Feature Stories Campus Events

W&L Expands Financial Aid for Spring Term Abroad Programs

Beginning with the 2018 Spring Term, Washington and Lee will provide institutional grants to meet the full cost of Spring Term domestic and international travel programs for students with financial need. W&L President Will Dudley announced the expanded financial aid program in November, along with an extended deadline to allow eligible students to take advantage of the additional aid now available.

“This type of immersive, faculty-led program is an example of the distinctive education that we offer at W&L,” said Dudley. “I am pleased that these programs will now be available to all our students, regardless of financial means.”

Raising endowment to support financial aid for students to study abroad during the academic year, including Spring Term, as well as support travel, guest speakers and other non-traditional activities that are hallmarks of W&L’s revitalized Spring Term, has been an ongoing fundraising priority for Washington and Lee. The president’s discretionary endowment for funding of special initiatives, part of the Johnson Program in Leadership and Integrity, makes it possible for all students to take immediate advantage of Spring Term travel programs as the university focuses on completing this fundraising goal.

There will be 17 different Spring Term Abroad programs in 2018. They will be held in Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Japan, England, Ghana, Belize, New Zealand, Scotland, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, and Argentina and Uruguay.  Domestic travel courses will include trips to New York, N.Y.; Philadelphia, Pa.; Washington, D.C.; Charlotte, N.C.; South Dakota and the Silicon Valley. For complete details, see the Spring Term website.

“Our Spring Term travel programs are truly distinctive,” said Provost Marc Conner. “Faculty lead students in an investigation of culture, language, history, politics, geography, and religion in areas and regions that the faculty know intimately from their own research.  Often students describe these trips as life-changing and among the most memorable experiences of their W&L careers.  These global immersion learning opportunities are great examples of a W&L education at its best.”

Hitting All the Right Notes An internship at Warner Music Group in Nashville allowed Mary-Michael Teel '18 to marry her two loves: music and communications.

“Our school instills a strong work ethic and drive in students, and I applied that mindset throughout my internship. Whether it’s staying at the office late or going out of your way to help another employee, the little things can show how much you care.”

IMG_1867-400x600 Hitting All the Right NotesMary-Michael Teel ’18

Major: Strategic Communication

Where did you intern this summer?

Warner Music Nashville

Tell us a little bit about that organization:

WMN is the country music division of Warner Music Group, and the label represents artists such as Blake Shelton, Brett Eldredge and Hunter Hayes.

Describe your job there:

I interned in the Publicity Department. The department’s job is to coordinate press for artists, whether it’s print, online or TV. My main roles were compiling press clips and pitching tour press. I also helped with any events that the department coordinated, such as press days or shows at the label.

To compile clips, I looked through online and print outlets and noted any time an artist on our roster was mentioned. I kept track of these clips on spreadsheets separated by artist. Gathering clips is an important way to track the success of Publicity’s efforts. These clip reports are sent to the artists and their teams to show the amount of coverage received.

Pitching tour press was my major project of the summer. I coordinated tour press for all dates of six different artists’ tours. I researched local press outlets and contacts, then pitched and followed up with them to secure interviews, TV appearances and show reviews.

What was the best story or project you worked on?

I enjoyed working at events such as press days because it allowed me to see how publicists interact with reporters and artists at the same time. On press days, reporters come to the label and interview the artist either one-on-one or round-table style. I learned how to coordinate interviews and appropriately treat reporters visiting the label. The most important part of publicity is maintaining relationships with reporters. Through watching the Publicity Department at work and helping at press events at the label, I gained networking skills and insight on proper reporter/publicist etiquette.

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

All the employees at Warner were incredibly kind, supportive and helpful. It was a great experience to be part of a staff of people who are not only passionate about their jobs, but also about the company culture and the people around them. My boss, Victoria, was particularly influential. She and I have similar interests and backgrounds – we both went to small liberal arts schools and led our campus concert committees. She was always willing to answer my questions, not just about publicity, but about the music industry, job searching and networking. She also went out of her way to ask my opinion on things, which I appreciated because I truly felt valued in the department. It was also great to watch and learn from someone who is so talented at her job. I couldn’t have asked for a better boss, and I hope I get the chance to work with her again someday!

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

Tour press was the most challenging aspect of my job. I had hundreds of dates and cities to keep track of for the pitching schedule. I also had to coordinate with the outlets and artists’ management teams to nail down the details for interviews and appearances. While I was overwhelmed at first, I eventually developed a system that worked for me. I created a color-coded calendar to keep track of which dates I needed to pitch and follow up with, along with separate spreadsheets for each tour date that included any updates from the outlets. Once I utilized my organizational skills and got into the swing of things, it was much easier to handle.

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

WMN is on Music Row in Nashville, which holds so much history in the music industry. It was amazing to drive to work every day on the same road that so many music legends once walked up and down with their demos, trying to get their big break. Being around that much music and history excited me more than anything.

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

I’ve always wanted to work in music, and this internship made me even more confident in my career choice. Not only did I learn about music publicity, but I also learned about how the industry works as a whole. This included the roles of other departments at the label and how they collaborate, as well as how labels coordinate with managers and booking agencies. I believe the most valuable takeaway from my internship is a better understanding of the overall industry to help guide me on my career path. I also fell in love with Nashville and hope to move back after graduation!

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

Through my classes at W&L, especially those in the journalism school, I have learned how to write and communicate effectively and succinctly. This was especially important in pitching over email or phone, because I only had a few moments to convince someone the artist was worth covering. However, the most important thing I gained from W&L is the motivation to succeed. Our school instills a strong work ethic and drive in students, and I applied that mindset throughout my internship. Whether it’s staying at the office late or going out of your way to help another employee, the little things can show how much you care.

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

Jeremy Franklin ’04: Always Hungry for New Music Jeremy Franklin has spent his life after college invested in his passion for music as the general manager of WLUR, W&L’s campus radio station.

tumblr_inline_oxzm16ifMX1refsda_1280-800x533 Jeremy Franklin '04: Always Hungry for New MusicJeremy Franklin, general manager of WLUR

By Adit Ahmed ’19
@wluLex

Before iTunes and Spotify, the main ways to listen to new music involved a CD or FM radio. College radio has historically been on the forefront of discovering new music, helping to break the likes of Pixies, R.E.M. and Arcade Fire.

Growing up, Jeremy Franklin ’04 did not have great access to ways of finding fresh new music. Gravitating between the likes of Tom Petty, Pink Floyd and Five Iron Frenzy, he said that these phases were less profound times of music listening for him.

“I grew up in a small town, there was not a college station that we could pick up, and I had never heard of indie rock bands at the time,” Franklin said. “I like to say that I was blissfully ignorant of what I should’ve been listening to back then.”

tumblr_inline_oxzm57aiHU1refsda_1280-600x400 Jeremy Franklin '04: Always Hungry for New Music

Nowadays, Franklin’s job finds him listening to new music almost every single day. While artists like St. Vincent, The National and Waxahatchee have all released new albums this year, Franklin has been following those artists since their early days of breaking through college radio. Rarely devoid of new music, Franklin often finds himself listening to new artists who may be the “next big thing.”

Jeremy Franklin has spent his life after college invested in his passion for music as the general manager of WLUR, W&L’s campus radio station.

Franklin is a 2004 graduate of W&L who has been involved with WLUR since his time as a student. His official title is General Manager of WLUR and Sports Broadcasting. As a student, he was sports director and assistant general manager of the station, as well as sports editor of The Ring-Tum Phi.

His first foray into radio came during his sophomore year. The radio play-by-play announcer at the time, Doug Chase, brought Franklin on as a guest for the halftime show of a W&L basketball game. From there, his involvement only grew, doing color and play-by-play commentary for basketball and baseball games.

After becoming more involved on the sports front while at WLUR, Franklin began hosting his own music show on WLUR during his senior year. Franklin points to bands like Death Cab for Cutie, The Shins and Belle & Sebastian as his first major exposures to the music that he listens to now. He said that having to host a music show every week furthered his interest in finding new artists to listen to.

tumblr_inline_oxzlzxNBHv1refsda_1280-600x400 Jeremy Franklin '04: Always Hungry for New Music

“Once I got more involved with the radio station I got exposed to a lot of music that I did not know existed,” he said. “Personally, the fact that I had become a big music fan, actively going to concerts and festivals and buying records, that all kind of sprung from that. Just doing a weekly show where you’re trying to play different artists, listening to different music all the time, I think everything just blossomed out from there.”

In his current role as general manager of WLUR, Franklin reviews new albums that are sent into the station, working with two student music directors and a staff of students to listen through new music that is sent in and place them in rotation at the station.

Given the amount of new music that he listens to, Franklin said that his taste has not only evolved to include less accessible artists like Flying Lotus and Caribou, but he has also found it harder to find fresh music that excites him like the ones he found through his first few years in college radio, though he said that he continues to find rock albums that excite him in new ways.

“’MY WOMAN,’ the Angel Olsen record: that is my favorite album of the current decade,” he said. “I had very high expectations for it too because I thought her last record, ‘Burn Your Fire for No Witness,’ was tremendous. I think it was my number two or number three album from 2014, and so to listen to something that you were expecting to be good and then just be floored, and to continue to be floored every time you hear it, that’s why I think so highly of that record.”

Better Business in Boston Katrina Lewis' business reporting internship took her to the Boston Business Journal, where she covered real estate news and development.

IMG_2165-400x600 Better Business in BostonKatrina Lewis ’19

Katrina Lewis ’19
Major: Business Journalism

Where did you intern this summer?

Boston Business Journal

Tell us a little bit about that organization:

The Boston Business Journal is one of more than 40 American City Business Journals. It covers all kinds of business news happening in Greater Boston, from real estate and banking to health care and technology. The BBJ publishes stories online daily and releases a print edition once a week. This internship was made possible by Reynolds Business Journalism funding.

Describe your job there:

I worked as an editorial intern for the BBJ three days a week for 11 weeks. I wasn’t assigned to cover one specific beat, so I was able to get experience writing about lots of different industries. Most of my time was spent writing stories, but I also got to attend a couple of big company events, including award ceremonies for Best Places to Work and CFOs of the Year.

What was the best story or project you worked on?

The biggest story I worked on was a story discussing the better business movement in Boston. I talked with about a dozen people involved with B Corps and benefit corporations to learn about what their businesses were doing to give back. My story ran as the cover story for our print edition during the second-to-last week of my internship, which was definitely one of the highlights of my internship.

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

I really enjoyed having the opportunity to work alongside W&L alumna Catherine Carlock ’10, who is the real estate editor for the BBJ. Catherine was very welcoming and always willing to help, and it was great to be able to talk with her about W&L and all our time spent in Reid Hall. Catherine also noticed that I enjoyed writing real estate stories, so she gave me extra real estate stories to write and included me in what she was working on by letting me accompany her to different meetings and property tours.

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

As is often the case when writing stories with multiple sources, the most challenging part was working around sources’ schedules. I had a good deal of experience working with sources from Beat Reporting, but it can still be frustrating waiting on a source without whom you can’t move forward.

What did you enjoy most about the location of your internship?

I live in central Massachusetts, so getting to spend more time in Boston learning about my state capital was a great experience. Boston is also definitely in a boom period right now, so there was never a dull moment in terms of new projects being announced for the city.

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

I learned that I enjoy writing about residential and commercial real estate, so that’s something I’ll be looking into more as I apply for another internship for this coming summer.

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

I completed Beat Reporting right before starting my internship, and that kind of writing and deadline experience helped me to work efficiently when I was juggling several stories. Also, on a more fundamental level, I used what I learned in Intro to Reporting every time I wrote when I was deciding on how to order my story. Lastly, working as one of the news editors for The Ring-tum Phi helped me edit my stories and avoid AP style errors.

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

W&L’s Fairfield Discusses Comcast Move into Blockchain Law professor Josh Fairfield discussed the implications of a new blockchain app on nasdaq.com.

“Imagine that, as you are going to bed for the night, you notice a drone watching you through the window. Imagine then that this drone follows you everywhere you go throughout the day: to the doctor, to the therapist, to political rallies, to religious services and to the bar, month after month after month.”

Joshua A. T. Fairfield is an internationally recognized law and technology scholar specializing in digital property, electronic contract and big data privacy. His most recent book is “Owned: Property, Privacy and the New Digital Serfdom.”

You can read the entire article at nasdaq.com.

Related //

Women in Charge Laura Stagno '18 saw the faces of America's future leaders, including her own, through an internship on Capitol Hill.

Laura-Stagno-20-800x533 Women in ChargeLaura Stagno ’18 with Kevin Brady, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

“Two of my three bosses were women, and all six of the Ways and Means subcommittee staff directors are women. Interning in an environment in which women dominate so many key positions was extremely rewarding.”

Laura Stagno ’18
Hometown: Birmingham, Alabama
Major: Economics and Spanish

Q: Tell us a little bit about your summer opportunity:
This summer I interned on Capitol Hill for the majority staff of the House Ways and Means Human Resources Subcommittee. The subcommittee has jurisdiction over several key welfare programs including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Unemployment Insurance (UI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), child care and child support. The subcommittee staff consists of a staff director and two professional staffers, whom I work alongside everyday. A Johnson Opportunity Grant made this internship possible.

Q: What was your favorite aspect of being in D.C.?
The best part of interning in D.C. was living in such close proximity to all of the daily political action. Whether I was walking the halls of the Capitol or the Longworth Building or watching a hearing in the Ways and Means hearing room, I was surrounded every day by ambitious, dedicated and passionate leaders and staffers who inspired me to fight for what I believe in.

On the weekends, I was able to explore several of the cultural and historical sites that D.C. has to offer, such as the Smithsonian Institution museums, the Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Supreme Court and the Library of Congress. One of my favorite memories is when I went to the Library of Congress, registered for a library card and read my book in the famous Reading Room. There is always somewhere to go, someone to meet or something to learn in D.C., which makes the city an amazing summer home for students.

Q: What did an average day for you look like?
Every day was different. My daily responsibilities included answering the phone, putting together daily news clips for my bosses, sending out the day’s congressional hearing schedule and researching various issues. But my internship also took me far beyond our office walls. I had the opportunity to attend hearings, markups, and policy briefings around the Hill; sit in on Ways and Means staff and member meetings; watch the House floor and sit down with Kevin Brady, the Ways and Means chairman, in his office.

Q: What was the most rewarding part of your experience?
I was surrounded every day by the most intelligent, motivated and passionate individuals, and that in itself fulfilled me. The legislative process can be frustrating and slow, but that does not keep my bosses from fighting every day for our society’s most vulnerable members.

I was particularly inspired by the large number of intelligent and strong women in positions of power on the Hill. Two of my three bosses were women, and all six of the Ways and Means subcommittee staff directors are women. Interning in an environment in which women dominate so many key positions was extremely rewarding.

Q: What was the biggest challenge you faced?
The biggest challenge I faced happened only about three weeks into my internship. I was informed that my office’s legislative assistant was going to be leaving for another job in the next week. My bosses told me that they would need me to fill in as the subcommittee’s temporary LA until they were able to hire someone else. I was extremely nervous about having to move up to the front desk and take on a whole new set of responsibilities. Adjusting to my new role was definitely difficult at first. I messed up the phones more times than I would like to admit and had to get used to manning the front desk and seeing to it that everyone who came into the office was attended to. While the change challenged me at times, and I often felt unqualified for the role, it was an amazing opportunity that undoubtedly opened new doors for me. The experience taught me to never underestimate myself, to accept my mistakes and, most importantly, to learn from my mistakes.

Q: Who served as a mentor to you this summer, and what did they teach you?

I looked to Rosemary Lahasky, one of the professional staff in my office, as my mentor. Rosemary taught me something arguably more valuable than what I could ever learn in a textbook or a class. She taught me the importance of developing personal relationships with the people I work with. From day one, Rosemary made the effort to get to know me on a personal level and did not allow me to be shy. By virtue of her mentorship, I am more confident in my own abilities and have built strong relationships with my bosses.

Q: What have you learned at W&L that helped you in this endeavor, and what have you brought back to your life on campus?
All of the economics courses I have taken at W&L have improved my research and analytical skills. When my bosses asked me to research issues and analyze reports and papers, I could complete those tasks confidently and successfully. Thanks to the small class sizes offered at W&L, I have grown accustomed to developing relationships with my professors. Thus, I began my internship well prepared to work with and learn from all of my superiors at Ways and Means.

I am not only grateful for the professors I have had at W&L but also for the W&L alumni network. Without the advice and encouragement I received from several alumni last fall, I would not have had the internship. Moreover, the W&L alumni who work on Capitol Hill were an incredible source of guidance and mentorship for me this summer outside of the Ways and Means Committee. Therefore, when I returned to campus in the fall, I planned to continue to take advantage of the network and encourage other students to do the same. I look forward to becoming part of the W&L alumni network after I graduate and having the opportunity to help future W&L students explore their passions.

Q: Has this experience impacted your studies or future plans in any way?
I went into the summer with the idea that I wanted to pursue a career in policy or politics, but I needed an internship experience such as this one to assure myself that I am headed down the right career path. I aspire to return to Washington and make a difference, and my experience interning with the Ways and Means Committee has given me the motivation and the courage that I need to never give up on that goal. As one of the thousands of summer congressional interns, I felt at times like just another face in the crowd. But I refuse to adopt such a mindset. In that crowd, I see the faces of America’s future leaders, including my own. That image reminds me every day to never underestimate myself and to always follow my dreams.

Q: Why is this kind of experience important to W&L students?
I would tell any W&L student who wants to learn about politics or decide if a career in politics is for him/her to intern on Capitol Hill. This opportunity has allowed me to learn firsthand about the political and legislative process, especially all of the nitty-gritty aspects. More importantly, I believe that some of the most impactful experiences that young college students can have are those that humble us. My internship has not only been an incredible learning experience but also a humbling one, as my preconceived opinions and views have been challenged significantly since I began my internship in June.

Q: Describe your summer adventure in one word:
Exciting.

Q:What kind of funding helped make this experience possible?
Johnson Opportunity Grant

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

W&L Hosts Family-Friendly Holiday Celebration on Dec. 5 The event is open to the W&L community.

SOC121416_24-600x400 W&L Hosts Family-Friendly Holiday Celebration on Dec. 5Winter Wonderland in Evans Hall

Washington and Lee University kicks off the Christmas season with the annual Family Friendly Holiday Celebration on Dec. 5. The event is open to the W&L community.

This year’s celebration includes Santa Claus, carols and Winter Wonderland with an additional kid-friendly meal at the Tree Lighting Family Dinner held in the Marketplace.

Cost for dinner is $8 for adults, $5 for children 7-12 and free for children six and under.

The tree lighting will follow, at 6:15pm, on the Lee House steps.

At the conclusion, children will walk to Evans Dining Hall for Winter Wonderland from 6-9 p.m. where they will find snacks, both sweet and healthy, and crafts featuring holiday traditions from around the world.


W&L Hosts Red Cross Blood Drive Nov. 30 In addition to signing up to donate blood, there are multiple ways to get involved the day of the drive.

blood-600x400 W&L Hosts Red Cross Blood Drive Nov. 30American Red Cross Blood Drive

Washington and Lee University will host a Red Cross Blood Drive on Nov. 30 in Evans Hall from 10 a.m.– 4 p.m.

In addition to signing up to donate blood, there are multiple ways to get involved the day of the drive. Volunteers have the opportunity to help with tabling in Elrod Commons or with registration in Evans Hall.

Donation times are up to the donor’s preference, however only four spots are available per time slot. Participants can further expedite the donor check-in process by visiting redcrossblood.org/RapidPass.

The Red Cross encourages all blood donors to hydrate properly before a donation, wear something comfortable the day you give blood and maintain a healthy level of iron in your diet.

Donor’s also have the option of making a double red blood cell donation the day of the drive but are not required to do so.

The American Red Cross is a humanitarian organization led by volunteers and guided by its congressional charter and the fundamental principal of the International Red Cross Movement.


From Lab to Rescue Squad Ethiopia Getachew '19 always had an interest in science, but working in the biochemistry lab and volunteering with local EMTs helped her future plans take shape.

“I had always been interested in how things operated in the biochemical and molecular level, but working as an HHMI Fellow the past two years really piqued my interest. “

EthiopiaGetachew-800x533 From Lab to Rescue SquadEthiopia Getachew ’19 (Photo by Alison Christiana, Questbridge)

Hometown: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia — Westwood, MA
Major: Biology

My Washington and Lee experience is a summary of all the opportunities afforded to me and how I took advantage of them. Through my experience at W&L, I have made amazing friends that I know will be there for so many years on. Some were on my hall my first year and our friendship is going three years strong; others I met through my classes, social events, clubs and organizations and much more. Academically and professionally, I have pursued my interests with the support and encouragement of professors, faculty, friends and family.

Some highlights so far include my HHMI research in Professor LaRiviere’s lab and getting involved with the Lexington community as an EMT. As part of my research with Professor LaRiviere I learned to conduct my own independent research, make experimental decisions based on data, and read and assess scientific papers. I had always been interested in how things operated in the biochemical and molecular level, but working as an HHMI Fellow the past two years really piqued my interest. In the lab, I am currently working on assessing how nitrogen starvation affects this ribosomal degradation pathway called NRD (nonfunctional rRNA decay) that was actually discovered originally by Professor LaRiviere and his colleagues. Working with other students in the lab has also taught me how to work with a team in a scientific setting. All together this experience has shown me that while I am still very interested in becoming a doctor, I would still love to incorporate research into my future and perhaps pursue a career more focused on translational medicine.

During my summer in Lexington, while I was not in the lab, I volunteered at the Carilion Stonewall Jackson Hospital, as well as at the Lexington Fire Department. I had recently finished my EMT course at the SVU campus and got my EMT certification, so I was very excited to start running with the rescue squad. I went on ridealongs with them and learned how to conduct myself in crisis situations, help those in some of the scariest moments of their lives and provide a caring and professional persona. The paramedics and EMTs guided me through this process and allowed me to feel included in their department.

Additionally, some of our calls allowed me to further understand the local area and see beyond the Washington and Lee bubble I sometimes find myself in. We usually dropped off patients at the Stonewall Jackson hospital and left; this left me wondering what happened after. Thus, I started volunteering at the hospital in the Emergency Department as well as the Medical/Surgical floor. With this, I was able to see yet another side to medicine. I talked to family members who came to visit their loved ones, I spent time with some of the patients and gave them blankets, water… as needed. I saw how the nurses and doctors interacted with the patients and learned so much about the field I was excited to get into. Coupling these two experiences in town with my research gave me a really unique and interesting summer experience. It reaffirmed my interest in medicine and science and made the Lexington community feel simultaneously bigger and closer for 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 Ethiopia

Extracurricular involvement:
Chi Omega Sorority Junior Panhellenic delegate (2016/2017); social chair (2017/2018)
University Ambassadors – vice president of education
Computer Science Teacher’s Assistant (last year)
Lexington Fire Department – EMT ride along, volunteered over 150 hours with the local rescue squad and fire department
Women in Science and Technology – chemistry chair
Peer Counselor
Kathekon
Alpha Phi Omega Service Fraternity Student Advisory Committee – at-large student body representative
W&L QuestBridge Chapter – liaison (2016-2017) and vice president (2017/2018)
Office for Career and Professional Development – career fellow
Why did you choose your major?
I have been interested in the sciences ever since I was a kid. I was always fascinated by how things worked and what they were composed of, and I always found myself engrossed in my science subjects. My parents encouraged my interest a lot, as well, and constantly supported me as I entered science-based competitions, or took me to museums so I could see Lucy, a fossil of the Australopithecus afarensis discovered in Ethiopia. As I grew older, I took an increased interest in biology because I was interested in how the human body works. Everything I learned made me realize that there was still so much more I did not know. Along with this, my interest to become a doctor developed. If I was to become a doctor and help people, I wanted to truly understand the workings of the human body. I chose to be a biology major at W&L because I can learn the topics that interest me from amazing professors in a way that I have never experienced before. Our classes are personal, very experimental and are ever increasing my passion for biology. I am also attempting to finish a computer science minor because, with the direction technology is heading, it is very important to have at least a basic understanding of programming.
Has anyone on campus inspired you?
It is honestly so difficult to pick just one person. My experience at W&L has been enriched by the collective influence of those around me. I have met amazing friends that I know I will have for the rest of my life. I have met professors who are so incredibly nice and invested in their students. As a first-year student, I had already found a lab as an HHMI fellow because I had expressed my interest in biochemistry to Professor LaRiviere! Additionally, by simply establishing relationships with a few faculty and administration members, I was able to truly pursue my interests. Professor Luder was the person who first encouraged me to apply for the SAC position. It was with Dean Simpson’s advice that I first got Kathekon on my radar. While these may seem like little things, the community of support on campus is something that will never cease to amaze me.
What’s your personal motto?
I wouldn’t say I have a personal motto that I stick with, per say. In general, though, I try to live my life in a way that I could be proud of in a few years. I have always been a driven person and I believe that if I am going to do something, I might as well give it 100 percent.
Best place to eat in Lexington? What do you order?
I love going to Blue Sky and ordering the Blue Sky sandwich. If I venture farther into town, I usually go to Pronto for a gelato or some tea.
What one film/book do you recommend to everyone?
“The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini is one of my favorite books.
 Post-graduation plans:
After graduation, I would like to take a gap year then go on to medical school. I am not sure exactly where I want to apply but I would like to stay in the East Coast area. During my gap year, I would like to travel abroad and explore health care systems of other countries and see how medicine applies in different cultures. I took a medical ethics class with Professor Erin Taylor that really exposed me to a world of medicine and research I had not really considered. Our extensive conversations on medical and research ethics, especially in developing countries, exposed me to concepts of health equality, ethics and even concepts such as health care accessibility. I think exploring this side of medicine will really give me a strong perspective that I can then take with me to medical school. In medical school, I am currently interested in pursuing general, cardio or trauma surgery. Running with the Lexington EMTs has shown me that I have a passion for the faster-paced atmosphere of the ER.
Favorite class:
 I really enjoyed my medical ethics class because it exposed me to so many new concepts I would never have thought of. However, my favorite class has to be my plant functional ecology class with Dr. Hamilton. This class focuses on how bison grazing, fire, nutrient recycling and microbes work to affect the ecosystem of Yellowstone National Park. We went to Yellowstone National Park for 10 days and stayed in a cabin. When we weren’t out and about, we were making dinner together as a class, playing card games or watching a movie. In the mornings, we usually left around 7 or 8 a.m. with one of the park rangers. We set up enclosures to help with future studies, took various soil, grass and bison poop samples (the last bit was not the most exciting part of our trip). We saw Old Faithful erupt, walked through the Lamar and Hayden valleys, saw the grand prismatic spring and so many more amazing sights. The highlight of my trip was when a group of us went with a park ranger to track a bison for the rangers. We went into parts of the national park that very few had ever ventured into. We crossed small rivers and creeks, climbed up a few hills and saw perhaps every type of wildlife the park had to offer including a family of bears, coyotes and more! And to top it all off, we ended up finding the bison. It was such an adventure and a great educational moment.
Favorite W&L event: 
My favorite W&L event has got to be the Mock Convention. I was only a freshman at that point so I was not able to get involved as much as I would have liked to. But it was amazing seeing everyone rally together and really invest in the experience. I was part of the Massachusetts delegation and helped make banners for the parade.
What’s something people wouldn’t guess about you?
I grew up in Ethiopia and have lived there for most of my life. I moved to the U.S. my junior year of high school. I went to an international school for most of my educational career so I have spoken English for as long as I can remember. People usually forget I am not American until I say something so obviously foreign. For example, I mispronounce some words like adolescence or Wheat Thins and they give me the “Ah, I keep forgetting you’re not from here.” Or I will relay an experience from my childhood that is so normal to me and they’ll be like “What?”
Another thing that most people don’t know about me is that the beginning of my sophomore year, I went with the founders of QuestBridge and a few other quest scholars from around the U.S. to the Eisenhower Executive Office building. We met with some of the prominent staff of the Office of Science and Technology Policy and discussed ways of creating a pipeline for underrepresented students to enter  and, most importantly, stay in STEM fields. It was an absolutely amazing experience to see the policy-based side of the thing I am interested in. I actually wrote a blog post about it for QuestBridge!

Funding Hope in Memphis Vicky Kazmierczak '18 spent the summer in Memphis, learning the ins and outs of non-profit work — and how to hope.

“Whenever I went into the hospital and saw all of the wonderful children so full of hope. I knew that what I was doing with my department was making a difference in their lives”

IMG_3127-Victoria-Kazmierczak-800x533 Funding Hope in MemphisVicky Kazmierczak ’18 spent the summer in Memphis, learning the in’s-and-out’s of non-profit work and how to hope.

Hometown: Huntley, Illinois
Majors: European History and Sociology

Q. Tell us about your internship.

I worked as an intern with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital’s fundraising and awareness organization called American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities, or ALSAC, in Memphis, TN. I worked in the Strategic Partnerships department, where we created and maintained relationships with corporate partners to raise money to end childhood cancer to follow founder Danny Thomas’  dream, that no child shall ever die in the dawn of life.

Q. How was working in Memphis?

My favorite part was the rich history of Memphis and learning about how it got to where it is now. I learned this through a series of events with an organization called New Memphis, which aims to show interns the true Memphis experience.

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

I didn’t really have an “average day.” Some days, I was the lead intern in hosting our corporate partners and assisted the account manager in showing them around campus and in participating in events with our wonderful patients. Other days, I put together notes from brainstorms in order to come up with pitch decks for prospective clients. I also worked on innovation projects for the organization with other interns throughout the organization.

Q. What part of your experience was the most rewarding and fulfilling?

Whenever I went into the hospital and saw all of the wonderful children so full of hope. I knew that what I was doing with my department was making a difference in their lives and that the cure for childhood cancer will be found at St. Jude due to the amazing work of the doctors, researchers, and the funds the ALSAC raises to make that work possible.

Q. Who served as a mentor to you this summer, and what have they taught you?

I have had way too many mentors to name. Everyone I worked with in Strategic Partnerships was an incredible mentor to me. They inspired me every day and really made me want to reevaluate my own commitment to anything I did. They taught me to find value in every single thing I do, because the little things really do make a difference. Additionally, I was extremely impressed by the leadership of ALSAC’s CEO, Rick Shadyac Jr. His compassion and motivation will resonate with me for the remainder of my life.

IMG_3098-Victoria-Kazmierczak-800x533 Funding Hope in MemphisVicky Kazmierczak ’18 poses with the St. Jude statue in Memphis

Q. What have you learned at W&L that helped you in this endeavor, and what will you bring back to your life on campus?

The research skills I’ve gained at W&L came into play with researching market trends or partner information. I will bring back the mentality of kindness that I saw every day and of a strong belief in a mission.

Q. Has this experience impacted your studies or future plans in any way?

Yes – it’s made me particularly interested in public policy and non-profit work.

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

This kind of experience is important to W&L students because it allows us to use the skills we learn on campus to better the lives of others through work in the non-profit space.

Q. Describe your summer adventure in one word:

Inspiring

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

Outperforming Expectations Ansel Sanders ’04 seeks innovation in solving public schools’ challenges.

Saunders-A-800x533 Outperforming ExpectationsAnsel Sanders ’04

Ansel Sanders ’04 doesn’t see problems in public education. He sees challenges that have solutions.

Whether it’s filling the gap of teacher shortages, teaching kids to learn by applying engineering processes or moving a low-performing school up to the top-25 percent, Sanders has applied innovative and creative solutions to help students, teachers and schools outperform expectations.

Currently he is president and CEO of Public Education Partners, an organization established in 1985 by business leaders in Greenville, South Carolina, to be a friend and partner to Greenville County’s nearly 78,000-student school district. Half the students there receive free or reduced-price meals, and in some subjects, teachers are leaving quicker than they can be replaced.

In Greenville, as elsewhere, middle and high school math and science teachers are in short supply, and Sanders’ group sought short-term solutions to fill the gap.

Thinking from a policy and practical point of view, the group decided to seek professionals who wanted to teach but didn’t want to take time to go back to college for certification. “We wanted to recruit and retain talent,” and so partnered with the school district to develop a program called GATE (Greenville Alternative Teacher Education). The first in South Carolina, the program provided a local alternative teacher-certification program.

“We started small,” said Sanders, and the first goal was 10 teachers. They met that goal, and schools hired 10 new math and science teachers for the 2016-17 school year, creating positive buzz along the way.

“Demand grew and our second cohort expanded to 18 new teachers.” Those 18 began teaching in fall 2017 and include a microbiologist and a NASA employee. Some GATE teachers moved to Greenville just for the program.

Sanders’ talent for public school innovation developed soon after he left W&L. Stopping first in Baltimore, he worked for Teach for America as an eighth grade English and language arts teacher. While in Baltimore, he co-founded Athletes and Authors Summer Academy, which taught positive values shared by academics and athletics. As a former goalie on W&L’s lacrosse team, the concept was a perfect match for him.

While in Baltimore, Sanders and his classmate, Helen Hughes, reconnected. After they “kicked the tires” on a number of places up and down the East Coast, Sanders moved to Greenville so he and Helen could be closer to where Helen, a budding real-estate developer, could join her family’s real-estate development company. They got married in 2008.

“I loved the classroom, but was curious about working one level up and gaining leadership skills,” he said.

That desire led him to a job as assistant principal at a middle school in Greenville, but it wasn’t long before another challenge presented itself. The system’s superintendent called looking for leadership for a new school prototype — what public education could be in the 21st century.

After months of planning, A. J. Whittenburg Elementary School in Engineering opened in 2010, with Sanders serving as program director. The school was the first elementary school in the state with a focus on engineering.

“Students are taught to think critically and test solutions with a peer group,” Sanders explained. Starting with just K-2, the school has added a grade level each year and is now PreK – fifth grade. With professional engineers consulting on the curriculum and visiting classrooms, the school soon became so popular that the few spaces available for kids outside the neighborhood are now assigned by lottery.

Sanders said that traditional subjects, such as reading, are taught with an engineering focus. “Think about Humpty Dumpty and his fall from the wall,” Sanders said. “Students learn to read, but also develop ideas to prevent Humpty from cracking. Some students decided to pad the ground to provide a soft landing, while others decided to make a Velcro seat to he wouldn’t fall in the first place.”

Not one to be complacent, Sanders decided in 2012 to pursue a doctor of educational leadership at Harvard University. So, the family — now including a daughter — moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, so he could begin the three-year program designed for practitioners who were expected to return to the field as systems-level leaders. “I wanted to build my leadership capacity to make transformational improvements in the educational sector,” said Sanders.

After two years, Sanders was sent to Memphis, Tennessee, along with the family — now with two daughters — to fulfill a third-year residency program with Achievement School District, where he was charged with helping to move Tennessee’s lowest-performing schools into the top-25 percent in the state.

When the year was up, Sanders and Helen had to decide whether to stay in Memphis, move back to the Boston area, return to Greenville or perhaps set out on a new adventure. Although he deeply enjoyed and appreciated working with the principals, teachers, parents and students in Memphis, “We decided to come back to the place that gave us a shot and that wrapped its arms around us personally and professionally.” So, the family — now with three daughters — moved back to Greenville.

Sanders remembers his time at W&L as “an incredible experience.” His lacrosse team compiled an overall record of 51-14, won the conference twice and competed in the Division III national championship tournament twice, making it to the Final Four once. “As a goalie, I learned so much. It solidified my values and taught me what it means to fail fast but fail forward,” he said. “Being able to navigate through failure and complexity and having a resilience to persevere I attribute to the game, my teammates and coaches.”

He active in the local alumni chapter, and Helen is serving her first year on the university’s Board of Trustees.

There was never any doubt that Sanders would pursue a career in education. He remembers the adults who influenced him the most. “They were teachers. My fifth-grade social studies teacher was inspirational. I wanted to emulate his zest and enthusiasm.”

Sanders says he is even more motivated to support schools now that his three young girls — 5, 4 and 2 ½ — are now either of or nearing school age. “It’s more personal,” he said.


Falling for Filmmaking Working for the documentary filmmaking company Ark Media allowed Claire Hoffert '18 to exercise her research muscles and learn new skills.

“W&L’s education taught me how to learn easily and become an expert at something new.”

claire-800x533 Falling for FilmmakingClaire Hoffert ’18

Claire Hoffert ’18
Major: Strategic Communication
Minor: Poverty and Human Capability Studies

Where did you intern this summer?

Ark Media

Tell us a little bit about that organization:

Ark Media is a documentary filmmaking company in Brooklyn. It is one of the leading producers of nonfiction content in the U.S., and its documentaries have been honored with every major industry award. Through films like “Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise” and “Oklahoma City,” and the television series “Finding Your Roots,” Ark Media is dedicated to telling stories that are educational and that promote social justice.

Since my internship was largely unpaid, providing only a small daily stipend, I wouldn’t have been able to have this internship without the Johnson Scholarship.

Describe your job there:

I was a pre-production intern on “Finding Your Roots,” where I assisted by researching a few of the episodes, finding compelling stories and assembling production materials. I was a part of almost the whole pre-production process for one guest’s portion of the series, from the start to the second draft of the script.

What was the best story or project you worked on?

While I can’t divulge specifics about episodes that have not yet aired, one of my favorite stories was of a Union captain in the Civil War. He was one of the commanding officers at a Union prison and testified against his superior for brutality against Union deserters. After I found the story through research online, we sent a researcher to the National Archives to find the court transcript. It was a particularly compelling story because a historian we had called said it was very unusual for there to be court trials involving Union prisons, since it was the winning side in the war. Our guest’s ancestor was the first witness in the trial and described the violence in vivid detail.

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

I loved getting to speak with historians and other sources on the phone, and I had many supportive coworkers, but one of the executive producers made the most vivid impression on me. After I asked how she started her career in documentaries, she told me that she didn’t regret it for a second. She said that you’re constantly learning through documentaries and are able to tell compelling stories that have an impact on people.

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

One of our guests had an ancestor that went back to the 1600s in North America. We were trying to build up a story on him, but needed the original documents to prove it. Through my research, I knew the documents had existed at one point, but it was difficult to figure out where they would be located and whether we could find them. Through diligent research, I found enough of them to fill out our story.

Did anything about the location of your internship really excite you?

After growing up in a town half the size of Lexington, I’ve always wanted to live in New York. The city has so many great opportunities to experience performers, athletes, chefs, etc. at the top of their game. The second weekend I was there, my friend and I went to a free beach volleyball tournament with Olympic athletes on the Hudson Pier. A few weeks after that, I attended a show with Patti LuPone. We had so many opportunities to experience life in New York beyond our internships.

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

This internship impacted me because it was a great chance to go through the pre-production process, work with a team and imagine myself in this role. It is such a strong possibility for my career. I’ve learned that I love filmmaking and could see myself branch out in similar areas where I could use this experience.

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

W&L helped prepare me by teaching me how to learn and to research thoroughly and accurately. I had to figure out how to navigate different databases in my internship and do research that I wasn’t accustomed to, as well as track down specific types of production materials. For example, I now know much more about sheets of glass than I ever need to know. W&L’s education taught me how to learn easily and become an expert at something new.

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 Study of Song A grant from the Endeavor Foundation allowed Xiaoxia Yin '20 and Sesha Carrier '20 to study traditional folk singing in China.

“The tradition of Beijing Opera is very culturally and historically rich, and it seemed like a unique way to dive into Chinese traditions.”

IMG_2567-800x533 A Study of SongSesha Carrier and Xiaoxia Yin in China

In 2017, ten Washington and Lee University students were awarded grants from the Endeavor Foundation that allowed them to spend part of their summer break 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 now in its third year. Xiaoxia Yin and Sesha Carrier, both members of the Class of 2020, traveled to Xiaoxia’s home country, China, to study traditional folk singing there.

Now back at W&L, they teamed up once again to answer a few questions about the experience.

Tell us about your project.

Our project centered on the Chinese culture of traditional folk singing and opera, as well as their overall historical impact on Chinese culture. Our research looked into the methodology, common instruments, music theory and other relevant topics. We came up with this idea because Xiaoxia studied Chinese traditional folk singing for more than 10 years and wanted to formally research the culture behind it. The tradition of Beijing Opera is very culturally and historically rich, and it seemed like a unique way to dive into Chinese traditions.

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

We worked through a partnership with a local music school and had the opportunity to interview a few musicians. A lot of our project consisted of urban exploring and visiting historical sites, where we encountered countless examples of the integration of folk music and Beijing Opera into the overculture. We were also able to go to a live opera performance that we were able to film for our documentary.

How would you summarize your findings?

We managed the methodology of Chinese traditional folk singing and learned to compare it with Bel canto and musical theater. Seeing the modern impact of folk culture and Beijing Opera reflected back in the general culture gave a very interesting perspective on Chinese culture over time, and how modern China currently appreciates its long history.

How do you plan to share the results of your research?

We are working on a short documentary film that touches on the history and methodology of Chinese folk singing and Beijing Opera. The goal of this film will be a modest investigation into the disjunction of tradition and modernization as it relates to cultural practices. The film will strike parallels into Western culture in hopes of demystifying modern China for the campus community and bringing an informed cultural perspective to campus. This film will debut as a part of the annual Lunar New Year celebration on campus.

IMG_4739-1-400x600 A Study of SongXiaoxia and Sesha in China

Xiaoxia, what was it like introducing your study partner to your homeland? When you saw it through her eyes, what was different about it for you?

It’s a pretty cool experience. I enjoyed showing her around the city and interpreting the famous sights to her. For me, it is a new chance to explore my own city from a different perspective. It is impressive how I gained some new understanding of the culture of this beautiful and historical city where I grew up.

Sesha, what were your impressions of China?

I tried to keep my expectations to a minimum so that I could fully absorb the experience. I was struck by both the profound differences and similarities of life in China as opposed to the United States, and I am still hesitant to draw any conclusions about China as a whole based upon my experience in Beijing. It is a huge country and what struck me most about the city was the sheer size of it. When I flew back into San Francisco, all the buildings seemed so small!

What was your favorite experience of the trip?

Xiaoxia: It’s hard to answer this question because all of our visits are very fascinating. If I have to choose one, I will say our visit to the ancient Great Wall that has not been developed to the tourist site. We were able to purely appreciate the beauty of the amazing architecture built more than 500 hundred years ago. It’s an experience I can hardly use any word to describe.

Sesha: Perhaps my favorite experience was simply walking around the hutong where Xiaoxia’s community was. The atmosphere of the small shops under the trees is unlike anything I have ever experienced and is not something I will soon forget.

How do you think this project has enriched your overall educational experience at W&L?

Xiaoxia: It is nice that I can still research on the topic related to my hometown’s culture and music while studying in an American university. It makes my college experience more diverse.

Sesha: This trip was an incredibly expansive experience for me. Not only do I have a greater worldview and a more intimate relationship with Chinese culture, but I also feel more prepared and confident as an individual to step out of my comfort zone. This maturation and empowerment has quickly become incorporated into my life at W&L, not to mention the opportunity that the filming experience opened me to.

W&L Fall Athletic Teams Finish Strong Multiple teams won ODAC championship titles and saw NCAA Tournament action, while honors stacked up for individual Generals.

Washington and Lee University athletics had a stellar showing during the Fall 2017 season, with three teams competing in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournaments, four teams claiming Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) championship titles, and a number of individual Generals receiving high honors for overall performance, both on and off the field.

Football

The W&L football team nailed down its fourth ODAC Football Championship in the last eight years with a 48-21 victory over Shenandoah on Nov. 11. The team’s season came to an end on Nov. 18 with a 21-0 loss to 12-time National Champion Mount Union in the first round of the NCAA tournament, but not before the Generals held the Purple Raiders to a season low of 276 yards of total offense and only 10 first downs.

Champs2017 W&L Fall Athletic Teams Finish StrongW&L Football

Washington and Lee also claimed four of the five major ODAC awards. Senior linebacker Max Garrett (Fairfield, Conn. / Choate Rosemary Hall) was named the ODAC Defensive Player of the Year and collected ODAC/Virginia Farm Bureau Insurance Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award for the second straight year.

Garrett-X2-150x150 W&L Fall Athletic Teams Finish StrongMax Garrett

First-year running back Josh Breece (Lorton, Va. / Stone Bridge) was named the ODAC Rookie of the Year and Head Coach Scott Abell received the ODAC Coach of the Year Award for the third time in his six seasons at the helm. Five Generals earned First Team All-ODAC laurels.

In addition, Breece was a finalist for the Lanier Award, while senior linebacker Max Garrett (Fairfield, Conn. / Choate Rosemary Hall) received the Linebacker of the Year Award at the Dudley & Lanier Award Banquet hosted by the Touchdown Club of Richmond on Sunday, December 10.

Men’s Cross Country

The men’s cross country team earned its third-straight ODAC title on Oct. 28, and the 12th ODAC title in program history. At the 2017 ODAC Championship, hosted by Virginia Wesleyan, the Generals recorded the lowest team score since 2005, registering 27 points with four runners in the Top 6. The team took fourth place at the NCAA South/Southeast Regional.

Junior Hank Patrick (Baton Rouge, La./University Laboratory School) was named the ODAC Men’s Cross Country Scholar-Athlete of the Year; this is the third straight year a General has earned the award. Patrick also qualified to compete at the NCAA Championship, along with senior MacKenzye Leroy (Port Jervis, N.Y./Port Jervis) and junior Cooper Baird (Fort Worth, Texas/Fort Worth Country Day). First-year student Freddie Marx (Greensboro, N.C./Walter Hines Page) was named ODAC Rookie of the Year, and Coach Brandon Spalding earned the ODAC Coach of the Year award.

Men_XC_Team_Champ W&L Fall Athletic Teams Finish StrongW&L Men’s Cross Country

Women’s Cross Country

The women’s cross country team also claimed its third-straight ODAC title on Oct. 28, taking the top spot out of 12 teams with 34 points and five runners finishing in the Top 10. It was the 17th ODAC title in program history. The team also took fifth place at NCAA South/Southeast Regional. Coach Michael Dager was named ODAC Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year for the third season running.

Women_XC_Team_Champ W&L Fall Athletic Teams Finish StrongWomen’s Cross Country Team

Field Hockey

In a 2-1 overtime victory over Lynchburg, the W&L field hockey team brought home its second ODAC title in program history, and only the first since 2005. The team beat Denison, 1-0, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, but fell to No. 1 Messiah in the second round.

FH_ODAC_Champ W&L Fall Athletic Teams Finish StrongW&L field hockey team
tucker-150x150 W&L Fall Athletic Teams Finish StrongHaley Tucker

Junior field hockey forward Haley Tucker (Manakin-Sabot, Va./St. Catherine’s School) was named the ODAC Player of the Year and made the first team.  Field Hockey Coach Gina Wills was named ODAC Coach of the Year for the second time in three years. Wills has a 38-18 record in her first three seasons with W&L.

Soccer

Although Lynchburg bested W&L in the men’s soccer ODAC Championship game, the Generals received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, and W&L hosted first- and second-round tournament action on Watt Field.

Beck-X2-150x150 W&L Fall Athletic Teams Finish StrongGillian Beck

After a 2-0 win over Mary Washington and then advancing on penalty kicks following a 3-3 draw with Oglethorpe, the Generals to moved on to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen, where they fell to No. 5 North Park, 3-0, on Nov. 18. Senior goalkeeper Gillian Beck earned the ODAC/Virginia Farm Bureau Scholar-Athlete award for the second consecutive year. Beck was also named to the second team of the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) 2017 Division III Academic All-America men’s soccer teams. Beck is the first men’s soccer player in program history to be selected to the Academic All-America team.

In addition, the men’s soccer coaching staff was named South Atlantic Regional Staff of the Year by United Soccer Coaches. Head Coach Michael Singleton, along with his assistant coaches Jon Freeman, Nemanja Cetic and Austin Gilbert, earned the honor for the first time in their careers.

 Volleyball

In volleyball, first-year middle blocker Courtney Berry was honored as the ODAC’s Rookie of the Year and was named to the All-ODAC First Team.

Courtney-Berry-150x150 W&L Fall Athletic Teams Finish StrongCourtney Berry

Berry is the first W&L rookie to earn all-region accolades since M.A. Boles ’14 received honorable mention recognition and was named the region’s Freshman of the Year in 2010.

In other volleyball news, W&L junior outside hitter Meg Guignon (St. Louis, Mo./Visitation Academy) earned honorable mention accolades from the American Volleyball Coaches Association as it released its 2017 AVCA Division III All-America teams. Guignon is the ninth player in program history to earn All-America laurels, and this marks the fifth straight season a General has been honored.

Visit our Athletics page to keep up with all W&L sports action.


W&L’s Alison Bell Featured in The Daily Progress The story featured Bell and her work studying cemeteries in the Shenandoah Valley.

“In a lot of cases, these grave markers are like gifts to the deceased. The living put on there something that was really meaningful and special to the person who died.”

Alison Bell, associate professor of anthropology at Washington and Lee University, was featured in The Daily Progress in Charlottesville, VA for her work studying cemeteries in the Shenandoah Valley. Bell was also interviewed recently for a piece on Virginia Humanities website.

The story is reprinted here with permission, and
can also be accessed online at The Daily Progress.

Decorating for the living and the dead

BY RUTH SERVEN

Oct 30, 2017

Alison Bell got hooked on cemeteries when she saw a tombstone in Staunton inscribed “Monsters from the Vault” and decorated with the faces of Dracula and Frankenstein’s monster.

Bell looked up the dead man’s name and saw that he had loved classic horror films. The stone was the perfect way to commemorate him and his involvement with other horror fans.

“In a lot of cases, these grave markers are like gifts to the deceased,” Bell said. “The living put on there something that was really meaningful and special to the person who died.”

Bell, now an associate professor of anthropology at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, is using a yearlong fellowship with the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities to study cemeteries up and down the Shenandoah Valley. From that work, she said she’s learned a lot about how Virginia communities today approach death and especially how living relatives include the dead in holiday celebrations.

Alison-Bell_Daily-Progress-600x400 W&L's Alison Bell Featured in The Daily ProgressAlison Bell, an associate professor of anthropology at Washington and Lee University, points out Halloween decorations found at Monticello Memory Gardens. Bell is a humanities scholar in residence at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities studying cemeteries and what they tell us about changes in our culture and how we view death. ANDREW SHURTLEFF/THE DAILY PROGRESS

Most people don’t put monsters on their graves. But during the fall, and every holiday season, memorials and decorations such as pumpkins, scarecrows and cartoon ghosts sprout up in cemeteries.

Earlier this month, Bell pulled on hiking boots and drove to the Monticello Memory Gardens. She pointed out the marker of a 10-year-old boy that was etched with light sabers, a plaque inscribed with Gaelic lines from William Butler Yeats’ poem “The Stolen Child” and the cremains urn of a longtime University of Virginia electrician.

Each of the graves was decorated with pumpkins, fabric fall leaves, scarecrows and plastic witches. Some Halloween decorations mingled with birthday balloons, Easter rabbits and snowmen.

Bell marked some of the graves by taking photos on her phone. Some people would find researching cemeteries morbid, and decorating gravestones disrespectful, but Bell said both are a way of connecting with loved ones.

“There’s a sense of familiarity,” she said. “We decorate all of our houses for these holidays, and so we want to decorate the house of our deceased loved one, too.”

Bell has found the obituaries of many of those with decorated graves and can recite the names and occupations of many of the dead. She has reached out to the families of some, trying to figure out why they decorate the graves as they do.

“There’s often a kind of celebration,” she said. “These deaths are tragic and terrible and you feel them acutely, but there are ways to keep them around and part of your life.”

The decorations in Virginia cemeteries often connote a rural identity, she said, pointing to a sense of community with other farmers, fishers and all-terrain vehicle drivers.

Bell grew up in Tennessee and North Carolina. After completing master’s work in California, she packed up and brought her iguana, Wilma Jean, to the University of Virginia for a doctoral program. She said she feels Virginia is a place where rural, religious and elite cultures meet and mix.

“In my background in archaeology, there’s so much thought that people are always trying to climb to the next social level,” she said. “I really think a lot of this [now] is rejecting the more elite culture. It’s a kind of populism that’s saying we embrace rural culture, sometimes working-class culture, we’re proud of that association and we’re not aspiring to these sorts of elite aesthetics.”

The trends cut across social divisions, Bell said, and represent an idea that the living and the dead continue in the same community. Beginning in the 1980s, she said, new technology and growing secularization encouraged family members to mark graves as a way of remembering group identity and cultivating social ties.

“Death is such a bizarre topic,” Bell said. “But if you start looking at cemeteries, you actually end up learning about cultural shifts and really profound interactions between how we view life and death or race relations or gender identity. It seems a little odd at first, but then you realize it’s just a venue to talk about the rest of our lives.”

Most of the students in her popular Washington and Lee class Domains of the Dead think it’s weird to visit cemeteries — at least at the beginning.

One of Bell’s former students, Sara Prysi, a senior, used to hold her breath when she walked past graveyards.

Prysi said she was skeptical about the class, but Bell was her adviser in the anthropology department, so she decided to give it a try.

Once she got over her fear, Prysi said the class inspired her to do a yearlong independent study with Bell and has made her more interested in collective cultural acts.

“After all, what better way to get to know someone than by studying the one symbol they are allowed to represent their entire life?” Prysi said. “It is almost as if we have an immediate answer to the question, ‘So, you’ve lived all these years for what purpose?’”

Another Washington and Lee student, Bryan D’Ostroph, spent a summer after taking Bell’s class traveling to cemeteries in his home state of North Carolina. His grandmother got interested in the project and now texts him pictures of interesting headstones she sees.

Bell said she has visited most counties in the Shenandoah Valley with her camera and her notebook. She’s dragged her 15-year-old twins on field trips from Wytheville to Winchester.

The research has changed how she thinks about death — she’s become more interested in the “green burial” trend, which inters bodies in the woods in a biodegradable casket without embalming. She said she wants to be remembered by a Walt Whitman quote, “To die is different from what anyone supposed, and luckier.”

“This project keeps everything in perspective,” she said. “It keeps me at ease about living.”

Bell helped to bury her father, cremate her mother and order a footstone for her grandmother’s grave. The plots are in North Carolina, so she doesn’t visit often, but when she does, she leaves butterfly ornaments and apples. A butterfly ornament hung above her grandmother’s bed for years, and her grandfather took her to orchards in the summer.

Her forthcoming book from the University of Tennessee Press is titled “The Vital Dead.”

Harrison Pemberton, W&L Professor of Philosophy Emeritus, Dies at 92 Pemberton taught at W&L for 42 years, from 1962 until 2004.

Pemberton-Portrait-400x600 Harrison Pemberton, W&L Professor of Philosophy Emeritus, Dies at 92Harrison J. Pemberton Jr., professor of philosophy emeritus

Harrison J. Pemberton Jr., professor of philosophy emeritus, died on Nov. 16, 2017, in Lexington, at age 92. He taught at W&L for 42 years, from 1962 until 2004.

“Harry Pemberton enjoyed a long and fruitful career at W&L,” said President Will Dudley. “For over four decades, he inspired students with his love of philosophy and of international study. His dedication to students and the profession called him to continue teaching well after his official retirement, here at Washington and Lee and at other institutions. Professor Pemberton exemplified the best of what we seek in our teacher-scholars. We shall miss him.”

Pemberton was born on March 3, 1925, in Orlando, Florida. He obtained his B.A. in philosophy in 1949 from Rollins College, and his M.A. (1951) and Ph.D. (1953) from Yale University.

He attended Georgia Tech for one year, in 1943, before serving in the Army during World War II in New Guinea, the Philippines and the occupation forces of Japan.

Pemberton worked as an instructor at Yale from 1951 to 1954; an assistant professor at the University of Virginia from 1954 to 1962; and a visiting associate professor at the University of Texas in 1962. In 1972, he taught western philosophy at Chung Chi College of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and in 1976, he served as a visiting philosopher at Lebanon Valley College. His professional affiliations included the American Philosophical Association, and he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

At W&L, he taught courses in the history of philosophy, Plato and existentialism, and a popular seminar on Martin Heidegger’s book “Being and Time.” His wartime travels in Asia kindled an interest in Eastern thought as well. Even after his retirement, he taught occasional classes at W&L and at VMI.

His other W&L service included a variety of committees, including one dealing with the library, and one that planned an interdisciplinary program in cognitive studies.

Pemberton established the Harrison J. Pemberton Fund for International Study at W&L, saying, “When you travel abroad, you have to adjust to another culture. You learn so much about other countries and their cultures, and you often find out just how strong you are. It is an incredible learning experience for our students and one I have supported throughout my career.”

In 2015, a former student of Pemberton’s, Tony Walker ’64, donated a painting to the university, by artist David Brewster, in Pemberton’s honor.

Among Pemberton’s research interests were Plato and phenomenology. He wrote an acclaimed book, “Plato’s Parmenides: The Critical Moment for Socrates” (1984), with several W&L undergraduates helping him with research; he wrote it while living in Greece, in a stone cottage overlooking the ocean.

Another book, “The Buddha Meets Socrates: A Philosophical Journal” (2008), detailed the five weeks in 2004 that Pemberton spent teaching Western philosophy to young Buddhist monks at the Shri Diwakar Vihara Buddhist Research and Educational Institute in Kalimpong, India. He accepted the post immediately after his retirement from W&L at the suggestion of Shamar Rinpoche, the second-highest-ranking lama of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism. Pemberton also tutored privately one of the students, His Holiness the Karmapa, the head of the Karma Kagyu school.

“It was the camaraderie and really, happiness, that they showed and the way in which they lived their lives that impressed me most,” he told W&L in 2008. “They don’t have material possessions, but they don’t miss them. There is evidence that the Buddhist way yields more happiness than you might expect. I would go so far as to say Buddhists tend to be happier than Westerners. They don’t have any of our tension and strain. They also have a great sense of humor, and yet then they can be very serious. So they have the full range, and to me it seems more wholesome.”

Pemberton is survived by his nephews, Zan and Pem Guerry, and his niece, Chappell Kane.


Michelson Wins NEA Fellowship for Poetry Translation The award will help to fund a trilingual translation of poetry by Mapuche-Argentine poet Liliana Ancalao.

Washington and Lee University Spanish professor Seth Michelson has been awarded a $12,500 National Endowment for the Arts fellowship for a trilingual translation of two poetry collections by Mapuche-Argentine poet Liliana Ancalao.

seth-400x600 Michelson Wins NEA Fellowship for Poetry TranslationProfessor Seth Michelson

Ancalao, who was born in southern Argentina in the Patagonian province of Chubut, is a member of the Mapuche-Tehuelche Nankulaven community. The nomadic indigenous Tehuelche people were present in Chubut for thousands of years before Europeans arrived there in the early 16th century. Ancalao writes her poetry in Mapuzungun, the language of the Mapuche people.

Michelson plans to use the award to help fund his work to translate poems from two of Ancalao’s collections, “Women in the Open Air” and “Fabric with Raw Wool.” The resulting volume will be published in Mapuzungun, Spanish and English. Once published, it will hold the distinction of being the first single-author volume of poetry by a female Mapuche-Argentine poet in English-language translation, and only the second single-author collection by a female Mapuche poet.

“Seth’s colleagues in Romance Languages and in the Center for Poetic Research faculty cohort are bursting with pride at his remarkable accomplishment,” said Dean Suzanne Keen. “Seth’s trilingual poetry translation will bring an important feminist environmental poet’s work to Spanish and English readerships.”

Michelson, who teaches in the Romance Languages Department at W&L, is himself an award-winning poet, having produced two original collections, “Swimming Through Fire” and “Eyes Like Broken Windows.” He has previously translated five volumes, “Scripted in the Streams” and “Dreaming in Another Land” by Rati Saxena, “Poems from the Disaster” by Zulema Moret, “roly poly” by Victoria Estol, and “El Ghetto/The Ghetto” by Tamara Kamenszain. He is currently working on three additional translations that will be published in 2018.

Why W&L Law?: Investing in your Future with Emily Kendall, 1L

“When I came to campus, and got to talk to students and hear about their experiences… there was just no doubt in my mind that it would be a fantastic opportunity to come over here. Really glad that I made that decision.” — Emily Kendall, 1L

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Why W&L Law?: The Benefits of a Small School with Rashanna Butler, 1L

“The alumni come back, they want to talk to the current students. I think that says a lot about the school – when people who are no longer here give back, they do it because they want to. That shows what kind of school you’re going to.” — Rashanna Butler, 1L

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Why W&L Law?: Living in Lexington with Austin Scieszinski, 1L

“I live right in Downtown Lexington, I know the shopkeeper that lives below me… You can’t capture that online, or in a paragraph written on a website. You have to come and experience it. And when you do, you can see and feel what everyone else feels – and why so many people love this place like I do.” — Austin Scieszinski, 1L

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Why W&L Law?: The Great Outdoors with Tommy Bishop, 3L

“Being a law student and being a human being don’t have to be mutually exclusive ideas. You can do both. Lexington is the place to get that done.” — Tommy Bishop, 3L

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Why W&L Law?: An Intimate Learning Environment with Madison Peace, 1L

“You have access to your professors. So many of my professors, I know I can go knock on their door, send them an email, catch them in the hallway, talk to them after class. That intimate learning environment is really great.” — Madison Peace, 1L

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Why W&L Law?: Visiting Campus with Andrew Salinas, 1L

“The one essential bit of advice I would give to any student applying to any law school would be to go visit. You can read about a school’s ranking, their employment numbers, maybe you can talk with an alumnus or two – but until you go there and you get a sense of what the atmosphere is, that’s the only indication of if you will do well.” — Andrew Salinas, 1L

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Why W&L Law?: The W&L Community with Sarah Van Horn,1L

“Not only did the bar passage rates and the job placement rates stand out to me, but there seemed to be a greater sense of community, and a lot of organizations I could join. I knew that would be important to me at a Law School.” – Sarah Van Horn,1L

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Why W&L Law?: Honor and Ethics with Joe Barton, 1L

“The thing that caught my eye was the idea of the Honor Code and the ethics and support of the community in terms of how they prepare their lawyers as ethical practitioners instead of just lawyers… I really value honor and integrity, and I wanted a place that did as well.” — Joe Barton, 1L

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Why W&L Law?: Choosing a Law School with Dami Lawal, 1L

“Look at the student to teacher ratio, because that is a big part. When talking about institutions and how available faculty are to you, that goes a long way to helping you get an education.” — Dami Lawal, 1L

Why W&L Law?: A Typical Day at W&L with Megan Williams, 1L

“I was very impressed by the class I sat in on. I loved the teaching style… It didn’t feel like it was a huge lecture hall where students could get lost in the shuffle or slack off. Everyone was really attentive and participating. It made me really feel like I could do this, I could do law school.” — Megan Williams, 1L

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Putting Lessons to the Test Caroline Blackmon interned this summer with The Dunwoody Crier in Georgia.

IMG_0151-800x533 Putting Lessons to the TestCaroline Blackmon interned this summer with The Dunwoody Crier in Georgia.

Caroline Blackmon ’19
Majors: Journalism and Economics

Where did you intern this summer?

The Dunwoody Crier, a weekly newspaper in Dunwoody, Georgia (a suburb of Atlanta)

Tell us a little bit about that organization:

The Dunwoody Crier is delivered weekly to 23,000 homes and businesses in the cities of Dunwoody, Sandy Springs and Brookhaven in north metro Atlanta. The paper features many of Dunwoody’s restaurants, events and people.

Describe your job there:

I covered everything The Crier doesn’t have enough people to cover. For example, we deliver to a lot of Brookhaven, which is its own city and has its own city council, so I covered its government. I also went to events during the week that other people couldn’t attend. Also, the editor-in-chief knows that I have an interest in editing, so he let me come in when they were editing and putting together the paper so I could learn that process, as well. On average, I wrote about three or four stories a week, took all my own pictures (plus others for other stories) and helped edit 11 papers.

What was the best story or project you worked on?

The best story I worked on was a story about a major construction project at an intersection in Dunwoody. Though the new intersection made a lot of people happy, it negatively affected those who lived around the intersection. They had to deal with construction for more than two years; even now, when the construction is finished, they still have holes in their front yards and cracked driveways. Also, the city of Dunwoody had been really unresponsive to them throughout the whole process and never gave them a heads-up about anything that would be going on. I interviewed about seven neighbors and two people from the city of Dunwoody. Then, two days after my story was published, a local CBS TV station covered the same story. So that was pretty cool to see my article transferred to a news broadcast story!

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

Definitely one of my mentors, Dick Williams, made an impression on me. He is the editor-in-chief of the paper and has worked in the newspaper and TV business for about 50 years, so he was part of journalism when it was in its heyday and has seen it transition and change over the past 20 years. He has taught me so many things about the business, about how to write better and about how to be confident in my role as a journalist. He also trusted me with bigger articles and more controversial topics throughout my time here, which helped me gain confidence.

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

I feel challenged every time I am struggling to find a source for a story or am struggling to get in contact with a source. For example, a very popular church called Calvary was transitioning to become a shoot-off of a different church called Chapelhill. This is an important story not because it’s the biggest church in Dunwoody, but because the building itself and the name “Calvary Church” was a staple in the Dunwoody community. We knew about a month in advance and I started calling people about two weeks before the transition. Nobody got back to me for more than 10 days. That was pretty stressful because I had to get the story out by the Monday before the launch of the new church (which was happening on a Sunday) because otherwise it would’ve been old news and that would’ve been very bad. Luckily, a nice pastor took pity on me and talked to me on a Friday (his day off) and ensured the story would happen on time.

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

The only thing that excited me about the location was that I got to live at home, and work was about 10 minutes away! Also, even though I’ve lived in Dunwoody/Atlanta my whole life, I’ve learned more during this summer working for The Crier than I have in the past 20 years.

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

Near the end of my internship, Williams said that I’m a natural at this business, so that was really nice to hear. I have doubts about whether I can make a career out of journalism, as it’s changing so much. But I really do love this work because I love talking to people and writing about what they love to do. It’s the best feeling in the world to make someone happy with something you write! Also, I know I still like writing for newspapers. Hopefully, I’ll get an internship next summer at a TV news broadcast station so I can see about that side of journalism.

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

I took Beat Reporting (arguably the most time-consuming class in the journalism major) the semester before coming to work for The Crier, and that was the best preparation I could have asked for. It got me used to being stressed about sources not answering calls and emails, and it taught me to be proactive so I don’t become stressed about deadlines. Thank goodness for Professor Locy, Professor Finch and the relentlessness of Beat Reporting!

Did any particular grant or other funding, besides your personal funding, help pay for this opportunity? Yes, the Catherine Ann Duggar Scholarship Fund, the Carter Glass Scholarship and the Wright Family Scholarship. I am so thankful to these three families for starting these scholarships for students like me who need a little extra help during the summer so I could work for the internship I wanted to without having to worry about funding.

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

Washington and Lee Celebrates the Season with Annual Holiday Pops Concert The program will open with Dr. Shane Lynch’s setting of “Gloria.”

Washington and Lee University will kick off the holiday season with its annual Holiday Pops Concert, Dec. 4–5 at 7 p.m. in the Lenfest Center for the Arts.

Tickets are free, but required. Both nights’ programs will be identical.

This year’s concert will feature traditional and contemporary arrangements of favorite holiday tunes performed by the University Wind Ensemble, String Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, Men’s Glee Club and Cantatrici (Women’s Choir).

The program will open with Dr. Shane Lynch’s setting of “Gloria,” and will close with Mack Wilberg’s iconic setting of “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.”

For more information and to purchase tickets contact the Lenfest Box Office at (540-458-8000).

‘Grateful Every Step of the Way’ Over 1,200 miles of biking and hiking trails led Ralston Hartness '18 from Spain to Ireland, discovering the meaning of pilgrimage along the way.

“I am deeply grateful to this place for enabling an experience that was not only academically meaningful but personally, relationally, and spiritually profound.”

Hartness-800x533 'Grateful Every Step of the Way'Ralston Hartness ’18

Hometown: Chattanooga, TN
Major: Religion
Minor: Education

This summer I was given the opportunity to make a pilgrimage around Europe — from the Camino de Santiago Primitivo in Northern Spain to Croagh Patrick in County Mayo, Ireland, and many places in between. Throughout my time at W&L, I have been fascinated by pilgrimage: What makes it so meaningful, what they expect out of it, why these places matter? As an avid backpacker, and someone who had never been to Europe, I wanted to experience many of the pilgrimage journeys I had studied.

the-cross-at-the-lighthouse-at-the-end-of-the-Camino-de-Finisterre-800x533 'Grateful Every Step of the Way'The cross at the lighthouse at the end of the Camino de Finisterre

Thanks to W&L, and the generosity of the Johnson Scholarship program, I was able to make this dream a reality, and I was incredibly grateful every step of the way. After months of planning routes, checking airfares, aligning bus timetables, and ordering maps, Luke Farley ’18 and I stood in front of the Cathedral in Oviedo, Asturias, Spain ready to embark on our journey to Santiago de Compostela. It was a surreal moment of beginning, and one that I will never forget.

Those two weeks were full of surreal moments as we stumbled upon incredibly hospitable pilgrim refugios, indulged ourselves with satisfying pilgrim menus, walked along Roman bridges and walls, witnessed the sun rising over fog-steeped valleys, descended through a passage onto the main plaza of the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral, and crested a ridge to see the Atlantic Ocean shimmering out over the coastline of Finisterre. After spending a couple of days exploring and reflecting in Santiago de Compostela, we packed our bags and made for London, where we enjoyed incredible food and numerous British cultural landmarks.

Luke-Farley-on-the-Camino-descending-into-Cabo-Finisterre-800x533 'Grateful Every Step of the Way'Luke Farley ’18 on the Camino descending into Cabo Finisterre.

London was also the starting point for what would be two weeks of solo journeying, as I began to make my way to Canterbury and around the coast of Southern Wales to St. David’s, a place with a rich pilgrimage history. Even though Wales lived up to its reputation of being rugged, isolated and wet, it had such a warmth and I loved every moment of it — the holy wells and Welsh names, the fragrant breads and lingering conversations. I was inundated by incredible tales of saints, pilgrims, and yearning masses who walked the same paths on which I found myself. Wales stretched and tested my endurance and patience, yet I was overwhelmed by a sense of nostalgia and sadness as I departed on a ferry across the Irish Sea. I had dreamed of Ireland for quite some time, but now I was there and awaiting the arrival of my brother, Graham, who would join me on my pilgrimage around the island.

my-brother-and-I-on-Ben-Nevis-in-the-Scottish-Highlands-800x533 'Grateful Every Step of the Way'Ralston and his brother, Graham, on Ben Nevis in the Scottish Highlands.

Our first major destination was the Tochar Phadraig, which is a pilgrimage road in County Mayo tracing sites associated with Saint Patrick and culminating in an ascent of Croagh Patrick. That was just the beginning of our Irish experience — we went on to climb Carrauntoohil, bike the Ring of Kerry, walk the Wicklow Way, and reflect in countless cathedrals and oratories along the way. When I asked my brother what was the biggest lesson he learned through our time together he said, “I was often afraid of what was ahead, but when I look back, I am so glad I did it anyway.”

There was a beautiful, holy trepidation throughout the summer that led me, Luke and my brother into a posture of surrender, reflection and excitement. Whether it was as hospitaleros told us there were no beds in their hostel, when fog surrounded us as we biked out of the Black Valley, or as our flight back to Chattanooga was canceled at the end of our trip, the summer was full of this adventurous and holy fear so emblematic of the pilgrim experience. I am deeply grateful to this place for enabling an experience that was not only academically meaningful but personally, relationally and spiritually profound.

Croagh-Patrick-at-sunset-800x533 'Grateful Every Step of the Way'Croagh Patrick at sunset

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 Ralston

Extracurricular involvement:
I’m involved in the Outing Club, Reformed University Fellowship, Sunday Night Worship, and LEAD. I spend time placing and coordinating volunteers as a service-leadership intern at Maury River Middle School. I am a Young Life leader at Rockbridge County High School. I also sing and play guitar at venues around town such as Friday Underground and Palms.
Has anyone on campus inspired you?
James Dick inspires me. His passion for life is contagious and he is always willing to say “let’s give it a shot” to your rusty, rough-around-the-edges idea.
Best place to eat in Lexington? What do you order?
Blue Phoenix. You cross your fingers and hope they have the “Peace in the Middle East” falafel-bagel sandwich and coconut curry daal on the same day. And you grab a 99-cent day-old whole wheat croissant for the road.
What one film/book do you recommend to everyone?
“East of Eden” by John Steinbeck
What do you wish you’d known before you came to campus?
The Co-op cookies are always the perfect softness. I didn’t discover that until last year.
Post-graduation plans:
Teaching at an independent secondary school somewhere in the southeast and becoming an outdoor education instructor in the summers through the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), Outward Bound, or another organization. That’s the hope, at least.
Favorite class:
What an unfair question. If I had to pick one it would probably be Forget Me Not: the Visual Culture of Memorials. It was an art history class that I took last spring term with Prof. Melissa Kerin. But I couldn’t pick that one without also giving honorable mention to Nature & Place, Orthodoxy & Heresy, or The Age of the Reformation.
Favorite W&L event:
LEAD Banquet
What’s something people wouldn’t guess about you?
I was an all-American cheerleader in high school.
Why did you choose W&L?
I knew I wanted a small, liberal arts school with an honor code. However, I fell in love with Lexington and the Shenandoah Valley when I visited, and I could feel something special on campus through things like the Speaking Tradition, honor system and community feel. After visiting campus twice more for the Johnson weekend and accepted students day, I could really see how impactful this place had been on so many students and just how many resources this place had to offer. I was beyond grateful to receive a Johnson Scholarship, and that was the icing on the cake for my already strong inclination that this was going to be the right place for me.

Language and Life Lessons in Chile Alex Meilech '18 spent the summer in Santiago, Chile, learning the language, exploring the culture, and caring for the people of the country.

“W&L values an education that not just teaches us chemistry facts or a country’s history, but also that we should all be lifelong thinkers.”

IMG_0860-800x533 Language and Life Lessons in ChileAlex Meilech ’18 spent the summer in Santiago, Chile, learning the language, exploring the culture, and caring for the people of the country.

Hometown: Phoenix, Arizona
Majors: Chem-Engineering, Anthropology, Pre-Med focus

Q. What were you up to this summer?

I was in Santiago, Chile for the summer, where I stayed with a Spanish-speaking host family and interned at the Fundacion Santa Clara, a care center for children with HIV. I cared for children ages 2 months to 19 years old, many of whom have other serious issues, such as Down’s syndrome and cerebral palsy. I accompanied them to doctor’s appointments at the public hospitals. I worked four days a week, which left me time to meet people, explore the city, and travel throughout Chile.

Q. How was Santiago?

It was an amazing, vibrant, bustling, exciting, modern city. One of my favorite parts was the ease of transportation: both within the city and throughout the country. Public transportation is so efficient within the city and people make good use of it: the metro (subway) and micro (bus) cover the city extensively, and are reasonably priced. I could go to and from work easily, go back into the center of the city to take advantage of the abundance of museums, malls and movies, great restaurants, and, of course, time with friends. There are hills such as Cerro San Cristobal in the middle of the city, great to run, bike, hike, trolley, or cable car to the top and take in the view of the tallest building in South America.

Also, Santiago is well located within the center of the country to travel throughout the country: an hour and a half by bus to the beach to the west and even closer to the snow and Andes Mountains to the east. I took a weekend trip by a quick plane trip to the Atacama Desert, where I saw sand dunes, salt caverns, a flamingo lagoon, and a frozen lake with 70mph winds all in two days. To sum it up, Chile has everything at one’s fingertips.

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

I woke up and had some breakfast with tea, which is by far the most popular beverage here – someone offered me a tecito (little tea) multiple times a day. When I arrived at to work, I was greeted by the smiling faces of toddlers and babies, and I passed the day taking care of the kids. When the older kids came from school, I’d play with them, teach them a bit of English, and help with their homework. Probably our favorite activity is endless Zumba on YouTube to popular reggaeton music: the Justin Bieber version of “Despacito” was the song de vogue for teens around the world.

I frequently accompanied the children to doctor’s appointments across the city, which could take a while, as appointment times are not as strict as within the U.S. and the public hospital system is inefficient. On my way home, I occasionally (frequently?) stopped for a sopapilla from a street cart, the quintessential Chileno street food: deep fried pumpkin and flour dough with garlic sauce as the classic garnish. I was fortunate that my work was right across from the largest market in the city, La Vega, and while Santiaguinos and visitors frequently took trips to sample the food stands and fresh fruits and vegetables, for me it was a quick walk. At night, I had dinner with my host family. We had fun chatting, and I got to practice my Spanish while eating delicious homemade Chilean food (vegetarian version for me) and providing entertainment for my host family with many amusing misunderstandings.

IMG_0902-400x600 Language and Life Lessons in ChileThe kids are all smiles when Tia Ale (Aunt Alex) comes around.

Q. What was the most rewarding and fulfilling part of the experience?

I learned a lot from my internship. Seeing how a private organization fills the gaps that the overwhelmed public social system leaves was a valuable experience for me as a future doctor, and as someone who just wants to see how the world works. HIV is very stigmatized in Chile, as it is in the U.S., and these children face a lot of other challenges, as the home is in a very poor area of the city. A lot of the children come from backgrounds where their parents are unable to take care of them due to drug/alcohol abuse, poverty, and health problems. Bonding with these kids, who really just want to lead a normal life: make friends, play games, cuddle with Tia Ale (Aunt Alex), reminded me of what’s at stake around the world when we think and talk about equitable healthcare and social services.

Q. What was the biggest challenge you faced?

Not speaking the language fluently can be hard. I came in with a good amount of conversational Spanish, and due to this immersive experience, my Spanish studies progressed rapidly. My host family and especially my host sisters, who were my age, were very patient and accommodating in slowing their pace slightly to talk to me. Still, I frequently became frustrated and just wanted to tell everyone, “I promise I’m very smart in English!” However, becoming bilingual in the future is worth the struggle.

Q. What have you learned at W&L that helped you in this endeavor, and what will you bring back to your life on campus?

I’m very glad to have taken a Spanish class with Professor Michelson, and done Spring Term Abroad 2015 in Argentina with Professor Pinto-Bailey. I can’t put into terms how much having a base of Spanish language makes learning new Spanish so much easier. And the way that my SOAN classes have taught me to think critically and stretch my mind is invaluable for being in brand new situations – I think I can take whatever comes at me and have a great time. I’m definitely going to bring back a new understanding and respect for other cultures and a further willingness to go outside of my comfort zone.

Q. Has this experience impacted your studies or future plans in any way?

I have a new international perspective of the health challenges facing people on the fringes of society, allowing me to look at healthcare in the United States with a new lens, and giving me a better idea of the kind of doctor I want to be in the future: someone who works in medically underserved communities. I also now want to really double down on my Spanish studies and be fluent soon, especially in medical Spanish.

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

I think the best part of W&L is the liberal arts values: W&L values an education that not just teaches us chemistry facts or a country’s history, but also that we should all be lifelong thinkers. I think being abroad in a non-English-speaking country makes me flexible and broadens my horizons immeasurably. With our world being more connected than ever, it’s so important to be cognizant of what is unique and common to other cultures, and to be able to examine our own norms and values with a discerning eye.

Q. Describe your summer adventure in one word:

Magical

Q. What else do you want people to know about your experience? 

The Johnson Opportunity Grant and Center for International Education Summer Internship Funding Grant funded this trip for me – many thanks to all the donors for making these experiences possible for me and others!

W&L Law Students Describe Journey from Military to Law School

An article from Law.com features comments from Washington and Lee University law students Lauren Morina ’20L and Michael Stinnett-Kassoff ’19L about the path from military service to law school.

MorinaStinnet W&L Law Students Describe Journey from Military to Law SchoolMichael Stinnett-Kassoff and Lauren Morina

Law.comVeterans Heading to Law Schools, With Nonprofit’s Help

The article focuses on the non-profit program Service to School, an organization that helps veterans parlay their military service to gain entry into the nation’s top law schools and other higher-education institutions. Stinnett-Kassoff and fellow second-year law student David Thompson serve as co-directors of the law admissions program for Service to School.

“Most of us are automatically leaders from being in the military. That definitely translates into the classroom. We’re also used to helping each other out,” said Stinnett-Kassoff in the article. Prior to law school, he spent eight years in the U.S. Navy, including two deployments to the Persian Gulf and another off of Japan’s coast.

Morina spent four years in the U.S. Navy as a cryptologic intelligence analyst, deploying twice to the Horn of Africa, and a third time in the Baltic region. In the article, she says that her choice of W&L Law was directly related to the values she learned in the military.

“There’s more emphasis on closer relationships with classmates and professors, and it was something I was very familiar with from my military service. Working in teams, you become close to people surrounding you, and there’s benefits of that when going through something challenging and difficult,” she told Law.com.

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Quick Hits: Just Roll With It In Bubble Soccer, everyone's full of hot air.

Campus Recreation hosted a game of Bubble Soccer on a recent weeknight, and students geared up for the fun. The winner? In our book, any player who could stay on two feet.


Getting Ahead in the Garment District Julia Kaczmar '19 spent a summer in New York City, learning the logistics of the latest fashions.

“Without internships, it’s hard to see what you like and don’t like. For me, an internship is like a trial run. If I like it, then I continue to look for things in that specific field…”

Julia-Kaczmar-800x533 Getting Ahead in the Garment DistrictJulia Kaczmar ’19 spent a summer in New York City, learning the logistics of the latest fashions.

Majors: Business Administration, German
Hometown: Wayne, PA

Q. What did you do this summer?

I was a Planning and Operations Intern at Rebecca Taylor. I worked at their corporate office in the Garment District in New York City.

Q. What is your favorite part of being in the Big Apple?

I loved how there was always so much going on and so many new restaurants to try out.

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

Every day was different. Some days, I was in the office working on spreadsheets and others I’m out taking care of things at the Rebecca Taylor retail locations in NYC. I worked on two large projects all summer: preparing for the annual Store Managers Conference and auditing all of the retail locations for the first and second quarters.

Q. What was the most rewarding and fulfilling part of your experience?

One of my favorite parts of my internship was taking care of the damages. I logged them in as they were mailed in from all the retail locations. The best part was I got to take home some of the clothes sent back. Another cool part of interning at Rebecca Taylor is that you get to see the designer herself around the office. She is a laid-back personality coupled with effortless style. She can be seen playing with dogs and walking barefoot around the office. It feels like working with a celebrity. She brought her dog Chewy to work…he is the absolute cutest!

Q. Who has served as a mentor to you this summer, and what have they taught you?

My boss, Liz Nash. She is the director of all Rebecca Taylor retail operations. I loved working with her and she taught me so much in terms of management and working with people. She also has taught me the usefulness of setting specific goals and reaching them. I’ve learned the back side of retail, how even the smallest things like ordering the correct packaging and talking weekly with store managers can contribute to the success of the store.

Q. What have you learned at W&L that helped you in this endeavor, and what will you bring back to your life on campus?

Practical skills learned in the Career Development Center, like how to boost your resume and network, helped me to land the internship

Q. Has this experience impacted your studies or future plans in any way?

I’ve absolutely loved my time at Rebecca Taylor. Looking forward, I would love to have a career in fashion and plan to apply for another fashion-focused internship next summer.

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

Without internships, it’s hard to see what you like and don’t like. For me, an internship is like a trial run. If I like it, then I continue to look for things in that specific field and if I don’t I know to avoid that type of career in the future.

Q. Describe your summer adventure in one word:

Spontaneous

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

Antique Plate Linked to Special Date On the 500th anniversary of the start of the Protestant Reformation, we take a closer look at a special item in the Reeves Collection — a plate that bears the image of Martin Luther.

R1967.1.117-800x533 Antique Plate Linked to Special DateMartin Luther plate

Almost exactly 500 years ago, on October 31, 1517, a little-known monk named Martin Luther, in the little-known town of Wittenburg, Germany, nailed a list of 95 theses against the Catholic practice of indulgences to the university church door. This small event led to the Protestant Reformation, one of the seminal moments in Western Civilization.

Large numbers of people split away from the Catholic Church and created new denominations. One of these was the Lutheran Church, which followed the teachings of Martin Luther. In addition to sparking the Reformation and founding the Lutheran Church, Luther also made an important and influential translation of the Bible.

The Lutheran Church spread throughout Europe, and by the 18th century there was a small Lutheran population in the Netherlands, one of the most tolerant and religiously diverse countries in Europe.  In the mid-18th century, devout Dutch Lutherans commissioned Chinese export porcelain decorated with their church founder’s portrait paired with a scene of Christ teaching his apostles. The Reeves Collection at W&L includes a plate with this image.

Like most European designs found on Chinese export porcelain, the image was based on a print  in this case, the title page of a Dutch Lutheran Bible. Engraved by Charles Brun (active 1627-1648), it first appeared in an edition of the Bible published in Amsterdam by Adolf Visscher in 1648.

The Bible, and its illustrations, went through multiple editions over the next few decades. Among these was the Nederduytse Bijbel, which was printed at the Lutheran Orphanage in Amsterdam in 1750 (Nederduytse, more commonly spelled Nederduits, or Low German, is a dialect of German spoken in Northern Germany and the Netherlands).

But the title page was not the only image copied from the Nederduytse Bijbel onto Chinese porcelain.  Illustrations from the Bible of four scenes from the life of Christ the nativity, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension, all based on engravings by the Dutch artist Jan Luyken  were also used to decorate plates and tea wares.

The Nederduytse Bijbel was an octavo, a relatively small and affordable book about the size of a modern-day paperback. It is easy to imagine that a merchant, looking for designs to have copied onto Chinese porcelain, would have thought that religious scenes would have market appeal, and would have sent a copy to China, where it was used as a model by Chinese porcelain painters in the port of Guangzhou (which was known to Europeans as Canton).

A number of plates with Luther’s portrait are known, suggesting that a number were made. Most do not show much wear, suggesting that they were not used much, if at all. They, like the plates with the nativity, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension, were probably made more for display than use, as a way of demonstrating one’s piety and religious identity.

Related: Four Martin Luther tracts housed in W&L’s Special Collections were fully restored in time for the 500th anniversary of the start of the Protestant Reformation. Read more here.

‘Dream Team’ Recreates 15th-Century Florence Professor George Bent and his team of students are working on a digital recreation of Florence that Bent describes as the “project of his career.”

“Having an opportunity to study what interests us while also learning digital humanities skills is invaluable. I feel like I am participating in a groundbreaking, but lasting, project.”

— Katherine Dau ’19

dreamteam-800x533 'Dream Team' Recreates 15th-Century FlorenceAidan Valente ’19, Katherine Dau ’19, Mary Catherine Greenleaf ’19 and Colby Gilley ’20 form part of the “dream team” that has been helping professor George Bent with his project, “Florence As It Was.”

Two years ago, while watching his son play the popular video game “Assassin’s Creed,” Washington and Lee art history professor George Bent realized that he recognized the game’s setting as 15th-century Florence, Italy. But Bent, a historian who has visited Italy multiple times over the past three decades, was bothered by inaccuracies in the digital recreation of Renaissance Florence.

The more he thought about it, the more he felt the need to produce his own recreation of the timeless city. It was that urge that would turn into a project known today as “Florence As It Was.”

Bent, the Sidney Gause Childress Professor of the Arts at W&L, has labored for 10 months with seven hand-picked students to create a first-of-its-kind digital reconstruction of Florence. The program will allow users to tour and examine the city as it looked in the 15th century.

“Initially, the goal was to create a two-dimensional and three-dimensional map of the city – complete with representations of buildings – designed according to measurements taken from on-site examinations and various scholarly literature,” said Bent.

An ambitious initial goal was not enough, however, for what Bent likes to call the “dream team.” This year’s team of four includes Aidan Valente ’19, Katherine Dau ’19, Mary Catherine Greenleaf ’19 and Colby Gilley ’20. While the initial goals remain, the team also hopes to create a virtual reality tour complete with the sounds and art of that time period.

“This is the project of my career,” Bent said. “I know art historians in my period who have literally gone mad working on projects like this, so at this point it’s about stamina and it’s about keeping the momentum going.”

BentG-400x600 'Dream Team' Recreates 15th-Century FlorenceProfessor George Bent

Students who participate are personally chosen by Bent for the different talents and skills they can bring to the group. From translators to video game designers, these students have skill sets that cover all of the project’s bases.

Valente and Sam Joseph ’19 traveled to Florence for this project in the summer of 2017. While there, they conducted research for six weeks and extensively photographed the first site selected for photogrammetric modeling, thus forming the basis for the project’s 3-D modeling work.

“This wasn’t just a vacation to Italy in the summer,” said Bent. “This was an all-day job for them, and they worked literally from sun-up to sundown.”

Joseph is stepping down from the project this year in order to prepare for graduate school, but he has high hopes for its future.

“I hope to see ‘Florence As It Was’ develop into a massive international collaboration, bringing together great minds and wide-reaching interests under one project,” Joseph said.

Other universities around the world have embarked on digital projects that revolve around the city of Florence. Bent hopes to partner with those institutions to aid in the project’s development. In particular, the University of Chicago aims to layer onto the maps the sounds that one might have heard at any given hour of the day in the Renaissance city, while the University of Toronto has already begun a project to map the people, places and events of 16th-century Florence through archival research. If collaborations with these institutions move forward, users of the system will be able to immerse themselves in a Florentine’s daily experience in the middle of the Renaissance.

“If you want to see the city in mid-morning, we want you to tell the system that it’s 9 a.m.,” Bent said, “and we want you be able to hear the bells that rang at that time of day.”

Bent also hopes to restore the artwork of that period to its original locations. “This is a chance to see the art we are familiar with today – that’s currently tucked away in museums – restored to their natural settings,” said Bent.

Mary Catherine Greenleaf ’19 is using this project to help prepare for her dream job. Greenleaf creates models of the buildings from photographs or, in the cases of buildings that no longer exist, paintings. As an aspiring graphic artist for video games, Greenleaf sees Florence As It Was as the ideal opportunity to sharpen her skills.

“This is the perfect project to prepare me for this goal,” said Greenleaf. “Not only am I learning the skills needed for my future career, but I also have the unique opportunity to be involved with the creation of an environment that’s astoundingly similar to what I would be doing in such a profession.”

FullSizeRender-29-800x533 'Dream Team' Recreates 15th-Century FlorenceSam Joseph ’19 in Florence, Italy, during summer 2017.

Other members of the team also feel like they are making significant leaps with the project.

“It truly is mind-blowing to realize that we are thoroughly and accurately recreating an environment that has not physically existed in whole for several hundred years,” said Gilley. “We have to remind ourselves that we are in fact recreating history.”

This semester, Gilley, along with Dau, will spend a great deal of time writing essays on various aspects of Florentine society, which will add a layer of interdisciplinary research to the project.

“Having an opportunity to study what interests us while also learning digital humanities skills is invaluable,” said Dau. “I feel like I am participating in a groundbreaking, but lasting, project.”

The work is far from finished, and more trips to Florence are planned. The students involved today are only the foundation, and they know that this undertaking cannot be completed during their time at W&L.

“We would like to see this project completed by 2030,” said Bent. “However, it could be longer. The challenges keep multiplying.”

To track the team’s progress, visit http://florenceasitwas.wlu.edu, where they have updated images of the maps and buildings they are currently designing, along with personal blogs about their work.

W&L Law’s Stroud Makes Forbes 30 Under 30 in Law and Policy

hstroud-1 W&L Law's Stroud Makes Forbes 30 Under 30 in Law and PolicyHernandez Stroud

Hernandez Stroud, a visiting assistant professor at Washington and Lee University School of Law and a 2015 law graduate, has landed on Forbes’ 2018 list of the top 30 Under 30 in Law & Policy.

To arrive on this list, candidates were culled from among law schools, professional organizations, the upper echelons of politics and law, and the top ranks of the most promising startups in the field. The final list was determined by Ivan Fong, a senior vice president of legal affairs at 3M and former general counsel at the Department of Homeland Security under President Obama; Mike Needham, CEO of Heritage Action for America, a highly influential conservative grassroots organization; Harvard’s Laurence Tribe, one of the most important progressive scholars on constitutional law; and Timothy Hwang, the cofounder of FiscalNote, and a member of the Law & Policy 30 Under 30 Class of 2016.

Forbes: Meet The 30 Under 30 Activists, Washington Insiders And Legal Entrepreneurs Shaping U.S. Law And Policy Now

At W&L Law, Stroud teaches and researches civil rights, federal courts, federalism, legislation, and statutory interpretation. As a law student, he served as Managing Editor for the Washington and Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice and President of the Black Law Students Association. He won best brief at the 2014 National Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition and was a finalist in the 2014 John W. Davis Moot Court Competition.

After law school, Stroud was a Fellow at Yale Law School, where he studied constitutional and criminal law implications of governmental interactions with drug addiction during pregnancy.  While at Yale, Stroud served as a policy advisor to New Haven Mayor Toni N. Harp. Stroud then clerked for the Honorable Madeline Hughes Haikala of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama.

Following his visiting appointment at W&L Law, Stroud will take a clerkship with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.

Stroud graduated with a B.A. in history and political science as a Hess-Abroms and Spencer Scholar from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and earned an M.S. in urban education and education policy from the University of Pennsylvania.  While at Penn, as a Teach for America teacher, he taught history and government at an all-boys public school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Related //

The World of Business Journalism Abigail Summerville, a business journalism major, interned on the CNBC.com breaking news desk.

“All of my economics and accounting classes prepared me so that I fully understood what I was writing about, because one of the most important skills a business journalist needs to know is how to explain complicated things in simple terms.”

cnbc-800x533 The World of Business JournalismCNBC Global Headquarters, where Abigail Summerville spent some time as an intern during summer 2017.

Major: Business Journalism

Where did you intern this summer?

CNBC

Tell us a little bit about that organization:

CNBC is the recognized world leader in business news and provides real-time financial market coverage and business information to approximately 385 million homes worldwide. It has a TV station as well as a website.

Describe your job there:

I interned as a journalist for the online side, specifically the CNBC.com breaking news desk. Working on breaking news allowed me to cover such a wide range of topics, and helped me hone in on what beats I really enjoy covering. I also got the opportunity to spend three weeks with the personal finance section, where I got to write more long-form stories relating to personal finance.

What was the best story or project you worked on?

A story I wrote about how half of homeowners have buyers’ remorse was the site leader for the day and got hundreds of thousands of views. However, some of my favorite articles I wrote were ones that I pitched myself. Some were about college, tech, the environment and the cannabis industry.

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

CNBC holds “lunch & learns” for the interns where they provide us with free food and get a prominent figure within the company to come speak to us and answer our questions. I made sure to ask at least one question of every speaker. I got to hear from CNBC’s CEO Mark Hoffman, who gave us invaluable advice about how to make it in business journalism. I also got to hear from Jim Crammer, the host of CNBC’s “Mad Money,” after we got to sit in on a live screening of his show. Other speakers were anchors, reporters, editors and producers.

summerville2-350x264 The World of Business JournalismAbigail Summerville

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

I felt the most challenged when I was working on multiple stories on deadline. I really had to prioritize articles, manage my time and remember all the steps in creating a story. Also, the most nerve-racking types of articles were those that could move stocks, because if I reported an incorrect number or fact, some investor could sell stocks based on my false information and then blame me for their financial loss.

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

I was living in New York City all summer, although the CNBC headquarters are located in Englewood Cliffs, N.J. The company provided a free shuttle service that I took to and from work. I loved living in NYC for three months. Previously, I had only visited for a few days at a time and I had to jam-pack as many touristy activities as I could into a short amount of time. I really felt like I got to explore the whole city and experience what it’s actually like to live in a city on my own.

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

Definitely. I knew I was interested in business journalism, but I was unclear on what aspect within that field I wanted to focus on—online or TV, producing or writing, editing or anchoring, etc. Working at CNBC this summer helped me focus on what I really can picture myself doing for the rest of my life. I learned that I really love writing for online, although I am still open to trying out producing and exploring the TV side as well.

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

My journalism classes really prepared me for all the writing I had to do. Not having to focus on AP Style or how to form a lede, which I already learned how to do from my classes at W&L, allowed me to pay more attention to tailoring my articles to CNBC’s style and learning how to use their software. Also, writing and editing for the Ring Tum Phi definitely helped me, too. As for the business side, all of my economics and accounting classes prepared me so that I fully understood what I was writing about, because one of the most important skills a business journalist needs to know is how to explain complicated things in simple terms.

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

Annual Christmas Candlelight Service – A Lexington Tradition

Lessons-and-Carols-600x400 Annual Christmas Candlelight Service - A Lexington TraditionLessons and Carols

Washington and Lee University’s annual Christmas Candlelight Service featuring the University Singers will be held Dec. 7, at 8 p.m. in Lee Chapel. Seating will begin at 7:00 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

The “Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols,” broadcast each year from King’s College Chapel, University of Cambridge, and widely used in England, the United States and around the world, is an ancient form for corporate worship at the Christmas season. The prayers, lessons and music tell the story of sacred history from the Creation to the Incarnation.

In 1880, E.W. Benson, later the Archbishop of Canterbury, drew up a service of lessons and carols for use on Christmas Eve in the wooden shed which served as his cathedral. In 1918 this service was adapted for use in the chapel of King’s College, Cambridge. In the early 1930s, the BBC began broadcasting the service on overseas programming, and it is estimated that there are millions of listeners worldwide.

The service has been held for many years in Lexington and was held at Grace Episcopal Church during the earlier years. The W&L Men’s Glee Club participated in the service held at the church, but when the Candlelight Service moved to Lee Chapel in the early 1990s, the newly founded University Chamber Singers became the featured choir.

Music for the traditional service again will be provided by the University Singers, the evolution of the Chamber Singers, and conducted by Shane M. Lynch, director of choral activities at W&L. The Singers’ anthems will feature a wide variety of music, from classics such as Malcolm Sargent’s arrangement of “Silent Night” and Healy Willan’s “The Three Kings” to modern and powerful masterpieces like Kevin Memley’s “O Magnum Mysterium.”

According to Lynch, this annual holiday tradition is nearly 100 years old.

Timothy Gaylard, professor of music, will be the organist for the service, leading the familiar hymns and carols and rounding out the evening’s experience with a festive organ prelude and postlude.

Nine members of the Washington and Lee University community will read the lessons.  William C. Datz ’75 will preside over the service.

The event will be streamed live online at https://livestream.com/wlu/lessons-and-carols-2017.

Annual Dancing with the Professors Event to be Held Nov. 16 The event is a fundraiser for the W&L Chapter of the National Honor Society of Dance Arts.

President-Dudley-and-Dancers-600x400 Annual Dancing with the Professors Event to be Held Nov. 16President Will Dudley with members of the W&L Dance Company

“Dancing with the Professors” is Washington and Lee University’s own version of “Dancing with the Stars.” Professors, deans, and administrators pair off with members of the W&L Dance Company and show their talents through song and dance on Nov. 16 at 6 p.m. in the Keller Theatre, Lenfest Center for the Arts. No tickets are required. Early attendance is encouraged as seats fill up fast.

Dancers will include Will Schreiber from the psychology department; Suzanne Gardner from the development office; John Smith and Dennis Patterson from Traveller; Kelsey Goodwin, director of student activities; Chris Miller, Chi Omega house director; David Novak, professor of sociology; Hank Dobin, professor of English, and a special viewing of President Dudley getting his groove on.

Attendees will be able to vote by donating to their favorite couples in Elrod Commons between Nov. 13-16 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The couple that raises the most funds will be crowned king/queen of the ball. Voting is also available at the door.

This highly popular and “best new event on campus” winner is a great study break and a chance to laugh along with some notable W&L faces.

The event is a fundraiser for the W&L Chapter of the National Honor Society of Dance Arts.

Washington and Lee Commemorates Veterans Day

2017-Veterans-Day-1024x683 Washington and Lee Commemorates Veterans DayFront row, l. to r.: Buddy Atkins ’68, retiree, (Navy); Mark Fontenot, Facilities Management (Air Force); Paul Youngman ’87, German, Russian, and Arabic Department (Army); Laurie Lipscomb, retiree (Navy); Ted Hickman, Facilities Management (Army); Dick Kuettner, Global Discovery Laboratories (Army). Back row, l. to r.: Gabrielle Ongies ’18L, law student (Virginia National Guard/Air Force); Paul Burns, Safety Office (Army); Michael Young, retiree (Army); Jerry Clark, Facilities Management (Army).

In Washington and Lee’s annual commemoration of Veterans Day, held this year on Monday, Nov. 13, current and retired members of the staff, faculty and student body who have served in the military lined up for a photo.

They participated in a brief remembrance in front of Lee Chapel, and then adjourned to the Reeves Center for coffee and further fellowship.

The veterans in attendance included current and retired members of the W&L staff and faculty, as well as a student at the W&L School of Law:

  • Buddy Atkins ’68, retiree, (Navy)
  • Paul Burns, Safety Office (Army)
  • Jerry Clark, Facilities Management (Army)
  • Mark Fontenot, Facilities Management (Air Force)
  • Paul Youngman ’87, German, Russian, and Arabic Department (Army)
  • Ted Hickman, Facilities Management (Army)
  • Dick Kuettner, Global Discovery Laboratories (Army)
  • Laurie Lipscomb, retiree (Navy)
  • Gabrielle Ongies ’18L, law student (Virginia National Guard/Air Force)
  • Michael Young, retiree (Army)

W&L Students Travel to India and Japan with U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship Program Sierra Noland studied Hindi in Jaipur, India while Tara Cooper studied Japanese in Hikone, Japan.

Washington and Lee University students Sierra Noland and Tara Cooper spent this past summer studying abroad through the U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship.

Noland studied Hindi in Jaipur, India while Cooper studied Japanese in Hikone, Japan.

Sierra-Noland-600x400 W&L Students Travel to India and Japan with U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship ProgramSierra Noland

For eight weeks, Noland and 27 other American students from institutions across the United States participated in intensive Hindi courses at the American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS) in Jaipur, Rajasthan. Jaipur, the capital city of Rajasthan, was once part of the kingdom of Amer and contains the Jantar Mantar Observatory and Amer Fort, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Noland and her fellow CLS program participants lived with local Hindi-speaking host families and met regularly with local peers to learn more about the Hindi language and develop their personal networks. The group engaged in cultural excursions, lectures and other enrichment activities designed to support and enhance language learning and exposure to the host culture.

During one excursion this summer, CLS students had the opportunity to visit the Barefoot College at Tiloniya, a non-profit social entrepreneurship and development organization founded on a Gandhian principle of self-reliant communities. At the Barefoot College, students learned about the organization’s work in women empowerment, solar engineering, education, water purification, and more.

Sierra-Noland W&L Students Travel to India and Japan with U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship ProgramCLS students and instructors listen to a presentation from solar oven engineers at the Barefoot College.

For eight weeks, Cooper and 22 other American students from institutions across the United States participated in intensive Japanese courses at the University of Shiga Prefecture in Hikone, a small traditional castle-town that is located on the eastern shore of Lake Biwa, the largest freshwater lake in Japan.

Tara-Cooper-600x400 W&L Students Travel to India and Japan with U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship ProgramTara Cooper

Cooper and her fellow CLS program participants lived with local Japanese-speaking host families for four weeks and met regularly with local peers to learn more about the Japanese language and develop their personal networks. The group engaged in cultural excursions, lectures and other enrichment activities designed to support and enhance language learning and exposure to the host culture.

During one excursion this summer, CLS students had the opportunity to visit Honkoji Temple, a Buddhist temple located in Shiga Prefecture, to learn about the history and principles of calligraphy. The activity was led by a master calligraphist who also serves as the chief priest of the temple. Students were guided through the preparing of ink and the drawing of several traditional characters.

Tara-Cooper W&L Students Travel to India and Japan with U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship ProgramStudents practice their calligraphy with a master calligraphist.

The CLS program is part of a U.S. government effort to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages. CLS scholars gain critical language and cultural skills in languages that are less commonly taught in U.S. schools, but are essential for America’s engagement with the world, contributing to U.S. economic competitiveness and national security.

In 2017, 555 American students representing 217 colleges and universities across the United States were competitively selected from over 5,000 applicants to receive a CLS award. Each CLS scholar spends eight to ten weeks in one of 22 locations studying Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bangla, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Punjabi, Russian, Swahili, Turkish, or Urdu.

The CLS Program runs every summer and is open to American students at colleges and universities. Applications for the 2018 CLS program are available at http://www.clscholarship.org. Applications are due November 15, 2017.


Washington and Lee Professor Awarded Residency on Wyoming Ranch This is Brodie’s third writer’s fellowship this year.

laura_brodie_spot Washington and Lee Professor Awarded Residency on Wyoming RanchLaura Brodie

Laura Brodie, visiting associate professor of English at Washington and Lee University, has just returned from a month-long writer’s residency at Brush Creek Ranch, in southern Wyoming. Brush Creek Ranch is a luxury spa and resort on 15,000 acres, next to the Medicine Bow National Forest. In 2011, owners Bruce and Beth White formed the Brush Creek Arts Foundation, to establish an artists’ colony at the ranch. Each month the foundation awards fellowships to four visual artists, two composers and two writers, providing food, accommodations, and studio space.

This is Brodie’s third writer’s fellowship this year. In July, she spent twelve days at Norton Island in Maine, with nine writers and two painters, courtesy of the Eastern Frontier Educational Foundation. She spent four weeks in September at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.

Brodie is using these residencies to complete her fifth book, a novel titled The Adulterers’ Club. The manuscript-in-progress has been shortlisted for best novel in the Faulkner-Wisdom competition—an annual literary contest sponsored by the Faulkner Society of New Orleans. Brodie will return to teaching at Washington and Lee in January.

Equality and Difference Series Features Talk on Racism, Sexism and Inequalities in Tech Laura I. Gómez, founder and CEO of venture-backed startup Atipica, Inc., is the sixth speaker in the 2017-18 Equality and Difference series.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that there are serious problems of racism and sexism in the technology industry, and many companies are now looking for ways to combat these forms of discrimination.”

laura-gomez-400x600 Equality and Difference Series Features Talk on Racism, Sexism and Inequalities in TechLaura Gomez

Laura I. Gómez, founder and CEO of venture-backed startup Atipica, Inc., and founding member of Project Include, is the sixth speaker in the 2017-18 Equality and Difference series, sponsored by the Roger Mudd Center for Ethics at Washington and Lee University. This event will be held on Nov. 30 at 5 p.m. in Stackhouse Theater.

Gómez’s talk is titled “The Problem is Not in the Code: Racism, Sexism and Inequalities in Tech.” It is free and open to the public.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that there are serious problems of racism and sexism in the technology industry, and many companies are now looking for ways to combat these forms of discrimination,” said Angela Smith, Mudd Center director. “Laura Gómez has been at the forefront of many of these efforts to foster greater diversity and inclusion within this field, and she will talk about why these efforts are so urgently needed at this time.”

Gómez has worked at Google, YouTube, Jawbone and Twitter. She was a founding member of the International team at Twitter, which led the company’s product expansion into 50 languages and dozens of countries.

As a young immigrant in the Silicon Valley, Gómez grew up in Redwood City, the daughter of a single mother and nanny to several local tech leaders. At the age of 17, she had her first internship with Hewlett-Packard, which started her career in tech.

Her passion for diversity in tech extends into her startup, Atipica, as well as her involvement with several nonprofit organizations. Her mission is to lead data-driven initiatives that allow top level leaders to understand the business benefits of machine learning in recruiting and diversity.

She has been recognized by the Department of State and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for involvement in the TechWomen Program – she was the only female leader at Twitter to participate in 2012. She also serves on the board of the Institute for Technology and Public Policy.

Past, Present and Future Celebrating a major milestone in the Shepherd Poverty Program.

On the occasion of the Shepherd Poverty Program’s 20th anniversary, faculty, alumni, staff and students reflect on its origins, its impact and why it’s important to W&L.

Legacy Written on the occasion of the passing of Lew John

Lew-1-600x400 LegacyLew John ’58 (second from right) celebrating his 2013 Distinguished Alumnus Award with (from left) Ed Spencer ’53, Uncas McThenia ’58, ‘63L and then president Ken Ruscio ’76.

I started at W&L in July, 2000. At a few points during the previous eight months, I had been on campus. The first of those occasions was for my final interview. Then there was a house hunting trip with my wife. Later came another house hunting trip.

On that final occasion, I was invited to a retirement party for Prof. John DeVogt. At that gathering, John’s 38 years of service to the university impressed me. I remember sharing that observation with a soon-to-be colleague who immediately started pointing out the folks at the reception who had been at W&L as long or longer. I would learn of others later, in the Williams School, in the College, and in the Law School.

John Gunn, Joe Goldsten, Jay Cook, Buck Buchanan, and “Easy D” Hughes are a few of those in the Williams School that are legends. Each, like John DeVogt, had retired by the time that I started my work at W&L. Cleve Hickman, Sid Coulling, Westbrook Barritt, and others were among the names from the College that routinely surfaced as storied faculty. Roger Groot and Uncas McThenia, to name but two, had that sort of reputation in the Law School.

There were, not surprisingly, quite a few of that stature who were still teaching at W&L when I arrived in 2000. Larry Peppers, Chuck Phillips, Pam Simpson, Mike Pleva, Nancy Margand, Larry Boetsch, Bob DeMaria, Ed Craun, and Harlan Beckley are but a few of the legendary faculty with whom I had the good fortune of working in various capacities.

Lew John was another of those. I just learned tonight of Lew’s passing.

Lew had a voice that made you stop and take notice. His laugh, equally deep and resonant, couldn’t help but make you smile. His love for the university resonated much like his laugh. He cared about this place. He served in several key roles. I knew him as Prof. John, a senior colleague in the Williams School. Many of the alumni know him as Dean John, from his days as dean of students. I can only imagine the ways in which his deep baritone voice served him in that role!

We have tried to build on some of the academic initiatives that he helped cultivate, not the least of which is our British politics program. It now includes summer internships along with coursework on contemporary Britain. It has since inspired a similar program in South Africa. We hope to have additional programs in Latin America and Asia at some point. We have Lew to thank for paving the way.

I hope that we also continue his broader dedication to the university, and that of Pam, and Sid, and Chuck, and Joe, and Jay, and Wes, and Roger, and others before them. I knew some better than others, and a few only by oral history. They each had their own perspectives on the job that we all do. Whatever differences they had, they each placed the welfare of their students and the welfare of W&L at the forefront as they went about their jobs. May it always be so for each of us.

Institute for Honor Symposium Religious Values and Public Policy: Does the Separation of Church and State Also Require Separating Religion from Politics?

From the beginning of colonial America, religion was integral to public life. Religion’s special place in the new American nation was enshrined in the First Amendment, which prohibited Congress from enacting laws respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting its free exercise. In 1802, Thomas Jefferson characterized this language as “building a wall of separation between Church and State.” Lively debate has ensued ever since. Was Jefferson correct? If so, what precisely does such a separation mean? In particular, does separating church and state also require separating religion from politics?

Join us for conversation on this important and complex subject, which is not only central to understanding American history, but also relevant to a number of current public policy disputes. A renowned law and religion scholar, Emory University’s John Witte Jr., will deliver a keynote address, “Separation of Church and State in American History and Today: Facts, Fictions, and Future Challenges.” Daniel Mach, director of the American Civil Liberties Union Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief, will share insights based on his ACLU experience and his prior legal practice specializing in First Amendment law. Sam Calhoun will examine the role of religious values in Abraham Lincoln’s opposition to slavery. Calhoun will also introduce the symposium by setting forth key themes and issues, as well as lead a closing panel discussion.

To register, please contact the Office of Special Programs at spclprog@wlu.edu or (540) 458-8723.

Schedule of Events

Friday, March 16
3 -3:50 p.m.
Program Registration (Early-Fielding Lobby)

4 p.m.
Program Welcome and Introductions
Dean Brant J. Hellwig, Washington and Lee University School of Law
Sam Calhoun, Class of 1960 Professor of Ethics and Law (Lee Chapel)

4:15 p.m.
Keynote Address
Separation of Church and State in American History and Today: Facts, Fictions, and Future Challenges
Professor John Witte Jr., Emory University

 5:30 p.m.
Reception 
(Global Learning Center)

6:30 p.m.
Institute Dinner 
(Great Hall, Science Center)                       

Saturday, March 17

8:30-9 a.m.
Continental Breakfast 
(Millhiser Moot Court Room Lobby, Lewis Hall)

9‑9:40 a.m.
“The Role of Religious Values in Abraham Lincoln’s Opposition to Slavery”
Professor Sam Calhoun (Classroom A, Lewis Hall)

9:40-10 a.m.
Discussion

10-10:30 a.m.
Break 
(Millhiser Moot Court Room Lobby)

10:30-11:10 a.m.
“Religion and the Machinery of the State: 
The Constitutional Harms of Governmental Religious Favoritism”
Daniel Mach, ACLU (Classroom A, Lewis Hall)

11:10-11:30 a.m.
Discussion

11:30- 12:30 p.m.
Luncheon (Millhiser Moot Court Room Lobby)

12:30‑2 p.m.
Panel Presentations: Religious Values and Public Policy
Witte, Mach, Calhoun, Mason Grist ’18 and Ian Huyett ’18L (Classroom A, Lewis Hall)

Tax Clinic Students Present at State Legal Aid Conference

taxstudents-800x533 Tax Clinic Students Present at State Legal Aid ConferenceTax Clinic Students Javier Puga, Roland Hartung and Gabrielle Ongies

Washington and Lee law students Gabrielle Ongies, Roland Hartung, and Javier Puga, all student attorneys in the W&L Law Tax Clinic, presented on a panel at the Annual Statewide Legal Aid Conference in Charlottesville in October.  The event was a three-day training and CLE hosted by the Virginia Poverty Law Center.

The students were part of a panel titled “Your Client Gets an Earned Income Tax Credit Refund or Personal Injury Settlement: What You Need to Know.”  Each of the students chose a topic that was related to a client matter they’ve worked on this semester in the Tax Clinic.

Hartung spoke on the taxation of settlement awards, with specific tips for drafting complaints and settlement agreements.  Ongies spoke about the taxation of cancellation of debt income and gave practical tips for taxpayers who receive a Form 1099-C. Puga described the process for making injured spouse allocation requests, which is the process to protect part of a joint refund from being applied entirely to a past-due obligation of only one spouse.

The audience for the panel was legal aid lawyers who are not tax law specialists.

What Do We Owe Others? As director of the Shepherd Program, Howard Pickett focuses on bringing different voices to the table.

“I can’t think of a better way to spend my time than talking about the most pressing moral and social problems that we face with bright, good, energetic young people.”

howardpickett-2_720 What Do We Owe Others?Howard Pickett, director of the Shepherd Poverty Program, interacts with students in one of his classes.

Howard Pickett
Assistant Professor of Ethics and Poverty Studies and Director of the Shepherd Program for the Interdisciplinary Study of Poverty and Human Capability; Adjunct Professor of Law

Classes
Poverty and Human Capability: An Interdisciplinary Introduction
Fieldwork in Poverty and Human Capability
Poverty and Human Capability: A Research Seminar
Poverty, Ethics and Religion
Martin Luther King, Jr.: Poverty, Justice, and Love
Poverty, Dignity, and Human Rights

Q: Congratulations on your fifth year as director of the Shepherd Program. What brought you to W&L and this discipline?
When I first came to Lexington, when my wife Holly (associate professor of English at W&L) started teaching here, I was browsing through the VHS tapes in the library one day. I noticed a multi-volume series on the theological ethics of James Gustafson. I took the tapes home, and saw pretty much all the major figures in religious ethics from the ’80s talking about Gustafson right there in the W&L Moot Courtroom. And I thought, “Why the heck is this going on in the middle of nowhere, in Lexington?” I watched more and finally figured out it was all organized by some guy named Harlan Beckley. This was 10 years before the Shepherd Program began and 20 years before I came to town. Well, I found myself wondering “Who is this Harlan Beckley? And has he done anything impressive since then?”

A little later, I actually met Harlan on the sidewalk. At the time, he was serving as W&L’s interim president, but he told me that most of the time he ran an interdisciplinary program that focused on poverty and ethics with a hands-on, community-engagement and internship component. I remember thinking, “I’d like to do that one day.”

Q: What led you to teaching?
Very early on, when I realized that I would not, in all likelihood, be drummer for the band KISS, I turned my sights elsewhere. Where I grew up, we didn’t have tutors. When students in my very small Mississippi high school were struggling with a project or a book or preparation for a test, I used to drive around from house to house and run homework sessions, because, well, that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to talk about the books and the ideas. After college, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to study in grad school. Holly entered the Ph.D. program at UCLA, and I taught middle school and high school in Los Angles very happily for seven years. I went on to earn my Ph.D. in religious studies from the University of Virginia and began teaching in Shepherd full time in 2012. Teaching is pretty much the only job I’ve ever had, other than my college job working in the library.

I can’t think of a better way to spend my time than talking about the most pressing moral and social problems that we face with bright, good, energetic young people. It’s awesome. One of the appealing aspects of a place like W&L, and certainly one of the draws of the Shepherd Program, is that we get to have great classroom conversations. We get the scholarly engagement through conversations with colleagues across the disciplines. We get incredible insights from gifted Shepherd staff and community partners. And we also get the opportunity to mentor students as they figure out how to connect their own incredible gifts with the greatest needs of the world.

For me, I really love doing research and I love teaching, but if I didn’t also have those one-on-one advising conversations with students about their summer internships and how they are going to build on those experiences in the coming years, my life wouldn’t be nearly as fun or nearly as fulfilling.

Q: The Shepherd Program is celebrating its 20th anniversary. What drives the program’s success?
Short answer: The people.

Now for the longer answer. There are two important aspects of Shepherd that people might not realize if they aren’t heavily involved. One is that Shepherd’s focus has always been vocational. We’re preparing students to work with their future communities to address the problems associated with poverty. Sometimes that’s in their professional lives, but it should always be in their civic lives. Moving forward we’re going to clarify some of the more common vocational paths through the program, such as health, law, education, economic development and the like.

The other aspect people don’t realize is that Shepherd is an embodiment of a W&L education. It actively cultivates both the intellectual virtues related to critical thinking and the civic virtues, including responsible leadership, service to others and engaged citizenship in a global and diverse society. Sometimes people think Shepherd is only coursework. Other times people think it is only community service. It’s really an interweaving of interdisciplinary coursework and community engagement.

Shepherd has always been committed to bringing different people with different voices together around the table — people with different experiences, different backgrounds, different disciplines, different career paths and different political ideas. It’s our hope that students will learn how to participate passionately and respectfully in conversations about these pressing moral and social problems related to poverty with people who don’t always agree with them.

Q: What role does the Law School have in the Shepherd Program?
There’s long been a connection with the Law School, and I anticipate seeing that relationship expand and deepen over the next several years. Right now, we have at least four law student summer interns each year. We also have course work connections, notably each year a handful of law students with an interest in public interest law take the research seminar with our poverty studies minors. That’s a really fruitful interchange. You have students with an understanding of the law who are able to share that with undergrads who might be interested in a law career. Simultaneously, the undergrads have expertise rooted in their coursework and in their internship experiences that can directly inform discussions about poverty and law — everything from social determinants of health to housing issues to food insecurity.

Over in the Law School, Joan Shaughnessy offers a course for undergrad and law students on child abuse and neglect. J.D. King, also a longtime supporter of the Shepherd Program, is quick to point out that his clinic, really all the Law School clinics, have a poverty dimension, though they exist apart from Shepherd. What we’re hoping to do over the coming years is to connect faculty and students in law and the undergrad side around those clinics. The Public Interest Law Students Association is taking the lead on some of that, too.

Pickett-book-cv-233x350 What Do We Owe Others?“To thine own self be true”

Q: You have a new book out, “Rethinking Sincerity and Authenticity: The Ethics of Theatricality in Kant, Kierkegaard, and Levinas.” What questions are you looking to answer in this project?
I’m interested in the problems with excessive individualism. One could approach that by examining the obvious problems with people putting too much emphasis on their own individual interests, and harming others. But, instead, I’m interested in some of the ways our most cherished virtues and institutions may smuggle in excessive individualism. Specifically, I’m arguing that, in many ways, the modern emphasis on sincerity — on being true to oneself — is sometimes more vice than virtue.

There are three problems with sincere self-expression. First, the self may not be worthy of expression. I may need to transform myself before its appropriate to go out and be the real me. I may often be an immoral and imperfect person; one doesn’t want to externalize the inner self if the inner self is pretty ugly.

Second, the self might not be capable of expression. We frequently have conflicting feelings and judgments, and it’s difficult to figure out which one is the real me.

The third problem is that all this focus on being true to one’s self — all this introspection — can actually sometimes distract us from the needs of others. Maybe I ought to be, not so much true to myself, as true to the other person.

Ultimately, I defend what I call virtuous hypocrisy. I’m not making a wholesale recommendation of all hypocritical activity; I’m only advocating virtuous hypocrisy. More specifically, I’m looking at the ways some influential thinkers have described the ethical life in theatrical terms — imitating a moral exemplar, playing the role of the needy other. These activities actually play an important role in our own moral development and our moral deliberations about what we owe others. The problem, however, is that theatrical imitation can look a lot like insincerity or inauthenticity.

Q: What do we owe others?
A very important notion to me — even though the ethicists in my book don’t use the phrase — is “fake it till you make it.” I think that’s one of the big challenges in our lives. How do we overcome what for many of us is an obsession with our own self interest in order to become more concerned about the needs and well-being of others.

Everything that we do in Shepherd is about learning how to be more understanding. How can we hear others’ stories more compassionately? How can we work in solidarity and partnership with our communities and community agencies to improve the well-being of all and to promote a more just world?

Everything Shepherd does is a rejection of excessive individualism in pursuit of a more collaborative community. Getting there requires community engagement, participation in internships, working with community partners and examining complex problems from different disciplines and perspectives. Shepherd is all about recognizing both our own limitations and the value of others.

Q: Who do you like to read?

If I had to pick one author to read and teach, it would be Martin Luther King Jr. — in particular, his final years, when his focus turned more and more to issues of poverty and economic justice. But my students wouldn’t be surprised to hear me also say John Rawls and Martha Nussbaum.

W&L University Store Fall Food Drive in Full-Swing W&L's University Store is hosting its fifth annual fall food drive through Nov. 17 to benefit Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee.

fall-food-drive-600x400 W&L University Store Fall Food Drive in Full-SwingFall Food Drive

The University Store at Washington and Lee University is hosting its fifth annual fall food drive through Nov. 17 to benefit Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee. The entire Lexington community is welcome to donate.

The multiple-day food drive, which began on Nov. 6, has already raised $350. Every donation of canned food or every one dollar donated will enter participants in a chance to win a prize from one of the sponsors.

This year’s sponsors include: Cocoa Mill, Tervis, Vineyard Vines, Nike, Columbia, Hillflint, Dining Services and dozens more. The store will be giving away prizes daily.

“We encourage people to give multiple times, if you donate five dollars or five cans of food you are entered to win five times and not only limited to win the day you donate,” said Dave Coffey University Store floor manager.

In addition, Campus Kitchen will also be hosting the annual “Bring Your Turkey to Work Day” on Nov. 10, from 7:45 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.

Between the food drive and the turkey donations, Campus Kitchen hopes to have enough food to deliver Thanksgiving meals across Rockbridge County.

The mission of The Campus Kitchens Project is to use service as a way to strengthen bodies, empower minds and build communities. The Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee combats hunger and promotes nutrition by recovering and reusing food that would otherwise go to waste into balanced meals for low-income members of the community in Rockbridge County.


Quick Hits: Third-Annual Arabic Lunch Students, faculty and staff gathered to sample tantalizing treats and learn some Arabic words at this year's event.

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W&L Field Hockey Claims ODAC Title with 2-1 OT Win over Hornets This marks the second ODAC title in program history and the first since 2005.

FH_ODAC_Champ W&L Field Hockey Claims ODAC Title with 2-1 OT Win over HornetsW&L field hockey team

LEXINGTON, Va. — Junior forward Haley Tucker (Manakin-Sabot, Va./St. Catherine’s School) tallied the game-winning goal 2:46 into overtime to propel the top-seeded Washington and Lee field hockey team to a 2-1 victory over second-seeded Lynchburg in the ODAC Championship contest on Saturday at the W&L Turf Field. This marks the second ODAC title in program history and the first since 2005.

The teams entered the extra frame tied, 1-1. On a counter attack, Tucker had the ball on the near side and dibbled to the end line. She eluded a defender while tiptoeing the line, and then stuffed the ball between the Lynchburg goalkeeper, first-year Laurel Nicks, and the near post to give the Generals (14-4) the title.

The goal marked the 19th of the season for Tucker, which tied the W&L single-season record. Maggie Waxter ’17 tallied 19 goals in 2016 and Kelly Taffe ’04 had 19 in 2003.

The Generals notched the first goal of the game in the 15th minute of the opening half. Following a defensive save by the Hornets (16-4), the Blue and White were awarded a penalty shot. Senior midfielder Maggie Sands (Glen Arm, Md./Notre Dame Prep) took the attempt for W&L, and beat Nicks with a shot to the upper left-hand corner of the cage.

Lynchburg tied the game (1-1) with 2:05 left in the first half. Off a penalty corner, a long ball was sent into the circle. Following a deflection by a W&L defender, first-year forward Jackie Lerro tipped the ball into the goal.

While steady rain fell during much of the first half, the skies opened up in the second, which grinded the fast-paced game to a halt. The teams played through puddles covering most of the field until late in the stanza. Lynchburg was able to keep possession for most of the half, taking nine shots compared to only two by the Generals. The W&L defense continued to make every necessary play and sent the game to overtime for Tucker’s heroics.

Junior goalkeeper Ariyel Yavalar (Baltimore, Md./Garrison Forest School) played the full game for W&L, stopping six shots. Nicks made three saves, and was aided by three other saves by her defense.

For the contest, the Hornets held a 17-12 advantage in shots and a 9-7 edge in penalty corners. Following the conclusion of the tournament, Tucker, Sands, senior forward Grace Bowen (Hampton, Va./Hampton Roads Academy), senior defender Lilly MacDonald (Bluemont, Va./Foxcroft School) earned spot on the ODAC All-Tournament Team.

The Generals have now won 10 straight contests, which is the most since winning 11 in a row during the 2005 season. With the victory, W&L secured the ODAC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament. The Blue and White will find out where and when it will play next late on Sunday evening.


Alex S. Jones ’68 Funds New Journalism Internship The gift supports the education — both theoretical and practical — of budding journalists.

HonDegreeRecips_060409_029-800x533 Alex S. Jones ’68 Funds New Journalism InternshipSusan E. Tifft and Alex Jones ’68

In a planned bequest, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Alex S. Jones ’68 is endowing the Alex S. Jones and Susan E. Tifft Journalism Internships, which provide paid internships to W&L students who aspire to journalism careers. He is currently funding the internships annually.

“It gives me genuine peace of mind to be doing this,” Jones said. “I am grateful to W&L and wanted to try to repay a bit of what it has given me.”

Jones won his Pulitzer at The New York Times for coverage of the media, and in 2015 he stepped down after 15 years as director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. He was the founding host of National Public Radio’s “On The Media,” executive editor of PBS’s Media Matters, and a member of a four-generation newspaper family from Greeneville, Tennessee.

His books include “Losing the News: The Future of the News that Feeds Democracy” (2009), which was prescient in its analysis of looming challenges to quality journalism. He co-authored with his late wife Susan E. Tifft two notable books on journalism dynasties, “The Patriarch: The Rise and Fall of the Bingham Dynasty” (1991) and “The Trust: The Private and Powerful Family Behind The New York Times” (1999), which was a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. He and Tifft, who was a writer and associate editor at TIME Magazine, also shared a joint position as the Eugene C. Patterson Professor of the Practice of Journalism at Duke University. Washington and Lee awarded them honorary doctorates of humane letters in 2009.

“Washington and Lee paid us a great compliment. It was very touching for both of us to be presented with our honorary degrees by Ken Ruscio,” Jones recalls. “W&L seemed to be a fitting place for a tribute to my wife, who was a superb journalist and a terrific teacher at Duke University. Both of us realized how difficult it is for aspiring journalists to get the hands-on, practical, real-world experience necessary at the beginning of a career. Paid internships have all but disappeared, but the experience they provide is invaluable for launching young journalists on their career path. My wife and I shared an interest in supporting the education — both theoretical and practical — of budding journalists.”

“The internships are for journalism and only for journalism,” continues Jones. “This is a time when crying ‘fake news’ is a scoundrel’s reaction to legitimate reporting. It is also a time of schemes to spread calculatedly phony news to manipulate the public. So it is more important than ever for journalists to fight the good fight and tell it like it is, without fear or favor. That is the mission these internships are intended to support.”

Alex-Jones-nephew-263x350 Alex S. Jones ’68 Funds New Journalism InternshipAlex Jones ’68 with his nephew, Will Floyd.

Surprisingly, given his family background, Jones did not major in journalism at W&L. “My first job was working the back shop of the newspaper hauling pig iron,” remembers Jones. After graduation from Episcopal High School, Jones admits he was “in flight from journalism.” “I was looking for an independent path and wanted to take advantage of all that liberal arts had to offer, so I majored in history. I regret now that I didn’t take some journalism courses; ironically journalism is probably one of the majors that really requires a broad liberal arts grounding. But I wanted to make my own way.”

“I loved being at W&L,” he says. “Some of my closest friendships were made there. I had a wonderful experience, which I cherish.” Jones recalls a sudden flash of deep panic one balmy April day of his junior year when he realized, “Oh my God, in another year they’re going to make me leave here!” He continues, “I arrived at W&L at 17 and received a good education in the traditional sense, but it also gave me an opportunity to grow up.”

Both Jones and his late father, John M. Jones III ’37, were named Distinguished Alumni of Washington and Lee, and his father – then in his mid-90s — was present when Jones received the award in 2008. “As I have gotten older I have come to realize what an incredible luxury it is to not have any other responsibility than to learn. To be in a place where your job is to learn, that’s a pretty extraordinary gift, which I am fortunate enough to be able to share with others,” Jones observes. In this spirit, and to honor his upcoming 50th reunion, he is also contributing to the Class of ’68 Scholarship Fund through a bequest; the 50th reunion is the only time a planned gift counts toward reunion giving.

Jones believes it is crucial that W&L continues to become more diverse and inclusive. “I want to make sure the funds I provide encourage and make the same educational experience possible for young people who might not otherwise have the opportunity to come to W&L. It is hugely important for the university to continue to strive for diversity. There was hardly a single person of color — and no women, of course — when I went to the school. I am a great believer in the traditions and the qualities of which W&L is proud, but the university should reflect the diversity of the greater nation of which it is a part.”

Bequests and Planned Gifts
For more information on bequests and planned gifts to benefit Washington and Lee University, please contact Margie Lippard in the W&L Office of Gift Planning at 540-458-8902 or mlippard@wlu.edu or visit the Gift Planning page on the W&L website.

Bequests and Planned Gifts

For more information on bequests and planned gifts to benefit Washington and Lee University, please contact Margie Lippard in the W&L Office of Gift Planning at 540-458-8902 or mlippard@wlu.edu or visit the Gift Planning page on the W&L website.


Dr. Stuart Flanagan ’58 Uses his IRA Charitable Rollover to Fund a Family Scholarship The scholarship honors his "father and mother who made a real sacrifice so that I might be able to go to W&L."

Dr.-Flanagan-copy-233x350 Dr. Stuart Flanagan ’58 Uses his IRA Charitable Rollover to Fund a Family ScholarshipDr. Stuart Flanagan ’58

When Dr. Stuart Flanagan ’58 was accepted at W&L, he wrote to Dean Gilliam declining the offer. William & Mary—where Flanagan is professor emeritus—had offered him a much-needed scholarship. Flanagan’s two elder brothers, Robert Hugh Flanagan Jr. and William Latane Flanagan, had both attended W&L, but in the meantime their father had suffered a debilitating stroke, leaving their mother to shoulder the responsibility for her family of five.

Upon receiving Flanagan’s letter, Dean Gilliam called his mother and said, “‘What’s this about Stuart not coming to W&L?’ She had no idea I’d made that decision, but I said it was too expensive.” Gilliam found the Phillip W. Murray Jr. Scholarship for Flanagan, and his mother said she’d find a way to pay the balance, which remained a hardship on the family.

Several years ago, to fulfill a promise he’d made to the donor upon graduating, Flanagan contacted then director of donor relations Buddy Atkins ’68. He wanted to repay the scholarship he’d received, taking inflation and interest into account. Flanagan then went on to endow his own S. Stuart Flanagan Family Scholarship. He intends to add to these funds through his estate plan, mindful of Dean Gilliam’s gentle reminder to do so.

“The scholarship honors my father and my mother who made a real sacrifice so that I might be able to go to W&L. The spirit of the scholarship reflects the ethos of my family. I wanted my scholarship to go to a student who would not otherwise be able to afford to attend W&L, but an important criterion is that they should be able to show they have a history of helping other people. My parents did not have a lot of money, but they gave of themselves,” Flanagan observes.

Flanagan has used his IRA Charitable Rollover to fund the scholarship. “I knew I wanted to give money to the school; I just needed to figure out where to take it from,” he notes. “Since you have to take money out of your IRA every year anyway, it was not only easy to do, it was necessary. I choose to give to education at W&L, because we need people with character and integrity to be educated to lead the country and help their communities.”

To qualify:

• You must be age 70½ or older at the time of gift.
• Transfers must be made directly from a traditional or Roth IRA account by your IRA administrator to Washington and Lee University. Funds that are withdrawn by you and then contributed do NOT qualify. Gifts from 401k, 403b, SEP and other plans do not qualify.
• Gifts must be outright. Distributions from donor-advised funds or life-income arrangements such as charitable remainder trusts and charitable gift annuities do not qualify.

Benefits — qualified charitable distributions:

• Can total up to $100,000.
• Are excluded from your gross income for federal income tax purposes on your IRS Form 1040 (no charitable deduction is available, however).
• Count towards your required minimum distribution for the year from your IRA.

For more information on the IRA Charitable Rollover, please contact Margie Lippard, associate director of gift planning, at 540-458-8902 or mlippard@wlu.edu or visit go.wlu.edu/giftplanning.


W&L Dance Marathon Ready to Support Kids The event will benefit Carilion Children’s Hospital in Roanoke.

tumblr_inline_oz1zm4ws0k1refsda_1280-800x533 W&L Dance Marathon Ready to Support KidsMembers of the W&L Dance Marathon organizing team show that they are doing it “For the Kids!”

By Adit Ahmed
@wluLex

Take a quick search through #dancemarathon on Instagram and you will see hundreds of photos of students from all over the country dancing to support children in local hospitals. This weekend, that magic will be here at W&L for the first time.

The Washington and Lee Dance Marathon is coming up on Saturday, November 11 from 1-4 p.m. at Evans Dining Hall.

On Saturday afternoon, students will be able to dance away to the tunes of DJ Angel Vela. There will also be dance performances from Klazics and Dance Company, as well as an a cappella performance by General Admission.

The event will benefit the Carilion Children’s Hospital in Roanoke. This event is affiliated with the Miracle Network Dance Marathon, a series of events all over the country that are held to benefit Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. All funds raised at Dance Marathon events go towards supporting children at local hospitals.

W&L’s Dance Marathon was founded by Sara Vozeolas. When visiting her sister at the hospital, Vozeolas was upset by the number of children she saw in the hospital, and decided to do something about it, working to bring Dance Marathon to W&L.

“When I looked at W&L and the things that I could be involved in, I didn’t really see anything that was similar,” Vozeolas said in an interview in 2016, “so I then reached out to some Dance Marathon coordinators.”

Grace Schwartzstein, who is a member of the Dance Marathon executive team, says that her love for kids motivated her to help organize the event.

“I decided to get involved because I love kids. I’ve been camp counselor for seven years, and I just like to help kids in general,” Schwartzstein said. “Kids just shouldn’t be in the hospital, so anything that we can do to help, we’re happy to do.”

You can register for the event here. To sign up, you can join a team, or start one of your own. Even if you don’t sign up, you can donate to your friends and their team as they work towards their fundraising goals.

To keep up with Dance Marathon, like their Facebook page, follow them on Instagram, and be sure to head to Evans Dining Hall this Saturday!


Shepherd Program Celebrates 20 Years Here’s a look back at important milestones that shaped the program through the years.

In the fall of 1997, Professor Harlan Beckley, with the financial support of Nancy and Tom Shepherd ’52, established the Shepherd Program for the Interdisciplinary Study of Poverty and Human Capability. Along with coursework, students engaged in community service and volunteer work.

The 1997 Fall Alumni Magazine made note of this novel approach to the study of poverty. “Washington and Lee ushers in a bold and innovative new initiative that seeks to promote two important aspects of the University’s mission: to cultivate in its students ‘the responsibility to serve society through the productive use of talent and training’ and a capacity ‘for self-sacrifice in behalf of their fellow citizens.’ ”

Over the last 20 years, the Shepherd Poverty Program has dramatically expanded to include a capstone course, summer internships, the Nabors Service League, The Bonner Scholars Program, Campus Kitchen and more.

It’s difficult to capture the depth and breadth of the Shepherd Program, but here’s a look back at important milestones that shaped it.

Lew John ’58, W&L Professor of Politics Emeritus, Dies at 80 During his 43 years at W&L, John also served as dean of students and director of financial aid.

“Lew had a voice that made you stop and take notice. His laugh, equally deep and resonant, couldn’t help but make you smile. His love for the university resonated much like his laugh.”

— Dean Robert Straughan

Lew_John-400x600 Lew John ’58, W&L Professor of Politics Emeritus, Dies at 80Lew John ’58

Lewis George John, professor of politics emeritus at Washington and Lee University, died on Nov. 6, 2017, in Lexington. He was 80. During his 43 years at W&L, John, a 1958 graduate of the university, also served as dean of students and director of financial aid.

“From 1963 until his retirement in 2006, Lew John served generations of W&L students in two capacities — as a caring dean of students, and as a respected professor of politics,” said W&L President Will Dudley. “His devotion to the university was unmistakable. How fortunate we are that we can also claim him as an alumnus.”

John was born on Nov. 25, 1936, in Waco, Texas, and grew up in Olean, New York. He held a B.A. in economics from Washington and Lee (1958), an M.P.A. from Princeton University (1961), and a Ph.D. in social science from Syracuse University (1973). He studied at Syracuse under a Lehman Graduate Fellowship for outstanding graduate students, while on a leave of absence from W&L. He studied political economy at the University of Edinburgh as a Fulbright Scholar from 1958 to 1959, and from 1959 to 1960 was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow at Princeton.

During his Princeton year, he worked as an executive trainee in the Office of the Secretary of the Defense in Washington, D.C. A graduate of ROTC, he served as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army from 1961 to 1963, commanding the Nike Hercules Battery in Edgemont, Pennsylvania.

John returned to his alma mater in 1963 as the assistant dean of students and director of financial aid. He served as dean of students from 1969 to 1990, when he turned to full-time teaching in the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics. He taught American government and public administration, and researched consumer protection for students.

“Lew had a voice that made you stop and take notice. His laugh, equally deep and resonant, couldn’t help but make you smile. His love for the university resonated much like his laugh,” said Robert D. Straughan, Crawford Family Dean of the Williams School. “We have tried to build on some of the academic initiatives that he helped cultivate, not the least of which is our British politics program. It has since inspired a similar program in South Africa. We hope to have additional programs in Latin America and Asia at some point. We have Lew to thank for paving the way.”

John’s W&L service included committees concerning admissions, financial aid, student affairs and lectures, coeducation, and the Shepherd Poverty Program. In 1992, he attended C-SPAN’s Seminar for Professors about using C-SPAN’s public affairs programming in the classroom and for research.

Among his professional affiliations were the American Economic Association, the American Political Science Association, and the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA). He served as the president of the Virginia Association of Student Personnel Administrators (VASPA) and received its Outstanding Professional Award in 1983. In 1982, he received NASPA’s Distinguished Service Award.

He also served the Lexington community in many ways, including stints on the Lexington School Board (chair, 1980-1981); on the Joint Committee for Control of Lexington High School (chair, 1979-1980); on the Rockbridge Area Drug Council (chair, 1972-1975); and on the Planning District Drug Abuse Council.

John belonged to the honor societies Phi Beta Kappa (academics), Omicron Delta Kappa (leadership), Omicron Delta Epsilon (economics), and Beta Gamma Sigma (business).

Lew-800x533 Lew John ’58, W&L Professor of Politics Emeritus, Dies at 80Lew John ’58 (second from right) celebrating his 2013 Distinguished Alumnus Award with (from left) Ed Spencer ’53, Uncas McThenia ’58, ‘63L and then president Ken Ruscio ’76.

John’s publications included contributions to two books, “The Fall of the Iron Lady, 1990” and “Legal Deskbook for College Administrators,” and to several journals, including the Virginia Association of Student Personnel Administrators’ Interchange, the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators Journal, and the Philippine Journal of Public Administration.

During his student days at W&L, John belonged to Delta Upsilon social fraternity, and he received an award from the Washington Literary Society as a student who had contributed the most to the university. He was president of the Interfraternity Council and a dormitory counselor.

In 1985, John received the William Webb Pusey III Award from the Executive Committee of the Student Body for his outstanding service and dedication to the university. His classmates honored him with the Class of 1958 Lew & Annette John Honor Scholarship. In 2013, he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from W&L, and in 2016, the university unveiled Lewis John Avenue in the new Village for third-year housing. On the latter occasion, he said, “I’m very pleased to have my name associated with an area of student housing, since I spent most of my career with students.”

Lew John is survived by his wife of 56 years, Annette Church John; his sons, Andrew John (Amy) and Christopher John ’86 (Jill); and five grandchildren, Kathryn, Michael, Jordan, Alexander and Kendall.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Dec. 2, at 3 p.m., in Lee Chapel on the Washington and Lee campus, followed by a celebration of his life at Washington and Lee’s Evans Hall. The service will be broadcast on Livestream; you may watch it here: https://livestream.com/wlu/lew-john.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the Class of 1958 Lew & Annette John Honor Scholarship.


First-Year Seminars: From Poverty to the Past Professors share the inspiration for their first-year seminars, and what they hope students will take away.

WLU_0098-800x533 First-Year Seminars: From Poverty to the PastPolitics Professor Bob Strong (far left foreground) and university president Will Dudley (far right foreground) co-teach a first-year seminar, Philosophy of Education.

With more than 1,200 courses in the catalog, the array of curricular options at W&L can be daunting to a new student. First-year seminars are designed to introduce small groups of students to a field of study through a special topic, issue or problem in an intimate seminar setting.

These reading- and discussion-based seminars, which focus on projects, hands-on experience and writing rather than exams, address a range of topics that vary by semester. In Fall 2017, for example, first-year seminars address such subjects as death and dying, the history of W&L, and equality and difference. Several professors who are teaching first-year seminars this semester offered thoughts on their courses, including the origin of the idea and what they hope students will glean from the experience.

Media’s Lens on Poverty
Aly Colón, John S. and James L. Knight Professor of Media Ethics

I think we all come from our high school experience with views about poverty shaped by the confines of the world we inhabit. That includes the physical, the technological and the media landscape we used as filters. I wanted a course that would penetrate those filters, and expand the parameters of that view.

I want my Media’s Lens on Poverty students to understand that the media serves as a looking glass through which they can see poverty in a fresh, different, and more expansive way. When they finish the course, they will understand how the media often shapes their view of the poor. And they will realize that, as C.S. Lewis might have said had he lived in our times, what you see depends on the media you use.

Uncovering W&L’s Past
Ted DeLaney, associate professor of history

I have been a part of the “working group” on W&L’s African-American past ever since its creation in 2013 and have learned an enormous amount about institutional history, including the matriculation and completion of degree requirements by John Chavis in 1799; the Robinson bequest of his estate that included 84 enslaved African Americans; and other events near the end of the 19th century.

I had to share the material I had learned with incoming students. After a brief conversation with Provost Marc Conner, I decided to expand the course to include some focus on slavery in Lexington and Rockbridge County. Aside from introducing first-year students to this material, I wanted to have them expand on this research by producing in-depth research papers that require utilization of the university’s extensive collection of primary source materials, along with many secondary sources.

I want students to develop an excitement for historic research and the process of developing new knowledge. Additionally, I want them to understand that the study of history, despite its subject matter, is important and always nuanced. It forces us to view happy and disheartening events within a wider historical context and through differing perspectives. Slaveholding may be a difficult story for many people, but it is an undeniable part of our past.

Hopefully, my students will leave the course understanding that history is usually complex and complicated.

Philosophy of Education
President Will Dudley

The course is on the nature of liberal arts education and how an institution like W&L is organized to provide an outstanding one. It’s a mix of philosophy and policy, which is perfect for me in my dual role of professor and president. It also raises interdisciplinary issues on which my co-teacher, Politics Professor Bob Strong, and I provide complementary perspectives.

I hope students will take away a better understanding of what they are trying to achieve in college and how they can make the most of their opportunities at W&L.

Health and Concept of Race
Lynn Chin, assistant professor of sociology

People seem to struggle with talking about racial disparities in society. Many conversations devolve into people talking at each other instead of with each other. I believe this occurs in part because people don’t stop to question, “How am I defining important concepts at hand?” and “How do my assumptions differ from the person I’m talking to?”

Definitions are the starting points around which people frame their opinions, and have implications for what people consider rational, fair and just. I really wanted to open a class about race and health because those are two important ideas that most people take for granted and never stop to question.  In particular, people tend to conceptualize both race and health as a property of each individual, and as biological. But are they? And how do our conceptions about both affect how we think they are related to each other? For example, given that racial disparities in health outcomes do exist, I wanted students to explore what those differences signify. Do these outcomes reflect physical or genetic biological differences between races, or cultural differences, or differential social position and life experiences?

Moreover, does the way society thinks about what “being healthy” is limit the way we are able to reconcile its relationship to race? In all, I wanted to create a space where students could come to understand, but question, their fundamental assumptions of what race and health are and their relationship to each other.

I really hope the students in my class realize how complex race and health are as ideas. While they might not have answers to course questions by the time we finish, I hope they at least recognize how much subtlety, nuance and room for disagreement exist in our ideas about race and health. But the bigger takeaway is that I hope students come to value the importance of understanding and talking about fundamental assumptions in conversation. As such, I hope my students learn how to examine and analyze both their own assumptions about the world, but also those of others (especially others they disagree with). Most of all, I hope they come to question other everyday concepts/situations that they may have never thought about before, because this same issue undoubtedly exists beyond the topic of race and health.

Perspectives on Death and Dying
Richard Marks, Jessie Ball duPont Professor of Religion

How to live our lives in the shadow of our mortality is a question that faces most of us, and one that I have been thinking about more as I age. And it’s a topic that has been addressed in great literature, social studies, film and religious writings.

I hope students will leave this course with a critical understanding of how some modern thinkers and a range of religious writings have confronted the topic of death, a greater personal comfort in thinking about it, and developing their own philosophy of living in the shadow of death.

General Geology with Field Emphasis
Jeffrey Rahl, associate professor of geology

The Geology Department wanted to offer a first-year seminar because the intimate environment is ideal for engaging students in science. In my course, I have sought to utilize active learning approaches increasingly shown to stimulate interest and improve student learning outcomes. Class time is devoted to experiments, field work and other hands-on exercises that let students act as scientists instead of passively listening to lectures about science.

Although this is a geology course, my greatest goal is that students leave my class better prepared for whatever subjects they choose to pursue in the future. Much of the course content is geared towards general problem solving and critical thinking skills, and I also discuss the learning process itself in the hope that students become more aware of how they can maximize their own learning. Additionally, I hope all students leave with a stronger understanding of the scientific process and a deeper appreciation for the beauty and majesty of our planet.

To read more about first-year seminars at W&L, click here.

W&L Women’s Cross Country Wins Third Straight ODAC Title

Women_XC_Team_Champ W&L Women's Cross Country Wins Third Straight ODAC TitleW&L Women’s Cross Country

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — With five runners finishing in the Top 10, the Washington and Lee women’s cross country team claimed its third straight ODAC title on Saturday at the 2017 ODAC Championship at Virginia Wesleyan.

The Generals took the top spot out of 12 teams with 34 points to record the 17th ODAC title in program history. It is the lowest point total for the Blue and White since scoring 29 points at the 2012 meet. Lynchburg was a distant second on Saturday with 74 points and Eastern Mennonite finished third (85 points).

Junior Kirsten McMichael (Eighty Four, Pa./Ringgold) led W&L with a third-place finish in the 6k race out of 78 runners. She completed the extremely fast and flat course in 22:16.79. Sophomore Julia Moody (Houston, Texas/St. John’s School) took sixth overall in 22:23.12, and first-year Anna Nelson (Arvada, Colo./Standley Lake) claimed seventh (22:25.17).

McMichael, Moody and Nelson all earned First Team All-ODAC accolades for their finishes in the race. This is the first time any of the three runners have made the first team.

Coming in just a split second behind Nelson was first-year Hannah Dieterle (Lancaster, Pa./Manheim Township) in eighth place with a time of 22:25.96. First-year Katie Harris (Ashburn, Va./Rock Ridge) completed the scoring for the Generals in 10th (22:35.90).

Sophomore Katie Bearup (Arvada, Colo./Ralston Valley) placed 14th with a time of 22:42.29, and Dieterle, Harris and Bearup each garnered Second Team All-ODAC laurels.

This marks the first time W&L has placed six runners on the All-ODAC teams since it had seven following the 2008 championship meet. Senior Marissa Coombs of Virginia Wesleyan claimed the individual crown with a time of 22:01.24.

Senior Rachel Steffen (Coronado, Calif./Coronado) took 23rd in 23:27.90, and first-year Kate Flory (Columbus, Ga./Darlington School) was the team’s eighth runner in the Top 30, as she finished 27th (23:45.90).

The Generals next compete at the NCAA South/Southeast Regional on November 11 hosted by Christopher Newport.


W&L Men’s Cross Country Claims Third Consecutive ODAC Championship

Men_XC_Team_Champ W&L Men's Cross Country Claims Third Consecutive ODAC ChampionshipW&L Men’s Cross Country

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — The Washington and Lee men’s cross country team recorded its lowest team score since 2005 en route to winning its third straight ODAC title on Saturday at the 2017 ODAC Championship hosted by Virginia Wesleyan.

The Generals registered 27 points, with four runners in the Top 6, to claim the 12th ODAC title in program history. Bridgewater finished second with 48 points, and Lynchburg claimed third (85 points).

At the conclusion of the meet, junior Hank Patrick (Baton Rouge, La./University Laboratory School) was named the ODAC Men’s Cross Country Scholar-Athlete of the Year. It marks the third straight season a member of the Generals has earned the award.

Senior MacKenzye Leroy (Port Jervis, N.Y./Port Jervis) was the Blue and White’s top runner, as he finished second for the second consecutive season. He crossed the finish line with a time of 25:06.90 on the extremely flat and fast course to place second out of 94 competitors.

Patrick was just behind Leroy to claim third in 25:07.10. Junior Cooper Baird (Fort Worth, Texas/Fort Worth Country Day) was right with Leroy and Patrick, taking fourth with a time of 25:07.70. Sophomore Austin Kinne (Bolingbrook, Ill./Neuqua Valley) placed sixth (25:27.00).

First-year Freddie Marx (Greensboro, N.C./Walter Hines Page) rounded out the scoring for the Blue and White by claiming 12th in 26:01.70. The winning score of 27 points is the lowest in the ODAC since W&L won with 26 points in 2005.

Leroy, Patrick, Baird and Kinne each earned First Team All-ODAC accolades with their finishes. This is the second time Leroy has made the first team and the first time Patrick, Baird and Kinne garnered the honor. The last time W&L had four runners on the first team was during the 2007 season.

Marx earned a spot on the All-ODAC second team with his 12th-place finish. This is the first time W&L has had five runners on the All-ODAC teams since 2007. Junior Robert Hiegel of Bridgewater claimed the individual title in 24:35.40.

First-year Daniel Cope (Dallas, Texas/St. Mark’s School) took 16th with a time of 26:16.70, junior Joe Carmody (Clive, Iowa/Dowling Catholic) was 18th in 26:23.20, junior Alex Dolwick (Apex, N.C./GRACE Christian School) placed 22nd (26:34.10) and first-year Sam Noden (Princeton, N.J./Lawrenceville School) was the team’s ninth runner in the Top 30, as he finished 28th in 26:51.30.

The Generals next compete at the NCAA South/Southeast Regional on November 11 hosted by Christopher Newport.


Law Faculty Recognized for Excellence in Scholarship

Each fall, the Frances Lewis Law Center at Washington and Lee awards two faculty members with the Lewis Prize for Excellence in Legal Scholarship for outstanding scholarly work. Law professors Joshua Fairfield and Jilll Fraley were recognized this year for their efforts.

Josh_Fairfield02-233x350 Law Faculty Recognized for Excellence in ScholarshipJoshua Fairfield

Fairfield’s award recognizes his scholarship on the intersection of law and technology.  Recently, Cambridge University Press published Fairfield’s book “Owned:  Property, Privacy, and the New Digital Serfdom.”  In this work, Fairfield critically evaluates the status of property rights in the digital era, revealing how we no longer truly own the various devices that power our modern lifestyle, including smartphones, TVs, and even software-enabled cars and homes.  As a result, Fairfield argues that we risk becoming “digital peasants” subservient to the interests of private companies and overreaching governments.

Fairfield’s book has been praised by law and technology scholars as advancing “a powerful theoretical vision and a set of practical reforms that could help us restore control of our digital futures” and as “an essential guide to how not get owned by the things you think you own.”

jill_fraley-233x350 Law Faculty Recognized for Excellence in ScholarshipJill Fraley

Fraley’s award recognizes her scholarship regarding numerous aspects of property law, including land use, environmental harms, law and geography, water rights, and theories of property and property rights. Fraley’s scholarship frequently draws on her training as a legal historian to shed new light on the evolution and current status of various doctrines in property law.  Notably, Fraley was selected by a panel of distinguished legal scholars as the 2016 winner of the prestigious AALS Scholarly Papers Competition for her paper, “A New History of Waste Law:  How a Misunderstood Doctrine Shaped Ideas About the Transformation of Law,” which was published earlier this year by the Marquette Law Review.

This summer, Fraley continued her work with a new paper titled “Liability for Unintentional Nuisances, or How the Restatement of Torts Almost Negligently Killed the Right to Exclude in Property Law.”  The article critically analyzes the treatment of nuisance law in the Restatement (Second) of Torts, which is widely taught in law school classes and textbooks almost forty years after its release.

The Frances Lewis Law Center is the independently funded faculty research and support arm of W&L Law. Established in 1978 with a generous gift from Frances and Sydney Lewis, the Law Center’s mandate is to support faculty research and scholarship that advances legal reform. The Center is directed by Professor Chris Seaman.

Related //

Art in the City Mandy Witherspoon ’18 combined her love of art with her expertise in business at the Baltimore Museum of Art.

Amanda-Witherspoon-400x600 Art in the CityAmanda Witherspoon ’18: “By the end of the summer, I felt I had left my mark and was not just another nameless intern.”

Mandy Witherspoon ’18
Hometown:
Baltimore, Maryland
Majors: Business Administration and Art History

Q: Tell us a little bit about your summer opportunity?
This past summer, I worked at the as a marketing and communications intern. My days were spent in the back offices of the museum, researching artists and brainstorming titles for upcoming exhibits, organizing PR calendars and press releases, writing blog posts about present and past art at the museum, and archiving documents from previous exhibits. A Johnson Opportunity Grant helped make this possible.

Q: What was your favorite aspect of your summer experience?
Baltimore is my hometown, and I am so fortunate to have these opportunities and experiences so close to home. The museum is right next to the Johns Hopkins campus, so I explored the nearby college town during my lunch breaks. On the weekends, I tried to explore the rest of the city and take part in the local attractions, such as the annual Artscape. Baltimore is also a short drive or commuter train ride away from Washington, D.C., so I visited friends and art exhibits in the capital whenever possible.

Q: What did an average day for you look like?
I worked in a small office with five other members of the M&C team, though I was the only intern. Sometimes we had a morning meeting to discuss the progress on the upcoming exhibitions. I mostly worked at my desk. A few times there were all-staff meetings, where the director of the museum, Christopher Bedford, would chat with the staff about the future of the museum. Some days we ventured into the exhibits to do some promotional work for the website. All in all, each day was completely unique.

Q: What was the most rewarding and fulfilling part of this experience?
I was fortunate enough to have the chance to sit in a few all staff meetings, where the new director Christopher Bedford led discussions about the museum’s future and encouraged staff from all departments and ranks to join in. I was impressed by how open-minded and aware the staff is and how eager the museum is to mold and adapt to the new role museums play in our society. I am part of the new generation, and it was amazing to see and hear that a museum that just celebrated its 100th birthday is moving in the same direction as I am. It makes me hopeful and excited for when it comes my time to join the museum industry.

Q: What was the biggest challenge you faced?
Blog posts. I’d never taken a journalism class at W&L, and my last English class was back in high school. I got off to a slow start, but once I had warmed up to the idea and got into the research, the idea became less terrifying and more intriguing. I emailed coworkers who attended the events I was covering for quotes, and by the end, I had learned a little history about the museum. When we as visitors see an exhibit, we tend to look past all the work that goes into the exhibit from the corporate side. The blogs helped me to see past the glitz and instead see all the hard work that the curatorial team, the installation team, the marketing team, etc., puts into even the tiniest of shows.

Amanda-Witherspoon-1-400x600 Art in the CityAmanda Witherspoon ’18

Q: Who served as a mentor to you, and what did they teach you?
I was lucky enough to have four amazing mentors this summer: Anne Brown, senior director of communications and marketing; Mary Margaret Stephanian, marketing and partnerships manager; Sarah Pedroni P’14, communications and group sales coordinator; and Jessica Novack, communications and editorial manager. Each one had her own history and experience that made her vital to the museum’s marketing department.

Through their different expertise, I learned about different areas of marketing needed to advertise an upcoming exhibit. I saw how creative and passionate they are about the museum and how willing they are to engage with the Baltimore community. I saw exhibits grow and how the museum used different facets of social media and paid advertising to get the word out to the public. They included me in meetings to plan upcoming exhibits and events and helped me understand all that needs to be done from a marketing perspective to make these events successful. I was so lucky to be surrounded by such hard working, knowledgeable, sweet and funny people.

Q: What have you learned at W&L that helped you in this endeavor, and what will you bring back to your life on campus?
The W&L curriculum helped me to not only land such a prestigious internship, but also to navigate through unfamiliar work territory. W&L’s speaking tradition helped me to become comfortable in the new work environment and create work friendships. W&L has taught me to speak up not only when I have questions, but to also to share my onions and become an active member of the team. By the end of the summer, I felt I had left my mark and was not just another nameless intern. This year, I will come back to W&L with even more confidence in my career decisions, knowing I’m on the right path for my future success.

Q: Did this experience impact your studies or future plans in any way?
Absolutely. I wanted to see if I could one day combine my two majors in a setting I’ve always loved. This summer has shown me that I enjoy working behind the scenes of the museum, just as much as I enjoy the museum itself. This internship has introduced me to the corporate life of museums, and now I know this is a place where I’ll want to return.

Q: Why is this kind of experience important to W&L students?
The non-profit sector is a different pace and environment than I was used to when I worked for a marketing agency last summer. As a college student trying to decide my future, it was extremely beneficial for me to see how the other side of the industry works. I am so grateful to spend my last summer as a student working at a marketing agency, but also equally as grateful that I had the chance to explore a dream of mine to work in a museum. College is the time to seek out your hopes and dreams; you never know where it might take you after you graduate.

Q: Describe your summer adventure in one word:
Insightful

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

Washington and Lee University Orchestra Presents “Dreaming in Color” The program will feature traditional and contemporary works written about dreams and colors.

WLU127464UO-600x400 Washington and Lee University Orchestra Presents “Dreaming in Color”Washington and Lee University Orchestra

The Washington and Lee University Orchestra, under the direction of Christopher Dobbins, presents its fall concert “Dreaming in Color” on Nov. 16 at 8 p.m. in Wilson Concert Hall in the Lenfest Center for the Arts. Admission is free, and tickets are not required.

The program will feature traditional and contemporary works written about dreams and colors and will open with Elgar’s “Chanson de Matin” and “Chanson de Nuit.” The orchestra will also perform Jim Stephenson’s “Colors.”

The event will feature guest conductor and composer Carl Holmquist, with his “Lullabies” for string orchestra. The second half of the program will consist of Mozart’s “Symphony No 40 in G-minor.”

For more information visit www.wlu.edu/lenfest-center/fall-university-orchestra-concert.

The concert will be streamed live online at https://livestream.com/wlu/dreaming-in-color.

Canadian Novelist Emily St. John Mandel to Give Reading at W&L Emily St. John Mandel will read from her most recent book, “Station Eleven.”

“What I find so moving and surprising about it is how hopeful Mandel’s dystopia seems. She imagines a future in which human beings are still trying to help each other and are still devoting their lives to art.”

EmilyStJohnMandel8x10_photocreditDeseRaeLStage-280x350 Canadian Novelist Emily St. John Mandel to Give Reading at W&LEmily St. John Mandel – Photo by DeseRae L. Stage

Emily St. John Mandel will read from her most recent book, “Station Eleven,” on Nov. 15 at 4 p.m. in Washington and Lee University’s Northen Auditorium. The reading, presented by the W&L English Department, is free and open to the public.

The author of four novels, Mandel has won various awards for her writing. “Station Eleven” received the 2015 Arthur C. Clarke Award, the Toronto Book Award and the Morning News Tournament of Books, and has been translated into 27 languages. Mandel is a staff writer for the online magazine The Millions.

“Her first three novels are beautifully written, character-driven crime stories, but she really broke through to major acclaim with her fourth book,” said Lesley Wheeler, Henry S. Fox Professor of English. “What I find so moving and surprising about it is how hopeful Mandel’s dystopia seems. She imagines a future in which human beings are still trying to help each other and are still devoting their lives to art.”

Related //,

Immersed in Language and Culture Caroline Rivers test drove her Spanish—and her courage in unfamiliar environments—during a summer teaching gig in Argentina.

“It put in perspective how challenging it must be to live in a place where your native language isn’t spoken. As I hope to travel and work with people of other cultures and countries, having gained that perspective will be valuable.”

IMG_1981-800x533 Immersed in Language and CultureCaroline Rivers ’20 takes a moment to enjoy the beach in Argentina, where she taught English during summer 2017.

Caroline Rivers ’20
Hometown: Spartanburg, South Carolina
Majors: Business and Spanish
Minor: Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Tell us a bit about your summer experience:

I spent six weeks living in Mar del Plata, Argentina, with a host family and interning as a teaching assistant at a bilingual school, Holy Trinity College. My host siblings, Bautista and Guadalupe, attend 5th and 3rd grade at Holy Trinity. I worked five days a week from early morning to late afternoon, primarily with children ages 3 to 9. The children have their morning classes in English, and afternoon classes in Spanish.

What was an average day like?

Every weekday, I went to school in the morning with my two host siblings. I worked until late afternoon, helping with administrative work and supervising classrooms. Some days I even taught and led the lesson plan when a teacher was absent or needed help. I often worked individually with students who were struggling with their English pronunciation or reading comprehension. I also helped the high school students prepare for English exams, and with community service and fundraising projects each week. Every afternoon around 5 p.m., either at home with my host family or at a friend’s house, we had tea, an Argentine tradition. Dinner was never until 8 or 9 p.m.even later on the weekendswhich was a big adjustment for me. On the weekends, I spent time with local college students who have graduated from Holy Trinity.

Did you meet anyone during the experience who became a mentor or an inspiration to you?

My host mom, Mili, was a huge mentor to me. I was originally supposed to move in with another family after two or three weeks, but I became so close to my original host family that they invited me to stay there the entire six weeks. Mili treated me like her own daughter and made me feel at home during a time when I was going through so many adjustments and experiencing various cultural differences. She had a huge impact on my experience in Argentina; the time I spent with her and the rest of my host family will always be special to me and made it hard to leave.

What was the most challenging aspect of the job?

The most challenging aspect of the job was teaching itself. I have a newfound respect for teachers after this internship, especially those who teach young children. It takes an immense amount of patience, and is both physically and mentally tiring. But the relationships I was able to build with other teachers and the students, watching them learn and improve, made it rewarding.

What else did you find fulfilling?

I found the most fulfilling part was being immersed in another culture and language. It makes you realize how much bigger the world is than just your own life and home. Not only did I came to realize all the little things about my own life that are unique to American culture, but I also came to appreciate a culture that is different than my own.

As member of ESOL, English for Speakers of Other Languages, here on campus, I was reminded at times of when I was struggling to communicate the importance of the work we do here in Rockbridge County. It put in perspective how challenging it must be to live in a place where your native language isn’t spoken. As I hope to travel and work with people of other cultures and countries, having gained that perspective will be valuable.

What did you like best about the location?

The town was on the coast, so there were miles of beautiful beaches. I loved passing the ocean every morning on the way to work and seeing the sunrise. Although it was winter, it was still nice to look at the water or go for walks on the shore.

What have you learned at W&L that helped you in this endeavor, and what have you brought back to your life on campus?

The Spanish courses I have taken here at W&L prepared me with enough Spanish-speaking experience to feel confident about challenging my speaking skills in such an immersive environment; while many people spoke English, my host parents knew none. The LACS courses I have taken not only piqued my interest in other cultures, but made me more equipped to notice and embrace all the cultural differences I was surrounded by.

Has this experience impacted your future plans in any way?

Yes, I now am considering doing a semester abroad in Argentina during my junior year. I was not able to spend much time in Buenos Aires, but what I saw of the city was so beautiful. I think spending a semester there would be amazing.

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

Classic Designs Julie Lawrence '92 mixes old and new materials in her furniture designs.

Julie-Lawrence--350x263 Classic DesignsJulie Lawrence ’92

Julie Lawrence, an interior designer based in Roanoke, Virginia, just launched two collections for Restoration Hardware, and her aesthetic caught the eye of Architectural Digest.

The influential magazine quizzed the 1992 Washington and Lee University graduate on her “inspiration, process and achieving an authentic style.”

Julie, who began her career with her stepfather’s business Van Theil, says in the interview that although she describes her work as classic, she is “continually striving to incorporate elements of both traditional and contemporary design so they are complementary and balanced. I think the contrast makes everything more interesting.”

After graduation, Julie lived and worked in Europe and “developed a strong appreciation for art, architecture and furniture that could withstand the test of time, not only in style, but in materials that could survive for centuries, and in most cases only become more beautiful with wear and age.”

JL-table-for-RH-350x313 Classic DesignsJulie Lawrence ’92 designed a collection of tables for Restoration Hardware.

She has blended old and new materials in her new line, and, for her, the “authenticity of this collection is that we’re being true to the materials — letting the materials shine. The veining of the Carrera marble and the handworked texture of the iron is, in part, what makes the collection work. It is not trying to be anything more than it is, and in my opinion, it is that type of simplicity and honesty that makes it beautiful.”

To see more of her work, visit RH.


Providing Food for Thought Quincy Springs '02 is set to open a Chick-fil-A that will also serve up a helping of civil rights history.

Quincy-Springs-02-800x533 Providing Food for ThoughtQuincy Springs ’02

“I want the children in this community to know the heritage of the neighborhood and have the pride of knowing that giants walked the same streets they play on.”

Back in March 2017, Quincy L.A. Springs IV ’02 returned to Washington and Lee University as the keynote speaker for his alma mater’s Black Alumni Weekend.

In his talk, “It Costs to Care,” Quincy discussed his efforts to reinvigorate Atlanta’s Westside neighborhoods through feeding the homeless, neighborhood improvement projects and providing school supplies to needy children.

His newest venture, franchise owner and operator of a Chick-fil-A in Vine City, will continue to support his community, while also paying tribute to Westside’s civil rights movement.

His restaurant, opening in 2018 on the corner of Joseph E. Lowery Boulevard and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, will feature a mural of civil rights leaders, including Joseph E. Boone, Ralph David Abernathy and Andrew Young.

The Atlanta Business Chronicle noted that Quincy hopes the new restaurant will serve as a source of inspiration for his 70 full-and part-time team members, as well as his guests.

“I want the children in this community to know the heritage of the neighborhood and have the pride of knowing that giants walked the same streets they play on,” Quincy said.

According to the article, one-third of the homes surrounding Vine City’s incoming Chick-fil-A are vacant, and 60 percent of the children there live in poverty.

Quincy, who grew up in Buchanan, Virginia, said, “This community is so rich in spirit, and my hope is that my restaurant can be a gathering place for my neighbors and friends.”

He plans to use Chick-fil-A’s company scholarship initiative to help his team members attend college — maybe sending some of them to W&L.

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Brian C. Murchison Named Next Director of the Roger Mudd Center for Ethics

Brian-Murchison-232x350 Brian C. Murchison Named Next Director of the Roger Mudd Center for EthicsBrian C. Murchison

Brian C. Murchison, the Charles S. Rowe Professor of Law at Washington and Lee University, will be the new Roger Mudd Professor of Ethics and director of the Mudd Center for Ethics, beginning July 1, 2018. He succeeds Angela Smith, who was named the Mudd Center’s inaugural director in 2013 and is returning to her full-time faculty role as professor of philosophy.

Murchison joined the faculty at Washington and Lee in 1982. He focuses his teaching and scholarship on First Amendment issues, administrative law, mass media law, jurisprudence, torts, civil liberties, and contemporary problems in law and journalism. Murchison’s articles have appeared in a variety of law and scholarly publications, including the Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts, the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, the North Carolina Law Review, the Georgia Law Review, and the Emory Law Journal.

He received both his B.A. and J.D. from Yale University; served in the Peace Corps in Benin, West Africa, before attending law school; and practiced as an associate with Hamel, Park, McCabe and Saunders in Washington, D.C., before joining the W&L law faculty. At W&L Law, Murchison has served as interim dean, director of the Frances Lewis Law Center, and supervising attorney in the Black Lung Legal Clinic, in addition to serving on numerous law school and university committees. Last spring, Murchison introduced a new undergraduate course titled “Separation of Powers in the U.S. Constitution,” and this year he is chairing the university’s Commission on Institutional History and Community.

“All of Brian’s work has been in the overlapping areas of justice, speech, liberty and constitutional ethics,” said Provost Marc Conner. “He is one of the most respected teacher-scholars on our campus, and has been for decades. I’m delighted that he has agreed to take on the leadership of one of our signature programs. Brian is ideally suited for leading a program devoted to the exploration of the key ethical challenges and questions of our professional and civic lives.”

Murchison credits Angie Smith with establishing the Mudd Center as a thriving program on the W&L campus. “Thanks to the leadership of Angie Smith and her advisory board, the Mudd Center has done great things in a short period of time,” he said.  “I am excited about this opportunity to build on their accomplishments and to continue the center’s active role in the intellectual life of the university.”

SmithAngela_090408_016-234x350 Brian C. Murchison Named Next Director of the Roger Mudd Center for EthicsAngela Smith

Smith, the first Roger Mudd Professor of Ethics and director of the Mudd Center, joined the W&L Department of Philosophy in 2009 as an associate professor of philosophy after teaching for 10 years at the University of Washington in Seattle. She teaches a variety of courses in moral and political philosophy as well as ancient philosophy.

“It’s difficult to overstate the achievement of Angie Smith, who as the inaugural director of the Mudd Center did so much to establish the center as a major site of inquiry and discussion of key ethical issues on our campus and in the nation,” said Conner. “When Angie announced in June that she was ready to return to the faculty, we sought a faculty leader who could build upon the foundation she established and pursue ethics with the same intelligence and passion that she has done. Brian agreed in early August to take on this role, and we are excited to see him assume this university-wide leadership position.”

Smith’s research interests concern the connections between morality, moral agency, and moral responsibility. She is co-editor of the Oxford University Press book The Nature of Moral Responsibility (2015), and has published numerous articles exploring the importance of attitudes in moral life. In 2013, she received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities to conduct summer research, as well as a Laurence S. Rockefeller Faculty Fellowship to spend the 2013-2014 school year at the Princeton University Center for Human Values. A magna cum laude graduate of Willamette University, with majors in philosophy and political science, Smith received a Ph.D. in philosophy from Harvard University.

Under Smith’s leadership, the Mudd Center has become a major resource for students and faculty on campus and at all three schools — the College, the School of Law, and the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics. The center supports faculty who teach courses in ethics across the curriculum, and sponsors programming that fosters serious and sophisticated conversation about public and professional ethics at the university. Past themes have included Race and Justice in America (2014-15), The Ethics of Citizenship (2015-16), Markets and Morals (2016-17), and Equality and Difference (2017-18). The center also publishes The Mudd Journal of Ethics, a peer-reviewed academic journal showcasing undergraduate work on a wide range of topics in ethics. Each spring the Mudd Center sponsors the Undergraduate Conference in Ethics, featuring papers that will be published in that year’s journal.

“Among her many achievements in the director’s role, Angie has done a wonderful job of incorporating our students in the work of the center,” Conner said. “The undergraduate conference and journal of ethics are terrific student-led achievements, and she has enabled our students to grapple with key ethical issues in an informed and responsible way.”

“It has been both a pleasure and a privilege to serve as the director of the Mudd Center over the last four-plus years,” stated Smith. “I am particularly grateful for the support and advice I have received from faculty, staff and students throughout the university in developing ethics programming that crosses traditional disciplinary boundaries. I owe special thanks, in this regard, to the members of the Mudd Center Advisory Committee, who have provided crucial guidance at every step in the Mudd Center’s development. The Mudd Center also could not have gotten off the ground or continued to function without the extraordinary efforts of its first administrative assistant, Joan Millon, and its current administrative assistant, Debra Frein. It has been an honor to work with such committed and talented people. I am very excited to see what direction the center takes under Brian’s leadership.”

The Mudd Center was established through a gift to the university from award-winning journalist Roger Mudd, a 1950 graduate of W&L. When he made his gift, Mudd said that “given the state of ethics in our current culture, this seems a fitting time to endow a center for the study of ethics, and my university is its fitting home.”

Summer at Oxford Danielle Hughson's honors thesis will be focused on male editorial control and how it affects female writers, within a familial and patriarchal context.

“Being exposed to different demographics and different learning and teaching styles, as well as a completely different culture, helps to make one a more well-rounded student and a more well-rounded person.”

— Danielle Hughson ’18

20170731_1537100-800x533 Summer at OxfordDanielle Hughson ’18 in Oxford

Hometown: Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
Major: English
Minors: Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies; Education Policy

Tell us a little bit about your summer opportunity.

I spent eight weeks this summer in Oxford, doing research on my senior honors thesis in English. I came through the Virginia Program at Oxford, through which I studied there last summer and this summer, I was invited to come back and do independent research. My honors thesis will be focused on male editorial control and how it affects female writers, within a familial and patriarchal context. This summer I worked on Anne Bradstreet (17th century) and Sylvia Plath (20th century).

This opportunity was funded by a Johnson Opportunity Grant, SSRI and Mellon Grant.

What did you like best about the location?

I lived and studied in St. Anne’s College, Oxford, where I had access to two beautiful and extensive libraries: the Bodleian Library and the library at St. Anne’s. St. Anne’s was originally a women’s college, and women were not permitted to use the Bodleian, so the library at St. Anne’s has one of the largest collections of the various Oxford colleges. Using those two libraries was a highlight of my experience.

What did an average day for you look like?

On an average day, I attended the lecture offered through the Virginia Program before settling into the library at St. Anne’s  or I would walk down to the Bodelian, in the center of Oxford. There I would read and collect notes. A few weeks in, I started writing preliminary thoughts on my thesis. In the afternoons, I met with my two advisers in Oxford, going over my sources and discussing possible directions for my thesis.

Who served as a mentor to you this summer, and what was the best thing they taught you?

Both of my Oxford supervisors, Glyn Redworth and Christine Gerrard, taught me a lot about patience and attention to detail. Professor Holly Pickett, who was supervising VPO, taught me the value of constant reassurance and support. She consistently listened to me about my frustrations and thoughts on Anne Bradstreet and Sylvia Plath, and offered support and feedback.

What was the most rewarding part of the experience?

I think being able to sit down and discuss my thoughts one-on-one with two prominent scholars taught me a lot about how to defend my ideas but also how to take criticism on where there are weakness in my argument and how to refine it. In addition, learning how to work on a project of this scale with the advice of two people who have written books was incredibly fascinating.

What was the biggest challenge you faced?

The biggest challenge was trying to keep myself on a schedule. When you have a project on such a large scale, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the number of sources or the sheer amount of scholarship on the subject. Being completely self-motivated and self-regulated meant that I had to know how much I needed to read in a day, and how much I could get through in a day.

What have you learned at W&L that helped you in this endeavor, and what will you bring back to your life on campus?

Washington and Lee has taught me how to pace myself in my endeavors, to enjoy the place around me while also staying focused on the project I am working on. Oxford, in turn, has taught me a very different system of academics, from the arrangement of the libraries to the way academics interact with their students. I think this will bring me a valuable perspective in my future work on my thesis, as well as when I eventually enter the teaching force next May through Teach for America.

Has this experience impacted your studies or future plans in any way?

I have accepted a position in Nashville with Teach for America. This academic experience has allowed me to view a very different academic system, which I will hope to implement in my own classroom in certain ways, allowing for a global perspective to work on a more local level.

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

I think it’s important to cherish one’s time in Lexington while also being aware of the global opportunities available for academic pursuits. Being exposed to different demographics and different learning and teaching styles, as well as a completely different culture, helps to make one a more well-rounded student and a more well-rounded person.

Describe your summer adventure in one word:

Erudite

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

Energized by Research A grant from the Endeavor Foundation allowed engineering students Alfred Rwagaju '18 and Kennedy Gibson-Wynn '18 to spend the summer studying hydroelectric power in Rwanda.

“As engineering majors, we have come to appreciate how different problems that affect the society on a large scale can be solved with engineering skills.”

alfred_kennedy-800x533 Energized by ResearchAlfred Rwagaju and Kennedy Gibson-Wynn

In 2017, ten Washington and Lee University students were awarded grants from the Endeavor Foundation that allowed them to spend part of their summer break 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 now in its third year. Alfred Rwagaju and Kennedy Gibson-Wynn, both members of the Class of 2018, traveled to Rwagaju’s home country of Rwanda to study energy development efforts.

Now back at W&L, they teamed up once again to answer a few questions about the experience.

Tell us about your summer experience.

This past summer, we interned with Ngali Energy, a private energy company that focuses on developing energy in Rwanda. The company is located in the capital, Kigali, and it has one major hydro generation project in the southern part of the country known as Rukarara Hydropower Plant that produces approximately eight megawatts. In addition to that, it has five other small projects that produce roughly two megawatts each. The government has opened doors to investors who want to do energy-related business since the country is struggling to produce enough electricity for the people.

Our main work at the company was researching how the country has been able to supply electricity to its people, and how it has overcome the massive destruction of the energy sector 23 years after the genocide. Right after the genocide, only five percent of the population was connected to the grid, which really made life so challenging. The country has now raised this number by 10 percent within 23 years, with the help of Independent Power Producers (IPP) such as Ngali Energy.

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

We were based at the main offices in the capital. We mostly worked with engineers to collect data concerning the setup of different hydro plants. In addition to that, we had weekly seminars on how different hydro plants operate, the amount of power that they are able to supply, and what challenges are faced by these hydro plants

We also made a trip to the southern part of Rwanda, where the company’s main power hydro plant is located. We stayed at the site for four days and we had a chance to learn how the hydro plant operates.

How would you summarize your findings?

Through different seminars we had, we learned that there is still a long way for the government to go to develop the energy sector. Only about 30 percent of the population is connected to the grid. Although the percentage of the population having electricity is still very low, the government has done a great job to raise this number from five to 30 percent within 24 years of the genocide. The government is encouraging the setup of Independent Power Producers such as Ngali Energy.

Alfred, what was it like introducing your study partner to your homeland?

It felt great. I loved showing her around different places and meet new people.

Kennedy, what were your impressions of Rwanda after the trip?

Rwanda has a dynamic I’ve never seen before. In the city it was very fast-paced – motos, lots of traffic, and always music. I most enjoyed our time outside of Kigali, when we could appreciate Rwanda’s hilly countryside and spend time with the friends we made.

What was your favorite experience of the trip?

We loved our four-day trip to the hydro plant in the southern province. It felt really chill and calm just to be away from the city. Also, the vibe and happiness that people in the rural areas have is something that is really enjoyable to be around.

How do you think this project has enriched your overall educational experience at W&L?

As engineering majors, we have come to appreciate how different problems that affect the society on a large scale can be solved with engineering skills. With a plan to go to grad school in the near future, this project has set a path in my career interests focusing on energy development in developing countries.

Open for Business A grant from the Endeavor Foundation allowed Yoko Koyama '19 and Maren Lundgren '18 to open a store in Cameroon that will fund transportation for local children to go to middle school in a neighboring town.

“I learned a ridiculous amount from the practical challenges of adapting to a new environment and starting a business. The experience was invaluable.”

— Maren Lundgren ’18

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In summer 2017, Yoko Koyama ’19 and Maren Lundgren ’18 traveled to Cameroon to continue a project started a previous summer by Amirah Ndam Njoya ’16 and Jenna Biegel ’17. Njoya and Biegel were funded by the Endeavor Foundation, while this summer’s follow-up visit by Koyama and Lundgren was paid for by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Now that Yoko and Maren are back on campus, we caught up with them to ask a few questions about their experience in Cameroon.

Tell us about the project you did.

Maren: Our main project was to build a small store in rural Mandetkene, Cameroon. The project idea came from a recent alumna, Amirah Ndam Njoya ’16, who happens to be from that region of Cameroon.

Two years ago, Amirah and another W&L alumnus, Jenna Biegel, went to the same area to do camps and water quality testing. While there, they noticed a problem: The local school stops at fifth grade. Many students are ready to go on to middle school, but to do this they have to go to the next town over. It’s expensive, so this is a deterrent. Together with the Parents’ Council of the school, Amirah and Jenna worked to find a potential source of income for the town. Since there was no store in the town, they decided they wanted the school to have a store, with proceeds used to send kids to middle school. Yoko and I were brought in to help execute this idea, which we were only able to do with the support of the Parents’ Council and the local government, and with Amirah’s guidance.

While in Cameroon, we also did two kids’ camps. The first, which took place in Foumban, focused on engineering principles; the other used music and other activities to get to know the people of Mandetkene and build their trust.

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

Maren: While we held the engineering camp in Foumban, we took note of what stores there were like. We noted items sold in shops similar to the one we were building, and we noted the prices of those items. We eventually did a survey of residents of Mandetkene, going door to door and talking about shopping habits. We took the results and met with a local supplier to finalize the inventory list and place the initial order. We priced items, hired a shopkeeper and a guard, created financial notebooks and a store manual, and held training for the Parents’ Council and shopkeeper. All of this was done while regularly meeting with the Parents’ Council to get their input. Finally, we stocked the shelves, set up the store and opened. There was a big ceremony with the region’s mayor, member of parliament, and media.

Q. What was the most fulfilling part of the trip for you?

Yoko: It would definitely be the engineering summer camp, which I planned very carefully with my advising professor, Dr. Joel Kuehner. I was amazed by the kids’ creativity, initiative and craft skills.

What was your favorite experience?

Maren: I have two favorite experiences from this trip:
1. Opening day of the store. It was so rewarding to see countless hours of work finally come together.
2. A night when we crashed a soirée, became guests of honor, and ended up dancing on stage with our neighbors.

Q. What was the biggest challenge you faced?

Yoko: Getting used to not having running water.

What were your impressions of Cameroon?

Yoko: I really enjoy the nature and all the inconveniences I wouldn’t be able to experience otherwise.

Maren: This is hard to answer in a paragraph. Cameroon is a country I’d heard stories about my whole childhood because my mom went to school there. After being there, I developed an appreciation for the incredible diversity of the country. Having visited the metropolises of Yaoundé and Doula, the Western mountains, the beach and the northern plains, I got to see many landscapes and meet many people. I was struck by the differences in daily life from region to region. To learn more, check out our blog here.

Q. Who served as a mentor to you this summer, and what have they taught you?

Yoko: Amirah Ndam Njoya ’17 (our host) served as our mentor. Without her, we wouldn’t have been able to do ANYTHING in Foumban. From grocery shopping to commuting to our work locations, Amirah guided us throughout the project.

How do you think this project has enriched your overall educational experience at W&L?

Maren: This project allowed me to combine both of my majors (global politics and business administration) and apply them to a real life situation. I learned a ridiculous amount from the practical challenges of adapting to a new environment and starting a business. The experience was invaluable.

What are the most important takeaways from the research to share with the university audience (and beyond), and how do you plan to do that?

Maren: The two most important takeaways from the experience were that having a locally driven initiate is critical, and that time is relative. Scheduling only matters to an extent. We will be talking to the Development Economics class, talking to GenDev (the micro-finance group on campus), and hopefully doing some other CIE events.

Q. What have you learned at W&L that helped you in this endeavor, and what will you bring back to your life on campus?

Yoko: At W&L, I learned the necessity of careful planning and having a day-by-day schedule. Unfortunately, I caught traveler’s diarrhea three days after my arrival in Cameroon and our whole schedule ended up delayed by a week because of that. For the camp I designed, if it was not for the detailed planning I made with my professor, it wouldn’t have been carried out successfully.

I have brought the diligence of my daily life in Cameroon back to Lexington. All house chores were more difficult in Foumban since we didn’t have a stable supply of electricity and we usually didn’t have running water. Life at W&L will definitely feel easier now that I have adapted to the “manual” way of life in Foumban.

Q. Has this experience impacted your studies or future plans in any way?

Yoko: Yes. WATER WATER WATER! It is such a luxury that we can drink from the sink on a daily basis and have clean water to cook, brush our teeth, etc. People in Foumban are used to not having clean drinking water all the time, and I wonder if we should just leave it as it is, or is it our responsibility to show people that there is another world in which we have access to clean water every day?

I have been in touch with Kanetoshi Oda, the chairman of a leading water treatment company, regarding a potential future project with the company Poly-Glu in Foumban. Also, I will be having a meeting with the Japanese ambassador in Yaounde, discussing possible funding from the Japanese government. I have never thought about water this seriously before in my life. This summer taught me what the way of life is for the majority of the population on this globe.

I learned that I can work towards a solution (for water treatment) as an individual, and that I am privileged for having access to information and learning that could lead towards such a solution. However, unfortunately, I still do not know my exact future plans at this point.

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

Yoko: It adequately reminds us that we are privileged, and ignorant of many things happening in the other parts of the world. W&L students would become more aware of our responsibility as global citizens and for what purposes our knowledge is meant to serve.

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

The Campus Kitchen at W&L Presents Annual “Turkeypalooza” The Campus Kitchen Leadership Team at Washington and Lee University presents its annual “Turkeypalooza” from Nov. 9-16.  

“My hope is that this November, the W&L community is in a thankful mood and will sign up for Turkeypalooza shifts. However, my real hope is that someone finds their passion with Campus Kitchen and becomes a regular volunteer.”

Turkeys-600x400 The Campus Kitchen at W&L Presents Annual “Turkeypalooza”“Turkeypalooza”

By WluLex

The Campus Kitchen Leadership Team at Washington and Lee University presents its annual “Turkeypalooza” from Nov. 9-16.

The Campus Kitchen Leadership Team (CKLT) runs a variety of holiday-themed events during the month of Nov. The annual “Bring Your Turkey to Work Day” and the University Store’s food drive provide CKLT with enough food to deliver Thanksgiving meals across the county.

“Turkeypalooza is by far my favorite Campus Kitchen event,” said Maddie Simko ’19. “Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and I love delivering meals to community members.”

If you’re interested in joining the CKLT during Turkeypalooza, see the full schedule below:

  • Nov 9 | Food Drive at Kroger | 3-7 p.m.
  • Nov 10 | Bring Your Turkey to Work Day | 7:45-9:15 a.m.
  • Nov 12 | Cooking Shift | 3-5 p.m.
  • Nov 12 | Delivery Shift | 5-6 p.m.
  • Nov 14 | Turkey Delivery | 3:30-5 p.m.
  • Nov 14 | Cooking Shift | 5-7 pm and 7-9 p.m.
  • Nov 15 | LCOOY Delivery | 4-5 p.m.
  • Nov 16 | Magnolia Delivery | 11:30-1:30 p.m.
  • Nov 16 | Manor Delivery | 4:30-6:30 p.m.

“My hope is that this November, the W&L community is in a thankful mood and will sign up for Turkeypalooza shifts,” said Simko. “However, my real hope is that someone finds their passion with Campus Kitchen and becomes a regular volunteer.”

The mission of The Campus Kitchens Project is to use service as a way to strengthen bodies, empower minds and build communities. The Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee combats hunger and promotes nutrition by recovering and reusing food that would otherwise go to waste into balanced meals for low-income members of the community in Rockbridge County. Volunteers also develop valuable relationships with clients.

For more information, visit the Campus Kitchen website.

First-Year Law Students Attend Equal Justice Works Job Fair

On Friday, October 27, twenty 1Ls joined 2Ls and 3Ls interviewing in Washington, D.C. at Equal Justice Works (EJW), the largest legal public sector career fair in the country. EJW hosts 300-plus employers from Alaska to Maine including government agencies, legal aid organizations, public defenders, and legal advocacy groups. All EJW employers participate in a dedicated table talk, where any students can go up and speak to attorneys, as well as interview pre-selected candidates. The energy here is fantastic – the hotel is full of students and attorneys who are passionate about what they do.

ejqconferencephoto-600x400 First-Year Law Students Attend Equal Justice Works Job Fair1Ls participating at the Equal Justice Works Conference on 10/27 (popsicle sticks = ticket to see Justice Ginsburg)

EJW is a fantastic opportunity for 1Ls for several reasons. First, you have the opportunity to learn more about what it means to be a lawyer in a variety of different settings or the work done in many different practice areas. You will likely make invaluable connections that can lead to formal interviews for summer jobs. Second, it also gives students an opportunity to meet with organizations from around the country – we had students interviewing in Seattle, Miami, Alaska, and Arizona (amongst many other locations!) I recommend any 1L attend, even if they are not focused on public interest careers. Sometimes you don’t know if an organization or practice area is a good fit until you get more perspective on it. It is also a great way to develop networking skills and get used to large job fair environments.

Washington and Lee students are well-positioned to take advantage of EJW and leverage connections made at the event. We are a three hour drive from DC, and many students car-pooled on Friday. The close location also makes it possible for OCS staff to attend the event. I spent the day giving interview and networking advice, recommending organizations to talk to, and providing logistical support. Many students also received interview tips from alums they reached out and met with people that alums recommended they connect with.

Those who came out the night before joined us at the Public Interest Law Student Association networking event graciously hosted at K&L Gates. It offered the chance to connect with alums, including many 2017 graduates, and amazing view of the Washington Monument at night. Students (and OCS staff) were also able to take advantage of what DC had to offer – from dinner at a restaurant specializing in grilled cheese to live tapings of our favorite podcasts. All in all, a great way to spend a weekend building connections.

Catherine Simpson Wins Elmes Pathfinder Prize in Psychology The prize recognizes a student who has shown extraordinary promise in psychological science through outstanding scholarship in basic or applied psychology.

“Catherine is essential to my research program at this point. Not only does she run the lab efficiently and effectively, but she also brings her own good ideas and perspectives to the design of the research studies.”

Cat-Simpson-600x400 Catherine Simpson Wins Elmes Pathfinder Prize in PsychologyCatherine Simpson

Catherine Simpson, a Washington and Lee University senior from Richmond, Virginia, has received the 2017 David G. Elmes Pathfinder Prize in Psychology. The prize recognizes a student who has shown extraordinary promise in psychological science through outstanding scholarship in basic or applied psychology.

Simpson, who is majoring in psychology with a minor in creative writing, has been a member of psychology professor Megan Fulcher’s Gender Development Lab since her freshman year. The Gender Development Lab investigates the impact of gendered toys on children’s self-efficacy, abilities, and views of future family roles. Simpson currently serves as the lab’s participant coordinator, recruiting and coordinating participants for the lab’s IRB-approved studies in addition to helping develop and pilot new studies. She also has continued her research in the lab over the past two years as a Summer Research Scholar.

“Catherine is essential to my research program at this point,” said Fulcher. “Not only does she run the lab efficiently and effectively, but she also brings her own good ideas and perspectives to the design of the research studies. She is deeply involved in our lab’s science education community outreach events and has a natural rapport with children. I am very excited to see where Catherine’s path leads her, though she will be sorely missed here.”

Among the research projects in which Simpson has participated is an investigation into the possible impact of Barbie as a role model for girls in STEM fields. This study was inspired by the recent internet rediscovery of “Barbie: I Can Be a Computer Engineer,” a book produced by Mattel in which Barbie is supposed to be a computer engineer but gives her laptop a virus and must ask her male friends for help.

The book was rewritten by feminists in order to portray Barbie in a more positive light, and study participants are assigned to read either the original book or the edited version. They then learn some computer engineering using a program called Scratch, and must choose how to divide their time between a make-up app and practicing their new computer programming skills before making their own program and responding to a series of sexist vignettes. Through this project and others, Simpson has become proficient at video-coding using ELAN software and has improved her SPSS data entry and manipulation skills.

As part of her honors thesis, Simpson is currently launching her own study examining the traditional and non-traditional scripts that children use during imaginative play with Barbie and other dolls. She hopes to discover whether more diverse Barbie dolls and Barbie media could lead to a greater range of career and non-traditionally feminine scripts and themes in children’s play.

Outside the psychology department, Simpson works part-time as an applied behavior analysis clinician with Compass Counseling in nearby Buena Vista. In this role, Simpson works in-home with children on the autism spectrum using applied behavioral analysis techniques. She is also deli manager and communication committee member for the Washington and Lee Chapter of FeelGood, a youth-led non-profit dedicated to ending extreme poverty by 2030. She is a member of Psi Chi Psychology National Honor Society and is the psychology chair for WITS, a club that encourages local middle school girls to explore STEM subjects.

Simpson’s post-graduate plans include further exploring her research interests as a research assistant or in a more clinical environment before applying to graduate school.

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 endowment was created by 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.

Dreaming of Freedom Washington and Lee Spanish professor Seth Michelson has compiled a book of poems written by incarcerated undocumented teens and translated by some of his students and him.

Tree-of-Life-693x533 Dreaming of FreedomThis is a detail from a mural, “Tree of Life,” that hangs in the detention facility. To see the entire mural, scroll down.

To the average American teen, poetry may seem like a scourge.

To the undocumented teenagers incarcerated in a maximum-security facility in Virginia, with no family to comfort them, no lawyers to advise them and little hope that their dreams will ever be more than imaginings, poetry is a speck of light in an otherwise dark existence.

Washington and Lee University Spanish professor Seth Michelson knows this because he has spent the past two years as a volunteer leading poetry workshops at this detention center, where teens are held in isolation cells. During Fall Term 2016, he taught a class, Poetry and the Politics of Immigration, which allowed residents to work one-on-one with W&L students who translated their writings.

As a result of his volunteer work, Michelson compiled “Dreaming America: Voices of Undocumented Youth in Maximum-Security Detention,” a collection of poetry and prose written by undocumented teens. Sales of the book, which was recently published by Settlement House, will benefit a legal defense fund for the incarcerated youth, who are not constitutionally guaranteed legal representation under U.S. law.

“Poetry can prove a powerful tool for both introspection and interpersonal connection,” Michelson writes in the book’s forward, “and those twin possibilities seemed important to cultivate in relation to the presumed agonies of life in isolation cells in a foreign land.”

Out of necessity, some mystery surrounds this project. In exchange for permission to lead the workshops, Michelson — and his W&L students — agreed to the Department of Justice’s terms. They do not disclose the exact location of the facility, which is within easy driving distance of Lexington. They also do not discuss conditions at the detention center, the number of children incarcerated there, their countries of origin, or their names.

But most of these young people have a similar story. Most are from the most dangerous and violent places on earth. They were born into poverty, abandoned at a young age, and left to streets ruled by drug cartels. With no education or support systems, they set out for a better life — and they found America, but not long before U.S. Border Patrol or Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents found them.

The vast majority of undocumented and unaccompanied children who are swept up by immigration control forces do not end up in maximum-security detention; most go to group homes to wait out the determination of their residency status. Those who are sent to these “secure care facilities” have been assessed as a threat to themselves (i.e. self-harm or suicide) or others, based on prior behavior.

Although Michelson acknowledges the seriousness of the circumstances that put them there, he said, “these kids are languishing.”

“They are just like any teen, but when they do something wrong the consequences are catastrophic. They are mono-linguistic, many with no more than a 2nd-grade education. Many have been sexually traumatized. Many have a history of violence against themselves or others. Some have gang affiliations through no fault of their own, because the cartels are so powerful in their home countries. They are babies. Many are diminutive and pre-pubescent, and they are being locked up.”

seth-800x533 Dreaming of FreedomProfessor Seth Michelson

For Michelson’s 10-week course, students spent Mondays and Wednesdays studying theories of belonging, current events, and immigration. They read poetry by prisoners and Latino immigrants. On Fridays, they traveled to the detention center and did poetry workshops, with each of the nine W&L students working one-on-one, one at a time, with incarcerated teens in each pod of federal detainees.

“Being from Tucson, Arizona, I thought I knew issues around immigration,” said Erin Ferber ’18, “but meeting with these kids, I was like, wow, there is a huge system that I didn’t even know about.”

Before the class began, people asked Ferber if she was afraid to enter the facility and visit so-called violent teens. She realized her only fear was that the kids, many of whom are younger than her 15-year-old sister, wouldn’t like her enough to open up to her.

Indeed, the class became as much about making connections as it was about Spanish or poetry. The W&L students used small talk to build relationships with the teens, bit by bit, before drawing them into larger conversational themes such as family, the journey north and dreams for the future. Some of these conversations eventually turned into poems.

Ferber describes the course as one of the most rewarding experiences she’s had at W&L, but she admits it was hard — not academically, but emotionally.

Once, after wishing a boy a happy 18th birthday, she wondered why he wasn’t more enthusiastic. Then she found out that he would be shipped to a men’s maximum security detention center because he was now considered an adult. Then, there was the kid who carved “I want to die” into his arm, and the teen who found out his entire family had been murdered back home.

Michelson knows the detention center can be traumatic, even for those who get to walk out and go home to free lives at the end of the class period. University psychiatrist Kirk Luder visited the class at the beginning of the term to discuss the effects of working with traumatized children. Michelson built in plenty of time for debriefing in class and in his office, and reminded students to take advantage of the University Counseling Center if necessary.

“He was incredibly supportive and passionate about it, which I think really cultivated this environment of inclusivity,” Ferber said. “He made sure we were comfortable and, in turn, could create these spaces where the kids felt comfortable enough to talk to us.”

36141460._UY630_SR1200630_-209x350 Dreaming of Freedom“Dreaming America”

Michelson said he experienced “unanimous, unflagging support” from his colleagues, Dean Suzanne Keen, Provost Marc Conner and the Office of General Counsel throughout the process. He said that being able to do a class like Poetry and the Politics of Immigration at W&L makes him feel fortunate to be part of the university community.

One thing that does bother Michelson and his students is the fact that, because of the DOJ restrictions, they had to publish the works in “Dreaming America” without using the writers’ names.

“They have left behind family and friends to traverse countries via perilous pathways,” he writes in the introduction, “only to find themselves locked in cubicles of concrete and steel in the Land of the Free, where I am acutely aware of the painful irony in my obligation to publish their writing anonymously.”

Michelson continues to volunteer at the facility, and will teach the Latin American and Caribbean Studies capstone course there this winter. Next fall, he will teach another class at the center, a variation on the Fall 2016 course called Poetry in Prison: Immigration, Empathy, and Community Engagement.

“By learning with and from the incarcerated children in concert with focused coursework, each W&L undergraduate inevitably gains more refined, informed and nuanced insights into the relationships between theory and practice,” Michelson said, “thereby equipping her to grow intellectually and emotionally, and empowering her to add her voice more confidently and intelligently to the many democratic communities to which she belongs.”

The mural below, “Tree of Life,” was made by undocumented children. It hangs in the maximum-security detention facility where Professor Michelson and his students did poetry workshops with teens. Click play to see all the details.

More about "Dreaming America"

Seth Michelson will present an author talk on “Dreaming America: Voices of Undocumented Youth in Maximum Security Detention” on Nov. 7. The talk will take place from 5-6 p.m. in the Main Floor Book Nook at Leyburn Library.

The following poems are excerpted from the book.

Forget

Without reason to exist
I often forget that I am
real and this makes ache
the soul that I don’t have
or that can’t find me
as I wander
somewhere else.

— Anonymous

Hate

You enter, are
here speaking with me,
while others keep vigil
over their parents’ deaths,
while you and I are talking
others are at war,
others are killing boys and girls,
others are crying, others laugh,
others suffer,
others dance, and still others shout,
and I mull
my life’s frustrations.
If they wanted to write
what I know to be
happening, there wouldn’t be
ink
or paper enough
to write
everything that could be seen.

— Anonymous

To order a copy of “Dreaming America,” which includes a preface by poet and writer Jimmy Santiago Baca, click here.