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W&L Economist Comments on Potential Impact of Government Shutdown (Audio)

In her role as an economist who studies money and banking, Washington and Lee University professor Linda Hooks believes there are no easy answers to the economic questions posed by a potential shutdown of the federal government.

As she notes in the audio clip above, a shutdown of two or three days might have minimal impact on the economy. But a longer shutdown, three weeks or more, will have some effect, especially when next quarter’s Gross Domestic Product numbers come out.

“The government, and the people, want the economy to continue to grow, but, over the longer term, our federal government has some real budget issues that it has to address,” she said. “Here’s a chance for them to address those issues, but the question really is whether or not now is the right moment to address them, or are we doing this too quickly and too early.”

A member of the W&L faculty since 1993, Hooks was an economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas from 1991 to 1993. She is the author of “Bank Failures and Deregulation in the 80s” (Garland Press, 1993). She earned her B.A. at Louisiana State University-Baton Rouge and her M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of California, Los Angeles.

All About Interns

Today begins a three-day series of “dispatches from a busy summer” in which students in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications report on their internships.

What’s impressive is to consider the places where the W&L interns spent their time over the summer. Consider the range: CNN’s Washington bureau, The Tennessean in Nashville, the Northern Neck News in Warsaw, Va., William Morris in New York City, and the Ultimate Fighting Championship in Las Vegas.

The 16 students will make their reports beginning at 5 p.m. today and continuing at the same time on Tuesday and Wednesday in Reid Hall 111. It’s bound to be interesting. (The list is below.)

And speaking of internships, W&L senior Annelise Madison, whose experience has been on the homepage of the University’s website for the last week or so, was featured prominently in a Bloomberg News story last week.

The piece described how Annelise had completed three internships, from researching a book on an early U.S. president, to teaching in Ghana, and then, this past summer, working with the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution in Orange, Va.

Annelise told Bloomberg: “People are really utilizing their summers to gain experiences. Not only do they have more options in terms of people that will hire them, but they also know more what they want to do.”

The Bloomberg story got wide distribution nationally, including translation into Spanish for EXAME.com.

Dispatches from a Busy Summer

Monday, Sept. 30 — 5 p.m.

Laura Lindsay Tatum — CNN (Washington, D.C.)
Happy Carlock — US News (Washington, D.C.)
Andy Soergel — The Roanoke Times
Andrea Owen — The Chronicle Project (Austin, Texas)
Allison Swagler — Alabama Power Company (Birmingham, Ala.)
Virginia Terry — William Morris (New York City)

Tuesday, Oct. 1 — 5 p.m.

Logan Nardo — Davidson Media (Richmond, VA)
Margaret Voelzke — Northern Neck News (Warsaw, Va.)
Michael Gorman — The Richmond Times-Dispatch
Chelsea Gilman — Fingerprint PR (New York City)
Drew Carlos — Barkley Russell Agency (Fairburn, Ga.)

Wednesday, Oct. 2 — 4 p.m.

Sara Korash-Schiff — The Republican (Springfield, Mass.)
Kathleen Fitzgerald — Civic Entertainment (New York City)
Hailey Hartley — Ultimate Fighting Championship (Las Vegas)
Hamlet Fort — The Tennessean (Nashville)
Julia Lancaster — Porsche-North America (Atlanta)

Geology Alum In the News

When a 7.8 earthquake hit Pakistan earlier this week, and a new island was apparently formed because of the quake, media went to Washington and Lee alumnus Bill Barnhart for an explanation.

Bill, a member of the Class of 2008, is a USGC Mendenhall Postdoctoral Fellow with the National Earthquake Information Center (NEIC), in Golden, Colo. He received his Ph.D. in geophysics from Cornell in January.

Devotees of The Weather Channel might have caught a glimpse of Bill explaining how the island was formed as part of that channel’s coverage. Or you might have read Bill’s analysis on the National Geographic website.

As Bill explained, the island in question was the result of a “mud volcano,” which was caused by the release of gases as the result of Tuesday’s quake. He also said that it’s likely to disappear within a couple of months. “It’s just a big pile of mud that was on the sea floor that got pushed up,” he said.

On his personal website, Bill says that his primary research interests “lie in observing the current motions of the earth’s surface. I use these measurements to better understand the forces that drive geologic hazards, such as earthquakes, the active growth of mountain belts, and aseismic deformation that occurs both at the boundaries and in the interiors of tectonic plates.”

Watch Bill’s explanation of the new island below:

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W&L Law Professors to Preview 2013 Supreme Court Term

Each year, Washington and Lee law school faculty take a look at some of the most important cases on the docket before the U.S. Supreme Court. This year, six members of the faculty will preview cases on topics ranging from recess appointments to ineffective counsel.

The 2013 Supreme Court Preview will be held Wednesday, Oct. 2 beginning at 4:30 p.m. in the Stackhouse Theater, Elrod Commons on the campus of Washington and Lee University. The event is free and open to the public.

Below are the faculty presenters along with information about the cases they will discuss.

Prof. David Bruck will discuss Burt v. Titlow, an Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) case dealing with ineffective assistance of counsel. The Court will examine such issues as whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit failed to give appropriate deference to a Michigan state court under the AEDPA in holding that defense counsel was constitutionally ineffective for allowing the respondent to maintain his claim of innocence.

Prof. Mark Drumbl will discuss Bond v. U.S., a case that relates to Congressional enforcement of treaties. The Court will determine whether the Constitution’s structural limits on federal authority impose any constraints on the scope of Congress’ authority to enact legislation to implement a valid treaty, at least in circumstances where the federal statute, as applied, goes far beyond the scope of the treaty, intrudes on traditional state prerogatives, and is concededly unnecessary to satisfy the government’s treaty obligations.

Prof. Ann Massie will discuss Town of Greece v. Galloway, a case about legislative prayer and the Establishment Clause. The Court must decide whether the court of appeals erred in holding that a legislative prayer practice violates the Establishment Clause notwithstanding the absence of discrimination in the selection of prayer-givers or forbidden exploitation of the prayer opportunity.

Prof. Russ Miller will discuss American Lung Assoc. V. EME Homer City Generation, a case involving an administrative law issue concerning EPA regulations. The Court will decide whether the statutory challenges to the EPA’s methodology for defining upwind states’ “significant contributions” were properly before the court, given the failure of anyone to raise these objections at all and also whether the court’s imposition of its own detailed methodology for implementing the Good Neighbor provision violated foundational principles governing judicial review of administrative decision-making.

Prof. Brian Murchison will discuss NLRB v. Noel Canning, a case concerning President Obama’s controversial recess appointments. The Court will decide such issues as whether the President’s recess-appointment power may be exercised during a recess that occurs within a session of the Senate, or is instead limited to recesses that occur between enumerated sessions of the Senate; and whether the President’s recess-appointment power may be exercised to fill vacancies that exist during a recess, or is instead limited to vacancies that first arose during that recess.

Prof. Chris Seaman will discuss McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, which involves contribution limits. In this case, the Court must decide, among other related issues, whether the biennial limit on contributions to non-candidate committees is unconstitutional for lacking a constitutionally cognizable interest as applied to contributions to national party committees.

Case summaries courtesy of scotusblog.com, available by license.

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Bondy Lectures on Staniar Gallery Exhibit

Barb Bondy will present a lecture on her Staniar Gallery exhibition of drawings and photographs at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 7, in Wilson Hall’s Concert Hall at Washington and Lee University.

Bondy’s exhibition, “Suspension,” will be on view from Oct. 2 to Oct. 31 in Staniar Gallery. It was one of two exhibits on display at W&L in October. The other is “Drawing Italy 2013,” a biannual exhibition featuring drawings and paintings by W&L art students, which will be exhibited on the second floor of Wilson Hall in the Lenfest Center at the same time.

Bondy’s exhibition presents drawings, photographs and works on paper that revolve around her extensive investigation into the act of sleeping. As a fundamental necessity for survival, sleep reflects what it means to be human while as the suspension of consciousness, the sleep state itself can share characteristics with art — mysterious, rejuvenating and unpredictable.

The artist uses a variety of methodologies to explore the relationship between art and sleep. Projects include an interdisciplinary piece created in collaboration with a geographic information specialist to create a topographical map of her bed and work. This was done during an intensive residency in which she spent 30 days and nights sleeping and working in a public art gallery.

Bondy is an associate professor of art at Auburn University. Her work has been included in numerous exhibitions throughout the United States and Canada and she was recently the recipient of a fellowship grant from the Alabama State Council on the Arts.

During alternating spring terms, Kathleen Olson, professor of art, leads a class abroad in Italy to experience the vibrant artistic traditions of Italy. The Drawing Italy students paint and draw on location as they travel through Rome, Florence, Umbria and Tuscany. Over the course of the month, students create a body of work inspired by Italy’s light-drenched landscape and historical architecture.

There will be a reception for the student artists of “Drawing Italy” on Wednesday, Oct. 16 at 4 p.m. The event in Wilson Hall’s Lykes Atrium will recognize the work of student artists Ebony Bailey, Brady Bates, Alee Johnson, Ryan Johnson, Sara King, Colton Klein, Emily Leventhal, Alexandra Minor and Will Travis.

Staniar Gallery is located on the second floor of Wilson Hall, in Washington and Lee University’s Lenfest Center for the Arts. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, please call 540-458-8861.

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W&L's Contact Committee Presents Journalist Lara Logan

Washington and Lee’s Contact Committee will present “An Evening with Lara Logan.” Logan will speak on Thursday, Oct. 3, at 7 p.m. in the Keller Theater in Lenfest Hall. The event is free and open to the public. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and seating is first come, first serve.

Logan joined CBS in 2002 as a correspondent and a contributor to 60 Minutes II (2002-2004). She has been CBS News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent since February 2006; she became a correspondent for 60 Minutes the same year. She reports regularly for the CBS Evening News and periodically appears on The Early Show and Face the Nation in addition to her 60 Minutes duties.

Logan began her journalism career in South Africa when she was 17 years old. As a teenager compelled to expose the atrocities of the Apartheid regime in South Africa, Logan discovered her passion for seeking truth and justice in an increasingly connected globe.

Her reporting has brought her face to face with the day’s most diverse, relevant and intriguing issues, from 60 Minutes interviews with Jane Goodall, Mark Wahlberg and Staff Sgt. Sal Giunta, the first living soldier to win the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War, to her coverage of the war on terror.

Most recently, Logan received the John F. Hogan Distinguished Service Award from Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA), followed immediately by her second Emmy award, this time for “Best Interview.”  She’s been the recipient of the prestigious Daniel Pearl Award for Outstanding International Investigative Reporting, the David Bloom Award for excellence in enterprise reporting in 2008 and the 2007 Association of International Broadcasters’ Best International News Story Award for her report on the Taliban. She has won an Overseas Press Club Award and twice received the RTDNA/Edward R. Murrow Award for her reporting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Logan offers a comprehensive behind-the-scenes look at foreign affairs in the media. Speaking candidly with audiences, she shares her experiences reporting from the front lines, both as a journalist and as a citizen.

New AP Assignment for W&L Alum

Only a few months after being part of a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative team at the Sun Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Washington and Lee alumnus John Dahlburg, of the Class of 1975, has been named the Benelux news editor for the Associated Press.

It’s another impressive stop in John’s career and takes him abroad again. He was previously posted in Paris, Moscow and New Delhi.

This latest move will mean that John is based in Brussels and leads the AP coverage for Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, including the institutions based there — the European Union, NATO and the international criminal tribunals at The Hague. He’ll also help lead investigative reporting across Europe.

In its announcement of the appointment, AP’s Europe editor, Niko Price, said: “We’re looking forward to bringing John’s experience driving hard-hitting investigations to a European stage.”

John worked for the AP from 1981 to 1990 in Paris, New York, Moscow and Miami. He moved to the Los Angeles Times from 1990 to 2006. With the Times, he won both a George Polk Award for Environmental Reporting and the Overseas Press Club’s Hal Boyle Award for best newspaper or wire service reporting. The Pulitzer in Fort Lauderdale was for a series about speeding by off-duty police officers.

W&L Archaeology Students Discover Artifacts of Their Predecessors

Students in four different anthropology and history classes at Washington and Lee University had a chance to experience the thrill of discovery last week when they screened soil taken from the site of the renovation of Robinson Hall, one of the buildings on the University’s historic Colonnade, in a search for early 19th-century artifacts.

Buried in the soil were nails, pieces of glassware, shards of pottery, even a bone toothbrush head, most of which was left likely behind by their predecessors who had occupied Graham Hall, a classroom and dormitory that stood on the site from 1804 to 1835.

This summer when work began on the renovation of Robinson, Alison Bell, associate professor of archaeology, and her colleagues were shocked to find such a wealth of artifacts on the site, many very near the surface. But rather than dig the entire site, Bell worked with W&L Facilities Management to both protect one portion of the area for later digging and to preserve some of the topsoil in bags to provide a hands-on experience that would have particular meaning to W&L students.

Bell said that she and her team didn’t know how rich in material the particular bags the students were examining would be. “You never know, archaeologically, what is going to come up in any particular screen-full of soil,” she said. “But we do know that this part of the site was rich in artifacts.”

“We were talking earlier about how nobody really pays attention to all these little things we’re finding  that can tell you all about a culture or the time period that it’s from,” said first-year student Ciera Wilson, as she dug through the dirt.

“Pieces of glass, for example, can give you a whole different outlook on how people lived, their culture and what they experienced. I personally find that fascinating — looking at the different pieces and thinking that you could be touching something that was in the hands of Robert E. Lee or Stonewall Jackson or just normal people.”

Bell leaned over and picked out what looked like a twig that the students had overlooked. “Nails often look like twigs,” she explained. “This one is probably a roofing nail because it has a wide head and a short shank. They would have used it to attach slate to the roof.”

Another student showed Bell a piece that looked like shale covered in dirt. “It’s slate,” replied Bell. “And this is probably writing slate because it’s a lot finer than roofing slate.”

Among the other items the students uncovered was a piece that looked like a rock. “I think this is very lightly fired clay,” said Bell, “and I think it’s more likely to be a piece of some sort of earthenware, like a milk pan. That’s excellent.”

Another find was a piece of whiteware that Bell described as post-1820s or -1830s and that could be part of a shaving compound jar that had been unearthed during the summer. She recalled that Ron Fuchs, curator of the Reeves Collection at W&L, tracked down the store in Philadelphia that sold the jar and also found an etching of the inside of the store where Washington College  students of the era bought their personal care items.

Bell credited Tom Kalasky, director of capital projects, and his team in Facilities Management for safeguarding the dirt so that it could be used as a teaching tool. “Throughout this whole process, Tom did his homework and implemented the best possible means of protecting the site during construction,” said Bell, who chairs the University’s Historic Preservation and Archaeological Conservation Advisory Committee. “This is great stewardship and a good example of how we can conserve the university’s cultural resources without impeding construction or renovation.”

Of all soil preserved from the summer, Bell estimated that they have examined approximately one quarter of the 400 bags to date. Key members of the W&L archaeology staff include W&L archaeologists Don Gaylord, Chelsea Dudley, Steven Lyle and Karen Lyle, as well as Joshua Ayers, a high-school student who volunteered throughout the summer.

W&L's Shepherd Program Receives Grant for AmeriCorps VISTA Project

The Corporation for National and Community Service has awarded Washington and Lee University’s Shepherd Poverty Program a grant to fund an AmeriCorps VISTA Project on the W&L campus and in the Lexington community.

The grant will fund the work and training of four AmeriCorps VISTA members who will be hosted at different Rockbridge County agencies for three years. The agencies:

The VISTA members, who will begin their service in February 2014, will be addressing access to health care, hunger relief, anti-poverty program development and assessment, and early childhood education. They will not only develop programming at their respective service sites, but will also create new learning opportunities for Washington and Lee students around poverty and community development.

Kelly Fujiwara, a member of the board of directors of the United Way of Rockbridge, said that the VISTA member assigned to United Way will be instrumental in implementing a new community impact initiative.

“Serving as a central point in outreach to assist our partners, assuming a key role in actual program delivery, and a member of the steering committee, the VISTA member will be representing the United Way in multiple ways,” Fujiwara said. “The VISTA person will be essential in growing the program and a key person in developing a database for our area resources.”

Noting that a 2012 Community Health Needs Assessment identified access to health services as the most significant public-health issue for low-income individuals in Rockbridge County, Laura Simpson, of the Valley Program for Aging Services, explained that the VISTA member assigned to VPAS will assist with the development of a comprehensive and versatile system of monitoring, evaluation and information exchange.

“By working with community partners through Rockbridge 2020 and VPAS-led service initiatives, the VISTA member will enable sustainable, coordinated evaluation of ongoing health access efforts throughout the Rockbridge community,” Simpson said.

Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee combats hunger and promotes nutrition by recovering and reusing food that would otherwise go to waste and using it to provide balanced meals for low-income members of the community in Rockbridge County. As of the spring of 2013, CKWL had served more than 131,000 meals, recovered more than 297,000 pounds of food and logged 23,653 volunteer hours. CKWL received a Governor’s Volunteerism and Community Service Award from Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell in June.

The Community-Academic Research Alliance (CARA) supports research partnerships between Washington and Lee 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 W&L students.

Howard Pickett, director of the Shepherd Program, said that the VISTA project “embodies the collaboration and partnership” between the University and local community that characterizes the Shepherd Program.

“While the various projects promise to make a real difference in the lives of Rockbridge’s low-income population, those projects also promise to make a real difference in the lives of W&L students,” Pickett said. “By requiring significant amounts of service and supportive research over the next few years, this grant promises to provide our students with the opportunities for service, leadership and humane thinking at the heart of Washington and Lee’s mission.”

Pickett also praised the work of Marisa Frey, coordinator for student service leadership and research, and Jennifer Davidson, coordinator of student service learning, for their work on securing the grant.

AmeriCorps VISTA members make a year-long, full-time commitment to serve on a specific project at a nonprofit organization or public agency. In return, members receive a modest living allowance and health benefits and may opt to receive a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award or post-service stipend after completing their term. About 6,500 VISTAs are placed each year in more than 1,200 projects in low-income communities around the country.

Washington and Lee’s Shepherd Program for the Interdisciplinary Study of Poverty and Human Capability integrates sustained, rigorous academic study and focused direct service to disadvantaged communities and persons. It supplements and enriches the education of W&L’s undergraduate and law students in all majors and career paths.

Sky is the Limit in W&L's IQ Center

Anyone who enters the new Integrative and Quantitative (IQ) Center at Washington and Lee University learns quickly what Helen I’Anson, professor of biology, means when she says that the sky is the limit in the new facility.

Opened this fall and supported with both private gifts and a portion of the University’s Howard Hughes Medical Institute grant, the 4,841-square-foot IQ Center houses the very latest in technology and offers undergraduates hands-on experience with equipment that ordinarily they might not see, let alone use, until they’re in graduate school.

Some of the treasures available in the center:

  • A stereo 3D lab with both portable flat screens to display to small groups and a large central screen.
  • A computer visualization lab, with eight high-performance work stations with dual monitors and dual ceiling-mounted projectors, for a seamless wall-to-wall image at the front of the room.
  • A Zeiss EVO 15 scanning electron microscope.
  • An Olympus IX51 laser scanning confocal microscope.
  • An Olympus BX 61 upright fluorescence microscope.
  • A light microscopy suite.
  • A physical/mechanical lab featuring high-speed recording capabilities, 3D inputs from laser scanners, and ceiling video feeds.
  • A ProJet 3D printer offering rapid 3D print in full color.

“Many universities may have one or the other of these spaces, but I am not aware of anything like this in one space that is available to undergraduates for teaching and research,” said I’Anson. “What we’re trying to do in the space is so new that our technology consultants have never actually built a space like this before, and it’s been a learning experience to them.”

Since the facility came online earlier this month, the buzz has not been limited to science students and faculty, said David Pfaff, the center’s director.

“What’s exciting for me is to see a faculty member come to look at the space and watch them begin to think of all the ways in which they might use it,” said Pfaff. “They’ve seen something that’s sparked their interest and decided to incorporate into their coursework. They knew the center was going to come online. But until they got in here and saw some of the equipment, it gave them ideas of things they are actually using in their courses today.”

The center has multiple goals that support the initiatives tied to the HHMI grant, according to I’Anson. On the one hand, it provides a space where scientists and their students can learn new technologies and apply those technologies to their learning. That will help increase retention in science and math careers.

The other important goal is to increase scientific literacy in students who are not going on to any kind of scientific career.

“On the one hand, we have the science students who are already enamored by sciences and for whom this space will be fantastic by helping them grapple with concepts they’re learning in their courses,” said I’Anson. “They’re already hooked, so this will further enhance their education.

“For those students who would prefer not to set foot in the Science Building, but are required to take some science and math courses, the gee-whiz core technology is going to draw them into science and math earlier and help them to see the utility of science and math in their lives. We need to create an informed citizenry when it comes to science and math.”

Among the many features of the facility that both I’Anson and Pfaff believe makes it uncommon is the ability for material to be examined in one of the microscopy suites. Then the images are streamed to the computer visualization lab down the hall, where a classroom of students can be examining the data in real time.

Then there is the stereo 3D lab, which has space for 36 students who can work in groups of three or nine for easier collaboration. They can share data on their laptops and project their work on the large screens.

“We have had biology faculty come into the stereo 3D lab and take one look at what a protein structure looks like in stereographic 3D and immediately want to teach that in a class,” said Pfaff. “When you see a complicated structure that really is three-dimensional pop at you, it’s much easier to visualize the structure.”

And if visualizing such a structure on the screens is not enough, the next step is to send that structure to the 3D printer across the hall. Then the students can hold that protein structure in their hands and examine it.

It would be one thing if the equipment in the center were hidden away behind locked doors of an individual’s lab. One of the key ideas behind the IQ Center, however, is accessibility for all the students.

“Typically, when a big piece of equipment like a confocal microscope is purchased, it goes into someone’s lab,” said Pfaff. “People don’t simply come across it. In this space, it’s in a central location where students see it, where other faculty see it. That accessibility is what is particularly exciting to me.”

In fact, students can sign up online to use the equipment, and several items in the IQ Center may be used not only by W&L students and faculty but also by colleagues from neighboring institutions, including Virginia Military Institute (in Lexington) and Mary Baldwin College (in Staunton).

In addition, local schoolchildren may visit the IQ Center as part of various outreach efforts by W&L students in the STEM areas. The student-led Women in the Sciences organization works with local middle-school girls who might lack confidence in their ability in the sciences, and W&L students will be able to show off the technology in the IQ Center as another way to maintain their interest in the subject and help build their confidence.

As the center was getting underway this fall, I’Anson knew quickly that it was going to be a hit with the science students and faculty. What has both pleased and surprised her is how much interest people outside the sciences have expressed.

“We have an English course taught in the computer visualization lab already. A classics course is being planned for the space,” said I’Anson. “Our new initiative in digital humanities fits perfectly with the concept for the center. The conversations about this facility that are starting with various departments and people across campus have been gratifying. For me, the bonuses keep coming now that the space is open.

“I think that the sky is the limit in what we can do in this space. We are limited only by the imagination of the folks who are having these conversations.”