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W&L’s Strong Weighs In on the Topic of Rigged Elections

The following opinion piece by Bob Strong, William Lyne Wilson Professor of Politics at Washington and Lee, appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch on October 29, 2016, and is reprinted here by permission.

Robert A. Strong: Dead man voting

StrongBob-400x600 W&L's Strong Weighs In on the Topic of Rigged ElectionsRobert Strong

Donald Trump and his surrogates have recently pointed out that the national voter registration rolls include the names of 1.8 million dead people. This ominous observation is accompanied by an insinuation that busloads of the dead will be showing up on Election Day to cast ballots for Hillary. The election will be rigged, and rigged by those in rigor mortis.

In this certifiably crazy election cycle we are now talking about how the no longer living might vote. Even if you can’t stand either candidate or stomach much more of this campaign, it might be fun to think about the dead vote.

Years ago, when I lived in Illinois, I wrote a parody of a political science project on the dead voters in Mayor Daley’s Chicago. My fictional researchers said that commentators were premature when they assumed that the dead vote was evidence of corruption. Before social scientists could reach that conclusion they would need empirical data. Someone would have to contact the dead and ask them why they voted for the Democratic ticket and that would require sophisticated séance survey techniques.

My fictitious researchers concluded that the dead have many reasons to vote for Democratic candidates. The séance survey subjects complained that they are a disenfranchised group — the real silent majority — forced to reside in segregated and overcrowded conditions outside the center of the city.

They suffer discrimination. Most of the dead are unemployed; only a few collect Social Security. They get very little respect. It has to hurt when people compare you to a doornail.

And then there are the subtle forms of discrimination. Sure, some of your best friends are deceased, but would you let your son or daughter marry one of them?

My invented political scientists were not really surprised that the dead were inclined to vote for the party that traditionally helps the downtrodden and the disadvantaged. They observed that only the dead are actually able to endure presidential debates from beginning to end. I concluded my parody with the observation that the small number of dead voters in Chicago was probably the vanguard of what would someday become the nation’s largest underground movement.

***

Yes, it is easy to make jokes about the dead vote.

But Trump and his cohort are not joking. They are literally saying that the election will be illegitimate, stolen, and the product of fraud because the other side will bring out their dead.

Is it true that voter rolls often have the names of people who are no longer alive or no longer living at a listed address? Of course it is. Keeping the rolls up to date is a difficult and often underfunded task all across the country. In a large, diverse and dynamic nation voter registration rolls will never be perfect.

Are there isolated counties, or precincts, or periods in American history when corrupt officials have used errors in voter registration to cast illicit votes? Of course there are. In close elections, or in jurisdictions where political machines control entire communities, those illicit votes have made a difference.

But it is a long way — a very long way — from those observations to the accusation that the forthcoming presidential election will be decided by zombie voters. We are protected in this country by federalism that divides our voting laws into 50 different systems, and then divides them further by empowering local officials to supervise election procedures. There are so many levels of government involved in American voting that the national manipulation of election results is nearly impossible.

Actual scholars (not the comic kind I invented for my parody) have conducted serious studies of voter fraud and repeatedly concluded that proven cases of fraudulent in-person voting are exceedingly rare. It happens, but in numbers so small that it could never tilt the outcome of a national election unless that election — like the one in Florida in 2000 — was decided by a razor-thin margin. And in those rare cases, where the result is essentially a tie, every conceivable error in voting procedures, intentional or accidental, matters in determining the outcome.

So, when Trump or his supporters rattle off the number of deceased persons on voter registration rolls, are they giving us an accurate number? Yes, they are. When they imply that imperfect registration rolls will mean that the election can’t be legitimate, are they pointing to a real problem? No, they are not.

The thing you need to know about the dead people whose names are still on voter registration rolls is that they very rarely vote. And there is a reason why they very rarely vote. They’re dead.

W&L’s Lind Talks About Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin

KRR_0774-e1477933255330-400x600 W&L's Lind Talks About Charlie Brown and the Great PumpkinStephen Lind

Stephen Lind, assistant professor of business administration, celebrates Halloween with a talk about Charlie Brown and The Great Pumpkin on The Academic Minute.

You can hear his talk online at The Academic Minute.

W&L’s Community Grants Committee Accepting Fall Proposals

Washington and Lee University’s Community Grants Committee would like to remind the community of its Fall 2016 proposal evaluation schedule. Community Grants Proposals may be submitted at any time but are reviewed semiannually: at the end of the calendar year and at the end of the fiscal year. The deadline for submitting a proposal for the Fall 2016 evaluation is 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 4, 2016.

Established in the spring of 2008, the purpose of the program is to support non-profit organizations in the Lexington/Rockbridge community. The program began its first full year on July 1, 2008, coinciding with the start of the University’s fiscal year. The University will award a total of $50,000 during the program’s 2016-17 cycle.

During the second round of the 2015-16 evaluations held in May 2016, 19 organizations submitted proposals for a total of over $77,000 in requests. The University made $24,757 in grants to 10 of those organizations. Those organizations were:

  • Boxerwood Project NEST
  • City of Lexington Office on Youth
  • Lylburn Downing Middle School
  • Mission Next Door
  • Rockbridge Animal Alliance and Cats Unlimited
  • Rockbridge Ballet
  • Rockbridge Historical Society
  • Rockbridge Regional Drug Task Force
  • Waddell Elementary School Music Department
  • Yellow Brick Road Early Learning Center

Interested parties may access the Community Grants Committee website and download a copy of the proposal guidelines at the following address:

http://go.wlu.edu/communitygrants

The second round of proposals for 2016-17 will be due on Friday, April 14, 2017.

Please call 540-458-8417 with questions. Proposals should be submitted as electronic attachments (word or pdf) via email to kbrinkley@wlu.edu. If an electronic submission is not possible, materials may be faxed to (540) 458-8745 or mailed to:

Washington and Lee University Community Grants Committee
Attn: James D. Farrar Jr.
Office of the Secretary
204 W. Washington Street
Washington and Lee University
Lexington, VA 24450


Timothy Gaylard’s “Leonard Bernstein: An Overview of the Life and Career” Alumni College 2016

One would be challenged to name a more versatile and talented American musician than Leonard Bernstein. He excelled in all areas of music-as a conductor, composer, performer, and educator. From the moment in 1943 when, at the age of 25, he filled in as a last minute replacement for Bruno Walter, conducting the New York Philharmonic for a live radio broadcast, he established himself as one of the most talented musicians of a new generation. Eventually he would become the first American-born conductor of that illustrious orchestra, a relationship that would continue for the rest of his life. He was responsible for introducing audiences to repertoire that had long been ignored, especially the challenging works of Charles Ives and the mammoth symphonies of Gustav Mahler. Bernstein was an inspiring conductor who drew out the best from his fellow musicians. He was also a talented pianist who often played concertos with the orchestras he was conducting. Invited to conduct all of the greatest orchestras in the world, the most memorable assignment was the performance on Christmas Day in 1989 when he led an international assemblage of musicians in Beethoven’s Ninth to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall.As a composer, Bernstein revealed his incredible versatility by writing classical works for orchestra, chorus, piano solo, and chamber ensembles. But he is probably best remembered for his Broadway musicals, bringing a classical sensibility and craft to an essentially popular art form. With its driving rhythmic energy, melodic appeal, and colorful but accessible harmonies and textures, Bernstein’s style was distinctively American.

Learn more about W&L’s Alumni College and look for other exciting programs to attend or watch live online.


NPR Executive to Speak on Bias in Journalism

Keith Woods, vice president of diversity in news and operations at NPR, will deliver the keynote address for the 62nd Ethics Institute in Journalism at Washington and Lee University on Nov. 4 at 5:30 p.m. in Stackhouse Theater, Elrod Commons.

Watch this event live on Livestream.com.

The title of Woods’ talk is “Combating the Brutality of Bias with Great Journalism.” It is free and open to the public. The institute is funded by the Knight Program in Journalism Ethics and is co-sponsored by W&L’s Department of Journalism and Mass Communications.

keithwoods_30-400x600 NPR Executive to Speak on Bias in JournalismKeith Woods, vice president of diversity in news and operations at NPR

Woods leads the development of NPR’s vision and strategy for diversity as a member of the Executive Leadership Team and the Office of the President. His focus is to help NPR and member stations strengthen the wealth of diversity in content, staff, audience and the work environment.

“In a time fraught with biases so brutal people feel pummeled and polarized, journalism offers an opportunity for understanding and civil discourse. To address this issue, I sought out Keith Woods for his journalistic expertise in ethics and diversity,” said Aly Colón, the Knight Professor of Media Ethics at W&L.

“He understands the complexity of the contradictions we face. His diversity leadership at NPR, and previously at the globally-known Poynter Institute for journalism, enables Woods to provide a perspective that will educate and elevate the public conversation on bias and journalism.”

Woods joined NPR in February 2010 after 15 years at the Poynter Institute, a training center for professional journalists, spending his last five years there as its dean of faculty. Prior to the Poynter Institute, he spent 16 years as a reporter, write and editor at The Times Picayune in New Orleans.

He has taught writing and reporting on race relations, ethics and diversity and was previously the Institute’s director of diversity. He regularly writes and speaks on race and media.

Woods is the co-author of “The Authentic Voice: The Best Reporting on Race and Ethnicity” (2006, Columbia University Press).

Woods has consulted with most of the leading U.S. news organizations, and worked with faculty at journalism schools across the country to help better incorporate diversity in their teaching. He has also served as chairman of two Pulitzer Prize juries.

“Brexit and the Crisis of Democracy in Europe”

The Center for International Education at Washington and Lee University will present a panel discussion on “Brexit and the Crisis of Democracy in Europe” on Nov. 3 at 6 p.m. in the Stackhouse Theater in Elrod Commons at W&L. The discussion is free and open to the public.

This event is part of the 2016-18 Center for International Education Colloquium on Borders and Their Human Impact, with the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The participants are:

  • David Farrell, professor of politics, University College, Dublin;
  • Richard Katz, professor of politics science, Johns Hopkins University;
  • Krzysztof Jasiewicz, professor of sociology, Washington and Lee University;
  • Mark Rush, director, Center for International Education, Washington and Lee University.

“Brexit is only the latest manifestation of democratic tensions within Europe,” said Rush. National sovereignty gave rise to Greek protests about EU economic policies. Immigration pressures are manifest throughout the EU and played an important role in putting the Brexit vote on the British political agenda.

“In Spain, the people are on the verge of their third election in 12 months because economics and political pressures have split the major parties and divided the party system in a way that prevents the formation of a new government. The migration crisis in Germany has been the focus of this semester’s German Law in Context symposium at the law school and will be the focus of the upcoming Institute for Honor in November. The panelists will discuss the Brexit vote and place it in the context of broader tensions affecting European Democracy.”

farrell-400x400 "Brexit and the Crisis of Democracy in Europe"David Farrell, University College, Dublin

Farrell, a member of the Royal Irish Academy, is a specialist in the study of parties, elections, electoral systems and members of parliament. His research focuses on the role of deliberation in constitutional reform processes.

Selected publications include “The Election in Context” in “How Ireland Voted 2016” (co-author, 2016); “Conclusion and Reflection: Time for an Electoral Commission for Ireland” in Irish Political Studies (2015); and “Electoral Systems: A Comparative Introduction” (second ed., 2011; 2001).

In 2016, Farrell was reelected to speaker of the council of the European Consortium for Political Research. He was first elected to that position in 2013. In 2012, Farrell was elected as president of the Political Studies Association of Ireland. He is founding co-editor of Party Politics.

katz-400x400 "Brexit and the Crisis of Democracy in Europe"Richard Katz, Johns Hopkins University

Katz’ research focuses primarily on political parties and electoral systems in the industrialized democracies of Europe, North America and the British Commonwealth. He has also published work on public support of the arts, the European Union and electoral behavior. His books include “A Theory of Parties and Electoral Systems” (1980, 2007); and “Political Institutions in United States; (2007); and “Democracy and Elections” (1997), as well as numerous edited and co-edited volumes.

He serves on the executive committee of the ECPR and as chair of the core group of experts on party regulation for the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Katz is a past editor of the European Journal of Political Research and of the EJPR Political Data Yearbook, and has served, or is serving, on the editorial boards of the Journal of Politics, Representation, the Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties, the Canadian Journal of Political ScienceIrish Political StudiesParty Politics and European Union Politics.

jasiewicz-400x400 "Brexit and the Crisis of Democracy in Europe"Krzysztof Jasiewicz, Washington and Lee University

Jasiewicz, the Ames Professor of Sociology, has taught and/or held fellowships at Warsaw University, Harvard, Oxford, U.C.L.A. and the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington, among others.

He has published extensively on elections, voting behavior, party systems and political attitudes in Poland and other Central European states. His recent publications include articles in the Journal of Democracy, East European Politics and Societies, Communist and Post-Communist Studies, Problems of Post-Communism and European Journal of Political Research, as well as chapters in edited volumes, in English, Polish and French. Jasiewicz is the co-editor of the journal East European Politics and Societies and Cultures.

rush-400x400 "Brexit and the Crisis of Democracy in Europe"Mark Rush, Washington and Lee University

Rush is the Waxburg Professor of Politics and Law and the director of International Education. From 2010-2013, he served as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates.

Rush’s scholarly work and interests include presidential powers over foreign affairs, international politics, the Middle East, judicial activism, elections and democratic reform, civic education, higher education and law and sports.

He has written extensively on U.S. politics, constitutional law in the U.S. and Canada, elections and democracy around the world, and global affairs. He co-authored “Judging Democracy” (2008) and numerous additional articles in journals such as Presidential Studies, The Review of Politics, Publius, The McGill Law Journal, The Journal of Law and Politics, and PS: Political Science and Politics. His writings have also appeared in The Washington Post, USA Today, The Christian Science Monitor, The Richmond Times and The Roanoke Times. He is also a frequent commentator on National Public Radio and the Arabian News Network.

‘Welcome’ in Seven Languages

Every fall, Washington and Lee University welcomes a group of foreign language teaching assistants to campus. This year’s group of seven assistants includes natives of Japan, Austria, France, Morocco, Russia, China and Argentina.

While W&L classes are never taught by TAs, the foreign language TAs do assist during classes. They also conduct language tables over lunch or dinner where students can practice speaking the languages they are studying, and the TAs will spend time this year helping to develop cultural events on campus. Some events in development include a Moroccan tea and a Middle Eastern dance event. Keep an eye on the campus calendar for more information about these events.

In addition, the foreign language teaching assistants are on hand to assist anyone in the W&L community who is planning a trip to their home country, and they help with a study-abroad advising night and orientation meeting each term.

Mark Rush, director of international education at W&L, said the TAs are a valuable addition to campus life for many reasons. He said students who are studying a foreign language benefit from hearing that language in as many different voices and speaking styles as possible.

“They are another voice, literally, that students can hear in the classroom if the teacher wants to do that,” Rush said. “That helps your ear to develop.”

This year’s crop of FLTAs brings an array of diverse experiences and interests to Washington and Lee. Each TA completed a brief Q&A to offer more information about his or her background and hobbies. Click the link to read each one, and please welcome our FLTAs to campus!

Welcome FLTA Michiko Nakada

How to say “Welcome” in Japanese: Yōkoso

Michiko Nakada
2016 Foreign Language Teaching Assistant

NakadaMichiko_0005_091616__-400x600 Welcome FLTA Michiko NakadaMichiko Nakada

Tell us about yourself. 

I’m from Nagoya, in the middle of Japan. I mainly studied Japanese culture at Nanzan University. Nanzan University is also where some W&L students have studied Japanese for study-abroad in past years. I’m interested in not only the cultural side of Japan but also Japanese as a second language. So I really enjoyed studying them. I wish I could study more in the future.

Nagoya might not be as famous as Tokyo, Kyoto or Osaka, but it has lots of unique and interesting things to experience. From the point of view of Japanese history, Nagoya is one of the most important places. In the Sengoku period (age of civil war), there were many famous samurais, and the most well-known three samurais are all related to the place of Nagoya deeply. So, if you are interested in them, you’ll definitely enjoy Nagoya if you visit someday.

I also strongly a visit to Inuyama Castle near Nagoya city — that is one of the most beautiful Japanese castles.

What made you come to Washington and Lee as an FLTA?

Before coming to Washington and Lee University, I’d worked for a company for six years. I actually liked my job. I could meet various customers in many fields and I think I’d done something worthwhile. However, when thinking about the future, I always imagined going back to school to study more and becoming a kind of language teacher of Japanese. Although six years might be a little long to change something, finally I quit the job and started my new career.

What is your favorite part about the area so far?

I really love the beautiful nature in Lexington. Lexington is very quiet and peaceful, and I can enjoy amazing star-watching at night. I love Washington and Lee’s Japanese program, including the professors and students. (Unfortunately, I don’t know about other students but I’m pretty sure they all must be nice.) The program is really thoughtful and fun. They always search for something new and exciting for students. The students are also great. They always try to do their best and know how/what difference of culture brings them. I hope they’ll have a new style of thinking from the diversity.

Is there anything in particular that you are looking forward to doing while you are in the USA?

I’d love to do something new that I can never experience in Japan. I usually stay in my TA’s office room or East Asian languages department and talk with Japanese professors or students. I know there are very nice other professors and students at Washington and Lee, so I’m looking forward to seeing them more. It must be very exciting. Moreover, I expect my English to improve. Because I always speak in Japanese in class — it is very good for students — I’m pretty worried about my English.

What are your plans for when you return home?

I’d like to go to graduate school next for studying linguistics or Japanese pedagogy.

After I get a master’s degree, I’d like to find a job related to JSL. I’m not sure yet whether in Japan or not.

What do you like to do for enjoyment?

I like karaoke, listening to music, watching movies, shopping, eating and so on. I am a little sorry that there is no Japanese-style karaoke here. So, I try to find time to sing loud in my apartment when my housemate is out. In my free time, I enjoy watching dramas or movies here. Because I haven’t watched them a lot before, now I’m looking for some nice ones. If you have any recommendations, please let me know via email or something.

Reach out to Michika at nakadam@wlu.edu.

Welcome FLTA Anna Jerusalem

How to say “Welcome” in German: Willkommen

Anna Jerusalem
2016 Foreign Language Teaching Assistant

JerusalemAnna_0003_091416__-400x600 Welcome FLTA Anna JerusalemAnna Jerusalem

Tell us about yourself. 

My name is Anna Jerusalem and I am 28 years old. I grew up in a tiny village in the very south of Austria, close to the border of Italy and Slovenia. There, I lived with my parents and my two older siblings for 20 years. Traveling, exploring and living in and with other cultures has always been an important part of my life, because my parents have been working closely with humanitarian organizations all over the world. Thus, after finishing high school, I decided to spend some time abroad. I visited many places in Europe and Asia, traveled around Africa, and also spent several months in North America. My experiences abroad and my parents’ dedication to their work have strengthened my interests in the two fields of health care and education, which have accompanied my academic career ever since. While I am currently in my fourth year of the teaching degree program for English and psychology/philosophy at the University of Graz, I have just successfully completed the requirements for a master’s degree in management in the health sector with a specialization in health promotion.

What made you come to Washington and Lee as an FLTA? 

The reason why I chose to apply for this FLTA position is that it is a wonderful opportunity of cultural and academic experience. I do not only have the chance to apply my pedagogical skills, but also to immerse myself in a totally different culture.

What is your favorite part about the area so far?

I really enjoy the familial atmosphere in Lexington.

 Is there anything in particular that you are looking forward to doing while you are in the USA?

I would love to travel along the eastern coast of the United States.

What are your plans for when you return home?

I will finish the teaching degree program at the University of Graz and will start to work as a part-time research fellow at the University of Applied Sciences, where I continue my research in health literacy in educational settings.

What do you like to do for enjoyment?

When I am not at university or traveling, I spend a lot of time in my kitchen and transform it into a labratory where I try out different cooking experiments. I really enjoy being at home, having friends and family over for a good meal and to catch up on our lives.

Reach out to Anna at jerusalema17@mail.wlu.edu.

Welcome FLTA Lucía Cespedes

How to say “Welcome” in Spanish: Bienvenido

Lucía Cespedes
2016 Foreign Language Teaching Assistant

CespedesLucia_0008_091416__-400x600 Welcome FLTA Lucía CespedesLucia Cespedes

Tell us about yourself. 

Hi! My name is Lucía, and I come from Córdoba, Argentina. It’s the country’s second largest city, big and busy, with vibrant cultural and nightlife. It is also home to the National University of Córdoba, the oldest in Argentina. So I was fortunate enough to study in the same city where I grew up. This year I finished my studies in social communication, and I have two more years to go in my English language and literature major.

 What made you come to Washington and Lee as an FLTA? 

Ever since I started university I’ve been looking for opportunities to study abroad. The faculty of languages at my university regularly sends out emails with information on exchange programs, scholarships, and so on. I read about the FLTA position at W&L and it seemed like an excellent option to have the experience of studying in an American university while acting as ambassador of my own language and culture. I applied and here I am!

 What is your favorite part about the area so far?

The university facilities are truly impressive, and I love the green and open spaces on campus, but what I like best so far is being able to leave my door unlocked and feeling safe anyway. This is a welcome change!

 Is there anything in particular that you are looking forward to doing while you are in the USA?

My timing is perfect as regards celebrations – Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year … I’m really looking forward to those! Of course, I also want to travel around and visit as much as I can.

 What are your plans for when you return home? 

I will probably apply for a Ph.D scholarship in some area of the humanities or social sciences, most likely sociology. I would like to be a scientist and researcher.

 What do you like to do for enjoyment?

I love reading and getting lost in whatever universe the writer is opening to the reader. This applies to TV series, too — I watch a lot of them! Cities and towns are also universes by themselves, so when I have the time, I like just walking around and trying to notice the little details. Oh, and I also love cooking!

Reach out to Lucía at cespedesl17@wlu.edu.

Welcome FLTA Camille Bouillon

How to say “Welcome” in French: Bienvenue

Camille Bouillon
2016 Foreign Language Teaching Assistant

BouillonCamille_0006_091616__-400x600 Welcome FLTA Camille BouillonCamille Bouillon

Tell us about yourself. 

I come from France, where I was born in Lyon and grew up in the Parisian suburb, in Nogent-sur-Marne. First of all, I attended a three-year intensive program preparing for the arts section of l’Ecole Normale Supérieure (Paris) after finishing high school. I was studying various fields such as French and English literatures, philosophy, history, ancient Greek. Then I entered the University of La Sorbonne in Paris and started work on a master’s degree in French as a foreign language.

What made you come to Washington and Lee as an FLTA? 

To tell the truth, I heard about this offer completely by chance at the beginning of my academic year at La Sorbonne. And I immediately wanted to take part in this adventure! When I started to inquire about American universities I could work at, I found out that W&L was ranked highly and offered a very interesting program for FLTAs. Moreover, I would have the added benefit of being paid and lodged.

What is your favorite part about the area so far?

I think that the Center for Global Learning on campus is a wonderful place. I’ve never seen so much technology in one place! My university in France is quite old-fashioned in that respect, and I think it really should be inspired by W&L.

Is there anything in particular that you are looking forward to doing while you are in the USA?

Traveling throughout the country, I guess! There are so many places to discover, which are very different from one to another, in terms of landscape, culture, history. My next plan is to go to D.C.!

What are your plans for when you return home? 

First, I will complete my master’s degree in French as a foreign language at La Sorbonne, as I have one more year before graduating. At this point, I’m still hesitating about my future. At the beginning, I wanted to start working abroad as a French teacher once I got my degree, but now I’m thinking about continuing my studies and engaging in a Ph.D in French language and literature in the U.S. But right now this is purely hypothetical!

What do you like to do for enjoyment?

Watching a movie, going out with friends or attending concerts are things I’m delighted to do! Recently, I started taking a real interest in opera, and whenever I have free time I’m always listening to new music I’ve found. The good thing about opera is that it is so rich and varied so there’s always more to discover!

Reach out to Camille at bouillonc17@mail.wlu.edu.

Welcome FLTA Olga Dunaevskaya

How to say “Welcome” in Russian: Dobro požalovat’

Olga Dunaevskaya
2016 Foreign Language Teaching Assistant

DunaevskayaOlga_0010_091416__-400x600 Welcome FLTA Olga DunaevskayaOlga Dunaevskaya

Tell us about yourself. 

I am from Russia. I graduated from Moscow State University with a major in journalism. I also got my Ph.D. there in the department of modern Russian. My topic was “A Theory of Styles in Modern Russian.”

What made you come to Washington and Lee as an FLTA?

For the first time I was invited to W&L in 1996. After that I came from time to time and occupied different positions.

What is your favorite part about the area so far?

I love everything here – my job, the college, the nature, the small cozy town. I love my colleagues, my students and my American friend.

Is there anything in particular that you are looking forward to doing while you are in the USA?

I always work hard here on my own essays during my weekends, so this time again I hope to have some “written luggage” with me at the end of the semester.

What are your plans for when you return home?

I hope to publish that stories and essays which should be written here and start an article about the names of colors which are metaphors in Russian language.

What do you like to do for enjoyment?

I enjoy my work and I like to sing old Russian songs, so in summer I am eager to go on a folklore field trip to collect them.

Reach out to Olga at dunaevskayao@wlu.edu.

Robert J. Grey Jr. ’76L Honored for Commitment to Diversity Former ABA president

Grey-280x350 Robert J. Grey Jr. ’76L Honored for Commitment to DiversityRobert Grey ’76L

Former American Bar Association president Robert J. Grey Jr. was honored by the organization’s Forum on Construction Law for his “extraordinary leadership and lifetime of commitment to moving the meter on diversity and inclusion” during its October meeting, in Chicago. Grey served as ABA president 2004–2005 and is currently president of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity.

A 1976 graduate of the W&L School of Law, Robert is senior counsel with Hunton & Williams LLP and serves as vice chair of the firm’s Community Service Committee. In 2010, Grey was appointed by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to the board of the Legal Services Corp. Robert represents businesses in administrative, regulatory and legislative matters.

Conversation Starter Kerry Egan '95

On-Living-225x350 Conversation Starter“On Living” by Kerry Egan ’95

The accolades are starting to pour in for “On Living” (Riverhead Books), by Kerry Egan, a 1995 alumna of Washington and Lee University.

People Magazine listed it among the 12 best new books: “Illuminating, unflinching and ultimately inspiring, it presents ‘the spiritual work of dying’ as a profound process with undeniable elements of beauty.”

The Washington Post wrote, “Thoughtful and refreshingly unpretentious…[Egan’s] insights continue to resonate for days after you’ve finished reading.”

The conversation began on this difficult topic in 2012 when Kerry, a hospice chaplain in Massachusetts, wrote an essay about death and dying that drew over 3,000 comments in 24 hours on the CNN website. In that piece, titled “What People Talk About Before They Die,” Kerry noted that patients often talked about families and love because “that is how we talk about God. That is how we talk about the meaning of our lives. That is how we talk about the big spiritual questions of human existence.”

In her book, Kerry reflects on the important lessons her patients passed on to her. She writes, “I had been holding on to patients’ stories for many years…, stories the patients had poured out and puzzled over, the stories they turned over in their minds like rosary beads and worn Bibles they turned over in their hands.”

Each patient, she noted, taught her something — how to find courage in the face of fear or the strength to make amends; how to be profoundly compassionate and fiercely empathetic; how to see the world in grays instead of in black and white.

You can listen to Kerry’s thoughts on death, dying and living in her Oct. 26 interview on PBS’s “Fresh Air.” She’s also recorded a podcast with Reading By Robin.

Welcome FLTA Mengsu Kong

How to say “Welcome” in Chinese: Huān yíng

Mengsu Kong
2016 Foreign Language Teaching Assistant

KongMengsu-400x600 Welcome FLTA Mengsu KongMengsu Kong

Tell us about yourself.

I grew up in Shanghai, China. I received my bachelor’s degree from East China Normal University, and majored in teaching Chinese as a foreign language. After graduation, I moved to Philadelphia to pursue my master’s degree at University of Pennsylvania. I was in the program of intercultural communication at the department of educational linguistics. In 2015, I graduated and then worked as a lecturer in Chinese at Penn State University Abington for one year.

What made you come to Washington and Lee as an FLTA?

W&L is a college with a very good reputation, and the Chinese program is great.

What is your favorite part about the area so far?

The beautiful weather, peaceful life and nice people.

Is there anything in particular that you are looking forward to doing while you are in the USA?

I have been living in the U.S. for about three years, but there are still lots of things that I want to do, like traveling to more places and making more friends!

What are your plans when you return home?

I went back to China for one to three months during each summer vocation over the last three years. The plan is definitely to have authentic Chinese food as much as I can, and to spend time with family and friends.

I will keep teaching Chinese in college.

 What do you like to do for enjoyment?

I like traveling, watching movies, drawing, playing board games and puzzles.

Reach out to Mengsu at kongm@wlu.edu.

Welcome FLTA Imad Baazizi

How to say “Welcome” in Arabic: ahlan wa sahlan

Imad Baazizi
2016 Foreign Language Teaching Assistant

BaaziziImad_0005_091616__-400x600 Welcome FLTA Imad BaaziziImad Baazizi

Tell us about yourself. 

I am from Morocco. I was born in Benimellal, where I earned a diploma of general studies in English at Sultan Moulay Slimane University. Then, I moved to Marrakech, where I got my bachelor’s degree in English literature and linguistics. I had a one-year training in the educational center in Safi city. In 2011, I started working as an EFL teacher in Essaouira and become an active member of Moroccan Association of Teachers of English. In 2014, I volunteered as an assistant coach on the Moroccan National Debate Team.

What made you come to Washington and Lee as an FLTA? 

I always look for new experiences, especially abroad. Actually, when you travel to another country, you make new friends and you get to know another culture; as a consequence, you confirm your own culture through the others’ perspective, and that is the beauty of it.

 What is your favorite part about the area so far?

I like small towns surrounded by nature. So I think I’m in the right place. My favorite part would be my window view in my office in Baker Hall. In addition to that, I like the architecture of the university buildings.

Is there anything in particular that you are looking forward to doing while you are in the USA?

Improve my communication skills and my career as a teacher.

What are your plans for when you return home? 

I will continue teaching and studying. I hope my students there will benefit from my experience in the U.S.

What do you like to do for enjoyment?

I like associative work, where you get to know more people and help others to get back on track. I like outdoor activities, hiking, climbing and biking. I like poetry and I enjoy writing some verses from time to time. I like skateboarding and swimming.

“Life is ups and downs, enjoy the ups and enjoy the downs, too, but differently”

Reach out to Imad at baazizii17@mail.wlu.edu.

Catching Waves Jamie Hayes ’17 spent two summer months in New Zealand, where he conducted research that could eventually help to improve the diagnosis of gastrointestinal ailments.

“I think it was really formative for him to work on the details and see the broad picture firsthand.”

— Prof. Jon Erickson

jamie_hayes-800x533 Catching WavesJamie Hayes ’17

Washington and Lee University students are provided with plenty of opportunities for overseas travel, but Jamie Hayes ’17 never envisioned the kind of spring and summer he had in 2016.

Hayes, a physics and engineering major from Chattanooga, Tennessee, spent spring break on a tour of Ireland with the University Singers, then headed to Switzerland for a physics and engineering study-abroad course. When summer arrived, he traveled with the Outing Club to Nepal, then jetted straight from there to Auckland, New Zealand, for a nine-week summer research project at the Auckland Bioengineering Institute (ABI) at the University of Auckland.

“It was a whirlwind,” he said, “and an amazing opportunity that I got to do all these things.”

The New Zealand trip was a continuation of an ongoing research project founded in 2009 by Jonathan Erickson, associate professor of physics and engineering at Washington and Lee. For years, Erickson has partnered with fellow researchers at the ABI to create a device that can diagnose digestive ailments by measuring gastrointestinal slow waves, or electric signals transmitted by cells in the stomach. These signals relay the condition of the organ and control its function.

The ideal scenario for the equipment: A patient visits the doctor complaining of stomach pain. The doctor places electrodes on the patient’s abdomen, uses the device to measure slow waves, then analyzes the data to make a diagnosis. No surgery, no guesswork — just an easy, affordable, non-intrusive method to drastically improve care in patients with digestive ailments.

This kind of test is now possible, but systems that measure these signals are expensive and not well developed. Erickson and his fellow researchers want to develop a more reliable system that costs hundreds, not thousands, of dollars.

Hayes had worked on the project on campus during the summer of 2015 and winter term, so his trip to Auckland was a natural extension of that experience. In New Zealand, he compared an existing system called the Biosemi to the system in development, which is called the FlexiMap. Although the Biosemi provided higher-quality data than the FlexiMap, Hayes was able to determine that software-filtering techniques could greatly improve the outcome.

“It was pretty rewarding to see that the unmodified FlexiMap was only recording 45 percent of the potential signal,” Hayes said. “Professor Erickson reminded me of a simple calculation I could perform to determine that percentage. To see that by making a small hardware modification there would be such a huge signal increase, bodes extremely well for potentially replacing the Biosemi with the FlexiMap.”

Erickson joined Hayes in Auckland in August, and will stay on for sabbatical through July 2017. He has picked up where Hayes left off and is working to implement the modification. In the near future, he said, they will validate the system on pigs, with a goal of eventually doing trials on humans.

The project team has been developing this device for use with an analysis method called an electrogastrogram (EGG), which is essentially an EKG for the stomach. Since the stomach signal is much weaker than the heart’s signal, the challenge will be to develop a method that can pick up signals with electrodes placed on the surface of the skin, as opposed to directly on the stomach.

Erickson said Hayes did an excellent job folding his coursework and on-campus research at W&L into the summer project in New Zealand.

“Working at ABI this summer with an interdisciplinary team of engineers and GI physiologists provided an excellent opportunity for him to begin solving some of the technical challenges and understand the clinical potential of biomedical device development,” Erickson said. “I think it was really formative for him to work on the details and see the broad picture firsthand.”

Hayes’ trip to New Zealand was made possible by a Johnson Opportunity Grant, an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant, and the E.A. Morris Charitable Foundation.

Taking part in that kind of hands-on research as an undergraduate was “a dream come true,” Hayes said. Spending two months in one of the most beautiful and fascinating countries in the world wasn’t so bad, either.

“New Zealand is an amazing place,” he said. “It’s hard to put into words all the amazing parts of my experience there. There are just so many different cultures and people there, and so many different things and places to do and visit. All in all, it was incredible.”

Student Leaders: Taylor Gulotta ’17 Stage Manager, "The Theory of Relativity"

“Some students might think that Lenfest is one of the more intimidating places on campus, but to me it’s always been the most inviting. Just take that first step and you can do anything you want. Seriously. If you want to do art, you can make it happen.”

What first interested you in stage management?

I tried on a few different hats when I was in drama club back in high school. I worked as a theater critic, I acted, and I fiddled around backstage. Eventually I discovered that I was happiest when I was wearing a headset and running the show from either backstage or the call booth. It started as a hobby but turned into something I really enjoyed and, as a bonus, something that I was quite good at.

I didn’t think I would continue with stage management after high school, but I felt some sort of gravitational pull toward Lenfest during my first weeks on campus. I showed up at the auditions for the fall play, introduced myself as a stage manager, and the theater department has been holding me hostage ever since.

What are some of the challenges and rewards of the position?

It’s always challenging to start working on a new show with a new director and a new cast. At the same time, it’s also exciting to experience a new director’s process and the kind of energy a new cast brings. There’s an art to figuring out what a director and a cast will need from me without having to ask. I need to be able to best serve their needs without compromising my objectives to run a show at a professional level.

Being a stage manager at W&L has presented me with opportunities I didn’t even know existed. The theater department isn’t exactly the largest department on campus, but the small size lends itself to forming lasting bonds with all of the professors, directors, and designers. I know that when we’re in a rehearsal space, I’m regarded as an equal more than a student and that has helped me more than I can express as I begin making my way into the professional theater world.

Our theater department is very unique in its stage management program because we’ve almost entirely made the shift to digital tools. I’ve been a trailblazer in using an iPad for nearly all of my jobs as a stage manager, from notating blocking to tracking props and scenery to calling the cues from an annotated PDF of the script. Last year, I landed my first gig with a professional theater company in Charlottesville, Virginia. I brought my iPad with me and my fellow stage managers were a little impressed and a little intimidated.

What has been the most rewarding thing about your involvement in theater?

The people. I’ve had the honor and privilege of working with various directors, guest artists, musical directors and choreographers. I’ve stage managed seniors that had never set foot on a stage before, first-years that went on to be majors or minors, and some of my closest friends. Watching the lights go up and seeing the actors on stage come opening night is so fulfilling. It’s the culmination of hard work from so many individuals working together and the fact that I was able to be there through that process, and contribute to it, is astounding. I live for that feeling and I’ll probably never be satisfied.

The most challenging?

The people. Everyone comes into a show with different expectations. Part of my job is reconciling those differences and creating an environment where everyone is comfortable and able to grow. It’s not always easy to bring together dozens of people that all have their own visions, but a production needs to be cohesive. I also need to be aware of what the designers and technicians need. I’m kind of the communication liaison between the cast, the director, and the designers, so it’s definitely a balancing act.

What have you learned about leadership in this role and what lessons will you take with you going forward?

I’ve learned that part of being a leader is to sometimes let others lead. I do my best to be as transparent as possible with everyone on the production team. Being a leader doesn’t mean you can’t ask questions. I’ve been stage managing for a long time, and I like to believe that I can do it on my own, but the reality is that I can’t and that’s okay. I’m learning to be more of a supervisor than a doer when I can and to reach out when I need help. I’m willing to take risks and make mistakes knowing that it’s not the end of the world (or a show) as long as I learn from them.

What advice do you have for students interested in getting involved?

Walk in the doors and you won’t want to leave. Odds are you’ll end up in one of the theaters, drooling over all the technology we have to play with, or you’ll run into one of the professors and get into an hour-long conversation about the state of Broadway. Some students might think that Lenfest is one of the more intimidating places on campus, but to me it’s always been the most inviting. Just take that first step and you can do anything you want. Seriously. If you want to do art, you can make it happen.

How would you characterize your experience in one word?

Collaborative.

Class Year: 2017
Hometown: Coral Springs, FL
Majors: Theater and Strategic Communication
Other Activities:

  • President of Mindbending Student Productions
  • Friday Underground team member
  • wluLex team member
  • Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity
  • Social Media Chair for QuestBridge Scholars at W&L

A Day in the Life: Bogdan Bors ’17 Day in the Life, Johnson Opportunity Grant Winner, Community Empowerment Solutions, Ecuador

“The MicroConsignment Model uses entrepreneurship in a sustainable and organic manner to create job opportunities and create access to crucial goods and services in rural communities.”

I was sitting next to an elderly indigenous Ecuadorian woman and I was giving her a simple eye exam. As she struggled to indicate the direction of the small “E”s on the examination sheet, a weird and powerful thought struck me: “She could as well be my “abuela,” my own grandmother.” Besides the fact that my grandmother was luckier in the “life lottery” — that she was born in a wealthier country and could afford a comprehensive and professional consultation — I still had a feeling of deep kinship with the woman whose sight I was helping to improve.

I learned that her name was Maria. She had eight daughters and sons and about 20 or 21 nephews — she couldn’t remember precisely. She used to do all sorts of handcrafts, including weaving and beading, but for a long time her nearsightedness had been so bad that she couldn’t perform these tasks anymore. In her village there was no opportunity to receive an eye exam or buy the glasses she needed so badly, and she confessed that she was not able to afford these services and products in the closest city where they were available.

This is why the social business model used by Community Empowerment Solutions (CES), the organization I interned for this summer, is so great — it reaches exactly this type of people with the products they need through a successful distribution process. The social entrepreneurship approach CES uses is called the MicroConsignment Model. CES acts as a distribution channel to provide access to basic and highly needed products in impoverished areas of Latin America and trains micro-entrepreneurs to successfully market and sell them. The difference between this social entrepreneurship model and others is that it takes away all the risk for the entrepreneurs. For example, within the microcredit framework, which is probably the most popular social entrepreneurship model, the entrepreneurs borrow a small amount of money from banks with low interest rates in order to start a small-scale business. This model carries numerous financial risks which might not necessarily be dependent on the borrower, such as unfavorable weather conditions, natural disasters, economic crisis and so on. CES removes such risks from the micro-entrepreneurs by giving them products to sell, such as affordable glasses, water filters, energy efficient light bulbs, seeds, cook stoves and solar lamps. CES also trains the entrepreneurs extensively on how to sell these products proficiently.

Most of the micro-entrepreneurs CES works with are indigenous women with few opportunities to generate supplemental household income. For example, after performing a free eye examination similar to the one I was doing on Maria, such an entrepreneur invites the custumer to buy the $8.50 pair of glasses. Out of this price, she receives a share of $2.00. The empowerment achieved by CES is two-fold: the entrepreneur is empowered by having a work opportunity, and the communities are empowered by being able to purchase the products they need. The MicroConsignment Model uses entrepreneurship in a sustainable and organic manner to create job opportunities and create access to crucial goods and services in rural communities.

After trying out glasses with different diopters, Maria cheerfully exclaimed: “This one is perfect! I forgot how it’s like seeing so well.” It took me less than five minutes to run this basic eye examination and provide her with the very affordable pair of glasses that she needed. Now she was able to engage in daily activities with more ease, and even produce extra money for her family by producing the handcrafts she was so talented at. The MicroConsignment Model used by CES is a very promising venue to help thousands of people like Maria.

“Muchisimas gracias. Thank you so much,” she said with tears in her eyes.

“De nada, abuela. You’re welcome, grandma,” I replied.

Hometown: Iasi, Romania

Major: Sociology

Minor: Poverty and Human Capability Studies

Extracurricular Involvement:

  • MUSE
  • Venture Club
  • First Year Leadership Council

Off-Campus Experiences:

  • Spring Term Abroad (French and French Culture) in Nice, France
  • Winter Semester Abroad in Nepal, Jordan and Chile with SIT Study Abroad Human Rights: Foundations, Challenges, and Advocacy
  • Year Abroad at Sciences Po in Paris, France

Why did you apply for the Johnson Opportunity Grant? I applied for a Johnson Opportunity Grant because I wanted to intern for a social enterprise in a developing country. I have been familiar with the concept for a long time and I wanted to see how it works in practice.

How does your work under the grant apply to your studies at W&L? I will receive a minor in Poverty and Human Capability Studies, which requires a summer internship experience. Besides this, I will hopefully use the data I collected on “empowerment” throughout the internship in a Directed Individual Study in Anthropology.

What was the most unexpected aspect of your grant experience? Sometimes projects that seem to be perfect when planned might need profound adjustments once they are implemented on site in a foreign country.

Post-Graduation Plans: I hope to obtain a Masters Degree in Social Inequalities or International Development at Sciences Po Paris or at London School of Economics. I am also planning on opening my own social business.

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Favorite Class: Poverty and Human Capability: An Interdisciplinary Introduction. A great number of aspects regarding poverty that seemed obvious to me were deeply challenged and the interdisciplinary approach of the class stimulated many of my passions. I truly believe that this class should become an FDR!

Favorite Campus Landmark: After an exhausting all-nighter in the library, walking back home and seing the sun rising behind the Lee Chapel is mesmerizing.

Why did you choose your major? I had always thought that I would become a business major in order to successfully start my own social business and bring a positive change to the world. However, after taking my first sociology class in my first freshman term, I understood that if I wanted to leave the world a better place than I found it, I first had to better comprehend how the world, societies and people work. I consequently chose to major in sociology.

Advice for prospective or first-year students? Study abroad! It might be a little bit frightening to leave your friends and your familiar surroundings behind, but it will be all worth it! Nothing challenges you and adds up unforgettable memories as much as a semester spent abroad.

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Now Playing: Theory of Relativity The Millenials' Song, The new musical, inspired by the actual stories of the millennial generation, celebrates the connections that unite and define us.

“I’ve really appreciated that W&L has given me so many opportunities to pursue passions not strictly limited to my main academic pursuits. As a mathematics and physics-engineering double major, with a minor in music, I’ve especially enjoyed that this show highlights elements from all three of my interests to make one cohesive piece” – Logan Wilson

“Places, please, for the top of the show.” It’s been a rapid-fire rehearsal period for the 11 Washington and Lee University students who will perform in “The Theory of Relativity,” opening on the Keller stage in the Lenfest Center for Performing Arts on Oct. 20. A joint production of the Department of Theater, Dance and Film Studies and the Department of Music, the show is made possible by funding from the Robert O. and Elizabeth M. Bentley Endowment.

Director Rob Mish ’76 was drawn to this musical partly because “as an ensemble piece it offered an excellent platform to showcase our very talented students. It is also new material, which means we can go into this with very few preconceived notions as to how to perform it. We’re working with a script that was released in April 2016, so very few have seen it. While we always try to take a fresh approach to anything that we do, this is a complete unknown. This is a blank slate, and we can approach it from a character standpoint, a musical standpoint and a design standpoint, and take it anyplace we’d like to go.”

“The Theory of Relativity” has a format similar to “A Chorus Line,” where the writers asked a group of aspiring dancers for their stories. “In a sense, that’s what happened with ‘The Theory of Relativity,’ ” explained Mish, who is also director of the Lenfest Center. “Writers Neil Bartram and Brian Hill (‘The Story of My Life’) assembled a group of college students and asked, ‘What’s your story? How did you get here?’ The result is a series of ensemble numbers that address millennial topics, while the solos concentrate on a character’s particular story, whether that is the changing relationship with their parents and friends, coming out, or falling in and out of love. The focus for these characters is ‘How do I relate to the world, to other people? And how do outside forces relate to me?”

Guest musical director Steven Gross noted that in a typical book musical, such as “My Fair Lady” or “West Side Story,” actors are more easily able to step into a character. With this production, however, students have to be themselves, and that is a more difficult task. “They aren’t playing a flower girl or a policeman, so they can’t hide behind a cockney accent or costume,” he said. “The hardest thing is to be ourselves. So these students have to figure out how their character’s story relates to them.”

“The music is pretty challenging, and it’s pushing our students,” said Mish. “This isn’t music from the Golden Era of musicals written by Rodgers and Hammerstein or Cole Porter or Andrew Lloyd Webber. The writers have struck a nerve with several modern composers — what I hear is a bit of Jason Robert Brown, Elton John and Kander and Ebb. This isn’t Stephen Sondheim in terms of difficulty, but it approaches that.”

Musicals are not cheap to produce. The costs of the license, royalties and set and costume design add up quickly, but “funding from the Bentley Endowment has allowed us to do musicals that we otherwise would not have been able to afford,” said Mish. “It has also allowed us to bring expert talent, like Steven, to be the musical director. Steven has amazing international and Broadway directing credentials, and we’re really fortunate to have him. He is wonderful to work with. There is more music than dialogue for this show, so his responsibilities for this are greater than they would be for a book musical.”

While this may be a college production, “Steven expects a Broadway level of commitment from these students,” added Mish. “He sets the bar high, and our students love that kind of a challenge. If they think for a second that you doubt them, they are out to prove you wrong. Steven has told them that it’s not like singing in a choral group, where you’ve got a section of sopranos or baritones. He tells them you have to know this music backwards and forwards, without someone standing next to you singing the same thing.”

theory-cast Now Playing: Theory of Relativity“Theory of Relativity,” Cast and Crew

Ramonah Gibson, whose character faces her fear of germs, is one of six first-years making their W&L début in “The Theory of Relativity.” “Working with Steven has been very educational, but definitely fun,” she said. “He is very professional, which at first was very intimidating, because I just thought he didn’t like the cast. He is actually a very funny person, which is great because it means he hides all kinds of wisdom in funny sayings. He is never afraid to call us out if we are slacking, and I can truthfully say I can tell the difference in the way I now think about the lyrics in all music. He never lets us get comfortable with a way we are singing a song. He is always pushing for a song to have more emotion, for it to be even more technically perfect or for us to rethink how our character would look at the words.”

She’s already thinking of majoring in both theater and political science, with a concentration in global studies. While Gibson has participated in many high school productions, this experience has helped her grow as an actor. “I realized that understanding and performing my monologues was much easier than singing in this show,” she said. “I had always thought I was a stronger singer than an actor. This musical helped me accurately assess my strengths and weaknesses as a performer. I always assumed I wasn’t good at acting, but I actually am really confident in my monologues. While I thought I had almost come to a true understanding of my voice, I am now taking time to relearn and become better at using it. I’ve also grown as a performer because it has allowed me to take risks that I normally don’t take. I have been given the freedom to make acting choices that just weren’t possible in high school. Having less supervision means I have to spend more time outside of rehearsals on my character. This may be harder, but it is definitely more rewarding.”

On the other end of the spectrum is Logan Wilson, a senior who has performed in W&L shows all four of his college years. “I’ve done theater all throughout middle school and high school, so coming to college, it was really important to me to be able to keep performing,” said Wilson, who also sings with the University Singers. “I’ve really appreciated that W&L has given me so many opportunities to pursue passions not strictly limited to my main academic pursuits. As a mathematics and physics-engineering double major, with a minor in music, I’ve especially enjoyed that this show highlights elements from all three of my interests to make one cohesive piece.”

He added, “One of the biggest challenges of this show that really distinguishes it from other shows I’ve done is that for the most part the cast is on stage for the entire show. It can be exhausting to stay engaged for that long without a break, but I think it adds a really unique layer to the show for the audience.”

What impresses Mish the most is the students’ work ethic. “We’re in rehearsal five nights a week, and some of these students are also in rehearsal for the other two upcoming productions, later this term (‘Sense and Sensibility’) and early next term (‘Dracula’),” he said. “They are literally here in the Lenfest Center for hours. I don’t know how they balance it all, but they are really excited to be here doing these productions, which is great, because I’m really looking forward to watching them perform in next year’s shows.” (That lineup: “The Rocky Horror Show,” “Romeo and Juliet” and “The BFG [Big Friendly Giant].”)

“The Theory of Relativity” will run in the Keller Theatre, with evening performances at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 20, Friday, Oct. 21, and Saturday, Oct. 22; and a 2 p.m. performance on Sunday, Oct. 23. Order your tickets online today at wlu.edu/lenfest-center or call the Lenfest box office at 458-8000 for ticket information. Box office hours are Mon.-Fri., 9-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m., and it will be open two hours prior to performance time.

by Louise Uffelman | luffelma@wlu.edu

Crisis Responder: David Sugerman ’99 Alumni at Work, U.S. Public Health Service

“Professor Harlan Beckley’s class made me think of a career to connect medicine and social science. I became more knowledgeable of the risk factors for poverty.”

When recent floods hit Louisiana, many people lost homes and businesses. Among them was a homeless man, who lost his only shelter — a cardboard box under a highway overpass.

Responding to the disaster in his capacity as a physician and commander in the U.S. Public Health Service, David Sugerman ’99 got to know the man and, while treating his medical needs, heard his story of military service, drug abuse and a life that spiraled out of control.

“It was a wonderful opportunity to provide him medical care and to help him get needed services, an apartment and job training,” Sugerman said.

That intersection of medicine and social services attracted Sugerman to a nontraditional form of medicine — one that has taken him throughout the world responding to medical crises.

After graduating from Washington and Lee in 1999, Sugerman earned a medical degree from Thomas Jefferson University and completed his residency in emergency medicine at Johns Hopkins University Hospital.

Today, he is a medical officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, assigned there through the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS), with the rank of commander. The uniformed service, modeled after the military, is overseen by the surgeon general and is the largest division of the Department of Health and Human Services. Commissioned officers serve in more than 20 duty stations throughout the federal government.

Sugerman entered USPHS as an officer with the Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) in San Diego. For two years, he helped respond to such crises as a measles outbreak among intentionally under-vaccinated children, the first case of pandemic H1N1 flu and meningitis across the U.S. – Mexico border. For two months, he was stationed with the U.S. Army in the Democratic Republic of Congo responding to an outbreak of monkeypox.

He then joined the Global Immunization Division, where he worked on polio eradication in Nigeria, improving oral polio vaccine coverages. He responded to the earthquake in Haiti, the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, the Deep Water Horizon oil spill and Hurricane Sandy. In Sierra Leone, the opportunity to train local staff, set up screenings and isolate patients in the hospital or their homes, was rewarding and worth the effort, when, after three years, the country was officially declared Ebola free in March 2015.

Sugerman has been based in Atlanta since 2009. At the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, he helped establish guidelines for training, triage and transport for trauma patients, and worked on new guidelines for prescribing narcotic pain medications in order to prevent drug overdose.

Now with the Center for Global Health, he oversees training of epidemiologists in developing countries. Originally begun in 1975, the program has trained more than 8,000 epidemiologists in investigation, surveillance and intervention for disease control.

“We station senior epidemiologists to live in the countries and provide direct technical assistance to the government,” he said, noting that the program handles about 62 programs in 46 countries.

Once a week, Sugerman works at the Emory University Hospital Emergency Department, where he teaches medical students and residents emergency medicine.

“Being a teacher and mentor is very gratifying,” he said. “In the emergency room, unlike public health, doctors can immediately alleviate suffering on an individual basis.”

Sugerman’s father was a trauma surgeon at the Medical College of Virginia, in Richmond, and from an early age Sugerman was interested in science. He began thinking about a career in medicine in high school, but knew he wanted to follow a less traditional path.

Working with an organization called Metro Town Institute, in Richmond, to help improve diversity in the public schools, Sugerman met a W&L graduate who told him about the university’s small size, honor system and pastoral setting that would allow him to indulge his interests in hiking, biking and camping.

He enrolled as a biology major and participated in the Shepherd Poverty Program, where “Professor Harlan Beckley’s class made me think of a career to connect medicine and social science. I became more knowledgeable of the risk factors for poverty.”

At W&L, he also continued his service with Habitat for Humanity, which he had begun in high school. He became president of the W&L chapter his junior year and values the mentorship of advisor Professor Brian Richardson.

Sugerman also values the support he received from then-President John Elrod and his wife, Mimi, who often invited him to their home for dinner. Mrs. Elrod served on the board of Project Horizon, a nonprofit organization for which Sugerman volunteered.

He also served as president of PRIDE, a program to increase diversity in education and recruitment and encourage a welcoming atmosphere for all ethnicities.

Sugerman and his wife, Ciara, who holds a Ph.D. in microbiology, are parents to three children under the age of 3: an adopted son, 26 months; a daughter, 18 months; and a son, 5 months. His wife also works for CDC, helping oversee global diarrheal disease response, including cholera and typhoid.

Reflecting on his career, Sugerman said he gets tremendous satisfaction in training others to increase the knowledge of disease control and prevention. He enjoys working closely with his counterparts around the globe and said the trainees are very thankful for programs that make them part of the solution.

David will give a public talk, “From the Colonnade to the CDC: A Career in Public Health,” on Tuesday, Oct. 25, at 5:30 p.m. in Science A214. His visit is co-hosted by the Health Professions Advisory Committee and the Center for International Education.

by Louise Uffelman | luffelma@wlu.edu

German Ambassador to U.S. Headlines Institute for Honor Symposium

Photo-Wittig-400x600 German Ambassador to U.S. Headlines Institute for Honor SymposiumPeter Wittig

Peter Wittig, German Ambassador to the United States, will deliver the keynote address at Washington and Lee University’s Institute for Honor Symposium “The European Refugee Crisis: The Search for a Moral Response” on Friday, Nov. 4 at 4 p.m. in Lee Chapel.

Wittig will speak on “German Policy Toward the European Refugee Crisis.” His lecture is free and open to the public.

Watch this event live on Livestream.com.

Wittig has served as German ambassador to the United States since April 2014. Previously, he was German ambassador to the United Nations in New York and represented Germany during its tenure as a member of the U.N. Security Council in 2011 and 2012. There, he drew on his wide expertise in United Nations matters, having previously served as director-general for United Nations and global issues at the German Foreign Office in Berlin.

Wittig joined the German Foreign Service in 1982. He has served at the embassy in Madrid; as private secretary to the foreign minister at the headquarters, then located in Bonn; and as ambassador in Lebanon and in Cyprus. He was the German government special envoy on the “Cyprus question” (the division of Cyprus).

Before starting his career in the German Foreign Service, Wittig studied history, political science and law at Bonn, Freiburg, Canterbury and Oxford universities and taught as an assistant professor at the University of Freiburg.

Established in 2000 at Washington and Lee by a generous endowment from the Class of 1960, the Institute for Honor includes an array of initiatives and specific programs designed to promote the understanding and practice of honor as an indispensable element of society. The Institute for Honor Symposium is dedicated to the advocacy of honor as the core value in personal, professional, business and community relations. For more information, contact spclprog@wlu.edu.

W&L’s Colón Weighs in on Legality of Trump Tax Disclosure

Aly-Colon-400x600 W&L's Colón Weighs in on Legality of Trump Tax DisclosureAly Colon, journalism professor

Aly Colón, Knight Professor of Ethics in Journalism at Washington and Lee University, recently shared his expertise in an Associate Press story titled, “Experts: No Clear Criminal Case Over Trump Tax Disclosure.”

Colón argues that regardless of public opinion, “journalists, in their role in holding the powerful accountable … are going to be looking for information that people might or might not ask for, but the journalist believes helps them be better informed.”

You can read the full Associate Press piece online.

Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee Wins Altria Grant

Since 2006, CKWL has served more than 262,700 meals and recovered over 413,000 pounds of food that otherwise would have been sent to landfills.

Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee (CKWL) was awarded a $15,500 grant from the Altria Companies Employee Community Fund (ACECF) to support its weekend backpack snack programming for students at local schools and to help supply CKWL’s mobile-food pantries, which operate throughout Rockbridge County.

CKWL’s backpack program is intended to diminish the meal gap that students eligible for free or reduced lunch experience on weekends. The program supports nearly 700 students from across the area who receive a backpack each week containing nutritious and filling snacks to be consumed over the weekend.

The mobile-food pantries are an expansion program that focuses on distributing fresh and non-perishable food items monthly to remote areas of Rockbridge County, serving members of the community who have difficulty accessing the brick-and-mortar food pantries.

“The mobile-food pantry is an ideal fit for remote communities in the area,” said Jenny Davidson, co-curricular service coordinator for CKWL. “By setting up in community centers we are able to reduce the transportation barrier for our clients to access nutritious food.”

Students preparing meals at the W&L Campus Kitchen

Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee is one of the area’s largest and most effective hunger-fighting organizations and provides over 1,000 community members with food assistance each year. Since 2006, CKWL has served more than 262,700 meals and recovered over 413,000 pounds of food that otherwise would have been sent to landfills.

The Altria Companies Employee Community Fund is a unique employee-giving program with every aspect managed directly by Altria Group employees—from fundraising to grant-making. Since 2001, ACECF has fulfilled 1,887 grants totaling $49.8 million. In 2016, ACECF awarded 84 grants totaling $2.53 million. Altria Group is a Fortune 200 company headquartered in Richmond, Virginia.


Jake Burnett Wins Elmes Pathfinder Prize in Psychology

Jake_Burnett-400x600 Jake Burnett Wins Elmes Pathfinder Prize in PsychologyJake Burnett, a Washington and Lee University senior from Anaheim Hills, California, has been awarded the 2016 David G. Elmes Pathfinder Prize in Psychology.

The prize recognizes a student who has shown extraordinary promise in psychological science or in the application of psychological science in the professions through outstanding scholarship in basic or applied psychology.

Burnett, a psychology and music double major, has worked with Julie Woodzicka, the Abigail Grigsby Urquhart Professor of Psychology at W&L, in the Prejudice and Intergroup Relations Lab for nearly two years on research that addresses the confrontation of sexist and racist humor. Burnett served as a W&L Summer Research Scholar in 2015.

In January 2016, he was given the opportunity to present this research in a poster session at the annual national conference for the Society for Personality and Social Psychology in San Diego, California. In November 2016, he will again present the Intergroup Relations Lab research in a poster session at the annual regional conference for the Society for Southeastern Social Psychologists in Asheville, North Carolina.

Burnett spent the summer of 2016 at the University of California, San Francisco as a research assistant intern in the Emotion, Health and Psychophysiology Lab. This research investigated empathy, stress, oxytocin and couples’ sleep patterns among other topics. He is currently working on his senior thesis which intersects his interests in intergroup relations, positive psychology and music, investigating how different kinds of music affect women’s group identification and collective self-esteem.

Outside of the psychology department, Burnett is the student manager and bass section leader for the University Singers and co-music director for General Admission a cappella group. He is also active on the club tennis team and in University Theatre, having performed in three Bentley musicals and one Mindbending student production. He is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa Leadership Honor Society and Psi Chi Psychology National Honor Society.

Burnett’s post-graduation plans include additional research in a university lab, leading to graduate school closer to home in Southern California.

The Elmes Pathfinder Prize was established in 2007. It derives from the Elmes Fund, a permanently endowed fund that honors David G. Elmes, emeritus professor of psychology at W&L. The many alumni, colleagues and friends who benefited from Elmes’ commitment to learning during his 40-year career as a scientist, teacher and mentor at W&L created the endowment.

Markets and Morals Series Features Talk on ‘Taboo Trades in the Human Body’

“Although financial incentives are part of the menu, I am most interested in non-financial incentives, such as kidney swaps…”

krawiec-400x600 Markets and Morals Series Features Talk on 'Taboo Trades in the Human Body'Kimberly Krawiec, Professor of Law at Duke University

Kimberly Krawiec, the Kathrine Robinson Everett Professor of Law at Duke University and senior fellow and faculty council member at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, will give a lecture at Washington and Lee University on Nov. 14 at 5 p.m. in Northen Auditorium, Leyburn Library.

The title of Krawiec’s talk is “Gifts Within Markets? Taboo Trades in the Human Body.” It is free and open to the public.

Her lecture is part of the year-long series on Markets and Morals and is sponsored by W&L’s Roger Mudd Center for Ethics. For more information about this series, see: https://www.wlu.edu/mudd-center/programs-and-events/2016-2017-markets-and-morals.

“Much of my current research analyzes taboo trades — exchanges that are contested by society and, in some cases, forbidden altogether. I have written on commercial surrogacy, egg and sperm markets and sex work,” said Krawiec.

“At the moment, much of my work is on incentives for organ donation. Although financial incentives are part of the menu, I am most interested in non-financial incentives, such as kidney swaps, NEAD (nonsimultaneous extended altruistic donorchains) and priority systems that provide an incentive to donate.”

Krawiec, an expert on corporate law, teaches courses on securities, corporate and derivatives law. Her research interests include the empirical analysis of contract disputes; the choice of organizational form by professional service firms, including law firms; forbidden or taboo markets; insider trading; derivatives hedging practices; and rogue trading.

Prior to joining academia, Krawiec was a member of the commodity and derivatives group at the New York office of Sullivan & Cromwell. She has served as a commentator for the Central European and Eurasian Law Initiative of the American Bar Association and on the faculty of the National Association of Securities Dealers Institute for Professional Development at the Wharton School of Business.

She also has taught law at the University of Virginia, the University of North Carolina, Harvard and Northwestern.

Krawiec has authored “Is Informed Consent Enough?” in the “American Journal of Transplantation (2016); “Price and Pretense in The Baby Market,” in “Baby Markets: Money, Morals and The Neopolitics of Choice” (2009); and “Altruism and Intermediation in the Market for Babies,” in the Washington and Lee Law Review (2009).

Princeton Professor Imani Perry to Give Shannon-Clark Lecture

Imani_Perry-400x600 Princeton Professor Imani Perry to Give Shannon-Clark LectureImani Perry

Imani Perry, the Hughes-Rogers Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, will deliver the Shannon-Clark Lecture in English on Nov. 3 at 8 p.m. in Northen Auditorium, Leyburn Library.

The title of the talk is “The Passionate Utterance: Black Women’s Literature and Freedom Dreams.” It is free and open to the public.

Perry is an interdisciplinary scholar who studies race and African-American culture using the tools provided by various disciplines, including law, literary and cultural studies, music and the social sciences.

She is also affiliated with the Programs in Law and Public Affairs and Gender and Sexuality Studies.

Perry is the author of “More Beautiful and More Terrible: The Embrace and Transcendence of Racial Inequality in the United States” (2011) and “Prophets of the Hood: Politics and Poetics in Hip Hop” (2004) as well as numerous articles in the fields of law, cultural studies and African American studies. She has a forthcoming book on the history of the Black National Anthem from Oxford University Press and another on gender, neoliberalism and the digital age from Duke University Press.

UVa. Professor to Give Lecture on Free Speech Case Laws in Postcolonial India and Pakistan

Nair-400x600 UVa. Professor to Give Lecture on Free Speech Case Laws in Postcolonial India and PakistanNeeti Nair

Neeti Nair, associate professor in the Corcoran Department of History at the University of Virginia, will give a lecture at Washington and Lee University on Nov. 15 at 4:30 p.m. in Northen Auditorium, Leyburn Library. The reception will begin at 4 p.m.

The title of Nair’s talk is “The Historian as Judge: Free Speech Case Laws in Postcolonial India and Pakistan.” It is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by Department of Religion, the Philosophy and Religion Fund and the dean of the college.

“Headlines from South Asia these days routinely refer to the lynching of Muslims and Dalits for transporting or consuming beef in India and to the trials and tribulations of Christians facing charges of blasphemy in Pakistan,” Nair said. “The laws under which these offenses of causing religious hurt are allegedly committed date back to colonial times, but were retained by the postcolonial governments of India and Pakistan.

“The questions posed in this lecture include, how have specific colonial laws been used and interpreted, both in the decades just after Pakistan’s independence, as well as more recently? Is there a meaningful difference in the way the same laws have been interpreted in India and Pakistan? And how does recourse to history contribute to the debate on reform?”

Nair’s first book “Changing Homelands: Hindu Politics and the Partition of India” (2011) traces the politics of Punjabi Hindus in the first half of the 20th century. Her second book, “Blasphemy: A South Asian History,” is in progress.

She is also working on a history of laws in the Indian Penal Code that were originally instituted to punish those who sought to insult religious beliefs. “Blasphemy: A South Asian History,” will track these laws and their consequences in neighboring Pakistan and Bangladesh. An early piece of this research was published as “Beyond the ‘Communal’ 1920s: The Problem of Intention, Legislative Pragmatism and the Making of Section 295-A of the Indian Penal Code” (The Indian Economic and Social History Review, 2013).

Nair’s research and teaching interests span a wide range of topics in modern South Asian history and politics including colonialism, nationalism, the Partition, the place of religion and other markers of identity in politics, foreign policy and the history of education.

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W&L Faculty to Discuss Open Access Publishing

An Open Access Discussion Panel will take place Oct. 24 in the Book Nook in Leyburn Llibrary at Washington and Lee University on Oct. 24 from 4:30–5:30 p.m.

Four W&L faculty will talk about their experiences with Open Access publishing, both from the editorial and authorial perspectives. It is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided.

The panel members include:

  • Chris Gavaler, assistant professor of English;
  • Tim Lubin, professor of religion and adjunct professor of law;
  • Mitch Keller, assistant professor of mathematics;
  • Kyle Friend, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry.

Open Access is the free, immediate, online availability of research articles coupled with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment. Open Access ensures that anyone can access and use these results to turn ideas into industries and breakthroughs into better lives.

For more information, see http://sparcopen.org/open-access.

On the Convention Floor Steven Yeung represents Virginia as a delegate

steven-yeung-l On the Convention FloorSteven Yeung on the Democratic Convention Floor.

“I know that by being involved I am directly impacting our future.”

What is your major?
Politics, Chinese, Business (I’m one of the few triple-majors.)

Did you participate in Mock Con? What was your role?
I was a delegate for the Virginia Delegation, so I guess you could say I’m one of the few to have attended both the 2016 Democratic and Republican National Conventions! I wanted to study abroad my fall term junior year, so I wasn’t able to be more involved in Mock Con.

How did you become a delegate?
I started by Googling “how to be delegate dnc va,” and Virginia has a nicely laid out to-do list on its website called the Delegate Selection Press Kit. I learned that you had to apply for a local delegate position and choose whether you would be a Hillary delegate or a Bernie delegate. If there were more delegate applications than allocated for your area, then you had to go to a caucus to decide who should be delegates to the congressional and state conventions. Thankfully, I was able to bypass all that and go to the 2nd Congressional Convention (for the Congressional District I live in), which fell on a weekend during spring term. I actually considered not going because of something else going on that weekend, but I was too excited not to go. I made it there five minutes before they stopped giving credentials, and went into the Congressional Convention Hall, which shone with all the elegance of a middle school auditorium. From there, we went through the same procedure as the National Convention by approving the rules and the platform and hearing from the candidate for Congress, Shaun Brown. To actually elect the delegates, we had to break up into two caucuses based on what candidate we supported when we applied. All the Hillary delegates gathered together, and those who stated they wanted to run to be a national delegate gave 30-second speeches. I talked about my involvement with PAACE, various political campaigns, how I drove down three hours to be with them, and also how I believed young people should be more involved. I think they were impressed with my enthusiasm and youthful energy, and they elected me as one of the two Hillary delegates to represent them at the National Convention. You can also be elected at the State convention as one of the at-large delegates, but those are harder to come by since there are only so many spots for so many people.

You’ve been involved with politics for a long time? Why?
The main reason I got involved in politics was to try to create some discourse and hopefully change immigration policy. As the son of immigrants, I know first-hand how difficult it can be to get a visa or a permanent residence card. My aunt is currently going through the process, and she’s been waiting years just to make it into the States. She chose to leave her comfortable job as a teacher to work in a factory, just so that her daughter can have the same opportunities as you and me. My parents both went through the system, and it also took forever for them. If we can streamline the process and make it easier for international students or immigrants to come and stay, it will have a dramatic impact on America’s future because each immigrant is contributing to our country’s future. By campaigning for and electing the right candidates, we can create that necessary change.

I also believe it’s important for my generation to have a voice in politics. Everyone talks about how they want/are glad to see more young people involved. Even before the age of 18, you can have an impact on our politics by campaigning for candidates. By supporting candidates that take stands similar to the youth-voting bloc, we can ensure a prosperous and successful future. Being young was one of the reasons I was elected as a delegate — everyone was happy and excited to see my enthusiasm for politics at such a young age. I was ecstatic to be able to represent Millennials and show that we are a force in politics.

What’s been the most interesting/challenging/exciting/unusual aspect of this experience?
When you’re at the convention, you’re right in the middle of the election. Democrats from all over the United States came together as one body to nominate Hillary Clinton as their candidate for president. It was so exciting being in the middle of the historic moment when she was nominated and again when she accepted the nomination. You could tell by the energy and aura in the room that everyone was excited for this historic event that closed the gender inequality gap.

I was also excited to see other young Democrats from across the nation. We had a substantive showing at the convention, and it only shows that we are becoming more involved. While there was a mix of Bernie and Hillary delegates, we were able to have some great conversations because we had the common factor of being young, and we all care about the future of our country. Getting to meet them and hear their stories was amazing.

How did a W&L education prepare you for this role?
I think W&L prepared me better outside of the classroom than within it. W&L’s motto is “not unmindful of the future,” which is the sole reason why I’m involved. I know that by being involved I am directly impacting our future. Our quadrennial tradition of hosting the Mock Convention plays directly into that motto, as it simulates the convention and draws awareness to the nominating process. I would say Mock Con is the main reason why I began researching how to become a delegate. The nominating process is somewhat difficult to understand, and I didn’t know what delegates were before this year. Mock Con brought awareness to all of that and allowed me to explore the options that were available to me. Furthermore, W&L has a unique environment that builds the interpersonal skills that were necessary for me to win the votes to become a delegate.

What are your plans after graduation?
I have absolutely no idea. This convention has gotten me energized and motivated to campaign and help elect the right officials all across the country, but I’m also passionate about other areas of work. I have a very addictive personality — I don’t think there’s much out there that I wouldn’t enjoy doing. My job this next year is to pinpoint what I want to dedicate my career to, and it’s not going to be an easy task.

Many Shades of Green New student-sourced sustainability initiatives get the green light on campus.

Moores-Creek-1-1024x768 Many Shades of GreenW&L Fly Fishers partnered with the VMI fishing club and the local Trout Unlimited chapter to restore Moore’s Creek, upstream of the Lexington reservoir.

“What I loved about it was it was such a wide range of projects. And that is exactly what sustainability should be.”
–Kim Hodge,
director of sustainability initiatives and education

In December 2015, Kim Hodge, director of sustainability initiatives and education at Washington and Lee University, put out a call for student proposals related to sustainability projects. With funding from the president’s office — up to $2,000 per project — she hoped to fund campus- or community-related projects.

The proposals, reviewed with help from energy specialists Morris Trimmer and Jane Stewart, Chris Wise (former environmental management coordinator) and Professor Jeff Rahl, were an interesting mix. “What I loved about it was it was such a wide range of projects. And that is exactly what sustainability should be,” said Hodge. “I want students to think about how to incorporate sustainability into all aspects of life. Sustainability is not just about the environment. It has social and economic components to it as well. I also loved that students suggested projects that I would never have even thought about — or that I would have thought about but would have put it off for later. They were able to push forward some things that needed to happen on campus. Students can constantly surprise you.”

By the end of the 2016 academic year, three projects were done and three others in varying stages of completion due to a few snags encountered along the way.

Meera Kumar ’16, who is studying in India on a Fulbright Fellowship, said in her proposal on re-usable feminine hygiene products: “I propose that W&L subsidize alternative options to traditional disposable menstrual products. Reusable products are widely advertised in the developing world, but are seen as unhygienic and as a second-best option in Western countries. This mentality needs to change — and the conversation can begin right here on campus.”

The project was wildly successful. “There was a lot of energy behind this project, and Meera just ran with it,” said Hodge. “That type of project was not on my radar, but I definitely want to continue it next year.”

The W&L Fly Fishers, working with biology professor Robert Humston, took charge of restoring upper Moore’s Creek, which used to have a large trout population. The team leader on this project, Oliver Nettere ’16, organized 40 people to build 14 deep-water holding pools that will help trout survive the long, hot Lexington summers. He noted, “This project will benefit the greater Lexington community by restoring brook trout habitat, improving water quality and providing increased recreational opportunities from members both within the W&L community and Rockbridge County. As fly fishers, we all value the habitat and streams that sustain our sport and feel an inherent responsibility to protect these important resources.”

SolarCharger_0009_072916__-copy-350x233 Many Shades of GreenSolar charger outside Leyburn Library.

Tessa Horan ’18, Sequoya Bua-Iam ’17 and Prakhar Naithani ’17 suggested making eco-friendly cell phone chargers available in heavily trafficked locations on campus. For the Fitness Center, they installed kinetic chargers, relying on movement (walking, running, etc.) to deliver a charge. In the library and Outing Club Barn, they set up solar-powered chargers. As members of the Student Environmental Action League and the Lexington chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby, the three said in their proposal, “We are clearly interested in any and all efforts toward sustainability. Sequoya and Tessa researched solar power last spring as they petitioned for the installation of solar panels to power the third-year housing project, and Prakhar works at the ITS Help Desk, where he has encountered a great number of students in need of a phone/computer charger after leaving theirs at home.”

Additional projects relating to trail work, a campus-wide tree planting and identification program and a clothing collection drive hit roadblocks along the way, but Hodge believes the students can pick up where they left off in the fall.

“These projects involved a learning curve for students,” said Hodge. “Not only did they have to write a proposal, but they also had to research the cost of various supplies and organize a team to carry out their project. I essentially said, ‘This is on you.’ That’s a little scary for them. My job was to point them in the right direction — help them figure out who they needed to talk to and where to find that that person’s office.”

For Hodge, the beauty of these mini-grants is not only that they empower students, but also that they illustrate different sustainability efforts on campus. “These projects helped students learn how to be leaders in areas that interest them. They learned how to get through the process of making something happen. I think that is one of the easiest ways to educate our students. Sometimes, all they need is a little bit of money and support.”

Anything But a Gap Year Exploring the world before starting college

Rosalie_Bull Anything But a Gap YearRosalie Bull

“The world is so much bigger and so much more complex than I’d ever let myself imagine it to be. It turned my life into an exploration of people’s stories, and I hope I never lose that.”

–Rosalie Bull

Most of Washington and Lee University’s first-year students are matriculating right out of high school. But two of them, Rosalie Bull, of Dallas, Texas, and Ian Treger, of Lexington, Virginia, chose to take a gap year before starting college.

Far from taking time off from their education, both lived abroad to learn about a different culture and to learn something about themselves.

Rosalie, as part of the Global Citizen Year Program, lived with a family in the Pastaza region of Ecuador, a part of the Amazon rainforest. She was an apprentice at Parque Botánico Los Yapas, a non-profit organization created by a group of agronomists, biologists and a computer engineer interested in nature conservation. The park works on several projects including reforestation, an orquidarium, endemic palm-tree planting, an organic farm, medicinal plants and essential oil distillation.

“I was interested in doing a gap year because I wanted to be intentional with my education and with life in general,” she said. “College is one of the first big decisions we make as adults, yet it is usually not one we make of our own accord. College is a kick-butt opportunity, and I wanted to make sure that I was doing it for myself. More than anything, I wanted to see the world and widen my perspective before deciding what to do with my life.”

At the moment, Rosalie is interested in anthropology and the Shepherd Poverty Program. Her year abroad “gave me a new sense of wonder. It’s like the saying, ‘The more you know, the more you know you don’t know.’ The world is so much bigger and so much more complex than I’d ever let myself imagine it to be. It turned my life into an exploration of people’s stories, and I hope I never lose that.”

She wrote about her experiences on the Global Citizen Year website.

Ian-Treger-768x768 Anything But a Gap YearIan Tregar with his host sister.

Ian spent the year in Bonn, Germany, attending a German high school because, he said, “I wanted to let myself become a more mature person before starting college. I also wanted to travel and to learn German.”

He added, “Taking a gap year also revealed certain interests that I didn’t know I had, especially my interest in languages. Learning German helped my concentration, and living abroad made me independent and able to rely on myself. I’m interested in studying history, German and French at W&L, but there are also many other courses that interest me.”

In his blog, Ian summed up his experience: “It was difficult to come here. A new country, language and people at first made me hesitant. After six months, something clicked, and my German improved immensely, and, as a result, I gained confidence and became more open. I started speaking with everyone and expanding the circle of people I spent time with. Somehow I went from being an exchange student in the first six months, to being something more for the last few. I look at my life in Germany now, today, and there’s nothing negative I can find.”


International Outing Washington and Lee's Outing Club travels to Nepal for eight-day Khumbu trek

Nepal-Summit-2-1024x768 International OutingFrom l. to r.: Jamie Hayes ’17, Erik Jones ’91, Evan Johnson’16, Albert Civitarese’15, James Dick (sitting), Carlos Elordi (spouse of Monica Botta), Sierra Noland ’17, Alex Fernandez ’13 and James Lewis ’14. Not pictured: Professor Monica Botta and Andre Zamani.

“The landscape was fantastic, and the group dynamics were fantastic. Although we were there for a short time, we got a taste of what there is beyond our borders, and that’s what makes travel so interesting.”

The mantra for the Washington and Lee Outing Club’s eight-day Khumbu trek in Nepal quickly became “Down to river, up to mountain.” A reference to the topographical pattern of the trail, it’s what kept the group going during the unexpected 12-hour hike the day after summiting Chukung Ri (18,000 ft), which proved to be a difficult physical and mental test.

Physical rigor is to be expected on Outing Club trips. During the school year, students go spelunking, white-water rafting, or sea kayaking in the Everglades. The yearly international trip goes farther afield, and this year, James Dick, director of student activities and outdoor education, led a group of 10 on a hike through the foothills of the Himalayas. Over the past 10 years, Dick has led trips to Costa Rica, Belize, Tanzania, Kilimanjaro, Ecuador, Peru and Slovenia.

Compared to W&L’s popular Alumni Traveller programs, the Outing Club expeditions focus on adventure. “The idea is to spend most of the money on the actual experience rather than fancy food and accommodations,” explained Dick. “So we stay in B&Bs, youth hostels, pensions — not quite camping, but close.” He ends the trip, however, in a nice hotel, because “a hot shower feels really good.”

This year, before hitting the trail, the group had a day of sightseeing in Kathmandu, Nepal. They visited a few important landmarks, including the Pashupatinath temple, the Boudhanath Stupa and Bhaktapur Dubar Square. “We also saw a lot of ongoing repair work to buildings damaged by the 2015 earthquake, as well as tent cities of refugees who were desperate for work,” said Dick. One of the more memorable moments was witnessing a cremation ceremony and then watching the ashes being swept into the river. “That was a very emotional moment, seeing the family saying good-bye to a loved one,” he said.

“What struck me about Nepal’s people was their excitement to see tourists,” said Albert Civitarese ’15, who will be attending the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine this fall. “Countless times, they thanked us for visiting. They were excited to share their culture and were eager to learn more about ours. Initially, I was taken aback by these responses, yet in hindsight it fit perfectly with the Nepali people’s personalities. They had a strong sense of national pride and championed what their country had to offer, as both a tourist destination and a home. This was not without realizing its flaws or drawbacks, which they would openly discuss at length, if asked.”

Even though the group had previous hiking experience, the going was tough. “Our first segment, from Lukla (9,000 ft) to Phakding, was hard,” said Dick. “It was a difficult climb in the dark and the rain.” But the next few days offered diverse hiking and visits to teahouses and monasteries. Prayer flags blowing blessings in the wind, and shrines carved or painted with Buddhist mantras, lined the path. “You always walk to the left of them,” noted Dick. All supplies were strapped onto yaks, and the group carried individual daypacks. Meals included lots of carbohydrates — fried potatoes or noodles with vegetables, as well as dal bhat, a rice and lentil curry.

Hiking at altitude presented its own set of problems. “People were really tired,” noted Dick. “We were taking pulses through the night and had some meds on hand to counteract the affects of altitude sickness.” As the group approached the summit of Chukung Ri, altitude took its toll on a couple members. “During our summit hike, James Lewis ’14 and I were laughing the entire way up the bluff,” said Civitarese. “Everything was gut wrenchingly funny, and only our labored breathing could interrupt this apparent comedic act as we inched our way up the mountain. With the timeline of the hike and our elevation change, slight AMS symptoms were inevitable. When we returned from the summit, I developed a strong headache and overall body ache.”

Leading them throughout the trip was Head Guide Karma Sherpa. “He was extremely outgoing and informative,” said Dick. “There were stupas all along the way, and he even led us in a few prayers. He was so outgoing and professional.”

“It was a really tough climb,” acknowledged Dick, “but it was one of the better trips I’ve done in many ways. The landscape was fantastic, and the group dynamics were fantastic. Although we were there for a short time, we got a taste of what there is beyond our borders, and that’s what makes travel so interesting.”

“I both praise and curse James Dick for planning this trip,” said Civitarese. “Without a doubt, trekking in Nepal is one of the most unique and amazing experiences I have ever had. While the national parks in the U.S. would be able to provide similar views collectively, this single trek encompassed so many different beautiful landscapes I do not believe I will be able to ever top it in my life. Thus, my disdain for James. I fear Nepal has ruined me for hiking elsewhere.”


“The Timeless Lessons of the Bernie Madoff Scandal”

“Diana is one of the nation’s top financial writers and a trail blazer for women in journalism.”
~ Journalism Professor Alecia Swasy

Diana_Henriques-photo_credit_to_Fred_Conrad_NYT-400x600 "The Timeless Lessons of the Bernie Madoff Scandal"Diana Henriques, photo by Fred Conrad, New York Times

Diana Henriques, an award-winning financial journalist and author, will give a talk at Washington and Lee University on Oct. 27 at 5 p.m. in the Stackhouse Theater of Elrod Commons.

The title of her speech is “The Timeless Lessons of the Bernie Madoff Scandal.” It is free and open to the public. A book signing will follow.

Her talk is sponsored by the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications and the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation.

Henriques, the 2016-2017 Reynolds Fellow at W&L, is a New York Times financial reporter who has largely specialized in investigative reporting on white-collar crime, market regulation and corporate governance.

Since January 2012, she has been a contributing writer at the Times and has written for a variety of other outlets, including Forbes magazine.

“Diana is one of the nation’s top financial writers and a trail blazer for women in journalism,” said Alecia Swasy, W&L’s Donald W. Reynolds Chair in Business Journalism.

One of her most powerful investigations revealed how American military personnel were cheated by financial service companies. Her reporting resulted in legislative reforms and cash payments refunded to thousands of families. The series was a Pulitzer finalist and was honored with numerous other awards. “She is tireless and digs in to find the truth,” Swasy said.

“HBO is developing ‘The Wizard of Lies’ as a movie and Henriques plays herself interviewing Robert DeNiro as Bernie Madoff,” Swasy mentioned.

She is the author of “Wizard of Lies” (2012), a New York Times bestseller about the tale of Bernie Madoff, and other books including “The White Sharks of Wall Street: Thomas Mellon Evans and The Original Corporate Raiders (2000) and “Fidelity’s World: The Secret Life and Public Power of the Mutual Fund Giant” (1995).

“Journalists, Audiences…and Bots?!” New Thinking About the News

Seth_Lewis-400x600 "Journalists, Audiences…and Bots?!" New Thinking About the NewsUniversity of Oregon Professor Seth Lewis

Seth C. Lewis, the Shirley Papé Chair in Electronic Media in the School of Journalism and Communications at the University of Oregon, will give a talk at Washington and Lee University on Oct. 21 at 4:30 p.m. in Northen Auditorium, Leyburn Library.

The title of Lewis’ lecture is “Journalists, Audiences…and Bots?! New Ways of Thinking about What’s Happening with News.” The lecture is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications.

“Seth will be looking through three different lenses to view the technological and sociological changes in news,” said Mark Coddington, assistant professor of journalism and mass communications at W&L. “They are boundaries (between journalists and audiences and between journalists and programmers); agents (both journalists and the technologies they use acting as agents of change in news); and reciprocity (expectations of mutual exchange and relationship between journalists and audiences).”

Lewis will argue that “These concepts offer fresh ways of interpreting journalism as a professional field, a form of media work and a way to engage with both human audiences and forms of technology.”

A two-time winner of the Outstanding Article in Journalism Studies Award, Lewis explores the digital transformation of journalism, with a focus on human-technology interactions and media innovation processes associated with data, code, audience analytics, social media and related subjects.

Lewis is the editor of “Journalism in an Era of Big Data: Cases, Concepts and Critiques” (2016) and co-editor of “Boundaries of Journalism: Professionalism, Practices and Participation” (2015).

Before joining the University of Oregon in 2016, he was associate professor and Mitchell V. Charnley Faculty Fellow in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

He has also held appointments as visiting fellow in Yale Law School’s Information Society Project and as visiting scholar in The Program in Science, Technology and Society at Stanford University.


“Truevine” Author Beth Macy to Speak

“Beth Macy is southwest Virginia’s premiere nonfiction storyteller”
~ Journalism Prof. Doug Cumming

beth_macy-400x600 "Truevine" Author Beth Macy to SpeakAuthor Beth Macy

Beth Macy, author and winner of more than a dozen journalism awards, will speak at Washington and Lee University on Nov. 9 as the Fishback Visiting Writer. Her talk will begin at 5 p.m. in Stackhouse Theater, Elrod Commons.

Macy will speak on “Reporting From the Margins: 30 Years of Covering Exploitation, Greed and Race.” Her talk is free and open to the public and a book signing will follow.

Her visit is sponsored by the Fishback Visiting Writer and the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications.

Macy’s newest book is “Truevine: A Strange and Troubling Tale of Two Brothers in Jim Crow America.” Pulitzer Prize-winning author Gilbert King hailed the book as “unforgettable,” and poet Nikki Giovanni described it as a “stirring story of a mother’s journey to reclaim not only her sons but her right to them.”

Macy is also the author of the Lukas Prize-winning “Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local — and Helped Save an American Town” (2014). It was an instant New York Times bestseller. New York Times critic Janet Maslin called the nonfiction narrative “an illuminating, deeply patriotic David vs. Goliath book.”

“Factory Man” was named a New York Times Noteable book for 2014, and was also the Southern Independent Booksellers Association’s top nonfiction pick. HBO, working in tandem with Tom Hanks’s production company Playtone, is in development to produce a four-hour miniseries based on the book.

“Beth Macy is southwest Virginia’s premiere nonfiction storyteller,” said Doug Cumming, associate professor in journalism and mass communications at W&L.

truevine-cover-400x600 "Truevine" Author Beth Macy to Speak“Truevine” A Novel by Beth Macy

“With an ear, heart and poet’s gift for intimate journalism, she chose to stay at the Roanoke Times for almost her entire career, until the call of book-length masterpieces finally took hold. She remains in Roanoke, and finds her stories here in our part of the world.”

Macy has been published in Oprah magazine, Parade, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Newyorker.com, Salon and Christian Science Monitor. For two decades, she was the families beat reporter at The Roanoke Times, where many of her longer pieces originated.

Macy, who has long specialized in outsiders and underdogs, has won awards including a Nieman Fellowship for Journalism at Harvard in 2010 and two Casey medals for coverage of children and families.

Macy’s approach to storytelling is “Report from the ground up, establish trust, be patient, find stories that tap into universal truths. Eat the posole. Get out of your ZIP code. To do good work, be a human first.”

Each year, the Fishback Visiting Writers program, funded by Sara and William H. Fishback Jr. ’56, brings to campus someone who has written with distinction on public affairs, nature and the environment, history or the theater. The Fishback visitor spends time with W&L students in the classroom and delivers a lecture to the local community. Since 1996, it has brought such speakers as Diane McWhorter, Cornel West, Ray Suarez and Jane Meyer.

Narratives on Self and Society Sasha Goluboff talks about her farm, the influence of technology on student sociality and her most recent project involving a black church in Brownsburg, Virginia

Sascha_Goluboff1-1024x683 Narratives on Self and SocietySasha Goluboff

“I’ve been interested in the importance of emotion and connection among people, so I’ve been following that thread throughout my work.”

Title: Professor of Cultural Anthropology, Chair of Sociology and Anthropology
Department: Sociology and Anthropology
Education: B.A., Colgate University; Ph.D., University of Illinois
Research Interests: My work focuses on the anthropology of emotion in a variety of geographical and historical contexts. From investigating practices of mourning and grief in Azerbaijan to analyzing the delight and terror of homeplace in Antebellum Virginia, I view emotion as a story — a narrative told about self and society, as well as a discourse about interpersonal connections.

What courses do you teach?
My courses include Introduction to Anthropology; Campus Sex in the Digital Age; Terror and Violence; Childhood; Feminist Anthropology; Theorizing Social Life; and Food, Culture and Society.

What hobbies do you have?
I like to keep active, so I run. I just ran a 10-miler in Philadelphia and have also run half marathons. I’ve been ramping up my swimming, and I competed in the local masters meet in March. I like to knit when I have the time.

What is a little-known fun fact about you?
They say a woman marries someone like her dad: my dad’s a tall mathematician, and my husband’s tall and a mathematician (Professor Alan McRae also teaches at W&L). I have two sons — Liam, 10, and Aiden, 3, and Liam likes math, so he definitely has the math gene.

Why did you initially decide to become an anthropologist?
I’ve always been interested in other societies. In college I went abroad to Russia and really enjoyed being in another culture — talking to people and seeing how people live their lives is fascinating. A guest lecturer at my undergraduate school (Colgate University) said he had the best job in the world. He said he got paid to hang out with people, and I thought, “Yeah, I could do that.”

What do you enjoy most about W&L?
I particularly enjoy seminars, where we talk about the big ideas in anthropology and get different points of view. With anthropology, the main tenet is to make the strange familiar and the familiar strange. We examine other ways of life and try to understand them and realize that they do have a logic and coherence. Then, we flip that around and say, “Okay, now that we know how other people do things, let’s look at our own lives and see what we do is actually not so normal.” I like leading students through that process.

What does your research generally focus on?
I’ve been interested in the importance of emotion and connection among people, so I’ve been following that thread throughout my work. My Ph.D. dissertation examined Jewish religious revival in Russia and understanding of faith in the post-Soviet context. In Azerbaijan, I worked with Mountain Jews to examine their mourning rituals where women would lead the mourning. I found it very interesting, the way in which women ritual leaders would try to make women cry collectively. What does that mean for emotion when people are coerced into crying, and what’s considered true emotion versus performance, and is it possible to differentiate between the two?

A more recent project involves looking at the local black church in Brownsburg, Virginia, where I live. I am interested in African American spirituality within a larger, white-dominated framework in Virginia, and traced the lineage of that church back to former slaves in the area. I found lots of pre-Civil War material, including wills, chanceries, cases and surveys — like the census — and letters. I’ve exhibited that material in the Brownsburg museum and here at W&L’s library. I’m trying fiction writing — combining ethnography with fiction — and that’s been a lot of fun for me.

GoluboffFamily-514x768 Narratives on Self and SocietySasha Goluboff and her family.

Describe your work on the influence of technology on student sociality.
I thought it would be fascinating to look at how cell phones impact dating practices on campus. Three research assistants — seniors at W&L — did interviews with students about their cell phone and dating practices, especially texting. And we also conducted a survey. One of the things I discuss in the publication that came out of that work, “Text to Sex: The Impact of Cell Phones on Hooking up and Sexuality on Campus” (in Mobile Media & Communication), was that for women, texting someone they are interested in can be a liberating experience, but only if that interest is reciprocated. Otherwise, women can use the excuse that their forwardness was the result of a “drunk text.” Men who talked with each other about how to text women were essentially having discussions about relationships. That’s not something men typically do, but they were allowed to explore their more “feminine side” due to this technology.

Tell us a little more about your farm.
We started with chickens, and I read somewhere that chickens are like the gateway drug to farming, which definitely happened with us. Once we built the chicken house, all of a sudden we needed to get more things. In addition to a big vegetable garden, we’ve got heritage hogs, called guinea hogs, St. Croix sheep, and two top-bar beehives. The first time we got a litter of piglets, we wanted to figure out if they were male or female, so we turned them over, and apparently all piglets have nipples. So there we were, wondering, male or female? We couldn’t tell. Turns out they were all female, which is really odd, but we were just standing in the field with this screaming pig on its back trying to figure out its sex.

– interview by Wesley Sigmon ’16

The Millenials’ Song W&L Students Perform "The Theory of Relativity"

Theory-of-Relativitiy The Millenials' Song“The Theory of Relativity” cast. Seated on the ground, l. to r.: Hannah Palmatary and Logan Wilson. Back row, from l. to r.: Andrew Creel, Kailyn Drohan, Jim Grant, Ramonah Gibson, Will McLearn, Nick Mauer, Daniel Wetterhahn, Laura Noker and Hannah Dewing.

“I have been given the freedom to make acting choices that just weren’t possible in high school. Having less supervision means I have to spend more time outside of rehearsals on my character. This may be harder, but it is definitely more rewarding.”

“Places, please, for the top of the show.” It’s been a rapid-fire rehearsal period for the 11 Washington and Lee University students who will perform in “The Theory of Relativity,” opening on the Keller stage in the Lenfest Center for Performing Arts on Oct. 20. A joint production of the Department of Theater, Dance and Film Studies and the Department of Music, the show is made possible by funding from the Robert O. and Elizabeth M. Bentley Endowment.

Director Rob Mish ’76 was drawn to this musical partly because “as an ensemble piece it offered an excellent platform to showcase our very talented students. It is also new material, which means we can go into this with very few preconceived notions as to how to perform it. We’re working with a script that was released in April 2016, so very few have seen it. While we always try to take a fresh approach to anything that we do, this is a complete unknown. This is a blank slate, and we can approach it from a character standpoint, a musical standpoint and a design standpoint, and take it anyplace we’d like to go.”

“The Theory of Relativity” has a format similar to “A Chorus Line,” where the writers asked a group of aspiring dancers for their stories. “In a sense, that’s what happened with “he Theory of Relativity,’ ” explained Mish, who is also director of the Lenfest Center. “Writers Neil Bartram and Brian Hill (“The Story of My Life”) assembled a group of college students and asked, ‘What’s your story? How did you get here?’ The result is a series of ensemble numbers that address millennial topics, while the solos concentrate on a character’s particular story, whether that is the changing relationship with their parents and friends, coming out, or falling in and out of love. The focus for these characters is ‘How do I relate to the world, to other people? And how do outside forces relate to me?’ ”

Guest musical director Steven Gross noted that in a typical book musical, such as “My Fair Lady” or “West Side Story,” actors are more easily able to step into a character. With this production, however, students have to be themselves, and that is a more difficult task. “They aren’t playing a flower girl or a policeman, so they can’t hide behind a cockney accent or costume,” he said. “The hardest thing is to be ourselves. So these students have to figure out how their character’s story relates to them.”

“The music is pretty challenging, and it’s pushing our students,” said Mish. “This isn’t music from the Golden Era of musicals written by Rodgers and Hammerstein or Cole Porter or Andrew Lloyd Webber. The writers have struck a nerve with several modern composers — what I hear is a bit of Jason Robert Brown, Elton John and Kander and Ebb. This isn’t Stephen Sondheim in terms of difficulty, but it approaches that.”

Musicals are not cheap to produce. The costs of the license, royalties and set and costume design add up quickly, but “funding from the Bentley Endowment has allowed us to do musicals that we otherwise would not have been able to afford,” said Mish. “It has also allowed us to bring expert talent, like Steven, to be the musical director. Steven has amazing international and Broadway directing credentials, and we’re really fortunate to have him. He is wonderful to work with. There is more music than dialogue for this show, so his responsibilities for this are greater than they would be for a book musical.”

While this may be a college production, “Steven expects a Broadway level of commitment from these students,” added Mish. “He sets the bar high, and our students love that kind of a challenge. If they think for a second that you doubt them, they are out to prove you wrong. Steven has told them that it’s not like singing in a choral group, where you’ve got a section of sopranos or baritones. He tells them you have to know this music backwards and forwards, without someone standing next to you singing the same thing.”

Ramonah Gibson, whose character faces her fear of germs, is one of six first-years making their W&L début in “The Theory of Relativity.” “Working with Steven has been very educational, but definitely fun,” she said. “He is very professional, which at first was very intimidating, because I just thought he didn’t like the cast. He is actually a very funny person, which is great because it means he hides all kinds of wisdom in funny sayings. He is never afraid to call us out if we are slacking, and I can truthfully say I can tell the difference in the way I now think about the lyrics in all music. He never lets us get comfortable with a way we are singing a song. He is always pushing for a song to have more emotion, for it to be even more technically perfect or for us to rethink how our character would look at the words.”

She’s already thinking of majoring in both theater and political science, with a concentration in global studies. While Gibson has participated in many high school productions, this experience has helped her grow as an actor. “I realized that understanding and performing my monologues was much easier than singing in this show,” she said. “I had always thought I was a stronger singer than an actor. This musical helped me accurately assess my strengths and weaknesses as a performer. I always assumed I wasn’t good at acting, but I actually am really confident in my monologues. While I thought I had almost come to a true understanding of my voice, I am now taking time to relearn and become better at using it. I’ve also grown as a performer because it has allowed me to take risks that I normally don’t take. I have been given the freedom to make acting choices that just weren’t possible in high school. Having less supervision means I have to spend more time outside of rehearsals on my character. This may be harder, but it is definitely more rewarding.”

On the other end of the spectrum is Logan Wilson, a senior who has performed in W&L shows all four of his college years. “I’ve done theater all throughout middle school and high school, so coming to college, it was really important to me to be able to keep performing,” said Wilson, who also sings with the University Singers. “I’ve really appreciated that W&L has given me so many opportunities to pursue passions not strictly limited to my main academic pursuits. As a mathematics and physics-engineering double major, with a minor in music, I’ve especially enjoyed that this show highlights elements from all three of my interests to make one cohesive piece.”

He added, “One of the biggest challenges of this show that really distinguishes it from other shows I’ve done is that for the most part the cast is on stage for the entire show. It can be exhausting to stay engaged for that long without a break, but I think it adds a really unique layer to the show for the audience.”

What impresses Mish the most is the students’ work ethic. “We’re in rehearsal five nights a week, and some of these students are also in rehearsal for the other two upcoming productions, later this term (‘Sense and Sensibility’) and early next term (‘Dracula’),” he said. “They are literally here in the Lenfest Center for hours. I don’t know how they balance it all, but they are really excited to be here doing these productions, which is great, because I’m really looking forward to watching them perform in next year’s shows.” (That lineup: “The Rocky Horror Show,” “Romeo and Juliet” and “The BFG [Big Friendly Giant].”)

“The Theory of Relativity” will run in the Keller Theatre, with evening performances at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 20, Friday, Oct. 21, and Saturday, Oct. 22; and a 2 p.m. performance on Sunday, Oct. 23. Order your tickets online today at wlu.edu/lenfest-center or call the Lenfest box office at 458-8000 for ticket information. Box office hours are Mon.–Fri., 9–11 a.m. and 1–3 p.m., and it will be open two hours prior to performance time.

Harrison Westgarth DART Internship at the National Institutes of Health

Harrison-WestgarthJPG-e1475869774587-576x768 Harrison Westgarth

“I have a variety of new lab techniques under my belt, a revitalized understanding of the scope and importance of medical research at a federal level and a newly discovered penchant for formulating my own research questions.”

Hometown: McKinney, TX
Major: Biology and Spanish
Company Name: National Institutes of Health
Location: Bethesda, MD
Position: DART Intern


Briefly describe your summer research experience.
This is my second summer participating in a summer research program. Last year, I did research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx. That lab is affiliated with Dana’s Angels Research Trust (DART), the organization that also funds my current work at the NIH. DART was founded by Phil Marella ’81 and his wife, Andrea, to promote research and understanding of the rare congenital lysosomal storage disease, Neimann Pick Type C. NPC has no cure and mostly afflicts children, although a number of drugs are currently undergoing various clinical and lab trials. As specified by DART, my work focuses on researching this fatal disease, so much of my efforts have been devoted to further understanding the mechanisms governing the disease at a cellular level and the efficacy and side effects of a number of potential treatments.

What attracted you to the program?
Apart from the prestige that the NIH commands in the world of medical research, I found myself drawn to this program this summer due to my desire to continue on the research journey I started last year. The opportunity here at the NIH allowed me to not only pursue additional NPC research and continue the dialogue I began at Einstein, but also to experience a new lab environment, a new city and the intricacies that come with working for a large government-funded scientific organization.

How does your work this summer apply to your studies at W&L?
First and foremost, my experience will make me a much better biologist, both in and out of the lab. Being devoted to lab work Monday through Friday over the course of the summer will help me refine and learn many lab techniques that are directly transferable to lab work at W&L. Additionally, weekly lab meetings and presentations are incredibly helpful in improving my level of understanding of both medical research and the fundamentals of biology itself.

Describe a typical day
I usually arrive at the lab anytime between 9 or 9:30 a.m., dictated solely by the whims of D.C.’s much-loved metro system (currently the subject of intense maintenance initiatives). My morning work is most often specified by my principal investigator and sees me either staining or processing tissue or helping to harvest and treat fish embryos to assess the effects of new experimental therapeutic drugs. After lunch, the afternoons are usually spent continuing the morning’s procedures or, occasionally, shadowing our lab’s nurses or physician on rounds to visit patients on campus for our lab’s clinical drug trials. Days end anywhere between 4:30-7 p.m., depending on the needs of the investigators or my own personal luck in performing a procedure. Life in the lab is as glamorous as it is flexible.

Did any particular courses or faculty members help prepare you for the experience? How so?
Professor Ayoub’s genetics class and lab has probably had the most impact in preparing me for my experience in summer research. Many of the techniques learned in her class have been directly applicable in my own personal work and gave me a solid basis upon which to build my skill in the lab to its current state.

What was the most interesting or unexpected aspect of your experience?
The most unexpected aspect of my experience has been the sheer size and scope of the NIH. As a student of science, I had previously encountered the NIH in literature. However, I always assumed it was a single large building, the National Institute (singular) of Health. Actually, NIH stands for the National Institutes (plural) of Health, and it is a very large campus of 50-plus buildings, each devoted to a specific field of medical research. The site of the NIH is comparable in size to that of a large college campus, equipped with its own buses and a metro station. I was quite naïve to think I would be commuting to a quaint little institute in Bethesda day after day.

What key takeaways or new skills are you bringing back to W&L?
I have a variety of new lab techniques under my belt, a revitalized understanding of the scope and importance of medical research at a federal level and a newly discovered penchant for formulating my own research questions — to dive in and start trying to push forward on the fringes of knowledge, even when I’m very much still learning.

What advice would you give to other students interested in this program?
Be passionate, talk to your professors, apply early and make connections. There are very few people at W&L who aren’t willing to lend a helping hand in the application process for this exact program and other summer research programs similar to it. I have found that our biology department has been a crucial part of my success in engaging in two consecutive summers with this program, and I am eternally thankful for their support. Furthermore, don’t put all your eggs in one basket, apply to multiple programs (this one included) and never be too proud to have a number of backups. Finally, to those of you who might eventually also find yourselves in this program, be open and willing to ask for help from others in the lab. They know you’re there to learn, and you’ll never gain anything from sitting passively on the sidelines waiting for someone to notice you’re struggling.

Describe your experience in a single word.
Humbling.

One Fish, Two Fish Sasha Doss '13 is in the final stage of completing a master's degree in fish and wildlife conservation at Virginia Tech.

Doss-1024x768 One Fish, Two FishSasha Doss ’13

“Fish have amazing traits. I want to share that with people, help them feel connected to fish and help them understand how important fish are to the world we live in.”

While she readily admits that she’s terrible at fishing — “I’ve only caught a handful of fish in my life,” Sasha Doss ’13 has made the underwater creatures the focus of her graduate work.

“Fish are really cool,” she said. People often connect better with furry fauna — “bears or large cats,” for instance. “I want people to feel that way about fish.”

Doss is in the final stage of completing a master’s degree in fish and wildlife conservation at Virginia Tech. She took time between her W&L graduation and starting the master’s program to undertake an internship with the Environmental Defense Fund in San Francisco.

Doss interned for six months in the Oceans Department. “One of the major problems the department worked on was how to better manage fisheries with deficient data. Many countries and agencies just don’t have the resources for extensive data collection, but still need to make decisions. Ironically, a lot of those places are typically home to the most unique resources.” One project Doss worked on involved creating a computer-based model that could be used to stimulate coral reef systems using minimal data input.”

Since then, most of her field research at Virginia Tech has been in collaboration with Joe Williams, a biologist with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. They search for and study muskellunges or “muskies” in the New River to study their diet and population patterns.

Doss said that muskies were introduced into the New River in the 1960s for sport fishermen, but over time, many started to think that muskies were preying on smallmouth bass, the New River’s most popular sport fish. Through their research, Doss and Williams have concluded that muskies eat a wide variety of other fish, and that smallmouth bass make up less than 1 percent of the muskie diet.

Their research has shown that “muskies do not have a substantial predatory impact on the smallmouth bass population,” she said.

Last winter, Doss received the Robert D. Ross Graduate Scholarship, given to a graduate student in Virginia who has demonstrated academic excellence and promise for future contributions to fisheries and aquatic resource conservation.

Doss will complete work on her master’s degree this semester and then move to Washington, D.C., to begin a Sea Grant John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship. Fellows are paired with a host in either the executive or legislative branch of government to work directly on marine resource policy development and application.

Doss will be placed with an executive branch agency, but won’t know her exact placement until December. Previous executive fellows have been placed in agencies such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Department of Defense.

The fellowship begins in February and will last one year. After that, she hasn’t decided on her next move. “I hope the fellowship will help me decide what side of science I want to be on,” she said. “Research or management.”

A native of Martinsville, Virginia, Doss visited W&L and “fell in love with the campus and the traditions,” she said. “All the people I met were wonderful.” She arrived as a Johnson Scholar and knew she wanted to pursue science.

Robert Humston, associate professor of biology, introduced her to the fisheries field. “He has been involved in every aspect of my early professional career,” she said. He took her to a conference of the American Fisheries Society, where she presented her research. “It was a big turning point” — the first time she felt comfortable amid a group of professional scientists. “I regularly talk to him for professional advice,” she said.

“W&L in general fosters a creative atmosphere,” said Doss. In less traditional courses for a science major, such as environmental and natural resource economics with associate professor Jim Casey, she learned new perspectives on environmental management.

Outside of class, she was a cheerleader for four years, a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority, Beta Beta Beta biology honor society, the Lexington Literacy Campaign and Women in Technology and Science.

Doss may not be an expert at fishing, but she does like to get into the water and become one with her subject’s environment. She says diving or snorkeling on coral reefs is one of her favorite things to do. Out of the water, she and her German Shepherd, Bernard, love to hike and spend time outdoors.

Doss intends to continue her work with fish. “They have amazing traits. I want to share that with people, help them feel connected to fish, and help them understand how important fish are to the world we live in.”

—Linda Evans

Summer Internship: Dan Claroni Icelandic Meteorological Office, Reykjavík, Iceland

Daniel-Claroni-600x400 Summer Internship: Dan ClaroniDan Claroni

What attracted you to this internship?

This internship has a unique combination of drones and geology. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are now being used to monitor gas in Iceland, and I am measuring emissions at some never-before measured places. This was really exciting to me, and I couldn’t let the opportunity pass.

How did you learn about it?

Through Dr. David Harbor, professor of geology, at Washington and Lee.

What gave you an edge in landing this internship?

My previous experience flying drones and using drones to do geologic research. It also helped that I am a computer science minor and that I reached out to the IMO as soon as I learned of the opportunity.

Describe your daily duties.

Every day I test that the drone’s flight is stable and that all of its sensors are functioning. I need to make sure everything is working perfectly before we can take the drone into the field to measure gas concentrations. I make repairs, keep track of spare and broken parts, understand the sensors, install the sensors and sometimes even build new parts. I am also responsible for testing sensors that the IMO might be interested in attaching to the drone.

Have any courses and/or professors helped you prepare for this internship? Which ones?

Professor Chris Connors and our research together last summer, as well as his geophysics course, has taught me a lot about drones. This work really sparked my interest and allowed me to get hands-on experience using drones for geologic research.

What do you hope to learn by the end of your experience?

I’m learning how to install a variety of different sensors on the drone, and I hope to learn a lot of geochemistry involving volcanic gases.

What was your favorite part or perk of the internship?

Getting the chance to live and work in Iceland is really incredible. Iceland is a beautiful place, and flying drones in Iceland is a truly amazing experiences. The geology is fascinating, and everyone at the IMO is excited and passionate about what they do. All of the work done at the IMO aids in the prediction of natural hazards, such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and floods.

What did you learn from living in the city where the internship was located?

Living in Reykjavik has taught me a lot about Icelandic culture and a little of the language. Everyone that I have met in Iceland speaks near-perfect English, which, along with the difficulty of the language, makes it really challenging to learn Icelandic. However, I have had the chance to pick up some in the few weeks I’ve been here so far and can get by with those few words and head nods most of the time. I also learned my way around the city since I have been biking everywhere, and after some experimentation, I now know what Icelandic foods you should and shouldn’t order.

What key takeaways/skills will you bring back to W&L?

I will definitely know how to install and use different sensors on drones. I think the use of UAVs in geology is limitless, and we are currently just scratching the surface. I can easily imagine Washington and Lee creating high-resolution digital-elevation models and taking strike and dip measurements off a 3-D digital model using a camera-equipped drone. There are many independent research projects that could use gas sensors, thermal cameras and a myriad of different accessories mounted on drones.

What advice would you give to students interested in a position like this?

Don’t be shy. Reach out to the professors in the geology department and the researchers at the IMO. The professors in the W&L geology department are amazing and by far the most helpful professors I have ever had. They will push for you to give you a better chance of getting the position, and if you don’t get that position, they will help you find the next best thing.

Has this experience influenced your career aspirations? How so?

It’s motivated me to work more with drones and natural hazards. I really like the idea of being able to predict natural hazards to save lives. I also think it is really helpful that drones allow you to do geologic research in places that may be too dangerous to reach on foot. We can access places that might be polluted with hazardous gases or might be prone to landslides.

Describe your experience in a single word.

Captivating.

The Ethics of Environmental Valuation A Conference Sponsored by W&L's Roger Mudd Center for Ethics

The Mudd Center for Ethics at Washington and Lee University will host an interdisciplinary conference on “The Ethics of Environmental Valuation” on Oct. 29, from 9 a.m.–5:30 p.m., in the Hillel Multipurpose Room (101).

The conference is free and open to the public. See the list of panelists below.

The conference will explore two fundamental but related themes: the ethical issues surrounding the valuation of ecosystem services and the proper role of preference satisfaction in the development of environmental policy.

“The aim of this conference is to bring together economists, philosophers and scientists who work in environmental studies to address certain ethical questions surrounding the valuation of ecosystem services—that is, services that the natural world provides,” said Angela Smith, director of the Mudd Center for Ethics.

“Some cases are pretty clear. A wetland provides water filtration services, so we can ask what it would cost to build a functionally equivalent water treatment facility. Bees and other creatures provide natural pollination services, so we can ask what it would cost to truck in bees to get the job done. Other cases are more controversial. How should we value landscapes and other bits of nature that have cultural, historical, spiritual or aesthetic significance? Or parts of nature that have significance from the standpoint of biodiversity or wilderness preservation? How should these values be incorporated into environmental decision-making? The conference will address these and related questions.”

The panelists include:

Rachelle Gould, assistant professor of environmental studies, University of Vermont. Her collaborative interdisciplinary research investigates the relationships between ecosystems and well-being, focusing on the intersection of environmental values, learning and human behavior. Using the lens of cultural ecosystem services and with particular attention to issues of diversity and equity, she examines how nature improves well-being in nonmaterial ways.

Lisi Krall, professor of economics, SUNY-Cortland. Her research explores the interface between economy and the earth. It is oriented to questions concerning the contradictions and challenges in altering the dynamic and structure of the economy to comport to the biophysical limitations and wild impulse of the earth.

Bryan Norton, professor of philosophy, Georgia Tech. In his research, he has addressed the problems of species loss, degradation and illness of ecological systems, the problems of watershed management, and most recently, the problem of placing boundaries around environmental issues so that they can be modeled for study and management.

Stephen Polasky, Regents Professor and Fesler-Lambert Professor of Ecological/Environmental Economics, University of Minnesota. His research focuses on issues at the intersection of ecology and economics and includes the impacts of land use and land management on the provision and value of ecosystem services and natural capital, biodiversity conservation, sustainability, environmental regulation, renewable energy and common property resources.

Sahotra Sarkar, professor of philosophy, University of Texas-Austin. He is one of the founders of systematic conservation planning within conservation biology, promoting the use of multi-criteria decision analysis and supervising the creation of the ConsNet decision support system. In this context he has advocated participatory environmental planning and strongly criticized the imposition of authoritarian and discriminatory environmental policies on local residents.

Terre Satterfield, professor and director, Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, University of British Columbia. An anthropologist by training and an interdisciplinarian by design, her work concerns sustainable development in the context of debates about cultural meanings, environmental values, perceived risk, environmental and ecosystem health.

Crisis Responder David Sugerman ’99

DSugarman1 Crisis Responder

“In the emergency room, unlike public health, doctors can immediately alleviate suffering on an individual basis.”

When recent floods hit Louisiana, many people lost homes and businesses. Among them was a homeless man, who lost his only shelter — a cardboard box under a highway overpass.

Responding to the disaster in his capacity as a physician and commander in the U.S. Public Health Service, David Sugerman ’99 got to know the man and, while treating his medical needs, heard his story of military service, drug abuse and a life that spiraled out of control.

“It was a wonderful opportunity to provide him medical care and to help him get needed services, an apartment and job training,” Sugerman said.

That intersection of medicine and social services attracted Sugerman to a nontraditional form of medicine — one that has taken him throughout the world responding to medical crises.

After graduating from Washington and Lee in 1999, Sugerman earned a medical degree from Thomas Jefferson University and completed his residency in emergency medicine at Johns Hopkins University Hospital.

Today, he is a medical officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, assigned there through the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS), with the rank of commander. The uniformed service, modeled after the military, is overseen by the surgeon general and is the largest division of the Department of Health and Human Services. Commissioned officers serve in more than 20 duty stations throughout the federal government.

Sugerman entered USPHS as an officer with the Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) in San Diego. For two years, he helped respond to such crises as a measles outbreak among intentionally under-vaccinated children, the first case of pandemic H1N1 flu and meningitis across the U.S. – Mexico border. For two months, he was stationed with the U.S. Army in the Democratic Republic of Congo responding to an outbreak of monkeypox.

He then joined the Global Immunization Division, where he worked on polio eradication in Nigeria, improving oral polio vaccine coverages. He responded to the earthquake in Haiti, the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, the Deep Water Horizon oil spill and Hurricane Sandy. In Sierra Leone, the opportunity to train local staff, set up screenings and isolate patients in the hospital or their homes, was rewarding and worth the effort, when, after three years, the country was officially declared Ebola free in March 2015.

Sugerman has been based in Atlanta since 2009. At the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, he helped establish guidelines for training, triage and transport for trauma patients, and worked on new guidelines for prescribing narcotic pain medications in order to prevent drug overdose.

Now with the Center for Global Health, he oversees training of epidemiologists in developing countries. Originally begun in 1975, the program has trained more than 8,000 epidemiologists in investigation, surveillance and intervention for disease control.

“We station senior epidemiologists to live in the countries and provide direct technical assistance to the government,” he said, noting that the program handles about 62 programs in 46 countries.

Once a week, Sugerman works at the Emory University Hospital Emergency Department, where he teaches medical students and residents emergency medicine.

“Being a teacher and mentor is very gratifying,” he said. “In the emergency room, unlike public health, doctors can immediately alleviate suffering on an individual basis.”

Sugerman’s father was a trauma surgeon at the Medical College of Virginia, in Richmond, and from an early age Sugerman was interested in science. He began thinking about a career in medicine in high school, but knew he wanted to follow a less traditional path.

Working with an organization called Metro Town Institute, in Richmond, to help improve diversity in the public schools, Sugerman met a W&L graduate who told him about the university’s small size, honor system and pastoral setting that would allow him to indulge his interests in hiking, biking and camping.

He enrolled as a biology major and participated in the Shepherd Poverty Program, where Professor Harlan Beckley’s class “made me think of a career to connect medicine and social science. I became more knowledgeable of the risk factors for poverty.”

At W&L, he also continued his service with Habitat for Humanity, which he had begun in high school. He became president of the W&L chapter his junior year and values the mentorship of advisor Professor Brian Richardson.

Sugerman also values the support he received from then-President John Elrod and his wife, Mimi, who often invited him to their home for dinner. Mrs. Elrod served on the board of Project Horizon, a nonprofit organization for which Sugerman volunteered.

He also served as president of PRIDE, a program to increase diversity in education and recruitment and encourage a welcoming atmosphere for all ethnicities.

Sugerman and his wife, Ciara, who holds a Ph.D. in microbiology, are parents to three children under the age of 3: an adopted son, 26 months; a daughter, 18 months; and a son, 5 months. His wife also works for CDC, helping oversee global diarrheal disease response, including cholera and typhoid.

Reflecting on his career, Sugerman said he gets tremendous satisfaction in training others to increase the knowledge of disease control and prevention. He enjoys working closely with his counterparts around the globe and said the trainees are very thankful for programs that make them part of the solution.

W&L Campus Kitchen turns 10 Ingrid Easton Wilson '06 started W&L's Campus Kitchen, and university employees and volunteers have kept it thriving for a decade.

“It’s been many things over the years, but the most important thing is, it’s been a way for our individuals to have a healthy hot meal, but also to engage in conversation with the students, learn about their backgrounds and their cultures.”

— Laura Williams, Magnolia Center

CK W&L Campus Kitchen turns 10Students volunteer at the Washington and Lee Campus Kitchen.

Over the past 10 years, the Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee has served nearly 263,000 meals and prevented more than 400,000 pounds of food from going to waste.

That’s a significant impact for a program that once seemed as if it would never be more than an idea.

Ingrid Easton Wilson, who founded Campus Kitchen as a W&L senior in 2006, remembers juggling academics, volunteer work and future career decisions while she tried to map out a way for Washington and Lee to start an on-campus meal program for low-income members of the community. Between her own hectic schedule and the complicated logistics involved in starting such a service, she said, she almost gave up several times.

“Looking back, it was pretty bold of me to just call the provost and say, ‘Can I have a meeting with you?’ and call Dining Services and say, ‘Can I have a meeting with you?’ I just remember a lot of meetings where people would say, ‘I don’t know how this is going to work.’ ”

But thanks to Wilson’s dedication — and lots of support from Washington and Lee — the Campus Kitchen this month is celebrating its 10th anniversary. Wilson, who will return to campus Oct. 20 for a celebration, attributes most of the program’s success to its director, Jenny Davidson, and to the many volunteers who have kept it a thriving effort for a decade.

“It’s been neat to see how Jenny has been the perfect person for that role,” Wilson said. “I don’t feel like I did the hard part, I feel like Jenny has done the hard part. She’s stuck with it and been loyal. For me, it was just luck and inspiration.”

That inspiration struck the summer after Wilson’s sophomore year, when she read the book “Begging for Change” by Robert Egger, founder of DC Central Kitchen. During a trip to the capital, she decided to stop by the kitchen and met and talked with Egger, whom she found inspiring.

headshots-21-400x600 W&L Campus Kitchen turns 10Ingrid Easton Wilson

Back at school, Wilson — an economics major — quit the tennis team, joined the Bonner Program and began to volunteer at various places around Lexington. The next summer, she risked disappointing her parents by turning down a prestigious Goldman Sachs internship in order to live and volunteer at N Street Village, a community for homeless and low-income women in D.C.

When she arrived at Washington and Lee for her senior year, she was more determined than ever to make a permanent impact on campus. University officials decided to jump in and do a trial week near the end of Spring Term. A member of the Campus Kitchens Project, of which W&L’s kitchen is an affiliate, came to campus for the week to direct the project.

“She took the mess that I had and made it work,” Wilson said. “The week was really successful.”

Davidson, a 2008 graduate of Washington and Lee, was hired not long after her graduation. As co-curricular service coordinator for W&L, she also directs Volunteer Venture and the Nabors Service League. Thanks to donations from generous alumni, Campus Kitchen operates out of a professional-grade kitchen, complete with a walk-in freezer and refrigerator, in the basement of the Global Service House on Lee Avenue.

There, volunteers use food donated by Washington and Lee, Virginia Military Institute and Walmart to prepare and deliver meals for clients at various community service organizations in Lexington and Rockbridge County. Through the kitchen’s Backpack Program, local children receive backpacks full of food to take home over the weekend to supplement school nutrition and home meals. In addition, an expansion program called the Mobile Food Pantry delivers food to remote areas of the county – Natural Bridge Station, Goshen and Buena Vista. Since 2006, volunteers have spent nearly 40,000 hours working for Campus Kitchen.

Magnolia Center, a daytime support program for intellectually disadvantaged adults in Lexington, benefits from twice-weekly meal deliveries. Day Support Program Director Laura Williams said their clients love both the square meals and the social interaction they get from Campus Kitchen volunteers.

“We’ve actually been a part of the Campus Kitchen since its inception,” Williams said. “It’s been many things over the years, but the most important thing is, it’s been a way for our individuals to have a healthy hot meal, but also to engage in conversation with the students, learn about their backgrounds and their cultures. A lot of the students are from different countries. It has opened up doors for us.”

Davidson agreed that the human interaction made possible through Campus Kitchen is just as enriching as the meals. “The food is a vehicle for those relationships,” she said.

Wilson, who earned a master’s in social work from the University of South Carolina, is now married and raising two young children in Charlotte, North Carolina. She and her husband, Jonathan, who is a physician, hope to combine their skills to serve refugees and others who “don’t have a platform to speak out.”

Wilson says she never doubted that the Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee would be an enduring success. Its lean operating budget and solid leadership, along with the constant flow of on- and off-campus volunteers, have made it an invaluable part of the university and the larger community.

“I’m so thankful for it,” she said, “and I know it helps a lot of folks.”

Washington and Lee will celebrate the Campus Kitchen’s 10th anniversary on Oct. 20 with a reception in the Elrod Commons Living Room from 7 to 8 p.m. There will be a short presentation at 7:30 p.m., and refreshments will be provided.

Visit the Campus Kitchen at W&L’s website to learn more or to volunteer.


Faculty Focus: Dan and Irina Mazilu Building A Nanoscience Program

“You literally see them grow up before your eyes. The difference between the first week of summer research and the last week is incredible and so satisfying to us. When our students present posters at conferences, they are mistaken for graduate students or post-docs.”

Dan and Irina Mazilu both attended Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, in Romania, behind the Iron Curtain. “Under the communist regime, everything was very strict,” said Irina. “We lived through a revolution that shaped us as people. Those of us who had passed the competitive entrance exams for our university took the same classes at the same time. I tell my students that I appreciate the United States education and all the choices they have, because we didn’t have that.”

The Path to the U.S.

Dan spent his junior year of college in Omaha, at the University of Nebraska, as an exchange student. He fell in love not only with America, but also with college football. “Nebraska was having great success in football at that time,” he said.

Neither knew much about the U.S. “One of the only American television series we were able to watch in Romania was ‘Dallas.’ Programming was very restricted in Romania. I don’t know why the regime allowed that particular series to air. Maybe it was to show the moral failings of America. Anyway, that was what we thought America was like.”

For graduate school, they landed first at SUNY Buffalo, and then migrated to warmer climes at Virginia Tech, in Blacksburg. Irina concentrated on the theoretical and computational side of physics, while Dan focused on the experimental.

In 2002, three weeks after defending her Ph.D., Irina took a one-year position at W&L. She jumped at the chance to join the faculty in a tenure-track position in 2004. Dan joined her as a full-time faculty member in 2008. “I was ecstatic when I was offered the position,” said Dan. “It’s academic Nirvana,” added Irina. “It’s a wonderful college, with wonderful students.”

The Nanoscience Program

“It’s strange that we didn’t start working together until 2006, ” said Irina. “I didn’t realize until then that all the theory I had been studying can be beautifully applied and confirmed by the experiments that Dan is doing. We started taking it very seriously and working together beyond the casual conversations about our research.”

At W&L, they are building a nanoscience program, although Irina said, “We are still far, far, from calling it a program.” Nonetheless, they teach classes on the subject together with their colleague Moataz Khalifa, visiting assistant professor of physics and engineering. Irina and Dan have published several papers on nanoscience research in first-tier journals, with W&L students as co-authors.

“Doing research with students at W&L was eye-opening for us as mentors,” noted Irina. “We opened up our approach to them and let the creativity fly. We’ve had great success. We don’t settle for small projects that are not competitive at the national or international level.”

“You literally see them grow up before your eyes,” said Dan. “The difference between the first week of summer research and the last week is incredible and so satisfying to us. When our students present posters at conferences, they are mistaken for graduate students or post-docs.”

“Our colleagues at other institutions find it surprising that we can conduct research at this level with our students,” said Irina. “We very fortunate for W&L’s support in terms of the students being able to travel to conferences. It’s important for them, and us, to get out of the bubble and mingle with other researchers.”

Spring Term Abroad

Dan and Irina took a Spring Term class abroad to spend time learning about the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research.

In 2016, Dan and Irina, took a Spring Term class abroad to spend time learning about the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research. The Mazilus have a collaborator there, giving the class access to behind-the-scenes tours of the facility.

“We don’t have kids,” said Irina, “so going from 0 to 12 overnight was a challenge. But it was a great experience. Some students were scared to travel to Europe, but during the trip they realized they loved Europe and that traveling is a wonderful experience. We had the opportunity to visit the Einstein museum in Bern and his home. We tried to give the students a taste of Swiss culture —- literally cheese and chocolate.”

The trip resulted in an internship for one student, Stephanie Fouts ’17, and led another student, Anthony Hodges ’16, to join a Ph.D. program that has ties to CERN.

Sabbatical Plans

During the 2016-17 academic year, the Mazilus have extensive travel plans. They will return to their homeland to look at labs and equipment that will help them with their own nanoscience program at W&L. “Now that Romania is part of the EU, it has received a lot of funding for scientific infrastructure,” said Irina. “There are a lot of new techniques we can learn while we are there.”

In February, they are headed to Southeast Asia, to Vietnam and the Philippines, and then Iceland, to give lectures and establish new collaborations and strengthen existing ones. “We are grateful to have W&L’s support to have full-year sabbaticals for both of us at the same time,” said Irina. “We know that it is a once-in-a-lifetime professional opportunity.”

“The other reason it is important to travel to different places is that inspiration strikes in the most unusual places,” noted Dan. “Our goal is to get ideas and keep building out our program.”

Extra-Curricular Activities

Dan still watches college football, and both enjoy cooking for friends, students and colleagues. “I wish I could have a restaurant,” joked Irina.

Travel is also a hobby. “Even though we travel a lot by plane, we love road trips, as well,” said Dan. “We feel that now that the U.S. is our home, it’s really important to learn more about it. Travel is a moral imperative because it is transformative. It’s not easy on the body or on the wallet. But at the end of every trip, we come back better people. We’re crazy, we have the bug.” They have been to 49 of the 50 states, and Alaska is on their radar.

They also do a lot of reading, from sci-fi to fiction to poetry. “In college, we didn’t have a liberal arts education, and so we didn’t have the chance to read deeply or widely,” explained Irina. “I think reading helps improve our own writing, because we learn how to tell a story. Writing a research paper is telling a story. So is writing a grant. Physics is going on all around us, and we have to be good communicators to explain why it’s important and what it means.”

by Louise Uffelman | luffelma@wlu.edu

Classes Taught:

Irina, professor of physics:

  • General Physics I & II
  • Nuclear Physics
  • Statistical Physics
  • Introduction to Nanoscience
  • Particle Physics at CERN

Dan, associate professor of physics:

  • General Physics I & II
  • Electricity and Magnetism
  • Dreams of a Final Theory
  • Modern Physics
  • Newtonian Mechanics

University of Oregon Prof. Seth Lewis to Talk about New Ways of Thinking about Journalism

Seth C. Lewis, the Shirley Papé Chair in Electronic Media in the School of Journalism and Communications at the University of Oregon, will give a talk at Washington and Lee University on Oct. 21 at 4:30 p.m. in Northen Auditorium, Leyburn Library.

The title of Lewis’ lecture is “Journalists, Audiences…and Bots?! New Ways of Thinking about What’s Happening with News.” The lecture is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications.

“Seth will be looking through three different lenses to view the technological and sociological changes in news,” said Mark Coddington, assistant professor of journalism and mass communications at W&L. “They are boundaries (between journalists and audiences and between journalists and programmers); agents (both journalists and the technologies they use acting as agents of change in news); and reciprocity (expectations of mutual exchange and relationship between journalists and audiences).”

Lewis will argue that “These concepts offer fresh ways of interpreting journalism as a professional field, a form of media work and a way to engage with both human audiences and forms of technology.”

A two-time winner of the Outstanding Article in Journalism Studies Award, Lewis explores the digital transformation of journalism, with a focus on human-technology interactions and media innovation processes associated with data, code, audience analytics, social media and related subjects.

Lewis is the editor of “Journalism in an Era of Big Data: Cases, Concepts and Critiques” (2016) and co-editor of “Boundaries of Journalism: Professionalism, Practices and Participation” (2015).

Before joining the University of Oregon in 2016, he was associate professor and Mitchell V. Charnley Faculty Fellow in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

He has also held appointments as visiting fellow in Yale Law School’s Information Society Project and as visiting scholar in The Program in Science, Technology and Society at Stanford University.

Milestones: Campus Kitchen Marks 10-Year Anniversary Ten years and nearly 263,000 meals after Ingrid Easton Wilson '06 founded the Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee, the program is still going strong.

“It’s been a way for our individuals to have a healthy hot meal, but also to engage in conversation with the students, learn about their backgrounds and their cultures. A lot of the students are from different countries. It has opened up doors for us.” – Laura Williams

Over the past 10 years, the Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee has served nearly 263,000 meals and prevented more than 400,000 pounds of food from going to waste.

That’s a significant impact for a program that once seemed as if it would never be more than an idea.

Ingrid Easton Wilson ’06

Ingrid Easton Wilson, who founded Campus Kitchen as a W&L senior in 2006, remembers juggling academics, volunteer work and future career decisions while she tried to map out a way for Washington and Lee to start an on-campus meal program for low-income members of the community. Between her own hectic schedule and the complicated logistics involved in starting such a service, she said, she almost gave up several times.

“Looking back, it was pretty bold of me to just call the provost and say, ‘Can I have a meeting with you?’ and call Dining Services and say, ‘Can I have a meeting with you?’ I just remember a lot of meetings where people would say, ‘I don’t know how this is going to work.’ “

But thanks to Wilson’s dedication — and lots of support from Washington and Lee — the Campus Kitchen this month is celebrating its 10th anniversary. Wilson, who will return to campus Oct. 20 for a celebration, attributes most of the program’s success to its director, Jenny Davidson, and to the many volunteers who have kept it a thriving effort for a decade.

“It’s been neat to see how Jenny has been the perfect person for that role,” Wilson said. “I don’t feel like I did the hard part, I feel like Jenny has done the hard part. She’s stuck with it and been loyal. For me, it was just luck and inspiration.”

That inspiration struck the summer after Wilson’s sophomore year, when she read the book “Begging for Change” by Robert Egger, founder of DC Central Kitchen. During a trip to the capital, she decided to stop by the kitchen and met and talked with Egger, whom she found inspiring.

Back at school, Wilson — an economics major — quit the tennis team, joined the Bonner Program and began to volunteer at various places around Lexington. The next summer, she risked disappointing her parents by turning down a prestigious Goldman Sachs internship in order to live and volunteer at N Street Village, a community for homeless and low-income women in D.C.

When she arrived at Washington and Lee for her senior year, she was more determined than ever to make a permanent impact on campus. University officials decided to jump in and do a trial week near the end of Spring Term. A member of the Campus Kitchens Project, of which W&L’s kitchen is an affiliate, came to campus for the week to direct the project.

“She took the mess that I had and made it work,” Wilson said. “The week was really successful.”

Jenny Davidson ’08

Davidson, a 2008 graduate of Washington and Lee, was hired not long after her graduation. As co-curricular service coordinator for W&L, she also directs Volunteer Venture and the Nabors Service League. Thanks to donations from generous alumni, Campus Kitchen operates out of a professional-grade kitchen, complete with a walk-in freezer and refrigerator, in the basement of the Global Service House on Lee Avenue.

There, volunteers use food donated by Washington and Lee, Virginia Military Institute and Walmart to prepare and deliver meals for clients at various community service organizations in Lexington and Rockbridge County. Through the kitchen’s Backpack Program, local children receive backpacks full of food to take home over the weekend to supplement school nutrition and home meals. In addition, an expansion program called the Mobile Food Pantry delivers food to remote areas of the county — Natural Bridge Station, Goshen and Buena Vista. Since 2006, volunteers have spent nearly 40,000 hours working for Campus Kitchen.

Magnolia Center, a daytime support program for intellectually disadvantaged adults in Lexington, benefits from twice-weekly meal deliveries. Day Support Program Director Laura Williams said their clients love both the square meals and the social interaction they get from Campus Kitchen volunteers.

“We’ve actually been a part of the Campus Kitchen since its inception,” Williams said. “It’s been many things over the years, but the most important thing is, it’s been a way for our individuals to have a healthy hot meal, but also to engage in conversation with the students, learn about their backgrounds and their cultures. A lot of the students are from different countries. It has opened up doors for us.”

Davidson agreed that the human interaction made possible through Campus Kitchen is just as enriching as the meals. “The food is a vehicle for those relationships,” she said.

Wilson, who earned a master’s in social work from the University of South Carolina, is now married and raising two young children in Charlotte, North Carolina. She and her husband, Jonathan, who is a physician, hope to combine their skills to serve refugees and others who “don’t have a platform to speak out.”

Wilson says she never doubted that the Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee would be an enduring success. Its lean operating budget and solid leadership, along with the constant flow of on- and off-campus volunteers, have made it an invaluable part of the university and the larger community.

“I’m so thankful for it,” she said, “and I know it helps a lot of folks.”

Washington and Lee will celebrate the Campus Kitchen’s 10th anniversary on Oct. 20 with a reception in the Elrod Commons Living Room from 7 to 8 p.m. There will be a short presentation at 7:30 p.m., and refreshments will be provided.

Visit the Campus Kitchen at W&L’s website to learn more or to volunteer.

– by Lindsey Nair | lnair@wlu.edu


Bob Dylan's Nobel Prize in Literature is 'Vindication' for W&L's Gordon Ball

Gordon Ball, visiting associate professor of English at Washington and Lee, says Bob Dylan’s Nobel recognition is “vindication” after Ball nominated the singer-songwriter for the award 15 years in a row.

“There’s an enormous, almost a kind of unbelievability, that it finally happened,” Ball said in an interview with the Associated Press in their story, “The Latest: Writers Welcome  Nobel for Bob Dylan.”

You can read the full Associate Press piece online.

Ball has also been featured on WDBJ, High Snobiety, WKOK News Radio, and his essay, “I nominated Bob Dylan for the Nobel Prize more than a dozen times,” appeared in The Washington Post.

Related //,
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Annual Law and Literature Seminar to Explore Shakespeare’s “King Lear”

Washington and Lee University School of Law will host the 2016 Law and Literature Seminar on Oct. 14-15. Now in its 24th year, the seminar will focus on the Shakespeare classic “King Lear.” All W&L faculty, students and staff are invited to attend.

Shakespeare’s powerful intellect places him among the most profound thinkers on issues of justice, law, punishment, and history. The figure of the old King, clinging to power, longing for loyalty and affection, then driven mad by betrayal, cruelty, and the inexorable passage of time, stands in our literature as a signal statement for the fate of man.

In 1605-06, the year of Lear’s composition, Shakespeare’s beloved Queen Elizabeth had recently died, and King James had taken the throne. Religious tension between Protestants and Catholics wracked the kingdom; an assassination attempt on James was narrowly avoided in the very year of the play’s production.

In the midst of growing turmoil, King James, like King Lear, suddenly found himself surrounded by advisors, counselors with conflicting motivations. Such tensions and stratagems doubtlessly influenced Shakespeare’s meditation on kingship and government. In such classic characters as the wise Fool, the loyal Kent, the conniving and treacherous Edmund, and the loving daughter Cordelia, Shakespeare embodies on the stage the most profound issues of his time.

Faculty for the weekend will include law professors Brian Murchison and Bob Danforth, former W&L law professor David Caudill, and English professor Marc Conner. Joining them will be Matthew Davies, assistant professor in the Shakespeare and Performance graduate program at Mary Baldwin University, and a professional actor and director

The program is co-sponsored with the W&L Alumni College program. The seminar is in the process of seeking approval for two hours of CLE ethics credit and is open to anyone interested in law and literature.

W&L Professor Jeff Shay Named NACRA Fellow

Jeffrey P. Shay, Rupert A. Johnson, Jr. Professor of Entrepreneurship and Leadership at Washington and Lee University, has been named a fellow of the North American Case Research Association (NACRA).

NACRA is a collaborative organization of approximately 500 researchers, case writers and teachers, mostly in the business disciplines, who support each other’s research and writing efforts. The organization has recognized only 30 fellows in its 57-year history. Shay was recognized for his outstanding contributions to the field of case research, teaching and service to NACRA.

Shay joined the W&L faculty in 2009. Previously, he was the Poe Professor of Entrepreneurship and taught entrepreneurship, international business and strategic management for 10 years at the University of Montana. He received seven teaching awards and two service awards at the University of Montana. He has also taught courses at London School of Economics, Peking University, Cornell University and University of Brescia in the areas of strategic management, cross-cultural management, entrepreneurship, leadership, organizational behavior, international business and human resource management.

Shay has been an invited speaker at the Swedish Trade Council, Pennsylvania State’s Executive MBA Program, the F. W. Olin School of Business (Babson Graduate School of Management), the Johnson School of Business (Cornell University Graduate School of Business) and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. In addition, he has been involved with executive training for Hyundai Corp., Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts and the American Express Travel Group.

He was recognized in March 2006 as one of the Western Academy of Management’s Ascendant Scholars, an award given to scholars who make an early and significant impact on their field. Shay’s research has been published in Academy of Management Journal, Journal of International Business Studies, International Journal of Cross-cultural Management, Long Range Planning, Journal of Management Inquiry, Journal of International Management, Case Research Journal, Journal of Management Education, Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly and International Journal of Organizational Analysis. In addition, he has presented his research and received best paper awards at Academy of Management, Western Academy of Management and the North American Case Research Association Conferences.

Shay holds a B.S. from Babson College, an M.B.A. from Babson School of Business and a Ph.D. from Cornell University.

Building Community: Peyton Powers ’18 Bonner Scholar helps to plan the Fall Bonner Congress Meeting, taking place on W&L's campus Oct. 14-16.

“I hope that participants leave with a better understanding of the importance of King’s vision of beloved community.”

Each fall, representatives from more than 60 Bonner Programs at schools across the country gather to sharpen their skills and learn about resources that will help them take their ideas for civic and community engagement into action. Known as Bonner Congress, this year’s event will be held at Washington and Lee over Reading Days and will be the third year junior Peyton Powers has attended.

Peyton’s past Bonner Congress experiences have landed him a strong role in helping plan this year’s meeting, particularly in the area of programming around the theme “Beloved Community,” the concept of a society based on justice, equal opportunity and love of one’s fellow human beings popularized by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“I hope that participants leave with a better understanding of the importance of King’s vision of beloved community, but more importantly just their own beloved community and how a lot of the work Bonners are doing is aiming towards fostering a better world where a lot of injustices are minimized,” said Peyton. “Taking that philosophy home would prompt better opportunities to recognize their community and their role in it.”

Peyton sought a spot in W&L’s Bonner Program because he wanted to get involved in the community and to get answers to some of the tough questions he has about community involvement. He’s focused his Bonner service at W&L on youth, which has led him to seek a career focused on youth empowerment, education and mentorship.

“Bonner has definitely sculpted my academic career,” added the economics major. “I don’t think my education policy minor would have come to fruition had it not been for Bonner. I also appreciate the diversity of opinion and thought that comes from being a part of the Bonner Program.”

As a Bonner intern, Peyton manages the first-year Bonner class and coordinates their class meetings. On campus he also is chairman of the Voting Regulations Board and vice chair of logistics for Fancy Dress.

Peyton isn’t the only one who is excited about the upcoming event. Marisa Charley, who coordinates W&L’s Bonner Program, was a member of the Bonner Program at Allegheny College (PA) and knows what an honor it is to host this national event. She’s also eager to hear the keynote address, which will be given by MK Asante, an author, award-winning filmmaker, rapper and professor of creative writing and film at Morgan State University.

Asante will speak at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 15, in Stackhouse Theater, Elrod Commons. His talk is free and open to the public.

“I’m most excited about the opportunity to share more about the National Bonner Program with W&L, and more about W&L with the National Bonner Program,” she said. “With the help of our colleagues on campus and off, we have planned great workshops, a networking session, interactive social events, and an outstanding Saturday morning keynote.

International Endeavors: Melina Knabe and Matt Carl Around the World, Endeavor Scholars, Berlin, Germany

“You can read or watch the news, but until you look a 7-year-old girl in the eyes and hear a story about how her home was destroyed, you don’t get it.” — Matt Carl ’17

Eight Washington and Lee University students spent a portion of summer 2016 overseas in a collaboration that pairs American and international students for projects and service work in the international students’ home countries.

The program, which is funded by part of a $219,000 grant from the Endeavor Foundation (formerly known as the Christian A. Johnson Foundation), is in its second year. This year found students working with refugees in Greece and Germany, and studying the culture of food and film in China.

“The Endeavor Program has inspired our students to think about their experiences abroad in new and innovative ways,” said Mark Rush, director of international education and Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Professor of Politics and Law. “It is inspiring to witness their creativity and energy as they spend their summers engaging in diverse and unique projects abroad. At the same time, this great program provides a wonderful chance for our international students to introduce their countries to American students through the lens of their family and home.”

Matthew Carl ’17 and Melina Knabe ’17 traveled to Knabe’s home city of Berlin, Germany to volunteer at an emergency shelter in the city and bond with its residents over a common love for the sport of soccer. Their project was titled “The Refugees of Germany: Soccer, Service and Stories.”

In fall 2015, Knabe said, “I started talking to my dad about the refugee crisis that was unfolding. My family was concerned about it, so it was very much on my mind.”

She and Carl said their program was an ideal way to combine their various interests. She is majoring in neuroscience with a minor in philosophy; he is an economics and German double major with a minor in mathematics.

When they arrived in Berlin, the study partners hit the streets and found an emergency shelter two subway stops from Knabe’s family home. The shelter, set up in a large, repurposed town hall, was one of many scattered in districts throughout the city. It was filled with mostly Syrians and Iraqis who had fled their countries for a safe haven and better opportunities.

Families can stay in private rooms in these shelters, but Knabe and Carl found that most of the residents were Syrian men in their 20s or 30s who hoped to bring their families to Germany later. That particular shelter was a U-shaped, five-story building surrounding a stone courtyard, and many of the residents gathered in the courtyard, where they passed the time by kicking around a soccer ball.

“Soccer is just a universal language, really, through which the German and refugee cultures can all be on equal footing, so to speak,” Carl said.

They contacted a man, Karlos El-Khatib, who works for a Berlin soccer club in a program that uses soccer to integrate cultures. Through his contacts, El-Khatib connected them with another soccer club in the city, and they began to use those resources to plan a large soccer tournament for the children of the shelter.

Planning the tournament required finding a space (at one of the soccer clubs) and advertising in advance. Knabe and Carl made posters in multiple languages and began to spread the word. They also ordered about 80 participation medals to hand out to everyone involved, including children and volunteers.

But they spent the bulk of their time leading up to the tournament getting to know residents of the shelter and building their trust.

“Something that resonated with me is that there is no substitute for personal interaction. You can read or watch the news, but until you look a 7-year-old girl in the eyes and hear a story about how her home was destroyed, you don’t get it,” Carl said.

In general, he and Knabe found it much easier to draw out the children, who impressed them with their resilience and lightheartedness, than the parents, who were understandably despondent and shy after uprooting their entire lives and moving to a strange city. The W&L students were also interested in the duality of the Germans’ attitude toward the refugees. They seemed to be overwhelmingly upset with their politicians’ decision to open the borders without putting it to a vote or seeking more citizen input, but they were still largely sympathetic toward the refugees and wanted to find ways to integrate them into the country.

“It’s a very pragmatic approach,” Knabe said.

Still, it seemed as if the urgency of the refugee situation had begun to fade for Berliners. The 5,000 volunteers who stepped up to help at the height of the crisis had dwindled in number by the time Carl and Knabe arrived. From a semantics standpoint, it was telling that the term used by Germans for refugees earlier in the crisis translated to “the fleeing,” but that word had been gradually replaced in conversation by a word that means “the fled.” But “the fled” still needed plenty of help as they continued to process the traumas they had experienced, dealt with heartbreaking homesickness, and began the search for jobs.

When the tournament rolled around, it was the perfect culmination of the work Carl and Knabe had done during their visit. It was meant to be for children ages 10 to 19, but the W&L team welcomed children of all ages.

It was “the highlight of the whole trip,” Carl said.

Knabe said the best part was giving the children a chance to let go of their worries and simply play together, if only for a short time. “It was so beautiful because they got to just be kids for a while,” she said, “and they got to leave the emergency shelter behind.”

— Lindsey Nair | lnair@wlu.edu

Read about the other Endeavor teams’ projects:

  • Elissavet (Liza) Chartampila ’18 and Maren Lundgren ’18, “Greece’s Refugee Crisis.”
  • Yolanda Yang ’18 and Savannah Kimble ’18, “The Chinese Cinematography Experience: Observing American and Chinese Films from Political, Psychological and Artistic Angles.”
  • Laura Wang ’19 and Natalie Dabrowski ’19, “Food and Modernizing Culture in Guangzhou, China.”

MK Asante to be Keynote Speaker at Annual Bonner Congress

MK Asante, bestselling author, award-winning filmmaker, rapper and professor, will give the Oct. 15 keynote address for the annual Bonner Congress, held this year at Washington and Lee University. The lecture will be at 9 a.m. in Stackhouse Theater and is free and open to the public.

The theme of the conference, which is held from Oct. 14–16, is “Beloved Community” and is based on justice, equal opportunity and love of one’s fellow human beings popularized by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Asante is the author of four books, including his latest, “Buck: A Memoir” (2014). “Buck” was on the Washington Post best-seller list in 2014 and 2015. Poet Maya Angelou called it “a story of surviving and thriving with passion, compassion, wit and style.” He also wrote two collections of poetry “Beautiful. And Ugly, Too” (2005) and “Like Water Running Off My Back” (2002).

Asante has given distinguished lectures at Harvard, Yale and Stanford, as well as many other universities. His essays have been published in USA Today, Huffington Post, San Francisco Chronicle and The New York Times. He has been called the “voice of a new generation” by Essence and has been on the CBS The Early Show, VH1, MTV and NPR.

Asante is a professor in residence at the MICA School of Ideas in India and is a tenured professor of creative writing and film at Morgan State University. He studied at the University of London, earned a B.A. from Lafayette College and an M.F.A. from the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television.

The Bonner Congress brings together students from more than 60 Bonner programs at campuses across the country each fall to sharpen their skills and learn about resources that will help them take their ideas for civic and community engagement into action.

The Bonner Congress is held each year at a different Bonner School as one of two national Bonner Conferences held annually. This is the first year Washington and Lee has hosted a Bonner Conference. Asante’s appearance is sponsored by W&L’s Mudd Center for Ethics and the English Department.

Ruscio Center for Global Learning Honors W&L’s Outgoing President

“I will be forever grateful to the Board of Trustees for giving me the opportunity to serve as Washington and Lee’s president for the past decade and I am equally grateful for the honor of having my name associated with the Center for Global Learning.”

The Board of Trustees of Washington and Lee University has honored the departing president of W&L, Kenneth P. Ruscio, by naming one of the university’s major new facilities the Kenneth P. Ruscio Center for Global Learning. The board announced the recognition on Thursday, Oct. 6, at a reception during its fall meeting on campus.

“Given Ken’s strong support and advocacy for the integration of global perspective throughout the university’s curriculum, it is fitting that the Center for Global Learning should bear Ken’s name,” said J. Donald Childress, the rector of the W&L Board of Trustees.

KRR7125-600x400 Ruscio Center for Global Learning Honors W&L's Outgoing PresidentKen and Kim Ruscio

“I will be forever grateful to the Board of Trustees for giving me the opportunity to serve as Washington and Lee’s president for the past decade,” said President Ruscio. “And I am equally grateful for the honor of having my name associated with the Center for Global Learning. I truly believe that global learning is an essential part of a Washington and Lee education.”

The W&L Board of Trustees also has established the Kimberley A. Ruscio Endowment for Student Leadership in honor of Kim Ruscio, the wife of Ken Ruscio, for her longtime advocacy of student development. That announcement took place on Friday, Oct. 7, at a dinner that celebrated the couple’s past decade of service and leadership.

“Kim has been not only a wonderful first lady of W&L but also an engaged and enthusiastic supporter of women’s leadership initiatives,” said Childress. “The Board of Trustees is proud to create this endowment in honor of Kim.”

“Working with our wonderful students has been such a rewarding and fulfilling experience for me,” said Kim Ruscio. “I am so pleased, honored and grateful that the Board of Trustees has created this endowment to support student leadership.”

The construction of the Kenneth P. Ruscio Center for Global Learning was a centerpiece of the university’s recently concluded capital campaign. The building houses W&L’s Center for International Education, which promotes global learning within, across and beyond the campus. The facility, which boasts a sleek design and cutting-edge technology, combines 8,600 square feet of renovated duPont Hall with 17,700 square feet of new space. It contains classrooms, seminar rooms, instructional labs and offices for language departments and visiting international scholars. An atrium, garden, courtyard and the Tea House café provide inviting spaces for both study and socializing.

The Kimberley A. Ruscio Endowment for Student Leadership will endow the Women’s Leadership Summit, which connects W&L students with staff, faculty and alumnae, along with other initiatives promoting student leadership. Kim Ruscio has regularly participated in the Women’s Leadership Summit and gave its 2016 keynote address. Her previous careers have encompassed fashion, retail and finance, and she formerly worked in W&L’s Admissions Office as a financial counselor and associate director.

Ken Ruscio took office as Washington and Lee’s 26th president on July 1, 2006. An alumnus of W&L and a distinguished scholar of democratic theory and public policy, he previously served as the dean of the Jepson School of Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond from 2002 to 2006. He announced his retirement from the W&L presidency in May 2015; his final day in office will be Dec. 31, 2016.

Ruscio earned his B.A. in politics from Washington and Lee in 1976, and a master of public administration (1978) and a Ph.D. in public affairs and public administration (1983), both from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.

Ruscio held both faculty and staff positions at W&L from 1987 to 2002, including professor of politics, associate dean of the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics, and dean of freshmen.

In 2007, the year after Ruscio became president of W&L, the university adopted an ambitious strategic plan emphasizing its commitment to a liberal arts education in the 21st century. With that plan as a blueprint, W&L conducted its historic capital campaign, Honor Our Past, Build Our Future, which at its conclusion in June 2015 surpassed the $500 million goal by raising $542 million.

Other signal achievements of Ruscio’s presidency:

The $50 million renovation and restoration of the historic Colonnade, which comprises the five signature campus buildings. Work on the fifth and final building, Tucker Hall, is underway.

  • The development of the Johnson Program in Leadership and Integrity, established through a $100 million gift that created a major scholarship program, two professorships, and an array of summer internship and research opportunities for students.
  • The creation of such new academic initiatives as the Roger Mudd Center for Ethics; the J. Lawrence Connolly Center for Entrepreneurship; a reinvigorated, four-week Spring Term; and the innovative, nationally regarded third-year curriculum in the School of Law.
  • A major expansion of the university’s financial aid program that makes W&L’s distinctive education available to qualified students regardless of their family’s financial circumstances. It has also resulted in the removal of student loans from all financial aid packages. The W&L Promise, created in 2013, guarantees free tuition to any admitted undergraduate student with family income below $75,000.
  • The $66 million Lenfest Challenge that created 15 of the 20 new endowed chairs and 10 term professorships and improved faculty compensation. The university also introduced major work-life initiatives for faculty and staff.
  • A strong commitment to sustainability initiatives featuring a successful, cost-saving energy-education program, as well as the state’s largest solar-panel array at the time of its 2011 installation.
  • The construction of new facilities: the Center for Global Learning, the Hillel House, and the upper-division housing known as The Village. A natatorium is nearing completion. In addition, the university made extensive renovations to first-year housing, Leyburn Library and Lewis Hall, and developed the Duchossois Athletic Complex, featuring Wilson Field.
  • The support for the communities of Lexington and Rockbridge County through the creation of the Community Grants Program, the relocation of the national Omicron Delta Kappa headquarters to Lexington, and the partnership that resulted in the restoration of the historic former courthouse and jail into university-leased buildings.

The Ruscios have a son, Matthew, a 2012 graduate of St. Lawrence University. In April 2017, Ken Ruscio will become the president of the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges.


George D. Johnson III Joins W&L Board of Trustees

Geordy_Johnson-400x600 George D. Johnson III Joins W&L Board of TrusteesGeordy Johnson ’05

George D. “Geordy” Johnson III, CEO of Johnson Development Associates Inc., Spartanburg, South Carolina, joined the Washington and Lee University Board of Trustees on Oct. 7, 2016. Johnson, a 2005 graduate of W&L, also holds an M.B.A. from UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School.

During graduate school, Johnson interned with BlackRock on its securitized assets investments team. He began his career as an investment-banking analyst at Wachovia Securities. Prior to joining Johnson Management in 2008, he worked for the Black Creek Group in Denver and Mexico City. He also served as manager of investment services at AvalonBay Communities Inc. He returned to Johnson Management in 2014 and became CEO of Johnson Development in 2015.

While a student at W&L, Johnson co-chaired the Adopt-A-Classroom Literacy Campaign and belonged to the South Carolina delegation for the 2004 Mock Convention and to the Phi Delta Theta social fraternity.  As a volunteer for his alma mater, he has served as a class agent, co-chaired his reunion committee, and sat on the campaign cabinet for Honor Our Past, Build Our Future: The Campaign for Washington and Lee. He belongs to the Young Alumni Council of the Williams School of Commerce, Economics and Politics, and served on the steering committee of W&L’s inaugural Real Estate Forum.

Johnson serves on the advisory board for the Wood Center for Real Estate Development at the Kenan-Flagler Business School and belongs to the Real Estate Roundtable. Johnson and his wife, Carter, live in Spartanburg.


Net Gains A dozen Washington and Lee University lacrosse players spent a week this summer volunteering with children in Nicaragua, sharing lessons in lacrosse and life through a nonprofit called Lacrosse the Nations.

“It was not necessarily about playing the sport, it was about having an impact on the kids on a much deeper level.”
— Gene McCabe

Washington and Lee University athletes Lauren Procaccino and Charlie Cory both grew up in lacrosse-playing families. They never wondered whether they’d have proper equipment or a decent place to play their favorite sport.

In August 2016, Procaccino and Cory traveled with a group from W&L to Managua, Nicaragua, where they volunteered with local children through an outreach program called Lacrosse the Nations (LtN). There, they found kids happily scrabbling on dirt and gravel with worn, hand-me-down sticks and gloves — and no helmets or padding at all.

“It was a huge eye-opener,” Cory said.

“It made me very appreciative of what I have and how lucky I am to be able to attend this prestigious institution,” said Procaccino. “But it also taught me that you can be happy with very little. The kids were super happy and appreciative.”

Lacrosse the Nations is a nonprofit organization created in 2009 by former college lacrosse players Brad Corrigan and Brett Hughes. Their idea was to teach children health education and valuable life skills through the game of lacrosse. Today, LtN has programs in Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Charlottesville, Virginia. American high school and college teams regularly send players on LtN volunteer trips.

Kim Cory, Charlie’s mom, is on the executive board of Lacrosse the Nations and works extensively with the program in Charlottesville, where they live. In 2015, the Cory family pitched the idea to W&L men’s lacrosse coach Gene McCabe that some of their players should partner with LtN for a service trip. A few W&L players had been on high school trips through the nonprofit and found them rewarding.

McCabe said he was easily convinced by “the impact that we were going to have on the lives of these kids, and also the impact it was going to have on our own kids.” He said the program’s mission and philosophy seemed to align well with W&L’s values of honor, integrity and civility.

The men’s lacrosse team spent most of the last academic year raising money for the trip. They sold T-shirts, solicited donations and created the Scoop for Loot campaign, which asked donors to pledge a certain amount of money for each ground ball picked up during the season. The team raised about $20,000, half of which subsidized trip costs. The other half, about $10,000, was donated straight to Lacrosse the Nations.

“For us, that’s about four months’ worth of programming in Nicaragua,” said LtN Executive Director Javier Silva, “So it’s a quarter of the Nicaragua budget, which is huge — it’s massive. That money goes to the scholarships that we provide, the salaries that we provide our directors, university scholarships for kids and coaches. We can do a lot with a little bit of money.”

The 12 W&L volunteers, including three female lacrosse players, McCabe, assistant men’s lacrosse coach Eric Koch and his wife, Karen, practiced and played lacrosse with children at two sites in Nicaragua: a public school called Colegio Chiquilistagua and an organization called Club Hope, which offers preschool/kindergarten, tutoring, music classes, nutritious meals and lacrosse. At the end of the week, they ran a clinic with a large group of kids from both sites.

Through the game, LtN coaches and volunteers teach lessons in areas such as goal-setting, teamwork, dealing with failure, self-confidence and respect for women. Face time with college-level coaches and players during the W&L visit was invaluable for the LtN kids, Silva said.

“One of the biggest things was showing the kids a level of lacrosse they don’t get to see every day, and that really motivates our players to stay committed, stay in school, go to university and have high aspirations,” he said. “Having college kids come down to show them that if they stick with the sport they can do a lot of positive things, that is one of the biggest impacts.”

Another impact came from having women’s lacrosse players show up as volunteers, because most of the coaches and volunteers are male. “The girls were super excited to see the women there,” said Cory. “As soon as they saw them, they started to call out ‘Chicas!’ ‘Chicas!’ ‘Chicas!’ ”

“I think it was helpful being over there and being able to relate to the girls, because the girls’ game is different,” said Procaccino, who ended up donating some of her lacrosse equipment to the program. “They only had boys’ sticks, and I really wanted the girls to have girls’ sticks.”

All week, Silva watched as W&L volunteers bonded with individual Nicaraguan children. Junior Bobby Doyle, for example, taught several kids how to face off. “After playing their games, they would come back and look for Bobby,” Silva said. “They were just so impressed, they had never seen anybody do face-offs like that. I still see them doing these things in practice now.”

Just as the children benefited from their time with W&L volunteers, the college group was inspired by the kids.

“You saw the brightness, energy and the joy of playing the game,” McCabe said. “A number of our players said it reignited their passion for the game of lacrosse and reminded them why they love playing the game in the first place. I also believe it instilled in all of us a greater sense of purpose in our lives moving forward. Managua is very much a developing country, and poverty runs rampant and problems are visible, so our ability to impact the lives of others in a positive way became very real. I think we came home with a deeper appreciation for the lives that we have here, but also inspired to do more to help those less fortunate in the future.”

Everyone who made the trip seems ready to do it all over again next year. Yet another positive outcome has been stronger relationships between the men’s and women’s teams at Washington and Lee.

“I saw those bonds grow for sure,” McCabe said. “It was not necessarily just about playing the sport, it was about collectively having an impact on the kids on a much deeper level. To see them work together and give selflessly to these kids was something that really impressed me. They created great memories that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.”


Bebe Goodrich ’07 Founder, Icebox Coffee

BG-Tasting-1 Bebe Goodrich '07

“If I had a normal job, others would not have a job.”

Bebe Goodrich ’07 doesn’t own a drip coffee maker, but she has built a fast-growing business cold brewing coffee in the tradition of her native New Orleans.

“I only own a French press and a Toddy,” she said, referring to two lesser-used methods for brewing hot and cold coffee at home.

Goodrich started her company, Icebox Coffee, like many entrepreneurs — in her garage in Birmingham, Alabama. She brews a specially sourced coffee that is ideal for her cold brew method. “Cold brew coffee is what we call low and slow,” she said. It takes 20 hours to brew at ambient temperature, using a reliable water source and a good processing system.

Her method is based on her early years in New Orleans, where her father roasted coffee for fun, and she became accustomed to the rich, flavorful taste of his and her grandmother’s cold coffee, which they kept in their iceboxes.

“I didn’t realize I had become a coffee snob,” she laughed, until she left New Orleans and couldn’t find the same coffee experience in other cities.

Entering Washington and Lee as a physics major, Goodrich got to know her advisor, William F. Connelly Jr., the John K. Boardman Professor of Politics, who encouraged her to learn more than math. “He made me read, and I didn’t like to read or write,” she said. Connolly convinced her that if she couldn’t communicate well, she would not succeed. Following his advice, “made my life more dynamic and helps me move my message forward,” Goodrich said.

She changed her major to political science and after graduation, went to work in Washington, D.C., for Rep. Rodney Alexander from 2007-10.

Another change in her life came when she married fellow alum Thomas Goodrich ’07, and moved to his hometown of Birmingham. For the first year, she worked for a nonprofit organization, but began to realize her skills were more suited to a manufacturing environment.

The W&L network helped her when she met Hatton Smith ’73, owner of Royal Cup Coffee and the resident mentor for W&L grads in Birmingham. Smith gave her a part-time job working in product development for RCC while she started Icebox Coffee in 2012.

After the birth of her second child, Goodrich decided to leave RCC and concentrate on building Icebox Coffee. With a goal of going national, she started small, selling online to family and friends and going to farmers’ markets. Soon she had a solid customer base and expanded into independent grocery stores and restaurants.

Now featured in Whole Foods stores in the Southeast and Florida and Central Market in Texas, the company is experiencing 200- to 300-percent growth per year, she said. Another break came when Cheesecake Factory restaurants began offering her coffee in 2016.

She now employs 10 people: four full time, two part time, and several high school and college interns, who work in manufacturing and business operations.

Goodrich says that her W&L experience was critical to her success. She became “literate,” and the W&L network has helped her with jobs and resources to start her business. She attributes everything that fell into place during her first year in business to “one degree of separation” from W&L.

She also models her business values after the integrity and honorable lifestyle taught at W&L. “That is how we run our business. We feel proud that we can grow in a way that we feel good about, with integrity and transparency.” She says the core values of her business reinforce the right decisions.

In addition to learning communications skills at W&L, Goodrich also learned to always be prepared. In her Lincoln’s Statesmanship class, Lucas Morel, the Class of 1960 Professor of Ethics, called on each student during every class. “I learned to be prepared, to be part of the discussion. That has served me extremely well,” she said.

Goodrich sometimes thinks about going to work at a normal job, but whenever those thoughts nibble at her during a bad day, “Thomas reminds me that if I had a normal job, others would not have a job.” She is proud to be an employer who can create jobs and train the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Goodrich expects her company to continue to grow. “Our category — cold brew coffee — is on fire,” Goodrich said. In Whole Foods alone, there are six competitors on the shelves, and some coffee shops are now cold brewing their own versions. Future plans for Icebox Coffee include a soda product and a tea product, in addition to the New Orleans, Madagascar Vanilla and decaf concentrates and ready-to-drink cold brew coffees she currently sells.

Icebox Coffee, she says, is all about “creating experiences for people for what is an ordinary event.” To capture those experiences — like the ones she remembers from growing up in New Orleans — “is the backbone of our business.”

— Linda Evans

W&L's Colón Weighs in on Legality of Trump Tax Disclosure

Aly Colón, Knight Professor of Ethics in Journalism at Washington and Lee University, recently shared his expertise in an Associate Press story titled, “Experts: No Clear Criminal Case Over Trump Tax Disclosure.”

Colón argues that regardless of public opinion, “journalists, in their role in holding the powerful accountable … are going to be looking for information that people might or might not ask for, but the journalist believes helps them be better informed.”

You can read the full Associate Press piece online.

W&L's Lepage Featured on Paint This Desert

In an essay recently featured on Paint This Desert, Andrea Lepage, associate professor of art at Washington and Lee University, shares her thoughts on artist Vincent Valdez.

You can read the full piece, titled “It’s Not So Easy to Be Free: Vincent Valdez’s ‘The City’,” online.

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George D. Johnson III Joins W&L Board of Trustees

George D. “Geordy” Johnson III, CEO of Johnson Development Associates Inc., Spartanburg, South Carolina, joined the Washington and Lee University Board of Trustees on Oct. 7, 2016. Johnson, a 2005 graduate of W&L, also holds an M.B.A. from UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School.

During graduate school, Johnson interned with BlackRock on its securitized assets investments team. He began his career as an investment-banking analyst at Wachovia Securities. Prior to joining Johnson Management in 2008, he worked for the Black Creek Group in Denver and Mexico City. He also served as manager of investment services at AvalonBay Communities Inc. He returned to Johnson Management in 2014 and became CEO of Johnson Development in 2015.

While a student at W&L, Johnson co-chaired the Adopt-A-Classroom Literacy Campaign and belonged to the South Carolina delegation for the 2004 Mock Convention and to the Phi Delta Theta social fraternity.  As a volunteer for his alma mater, he has served as a class agent, co-chaired his reunion committee, and sat on the campaign cabinet for Honor Our Past, Build Our Future: The Campaign for Washington and Lee. He belongs to the Young Alumni Council of the Williams School of Commerce, Economics and Politics, and served on the steering committee of W&L’s inaugural Real Estate Forum.

Johnson serves on the advisory board for the Wood Center for Real Estate Development at the Kenan-Flagler Business School and belongs to the Real Estate Roundtable. Johnson and his wife, Carter, live in Spartanburg.


W&L Law Review’s Corporate Law Symposium to Honor Professors Johnson and Millon The Lara D. Gass Symposium will focus this year on corporate law and governance, honoring the scholarship of two of the law school’s longest-serving faculty members, Lyman Johnson and David Millon.

JohnsonMillon_030_040516__-800x533 W&L Law Review's Corporate Law Symposium to Honor Professors Johnson and MillonDavid Millon and Lyman Johnson

The Washington and Lee Law Review’s Lara D. Gass Symposium at the Washington and Lee University School of Law will focus this year on corporate law and governance, honoring the scholarship of two of the law school’s longest-serving faculty members, Lyman Johnson and David Millon.

The event is scheduled for Oct. 21-22 in the Millhiser Moot Court Room, Sydney Lewis Hall on the campus of Washington and Lee University. The symposium proceedings are free and open to the public.

Professor Johnson and Professor Millon arrived at Washington and Lee in the mid-1980s, embarking upon their scholarly careers at a time now regarded as perhaps the single most extraordinary period of upheaval in the field of corporate law since the 1930s.  Their careers have mapped closely onto many of the developments that effectively define the field of corporate law as conceptualized and practiced today, and each has made extraordinary contributions to a range of theoretical and practical debates that have unfolded over the last thirty years.

The symposium will celebrate the respective contributions of Professors Johnson and Millon to the fields of corporate law and corporate governance by engaging with the central issues and problems that have animated their work. Johnson and Millon will each give a public keynote lecture, and a number of highly regarded experts in various areas of corporate law will participate in panel discussions on a range of corporate law topics.

Panels on Oct. 21 will address theoretical perspectives on the corporation, the nature and function of corporate fiduciary duties, and religious conceptions of corporate purpose. Panels on Oct. 22 will discuss corporate governance and corporate social responsibility and provide perspectives on the arc of corporate legal history over recent decades, including forecasts regarding the field’s continuing development.

An invitation-only dinner will feature remarks by Joseph Slights, Vice Chancellor of the Delaware Court of the Chancery and a 1988 graduate of W&L Law. Other speakers include:

  • Matthew Bodie (Callis Family Professor of Law, Saint Louis University School of Law)
  • William Wilson Bratton (Nicholas F. Gallicchio Professor of Law, University of Pennsylvania Law School)
  • Christopher Bruner (William Donald Bain Family Professor of Corporate Law, Washington and Lee University School of Law)
  • Ronald Colombo (Professor of Law, Maurice A. Deane School of Law, Hofstra University)
  •  Lynne Dallas (Professor of Law, University of San Diego School of Law)
  •  Deborah DeMott (David F. Cavers Professor of Law, Duke Law School)
  •  Andrew Gold (Professor of Law, DePaul College of Law)
  • Lawrence Hamermesh (Ruby R. Vale Professor of Corporate and Business Law, Widener University Law School)
  • Joan MacLeod Heminway (Rick Rose Distinguished Professor of Law, The University of Tennessee College of Law)
  • Claire Hill (James L. Krusemark Chair in Law, University of Minnesota Law School)
  • Jack Jacobs (Senior Counsel, Sidley Austin LLP and former Justice, Delaware Supreme Court)
  • Andrew Johnston (University of Sheffield School of Law, UK)
  • Brett McDonnell (Dorsey & Whitney Chair in Law, University of Minnesota Law School)
  • Thomas Molony (Associate Professor of Law, Elon University School of Law)
  • Eric Orts (Guardsmark Professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics and Management, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania)
  • Alan Palmiter (Howard L. Oleck Professor of Business Law, Wake Forest University School of Law)
  • Leo Strine, Jr. (Chief Justice, Delaware Supreme Court)
  • Robert Vischer (Dean and Mengler Chair in Law, University of St. Thomas School of Law)
  • Cheryl L. Wade (Dean Harold F. McNiece Professor of Law, St. John’s University School of Law)
  • Harwell Wells (Professor of Law, Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law)

A full schedule and registration information is available online. For questions about the event, contact Mitchell Diles ‘17L at diles.m@law.wlu.edu.

The Lara D. Gass Symposium is named in honor of Lara Gass, a member of the Law Class of 2014 who passed away in an automobile accident in March of 2014. Gass served as Symposium Editor for the Washington and Lee Law Review, organizing the Law Review’s 2014 symposium focused on the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Lara was active within the Women Law Students Organization and also served as a Kirgis Fellow, the law school’s peer mentoring group, during the 2012–2103 academic year. In January 2014, Lara received recognition for her academic achievements, her leadership abilities, her service to the law school and university community, and her character when she was inducted into Omicron Delta Kappa, the National Leadership Honor Society.

Organized and hosted by the W&L Law Review, this event is sponsored by the Dean’s Office, Washington and Lee University School of Law; the Frances Lewis Law Center, Washington and Lee University School of Law; the Provost’s Office, Washington and Lee University; the Class of 1960 Institute for Honor, Washington and Lee University; and the Roger Mudd Center for Ethics, Washington and Lee University.

Dr. Gregory Kulacki, of the Union of Concerned Scientists, to Speak Oct. 10

kulacki Dr. Gregory Kulacki, of the Union of Concerned Scientists, to Speak Oct. 10Gregory Kulacki, China project manager and senior analyst in the Global Security Program of the Union of Concerned Scientists

Dr. Gregory Kulacki, the China project manager and senior analyst in the Global Security Program of the Union of Concerned Scientists, will lecture at Washington and Lee University on Oct. 10 at 5 p.m. in Elrod Commons 345.

The title of the talk, which is free and open to the public, is “The Risk of Nuclear War between the United States and China.” It is sponsored by W&L’s East Asian Studies Program.

In his talk, Kulacki will explain the many obstacles to reducing and eventually eliminating the risks, and will discuss how concerned individuals in both countries are trying to help their two governments overcome them.

Kulacki has lived and worked in China for the better part of the last 25 years, facilitating exchanges between academic, governmental and professional organizations in both countries. Since joining the Union of Concerned Scientists in 2002, he has focused on promoting and conducting dialog between Chinese and American experts on nuclear arms control and space security.

He has been cited by a number of U.S. and Chinese news organizations, including the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, the Washington Post, Washington Times, NPR and Nature.

Kulacki’s areas of expertise include Chinese foreign and security policy, Chinese space program, international arms control and cross-cultural communication. He received his Ph.D. in political theory from the University of Maryland, College Park. He completed graduate certificates in Chinese economic history and international politics at Fudan University in Shanghai.

The Union of Concerned Scientists was formed to initiate a critical and continuing examination of governmental policy in areas where science and technology are of actual or potential significance and to devise means for turning research applications away from the present emphasis on military technology toward the solution of pressing environmental and social problems.

The group’s areas of interest include clean energy, clean vehicles, food and agriculture, global warming, nuclear power and nuclear weapons. The organization employs scientists, economists and engineers engaged in environmental and security issues, as well as executive and support staff.


W&L Launches Advanced Research Cohort (ARC) Pilot

“The things they’re putting into practice in terms of community building, leadership, mentorship and working with others will pervade and enrich the entire community.”

KRR1028-1373x900 W&L Launches Advanced Research Cohort (ARC) PilotMarc Conner, interim provost and Jo and James Ballengee Professor of English, with the inaugural Advanced Research Cohort.

In 2014, W&L biology professor Helen I’Anson was inspired during a breakout session at a conference, and returned to campus to share the seed of an idea with Marc Conner, interim provost. That idea – to create a program that would increase retention of underrepresented students in STEM through an early research experience – quickly blossomed into the Advanced Research Cohort (ARC) Program, which was piloted on campus this summer.

The objective was two-fold: to get a diverse group of incoming first-year students interested in STEM in the hopes of retaining them, and to help them flourish by bringing them to campus before the fall start so they would already feel at home, having developed relationships early on with one another, as well as with faculty and with current students.

The program focused initially on three specific initiatives. First, creating an environment for faculty to work closely with students. The university had the Summer Research Scholars program in place for current W&L students, and the ARC program presented an opportunity for incoming students to become involved in ongoing student/faculty research. Second, giving students who already had a powerful interest in science, technology, engineering and math an opportunity to exercise that interest from the very start of their college careers. And third, supporting and encouraging diversity in the STEM fields in particular.

As the team charged with developing and executing the new program expanded, so did its vision and scope. Conner and I’Anson continued to serve as the program’s faculty advisors and mentors, and together with Megan Hobbs, assistant dean of students, and Gregg Whitworth, assistant professor of biology, collaborated in organizing enrichment activities and overseeing the mentoring of the ARC students. Faculty and peer mentors were established, and three student residence assistants were selected to provide mentoring out of the labs and to support and enhance the students’ living and social experiences.

The program creators relied on Sally Richmond, vice president for admissions and financial aid, for help in identifying students who would thrive in the new program.

As a new member of the W&L community at the time, Richmond particularly appreciated the collaborative nature of the project. “Working with Marc, Helen and various academic departments in thinking about the students’ intellectual experience on campus and ensuring that it would be as empowering for them as possible was very rewarding,” said Richmond.

Once the program was announced, applications exceeded expectations by 100 percent, and the decision was made to grow the program before it even started, from the planned six to eight students to a well-rounded group of 12.

“Doubling the number of students made it a much more elaborate program than we’d intended,” said Conner. “But looking back, I’m so grateful that we expanded in that way. It gave us this perfect number of 12, sort of the ‘disciples’ of the ARC program.”

Research and Mentorship

The 12 incoming first-year students arrived on campus in mid-June. For five weeks, they spent their mornings in various labs, assisting faculty and their research students on a wide variety of summer research projects. The ARC students were placed with faculty in all areas of STEM, including math, physics and engineering, biochemistry and chemistry, and biology.

“We were very intentional in placing the students in existing labs with our current students, some of whom have been doing guided research with faculty for two or three summers already,” said Conner. “Part of the goal there was to insert the ARC students into already ongoing lab projects so they really hit the ground running and would be both challenged and also able to meet that challenge in their work.

“Another part of it, though, was to give current students an opportunity to work with these very bright students coming in and have the older students be as much teachers as the faculty,” he continued. The upper-division students became role models for the ARC students, demonstrating essential skills such as how to work with a professor, how to conduct oneself in a lab and how to think about oneself as a science student.

ARC students, Chris Messerich ’20, Mariam Samuel ’20 and Robert Moore ’20, meet with faculty in the IQ Center.

Unlike similar summer bridge programs at other institutions, the ARC program was not focused on providing remedial classes or spending time getting students up to speed on the basics of research. The students jumped right into research projects with faculty and current students on work that will ultimately be published.

“They were doing work from the molecular level up to the whole-animal level in biology and biochemistry,” said I’Anson. “They were working on models and mathematical algorithms in physics, engineering and math. They really worked on everything that we do in STEM at W&L.”

According to Conner, “The faculty raved about the students. If anything, the faculty were able to speed up what they were doing. These students – just out of high school – hadn’t had the introduction to science courses that a student typically would have before doing summer research. And from all the reports I’ve heard, the students just threw themselves into it, and they got a lot of support from the upper-division students in the labs, without which this wouldn’t really have worked.”

Beyond Research: Leadership and a Sense of Community

Because the program’s creators saw equal value in the students being exposed to leadership development opportunities as well as research, the ARC students spent their afternoons participating in a variety of leadership development programs, community service and team-building activities, career presentations and alumni networking. Leadership sessions included individual and group work. And, according to Hobbs, who facilitated the leadership training, a lot of personal reflection.

“One student referred to her time with me as being in ‘time out,’ said Hobbs. “Initially I was taken aback, but it actually caught on and became a great way to think about our time together because it was meant to be just that, a time to take a step back and be reflective, which we don’t do enough as humans, but especially when it comes to the four years you have on a college campus to develop yourself.”

The students, often focused on where their studies might lead in the future, participated in a variety of sessions developed by Molly Steele, assistant director of career development, which included meeting with alumni who shared their experiences in STEM, including graduate programs, research and a wide range of STEM-based careers. In addition, Steele talked to them about career opportunities, pay rates and other topics of interest within the STEM fields.

ARC student Vincent Buckman ’20 works in Dr. Whitworth’s lab with Ron Perets (’18) on quantifying changes in gene expression and alternative splicing in a rat model of diet induced obesity using RT-qPCR.

Conner spent time with the group each week talking about academic planning and sharing tips on how to work with an academic advisor and how to choose a major. And Kelsey Goodwin, director of student activities, helped to round out the ARC students’ experience with advice on campus life and presentations on the various organizations and extracurricular activities available to them as first-year students.

“A typical day,” said Conner, “was half in the lab and half doing this whole plethora of other activities, all of which are designed to try to give them this very rich sense of what it means to be a college student at Washington and Lee.”

The program’s creators also wanted to give the students a powerful sense of community. “I think if there’s a buzzword for the program,” said Conner, “community is a big part of it. We want the ARC students to feel like they’ve got their own community at Washington and Lee, and that Washington and Lee is a community that belongs to them, even before they arrive for the start of their first year.

“There is a sense of communities within communities,” continued Conner. “Of course the larger goal is that it grows out from the STEM areas themselves. While a student might be a biochemistry major, he or she might also be a pianist and an athlete, taking other courses – experiencing the whole liberal arts ideal. So the things they’re putting into practice in terms of community building, leadership, mentorship and working with others will pervade and enrich the entire community.” 

The First Class of Cohorts, Back on Campus

By all accounts, this year’s inaugural group of ARC students was exceptional. “They were a diverse, inquisitive, exciting and outgoing group,” said I’Anson. “They were keen to be involved, and interacted well with their lab groups and summer research students. The faculty mentors were really impressed by them. Every single one who had a student said they meshed well with their research team and, in some cases, even upped the ante.”

As the program’s creators hoped, the ARC students returned to campus this fall armed not only with a sense of community, increased knowledge and experience, but also with a powerful sense of ownership of the institution and a quiet confidence as they launched into their college careers.

“My advice to them as they were leaving campus this summer was to return with confidence and feel competent in all the work they had done,” said Hobbs, “but to also come back and be humble because they really have an awesome opportunity to be leaders peer-to-peer on their return, especially during those first weeks of transition.”

And the students have done exactly that. Robert Moore ’20, describes his first week on campus as one in which he was able to assist many of his fellow first-year students by guiding them to the right locations on campus. Another benefit of the program for Moore was the “plethora of insightful information from the professors about how to succeed in their respective fields of study.” He added, “It was very helpful when picking classes and setting a nice foundation in the first two days.”

Jenna Kim ’20 had a similar experience. “The ARC program gave me a preview of what college life is all about,” she said. “I know exactly what classes I need to take to pursue my dreams, and what programs I can look into that will help me get the most out of my college experience. I am able to point other first-years to buildings they are not familiar with, and talk about the clubs and opportunities that are offered here. Most importantly,” she added, “the ARC program has helped me prepare the proper mindset to really enjoy all the classes I choose to take here.”

HHMI Fellow, Sarah Clifford ’19 and ARC student, Sasha Edwards ’20 working on analysis of DNA sequence data from crayfish.

The ARC program had a significant impact on Sasha Edwards ’20, who says the program made the transition from home to school a smoother one. “When I first arrived back on campus,” she said, “I felt that it was easier to connect with people and trust them because I did it in the five weeks that I was here over the summer.

“Academically,” added Edwards, “the research and seminars helped me to prepare for the classroom atmosphere and adjust to the college work load. Going through the program opened up many doors for me both socially and academically, and I am reaping the benefits of it now.”

The Future of the ARC Program

As the ARC programs creators reflect on this summer’s pilot, they are also looking ahead to ways in which the program might expand. The university has already committed to a second year of the program for summer 2017 and several of this year’s ARC students are considering how they might get involved as upper-division students.

Richmond is excited about what an expanded program could mean from a recruiting standpoint. “The ARC program is something we can advertise and make available to prospective students, just as we do Johnson Opportunity Grants,” she explained. “It’s a chance to reinforce the university’s commitment to an increasingly diverse student body in the STEM area, a division of this institution that is becoming more and more important to prospective students.”

“We are seeing that students are ready and eager – and their families are as well – to have opportunities such as the ARC program,” said Richmond. “So whether it’s in the fine arts or another area, I look forward to seeing where it goes next.”

The program’s original collaborators feel the same way. “My vision for the ARC program is significantly bigger that our current 12 students,” said I’Anson. “First of all, I’d like to see it get much larger in STEM, with more students and more faculty involvement. But ultimately, the program has a lot of potential, not just in STEM, but across campus, and is perfect for the liberal arts.”

“I think the most exciting aspect of this going forward is to think about ways that we can improve it and how we can make this an ongoing part of the Washington and Lee education,” said Conner. “And then, of course, I’m always thinking about how we can grow the program, perhaps through corresponding projects in the humanities and the Williams School, or creating other advanced research cohorts in the creative and performing arts. The sky is the limit for the sorts of things we can do based on this very successful model.”

Hear more about the ARC program from the student participants:


Learning on the Fly: Yolanda “Yoyo” Yang and Savannah Kimble

“In an odd way, I felt like I had jumped into the future. From what I saw, China is a country that brings together the past and the future.”

— Savannah Kimble

Eight Washington and Lee University students spent a portion of summer 2016 overseas in a collaboration that pairs American and international students for projects and service work in the international students’ home countries.

The program, which is funded by part of a $219,000 grant from the Endeavor Foundation (formerly known as the Christian A. Johnson Foundation) is in its second year. This year found students working with refugees in Greece and Germany, and studying the culture of food and film in China.

Yolanda Yang ’18 and Savannah Kimble ’18 chose a project titled “The Chinese Cinematography Experience: Observing American and Chinese Films from Political, Psychological and Artistic Angles.”

What inspired you to focus on your theme?

Savannah: During our freshman year, Yoyo and I went to see “Kingsman: The Secret Service” at the theater. Some time later, we were talking about movies when she told me that in China, one of the most violent scenes in the movie had been cut (we watched the Chinese version during our time in China and saw the proof with our own eyes!). We thought that this was an interesting point of cultural difference, and months later that conversation turned into the idea for our project!

Yoyo: We watched the movie “Kingsman: The Secret Service” on a random Friday night freshman year. The next week, I chatted with one of my friends back in China, and he told me that he watched the Kingsman movie in a Chinese theater as well, but the famous “church massacre” scene was cut (almost four minutes long). I brought it up to Savannah, and both of us found it very interesting. This became our inspiration to do a good project that combines many of our interests (politics, literature, psychology, culture and film).

How did you go about conducting the project when you got to China?

Savannah: Before leaving for China, we downloaded the American versions of several movies on iTunes, and when we arrived in China, we found the Chinese versions. We then compared them scene  by scene. We also saw two of the most recent Hollywood movies in theaters, “Now You See Me 2” and “Independence Day: Resurgence,” and traveled to many cultural locations throughout China in Tianjin, Beijing, Shanghai and Xi’an.

Yoyo: We also visited Professor Zhenping Wang, the film studies professor in Beijing Foreign Languages University. We conducted a casual interview with her, gaining more in-depth knowledge of the value conflicts in movies (traditional Chinese perspectives versus Hollywood values).

Additionally, other than my hometown of Tianjin, we visited Beijing, Shanghai and Xi’an. As the most representative cities in China, those three cities are also well-known movie shooting sites. We visited many famous sites. We also visited the movie museum in Shanghai.

How would you summarize your findings?

Savannah: I would say that it was both what I expected and surprising! Many films were cut, as we expected, but some parts of the project didn’t go quite as we planned because there weren’t any cuts made to some of the films we had selected. However, that fact itself teaches us something important about the shift in Chinese cultural values over the years and censors becoming more lenient. Hollywood also seems to be catering some of its films toward the huge Chinese box-office base by including Chinese dialogue and cultural references, which was an interesting element that we hadn’t anticipated.

Yoyo: By contrasting the films (legal copies), we proved that film clipping is quite common.

We looked into the main reasons of the censorship policy, such as: Chinese film industry lacks the rating system; Chinese government keeps high sensitivity in political material; traditional Chinese culture is more conservative than Western culture.

What’s more, we also found that the growth of Chinese economy reflected on film industry. For instance, Chinese elements are thrown in many Hollywood box-office based movies.

Film industry also has grown into an important business in China. The Chinese Administration of Radio Film and Television clips movies because shortened movies allow for more screenings per day for increasing cinemas’ incomes.

Did anything about your findings surprise you?

Savannah: The financial aspect definitely surprised me! I remember sitting in a Shanghai movie theater watching “Now You See Me 2” with English dialogue and Chinese subtitles. The characters found themselves in Macau, described in the movie as “China’s Las Vegas,” and suddenly there was Chinese dialogue with English subtitles! It was an extraordinary reversal. Later on, two of the main characters teased one another about their Mandarin, and everyone in the audience laughed in delight. If, as Yoyo and I suspect, Hollywood is cashing in on the Chinese fan base, they’re doing a great job!

Yoyo: I never realized how many Chinese elements could be casually thrown in a Hollywood movie! Both of the films we saw were popular in China for a reason. Many actors and actresses are from China, which surely attracted many Chinese fans. Even knowing that Hollywood works hard on the financial aspect, I was still surprised to see how much they had been specifically focusing on China. After all, I had to admit that they had done a pretty good job considering the amount of Chinese audiences huddled in the movie theatres for seeing Jay Chou (in “Now You See Me 2”) or Angelababy (in “Independence Day”).

What is the next stage for your project? Did you create a paper or a video or anything? Do you plan to give any presentations about it on campus?

Savannah: We created a PowerPoint with our findings that we hope Yoyo will be able to present at Science, Society and the Arts in the spring. Unfortunately, I will be abroad in England next semester. We’re definitely open to other ideas as well!

Savannah, was this your first time in China? What were your impressions?

This was my first time out of the country, let alone in China! My first impression was that it was massive. In an odd way, I felt like I had jumped into the future. From what I saw, China is a country that brings together the past and the future. In a 10-minute car ride, you can travel from a mall the size of an airport to an area where chickens peck past stalls selling cheap clothing and ice cream on dirt roads. In the places I traveled, it feels like a country that has experienced huge economic growth and globalization in a very short amount of time, and the remnants of an agricultural society are still visible in the middle of modern cities.

Yoyo, what was it like to introduce a newcomer to your native land?

On one hand, after several years of traveling away from home, introducing Savannah to my home and my homeland gave me a chance to look into my cultural identity again with a more comprehensive and mature view.

On the other hand, although I had spent 17 years in China before I came to the U.S., I felt surprisingly ignorant about my own country and culture during this trip. I felt like a tourist sometimes! Almost every time I tried to explain to Savannah about a historical event, a cultural holiday, or a character in ancient legend, I found that I knew so much less than I thought I did. I will have to learn more about my own culture!

I have always enjoyed embracing new cultures, but now I am also motivated to introduce my own culture to others.

Favorite experience of the trip?

Savannah: I have so many favorite moments, and Yoyo is in every single one of them! I really loved getting to see her country and meeting her family and friends. Some of my favorite memories are Yoyo’s grandparents and mom teaching us how to make dumplings, eating the best sushi I’ve ever had with Yoyo and her mom, and her parents buying us ice cream as we trudged through blistering streets in the Xi’an summer. I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to see the Summer Palace, the Oriental Pearl and the Terracotta Warriors, and I’m lucky to count the experience of walking the Great Wall among my memories. But for me, the thing that made it really special was doing it all with one of my very best friends!

Yoyo: There are so many unforgettable moments during this trip so it’s hard to pick. I loved our afternoon tea time in an ancient water town in Shanghai when it was pouring outside. I loved us strolling down the riverside in Tianjin in the evenings after eating too many dumplings at my grandparents’ home. I even loved teaching Savannah to push through the thousands of tourists at the Terracotta Warriors exhibition, with ice cream in our hands.

One of my favorite experiences was our visit to the Summer Palace in Beijing. We were walking around the lake, and through the willows we saw the most beautiful sunset. That was a moment that I felt I was living in a postcard — being in my beloved homeland, watching beautiful scenes with my best friend. All the things I love made that afternoon perfect!


Learning on the Fly: Liza Chartampila and Maren Lundgren

“When the rest of the world is putting up walls and closing borders, they are breaking those boundaries down with their courage, kindness and incredible spirit.”

— Liza Chartampila

Eight Washington and Lee University students spent a portion of summer 2016 overseas in a collaboration that pairs American and international students for projects and service work in the international students’ home countries.

The program, which is funded by part of a $219,000 grant from the Endeavor Foundation (formerly known as the Christian A. Johnson Foundation) is in its second year. This year found students working with refugees in Greece and Germany, and studying the culture of food and film in China.

Liza Chartampila and Maren Lundgren traveled to Liza’s home country, Greece, to work with Syrian refugees.

What inspired you to focus on the refugee crisis?

Liza: I think the choice of topic for the project was one of the easiest choices we had to make, considering the circumstances. We started thinking about the project during one of the big waves of incoming people. We read the stories, we saw the pictures.

Maren: Two main things inspired us. First of all, the refugee crisis is a major issue in Greece right now, thus focusing on that was a good way to better understand life in Greece now. Secondly, I did research on the refugee crisis last summer, and I remain interested.

How did you go about conducting the project when you got there?

Liza: Before arriving in Greece, we had already done our research on the organizations that were active in Thessaloniki (my city) and knew their actions. Therefore, we had an idea of which organizations we would like to work with. When I went back to Greece in the beginning of summer, I contacted the organizations and got a clearer idea of which would be the best fit for our purposes. We decided to work with Antigone, and when Maren arrived in Greece in July, we sent our proposal to the organization and asked them to give us permission to do our project. We also contacted the refugee camp manager and asked permission for the project from her, too. After we got permissions from both the organization and the camp manager, we started the project.

Maren: We connected with two local organizations that brought us to a camp and an urban site, where we participated in the organizations’ activities and did our project.

How would you summarize your findings?

Liza: Our project wasn’t research-oriented, but service-oriented. We collected pictures from our activities at the refugee camp and also interviewed refugees about their experiences.

Maren: We will be putting on a fundraiser this Winter Term to show all of the findings, so stay tuned!

Did anything about the experience surprise you?

Liza: People’s attitude toward the situation surprised me the most. I was blown away by many of the refugees’ attitudes to the situation. They have been through so much. The things that they have seen and experienced are unimaginable. However, they still keep their heads high. They still have the courage to continue living and overcome any hurdles in their way.

I admire how grateful and kind they are, when the rest of the world is so ungrateful and unkind, a world that turned their backs on them. I admire how happy and hopeful they remain despite all the sorrow and despair that surrounds them. I admire how generous and loving they are towards us, people who are different from them on so many levels!

When the rest of the world is putting up walls and closing borders, they are breaking those boundaries down with their courage, kindness and incredible spirit.

Maren: The contrast between the city where we stayed and the refugee camp, just 20 minutes out of the city, was extreme. Even though Greece is experiencing a financial crisis, the different standards of living are unbelievable.

What is the next stage for your project?

Liza: There are a couple of things that we are planning for the future. First there is a report that is due, at the end of the month, to our supervisors. Furthermore, we are planning to give a presentation to the Washington and Lee community about the project. However, our ultimate goal is to organize one or more fundraisers to gather money that will most likely be sent back to the organization we worked with.

There are no words to describe how tragic the situation is, and it is extremely important that we do anything that can be done to ensure a future for those people. That is why we want to share our experiences, spread awareness and encourage people to get involved, to help in any way they can.

Maren: We are working on a report now, and, most importantly, we will be conducting a fundraiser in the winter to showcase our work and give back to the organizations we worked with.

Liza, what was it like sharing your homeland with a fellow student?

It was awesome because I got to experience my country through someone else’s eyes. I noticed things about myself and Greece that I would never notice under different circumstances. It really gave me a different perspective and understanding of many aspects of the culture and my life in Greece.

Maren, was this your first time in Greece? What were your impressions?

Yes, it was my first time in Greece. I found the people incredibly welcoming, the food delicious, and the countryside beautiful.

Favorite experience of the trip?

Liza: Getting to know the kids at the camp and interacting with them was by far the best.

Maren: We had been interviewing refugees, and one night, our translator had us over for dinner and cooked Syrian food for us and several urban refugees around our age. That was a fun night.


Learning on the Fly: Melina Knabe and Matt Carl American students at Washington and Lee University traveled abroad with international students for summer projects they created together.

“You can read or watch the news, but until you look a 7-year-old girl in the eyes and hear a story about how her home was destroyed, you don’t get it.”

— Matt Carl

Eight Washington and Lee University students spent a portion of summer 2016 overseas in a collaboration that pairs American and international students for projects and service work in the international students’ home countries.

The program, which is funded by part of a $219,000 grant from the Endeavor Foundation (formerly known as the Christian A. Johnson Foundation), is in its second year. This year found students working with refugees in Greece and Germany, and studying the culture of food and film in China.

“The Endeavor Program has inspired our students to think about their experiences abroad in new and innovative ways,” said Mark Rush, director of international education and Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Professor of Politics and Law. “It is inspiring to witness their creativity and energy as they spend their summers engaging in diverse and unique projects abroad. At the same time, this great program provides a wonderful chance for our international students to introduce their countries to American students through the lens of their family and home.”

Matthew Carl ’17 and Melina Knabe ’17 traveled to Knabe’s home city of Berlin, Germany to volunteer at an emergency shelter in the city and bond with its residents over a common love for the sport of soccer. Their project was titled “The Refugees of Germany: Soccer, Service and Stories.”

In fall 2015, Knabe said, “I started talking to my dad about the refugee crisis that was unfolding. My family was concerned about it, so it was very much on my mind.”

She and Carl said their program was an ideal way to combine their various interests. She is majoring in neuroscience with a minor in philosophy; he is an economics and German double major with a minor in mathematics.

When they arrived in Berlin, the study partners hit the streets and found an emergency shelter two subway stops from Knabe’s family home. The shelter, set up in a large, repurposed town hall, was one of many scattered in districts throughout the city. It was filled with mostly Syrians and Iraqis who had fled their countries for a safe haven and better opportunities.

Families can stay in private rooms in these shelters, but Knabe and Carl found that most of the residents were Syrian men in their 20s or 30s who hoped to bring their families to Germany later. That particular shelter was a U-shaped, five-story building surrounding a stone courtyard, and many of the residents gathered in the courtyard, where they passed the time by kicking around a soccer ball.

“Soccer is just a universal language, really, through which the German and refugee cultures can all be on equal footing, so to speak,” Carl said.

They contacted a man, Karlos El-Khatib, who works for a Berlin soccer club in a program that uses soccer to integrate cultures. Through his contacts, El-Khatib connected them with another soccer club in the city, and they began to use those resources to plan a large soccer tournament for the children of the shelter.

Planning the tournament required finding a space (at one of the soccer clubs) and advertising in advance. Knabe and Carl made posters in multiple languages and began to spread the word. They also ordered about 80 participation medals to hand out to everyone involved, including children and volunteers.

But they spent the bulk of their time leading up to the tournament getting to know residents of the shelter and building their trust.

“Something that resonated with me is that there is no substitute for personal interaction. You can read or watch the news, but until you look a 7-year-old girl in the eyes and hear a story about how her home was destroyed, you don’t get it,” Carl said.

In general, he and Knabe found it much easier to draw out the children, who impressed them with their resilience and lightheartedness, than the parents, who were understandably despondent and shy after uprooting their entire lives and moving to a strange city. The W&L students were also interested in the duality of the Germans’ attitude toward the refugees. They seemed to be overwhelmingly upset with their politicians’ decision to open the borders without putting it to a vote or seeking more citizen input, but they were still largely sympathetic toward the refugees and wanted to find ways to integrate them into the country.

“It’s a very pragmatic approach,” Knabe said.

Still, it seemed as if the urgency of the refugee situation had begun to fade for Berliners. The 5,000 volunteers who stepped up to help at the height of the crisis had dwindled in number by the time Carl and Knabe arrived. From a semantics standpoint, it was telling that the term used by Germans for refugees earlier in the crisis translated to “the fleeing,” but that word had been gradually replaced in conversation by a word that means “the fled.” But “the fled” still needed plenty of help as they continued to process the traumas they had experienced, dealt with heartbreaking homesickness, and began the search for jobs.

When the tournament rolled around, it was the perfect culmination of the work Carl and Knabe had done during their visit. It was meant to be for children ages 10 to 19, but the W&L team welcomed children of all ages.

It was “the highlight of the whole trip,” Carl said.

Knabe said the best part was giving the children a chance to let go of their worries and simply play together, if only for a short time. “It was so beautiful because they got to just be kids for a while,” she said, “and they got to leave the emergency shelter behind.”

— Lindsey Nair | lnair@wlu.edu


Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Philip Kitcher to Speak on Secular Humanism

Philip Kitcher, the John Dewey Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University, will give a Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar lecture at Washington and Lee University on Oct. 27 at 5 p.m. in Northen Auditorium, Leyburn Library.

The title of the lecture is “The Case for Secular Humanism.” It is free and open to the public. The Philosophy Department is sponsoring Kitcher’s talk.

In contemporary discussions, atheism is typically presented as a negative doctrine, the denial of God, gods, or any other kind of transcendent realm. Kitcher’s lecture presents secular humanism as a positive position. He argues that secular humanism can offer a satisfactory response to challenges often presented for it: it can recognize objective values, and it can address issues about the meaningfulness of our finite lives.

Kitcher won the Berlin Prize which was awarded by the American Academy in Berlin in 2015; was elected as Honorary Foreign Member of the Turkish Academy of Science in 2013; was a fellow, Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (Berlin Institute for Advanced Study) from 2011-2012.

Past president of the American Philosophical Association Pacific Division and a former editor in chief of Philosophy of Science, Kitcher was the first recipient of the APA’s Prometheus Prize in recognition of his “contribution to expanding the frontiers of research in philosophy and science.”

He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; has been a fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (Berlin Institute for Advanced Study); and, in the fall of 2015, was the Daimler Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin.

“We are very excited to host Philip Kitcher as the Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar,” said Paul Gregory, associate professor of philosophy at W&L. “Kitcher is an excellent and influential philosopher of science, and he is well-known outside academia for his books on the intersections of science, democracy and secularism.

Kitcher’s books include “Life After Faith: The Case for Secular Humanism (2013); “Philosophy of Science” (2013); “The Ethical Project” (2011); and “Living with Darwin: Evolution, Design and the Future of Faith” (2007) which won the Lannan Foundation Notable Book Award.

His co-edited book on climate change, “The Seasons Alter: How to Save the Human Future in Six Acts,” will be published in April 2017.

Since 1956, the Phi Beta Kappa Society’s Visiting Scholar Program has been offering undergraduates the opportunity to spend time with some of America’s most distinguished scholars. The purpose of the program is to contribute to the intellectual life of the institution by making possible an exchange of ideas between the Visiting Scholars and the resident faculty and students.

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2016-17 Reynolds Fellow at W&L to Give Talk About Bernie Madoff Scandal

Diana Henriques, an award-winning financial journalist and author, will give a talk at Washington and Lee University on Oct. 27 at 5 p.m. in the Stackhouse Theater of Elrod Commons.

The title of her speech is “The Timeless Lessons of the Bernie Madoff Scandal.” It is free and open to the public. A book signing will follow.

Her talk is sponsored by the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications and the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation.

Henriques, the 2016-2017 Reynolds Fellow at W&L, is a New York Times financial reporter who has largely specialized in investigative reporting on white-collar crime, market regulation and corporate governance.

Since January 2012, she has been a contributing writer at the Times and has written for a variety of other outlets, including Forbes magazine.

“Diana is one of the nation’s top financial writers and a trail blazer for women in journalism,” said Alecia Swasy, W&L’s Donald W. Reynolds Chair in Business Journalism.

One of her most powerful investigations revealed how American military personnel were cheated by financial service companies. Her reporting resulted in legislative reforms and cash payments refunded to thousands of families. The series was a Pulitzer finalist and was honored with numerous other awards. “She is tireless and digs in to find the truth,” Swasy said.

“HBO is developing ‘The Wizard of Lies’ as a movie and Henriques plays herself interviewing Robert DeNiro as Bernie Madoff,” Swasy mentioned.

She is the author of “Wizard of Lies” (2012), a New York Times bestseller about the tale of Bernie Madoff, and other books including “The White Sharks of Wall Street: Thomas Mellon Evans and The Original Corporate Raiders (2000) and “Fidelity’s World: The Secret Life and Public Power of the Mutual Fund Giant” (1995).

Dr. Gregory Kulacki, of the Union of Concerned Scientists, to Lecture Oct. 10 at Washington and Lee

Dr. Gregory Kulacki, the China project manager and senior analyst in the Global Security Program of the Union of Concerned Scientists, will lecture at Washington and Lee University on Oct. 10 at 5 p.m. in Elrod Commons 345.

The title of the talk, which is free and open to the public, is “The Risk of Nuclear War between the United States and China.” It is sponsored by W&L’s East Asian Studies Program.

In his talk, Kulacki will explain the many obstacles to reducing and eventually eliminating the risks, and will discuss how concerned individuals in both countries are trying to help their two governments overcome them.

Kulacki has lived and worked in China for the better part of the last 25 years, facilitating exchanges between academic, governmental and professional organizations in both countries. Since joining the Union of Concerned Scientists in 2002, he has focused on promoting and conducting dialog between Chinese and American experts on nuclear arms control and space security.

He has been cited by a number of U.S. and Chinese news organizations, including the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, the Washington Post, Washington Times, NPR and Nature.

Kulacki’s areas of expertise include Chinese foreign and security policy, Chinese space program, international arms control and cross-cultural communication. He received his Ph.D. in political theory from the University of Maryland, College Park. He completed graduate certificates in Chinese economic history and international politics at Fudan University in Shanghai.

The Union of Concerned Scientists was formed to initiate a critical and continuing examination of governmental policy in areas where science and technology are of actual or potential significance and to devise means for turning research applications away from the present emphasis on military technology toward the solution of pressing environmental and social problems.

The group’s areas of interest include clean energy, clean vehicles, food and agriculture, global warming, nuclear power and nuclear weapons. The organization employs scientists, economists and engineers engaged in environmental and security issues, as well as executive and support staff.

W&L Law Review's Corporate Law Symposium to Honor Professors Johnson and Millon

The Washington and Lee Law Review’s Lara D. Gass Symposium at the Washington and Lee University School of Law will focus this year on corporate law and governance, honoring the scholarship of two of the law school’s longest-serving faculty members, Lyman Johnson and David Millon.

The event is scheduled for Oct. 21-22 in the Millhiser Moot Court Room, Sydney Lewis Hall on the campus of Washington and Lee University. The symposium proceedings are free and open to the public.

Professor Johnson and Professor Millon arrived at Washington and Lee in the mid-1980s, embarking upon their scholarly careers at a time now regarded as perhaps the single most extraordinary period of upheaval in the field of corporate law since the 1930s.  Their careers have mapped closely onto many of the developments that effectively define the field of corporate law as conceptualized and practiced today, and each has made extraordinary contributions to a range of theoretical and practical debates that have unfolded over the last thirty years.

The symposium will celebrate the respective contributions of Professors Johnson and Millon to the fields of corporate law and corporate governance by engaging with the central issues and problems that have animated their work. Johnson and Millon will each give a public keynote lecture, and a number of highly regarded experts in various areas of corporate law will participate in panel discussions on a range of corporate law topics.

Panels on Oct. 21 will address theoretical perspectives on the corporation, the nature and function of corporate fiduciary duties, and religious conceptions of corporate purpose. Panels on Oct. 22 will discuss corporate governance and corporate social responsibility and provide perspectives on the arc of corporate legal history over recent decades, including forecasts regarding the field’s continuing development.

An invitation-only dinner will feature remarks by Joseph Slights, Vice Chancellor of the Delaware Court of the Chancery and a 1988 graduate of W&L Law. Other speakers include:

  • Matthew Bodie (Callis Family Professor of Law, Saint Louis University School of Law)
  • William Wilson Bratton (Nicholas F. Gallicchio Professor of Law, University of Pennsylvania Law School)
  • Christopher Bruner (William Donald Bain Family Professor of Corporate Law, Washington and Lee University School of Law)
  • Ronald Colombo (Professor of Law, Maurice A. Deane School of Law, Hofstra University)
  •  Lynne Dallas (Professor of Law, University of San Diego School of Law)
  •  Deborah DeMott (David F. Cavers Professor of Law, Duke Law School)
  •  Andrew Gold (Professor of Law, DePaul College of Law)
  • Lawrence Hamermesh (Ruby R. Vale Professor of Corporate and Business Law, Widener University Law School)
  • Joan MacLeod Heminway (Rick Rose Distinguished Professor of Law, The University of Tennessee College of Law)
  • Claire Hill (James L. Krusemark Chair in Law, University of Minnesota Law School)
  • Jack Jacobs (Senior Counsel, Sidley Austin LLP and former Justice, Delaware Supreme Court)
  • Andrew Johnston (University of Sheffield School of Law, UK)
  • Brett McDonnell (Dorsey & Whitney Chair in Law, University of Minnesota Law School)
  • Thomas Molony (Associate Professor of Law, Elon University School of Law)
  • Eric Orts (Guardsmark Professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics and Management, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania)
  • Alan Palmiter (Howard L. Oleck Professor of Business Law, Wake Forest University School of Law)
  • Leo Strine, Jr. (Chief Justice, Delaware Supreme Court)
  • Robert Vischer (Dean and Mengler Chair in Law, University of St. Thomas School of Law)
  • Cheryl L. Wade (Dean Harold F. McNiece Professor of Law, St. John’s University School of Law)
  • Harwell Wells (Professor of Law, Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law)

A full schedule and registration information is available online. For questions about the event, contact Mitchell Diles ‘17L at diles.m@law.wlu.edu.

The Lara D. Gass Symposium is named in honor of Lara Gass, a member of the Law Class of 2014 who passed away in an automobile accident in March of 2014. Gass served as Symposium Editor for the Washington and Lee Law Review, organizing the Law Review’s 2014 symposium focused on the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Lara was active within the Women Law Students Organization and also served as a Kirgis Fellow, the law school’s peer mentoring group, during the 2012–2103 academic year. In January 2014, Lara received recognition for her academic achievements, her leadership abilities, her service to the law school and university community, and her character when she was inducted into Omicron Delta Kappa, the National Leadership Honor Society.

Organized and hosted by the W&L Law Review, this event is sponsored by the Dean’s Office, Washington and Lee University School of Law; the Frances Lewis Law Center, Washington and Lee University School of Law; the Provost’s Office, Washington and Lee University; the Class of 1960 Institute for Honor, Washington and Lee University; and the Roger Mudd Center for Ethics, Washington and Lee University.

Learning on the Fly: Laura Wang and Natalie Dabrowski

“It’s nice to meet other people with an interest in China. It was such a fresh experience for me.”

— Laura Wang

Eight Washington and Lee University students spent a portion of summer 2016 overseas in a collaboration that pairs American and international students for projects and service work in the international students’ home countries.

The program, which is funded by part of a $219,000 grant from the Endeavor Foundation (formerly known as the Christian A. Johnson Foundation) is in its second year. This year found students working with refugees in Greece and Germany, and studying the culture of food and film in China.

Laura Wang and Natalie Dabrowski traveled to Laura’s home country, China, to research food and restaurant trends.

Laura Wang ’19 and Natalie Dabrowski ’19
“Food and Modernizing Culture in Guangzhou, China”

How did you settle on your Endeavor project theme?

Natalie: Laura and I were talking about food culture one night — she misses Chinese food when she is here. We started to wonder how common it is to find other regional Chinese foods in Guangzhou. As they try to standardize the language and culture, is that a good thing or a bad thing? It is not good if it comes at the cost of culture. A lot of these arts and traditions are being lost.

Laura: My city is the best food city in China. However, I feel that both the Cantonese language and a lot of Cantonese traditions are disappearing. I was trying to figure out how much real Cantonese food can be found in different districts with all of the other foods coming in, and how well each district preserves Cantonese food.

How did you go about conducting the project when you got to China?

Natalie: Each day, we took the subway around the city and took pictures of restaurant fronts, because we figured that’s the best way to see what type of restaurant it was and to see the signage. If it was something of note, we wrote it down.

Laura: We counted how many restaurants there are, and how many of those are Chinese restaurants. Then we noted how many of those are Cantonese restaurants, and looked at what the Cantonese food restaurants had on the menu.

How would you summarize your findings?

Natalie: In China, there are a lot more little family restaurants tucked into little shopping centers or street sides. Many of them have been there a long time. A lot are Cantonese, but many are more general cuisine.

Laura: Small restaurants in street sides in the two traditional old districts have a lot of featured Cantonese, and lots of those have been there more than 20 years. I feel that even though people in Guangzhou actually go eat in big shopping malls a lot, those unnoticeable street restaurants are the places that preserve the taste of Cantonese best.

Did anything about your findings surprise you?

Natalie: I was surprised by the variety of foods we found — not only many different Chinese dishes from different regions but also many foods from across Asia. The variety was really quite amazing and very diverse.

Laura: I was surprised to find Beijing roasted duck on a traditional Cantonese menu!

What is the next stage for your project?

Natalie: We’d like to create a presentation about our findings, with a particular focus on the photos we took in order to better relate our findings to audiences back at W&L.

Laura: We want to create a presentation where we talk about the restaurants, and introduce real Chinese food.

Natalie, what did you think of China during your first visit to the country?

I’d never been, so it was really exciting. And I actually got to visit Japan just before I traveled to China. It was incredibly valuable as an American, getting to visit both Japan and China in such a short time frame. We have such a limited perspective of Asia, and particularly China. But it’s such a diverse place that is interesting to learn about. There’s so much culture, and I think people in the U.S. tend to be unaware of it.

Laura, did you enjoy introducing Natalie to your homeland?

Yes. I told her a lot about my city before we went — everything I love about it. It made her so pumped. While we were there, my mom was able to help Natalie practice her Chinese. It’s nice to meet other people with an interest in China. It was such a fresh experience for me. When we talk about China to foreigners, people think of Beijing or Shanghai. Not many people know there is a third big city in China. It’s actually a really attractive city, and the food is really good!

Favorite experience of the trip?

Natalie: Being able to see all the beautiful landmarks in Guangzhou all lit up at night — it was a really lovely end to my trip and something I’ll never forget.

Laura: I got to go to those old streets in the Liwan district (not my home district) and had the taste of authentic Cantonese food. Because I barely went there before, I don’t know when I would have had the opportunity to try those foods without the inspiration of this project.


Design/Build/Fly Students test their skills for an engineering competition

Airplane@SciCtr_0022_071416__-copy1-1024x685 Design/Build/Fly

“Not only did we get to be more experienced working with the materials to build the airplanes, but the best lessons I got were how to build the team and organize labor to most efficiently meet the deadlines.”

For the past few years, the 20-foot-long Pteranodon suspended from the ceiling of the Science Center’s Great Hall has been flying solo. No longer. Jumping ahead a few epochs, the latest addition to the atrium is a plane.

So why a plane? Last fall Alexander Rurka was looking to participate in an engineering competition. A Google search landed on the Cessna/Raytheon Missile Systems Student Design/Build/Fly competition organized by the American Institute Of Aeronautics and Astronautics Foundation. “This one seemed to be the best in terms of its professional affiliations, the number of competitors and level of organization,” said Rurka.

Although Rurka headed up the project, about 15 to 20 students participated, each with different levels of involvement. “The General Flyers club, created to satisfy one of the competition requirements, is composed primarily of physics-engineering majors,” he said. “However, we did have a number of first-years who were undecided.” The group designed and fabricated an unmanned, electric-powered, radio-controlled aircraft to best meet the competition’s specified mission profile.

The rules were complex, and involved scoring the aircraft on a number of criteria. “The ultimate goal was to design and build two aircraft,” explained Rurka. “One airplane, the production airplane, had to be able to fly a 32-fluid-ounce Gatorade bottle around a race course. The second plane, the manufacturing airplane, had to be able to transport the production aircraft. The idea was to simulate the logistical processes airplane manufacturers go through when deciding how to build and deliver an airplane to a client. Do you ship the plane in a lot of small pieces or a few big pieces? We had to design the production airplane to meet some criteria and the transport aircraft to most efficiently ship the production airplane.”

Joel Kuehner, chair of the Physics-Engineering Department, is beyond delighted not only with how the project turned out, but also with what students learned during the building process. “Alexander was really the main force behind the build,” said Kuehner. “My role was to stand back and cheerlead. Over the past couple of years, he had built some radio-controlled aircraft, and came back last fall wanting to build a more involved project. He had all the expertise and brought the students together. He plans to enter another design-build-fly competition this academic year, and now he has a tangible, physical object to show students who are interested in joining the group.”

“Designing the airplanes wasn’t too hard,” Rurka said. “But building the production aircraft proved to be a large undertaking. These planes are big and require a lot of labor. One of our biggest challenges was meeting the competition’s deadlines (there are certain stages over the course of the year) while also having to meet school and athletic obligations.”

Many of the parts were ordered over the internet, but others were fabricated in W&L’s IQ Center. “The most expensive components are the motors, the servos to control the flaps and the radio transmitter,” said Kuehner. “But all in all, the cost was less than $1,000. For the actual build, Alexander was the main person who knew how to construct the aircraft, so he taught many of the other members. They used the 3-D printers to create molds that they could shape the carbon fiber in. Without access to the IQ Center, they would have had to sand the pieces into the shape they wanted, which is dangerous and time-consuming.”

Rurka summed up the project’s rewards. “We learned a ton. Not only did we get to be more experienced working with the materials to build the airplanes, but the best lessons I got were how to build the team and organize labor to most efficiently meet the deadlines. I would say that other students learned a lot about the manufacturing process for a large project. These lessons can apply to many other disciplines of engineering.”

David Hanson ’00 Writer, Photographer and Documentarian

DavidHanson1-1024x683 David Hanson '00While visiting the campus in March 2016, David Hanson ’00 helped prepare meals at W&L’s Campus Kitchen.

“People are endlessly fascinating to me, and identifying as a writer or photographer, no matter how general that title is, gives a rare license to ask people questions.”

“When I was a student at W&L, the term ‘food justice’ didn’t exist,” said David Hanson ’00, the author of “Breaking Through Concrete: Building an Urban Farm Revival” (University of California Press, 2011) and director of the award-winning documentary “Who Owns the Water” (2014). “The issues of poverty and food insecurity weren’t on my agenda at all.”

But that’s where his education at W&L eventually led him. “I ended up at W&L because I wanted a small school with good academics, and I wanted the chance to play baseball during college. Also, at that time, I hadn’t strayed too far from my home in Atlanta, so I wanted to stay in the South.”

He discovered geology through Professor Dave Harbor’s Intro to Geology class. “I instantly connected with the stories of how the landscape has taken its shape over time,” said Hanson. “I always enjoyed Professor Harbor’s incessant questioning and curiosity and genuine joy about the story of geomorphology — basically, why the land looks the way it does.” English, particularly with Professor Dabney Stuart, was also a favorite. “It came relatively easy to me, compared to math, so I gravitated toward it. Again, the stories attracted me.

“Without knowing it as I entered college, I was already a liberal arts person — curious about a lot of things. W&L encouraged that.”

Since graduating with a double major in geology and English, he’s worked as a field science instructor in Olympic Park Institute and Yosemite National Institute and as a features editor for Cottage Living Magazine. He is now a freelance writer, photographer and videographer, most recently producing stories for the nonprofit WhyHunger about food justice — how food is grown, processed, transported, distributed and consumed. “I like telling stories, and there are a lot of them out there,” he said.

While he was living in Birmingham, Alabama, and working for Cottage Living Magazine, he began covering smart-growth development, particularly urban farmers and the consumers who wanted access to fresh food. “I could see there was a movement happening,” said Hanson. “Downtown Birmingham was an empty core. There were a lot of vacant lots, but some of those were being used to grow food. Working those plots supplied local restaurants, supplemented the dinner table or provided job training. I was interested in looking for origin stories — talking to people about this at the grass-roots level.”

He added, “Food brings us together, usually three times a day. Sometimes we eat alone, but often we with eat with others. But on a systemic level, food can divide us and play on our inequalities. Over the course of time, communities have lost control over their access to food.”

He and a colleague, Edwin Marty, hatched a plan to explore those topics and secured a book contract with the University of California Press for “Breaking Through Concrete: Building an Urban Farm Revival.”

As recounted in the Spring/Summer 2012 issue of the W&L alumni magazine, Hanson and his brother, Michael ’03, along with Marty, hit the road in a short Blue Bird school bus that ran on a combination of recycled vegetable grease and diesel fuel. Christened Lewis Lewis, the bus was outfitted with three bunks and two desks and conveyed them, with some breakdowns along the way, to a dozen cities, including Seattle, New Orleans, Chicago and New York.

“Lewis Lewis proved to be a pretty good conversation opener with people, maybe because it smelled like French fries,” he said.

Along the way, Hanson collected stories about refugees from Burma and Somalia raising crops to supplement their income and as a resource for creating native recipes. In Detroit, he met with members of the Catherine Ferguson Academy, which offers an alternate curriculum to help teenage mothers and their children learn viable skills through raising livestock and building chicken coops. He interviewed rooftop gardeners in New York City about supplying fresh produce to restaurants.

“I like seeing the different solutions to growing fresh food that’s happening on these urban farms,” said Hanson. “These small gardens won’t feed the masses, but they bring us closer to the food we eat. It’s a new frontier, and there are lots of approaches to growing our food supply. I hope the next step will involve widespread policy changes that ensure access to fresh, nutritious food for everyone.”

Recently, Hanson added documentary filmmaker to his résumé. He grew up three miles from the Chattahoochee River, in Georgia, and it became the focal point for his film documenting the decades-old battle among Georgia, Alabama and Florida for the rights to the water from it. Not so long ago, the American South seemed impervious to water-shortage problems, but the needs of rapidly growing urban areas, such as Atlanta, began to clash with agricultural and recreational uses.

“I was attracted to the idea of a river journey,” he said. “I’m always drawn to stories wrapped in adventure, and a 500-mile canoe trip down the Chattahoochee from its headwaters in Tennessee to its terminus in the Gulf of Mexico seemed the best way to explore an endangered natural resource. I wanted to let the river set the pace and to meet the people who lived along its banks.”

His brother joined him once again, and the two spent a month paddling canoes downriver (some portage was also required), talking to many people along the way — fishermen, environmentalists, houseboat owners, local residents, oyster farmers — “people who had unique native knowledge about the river.”

“Who Owns the Water” garnered widespread praise, winning the 2013 AI-AP International Motion Award; Best Documentary, 2014 Lookout Wild Film Festival; 2013 Mountainfilm Grant; and Official Selection, 2014 Mountainfilm Festival.

Like the issues surrounding food insecurity, figuring out a solution to reasonable use of water among three states is complicated. Hanson hopes a coalition he met on his river journey, the Apalachicola Chattahoochee Flint Stakeholders group, a watershed-wide coalition of industry, conservation, community and business interests, will make some headway. “They’ve been meeting for years, discussing all the issues, and have aggregated their resources to fund scientific studies to devise a plan for sharing the water,” said Hanson. “The latest lawsuit, however, has gummed up the process.”

While the tug-of-war continues, Hanson will keep on gathering stories and writing not only about the river he knows so well, but other environmental issues, too.

“I like being outside, creating adventures or expeditions that offer physical challenges and allow me to see, experience and live close to the ground in new landscapes, but that also put me in touch with people,” said Hanson. “The meeting-people thing is really just an ongoing journal form. It’s a way to map where I’ve been, but also to learn about the world through others. People are endlessly fascinating to me, and identifying as a writer or photographer, no matter how general that title is, gives a rare license to ask people questions, at least for someone relatively introverted like myself.”

Museum of the American Revolution Honors Gerry and Marguerite Lenfest

Lenfest-dedication-blog-600x400 Museum of the American Revolution Honors Gerry and Marguerite LenfestGerry and Marguerite Lenfest at a ceremony for the official opening of the Museum of the American Revolution’s outdoor plaza.

“Gerry has been the museum’s most steadfast advocate from the very beginning, and we’re thrilled to be here today to name this beautiful building the Marguerite and Gerry Lenfest Building.” –Michael Quinn, president and CEO

On Sept. 15, Gerry and Marguerite Lenfest joined hundreds of friends and neighbors at a ceremony for the official opening of the Museum of the American Revolution’s outdoor plaza and the unveiling of the plaque to honor the couple. The museum officially opens to the public on April 19, 2017.

Gerry, a 1953 graduate of Washington and Lee University and a 1955 graduate of its Law School, has chaired the museum’s board of directors since 2005. As he has often done for his alma mater, he contributed $50 million in matching grants toward the museum’s $150 million campaign.

At the ceremony, Michael Quinn, president and CEO of the museum, said, “This building is a physical testament to the inspiring vision, unwavering support, and tremendous generosity of Gerry and Marguerite Lenfest. Gerry has been the museum’s most steadfast advocate from the very beginning, and we’re thrilled to be here today to name this beautiful building the Marguerite and Gerry Lenfest Building.”

You can find more details about the ceremony and the plaza here.


Public Policy Young Voices at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute

Hispanc-Caucus-600x400 Public PolicyPepe Estrada (left) and Jason Renner attended the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s Public Policy Conference in Washington, D.C.

“I walked away with a rejuvenated sense of my political prowess as a Latino and gained a better sense of how I can utilize the American political landscape to my advantage.” — Jason Renner

Denis “Pepe” Estrada Hamm and Jason Renner, both sophomores at Washington and Lee University, spent Sept. 13-15 at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s Public Policy Conference in Washington, D.C. The students received funding for the trip from the Virginia Foundation for Independent College’s Excelencia Initiative, coordinated through W&L’s Career Development Office.

Renner, who is majoring in politics and minoring in computer science, said, “I’m interested in eventually working in public policy and analysis, and, as a student of Latino ethnicity, I thought this was a great way to get involved a bit more. I wanted to get off campus and open myself to new opportunities.”

Every year, the conference assembles Latino leaders, federal and local elected officials, corporate and nonprofit leaders, and supporters to participate in timely discussions of major policy issues affecting the Latino community and the nation. As noted in the schedule of events, panel discussions included such key issues as education, STEM, the economy, work force, labor, health and immigration.

“At this conference, everyone seemed to be united in their efforts to advance the community, even if some of us disagree how to do so,” said Estrada, a computer science and economics major. “I wanted to learn from and meet leaders in the Latino community, and I was most interested in the efforts being taken to address the immigrant crisis in the United States — specifically, how entities were trying to help these people become citizens.”

Renner thinks they were probably the youngest present. “The general vibe that I got was that we were the only college students there. Attendees were mostly from the public and private sectors, but all brought a unique perspective of how to engage more of the Latino community in their various sectors.” He noted that there is a “phenomenal growth of Latino communities, and they have a lot of purchasing power. It will be interesting to see how our numbers can influence public policy.”

While this is an election year, and immigration is a hot topic, Renner said that item is actually ranked fifth on a list of issues that concern the Latino population. “While immigration is important, the expectation that it’s high on our list is a stereotype. We don’t vote from a single platform. What individuals are concerned about is equal opportunity, education, housing and so on.”

Being present at such a large event gave the two students an excellent networking opportunity. “This conference allowed me to develop connections with the leaders of my community,” Estrada said, “and to learn information about everything from corporate structure to immigration law directly from the people involved in those things.” While he made a number of connections, he’s most excited about a representative from Microsoft who asked for his business card and résumé.

Renner, who also lined up several telephone interviews for possible summer internships, said, “I walked away with a rejuvenated sense of my political prowess as a Latino and gained a better sense of how I can utilize the American political landscape to my advantage.”

Dan and Irina Mazilu Building a nanoscience program

DanIrina-Mazilu_0006_080216__-copy-1024x683 Dan and Irina MaziluProfessors Dan and Irina Mazilu

“We opened up our approach to them [the students] and let the creativity fly. We’ve had great success. We don’t settle for small projects that are not competitive at the national or international level.”

Classes
Irina, professor of physics: General Physics I & II, Nuclear Physics, Statistical Physics, Introduction to Nanoscience, Particle Physics at CERN.

Dan, associate professor of physics: General Physics I & II, Electricity and Magnetism, Dreams of a Final Theory, Modern Physics, Newtonian Mechanics.

Introduction:
Dan and Irina Mazilu both attended Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, in Romania, behind the Iron Curtain. “Under the communist regime, everything was very strict,” said Irina. “We lived through a revolution that shaped us as people. Those of us who had passed the competitive entrance exams for our university took the same classes at the same time. I tell my students that I appreciate the United States education and all the choices they have, because we didn’t have that.”

The Path to the U.S.
Dan spent his junior year of college in Omaha, at the University of Nebraska, as an exchange student. He fell in love not only with America, but also with college football. “Nebraska was having great success in football at that time,” he said.

Neither knew much about the U.S. “One of the only American television series we were able to watch in Romania was ‘Dallas.’ Programming was very restricted in Romania. I don’t know why the regime allowed that particular series to air. Maybe it was to show the moral failings of America. Anyway, that was what we thought America was like.”

For graduate school, they landed first at SUNY Buffalo, and then migrated to warmer climes at Virginia Tech, in Blacksburg. Irina concentrated on the theoretical and computational side of physics, while Dan focused on the experimental.

In 2002, three weeks after defending her Ph.D., Irina took a one-year position at W&L. She jumped at the chance to join the faculty in a tenure-track position in 2004. Dan joined her as a full-time faculty member in 2008. “I was ecstatic when I was offered the position,” said Dan. “It’s academic Nirvana,” added Irina. “It’s a wonderful college, with wonderful students.”

The Nanoscience Program
“It’s strange that we didn’t start working together until 2006, “ said Irina. “I didn’t realize until then that all the theory I had been studying can be beautifully applied and confirmed by the experiments that Dan is doing. We started taking it very seriously and working together beyond the casual conversations about our research.”

At W&L, they are building a nanoscience program, although Irina said, “We are still far, far, from calling it a program.” Nonetheless, they teach classes on the subject together with their colleague Moataz Khalifa, visiting assistant professor of physics and engineering. Irina and Dan have published several papers on nanoscience research in first-tier journals, with W&L students as co-authors.

“Doing research with students at W&L was eye-opening for us as mentors,” noted Irina. “We opened up our approach to them and let the creativity fly. We’ve had great success. We don’t settle for small projects that are not competitive at the national or international level.”

“You literally see them grow up before your eyes,” said Dan. “The difference between the first week of summer research and the last week is incredible and so satisfying to us. When our students present posters at conferences, they are mistaken for graduate students or post-docs.”

“Our colleagues at other institutions find it surprising that we can conduct research at this level with our students,” said Irina. “We very fortunate for W&L’s support in terms of the students being able to travel to conferences. It’s important for them, and us, to get out of the bubble and mingle with other researchers.”

Spring Term Abroad

Mazilu-1024x683 Dan and Irina MaziluTaking a break at the huge superconducting magnet that used to be part of the Large Hadron Collider but is now out of commission and on display on the CERN campus.

In 2016, Dan and Irina, took a Spring Term class abroad to spend time learning about the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research. The Mazilus have a collaborator there, giving the class access to behind-the-scenes tours of the facility.

“We don’t have kids,” said Irina, “so going from 0 to 12 overnight was a challenge. But it was a great experience. Some students were scared to travel to Europe, but during the trip they realized they loved Europe and that traveling is a wonderful experience. We had the opportunity to visit the Einstein museum in Bern and his home. We tried to give the students a taste of Swiss culture — literally cheese and chocolate.”

The trip resulted in an internship for one student, Stephanie Fouts, and led another student, Anthony Hodges, to join a Ph.D. program that has ties to CERN.

Sabbatical Plans
For their yearlong sabbatical, the Mazilus have extensive travel plans. They will return to their homeland to look at labs and equipment that will help them with their own nanoscience program at W&L. “Now that Romania is part of the EU, it has received a lot of funding for scientific infrastructure,” said Irina. “There are a lot of new techniques we can learn while we are there.”

In February, they are headed to Southeast Asia, to Vietnam and the Philippines, and then Iceland, to give lectures and establish new collaborations and strengthen existing ones. “We are grateful to have W&L’s support to have full-year sabbaticals for both of us at the same time,” said Irina. “We know that it is a once-in-a-lifetime professional opportunity.”

“The other reason it is important to travel to different places is that inspiration strikes in the most unusual places,” noted Dan. “Our goal is to get ideas and keep building out our program.”

Extra-Curricular Activities
Dan still watches college football, and both enjoy cooking for friends, students and colleagues. “I wish I could have a restaurant,” joked Irina.

Travel is also a hobby. “Even though we travel a lot by plane, we love road trips, as well,” said Dan. “We feel that now that the U.S. is our home, it’s really important to learn more about it. Travel is a moral imperative because it is transformative. It’s not easy on the body or on the wallet. But at the end of every trip, we come back better people. We’re crazy, we have the bug.” They have been to 49 of the 50 states, and Alaska is on their radar.

They also do a lot of reading, from sci-fi to fiction to poetry. “In college, we didn’t have a liberal arts education, and so we didn’t have the chance to read deeply or widely,” explained Irina. “I think reading helps improve our own writing, because we learn how to tell a story. Writing a research paper is telling a story. So is writing a grant. Physics is going on all around us, and we have to be good communicators to explain why it’s important and what it means.”