Kerin Awarded Howard Foundation Fellowship She is one of eight applicants to receive a $33,000 grant.
Melissa Kerin, associate professor of art history at Washington and Lee, is a recipient of this year’s fellowship from the Howard Foundation. Kerin is one of eight applicants to receive a $33,000 grant.
“It’s a fabulous grant that gives the recipient freedom to conduct research wherever she needs to be,” said Kerin. “I’ll be able to use this support to live in Vienna, Austria, for the fall 2018 term to work with University of Vienna’s Tibetan Studies and South Asian studies interdisciplinary groups and resources. I’ll also travel to India and Nepal throughout the year to finish up some research there.”
For the last several years, Kerin has worked on her book “Bodies of Offerings: The Materiality and Vitality of Tibetan Shrines.” Kerin will document and analyze Buddhist shrines in the Tibetan cultural zone — Tibet, India and Nepal — which she believes to be complex constructions that respond to, and reflect, many socio-religious environs. If variations among shrines demonstrate dynamic engagement between a devotee and religious objects, then that might reveal new information about the popular religious practice.
“The whole project is, in many ways, a response to the limiting connoisseurship-driven studies that often direct scholarship in Tibetan art history,” said Kerin. “My hope is that my project will contribute to a developing trend in art history that investigates a broader scope of material culture.”
The Howard Foundation has a rotation of five art historical and critical studies topics, such as literary, history and film. The fellowships provide artists, scholars and writers with time to complete their work.
Meditations on the Past and Future Evan Kueffner ’18 remains mindful of the friends, professors, coaches, staff and community members who opened doors to multiple opportunities for him.
“As a junior, my interest shifted away from sport psychology and began to settle on the mindfulness and meditative ideas which sport psych had exposed me to.”
~ Evan Kueffner ’18
Over the past four years, Washington and Lee has provided me with innumerable formative experiences and opportunities to grow in ways I did not expect but will certainly continue to cherish. Like the majority of college freshmen, I arrived on campus with an extremely general idea of what I wanted to study and what my career would be, but I was far from cementing any details. Now, I leave Washington and Lee confidently, on a career path aligning with passions I discovered and honed thanks to the university.
The first deep spark of interest occurred during the Spring Term as a first-year. I was fortunate enough to take Sport Psychology, where one of the topics discussed was the flow state, in which a person is totally absorbed in their task at hand with little concept of time or capacity to be distracted. I gradually became more interested in sport psychology, and in my sophomore year Professor Mike Singleton was extremely helpful in connecting me with Roanoke sport psychologist Dr. John Heil. As Dr. Heil’s intern, I was again exposed to the concept of “flow,” and took part as Dr. Heil led chronic pain-therapy group meditations.
As a junior, my interest shifted away from sport psychology and began to settle on the mindfulness and meditative ideas which sport psych had exposed me to. A good friend and former wrestling teammate introduced me to a meditative breath technique, and I was hooked. I began my own meditation practice unsteadily, but I was excited by what I deeply felt meditation could do for myself and others.
In my Advanced Methods course, Professor Megan Fulcher assisted me as I conducted research on the connections between mindfulness of bodily sensations, gender and eating disorders among local adolescents. As I looked for opportunities in the mindfulness and meditation industries, Professor Karla Murdock was invaluable in connecting me with Anthony DeMauro, a Ph.D. student at U.Va. who in turn connected me with multiple summer internship opportunities at mindfulness research centers. I ended my junior year by taking advantage of W&L’s fantastic study-abroad opportunities, spending Spring Term in Nepal. Not only was it intrinsically valuable to shift perspectives and experience bits of a new culture, but I was exposed to a society in which many people literally meditate religiously.
My final undergraduate year only further convinced me to pursue a career in mindfulness and meditation. Taking Professor Murdock’s Clinical Psychology and Positive Psychology back-to-back on Tuesdays and Thursdays during Fall Term provided an integrated perspective on the healing and happiness potentials of meditation. Working in Professor Fulcher’s Gender and Development lab has been great for many reasons, one being it gave me the opportunity to lead local children in mindfulness meditations at our after-school community outreach lessons. Finally, for my capstone project, I conducted independent research observing the acute and accumulative effects of different types of meditation on autonomic reactivity to stress. As I leave Washington and Lee, I’d like to remain mindful of all the friends, professors, coaches, staff, and community members who have been so helpful in opening the doors to all this great university has to offer.
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More about Evan
Phi Gamma Delta
Work-study for Public Safety and the Athletic Department
Wrestling team athlete/student manager
Why did you choose your major?
I’ve always had a broad interest in human thought and behavior. I can’t say I’d ever considered a major other than psychology.
Best place to eat in Lexington? What do you order?
Napa Thai, hands down. Everything that comes out of that kitchen is amazing, but I have to go with the green curry with veggies and tofu, 7 out of 10 spice.
What one film/book do you recommend to everyone?
“Peace is Every Step,” by Thich Nhat Hanh
What do you wish you’d known before you came to campus?
The Greek system overarchingly pulls the social tides here, but it doesn’t have to. Finding other options just takes a bit of active, intentional effort.
I’ll be moving to Nashville to work at a gym my uncle is opening, while training towards certification as a meditation instructor.
Favorite W&L memory
Defeating conference rival Ursinus College in a dual meet (wrestling) for the first time in our head coach’s W&L career.
Augustine and the Literature of Self, Soul, and Synapses with Professor Jeff Kosky.
Sifting Through the Past Donald Gaylord's Spring Term class introduced students to archaeological lab methods through hands-on experience, readings and field trips.
On a warm May afternoon during Spring Term, as Katherine Pranka ’18 cleaned what appeared to be a snail shell, a clearer picture of the past emerged. The shell, one of several artifacts excavated only a few feet from what is now Washington and Lee University’s back campus, must have come from dirt where a kitchen house once stood, and where the snails were attracted to discarded food scraps.
Pranka and other students were involved in the dig as part of Laboratory Methods in Archaeology, a Spring Term course taught by research archaeologist and instructor Donald Gaylord. The course introduces students to archaeological lab methods through hands-on experience, readings and field trips. Students processed and cataloged archaeological finds with the goal of answering questions about the historical intersections of race, class and gender during W&L’s earliest years.
“The lab methods course picks up after excavation has occurred,” said Gaylord. “The students take the artifacts from the field, wash them and process them, and go all the way through analysis and testing of the materials.”
During this year’s Spring Term course, students analyzed material from the 18th and 19th-century site of Liberty Hall. The class also traveled to archaeological sites and museums around Virginia to get a better understanding of how they conduct their research. Field trips included visits to the Jamestown and Colonial Williamsburg Archaeology Lab, Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and the Virginia Museum of Natural History.
“The most interesting trip we went on was Monticello,” said Josh Fox ’19. “Not only did we do the archeology tour, but we actually got to go into Thomas Jefferson’s house and see how they lived back then and see the context of what we were looking at with the artifacts.”
At Jamestown and Monticello, Gaylord said, students “can see the subtle variations in archeology from place to place, and the way those archeologists go about their business. Everybody collects and excavates in a roughly similar way. However, the analysis and interpretation are often very different.”
When students were on campus, they could be found working in separate groups cataloguing and labeling the artifacts excavated at Liberty Hall. In addition to the snail shells, students found evidence of nails and glass, further affirming that there had indeed been a thriving campus and farm only feet away from what is now upper-level housing.
Most of the students in the class had no prior interaction with archeology before taking the course. In fact, most of them weren’t even archeology majors or minors. However, despite the different majors, Gaylord says archeology has a little something for everyone.
“Archeology is interdisciplinary in a way that it often relies on the hard sciences and analysis of the hard sciences,” said Gaylord. “At the same time, we bridge across to the humanities, and we read historical documents, and we do oral histories. Archeology is positioned in such a way that it allows our students to see the humanities applications of scientific approaches and the scientific applications of more humanities-based approaches.”
Bui ’21 and Syed ’19 Awarded Gilman Scholarship to Study Abroad Doan Bui ’21 and Hashim Syed ’19 have won Gilman Scholarships to study abroad.
Doan Bui ’21 and Hashim Syed ’19 have won Gilman Scholarships to study abroad.
The scholarship is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and the program is administered by the Institute of International Education.
Syed will take an intensive Arabic course this summer at the Arab-American Language Institute in Morocco.
“I have been taking Arabic at W&L for the past three years. Dr. Edwards, my Arabic professor, encouraged me to apply for a study abroad program to further develop my language skills and gain experience and exposure I wouldn’t have access to here,” said Syed.
Bui will take a German language and culture course this summer with IES Berlin.
Doan “is a great example of a student who, while juggling a double major and minor, still managed to find an opportunity to study abroad,” said Cindy Irby, study abroad adviser. “It is exciting to see an engineering student take advantage of both the STEM and language opportunities that Berlin has to offer!”
The Gilman Scholarship Program, named for retired congressman Benjamin A. Gilman, seeks to diversify the kinds of students who study or intern abroad and the countries and regions where they go by offering awards to U.S. undergraduates.
W&L’s Hoover Offers Credit Score Advice on WalletHub Hoover discusses the advantages and disadvantages of a perfect credit score.
Scott Hoover, A. Steven Miles Professor of Banking and Finance at Washington and Lee University, discusses the advantages and disadvantages of a perfect credit score on WalletHub. In the article, Hoover clarifies common misconceptions behind credit scores.
Read the full article on the WalletHub website.
Class of 2018 Video: ‘What We’ll Miss’
Commencement Address 2018
Washington and Lee Graduates 441 Students at 231st Commencement In his Commencement address, president Will Dudley encouraged the Class of 2018 to take the habits they have learned at W&L "and change the world, one small encounter at a time.”
Graduating seniors at Washington and Lee University on Thursday were reminded of the institution’s long history, and in particular the history of Lee Chapel on the very day of its 150th anniversary, as President William C. Dudley used the chapel as a symbol for the need to create genuine community.
Noting that we live in a world in which “distrust has gone viral,” he encouraged the graduates to lean on the habits they developed at W&L—with its Honor System and its Speaking Tradition—to change the world, one small encounter at a time.
Having the university president give the Commencement address is a custom at W&L that dates back to the 1930s.
Dudley reminded the 441 members of the Class of 2018 that Lee had the chapel built as “a simple undecorated space that would bring the university together” to enhance both the spiritual and academic life of the college while providing additional lecture and meeting space.
“The need that Lee sought to address when he accepted the presidency of Washington College and built this chapel remains with us today,” Dudley said in his address. “In all of our differences we need to find and forge enough in common to constitute a genuine community. This project is critical not only at W&L, but to every town and state in the country, and to the nation itself.”
Quoting Danielle Allen, a professor of politics at Harvard who addressed W&L’s opening Convocation ceremony last September, Dudley encouraged the graduates to build trust among fellow citizens, to continue to develop their own “muscular habits of trust production,” and to “convey the wisdom of friendship into politics.”
“This does not mean we have to like all of our fellow citizens, or even all of our fellow classmates,” he said. “But it does mean we need to pay attention to their needs and interests, and to exhibit goodwill toward them. Successful community requires genuine concern for the good of others whom we do not know and with whom we have real differences and disagreements.”
“You are prepared to be the engaged citizens that it is our mission to produce,” he told them. “You landed here as strangers. You have made friends. But just as importantly, Washington and Lee has helped you to cultivate ‘muscular habits of trust production.’ The Honor System has asked you to be trustworthy, and to trust others. The Speaking Tradition has encouraged you to acknowledge strangers as if they were friends. Liberal arts education has taught you to listen attentively, interpret judiciously and reason persuasively. We live in a world in which distrust has gone viral. Take the habits you have developed here at W&L and change the world, one small encounter at a time.”
Mason Grist, an economics and religion double major from Lexington, Virginia, spoke on behalf of the Class of 2018. Grist was a member of the Executive Committee of the student body for three years, serving twice as president. In his remarks, Grist asked his classmates to remember the school’s motto non incautus futuri—not unmindful of the future—and to be inspired to take care of their alma mater as they transition from students to stewards of the institution.
“Stewardship is an odd, yet fitting, word to describe our relationship with W&L after today,” he said. “It references the care of both people and place, and when I think about the responsibility we have to W&L moving forward, it is to the people and the place.”
“We have all gained something in our last four years at W&L,” he continued. “We have had successes and failures, we have had our worldviews challenged, strengthened, changed, or all three. All these experiences brought us to where we are today, both in this physical place between the Colonnade and Lee Chapel, but also here with the faculty, friends and family who surround us.”
Among Washington and Lee’s graduates were 22 who earned both a bachelor of arts and a bachelor of science degree. Altogether, the Class of 2018 earned degrees in 38 majors. More than one-third of the class completed more than one major, with two students completing three majors and 37 percent of the class completing at least one minor.
Mallory Ellen Stephenson of Fincastle, Virginia, was named valedictorian. Stephenson achieved a perfect 4.0 grade-point average while earning a B.S. in biology and a B.A. in psychology. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and was a recipient of its J. Brown Goehring Sophomore Award, the American Chemical Society Division of Analytical Chemistry Undergraduate Award, the James Keith Shillington Scholarship in Chemistry and Biology, the James Lewis Howe Award in Chemistry, and the Robinson Award in English Literature, History, and Social Sciences.
She was a two-time recipient of the Luther Seevers Birely Scholarship, the James D. Davidson Memorial Fund Scholarship, the James McDowell Scholarship and the James Holt Starling Scholarship. After graduation, she plans to pursue a Ph.D. in developmental psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University.
The university awarded honorary degrees to Marjorie Agosín, the Luella LaMer Slaner Professor in Latin American Studies and a professor of Spanish at Wellesley College, and Harlan Beckley, the Fletcher Otey Thomas Professor of Religion Emeritus at Washington and Lee.
In presenting the degree to Agosín, Dean of the College and Thomas H. Broadus Jr. Professor of English Suzanne Keene celebrated her—a poet, human rights activist, memoirist and literary scholar—for her commitment to the teaching vocation in the liberal arts, and recognized her as “one of the leading voices in our age for those seeking to chart their way among the many paths and perils of this time.”
Robert D. Straughan, Crawford Family Dean of the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics and professor of Business Administration, recognized Beckley—whom he described as a pioneer in the study of poverty, an influential teacher, and a valued colleague and friend—for his impact on generations of W&L graduates, especially alumni of the Shepherd Program for the Interdisciplinary Study of Poverty and Human Capability, and his profound influence on the Washington and Lee University community over more than four decades.
For more information about Commencement and the Class of 2018, please click here.
Loughery ’18 Awarded ORISE Research Fellowship The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) research fellowship will allow her to conduct research at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Chemical Defense.
Tara Loughery ’18 has won an Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) research fellowship to conduct research at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Chemical Defense.
Loughery is a double major in neuroscience and sociology and anthropology.
“I will be working in a lab which focuses on the effects of organophosphate nerve agents on the nervous system and looks at potential drug treatments for the symptoms of nerve agent exposure,” said Loughery.
ORISE administers a variety of internship programs for undergraduate students at national laboratories and other federal research facilities across the United States.
In the future, Loughery plans to pursue a Ph.D. in neurobiology or a related discipline.
“This fellowship will allow me to explore a new realm of neuroscience and develop new skills to build on those I’ve gained through my neuroscience research experience here at W&L,” she said. “I am excited about this opportunity and am very grateful to all of the faculty at W&L who helped me get here.”
According to their website, the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) asset that is dedicated to enabling critical scientific, research and health initiatives of the department and its laboratory system by providing world-class expertise in STEM workforce development, scientific and technical reviews and the evaluation of radiation exposure and environmental contamination.
Faith Pinho Awarded ODK Leader of the Year for Journalism Pinho’s award is part of ODK’s 2018 General Russell E. Dougherty National Leader of the Year competition.
Faith Pinho, a 2018 graduate of Washington and Lee University from Everett, Massachusetts, has been named Omicron Delta Kappa’s (ODK) Leader of the Year for her work in journalism.
Pinho’s award is part of ODK’s 2018 General Russell E. Dougherty National Leader of the Year competition. She will receive a $1,000 post-graduate scholarship, and W&L’s ODK chapter will receive a $300 grant.
“Faith Pinho’s national award representing the category of journalism, speech and mass media highlights not only W&L’s strong tradition of leadership but also the value of the liberal arts education in promoting leadership,” said Linda Hooks, professor of economics. “Faith has a distinguished portfolio of work representing coverage of some challenging topics in journalism, and the fact that she won this award highlights how her leadership has an impact on many people through her journalism.”
Pinho also received two awards from the Society of Professional Journalism, Region 2, for pieces that aired on WMRA public radio. Her piece about local musician Jonathan Chapman Cook won in the radio feature category. Her coverage of R.E. Lee Episcopal Church’s name change to Grace Episcopal won for radio news reporting. A third piece, published in The Rockbridge Report, was a finalist.
Following graduation, she will work with The Indy Star newspaper in Indianapolis as a fellow with the Pulliam Journalism Fellowship.
“It was such an unexpected honor to receive this award,” said Pinho. “It is a nice send-off before graduation.”
ODK, founded in 1914 at Washington and Lee, recognizes not only academic achievement, but also campus leadership in five areas of campus life: scholarship; athletics; campus or community service, social or religious activities and campus government; journalism, speech and the mass media; and creative and performing arts. It has some 285 circles at colleges and universities across the country.