Feature Stories Campus Events

The State of the University A conversation with W&L President Will Dudley

Reunion 2018: A Record-Breaking Event

Nearly 700 alumni returned to campus in April to celebrate classes with graduation years ending in three and eight. Traveling from 40 of the United States as well as two foreign countries, alumni came from near and far to reconnect with one another and with their alma mater. The event was a resounding success, thanks in part to 170 volunteers who helped lead a record-shattering reunion fundraising effort. Overall, this year’s reunion classes collectively raised more than $1.5 million for the 2017-18 Annual Fund and committed a total of $5.2 million in current gifts and future pledges to the Annual Fund.

Members of the Class of 1968 celebrated their 50th reunion by breaking a number of records established since the reunion giving program began in 1986, including the number of Reunion Calyx biography submissions, reunion attendance, total reunion gift, class project gift total, five-year Annual Fund total, and class project participation.

Each year, the 25th and 50th reunion classes select a class project. The Class of 1968 chose to build upon the Class of 1968 Scholarship Endowment established during its 25th reunion. Members raised more than $2.8 million to increase the scholarship endowment to a level that will cover full tuition, room and board for recipients. Overall, the Class of 1968 gave more than $11 million in honor of reunion, with an 80 percent giving participation rate.

“To put it simply, the Class if 1968 is a record-breaking class,” noted Director of 50th Reunion Giving Ronni Gardner. “Inspired by a generous challenge put forth by an anonymous classmate, the class not only rose to that challenge, but they blew by it. It was so gratifying to see the class meet its goals both financially, and perhaps more importantly, in participation and reunion attendance.”

The Class of 1993 also enjoyed a successful 25th reunion, presenting President Will Dudley with the third largest 25th reunion check in W&L’s history. They surpassed their $750,000 class project goal by raising just under $1 million for the new Richard L. Duchossois Athletic Center, now under construction. The class’s generosity will be recognized with the naming of the Doremus Patio, overlooking Cannan Green. Class of 1993 co-chairs Chris Boggs and Susan Moseley George thanked the reunion class committee members for their hard work and generous support leading up to reunion. “We couldn’t have done this without them, and it has been so fun to reconnect with everyone,” Boggs said.

Another achievement for the Class of 1993 is the notable increase in women leadership donors. This year’s 25th reunion class had more donors contributing gifts of $12,500 or more and more donors contributing $50,000 or more than any other coeducational 25th reunion class at Washington and Lee. The previous record for women giving $50,000 or more was three. This year, eight women from the Class of 1993 made gifts at this level in honor of the milestone event. One of this year’s 25th reunion leadership donors, Lee Rorrer Holifield ’93 also took home a Distinguished Alumni Award. She and her husband, Mike Holifield ’89, became the first alumni couple to have received the award. All three sororities represented in the class had a giving participation rate of at least 75 percent.

“I am excited to see more alumnae sharing their passion for W&L through their philanthropy,” said 25th Reunion Gift Officer Jessica Cohen. “They are leaders in our community and are making a significant difference at the university.”

The Class of 1998 also set a gift record for the 20th reunion, raising $802,000 for the Annual Fund, and the Class of 1988 raised more than $900,000, setting a new bar for the next 30th reunion class. In addition, a new award recognizing the class with the highest percentage of reunion registrants who also participated in the Annual Fund was presented during the gift ceremony. The Reunion Chairs’ Bowl was presented to the Class of 1973, as 100 percent of the reunion registrants made gifts to the Annual Fund.

Reunion Awards

  • Reunion Bowl: Class of 1968
  • Reunion Trophy: Class of 1993
  • Reunion Traveller Award: James Read ’98, United Kingdom
  • John Newton Thomas Trophy: Class of 2003
  • Trident Trophy: Class of 1968
  • Reunion Chairs’ Bowl: Class of 1973
  • Colonnade Cup: Class of 1988

Class of 1968 Reunion Records

  • Reunion Calyx:  153 Calyx bios submitted (former record: 142 held by the Class of 1964)
  • Reunion Attendance:  102 class members (former record: 91 set by the Class of 1964)
  • Total Reunion Gift:  $11,093,365.84 (former record: $9.8 million set by the Class of 1967)
  • Class Project:  $2,809,628.18 (former record: $2.6 million held by the Class of 1962)
  • Five-Year Annual Fund: $643,493.30 (former record: $507,000 set by the Class of 1967)
  • Class Project Participation: 99 donors, or 59.2 percent (former record 55 percent set by the Class of 1962)

Strong Talks Presidential Scandals in the Richmond Times-Dispatch Strong is the William Lyne Wilson Professor in Political Economy at Washington and Lee.

strongr.jpg-1-450x400 Strong Talks Presidential Scandals in the Richmond Times-DispatchRobert Strong

Robert Strong, William Lyne Wilson Professor in Political Economy at Washington and Lee, discusses presidential scandals in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. In the article, Strong compares scandals of past administrations to those in the Trump presidency.

Read the full article on the Richmond Times-Dispatch website.

W&L Magazine, Fall 2017: Vol. 94 | No. 3

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Fall-Magazine-2017-400x600 W&L Magazine, Fall 2017: Vol. 94 | No. 3Fall Magazine 2017

In This Issue:


What We Lost
Reflecting on the Vietnam War

Celebrating W&L’s 27th President
Will Dudley makes it official.

What a University Should Do
The Commission on Institutional History and Community begins its work.

By the Book
Blaine Brownell ’65 pens an updated history.

Something Old, Something New
The Colonnade restoration is complete.


3 Columns
26 Office Hours
Rebecca Benefiel, Associate Professor of Classics
28 Lives of Consequence
Kelly Douma ’16
John Maass ’87
32 Alumni
48 Chronicles

W&L Alumnae Brunch 2017

W&L Magazine, Summer 2017: Vol. 94 | No. 2

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Summer-Mag-2017-Cover-400x600 W&L Magazine, Summer 2017: Vol. 94 | No. 2Summer 2017

In This Issue:

  • Step Away from the Books
  • What a Trip

2 – By the Numbers

  • Commencement Stats

3 – Speak

  • Letters to the Editor

4 – Along the Colonnade

  • Celebrating Commencement
  • Recognizing Retirees
  • Welcoming a New Trustee
  • Selling Oak Trees

11 – Lewis Hall Notes

  • The 2016 Graduate Employment Report

12 – Generals’ Report

  • The Year in Review

22 – Alumni Profiles

  • At Home in La La Land: Marquita Robinson ’10
  • Overcoming Tourette Syndrome: Larry Barber ’71

26 – Milestones

  • A Real Positive: Intramural and Club Sports, by Don Eavenson ’73
  • Alumni News
  • Reflecting Forward, by Beau Dudley ’74, ’74L
  • Alumni Weekend
  • Congratulations, Graduates!
  • Creating Our Future — Together, by President Will Dudley

W&L Magazine, Winter/Spring 2017: Vol. 94 | No. 1

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winter-spring-mag-cover-2017-400x600 W&L Magazine, Winter/Spring 2017: Vol. 94 | No. 1Winter/Spring 2017

In This Issue:

  • All Hands on Deadline
  • Civility in An Uncivil Election
  • Journalism Under Siege: Fake News and Alternate Facts
  • One Weekend in Washington: An Inauguration and a Protest

2 – By the Numbers

  • A Big Splash: Pool Stats

3 – Speak

  • Letters to the Editor

4 – Along the Colonnade

  • Celebrating a Rhodes Scholar
  • Reconnecting with a former student
  • New administrative appointments
  • Welcoming a new trustee
  • Honoring MLK

9 – Generals’ Report

  • Strength in Numbers: Men’s XC Goes to Nationals

10 – Lewis Hall Notes

  • W&L, VMI Host Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

22 – Alumni Profiles

  • David Chester ’78’s Excellent Adventures
  • From Craft to Career: Noelani Love ’05

24 – Milestones

  • Alumni president’s message
  • “Reflecting Forward”
  • Alumni news and photos
  • The Annual Report

Global Service: Bringing the World to W&L Students

Splat! Thud! Their laughter filling the air during a spontaneous snowball fight this past winter, the participants epitomized the special camaraderie of the international and domestic students who live and thrive in W&L’s Global Service House.

“It was really exciting, because a lot of us had never played in snow before,” said Sofia Sequeira ’15, a native Costa Rican and the house’s resident adviser. “It really made us bond and become close friends.”

The facility opened in fall 2012 and houses 17 students–approximately 60 percent international students and 40 percent domestic students. This year, for the first time, most of them are sophomores. Previously, the building housed students from different classes. To make the house feel more like a home, and to build long-lasting bonds among the students, W&L decided to limit the residents to sophomores and juniors. “It’s a great experience,” said Sequeira.

The students also share a common interest in internationalism and community service. When Larry Boetsch ’69, director of the Center for International Education, was researching the University’s Global Learning Initiative, he discovered that a high percentage of international students volunteer in the local community.

At the same time, Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee (CKWL) was looking for a permanent home. CKWL combats hunger and promotes nutrition by reusing food that would otherwise go to waste. Boetsch and Harlan Beckley, professor emeritus of religion and founder of the Shepherd Poverty Program, hatched a plan to convert the International House into the Global Service House for students with a common interest in internationalism and service, including volunteering for CKWL.

Boetsch was concerned that setting special conditions for living in the house would quash student interest. Last year and this year, however, he received twice as many applications as he could accommodate. “I think next year we’ll have even more,” said Boetsch, “so it’s been a great success.”

He continued, “What satisfies me the most is that the students themselves have really taken the initiative to make this work. They’re a terrific group of students, and they understand exactly what we are trying to do. We haven’t set any rules or guidelines with regards to the way the house functions; the students have done it on their own. So they are responsible for its success.”

The experience of living there is as illuminating for domestic students as it is for international students. “I have learned more about the cultures of other students and about the world than I ever thought I could without actually leaving the United States,” said Maya Epelbaum ’16, who’s from New Jersey.

“My housemate, Mohammed, and I have had many discussions about the differences in our cultures,” said Trevin Ivory ’16, from Oklahoma City, Okla. Mohammed Adudayyeh ’16 is a Palestinian from the West Bank. “He’s Muslim and I’m Christian, so we’ve talked about the differences between our two religions.

“I lived in a dorm last year, and three or four of us would hang out together, but never this many people at one time,” continued Ivory. “It’s very nice here because you feel you can talk to anyone. We all know each other and we all like each other, so it’s a very fun time. It also allows me to interact with people I wouldn’t normally be able to, such as students from Brazil or Germany.”

The students have introduced each other to their personal volunteer projects, although the main emphasis of volunteering is CKWL. “A lot of students are really committed to community service, and they invite other students to their activities, such as volunteering for Habitat for Humanity, recycling or tutoring children in Lexington,” said Sequeira. For example, Emmanuel Abebrese ’16, a native of Ghana, who graduated from a high school in northern Virginia, has involved his fellow students plus the Student Association for International Learning (SAIL) in collecting books and school supplies for a school in Ghana.

The international student population at W&L, which numbers between 115 and 125 at any one time, distinguishes itself from those on other campuses because 98 percent of the students are four-year degree candidates, according to Boetsch. “On most college campuses, a large percentage of international students are exchange students staying for a term or for a year. Our international students are fully fledged Washington and Lee citizens,” he said.

The facility is, in fact, a tangible manifestation of W&L’s Global Learning Strategy. “The students in the Global Service House today are a special group,” said Boetsch. “Honestly, I think it is an achievement of which we should be very proud and something which, in terms of the whole global learning initiative, is absolutely essential.”

Washington and Lee Announces November 2016 Community Grants

Washington and Lee University’s Community Grants Committee has made 10 grants totaling $24,736.22 to non-profit organizations in Lexington and Rockbridge County. They are the first part of its two rounds of grants for 2016-17.

The committee chose the grants from 16 proposals requesting over $96,000.

W&L awarded grants to the following organizations:

  • The Community Closet at Christ Church, Buena Vista: Funds to help improve the living conditions of the needy in Rockbridge County
  • The Community Table of Buena Vista, Inc.: Funds to assist TCT to purchase food
  • Hoofbeats Therapeutic Riding Center: Purchase bitless bridles
  • Lexington Lyme Disease Support Group: To purchase educational materials regarding Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses
  • Miller’s House Museum Foundation: Establish an interpretive walking trail at Jordan’s Point
  • Natural Bridge/Glasgow Food Pantry, Inc.: Funds will be used for food purchase and operational expenses
  • Rockbridge Area Relief Association: Help provide heating fuel for at-risk neighbors
  • Rockbridge Area Transportation System, Inc.: Funds to assist with the purchase of a new handicap vehicle
  • Rockbridge Area Youth Strings (c/o Fine Arts In Rockbridge): Funds to purchase cases for existing instruments and a ¾-size double bass
  • Rockbridge Regional Library Youth Services Department: Fund the STEAM after-school program

Established in 2008, W&L’s Community Grants Committee evaluates requests for financial donations and support from Lexington and Rockbridge County. While the University has long provided financial and other assistance to worthwhile projects and organizations in the community on a case-by-case basis, the Community Grants Program formalizes W&L’s role in supporting regional organizations and activities through accessible grant-making.

During its 2015-16 cycle, the Community Grants Committee awarded $50,000. Proposals may be submitted at any time, but they are reviewed only semiannually. The submission deadline for the second round of evaluations for 2016-17 will be: by the end of the work day (4:30 p.m.) on Friday, April 14, 2017. Interested parties may download the proposal guidelines at http://go.wlu.edu/communitygrants.

Proposals should be submitted as electronic attachments (Word or PDF) via e-mail to kbrinkley@wlu.edu. Please call (540) 458-8417 with questions. If an electronic submission is not possible, materials may be faxed to (540) 458-8745 or mailed to Washington and Lee University Community Grants Committee, Attn: James D. Farrar, Jr., Office of the Secretary, 204 W. Washington St., Washington and Lee University, Lexington, VA 24450-2116.

Quick Hits: Moroccan Tea with Fulbright Scholar and Foreign Language TA Imad Baazizi

“Before coming to the United States, I thought I would learn more about the American culture. But I’ve actually started to understand things I didn’t know or took for granted about my heritage, because I didn’t have the chance to see my own background from the outside.” Imad Baazizi, Fulbright Scholar and Arabic Foreign Language Teaching Assistant

Holiday Greetings from the Office of Alumni Affairs and a Hearty Thank You!

As we prepare to close the book on 2016, warm Holiday Greetings and thank you to W&L’s marvelous and loyal alumni. Your Association offers these highlights since June 30 as we strive to serve you.

AlumniOfc2015_web-800x533 Holiday Greetings from the Office of Alumni AffairsHappy Holidays from Alumni Affairs. Front row, from l. to r.: Kelly Martone, Molly Myers and Rosa Weeks. Back row, l. to r.: Tom Lovell ’91, Mary Webster, Sue Woodruff and Beau Dudley 74, 79L.

Strategic Plan

  • The alumni board and the campus office are great partners implementing Alumni 2020.

Chapter and External Programming

  • Over 600 volunteers make the chapters run successfully — Thanks!
  • We are actively supporting 78 chapters stage hundreds of events with increasing variety. Just over 80 percent of our alumni live in chapters rated healthy by specific metrics, thus sustaining the goal set by the Alumni Board in 2010. Numerous faculty, staff, coaches and administrators have visited.
  • The friendly competition of the Chapter Colonnade Challenge (C3) is generating chapter networking events (up significantly), community service and cultural activities (including a Boston Pops Holiday concert).
  • Our largest chapters in D.C. and Atlanta continue their diversity and inclusion efforts. Both have added a multicultural seat on the chapter board.
  • We sponsored a solid Chapter Leadership Conference with representatives from 17 chapters. A competition to create the most distinctive new event was won by Cumberland Valley, Maryland.
  • Welcome to the City events for 2016 grads in 19 chapters, up from seven just two years ago.

On-Campus Programming      

  • Another very successful Alumni Weekend in May for classes celebrating their 15th through 50th reunions. It was a banner year in attendance and giving, substantive programming and high-quality social events.
  • Young Alumni Weekend Oct. 21-22 saw record-breaking attendance, highlighted by the 5th and 10th class reunions. Over 200 undergraduate seniors joined the festivities Saturday night.
  • Multicultural events were successful during Alumni Weekend and Young Alumni Weekend.
  • We partnered with University Advancement to implement a multi-pronged approach to engage young alumni, including social media, the importance of giving, a new leadership giving plan and building class unity.
  • The Five Star Festival for those beyond their 50th reunions included the first ever 65th reunion, by the class of 1951!
  • Partnered with Athletics to sponsor the Hall of Fame ceremony; five stellar former athletes were tapped.

Campus Connections

  • Our alumni leaders-in-training group, Kathekon, is thriving and productive. They hosted a sentimental farewell party for President Ken Ruscio at The Village, the new housing for third-year student, on Dec. 6.
  • We launched a new, mobile-friendly Alumni Affairs website!
  • Substantial improvements to the speed and utility of Colonnade Connections, including social media sign on.

What’s Coming Up in 1Q 2017?

  • We are excited to bring W&L’s new president Will Dudley to a number of chapters.
  • As this communication arrives, we have launched registration for Black Alumni Reunion 2017 for March 3-4.
  • Richmond, Dallas and New York Chapters will stage local Fancy Dress

We are fortunate to work joyfully for this great institution. You make it easy by coming back, giving, volunteering, promoting W&L locally, living lives of integrity, and contributing to your communities.  We wish you a wonderful holiday and many blessings in 2017.  GO GENERALS!

W&L Magazine, Fall 2016: Vol. 92 | No. 3

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Fall-Mag-2016-Cover-400x600 W&L Magazine, Fall 2016: Vol. 92 | No. 3Fall 2016

In This Issue:

  • “A Good Place to Spend a Career” Ken Ruscio ’76 Reflects
  • “Kim Ruscio’s Tapestry”

3- Speak

  • Letters to the Editor

4 – Along the Colonnade

  • Consider Yourself at Home: The New Third-Year Housing
  • Show Me the Money: The Endowment Explained
  • Ward Briggs ’67 donates a James Dickey collection
  • Professor Gwyn Campbell trains a service dog
  • Geordy Johnson ’05 joins the Board of Trustees

18 – Generals’ Report

  • The 2016 Hall of Fame inductees

19 – Lewis Hall Notes

  • Linda Klein ’83L named ABA president

28 – Alumni Profiles

  • Founder Ingrid Easton Wilson ’06 Celebrates Campus Kitchen’s 10th Anniversary
  • Perks of the Parks: Sula Jacobs ’00 Promotes the Virtues of the National Park Service

30 – Milestones

  • Alumni president’s message
  • Beau Knows
  • Alumni news and photos
  • President Ruscio’s column

Nominate Your Fellow Generals

DYAA2016 Nominate Your Fellow Generals2016 Distinguished Young Alumni Award Winners Lyndsay Polloway ’06 and Charlie Yates ’06, ’10L

The selection committee of the alumni board, Michael McGarry, chair, is seeking confidential nominations from alumni. 

First, every other year this committee develops a confidential slate of potential nominees for the University board of trustees.  While we maintain lists and believe we are generally aware of loyal and accomplished alumni, please feel free to identify anyone you believe to be worthy of this highest honor by sending an email to Beau Dudley, executive director of alumni affairs at wdudley@wlu.edu

Second, each year the committee considers and selects winners of the distinguished alumni award at the annual meeting during alumni weekend.  The general criteria include: Service to the university, notable success in a career or profession, a reputation which reflects very well on the University, community and civic involvement, and true public service without regard to remuneration or title.   

Some preference is given for members of a class celebrating a five year reunion at that time. This year that includes the classes of 1967, 1972, 1977, 1982, 1987, 1992, 1997, and 2002.  

Please send any names you wish the committee to consider in confidence to wdudley@wlu.edu

To maintain the completely confidential nature of the committees deliberations, please do not mention your nomination to that person. 

If you missed this year’s Young Alumni Weekend, be sure to check out our recap here: https://www.wlu.edu/alumni-affairs/campus-events/young-alumni-weekend

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

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

What first interested you in stage management?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The most challenging?

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

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

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

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

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

How would you characterize your experience in one word?


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hometown: Iasi, Romania

Major: Sociology

Minor: Poverty and Human Capability Studies

Extracurricular Involvement:

  • MUSE
  • Venture Club
  • First Year Leadership Council

Off-Campus Experiences:

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by Louise Uffelman | luffelma@wlu.edu

“The Timeless Lessons of the Bernie Madoff Scandal”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Truevine” Author Beth Macy to Speak

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The panelists include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Faculty Focus: Dan and Irina Mazilu Building A Nanoscience Program

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

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

The Path to the U.S.

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

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

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

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

The Nanoscience Program

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

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

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

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

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

Spring Term Abroad

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

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

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

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

Sabbatical Plans

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

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

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

Extra-Curricular Activities

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

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

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

by Louise Uffelman | luffelma@wlu.edu

Classes Taught:

Irina, professor of physics:

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

Dan, associate professor of physics:

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

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

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

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

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

Ingrid Easton Wilson ’06

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jenny Davidson ’08

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– by Lindsey Nair | lnair@wlu.edu

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

— Lindsey Nair | lnair@wlu.edu

Read about the other Endeavor teams’ projects:

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

Public Policy: Pepe Estrada ’19 and Jason Renner ’19 International Perspectives, Sophomores Pepe Estrada and Jason Renner participate in public policy discussions at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s Public Policy Conference in Washington, D.C.

“I walked away with a rejuvenated sense of my political prowess as a Latino and gained a better sense of how I can utilize the American political landscape to my advantage.” — Jason Renner ’19

Denis “Pepe” Estrada Hamm and Jason Renner, both sophomores at Washington and Lee University, spent Sept. 13-15 at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s Public Policy Conference in Washington, D.C. The students received funding for the trip from the Virginia Foundation for Independent College’s Excelencia Initiative, coordinated through W&L’s Career Development Office.

Renner, who is majoring in politics and minoring in computer science, said, “I’m interested in eventually working in public policy and analysis, and, as a student of Latino ethnicity, I thought this was a great way to get involved a bit more. I wanted to get off campus and open myself to new opportunities.”

Every year, the conference assembles Latino leaders, federal and local elected officials, corporate and nonprofit leaders, and supporters to participate in timely discussions of major policy issues affecting the Latino community and the nation. As noted in the schedule of events, panel discussions included such key issues as education, STEM, the economy, work force, labor, health and immigration.

“At this conference, everyone seemed to be united in their efforts to advance the community, even if some of us disagree how to do so,” said Estrada, a computer science and economics major. “I wanted to learn from and meet leaders in the Latino community, and I was most interested in the efforts being taken to address the immigrant crisis in the United States — specifically, how entities were trying to help these people become citizens.”

Renner thinks they were probably the youngest present. “The general vibe that I got was that we were the only college students there. Attendees were mostly from the public and private sectors, but all brought a unique perspective of how to engage more of the Latino community in their various sectors.” He noted that there is a “phenomenal growth of Latino communities, and they have a lot of purchasing power. It will be interesting to see how our numbers can influence public policy.”

While this is an election year, and immigration is a hot topic, Renner said that item is actually ranked fifth on a list of issues that concern the Latino population. “While immigration is important, the expectation that it’s high on our list is a stereotype. We don’t vote from a single platform. What individuals are concerned about is equal opportunity, education, housing and so on.”

Being present at such a large event gave the two students an excellent networking opportunity. “This conference allowed me to develop connections with the leaders of my community,” Estrada said, “and to learn information about everything from corporate structure to immigration law directly from the people involved in those things.” While he made a number of connections, he’s most excited about a representative from Microsoft who asked for his business card and résumé.

Renner, who also lined up several telephone interviews for possible summer internships, said, “I walked away with a rejuvenated sense of my political prowess as a Latino and gained a better sense of how I can utilize the American political landscape to my advantage.”

by Louise Uffelman | luffelma@wlu.edu

Photo: Pepe Estrada ’19 (left) and Jason Renner ’19 attended the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s Public Policy Conference in Washington, D.C.

Changing Perspectives: Hannah Falchuk ’18 Changing Perspectives, Shepherd Intern, Bowery Residents' Committee, New York, NY

“The introductions to policy and ethics were instructive, but the lessons in trauma and humanity were invaluable.”

This summer the Shepherd Internship Program allowed me to join a nonprofit whose 800 employees encounter homelessness each day. I was part of the transit outreach and case management teams at the Bowery Residents’ Committee, an organization that provides housing and health services to the chronically homeless of New York City.

I worked with another Shepherd intern during the early daytime shift, leaving our Brooklyn College apartment by 4:45 a.m. to arrive at the Manhattan office at 6 a.m. We finished work in the afternoon, with nearly the whole day to explore the ample (free) concerts and parks in the city.

I needed neither a computer nor a desk. We were “in the field” each day at train stations, shelters, and hospitals in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and the Bronx. The BRC transit program works with transportation officials to conduct outreach in each of the city’s subway stations. Although housing insecurity is not always observable, the outreach team tries to talk to anyone in the station who shows physical or behavioral signs of homelessness.

The job was far from easy. Many of the people we spoke to did not want to leave the train stations, and our offers of service were routinely refused. I learned the importance of meeting clients where they are — whether that is actually stooping to the floor or figuratively taking on their fears — and building rapport for the day when someone is ready to accept our services.

Once a client is ready, he or she is placed into a transitional stabilization or health program, while a case manager begins the application for permanent or supportive housing. I was able to shadow case managers on client meetings, visiting shelters and nursing homes to talk about any social or health issues that arise while adjusting to a new living situation.

Seeing the path to housing from both the outreach and case management sides showed me the necessity of providing a reliable support system at every step of the process. We listened to some clients consider the possibility of leaving the subway stations and helped others carry boxes into their new apartments. Many clients spoke openly about struggles they were facing and about their frustration with the slow pace of housing applications.

One of my biggest takeaways from the internship, though, was realizing the complexity and my own lack of awareness of common mental health disorders like schizophrenia and depression. This internship gave me the chance to learn directly from men and women typically ignored or discredited by society. The introductions to policy and ethics were instructive, but the lessons in trauma and humanity were invaluable.

Hometown: Hockessin, DE

Major: Politics

Minors: Poverty and Human Capability Studies, Philosophy

Extracurricular Involvement:

  • Residential Life
  • Traveller
  • Real Estate Society
  • Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity
  • Compost Crew

Off-Campus Experiences:

  • Interned with the advocacy group National Community Action Foundation as part of the Washington Term Program (Spring Term 2016)
  • Interned with Bastogne Venture Partners, a social real estate advisory and investment firm in Philadelphia, PA (Summer 2015)

Why did you apply for this particular internship? I have been interested in supportive and transitional housing programs since visiting a unique housing program for people who have been released from prison and are homeless. I wanted to gain a better understanding of homelessness — how it is created, why it persists, and what systems are in place that might cause or prevent it. I also was grateful for the opportunity to do this in one of the most ethnically and economically diverse cities in the county.


How did your work apply to your studies at W&L? My poverty classes with Professor Pickett and Professor Brotzman (POV 101 and POV 102) gave me a social, philosophical, and historical context to poverty that I was able to consider and develop throughout the summer. Professor Hess’s Social Entrepreneurship course (BUS-381) helped me think more critically about the financial and practical operation of a social organization (whether non-profit or for-profit). I had recently finished the Professor Connelly’s Washington Term Program (POL-466) before arriving in New York, and the Madisonian perspective on competing interests followed me to my Shepherd Internship.

What was the most unexpected aspect of your Shepherd Internship experience? Everything I saw and heard in New York! I journaled in the park that was the real-life inspiration for the “valley of ashes” in The Great Gatsby and was a member of the audience for a free live taping of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. I didn’t quite master the social aloofness of the city (especially coming from W&L), and I had countless conversations with strangers and friends that showed me bits and pieces more of what New York City can be.

Post-Graduation Plans: I would like to work and write for a few years before entering law school or a public policy program. With that said, my ideas about graduate and career choices have grown in my first two years at W&L, and I am not expecting that to change for the next two!

Favorite Class: Professor Pickett’s course on Martin Luther King, Jr. (POV/PHIL 243) fostered some of the most engaging and practically applicable discussions I have had at W&L.

Favorite Campus Landmark: The rocking chairs outside of Holekamp Hall

Why did you choose W&L? The strong academics and tailored attention W&L provides are unbeatable, and — although I did fall in love with New York City — I knew that I would gain a completely different set of insights from going to school in a rural setting.

Why did you choose your major? Politics combines the history of groups, the economics of society, and the philosophy of power. I chose politics, philosophy, and poverty because the three disciplines inform each other in study and define each other in practice.

What professor has inspired you? The energy Professor Radulescu brings to theatre and literature is both contagious and inspiring. Professor Pickett has also helped me think about situations critically while also bringing my thoughts back to the solid, real-life question of “What are we to do with this knowledge?”

Advice for prospective or first-year students? Don’t be afraid to talk to people outside of your friend circles. Call an alum with a cool job, visit a professor you’ve heard about, or talk to a chef you see every day in the dining hall. There are a lot of wonderful people connected to this school, and we all share some common experiences because of Lexington and W&L. It’s never too early — or late — to build a friendship.


In Depth: Washington and Lee Launches Advanced Research Cohort (ARC) Pilot 12 exceptional students experience a unique summer program aimed at increasing retention in STEM majors.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Research and Mentorship

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beyond Research: Leadership and a Sense of Community

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The First Class of Cohorts, Back on Campus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Future of the ARC Program

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

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

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

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

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

by Drewry Sackett | dsackett@wlu.edu

A Day in the Life: Sonia Brozak ’17 Day in the Life, Johnson Opportunity Grant Winner, Art History in Florence, Italy

“I have been working on reimagining the historic city as it was when much of its art was in situ, originally placed in churches and homes rather than in museums.”

Throughout my time here in Italy, I have endeavored to understand Florence as both a modern city and as a product of the Renaissance. Florence is brimming with culture and Renaissance art, so it’s ideal for an art history student but can at times seem overwhelming given how much is here.

For my project, I have been working on reimagining the historic city as it was when much of its art was in situ, originally placed in churches and homes rather than in museums. A typical day for me starts off by heading to a gallery or church — I have a long list of places that I frequent — and taking notes on what art is there, who created it, where it might have been once, who might have commissioned it, and any particularly defining features. These sites can be difficult to navigate sometimes, as there can be long lines and Florence is packed with tourists in the summer, but it is absolutely always worth the wait and the crowds. By the time I get out, it’s usually lunch time, so I grab a panino at All’Antico Vinaio or Gusto Panino.

After lunch, I try to get to a library. I’ve been using the Syracuse University in Florence campus library as a resource to read up on works by some of the great art historians who have catalogued and written about art as it was before it was destroyed or moved. I usually read and research for about three hours before I head to my Italian language class, where I am slowly but surely learning to speak, read and write in Italian.

After my class, I’ll meet friends for appetitivi at Piazza Santo Spirito or somewhere in the city center, then we’ll sometimes find a place to go shopping or walk around. I have been living with a host family, so I eat dinner with them promptly at 7:30pm when my host mother makes the most incredible pasta, salad, fish or steak (and sometimes all four). Over dinner we talk about Italian politics, art, music or whatever has gone on that day — all in Italian. After dinner, I’ll meet friends and we will find a café or bar where we’ll relax for the evening and meet new people.

On the weekends, I have been traveling to new parts of Europe to see the world and to contextualize what I have been seeing in Florence. Thus far, I’ve visited Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, Munich, Prague, Rome, Milan, the Amalfi Coast, Venice, Padua, Bologna, Pompeii and Pisa. Along the way, I have been meeting up with many other W&L students who are abroad right now. It has been incredible to see how the network of W&L extends many thousands of miles beyond campus.

When I return to campus in the fall, I intend to use this summer’s research to create a digital humanities-based resource that will allow students of history or art to see Florence as it once was. Studying Renaissance Florence without being able to visualize the network of relationships, of which the city is composed, has been a challenge for me as a student. I hope to bring the perspective I have gained from seeing those networks in person back with me through cataloguing, researching, and sharing my work with others.

Hometown: New York, N.Y.

Majors: Art History and Medieval and Renaissance Studies

Extracurricular Involvement:

  • Executive Committee Secretary
  • Pi Beta Phi Sorority

Off-Campus Experiences:

  • Florence, Italy (summer 2016)
  • Münster, Germany (summer 2015)

Why did you apply for the Johnson Opportunity Grant? I came up with an idea for research that required me to go to Italy in order to see artworks in person, and I wanted to learn Italian. I realized that the Johnson Opportunity Grant would be the perfect resource to support my interests and to allow me to travel. There are very few undergraduate research grants for students of art history, so this was truly a unique opportunity.

How does your work under the grant apply to your studies at W&L? At W&L I study Medieval and Renaissance art history, so being in Florence where the legacy of the Italian Renaissance permeates the city is a dream unto itself. My work researching the city’s churches allows me to see many pieces of art in person that I have studied at W&L through photographs. It has incredible to see the connections between what I learned in the classroom and what I see walking around the city.

What was the most unexpected aspect of your grant experience? I never thought the W&L network would extend as far as it does! I’ve been able to visit W&L friends who are studying, working, or traveling all over the continent. That has made for some excellent weekend excursions outside of Florence.


Favorite W&L Activity: Monday night EC business meetings. 7:30pm every Monday in Early Fielding. 10 out of 10, would recommend.

What professor has inspired you? Professor Bent is a major inspiration. His enthusiasm for and incredible knowledge of art history are astounding.

Advice for prospective or first-year students? Learn a new language. Language classes at W&L aren’t easy, but they’re a great experience. You have to accept making a fool of yourself in front of a group of people, but you come out of it able to communicate with a whole new part of the world. It’s important to open yourself up to learning about different world views. Those courses have been the most humbling and rewarding.


A Day in the Life: Prakhar Naithani ’17 Day in the Life, Johnson Opportunity Grant Winner, North Carolina State University's Forestry Biomaterials Department

“It felt wonderful to be finding something new to learn every day, whether it was tweaking the experimental procedures or getting my hands dirty working on the lab Freeze-Dryer unit to fix a faulty vacuum.”

Paper. A term that many people my age might associate with corded telephones or fax machines. However, just in the U.S., we use over 69 million tons of paper and paperboard. Every year we publish two billion books, 250 million magazines, and 24 billion newspapers! And those numbers don’t even account for the variety of consumer goods made from byproducts resulting from pulping processes. This summer I had the distinct pleasure of working at the North Carolina State University’s Forestry Biomaterials Department to conduct research into the chemistry behind lignin fractionation. Before I got started, I had to learn the reason why lignin, a byproduct of the pulping process, was an important area of research.

Lignin is an organic polymer that forms the structural material for supporting plant cells and, after cellulose, it is the most abundant renewable carbon source on Earth. Yet lignin has been underutilized in commercial applications. It is produced at a rate of several million tons per year as a byproduct of the pulping process, but is mostly used as fuel for power and heat generation. One of the biggest problems with using lignin is that since it is a byproduct of making paper products, there are many types of it produced worldwide from different pulping processes. What’s worse is that lignin is a polymer with a complex chemical structure of varying sizes. To even begin to make novel materials with lignin requires, first, a fractionation process to isolate homogenous quantities of the polymer. That’s why I worked in Dr. Dimitri Argyropoulos’s lab at NCSU to develop a solubility model to predict what types of solvents would be optimal in a lignin fractionation process. The lab had already invented a simple and green fractionation process, but they wanted to dig deeper into optimization and figuring out why solvents used in the process worked well in fractionating lignin. That’s where my expertise in Chemical Engineering came into play, as I was assigned the task to figure out the science behind the fractionation process.

My daily goal was to always understand why I was doing what I was doing. That’s a critical part of not only working in a graduate level lab, but also as an engineer who enjoys learning what makes things tick. In this case, I needed to figure out the interaction of lignin in various organic solvent mixtures such as acetone and water. That job becomes hard when very little literature has been published on the chemistry of lignin solubility and current solubility theory relies heavily upon experimental data for figuring out the parameters of a specific processed lignin. Many days were spent in the lab playing around with various solvent systems and lignin to gather enough data to use solubility theory for my model. It felt wonderful to be finding something new to learn every day, whether it was tweaking the experimental procedures or getting my hands dirty working on the lab Freeze-Dryer unit to fix a faulty vacuum. Along the way I interacted with graduate students to coordinate lab equipment, learned experimental tips, and worked to organize and build an inventory of all the lab chemicals. In the end, I came away with the experience of conducting independent research and learning how to swim in the deep end called the life of a graduate student. Currently, I am working with Dr. Argyropoulos to analyze our solubility data and publish a paper based on the model I developed. You could say that it was an amazing opportunity and not at all “tearable” (paper puns)!

I would like to thank Prof. Kacie D’Alessandro for helping me apply for the Johnson Opportunity Grant and Dr. Argyropoulos for being a dedicated mentor and allowing me to research in his lab.

Hometown: Morrisville, NC

Majors: Chemical Engineering, Business Administration

Extracurricular Involvement:

  • Alpha Phi Omega
  • Sigma Pi Sigma
  • SEAL
  • LEAD Banquet Committee

Off-Campus Experiences: Particle Physics in Switzerland, NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates at University of Iowa

Why did you apply for the Johnson Opportunity Grant?

I wanted to strike out on my own and conduct research in a department that usually does not have a readily available funding source for outside summer researchers. The Forest Biomaterials Department at North Carolina State University offered me a chance to tackle a persistent problem present in the paper engineering industry, while allowing me to pursue graduate level research. The Johnson Opportunity Grant helped to cover my living expenses as I conducted research on lignin solubility.

How did your work under the grant apply to your studies at W&L?

I worked on modeling lignin solubility in different solvent systems. This requires a working knowledge of the different solubility theories, which depend upon dispersion forces, polarity, and hydrogen bonding. As a Chemical Engineering major, my summer research dealing with solubility required both physics and chemistry to understand what happens when various lignin dissolve in a solvent system. The science behind solubility touches upon topics discussed in my general chemistry and organic chemistry courses such as enthalpy and entropy. Furthermore, solubility will be discussed in my physical chemistry and thermodynamics courses in the fall.


What was the most unexpected aspect of your grant experience?

Definitely the amount of autonomy I was given in the lab to carry out experiments and guide the progress of the research. I got to set my own schedule day in and day out depending on what I needed to accomplish. It was humbling to be given such independence in research considering I am still an undergraduate student.

Post-Graduation Plans: Masters/PhD program in Chemical Engineering

Favorite W&L Memory: Learning how to swing dance by the Liberty Hall Ruins at night

Favorite Class: Particle Physics Spring Term — It makes for interesting small talk when you can reflect back on the time when a weasel shut down the Large Hadron Collider.

Favorite W&L Activity: Getting food in Coop with friends late at night, because nothing leads to a good conversation like loaded fries.

Favorite Campus Landmark: The Colonnade, which is the best place to play Lee Ball — a cross between cricket and baseball.

Why did you choose W&L? I felt that W&L made the best argument for how it could help me develop not only as a student, but also as a person.

Why did you choose your major? Chemical Engineering allows me to pursue many of my passions from physics to math to chemistry. It does not pigeonhole me in any one discipline and truly gives me the freedom to explore a more collaborative education.

What professor has inspired you? Professor Irina Mazilu and Kacie D’Alessandro in the Physics & Engineering Department have been wonderful mentors for me as I was looking for research opportunities. They provided me with the guidance and support that enabled me to land a research fellowship and the Johnson Opportunity Grant. They are wonderful people who push their students to be their best selves.

Advice for prospective or first-year students? Never give up. It sometimes takes many setbacks before the pieces fit into the puzzle that is navigating college. Always keep exploring, and once you have found your niche make sure to give it your all.

What do you wish you’d known before you came to campus? Interact with people outside of your class year. Talk with upperclassmen in your field of interest to get a lay of the land and never be afraid to ask for help. Everyone at W&L has something valuable to offer and you never know when a casual conversation will land you your next summer internship.


Interns at Work: Kassie Scott ’18 Equality and Human Rights Action Centre, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

“I have come to better understand the importance of civil society in acting as watchdogs, advocates, and changemakers.”

What attracted you to this internship?

I began to engage with questions of inequality and social justice at an early age. The suffering of others was never something I could ignore. This tendency of mine was crucial to not only my decision to attend Washington and Lee, which unlike many schools has a Poverty and Human Capability Studies minor, but also my decision to intern with the Equality and Human Rights Action Centre (ACTEDO) in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. ACTEDO’s pro bono network for human rights and focus on gender-based violence appealed to my interests in human rights and gender equality, two topics which inform my evaluation of institutions and everyday interactions.

How did you learn about it?

The Shepherd International Internship Program is unique in that you have the freedom to create an opportunity for yourself and the community with which you will work; because the options are endless, actually securing an opportunity requires persistence. Without the encouragement of Lorri Olan (Associate Director of Career Development and Pre-Law Advising Coordinator) and without the help of Fran Elrod (Associate Director for Community-Based Learning), I never could have secured an opportunity that suited my interests. Fran put me in touch with Kate LeMasters ’15, who spent a year in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, with the Cluj School of Public Health after graduation. Kate’s community engagement led me to this opportunity. Without Kate’s connections, I never would have learned about the opportunity to collaborate with ACTEDO through the Cluj School of Public Health’s community practice program; more importantly, without Kate’s example, I never would have thought to come to Romania.

What gave you an edge in landing this internship?

The framework provided by my minor in Poverty and Human Capability Studies, coupled with my experience working with organizations on campus that focus on gender relations, demonstrated a level of preparedness and passion necessary to work with an NGO that focuses on human rights and gender equality.

Describe your daily duties.

On a typical day, I walk an hour to work and arrive at ACTEDO’s office by 10 a.m. Once there, my supervisor and I make coffee while talking about the latest news, interesting books we have read, or our current frustrations with the state of the world. Because ACTEDO is a small NGO with a single office, the rest of my day is spent working as a member of a team, which means that I not only work on my projects but am also exposed to the important tasks the NGO’s key members tackle each day to keep the NGO running smoothly. We eat lunch as a team and decide when to head home as a team, so the schedule varies, but I usually head home between 5 – 7 p.m. My hour walk home is a necessary time to reflect and unwind. In addition to my work at ACTEDO, I recently started to volunteer, usually in the morning before arriving at work, with another organization called Thesaurus. This volunteer work affords me the opportunity to work firsthand with the vulnerable populations ACTEDO serves.

What are some tasks/projects you’ve been working on?

A week after arriving on the job, I started a project on human rights education in local high schools. After concluding this project, I began to familiarize myself with the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in preparation for the Romanian Development Camp conference we would attend in Bucharest (Romania’s capital). Now, I am working on position papers and policy briefs to submit to the UN’s Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Fittingly enough, I will conclude my experience, in a way similar to the way I started, by delivering a presentation to a group of students on Everyday Ethics: A Human Rights-Based Approach to Interactions with Ourselves, Others, and Our World. Once back in the states, I hope to start a crowdfunding project that will benefit Roma youth. Stay tuned.

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

At the beginning of my internship, I often worried about what I could contribute to the NGO, given that I had little experience with European Legislation on human rights. More often than not, I found myself answering with a timid “no” when asked if I knew about this legislative document or that human rights case. So it came as a huge relief when my supervisor one day said, “You have so many skills.” When I expressed doubt, she went on to describe how few people have the necessary framework when approaching human rights. Because of my studies with Professor Pickett in Poverty 101 and community engagement in Poverty 102, I was able to make valuable contributions to the NGO. When reading position papers and, especially, when debating issues at the Romanian Development Camp conference, I noticed the salience of my studies as a Poverty and Human Capability Studies minor. I found myself engaging with the key terms, concepts, and philosophers to which I was exposed in Poverty 101: Martha Nussbaum and the ten central capabilities, John Rawls and the veil of ignorance, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, absolute versus relative poverty, us versus them mentality, justice, and dignity, to name a few. Professor Pickett’s emphasis on asking better, or more critical, questions, coupled with Professor Eastwood’s approach to poverty as an open system, one that is complex and difficult to study, in SOAN 266: Neighborhoods, Culture, and Poverty, invested in me the patience and critical thinking skills necessary to make the most of my summer internship experience. And as an English major, I must conclude by stating what is obvious to me but grossly overlooked by many: the ability to write critically is arguably the most important skill in any field.

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

There is a quote I read this summer that I now think about a great deal. Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “There is much more happiness to be found in the world than dim eyes can see, if one calculates correctly and does not forget all those moments of ease which are so plentiful in every day of every human life, even the most oppressed.” Inspired by this quote, I hope to learn how to embrace pockets of happiness in my life and how to create pockets of happiness for others, even — and especially — the most oppressed.

What was your favorite part or perk of the internship?

Placed in a foreign country and outside of my comfort zone, I came to examine critically my philosophy. Did I have one? Did my thoughts about myself and others fully acknowledge human complexity? No longer numb to these questions, I realized that what we see and what we say tend to be reflections of ourselves, not reproductions of reality. To see the value in each person, I first had to see the value in myself. To do so, I began to take self-care seriously for the first time. To avoid being mistaken for a sellout, I needed to treat myself with compassion and respect. And in time, it became clear: if I want to be a human rights advocate, I need to advocate for myself; if I want to listen to voices that are so often silenced and ignored, I needed to listen to myself: body, mind, and soul.

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

While in Cluj-Napoca, I had the opportunity to interact with Roma, one of Romania’s largest and most disadvantaged minorities. I witnessed firsthand a clear violation of human rights after a visit to Pata Rât, an area located on the outskirts of the city near a landfill and chemical waste dump to which 300 people were forced to relocated after being evicted from their homes in 2010. Neither an immediate nor a simple solution to this human rights atrocity exists, but I have come to better understand the importance of civil society in acting as watchdogs, advocates, and changemakers, which gives me hope.

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

After observing the interplay between civil society and the government during my internship, I have a new outlook on what should be a reciprocal relationship between student organizations on campus and the Executive Committee. It is not enough to seek formal recognition and budget allocations from the Executive Committee. As student leaders, we need be engaged with our student representatives. A good way to do this: attending the Executive Committee’s weekly meetings to make certain this exchange occurs.

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

Be humble — in the application process, in the planning process, and in the workplace. Ask questions — seize the opportunity to learn something new from each person with whom you interact. Be ebullient — bring good energy to your work environment and your daily interactions.

Has this experience influenced your career aspirations? How so?

My internship experience has confirmed my interest in social justice. While I do not know to what capacity I will be formally involved with the non-profit sector, I know that as a Poverty and Human Capability Studies minor I will continue to advocate for human rights and engage with members of vulnerable groups. The big question facing me for life after W&L still remains: How can I do the most good with the talents I have and the opportunities I have been given?

Describe your experience in a single word.


Read more internship stories »

Kassie’s internship was made possible by the the Class of 1975 Shepherd Poverty Program Summer Internship Endowment. Give to an endowment supporting student summer experiences.

Hometown: Pennsville, NJ
Major: English
Minors: Poverty and Human Capability Studies
Organization Name: Equality and Human Rights Action Centre
Location: Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Interns at Work: Walker Brand ’18 Hardwire Armor Systems, Pocomoke City, MD

“I think the incredible alumni connections that W&L has to offer allowed me to have a chance at this awesome internship. When I talked to Emily, the president of Hardwire, she told me that her first job was given to her by an alum and that she would be delighted to be able to give another W&L student theirs some day.”

What attracted you to this internship? How did you learn about it?

I knew that I wanted to gain some experience in defense technology going into this summer. When Dr. Kuehner told me about a student that graduated a few years ago that was now the president of Hardwire, doing some really cool things in the defense realm, I looked into what she did and I thought it was awesome. Dr. Kuehner got me in contact with her and she ended up offering me the internship.

What gave you an edge in landing this internship?

I would say the only way I was able to land this internship was because of Dr. Kuehner. If I had not reached out to him to see if he had any connections anywhere, I would have never found Hardwire. I also think the incredible alumni connections that W&L has to offer allowed me to have a chance at this awesome internship. When I talked to Emily Tunis, the president and COO of Hardwire, she told me that her first job was given to her by an alum and that she would be delighted to be able to give another W&L student theirs some day.

Describe your daily duties.

My days were pretty up in the air, and I never really knew what exactly I’d be working on. However, my days usually consisted of collaboration with my boss on how to solve some of the day’s problems; maybe a little bit of work with Solidworks, designing parts; and typically some work in the fabrication shop, assembling what I’d designed.

What are some tasks/projects you worked on?

The main project that I worked on was with the Marine Corps. We had been given the task of trying to relaminate some windows that come from armored vehicles. These windows are several layers thick with glass and while in the field, the layers of the windows have separated (delaminated) and need repair. Our job was to evaluate the windows, fix what was wrong, and make sure they were ready to go back in the field.

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

I had to pull from what I learned in all my engineering classes, especially my CADD class with Dr. D’Alessandro. Every day, we used principles and terms that I learned in my engineering classes. While I learned a lot about engineering at Hardwire, if I hadn’t come in with a solid background in engineering, I wouldn’t have been able to collaborate as much as I did.

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

I really hoped to learn more about the design process that goes into making armor. Hardwire does some incredible stuff like making armor for military vehicles and police cars, making bulletproof handheld whiteboards for schools, and making the lightest body armor in the world.

What was your favorite part or perk of the internship?

Being in a place with so much technology and brain power is an awesome experience. With all the cool gadgets and armor all around the place, it is like walking in a candy store. Also, I was fortunate enough to be able to work the gun tunnel one day, and that was sweet. I got to pack the ammunition, load of different arrangements of armor to test, and actually shoot the armor.

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

I lived in Oak Hall, Virginia this summer, which is not much of a city. However, I learned a lot outside of work. Some of the biggest things I learned while living in Oak Hall, where I didn’t know many people and where there really aren’t many people, is how to enjoy a simple life and make do with what I have. In such a rural place, there aren’t a lot of big city amenities, and the internet is really spotty. It was actually a great blessing to be able to tune out of the chaos of a wifi-engrossed world for a little bit.

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

I learned a lot about engineering, but more importantly, I learned how to collaborate with people better and to analyze problems more thoroughly. My boss was a very smart man and he did a good job of considering every aspect of a problem before trying to figure out a solution. I was able to spend a lot of time collaborating with him on many different projects this summer, giving me lots of good experience.

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

For a student interested in doing anything over the summer, whether it is engineering-related or not, I would recommend they seek out their advisor or check out Colonnade Connections. We are so fortunate to have such knowledgeable and helpful advisors here at W&L mixed with such a wealth of resources. If there is something you want to do, research it, ask about it, and go for it.

Has this experience influenced your career aspirations? How so?

My experience definitely influenced my career aspirations. Going into this summer, I knew I wanted to do something defense-related, and now I know that I really enjoy working in the defense industry. I would even venture as far to say that I will probably do something similar next summer.

Describe your experience in a single word.


Hometown: Roanoke, VA
Major: Engineering
Minors: Computer Science and Mathematics
Company Name: Hardwire Armor Systems
Location: Oak Hall, VA
Industry: Defense
Position: Intern

Interns at Work: Gordon McAlister ’17 Sands Capital Management, Washington, D.C.

“Being a philosophy and business double major allowed me to point specifically to my academic curriculum and experience as evidence of certain capabilities Sands looks for, such as the ability to clearly and concisely express complex theses, the willingness to openly discuss and defend an opinion, and an aptitude for outside-the-box thinking.”

What attracted you to this internship?

During my job search, Arthur Olsen, W&L class of 2016 and a current employee at Sands Capital Management, recommended I consider Sands. I was immediately attracted to the opportunity because it was different than most that are available for undergraduates, which tend to be on the sell-side of finance, and because of the outstanding recommendations that Sands received. Sands focuses on an intuitive, bottom-up, long-term investment philosophy that resonated with me at the time that I was considering applying.

Sands Capital hired me as a tech team intern, so I think that being in the WLU Venture Club and my subsequent experience consulting with small tech startups, naturally gave me a bit more background on that industry group. I also think that being a philosophy and business double major allowed me to point specifically to my academic curriculum and experience as evidence of certain capabilities Sands looks for, such as the ability to clearly and concisely express complex theses, the willingness to openly discuss and defend an opinion, and an aptitude for outside-the-box thinking, coupled with a clear interest in how businesses work. It’s also no surprise that Sands often looks for W&L students and graduates, given that two of their top core values are integrity and trust.

Describe your daily duties.

Day-to-day work was entirely focused on two major projects that I worked on during the course of the summer. The larger of the two involved looking at a mid-cap software company. First I created a company-specific overview, after which I made a first pass at evaluating the viability of the company as an investment. Having decided that the company was interesting enough to warrant a deeper dive, I created a list of key questions that needed to be answered in order to fully develop a ‘buy, wait, or pass’ recommendation. From there I reached out to eight industry/company experts in order to address some of the questions surrounding the business I was looking at. During this time period I also continued to conduct my own research, leveraging a variety of resources available at the firm. Finally, I created a written investment thesis, and conducted a one-hour vetting session where everyone could openly discuss and challenge my investment case. The daily work ranged from hours of expert calls to financial modeling and forecasting, all alongside the challenges that I encounter in creating any thesis, such as constantly reassessing my own biases, playing devil’s advocate to myself, and properly synthesizing all of the research inflow from any given day with what I have already learned. Any given day started from 8:00-8:30 and ended between 5:30-7:30. No clocking in and out — I simply tried to manage my hours based on my efficiency and progress.

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

Professor Hoover’s managerial finance class was especially helpful in giving me a base from which I was able to create and understand financial models of companies. Much of what we did in that class directly translated into what I did at Sands.

What was your favorite part or perk of the internship?

My favorite perk was the Washington Nationals tickets that the firm would pass out, which were right behind home base. My favorite in office perk, without a doubt, was the top deck of the building, often utilized for happy hour on Friday, and overlooking the Potomac and all of Washington D.C.

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

Living in Arlington, about a mile from D.C., was a great experience. I learned a lot about our nation’s history, not to mention a lot about using public transportation.

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

My key take away from this job has been that nobody expects you to be an expert right away. All anyone expects is a genuine curiosity and willingness to learn. I think that’s the beauty of W&L and a liberal arts education — that while you gain a solid foundation of knowledge, what you really walk away with that makes you valuable is an ability and willingness to continually learn.

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

If you’re looking at a position like this, then you need to develop some basic knowledge. Take an accounting class or two, even if it’s not a major requirement for you. It’s also important to demonstrate interest, whether that’s through extracurricular activities or outside reading or messing around with a trading account. Being able to point to these types of experiences is crucial. Outside of these basics, focus on developing your own opinion. Whether it’s on current events, macro subjects, or individual companies, investment firms are looking for people who have thought through issues and developed their own point of view. Nobody expects you to be Warren Buffet from day one; they just want to see your potential to add your own voice and value to their team.

Has this experience influenced your career aspirations? How so?

Working at Sands has definitely had a profound impact on the way I view investing, so there’s no doubt that it will impact which jobs I will consider in the future. Given that I thoroughly believe in investing in select growth companies over the long term, the philosophy that Sands is founded on, you’re not likely to find me trading options or shorting stocks any time soon.

Describe your experience in a single word.


Hometown: Charlotte, N.C.
Majors: Business Administration and Philosophy
Company Name: Sands Capital Management
Location: Washington, D.C.
Industry: Finance
Position: Tech Team Intern

Student Leaders: Edward Stroud ’17 and Carley Sambrook ’17 Executive Directors, Washington and Lee Student Consulting

“WLSC’s diverse learning environment drew me to the organization; the group provides an amazing opportunity to develop a multitude of business, creative, leadership, organizational, and presentation-related skills.” – Carley Sambrook ’17

What first interested you in Washington and Lee Student Consulting? How did you get involved?

Edward: I first found out about WLSC during my first-year on campus and knew that it would fill a gap in my in my involvements by providing a co-curricular opportunity to hone useful business and interpersonal skills, in addition to providing multiple possibilities for growth. So, I immediately applied when the time came at the beginning of sophomore year and was fortunately selected to become a formal member.

Carley: I became involved with WLSC my sophomore year with fall recruitment. WLSC’s diverse learning environment drew me to the organization; the group provides an amazing opportunity to develop a multitude of business, creative, leadership, organizational, and presentation-related skills. Members are exposed not only to consulting, but also to marketing, finance, entrepreneurship, community-relations, and the law.

How were you formerly involved in WLSC, and what are some of the challenges and rewards you’ve found in that role?

Carley: I have been a project leader for the past two terms. Both experiences were excellent preparation for a role as Executive Director, emphasizing the importance of effective communication, team organization, and the promotion of shared ideas and approaches.

Edward: I was also a team project leader, where I managed the expectations of our client and ensured that team members were on task in achieving this goal. Some of the challenges included working around changes in our client’s needs. Also, our client lived far away, so communication and initiative were critical to remaining on task with our goals. One of the biggest rewards I have received from this experience is the ability to learn how to determine exactly what our client needs, give them an outline of our project goals, and develop our own work from there.

How do you divide your current responsibilities?

Edward: During the summer we shared the roles of project generation for fall term. We worked with our faculty advisors, reached out to alums and/or prospective clients, and decided together on which projects to pursue, as well as who will be the team leads and team members for each project. This fall we will work on promoting WLSC on campus in order to procure new members. From there we will hold interviews for the potential members. Once projects are underway, and their letters of engagement proofread, we will focus on programming our weekly meetings. Here, we will split responsibility, along with reminder emails to team leads. The rest of the semester will focus on continued programming events and making sure project leads stay on task.

Carley: It will be interesting to share our individual experiences with the group and plan the growth and development we wish to see for it in the coming year together. I think we will be a strong team.

How would you characterize your experience in one word?

Carley: Balance.

Edward: Variety. I would say WLSC has provided me one of the widest ranges of opportunities and experiences to grow from and learn. It truly is a co-curricular organization where my involvement is both influenced by and influences my classwork.

What has been the most rewarding experience with this organization?

Carley: As a project leader, the most rewarding experience is the release of the final deliverable to the client. The teams put so much work into their respective projects throughout the term. We are then able to look back at all that we have learned, the skills we have developed, and the connections we’ve made.

Edward: Recently, we had a check-in phone call with our client to review next steps and receive feedback on our work so far. It was extremely rewarding to hear them say everything was very well done and they were very impressed with our work. This was truly rewarding because we had to develop the work from scratch and ensure that it would be beneficial to the client. It was even more rewarding when they mentioned they would love to have WLSC back next year.

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

Edward: I’ve learned the art of being flexible with whom you are working with, both the client and other team members. Our project had to work around a variety of changes and problems, and we had to change our initial goals and project stages to better fit our client’s needs and expectations. Being willing to work with your client’s needs and make sure they are satisfied is crucial. Likewise, it is important to be flexible with managing team embers and keeping them on task. Going forward I have taken the lesson of always communicating clearly and frequently, as well as learning to take initiative on work.

Carley: I have learned the balance of being a leader and a follower, even when you are designated as the “leader” of the group. To be an effective leader it is important to know when to take charge, when to encourage a stronger work ethic, and also when to take a step back. Working with various members of WLSC has allowed me to experiment with this concept.

What advice would you give to students who may be interested in getting involved?

Carley: Come to our open meetings! This shows that you have an interest in the consulting industry as well as the organization. We love to recruit new members who make an effort to show their desire to be a productive member of WLSC.

Edward: Reach out! I would love the chance to talk to potential new members.

Carley Sambrook

Class Year: 2017
Hometown: Montréal, Canada
Major: Business Administration
Other Activities: Alpha Delta Pi Sorority (former Executive Vice President), Fancy Dress Committee

Edward Stroud

Class Year: 2017
Hometown: Shreveport, LA
Majors: Business Administration and Global Politics
Minor: Poverty and Human Capability Studies
Other Activities: Nabors Service League, President; LEAD, Service Chair and Executive Member; Outing Club, Trip Leader; Political Review, Editor; Bonner Program, Bonner Leadership Team member

Anything But a Gap Year: Rosalie Bull and Ian Treger Two first-year students take a gap year to live abroad and learn about a different culture -- and themselves.

“The world is so much bigger and so much more complex than I’d ever let myself imagine it to be. It turned my life into an exploration of people’s stories, and I hope I never lose that.” – Rosalie Bull ’20

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ian Treger ’20

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

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

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

-Louise Uffelman | luffelma@wlu.edu

Feels Like Home: The Village First Impressions, Brand new upper-division housing and remodeled apartments at Woods Creek give juniors plenty of reasons to welcome the new school year at W&L.

“I feel like I have space, and it is kind of removed but in the best way.” – Diana Banks ’17

Washington and Lee University students watched for a year and a half as a third-year residential community, The Village, steadily took shape on the back half of campus. On Labor Day weekend, as the bulk of the junior class began to settle into the new apartments for the 2016-2017 academic year, The Village came to vibrant life.

Students say the modern, spacious, fully equipped units — all in a neighborhood setting — make them feel as if they are living in off-campus housing. But they need only look out a window or step outside to spot the athletic fields, the footbridge and Old George, a reminder that they are right across Woods Creek from the rest of campus.

Many students said it is truly the best of both worlds.

“I feel like I have space, and it is kind of removed but in the best way,” said Diana Banks ’17, a community advisor (the upper-division version of an RA) in The Village. “That is what I was looking for this year.”

The new upper-division housing, which is made up of two residential groupings called Augusta Square and Liberty Hall Common, is the result of a unanimous vote by the Board of Trustees in 2014 that required all students to live on campus through the junior year. The $42 million project broke ground in March 2015 and created a lively residential environment on a slice of campus between the Law School and Liberty Hall Ruins.

The Village is comprised of nine apartment buildings and eight townhouse buildings. Each apartment has four single bedrooms and two bathrooms, while most of the three-story townhouses are made up of six-bedroom units with two full baths and three half-baths. Two of the townhouses each have seven bedrooms, three full baths and three half-baths.

When students moved in, they could not contain their excitement as they wandered through the apartments and discovered not only spacious bedrooms and ample bathrooms, but also state-of-the-art kitchens, furnished living rooms, porches and laundry nooks with full-size washers and dryers that do not require piles of quarters.

“Look, I can control the temperature in my own house!” exclaimed Rachael Miller ’18, as she examined a thermostat in the hallway outside her bedroom. “That is so exciting because it’s nothing I’ve ever been able to do before. I feel like a real grown-up now.”

Parents who helped their students move in were just as pleased with the accommodations. “This is usually what you get after you graduate — or maybe 10 years later,” said Karen Hall, who dropped off her son, Daniel Hall ’18.

Some parents were even a bit jealous. Hayden Combs ’18 reported that his mom coveted his new kitchen, with its modern appliances, granite countertops and dark wood flooring. “She was like, ‘This is nicer than my kitchen!'”

Because university planners wanted The Village to be more than just an on-campus apartment complex, they conducted focus groups with students to determine how to build a housing area that incorporates the comfort and privacy of home with opportunities for socializing and community involvement. As a result, the neighborhood also includes a restaurant, coffeehouse/pub, a fitness center, a dance/exercise studio and common areas for studying and meetings.

The outdoor spaces at The Village are just as inviting and functional as the indoor areas.

The large lawn in the center of Liberty Hall Common is meant to encourage outdoor play and to serve as a location for student events, such as the Sept. 8 low-country boil that will celebrate the official opening of The Village. Augusta Square is the site of the two side-by-side buildings that house the eateries and other common areas. Between those buildings is a courtyard with tables, propane fire pits and rocking chairs.

These common buildings and the courtyard were intentionally positioned with an unparalleled view of Wilson Field, where football and men’s lacrosse games take place. The Village is also adjacent to the field hockey and soccer fields. Whether they are sipping local beer and wine from the new pub, having dinner in the courtyard or hanging out on one of the private balconies, students will have a skybox-quality view of sporting events.

“We’re hoping that this will really assist with boosting sports attendance and fan participation,” said David Leonard, dean of Student Life.

Augusta Square will also overlook a new outdoor pavilion that is currently under construction on the Law School lawn. The pavilion, which will host live music and other events, is scheduled to be completed by Homecoming, which is the weekend of Oct. 21.

Finally, The Village also neighbors W&L’s new natatorium, which is still under construction but is scheduled to open in February. The natatorium will contain a 40-meter pool, as well as locker rooms, a wet classroom and spectator seating.

In October, landscaping at The Village will be completed with the planting of some 170 trees and 400 shrubs. Randolph Hare, director of maintenance and operations for the university, said these plants cannot be placed until October because nurseries will not guarantee the stock if they are planted too early in the season. The selection of trees will include showy species, such as redbuds and dogwoods, which will contribute greatly to the seasonal beauty of campus.

“We generally try to use native plant material and also try to give consideration to what gives us the broadest range of color for the maximum amount of time,” Hare said.

Everyone involved in planning The Village was pleased by the pristine new construction, but the sense of satisfaction was enhanced when students arrived and started adding personal touches such as patio furniture, wind chimes and colorful corn hole platforms. “You can already feel the sense of community, with people putting their rocking chairs out on their porches,” said Tammi Simpson, associate dean of students and dean of juniors.

Dean of Students Sidney Evans said it has been a joy to hear from students living at The Village, and that their reactions have been overwhelmingly positive.

“The move in went flawlessly,” she said, “and I think the most fun thing for me has been to encounter students as they have moved in, to see their reaction and to have them tell us that we got this right. They are very, very excited about the opportunities that this is going to give them to interact with their classmates.”

The Village isn’t the only spiffy new housing on campus this year. Woods Creek Central, one of three buildings that make up the Woods Creek Apartments, has been completely remodeled to include new kitchens, flooring, bathroom fixtures, ceiling fans and fresh paint. Evans said the university will gather feedback and consider remodeling the other two buildings in the future.

Ralston Hartness ’17, a community advisor living at Woods Creek Central, lived in Gaines last year. He said that having a large, updated apartment with his own bedroom makes it nearly impossible to compare the two experiences.

“There is just a sense of freedom here,” he said, “and there is more opportunity to relax.”

– Lindsey Nair | lnair@wlu.edu

Dining at the Village

The entire Washington and Lee University community is invited to experience Dining Services’ new eateries at The Village. Named Fieldside, these new venues consist of Food Side Café and Fire Side Café. Both will be open as of Sept. 9.

Food Side Café will offer cooked-to-order late lunch and dinner options from a menu that rotates every two months. It will open with La Cantina, a Tex-Mex-themed menu of burritos, tacos, loaded nachos and similar fare. Future themes will include Mongo Fresh (Asian), Bada Basil (Italian), Fire House Grille, and Wraps ‘n’ Bowls. Food Side will also sell build-your-own burger and chicken sandwiches with hand-cut fries. Food Side Café will be open Monday through Friday from 4 to 8 p.m.

Food Side’s sister establishment is Fire Side Café, which offers great stadium views and, when the weather cools down, a cozy fireplace. Fire Side will be both a coffeehouse and a pub, and the pub options will eventually revolve around locally made and sourced craft beer and wine. Diners at Fire Side can enjoy sports bar menu items such as burgers, wraps, salads, pizza and wings. Best of all, Fire Side will be open late at night for those needing sustenance to burn the midnight oil. Fire Side’s hours are: Monday through Thursday, 7:45 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. to midnight; Friday, 7:45 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m. to midnight.

All of the new dining venues accept W&L general debit, flex dollars, cash and major credit cards.

By the Numbers

8: Townhouse buildings
9: Apartment houses
30: Seats at Fieldside Restaurant
200: Number of workers on site at the height of construction
338: Number of beds in The Village
359: Building modules that made up the development

Not So Sleepy: 48 Hours in Lexington With two new hotels, a half dozen new eateries, and a thriving music scene, Lexington has awakened from her nap., by Amy Balfour '89, '93L

With two new hotels, a half dozen new eateries, and a thriving music scene, Lexington has awakened from her nap. And now that she’s earned a spot on a brand-new brewery trail, she’s also ready to party.

Haven’t been here in a while? You might be surprised by the convivial vibe. Gone are the empty storefronts and quiet streets. Instead, sidewalks bustle with indie shops, live music jams, farm-to-table eateries and craft beer purveyors. So come on down for a long weekend and use this guide to invade the newest hot spots in the city affectionately dubbed “Lex Vegas.”

Thursday Afternoon

For a bird’s-eye view of the downtown scene, climb past the oversized photo of Robert E. Lee to the breezy terrace at Rocca. This Italian restaurant is perched on the second floor of the new Robert E. Lee Hotel. From this lofty perch, you can see who’s wandering Main Street. On sunny days, the terrace is a fine spot downtown for happy hour. On cooler nights, small groups can huddle around the terrace fire pit.

There has been a hotel or group housing on the site since the 1790s. Restaurateur and business owner Ugo Benincasa, a first-generation Italian immigrant, opened the 39-room boutique hotel in the fall of 2014. The six-story building, which dates to 1926, provided subsidized housing before Benincasa purchased it in 2011. North-facing rooms on upper floors share expansive views of the region, sweeping in the campuses of W&L and VMI.

Thursday Night

The place to be on Thursday night is the Writer-in-the-Round music sessions at The Palms. The brainchild of musician Graham Spice, an audio engineer and instructor at W&L, the weekly concerts feature three singer-songwriters. The sessions are a collaboration between Spice and Jeff Ramsey, who bought The Palms in 2014.

Ramsey, who also owns restaurants in Staunton and Harrisonburg, was a Palms bartender in the late ’80s. As an owner he has added modern touches, from a point-of-sale computer system to a more expansive menu, but the overall look remains the same.

“It just needed some TLC and attention;’ said Ramsey. “I didn’t want to mess with the integrity of what The Palms stood for [in the past]. Something that has been here 25 years or 40 years … you don’t really want to mess with a whole lot.”

The hot brown sandwich is still on the menu, but the baskets of free popcorn? Gone. A decision made before Ramsey arrived. And to keep crowds polite, The Palms now closes at midnight.

Friday Morning

Like a true Italian cafe, Pronto Caffe & Gelateria sells a little bit of everything. In the morning, step up to the counter for fresh croissants and scones, homemade breads and top-notch lattes. Later in the day, grab a gourmet sandwich to go or settle in for a glass of wine or Italian beer. The big draw is the gelato. Owners Meridith and Franky Benincasa (he’s Ugo Benincasa’s son) use a complex hot-process method to create silky gelatos that rival the best in Rome. Free samples are encouraged.

The Benincasas opened Pronto on the ground floor of what is now the Robert E. Lee Hotel in 2012. They imported the minimalist furnishings, as well as the coffee and gelato equipment, from Italy. You’ll likely see a soccer game playing on the big-screen TV.

What’s driving the energy downtown? Franky Benincasa thinks the 2008 market crash pushed a reset button for the city, creating opportunities for young entrepreneurs. The new hotels are also a force. “This is not a big town. So if you have 200 people downtown, who all have to find a place to eat, that might be a drop in the bucket in a big city;’ said Benincasa. “But here that’s a lot of people.”

W&L is also playing a role in downtown’s revitalization through new town-and-gown initiatives. Benincasa is a fan of the Get Downtown project, which started last year. During this first-year orientation event, resident advisors take incoming students to downtown shops (like the Shenandoah Attic) and restaurants (like Blue Sky Bakery), which ply them with food, goodies and coupons.

Get Downtown is a partnership between W&L and Main Street Lexington (www.mainstreetlexington.org), a volunteer-driven organization established in 2013. It is part of the national Main Street program, started 35 years ago to revive fading downtowns. Funding for projects comes from private donations, money-raising ventures, and the city. Today there are more than 2,000 Main Street communities across the United States, and Lexington won designation as a Virginia Main Street Community in March 2016.

Led by Stephanie Wilkinson, executive director; Burr Datz ’75, past board president; dedicated local entrepreneurs; and other volunteers, Main Street Lexington has also spurred downtown’s recent boom. A morning stroll reveals its aesthetic successes: bright flower boxes and an artsy bike rack or two. This June, it spiffed up the alleyway between Main Street and the McCrum’s parking lot with colorful plantings.

Shops and Sidewalks

As you walk the red-brick sidewalks, look for the Righteous and Rascals of Rockbridge County sidewalk pavers (www.rrrockbridge.org). Added in 2014, these engraved granite bricks tell the stories of residents and visitors who’ve had an impact on the city, from Meriwether Lewis to Patsy Cline, from
a suspected witch to the country’s first streaker.

And the storefronts? In 2013, downtown had 16 vacant spaces. Today there is just one. Through the windows of old favorites and new ventures, you’ll see stylish women’s apparel, colorful lunch bags, funny tea towels, bright hammocks for hikers, wide-brimmed summer hats, and artisan edibles, from fancy cheeses to gourmet chocolates. The Bookery and Books & Co. are still keeping everyone well-read. Downtown’s newest shops include fashion-forward Gladiola Girls and the Cabell Gallery, a fine arts gallery featuring contemporary regional artists.

Erin Hutchinson is a familiar face to many younger alumni from her stint in the W&L Admissions Office. These days, however, you can find her presiding over the buzzing community center known as the Stitchin’ Post. The longtime quilter had been selling her pieces at local events like the Rockbridge Community Festival; talking to her buyers, she realized Lexington was ripe for a fiber-arts hub.

“I invited anyone who created with fiber to use my shop as a place to sell, as well as a place to teach and a place to gather with like-minded people;’ she said. “Within just a few weeks of opening, I had over 100 local people selling their work in the shop, and I haven’t looked back’.’

Hutchinson, who’s also the better half of Adam Hutchinson, W&L’s basketball coach, offers summer camps and after-school programs for kids, plus “Yarn Tastings” and “Sip & Stitch” (BYOB) for grownups. Dymph Alexander, retired from the Music Department, holds “Office Hours” for those needing a little extra help with knitting and crocheting. Several other W&L employees past and present also are Stitchin’ Post regulars.

“It awes me that I can be open for eight hours and not spend more than 15 minutes alone here in a given day;’ marveled Hutchinson. “I guess I wasn’t the only one looking for a creative community.”

For products created by W&L alumni and students, step into Old Lex Mercantile, on Nelson Street. Opened by Betsy and Lai Lee in 2014, the shop is dotted with shelves and tabletops dedicated to small-batch goods and specialty products. One display spotlights ‘Chups fruit ketchups, created by Matt Wallace ’06 and his wife, Kori. Another features Vern Clothing, a socially conscious apparel company co-created by Matt Kordonow ’16.

The Lees, who moved to Lexington from northern Virginia, purchased the building in2013 and started a small-business incubator called Start Here. Old Lex Mercantile is a Start Here initiative. To help new businesses launch and thrive, Start Here offers several options inside the shop, including month-to-month leases.

The Lees also run their own pop-up inside the store, selling imported olive oil and vinegars, pasta sauces and wine. They sell easy-prep gourmet dinners as well. For visiting alumni and others who need to make a conference call, scan a document, or use Wi-Fi, the Lees rent private work space in the basement.

Before the Lees, the most recent tenant of the space was internationally famed artist Cy Twombly ’53, who used it as one of his local studios before his death in 2011. The building sat vacant until the Lees moved in. “He would do these huge canvasses;’ said Betsy, “and you could see the outline and the splatters. There was splatter all over the floor and splatter all over the utilities sink.”

Friday Lunch

Curious about what W&L students are eating for lunch these days? Step inside the Blue Phoenix Cafe and Market. With a coffee table, central couches, a few used books, a handful of four-tops, and a communal table, the former home of Healthy Foods Market is looking cozy. And that’s the goal of Amenie and Damon Hopkins, who opened the vegetarian eatery in March.

“The living room in the middle — it’s not very practical, but it’s the idea of community,’ said Amenie, who worked at the Counter Culture Cafe at Healthy Foods before opening Blue Phoenix. (Healthy Foods, the beloved Lexington institution, closed this past winter.) “To just sit and talk to one another, and really connect. It’s so easy to become distant, that whole ultra-connected paradox. Particularly for my generation and the one up-and-coming, we’ve never known life without computers and screens’.’

The cafe brings this collaborative spirit to its business practices, selling easy-prep meals from The Red Hen restaurant and cheeses selected by Cheese to You, both downtown enterprises. And after lunch, you can check out Earth, Fire, and Spirit Pottery, the new business next door.

Hopkins attributes much of downtown’s revitalization to an influx of young citizens with new ideas. “What I see with my peer group is that a lot of us moved away for a while, and then we ended up coming back. And we’re bringing with us all those experiences.”

Friday Afternoon

A one-hour stroll from downtown loops past several construction sites. From the corner of Main and Washington streets, walk north toward VMI. That cavernous building on your right? VMI’s new Indoor Training Facility, expected to open in November 2016. A new pedestrian footbridge across the road links the building to a parking lot beside the post.

The Miller’s House Museum at Jordan’s Point opened in May. It traces the history of transportation at the point, previously a hub for road, river and rail traffic. From the museum, the Woods Creek Trail rises through the woods along the back campuses of VMI and W&L. When the trail reaches the W&L Law School, follow East Denny Circle to Wilson Field. The new third-year student residences, called the Village, overlook the stadium. The adjacent natatorium is scheduled to open in February 2017.

Follow the footbridge to the main campus. Remember duPont Hall? The renovated building now houses the Center for Global Learning.

Friday Night

Don’t tell Jamie Goodin ’10 that Lexington is boring. The “Parks and Recreation” fan doesn’t have time for your lack of imagination. ”A lot of my contemporaries were telling me, ‘Oh, there’s nothing to do in Lexington’. I said, ‘That’s totally false’. In the past two years, there’s been a huge explosion in nightlife and live music.”

Goodin, W&L’s digital engagement manager, returned to Lexington from D.C. four years ago. Disenchanted with the sense of disconnectedness he felt in northern Virginia, he was determined to become involved with the Lexington community.

As a member of Main Street Lexington’s board, Goodin (now the board president) spreads the word about events using social media, websites and more traditional avenues such as newspapers and flyers. The events calendar on the Lexington, Buena Vista and Rockbridge County tourism website (www.lexingtonvirginia.com/events), Goodin said, is the best place to find out what’s going on.

Julie Messerich ’91, who moved back to Lexington a year and a half ago, agrees with Goodin’s assessment. “Downtown is happening!” said Messerich. “The food is so much better — as are the beer and wine options. Restaurants are catering to the alumni, college parents and tourist crowds in terms of higher-end dining and lovely places to hang out’.’

One of downtown’s most exciting developments is the return of live music. Goodin, who also serves on the Lime Kiln board, gives a nod to Blue Lab Brewing Co. for spearheading the reappearance of songwriters and acoustic groups. On Friday nights during Live@The Lab, bluegrass, newgrass, old-time and acoustic shows bring locals and university staff to the Blue Lab taproom. Tom Lovell ’91, W&L
associate director of alumni affairs, and Bill Hamilton, W&L biology professor, opened the scrappy but inviting brewery in 2010.

Blue Lab is a stop on the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail (www.beerwerkstrail.com), which launched in May. This sudsy path flows past a dozen microbreweries stretching from Harrisonburg south to Lexington. For an overview of some of the best craft breweries in Virginia, step up to the Virginia map painted on the wall at Brew Ridge Taps, a new craft beer bar on Nelson Street. Featured breweries are marked on the map with a bottle cap.

Vicki and Stacy Stevens opened Brew Ridge Taps in the fall of 2015, after moving here from North Carolina. “We had to drive all the way to Roanoke or Charlottesville to get the beer that we’d been drinking;’ said Vicki. The couple thought that was crazy. “Why are we making this drive? Let’s open something in Lexington;’ said Vicki.

With Trivia Tuesdays, Cards Against Humanity competitions, open mic nights, and live music every other Saturday evening, Brew Ridge Taps is a boon for downtown. And that’s without mentioning its 18 craft beers on tap. From the bar’s wall of craft beer, brought in from breweries across the U.S., you can build a six-pack to go. As for noshing, sandwiches here are served on homemade waffles and called wafllewiches.

Other Friday night options downtown? For a free wine tasting, stroll into the back room at Washington Street Purveyors between 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. During First Fridays Lexington, held the first Friday of the month, galleries share artwork, wine, snacks and good cheer between 5 and 7 p.m. Afterwards, catch live music at Sweet Treats restaurant or Blue Lab. If you’re in the mood for scares, join a Haunting Tales ghost tour, a 90-minute walking tour of downtown’s spookiest sites.

Saturday Morning

Overnight guests at The Georges can indulge in yogurt, fresh fruit, made-from-scratch pastries and juices at the inn’s European-style continental breakfast, or request a full-service hot meal.

The swank boutique inn fills two buildings on Main Street: the Alexander-Withrow House and the former McCampbell Inn. The five-room Alexander-Withrow house, on the corner of Main and Washington streets, is called the Washington Building. The 39-room Marshall Building overlooks Main Street.

Richmonders Ted and Ann Parker Gottwald opened The Georges in 2014. The inn is named for generals George Washington and George Marshall. As a senior in high school, Ann Parker stayed at the Alexander Withrow house with her future in-laws during VMI football weekends. Ted, a cadet in the VMI Class of 1983, was a team member.

After two of their sons enrolled at VMI, the Gottwalds purchased the inn. “Lexington is just such a neat town that we decided when it came on the market to look at it;’ said Ann Parker. During renovations, she spearheaded the inclusion of modern amenities like heated towel racks and heated floors in the bathrooms.

Make reservations well in advance. “It really books up quickly if it’s a big weekend for W&L.” said Gottwald.

Adventuring in Rockbridge County

Downtown Lexington isn’t just a hub for dining and shopping. It’s also a convenient base camp for outdoor adventures. Hike House Mountain. Cycle the Blue Ridge Parkway. Kayak the Maury and James rivers. Backpack the Appalachian Trail. Or simply flyfish the mountain creeks.

One problem for visitors? Knowing all of their outdoor options. To help, the Lexington, Buena Vista and Rockbridge tourism office shares details about local adventures, along with expert recommendations and outfitter listings, on a brand new website: www.rockbridgeoutdoors.com.

One new adventure with W&L connections is the Little House Mountain Trail. James Dick, W&L’s director of student activities and outdoor adventures, designed the trail. It was subsequently built by then Woodberry Forest students Perry Hammond (now a member of the W&L Class of 2018) and Billy Osterman pursuant to a community service grant. The trail switchbacks up the southern slope of Little House Mountain, which means you no longer have to bushwhack to the summit.

Before heading out, pick up a daypack at Walkabout Outfitters, cheese and crackers at Cheese To You, wine and nibbles at Old Lex Mercantile and Washington Street Purveyors, and fancy sandwiches at Pronto and Blue Sky.

Saturday Afternoon

With the Blue Ridge Mountains shimmering in the distance, the patio at Devils Backbone Brewery on Route 11 is a pretty place to sip a post-hike beer. A stop on the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail, it houses a popular taproom and an ever-growing production facility. Anheuser-Busch is acquiring the business.

A word of warning if you return downtown for a snack: You might be so impressed by the artisan edibles for sale that you end up buying the store. Just ask W&L Athletic Director Jan Hathorn, now the proud co-owner of Cocoa Mill Chocolatier. ”I’ll never forget the first time I ever put that chocolate in my mouth,” remembers Hathorn of the dark chocolate raspberry truffle. “I was like, ‘This is stellar’.”

Recognizing a great business opportunity, Hathorn and Laura de Maria bought Cocoa Mill in 2006. What does she enjoy most about owning the shop? “Hearing people exclaim how much they enjoy the products we produce.”

Chris and Patty Williams bought Sweet Things Ice Cream Shoppe in 2003. The ice cream is still homemade, and Oreo is still on the menu. You’ll also find their products at The Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, and at the Red Fox restaurant at the Natural Bridge Hotel. (In a recent development, Natural Bridge itself is in transition from a private property to a state park.)

Saturday Night

Tucked beside the lobby inside the Marshall Building at The Georges, TAPS doubles as a Lexington living room. Couches, armchairs and a fireplace flank the bar in the intimate space, which fills quickly most nights with chatty groups of locals. Visiting alumni swell its ranks on weekends.

“A parent at W&L told me, ‘There’s nowhere to just go meet another couple and have drinks and sit down, without waiting in line for a reservation; ” recalled Ann Parker Gottwald. “So that’s why we made the lobby bar area more of a living room.”

The name TAPS gives a nod to the bugle ceremony that follows military ceremonies. (It’s also a combination of Ted and Ann Parker Gottwald’s first names.) An eclectic mix of sandwiches, burgers and snacks are washed down easily with draft craft beers, which rotate regularly. Specialty cocktails are also a highlight.

TAPS is the more casual of the two restaurants inside The Georges. Across the street, Haywood’s draws crowds with nightly live music and chef-driven menu specialties. Haywood’s is named for Ann Parker’s father, a lover of live piano music and Dixieland jazz. Floor-to-ceiling windows, coffered ceilings, and prominent moldings provide a stylish backdrop.

And the vibe? “I don’t think we’re going to do what Bob Dylan did in 1965: plug in and go electric,” said general manager David Groce. “We want people to enjoy the environment, but we also want people to enjoy each other and be able to have a great conversation.”

So Yeah, Lexington Rocks!

From the intersection of Main and Washington streets, Lexington looks much as it did in the late 1800s. Power lines are buried, brick buildings flank the sidewalks, and VMI looms on the north edge of town. W&L peeks into view to the west.

Reasons for the recent reboot are many. The Georges and the Robert E. Lee Hotel have spurred more foot traffic. Bar owners and forward-thinking musicians have energized the nightlife scene with game nights and live music. Dedicated citizens are keeping downtown looking sharp, while passionate artisans are introducing new products. W&L is connecting with new programs and initiatives as well as downtown offices.

But the most noticeable driving force is the collaborative spirit. The Red Hen, co-owned by Stephanie Wilkinson and chef Matt Adams, is a prime example. The restaurant supports nearby farms as well as local craftspersons and food artisans. “It’s really about bringing a whole community together to showcase and embrace and enhance what we have locally,’ said Wilkinson. “So it’s not just what’s on the plate, but the plate itself.”

How sold on Lexington is downtown resident Jamie Goodin? Very. ”A couple of months ago I sold my car. I just use my bike. It rocks.”

Marine Corps to CEO: John Warren ’03 Alumni at Work, From the Marine Corps to CEO of Lima One Capital

“I am very driven to create a great company. The bigger the company gets, the more opportunity I have to impact the markets and neighborhoods in a positive way.”

John Warren was a student at Washington and Lee University majoring in politics when the United States was attacked on 9/11. The Al Qaeda-led attack on our homeland made an impact on Warren that changed his future forever.

When he graduated in 2003, Warren planned to immediately join the U.S. Marine Corps. However, with no openings available, he deferred that plan and joined a fast-track management program with Michelin. During a one-year stint in Atlanta as a territory manager for Michelin, his desire to join the Marines never left him.

His chance came in October 2004. He became a Marine, completed Officer Candidate School and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. After more training, he became an infantry officer, commanding the First Platoon, Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, Eighth Marines, stationed in Ramadi, Iraq.

“Ramadi was known as the graveyard of Marines,” said Warren. A third of his platoon earned Purple Hearts for combat injuries, but “in seven months, we saw an 80 percent decrease in attacks” against the U.S.-led forces.

His experiences with Lima Company and another deployment on a Marine Expeditionary Unit that traveled throughout the Middle East, left lasting impressions on him that surfaced later in his post-military life as an entrepreneur.

Back in Atlanta, Warren decided that creating his own business was the best track for his civilian career. He had flipped a house once before and enjoyed seeing the transformation that takes place when a rundown house becomes a newly remodeled home for a family.

He would need capital to get started, and luck played a role. He was introduced to someone in Atlanta and the two “met over bagels one morning.” He pitched his idea, and the man offered to get him started with a $1 million investment, to be paid back at 8 percent interest.

“This was just after the housing market crash,” Warren said. Thousands of houses in Atlanta were going into foreclosure, and he thought his timing and the investment were enough to get a rental fund started. However, when he went to foreclosure auctions, “I was always outbid.”

He needed more information, so he asked other investors how they were getting the money for their purchases. Most said they were using their own cash, “but it didn’t make sense to me that they weren’t leveraging their capital.”

He discovered that because of new regulations passed by Congress after the housing bust, banks were not lending money to residential real estate investors. Warren began to research the regulations and discovered that 20 percent of homes were being sold to investors, but there was no good source of funding for them. Lenders, called “hard-money lenders,” offered some funding, but at high interest rates and fees. Most investors stayed away from them.

He went back to the investors and asked them if there were “a professional company with fair rates,” would they consider borrowing to increase their business. The answer was yes. “I saw a huge need,” said Warren. He realized the best use of his investor’s loan was to start that type of company.

He formed Lima One Capital, named for his former Marine platoon, and made nine loans with his $1 million. “I learned the business by providing safe, low-risk loans,” he said.

Much of his time became devoted to raising capital. He “picked up a hedge fund in Florida,” and in 2011, he moved the business to his hometown of Greenville, S.C., and focused on growing the company.

Lima One now lends in 43 states and has 60 full-time employees in six offices in D.C., Charlotte, Miami, Atlanta and Orlando, in addition to Greenville. “We have been named the fastest-growing company in South Carolina,” Warren said.

The Marine Corps taught Warren many lessons that he has put to use in his company, especially how to evolve his tactics as situations change. His years at W&L also provided a values base for his life and company. His most challenging classes, U.S. Foreign Policy and the Vietnam War with Barry Machado, who also served as his thesis advisor, taught him “to analyze complex situations, to think critically and to find innovative solutions.”

Warren transferred to W&L for his junior and senior years. “Lots of my high school friends and family went there, and everyone loved it,” he said. He noted that the social life and excellent job placements convinced him W&L was a better fit for him than the college he was at. A Marshall Scholar, he devised a thesis that combined his love of military, history and family. He researched and wrote about his grandfather’s World War II B-24 bomber squadron. In addition to interviewing his grandfather, Warren found and interviewed 30 other surviving members of the squadron.

He returned to campus recently to serve as a judge for the Business Plan Competition and was “blown away by the quality of students at W&L and the entrepreneur classes.”

He also noted the connections within the W&L alumni body. His wife, Courtney, joined Dan Einstein ’83 at Marsh and McLennan Agency. It was Einstein who conducted the alumni interview with Warren when he was applying to the university. “That speaks volumes about the W&L network,” he said.

Today, Warren and Courtney are the parents of 8-month-old son Stevie. At Lima One, he is focused on growing his business even more. As the housing market has improved, the company has diversified into loans for rental property, as well as commercial and multi-family loans with the goal of serving all real estate investors.

“I am very driven to create a great company. The bigger the company gets, the more opportunity I have to impact the markets and neighborhoods in a positive way,” he said.

Uncommon Courses: Mad Men

Abby Thornton ’17 had never seen a single episode of Mad Men when she signed up for Professor Robin LeBlanc’s spring term class, The Politics of Race and Gender in Mad Men.

“It’s a lot of binge watching for homework. My friends get so mad at me,” said Thornton.

Mad Men, which airs on the cable network AMC, ends its seven-season run this month. The drama has enjoyed a large and ardent following and earned critical acclaim. Set in the 1960s and 70s, it tells the story of advertising executive Don Draper and his ongoing quest for identity. The show deals with complex themes, including the role of women and minorities in American society.

For LeBlanc, who teaches gender and politics in addition to courses on political philosophy, global politics and East Asian politics, the themes in the show resonated with her, both in terms of what she teaches and her own experiences growing up in the 1960s and 70s.

“I loved the show, and I kept finding that what I was watching on Mad Men was really relevant to what I was teaching in my gender and politics course,” said LeBlanc. “I’d use the examples in class and finally a student said, ‘You should offer a course on this’.”

LeBlanc had other curricular obligations during the fall and winter terms, but Washington and Lee University’s spring term provided the perfect four-week format to try something new. When the Mad Men course opened for registration, it filled instantly. At one point, there were 54 students on the waitlist.

“People were writing long, long letters about how much they loved Mad Men,” said LeBlanc. “There were English students, film students, advertising students, gender studies students — it seemed like people from every area of campus had some connection to the show.”

Washington and Lee isn’t the first university to offer a course based on the television series. A history professor at Northwestern University used the show as a touch point to talk about America’s post-World War II economy. A media studies professor at Whitman College wrote about her experience teaching Mad Men: Media, Gender Historiography in an essay for Slate.

Several texts have been written in the past few years to help academics and the general public better understand the themes at play in the hit show. LeBlanc assigned her students the book, Mad Men, Mad World: Sex, Politics, Style, and the 1960s, along with readings on masculinity and whiteness. The challenge, says LeBlanc, is that — with the show only ending this spring — no one’s yet written a comprehensive criticism that covers the show’s entire canon.

Students might have thought a course based on a television show would be easy, but LeBlanc’s syllabus quickly dispelled that notion. The workload is intense. Each night, students are required to do about two hours of reading and watch at least three episodes of the show. Each Sunday night, when a new episode airs, they have to watch that too.

“I’m on the phone with my mom, telling her that I have to go because I’ve got to watch Mad Men,” said Katie Monks ’18. “Because I’ve never seen the show, I’m playing catch up. There was one day I watched 13 episodes.”

LeBlanc says that the challenge for her has been trying to decide which episodes to assign for homework. She’s relied on critical essays as well as online wikis to help identify the most evocative scenes in what now totals 92 one-hour episodes of television. When her students watch an episode, LeBlanc wants them to consider the cinematic choices the show’s director and writers are making and what those choices say about gender and power — both in the 1960s and today.

For the final project, LeBlanc has divided the class into groups and assigned each one to write a screenplay for a pilot episode of a television series that, like Mad Men, would serve as part entertainment and part social criticism. Recently, she hosted a “mocktail party” at W&L’s Belfield guest house, where the students pitched their ideas to their classmates.

“In Hollywood, you’d need to be able to pitch your idea to a producer in just a minute or two at a cocktail party, so that’s the idea,” LeBlanc said.

Students came dressed in 1960s-inspired outfits and sipped on virgin mojitos, Tom Collins and brandy Alexanders. As they pitched their ideas, LeBlanc encouraged them to think about dramatic tension and conflict and to consider what happens to characters when they come up against societal barriers like money, status, race or gender.

“These issues matter when they impede a worthy person’s quest for something beautiful,” said LeBlanc.

Interns at Work: Aswasan Joshi ’17 Jobscience, San Francisco, CA

“One of the best things in a start-up is that every day is different. I get to involve myself in every facet of the business and actually make a difference with everything I do.”

What attracted you to this internship?

The opportunity to be in the playground of global technology, San Francisco, while getting a hands-on start-up experience at Jobscience was extremely appealing. I had a chance to talk to the VP of Product at Jobscience before accepting my internship. He clearly laid out what projects he wants me to work on, how those projects will help the business move forward and also what I will get out of the internship.

How did you learn about it?

I learned about the opportunity through LexLink. I also had a chance to meet the CEO while I was studying abroad in London last year.

Describe your daily duties.

One of the best things in a start-up is that every day is different. I get to involve myself in every facet of the business and actually make a difference with everything I do. Wearing many hats in a fast-paced, start-up environment, I learned how a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and subscription-based business works while working on enhancing the product itself. I was encouraged to attend every meeting — from daily sales gathering to weekly bug scrubs. And I reported to the VP of Product Development at the end of every day to make sure I was making progress on my work.

What are some tasks/projects you’ve been working on?

In a subscription-based business like Jobscience it is imperative to reduce the churn rate (customer attrition) and make sure the customers are deriving value out of the product. My first task was to implement Customer Usage Tracking System. This allowed us to discern what features are being used by our customers and, more importantly, what features are not being used. This information helped prioritize developmental efforts to better cater to the customer needs. More often than not, there is a gap between what engineers think is cool and what customers actually find value in. I was able to identify our largest users of the product —information that we did not know before, and idenfity accounts that were no longer active, which were removed from the clusters to save us disk space. I was also tasked with determining specifications to a Bug/Feature Tracking System to enhance our customer experience and ensure continuity in the recurring revenues, and working on a test application for our new feature working with API urls and SQL scripts.

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

Studying engineering and computer science in a rigorous liberal arts curriculum has provided me not only with technical aptitude, but also a breath of knowledge that enables me to use that technical ability to understand and relate to economic, political and cultural realities. It has allowed me to work effectively and empathize with professionals in other disciplines. Having strong interpersonal and communications skills while being able understand and adapt to new technologies has been valuable.

What was your favorite part or perk of the internship?

Just being in the Bay Area is itself a great perk. Because of the incredible responsibility that was delegated to me, I was making a real impact on the company.

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

Living in The Golden City has been a lot of fun. From burritos in Mission and First Fridays in Oakland to Karaoke bars in Japan town and nightlife in North Beach — it has been an incredible summer. There is always so much to do and see in the city. I will also miss the amazing weather and also the view of the Bay Bridge from my table.

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

Now that I have a solid experience in the industry, I can start relating concepts that I have and will learn in my classes, and think about solving real-life problems, creating value and hopefully making money in the process. Also, while in the city, I have been able to reach out to W&L alums in the industry and really learn from their experiences and career paths they took.

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

We have an incredible alumni base that are ever so ready to work with us. Connecting with them can definitely open a vast array of opportunities. Also the folks at Career Development are always ready to help in any form — specially now that we have an Assistant Director who is solely focused on STEM programs.

Has this experience influenced your career aspirations? How so?

Incredibly so. I have been able to recognize not only what I am good at, but also what set of skills I still need to acquire and work on to be successful in the industry. Also, I realized I really enjoy being client focused — getting out there assessing customer needs and weighing them against the engineering limits at play, and truly recognizing and enhancing value in products.

Describe your experience in a single word.


Hometown: Kathmandu, Nepal
Majors: Physics-Engineering and Computer Science
Company Name: Jobscience
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Industry: Software
Position: Product Development

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

“What I loved about it was it was such a wide range of projects. And that is exactly what sustainability should be.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

— Louise Uffelman | luffelma@wlu.edu

Above: W&L Fly Fishers partnered with the VMI fishing club and the local Trout Unlimited chapter to restore Moore’s Creek, upstream of the Lexington reservoir. Solar chargers in action on campus.

My W&L: Kiki Martire ’15

“To say that studying abroad in the South Pacific radically reshaped my understanding of knowledge and poverty would be an understatement.”

To say that studying abroad in the South Pacific radically reshaped my understanding of knowledge and poverty would be an understatement. One weekday afternoon early on in the semester, a couple of friends and I were sent on a local Samoan bus to explore. We rode around the main island of Upolu for nearly an hour before getting off at a random village stop and realizing we were most certainly lost. With only a little language training under our belts this early in the term, we were thrilled when a Samoan woman approached us who was visiting her family from Australia and spoke perfect English. With typical islander hospitality she brought us to her home to meet her nieces, sister and sick mother, and invited us to stay as long as we liked. “Stay for dinner! Spend the night,” she crooned with a smile that looked as if she had never been so excited to have company in her life. This might seem odd to Americans, the idea of a complete stranger beckoning you into their home and offering to feed you, but for Samoans, and Pacific islanders in general, giving to others is a way of life–the only way of life.

I was overwhelmed by the family’s kindness and it wasn’t long before my friends and I were playing with the children and eating the most delicious bananas “fa’i” we had ever tasted, picked just for us off of trees in their backyard. As we said our goodbyes to catch the next pasi back, I caught my foot on a rock, stumbled forward, and broke my sandal. The shoe was clearly broken and unwearable. The stone laden road was as hot as lava in the blistering midday sun and I would have had to hop on one leg all the way back unless my friends somehow managed to carry me. The family, however, seemed completely unconcerned with my dilemma. In fact, they weren’t even looking at us. As soon as my shoe broke they all began searching for something, bent over picking through the stone rubble on the ground. We stared at them bemused until one of the sisters jumped up, gleefully holding a bent, rusty nail in her hand as if she had found a diamond. The woman grabbed the sandal from my hand and began manipulating it with the nail. They say necessity is the mother of invention, but it would have never occurred to me to fix a shoe from discarded rubble in the street. Sure, I had five tala to buy a new pair of shoes in town, in fact back at my room I had three more pairs, but I allowed these excesses to make me wasteful, lazy, unresourceful. This family had something more useful than surpluses of money or possessions… ingenuity.

When I returned from abroad I was afraid of two things. First, that when people heard I spent four months in developing Pacific islands, the only thing they would be concerned with asking me is how “poor” the people or villages were. Second, that they would see the photos of me with friends and fellow students from the South Pacific, families I lived with, or the children I grew to love like nieces and nephews, and see just another obligatory photo of Americans abroad spreading images of colonialist propaganda and racism. The pervasiveness of that dominant story about Americans abroad became more apparent to me during and after my travels, and I do not want to add to that void. I did not go to Samoa, Fiji, or American Samoa to somehow “fix” or improve their way of life. I went to learn. I went because I believe that there are values barren from the American way of life that cultures vastly different from our own can offer us. I went because as a Women’s and Gender studies student, I wanted to observe the lives of women and their access to leadership and equality halfway around the world. But more than anything, I went to test my ability to grow as a person, to step far outside my comfort zone, and respectfully come to understand the wisdom of people quite different from myself.

Hometown: Baltimore, MD

Major: English

Minor: Women’s and Gender Studies minor

Extracurricular Involvement:

  • The Reeves Center
  • Bystander Training
  • Kappa Delta
  • Repertory Dance Company
  • Pre Law Honors Society (formerly GILS)

Off-Campus Experiences:

  • Men Can Stop Rape, Summer 2014
  • Office of United States Congressman Ander Crenshaw, Summer 2014
  • Pacific Communities and Social Change: Samoa (SIT Study Abroad), Winter & Spring 2014
  • Greenberg Traurig LLP, Summer 2013
  • Virginia Program at Oxford, Summer 2012

Post-Graduation Plans: Ideally, I would like to attend graduate school in the next few years. My dream is to work for an organization that focuses on issues of gender equality, but only time will tell.

Favorite W&L Memory: The last three years I have had the pleasure of dancing with the W&L Repertory Dance Company. Last fall I was cast in three pieces, each choreographed by close friends of mine–Kelsey Witherspoon, Alee Johnson and Taylor Hiden. To be able to creatively contribute to a friend’s project, watch her grow as a choreographer and artist, and grow as a dancer myself… I can’t imagine a more rewarding, fun experience.

What’s something people wouldn’t guess about you? From a young age my family noticed I had a very strong sense of social justice, I was always very bothered when one person was treated less fairly than another. It’s easy to judge a book by its cover, but I refuse to be defined or blinded by my privileges. Whether that is the opportunity of a college education, of American citizenship, white privilege, heterosexual privilege… I never want to get too comfortable accepting the world’s inequities as inevitable.

Why did you choose your major? I was lucky enough to study English abroad at Oxford University the summer following my freshman year. After that experience there was no going back–I was hooked.

Advice for prospective or first-year students? Take as many different classes as you can. I knew applying to colleges that I wanted a strong liberal arts education, but I never would have imagined the sheer breadth of the education I have received at W&L. I have been able to take classes in 16 different departments outside my major. I don’t think I would have had an academic experience as diverse or extensive anywhere else.

Welcome to W&L: Our Global Campus

An International Student Perspective on Washington and Lee.

Tea for Many: The Senshin’an Tea Room

Students study the Japanese way of tea in W&L’s Senshin’an Tea Room

My W&L: Naphtali Rivkin ’15

“In my four years here, most of my ‘classrooms’ were not in a classroom.”

I’m about to confide something potentially controversial. The most important part of your college career is the time you spend in the classroom, and I loved being in the classroom at W&L. But in my four years here, most of my “classrooms” were not in a classroom. My Russian 403 class was literally one-on-one with my professor. We usually met for lunch the local Co-Op to discuss the books I read and the essays I wrote. I wrote the bulk of my two honors theses in the Lexington Coffee shop on Washington Street, and met with my advisors in their offices to seek advice. I once had a politics class in my professor’s living room. We played with his terriers while we disagreed about Jane Austen.

I think I loved being in the classroom so much at W&L because the classroom is not limited to a single room, here. Once upon a time, the classroom used to be a place where a professor would descend the proverbial mountain and deliver to you new information.Today, all that information is available on the Internet. So the professor at Washington and Lee must be more than just a messenger and the classroom here must be more than just a place to receive information. At Washington and Lee, my classrooms have always been a space where we could fulfill George Washington’s imperative to “seek truth and pursue it steadily.” And I am thankful that my professors here have, like Robert E. Lee, instructed “spiritual and moral sciences.”

Some things you can’t learn without doing — sometimes experience is the best professor of all. So I guess my classroom at Washington and Lee hasn’t even been limited to my time with professors. I had classes about leadership at VMI through the Army ROTC program, but I learned the most about leadership by being on the executive committee of a Greek life organization at W&L. Greek life at W&L teaches students how to be leaders and active participants in civil society in a way no textbook can teach. I also learned from my experiences abroad in Russia, so I guess my Washington and Lee classroom wasn’t even limited to Lexington. When I was abroad in Russia, I met royally opulent oligarchs and migrant Tajik workers. When people in Russia saw my American passport, some wanted to kill me, and others wanted to marry me. There is no textbook that can teach you how to deal with these situations. I figured it out on the fly, and I learned.

Writing this piece, weeks from graduation, I am sad to leave Lexington. I’m not a native Virginian, but this place has become my spiritual home. When professors trust you to work independently — outside the confines of a four-walled classroom — it frees a self-disciplined and self-motivated student to explore and learn while staying grounded in the practical concerns of his family, community and country. Between the Fulbright and my Army post, I will be in Europe, near Russia, for the foreseeable future, because being over there will help preserve what I love over here. One day, when I can’t travel the world anymore, I hope Virginia welcomes me back with a small plot of land somewhere near Washington and Lee.

Hometown: Teaneck, N.J.

Majors: English and Russian Area Studies

Extracurricular Involvement:

  • Writing Center Tutor
  • Washington and Lee Equestrian Team
  • Honor Advocate
  • 91.5 WLUR
  • Army ROTC
  • Sigma Nu Fraternity

Off-Campus Experiences:

  • Semester in Moscow, Russian State University for the Humanities (Fall 2013)
  • SSIR Grant to Latvia (Researching the affects of ethnic self-identification on political practice), Summer 2014
  • Washington and Lee’s nominee to the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress 2014-2015
  • Intercollegiate Studies Institute, Honors Fellow. 2012-2015

Post-Graduation Plans: I commission as a Military Intelligence Officer in the US Army Reserve and go to Latvia for my research Fulbright.

Favorite Lexington Landmark: When I leave my house on Houston Street for a run, turning right takes me into town and turning left takes me into the country. If I turn left, I have to climb this really steep hill for about a mile. But the view at the top is worth it. I’ve traveled in Central Asia, Europe, and the US, but the view from the top of that hill at sunrise or sunset is the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen. It reminds me why I fell in love with Virginia. The land here has a spiritual quality. When I run to the top of that hill — exhausted — I feel like I’ve earned communion with everyone who loved this place before me. When you see it, you’ll know what I mean.

What professor has inspired you? Professor Kary Smout. On paper, he’s my English major advisor and English Honors Thesis advisor. But in reality, he’s been more than that over the last 4 years. He has been my personal mentor, and I’m happy to call him a friend. My advice to incoming students is to take professors, not classes. Find a professor who is a good person and take whatever he or she is teaching. You will be spoiled for choice at W&L.

Around the World: Myrna Barrera-Torres ’15 Around the World, ISA Chile at UAI, Vina del Mar, Chile (Fall 2013), John Cabot University, Rome, Italy (Winter/Spring 2014)

“Both of my semester abroad experiences, Chile and Italy, allowed me appreciate the beauty of the world in a new light.”

Both of my semester abroad experiences, in Chile and Italy, allowed me appreciate the beauty of the world in a new light. My experience in Chile was like being in paradise with its diverse geography, from the driest desert to the end of the world in Patagonia. The port city of Valparaiso was one of my favorite places to be–murals and artwork are part of the city’s character. From the walls of buildings to the sidewalk stair cases, the city has a unique vibe that is incomparable to any other place.

Italy was like a photographer’s heaven. Through my camera lens I took in the beauty of country, such as the night strolls down Trastevere, the countryside of Verona, the artists painting the skyline of Rome and the small shop owner sharing his knowledge of his culture. After living in Rome for four months I learned to embrace their culture. Most importantly, I was able to step out of my fast-paced lifestyle, slow down and enjoy the small things in life.

Around the World: Scott Sugden ’15 Around the World, School for International Training: Biodiversity & Natural Resource Management , Fort Dauphin, Madagascar

“My four months in Madagascar were by far the most personally challenging of any I’ve spent during my studies at Washington and Lee.”

My four months in Madagascar were by far the most personally challenging of any I’ve spent during my studies at Washington and Lee. They made me question my concept of what the “third world” really is, evaluate the relationship between poverty and happiness, and adjust to a culture far different from my own. I was able to improve my French, learn some of Madagascar’s African dialect, and see some of the greatest natural wonders in the world.

Some 80% of the species living on Madagascar exist nowhere else, and in my travels I saw many of them. I had lemurs jump on my shoulders; I was the first white person in over a decade to climb to the top of a mountain where I did my independent study; I spent a week living in a community of subsistence farmers; I learned about the challenges of protecting a unique fragile environment in a country where feeding yourself can be a challenge. There’s no way I could have had those experiences without going abroad, and I wouldn’t trade that time for the world.

For anyone interested in studying abroad, I’d say do it, and worry about things like double majoring or majoring/minoring later. After my time in Madagascar, I realize that I’d far rather spend a semester abroad and graduate with one major than spend all four years on campus and graduate with two. Ten years from now, the abroad experience is going to mean far more to me than multiple majors. I’d also say think about studying in a less “traditional” study abroad country, like Madagascar or other places in African and Asia. You’ll be able to get around western Europe by yourself if you ever feel like going there. I would never have made it to Madagascar if I wasn’t supported by an outside program that showed me how to get around the country.

Around the World: Cathy Wang ’15 Around the World, W&L Winter Term Abroad, Cathy Wang '15 at University College, London

“I sincerely believe that everyone should have the same opportunity to step out of their comfort zone, and to experience everything that the world has to offer.”

In the short five months that I have spent in London, I have fallen truly madly deeply in love with the city. Samuel Johnson said it best, “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” This is a city full of life, and the possibilities are truly endless. It seems as if each day I discover more to do and more to experience.

During my time abroad, I also realized something—being able to travel is truly a privilege. Far too often, I have walked past elderly people begging on the streets, women with children calling out for help. Sometimes I wonder: what could I have done with the money that I have spent on my travels that could have helped these people that I pass by every day? For now, I can only cling on the hope that I shall be able to help them out at some point in the future, with everything that I have learned while on exchange.

So, it is with a grateful heart and fond eyes that I look back to my experience abroad. Thanks to my time in London, I had the chance to watch West End shows, cultivate my passion for photography, improve my dancing skills, enjoy afternoon tea and scones, travel to various countries in Europe, and above all, establish life-long friendships. I sincerely believe that everyone should have the same opportunity to step out of their comfort zone, and to experience everything that the world has to offer.

Around the World: Eric Schwen ’15 Around the World, Johnson Opportunity Grant, Paris, France; Madrid, Spain; London, UK

“While the conferences were very interesting and informative, I enjoyed experiencing the culture of the countries I visited even more.”

I really loved my trip around Western Europe. The main purpose of the trip was to present my research at two physics conferences in Paris and Madrid. It was an excellent opportunity for me to present my research in a truly professional setting and learn about the presentation and publication process in general. The conferences were both international, but they were made up of mostly European physicists. It was very interesting to talk to the Ph.D. students from around Europe and compare the structure of European graduate programs with that of American programs. I am planning on going to graduate school next year and I am in the process of deciding where I want to go and applying to graduate schools. It was great to get the perspectives of current Ph.D. students and recent graduates.

While the conferences were very interesting and informative, I enjoyed experiencing the culture of the countries I visited even more. While staying in London, Paris and Madrid, I visited the major monuments and museums, ate the local delicacies, met the local people and experienced their culture. I gained even more from the experience because I traveled alone. I was forced to meet new people and make new friends every day, and it was one of the most enjoyable and rewarding parts of the trip.

I would highly recommend that other students take the opportunity to study abroad or go on a trip such as mine. The conferences were a great experience and will be very helpful as I prepare for and apply to graduate school. The exposure to other cultures was amazing as well. Do not hesitate to go, even if you are on your own.

Around the World: Samuel Campbell ’15 Around the World, W&L Spring Term Abroad, Business in Ireland

“It allowed me to branch outside my comfort zone and really see the world from a different angle.”

Being in Ireland for a month is an experience that I will never forget. It allowed me to branch outside my comfort zone and really see the world from a different angle. We got to see the Cliffs of Moher, Aran Islands, Bunratty Castle, a music festival in Kinvara, tour many different multinational corporations, the Guinness factory in Dublin, and enjoy everything that Ireland had to offer. I would definitely recommend this class to everyone who wants to spend a month in an incredible country and have a wonderful time.

My W&L: Craig Shapiro ’15

“Faculty and staff have supported me in my pursuit of fostering a greater global perspective to bring back to Lexington.”

Over the past few years, the world has become smaller to me, as Washington and Lee has helped to exponentially expand my horizons. Faculty and staff have supported me in my pursuit of fostering a greater global perspective to bring back to Lexington. Being selected as a Leyburn Scholar and Woolley Fellow helped me gain archaeological field experience and cultivate my archaeological skillset in Europe and the South Pacific.

I am privileged to have lived in native villages while exploring the islands of Fiji and Samoa, done fieldwork on an island with no electricity, running water or cars–let alone roads–in southern Vanuatu, learned the hard way that hitchhikers have to walk when nobody picks them up, and excavated at classical Roman sites on an island off the Eastern coast of Spain and in Southwestern Bulgaria. In traveling abroad, I made countless new friends from a diverse array of backgrounds. My willingness to put myself in unfamiliar situations has nurtured my ability to adapt and my love for both exploration and discovery, while providing me with opportunities to forge relationships that created richer experiences while abroad.

My adventurous habits have fueled my growth as an individual and brought me leaps and bounds closer to being prepared for life after W&L. In this sense, I find myself in a unique position as an aspiring Peace Corps Volunteer. I saw first-hand in Samoa and Vanuatu the incredible impact volunteers can have on a community and personal reward they gain from their service. I also witnessed the issues of working in the developing world and the difficulties of living in some of the most remote, culturally different places on Earth.

As a result, my remaining time in Lexington has been focused around sharing my newly widened perspective and urging other students to similarly expand their horizons. Obtaining a greater understanding of the world is an essential part of a liberal arts education, and the communicative character of the W&L community promotes getting to know one’s professors and peers on a personal level. This is one of the main reasons that I chose W&L, and I’ve been fortunate to gain so much from its collaborative nature and benefit from relationships that will surely continue after I move on from my undergraduate experience.

Hometown: Penllyn, PA

Major: Sociology & Anthropology

Extracurricular Involvement:

  • Archaeological Field Technician, Washington and Lee University Department of Sociology and Anthropology
  • Communications and Alumni Affairs Chair, Hillel Executive Board
  • EC Student Representative, Washington and Lee University International Education Committee
  • Peace Corps Campus Ambassador
  • Fiddle and Vocals, Washington and Lee University Bluegrass Ensemble
  • Work Study Supervisor, Washington and Lee University Hillel
  • Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity

Off-Campus Experiences:

  • Research Assistant, Australian National University and the Vanuatu Cultural Centre, Tafea Province, Vanuatu
  • American Research Center in Sofia Archaeological Field School at Heraclea Sintica, Bulgaria
  • The Sanisera Archaeological Institute for International Field Schools: Dig in the Roman City of Sanisera and GIS applied in Archaeology in Menorca, Spain
  • Pacific Communities and Social Change: Samoa (SIT Study Abroad)
  • Swimming Instructor/Swim Coach, Great Neck Park District
  • AIPAC Policy Conference Washington and Lee Campus Representative

Post-Graduation Plans: Peace Corps, followed by graduate school for archaeology

Favorite W&L Event: Alumni/concert weekend during Spring Term

Favorite Campus Landmark: The rotunda balcony in Gaines Hall

What’s your passion? Discovery

What’s something people wouldn’t guess about you? I play fiddle in a bluegrass band

Why did you choose your major? To gain a better understanding of people, culture, and the world

What professor has inspired you? Professor James Flexner taught my first two anthropology courses and invited me to help with the Southern Vanuatu Mission Archaeology Project.

Advice for prospective or first-year students? Be open-minded and study abroad.

What do you wish you’d known before you came to campus? Pencil sharpeners are pretty hard to find on this campus so you should have your own.

My W&L: Joe Yankelowitz ’15

“W&L has allowed me to satisfy my need to wander.”

One day during fall term of my sophomore year, I sat down at a table in the Center for International Education with Kip Brooks and Prof. Boetsch. I came to discuss studying abroad in Italy the following year.

“You should consider this program,” Prof. Boetsch began. “It’s called ‘The Umbra Institute.’ It’s in Perugia.”

“I’ll give it a look. Is there a link to apply on the study abroad website?”

“No,” replied Ms. Brooks. “It’s not an officially recognized program.”

“It’s not?” asked Prof. Boetsch.

“Not currently.”

“Should it be?”

“Do you think so?”

“I think it should be.”


“Hold on!” I interjected. “Did I just watch the process for officially vetting a program?”

“This is the least bureaucratic department on campus,” Prof. Boetsch responded with a smile.

I attended Umbra the following winter term, after studying abroad at Oxford University in the fall. I consider my year abroad one of the defining aspects of my time at W&L. Oxford introduced me to an entirely new educational style, the tutorial system. Each week, my tutors would give me a reading list and ask me to produce an essay for our next meeting. The system requires the student to take charge of his or her own learning process, with the tutors merely as guides. I found myself applying the writing and critical thinking skills I acquired in my English classes in Payne Hall. I relished the opportunity to use what my professors had taught me at W&L in an Oxford educational system predicated upon personal responsibility and self-validation.

In Italy, I got the opportunity to immerse myself in a new language and culture. I made a practice of talking to shopkeepers whenever I had time, and I learned about the problems facing the people of Perugia and what they thought about the city’s future. Using the Italian I learned in language classes at W&L, I turned the city into my classroom. I interned at a local Fair Trade store named Bottega Monimbò. For this internship, I helped organize a film viewing and discussion of a documentary about the Rosarno riots of 2010, in which migrant workers in the Reggio Calabria region of Italy, protesting against the deplorable work conditions forced upon them, faced violent reprisals from locals. In completing this project, I enjoyed parlaying my community engagement in the store into an opportunity to foster dialogue on an issue of social justice in another part of Italy.

I returned from abroad and recognized that my cultural education neither began nor ended in Europe. Coming from the Bronx, rural Lexington marked a significant departure from normalcy for me. When I first arrived, I felt uncomfortable in my new environment and experienced difficulty finding my place in the W&L community. However, I grew to recognize the value in attending a school outside my geographic and social comfort zone. Engaging with the W&L community allowed me to expand my education outside the classroom. I have learned about different American cultures and ways of thinking.

Most importantly, W&L has allowed me to satisfy my need to wander. Whether heading for a week to Mystic, Connecticut for my first-year spring term class “Whales, Whaling, and Moby Dick,” crossing the Atlantic to study in Oxford and Perugia, or even just experiencing small-town American life, W&L has endowed me with the opportunities to step outside my comfort zone and enjoy diverse cultural experiences. The university has inspired me to take the next step in my life, and I have applied for a Fulbright to teach English in Malaysia and a Luce Fellowship to work professionally in Asia. I am thankful to W&L for giving me confidence and skills to seek out new experiences and learn about the world and myself.

Hometown: Bronx, NY

Majors: English, Global Politics

Extracurricular Involvement:

  • Hillel
  • Free Advice Society
  • Writing Center Tutor
  • Wednesday Night Live

Off-Campus Experiences:

  • Studied abroad in Oxford, England; Perugia, Italy and Siena, Italy
  • Coach at sports camp

Post-Graduation Plans: I have applied for a Fulbright ETA and a Princeton in Asia Fellowship. I am still waiting on those…

Favorite W&L Memory: Playing wiffleball with my friends on the lawn of the Lodge

What’s something people wouldn’t guess about you? I hate wearing shoes.

Why did you choose your major? Fall term of my first year, I took English 293: Wilderness in American Lit with Prof. Warren. He mentioned I had a good sense for writing and encouraged me to take English 299, the gateway to the major. I loved that class as well (Ralph Ellison and the Civil Rights Movement with Prof. Conner) and that sort of did it for me.

Advice for prospective or first-year students? Carve out time for yourself: Take a walk, read for pleasure, climb a tree. The proximity of social and academic life inherent in going to college can weigh heavily at times. It is important to take an hour here or there to clear your head.

What do you wish you’d known before you came to campus? I wish I had known what “Greek Life” meant.

My W&L: Sommer Ireland ’15

“Being abroad for so long really changed my perspective on many aspects of W&L, and made me appreciate it so much more.”

“Why German?”

As an economics and German major, I’ve had to answer this question dozens of times. Sure, I have my elevator pitch on why I decided to enroll in German for my language requirement, and why I’ve stuck with it for the past four years. But an elevator pitch captures neither the depth nor breadth of how I’ve come to love the language, country, culture and most importantly, the department. Being a part of the German department has shaped my W&L experience in ways I never would have thought possible.

I chose W&L based on three factors: the small class sizes, close relationships with the professors and the affordability of study abroad. I knew I made the right decision when I walked into my German 111 class as one of twelve students. The individual attention from Professor Crockett and his passion for the class left me at the end of the semester knowing I would at least minor in German. I solidified that by participating in an intensive language program in Münster, Germany, that following summer. Towards the end of my program, I received an email that one of the professors (one I had never had a class with) had found a grant for me and the other W&L student in the program. It was a complete (and very welcome) surprise, and more proof that the German department continually went above and beyond my expectations.

Coming back from Münster, I knew I wanted to go back to Germany as soon as possible. Again, the German department made those dreams a reality. Through our department’s partnership with the Universität Bayreuth, I was able to study in Germany for a semester the following summer for just the cost of my plane ticket and food. When I left W&L at the end of winter semester to start my time in Germany, I had no idea that it would be another 9 months before I would be back on campus. I followed up my semester in Bayreuth with the fall semester in Freiburg, Germany, studying the European Union. I learned so much in and out of the classroom that complemented not only my German major, but also my economics major.

Being abroad for so long really changed my perspective on many aspects of W&L, and made me appreciate it so much more. People were amazed when I told them about our Honor System and how it functioned. They were curious about why I chose to go to such a small school in a small town in Virginia. Germans were inquisitive about the Greek System and why I chose to be a part of it. The more questions I answered, the more I was able to think objectively about W&L and all the reasons why I love it so much.

Coming back from Germany was quite an adjustment, but again the German department was there to support me. I threw myself into the German club, participating in just about every event that we planned. I spoke to people interested in study abroad about my experiences. Despite spending so much time away, W&L was still here welcoming me back into the community with open arms.

While senior year has been the only year where I haven’t been abroad, I’ve still been able to do so much with German. I’ve been a Young Ambassador for the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) promoting study abroad on campus, president of the German Club, and taught German to first-, second- and third-grade students at Mountain View Elementary through the Languages for Rockbridge Program. All these extracurriculars have been outlets for me to share my love of the country, culture and language here at W&L and in Rockbridge County.

These past four years have helped define my passion for German, a passion that wouldn’t exist without my professors. I’m excited to be able to further that passion next year as and English Language teaching assistant in Austria, thanks to the Austrian-American Educational Commission. Beyond next year, I have no idea what the future will hold, but I know that W&L has given me the tools I need to figure out what that next step will be.

Hometown: Mt. Pleasant, S.C.

Majors: Economics and German

Extracurricular Involvement:

  • First Year Resident Advisor (2012-2015)
  • German Club (President 2014-2015, Treasurer 2012-2014)
  • Pi Beta Phi (2012-2013 New Member coordinator)
  • Languages for Rockbridge German teacher (2014-2015)
  • Central Elementary School READY volunteer
  • Phonathon (2012-2015)

Off-Campus Experiences:

  • Intensive German Language Program in Münster, Germany (Summer 2012)
  • Summer Semester at the University of Bayreuth in Bayreuth, Germany (Summer 2013)
  • IES EU Studies Program in Freiburg, Germany (Fall 2013)
  • Economics Summer Research Scholar (Summer 2014)

Post-Graduation Plans: For the summer I’ll be an RA for the Alumni College because I’m clearly not quite ready to leave Lexington. In September, I’ll be moving to Imst, Austria. I’ve been awarded a teaching assistantship to teach English in Austria next year from the Austrian-American Educational Commission. So I’ll be channeling my inner Julie Andrews as I frolic through the Alps.

Favorite W&L Memory: It’s impossible to pick just one for me, but I think being a part of the Residential Life staff for the past 3 years encompasses all of my favorite memories.

Favorite Class: Professor Casey’s Development Economics. It opened up my eyes to an entirely new field of economics and reaffirmed that the econ major was right for me.

Favorite W&L Event: Fancy Dress, hands down. I love how everyone gets so dressed up to dance the night away.

Favorite Lexington Landmark: On Washington Street there is a ‘Non-historical marker’ that says “On this spot, February 29, 1776, absolutely nothing happened.” It cracks me up every time I walk by.

What’s your passion? Travel. Between my two semesters abroad I visited 13 different countries. I’m excited for that list to grow next year.

What’s something people wouldn’t guess about you? I will be graduating without ever having owned a pair of cowboy boots.


Why did you choose W&L? Of course I loved the campus, the small class sizes, and the close student/professor relationships. But as soon as I found out that financial aid would travel with me for study abroad, I was sold.

Why did you choose your major? I came in knowing I wanted to do economics because it just made sense to me, but German took me by surprise. I was originally going to minor in it until I sat down with Professor Youngman one day my sophomore year and he encouraged me to pursue the major instead.

What professor has inspired you? I wouldn’t be where I am today without Professor Youngman. He’s been the best mentor I could have ever asked for, and I can always count on him for sound and honest advice in anything from academics to just life in general.

Advice for prospective or first-year students? Whatever it takes, study abroad. Try and go for a semester if possible (I promise W&L is still the same when you come back), but if not take advantage of a spring term abroad or do a summer program abroad. You won’t regret it.

What do you wish you’d known before you came to campus? I wish I had known how to swing dance! I definitely had to learn on my feet pretty quickly (pun intended).


Around the World: Taylor DeVoe ’15 Around the World, W&L Winter and Spring Term Abroad, ISA, Universidad de Pablo Olavide

“Good and bad things will happen when you take risks and leave what’s comfortable, but I promise it’s worth it.”

To me, studying abroad meant leaving my comfort zone and being open to every and all opportunities thrown my way until one day it hits you; you’re comfortable. Even though I studied in Spain, I traveled all across Europe and even into Africa, seeing some of the most extraordinary sights. Though I could list each amazing city I spent time in, the highlight of my study abroad experience wasn’t a place. It was the new life I had formed. I had a family with a 12-year-old host sister who would have sworn we were real sisters (even in spite of my blonde hair), friends who would introduce me to their families and help me work on my Spanish without even knowing it, and a city I knew well enough to give lost tourists directions. To those who are interested in studying abroad, I would tell them not to waste a single day of it. Every second you are there is an adventure, so spend it connecting with as many people as you can, learning as many new things as you can, and traveling as far as you can. Good and bad things will happen when you take risks and leave what’s comfortable, but I promise it’s worth it.

International Perspectives: Alejandro Paniagua ’17 International Perspectives, Business Administration and Environmental Studies Double Major, San Jose, Costa Rica

“By coming to W&L, I received the opportunity to make the world my classroom and W&L my home. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and explore the world, which was exactly what W&L allowed me to do.”

What are you involved in here on campus?

I am the Translation Chair of ESOL, a member of Washington and Lee Student Consulting, treasurer of the Biological Honor Society, and a member of International Education Committee.

Tell us about home. What do you miss most?

I come from a small family in San Jose, Costa Rica. It is just my mom, dad and my two grandparents. I have uncles and a cousin in Panama, but I don’t see them as often. What I miss about home is just having the weekend with my family to relax, stay home and be lazy. I also miss going to the beach with my close friends at any time of the year. As you could imagine, winter is not my favorite season.

Talk a bit about your prior study abroad experience, if any?

In summer 2014 I did research in Queensland, Australia through the School for Field Studies. I was there for a month and worked with restoration and conservation techniques, Specifically biological control mechanisms for the cane toad invasive population. That fall I studied abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark, with DIS, through the entrepreneurship and international business core class. It was amazing to get to experience a new culture and a new way to conduct business.

Last summer I was able to take a student back to Costa Rica to learn about the politics, educational system, and conservation practices of the country and compare them to those in the U.S.

What brought you to Washington and Lee?

I have always been interested in international relations and international business. I love to travel and learn from different cultures and perspectives. By coming to W&L, I received the opportunity to make the world my classroom and W&L my home. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and explore the world, which was exactly what W&L allowed me to do by supporting my interests—something I would never had the opportunity to do back in Costa Rica.

What has been most surprising about W&L and Lexington so far?

What surprised me the most was the strong sense of community fostered by W&L. Even after students graduate or faculty/staff leave this institution, people still feel drawn and connected to W&L.

Favorite Class?

I don’t particularly recall a favorite class, but I did enjoy “Race in the Media” with Professor Colon in the Journalism department, where we studied how race is used and portrayed in media outlets and news.

Tell us about life in Lexington.

Life in Lexington is very interesting. Even though it is not a big town, it is still a very nice place to live with its quaint streets and stores. It is definitely a unique town that I’m glad I got to experience.

Around the World: Marissa Gubler ’15 Around the World, Global and Public Health / Manipal University and Alliance for Global Education , Manipal, Karnataka

“It is one thing to read about India from books, but to actually experience it is exhilarating.”

I studied Global and Public Health at Manipal University in a South Indian town named Manipal. Studying abroad allowed me not only to enhance my knowledge of public health, but also to learn more about myself and Desi culture. It is one thing to read about India from books, but to actually experience it is exhilarating. I am very glad that I studied abroad at Manipal and got to learn about global health challenges and solutions. There were many highlights, but a few were the weekly field visits to local public health facilities, such as community health centres, a TB counseling and treatment centre, and a cashew processing factory, volunteering at a local orphanage, travel week throughout south India, and learning about and experiencing Ayurveda, which is a traditional Indian medical system and way of life.

To anyone who is thinking about studying abroad, my advice is to do it! You only get four years of college to study abroad, and once you are in graduate school or working, you may have a family or time constraints that make studying abroad very challenging. Plus, while you are in college you can explore another country under a program’s support system, such as that provided by the Alliance for Global Education. Happy traveling!

My W&L: Alejandro Paniagua ’17

“The one thing that will set you apart and help define you is how you cope with the challenges you face, learn from them and move on.”

Coming to Washington and Lee, I knew I wanted to major in both business administration and environmental studies, but what I did not know was what I wanted to do with these degrees. As my first year at W&L advanced, I became aware of a group called Washington and Lee Student Consulting (WLSC). At that time, I knew very little about consulting and what that meant. I just knew you had to deal with clients and different projects, which was something that appealed to me. Especially considering I get bored easily if I only focus on just one thing. I decided to give it a shot and luckily was accepted into WLSC my sophomore year. I had a great experience working for Blue Lab Brewery trying to develop a marketing plan focusing on social media as my first project. It was a very rewarding experience that taught me a lot of what consulting is about: collaboration.

Fall term of my junior year, I studied abroad in Denmark and took a very interesting class called Creative Business. This class partnered with the Copenhagen Institute of Neurocreativity, whose goal was to improve our creativity level. In order to measure our level of creativity, we worked with the Volvo Group in Denmark as external consultants in a new creative design solutions project for the Chinese market. This experience proved to be a very rewarding and challenging one, since we faced high expectations, strict deadlines and a lot of pressure from Volvo. There was definitely a steep learning curve, but every struggle was worth it. I could not wait to work on another consulting project again to apply my new creative skills and to learn even more.

Coming back from Denmark, I became a project leader for WLSC and my client was the Rockbridge Area Relief Association. This was a challenging project that needed lots of hard work and dedication. Luckily my team members were great, and we managed to create a final deliverable that addressed our client’s needs while overcoming all of our challenges. I also learned a lot about building a relationship with the client and truly listening to their implicit and explicit concerns. Looking back at these three consulting experiences and what I have learned, I found a common thread: I always struggled.

One way or another I always struggled, but in the end I always managed. Each case was hard and pushed me to become a better professional, student and individual. And while I struggled, I noticed that everyone else was struggling as well! I realized that it is not our struggles that define us, but the way we approach and deal with them that will truly make a difference in our lives. Whatever you choose to do as a professional or in life, you will struggle like everyone else. The one thing that will set you apart and help define you is how you cope with the challenges you face, learn from them and move on. It is easier said than done, because feeling overwhelmed can be paralyzing, but coming from someone that knows this feeling way too well, my advice for anyone that is reading this is to always work on yourself and don’t let your struggles overtake you. Deal with whatever you can, at whatever pace you can. You will pull through as long as you always keep moving forward and persevere.

Hometown: San José, Costa Rica

Majors: Business Administration and Environmental Studies

Extracurricular Involvement:

  • Member of Sigma Nu Fraternity, Washington and Lee Student Consulting, SAIL, PAACE, SEAL, SABU, Choir, Gentleman’s League, FYOC, and Model UN.
  • Leadership Positions: TriBeta Treasurer, Voting Member of International Education Committee, and ESOL Translation Chair

Off-Campus Experiences:

  • Summer 2014: Research on Biological Control Mechanisms in Queensland Australia through the Johnson Opportunity Grant.
  • Fall 2014: Study Abroad in Denmark
  • August 2014-December 2014: External Consultant for Volvo Group in Denmark
  • Summer 2015: Johnson Endeavor International Grant and Marketing Intern at Florida Ice & Farm Co. in Costa Rica

Advice for prospective or first-year students? College is a place where you will discover and learn about who you are. Get out of your comfort zone and always be willing to try something new. Challenge your own views to understand why you think the way you do and be respectful and open about other views. As you get to know yourself, don’t let any labels or expectations define you. Be true to what you like and the goals you want to achieve. After all, college is the place where you can make mistakes and learn from them. Enjoy this crazy ride because you’ll only be an undergraduate once!

What do you wish you’d known before you came to campus? Never try to impress others. The sad reality is that most people come and go, but the few people that have a positive, lasting impact in your life are the few that truly care about you because of who you are. So instead of trying to impress others, I would have focused on impressing myself. Always trying to become a better person and overcome personal challenges. By being a more genuine person, I could have achieved a more meaningful relationship with the people I truly care about.

In Depth: Professor Martin Davies Assistant Professor of Economics

Economics professor Martin Davies grew up in Papua New Guinea, a developing country that is currently ranked #157 on the World Bank’s Human Development Index. Davies’ father is Australian and his mother American, and as a young child, he lived with his family in some of Papua New Guinea’s most remote regions. It was easy for him to see that the country faced challenges far different than those of Australia and the United States.

Davies studied economics first at Australian National University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree, and then at Oxford University where he earned his doctorate. To him, it made a certain amount of sense to devote his research career to the study of international trade and development. Today, he studies the macroeconomics of developing countries.

“There are a group of about 30 resource-rich developing countries (RRDCs), and Papua New Guinea is one of them,” said Davies. RRDCs are classified as low- or middle-income countries in which at least 20 percent of exports are natural resources. “Over the last 50 years, Papua New Guinea has had a sequence of large natural resource projects that have both benefitted and hurt the development process. One of the questions I’m interested in at the moment is how governments in developing countries spend the wealth that these projects generate.”

Papua New Guinea is unique in that it is a small country that is rich in both mineral resources, such as gold and copper, and petroleum resources, such as oil and gas. The 2008 decision to exploit the country’s gas reserves led to a construction boom; there were plenty of jobs to be had as PNG built new processing facilities and improved its distribution channels.

The ripple effect of the construction boom on Papua New Guinea’s economy was nice, but it was nothing compared to the inflow of foreign exchange the country began to enjoy once the government started selling liquid natural gas (LNG) to other countries in mid-2014. A new revenue stream — particularly one of this magnitude — could pay for roads and schools and hospitals. The question for Papua New Guinea and other resource-rich developing countries is this: should they spend their new-found wealth up front or exercise restraint and spend at a slower rate over a longer period of time?

To answer this question, Davies traveled to Papua New Guinea this summer at the invitation of the Institute of National Affairs, a private think tank based in Port Moresby. He conducted a macroeconomic analysis of the country’s economy, and made a series of policy recommendations based on that data.

“It’s a challenge in resource-rich developing countries. The impulse is to spend upfront because there is a lack of infrastructure. The desire is to build roads, schools and hospitals but there is a shortage of skilled labor for construction, as well as a shortage of teachers to put in schools and doctors to put in hospitals. Constraints on administrative capacity mean that disbursement of revenues for projects can also be a challenge.”

Papua New Guinea’s natural gas project is forecast to have a lifetime of 30 years. At the time it launched, no one foresaw oil prices falling by 50 percent. Since LNG prices are determined by oil prices, the government has had to curb the country’s revenue projections and take a hard look at its current spending.

Davies recommends Papua New Guinea and other resource-rich developing countries in their predicament do two things. First, they must slow government spending relative to revenue. Then they must devalue the exchange rate — something Papua New Guinea is doing, but not quickly enough, in Davies’ opinion. Slowing government spending causes the economy to contract but devaluation will offset this effect.

The PNG government is making adjustments to its spending path, but Davies and other economists argue that the exchange rate adjustment is an important part of the policy mix. The government also needs to be cautious to cut its spending slowly, even if it requires borrowing to smooth the slow down. Cuts to education and healthcare can be particularly painful for citizens.

Davies’ research will go into a working paper published by the Institute of National Affairs and will also be presented to government officials in Papua New Guinea. Before Davies left PNG, he gave a public lecture in which he outlined his recommendations.

“There’s a compulsion to exploit natural resources,” said Davies. “The big challenge is timing the spending of the resource windfall. Ideally, you want to save some wealth for future generations.”

Photo: Martin Davies, photographed as a child at home in Papua New Guinea

– by Rachel Beanland

In Depth: International Immersion

Many students contemplating their college experience look forward to studying abroad. At W&L, we provide our students the opportunity to take things even further. The Certificate of International Immersion recognizes students who demonstrate significant commitment to global interaction through significant time abroad spent in coursework, research, field work, internships or community service.

“The Certificate of International Immersion recognizes extraordinary accomplishments by students who have spent time abroad and who work to draw upon their experiences to contribute to the internationalization of our campus culture,” said Mark Rush, director of international education. “It provides an opportunity for the campus to recognize and appreciate these students who look not only to deepen their own educational experiences, but also to enrich our campus life.”

Since establishing the certificate in 2012, the University has recognized to 34 students based on their overall academic records and portfolios of international experiences. Meet some of the recipients from the Class of 2015 and discover where they went, how their travels informed their overall education, and how W&L supported their experiences.

  • Kate LeMasters graduated with majors in global politics and economics and a minor in poverty and human capability studies. She spent a semester in Geneva, Switzerland, participated in three spring term abroad courses (African Politics in Ghana, Economics of Tropical Seascapes in Belize and Examining 17th Century Paintings in The Netherlands), conducted independent research in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, and did a summer internship in Accra, Ghana.
  • Myrna Barrera-Torres graduated with a major in business administration and a minor in Latin American and Caribbean studies. She spent semesters abroad in Rome, Italy and Vina del Mar, Chile. She also participated in a spring term abroad course, The Environment and Economic Development in Amazonas, Brazil, and had a summer internship in London, U.K.
  • Scott Sugden graduated with majors in English and biology. He spent a semester studying in Madagascar, participated in a spring term abroad course studying coral reefs in Belize and spent time in England conducting research for his honors thesis.
  • Kathryn “Kiki” Martire graduated with a major in English and a minor in women’s and gender studies. She spent a semester in Samoa and a summer in England at the Virginia Program at Oxford.
  • Craig Shapiro graduated with a major in anthropology/sociology. He spent a semester in Samoa, conducted research in Vanuatu, did field work in Sofia, Bulgaria and Menorca, Spain, and traveled to Israel with Taglit-Birthright Israel.
  • Taylor Theodossiou graduated with a major in history and a minor in poverty and capability studies. She spent a semester in Rabat, Morocco (with a side trip to Amsterdam), participated in a spring term abroad course (The History of Paris), and completed two international internships — one in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic and one in Limoges, France.
  • Amira Hegazy graduated with majors in studio art and sociology. She traveled extensively to Egypt, spending a year at the American University in Cairo and conducting summer research the following year. She also participated in a spring term abroad course, Drawing Italy.

International Perspectives: Rajwol Joshi ’18 International Perspectives, Computer Science Major, Kathmandu, Nepal

“I came here primarily for a liberal arts education (something not available back home), uncertain of what I wanted to do. A year and a half later, I feel like I know the direction I’m headed in, and the journey has been worth it.”

Tell us about your home. What do you miss most?

I come from Nepal, a small country sandwiched between China and India. It is surrounded by a rich cultural heritage and lined with the Himalayas, so I miss waking up to the sight of rustic temples and snowcapped mountains. Since I was born and raised in Kathmandu, a city with a population of a million, it took a little getting used to the smaller Lexington, and I do wish I had access to the options that I had back home. The food is something I really miss, and although I do like the food here, there are days when I wish I was with friends eating some good Nepali dumplings at our favorite restaurant.

W&L has been great so far for me. I came here primarily for a liberal arts education (something not available back home), uncertain of what I wanted to do. A year and a half later, I feel like I know the direction I’m headed in, and the journey has been worth it. I’ve made some good friends who make Lexington feel like home for me, and being away from family has been easier than I thought it would be.

What are you involved in here on campus?

I am on the executive board of the MSA and was part of SAIL’s board for a while. I was also on the leadership of the Iowa delegation for this year’s Mock Convention and am also part of the Sigma Nu fraternity.

What has been most surprising about W&L and Lexington so far?

It is a really small place. I initially thought it would be bigger, but you can get to places here without a car. Also, you end up recognizing everyone you see on the streets since there aren’t a lot of people here, so over time seeing a new face becomes quite rare.

Favorite Class?

It probably is the Drawing I class I took my first term here. Although it was a lot of work, I really enjoyed drawing. Along with learning new techniques, it was also pretty stress-free. I also got a bunch of artwork to hang up in my room after I was done with it.

A Day in the Life: Franklin Wolfe ’16 Day in the Life, Johnson Opportunity Grant Winner, Data Collection in Spain and Switzerland for 3D Geologic Models

“Navigating foreign landscapes, learning new geologic concepts, gaining practical field experience, exploring new cultures and working with Stephen to overcome daily challenges were unparalleled learning experiences.”

I set out with Stephen Ball ’16 on an amazing journey this summer to gather data for creating 3D geologic models of famous rock outcrops (visible exposure of rock) at the Montserrat Mountain in Spain and the Glarus Thrust in Switzerland, and to understand the cultural diversity of visitors to these locations.

Our journey began at Montserrat Mountain, a serrated, multi-peak mountain near Barcelona that is famous for the majestic Benedictine monastery of Santa Maria de Montserrat, perched a thousand meters above the valley. Each morning started with a breathtakingly beautiful, and equally terrifying, cable car ride from the valley floor to the monastery. A typical day included hiking the monastery’s grounds on pathways that snaked around the side of the mountain, lined with countless religious statues, engravings, and iconographic images. Through our treks, we took over 500 photos of the monastery and the mountain to use back at W&L in developing our 3D geologic models.

We learned from interviews with visitors that people from around the world converge on Montserrat. At the basilica’s entrance, we met a Catholic man from South Korea who had come to pray at the landmark statue of the Virgin Mary of Montserrat and Infant Christ. My most moving experience happened on the last day. As I entered the basilica, a family rushed up behind me, breathing heavily and frantically, and immediately began weeping and praying when they saw the statue. This demonstration of such raw emotion made the importance of Montserrat extremely real for me.

Next we journeyed to Zurich, Switzerland, where we faced an unexpected challenge on our first day. If you have learned to drive a manual transmission vehicle, I am sure you can relate to this experience: Turn the key in the ignition…Press down the clutch…Shift into first gear…Slowly apply pressure to the gas pedal, while releasing pressure from the clutch…Stall out…Start over… Stall out again. However, I bet your experience did not land you in the back of a Swiss police car. After stalling out many times and creating a 10-car traffic jam (including an 18-wheeler) at an inclined intersection, blue lights flashed in our rearview mirror. From the left-side passenger seat, Stephen said exactly what I was thinking: “I knew we shouldn’t have rented the manual.” Thankfully, the two Swiss police officers were not there to arrest us. Instead, they commandeered our vehicle, put us in the back of their police car, drove us to a nearby parking lot, and gave us a 15-minute driving lesson. After this rocky start, and having “mastered” driving our manual car, we traveled the winding Alpine roads to the Glarus Thrust in the eastern Swiss Alps. Here we collected photos to use in developing another 3D geologic model. The biggest challenge we faced at this location was that we were literally “in the clouds” for most of our time near the rock outcrops of interest. We often had to sit in the snow for long periods of time waiting for a clearing so that we could take the shot we needed.

We are currently finalizing our 3D geologic models. Creating a model utilizes a new geospatial technique known as photogrammetry, in which identical features of the rock outcrops are aligned from multiple photos taken at different orientations to develop a 3D image. The model can then be visualized digitally and rotated in any direction or printed using a 3D printer. We hope W&L geology professors might use these scaled-down models of real world rock outcrops as a teaching tool. We are also preparing our cultural booklet with information about each site we visited and our interviews.

My summer research project was an awesome opportunity, and I am extremely grateful for the Johnson Opportunity Grant. Navigating foreign landscapes, learning new geologic concepts, gaining practical field experience, exploring new cultures and working with Stephen to overcome daily challenges were unparalleled learning experiences, and a highlight of my time at W&L.

Hometown: Raleigh, North Carolina

Major: Geology

Extracurricular Involvement:

  • President, American Association of Petroleum Geologists Student Chapter
  • Treasurer, Student Environmental Action League
  • Geology Department tutor
  • Beta Theta Pi Fraternity Alumni Relations Committee member

Off-Campus Experiences:

  • GSA/ExxonMobil Bighorn Basin Field Seminar in Wyoming
  • Keck Geology Consortium research in Nevada
  • Internship with the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources Mining and Energy Division.
  • W&L Spring Term Study Abroad programs to Córdoba, Argentina (Romance Languages) and New Zealand (Geology)

Why did you apply for the Johnson Opportunity Grant? This grant provided me the opportunity to integrate my passion for geology with my interests in exploring new cultures and places.

How does your work under the grant apply to your studies at W&L? Research through the grant introduced me to photogrammetry, a 3D modeling technique that I am currently using in my geophysics course.

What was the most unexpected aspect of your grant experience? Unexpected bad weather while at over 2,000 meters in the Swiss Alps. We once had to run down the mountain through snow to get back to our car for shelter.


Post-Graduation Plans: I am applying for a Research Fulbright Grant to identify the sources of precipitation and the culture of water use in Ethiopia. I will also be applying for graduate school programs in the geosciences this winter.

Favorite W&L Memory: Tie between pledge class spring break trip to Gulf Shores, Alabama and February break trip to Sun Valley, Idaho.

Favorite Class: Regional Geology of New Zealand Spring Term Abroad

Favorite W&L Event: Space Jam Late Night

Favorite Campus/Lexington Landmark: W&L Colonnade and Cook-Out® Restaurant

Why did you choose W&L? Top-notch academic institution that offered me the opportunity to play collegiate basketball.

Why did you choose your major? Outdoor labs, family-like department environment, and thought-provoking courses that alter the way I view the world.

What professors inspire you? Dr. Jeff Rahl, Dr. Chris Connors, and Dr. Dave Harbor

Advice for prospective or first-year students? Push your boundaries and seek new opportunities.


Summer Abroad: Connor Chess ’17

Why did you apply for the Wooley Fellowship?

The program I was applying to directly related to the description and criteria of the fellowship. With the financial aid I felt I would be able to more comfortably enjoy the experience, as well as have a motive for documenting and sharing my experience with the school.

What attracted you to the program and destination?

I was interested in further immersion into the Spanish language, as well as work experience for the summer. This program filled both criteria incredibly. I got to study Spanish, apply it to my everyday life, interacting with the people in the small town, and work as a teacher and in a restaurant. Also, I had visited Costa Rica once before and the environment is like none other. It is such a beautiful country and it offers tons of incredible outdoor activities. The educational, work and the outdoor aspects of this program made it an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.

How did you learn about it?

Professor Barnett, my Latin American and Caribbean Studies advisor, told me about the Academia Español de Nicoya program, which he had recommended to other W&L students in the past.

Describe a typical day.

Every day I would wake up around 6:50, get ready for school, eat breakfast with my host family, and be at school by 8. My class lasted four hours, during which my professor and I (in one-on-one training) would talk about the grammar rules we’d previously discussed and do practice problems, as well as simply talk about life and the Costa Rican culture. After class I would eat lunch and grab a smoothie from my favorite smoothie shop, Juice House, and walk down the street to Chari’s (a local restaurant). I worked there for three hours a day, three times a week. I served as a busboy, taking drinks and food to customers, making as much conversation as I could with them in the process. When the restaurant wasn’t super busy, I’d hang out with the waitresses I worked with, talking about their lives, my experience and joking around. After work I had some down time to catch my breath, do some homework and eat dinner before heading to the Liceo Nocturno de Nicoya. There I would teach my English pronunciation and spelling class (in preparation for the Spelling Bee). This was a great way to get to know kids closer to my age, give back to the community, and have a fun time teaching a great group of kids. After teaching, I’d grab some food with a student or teacher, go relax at the park for a while, or just head home to prepare for another day of constant thought (due to constant immersion).

How does your work this summer apply to your studies at W&L?

My work gave me a better understanding of the Costa Rican culture and a tighter grasp on the Spanish language, which both contribute perfectly to my Spanish major and LACS minor. But more than contributing to my formal education, this experience gave me a new perspective on life. The Costa Rican people, while they aren’t necessarily as rich as the United States, materialistically speaking, they are rich in love and happiness. “Pura Vida” is the national saying that means “life is good,” and this is the attitude I found in so many of the people I met.

What was the most unexpected aspect of your experience?

The most unexpected aspect of my experience was the attention I received from the locals in the streets. Nicoya is a small town and definitely not a tourist location. Being so, the locals are not very used to seeing a gringo walking through town everyday. People would stare me down, which made me a little uneasy at times. But I would just smile and wave or say hi to show that I’m a nice guy, and to clear up any suspicions they had about me. The first couple weeks were tough because I thought everyone really didn’t like me, looking at me with these hard faces, but eventually I realized they were just curious. I brought a little bit of W&L with me to Nicoya — the speaking tradition — and it helped to make for a more comfortable transition into me becoming one of the everyday ticos (Costa Ricans) of the town.

What advice would you give to students interested in a similar experience abroad?

I would say that the most important thing to bring with you is a good attitude. Say yes to every opportunity that presents itself and you will get so much more out of the experience than you could ever imagine.

Did the experience influence your studies or future career plans? How so?

I’ve always been interested in Spanish and living/working internationally. This experience strengthened that aspiration and gave me a love for and connection to Costa Rica specifically.

Hometown: Fairfax, Virginia

Majors: Spanish and Politics

Minor: Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Extracurricular Involvement:

  • Men’s Varsity Football Team
  • Phi Delta Theta Fraternity
  • Southern Comfort All Male A Cappella Group

Off-Campus Experiences:

  • Spring Term Abroad 2014 (Cádiz, Spain)
  • 1 Month Internship at Joe Gibbs Youth for Tomorrow
  • Academia Español de Nicoya (Nicoya, Costa Rica)

Favorite Class:

This may not be a fair answer, but my spring term abroad class, SPAN 214 – Contemporary Spain in Context, with Professor Reyes was my favorite class so far. It was my first opportunity to study abroad. I lived with an amazing homestay family in one of the most beautiful cities in Spain. Professor Reyes’ excitement for showing us his homeland made the experience all the better.

Regarding classes on campus, my favorite class has been SOAN 291B – Chanting Down Babylon. I have always been interested in the Rastafarian and Jamaican culture, starting with my love of reggae. This class gave me a great understanding of the roots of the religious movement, the meanings of the music, and the social, economic, and political situation and history of Jamaica since colonization.

International Perspectives: Reem Kandil ’16 International Perspectives, John Gunn Scholar, Cairo, Egypt

“I live at the Global Service House, which is a real pleasure. Our house’s first floor is decorated with items given by previous (and current) international students, from a quirky hat from Bulgaria to a taxidermied piranha from Brazil…sharp teeth included. It’s a very cool place to hang out and live.”

Tell us about your home. What do you miss most?

My home is Cairo, Egypt. Born and raised there, regardless of what my accent may imply. I have a sister and a brother who are both what makes life worth living and the bane of my existence…and parents whom I am very lucky to have. I miss my mum’s cooking, specifically her “Koshary,” which is a traditional Egyptian dish.

Talk a bit about your prior study abroad experience.

My home university is the American University in Cairo, and I have studied abroad in Lund University in Sweden. Lund is a very distinct town with its lovely architecture, cobblestone streets and practically ancient cathedral. I studied Economics, Swedish and a humanities course called “Religion and Politics,” which was utterly fascinating!

What brought you to Washington and Lee?

I was selected to be the Gunn scholar for this academic year. I stumbled upon the scholarship’s brochure by chance in one of my home university business school’s notice e-mails, and I am very glad that I made the decision to apply.

What has been most surprising about W&L and Lexington so far?

How tight-knit the community is. The shift from a big metropolitan city to a small town where everyone knew everyone was a bit of a shock, yet I find myself really liking it! The town is very green to say the least (as you might have guessed we don’t have much of those green things in Cairo), and the fall is unbelievably beautiful.

Favorite Class?
My “Intro to Political Philosophy” course is great, regardless of the not-insignificant reading load. It discusses very interesting content, from Plato to Rousseau to Marx and many others.

Where are you living?

I live at the Global Service House, which is a real pleasure. Our house’s first floor is decorated with items given by previous (and current) international students, from a quirky hat from Bulgaria to a taxidermied piranha from Brazil…sharp teeth included. It’s a very cool place to hang out and live. We also have Campus Kitchen in our basement, so you can’t really ask for more here.

A Day in the Life: Sara Jones ’18 Day in the Life, Johnson Opportunity Grant Winner, Maternal and Child Health in India

“Observing the intersection of culture and family planning practices firsthand enabled me to better understand the extent to which local beliefs and traditions dictate healthcare processes.”

I was fortunate enough to spend the last six weeks in Pune, Maharashtra, India, completing Maternal and Child Health clinical rotations and learning about India’s healthcare system. In Pune, I lived in a guesthouse with several other college students from across the globe, as well as a host family.

Our days began at 5:30 A.M. with sunrise yoga, followed by traditional Indian breakfast with the program’s medical director (I was always hoping for vada, or potato fritters). Then we headed out to our clinical site for the day. The sites ranged from rural, government-funded free clinics to high-end, urban hospitals.

Healthcare in India feels significantly more utilitarian than it does in the U.S.; patient encounters are extremely brief, and healthcare is very much a business. Only five percent of the Indian population has health insurance, as it is a fairly new concept there. Therefore, everything is paid out of pocket. This means that patients in private practices often demand medications or injections and threaten to take their business elsewhere if their requests are denied. In the rural areas, we observed an overwhelming belief that injections are more effective than oral medications; patients are sometimes given saline injections just for the placebo effect. During my time in Pune, I saw several vaginal deliveries, numerous laparoscopic operations (including appendectomies, hysterectomies, tubal ligations, and tumor resections), and a couple of C-sections.

As an anthropology major, I found India to be endlessly fascinating. Particularly, observing the intersection of culture and family planning practices firsthand enabled me to better understand the extent to which local beliefs and traditions dictate healthcare processes. For example, several doctors I spoke with stated that the majority of their patients want two children, who are 3-4 years apart in age. This underlying assumption about a couple’s plans often leads doctors to recommend an IUD for contraception after the first child, and a tubal ligation after the second. Furthermore, a desire in Indian culture for male children previously resulted in an outbreak of sex-selective abortions. Now, a couple is not legally permitted to know the sex of their child prior to its birth. These are two concrete examples of how a cultural climate can dictate medical practices; previously this was a concept that I only understood in an abstract sense.

Following graduation from W&L, I intend to enter a combined MD/MPH program. My ultimate goal is to consult on culturally appropriate strategies for improving women’s healthcare in underserved communities. I am so thankful for my summer in Pune, because it showed me just how important cultural awareness and local knowledge (two topics frequently discussed in the classroom) are to healthcare systems.

On the weekends, we took trips to Agra, Delhi, Jaipur, Aurangabad, and Lonavla to see landmarks such as the Taj Mahal, Amer Fort, the Palace of the Winds, and the Ajanta and Ellora Caves. I am so grateful for the Johnson Opportunity Grant that made this incredible trip possible, as it really helped to clarify and confirm my career ambitions.

Hometown: Tulsa, Oklahoma

Major: Sociology and Anthropology

Extracurricular Involvement:

  • Student Judicial Council
  • Junior Advisory Group
  • Appalachian Adventure Leader
  • LIFE Peer Educator
  • Running Club
  • Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority

Off-Campus Experiences:

  • Stonewall Jackson Hospital Volunteer
  • Oklahoma Surgical Hospital Student Assistant

Why did you apply for the Johnson Opportunity Grant? I very much wanted to spend this summer in India, and the Johnson Grant made it much more financially feasible.

How does your work under the grant apply to your studies at W&L? I am a pre-med anthropology student at W&L, and my experience this summer allowed me to combine these two interests in a way that really cannot be done in the classroom.

What was the most unexpected aspect of your grant experience? I have been routinely, pleasantly surprised by the friendliness and willingness to teach of the doctors I have encountered here.

Post-Graduation Plans: MD/MPH

Favorite Class: My favorite class far and away has been Medical Anthropology with Professor Markowitz. It was this class that initially peaked my interest in the cultural aspects of medicine, and I am so thankful for Professor Markowitz’s continued support and advice.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: From l. to r.: Jamie Hayes ’17, Erik Jones ’91, Evan Johnson’16, Albert Civitarese’15, James Dick (sitting), Carlos Elordi (spouse of Monica Botta), Sierra Noland ’17, Alex Fernandez ’13 and James Lewis ’14. Not pictured: professor Monica Botta and Andre Zamani.

by Louise Uffelman | luffelma@wlu.edu

Global Learning: A Vision Realized Your Support Matters, Washington and Lee Dedicates the Center for Global Learning

“When you come to this part of campus, you start a journey.”

Washington and Lee’s new Center for Global Learning began as a vision nearly a decade ago, a concept for a unique space that would embody the university’s evolving global studies program. That vision is now a reality, manifested in brick and mortar, contemporary design and cutting-edge technology.

The building was officially dedicated on May 13, with a ceremony that included remarks from Rector J. Donald Childress, President Kenneth P. Ruscio, and Mark Rush, the director of International Education and the Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Professor of Politics and Law.

“Not only does the mere presence of such a space signal to everyone the importance we place on this element of the curriculum,” said Ruscio at the dedication ceremony, “it also serves as a clear signal to our students about the critical importance of a global perspective as they prepare for the lives of consequence we hope and know they will lead in the world.”

The facility, which combines 8,600 square feet of renovated duPont Hall with 17,700 square feet of new space, is “a physical manifestation of an ever-growing part of the education we provide at Washington and Lee,” said Ruscio. It houses classrooms, seminar rooms, instructional labs, and offices for language departments, visiting international scholars and the Office of International Education. Among the new teaching facilities are global discovery laboratories, where innovative resources can be used to harness the expertise of scholars across the globe, and to promote the study of geography, ecology and the environment.

In addition, a large glass-walled atrium and adjoining garden and courtyard flow seamlessly, bringing the outdoors in, encouraging student-faculty interaction, and providing a venue for special events. The first classes were held in the renovated duPont space beginning in the winter term despite ongoing construction on the back of the building, and the garden and atrium served as the setting for the dedication ceremony.

Carole Bailey, the university’s senior project manager, responsible for overseeing construction of the building, explained what they hoped to achieve with the building and grounds, and how that fit into the more traditional campus setting. “We wanted to create a space like none other on campus, contemporary but still very elegant and approachable,” Bailey said. “Students are loving it so far.”

While the building itself is impressive, several of its most significant characteristics are more subtle. Mostly hidden behind the walls and in discreet closets are servers and cables, neatly tucked out of sight. This new technology provides students and faculty with connectivity to the world at large, through high-quality, easy-to-use video conferencing equipment in the classrooms and a state-of-the-art multiplex in the atrium. The atrium’s multiplex features a large display comprising nine integrated screens, mounted on back-lit, perforated cherry paneling, that have the potential to simultaneously display content from nine individual feeds from around the world.

Other noteworthy characteristics of the building are also hidden in plain view: in the beautifully landscaped outdoor plaza, in the flexibility of the rooms and common areas, in the meticulously selected materials and décor, and even in the shape of the building’s corridors.

“When you come to this part of campus, you start a journey,” said Laurent (Larry) Boetsch, retiring professor of Romance languages and the former director of International Education. “Like a river, everything is curved and winding, with wide sections and narrow sections. The narrow sections naturally pull people together, where they engage with one another, leading to collaboration.” In those narrows are strategically placed seating areas, where students, faculty and visiting scholars are drawn to sit and linger.

Flexible classroom layouts are more accessible and allow faculty to experiment with new ways of teaching and connecting. Common areas also provide flexibility, with furniture that moves around to create nooks and crannies, and interesting places for members of the campus community to gather in a casual environment. The Tea House, which is scheduled to open in the building’s atrium in the fall, will also be a means to draw people to the far north end of campus.

“This corner of campus has been transformed,” said Rush. “I’m excited to see what sort of gathering place the building becomes.”

All of this adds up to much more than just a building. “It was truly intended to be a place of distinction on campus, to bring people together across all departments, and to provide a global perspective,” Boetsch said. As described in a quote from Jorge Luis Borges’ “The Aleph,” which served as an anchor during the construction process, continually connecting the project back to the vision, the Center for Global Learning is indeed a “place where, without admixture or confusion, all the places of the world, seen from every angle, coexist.”

“Global learning is for us not just a phrase, not just a trend, not just a building,” said Ruscio. “It is an essential part of a Washington and Lee education. It will happen throughout the campus, and indeed throughout the world, but especially here in this splendid new space.”

by Drewry Sackett | dsackett@wlu.edu

Carole Bailey, senior project manager, describes her role as one of conductor, coordinating the moving parts on a truly collaborative effort. In addition to International Education, other departments contributed to bringing the project to pass, including staff from University Facilities, ITS, Development and the General Counsel’s office. Also heavily involved were a number of outside companies, including:

  • SMBW, PLLC, Architect
  • Draper Aden Associates, Civil Engineer
  • Fox & Associates, Structural Engineer
  • Pace Collaborative, M.E.P. Engineer
  • Spatial Affairs Bureau, Landscape Architect
  • Convergent Technologies Design Group, A/V Consultant
  • Branch & Associates, Inc., Contractor

Changing Perspectives: Sage Timberline ’15 Changing Perspectives, Shepherd Intern at the Downtown Health Plaza, Winston-Salem, N.C.

“Sometimes you have to see a need and fill it yourself, without being told.”

Thump. I release my bike from my hands as I finally get to the bottom of three flights of stairs.

Watch check: 6:46 am. And off I go, the wind in my face and my feet coming down on the pedals harder every time with that burst of morning energy I always get. My morning bike ride has become a game, a race against yesterday – I know when each light will turn green, I know which cracks to swerve around and which bumps to power through. It is humid this morning, but the slightly downhill nature of the ride helps whisk away the beads of sweat forming on my face. Then suddenly I screech to a halt. Every day I pass a bridge where homeless people gather to sleep, and this morning there is a child there. It shouldn’t surprise me – I know a full THIRD of Winston-Salem’s children go hungry on a daily basis – but I still feel shock and a lump in my throat whenever I lay eyes on a malnourished child. I quickly search through my backpack and come up with an unopened water bottle, a bag of trail mix, a piece of paper, and a pen. I rip off some of the paper and write the Downtown Health Plaza’s address and that of the nearest homeless shelter, and then leave it carefully pinned under the trail mix. The child sees me and looks frightened. I attempt a smile and wave, and then get back on my bike reluctantly. I have no idea if they will be able to find those addresses. I wish I could stay and help them.

Before too long, I pull into the hospital’s massive parking garage, chain my bike behind a bush, and head in to get changed. Thanks to the employee discount, I get two scrambled eggs and an apple from the cafeteria for $1.49, and head up to the 10th floor.

Baker, the resident who has taken me under his wing, hands me today’s list of patients, and Margaret and Kristina, two medical students, pat the seat between them for me to sit. They’ve been here since before I even woke up this morning. I study the patient list, trying to get an accurate picture of each patient’s story before we begin rounds.

Watch check: 8:01 am. Johnson, the 6’3″ attending, comes to the workroom, and we begin rounds. The first patient we see has serious chest pain that worsens with movement. Baker, always seizing opportunities to teach me something, beckons me over to listen to the patient’s heart murmur. Then he pulls up the patient’s chest x-ray for me to read. (A, B, C, D, E – Airway, bones, cardio, diaphragm, everything else.) It doesn’t look so good. The patient tells us that he walked five blocks here with chest pain because he didn’t want to pay for the $700 ambulance ride. He doesn’t have insurance. The doctors are sympathetic in the beginning, but when they find out he has been kicked out of the Wake Forest dialysis center because of inconsolable rage and refusing treatments, they raise their eyebrows. The patient defends himself. “Who wants to spend five hours three times a week in a room with only a machine?!” The more questions the doctors ask, the angrier the patient gets, and finally he yells, “Won’t you just get out and let me get some sleep?” On our way out, I close his curtains and wish him a good sleep. “Thank you!” He tries to say it angrily, but his voice breaks and it makes him sound almost tearful. When we get into the hall, I can’t resist asking, “Isn’t there anything we could do differently for him? Couldn’t he do overnight dialysis?” Baker looks at me sadly. “He would need a family to help him with that. And besides, he told us he can’t sleep during dialysis.” This is a very typical patient – long list of chronic illness including diabetes and heart trouble, no insurance, bad hygiene, mental health issues – but the pain of feeling unable to help never feels typical. We continue, seeing a dozen more patients, some more satisfying and some equally heartrending.

Suddenly, Johnson (the attending) points at me. “Sage! ADLs and IADLs. Go!” Darn, I was hoping he would forget. He assigns everybody topics to research and present to the group, and makes no exception for me. Nervously facing all seven doctors on the medical team, I begin. ADLs – Activities of Daily Living – describe the basics of self-care, such as bathing, dressing, eating, moving, and using the restroom. IADLs – Instrumental Activities of Daily Living – are activities considered necessary to living alone, but not essential for fundamental functioning, such as shopping, getting around, and managing medications. I explain that these are used in a scale to assess patient progress and to develop a plan of care. “And why are these particularly important for the underserved population?” Johnson asks. “The underserved generally have access to fewer resources than others, which makes our job slightly more extensive,” I explain. “Using ADLs and IADLs helps guide us in determining which resources we need to get the patient access to, creating a sort of protocol for a more comprehensive patient care plan.”

Watch check: 11:27 am. Time for Morning Report. This is where a few doctors get together and present a recent interesting case. Usually there is a lesson to be learned at the end – today’s lesson is that we shouldn’t forget about the most common ailments just because they present themselves with uncommon symptoms. I follow the doctor-language as best I can, but my mind is still on the patient with chest pain.

Margaret says I should come to the lunch lecture with the medical students (which I usually do) but today I promised Honey, a retired doctor who runs the Community Garden at DHP, that I would get back to the clinic to water the plants. So I wave goodbye and hop back on my bike to head downtown to the clinic. It’s only another 3 miles, but the ride starts with a humongous hill and it is nearly the hottest part of the day. On my slow and steady way up the hill, a guy in a tight biking suit flies past me. I am surprised and suddenly competitive, and I make my legs work way harder than usual. I make it up in record time. It’s amazing what humans can accomplish when they are in competitive environments. I am filled with a sudden appreciation for W&L.

I get to the clinic and water the plants while I nibble on my lunch, admiring how well the herbs are growing. Then I head inside to change again.

On my desk, I find lots of veggies from the garden that Honey has picked, weighed, and bagged. I head down to the Internal Medicine clinic, and begin handing them out to patients. Most people look sheepish, and need a little encouragement before they will accept. But as soon as I convince them, they always have lovely things to say. “I’m gonna put this in my juicer!” says a woman who just got a bag of carrots. “This is dinner fit for a king!” says a young man with a bag of cabbage greens. I’ve never seen people so excited about vegetables. I tell two little boys to wash their cucumbers before they eat them, but they take them out of the bag and start nibbling anyway. When I catch them, I give them a fake-mad face and shake my finger at them. They giggle and speak rapid Spanish to each other, and then shake their fingers back at me. I show them where the sink is, and they happily splash water over their snack.

Watch check: 3:54 pm. The day has flown by. For the next hour, I work on making health posters – four to promote the new chronic illness management class that DHP is hosting, and two others to encourage staff to support their food bank. Finally, I collapse beside my backpack and pull out my athletic clothes to put back on. I head out to the garden to join Honey in planting the zucchini and squash and picking some green beans before I head back home. Honey tells me some great stories from “back in the day”, when she was trying to pick her specialty. We have a few good laughs. She always makes me think about what my priorities should be – is it more important for me to help as many people as I can, or have as fulfilling of a lifestyle as I can? How much do I care about salary? Is it important to get a year or two off on the long path to becoming a doctor?

After an hour in the garden, I hop back on my bike. It is hot and I have a much harder ride home. But I am grateful because a long ride always gets my thoughts rolling. I speed off up the streets of Winston until I can’t see DHP anymore. I think about the patient with chest pain. Was there something the doctors were missing? Is there a place we should have referred him? Would he really listen to us if we did? I think about the people sleeping under the bridge this morning. What would that child do if he developed chronic diabetes and needed dialysis three times a week like the patient with chest pain? Suddenly, my wheel is dragging. I make a quick detour and pull up to a gas station. I pump up my tire, but it doesn’t hold air. Then it begins to rain. HARD. Here I am in the middle of Winston after a long day, in the rain, with a heavy backpack and a bike, no cash on me, getting weird looks from passersby, but too stubborn to call a friend for a ride. I resort myself to the long walk home. I am only halfway through my route, which means I have about 2.6 miles left. I start to despair. Maybe this is what poverty feels like, I think to myself. The impoverished are on a long, hard road with no option but to keep putting one foot in front of the other, trying desperately to hold on to their dignity. I close my eyes for a second and immerse myself in the feeling.

Watch check: 6:42 pm. I suddenly pause. This isn’t poverty. I have a watch that works even when it rains. I have a phone in my backpack, with a GPS and about 100 people I could call if something goes wrong. I have an apple leftover from lunch, a bag of almonds, and a water in my backpack, should I happen to get hungry or thirsty in the next 45 minuets. I have different clothes at home that I can change into, a hot shower, a clean towel, a comfortable bed. Even when I feel the most hopeless, I am nowhere close to impoverished. With a newfound motivation and sense of duty, I finally return to the condo, dripping, with my tire trailing, barely attached to the rim. I smile as I realize exactly which day I will write about for my Day In the Life Essay.

Hometown: Richmond, VA

Major: Biochemistry

Minor: Poverty and Human Capability

Extracurricular Involvement:

  • Founder of Party Pickup
  • Co-Chair of First Year Orientation Committee
  • Resident Advisor
  • Tap into Hope Volunteer
  • Member of Students for Environmental Action and Leadership
  • Member of Connecting Campus and Community in the Context of Health
  • Member of Women in Technology and Science
  • Waddell Head Start Volunteer

Why did you apply for this particular internship? I pursued a position at the Downtown Health Plaza partially because I’ve had an interest in medicine for as long as I can remember, and it gave me an opportunity to gain both inpatient and outpatient experience. But even more than that, I wanted to comprehend the inner workings of their unique combination of resources – which include physical and mental health, legal, social, transportation, financial, and family aid – in one location. I felt that an understanding of these resources and the way they function together would best prepare me for connecting my deep desire to help the underserved population with my future health career.

How did your work apply to your studies at W&L? My studies at W&L established a knowledge base about poverty and the opinions of poverty researchers, and the work I did this summer provided context, personal motivation, an understanding of the reality of policy application, and the opportunity to develop real-world skills. This year, I will take my experience and skills back to the classroom and think more critically about the problem of poverty and possible remedies. I then hope to repeat this classroom-to-clinic-and-back-to-classroom studying cycle over and over, building a strong combination of knowledge and skills that will pave the steps to an entire career of improving human capability.

What was the most unexpected aspect of your Shepherd Internship experience? I was surprised by how openhearted each staff member was towards me, and how much respect they had for what I came to accomplish. Despite being 20+ years older than me, my superiors became some of my best friends, and wanted to take time from their workday to engage in thought-provoking conversations with me. I was surprised and grateful to be taken so seriously and to become so much a part of the staff.

Post-Graduation Plans: Hopefully medical school, possibly Doctors Without Borders or Peace Corps

Favorite Class: Poverty 103!

What professor has inspired you? Professor Pickett and Professor Uffelman

Advice for prospective or first-year students? No institution or company or organization has it all figured out. Each is made up of people just like you. The people will often know more than you, but they don’t know everything, and they can’t always tell you exactly what role to fill. Sometimes you have to see a need and fill it yourself, without being told. Are you a member of a club but want to do something extra? Add it to your job description. Is W&L missing an opportunity that you are passionate about? Bring it to campus. If you are passionate, confident, and open to constructive criticism, people will get behind you.

What do you wish you’d known before you came to campus? Don’t do things just to check off boxes or fluff up your resume. You will be more productive, you will speak more eloquently, and you will have more fulfilling experiences if you pursue the things that matter most to you. Find what you are most passionate about. Decide what you want to do with it, and don’t rest until you’ve accomplished your goal.

Changing Perspectives: Emma Busse ’15 Changing Perspectives, Shepherd Intern at Cooper's Ferry Partnership, Camden, N.J.

“Camden, N.J. was so far outside of my comfort zone that it felt like the perfect place to push myself in the context of poverty.”

Do you notice the beauty of a torrential downpour on a blazing hot summer day? If you have ever been two miles away from your new home without an umbrella while out on a run in an unfamiliar city, the answer is probably no. After a few of these rainy experiences, let’s just say the local weathermen and I are not on great terms. In a way, learning to answer that question positively given those circumstances is an apt parallel for my summer in Camden, N.J., working for Cooper’s Ferry Partnership, a non-profit development firm that uses a multi-faceted approach to make Camden a better place to live, work, and invest.

Camden, NJ, located just across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, is known for a lot of things–murder, drugs, weapons, and prostitution (you know, the really bad stuff). Before coming here, I had heard the statistics, seen the pictures, and read the journalistic representations of what Matt Taibbi in a Rolling Stone article coined “Apocalypse, New Jersey.” Despite this negative picture, I thought I was ready to jump out of my small town comfort zone and fight urban poverty head on. I knew it would be challenging, but I felt prepared, both personally and academically. My first week at Cooper’s Ferry showed me that this negative media fails to capture the real challenges of Camden, New Jersey. While crime rates are not something that you want at twelve times the national average, this is not the whole story. One of the biggest, most unexpected issues that I encountered this summer was a fight to overthrow a bad reputation.

Driving up to the Camden Waterfront, the home of the Cooper’s Ferry offices, is much like driving around any city. There are crossing guards, school children, street signs, directions to local attractions, tall buildings, and police officers. It is a normal city. Realizing this normalcy showed me how much a negative stereotype can affect the perception of a city.

But, despite the first few glimpses of normalcy, the more time I spent in Camden, the more I saw the despair. As a native West Virginian, I am no stranger to rough roads, but during my first week working at Cooper’s Ferry, one of my supervisors took me on a driving tour of Camden on roads with more holes and makeshift patches than I have ever seen. I thought I knew about potholes until my supervisor’s sturdy jeep bottomed-out in a one along a main corridor of a Camden neighborhood. This disrepair was the first sign of a cloud in the idealistic picture I had painted of the skies ahead of me this summer–it was the first sign of a storm ahead, like the lingering evening cloud that seemed to dwell outside my window some nights as I headed out for a run. The first week at Cooper’s Ferry was like that day when you look out the window to see clear skies and head out without an umbrella, despite a threatening forecast, thinking that there is no way it could rain with such a beautiful sky. But in the end you wind up soaked, trudging home, defeated.

Seeing the poverty and crime that the negative media advertises as the sum of Camden made me a bit cynical. At first I feared Camden would be solely Apocalypse, N.J., and then I realized that there was innate hope in this place. For a short time, all I saw in Camden was poverty. I bought into the negativity some people have towards this place. It took one of my co-workers to change my perspective. As a lifelong resident of the city, she had an interesting perspective on Camden. She regularly pointed out that negative media sells, and Camden has its fair share of negativity. However, Camden is a unique juxtaposition of crime and of invincibility. Walt Whitman, who spent his last years in the city, called Camden “a city invincible” during a time of economic prosperity. This title has stuck with the city for decades, through economic ups and downs, and remains an apt description of this place, despite those who tout the violence as indicative. People like my Camden resident co-worker believe in this place. She proudly claims the city as her own and believes in Camden and in Cooper’s Ferry. Cooper’s Ferry has become a part of the fight to mitigate the effects of the “Apocalypse, New Jersey” side of Camden, to get the invincibility of Camden recognized again, to get people to understand that a city’s worth is more than the sum of its violent, widely propagandized parts, and to get people to see the beauty in a rainstorm.

Cooper’s Ferry has many projects in progress, and during my summer, I worked on a few projects targeted at small business support and growth. One project involved grants for façade improvements to businesses in main economic zones. As a sociology student, I have studied and debated the merit of the broken-windows hypothesis of preventing crime: that a group of tested propositions (like the ill-repair of the storefronts) can be used as principles of explanation and prediction for a class of phenomena (like a lack of efficacy for a community). Through façade improvements, I was able to see that while broken-windows hypothesis may not translate well into the social realm of policing, there is some merit to the view that repairing broken-windows and boarded up buildings can create collective efficacy: a social agreement of neighbors to act on behalf of the common good.

Granting micro-loans to small businesses helped me to see that collective efficacy should be built from the ground up, and that sometimes a small amount of money is the catalyst needed for small business growth. While Cooper’s Ferry is involved in very large-scale deals in Camden, some of its the most important efforts focus on grassroots change. It takes a multifaceted approach to combat poverty in an area so entrenched in hardship that it sometimes struggles to see another way, to remember that the value of this city far surpasses its crime rates, to remember that Camden is simultaneously “Apocalypse, N.J.” and the City Invincible, and to see beauty and opportunity in a place of poverty in a time of rainstorms.

The day-to-day work at Cooper’s Ferry was a lot like work in any business setting. Invoicing, event planning, marketing and grant writing do not exactly sound like poverty relief. But in an area like Camden that has such disenchanting poverty, a corporation trying to improve the area through development innately necessarily touches poverty every day. The arrival of large corporations means jobs for people who have never been employed. Park improvements mean relocation of drugs to make a safe space for children to play. New bike trails mean a safer, healthier means of transportation for those without other options, including children walking or biking to school. All of Cooper’s Ferry’s work runs parallel to Camden’s economic and opportunity disadvantages.

Cooper’s Ferry not only gave me the opportunity to experience business and poverty-relief firsthand; it also introduced me to businesspeople in Camden. These businesspeople touch the lives of Camden residents everyday and affect its reputation. One meeting with the director of a major attraction on the Camden Waterfront stuck out. This successful businessman advocated for Camden and its people. He showed me that an individual working in a for-profit industry can still make a major difference in the community.

The development of the Camden Waterfront has not come without criticism. Many residents say that the Waterfront is too expensive and comes with too many barriers for them to feel comfortable there. However, this director made a point to tear down the physical and social barriers between the city’s residents and the waterfront, to send resources out into the community, to welcome Camden’s people into the developments on the waterfront, and to make these proud attractions of Camden, not mere extensions of Philadelphia.

Seeing this commitment by businesspeople to the City Invincible was the moment when I saw the beauty in the torrential downpour even though I was miles from home without an umbrella. As a poverty minor, I have felt that my path needs to include working for a non-profit that feeds children, teaches kids how to read, gives veterans housing or something else at the forefront of the fight against poverty. I worried that pursuing a career in economics would be turning my back to my time in the poverty department. However, the examples of businesspeople in Camden committed to changing the City for the better help me realize that there are career opportunities in business-like non-profits (like Cooper’s Ferry) and in socially responsible for-profits (like the waterfront attractions), and choosing a route that may not for some look like the path of a poverty minor does not mean that I am turning my back to this study. Maybe following my economics training into business will help to continue bridging the gap between poverty-alleviation and for-profit industry. The Shepherd Program, both during my internship and in the conferences preceding and following my time in Camden, has introduced me to many people who are doing just that. There is poverty-relief work in socially responsible business, some beauty in a torrential downpour, and merit to looking at things from a different perspective.

Hometown: Charleston, WV

Majors: Economics and Sociology

Minor: Poverty and Human Capability Studies

Extracurricular Involvement:

  • Money Matters
  • Volunteer Venture Greensboro Pre-Orientation Trip Leader
  • Relay for Life
  • Alpha Delta Pi

Off-Campus Experiences:

  • Summer Scholar in Economics
  • Research Assistant in Environmental Studies Department

Why did you apply for this particular internship? Camden, N.J. was so far outside of my comfort zone that it felt like the perfect place to push myself in the context of poverty. I had also heard amazing things about Cooper’s Ferry Partnership from past interns, and I wanted to see this great place for myself.

How did your work apply to your studies at W&L? As both an economics major and sociology major, the concept of human capital and the opportunity to improve human capital is at the forefront of understanding poverty and poverty alleviation. Cooper’s Ferry Partnership is truly in the business of inculcating Camden’s citizens with human capital through improving local opportunities.

What was the most unexpected aspect of your Shepherd Internship experience? Learning to love a city. As a native to West Virginia, who aside from the house I grew up in has only ever called Lexington home, living in the city of Philadelphia gave me a new appreciation for life in an urban world.

Favorite Lexington Landmark: Goshen. From my first time there on my pre-orientation trip as a first year to making the drive out there during O-week with friends this year as a senior, the beauty of southern Virginia never ceases to amaze me.

What professors has inspired you? Art Goldsmith and Tim Diette–passion for economics, poverty and sociology in two inspiring people

In Remembrance: A Promise for Kelsey

In remembrance of the tragic accident that happened one year ago today, the Executive Committee has lined the walkway from Lee Chapel to Washington Hall with blue flags. We encourage you to wear your blue Promise for Kelsey bracelets and a blue shirt to recognize the significance of this day.

Tonight, we invite you to Evans Dining Hall at 6:45 P.M. so we can once again gather as a community. We will be showing a video made last spring by the Promise Committee and will conclude by lighting the Christmas tree in front of Lee House. You are welcome to join us for any part or all of this evening. Cookies and cocoa will be provided, and we look forward to seeing you.

Interns at Work: Leigh Stauffer ’16 The High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA

“The communication and teamwork skills I learned at The High have taught me how to be a contributing member to any organization, large or small.”

How did you learn about this internship?

After talking with my professors about potential art-focused summer opportunities, I learned that many museums offer summer internships. Growing up in Georgia, I had heard nothing but admiring praise about the High Museum of Art. And, after visiting the High’s website, I was also impressed by its strong sense of community involvement. So, deciding whether or not to apply seemed like a “no-brainer.”

What gave you the edge in landing this internship?

If I were to guess what helped me get the High internship, I would surmise it was an amalgamation of the “little things.” My resume demonstrated that I am passionate about the Arts by listing relevant classes. I described my previous work experiences in ways that showed I have developed general skills that would be useful for this internship setting. For my personal statement, I specifically indicated how an internship with the High would help me achieve my future professional goals. And, I was fortunate enough to have a letter of recommendation from a professor who knows me well as a student and had previous personal experience with the High.

Describe your daily duties.

I worked for the Development Department, so I did a lot of research on museum donors, past, present and potential. The High is a non-profit, private museum, so donations are among its primary sources of funds. I thought it was really cool how my department worked to make sure that the High wasn’t the only beneficiary of community members’ generosity. Donations, excluding anonymous donations, were used in a way that aligned with the donor’s art interests, so even the patron benefitted from giving money.

Aside from my work for the Membership and Development Department, the High made sure interns from every department got the opportunity to explore ever area of a museum. Every Wednesday, interns would meet for lunch with a different department to learn more about that department’s role in the museum. Every Friday, a curator would lead interns through a private tour of his or her respective art collection. And, as new exhibits arrived at the museum, all museum employees were invited to “Lunch and Learns” that were designed to educate and excite employees about the incoming shows.

What was your favorite part or perk of the internship?

I loved getting to meet everyone, including other interns, who worked for The High! Everyone was friendly, approachable, and happy to help with whatever he or she could. It also seemed like all employees genuinely enjoyed their jobs. As much fun as working for an art museum already is, I suspect a lot of their joy stemmed from being surrounded by a supportive team of congenial co-workers.

How did you like living in the city where the internship was located?

Living in Atlanta was amazing! Atlanta has a lot of other museums, such as the Georgia Aquarium, Civil and Human Rights Museum, and World of Coca-Cola, that were fun to peruse. The music scene was vibrant and diverse. One night you could be listening to various bands jamming out at Eddie’s Attic; the next evening you could be sitting on a blanket in Piedmont Park taking in all the melodies of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Atlanta also has a lot of hidden gems like the Krog Street Tunnel or the Beltline. There was so much to do, and I really enjoyed getting to explore the city’s many unique facets!

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

I learned a lot about organization while working for The High. It takes a team to accomplish something as vast as maintaining a fine arts museum that is constantly expanding its permanent collection and bustling with new exhibits (all while conserving precious works and keeping admission fees as low as possible). The communication and teamwork skills I learned at The High have taught me how to be a contributing member to any organization, large or small. Specifically, I am currently starting a Running Club here at Washington and Lee.

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

The High has something to offer people of multiple pursuits; you don’t have to be an Art History Major or a Studio Art minor to benefit from working for an art museum like The High. There are positions involving public relations, education, design, and advertising as well. Don’t let the art-centered title deter you from applying!

Will you pursue a career in this field after graduation?

I am definitely interested in pursuing a career in the arts!

Describe your experience in a single word.


Hometown: Thomasville, GA
Major: Studio Art
Minor: Environmental Studies

Company Name: The High Museum of Art
Location: Atlanta, GA
Industry: Fine Arts, Visual Arts, Museum
Position: Membership and Development Summer Intern
Was the internship paid? No

Changing Perspectives: Lainey Johnson ’16 Changing Perspectives, Shepherd Intern at Bridges, St. Paul's School , Baltimore, MD

“It’s important to take a step back from the daily grind to think about all that can be accomplished now and in the future for children denied what others have routinely been given.”

“Have you thought about what you want to accomplish by December?”

It was six weeks into my time in Baltimore when my supervisor asked me this question. On a beautiful Thursday evening we were outside enjoying the first simple, peaceful moment after a long day at camp, watching the rising high school students write letters to themselves to be opened in 4 months, exactly one semester into their high school careers. These letters were to be a personal reminder of exactly what they wanted to accomplish in their first bit of time as high school students. I stood on top the highest point on St. Paul’s School campus, overlooking athletic fields, academic buildings, and perhaps one of the most beautiful views of the rolling hills surrounding Baltimore, a beauty that is hard to see and appreciate when grounded in the middle of the city. In the few minutes of quiet that followed, I thought about my summer, how I had spent the preceding six weeks and how that would change my outlook, worldview and goals in the future.

On Monday at the summer institute, elementary, middle and high school students were all at Bridges. High school students had SAT prep classes, essay writing aid, and visits from volunteer speakers encouraging thought on personal goals and aspirations. These students spend the rest of the week at job placements throughout Baltimore, gaining valuable job and life experience and develop and maintain interpersonal skills. Elementary and middle school students came to Bridges for the entire week, taking extensive academic classes in the mornings, while afternoons were dedicated to entertaining and enriching activities including sports, yoga, swim lessons and various art classes.

Bridges has no income or eligibility requirement but simply seeks to serve students that will take advantage of opportunities that they would otherwise not be afforded. To some extent, the majority of Bridges students lack some sort of disposable income, adequate family support or other educational opportunities, but each student differs. Bridges seeks to supplement the students’ opportunities in three areas: home support, quality of education and surrounding people and peers. All low-income students or students that come from single-parent families will not benefit from identical treatment, so Bridges develops programming distinctive to each student’s needs. Bridges meets students and families with what they can bring to the table and builds on their strengths.

The expansiveness of the Bridges program astounded me. In addition to summer programming, 4th-12th grade students receive similar support year-round, including afterschool tutoring and weekend mentoring. The opportunities that Bridges is able to provide to students are incredible. Every student, regardless of socioeconomic status, race, gender, ethnicity or family situation would benefit from participation in a program like Bridges. This leaves us with two harsh realities: these programs and opportunities are not available to all students, and those to which it is available do always not capitalize on the opportunity. Children need support. They need individual attention. They need life advice, and they need job experience (just to scratch the surface). These are things that public schools simply cannot provide. This is why Bridges exists and why programs like Bridges would be beneficial if expanded.

Throughout my summer, I experienced moments of attention-grabbing beauty, clarity and purpose in the midst of days and hours when it was hard to see past the minute details of working with such an expansive long-term program. At Bridges, I saw it when I helped a ninth grader swim for the first time. I saw it when a fifth grader told me he was proud of himself for the progress he made. I saw it when a seventh grader whispered a simple ‘thank you’ on the way home from our tubing trip, a terrifying experience for him that I helped him navigate. I saw it when another seventh grader overcame her immense fear of embarrassment and completed a perfect step team routine with six other girls before a large audience. These small moments of beauty make Bridges a program that is enabling opportunity for many of Baltimore’s children. It’s important to take a step back from the daily grind to think about all that can be accomplished now and in the future for children denied what others have routinely been given. We need glimpses of the daily beauty that emerge in programs with long-term goals for middle and high school students that are able, with tailored support, to accomplish more for themselves and society than we might initially imagine.

Hometown: Charlotte, N.C.

Major: Psychology

Minor: Poverty and Human Capabilities Studies

Extracurricular Involvement:

  • Bonner Scholars
  • Nabors Service League
  • Residential Adviser
  • Kappa Alpha Theta

Why did you apply for this particular internship? Much of my service in the Lexington area is focused on bridging the gap between home and school for students who are not provided with all of the attention or resources in either place. All students need this support to thrive, and Bridges (as the title suggests) exists for this exact purpose.

How did your work apply to your studies at W&L? As a psychology major and poverty minor, much of my psychology studies are focused on poverty-related issues and how they affect the individual. My time at Bridges also significantly enhanced my Bonner experience, providing me with new ideas to implement in programs I serve in the Lexington area.

What was the most unexpected aspect of your Shepherd Internship experience? The friendships I made. I found friends in unexpected places this summer – with my supervisors, my roommates, and Bridges counselors, teachers and students. These relationships challenged me in the best ways, provoked me to think about deeper issues in our world, and transformed my internship from an academic learning opportunity to an opportunity to experience more personal growth than I expected in eight short weeks.

Favorite Lexington Landmark: The view coming into Lexington driving down Main Street towards campus. With the mountains in the background, Main Street in the forefront, and both W&L and VMI visible in the distance, it perfectly captures the community feel that makes Lexington simply one of the best places.

What professor has inspired you? Professor Beckley–his lifelong dedication to the work of the Shepherd Program is nothing short of inspiring. His guidance and patience with students (like me) has made it possible for me to find my place in this work and in our community.

Interns at Work: Janey Fugate ’15 El Nuevo Herald, Miami, Florida

“I speak Spanish and have a longstanding interest in Latin American culture and politics. This internship perfectly bridged my two majors–Romance languages and journalism.”

How did you learn about this internship?

The Todd Smith Fellowship supports an internship at El Nuevo Herald in Miami for a journalism student fluent in Spanish and interested in international, multicultural reporting. The grant was created to honor Todd Smith, a W&L graduate of 1982 and professional journalist who was killed in Peru while reporting on the Shining Path terrorist group and drug traffickers.

What gave you the edge in landing this internship?

I speak Spanish and have a longstanding interest in Latin American culture and politics. This internship perfectly bridged my two majors–Romance languages and journalism.

Describe your daily duties.

The nature of reporting made everyday in Miami different from the one before. I would either be out reporting on assignment, making calls or writing from the office, following python hunters at night, going to the police station or the courthouse.

What was your favorite part or perk of the internship?

I really enjoyed getting to know the reporters and editors I worked with. The Miami Herald/ El Nuevo Herald has a positive atmosphere in their newsroom that facilitated good relationships among employees.

How did you like living in the city where the internship was located?

Miami is an urban wilderness. Nearly every ethnicity is represented there, and the striking contrast between ritzy South Beach and other, poorer neighborhoods like Hialeah or Sweetwater makes the city a story hunter’s paradise. Having lived in South America the summer before, at times I really felt like I was back there and not in the U.S. While I really enjoyed the city’s cultural vibrancy, I am truly surprised that my car and I are collectively still in one piece.

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

More than anything else, I learned the value of experience-based reporting. This was something my mentor reporter, Brenda Medina, taught me. This means discussing hunting regulations with python wrestlers, meeting immigrant street peddlers under the hot Miami sun, sitting through tedious city hall meetings, and searching for communities no one else is covering. Every place is a bundle of complexities, just as every human is. With this understanding, I learned that reporters must actively seek out the ignored as much as we closely investigate public figures.

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

Be ready to hit the ground running. El Nuevo’s editors treat interns like part of the team. I was expected to be ready to produce content for the paper/online and confidently enter new situations right off the bat. My advice is to say yes to every story and then go meet the people and see the places you write about.

Will you pursue a career in this field after graduation?

Yes! This internship really solidified my ambition to become a journalist, especially one that can work in multiple languages.

Describe your experience in a single word.


Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia

Majors: Journalism and Romance Languages

Company Name: El Nuevo Herald, Spanish language sister paper of the Miami Herald

Location: Miami, Florida

Industry: News

Position: Intern reporter

Was the internship paid? No, but I won a grant from W&L’s journalism department that covered costs of travel and living.

My W&L: Mary Virginia Long ’15

“W&L is a community that truly enables and encourages students to step outside of their comfort zones.”

When I came to Washington and Lee four years ago, I was unaware of the abundant opportunities and challenges that awaited me on this campus. Honestly, I thought I had my life somewhat figured out as soon as I arrived for my first day of preseason. In my mind, I had come to Washington and Lee to play collegiate field hockey and to follow a pre-med curriculum in order to pursue my adolescent dream of going to medical school. I had been training all summer for my fitness tests, and I had done my research on the specific classes I needed to take in order to ease myself into the pre-med program. However, while I did live up to my expectations, both as an athlete and a pre-medical student, I am leaving the university to go to Washington D.C. to be a kindergarten teacher for children in some of the most under-resourced areas of the city.

The Washington and Lee community is one of support. It is a community that truly enables and encourages students to step outside of their comfort zones, to test waters and try something completely new and different. Through the liberal arts curriculum, students are allowed to explore and further develop their intellectual curiosities. Furthermore, there are no restrictions in regards to how involved one can or cannot be on campus. For instance, you can be an athlete, active in the Greek system, involved in student government, clubs, etc. It is not hard to see how incredibly unique Washington and Lee truly is, as it allows students to explore so many different avenues and find success in so many ways.

Ultimately, this atmosphere of encouragement was what helped me uncover my passion for working with children in underprivileged communities. My professors and the community encouraged me to explore what I was interested in, rather than follow my initial pre-determined plans, and in doing so I have discovered different pieces of this passion and future career path. Through various courses, such as Race and Ethnic Relations with Professor Novack, different aspects of something incredibly integral to my future career were constantly being relayed and reiterated to me. The problem of educational inequity was presented to me in a profoundly different way — a way that I had never previously explored. Everything I seemed to believe in and understand was challenged, and while that initially did not settle well with me, it ultimately became a driving source of my passion.

After spending nearly six summers working as a counselor at a camp for inner-city Richmond children, I found myself faced with a great deal of uncertainty as the beginning of my senior year approached. While I had always planned on taking a gap year before medical school, I now found myself questioning my future all together. I knew I wanted to pursue a career in which I could help people, in which I could make a difference in the lives of individuals. As a child of two doctors, I believed the most natural way for me to achieve such a goal was through medicine. I never allowed myself to explore different avenues to achieve such a goal. However, when it came time to make a decision about when to schedule my MCATS, I kept coming back to the children I worked with over the summer and not only the hope I helped bring to their lives, but also the joy they brought to mine. After a great deal of reflection, I ultimately decided to put medical school on hold in order to give this other passion a chance to grow and flourish. With the guidance and support of my advisor and peers, I began applying to different teaching programs and started volunteering at a local elementary school. Even though it was completely different, I felt comforted in my decision to branch out and try something new.

If you had asked me a year and half ago if I ever thought I would become a teacher, even just for a year, I honestly don’t think my answer would have been yes. But then again, had it not been for Washington and Lee, I don’t think I would have ever had the confidence to step outside of my comfort zone, especially so late in the game, and discover a new passion.

As I walk along the Colonnade throughout my remaining four weeks as a student at Washington and Lee, I am filled with both sadness and excitement. Washington and Lee will forever hold a special place in my heart — one that can never be replaced. While I do not want to leave this place which has become my second home, I am excited and confident about my future. So when that fateful day comes that I have to say goodbye to this beautiful campus, I can leave with a smile on my face, knowing that I am prepared for whatever tomorrow may bring.

Hometown: Richmond, Virginia

Major: Sociology

Minor: Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Extracurricular Involvement:

  • Varsity Field Hockey (Captain Junior and Senior Years)
  • Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority
  • 24: Many Sports, One Team
  • Generals Leadership Academy (Graduate of 2014)
  • Peer Tutors Program
  • Volunteer at Mountain View Elementary

Off-Campus Experiences:

  • Summer 2012-14-William I. Snead River Program for Woodville Elementary
  • Summer 2012-VCU Life Sciences Research Intern
  • 2014-Spring Term abroad in the Netherlands with Dr. Uffelman studying 17th century Dutch art from a scientific perspective

Post-Graduation Plans: I have accepted a job with KIPP DC to be a Capital Teaching Resident in the Early Education Program (specifically working with kindergarteners).

Favorite W&L Memory: Although it’s nearly impossible to narrow down and choose just one favorite memory, one of my most profound and proudest memories was probably beating Johns Hopkins in field hockey this past year. Not only was it a great way to open our season, but it was also the first time in the history of our program that we had ever beaten Hopkins. It was the first time we were able to see how great our team dynamic was and how much our hard work was finally paying off. It really set the tone for a successful season…not to mention, it was a great birthday present!

Favorite W&L Event: Parents Weekend. I love spending time with my parents and my friends’ parents and seeing them all interact together. I can definitely see from whom my friends get their certain mannerisms and quirks! It’s just in general a great weekend, and a time when I do not think I have ever seen someone without a smile on their face.

Favorite Campus Landmark: The view from the W&L field hockey turf. You can see everything from there — even Mr. Washington himself, sitting on top of Washington Hall can be seen from the field. Seeing the sun rise up over the mountains on a quiet summer morning made each and every one of those sprints I had to run over the past four years worth it.


Why did you choose W&L? I initially thought I wanted to go to a big state school. In fact, W&L was the only small, liberal arts university to which I applied, and even then, it was only after I found out I was being recruited for field hockey that I decided to apply regular decision. Nevertheless, when I came for my official visit as a recruit, there was something special about this place, and I knew in my heart it was the place for me.

Why did you choose your major? Honestly, when I first came to college, I had absolutely no idea what sociology was, but after I took my first class, I was hooked. It challenged me to think in new ways and to be more accepting of different perspectives. Sociology has forced me to really analyze everything in my life, from my gender to my daily interactions. Everything I’ve learned continues to amaze me and blow my mind, and I find myself constantly wanting to learn more. While, I originally thought I would major in the sciences for medical school purposes, once I found sociology, I knew I had to take advantage of my liberal arts education. I am so happy that I did.

What professor has inspired you? To say that Professor Novack’s passion for teaching and dedication to the success of his students has been inspirational would be an understatement. Professor Novack has gone above and beyond any and every expectation I ever had of a professor. Not only has he been one of my biggest advocates in the classroom, constantly challenging and encouraging me to step outside of my comfort zone to see the world from a variety of perspectives, but he also has been a constant source of support for me. If I was not in his office discussing class materials and paper topics, I would be in there seeking his advice. Professor Novack’s guidance and unyielding faith in me pushed me to be the best I could be.


My W&L: Emmanuel Abebrese ’15

“This whole experience has taught me the benefits of collaboration in the pursuit of demanding yet worthwhile goals.”

My time at Washington and Lee University has taught me the importance of knowing my limits and how to circumvent them through collaboration to help make the world a better place. I discovered early in my college career that I was very passionate about ending poverty. However, I was initially concerned about how pursuing this passion might affect the amount of time I had for my academic work and research projects–my main priorities.

On the one hand, I had spent the first three of my college summers working on service projects targeted at improving healthcare and education in resource-deprived Ghanaian communities. I spent the first summer assisting in the diagnosis and treatment of schistosomiasis in one village, teaching biology and grammar in a resource-deprived town, and delivering donations acquired from Burkina Faso, The United States, and Ghana to orphans and widows in Northern Ghana. I spent the second summer working on construction projects and building a library at a school. Additionally, I assisted community health nurses to vaccinate children and counsel their mothers on proper child care as a Davis Projects for Peace Fellow, with assistance from a Shepherd intern. I spent the third summer assessing the impact of previous donations to a school, and identifying schools I could collaborate with in the future. I also made arrangements for the efficient distribution of an incoming shipment of school supplies and books from Waddell Elementary school, which was expected to arrive in Ghana after I had returned to the States. I did this with help from a Woolley Fellow.

As a pre-med biochemistry major, I found these service projects to be as rewarding as my academic work. However I anticipated that the time commitment of my future academic pursuits might compel me to abandon my service projects in future. In order to prevent this, I began developing a means of reducing the amount of personal resource commitment my passion for service required. I resolved to create an organization that trains my peers so we could work on solving challenges of the resource-deprived in Ghana together. My original intent was for us to focus on improving education and healthcare in order to train the younger generation in Ghana to be competent successors for our cause.

I started by setting up a non-profit in both Ghana and the United States named Citadel Foundation for Kids (CFK), the outcome of which has brought me great satisfaction. A W&L student who had taught and interviewed children at three schools in Ghana last summer as a CFK volunteer returned to campus with ideas on how she could help CFK achieve its goals. Upon realizing that several children she taught owed school fees, we developed the idea to employ their mothers to make clothing in Ghana for sale in the United States. Already, she has committed several hours to writing a business plan, working with artists to design clothing and contacting potential investors. Moreover, she recently committed to working on additional paperwork for CFK during our winter break while I focus on shadowing physicians in Thailand. This level of dedication is characteristic of all members of CFK and the caliber of work they have invested in the beginning stages of CFK reflects the high expectations that we ascribe to as W&L students.

This whole experience has taught me the benefits of collaboration in the pursuit of demanding yet worthwhile goals. Without the support of professors, CFK’s partners and my fellow W&L students, I do not think I will have made it this far. For this reason, I will remember the W&L community fondly for the support, guidance and encouragement I receive from its members daily as they simultaneously remind me that I can achieve more through hard work and collaboration.

Hometown: Woodbridge, Northern Virginia (born in Ghana but now a US citizen)

Major: Biochemistry

Minor: Poverty and Human Capability Studies

Extracurricular Involvement:

  • Citadel Foundation for Kids LLC
  • Student Association for International Learning
  • African Students Association
  • BBB Biology Honor Society
  • Student Health Center and Office of Health Promotion

Off-Campus Experiences:

  • Shepherd Poverty Internship, Ghana
  • Holleman Fellowship, Ghana
  • Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research-Immunology and Animal Research Departments, Ghana
  • Davis Projects for Peace, Ghana
  • International Research Experiences for Undergraduates, Ghana
  • Bluepoint Surgical Group Surgeon, USA
  • Carilion Stonewall Jackson Hospital
  • Kaneshie Polyclinic, Ghana
  • Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, Ghana

Post-Graduation Plans: Gap year and then med-school

Favorite W&L Memory: Receiving a donation towards my non-profit initiative in Ghana from the winners of the SAIL showcase for Ghana in 2013. After they were announced as winners, the winning group walked up to the microphone, thanked everyone for their support and concluded by saying that they wanted to donate their prize money to my cause. I was awestruck and once again reminded of the unique caliber of students I am surrounded by here at W&L.

Favorite Classes: Poverty and Human Capability Studies with Professor Pickett, Organic Chemistry with Dr. Higgs, International Development with Professor Dickovick, Biochemistry II with Dr. Friend and Independent Neuroendocrinology study with Dr. Toporikova

Favorite W&L Event: Speaking on P4T student-faculty panel on child and maternal health in developing countries

Favorite Lexington Landmark: Woods Creek

What’s your passion? Medicine, research and ending poverty

What’s something people wouldn’t guess about you? I consider cars to be an art form

Why did you choose W&L? The Honor system.

Why did you choose your major? It is challenging and provides adequate preparation for med school

What professors have inspired you? Provost Daniel Wubah, Professor Dickovick, Dr. Pickett, Dr. Higgs, Dr. Friend, Dr. Toporikova

Advice for prospective or first-year students? Get to know your professors, get to know yourself, be yourself, and then surround yourself with hardworking people. Finally, embrace diversity.

What do you wish you’d known before you came to campus? It is okay to ask for help. Professors are more interested in helping you learn that you proving how smart you are to them.

From the wluLex Blog: Steven Vranian ’15

Steven Vranian ‘15 is a biology major from Richmond, Virginia. When he’s not in class, he volunteers as a firefighter for the Lexington Fire Department (LFD). The wluLex team sat down with Steven to find out a little bit more about his work.

Why did you decide to become a volunteer firefighter?

I decided to become a volunteer at the age of 16, when I obtained Emergency Medical Technician certification. My dad (a physician) was talking to a friend in the hospital who worked for GCFR and thought that I would find that sort of experience very cool. I had always wanted to be a firefighter since I was a young, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to follow my childhood dream and help others at the same time.

What do most people not realize about the work that firefighters do?

Most people don’t realize that most of the calls firefighters receive aren’t, in fact, for fires. Given Lexington’s proximity to the interstate, a large portion of our calls are in response to vehicle accidents. Additionally, given the population demographics of Lexington and Rockbridge, the majority of LFD’s calls are actually for EMS. The LFD is interesting in that both Fire and EMS are combined, meaning that only one dispatch is made for either service.

What’s the most difficult thing you’ve ever dealt with as a volunteer firefighter?

I’ve seen a lot of gory and emotional stuff in my six years working in the Fire Service. The most difficult thing I¹ve dealt with personally was the death of a four year old patient that I transported from a vehicle accident. She lived long enough to reach the hospital, but died shortly thereafter. Having assured her mother (also in the vehicle) that we would get her daughter to the ER safely, I felt some sort of responsibility for a while after the event even though I knew it was outside of my control.

What’s the most rewarding part of being a firefighter?

I would say the most rewarding part of being a frefighter is the satisfaction I derive from knowing that I’ve helped the person or persons who have called. Often we work without thanks, but sometimes it’s a simple thanks from the individual(s), and even better, other times it’s a written note of appreciation. Regardless of whether or not direct thanks is given, knowing that what I’ve done is making a difference is satisfactory enough.

Read more about W&L students and life in Lexington on http://wlulex.tumblr.com/

In Depth: Science, Society and the Arts

Science, Society, and the Arts is a multi-disciplinary conference involving Washington and Lee undergraduates and law students in the presentation of their academic achievements before an audience of their peers and the faculty. Conference participants share their work via oral presentations, traditional academic conference-style panels, poster sessions, artistic shows, or creative performances.

In the weeks leading up to the conference on March 12-13, we will profile a few of the projects being presented by students.

Briefly describe your research project.

While studying abroad in Samoa last year, I conducted an independent research project on women in politics and what keeps Samoan women from having more leadership roles in both their local governing bodies and the national Parliament system. Samoan women hold an integral and valued place within their families and communities, yet Samoa continues to report some of the lowest rates of female political representation in the world. During my research process I interviewed many village women in rural Lotofaga, as well as fourteen female politicians, aspiring politicians, and experts in the field. This work culminated in the research paper I will be presenting at SSA and is published online at http://digitalcollections.sit.edu/isp_collection/1823/

What about this project called you to exploration?

As a Women’s and Gender Studies minor I was really interested in studying the lives of women in Samoa and how the challenges they face are similar and different to those faced by women in other parts of the world. As is the case in the U.S. and across the globe, Samoa has a government system almost entirely dominated by male leaders. This issue was coming to the forefront during my time there because the Samoan government had recently passed a temporary special measure that will guarantee 10% of Parliamentary seats to women come 2016. They are also the first Pacific island nation to do so. Another name for such a measure is a “quota system,” a tactic that has achieved great success in other parts of the world, especially Nordic European nations, in achieving more gender equitable governments.

What was the most interesting thing you learned while working in this subject matter?

Although some of the challenges facing Samoan women entering politics are unique to their culture, many are somewhat universal. My research found that a network of support from fellow women, especially politically active women who can serve as mentors, would be a positive first step in addressing the constraints Samoan women face entering politics. At a micro level, that is what I have been interested in trying here on our campus. Washington and Lee also has a lack of female representation in student leadership. The group “Launch” that I am vice president of seeks to balance social and political power at W&L by encouraging female mentorship and networking.

What was the biggest challenge in completing this project?

The language barrier is always a concern when conducting research in a non-English speaking nation. I had become proficient in Samoan during my time there, yet I had to be very cognizant of the fact that many concepts and cultural notions would still not translate. It is always a challenge as an American and an outsider to a community to conduct research responsibly. I had many preconceived Western notions about gender equality going in, and the learning curve was steep. Luckily I had a few amazing Samoan women as advisors who steered me in the right direction and helped me to be as culturally sensitive and relevant as possible.

What insight(s) did you gain from creating this project?

As Americans I think we tend to see things in black and white; we love to categorize and simplify. The Samoan culture is much more laid-back and fluid. It would be easy to look at their political representation and say “Samoa is not an equitable society for women,” but political representation is just a small piece of the puzzle. Many of these issues begin in the home, in family and village structures and at schools. Women are highly regarded throughout Samoa and hold vast leadership positions, but the translation of that authority has not yet spread to politics. The international community judges developing nations harshly when it comes to female leadership, but in reality, the United States ranks 75th in global female political representation and Samoa is not much further off at 135th.

What was your favorite part of creating this project?

Speaking with such powerful, influential, and inspiring women. I interviewed women from 35 to 85, and their wisdom was vast and fascinating. As a young woman, I have so much to learn. I was able to interview the Minister of Justice, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, who has served for more terms in Parliament than any woman in history, and is arguably the most powerful Samoan woman alive today. I also got to meet the Prime Minister Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi and the current Samoan Queen. It was a great honor as a foreigner to be welcomed by so many state leaders.

Why would someone focused in other disciplines care about this?

This paper was a lot of fun for me, not only because I was so interested in the issue, but also because it allowed me to investigate many different fields. My paper covers issues from history and political science, to anthropology and sociology, all the way to gender studies and social justice. There’s a little something for nearly everyone.

In your mind, what is the value of considering science, society and the arts in the same context?

In my mind, perspectives are always lost when research is isolated in only one discipline. Examining a topic from an interdisciplinary approach lends to more comprehensive conclusions. Science does not operate in a vacuum from artistic temperament, and certainly neither can be explored with depth and effectiveness when removed from a societal context. My mother is a visual artist who works in the medical field doing cardiac research. Her mixed-medium approach to each field has always inspired me. I appreciate how W&L’s liberal arts focus encourages us as students to look at an issue from diverse vantage points.

My W&L: Ellen Wiencek ’15

“The relationships I have made and strengthened while volunteering over the course of my time in Lexington are more important to me than I could have imagined.”

Over the past four years, I found my niche in the Shepherd Program, where I am a work study student, a member of the Campus Kitchen Leadership Team, and chair of community engagement for Nabors Service League. After participating in the Volunteer Venture program to Washington, D.C., before my freshman year, I knew that I wanted to be part of the interdisciplinary program aimed to educate students about the increasing poverty and inequality that exists in the United States today.

As a mathematics and economics major, I clearly like numbers. In any analysis, I tend to default to empirical arguments, using data as my main method of support. When I took Professor Pickett’s Introductory Poverty course my freshman year, the greatest initial challenge for me was the quantity of anecdotal and ethical evidence we used in our class discussions and analysis of domestic poverty. Over the course of the semester, I aimed to meet this challenge, and I learned how to write papers that had strong statistical support, but also told a story to make those data points resonate with the reader.

Four years later, I’ve completed my poverty capstone course on the structural isolation of the urban poor, using arguments from economics, political philosophy and sociology, thus completing my poverty minor. In true liberal arts fashion, the poverty studies curriculum has rounded out my analytical skills, helping me to understand the people behind the data that I would have otherwise cast aside.

At the same time as my introductory course, I was enrolled in a service-learning course, requiring a volunteer commitment of four hours and a written reflection each week. My placement was at the Campus Kitchen, where I delivered dinner and visited with the residents of the Natural Bridge Manor, an assisted living facility. To enhance the anecdotal readings of the introductory class, this service-learning course allowed me to have real names and faces to learn from, and it further helped me understand the complexities of poverty and its potential solutions. Forming these personal relationships solidified my interest in pursuing the poverty minor, and I have been delivering to the Manor ever since.

As a senior, reflecting on my four years of volunteering, I have actually begun to think of it less as service, and more as part of my daily routine. The relationships I have made and strengthened while volunteering over the course of my time in Lexington are more important to me than I could have imagined when I first began visiting the Manor. It is easy to get stuck in the campus bubble, so I am glad to have found a way to connect with the local community through the Shepherd Program.

Hometown: Medina, Ohio

Majors: Economics and Mathematics

Minor: Poverty and Human Capability Studies

Extracurricular Involvement:

  • Campus Kitchen Leadership Team
  • Nabors Service League Community Engagement Chair
  • Peer Tutor
  • Pi Beta Phi Sorority

Off-Campus Experiences:

  • Spring Term Abroad in Paris, 2013
  • Shepherd Internship in Camden, New Jersey, 2013
  • Junior Year Abroad in Oxford, 2013-2014
  • Spring Term Abroad in Ghana, 2015

Post-Graduation Plans: Research Assistant at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors

Favorite W&L Memory: The Kayaking Trip to the Everglades with the Outing Club

Favorite W&L Event: Parents Weekend!

Favorite Landmark: Lexington Coffee Shop

What’s something people wouldn’t guess about you? My sophomore year, I was in W&L’s production of “Bye Bye Birdie.”

Advice for first-year students: Don’t be afraid to reach out to professors who may have work on a topic that interests you, even if you don’t already know them. The academic community at W&L is supportive; professors are happy to share their work and have discussions with interested students. I’ve had valuable conversations with professors that I’ve never had for class, and having those resources has allowed me to fill in some interdisciplinary gaps.

Unleashing the Girl Effect: Stuart Hogue ’96 Alumni at Work, Nike Foundation, Portland, OR

“Girls will invest 90 percent of their earnings back into their families. It’s the smartest way to stop intergenerational poverty.”

Stuart Hogue ’96 believes in the power of girls to end global poverty.

He believed it when he joined the Nike Foundation to work on The Girl Effect, a global movement that is mobilizing resources to help girls in poverty.

But he really understood it when he met Emebet, a young girl in Ethiopia. “She wakes up at 3 a.m. to study by the light of her mobile phone so she can start her chores at 5 a.m. before going to school. Her chores include lugging 45 pounds of water 500 yards on her back to make breakfast for the family and doing the cleaning. She also did the farming for the family, because her father had died, and her mom was ill.”

What struck him was that “although these girls are living in different parts of the world, they could so easily have been one of our own families. It made me realize how fortunate we are. The problem may be in a different part of the world, but the issue is one that touches us all as human beings.”

Investing in girls like Emebet pays off, Hogue said. “Girls will invest 90 percent of their earnings back into their families. It’s the smartest way to stop intergenerational poverty.”

Hogue spent seven years as a leader in the Nike Foundation and was general manager of Girl Hub, a collaboration between the Nike Foundation and the United Kingdom government, which works in Rwanda, Ethiopia and Nigeria to create programs for girls in those countries.

Hogue took an indirect route to Nike. Following graduation, he worked for an investment bank in San Francisco and then played semi-professional football in Germany. Upon returning to the United States, he worked for a start-up company and then started his own dot com in 2001. He later worked for the design firm frog in New York City, where he helped companies like MTV and Hewlett-Packard design and launch new products. While there, he received an MBA from NYU. He challenged himself by climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, but came home wondering what his next career move should be.

A football and track stand-out at Washington and Lee, Hogue noticed a job opening at Nike Foundation, which would make use of his expertise in strategy at a company focused on sports. “Sport is in my soul. No company had more to offer than Nike,” Hogue said.

Now Hogue has moved on from Nike Foundation into the role of senior director for strategy for Nike’s global retail leadership team, where he continues to use his expertise in strategy to help the company set and carry out multi-year plans.

A biology major at W&L, Hogue said it was his art professors, especially Kathleen Olson-Janjic, and Larry Stene, who encouraged him to pursue his love for design.

He almost didn’t make it to W&L, though. He was already enrolled somewhere else, but at the last minute, changed his mind and came to Lexington and to play football for Coach Frank Miriello and run track for Coach Norris Aldridge.

Hogue believes all his experiences, including his love for art and design, work in his favor at Nike. “Every day at Nike, I have to communicate visually.”

Now living in Portland with his wife, an attorney who works in professional development for lawyers, and their two children, Hogue sees endless opportunities working for Nike, where he said he has been fortunate to learn all aspects of the business.

– by Linda Evans

International Health Care: Nicole Gunawansa ’14 Alumni at Work, Luce Scholar, Sendai, Japan

Nicole Gunawansa ’14 has seen health care delivery in a variety of settings domestically and abroad. She has taken away from those experiences a conviction that health care is a human right.

“People have the right to acquire services that help promote betterment of health, irrespective of unfavorable life circumstances,” she said. “Volunteering in venerated hospitals, rural free clinics and medical settings abroad has opened my eyes to the level of sensitivity needed when administering medical care.”

Finishing a 10-month Luce Scholarship at the International Research Institute of Disaster Science at Tohoku University School of Medicine in Sendai, Japan, Gunawansa plans a transition year doing work for a nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C., before enrolling in medical school.

First she will attend the wrap-up conference for Luce Scholars in Indonesia, where she and other scholars will reflect on their experiences in Asia. The Henry Luce Foundation created the Luce Scholars Program in 1974 to enhance the understanding of Asia among potential leaders in American society. It awards grants to young leaders who have had limited experience in Asia and might not otherwise have an opportunity to spend time there.

As an undergraduate at Washington and Lee, Gunawansa experienced the health care systems in other parts of the world, particularly Denmark and Ghana, after receiving both a Johnson Opportunity Grant and a Shepherd Consortium International Internship. Her fascination with international medicine grew during those experiences.

“I felt it would be enlightening to gain some exposure to the medical situation in Asia, specifically the impact of natural disasters on health care infrastructure,” she said. Because it is the region that has been hit the hardest by natural disasters in the last decade, “Asia is an area in which I knew I could learn about the restoration of medical systems and the impact rebuilding has on patient populations.”

She heard about the Luce Scholarship from a classmate and applied “to bring me one step closer to better understanding the current practices and policies within international medicine.”

At the research institute, she worked with the Department of Disaster Psychiatry, assisting with projects related to the impact of the Great East Japan Earthquake on mental health. The projects included analyzing clinical cohort data, running animal experiments that test the role of microglia in fear response, and interviewing healthcare professionals and first responders about the implementation of disaster medicine.

Gunawansa majored in neuroscience at W&L with an added emphasis in poverty and human capability studies. As a Summer Research Scholar, she spent four years participating in behavioral neurological research and presented her findings at the National Society of Neuroscience conference in 2013.

She said her W&L education has been “tremendously beneficial” to her work in Japan. “I find myself constantly drawing upon methodological and experimental background information and memories from my W&L research experience.”

The work she did at the institute was “heavily intertwined with her neuroscience major, making the process of transitioning to clinical psychological research less daunting and more rewarding.”

Once she decided to pursue the Luce Scholarship, she turned to several professors for support: Sarah Blythe, assistant professor of biology; Holly Pickett, associate professor of English; Erich Uffelman, Bentley Professor of Chemistry; Janet Ikeda Yuba, associate professor of Japanese; and Harlan Beckley, Fletcher Otey Thomas Professor of Religious Studies. Gunawansa said they encouraged her and understood “my interest in international medicine and the benefits of the Luce Scholarship relative to my ultimate career goals,” she said.

However, it was Associate Dean Marcia France whom Gunawansa calls her “pillar of strength and reason” while she pursued the Luce. “Her constructive criticisms, meticulous analyses and words of reassurance were precious contributions that helped me put my best foot forward in the competitive application process,” said Gunawansa.

Her volunteer service and exposure to healthcare were not confined to international experiences. As a Bonner Scholar and AmeriCorps member, she worked with such organizations in the Lexington community as the Rockbridge Area Health Center, the leadership team of the W&L Campus Kitchens and several afterschool programs. She also volunteered in Birmingham, Ala., where she worked with programs such as A+ and Focus First to promote the welfare of youth in the city.

Having spent more than 900 hours in volunteer service, beginning with work at hospitals and homeless shelters in her hometown of Portsmouth, Va., Gunawansa turned a volunteer requirement for a club into her life’s passion.

“It soon became the reason I wanted to pursue medicine, especially for disadvantaged patient populations both domestically and internationally.”

She said most of her time volunteering at hospitals was pleasant, but “the occasions that I have witnessed patients being treated without respect or dignity have left a lasting imprint on my mind and conscience,” she said. “Regardless of whether you are a millionaire or homeless, everyone should be treated with compassion in daily life and in the medical field.”

She believes too that every person — whether living in a developed or developing nation — “should feel a sense of security that he or she can receive health support despite social or financial status or even cultural or societal stigmatization.”

She plans to take that belief with her through her medical education and career to become “a compassionate doctor capable of fighting for even the most marginalized of patients.”

– by Linda Evans

A Day in the Life: Kayla Sylvester ’17 Day in the Life, Johnson Opportunity Grant Winner, REACH, Sioux Falls, South Dakota

“My latest project at REACH has been curriculum development for a workplace literacy program.”

REACH is Sioux Falls, South Dakota’s local literacy council. The organization organizes adult literacy, workplace and life skills tutoring. They assess learners and provide our trained tutors with all the resources they need to be successful with their learners. To help fund the programming costs, REACH runs a fantastic used books store. The store even grants free children’s books to teachers and local organizations with a need, and gives them away to kids in the store. It has a real focus on making literacy and books accessible to everyone.

No day at REACH is exactly the same. One day I will be calling and emailing our volunteer tutor staff to log their hours and provide updates, and the next I will spend the entire day out in the community passing out literature and explaining our mission. Every day I meet new and interesting people, whether it’s new learners (usually low-income, refugee, or immigrant populations), new tutors, retired educators or other nonprofit organizers, because REACH works closely with all the other nonprofits in the area to connect with learners and resources.

Every Wednesday I help at the store, REACH a Reader. There we organize thousands of books for resale and sell them for either $1 or $2. My main focus at the store is our literacy grant program. After getting a request from a local teacher or organization explaining their needs, I sort through our thousands of children’s books and put together boxes based on their reading and interest levels. At the store there is a solid team of volunteers that make the store possible and make the days there fun and interesting.

My latest project at REACH has been curriculum development for a workplace literacy program. REACH is working with Grand Prairie Foods, a food production plant, to provide workplace tutoring to about ten employees for nine months. My role has been to organize tutors for the program and put together curriculum for the nine-month program. I began by looking at what the company wanted their employees to learn and incorporating literacy into it. First, I came up with a scope and sequence for the nine-month program. Then I looked through all of our tutoring materials and pulled relevant materials. After doing that, I got all of the tutors working on the program together and we developed a plan of action. My last step was lesson planning. I developed the first four weeks of lesson plans and materials for the program. This whole process gave me a huge insight into curriculum development and planning, which is great skill for a future educator. I was able to attend the first session and fill in for a tutor, and it was so nice to see all the excited learners.

All in all, this eight-week internship has taught me so much. I’ve gained marketing sales through advertising the book sales; I worked on contacting media, developing and distributing flyers, and developing promotional ideas. I’ve gained skills in volunteer management through the tutors and the bookstore. I’ve also gained skills in curriculum planning and teaching. I really owe this experience to my supervisor, Paige Carda, the executive director of REACH, because she does it all. She is the only full-time staff for REACH. She was in between program assistants when I came in. On top of everything I have been doing, she deals with the board, community relations, and most importantly, grant writing. Out of everything I’ve done, I have learned the most from her, especially when it comes to dedication.

Hometown: Yankton, S.D.

Major: Politics

Minor: Education

Extracurricular Involvement:

  • Co-president of College Democrats
  • Bonner Scholar
  • Campus Kitchen Leadership Team
  • Dance Company

Off-Campus Experiences:

  • Volunteer work for a month in Ghana
  • Spring Term Abroad in Sweden
  • Program Intern at REACH Literacy

Why did you apply for the Johnson Opportunity Grant? In order to take on an unpaid internship with a nonprofit it my home state, I needed money to cover transportation, housing, and general expenses. I spent eight weeks this summer interning at a literacy nonprofit in Sioux Falls, S.D.

How does your work under the grant apply to your studies at W&L? As an education student with plans to go into teaching, it is very beneficial to explore different organizations and positions that incorporate education. While here, I’ve gained skills in marketing, volunteer management and sales, as well as curriculum development.

What was the most unexpected aspect of your grant experience? I had no idea the organization was so small, with one person running everything. Because it was so small, I got a lot of experience in different fields. I really got to see what goes into a nonprofit.

Post-Graduation Plans: I hope to move back to S.D. and teach, not only because it is my home state, but because the state has had a teacher shortage and provides a unique mix of cultures due to the reservations, which will give me abundant opportunities to grow as an educator.


Favorite Campus Landmark: Global Service House. I may be a little biased because I lived there last year, but it is the one place on campus where it really felt like a home. Every year it is a new mix of students, both international and domestic. It forces you to meet new people and the communal spaces really allow for great socialization. It is just far enough from the other housing that you can get away from it all and play a game of foosball or watch a movie in the great living spaces. It is also really convenient that Campus Kitchen is located on the lower level of the house. It is really a space where any organization can meet and bring different people together.

Favorite Lexington Landmark: Sweet Things Ice Cream. Not only is it some of the best ice cream I’ve had, it is a cute family owned shop. My favorite flavor is mint chip in a dipped waffle cone. It being cash-only is also a blessing in disguise, because then I can’t buy ice cream every time I walk by. It makes a perfect treat for when you finish a long paper or an exam.

Advice for prospective or first-year students? Make sure you take at least one service-based learning course (education practicums, poverty and human capability course, etc.). Sometimes as students we worry way too much on what our grades will be and focus way too little on how we spend our four short years in Lexington/Rockbridge County. I love all my classes, but I think I’ve learned the most when I’m out of the classroom and out in the community. The best part is W&L provides the means to do this, so explore and learn.


Young Alumni at Work: Thomas Day ’15 Alumni at Work, Health Science Specialist and Research Assistant, Palo Alto VA Hospital and Stanford School of Medicine.

“I studied such a broad range of subjects because I wanted to fully immerse myself in the liberal arts by examining truth from many different perspectives.”

Where can majors in biochemistry, religion and music composition take someone?

Thomas Day ’15 took these majors to become a health science specialist and research assistant in hospice and palliative medicine at Palo Alto VA Hospital and Stanford School of Medicine.

“I studied such a broad range of subjects because I wanted to fully immerse myself in the liberal arts by examining truth from many different perspectives.”

Day is working to improve the lives of patients who have terminal illnesses. He says he is helping people at their most vulnerable point in life.

He is working on four main projects: evaluating the most effective way to screen patients for pain in primary care; measuring the quality of hospice care within the VA system to improve care nationwide; analyzing focus group interviews about roles within interdisciplinary healthcare teams; and helping coordinate the development of a joint hospice and palliative care program at Stanford University School of Medicine and Palo Alto VA.

Day had no background in any of the technical skills his daily work requires, but ironically, he says this shows how Washington and Lee University prepared him.

He says that because of W&L, learning a whole new skill set was not a daunting task.

Day found a form of expression in music at a young age, and he continued that passion at W&L with the University Singers.

He said every concert closes with “The Road Home.”

“The Road Home is incredibly beloved by every member of the choir because it encapsulated so much of what the choir means to its members and what W&L means as well. It leads you back to a place like home,” Day said.

Below is an excerpt of the song.

“With the love in your heart
As the only song;
There is no such beauty
As where you belong;
Rise up, follow me,
I will lead you home.”

In addition to University Singers, Day was a resident advisor, peer counselor, member of the student faculty hearing board and a member of General Admission, among other things.

Day offers this advice for current W&L students: “Live your life there to the fullest. Take advantage of every opportunity you have to get involved and cherish your friendships.”

One class at W&L that stands out to Day was Religion 210 with Dr. Alex Brown. After having a bad draw during freshman year registration, “Approaches to the Study of Religion” was the only class available for his schedule. Brown advised Day that this class was not meant for first-years, but he persisted.

“It completely shaped the way I view the world and current religions … It’s the most valuable class I’ve ever taken. She wound up being my advisor and a sounding board for my life decisions.”

If Day could go back to W&L, he says he would spend more time doing the things he loves with his friends. He also called Lexington a “treasure trove” and encourages students to explore it more.

Day will remain with Palo Alto VA Hospital for two years. He also sits on the Alumni Board of Directors for the United States Presidential Scholars.

Day plans to matriculate into medical school in summer 2017.

– by Cecelia Smith-Schoenwalder ’16

A Day in the Life of a Research Assistant

6:45-7:30: I wake up, eat breakfast and get ready for work.

7:30-8:00: Palo Alto is a bike friendly area, so I bike 5 miles to the Menlo Park campus of the Palo Alto VA Healthcare System.

8:00-10:30: I begin my day by reviewing the statuses of my projects and taking care of administrative tasks to keep them on schedule. Research projects require extensive behind-the-scenes oversight, including composing protocols, drafting budgets, securing IRB approval (ethical approval) and scheduling meetings. These responsibilities vary depending on the projects’ different stage — from grant writing to data collection to paper submissions.

10:30-12:30: Once the administrative tasks are complete, I turn my attention toward research activities. I conduct qualitative research, so I use a program called Atlas.ti to code interview transcripts, then I write about those findings in scientific articles. I also spend this time reading relevant papers and joining teleconference meetings with collaborators.

1:00-4:00: My fellow research assistant and I then travel to the Palo Alto VA’s primary care clinic to gather data about how physicians ask about and manage pain. One of us recruits patients to join our study and the other hands them a Galaxy tablet with our survey app loaded onto it. The tablet survey asks patients about different pain screening techniques (“On a scale of one to ten, how bad is your pain today?”) then reports the results so that we can figure out the best way to ask about pain.

4:30-5:30: At the end of the day, we drive back to the office, transfer our data, and make sure all sensitive information is stored securely. I then head to the gym to play basketball with coworkers and veterans getting treatment for PTSD. Hearing their stories has given me a deep respect both for their duties overseas and for their daily struggles assimilating back home.

5:30-6:00: I conclude my day with the same 5-mile bike ride back to my apartment.

Interns at Work: Noelle Rutland ’17 Department of Defense, Washington, D.C.

“Interning at the Department of Defense gave me a sense of purpose, allowing me to serve my country and support the men and women of our Armed Forces.”

What attracted you to this internship?

My greatest career goal is to find a job where I can make a difference. Interning at the Department of Defense gave me a sense of purpose, allowing me to serve my country and support the men and women of our Armed Forces. I was attracted to the Legislative Affairs office in particular because I was able to combine my interests in security studies and government relations.

How did you learn about it?

Last summer, while interning at a think tank in DC, I reached out to W&L alumni in the area to network. I met alumna Alexandra Utsey, who currently works at the Pentagon as a Presidential Management Fellow. Alex was incredibly helpful in providing me with information on the Department of Defense’s internship programs, and also assisted me with the application process.

What gave you an edge in landing this internship?

The W&L connection was a huge help! Alex’s initial information and referral distinguished my application from the hundreds of other resumes in the pile. Beyond that, my academic background in global politics and past internship experiences helped qualify me for the position.

Describe your daily duties.

As an intern in the Legislative Affairs office, most of my daily duties involved researching Congress. This included watching Congressional hearings, analyzing legislation on the floor and summarizing views of individual senators and representatives. Several times, I was also able to attend classified briefings on the Hill and meet with members of Congress.

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

Professor William Connelly of the Politics department was instrumental in helping me to get the most out of my internship. His Washington Term class should be a required course for anyone who wants to understand politics in our nation’s capital. The wealth of knowledge and experience he brings to the course would be hard to find at other universities.

Professors Seth Cantey, Tyler Dickovick and Thomas Williams of the Politics department also helped to prepare me for my internship, through the courses I’ve taken with them and their career advice during office hours.

What was your favorite part or perk of the internship?

Definitely the people! My coworkers went out of their way to make sure I had a great experience at the Pentagon, and I learned a lot from the people in my office and on the Hill. On my last day of work, my coworkers presented me with a framed picture of the Pentagon signed by everyone who had worked with me. It was really touching and goes to show how much the Department of Defense values their interns.

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

Washington is an amazing place. In addition to all of its historical value, it is also the site of many of today’s most pressing political battles. I learned a lot about Washington politics, especially from the other interns participating in the Washington Term program. I also learned more about the myriad of opportunities available in the city. It’s no wonder so many W&L students move to Washington after graduation.

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

Interning in the Legislative Affairs office strengthened my research and analysis skills, which will be crucial to writing my senior year research papers. It also provided me with practical experience working within my Global Politics major and will inform my academic study next year.

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

Don’t be afraid to network! Reach out to me, or someone else who has interned or worked at a government agency. Take advantage of the amazing resources W&L provides, from professors in your department to Lorri Olan of Career Development, who is a resume and cover letter mastermind. Build your academic coursework and extracurricular activities with your career goals in mind, so that when it comes time to apply you are a competitive applicant.

Has this experience influenced your career aspirations? How so?

This experience has confirmed my interest in working for the government in the future, likely with the Department of Defense.

Describe your experience in a single word.


Hometown: St. Petersburg, FL
Major: Politics and Spanish
Company Name: Department of Defense
Location: Washington, D.C.
Position: Legislative Intern

A Tale of Two Cities: Kristine Kilanski ’07 Alumni at Work, The Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA

“I’ve been given so many opportunities, and with that comes deep responsibility to make the world a better place and to expand opportunities for others.”

It’s a tale of two cities, but the similarity with Charles Dickens’ novel about London and Paris ends there.

For Kristine Kilanski ’07, the two “cities” are really two perspectives on Austin, Texas. To the outside world, Austin is a bustling, hip, fast-growing, economically strong city. But, in its rapid growth, the city has left behind some of its residents, said Kilanski, many of whom work in the service industries that contributed to the city’s metamorphosis.

To bring their stories to life, Kilanski, along with classmates and faculty member Javier Auyero at the University of Texas at Austin, wrote a book, “Invisible Austin: Life and Labor in an American City,” published in August 2015.

The book emerged from a class on poverty and marginality that Kilanski took as part of her Ph.D. program. The class readings did a good job of outlining the conditions that led to poverty, she said, but the students felt that there was a calling for a more nuanced portrait of the people who experience poverty. The class began to think about collecting the stories of their fellow Austinites, many of whom they knew were struggling to stay afloat amid a dramatic rise in the region’s cost of living.

Even the students had felt some economic pressure, as rents in the city rose dramatically from when they began their graduate programs. “We were motivated by what was going on outside our doorsteps,” Kilanski said.

Twelve students contributed to the book — 11 of them writing a chapter about an individual living in Austin who matched the area of sociology in which they specialized. Kilanski interviewed a woman named Clarissa, who became homeless after an accident and injuries prevented her from being able to find work again.

Kilanski said her first meeting with Clarissa was not what she expected. Clarissa suggested meeting at the 1886 Café, in an upscale hotel. When Clarissa arrived, she was well dressed. Her first comment “was about how she felt being approached for money on the street by homeless people,” said Kilanski.

They talked for five hours, and then Kilanski drove her to her “home” in a storage unit. Kilanski continued to interact with Clarissa, learning more about her story and gathering information for her contribution to the book.

The experience taught Kilanski how our expectations of homeless people can be wrong. “We deal in stereotypes,” she said. Clarissa didn’t fit that preconceived mold. She was from a middle-class background, had been married and had her own small business. “Clarissa loved what she had done in the food service business. After her accident, she tried to go back to work, but given her age and injuries, she had trouble maintaining what she loved.”

When the group began the book project, they tried to be realistic about its prospects for publication. “We even thought of using the sociology department’s printer” to make copies, Kilanski said. They decided to go ahead with the project because “it’s important work.”

At a book launch party at a local Austin bookstore, there was standing room only. Kilanski said others wanted to hear the personal stories, and they “were able to admit there was a problem,” with rising inequality in the city.

Publisher’s Weekly named “Invisible Austin” one of its books of the week, calling it “lucid and empathetic.” The reviewer said the “insightful portraits reveal how life histories are intertwined with political and economic forces beyond any individual’s control.”

Kirkus Reviews called it a “scholarly study conducted with dignity and thoroughness.”

Now living in California, Kilanski has begun a two-year post-doctoral fellowship at The Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford University, where she continues to conduct and publish sociological research on gender, work and poverty. Her goal is to teach and conduct research at a university.

She traces much of what she has accomplished to her time at Washington and Lee. Following her brother, Bryan Early ’04, to the Lexington campus, she had only a vague idea that she wanted to study people. A one-hour conversation with David Novak, professor of sociology, during a student fair, convinced her to register for a sociology course.

“I found my intellectual home — people who cared about inequality and wanted to do something about it,” she said.

In the summer of 2005, Kilanski participated in the Shepherd Program for the Interdisciplinary Study of Poverty and Human Capability. She spent the summer in New York City, where she worked for a nonprofit organization that provided services to women who were either homeless or had recently left the criminal justice system. She lived in a house with some of the women and the nuns who oversaw the organization.

“It was an incredibly eye-opening experience to see the level of economic and racial and gender inequality,” she said. “The experience was fundamentally life-changing.”

Other faculty who mentored and influenced her included Jonathan Eastwood, who “made me love sociological methods,” and Leslie Cintron, for whom she worked on a project researching childcare options in Lexington.

Married to W&L graduate Matthew Kilanski ’06, she remains motivated to change the world. “I care so deeply about the world around me,” she said. “I’ve been given so many opportunities, and with that comes deep responsibility to make the world a better place and to expand opportunities for others.”

– by Linda Evans

Don’t Miss: The Institute for Honor When: Friday, 4:00 p.m., Where: Lee Chapel

bernstein-carl-t Don't Miss: The Institute for HonorCarl Bernstein

The 15th annual Institute for Honor Symposium, “The Press and the Presidency: The Battle for Public Opinion in War, Peace, and the Digital Age,” will take place Friday, March 18, and Saturday, March 19. The keynote address on Friday, which is free and open to the public, will be delivered by one of the most famous journalists in American history, Carl Bernstein.

Here, courtesy of W&L Class of 1960 Professor of Ethics and Politics Lucas Morel, are five reasons it would be a travesty to skip Bernstein’s lecture:

  1. If you liked the Academy Award-winning “Spotlight,” then you’ll love hearing from the reporter who helped define investigative journalism.
  2. You’ll hear an expert’s observations on how well the press is reporting the presidential campaigns.
  3. As the author of a major biography of Hillary Clinton, Bernstein will offer unique insights on a candidate who may become the next American president.
  4. What you learn will give you another reason to see another award-winning film about the press, “All the President’s Men.” The film is based on Bernstein’s book of the same title, about his work with fellow journalist Bob Woodward to investigate the Watergate scandal for The Washington Post.
  5. You’ll see why honor and integrity remain essential attributes for a free people and their government.

The Institute will continue on Saturday, with talks by Harold Holzer, winner of the 2015 Lincoln Book Prize for Lincoln and the Power of the Press: The War for Public Opinion, and Toni Locy, professor of journalism and mass communications at W&L, on the press and the possibility of balance in the Age of Obama. While advance registration is required for all sessions but Friday’s keynote, both Holzer’s and Locy’s talks will be broadcast live online.

Faculty Focus: Tyler Lorig Ruth Parmly Professor of Psychology, American Association for the Advancement of Science Congressional Fellow

In 1973, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) began a fellowship program that placed seven scientists in congressional offices on Capitol Hill. Over the ensuing years, with support from partner societies and sponsoring agencies, the Science and Technology Policy Fellowship (STPF) program grew into one that places hundreds of fellows in Congress and the executive branch every year.

This year, among the 280 fellows — and one of only two sponsored by the AAAS — is Tyler Lorig, Washington and Lee University’s Ruth Parmly Professor of Psychology. Lorig has spent most of his fellowship, which began Sept. 1, 2015, working in the office of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California).

Sage Russell, associate director of the STPF, said AAAS fellows must impress the selection committee with a combination of exceptional verbal and written communication skills, leadership potential, a commitment to applying one’s science to serving the public, and analytical and problem-solving skills. Once the fellows arrive in D.C. at the beginning of the fellowship, they’re given a crash course in policy process and federal government. They then go through the procedure that matches them with the legislator for whom they will work for the remainder of their fellowship.

As Lorig’s experience draws to a close (his fellowship ends Aug. 31), he found some time to answer questions about his adventures on Capitol Hill.

Q: How did you end up with Sen. Feinstein’s office? When the placement period came around after orientation, did you express an interest in working for her, did her office reach out to you, or was it mutual?

A: Let me start with a little background. Last spring, I was selected as one of two Congressional Science and Technology Policy Fellows sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS, the largest scientific organization in the world and the publisher of the journal Science). For the last 40 years or so, AAAS has run a program that brings scientists to Washington to learn how science and government policy interact. Over the years, a number of other organizations have joined in and sponsored their own scientists as fellows. This year, a total of 280 science fellows (including a former W&L neuroscience major and recent Ph.D., Nisha Kaul Cooch ’05!) met in a ballroom near Dupont Circle for training that was provided by AAAS. For 10 days we heard from scientists, staffers, ambassadors, professors, the president’s science advisor, members of Congress — and a few people who were several of those things at the same time — on the ways and means of life in the federal government. Most of the fellows in that room were headed to placements at government agencies like CDC, NIH, NASA or USAID. A few of us (31) were headed for more training and then a job with a member of Congress.

To answer your question, I came to work for Sen. Feinstein through mutual agreement. That was true of all of the congressional fellows. We were all competing for good placements that would advance our goals for the year. Bill Connelly, in politics, was a great help, providing me with information about the Hill and contacts with former students who could offer advice. All that information-gathering led to a reception at the Capitol, with staffers from the congressional offices looking for fellows and fellows looking for offices. When the flurry of business cards ended, interviews began and, over the next two weeks, offers were made. I was very familiar with Sen. Feinstein’s record in health care, the Senate Intelligence Committee, the assault weapons ban and her willingness to work across the aisle. I also really enjoyed my interactions with her senior health staffer and thought I could learn a lot from her. They made an offer and I accepted the same day!

Q: Can you describe the kind of work you’re doing, including any issue areas or pending legislation you’ve been asked to focus on?

A: I work on many different projects and also meet and discuss legislation with constituents. The projects have included fact finding on health insurance, telehealth, breast cancer stamps, Zika, mental health, pharmaceutical costs, foster care, medical device security, human trafficking and many, many other topics. In two months, I had worked on over 30 different topics. I stopped adding to the list. No one would believe it.

Q: How does your field of study factor into the work you’re doing?

A: There are many illnesses that people come in to discuss that have a neurological foundation, and that’s an obvious place where my field of study is helpful. Surprisingly, I’ve found my training in statistics to be very valuable as well. It is really helpful to be able to read a summary of a scientific paper in the mainstream media, then get that paper and really see what the authors actually found. Having confidence in the results, or vice versa, can influence what you suggest for the policy being considered.

Q: What is the most interesting experience you’ve had so far as part of the fellowship?

A: That’s a tough question for me, since so many things have been interesting. As I mentioned before, much of my day is spent meeting with people who have health problems who need support from some federal program like Medicare or the Centers for Disease Control or the National Institutes of Health. Some of those people or their families have grave illnesses that have somehow become lost or ignored in the maze of health care regulations. Other people who come to the office are physicians, nurses, researchers and other care providers who need some kind of change to current laws in order to provide better care for their patients. Listening to all these constituents are the senator’s health staff – a small number of unbelievably dedicated and knowledgeable people who work long after I go home each evening. The conversations we have with constituents can be difficult. Sometimes there are tears, but sometimes laughter, too. There is always enormous respect on both sides of the table. The problems these constituents face are the most difficult things that people can face in their lives, yet they do so with such grace and hope even though, for many of them, the research being discussed will come too late. Those meetings change your perspective on a lot of things.

Q: How does the pace of your fellowship compare to the pace at W&L?

A: Like a lot of professors, I spend my days at W&L meeting with students, teaching class, writing and working in the lab. At night I catch up on emails and grade papers. In Washington, we don’t really take work outside the office — at least we fellows don’t! For that reason, the pace here seems really fast. There are always meetings and summaries to be prepared and a long list of bills and policies that need tending. Even though we do cross things off that list, the list tends to get longer and longer.

Q: What have you learned that you expect to bring back to campus and either incorporate into your position here or share in some other way?

A: The most direct translation of my experience here will be my Science and Public Policy class that I teach during spring. I have always struggled to find topics that have enough science in them to be good topics for policy discussions. That will no longer be a problem!

Q: I’m told that some employees in Capitol Hill offices are just out of college but may technically be your boss. Of course, you are a highly educated and experienced expert in your field. Has working with them been easy or has it taken some getting used to?

A: It has been really easy and rewarding. Fellows (from AAAS, Brookings and some other organizations) are considered senior staff in most offices, and your mentor is usually someone with lots of experience. That’s especially true in the offices of members who have had a number of years on the Hill. Those legislators often attract spectacular staff. Most of the folks who are right out of college are working toward being one of those senior staffers.

Q: The partisanship in Congress right now has been called unprecedented. Have you gotten a taste of any discord?

A: Surprisingly, not really. I’m not sure that my job would be any different if there were more bipartisan initiatives, and that’s probably because health matters tend to be supported on both sides of the aisle.

Q: Do you plan to keep in touch with other fellows (fellow fellows?) in your network after this experience is over? If so, how will those relationships be of value?

A: Yes. We are a pretty close group and have a standing Friday lunch date for 31! There are a few fellows who are senior scientists and who do a bit of mentoring of those just getting started. The value to me comes in hearing the perspectives of those new scientists on their careers and graduate training, since so many of our students take similar roads to Ph.D. training. The AAAS fellows tend to get exceptional post-fellowship job placements, and one never knows where their roads will lead them. Having a broad network in science is a very good thing.

– Lindsey Nair | lnair@wlu.edu

Advocating for Opportunity: Cynthia Cheatham ’07 Alumni at Work, Society for Neuroscience, Washington, D.C.

“It is important to me to be excellent. You have a short time to do what you want to do.”

Cynthia Cheatham ’07 has a background that might seem disjointed — undergrad major in politics and Spanish, master’s degree in Latin American studies, and jobs and internships with public housing, a major labor union, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and a nonprofit scientific association.

However, everything she has done contains a thread of commonality. “I have always been focused on underrepresented communities,” she said. At the AFL-CIO, for instance, she worked on human rights and women’s issues and, during the 2012 election cycle, on voting rights.

She now works full time for the Society for Neuroscience as manager of professional development, a job that allows her to oversee a scholars program and a training program to provide career development to underrepresented groups and researchers in Latin America.

The Neuroscience Scholars Program is a multi-year fellowship for underrepresented and diverse graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in neuroscience. Funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the program is designed to increase the likelihood that trainees from diverse backgrounds who enter the neuroscience field continue to advance successfully in their careers.

Another grant has allowed the society to establish a year-long, online training program for young scientists from Latin America and the Caribbean. Fifteen of the participants are selected each year to attend a three-week course in a Latin American country.

The society also offers Neuronline, an online community that “creates and provides trainees with opportunities to advance and learn what others in the field are doing and what skills they will need for advancement,” Cheatham said. The site includes webinars, articles, videos and discussion forums.

Each year at the society’s annual meeting, which attracts thousands of scientists and physicians devoted to understanding the brain and nervous system, she organizes events for a diverse group of researchers from countries around the world who are underrepresented due to disability, gender or ethnic background “to create a community” for them where they can learn from each other and discover how to take advantage of services offered by the society. They might present posters, attend roundtable discussions to hear seasoned professionals discuss their careers, or network at a social event, Cheatham said.

Cheatham is responsible for creating a variety of videos series and webinars that teach such things as mentoring, how to publish a paper (critical for promotion for university faculty), why being a researcher is important, and generally how to advance in one’s career.

Cheatham “went the social sciences route” at Washington and Lee, but is not surprised to have ended up at an organization devoted to the sciences. “A liberal arts education opens doors for you,” she said.

She first worked for the society from 2007-09 in an entry level position where she helped develop programming for the annual meeting. She then left to earn a master’s degree at Georgetown University and returned in 2013 for six months as a consultant.

Those months were devoted to working under a federal grant to assist academic departments in making sure their recruitment and retention policies were inclusive for women and underrepresented minorities. She visited New York City and managed the creation of a website with presentations, articles, and a video series on the topic.

She became a full time employee in August 2013. She came back to the society because “I knew the work they had done — the members work to treat diseases and disorders that impact people’s lives. That was important to me.” She had already worked with diverse communities and knew that continuing that work with the society “was a fit — it actually made sense.”

Her current job involves some travel, including conferences throughout the country and the society’s annual meeting, and she hopes to attend the 2016 Latin American training program in Uruguay.

Originally from Washington, D.C., Cheatham came to W&L with a scholarship. She said many faculty members inspired and mentored her while she was a student, including Ellen Mayock, Ernest Williams II Professor of Spanish. In her conversational Spanish class, Cheatham was able to work with the Rockbridge County Red Cross, translating disaster materials and teaching a workshop

In politics, Eduardo Valequez taught her to be a critical thinker and writer. She learned “to take a problem, dissect it and talk about it.” Tyler Dickovick, associate professor of politics, “taught a course that led me to graduate school,” she said.

Cheatham also participated in the Shepherd Program for the Interdisciplinary Study of Poverty and Human Capability. Through the program, she obtained a summer internship in D.C., working in a public housing complex. Part of her time was spent surveying neighborhoods for graffiti, and reporting sightings to appropriate city departments for clean-up. She also spent two summers working on juvenile justice issues for the city.

At W&L, she was an R.A. her sophomore and senior years, taking on co-responsibility for the student residence life program her senior year. She credits those experiences for teaching her management skills. She also was a member of the Joyful Noise gospel choir and a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., where she performed a variety of community service activities.

As busy as her life is now, Cheatham continues to serve W&L as a member of the Alumni Board. “I work as a liaison with the Alumni Affairs office on multi-cultural issues,” she said, and she serves on the Careers and Networking committee. Her board participation also has allowed her to work with the D.C. alumni chapter on diversity issues.

Cheatham’s life and career are guided by one thought: “It is important to me to be excellent,” she said. “You have a short time to do what you want to do.” She wants to be the one who creates places where people can be themselves.

– by Linda Evans

Interns at Work: Darby Lundquist ’17 Eastern Virginia Medical School Summer Scholar Program (EVMS), Norfolk, VA

“I loved learning about all the different families that came to the four clinics, and I liked comparing the ways the clinics and doctors worked.”

What attracted you to this internship?

I loved that the EVMS Summer Scholars program had so many different projects to choose from and that working at a medical school would be a new and exciting experience. I also liked that I would be working with about 30 other scholars, which made me feel less intimidated.

How did you learn about it?

Through my dad. He works at Optima Health, and he heard about this program through his colleagues at EVMS, which is 45 minutes away from my house.

What gave you an edge in landing this internship?

Having past research experience at W&L definitely helped. I had spent a summer working for Dr. Woodzicka (professor of psychology), doing research that was similar to what I would be doing at EVMS. I also think the fact that my dad knew people at EVMS helped. They could put a face to my name, and since they knew and trusted my dad, they probably had a better idea of what I would bring to their program.

Describe your daily duties.

I get to EVMS at 9 a.m. and walk over to the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughter in Norfolk where I give out surveys to adolescents in the General Academics Pediatrics clinic. In order to see all the adolescents that come through, I must talk to the doctors and residents so that they can let me know when I can enter the rooms and if the adolescents have any problems or conditions that I should know about. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I also give out surveys to adults at the Western Tidewater clinic in Suffolk and the Sentara ACC and HOPES clinics in Norfolk. After working at the clinics, I enter data on Excel, meet with my advisor and other scholars, attend presentations given by EVMS professors and analyze the data collected from the four safety-net clinics.

What are some tasks/projects you’ve been working on?

I work with Dr. Ferguson and three other scholars on her project on surveying the patient experience for caregivers in low-income families in an academic pediatric primary-care practice. We survey adults and adolescents from low-income families to get a better understanding of their experience at the clinics have been so far. After we give out our surveys and analyze them this summer, the Transformative Education Advancing Community Health (TEACH) initiative will be implemented, which involves training inter-professional teams of primary health-care providers to practice and lead in transformed health-care systems to improve patient access, quality of care and cost effectiveness. After this TEACH initiative, surveys will be administered a second time, and the effect of the initiative will be reviewed. If successful, the initiative will be implemented in other health-care systems.

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

Taking psychology statistics classes helped me a lot. I was way ahead of the other scholars since I had already had experience using Qualtrics, Excel and SPSS. My basic knowledge of statistical terms and tests also came in handy. In addition, I had experience presenting academic posters through some of my other psychology classes at W&L. My individual research projects with Dr. Fulcher (professor of psycology) and Dr. Woodzicka definitely helped prepare me for this internship, since those projects involved human participants, institutional review board proposals and data analyses.

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

I have already learned so much about the medical world. Even though I never plan on attending medical school, I am glad that I chose to work here. I hope to talk to more psychology professors and advisors here and learn about all of my options for graduate schools and the programs that I can apply to before the summer ends.

What was your favorite part or perk of the internship?

I definitely enjoyed working behind the scenes with the doctors. When I found out that I would be giving out surveys, I figured I would be giving them out in the waiting rooms. However, I had the opportunity to interact with the patients in the privacy of their examination rooms after they had seen residents and doctors.They were all different, but they all ran smoothly and handled a ton of patients who were struggling financially. My favorite part was going out of my comfort zone and talking to these patients about personal experiences and the various problems they were struggling with.

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

Since I live in Virginia Beach, I actually just commuted to Norfolk every morning and didn’t live there. However, working at the clinics allowed me to see the city in a different way. There are so many families in the city who are struggling to make ends meet, and I’m so glad that they have these free safety-net clinics.

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

I have realized that I take a lot of my blessings for granted. The patients I work with are often struggling to hold down several jobs and have let their health or their kid’s health slip. It’s hard for those with low incomes to even think about their health since they have so many other problems to deal with. I had so many meaningful conversations with the patients and learned a lot. I will always be cognizant that some people may not be as fortunate as I am, and I will always try to help people as best I can.

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

Apply early and try to get some research experience before applying for the internship so that you are a better applicant. Also, look at the program projects offered for the year and make sure you are really interested in at least three of them. Reach out to the professors whose projects you’re interested in, and let them know that you will be applying. Ask questions to show them how interested you are.

Has this experience influenced your career aspirations? How so?

I had not even considered a job in the medical field before this, but now I think I would actually enjoy it. Being with the doctors and seeing how much help they were giving to these patients was inspiring. It’s too late to change my major, and psychology is definitely still my top choice, but I’m glad I explored this field. I also got to be around lots of kids with disabilities and birth disorders, which makes me even more positive that I want to work with them in the future.

Describe your experience in a single word.


Hometown: Virginia Beach, VA
Major: Psychology
Company Name: Eastern Virginia Medical School

Location: Norfolk, VA
Position: Summer Scholar

Interns at Work: Harrison Westgarth ’17 National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD

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

Briefly describe your summer research experience.

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

What attracted you to the program?

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

How does your work this summer apply to your studies at W&L?

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

Describe a typical day

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

Did any particular courses or faculty members help prepare you for the experience? How so?

Professor Ayoub’s genetics class and lab has probably had the most impact in preparing me for my experience in summer research. Many of the techniques learned in her class have been directly applicable in my own personal work and gave me a solid basis upon which to build my skill in the lab to its current state.

What was the most interesting or unexpected aspect of your experience?

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

What key takeaways or new skills are you bringing back to W&L?

I have a variety of new lab techniques under my belt, a revitalized understanding of the scope and importance of medical research at a federal level and a newly discovered penchant for formulating my own research questions — to dive in and start trying to push forward on the fringes of knowledge, even when I’m very much still learning.

What advice would you give to other students interested in this program?

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

Describe your experience in a single word.


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

My W&L: Darlon Jan ’15

“W&L is about the people who make the traditions and community succeed.”

When walking outside the second floor of Lenfest in the evening, soft lights illuminate the words: “To promote literature in this rising empire and to encourage the arts have ever been amongst the warmest wishes of my heart. – GW” Usually, if a quote or monument warranted lighting, powerful lights would be cast upon the letters; to have them contrasted against the brick walls that house them and to highlight for the visitor who ventures beneath that octagonal roof to clearly see and read them. That is not the case with Washington and Lee. When I first visited in the March of 2011, I failed to notice these words at night. When I saw them the next morning I realized something about Washington and Lee was profoundly different.

Brochures and the website will emphasize and describe our heritage and traditions of honor, trust, and community. One needs to look no further than our self-scheduled final exam blocks, our ability to leave things out in the open with no fear of thievery, our faculty and professors, and our interactions with other students to see that these traditions present and intertwined within our school. The light on the quote is soft because the quote is a daily part of the wall, just as two and a half years of personal experience have shown me that these traditions are a daily aspect of Washington and Lee. From Dr. LaRiviere’s and Dr. Uffelman’s offers to help drive me to the local Kroger to pick up groceries over Thanksgiving break to the simple smile and hand wave when walking by someone on campus, W&L’s sense of community and support for one another remains a core value. There is a joy here, from the smiles and hellos of the speaking tradition to the small student body that allows for name recognition and stronger interpersonal connections. Supportive professors and faculty go that extra mile, whether it be holding General Chemistry office hours well past seven p.m., offering multiple review sessions for concerned biochemistry students eight, or nominating and helping a student who needs greater practice in timing get a summer research opportunity at MIT (Thank you Dr. I’Anson and Dr. LaRiviere!).

W&L is about the people who make the traditions and community succeed. The professors that encourage you to enter research, that nominate and help you with research opportunities such as the HHMI EXROP, that help you arrange housing over summer, that inspire you with their life stories and experiences, and that remind you why you were interested in the field you wish to study. As a freshman, my objective was to enter medical school after college. While I had passions in history and philosophy in addition to science (more accurately what I thought was science back then), I had been interested in becoming a physician since I was young child for personal reasons. Consequently, though I wanted to get a liberal arts education and explore numerous fields and options, I expected that all of the goals I pursued would have to funnel in the direction of medical school to a certain degree. The college experience was becoming condensed into a step towards medical school. By midterms my freshman year, this mentality was retired. I was still interested in medical school, but my interest had been refined into a love of science with its questions and experiments, its frank and unabashed admittance of “don’t know” for many questions, its drive to learn, test, and discover. I began to understand the mission of medicine and science as to learn, heal, and apply for the betterment of society and human life.

As children we feel some ego boost or joy at the instillation or reaffirmation of a value. The learning or instilling of patience does not stand out to us (as important as it is), though we are often told that one day we will understand. We are also often told that college can or will have one of the biggest impacts on our lives. Often we forget as college applicants that four years of college represents a substantial percentage of our life to date and thus plays an important role in shaping both who we will become in the future and our memories of what we did with our lives. These past two and a half years at W&L have dramatically shaped my life, from afternoons in the lab to film nights that become more about side discussions than the film. From the pomp and excitement of Mock Con to the fretful pen and pencil lines dancing across papers in review the night before an exam. At freshman orientation over two years ago, President Rusio said that the friends we make these four years will carry over throughout our lives, and he was right. The closest friends and bonds that I have ever made in my life have come from W&L. Such a place is not just a college or a community, it is a family. Just as community, trust, opportunity, and unity are an inherent part of a family experience, these experiences are a part of W&L. The W&L experience does not require glaring lights to highlight and remind us of them; it is fused into the walls of our school, into the classes taught in Huntley and the Science Center, into the artery-like brick paths that link Lee Chapel, Robinson, and Huntley.

As I look at soft lights on the quote each night walking through, I am remind of that impression I had over during my first visit–that W&L does not seem that a place that words could describe in the Aristotelian categorical terms. W&L has more of that indescribable, continental, philosophical feel of Derrida and Foucault, and it feels wonderful.

Hometown: Reno, Nevada

Major: Biochemistry

Extracurricular Involvement:

  • βββ (Tri-Beta) member

Off-Campus Experiences:

  • Summer research at MIT through HHMI’s EXROP program

Post-Graduation Plans: Aiming for medical school

Favorite Class: CHEM 341 Biochemistry I (Friend) or ARTH255 Northern Renaissance Art (Bent).

Favorite W&L Event: The Mock Convention

Favorite Campus Landmark: Three-way tie between the Reeves Center, the IQ center, and the glass display cases throughout the Science Center (in particular the animals on the 4th floor of Howe).

Why did you choose your major? The biosciences are fascinating, and life is ultimately a biochemical process. It seemed rather interesting and important. Also, browsing the Protein Data Bank is rather addictive.

What professor has inspired you? All of them. Dr. Uffelman, Dr. LaRiviere, and Dr. Marsh have all been great advisors. Dr. Bent, Dr. Bello, and Dr. Verhage have continued to fuel an interest in the humanties. Dr. I’Anson, Dr. Friend, and Dr. LaRiviere have impacted the way I communicate. It is truly challenging to find a professor that will not inspire you in at least one way here.

How have you spent your summers?

  • HHMI Summer Research fellow (2012) LaRiviere Lab at W&L
  • HHMI EXROP student (2013) Drennan Lab at MIT

Advice for prospective or first-year students? Study, relax, and take the time to explore and analyze different elements on campus and within the buildings. There are great things to see and explore. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and try to learn something out of everything conversation and interaction you make. There is so much to do and learn on this campus.

My W&L: David Robinson ’15

“I remember feeling so clearly the importance of individual responsibility, integrity and respect in the daily lives of Washington and Lee students.”

When I arrived on campus three years ago, there was no doubt in my mind that I was in the right place, that I made the right decision to spend the next four years at a small liberal arts school in Lexington, Virginia. That feeling has not waivered since my first year on campus and, in fact, it has grown stronger. Furthermore, that small liberal arts school in the Blue Ridge Mountains proved to be so much more than that.

Every year, the incoming first-year class attends a Student Governance Orientation, where they are introduced to the idea of student self-governance at Washington and Lee and the student governing bodies that we have on campus. One of such bodies is the Student Judicial Council (SJC), which I lead as chairman this year.

Last month, during the Student Governance Orientation in Lee Chapel for the 2014-2015 academic year, I had the opportunity to speak to the Class of 2018 about the SJC and its unique role on campus.

As I was sitting on stage with the other speakers waiting for my time to speak, I remember feeling so clearly the importance of individual responsibility, integrity and respect in the daily lives of Washington and Lee students during their time on campus and beyond. In fact, these things have come to comprise the tradition of honor and respect that makes Washington and Lee such a special place. I decided to run for a position on the Student Judicial Council during my first year on campus, knowing that there would be nothing more rewarding than being able to play a role in upholding that tradition.

It is not a group of administrators telling students what to do or how to behave, but rather it is their peers, classmates and friends that enforce the standards of responsibility, civility and appropriate conduct on the campus of Washington and Lee. This is the very essence of student self-governance.

One of the components of student self-governance is the responsibility that upper-division students have to communicate this tradition of respect, responsibility and integrity to each incoming class. It is this very act–the act of communicating the traditions to each new first-year class–that has stood the test of time and has created the W&L that we have today. I feel so fortunate to have been able to play a small role in that tradition this year through my involvement with the Student Judicial Council.

Three years ago, I sat in Lee Chapel with the rest of the Class of 2015 staring down the next four years. Once my time in Lexington has come to an end, I know that I will take with me so much growth and so many conquered challenges, but more importantly, so many rewarding experiences. And for that, I will always be grateful to this W&L community.

Ask any student on this campus and they will tell you that their time here has been so much more than just “four years” and Washington and Lee so much more than just “that liberal arts school in Lexington, Virginia.”

Hometown: Greenville, S.C.

Major: Accounting and Business Administration

Extracurricular Involvement:

  • Chairman of the Student Judicial Council
  • Resident Advisor for First-Year Students
  • Member of @wluLex
  • Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity
  • Volunteer at Waddell Elementary School

Off-Campus Experiences:

  • Summer 2014: Elliott Davis Summer Intern
  • Summer 2013: Ernst & Young Summer Intern
  • Summer 2012: Alumni College Resident Advisor

Favorite Class: Business Law with Professor Culpepper

Favorite W&L Event: Christmas Weekend

Favorite Lexington Landmark: Top of the Devil’s Marble Yard hike.

Interns at Work: Austin Eisenhofer ’15 Penske Racing, Inc., Mooresville, N.C.

“The most important takeaways I bring back are from the leadership standpoint.”

How did you learn about this internship?

During my freshman year, Penske began looking for an Athletics Intern. My father has painted IndyCars for Penske for 30+ years now, so he let me know about it.

What gave you the edge in landing this internship?

Besides my dad already being the head of the Paint Shop, my knowledge of sports training helped a lot because of the training that the pit crews must go through on a daily basis. My understanding of racing, thanks to years of watching, also gave me an edge. Finally, in such a blue collar industry, a hardworking attitude goes a long way.

Describe your daily duties.

We had pit practice on every Tuesday and Wednesday. So, most of Monday was spent setting up for the practices on Tuesday morning. Tuesday afternoon was spent getting ready for Wednesday morning. On days that were not filled with practice, I helped set up and organize the film system, and had the opportunity to sit in on some pit crew team decisions. During the practices I practiced as a tire carrier (the one who puts the tire on the NASCAR) on the ARCA and Truck series teams, a backup fueler for IndyCar, or I drove the electric NASCAR we had for practice.

What was your favorite part or perk of the internship?

My favorite part of the internship was the camaraderie with all of the pit crews. We had quite a few characters on the teams. My favorite perk may have been getting paid to lift in a state of the art weight room.

How did you like living in Mooresville?

I’ve lived in Mooresville since my freshman year of high school, so I’m pretty acclimated to it. It’s a booming town just north of Charlotte, so it’s a great place to be.

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

The most important takeaways I bring back are from the leadership standpoint. Since I am a captain of our football team here at W&L, I watched our pit coaches closely to see how they handled certain situations that may not sit well with some members of the teams. I hope to eventually climb the ranks within a sports team and sit in a management job, so I tried to soak up as much as possible.

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

The advice I would give to students interested in a position like this is GO FOR IT. At W&L there seems to be a stigma that if you aren’t in a banking or office job, then you are not successful. Not many people enjoy racing as much as I do, but if you are interested in any job that may be out of norm, go for it and you might just find a job that pays what you want for doing something you really love.

Will you pursue a career in this field after graduation?

Assuming I get a job in the Charlotte area, I do plan on working on a pit crew as a tire carrier. Pit crews are filled with former college/pro athletes, so it is a good way to make some extra money on the side while continuing an athletic or competition career. I am currently looking to land a job with a professional sports team outside of racing, but there is a good possibility that I try to go back to Penske and work in the business side of racing while also working on a pit crew.

Describe your experience in a single word.

Hometown: Mooresville, NC
Major: Business Administration

Company Name: Penske Racing, Inc.
Location: Mooresville, NC
Industry: Auto Racing
Position: Athletics/Team Management Intern
Was the internship paid? Yes

My W&L: Margaret McClintock ’15

“Washington and Lee provides an exceptional liberal arts education; one not bound by desks or chalkboards but one that thrives on the development of individual students into a community of leaders.”

Washington and Lee provides an exceptional liberal arts education; one not bound by desks or chalkboards but one that thrives on the development of individual students into a community of leaders.

My freshman pre-orientation hiking trip profoundly shaped my first year in Lexington. On our second to last day, just before we reached the summit of our final mountain, a storm overtook our group. We were forced to sprint down its side, hurdling fallen trees while rain and wind threatened our balance. After hours crouched in lightning-drill position as the storm passed, we climbed up the mountain (again). We finally made it to the shelter and we spent our remaining hours together laughing and joking about the whole thing, relieved that nothing bad had happened.

I love leading Pre-Orientation trips. I love the look on the first years’ faces as they come to the Pavilion and feel out of place, awkward, and unsure of themselves, anxiously looking around for anything remotely familiar. I love shaping their first W&L experience into something special. But it comes with an enormous responsibility. Leading a trip for the first time made me realize how scary that storm probably was for my leaders. They put all of our safety ahead of their own and the care they demonstrated extended beyond the physical difficulties of the trail to our on-campus struggles.

W&L develops this kind of leader in a way that only W&L can. We are a community of people who genuinely care for the needs of those around us, who want our peers to succeed, who congratulate our competitors, who can have a heated discussion and still leave the table as friends. The strength and the character of this community amaze me every day. But it is not something that sustains itself. It takes leaders who invest time and energy into making our school a better place. That’s what I love so much about W&L—everyone here seems to want to contribute to the culture of the University.

The leaders of my Pre-O trip have remained a part of my college experience, even after their own graduation. They checked on me during rush, they recommended me for a competitive class, they introduced me to new people, they called me just to get coffee and check in. More than anyone else, they helped me find my niche in the W&L community. From them, I learned ways to make the most of this incredible experience; but more importantly, I learned how imperative it is to return some of what I have received and give back to the place that has given so much to me, so that generations of students can benefit from it as much as I have.

Class Year: 2015

Hometown: Tunica, MS

Major: English

Minor: Art History

Extracurricular Involvement:

  • Panhellenic President
  • Appalachian Adventure Leader
  • Contact Committee
  • SFHB
  • Traveller
  • SAC

Off-Campus Experiences:

  • 2012 – McIlhenny Company intern
  • 2013 – W&L Student Affairs intern
  • 2014 – Spring Term in the Netherlands studying 17th century Dutch art with Dr. Uffelman

Favorite W&L Memory: Hanging out with my dad and brothers in Red Square during Homecoming of freshman year

Favorite Class: Professor Smout’s Faulkner and O’Connor seminar

Favorite Lexington Landmark: View of House Mountain from my bedroom window

One on One: Angela Smith and Roger Mudd Talk Ethics

On the eve of the inaugural lecture for Washington and Lee’s Roger Mudd Center for Ethics, Angela Smith sat down with award-winning journalist Roger Mudd ’50 to discuss his views on ethics and the role of the center at his alma mater.

My W&L: Lucy Wade Shapiro ’15

“This community is made possible solely through the Honor System, which every student, professor, and alum holds so dear.”

Washington and Lee is community. Washington and Lee is liberating. Washington and Lee is tradition. Washington and Lee is honor. Washington and Lee is innovative. Washington and Lee is leadership. Washington and Lee is home.

I came to W&L excited and nervous. I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know what I would study. I didn’t know who I was going to be. I didn’t know who I wanted to be. When I decided to run for Freshman Representative of the Executive Committee, I was able to see the strength of our tight-knit community. I did not know many people yet, but my classmates encouraged and supported me to run for the position. It spoke volumes that upperclassmen who couldn’t even vote for the freshman position would express their excitement that I was running. Those first weeks of my freshman year when I met so many caring people established the foundation of my W&L experience.

My education is not purely bound by the classroom, tests or grades. I have learned more through my interactions with our community than I ever would have learned studying for an exam. I firmly believe that this community has shaped me into the person I am today, and will continue to mold me in the years to come. This community is made possible solely through the Honor System, which every student, professor and alum holds so dear. It requires the very best of all of us. The Honor System is ingrained in this institution.

I have had the extreme honor to serve as the President of the Executive Committee beginning April of my junior year. In this position, I have come to learn what leadership really means–service for others. A year after the tragic accident that claimed a senior’s life, the EC had the opportunity to organize an event to remember Kelsey Durkin’s life and all those affected by the accident. Seeing the community gather in support of one another is something that I will never forget. I cherish that memory as a testament to the compassion of this community.

To me, Washington and Lee means service, honor, and community. It has taught me to be confident in my abilities as well as humble in the company of such outstanding individuals. I feel truly blessed to be a part of W&L and I will forever remember the values it has instilled in me.

Hometown: Memphis, TN

Major: American History

Extracurricular Involvement:

  • Executive Committee
  • Peer Counselor
  • Women Interested in Technology & Science (WITS)
  • Volunteer at the Rockbridge Area Health Center
  • Tri Beta Member
  • Reformed University Fellowship
  • Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority

Off-Campus Experiences:

  • Biology 464-Richmond Clinical Rotation Program, Spring Term
  • Medical Clinic Intern at the Church Health Center, Memphis TN

Post-Graduation Plans: I plan to take a gap year immediately following graduation. Ideally, I would work in a clinical setting in order to meet Physician Assistant program requirements.

Favorite W&L Memory: Dressing up as gnomes with my pledge class for Halloween of my sophomore year

Favorite Class: Fundamentals of Biology: Heart Attacks and High Fructose Corn Syrup with Professor Hamilton

Favorite W&L Event: Young Alumni Weekend

Favorite Lexington Landmark: The view from the Walmart Parking lot. I know that sounds odd but it is by far the best view of House Mountain in Lexington.


Why did you choose W&L? I chose W&L for the people, and I am so glad I did. Even as a senior, I still think W&L is the same community that I fell in love with the first time I came on campus. I have found some of the most caring and compassionate friends, professors and mentors here.

Why did you choose your major? I decided to study American History because I loved all of the introduction classes I took and I knew I could do that while taking science classes as prerequisites for PA school. I have had quite the liberal arts education. Not many other institutions allow students to take several classes in such different fields.

Advice for prospective or first-year students? Meet as many people–students, professors, and administration–as you can during your freshman year. They truly will shape your W&L experience.


My W&L: Bailey Russell ’16

“Leadership at W&L is not about power or popularity; it is about working toward a common goal with others.”

Leadership at W&L is not about power or popularity; it is about working toward a common goal with others. W&L has completely changed my perspective on leadership. In high school, I had many leadership experiences and held many positions. When not elected to a position, I felt off the hook for that organization, giving me more time to focus on the ones where I did hold a position. When I came to W&L, I had great ambitions–things that I wanted to do, be involved with, and most importantly, lead. After getting accepted to the Leadership Venture pre-orientation trip, I felt that I was on my way to success. Throughout the trip and my first weeks at W&L, I quickly learned that there are ways to be a leader without holding a position or having a title. Simply as a member of an organization, you can use your gifts to work for the greater good of the group. Being a leader is not about recognition and glory; it is about taking initiative, whether that be making a bold statement or doing something behind the scenes that may go unnoticed. Being a leader is sometimes making sacrifices to pull something together last minute. Being a leader is about enthusiasm and giving 100% effort for the group.

Prior to W&L, my leadership experiences had mostly been about me and furthering myself in leadership, not about the group I was leading. I learned a lot as a member of First-Year Leadership Council about being a team player and about delegating responsibilities. Now I am much more focused on the common goal and deducing ways I can use my strengths to further this goal. I was also given the advice my freshmen year not to spread myself too thin. This is something I struggle with constantly. Especially at W&L, there are always so many exciting things to get involved with on campus, and I have to remind myself that I cannot do everything. I have had a much more enriching leadership experience being involved in a few things that I am passionate about rather than being involved in too many things and not being able give the adequate amount of effort and attention to them.

All of this is not to say that I have leadership at Washington and Lee all under control. I struggle daily to balance my schoolwork and extracurricular commitments; it can be overwhelming. And often times I have to remind myself of the things that I learned about leadership early on in my time here. I have to remind myself to listen to others, remain organized and stay passionate.

W&L is the place for me because it offers a supportive community of leaders, but also a liberal arts education. I have explored so many different classes because of the Foundation and Distribution Requirements. I have found subjects that I did not even know I was interested in before, like photography, which is now my major. It is surprising to some people that I am currently taking classes in painting, genetics and German, but that is the beauty of liberal arts. I am constantly learning and constantly challenged. Overall, Washington and Lee is a unique place of academic rigor and well-rounded individuals, which was why I chose W&L.

Hometown: Huntsville, AL

Major: Studio Art

Extracurricular Involvement:

  • Kappa Delta
  • Peer Tutor
  • Co-chair of 2015 LEAD Banquet Planning Committee
  • DJ and PR Team at WLUR
  • Reformed University Fellowship
  • KLAZICS Hip-Hop Dance Group

Post-Graduation Plans: I am planning to apply to dental school after graduating.

Favorite Class: I think my favorite classes have been German with Professor Crockett. I chose German as my FDR language mostly because of my love of The Sound of Music. I had also heard great things about our German Department, so I just jumped right in for the two-year commitment. I am currently in Intermediate German, and I am amazed at how much our class has learned in since we began. Because of the small class sizes, we each must participate which I think has been crucial in learning a new language.

What’s something people wouldn’t guess about you? I was the Concertmaster of the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra of Huntsville in second grade.

Why did you choose W&L? At the beginning of my senior year of high school I had applied only to three state universities. While I was visiting my top choice that September, I suddenly felt that it was too large. I realized I wanted a more personal college experience. I had heard about W&L from a couple of family friends, and it sounded like the place for me. I was sold on my first visit and applied early decision.

Advice for prospective or first-year students? Check out a study carrel on the first day of classes and use it. I basically live in mine. It is nice to have your own little space in the library. Plus it limits distractions and wasting time looking for a place to study.

Read more about Bailey’s interest in photography on Tumblr >

My W&L: Patrick O’Connor ’15

“W&L basketball has taught me the importance of doing the right thing when no one is watching.”

As a Washington and Lee senior, I could write a book about the impact of my college experience. It would have a few chapters of turbulence, but also contain an encouraging theme.
I have learned from some of the planet’s best professors, joined a fraternity, tried to positively influence my peers as a first-year resident advisor, built relationships with a diverse group of students, and traveled to Silicon Valley.

Then there’s my time as a Generals basketball player, perhaps the most impactful component of “My W&L” experience. This program brought me challenges, rewards, and lifelong relationships.

Three of the most prevailing lessons I have learned as a Washington and Lee basketball player are:

  • Embrace and utilize constructive criticism.
  • Conflict is not necessarily negative.
  • Do the right thing, even when it doesn’t seem fair or easy.

It requires some maturity to look someone in the eye and take criticism. People make mistakes. The best ones are made with 100 percent effort and with the right intentions. It is pivotal for someone to meet those qualifications before successfully receiving criticism. Early in my college basketball career, I would try to explain mistakes. That’s a nice way to say I made excuses.
Improved results came when I transferred the energy I used for defending myself to listening and implementing the advise within the content of the criticism. This capability transcends sports. It has made me a better teammate, student and friend. I thank the coaches and teammates who taught me the value of embracing criticism.

I embrace criticism from my coaches and teammates because we share a collective goal. My successes are their successes, and my failures are their failures. They want to push me to be my best, and I should push them to be their best. Pushing one another inherently leads to conflict, which can be a positive, when approached the right way.

An example of productive conflict occurred last year during our preseason. I didn’t wake up early enough to arrive on time for 6 a.m. weight-lifting session. The team penalty for that infraction is a mile run. At 6:05, I was challenged by a first-year, Stephen Himmelberg, who wanted to know why I was late. He did not shy away from conflict. Even as a first-year, he was capable of holding an upperclassman accountable. I will never forget that moment. I ran my mile, and our team grew stronger because of it.

At a young age I learned that a measure of character is behavior when no one is watching. W&L basketball has taught me the importance of doing the right thing when no one is watching, no matter how you feel.

A basketball season is an emotional roller coaster. It’s necessary to act based on pre-set standards and values to avoid the ups and downs. Success comes from acting maturely and reacting rationally, regardless of the circumstances. My teammate, Jim Etling made this clear to me.

Jim demonstrates unwavering dedication to W&L basketball under difficult circumstances. He faces challenges very few NCAA athletes do. Jim suffers from seizures, due to epilepsy. His condition forces him to miss time on the court, but never has it affected his contribution or commitment to the team. Jim does his best to do things the right way, regardless of how he feels. Because of this, he is one of my heroes. My heroes are people that have had a significant impact in forming the person I am today. Jim has set an example for me for me to follow these past four years.

Thank you to Coach Hutchinson, Coach Ey, Jim Etling, Clay Mclean, Jok Asiyo, Darren Douglas, Andrew Franz, John Martin, Blake Cranor, Andy Kleinlein, Stephen Himmelberg, Austin Piatt, Jalen Twine, Ryan McDonnell, Findley Bowie, Mike Hegar, Nick George, Joe Sherwood, Clayton Murtha, and all of my former teammates and supporters of Generals basketball.

This program has positively impacted my life, and I am sure it has done the same for many others. Luckily for me, “My W&L” involved an education with countless valuable lessons outside of the classroom that supplemented all I’ve learned within the classroom.

Hometown: Richmond, VA

Major: Business Administration

Minor: Education Policy

Extracurricular Involvement:

  • Varsity Basketball
  • Residential Life
  • Beta Theta Pi
  • Burish Intern

Off-Campus Experiences: I worked at The American School in Switzerland the past two summers.

Favorite W&L Memory: Making the game winning shot against Roanoke College in overtime.

Favorite Class: Business 383: Technology and Entrepreneurship

What professor has inspired you? Lenna Ojure has inspired my love for education and teaching.

Faculty Focus: Jonathan Eastwood Laurent Boetsch Term Associate Professor of Sociology

“At an undergraduate level, you want to make sure that you master at least one discipline with its particular theories and methods. But you don’t want to limit yourself to just one perspective. You want to be able to see some subject matter from multiple angles.”

What courses do you teach?
I teach introduction to sociology pretty regularly. I also teach a course called Neighborhoods, Culture, and Poverty, which serves the interdisciplinary Shepherd Program of Poverty and Human Capabilities Studies. In the spring, I teach a course called Exploring Social Networks in which students learn how to do network analysis. We graph and then study the properties of structured sets of relationships between people, states, and other entities. That’s a fun class. I’ll also be teaching a new course in winter 2016 on social simulations. I’m especially excited about that one. Occasionally I teach upper division electives on topics like nationalism or social revolutions.

How did you become interested in sociology?
Really it was a teacher. As an undergraduate, I was a philosophy major and then transferred into this small interdisciplinary program called the University of Professors Program, where they assigned each student to a mentor. My mentor was a sociologist named Liah Greenfeld. She really had, and continues to have, a big effect on me.

What is your area of research?
I work on a few different things. The common theme is an interest in collective identities. How are collective identities shaped by other societal factors and how do they then affect the societies in which they are embedded? Mostly I focus on nationalism and national identity. By national identity, I mean the type of identity that prioritizes the nation, thinking of it as fundamentally sovereign and therefore the source of legitimacy in politics. I’m interested in how that form of identity, which was not widespread globally 500 years ago, took over the world in the sense that now every country and individual is expected to have a national identity. This can be tricky because there are many areas of the world where boundaries of states do not necessarily correspond to the group identities that are meaningful to people. In such cases, many questions arise. How did colonialism, for example, which often involved the external imposition of political boundaries, affect the development of colonial and post-colonial populations’ identities over time? How might we expect these areas to develop differently than if there was a one-to-one correspondence between the group identity and the state? With these sorts of questions, I use the comparative method to generate, examine and test theories about how the timing of different societal factors — such as politics, economic development, group identities, and religion — affect each other.

Sociology seems to examine a convergence of elements. Many students at W&L have multiple majors and academic pursuits. Do you see students combining these interests in your classes?
Definitely. W&L’s a great place for that. We have some strong interdisciplinary programs that facilitate this kind of thinking. I am involved in the Shepherd Program for Poverty and Human Capability Studies and the Latin American and Caribbean Studies programs. My department — the Department of Sociology and Anthropology — is itself interdisciplinary. Those are just a few of the many great interdisciplinary programs here at W&L. Beyond classes, I’d point to great opportunities for interdisciplinary learning and exchange in this year’s Questioning Passion Series, in the various programs sponsored by the Mudd Center for Ethics, and others.

How would you explain interdisciplinary studies to a prospective student?
We would have to start by discussing what disciplines are. You can think of “disciplines” as organized groups of scholars who have developed specific theories and methods for tackling their chosen problems. When you pick a major, you are really selecting the core theories and methods of its corresponding discipline as those in which you will develop undergraduate level expertise. However, none of the disciplines are exhaustive of the ways in which a person might want to examine some question. At an undergraduate level, you want to make sure that you master at least one discipline with its particular theories and methods. But you don’t want to limit yourself to just one perspective. You want to be able to see some subject matter from multiple angles. Take Latin American and Caribbean Studies, for example. Latin America is a group of societies and a geographical space. You can study that like I would, as a social scientist, asking questions, gathering data, generating hypotheses, and testing those hypotheses. Or you can study those societies from a literary point of view and try to understand how people have narrated life in them. Or you can view Latin America in terms of its physical geography, and so forth. While those are different methods, experience has taught us that employing multiple methods to look at the same thing really enriches your perspective.

What kind of interdisciplinary projects have you and your students worked on?
There have been many good ones, and I’m sure you don’t have time for more than a couple. Right now, I’m working with Ford Carson ’18 on developing an agent-based model, which is a computer simulation, of the diffusion of national identity in a population. We are trying to develop a theory about how identities shift in a population, then examine and illustrate it by simulating it with a model we construct in software called NetLogo. The software will take our theory’s determinate features of identity choice, add an element of randomness, and allow us to run simulations. This will allow us to see how the theory would shake out in a large population of individuals as we vary key parameters in the model, extending our ability to imagine where our theoretical ideas lead. Here’s a very different example. Last summer, another student, Amira Hegazy ’15, did field work in Egypt. She interviewed artists and curators of galleries and other art forums for her Sociology of Art project that tried to understand the Egyptian art world after the Arab Spring revolution. She was looking at how it has changed and whether it is becoming more global in its style and reach. Those are just two projects that spring to mind out of many.

What tangible results have your students’ Poverty and Human Capability Studies projects had in the community?
One of my students, Catherine Elder ’15, did a network analysis of information sharing and referrals among local nonprofits that serve individuals experiencing poverty. She identified all those organizations and interviewed their representatives. She pulled these data into a graphing package and created visualizations and ran some analyses. She produced a report that allows people who work in the local nonprofit sector to see: who is sharing information, who is referring clients to whom, where there might be gaps, where they might be redundancies, and where the network itself might be endangered if a relationship were severed. She did an excellent job. That was a really fun project to be involved in.

What keeps you busy outside the classroom?
When I am not working, most of my time is family time. I’m married and have three kids, ages 11, 6, and 3. They’re wonderful, and they keep me busy. I also run. I was a very ambivalent runner for a number of years, and then a group of friends drew me further into it. A growing group of runners, many of them W&L faculty and staff, has developed over the last few years. I wouldn’t call myself a serious runner even now; but I do spend a lot more time with it, mostly because of that group of friends. It’s just fun.

About Jonathan Eastwood

Title: Laurent Boetsch Term Associate Professor of Sociology
Department: Sociology

Education: Ph.D. in History and Sociology from the University of Professors Program at Boston University, 2004
Research Interests: Sociological theory and comparative social science; relationships between collective identities, collective action, and conflict.

– interview by Laura Lemon ’16 and Jinae Kennedy ’16

About Jonathan Eastwood

Title: Laurent Boetsch Term Associate Professor of Sociology
Department: Sociology

Education: Ph.D. in History and Sociology from the University of Professors Program at Boston University, 2004
Research Interests: Sociological theory and comparative social science; relationships between collective identities, collective action, and conflict.

Faculty Focus: Mark Rush Director of International Education , Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Professor of Politics and Law

“The honor tradition removes the notion of a police state from the classroom. Colleagues from other universities (American and non-American) are always amazed to see how we administer exams and how we approach integrity. W&L really is a model for others to emulate.”

In addition to being a professor, you do a lot of sports writing. How did that start?

I think every American kid is interested in some sport, and I was interested in baseball. I got involved in fantasy sports in 2001, and I discovered that one of the better-known baseball analysts in the country — Ron Shandler — lived in Roanoke. I gave him a call and invited him to visit my statistics course. As you can imagine, a statistics course can get a little dry, so I thought I’d bring in a baseball guy to spice it up. He came and gave a talk that evening on statistics and the industry, which at the end became a Q&A for all the fantasy gurus trying to extract free information from our guest speaker. That’s what really got me involved in the analysis part. A few years ago, Ron sent out a call for writers and held a short article contest. My piece won, and so I started writing for that publication.

Writing has been a lot of fun because it allows you to look at the sport through a different lens. You pick up some subtleties that don’t come through box scores or just a television screen. For example, I did this analysis of player prices in a closed market and how they fluctuate versus the players’ performance. There are some really elegant analyses in baseball, and I can make my own little contributions. It makes you see a sport from a different perspective when you can pick it apart this way. Sports writing is a lot of fun. I’ll keep doing it.

You’ve been doing research and writing some articles on sports and the law. What is the relationship between the two?

That particular research draws upon the notion of judges as umpires. The role of courts in society and how they compare with an umpire or referee is really intriguing. Even if people are not necessarily sports fans, they get the idea of the judge, the umpire or the referee making a call and then the game moving on. The extent to which that is an appropriate metaphor for the courts is a matter of some debate. There’s a big difference between constitutional and legal interpretation and simply calling balls and strikes. I have been collecting some data dealing with statistical corrections to ballgames, and I’m looking to see how those compare with the impact of umpires’ decisions. It’s a lot of fun, and it combines two of the things I really enjoy in life: law and sports.

How did your work as a dean in a university at United Arab Emirates change your perspective or give you new research interests?

I served as a dean at the American University of Sharjah for three years. The school sought to be American with its educational values while still incorporating Arab culture. I am now able to look at the United States through the lens of another educational institution and see how Western values have to adapt or evolve in a different cultural environment.

I saw differences in how educational systems function — everything from very boring accreditation rules to classroom morals and notions of academic integrity. One of the things I’ve actually looked into as a result of my time there is academic integrity. Trying to bring Western notions of honor and academic integrity and matching them with cultures that think very differently than Washington and Lee really makes for great study.

I’ve also developed a new appreciation for the role of religion in public life. In many ways, some of the tensions that Muslim countries are encountering now are very similar to the ones that Western countries encountered between church and state. Religion versus public policy, religion versus science and religion versus the law all become big issues. I’ve developed a course that I’ll be offering in the fall on the intersection of science, law and religion. People want to regard all three — law, science and religion — as grounded on enduring, fundamental principles. The principles, however, do change. This raises important questions on just how we think about religious knowledge, legal authority and scientific expertise.

What exactly are you looking into when you say you are researching honor systems?

I’m curious to see how they’re changing over time. Another question concerns their portability and exportability. Can you import an honor system into an American university that doesn’t have one? What would it take to do that? Or, if you’re trying to build a new university, could you build one from the ground up? And then finally, just in other countries, would it work? What makes ours work? Would it work if we were as big as the University of Virginia? Can it work in a different society where cultural norms are so powerful? That’s a very big project. I’ve been working on this with several students at W&L and have established overseas connections as we look into the development of honor or academic integrity systems in other countries.

From a professor’s perspective, what role does honor play in the classroom at W&L?

It enables us to have a better, open classroom environment. I assume that students aren’t cheating, and they assume I’m not trying to catch them doing something. I don’t have to pace the aisles during exams. The honor tradition removes the notion of a police state from the classroom. Colleagues from other universities (American and non-American) are always amazed to see how we administer exams and how we approach integrity. W&L really is a model for others to emulate.

I saw the cost of not having an honor system when I was in the Middle East. The number of hours that faculty had to spend just patrolling the aisles really created this sense of opposition between them and the students was remarkable.

From a perspective of global education, it’s a fascinating topic of study. The different notions of academic integrity and honor become almost a commodity in an international realm, whereas here we regard them as nonnegotiable, firm and established.

What global issue do you find most compelling right now?

The most compelling issue right now is just generally demographics. That covers a broad spectrum of issues. Demographic change is going to produce migration and result in conflict. I think much of the violence we see around the world, especially in poorer parts of the world, are due to resource shortages because of demographic change. It sounds very apocalyptic. Malthus back in the 19th century predicted we’d run out of food because of population growth. It turns out technology saved us. But now it seems again that the population is beginning to test the world’s resources in terms of water and food. As people are forced to move to find food, water shelter and security, conflict will occur.

A good example is the impact of rising sea levels on people living in island nations, in the Maldives and in some of the islands in the South Pacific. These islands will be inundated and their populations will have to move. Right now there’s no law that really addresses this issue of where these people may move and what country should receive them because, at present, their island nations are inhabitable. But, this crisis is coming and the nations of the world must address it

– interview by Laura Lemon ’16 and Jinae Kennedy ’16

Title: Director of International Education and Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Professor of Politics and Law
Department: Politics
Years at W&L: 25

Research: Constitutional Law, Election Law, Democracy, and International Politics


  • 1990 Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University
  • 1988 M.A., Johns Hopkins University
  • 1983 A.B., Harvard

Courses Taught: American National Government, Global Politics, Statistics, Constitutional Law, Law and the Judicial Process, Election Law, GIS and Redistricting, Western Democracies, New York Program Seminar, Religion and Science in the Courts.

Hobbies: Baseball writing. I swim slowly and competitively. I take piano lessons with a very patient teacher who obviously is blessed with a great sense of humor. That also describes my golfing buddies. Fantasy sports – I play, hold the stakes, etc. Anything Boston is my passion. I never miss an opportunity to travel.

Faculty Focus: Julie Youngman

“Litigation is necessarily confrontational, and I’m definitely looking forward to the collaborative nature of academia, the chance to explore ideas that interest me, and the interaction with students.”

Julie Youngman, who has practiced law for 20 years, first as a partner at Ellis & Winters LLP and then as a senior attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center, has now joined the Williams School faculty as a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Business Administration, where she will teach undergraduate courses in business law.

Youngman’s appointment comes at the same time she’s settling one of the most important cases of her career. In June, the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) and Youngman’s clients, the National Wildlife Refuge Association (NWRA) and Defenders of Wildlife, announced a deal that resolved a long, contentious dispute over plans for constructing a massive bridge and highway project connecting Bodie and Hatteras Islands on North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

The failing Bonner Bridge, which currently connects the two islands, has been slated to be replaced since at least 1990, but one proposal after another has stalled or died over the last 25 years. The transportation route runs down the center of the Outer Banks, which are thin, unstable barrier islands that constantly shift and erode under the force of ocean tides and storms. In recent years, hurricanes have destroyed sections of the ocean-front highway, disrupting access to the bridge and preventing tourists and residents from reaching Hatteras Island for weeks at a time, while ongoing efforts to repair and maintain the route were costing millions and threatening the wildlife habitat of Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge at the north end of the island.

NCDOT and Youngman’s clients disagreed on whether to replace the bridge and highway in their current location, or build a longer replacement bridge that bypassed the refuge and the most unstable portions of the island. Youngman and her clients contended that the longer bridge would provide more secure access for people, spare the wildlife refuge from future deterioration, and be less expensive in the long run. The dispute led to two lawsuits, culminating in Youngman arguing before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia, that NCDOT and its federal counterpart had not taken adequate steps to protect the wildlife refuge as required by several federal laws.

In August of 2014, the Court of Appeals issued a split decision in the case, agreeing with Youngman and her team on the application of one of those laws. That’s when Youngman and her adversaries began talking. As one of her clients, Desiree Sorenson-Groves of the NWRA, told reporters, “It took a lot of face-to-face meetings. It took a lot of trust building…. You have to build relationships with people.”

Secretary of Transportation Tony Tata credited Youngman with doing the “yeomen’s work” it took to reach a compromise that not only protected wildlife in Pea Island National Refuge but was also good for business. Youngman worked hand in hand with NCDOT general counsel Shelly Blake to hammer out an agreement that was acceptable to all sides. The two women waded into the waters of Oregon Inlet at the foot of the bridge, alongside their clients and North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, to announce the deal.

“The solution that was better for the environment happened also to be better for businesses and people,” said Youngman.

In addition to teaching business law to undergraduate students at Washington and Lee, Youngman will develop other new undergraduate courses, including one in alternate dispute resolution. She hopes to show students how companies big and small can negotiate and arbitrate disputes without litigation.

Youngman spent the first 12 years of her career practicing commercial law and developed expertise in negotiating complex business disputes, often resolving cases favorably to her clients without going to trial.

Youngman moved to the Southern Environmental Law Center in 2008 and immediately was able to put a master’s degree in environmental studies to good use, representing non-profit entities advocating for environmentally responsible solutions to disputes with businesses and government agencies.

When two communities hoping to attract and support new development near Charlotte, N.C. applied to transfer 32 million gallons of water per day from the Catawba and Yadkin River Basins, she represented the Catawba Riverkeeper and worked with several cities and counties that wanted to protect their own water supplies. Youngman fought for a series of conservation and efficiency measures that curbed the impact of the new development, while still allowing it to proceed.

At Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Youngman took up a fight to reduce the harmful impacts of off-road vehicles on the national park’s nesting sea turtles and shorebirds. Cape Hatteras was one of only a few national parks that allowed beach driving without restrictions required by federal law, and Youngman said sections of the beach “could look like a national parking lot, not a national park, on some summer days.” Youngman’s team pushed for tougher rules to govern driving near wildlife nesting areas and restrict nighttime driving during turtle nesting season.

“The resulting regulations were a win-win for both tourism and wildlife at Cape Hatteras. Sea turtle nesting has more than tripled since the heightened protections went into place, endangered and threatened bird species are doing much better, and tourism is setting new records,” said Youngman.

Youngman moved to Lexington three years ago when her husband Paul, a 1987 graduate of Washington and Lee, took a job as chair of W&L’s German and Russian Department. For several years, she commuted back and forth to North Carolina where her law practice was based. Youngman also taught two immersion courses, one in litigation and one in business transactions, for Washington and Lee’s School of Law. While she loved being in the classroom, she initially hesitated to interview for the open business law position in the Williams School.

“I really loved my work — it’s why I went to law school.” Youngman said. “But to be an active litigator, you can’t call that in. It was difficult to try to be part of two communities.”

While she will miss many aspects of the work she’s been doing for so long, Youngman is excited to take on her new role and to be more involved in the campus community.

“For 20 years, I’ve been fighting other people’s battles,” said Youngman. “Litigation is necessarily confrontational, and I’m definitely looking forward to the collaborative nature of academia, the chance to explore ideas that interest me, and the interaction with students.”

Photo: Julie Youngman, her client Desiree Sorenson-Groves, NC Gov. Pat McCrory, NCDOT General Counsel Shelly Blake, NC Secretary of Transportation Tony Tata, Southern Environmental Law Center Carolina director Derb Carter. Photo courtesy of the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

My W&L: Lindsey Purpura ’15

“A large part of my personal growth has stemmed from my involvement with W&L athletics.”

I remember my introduction to field hockey clearly. We were at my grandparents’ house, a home situated on a lagoon with a gravel yard and concrete driveway. There was little room for non-water-related sports, yet my big sister and two cousins made their best effort to practice field hockey on the paved cul-de-sac in front of the house. I watched them, confused as to why they wanted to stand on the black tar when the pool was only ten feet away, and offended that those strange wooden sticks could keep their attention better than I could. I went to my first field hockey camp the following summer. Maybe it was a classic case of copy-my-big-sister, maybe I wanted to master the sport that took their attention from me and the pool that summer day — I’ll never know exactly what drove me to pick up field hockey, but given the experiences and opportunities that my involvement with the sport has afforded me, I’ll never regret that decision.

After almost ten years of playing field hockey, I knew it would influence my college decision. I aimed to attend a school that would allow me to continue playing the sport I love while pursuing my academic interests in a rigorous setting. I was introduced to W&L when my sister started at VMI, and decided to take a tour when I visited for family weekend because… why not?

I had virtually no background knowledge of the university, but knew when I saw a student drop his backpack in Canaan Green and continue walking without a second thought that I wanted to attend W&L. Fast-forward five years, and I know that I made the correct decision for my future when I decided to come here. What I love most about W&L is our sense of community and the investment that every community member puts into each other. I credit the people I have met along the way for the personal growth I have experienced in the last four years.

I couldn’t list all of the people who have made my experience at W&L what it has been, but a large part of my personal growth has stemmed from my involvement with W&L athletics. I owe much of this growth to my coach, Wendy Orrison, who pushed me to be a more vocal leader and take more responsibility for my actions on the field. This lesson is one that has readily transferred to my life off the field. Outside of field hockey, my involvement with the Generals Leadership Academy helped prepare me to be a captain as well as a more effective communicator, team member and group contributor. Being involved with GLA allowed me to interact with leaders across all of our teams on campus and build relationships with other coaches, namely Coach Abell and Coach Diamond O’Brien, who never forgot to wish us luck in our games or ask how they went. This was a very unique athletic experience that allowed for growth beyond my team affiliation, and one that I will carry into my future after college athletics.

My involvement with W&L athletics also led to the relationships that many athletes cherish — our relationships with the men behind the scenes who give selflessly to our programs, namely Baner, Tommy and Eddie. All three of these men have shown me the true meaning of dedication and the importance of building relationships with the people who are the foundation of a program. Any athlete can recall a preseason speech from Baner and knows how passionate he is about his family here at W&L. This mentality is one that Baner has instilled in me, and I will never forget. Graduating from W&L is bittersweet. I know I am prepared for the next phase of my life, but will miss being able to walk across campus and see the faces of people who have helped me grow into the person I am today — the people who have come to be my W&L family.

My field hockey career, then, starts and ends with family. It started with my sister and two cousins on a hot summer day, and ends here in Lexington with a much larger and non-biological family. I believe that almost every Washington and Lee student has a comparable experience in which their involvement on campus helps to build their W&L family. Talk to any student and I’m sure they can tell you where their W&L family stems from. Mine stems from athletics, and for that, I am grateful to those strange wooden sticks that stole the attention that summer day.

Hometown: Yarmouth, Maine

Major: Psychology

Extracurricular Involvement:

  • Varsity Field Hockey, Captain
  • Generals Leadership Academy, Graduate of 2014
  • Psi Chi National Honor Society in Psychology
  • R.E. Lee Summer Research Scholar
  • JubiLee a capella group
  • Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority
  • Rho Gamma Recruitment Advisor
  • Fancy Dress Steering Committee

Off-Campus Experiences:

  • Spring 2014 & 2015 Lexington Youth Lacrosse Coach

Post-Graduation Plans: Starting this July, I will pursue my Ph.D. in Cognition, Perception, and Cognitive Neuroscience at University of California, Santa Barbara.

Favorite W&L Memory: The field hockey preseason trip this year. We traveled to Memphis, Tennessee and played four games in five days. It was a really special experience to spend that time with the team focused on our opening games before classes even started. We got to spend a lot of quality time together, and we toured St. Jude’s Children Hospital and the National Civil Rights Museum. It was a busy, exhausting trip, but I’d do it again in a heartbeat!

Favorite Class: Stereotypes, Prejudice, and Discrimination with Dr. Woodzicka. The class was a small seminar class with mostly psychology majors and some poverty minors. I loved the class not only for the content and discussions we had, but also because of the professor. Dr. Woodzicka is incredibly passionate about her research and she spreads her passion to her students. Plus, she’s hilarious.

Favorite W&L Activity: Call me crazy, but when I look back at the past four years some of my fondest memories are of preseason. Coming back to Lexington for preseason, seeing all of my teammates, and meeting the incoming players was always one of the most exciting times of the year. The following two weeks of fitness tests, two-a-days, and ice baths were exhausting and painful but one of the greatest bonding experiences between a group of twenty individuals you can ever have. I’ll definitely be missing my teammates this coming August when I know they are taking the field in the hot and humid Virginia weather.


Favorite Campus Landmark: The field hockey turf field. That is where my W&L experience started when I was a junior in high school attending our summer clinic. The view from the field is something we frequently comment on at practice and a point of pride when we host games. That view, particularly, Washington’s statue silhouetted against the Blue Ridge Mountains is part of what made me fall in love with W&L. Besides, with the amount of blood I have left on that field, it’s practically part of me.

Why did you choose W&L? My journey to W&L was somewhat different from most. My family ties in Lexington are actually all to VMI with my aunt having grown up in Lexington and on post and my uncle having attended VMI. I hadn’t even heard of W&L until my sister chose to attend VMI my sophomore year of high school. I decided to tour campus when I was down visiting my sister for family weekend at VMI and knew I wanted to attend W&L after one visit.

What professor has inspired you? Dr. Whiting. I didn’t know Dr. Whiting when I chose to switch to a psychology major, but luckily signed up for his intro class out of interest and knew immediately that I wanted to pursue research similar to his own. The majority of my research experience is from my work in his Attention Lab and I will be joining an Attention Lab at UCSB as I pursue my Ph.D. Dr. Whiting was an instrumental guide as I navigated the graduate school application process and I owe a large part of my success to his guidance and support.

Advice for prospective or first-year students? Don’t be afraid to change your mind. I remember the day that I called home to tell my parents that I was switching my major. The entire decision process lasted roughly ten minutes and I felt immediate relief and excitement to pursue a field that I truly wanted to dive into and learn as much as I could about. I am beyond excited for my potential future in research and can only imagine the reaction my freshmen year self would have if you told me what I would be doing post-graduation.