Feature Stories Campus Events

Inside the NYC District Attorney’s Office with Frances Coy ’18

Coy-Frances_edit-233x350 Inside the NYC District Attorney's Office with Frances Coy '18Frances Coy ’18

I think a misconception with accounting is that it is always just crunching numbers, which is definitely not the case.

Q. Where did you complete your internship?

This past summer I interned at the New York City District Attorney’s office in the Forensic Accounting and Financial Investigation Bureau.

Q. What did an average day for you look like?

I really enjoyed my internship, because there was never an “average” day. At the beginning of the summer, all of the interns were paired with an investigator who they worked closely with throughout the summer. On some days, I helped my investigator organize and sort through the financial statements of an individual in a case he was working on. Other days, I went to the courtroom and watched a trial of a specific case. I also sat in on multiple meetings with assistant district attorneys and other investigators. It was exciting to hear their perspectives on a case.

Q. What did you enjoy most about your internship?

I think a misconception with accounting is that it is always just crunching numbers, which is definitely not the case. At the DA’s office, I got a good sense of how law relates to finance. I thought it was really interesting being able to see how the two intermingle.

Q. How did W&L prepare you for this experience?

During spring term of my junior year, I took Anatomy of a Fraud with Professor Hess. It was the perfect preparation for my summer internship, because I learned all about fraud in general, the motives behind committing fraud, and the quantitative aspect. I valued being able to use my knowledge from that class in a real-world setting.

Q. What skills did you learn while there?

During my internship, attention to detail and being methodical was important when entering and organizing data. My investigator and others at the DA are expert witnesses, and when going to the grand jury they have to be confident the information is accurate.

Q. How will these skills be used in your future career? Has the internship influenced your future career choices?

I think attention to detail and use of accounting in varied business and legal situations was enlightening and will be very useful going forward. I am excited for my future career path, and my internship at the DA’s office was further confirmation of this. I am currently in the process of figuring out my next steps, but I hope to become a Certified Public Accountant one day.

Q. Why is this kind of experience important to W&L students?

This internship was definitely out of my comfort zone. Not only did I learn about how both investigators and prosecutors gather evidence for white-collar crimes, but also how that information is used to convict a criminal.

A Message Regarding the Commission on Institutional History and Community

To: The W&L Community
From: President Will Dudley

I have been gratified to receive enthusiastic messages of support from many members of the Washington and Lee community in response to the appointment of a Commission on Institutional History and Community. Running through them all is a deep devotion to the university and an understanding of the critical importance of this work.

I am delighted to report that Brian Murchison, the Charles S. Rowe Professor of Law, has agreed to chair the commission. Professor Murchison has been a member of the W&L faculty since 1982. His teaching and scholarship focus on administrative law, mass media law, jurisprudence, torts, and contemporary problems in law and journalism. He has served in numerous other capacities in the Law School, including interim dean, director of the Frances Lewis Law Center, and supervising attorney in the Black Lung Legal Clinic. In addition to his active participation on numerous university and Law School committees, Professor Murchison has taught several undergraduate classes, most recently a Spring Term course on the separation of powers in the U.S. Constitution.

Joining Professor Murchison on the commission:

Ted DeLaney ’85, Associate Professor of History
Melissa R. Kerin, Associate Professor of Art History

Elizabeth Mugo ’19, Irmo, S.C., Executive Committee Vice President
Heeth Varnedoe ’19, Thomasville, Ga., Junior Class Representative to the Executive Committee
Daniele San Roman ’19L, Port Jefferson Station, N.Y., Law Strategic Planning Task Force

Thomas Camden ’76, Head of Special Collections & Archives, University Library
Mary Main, Executive Director of Human Resources
Trenya Mason ’05L, Assistant Dean for Law Student Affairs

Cynthia Cheatham ’07, Washington, D.C., Alumni Board Member
Mike McGarry ’87, Charlotte, N.C., Alumni Board President
Phil Norwood ’69, Charlotte, N.C., Rector Emeritus

I have asked this commission to lead us in an examination of how our history — and the ways that we teach, discuss and represent it — shapes our community. One of its first tasks will be to refine the scope of the work, determining how to involve interested community members and gathering input on the important questions that we need to examine. One such question is how we can best present our physical campus to take full advantage of its educational potential in a manner that is consistent with our core values.

The commission will create various opportunities to engage in conversation with all corners of the community. It will also meet with existing groups whose ongoing work relates to some of these issues, including the Working Group on the History of African-Americans at W&L, the University Committee on Inclusiveness and Campus Climate, and the University Collections of Art and History Advisory Committee.

Please send comments and suggestions to historycommission@wlu.edu so that they are available for the entire commission to review. The commission will keep the community apprised of its work through a website that will be established in the next few days.

This commission and its work will set a national example by demonstrating how the divisive issues confronting us can be addressed thoughtfully and effectively. That is what a university should do, and it is especially what Washington and Lee should do. I am grateful to the members of the commission for this important service and look forward to the conversations ahead.

Legal Delegation from Ukraine Visits W&L Law

ukrainiandelegation Legal Delegation from Ukraine Visits W&L LawUSAID Delegation from Ukraine

The USAID New Justice Program, in support of positive changes in the Ukrainian legal education system, sponsored a visit by a group of Ukrainian policymakers and legal educators to the U.S. to study how legal education operates in a robust democracy.

W&L was one of three law schools the delegation visited while in the U.S. Other stops included Georgetown Law Center and the University of Virginia School of Law.

The USAID program in Ukraine broadly supports the judiciary and government in the effort to create an independent, accountable, and transparent justice system that upholds the rule of law and fights corruption. Prof. Speedy Rice, who helped organize the visit, says that strengthening legal education is a key part of this mission.

“Globalization and free market economies are continuing to grow and seek compatible political and economic systems to promote that growth,” said Rice. “The USAID New Justice program has been at the forefront of recognizing that legal education reform must accompany legal and judicial reform for sustainable development.”

At W&L Law, the delegation heard from a variety of faculty, students and administrators about the operation of the law school, with a strong emphasis on the internal and external mechanisms for quality assurance of the program of legal education. The group also discussed trends and innovation in legal education, including W&L’s own national leadership in experiential and practice-based training.

In addition, the delegation learned how the University’s honor system impacts legal education at W&L and contributes to the formation of professional identify and ethical law practice. The school’s efforts to prepare students for a global legal economy was also a key topic of discussion.

According to the USAID project description, the instructional methodologies and core curricula in Ukrainian law schools are still largely unchanged from the Soviet era, leaving law graduates underprepared for modern law practice. In addition, Ukraine’s early free market economy that followed independence enabled large-scale commercialization of higher education, leading to a market surplus of law schools and students.

The USAID hopes that legal education reform in Ukraine will lead to an improvement in the professional knowledge, expertise, and values of those entering the legal profession, which in turn will strengthen the justice system and promote public trust over the long term.

W&L’s Martin Davies Talks Economics in Papua New Guinea

daviesm W&L’s Martin Davies Talks Economics in Papua New GuineaProfessor Martin Davies

Martin Davies, Associate Professor of Economics at W&L, gave the keynote address at the Certified Practising Accountants (CPA) Papua New Guinea Annual Conference in Lae, PNG on August 22. His talk was titled “Policy in Papua New Guinea: Recent Shocks, New Directions” and addressed the recent state of the Papua New Guinea economy.

Highlights of Davies’ keynote address were posted in an article titled “Apec to deliver trade opportunities” in The National on August 29. The National is the top-selling newspaper in Papua New Guinea, headquartered in Port Moresby.

While currently on leave from W&L, Davies is Visiting Associate Professor at the University of Papua New Guina (UPNG) and a Visiting Fellow at the Developing Policy Center at the Australian National University (ANU). He is involved in the ANU-UPNG partnership, which has a focus on faculty strengthening, collaborative research and outreach, and faculty/student exchanges in economics and public policy.

Davies is also hosting a weekly segment on National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) Papua New Guinea’s DABAI Show titled “Understanding the Economy.” It will be broadcast nationwide on Tuesdays from 7:10-7:50 p.m. EST. The show welcomes callers as Davies discusses how the economy works and how it impacts daily lives. Callers from the U.S. are welcome to join the conversation by dialing +657 325 3339.

Davies received his B.A. from Australian National University, followed by an M.A. and Ph.D. from Oxford University. He currently focuses his research on the macroeconomics of developing countries.

Building Valuable Relationships at the Entrepreneurship Summit

The relationships I’ve built with W&L’s entrepreneurs at the Summit have evolved into a peer group I now turn to for advice.

Okelley-Carol-350x308 Building Valuable Relationships at the Entrepreneurship SummitCarol O’Kelley ’91

Traveling to my first Entrepreneurship Summit at W&L, I looked forward to an agenda packed with information-loaded sessions on topics ranging from fundraising to scaling. I quickly realized that as helpful as the sessions were, an even greater learning opportunity came from hearing the experiences of the other entrepreneurs.

Running a company is certainly rewarding, but it can also be lonely work. The relationships I’ve built with W&L’s entrepreneurs at the Summit have evolved into a peer group I now turn to for advice. Not only can I count on their experience and counsel, I know we share a common value system based on our W&L experiences.

Technology allows us to stay in touch throughout the year, but I look forward to reconnecting in-person at the Summit each fall, as well as expanding the circle with newcomers. I’m always amazed by how much there is to learn not only from my fellow alumni, as well as from the students in the Connolly Entrepreneurship Program, who have unique perspectives on everything from marketing to collaboration.

Carol O’Kelley ’91
CEO, Salesfusion

‘Bloom Where You’re Planted’ Through numerous clubs, her classwork and her peers, JoAnn Michel '18 has found a place to grow at W&L.

“Today, students of all backgrounds have the opportunity to participate in several multicultural student organizations, such as Multicultural Students Association, Student Association for Black Unity, and more.”

7b-800x533 'Bloom Where You're Planted'JoAnne Michel

I could go on about the many wonderful things that have come together to create my W&L experience thus far: the top-notch academics, an alumni network that is both vast and accessible, the special bonds that I have forged with several deans and professors. I’ve been able to sit down with brilliant scholars, speakers, politicians and celebrities — many of whom are also proud alums. I have seen firsthand that the W&L name and crest carry the influence of an institution that attracts excellence and is anchored by its traditions. I was thrilled to learn that I had been accepted into the class of 2018, but I was also a little apprehensive to have been planted here. Many of the traditions in which Washington and Lee takes so much pride were not created to accommodate me. As time went on, I realized that the only way I could truly bloom was if I learned to accommodate myself.

At first, I was unsure of how to deal with certain aspects of W&L’s academic and social atmospheres. I quickly became aware that my fields of study were not initially considered “diverse;” it was not uncommon for me to be the only person of color in the room. Too often, I was afraid to vocalize my ideas during class discussions because they seemed so out-of-place. At one point, I decided not to suppress my unique perspectives, but to put them to use. My writing assignments became conduits for deeper discussion, with topics ranging from “the presence of the post-race narrative in American literature” to my own experiences as a black student at Washington and Lee. When the idea for a French club was introduced my sophomore year, I saw an opportunity to lend more visibility to multiple Francophone countries and their respective cultures, and not just France itself.

There was a time when neither women nor people of color were represented on this campus at all. When they were admitted, each group took action — not as guests, but as full members of this institution. Today, students of all backgrounds have the opportunity to participate in several multicultural student organizations, such as Multicultural Students Association, Student Association for Black Unity, and more.  The members of each of these groups have something in common: Their persistence and presence on campus have changed the dynamic of the entire university. I can only hope that through my major, my writing, and my work with the Francophone Student Organization, I have done the same.

With the endless support and guidance of family, faculty, and friends, I have found a way to transform Washington and Lee University into My W&L. I was worried that by coming here, I would give up the chance to connect to my own identity and background. I had been planted, but I wasn’t sure that I would be able to grow. As my third year comes to an end, I know that I have bloomed. I have learned more about myself and how my identity enhances my position as a student at this school. In doing so, I have worked to educate my peers on how academic and cultural diversity are crucial to our success as a university, and I have also learned so much from them. Many of W&L’s issues result from a tenuous, long-standing history that is difficult to confront. My presence at Washington and Lee presented me with both the challenge and purpose to demand visibility. I am glad to have fulfilled my purpose here because I know that in making room for myself, I have also made room for others like me.

If you know a W&L student who would be a great profile subject, tell us about it! Nominate them for a web profile.

A little more about JoAnn

Alexandria, Virginia

Major: French
Creative Writing

Extracurricular involvement:
– Francophone Student Organization
– QuestBridge Scholars Chapter
– Student Association for Black Unity (SABU)
– W&L Choir

Off-campus activities/involvement:
– Current College Mentor with the Prepory Coaching Group
– 2016 Intern for the Alexandria-Caen Sister Cities Committee
– BRYCE (Bright Resilient Youth Committed to Enrichment) Project Alum

Why did you choose your major?
I have always loved French, having grown up in Francophone culture. I grew up speaking English, but both of my parents are native French speakers. I took my first French class in 6th grade, and by 10th grade I knew that I wanted to continue studying it in college, if given the chance. While I was choosing through QuestBridge’s partner colleges, I did extra research on each school’s Romance Language course offerings and potential language majors. Now that I’m on the other side of the French BA, I can honestly say that I couldn’t have found a more perfect fit.

What professor has inspired you?
This is a definite tie between my advisors, Professor Domnica Radulescu and Professor Deborah Miranda.

What’s your personal motto?
Bloom where you’re planted.

Best place to eat in Lexington? What do you order?
I try to get Sweet Things ice cream at least once every semester. My go-to is cookie dough, but I usually pair it with either coffee or sweet cream.

What do you wish you’d known before you came to campus?
I’m from the city, so I really wish someone had warned me about the outdoorsy culture that is Lexington. Before W&L, my limited interactions with nature were very few and far between. My idea of caving was going on a guided Luray Caverns tour, and hiking meant a quick drive to Great Falls. I could not have been more wrong.

Post-graduation plans:
Right now, the plan is to apply for as many programs as I can find, including grad school, TFA, TAPIF, and more. I’m also lucky to have studied both English and French, because there’s so much I can do with them.

Favorite W&L Memory:
At this point, my favorite memory would be going on the 2017 Alternative Break Service Trip to Birmingham, Alabama with the Nabors Service League.

Favorite class:
“African Feminisms” with Professor Tallie. (He inspires me, too!)

Favorite W&L event:
The SABU Black Ball

Favorite campus landmark:
The Colonnade — especially after a fresh snow.

What’s your passion?
I have realized a passion for cultural learning that has only deepened since I arrived at W&L. I grew up in a community that was full of people from so many different countries and walks of life, and I love learning about who they are and where they’ve been.

What’s something people wouldn’t guess about you?
I absolutely love spicy food. The hotter, the better — and that’s probably not hot enough.

Why did you choose W&L?
Thanks to the QuestBridge scholarship, W&L chose me first. When I got here, I saw that I could be useful. I found work that I could do, and conversations that I could start. That’s why I chose it back.

Harvard Professor Danielle Allen to Address Opening Convocation

“Allen is one of the premiere intellectuals in the U.S., and her work on social and racial justice has been exceptionally insightful. I can’t imagine a better speaker to commence this year of inquiry and interpretation.”

** Due to inclement weather, Fall Convocation will be held indoors at the Center for Leadership and Ethics at Virginia Military Institute.**

Danielle Allen, James Bryant Conant University Professor at Harvard University and director of Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, will address Washington and Lee University’s 2017 Fall Convocation at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 6. Allen’s talk is titled “Democracy 101: We Hold These Truths…”

Allen_2-Photo-by-Laura-Rose-400x600 Harvard Professor Danielle Allen to Address Opening ConvocationDanielle Allen – Photo by Laura Rose

Allen is a political theorist who has published broadly in democratic theory, political sociology, and the history of political thought. Widely known for her work on justice and citizenship in both ancient Athens and modern America, Allen is the author of “Why Plato Wrote (2010), “Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality” (2014), “Education and Equality” 2016), and “Cuz: The Life and Times of Michael A.” (forthcoming 2017).

She is the co-editor of the award-winning “Education, Justice, and Democracy” (2013, with Rob Reich) and “From Voice to Influence: Understanding Citizenship in the Digital Age” (2015, with Jennifer Light). She is a chair of the Mellon Foundation board, past chair of the Pulitzer Prize board, and a member of the Open Society Foundations’ U.S. Programs advisory board, as well as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.

Allen’s talk will kick off a yearlong series, “Washington and Lee: Education and History,” during which the university will bring over a dozen intellectuals, scholars and writers to campus to talk about history, how educational institutions interact with history, and what a university’s responsibilities are to history.

“This is an immensely exciting and timely visit for W&L,” said Marc Conner, Washington and Lee’s provost. “Allen is one of the premiere intellectuals in the U.S., and her work on social and racial justice has been exceptionally insightful. I can’t imagine a better speaker to commence this year of inquiry and interpretation. She is a scholar of democratic citizenship, and that is surely among the most important concepts we are grappling with today.”

As part of Washington and Lee’s Community Discussion program, every first-year student will read Allen’s book, “Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality.” The evening before Allen’s address, nearly 50 faculty will meet with first-years in small discussion seminars to talk about the book, its layers of meaning, its relevance to our nation, and especially its relevance to our own community at Washington and Lee.

“‘Our Declaration’ is a tour de force,” said Conner, “offering a close reading of the meanings, the production and the influence of what Ralph Ellison described as the founding document of the U.S. principles of freedom and equality. Allen asks, ‘What does the Declaration have to say for our current time and place? How is the Declaration continuing to be relevant today?’

“I love this first-year reading effort,” Conner continued. “It gives every entering student a common intellectual experience, a touchstone that they can talk about and engage with. I like that one of their initial experiences at our university is a rich intellectual exchange about a book and its powerful ideas.”

Fall Convocation is the traditional opening of Washington and Lee’s academic year. This year will mark the university’s 269th academic year and the 169th year of the School of Law. The convocation, which is free and open to the public, will be held in the Center for Leadership and Ethics at Virginia Military Institute due to inclement weather.

The convocation address will be streamed live online at https://livestream.com/wlu/fall-convocation-2017.

Washington and Lee Names New Associate Dean of the College

“I’m excited about the opportunity to work alongside such talented and forward-thinking students, staff, and faculty, and I consider it a privilege to play a small role in supporting their efforts.”

Meredith-McCoy-600x400 Washington and Lee Names New Associate Dean of the CollegeMeredith McCoy

Meredith McCoy has joined Washington and Lee University as an associate dean of the college, effective Aug. 21.

McCoy serves as the college’s liaison to manifold departments and university offices and has primary responsibilities for college facilities, budgets, compliance, foreign language teaching assistants, and staff.

“Meredith brings skills in student support to a complex role that also requires expertise in managing complex projects and large budgets,” said Suzanne Keen, dean of the college. “She will join Associate Dean Gwyn E. Campbell and the other deans and faculty on the Automatic Rule and Reinstatement Committee, and we are delighted that she will be part of the team.”

McCoy holds a B.A. in psychology from the University of Iowa, as well a Ph.D. in education from UCLA. Her professional background includes 15 years at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, where she served as director of student affairs and most recently adjunct professor for the department of medicine. Prior to her time at UCLA, McCoy worked at the University of Iowa as a project manager for the Carver College of Medicine.

McCoy is affiliated with a number of professional activities on a national and community level, including serving as a reviewer for the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA) and as a former college preparation program volunteer for the Hearts of Los Angeles (HOLA).

“This is certainly an energetic and important time in the university’s trajectory to join the community,” said McCoy. “I’m excited about the opportunity to work alongside such talented and forward-thinking students, staff, and faculty, and I consider it a privilege to play a small role in supporting their efforts.”

Related //

VIDEO: Packing for Appalachian Adventure Check in with head sherpas as they pack for Appalachian Adventure, one of W&L's Leading Edge pre-orientation programs for first-year students.

This week, many members of the Washington and Lee Class of 2021 have set out on pre-orientation adventures that allow them to start making friends and memories before the official start of the school year. At W&L, we call these programs The Leading Edge.

There are three Leading Edge program tracks. Appalachian Adventure takes students on a week-long trek on the beautiful Appalachian Trail. Volunteer Venture provides them with service-learning experiences in Baltimore, Maryland; Charleston, West Virginia; Greensboro, North Carolina; Lexington, Richmond and Roanoke, Virginia; and Washington, D.C. Sustainability Leadership introduces participants to sustainability issues on campus and in the tiny town of Fries, Virginia.

To read more about The Leading Edge, please click here.

Planning and executing these trips requires a lot of late-summer teamwork. We hung out with trip leaders in the Outing Club barn as they packed for Appalachian Adventure.

Marketing in Motion Pictures Daisy Norwood-Kelly '18 worked in marketing research for Paramount Pictures over the summer.

“W&L has given me the confidence to work in a challenging environment.”

DKinternship-400x600 Marketing in Motion PicturesDaisy Norwood-Kelly ’18

Majors: Strategic Communication, Chinese
Hometown: East Hampton, NY

Where did you intern this summer?

I interned at Paramount Pictures. I was lucky enough to receive a scholarship set aside for Strategic Communication majors which helped pay for housing while I was living in Los Angeles.

Tell us a little bit about that organization.

Paramount Pictures, which was founded in 1912, is America’s oldest-running Hollywood movie studio. Paramount has released movies such as “Forrest Gump,” “Interstellar,” “The Godfather” and, more recently, “Arrival.”

Describe your job there.

During my time at Paramount, I worked with their Market Research department to get more granular insights into audiences through surveys and screenings – what ideas/characters/stories they like, what they don’t like, what they want to see more or less of. This information shapes the marketing strategy and can even ultimately change the movie itself.

What was the best story or project you worked on?

For the last month, I worked on a millennial moviegoers survey to provide insight into what millennials want to see and what we can do to get them into the theaters. It’s been a mostly independent project, and not without a few hiccups along the way, but it has been extremely interesting to see how their perceptions, tastes and preferences alter how they make decisions about movies.

Who did you meet, such as a source, a story subject or a mentor, that made the most vivid impression on you – and why?

During my time at Paramount, they organized a number of intern alumni panels (people who interned at Paramount and then went on to do cool stuff) for us to attend. One alum, Eric Fleishmann, told us how he had left Paramount and scraped and dreamed until, at the age of 27, he had his own film financing company and was killing it! It just reminded me that only really talented, creative and brave people get this internship (100 out of 10,000 applicants) and I can be just as successful as any of those who have come before me.

When did you feel the most challenged and how did you meet that challenge?

I think the hardest challenge was when I became the team leader for our Intern Project. Each summer, interns are split up into groups to create something for Paramount. This summer, we had to make a three-minute short video about our experiences. When I was elected team leader, I was secretly nervous. My experiences as a leader have either been fairly laissez faire or wild dictator, and I did not want to repeat those. I have been challenged to keep calm, cool and collected under pressure, make sure everyone has their voice heard and ensure our project is the best that it can be. From the positive feedback I’ve received from my team and the quality of our project so far, I believe that I’ve risen to the occasion and impressed myself.

Did anything about the location of your internship really excite you, such as the food, architecture, outdoors, etc.?

I’m a movie buff, so when I accepted an internship at Paramount, I thought it might be like getting to see how the sausage is made. Despite everything I’ve seen and done during my internship, it has only reaffirmed my love of movies to bring people together and to push the envelope culturally and technologically.

Will this internship impact the direction of your career in any way?

Since working at Paramount, I’ve realized that I am capable of a lot more in the marketing field than strictly creative. I also have the power to be analytical and decisive about what kind of creative campaigns will work best in the current market. I never thought that market research was going to interest me in the way that it has, and I see a lot of area for growth in this field. While it hasn’t thrown my career path totally off-course, I will say that it’s added another road to explore.

How did W&L help to prepare you for this opportunity?

W&L was a huge help in getting this internship, especially because I reached out to a WLU alum who worked at Paramount to learn more about the industry so I was more prepared when it came to applying. Mostly, W&L has given me the confidence to work in a challenging environment.

Is there anything you’d like to add?

One cool achievement of my internship this summer has been winning the Paramount Intern Video Project contest with some of my colleagues. The project was to create a three-minute video about our experiences working at Paramount. It was a pretty loose assignment and we ran with it! You can watch our video, “Mission INTERNpossible,” here.

If you know a W&L student who would be a great profile subject, tell us about it! Nominate them for a web profile.