentials and are placed with leading companies like Rolls Royce, BWX Technologies and Kyocera SGS Tech Hub.

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advanced Training Programs

In cooperation with strong partners, IALR offers top-rate advanced manufacturing training for both students and teachers. Students looking to enter a growing occupation field abundant with competitive wages and opportunities will benefit from an elite program incorporating workplace experiential learning in an educational setting. Precision machining high school and community college instructors can take their knowledge to the next level with HTEC educator training and certification. IALR’s Gene Haas Center for Integrated Machining provides both and is one of only five nationwide to provide the latter.

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future Center for Manufacturing Advancement

IALR plans to build a future Center for Manufacturing Advancement (CMA) on its campus to offer a platform for leading-edge business success specifically targeted at manufacturing companies establishing or expanding their presence in Southern Virginia. The $25.5 million CMA will allow advanced manufacturing companies to collaborate and enhance processes, improve quality, integrate emerging technology and discover next-generation capabilities.

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Success Stories

"The Gene Haas Center for Integrated Machining is a progressive precision machining training model that answers industry expressed needs for a highly skilled 21st century workforce. The program is currently supported with over $1 Million in commitments from leading global technology companies and builds on existing Commonwealth and local investments…"
IMT Graduates Find Success
IMT graduates find success in advanced manufacturing. Leading employer Harlow hired their first Danville employees from the renowned training program.
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"The Gene Haas Center for Integrated Machining is a progressive precision machining training model that answers industry expressed needs for a highly skilled 21st century workforce. The program is currently supported with over $1 Million in commitments from leading global technology companies and builds on existing Commonwealth and local investments…"
Why Workforce Development Matters
Danville Community College (DCC) and the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) embarked on a workforce development project commonly referred to as Capstone in the community. Capstone or the Gene Haas Center for Integrated Machining is a third year advanced machining program for students looking to build upon skills learned during their first two years at DCC.
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"“The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research has proven to be invaluable to the Town of Altavista by helping to bring about a possible closure to the problem of PCB contamination in our communities’ waste water treatment pond. They are truly an asset to our region.”"
Unique Workshop Promotes Collaboration Needed to Move Science Forward
Scientists from across the country attended a workshop facilitated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR).
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"“The meeting rooms are spacious and equipped with state-of- theart presentation and audio visual needs. The food and beverage were exceptional, and the staff was very kind and friendly assisting us. Having meetings at IALR is a great setting for any company that ants to have an offsite meeting. I…"
Economic Impact of Conference Services
The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) was selected as the host site for the Governor’s First Agriculture & Industrial Biotechnology Conference due to its research focused on agricultural biotechnology, conference center capabilities, and a wide range of technology solutions for conference attendees and presenters.
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"“The word “opportunity” epitomizes the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research. IALR is a place where students, faculty, researchers, and entrepreneurs are actively working together to reach their full potential. IALR provides the ecosystem where discovery, innovation and commercialization is nurtured and celebrated. The leadership of IALR are invested in…"
VA Tech Students at IALR
Graduate and undergraduate students enrolled in the Mechanical Engineering program at Virginia Tech recently visited the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) as part of an ongoing collaboration with IALR. Senior Scientist Scott Lowman is also an adjunct professor at Virginia Tech.
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"I am beyond amazed with the staff and impressed with the technology the research facility has to offer."
Patrick Henry Community College Visits IALR
Students in John Ayers’ Introduction to Plant Science class toured the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research. The course is one of several agribusiness courses offered at Patrick Henry Community College.
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"I love that scientists work together to solve problems"
Inspiring Future Scientists
Elementary school students from Sacred Heart Catholic School recently toured the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research with their families to learn more about the purple sweet potato research being facilitated by Senior Scientist Kedong Da, PhD.
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"“My students enjoy preparing for this program every year. Our hope is to inspire younger students to enjoy learning about science by showing them how it relates to everyday fun activities.""
Chemistry Lessons
Piedmont Governor’s School for Mathematics, Science and Technology (PGS) students in Susan Propst’s chemistry class recently developed interactive science lessons for 70 third grade students from Park Avenue Elementary School in collaboration with the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research.
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"We are grateful for the continued investment of the Haas Foundation in our students and workforce."
Gene Haas Center for Integrated Machining Received $45,000
The Gene Haas Foundation presented Danville Community College (DCC) and the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) with two checks totaling $45,000.
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"Goodyear sets a gold standard for supporting community service work. United Way of Danville Pittsylvania County greatly appreciated all their hard work as Campaign Chair for 2016-2017."
Local Charities Benefit from IALR-Sponsored Program
Decorating the Trees for a Cause is a program sponsored by the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) that raises money for local causes and charities while bringing the community together in the spirit of the holidays. 
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"“What a wonderful experience we had working with your staff as they helped us prepare and present the Danville Master Gardener’s Spring to Green this year! From the evaluations and feedback from everyone there, this was the best year ever! It was wonderful knowing the staff at The Institute were…"
Conference Services 2016 Highlights
The Institute’s Conference Services positively impacts the local and regional economy by supporting regional, state-wide, and national events in Southern Virginia. In 2016, 23,361 guests attended 494 events at the Institute.
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"The Gene Haas Center for Integrated Machining is a progressive precision machining training model that answers industry expressed needs for a highly skilled 21st century workforce. The program is currently supported with over $1 Million in commitments from leading global technology companies and builds on existing Commonwealth and local investments…"
Experimental Water Treatment Project
Members of the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research's (IALR) Applied Research team met with Altavista's town council in October to go over a proposal that would remediate contaminants in the town's overflow pond. The proposal was approved on November 11 for the amount of $36,000...
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"The Gene Haas Center for Integrated Machining is a progressive precision machining training model that answers industry expressed needs for a highly skilled 21st century workforce. The program is currently supported with over $1 Million in commitments from leading global technology companies and builds on existing Commonwealth and local investments…"
Connie Nyholm Appointed to the Institute Board of Trustees
The Virginia House of Delegates appointed Connie Nyholm to the Board of Trustees for the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) for a three-year term.
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"The Gene Haas Center for Integrated Machining is a progressive precision machining training model that answers industry expressed needs for a highly skilled 21st century workforce. The program is currently supported with over $1 Million in commitments from leading global technology companies and builds on existing Commonwealth and local investments…"
High-Tech Farming
Scientists are halfway through the first year of a two-year Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission (TRRC) grant helping regional growers make farming more profitable by reducing inputs (fertilizers, pesticides, and water) and increasing overall crop health and yields.
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"The Gene Haas Center for Integrated Machining is a progressive precision machining training model that answers industry expressed needs for a highly skilled 21st century workforce. The program is currently supported with over $1 Million in commitments from leading global technology companies and builds on existing Commonwealth and local investments…"
Natural Products & Chemistry
The Institute works to develop analytical methods for analyzing small molecules as well as natural health and nutraceutical products. This is accomplished by using a variety of analytical techniques including UPLCMS and GCMS.
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"The Gene Haas Center for Integrated Machining is a progressive precision machining training model that answers industry expressed needs for a highly skilled 21st century workforce. The program is currently supported with over $1 Million in commitments from leading global technology companies and builds on existing Commonwealth and local investments…"
A Legacy of Leadership for Southern Virginia
An agreement to serve as the interim executive director for a few months quickly evolved into a permanent position Jerry Gwaltney held for over four years at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research. Gwaltney has lead the Institute since April 2013 and will retire July 31, 2017.
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"The Gene Haas Center for Integrated Machining is a progressive precision machining training model that answers industry expressed needs for a highly skilled 21st century workforce. The program is currently supported with over $1 Million in commitments from leading global technology companies and builds on existing Commonwealth and local investments…"
Growing Our Own
The Institute continues to build the region’s workforce capacity by providing eight paid summer internship opportunities to current students and recent graduates. The internships are four or eight week opportunities to work directly with Institute staff in the areas of research, finance, and economic development funded by the IALR Foundation.
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"The Gene Haas Center for Integrated Machining is a progressive precision machining training model that answers industry expressed needs for a highly skilled 21st century workforce. The program is currently supported with over $1 Million in commitments from leading global technology companies and builds on existing Commonwealth and local investments…"
AET Graduates Honored
Graduates of the Academy for Engineering and Technology (AET) located at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research and their families were recently honored at a special breakfast. AET students are from Pittsylvania County and Danville City Schools. The two-year engineering program is focused on theory and design.
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"The Gene Haas Center for Integrated Machining is a progressive precision machining training model that answers industry expressed needs for a highly skilled 21st century workforce. The program is currently supported with over $1 Million in commitments from leading global technology companies and builds on existing Commonwealth and local investments…"
Spring Break is not a Break from Learning at the Institute
Area students in grades three through eight attended one of two camps offered at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research this week. The camps highlighted STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) with a focus on agriculture.
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"The Gene Haas Center for Integrated Machining is a progressive precision machining training model that answers industry expressed needs for a highly skilled 21st century workforce. The program is currently supported with over $1 Million in commitments from leading global technology companies and builds on existing Commonwealth and local investments…"
STEM-H Education & Industry Achievement Award Recipients Honored
Regional educators and industry leaders were honored by their peers as nominees and/or award recipients of the 2017 SOVA STEM-H Education & Industry Achievement awards. The awards were presented at the 5th Annual Southern Virginia STEM-H Summit on March 2 at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research.
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"The Gene Haas Center for Integrated Machining is a progressive precision machining training model that answers industry expressed needs for a highly skilled 21st century workforce. The program is currently supported with over $1 Million in commitments from leading global technology companies and builds on existing Commonwealth and local investments…"
Institute Receives Tobacco Commission Grant to Assist Growers
Scientists at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research will continue assisting growers in the counties of Franklin, Halifax, Henry, Mecklenberg, Patrick, and Pittsylvania by introducing precision agriculture technologies to current growers of strawberries, vegetables, grapes, grains, tobacco, and legumes.
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"The Gene Haas Center for Integrated Machining is a progressive precision machining training model that answers industry expressed needs for a highly skilled 21st century workforce. The program is currently supported with over $1 Million in commitments from leading global technology companies and builds on existing Commonwealth and local investments…"
A Beacon for Southern Virginia
The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research precipitates positive change while focusing on economic development for Southern Virginia in three key areas: applied research, advanced learning, and workforce development.
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"The Gene Haas Center for Integrated Machining is a progressive precision machining training model that answers industry expressed needs for a highly skilled 21st century workforce. The program is currently supported with over $1 Million in commitments from leading global technology companies and builds on existing Commonwealth and local investments…"
Impressive Research Results for Growers
The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) has concluded one year of research with impressive results for participating Asian pear growers. The research is funded by a two-year Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) grant to study tree pruning methodology and fruit bagging techniques in Virginia Asian pear orchards to improve Asian pear yield and quality, and to develop a standard Asian pear training, pruning, and bagging system for Virginia farmers.
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"The City of Danville is thrilled to have KYOCERA SGS Precision Tool locating in Danville’s Cyber Park and to provide employment opportunities for the highly skilled graduates of the Integrated Machining Technology program at the Institute for Advanced Learning & Research. This announcement demonstrates the impact of City and County…"
Southern VA Regional Alliance
The Institute joined forces with economic developers in the region to host the Southern Virginia Regional Alliance (SVRA) in a collaboration to create a strong economy that benefits the citizens of the Southern Virginia Region by promoting the Institute’s footprint through marketing and public relations efforts.
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"The Gene Haas Center for Integrated Machining is a progressive precision machining training model that answers industry expressed needs for a highly skilled 21st century workforce. The program is currently supported with over $1 Million in commitments from leading global technology companies and builds on existing Commonwealth and local investments…"
Advanced Learning
The Institute serves as the host site for two dual enrollment programs serving students in grades eleven and twelve in Danville and Pittsylvania County Public Schools. The Academy for Engineering and Technology (AET) is a partnership with New College Institute and Virginia State University serving 43 students with an emphasis on engineering.
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"The Gene Haas Center for Integrated Machining is a progressive precision machining training model that answers industry expressed needs for a highly skilled 21st century workforce. The program is currently supported with over $1 Million in commitments from leading global technology companies and builds on existing Commonwealth and local investments…"
Polymers: Processing and Analytical Support
Our polymer research is committed to the development and application of cutting-edge materials and assisting the region’s organizations in re-energizing the economy. IALR has invested in two distinct laboratories focused on the characterization and processing of polymer materials.
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"The Gene Haas Center for Integrated Machining is a progressive precision machining training model that answers industry expressed needs for a highly skilled 21st century workforce. The program is currently supported with over $1 Million in commitments from leading global technology companies and builds on existing Commonwealth and local investments…"
Gene Haas Center for Integrated Machining
The Gene Haas Center for Integrated Machining is a progressive precision machining training model that answers industry expressed needs for a highly skilled 21st century workforce. The program is a partnership between the Institute and Danville Community College (DCC).
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"Applied at the correct time, biostimulants can significantly improve plant health, which ultimately leads to higher harvestable yields and better quality for a more profitable crop."
Simon Hendry / Agrinos
"Partnering with leading research institutions such as IALR is key to delivering on our commitments to farmer profitability and environmental sustainability."
Virginia Ursin / Indigo
"Goodyear-Danville is so grateful for all United Way does for our community, and we're glad to be able to support them in a meaningful way. (Regarding IALR's Decorating the Trees for a Cause program, an annual fundraiser benefiting charitable organizations that is organized by the Institute Conference Center)"
Laura Singleton / Goodyear-Danville
"Thank you for hosting us at your incredible facility! Between the logistical and technical support that you provided before and during the event, to offering nutritious meals and refreshments for participants and volunteers, and especially your amazing hospitality -- we were so very fortunate to partner with your team and…"
Team Leader / Capital One
"I want to thank everyone who made our holiday luncheon a success. The food keeps getting better and better. I ate some of everything, and it was delicious. Compliments to the chef. Everyone has been telling me how great the food was and how much they enjoy having the luncheon…"
June Conner / CIT
"Thank you for being so accommodating to our staff and volunteers during our recent Benefit Banquet.. IALR is a beautiful venue and the staff is truly committed to ensuring each visitor is given their utmost attention."
God's Pit Crew / God's Pit Crew
"I was thrilled with the beautiful room and decor! The food was delicious and the wait staff was amazing! We will be back very soon for our next meeting!"
Christy Oakes
"“The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research has proven to be invaluable to the Town of Altavista by helping to bring about a possible closure to the problem of PCB contamination in our communities’ waste water treatment pond. They are truly an asset to our region.”"
Mike Mattox / Mayor of Altavista
"“The meeting rooms are spacious and equipped with state-of- theart presentation and audio visual needs. The food and beverage were exceptional, and the staff was very kind and friendly assisting us. Having meetings at IALR is a great setting for any company that ants to have an offsite meeting. I…"
Cindy Bennett / Essel Propack
"“The word “opportunity” epitomizes the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research. IALR is a place where students, faculty, researchers, and entrepreneurs are actively working together to reach their full potential. IALR provides the ecosystem where discovery, innovation and commercialization is nurtured and celebrated. The leadership of IALR are invested in…"
Dr. Guru Ghosh / Virginia Tech
"I am beyond amazed with the staff and impressed with the technology the research facility has to offer."
Emily Barbour / PHCC
"I love that scientists work together to solve problems"
Gavin Maxey / Sacred Heart
"“My students enjoy preparing for this program every year. Our hope is to inspire younger students to enjoy learning about science by showing them how it relates to everyday fun activities.""
Susan Propst / PGSMST
"We are grateful for the continued investment of the Haas Foundation in our students and workforce."
Dr. Bruce Scism / Danville Community College
"Goodyear sets a gold standard for supporting community service work. United Way of Danville Pittsylvania County greatly appreciated all their hard work as Campaign Chair for 2016-2017."
Traci Petty / United Way
"“What a wonderful experience we had working with your staff as they helped us prepare and present the Danville Master Gardener’s Spring to Green this year! From the evaluations and feedback from everyone there, this was the best year ever! It was wonderful knowing the staff at The Institute were…"
Pat Morgan / Danville Master Gardeners Association
"This is a worldwide problem. If this project is successful, it would not only benefit the town of Altavista but many other localities as well. It also represents IALR's commitment to the health and prosperity of the region."
Scott Lowman, Ph.D. / Scientist, The Institute
"The support and investment the elected officials have demonstrated complement the emphasis they have placed into developing a skilled workforce starting at the high school level, networking world class university level engineering programs, and supporting industry changing research at facilities such as CCAM and the Institute for Advanced Learning and…"
Jason Wells / KYOCERA SGS Tech Hub
"The City of Danville is thrilled to have KYOCERA SGS Precision Tool locating in Danville’s Cyber Park and to provide employment opportunities for the highly skilled graduates of the Integrated Machining Technology program at the Institute for Advanced Learning & Research. This announcement demonstrates the impact of City and County…"
Telly Tucker / City of Danville
"The workflow cell training lab at The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research will put Southside Virginia on the map for advanced learning. This unique center’s one-of-a-kind workforce training approach is positioned to garner well-deserved national attention from employers and potential industry prospects. The partnership between Gene Haas Automation Inc.,…"
The Honorable Terry McAuliffe
"To support our RemRX™ Environmental Solutions’ needs, we have been working with the IALR. IALR’s excellent facilities, equipment, and people are extremely easy to work with extending our value proposition to our current and future customers."
Charles Gause / AxNano & Triad Growth Partners
"The fruit that came out was beautiful and so we’re very interested in this. We do have a lot of customers asking for pesticide-free fruit. This may be a practice we can adopt and do well with."
Bennett Saunders / Saunders Brothers Farm
"It has given me a large increase in my pool of knowledge. It has also given me a meaningful experience that will follow me for my entire life. It has helped me to solidify my passion for science and my desire to pursue a career in the STEM field."
Lance Hardcastle
"I am pleased with the opportunities the Foundation has provided to students and educators in our footprint. We believe these opportunities are a significant investment in IALR’s workforce and economic development efforts."
Kris Willard / IALR
"Working as a team, our staff works within our mission to be a regional catalyst for economic transformation in four key areas: advanced learning, applied research, workforce development and economic development."
The Honorable Mr. Don Merricks / IALR
"IALR is the type of education facility that can transform a region."
Barry DuVal / Virginia Chamber
"IALR is excited to partner with the Tobacco Commission. This grant will allow IALR to solidify its commitment to improve agricultural production in our area."
Mark Gignac / IALR
"This year’s nominees and award recipients represent the creativity and STEM-H leadership in our region. Their commitment to STEM-H in the region ensures we have a vibrant workforce equipped with the skills needed to participate in an innovative economy"
Jessie Vernon / IALR
"For some youth, this is the first time they have been exposed to how STEM topics can integrate into traditional trades, like agriculture. It gives youth the vision to revolutionize the way precision agriculture is done, and expand their field of view to the variety of STEM careers they can…"
Daniel Hale / Danville 4-H
"Pittsylvania County Public Schools greatly appreciates the partnership established with the Advanced Learning Department of the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research. This department provides many STEM opportunities for teachers and students to extend learning and explore new areas. The Academy for Engineering and Technology (AET) is one example of…"
Dr. Mark Jones / Pittsylvania County Public Schools
"I firmly believe that through our efforts, we have positioned the Institute as a prime force in the region and solidified it for the future."
Jerry Gwaltney / IALR
"AxNano has been working with the Institute since April 2017 on a National Science Foundation-funded program to evaluate the efficacy of AxNano’s groundwater remediation technologies. Yimeng He performed advanced analytical chemistry work, analyzing samples and processing data that was critical to the success of our program. Yimeng was very professional,…"
Dr. Alexis Wells Carpenter / AxNano
"When Tyton needs additional assistance with analytical work across our many areas of tech development, we turn to Yimeng He at the Institute. Our team at Tyton has been impressed with the quality of the work and reports and we will continue to rely on his capabilities as we expand…"
Conor Hartman / Tyton BioSciences
"We were fortunate to have a talented and passionate group of interns. Their dedication to learning was contagious, and is an indicator of the community's future success."
Jennifer Atkins, M.S. / Tyton BioSciences
"With the information gained from the technology offered by the Institute, it will improve our yields, improve our profit, and make it worthwhile we are staying on the farm."
Jesse Williams / Homeplace Vineyard
"It is great that House of Delegates Speaker, Bill Howell, appointed Connie Nyholm to the Board of the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research. As a very successful business person, she brings excellent judgment and insight to the table. Connie has a personal knowledge of our region, its strengths and…"
Delegate Danny Marshall / Virginia House of Delegates

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