Feature Stories Campus Events

Washington and Lee Wins Teagle Foundation Grant for Study-Abroad Planning

Washington and Lee University, in collaboration with Union College, of New York, and Gettysburg College, of Pennsylvania, has received a $230,000 grant over 25 months from the Teagle Foundation, of New York City, to improve learning outcomes on their respective campuses.

This latest grant follows a planning grant that the three institutions received from Teagle a year ago.

Washington and Lee will use the grant to design ways of integrating the four-week study-abroad courses in its revitalized, four-week Spring Term with student learning in the fall and winter terms, which are 12 weeks each. During Spring Term, students take only one class.

“We appreciate the support from the Teagle Foundation for these efforts,” said Marc Conner, the Jo M. and James Ballengee Professor of English, head of the English Department and program director of Spring Term. “Although the specific programs for which the three institutions are using this grant are different, the underlying focus on student learning is powerful in each instance. In all three cases, we are breaking the barrier of traditional classroom practice.”

While W&L’s focus is its Spring Term study-abroad programs, Union is working to strength integrative learning by developing a plan of study around existing curricular programs. Gettysburg plans to promote and reinforce students’ mastery of curricular goals through its First-Year Seminar/First-Year Experience program.

According to Conner, the ad hoc consortium has met several times to discuss the ways in which the specific programs can use innovative pedagogies to engage faculty and students in ways that traditional education has not accommodated.

In Washington and Lee’s case, the goal is to explore ways to extend the Spring Term study-abroad programs beyond the term’s four weeks through effective orientation programs, courses in the winter term and/or re-entry programs in the fall term.

“The goal here is to take those intensive four weeks and not have them just stop,” said Conner. “We don’t want these programs to be seen as islands but to have clear connections.”

Although shorter study-abroad programs have become more and popular at colleges and universities, many educators view them as less effective than either a semester-long or year-long immersion. Conner thinks that W&L’s Spring Term mitigates some of those issues by virtue of the kind of programs it offers.

“The difference is that in our four-week terms, you have a Washington and Lee professor leading the program rather than having the students participate in a generic program operated by another institution,” said Conner. “In addition, you have the intensive teaching and learning nature of our Spring Term, in which students are working 50 or 60 hours a week on just this one course.”

Still, the goal of the Teagle grant will be to work with faculty planning for Spring Term study abroad on extending the experience beyond the four weeks.

For example, chemistry professor Erich Uffelman requires students enrolled in his Spring Term course, Science in Art, held in the Netherlands, to prepare by taking a three-credit course in the preceding winter term.

“I’ve copied that model and required a full three-credit seminar this past winter term for those students who were going to Ireland for the West of Ireland course,” Conner said. “The students got to know each other. They bonded. When we got to Ireland, they already knew a lot more about Irish culture than many students do after they leave. This is a really good way to augment a short study-abroad experience.”

In some cases, students could continue the experience with faculty-led research in the summer after Spring Term, followed by an honors thesis the following fall.

“In that way, it becomes almost a two-year practicum and starts to approach graduate-level education, starting with the Spring Term abroad but building it into the larger program,” Conner added.

Through the Teagle grant, several workshops will be held in the fall and winter of the 2012-2013 academic year for faculty scheduled to lead Spring Term study-abroad programs.

The Teagle Foundation was established in 1944 by Walter C. Teagle, longtime president and later chairman of the board of Standard Oil Co., now Exxon Mobil Corp. The foundation intends to be an influential national voice and a catalyst for change in higher education to improve undergraduate student learning in the arts and sciences.

News Contact:
Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs
(540) 458-8459

A. Benjamin Spencer Named Director of W&L's Lewis Law Center

A. Benjamin Spencer, professor of law at Washington and Lee University School of Law, has been appointed director of the Frances Lewis Law Center by Dean Nora V. Demleitner.

The Francis Lewis Law Center is the independently funded faculty research and support arm of W&L Law. As director, Spencer will oversee the center’s agenda, which includes sponsoring symposia, enhancing the intellectual life at the School of Law, and providing support to faculty in their scholarly endeavors.

“The faculty and I are unanimous in our belief that Ben Spencer is the perfect leader of the Lewis Law Center,” said Demleitner. “A prolific and highly regarded scholar himself, he is deeply devoted to W&L Law’s intellectual enterprise, as exemplified in the Lewis Law Center.  I have no doubt that Ben will brilliantly direct the center and take it to the next level.”

Spencer joined the W&L faculty in 2008. A distinguished scholar and teacher, Spencer is an expert in the fields of civil procedure and federal jurisdiction. In addition to numerous law review articles, he has authored two books in the area of civil procedure, Acing Civil Procedure and Civil Procedure: A Contemporary Approach. Both are used widely by professors and students throughout the country.

Spencer’s scholarship was included in a recent study analyzing the most-cited law review articles of all time. In addition to producing a listing of the 100 most-cited articles of all time, the authors of the study generated most-cited lists for recent scholarship by year for 1990-2009. Two of Spencer’s articles were included in the recent scholarship lists. “Plausibility Pleading,” in the Boston College Law Review, was the third most-cited article of 2008 and “Understanding Pleading Doctrine,” in the Michigan Law Review, was third on the 2009 list. Spencer is one of only a handful of legal scholars to appear more than one time in the study.

Spencer has also been honored for his teaching. In 2007 he was awarded the Virginia State Council of Higher Education “Rising Star” award, given to the most promising junior faculty member among all academic fields at all colleges and universities in Virginia. Spencer was the first law professor to receive this award.

“I am honored that the dean and the faculty have entrusted me with stewardship of the Frances Lewis Law Center,” said Spencer. “The Lewis Law Center is the lifeblood of our research efforts at W&L Law, and I will do my utmost to ensure that it continues to provide the support needed by our outstanding scholars.”

In addition to his teaching and research, Spencer serves as a special assistant U.S. attorney for the Western District of Virginia. In this capacity, he has argued and won several cases in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on behalf of the government, including United States v. Stewart, United States v. Hicks, and United States v. Burns. Spencer is also chair of the Virginia State Bar’s Section on the Education of Lawyers and a member of the West Publishing Company Law School Advisory Board.

Prior to joining the Washington and Lee faculty, Spencer was an associate professor of law at the University of Richmond School of Law.  He also formerly worked as an associate in the law firm of Shearman & Sterling and as a law clerk to Judge Judith W. Rogers of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.  Spencer holds a B.A. from Morehouse College, a J.D. from the Harvard Law School and a master of science from the London School of Economics.

Established in 1978 with a generous gift from Frances and Sydney Lewis, the Law Center’s mandate is to support faculty research and scholarship that advances legal reform.

News Contact:
Peter Jetton
School of Law Director of Communications
(540) 458-8782

W&L Track Teammates Train, Teach in Ghana

Washington and Lee cross country and track teammates Molly Ortiz, a senior from Ketchikan, Alaska, and Annelise Madison, a junior from Roka, Neb., teamed up this summer for a fascinating internship experience in Ghana.

Molly and Annelise volunteered with the Ghana ACT (Alliance for Community Transformations) education program. They spent eight-and-a-half weeks teaching English, math, science and computer skills to students at McColin’s Primary School in Fiave, Ho—a school that “focuses on providing a good education to underprivileged children: orphans, children with single mothers, children of teenage parents.” They also showed the kids how to throw a football and how to play basketball, using equipment that had been donated by many at W&L before they left.

And when they weren’t teaching or coaching, they were running and writing about their experiences.

First, the writing. All the the entries on both Molly’s blog (click on stories and read from the bottom up) and Annelise’s blog are worth reading. Some posts are duplicated on the other’s blog, but they are invariably filled with wonderfully rich detail and anecdotes—showing the students the internet, a small-world encounter with a VMI alum, erecting basketball goals at the school and teaching the students how to play.

Then there was the running—a whole lot of running as they worked their way up to 70 miles a week. Annelise is the Old Dominion Athletic Conference champion in the mile; Molly was third in the ODAC steeplechase. Both are also on the cross country team: Annelise was fifth and Molly 15th in the ODACs last fall. So a constant refrain in their blogs is the work they’ve been doing to prepare for the upcoming cross country season.

In one of her first posts, Molly wrote that they wanted to not only maintain, but increase their fitness level in order to reach their goal of qualifying for the NCAAs in the fall.

With the Doremus Fitness Center unavailable, Molly and Annelise had to improvise. Mostly, they found some rocks to lift. And the Ghanaians clearly enjoyed watching them train. In their final post from Ghana, Annelise paints a delightful picture with this passage:

Our cross country training has been going well…we continue to increase our mileage and, as we don’t have the nutrition that we are used to in America, it is taking its toll on us. Two-a-days are especially exhausting, as we run at 5:30 am and then again after teaching, playing, and coaching the children at 5:00 pm. Molly and I continue to have a following — people literally stop whatever they are doing and run with us for a few steps or an entire mile. Sometimes we feel how Forrest Gump must have felt on his long run.

Now it’s back to the States and preparing for Aug. 31, when the Generals travel to the ODAC Cross Country Preview in Harrisonburg.

Puzzling Alum: Neville Fogarty '10

Fans of Neville Fogarty’s crossword puzzles from his days with the Ring-tum Phi need not wait until he publishes his next puzzle in the New York Times to match wits with the 2010 Washington and Lee alumnus.

Neville has just opened his own site, where he publishes a new puzzle each Friday. The first of those puzzles, on July 20, drew 200 players. Here’s the link to Neville’s site. You can download the puzzles as either .puz or .pdf files. If you choose the .puz option, you’ll want to also download either the Across Lite or the Crossword Solver application that opens the files. (Of course, if you’re a heavy-duty crossword player, you know this already.)

A mathematics and economics major at Washington and Lee, Neville is working on his Ph.D. in mathematics at the University of Kentucky. He also stays plenty busy constructing puzzles for various sources, and his puzzles have even been seen on the new TNT drama “Perception.” He also blogs each Tuesday and Thursday about the Los Angeles Times puzzles on the “Diary of a Crossword Fiend” site.

Why would Neville give away his puzzles for free? Here’s his answer: “First, I want to get better at writing puzzles. How do you get better? Practice. So writing puzzles and posting them here gives me a reason to write a puzzle each week and gives me a chance to get feedback from you, the seasoned solver, as quickly as you can solve it and type in some comments. Also, some of the puzzles I want to run on this site just aren’t right for many of the outlets that I can submit to. Some of them have words or themes that I think an editor would find too esoteric.”

Studying the Praying Mantis with Nets and Isotopes

The praying mantis is an arthropod and a predator, a skinny tough guy (or gal) with jointed feet and an exoskeleton. It’s willing to attack larger prey, from mice to snakes to hummingbirds. There’s even been a report of a praying mantis eating a turtle.

Thrilling YouTube videos of the creatures aside, we know little about their lifetime dietary habits. Larry Hurd, Washington and Lee’s Herwick Professor of Biology, is adding to that bank of knowledge this summer by analyzing the stable isotopes of wild mantids and their prey, a procedure never before used on mantids.

“Are they eating other predators mainly? Are they eating phloem-feeding herbivores? Or are they eating things that eat vegetation?” asked Hurd, who has studied the praying mantis for more than 35 years. He thinks that mantids are frequency-dependent predators, eating whatever is most abundant in their habitat.

The project is a collaboration with Maj. Pieter deHart, an assistant professor of biology at VMI, and research assistance from sophomores Megan Shearer of Columbia, Md., and Joseph Taylor of Petersburg, Va.,, both Robert E. Lee Summer Scholars at W&L.

DeHart is the team expert on stable isotope analysis, a research method that involves parsing and weighing the basic chemical elements of an organism to determine its chemical signature. For the mantid study, the team is comparing the isotopes of wild mantids against the isotopes of other organisms within their habitat and within their probable food chain. They are examining lab-fed mantids as a control group.

Stable isotope analysis is groundbreaking when it comes to mantids because scientists have never observed their long-term eating habits in the field. Recording what mantids eat, over an extended period of time, may lead to a better understanding of how predators control biological diversity and species interactions within eco-systems.

The procedure is also more informative than an insect autopsy. “All that tells you is what’s sitting in its gut. It’s not telling you what that incorporating into its tissues,” said deHart. “Stable isotopes are the way to tell that because we’re essentially taking the whole organism, grinding it up, combusting it, running it through a machine and saying ‘What do these elements look like?’ ”

Once a week, Shearer and Taylor take handheld nets to several fields on campus. There is a fourth field in Norfolk, Va. “We sweep them back and forth, and it catches the insects,” said Shearer. “We catch maybe two or three mantids at each site.”

At W&L, the students sort and identify the captured mantids and insects, then carry them to VMI for further preparation. “We have to freeze-dry our sample first so that there’s no moisture,” said Taylor, “because if you grind it up and there’s moisture, it’s just a mess.”

The students grind the dried insects into a powder, which they then scoop into tiny cups with a micro-spatula for weighing. Once they weigh it, they send the powder to an out-of-state facility for processing by an isotope mass spectrometer.

Inside the spectrometer, air heats to a temperature of 2,400 degrees Celsius, which combusts the insect powder into a gas. A magnet then pulls out and sorts the insect’s basic elements, primarily carbon and nitrogen.

After the insects are processed in the spectrometer, the team will place data about the weights of these elements onto a graph, also known as a food web. By comparing the elemental weights, or chemical signatures, of wild mantids with those of other insects from the same habitat, the team can draw conclusions about the mantid’s food chain and eating habits. Animals higher on the food chain have a heavier elemental weight.

“As one of my colleagues puts it, it’s kind of hocus-pocus, like a magic box sort of thing. You put in there, it spits out a number, and you make sense of the number,” said deHart. “There’s both science and art with it, and you have to interpret the data based upon the best available literature.”

The students are looking forward to getting back the first results. “We’re doing something really new. No one’s mapped out the ecology of mantid ecosystems, so it’s pretty exciting to be doing something new to science that might contribute to knowledge,” said Taylor.

And for those still wondering how a praying mantis stuns a larger animal, the answer is straightforward: “They just grab it with their forelegs, and they hold it in front of them,” explained Hurd. “You’ll see them go after really huge wasps, and the wasp is trying to sting them, and the stinger keeps glancing off the armored prothorax. They just hold it like a crane and just eat the head off. Once they have something, it’s toast.”

— by Amy Balfour ’89, ’93L

W&L Gold Medalists

In advance of the upcoming London Olympics, two members of the Washington and Lee community recently captured their own gold medals–in track and field competition on the master’s level.

Competing earlier this month in the USATF East Region Masters Championships at Howard Community College, in Columbia, Md., Roger Crockett, professor of German, won the long jump in the 60-64 age division with a jump of 4.62 meters. With that effort, Roger now ranks fifth in the nation in the current outdoor season. He finished second in the triple jump with a leap of 9.12 meters.

Roger will try to capture another national title in August, when he competes in the 2012 USA Masters Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Benedictine University, in Lisle, Ill. Back in 2008, his first year in the 60-64 age group, Roger won the national indoor championships in Boston and was ranked No. 1 in the nation in both the long jump and the triple jump during the indoor season.

Meanwhile, W&L’s former dean of students, David Howison, won the 800-meter race in the men’s 70-79 age group at the Virginia Commonwealth Games, in Roanoke. David, 70, ran a time of 3:21.54. He ranks 10th nationally in the 800 meters and is third-ranked in the mile run in the 2012 outdoor rankings.

W&L Historian Writes New History of Siege of Leningrad with Previously Unseen Sources

Washington and Lee University historian Richard Bidlack used previously secret Soviet documents to paint a vivid picture of the 872-day siege of Leningrad by the Germans and Finns during World War II in his new book, “The Leningrad Blockade, 1941-1944.” Co-authored with Nikita Lomagin, professor of economics at St. Petersburg State University, it is the latest book in the Yale University Press series Annals of Communism.

“I contend that the siege of Leningrad was not only the most horrific siege in human history, but also an act of genocide on the part of the Germans,” said Bidlack. “Using these new documents that had been classified and unavailable, along with some diaries by Leningraders , we wanted both to clarify the high-level politics that led to the lengthy siege and to look at popular attitudes of the people in Leningrad.”

Between approximately 1.6 and 2 million Soviet people died within the city of Leningrad and in battles of the surrounding region between 1941 and 1944. Bidlack observes that even the lowest estimate of deaths would exceed the total number of Americans, both civilians and military personnel, who died in every war, from 1776 through Afghanistan.

The number of civilians who perished by hunger, cold or the aerial bombardment of the blockaded territory is estimated at about 900,000.

“No city ever suffered more over a comparable period of time than did Leningrad during its epic struggle to survive,” the authors write in the introduction.

The key difference between this book and others about the siege is the documents to which the authors had access. The book includes reproductions of 66 documents and 70 illustrations  The documents reveal tensions and sharp conflicts among leaders of the Communist Party, the NKVD (political police, who were the forerunner of the KGB), and the military.

Some of the key documents are reports from secret informants on political attitudes.Both the Communist Party and the NKVD had thousands of informants through the city, Bidlack said. The NKVD reports, in particular, are controversial because the police were preoccupied with stamping out anyactivities they considered to be subversive

“You have to be careful in using those materials to gauge public opinion,” Bidlack said. “The Communist Party basically wanted to show that the people of Leningrad were loyal, while the NKVD was looking for bad guys, as they defined them.”

The documents were declassified after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and some of them were made available only shortly before the book was published. Because Soviet historians did not have access to the documents and because their histories were censored, their accounts of the Leningrad blockade were heavily distorted, Bidlack said.

For instance, Bidlack added, Soviet historians tended to write glowingly about the heroic struggle of the people of Leningrad.

“The whole concept of heroism is a tricky one,” he said. ‘The heroic struggle of the people became one of the foundational myths in the way the history of the siege was written.

“It’s not a myth in the sense that it’s a falsehood. But it’s overemphasized. There were heroes, but there were also people who were very selfish, who didn’t care at all about their fellow man.”

In particular, Bidlack said, the documents demonstrate that some people who had special access to food made a fortune on the black market by purchasing works of art for loaves of bread.

At the same, Bidlack noted, “youlearn something about human nature as you examine an event of this kind through these documents.  People were willing to put up with extraordinary privations to defend their homes and their families. Hitler thought the city would collapse in chaos, but it didn’t happen.”

German barbarism together with the repressive policies of the NKVD, which punished overheard subversive comments with long prison sentences or execution, encouraged Leningraders to remain loyal to Soviet authorities.  Leningraders were also hoping for a better future.  Soviet propaganda implied that at the end of the war there would be more autonomy for the people, a greater role for the church and the return of traditional institutions to the fore. None of those things happened.

When it came to heroism, the documents make clear that those who acted in the most heroic fashion were mothers. “Most of the men were off at the front, so the city was predominately female in terms of the adult population, and these women would make any sacrifice to take care of their children.” he said.  Many also took care of orphaned children of which there were many thousand in the city.

Some desperate mothers resorted to cannibalism to survive.

“Altogether, about 2,000 people were arrested for cannibalism — something that was never included in Soviet histories,” said Bidlack. “This ranged from hacking corpses for food to murder with the intent to sell human flesh.”

“Most of those who were hacking food from corpses were women who were not from the city itself but were part of an influx of refugees into the city before the blockade  started. They did not have access to food ration cards and had two or three kids to feed.””

Bidlack contends that the siege of Leningrad was, next to the Holocaust, the greatest act of genocide in Europe during World War II, because Hitler would not accept surrender of the city through the winter of 1941-42..

“They were trying to subdue the city by starvation and hoping that it would be like 1917 in Petrograd in World War I. I think Hitler wanted a collapse but not a surrender, because, for logistical reasons, he did not want to be responsible for feeding 2.5 million people,” said Bidlack. “They were just going to let them starve.”

A member of Washington and Lee’s faculty since 1987, Bidlack specializes in Russian and European history. He received his bachelor’s degree from Wake Forest and his master’s and Ph.D. from Indiana University.

News Contact:
Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs
(540) 458-8459

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Marketing Renegade John Zamoiski

When John Zamoiski, of the Class of 1974, spoke at Washington and Lee’s first AdLib Conference (Liberal Arts in Advertising) in March, he dubbed himself a marketing renegade.

Visitors to Comic-Con 2012 in San Diego earlier this month got a little taste of what John meant. His company, Bottlerocket Marketing Group, of New York City, was the guiding force behind one of the most-discussed exhibitions at the event — a 15,000-square-foot, “fully immersive” experience to promote A&E’s upcoming made-for-TV movie, “Coma.”

According to various reports from Comic-Con, the installation allowed visitors to “feel first-hand what it’s like to go up against the all-knowing, all-powerful, and heavily financed Jefferson Institute.” If you remember the 1977 novel by Robin Cook and the 1978 movie by Michael Crichton, the Jefferson Institute is where unwitting patients are kept in comas in order to have their organs harvested. Ridley Scott and Tony Scott’s remake of that movie airs on A&E Sept. 3 and 4, and the marketing that John’s company has created for it is getting a lot of buzz.

The W&L students who heard John talk about his marketing exploits, starting with his job as an advance man for Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey, would hardly be surprised at the scope of the Comic-Con installation, let alone the various other ways in which Bottlerocket is working to bring attention to its clients.

One of the case studies on Bottlerocket’s website is The Great Summer Zoofari for the Wildlife Conservation Society, which featured life-size Lego sculptures of animals around the Bronx Zoo. Another award-winning campaign that John’s company produced was the “VH1 Divas Salute the Troops” mosaic.

In his presentation to the AdLib conference on campus, John paid tribute to his liberal arts background as the key to his success in the world of marketing. He also cited several W&L faculty members who played a role.

“Being a successful business professional comes from mixing up a witch’s brew of learning — learning you get at W&L,” he told the students. “In my case, it’s what I learned in my marketing courses from L.K. Johnson (I still have notes from his classes to this day). It’s combined with my editorial writing courses from Pax Davis in the journalism school, served with a strong dose of history courses from Charlie Turner, adding the spice of film courses from John Jennings, with a dollop of sociology from Ken White, with English classes from Huntley, art classes from Dr. Ju, with economics from John Gunn, with accounting from Jay Cook. You put it all together, and that makes sense of the world you live in.”

John describes Bottlerocket’s work on the Coma project and others in the interview below, conducted at Comic-Con 2012:

Cats and Dogs and Domestic Relations

Maybe you thought that odd business combinations like a shoe store doubling as a law practice a la “Harry’s Law” happened only on television. Think again.

In Culpeper, Va., Washington and Lee law alumna Monica “M.J.” Chernin, of the Class of 1988, practices family law and operates a pet store, Reigning Cats and Dogs.

Unlike the fictional “Harry’s Law,” where the shoe store and law practice operate from the same building, the Law Offices of Monica Chernin are about five blocks away from the store. As a feature in the July 2012 edition of Washingtonian magazine notes, the businesses operated under the same roof when M.J. opened the pet boutique in 2005. A fire forced a separation.

When M.J. is dealing with the law, her 87-year-old mother manages the pet store, which she started after careful research that concluded the pet industry is booming. She was predisposed to the idea, though, because of her 12-year-old black Lab, Lady Justice (Justi for short). She was M.J.’s constant companion at the office until the amputation of her front left leg three years ago because of cancer.

M.J. told Washingtonian writer Marisa M. Kashino that the pet business is a good balance to her legal practice because people are happy when they come to shop for a pet, as opposed to their mood when they come to see about a divorce.

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W&L Psychology Project Examines Cell-Phone Usage and Adolescent Health

How are changing patterns of communication associated with the health and well-being of teenagers?

Washington and Lee psychology professor Karla Murdock and Robert E. Lee scholars Sarah Gorman, a senior from Moores Hill, Ind., and Melissa Derby, a junior from Estelline, S.Dak., are tackling that question in a pilot study this summer.

Texting has become the most popular form of communication between teenagers, surpassing cell-phone calls, landline calls, face-to-face conversation and e-mails. This finding, published by the Pew Research Center in 2010, is probably not news to teenagers and their parents. But a closer look at the statistics reveals just how quickly and substantially communication has changed. According to the study, 72 percent of teenagers aged 12–17 are texting, up from 51 percent in 2006. One in three teens sends more than 100 texts per day—about 3,000 per month.

“Cell phone use has increased rapidly and has become ubiquitous, especially among adolescents and early adults,” said Murdock. “I’m sure there’s good and bad that will come of the trend, but it is amazing how little research has examined its implications for teenagers.”

According to the same Pew study, 75 percent of teenagers aged 12–17 owned a cell phone in 2010, up from 45 percent in 2004. And while there have been concerns about the health effects of new technologies in the past, from television to the Internet, Murdock and her team are curious whether cell phone usage has different repercussions.

“The thing that makes cell phone use particularly interesting to us is that it’s a form of communication accessible at all times,” said Murdock. “Many people feel a compulsion to answer their phone, check a new text, or text right back. In fact, the literature suggests in some circles there is a social expectation for immediate responding via cell phones.”

Some research has explored safety issues relating to texting and driving. However, it is unclear how mobile phone habits and social expectations may affect teenagers’ overall communication patterns and well-being.

With children using cell phones at a younger age, health-related issues may start cropping up even earlier. “I’ve talked to elementary school guidance counselors in this area who are seeing more and more  cell phone use among their students,” said Murdock. Will cell-phone use affect their ability to communicate face-to-face, or influence the development of their reading and writing skills?

Gorman and Derby, both psychology majors, spent the first part of the summer working with Murdock to create a one-hour survey concerning communication and well-being. The team prepared a successful project proposal for W&L’s Institutional Review Board (IRB), an ethics panel that reviews all projects using human and animal subjects. Murdock and the students are now recruiting 50 high school students, along with a parent, to participate in the Communication and Health in Adolescence (CHA) Study (see sidebar).

To create the best questions and methods for the survey, Gorman and Derby analyzed the latest psychological literature about communication in adolescence. They also reviewed various ways to measure the psychological constructs in the study, from standardized questionnaires previously deemed valid and reliable to different modes of behavioral observation.

“There are a handful of measures out there for the material we’re studying that have already been validated in previous research,” said Gorman. “And if there isn’t an existing measure of something, we can still build off the results of other studies to create a new measure.”

More recently they’ve been fine-tuning their questions and “just making sure that the survey is as efficient as it can be,” said Gorman. “There are a lot of nuances in building a good survey.”

Since this project is a pilot study, with a small subject pool, the primary goal is to get a better understanding of the key issues associated with adolescent well-being and communication. “We’re trying to build a foundation for future research,” said Derby.

— by Amy Balfour ’89, ’93L

News Contact:
Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs
(540) 458-8459

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W&L Chapter of Phi Kappa Psi Honored

Washington and Lee’s Virginia Beta chapter of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity won three awards for academic excellence at the national social fraternity’s Grand Arch Council in San Antonio, Texas, this month.

The W&L chapter was among four from around the country to receive the Woodrow Wilson Award for Scholastic Achievement, based on the highest chapter average GPA.

In addition, the Virginia Beta chapter earned the District IV Academic Excellence Award for the highest average GPA in the geographic district.

Finally, by virtue of having achieved an average GPA of more than 3.5 over the past academic year, the chapter won the Dr. Thomas D. Myers Scholarship Award, which recognizes chapters that have achieved summa cum laude academic standing.

Founded in 1855, the Virginia Beta chapter was the first fraternity chapter established at Washington College and was the third chapter of Phi Kappa Psi founded. With the exception of a four-year period during the Civil War, it has continued in existence without interruption since its founding.

Steve Nardo '82 Named CFO of the Year

Steve Nardo, a member of Washington and Lee’s Class of 1982, has been named the CFO of the Year for small businesses by Washington Business Journal. Winners are recognized for their finanical savvy, leadership and contributions to their communities.

Steve is the CFO of PartnerMD L.L.C., a Richmond-based concierge medical practice. He oversees and directs all significant aspects of the company’s finance, information technology and sales operations. Partner MD serves more than 4,200 patients with 10 doctors.

Prior to joining Partner MD, Steve has held a number of other positions, including with Arthur Young & Co. (now Ernst & Young L.L.P.), Swedish Match and AMF Bowling Centers Inc. He was also a  CFO-for-hire, working with small businesses that needed experienced CFOs but couldn’t afford any full time. He joined Partner MD in 2008.

Asked by Washington Business Journal to identify his proudest accomplishment, Steve cited his ability “to help in every department . . . Whether it’s the technical department, the human resources department — I have a say in the growth of this company. It’s one place I’ve seen the results of my work.”

Dennis Brack '62 Donates Photographic Archive to Brisco Center

Award-winning photojournalist Dennis Brack, a 1962 graduate of Washington and Lee, has donated his photographic archive to the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin. His work becomes one of the largest amount of collections from contemporary photojournalists at the Briscoe Center.

More than 100 photos from Dennis’s archive are part of the retrospective exhibition, “Recording History,” that is currently on display in the Williams Gallery of Huntley Hall. Dennis was back on the W&L campus in May for the opening of the exhibition, which coincided with his 50th class reunion.

The Dennis Brack Photographic Archive at UT-Texas consists of more than 150,000 slides of U.S. presidents from John F. Kennedy to Barack Obama, world leaders, members of Congress and Supreme Court justices.

A member of the Black Star photo agency, Dennis has covered 10 presidential administrations and major news stories for TIME and Newsweek magazines. One of the key features of the W&L exhibit is a mosaic of his TIME and Newsweek covers.

See a slide show of Dennis’s photographs on the Brisco Center website: http://www.cah.utexas.edu/soundslides/soundslides_brack_presidents.php.

W&L Law Students Release Human Rights Report on Tanzanian Employment Practices

Students in the International Human Rights Practicum at Washington and Lee School of Law travelled to Tanzania this spring to research employment and labor rights in the city of Dar es Salaam’s factories. The results of this study have now been released in a 60 page report including findings and recommendations for improving conditions for workers.

Titled “The Gap between Law and Reality,” the report puts special focus on the obstacles female laborers face in the industrial sector of Dar es Salaam, the Tanzanian capital. While Tanzania has a fairly robust legal code when it comes to employment rights, student researchers found that many of the laws designed to protect workers are not being enforced in a systematic way.

According to the report, employers either ignore or wrongly interpret the protections granted to workers with regard to hours, working conditions, and benefits. W&L law student Hanna Jamar ’12L, who participated in the project, says that the most common issue revealed in the field investigation was the exploitation of the role of the daily, or casual, worker.

“Tanzania has a large number of workers who are treated as daily workers but are actually filling permanent positions,” says Jamar. “Yet these workers don’t receive the benefits and protections long term employees should receive.”

The supply of causal workers, who are largely unskilled and lack formal education, is much greater than the demand. As a result, employers offer daily workers little or no job security, refusing to grant them the paid maternity or sick leave they are entitled to under the law and frequently giving away one daily worker’s job to a new employee if that worker takes leave due to illness, pregnancy, or family emergency.  Workers reported to the W&L delegation that some female daily workers  face sexual harassment.   According to the group’s findings, some managers subjected female daily workers to demands for sex in exchange for daily work.

Another problem the students’ investigation revealed was the Tanzanian minimum wage, which amounts to about $50 a month. Everyone interviewed, including factory owners, acknowledged that this was too low to meet basic needs. To get by, workers will often pool the day’s wages so one of them can buy necessities while the others go without.

The International Human Rights Practicum, taught by Professor Johanna Bond, is one of the practice-based courses that are part of W&L’s innovative third-year curriculum. Such classes are designed to prepare students for their careers by simulating a variety of legal practice environments, but as with many of W&L’s practicum courses, this class goes well beyond “simulation” by engaging students in the investigation of actual cases of human rights abuse.

The students in the class began their semester researching the Tanzanian legal system and the law and policy around employment. They also conducted a number of practice interviews specifically designed to teach them how to extract the most accurate information from people often reluctant to speak out on sensitive issues for fear of losing their jobs.

On the ground in Tanzania, students worked with staff from the Women’s Legal Aid Centre (WLAC) in Dar Es Salaam, the same group who assisted W&L students in the class in 2009 who traveled there to research sex crime enforcement. During eight days of fieldwork, students interviewed more than one hundred people including 17 members of factory management and 61 factory workers, as well as government officials, union employees, and NGO employees.

For Bond, the most gratifying part of the class is when the students begin to adapt to the situation they find on the ground and take ownership of the project.

“Students quickly realize that despite our preparation, there are gaps in our knowledge of the situation,” she says. “You can see them start to strategize about how to fill in those gaps with additional inquiries and put the puzzle pieces together.”

The Report makes a number of recommendations for the Tanzania government, as well as for employee unions and other organizations working on employee rights. These suggestions include establishing an enforcement agency charged with ensuring casual task workers are not consistently used to fill permanent positions, reforming legislation to provide limitations on how long daily workers can work for the same employer without becoming permanent employees,  reviewing the minimum wage law to conform to the current cost of living, and clarifying and enforcing prohibitions on sexual harassment of all workers.

The executive summary of the report is available online. To receive the full report, contact Professor Bond at bondj@wlu.edu.

News Contact:
Peter Jetton
School of Law Director of Communications
(540) 458-8782

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W&L Professor LeBlanc to Study in Italy Under Fulbright

Robin LeBlanc, professor of politics at Washington and Lee University, has received a Fulbright Research Grant for Italy to investigate how communities in Japan and Italy prepare themselves for decline.

LeBlanc is the third member of Washington and Lee’s faculty to receive a Fulbright grant this year. Renee Pratt in business administration and Josh Fairfield in the School of Law both won Fulbright awards to study in Germany. This is LeBlanc’s third Fulbright grant. She received a Fulbright Research Grant in 2002 and a Fulbright Graduate Research Fellowship from 1991 to 1993, both for study in Japan.

The current Fulbright will support four months of research that LeBlanc will undertake in 2013 while affiliated with the University of Trento. She will also receive funding for her work from a Washington and Lee Lenfest Sabbatical Extension Grant.

The formal title of her study is “Housing Decline: Shifting Images of Community in Low-Fertility Societies.”

LeBlanc has conducted her scholarly work on Japan for the past 20 years, focusing on the role of gender in the political system. She is the author of two books and numerous articles in the field.

After making several visits to Italy, she became intrigued that the country was facing many of the same issues as Japan.

“Japan and Italy have similar demographic challenges,” said LeBlanc. “Fertility rates are very low. If you discount immigrants, both countries have declining population plus rapidly aging population. Both countries have economic stagnation and high unemployment, particularly among youth, and they have policy stagnation without new leaders to step into the breach of the failed leaders.”

Despite those similarities, LeBlanc said, the two countries have very different built environments, with high-rise condominium housing far more prevalent in Japan. “I’ve wondered how people, given these spaces, either can or cannot engage in public life,” said LeBlanc. “Are they subjects of these larger trends, just trying to get by, or are they finding ways to adapt their communities?”

Among the key challenges facing both countries, LeBlanc said, is a rising number of communities where the elderly are living by themselves, raising questions about how they are cared for, especially when government resources are not expanding.

At the other end of the spectrum, there are challenges in engaging the younger generations that are struggling to make a start. “They are unable to get jobs that are anywhere like the jobs that their parents had and are, therefore, struggling with new ways of living,” she said. “Both countries are very patriarchal, and the husband has always been the breadwinner and the wife the homemaker. That worked fine when the husband’s salary was enough to support the family. That’s not true any more. So both countries are trying to adapt to families who have these new ideas.”

LeBlanc believes the ongoing economic crisis in Italy and the rest of the European Union will help her research in an unintended way.

“When I visited Bologna earlier this month, there were people literally standing in the middle of the main piazza arguing about the situation that Italy is in,” she said. “I hate to talk about a terrible national crisis as a benefit to a researcher, but in the sense that it is sparking this open debate, it may be beneficial.”

As a political anthropologist, LeBlanc is interested in how people experience and describe their experiences within the context of their public lives. Her research methodology in Italy, as it has been in Japan, will comprise formal and informal interviews through a process called “snowball sampling.”

“In past projects I have joined volunteer organizations or have joined the staff of candidates for office and listened to what people have to say,” she said. “For instance, there is evidence that there is a housing bubble in Italy, and there is a think tank in Bologna that is tracking that housing situation. I’ll contact that think tank and talk with the people there but also find out with whom they are working and talking.

“‘Snowball sampling’ means that you interview one person and and ask if they have another person you can meet. Your sample grows like a rolling snowball.”

A member of the Washington and Lee faculty since 1998, LeBlanc is a graduate of Berry College and received her Ph.D. in political science from the University of Oklahoma.

News Contact:
Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs
(540) 458-8459

Preseason All-American Honors for Pelton '13

Jake Pelton, a senior safety on the Washington and Lee football team from Charlottesville, is one of 25 players from around the country named to the first team of the D3football.com Preseason Division III All-America team.

A business administration major, Jake is a three-year letter winner and a 2012 team captain. He was an honorable mention selection by D3football.com following last season, when he was also first-team All-ODAC and first team All-South Region.

The Charlottesville Daily Progress, Jake’s hometown newspaper, featured his All-American honors in a story last Sunday. In it, Jake talked about the transition that he and the rest of the Generals will be making this fall, when Scott Abell takes over as head coach from Frank Miriello, who retired following last season.

Said Jake: “The transition went smoothly. It was sad to see (Coach) Miriello go. It was an honor to play for him, but there is this new sense of excitement.”

Jake and the Generals open the season on the road at Franklin & Marshall on Sept. 1.

Laura Perry '97 Keeping the Faith

Laura Perry reached a major milestone earlier this month when she drove herself to work.

A 1997 graduate of Washington and Lee, where she majored in journalism, Laura hadn’t made that trip on her own in the eight and a half years since she suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in a 2003 car accident.

Laura recently wrote about her successful commute as well as her continuing recovery from TBI in Metro Spirit, an Augusta, Ga., independent weekly, where she is volunteering.

Laura’s pieces and an introductory article, “Remembering Laura Perry,” about her injury and recovery are inspiring on many levels.

Among the most poignant stories is Laura’s return to Lexington this past May for her 15th class reunion. It was, as the story explains, the second time since her accident that she had traveled back to W&L for a reunion. For her 10th, Laura’s sister, Beth, of the Class of 1999, had gone with her. This time Beth was busy, so Laura was accompanied by her mother.

It was, Laura readily confessed, embarrassing to be driven to her 15th reunion by her mother, but that wasn’t the hardest part.

“Everybody’s just in a different part of their life,” she was quoted as saying. “That’s kind of what the hard part was — everybody’s not only married, but they have kids and they’re dealing with things like that. I’m not on that same playing field, so it’s a little hard. I don’t want to be always talking about the same thing — my brain injury recovery.”

Prior to the accident, Laura had worked with CGI Group and Hull Storey Retail Group. Following the accident, she has volunteered in marketing with several Augusta organizations, including the American Red Cross. More recently, she has put her W&L journalism background to work with Metro Spirit, progressing from assisting with research projects to writing assignments and even a couple of bylines.

While the struggle continues, Laura clearly has the right attitude: “I think the toughest thing about this is just staying positive, patient and keeping focused that there is a grand plan for me. I’m determined to keep the faith.”

A Day in the Life of Christopher Wolf '80L

MSNBC has called Washington and Lee law alumnus Christopher Wolf, of the Class of 1980, “a pioneer in Internet law” based on his early involvement in legal cases involving technology agreements, copyright, domain names, jurisdiction and, perhaps most of all, privacy.

A partner in the Washington, D.C., office of Hogan Lovells, Chris leads the firm’s privacy practice group. He also is founder and co-chair of the Future of Privacy Forum, a think tank “that seeks to advance responsible data practices.”

Chris is the subject of a recent “Day in the Life” feature on the Hogan Lovells website. Chris said he recognized early on “the enormous potential that the Internet would have for education, communication, entertainment, and the betterment of society.” He added that there has to be a level of trust for the Internet to evolve. “Technology has a great role to play in our society, but we need greater protection of personal information,” he said.

This past January, Chris testified before a Senate panel looking to update video privacy laws. And last month he co-authored an op-ed on Politico about the shifting nature of privacy now that users connect through apps.

There is, Chris said on the Hogan Lovells site, “a sea change right now regarding privacy laws with a move toward more stringent regulations regarding the collection and use of information.”

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W&L Law Grad Retires as Dean of Bowen School of Law

John M. DiPippa, a 1978 graduate of Washington and Lee’s School of Law, has stepped down as dean of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law and has received dean emeritus status.

DiPippa, a member of the UALR law faculty since 1983, served as associate dean from 1990 to 1993 and from 2001 to 2008. He was appointed interim dean at UALR July 1, 2008, and was subsequently named dean on Feb. 13, 2009.

DiPippa was recommended for dean emeritus status by former U.S. Attorney Paula Casey, who assumed the position of interim dean on July 1, and by Sandra Robertson, UALR’s provost. At an event in his honor, a portrait of DiPippa was unveiled; it will hang in the Coyne Deans Gallery. A large photo from his college days was also displayed, and the school gave him an award for nearly 30 years of service.

During his three-and-a-half-year tenure as dean, DiPippa led the law school to successful re-accreditation with the American Bar Association. The school raised a total of $3.3 million in current and future funding commitments under his leadership.

In the announcement of his decision to return to the classroom, DiPippa said: “I am particularly proud of the things we have achieved at Bowen during my tenure as dean. We added concurrent degree programs with the College of Business and the UAMS School of Public Health, bringing to seven the number of partnered-degree programs Bowen offers. We’ve endowed numerous scholarships and increased alumni involvement significantly.”

Prior to joining the UALR law school, DiPippa had served with the Legal Aid Society of Roanoke Valley.

W&L Magazine, Spring/Summer 2012: Vol. 87 | No. 2

In This Issue:

  • Brothers in Farms: The Hansons Tour the Country and Publish a Book
    By David Hanson ’00, Photos by Michael Hanson ’03
  • Designing Women: Hollister Hovey ’00 and Sister Porter Transform Blogging into a Business
    By Laure Stevens-Lubin, Photos By Porter Hovey

By the Numbers

  • Community Services, Undergraduate Student Organizations, Off-campus Rentals, Endowed Professors


  • GLBTQ Resource Center

Along the Colonnade

  • Commencement 2012
  • First-Year Housing
  • Keen Named Interim Dean, France Associate Dean, of the College
  • Happy Retirement to These Colleagues
  • Lexington’s Letters to the Editor
  • Phi Beta Kappa Initiates 51 Members
  • Institute for Honor Welcomes Media Critic Auletta
  • Leadership Summit Encourages Women Students
  • Novelist Colum McCann Graces Tom Wolfe Seminar
  • Books & CDs
  • Cabin Fever
  • W&L Traveller
  • One Haiku, Coming Right Up

Generals Report

  • Frank Miriello: Man with a Mission

W&L Law

  • W&L Law Student Wins Asylum Case for Political Refugee


  • Alumni Weekend 2012
  • Entertaining 1,000 of Your Best Friends
  • Wide Open Space: James S. Legg Jr. ’65
  • Memory and Honor
  • Beau Knows
  • W&L Welcomes New Trustees
  • Severn Duvall, Henry S. Fox Jr. Professor of English Emeritus, Dies at 87
  • I-Hsiung Ju, Former Professor of Art, Dies at 88
  • Thank You and Congratulations!
  • Giving Moore

President Ruscio’s Message

  • Building Strong Foundations

Last Look

  • Virginia Communications Hall of Fame

For Ben Swan '78, Summer Camp is All in the Family

For many grown-ups, the notion of summer camp evokes the chocolate goop of s’mores, the heavenly scent of pine trees, the cozy glow of a campfire. For Ben Swan, a member of Washington and Lee’s Class of 1978, summer camp means all that and more, because it’s the family business: Pine Island Camp, a 110-year-old camp for boys in Belgrade Lakes, Maine.

Pine Island Camp has inhabited the island in Grand Pond, one of the Belgrade Lakes, since 1902. Eugene Swan bought it from the founder in 1908. His son, Eugene L. “Jun” Swan Jr., took over in 1947, and his grandson Ben, after stints as a camper, counselor and assistant director, took the helm in 1990. He has degrees in English from W&L and UVA and taught at the Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Va., before returning to Pine Island. His wife, Emily, serves as the business manager. The rest of the year, they live in Brunswick, Maine, with their children Rippy, Harry and Katie.

Campers between the ages of 9 and 15 arrive by launch, live in a tent, and forego running water and electricity. On the water, they learn to swim, to fish and to pilot rowboats, kayaks, sailboats and canoes. On the land, they craft items in the shop, master riflery and archery, play tennis and learn camping skills.

Readers of Martha Stewart Living spotted the handsome black-and-white pictorial of Pine Island in the May 2012 issue, featuring photos of Ben’s grandfather’s office, plus canoes and tents, trophies and campers.

One of the many beloved camp traditions is the subject of another article, this one in the July issue of DownEast magazine. During the Pine Island Game, aka the War Game, the camp population splits up into two teams for an intense two-day competition, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. “Despite its bellicose name,” says DownEast, “the game involves no physical contact or mock violence. It does, however, involve running, scheming, manipulation, and intense focus as well as more old-fashioned skills like laying in wait, getting bitten by mosquitoes, and following orders.”

As Ben told the writer, “The stated object of each summer at Pine Island is to build a successful community. This is a test of the community. But ultimately, I think, it pulls the camp together, because everyone’s been through a difficult, intense experience.”

Here’s hoping one of their rewards is unlimited s’mores.

Bruce Hale Herrick, Hendon Professor of Economics, Emeritus, Dies at 76

Bruce Hale Herrick, the John F. Hendon Professor of Economics, Emeritus, at Washington and Lee University, died on July 11 at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, from injuries he sustained in an automobile accident in Lexington on July 9. Herrick was 76.

A memorial service will be conducted at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, July 17, at Lexington Presbyterian Church, with Dr. William Klein officiating. A reception will follow at the church. Burial will be private.

“Bruce was a valued colleague, a highly regarded teacher and a distinguished scholar,” said Washington and Lee President Kenneth P. Ruscio. “We will remember him, too, for his eclectic other interests, which ranged from motorcycles to model trains to music. We send our deepest sympathy to the Herrick family.”

Herrick came to Washington and Lee in 1980 from UCLA as professor of economics and head of the Department of Economics. He specialized in economic development, especially in Latin American countries. In addition to co-authoring a major textbook and numerous scholarly articles on the subject, he served as a consultant on economic development and financial issues throughout the world.

“Bruce Herrick was a wonderful friend and colleague, an academic of impeccable credentials, and someone who personified the teacher-scholar at Washington and Lee,” said Larry Peppers, the Crawford Family Dean of the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics, and professor of economics. “Superbly educated at Carleton College and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he had a broad world view that embraced music, languages and the arts, and this served him well in his field of expertise in economic development. As dean, I quickly learned that Bruce was extremely bright and to the point, and he became an invaluable mentor in his role as department head. We will miss him greatly, and our thoughts are with Dianne and her family.”

A native of Minneapolis, Herrick was born on May 29, 1936. He received a B.A. with distinction in economics from Carleton and a Ph.D. in economics from M.I.T. He was a member of the department of economics at UCLA from 1964 to 1980, serving as associate professor and chairing that department’s graduate committee. At UCLA, he twice won the Warren C. Scoville Distinguished Teaching Prize in economics.

Herrick held several visiting professorships, including at Queen Elizabeth House of Oxford University, the University of Chile, and the University of San Andres in La Paz, Bolivia.

In addition, he was a visiting fellow with the World Bank from 1993 to 1994 and consulted for the World Bank on projects in Peru, Jordan and Mexico.

Herrick served in the U.S. Army and the U.S. Army Reserve. He belonged to the American Economic Association, the Royal Economic Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

An excellent musician, Herrick performed with the University-Shenandoah Symphony Orchestra and was a member of the choir at Lexington Presbyterian Church.

Survivors include his wife, Dianne W. Herrick, of Lexington, and their children, Robert Wallace Herrick and his wife, Kay Gallagher, of San Jose, Calif.; Susan Herrick Cornish and her husband, Robert, of San Francisco; Andrew Hale Herrick and his wife, Julie Anne, of Palmyra, Va.; two brothers; a sister; and four grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Lexington Presbyterian Church or a favorite charity.

News Contact:
Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs
(540) 458-8459

Graham Brothers Show Off Piano Talents on PBS

Brothers David and Phillip Graham, both Washington and Lee alumni, have been performing concerts on dual pianos for the past seven years or so.

On Friday night, July 13, at 9 p.m., PBS viewers in central Virginia will get a chance to watch the duo on a new program, “Studio Sessions with Rising Masters,” on WCVE Public Television, which is based in Richmond and available throughout central Virginia.

David graduated in 2007; Phillip followed in 2010. Both majored in music with a concentration in piano performance and in business administration. According to The Graham Brothers website, Phillip works in Washington, D.C., for Booz Allen Hamilton; David starts at the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia next month.

Although their repertoire is primarily classical, they also perform hymns and venture into popular music from time to time, as you can see in the video below, of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which they performed at Westminster Canterbury-Richmond’s Sara Belle November Theater:

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Memorial to Pam Simpson Unveiled in Lexington

On Friday, July 6, members of the Washington and Lee, Lexington and Rockbridge County communities gathered at Hopkins Green in downtown Lexington at the behest of the Historic Lexington Foundation (HLF) to unveil a memorial to the late Pam Simpson.

Pam, the first female tenure-track professor at W&L and the first female professor to receive an endowed chair, died last October at the age of 65. She became the inaugural Ernest Williams II Professor of Art History in 1993. The art historian was one of the most influential figures of the past four decades at W&L and had an equally tremendous influence on the community. In announcing the event, the HLF said she “was one of those truly exceptional people.” W&L could not agree more.

The emcee for the brief ceremony was Don Hasfurther, director of the Historic Lexington Foundation. Representatives of other organizations who benefited from Pam’s guidance and hard work were on hand as well — the Rockbridge Historical Society, the local chapter of Preservation Virginia and Project Horizon.

Pam’s son, Peter Simpson, drew the design and dug and poured the concrete foundation for the memorial. John Mason carved the sculpture out of granite from Stony Creek, Ct., and set it on a base  of soapstone from Schuyler, Va., in nearby Nelson County. Mason, who has been a visiting professor at W&L, lives next door to the home of Pam and Henry Simpson. He told the crowd that he’d started carving in mid-winter and could see the Simpson house as he shaped the stone into an obelisk. “The experience for me was very, very moving,” he said.

The plaque on the memorial reads: “Pamela Hemenway Simpson, 1946–2011/An Extraordinary Teacher/Dedicated to the Preservation of Historic Lexington and Rockbridge County/A Champion for the Welfare, Protection and Progress of Those in Need/Devoted to Her Community and Family.”

Pam’s grandchildren, Helen and Henry, helped to unveil the memorial, which looks a lot like their grandmother: graceful, substantial and timeless.

Johanna Bond Named Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at W&L Law School

Johanna Bond, professor of law and Ethan Allen Faculty Fellow at Washington and Lee University School of Law, has been appointed associate dean for academic affairs by Dean Nora Demleitner.

Bond succeeds Robert Danforth, who served as associate dean for five years and will return to the faculty following a sabbatical leave.

“Professor Bond’s commitment to this law school and its forward-looking curriculum, her insights into legal education, and her respected position amongst her colleagues make her an obvious choice for the academic dean position,” said Demleitner.  “I am excited about her vision for the position and the next phase of curricular planning as we continue on our path as a cutting-edge law school that educates students to be first-rate legal professionals.”

“I am also deeply grateful to Bob Danforth who has served so admirably for many years, been instrumental in the implementation of our path-breaking third year and now is a wonderful resource in this transition,” Demleitner added.

A distinguished scholar in the area of international human rights law and gender and the law, Bond is a member of the Law Center Committee, the Faculty Appointments Committee, and also served on the Dean’s Search Committee. Bond was recently awarded with the Ethan Allen Faculty Fellowship for Scholarship in recognition of her important contributions to feminist legal theory and international human rights. In 2009, she received the Professor of the Year award from the Women Law Students Organization.

In 2001, Bond was selected as a Senior Fulbright Scholar and traveled to Uganda and Tanzania to conduct research that later resulted in her edited book, Voices of African Women: Women’s Rights in Ghana, Uganda, and Tanzania. Her recent publications include “Honor as Property” in the Columbia Journal of Gender & Law, “Victimization & the Complexity of Gender in Armed Conflict” in the Santa Clara Journal of International Law, and “A Decade After Abu Ghraib: Lessons in ‘Softening Up The Enemy’ and Sex-based Humiliation” in the Journal of Law and Inequality.

“I look forward to serving Washington and Lee in this new capacity,” said Bond. “It is an exciting and challenging time for legal education, and Washington and Lee has established itself as a leader in thinking about how best to meet the changing needs of the profession.  I look forward to working with our new dean to continue our commitment to cutting edge and high quality legal education.”

In addition to teaching Torts in the first year, Bond leads an international human rights practicum in W&L’s innovative third-year curriculum. During the class, students learn to apply the primary international and regional human rights treaties to real-world human rights problems. The class, which includes international travel to investigate possible human rights abuses, results in an official human rights report that foreign governments and organizations can use to address the problems.

Prior to joining the faculty of W&L in 2008, Bond was an associate professor of law at the University of Wyoming and before that a visiting associate professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center for several years.  She also served as the executive director of the Women’s Law and Public Policy Fellowship Program, a non-profit organization housed at Georgetown.

Before beginning her teaching career, Bond was a law clerk for the Honorable Ann D. Montgomery, United States District Court, District of Minnesota from 1997 to 1998. She holds a B.A. from Colorado College, a J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School and an LL.M from Georgetown University Law Center.

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W&L Law School Announces Appointments in Student Affairs, Admissions

Nora V. Demleitner, dean of Washington and Lee University’s School of Law, has announced two administrative appointments at the school.

Brett Twitty, W&L Law’s director of admissions, has been named assistant dean for student affairs. Shawn McShay joins the school as assistant dean for admissions. Both appointments took effect July 1.

“Brett Twitty’s deep commitment to the law school and its students will make him an outstanding dean of students affairs, as he brings energy and initiative to that office,” Demleitner said. “Shawn McShay’s long-standing experience in admissions and strong vision for the office will allow us to recruit ever more talented applicants from around the country and the world.  I could not be more excited to have the two of them join my senior team.”

Twitty is a 2006 graduate of W&L Law where he served as president of the Student Bar Association. Following law school, he practiced in the real estate area and also assisted W&L as a regional recruiter. In 2007, Twitty returned to W&L as assistant director of admissions and was appointed director in 2010.

In addition to his J.D. from W&L, Twitty received a B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

McShay joins W&L from Hofstra University Law School, where he was senior director of enrollment management. Prior to that, he was assistant director of admissions at the Fordham University Law School, and before that was in the Admissions Office at the George Washington University Law School.

McShay holds a B.S. and M.B.A. from West Virginia Wesleyan College.

News Contact:
Peter Jetton
School of Law Director of Communications
(540) 458-8782

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Max Krauss '14 Learns Why “It's Good to Be a Blabbermouth”

Max Krauss, a Washington and Lee junior studying business and marketing, is interning this summer at MKTG INC., an experiential agency, and the AgencySpy website chose Max as the first blogger for their new column, “A Day in the Life of a Summer Intern.”

Max selected as his topic an event his company ran for Nike to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Title IX. Held at Pier 46 in New York City on June 23, it featured training sessions, competitions and athletic pioneers doing a Q&A.

“Throughout the day, hundreds and hundreds of people flowed through the pier, bringing everything from their yoga mats to boxing gloves to participate in the high-intensity workouts all day long,” writes Max. “The event was clearly a planned destination for many, who showed up ready to go in their athletic attire, but also attracted many who were simply out and about on a beautiful New York Saturday and decided to check out the scene. Hey, who could pass up free Nike gear and a chance to try out the newest Nike+ training system?”

He also details three lessons he learned from planning and executing the event: “A Machine’s Got Gears,” “Nothing’s Set in Stone” and “It’s Good to Be a Blabbermouth.” Read his essay here to see what wisdom Max gleaned.

And in case you are wondering what an experiential agency does, MKTG INC. says “we imagine, create, produce and amplify experiences that turn consumers into believers.” It’s got six main offices—in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Cincinnati, Los Angeles and London—and 42 field offices around the country.

W&L Professor Hurd Wins Brazilian Fellowship for Scientific Research

Lawrence E. Hurd, the Herwick Professor of Biology at Washington and Lee University, has received a prestigious research fellowship from the Brazilian Ministry of Education and the Brazilian national science foundation.

Hurd will be a Special Visiting Research Fellow in a new program, Science without Borders, which is designed to strengthen and expand Brazilian education in the areas of science, technology, innovation and competitiveness by providing international study for undergraduate and graduate students and researchers.

The award carries a stipend and expenses for a month of research in Brazil, for each of three consecutive years.

Hurd will use the fellowship to continue research that he has been conducting with Professor Carlos Freitas of the Federal University of Amazonas in Manaus.

“I started going down to Brazil in about 2007 under the aegis of (W&L economics professor) Jim Kahn’s exchange program,” said Hurd. “Since that time, I’ve gotten involved with basic research with very good scientists at the Federal University of Amazonas in a completely different system than I’ve ever worked on.”

Hurd is an ecologist who has primarily studied arthropods through his career, focusing especially on predators such as the praying mantis and cursorial spiders because they are good models for studying how predators control biological diversity.  But ever since he did postdoctoral work in Costa Rica, he has been interested in tropical biology. He hoped to return to a tropical location “because that’s where most animals and plants are.”

Working with Freitas, Hurd will continue examining the causes of fish species diversity in the Amazon River basin, which has the highest diversity of freshwater fish anywhere in the world.

“Since 2007 we began to dabble in it, and Carlos has been teaching me about fish species diversity and fish biology,” said Hurd. “At this point in my career, I wanted to learn something new. If you’re interested in preserving global diversity, you go where the diversity mostly is and where it’s endangered.”

The study has particular importance because of the impact of global warming on the hydrologic cycle of the Amazon basis, which has led to interruptions in the migratory patterns of fish.

“What we think we’re going to find is that there will be local and perhaps regional extinction of species that depend upon this migration,” said Hurd. “This is kind of emergency mode right now. We need to know about the biology of these species and their interactions.”

The fellowship will permit more interrupted research time that Hurd can spend on site in Brazil. “Until now, I’ve spent a week or 10 days at a time, and that’s obviously very fragmentary,” he said. “The quality of interaction that I’ll get with this is much better.”

Washington and Lee has had an ongoing relationship with the Federal University of the Amazonas through an exchange program that was developed by Kahn, the Hendon Professor of Economics at W&L and a collaborating professor at the Federal University.

One of Hurd’s former Washington and Lee students conducted research in Brazil as part of the exchange program, and he hopes to involve other W&L students on a selective basis in his research there. In addition, several Brazilian students have come to W&L, including a graduate student who is working in Hurd’s laboratory this summer.

Hurd joined the Washington and Lee faculty in 1993 as a full professor and served as head of the Biology Department for 15 years. Previously, he was a professor of biology at the University of Delaware for 20 years. He is a fellow of the Royal Entomological Society of London and a fellow of the Linnean Society, the premier professional society for taxonomy and natural history.

He received his bachelor’s degree from Hiram College and his Ph.D. from Syracuse University.

News Contact:
Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs
(540) 458-8459

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Paten Hughes '08 Preps for a Movie Role

Some people spend their summers at the pool. In the case of Paten Hughes, a member of the Washington and Lee Class of 2008, she’s spending it in the pool as she trains for the role of an aspiring Olympic swimmer in an upcoming movie, “Coach of the Year.”

As Paten describes it in “Paten, Lately,” her e-newsletter, “this inspiring, family-friendly sports comedy about a ragtag swim team” will begin shooting in Richmond, Va., her hometown, on Aug. 1. The director, David Stott, is a fellow Richmonder, a former swimming coach and a director/producer working in New York.

Paten, who majored in theater (no surprise) and French at W&L, lives in New York. She acted in productions at W&L, including “Othello,” and now travels with a one-woman show called “The Thin Line,” about eating disorders. She’s recently participated in a reading at the Women’s Project and critiqued monologues at a high school in Summit, N.J.

Her other upcoming movie is “Killer Blonde,” in which she plays an assassin. It’s a low-budget film noir that, the website says, will “take advantage of the instant movie sets freely provided in every corner of our beloved City of New York” when it goes into production this fall.

For clips of Paten in action, check out her website, patenhughes.com, which also provides ways to connect with her.

W&L Brings World Languages to Area Elementary Schools

It is well documented that the earlier a child is exposed to a foreign language, the easier it is for them to learn it. Still, learning Japanese and Chinese would seem particularly daunting. Thanks to Washington and Lee University’s Languages for Rockbridge program, area elementary school children are not only learning Spanish and Chinese, but plans are also well underway to introduce Japanese as well.

W&L students are spending the summer working on lesson plans and a curriculum to introduce Japanese in elementary schools in Rockbridge County, Lexington and Buena Vista this fall.

Languages for Rockbridge began in 2010 by introducing Spanish to area elementary and middle school children. It expanded in the 2011-2012 academic year to include Chinese on a pilot basis at Central and Waddell elementary schools in Lexington.

“Parents actually requested that the school system introduce these languages and public school officials then contacted Washington and Lee, so it’s a collaborative effort,” said Dick Kuettner, director of the Tucker Multimedia Center and a professor in the Romance Languages department and the Teacher Education program at W&L. Kuettner worked closely with Lenna Ojure, associate professor of education and director of the teacher education program at W&L, in setting up the program which uses W&L’s world language teacher education program as its main resource. Ojure and Kuettner are being joined this year with Professors Hongchu Fu, Janet Ikeda, and Kenichi Ujie of the East Asian Languages and Literatures department at W&L.  Southern Virginia University is also involved in the program.

“The schools have embraced the program and the response from our students has been very positive,” said Sharon Patterson, coordinator of gifted and English as a second language programs for Rockbridge County public schools. “The universities are so generous in their support of our schools and the community.  This program is one of many fine examples.”

Five W&L students will work this summer as Robert E. Lee Research Scholars to revise the Spanish and Chinese programs and to create the Japanese program.

Renata Carlson, a junior from Boise, Idaho, with a major in East Asian Language and Literatures (EALL) specializing in Japanese will be working on the Japanese program with Rachel Urban, a junior from Opelousas, La., with a double major in English and EALL specializing in Japanese.

In her application for the research scholarship, Carlson wrote that part of the challenge will be figuring out how to teach the more difficult aspects of the Japanese language, particularly the three separate writing systems. She plans to create lessons that will teach the school children basics such as numbers, greetings and household items. She also plans to incorporate a cultural component to include topics such as etiquette, hand gestures and Japanese food.

Matthew Carli, a junior from Greenfield Cent, N.Y., with a double major in English and EALL specializing in Chinese, will work on improving the Chinese program with Astrid Pruitt, a sophomore from Tampa, Fla., with a major in EALL, specializing in Chinese. Carli and Pruitt both have experience in teaching English to elementary students — Carli in China and Pruitt in Denmark.

“People say that Chinese and Japanese are extremely difficult to learn because of their characters,” said Kuettner. “But I think if you work at it hard enough you’re eventually going to get it. It’s not one of those languages that can’t be spoken. After all, billions of people speak or read Chinese. Introducing world languages at an early stage also instills an appreciation for new cultures and helps in making connections between cultures.”

Zachary Cylinder, a junior from Lafayette Hill, with a double major in Spanish and politics, will work on improving the Spanish program by researching elementary Spanish teaching and learning methods. He will also assist in creating a website specific to foreign language educators that will include audio and video resources such as dialogs, video clips and pronunciation techniques that educators can use in the classroom. It will also include various vocabulary and basic grammar exercises.

According to Kuettner, the Languages for Rockbridge program is becoming more and more an integral part of area schools’ gifted and enrichment programs. “Some languages at the K-12 level are more commonly offered in urban areas, but K-12 students in Rockbridge do not have these opportunities,” he pointed out. “To counter this, Washington and Lee has offered its services.”

During the 2011-2012 academic year twelve W&L students, one professor from SVU, and one student from SVU interested in teaching foreign languages volunteered their services in teaching Chinese and Spanish at Central, Fairfield, Mountain View, Waddell elementary schools and Parry McCluer Middle School.

“This program gives our students the opportunity to get out into the community,” said Kuettner. “It also allows the University to serve the community in yet another way and to show the strength of its language and education programs. The schools are very receptive to having us do this as is exhibited through support for the program. We hope that Languages for Rockbridge will continue to grow in the number of students it reaches.”

In addition to the Languages for Rockbridge program, W&L is hosting the Virginia Governor’s Full-Immersion Language Academies through 2016 to further promote the importance of language and culture learning. Kuettner is coordinator for the language academies.

News Contact:
Sarah Tschiggfrie
News Director

Jeff Boal '84 Crafts PSAs

If you’ve seen one of the “Tips from Former Smokers,” a stop-smoking campaign from the Centers for Disease Control, or if you’ve watched Alvin Grimes, the passionate air collector who pushes air quality for the American Lung Association, then Washington and Lee alumnus Jeff Boal’s company, PlowShare Group, has found you.

A 1984 graduate of W&L, Jeff started the PlowShare Group in 1994 after a stint with the Ad Council. His first client was the American Red Cross, which followed him from the Ad Council. Today, PlowShare is the second-largest distributor of public service announcements (PSAs) in the country.

In addition to the CDC, the American Lung Association and the Red Cross, PlowShare clients include the March of Dimes, the Wounded Warrior Project and dozens more.

Jeff’s company helps get their announcements seen and heard, whether on television, the Internet or the side of a New York City bus. In the case of the CDC, that $54 million anti-smoking campaign generated almost 200,000 additional calls to an 800 number and 400,000 additional visitors to the www.smokefree.gov website.

The American Lung Association chose a humorous approach to the subject of air pollution and lung disease. In a story that described the campaign, Jeff said that it “represents a unique shift in thinking for social issue communications. Humor is a great way to reach all audiences, and it’s sometimes tough to be funny when it comes to health charity messages.” You can see what Jeff means by watching some of the PSAs on the AirCollector channel on YouTube.

As PlowShare has developed, Jeff has established the company’s reliance on technology as a critical element in PSA distribution and media monitoring. That gives the company’s clients smarter choices when determining how to get their messages in front of the public.

Proposal for Child Tracking Wins W&L Business Plan Competition

The development and marketing of shoe insoles with GPS tracking devices as a way to monitor the location of children or Alzheimer’s patients won Washington and Lee University’s second annual Business Plan Competition.

Three 2012 W&L graduates developed a business plan for a company, BullsEye Tracking, and proposed the product, which they called CareWhere. The team members were Matt Gossett, a double major in business administration and French, from Atlanta; Austin Gideon, an accounting major, from Topeka, Kan.; and Katie Hatfield, a business administration major, from Owings Mills, Md.

An online vote of Washington and Lee alumni, faculty, parents and students chose their winning proposal from among the four finalists. The Business Plan Competition is part of the capstone course in W&L’s Entrepreneurship Program, which began in 2009.

“The Entrepreneurship Program is in its third year and we’re already witnessing the pervasive spread of entrepreneurial spirit across the campus.  What we saw in this year’s competition is how excited students are getting about writing business plans and presenting them in a real-world forum for an new ventures that they might actually want to launch,” said Jeffrey P. Shay, the Johnson Professor of Entrepreneurship and Leadership.

Shay said that the winning team began with a simple idea of marketing a device that parents could use to protect children or families could use with Alzheimer’s patients. They were inventive in finding answers to the problems that they met along the way.

“What is great to see — and I see this in our alumni who are entrepreneurs — is the benefit of the liberal arts education in breaking down a problem and coming up with creative solutions,” Shay said.

“For instance, they started with the idea of putting chips in the shoes themselves, but realized that would quickly become cost-prohibitive since kids grow out of shoes so quickly and would need chips in all their shoes. So the idea of sliding a chip into the gel in an insole made sense. Then they had to find a way to make the GPS chip work in a shoe. The learning that takes place in this kind of an exercise is truly integrative.”

The Business Plan Competition took place in three phases. Teams presented their plans to panels of W&L alumni at the end of the fall and winter terms. The alumni panel selected three finalists from the fall and one from the spring. Those four plans were featured on a website that included executive summaries along with videos of each team’s presentation, and the site invited members of the W&L community to vote.

While the members of the BullsEye team shared the $1,000 first prize, second place went to Cellar Door, a high-end retail wine store. Clean Screen, on-site dispensers for sunscreen, was third, and The Helm, a smartphone application for college campuses, came in fourth.

“As the Entrepreneurship Program becomes more established and visible, I think that the number of ideas that we start with at the beginning of the term and the overall quality of those ideas are both improving,” said Shay. “As we continue to move forward, we are increasing the possibility that we are going to have some students launching a business based on the plan they wrote in this competition.”

In addition to new coursework in entrepreneurism that leads to the capstone course in the senior, the program has spawned several co-curricular activities, including internships, a new student Venture Club and a pitch competition.

News Contact:
Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs
(540) 458-8459

Forrest Moses '56 and “Sylvan Waters” in Santa Fe

If your July travels find you in Santa Fe, N.M., you’ll want to take in “Sylvan Waters,” a new exhibition of paintings and monotypes by Forrest Moses, a member of Washington and Lee’s Class of 1956.

As Forrest told the Albuquerque Journal in an article about the show, “I have loved water for years. I have been painting streams and ponds and lakes for a long time. I like the details of water places. Those details can be abstracted more easily than anything else, especially reflections. I prefer to work in reflections because that takes away the realism of the actual landscape.”

On his detailed and handsome website, forrestmoses.com, you can view many examples of his work, which encompasses oil paintings, monotypes and photography. He’s also combined his images with his words in a limited edition book, “Forrest Moses,” printed in Italy and published in 2001.

Forrest was born in Virginia and received a B.A. from W&L. Following graduation, he served in the Navy, traveled in Europe and studied at the Pratt Institute, in New York City. He then lived and worked in Houston and on the Monterey Peninsula of California before settling in Santa Fe in 1969.

He’s had more than 40 one-man shows around the country. This one, at Santa Fe’s LewAllen Galleries, runs until July 29.

New Novel by Laura Brodie

“All the Truth,” a novel by Laura Brodie, visiting professor of English at Washington and Lee, will be published on Tuesday (July 3) by Penguin’s Berkley Books.

The novel is set in a small college (Horford) in a rural Virginia town (Jackson). Emma Greene teaches English at the college and lives out in the country with her husband and daughter. One dark night, three of her students trespass on her property while her daughter is asleep and her husband is away. The violent confrontation of that night sets the stage for a psychological drama.

“All the Truth” was released in Germany on May 20 and has been on the bestseller list there for four weeks. Laura’s first novel, “The Widow’s Season,” was also a bestseller in Germany, reaching No. 11 on the list. It has been optioned for a feature film.

Laura is also the author of “Breaking Out: VMI and the Coming of Women” and “Love in a Time of Homeschooling,” which tells the story of her experience homeschooling her daughter.

If you’re in Lexington Tuesday, the novel’s publication will be celebrated at Books and Co., at 29 W. Nelson St., from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Laura will be reading from the novel at 5:30  p.m. You can read the opening chapter of “All the Truth” on Laura’s website, www.laurabrodieauthor.com.

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W&L Student Research Projects for Area Non-Profits Highlighted

Washington and Lee University’s Community-Academic Research Alliance (CARA) hosted its first annual celebration in May, which showcased the work that student researchers completed for area non-profits over the past academic year. These projects, which community agencies proposed, aim to build the capacity of area non-profits and inform existing programming.

“Community-based research forges strong bonds between the University and the community,” said Jeri Schaff, the regional director of the Valley Program for Aging Services (VPAS), a local non-profit that serves the area’s senior population.

“As this year’s projects demonstrate, able and interested students, working in partnership with nonprofit organizations, provide the information needed to measurably improve our neighbors’ quality of life,” Schaff said.

Hank Dobin, dean of the College, and Harlan Beckley, director of the Shepherd Program, welcomed the audience and highlighted the importance of this work for the University and its students. Several students presented their projects to the gathering of community members, faculty and students.

“This event was a great opportunity to highlight the work that students are doing to create positive social change in our local community,” said Melissa Medeiros, the CARA coordinator. “It was also a chance to underscore the educational opportunities that these projects create for our students.”

Shiri Yadlin ’12, who co-authored a study on affordable housing in the local community, says her project tied together her major in politics and minor in poverty studies.

“This project was a great culmination of my Shepherd Program education: it brought in interests I had gained from my internship, applied concepts I had discussed in my courses and utilized my politics background,” Yadlin said.

“As a result of completing this project I have a much deeper interest in policy and am considering more heavily a future in social policy research and creation.”

Community-based research projects also offer local non-profits — who are often strapped for resources and time — an opportunity for capacity-building and best practices research. Washington and Lee’s Student Consulting completed a market research and business plan for VPAS, exploring the feasibility of an in-house personal care aid business.

“They provided us with information, insight and research that we would have found impossible to do on our own,” Schaff said. “Their work will have an immediate, long-lasting and profound impact on our frailest, most vulnerable neighbors.”

Some community agencies are already seeing the impact of the students’ work. Danielle Breidung ’13 examined barriers that local Latino populations face in accessing services from the Rockbridge Area Relief Association (RARA) and other area food pantries. Breidung’s study sought to look at why members of the Latino population are not utilizing agencies like RARA, despite an increase in this population locally over the last decade. Breidung conducted focus groups with Latino community members, analyzed data and was able to provide RARA with several recommendations on how to better meet this population’s needs.

RARA Board member Cathy Shaner Carlock says that RARA has started to see more Latino families utilize its services after it put some of Danielle’s recommendations into effect this past month.

“We are glad Danielle is a rising senior so we can work with her throughout the next school year to determine how we might implement some of her study’s recommendations,” Carlock said.

Community-Based Research projects completed over the past year include:

  • A study of affordable rental housing in the Rockbridge area, completed by Yadlin and Joe Landry ’13.
  • A market study and business plan of a personal aid program for the Valley Program for Aging Services, completed by Doug Poetzsch ’13, Mac Davis ’12, and Dillon Myers ’14 from Washington and Lee Student Consulting.
  • A study of maternal health services in the Rockbridge area for the Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnership (MAPP) project, completed and presented by Kelli Jarrell ’12.  Also, Antoinette Kitch ’12, Susie Giampalmo ’12 and Chris Blackwell ’12 completed projects for MAPP in the areas of nutrition, health care needs of special populations and mental health and addiction, respectively.  Ann Morris ’13 completed a project looking at healthcare access in rural communities.
  • A study that explored barriers to food for Latino populations for the Rockbridge Area Relief Association, completed by Breidung.
  • A survey of the Rockbridge Area Free Clinic population, which identifies barriers to access and health needs. This project was completed by Sociology 374, a survey research class, and was presented by Miranda Galvin ’12.
  • The work of Community Financial Freedom (CFF), a student-founded organization that aims to increase financial knowledge and availability of credit for low-income community members. This project was presented by Christy Cui ’14.
  • A study that explores the needs of low-income populations, barriers that exist in service delivery and how non-profits can better collaborate to meet these needs, completed by Megan Tomlinson ’12 and Olivia Kantwill ’13.

About CARA: The Community-Academic Research Alliance (CARA) supports research partnerships between Washington and Lee University and non-profits in the Rockbridge area to address pressing community challenges. These partnerships aim simultaneously to mobilize the community for responsible social change, lay the foundation for a healthy community and advance the education of Washington and Lee students.

For more information and to view the completed projects, visit http://cbr.blogs.wlu.edu/status/completed/

News Contact:
Julie Cline
News Writer