Feature Stories Campus Events All Stories

ODK to Initiate Five Honorary and 40 Student Members at 2020 Founders Day/ODK Convocation W&L's Founders Day/ODK Convocation will take place on Jan. 21 at 5 p.m. in Lee Chapel.

ODK-final ODK to Initiate Five Honorary and 40 Student Members at 2020 Founders Day/ODK ConvocationAlpha Circle of Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership honor society, will welcome five honorary and 40 student initiates at Washington and Lee University’s annual Founders Day/ODK Convocation on Jan. 21 at 5 p.m. in Lee Chapel. The convocation is free and open to the public. The program and ceremony will be broadcast live online.

Lynn Rainville will speak on the “Untold Stories of Founders, Leaders and Other Visionaries at W&L.” Rainville is W&L’s director of Institutional History and is a public historian and anthropologist. Her grant-funded research has produced numerous articles and books, including “Hidden History: African American Cemeteries in Central Virginia”(University of Virginia Press, 2014); “Sweet Briar College” (Arcadia, 2015); “Virginia and the Great War” (McFarland, 2017); and “Invisible Founders: How Two Centuries of African American Labor Transformed a Plantation into a College” (Berghahn Press, 2019).

ODK honorary initiates are Jennifer Jean Agiesta ’00, director of polling and election analytics at CNN, in Washington, D.C.; Leo Paul Decanini ’95, construction supervisor and volunteer coordinator for Rockbridge Area Habitat for Humanity, in Lexington, Virginia; Tamara Yvette Futrell, dean for Diversity, Inclusion and Student Engagement at W&L; John X. Miller Jr. ’77, ’80L, veteran journalist, newsroom leader and not-for-profit executive, in Alexandria, Virginia; and Jessica Lonholm Willett ’95, chief communications officer at W&L.

Agiesta was named to the position of director of polling and election analytics at CNN in January 2015, where she produces all the network’s polling and leads its election night decision team, while guiding CNN’s reporting on the use of polls. Prior to joining CNN, Agiesta served as director of polling at The Associated Press. There, she ran a two-person polling unit, conducting domestic and international survey research for the news cooperative and leading its election night exit poll coverage. She has also covered polling at The Washington Post, launching the site’s polling blog Behind the Numbers, and helped build the national election pool exit poll operation at Edison Research. Prior to her media work, she worked on messaging research with D.C. firms Belden, Russonello and Stewart and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner. Agiesta is a native of Long Island.

Decanini began volunteering with his local Pittsburgh Habitat for Humanity affiliate in 1988 and worked three summers on the Appalachian Service Project. As a student at W&L, he worked with the Rockbridge County Habitat affiliate and in 1993 helped found the Habitat campus chapter that is still active today. Upon graduation, he moved to Northern Virginia and went to work as a project manager for national builders, U.S. Home Corp. and Toll Brothers. He started his own company, Deco Homes and Remodeling Inc. in 2003. From 1995 to 2009, Decanini continued to volunteer with Prince William County Habitat, Northern Virginia Habitat, The Jimmy Carter Work Project, Hurricane Katrina Relief and Christmas in April. In 2009, he and his family moved back to Lexington, where he was the general contractor on the restoration of the historic Robert E. Lee Hotel on Main Street. He continued to serve, working on Hurricane Maria Relief and as a volunteer, committee chair and board member for the local Rockbridge Area Habitat for Humanity affiliate. In 2017, Decanini began his dream job as the construction supervisor and volunteer coordinator for Rockbridge Area Habitat.

Futrell earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1994 and a master of science degree in college and community counseling from Longwood (College) University in 1996. She is currently a doctoral candidate in the Higher Education program at Virginia Polytechnic and State University. Futrell serves as a member of the Student Affairs Division, the President’s Council and an ex-officio member of the University’s Committee on Inclusiveness and Campus Climate. She also served as a member of the Steering Committee for the University’s 2018 Strategic Plan. As dean for Diversity, Inclusion and Student Engagement at W&L, Futrell provides leadership and direction for diversity and inclusion programming, services, and initiatives within Student Affairs.

Miller began his career with an internship at the Twin City Sentinel in the 1970s. From 1978 to 1982, he worked as a copy editor for The Roanoke Times & World News and as a sports copy editor for the Charlotte Observer. Miller then became an original staff member of USA Today when he was hired as the newspaper’s sports copy desk chief in 1982. In 1991, he was named executive editor of The Reporter in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. In 1996, he was appointed managing editor of The Sun News in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. From 1999 to 2007, Miller worked at the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit Media Partnership (DMP), first as the Free Press’ public editor, then as the DMP’s director of community affairs. While at the Free Press, Miller formed an accuracy group and made accuracy a part of the culture at the paper. After the Free Press, Miller took some time away from journalism to work as chief executive of a nonprofit that helped low income people pay their utility bills. Three years later, he became editor of the Daily Record in Hickory, North Carolina.

In August 2013, Miller became the first African American managing editor of the Winston-Salem Journal. Miller has served on the boards of numerous organizations, including the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, the Pew Center for Civic Journalism and the Michigan Humanities Council as well as various American Society of News Editors and Associated Press Media Editors boards and committees. He was a founding member of the National Association of Minority Media Executives and is the former board chairman of ARISE Detroit!. He has been a Pulitzer Prize juror, a facilitator at the American Press Institute and was the first Donald W. Reynolds Distinguished Visiting Professor of Journalism at W&L in 2005. Miller received the Order of the Arrow Vigil Honor from the Boy Scouts of America in 1973 and the Spark Plug Award from the Chicora District BSA in 1997.

As chief communications officer at W&L, Willett oversees publications, media relations, photography, videography and social and digital media. She earned her bachelor’s magna cum laude with honors. She began her career in book publishing at Random House Inc. (now Penguin Random House), working in various marketing roles, including manager of promotion for Vintage and Anchor Books and director of new media and online marketing for the Knopf Publishing Group. She returned to W&L in 2002 as web writer and editor for external relations. She was named director of web communications in 2010, assistant director of communications and director of digital communications in 2012 and executive director of communications and public affairs in 2016.

At W&L, Willett has served on the 2018 Strategic Planning Steering Committee and the search committees for the director of institutional history and the vice president of university advancement. She has been president of the house corporation for the Virginia Theta chapter of Pi Beta Phi and a member of her 15th, 20th and 25th reunion committees. She served on the executive board of the College Communicators Association of Virginia and D.C. in 2016 and is currently a ruling elder and chair of the Communications Committee at Lexington Presbyterian Church.

Undergraduate Class of 2020:

Christopher Luke Basham (Wise, Virginia) is a politics and history double major. Basham serves as the Democratic Party analyst for Mock Convention, for which he studies national political developments and Democratic Party procedure to ensure that Mock Con closely emulates the Democratic National Convention and correctly projects its ultimate nominee. Basham previously served as a U.S. Senate page and as a D.C. intern for Sen. Tim Kaine. He has worked as the numbers manager for the Rockbridge Report on election day for the last four years, conducted political science research under Professor Brian Alexander and is presently writing an honors thesis on the U.S. Senate maiden speech tradition. On campus, Basham serves as the captain of the Quiz Bowl team and participates in the Tocqueville Forum.

Brianna Rae Belz (Roanoke, Virginia) is on the pre-health track with a biochemistry major and poverty and human capability studies minor. She became involved with the Shepherd Program and Lexington community during her first year, working with local female students through the W&L organization Women in Technology and Sciences (WITS); training and volunteering with Project Horizon, a local non-profit dedicated to reducing domestic, sexual and dating violence; and completing Shepherd’s summer internship with a personal focus on remote health care and strategies for addressing the opioid crisis from a community level. Belz is a Volunteer Venture trip leader and biology research student under Professor Sarah Blythe and has held leadership positions, including her current title of president, in WITS and University Ambassadors. She is a Johnson Scholar and the recipient of chemistry achievement awards from W&L during her first year and from St. Andrews University during her sophomore year.

William Warner Bolton (Bel Air, Maryland) is a politics and economics double major. As a first-year, he was elected to represent the class of 2020 on the Executive Committee. He was re-elected the following year and subsequently elected president of the student body for his senior year. He is an ROTC cadet in the Marshall-New Market Battalion at Virginia Military Institute. During his senior year, he has also enjoyed working with Kathekon and representing his home state as the Maryland state chair for Mock Con. After graduation, he will attend the Armor Basic Officer Leader Course in Fort Benning, Georgia.

Daniel Scarbrough Clark (Brookhaven, Mississippi) is majoring in physics and religion. He is currently serving a second term as secretary of the Student Judicial Council and has previously served two terms as justice for the Class of 2020. Daniel also serves on the leadership of University Ambassadors and as co-president of Sigma Pi Sigma physics honor society. Clark has conducted interdisciplinary research within the Physics Department since his sophomore year, working to develop mathematical models intended to forecast voting behaviors in the U.S. Senate. He presented one of these models at the 2019 International Conference on Mathematical Modeling as first author.

Emma M. Derr (West Grove, Pennsylvania) is majoring in journalism and minoring in poverty and human capability studies and art history. She is the news editor for the Ring-tum Phi and has written many articles for the publication over the past four years. Derr is also a Campus Kitchen leader and leads three shifts a week, delivering food and managing the kitchen. Her favorite shift provides food, homework help and companionship to children in a local after-school program. She additionally leads recruitment initiatives for Campus Kitchen. During her sophomore year as the Alpha Delta Pi philanthropy chair, she planned various fundraising events, increasing campus awareness of the Ronald McDonald House and boosting student involvement in philanthropic events.

Trang Ha Duong (Hanoi, Vietnam) is a cognitive and behavioral science and mathematics major. For the last three years, she has been a part of the Leadership Education and Development program. The program offers leadership workshops, team-building activities and community service opportunities for members. With her passion for child development, she regularly volunteers at different child care facilities, tutors at Fairfield Elementary School and assists in an Early Head Start classroom and at Woods Creek Montessori. Additionally, Trang is a math course assistant and Math Center tutor. In the summer after her first year, Trang and Hannah Denham ’20 produced a project on women and marriage in Vietnam. She also completed an internship at the Legal Aid Justice Center, where, in addition to exploring a legal career, she learned about social justice advocacy.

Balen Victor Essak (Shorewood, Wisconsin) is an economics major and poverty and human capability studies minor. He has served on the executive board of W&L Hillel for the past two years and served as the president of the Mock Trial team last year. Balen also co-created “The Un-freedom of Expression,” a prisoner art exhibit housed at Washington and Lee in the Fall of 2018. He has worked as a peer tutor, a communication assistant for the Shepherd Consortium (a non-profit headquartered at W&L) and a tutor in the economics department. Essak is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Omicron Delta Epsilon and is the 2019 recipient of the John McKenzie Gunn Scholarship.

Kassondra Noel Hall (Naples, Florida) is a French and global politics double major. She is the general co-chair of the First-Year Orientation Committee, a Global Discovery Laboratories technology and learning specialist, a student representative on the First-Year Experience Steering Committee, a First-Year Experience 100 co-facilitator, an Office of Inclusion and Engagement board member, president of the Francophone Student Organization, a teacher for Languages for Rockbridge and a former member of the W&L cheerleading team. Hall has also served as the vice president of communications and vice president of event planning for her sorority, Pi Beta Phi. Hall is an inducted member of the Phi Eta Sigma and Pi Sigma Alpha honor societies and holds a seal of biliteracy in Spanish and French.

Katherine Rose Ingram (Huntsville, Alabama) is majoring in economics and environmental studies. She serves as the Lexington chapter president of Citizens’ Climate Lobby, a national climate policy group, and is an executive member of GenDev, the university’s experiential learning social entrepreneurship organization. In her junior year, she participated in the yearlong Mansfield College exchange program at the University of Oxford. Additionally, she is a hearing advisor, a student representative for the University Sustainability Committee and W&L’s Undergraduate Women in Economics and an alto in University Singers. She is the 2019 recipient of the Economics Department’s John McKenzie Gunn Scholarship.

Bria Young Kelly (McKean, Pennsylvania) is a psychology major with classics and dance minors. She serves as the assistant head community assistant for the Village on the residential life staff, and is a peer tutor and a member of the Repertory Dance Company. Kelly also serves on the advisory board for University Ambassadors, is the activities co-chair for the First Year Orientation Committee and volunteers at Rockbridge Church. Additionally, she was the Greek coordinator for Intervarsity Christian Fellowship during the 2018-2019 academic year, serves on the senior gift committee and is the 2019 recipient of the Douglas Halstead Memorial Scholarship.

Juliana Caroline Kerper (Palmyra, Pennsylvania) is a business administration major and a film and visual culture studies minor. She is a Johnson Scholar, editorial assistant for the Shenandoah literary magazine and one of the executive directors of Washington and Lee Student Consulting. Kerper has also served as communications co-chair for the First-Year Orientation Committee and as vice president of administration and chair of the leadership and nominating committee for her sorority.

Jiwon Kim (Cheong-Ju, South Korea) is a neuroscience major and music minor. Throughout her college career, she has received a total summer grant of $15,000 to conduct research on mental health management in South Korea and to establish a nonprofit organization to provide mental health support for North Korean defectors. Kim is a peer counselor, a global ambassador for the Admissions Office and a regular volunteer at Project Horizon. She suggested and created an internship role under the associate director at the Center for International Education office, and she founded the Leaders in International Connection Program to help international students adjust to campus life by connecting them with current student mentors.

Anne Elise Lentz (Easton, Maryland) is a politics major and mass communications minor. During her sophomore year, she served as the communications chair for the LEAD Banquet Committee and held that position for two years. That same year, Lentz was hired as the director of communications for Mock Convention 2020. In this role, she is bringing new media into the 112-year-old process and expanding the reputation of Mock Convention. Her junior year, Lentz was selected as a Schlegel Scholar for her contributions to the Politics Department and served as a student ambassador for W&L at the 2018 Student Conference on United States Affairs. From May through December 2019, Lentz worked as a communications fellow for the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, contributing to its press outreach, website upkeep, social media strategy and content editing process. She has written for Diverge and has been published in the Washington and Lee Political Review. She is a four-time Delmarva Honors Scholar recipient.

Nicholas Bennett Mauer (Overland Park, Kansas) is a double major in politics and history and a theater minor. He serves as the co-discussion leader for the W&L Tocqueville Forum, a nonpartisan student group that explores early American democratic thought. Mauer also serves as the co-editor-in-chief of the Political Review, W&L’s academic journal for cutting-edge student work in the areas of politics, history and economics. He hosts “The Nick Mauer Hour,” a weekly political talk show in which he analyzes current events and interviews students from across campus. Mauer performs in W&L theatrical productions and sings in the Washington and Lee University Singers, for which he also serves as the co-student manager. He has completed multiple internships in Washington, D.C., including in Congress.

Prakriti Panthi (Kathmandu, Nepal) is a mathematics and economics major. She has been part of the Student Association for International Learning since her first year and helps plan events that bring the world to campus. She co-founded the Leaders for International Connection program for international students and has helped lead international student orientations. She is also a peer counselor and has served as a math and economics tutor.

Mitchell Cooper Thomas (Houma, Louisiana) is an economics major and computer science minor. He is president of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity on campus. Thomas is a member of the General Admission a cappella group, singing in the international ICCA a cappella competition in 2017 and 2020. He also serves as co-captain on the men’s tennis team, where he has earned all-conference and ITA scholar-athlete honors each year. Additionally, Thomas garnered the 2019 ODAC/Virginia Farm Bureau Insurance Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award.

Kana Krista White (Westchester, New York) is an economics major and poverty and human capabilities minor. She joined the W&L Repertory Dance Company as a first-year and now serves as its president. In addition, she works in the Office of Career and Professional Development as a peer career advisor, assisting students with professional documents, job searches and interview preparation. During her junior year, she was elected to serve as the secretary of the Executive Committee. She has studied abroad at the University of Oxford and in Accra, Ghana.

Undergraduate Class of 2021:

Danika Taylor Brockman (Long Lake, Minnesota) is majoring in sociology and anthropology, with an emphasis in anthropology, and minoring in women’s, gender and sexuality studies. She serves in leadership positions for Gender Action Group, Nabor’s Service League, Residential Life and Campus Kitchen. She is the head community assistant for two upper division housing complexes. Brockman is involved in food insecurity relief efforts, both on and off campus, as the youth outreach intern for Campus Kitchen and a pantry associate at Rockbridge Area Relief Association, a local food pantry. She also coordinates a mobile food pantry as a cooperative effort between Rockbridge Area Relief Association and Campus Kitchen. She spent the summer of 2019 performing medical anthropology research in rural Nepal in order to improve women’s health care.

Sarah Concepcion (Richmond, Virginia) is a cognitive and behavioral science major and poverty and human capability studies minor. She is a weekly tutor at the Youth Achieving Success program at Maury River Middle School, helping students at risk for academic failure, and a peer counselor with a specialization in diversity and helping students of color on campus. She is also the outreach coordinator in Reformed University Fellowship, focused on connecting students from different ministries on campus. Additionally, she is the president of Jubilee, the only all-female a cappella group on campus.

Amanda Nicole Dorsey (Abingdon, Maryland) is a cognitive and behavioral sciences major and poverty and human capability studies minor. She is the president of the Pre-Health Club and a peer career advisor through the Career and Professional Development Office. She is a research assistant for the Cognition in Context Lab, teaching assistant in the Cognitive and Behavioral Science Department and a Rho Gamma. She interned at the Blue Ridge Autism and Achievement Center for three semesters and is a pre-orientation Volunteer Venture leader. Additionally, she teaches group exercise classes through Campus Recreation and at the local studio fLEX. She is a member of Phi Eta Sigma first-year honor society and Beta Beta Beta national biological honor society.

Micah W. Holcomb (London, Kentucky) is an English and theater double major, with a classics minor. He has volunteered as the artistic director of Friday Underground since sophomore year. He has either constructed, performed in or assistant directed every show since his first year and has written three one-act plays. He also leads the prayer ministry service for InterVarsity. Last summer, Holcomb assisted Professor Rebecca Benefiel on the Ancient Graffiti Project research team in Pompeii, Italy, and assisted Eric Tucker in directing “Caesar and Cleopatra” at the American Shakespeare Center. He is a recipient of a Johnson Opportunity Grant and the Klinedinst arts scholarship.

William Chase Isbell (Amarillo, Texas) is an English major and a film and visual culture and women’s, gender and sexuality studies double minor. He serves as the editor-in-chief of The Vigil, W&L’s student-run online progressive magazine. Aside from The Vigil, his op-ed writing has also been published in the Ring-tum Phi. His creative writing has found a home in the student magazine of arts and letters, Ampersand, where he serves as co-editor-in-chief. His activism with the queer community on campus has included serving as an LGBTQ+ peer counselor and the vice president of Generals’ Unity. He is also involved in theater on campus, securing a supporting role in the department’s production of “1984” and co-directing “The Voices of W&L.” His academic work has included “Eugenics: Then and Now,” a guided research project under Professor Alison Bell ’91, for which he wrote short biographies of patients in Virginian insane asylums. His current academic work involves examining representations of bisexuality in 20th-century literature. In 2019 he received The Sidney M. B. Coulling Prize in English and acceptance into a UK Fulbright Summer Institute at the University of Bristol.

Robert Sellors Lahourcade (Houston, Texas) is an economics major and is minoring in mathematics and French. He serves as assistant head of the Hearing Advisor program, is a group head in the Williams Investment Society and leads the Texas Delegation for Mock Convention as state chair. Additionally, he plays keyboard and bass in a student band on campus and is a member of the club lacrosse team.

Jeronimo Leonardo Reyes Olmedo (Pomona, California) is a biology and art history major and math minor. He is the president of W&L’s QuestBridge chapter and is dedicated to establishing and strengthening a community for, and in support of, first-generation, low-income and minority students on campus. He is a member of the Diversity and First-Generation Working Group, which seeks to foster multiculturality on campus. He cooks meals for the food insecure within the community as a Campus Kitchen shift leader. He helps keep the university environmentally proactive as an intern for the Office of Sustainability by growing and harvesting food for Dining Services and Campus Kitchen in the Campus Garden using compost collected from around campus with the Compost Crew.

Law Class of 2020:

Whitney Alanna Davis (Asheville, North Carolina) is chair of the Moot Court executive board and serves as a head Kirgis Fellow for the law school Kirgis Fellow peer mentoring program, in which she also served as a Kirgis Fellow during her 2L year. She won both the Client Counseling and Mediation competitions, was a semifinalist in the Mock Trial competition and represented the school in several external competitions as a 2L. Additionally, she was vice president of the Christian Legal Society from 2018-2019. Davis graduated from Covenant College in 2014. While working as a legal assistant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, she did pro bono work for Bridge Refugee Organization and was a youth group leader at her church.

Bonnie Susan Gill (Montclair, New Jersey) is editor-in-chief of the Washington and Lee Law Review and serves as a Burks Scholar for Legal Writing. She also serves as a judicial extern for the Hon. G. Steven Agee of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. She graduated summa cum laude from Boston University with a degree in English and also holds a Ph.D. in French from the University of Virginia, where she taught undergraduate French classes and served as a writing and study skills tutor. She regularly volunteers with the Women’s Initiative, a mental health counseling service in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Natalie Elizabeth Gordon (La Verne, California) is a student attorney with the Virginia Capital Case Clearinghouse. She is the president of the American Constitution Society and Jewish Law Students Association, and she serves on the board of the Washington and Lee chapter of Hillel International as the Law School liaison. She also serves as an Equal Justice Works student representative for the Law School. She worked as a Shepherd intern with the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty at Washington and Lee through her internship with the Louisiana Capital Assistance Center. Gordon graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science (emphasis in American politics) and minors in history and business from the University of California, San Diego, where she was a Chancellor’s Scholar with the Chancellor’s Scholar Society and Scholarship Program.

Mahalia Shanee Hall (Jacksonville, Florida) is president of the Black Law Students Association and vice chair of externals on the Moot Court executive board. During her second year of law school, she excelled in several internal advocacy competitions, represented the school at the American Bar Association Negotiations Competition and served on the regional board of the National Black Law Students Association. She is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., a community-service-based organization. She is also an avid campus representative for Barbri, a top bar exam preparation and legal education company. Additionally, she is a student attorney with the Black Lung Clinic, where she assists coal miners in pursuing federal benefits. She will organize the Law School’s first Donning of the Kente Ceremony in May of 2020. She graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in pre-law/political science from the University of West Florida in 2017.

Natalia Nacheff Homchick (Mercer Island, Washington) is a managing editor of the Washington and Lee Law Review and a co-president of the Women Law Students Organization. Her student note “Reaching Through the ‘Ghost Doxer:’ An Argument for Imposing Secondary Liability on Online Intermediaries” was published in Volume 76:3 of the Washington and Lee Law Review. She is a judicial extern for the Hon. Chief Judge Rebecca Connelly in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Virginia. Following graduation in May, she will be joining the corporate department of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP in New York City. She received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame in 2014 and graduated with honors in political science and a minor in business economics.

Ryan Edward Johnson (Orange, Virginia) graduated cum laude from James Madison University in 2017. He is a lead articles editor for the Washington and Lee Law Review, a Burks Scholar, the academic committee chair of the Black Law Students Association and an active member of the Outing Club. Johnson is also a student attorney with the Community Legal Practice Clinic. His law review note won the W&L Law Council Law Review Award for most outstanding note and will be published by the Washington and Lee Law Review this year.

Emily Grace Kendall (Annville, Pennsylvania) is vice president of the 3L class after serving as executive secretary to the Student Bar Association during her 2L year. She serves on the Student Affairs Committee at W&L, is a research assistant to Professor Reid Flinn and is president of the Christian Legal Society. In pursuit of her interest in international and human rights issues, she helped facilitate USAID’s 2019 New Justice Anticorruption Workshop in Kharkiv, Ukraine, and presented at the 2018 Oromo Studies Annual Conference in London, England. Kendall received both her bachelor of science in speech communication and master of arts in strategic communication from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Courtney Joy McMullan (Ridgeland, Mississippi) is an executive editor of the Washington and Lee Law Review. She has served as a law ambassador, a Kirgis Fellow and in leadership positions in the Women Law Students Organization. She was a semifinalist in the John W. Davis Appellate Advocacy Competition in the fall of 2018. She graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s of arts in communication studies from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2015.

Madison Victoria Peace (Greenville, South Carolina) is the editor-in-chief of the Washington and Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice and a student attorney in the Virginia Capital Case Clearinghouse. She graduated cum laude from The King’s College in New York City in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in politics, philosophy and economics. Before law school, Peace was a Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellow and completed a project titled “Breaking Free: The Damaging Effects of Incarceration on the Family and How Prison Reform Can Help Stop the Cycle of Intergenerational Crime.” In summer 2017, she worked with a portrait photographer in New York City to record the stories of 30 formerly incarcerated men and women. During law school, Peace has worked in the Criminal Appeals Division of the Texas Attorney General’s Office, at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Little Rock, Arkansas, and at the Wyche Law Firm in Greenville, South Carolina. She is also an active member of the Christian Legal Society. After graduation, she will clerk for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama.

Katherine Virginia Phillips (York, Pennsylvania) is a Burks Scholar, legal writing teaching assistant for a class of first-year students, a research assistant and a lead articles editor for the Washington and Lee Law Review. During her 2L year, Phillips was a student attorney with Washington and Lee’s Immigrant Rights Clinic, which provides pro bono legal services to underserved immigrant communities in south and central Virginia. She also co-chaired the Women Law Students Organization’s 2018 Lara D. Gass Symposium on incarcerated women’s issues. She graduated from the College of William & Mary in 2014.

Law Class of 2021:

Charles Bonani (Boca Raton, Florida) is vice president of the American Constitution Society, co-chair of the Student Bar Association’s Wellness Committee and staff writer for Washington and Lee University School of Law’s Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice. He planned and organized both on professor and student panel on mental health for the Wellness Committee and started a podcast on legal issues with ACS. He graduated from Florida State University in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and criminology.

Alexandra Preston Clark (Hendersonville, North Carolina) is a recipient of the Charles P. Light merit scholarship. Clark serves as a Kirgis Fellow, a law ambassador with the Office of Law Admissions and a staff writer for the Washington and Lee Law Review. She graduated from Davidson College in 2015 with a degree in political science and a minor in Hispanic Studies.

Emily Kuller Dalessio (Ridgefield, Connecticut) represented her class on Washington and Lee’s Student Judicial Council as the 1L justice during the 2018-19 academic year and continues to serve on the council as the 2L justice. She is also a staff writer for the Washington and Lee Law Review. Before attending law school, she worked as a grant writer at a nonprofit performing arts center in Hartford, where she sought funding for arts and education programs in Hartford-area public schools. She graduated summa cum laude in 2015 from the University of Hartford with a bachelor’s degree in classical vocal performance and music management.

Lucy Geneva Dempsey (Chapel Hill, North Carolina) is a staff writer on the Washington and Lee Law Review, serves as treasurer for OUTLaw and is symposium chair for the Women Law Students Organization. She is also a Kirgis Fellow mentor for 1L students and a research assistant. Prior to law school, she worked at Venable LLP as a law and policy aide for the e-commerce, privacy and cybersecurity practice in Washington, D.C. She graduated cum laude from Davidson College in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in political science.

Lauren Nicole Hancock (El Paso, Texas), is a staff writer on the Washington and Lee Law Review and serves as vice president of the Christian Legal Society. She is the Phi Alpha Delta auction chair and is organizing the 2020 PAD auction that raises money for students who obtain unpaid internships during their summers. She was also a finalist in the 2019 John W. Davis Moot Court Competition and serves on the law school’s moot court external team. She graduated summa cum laude in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in social work from Texas Tech University.

Daniel Justin Kator (Potomac, Maryland) is in his second year serving as the Law Class of 2021’s Executive Committee representative. Additionally, he is an active member of the Washington and Lee Veterans’ Advocates, Black Law Student Association, Jewish Law Students Association and several other groups on campus. Prior to attending W&L, he served as an Army aviation officer at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, flying the UH-60M Blackhawk helicopter and serving in a variety of leadership and staff positions within the 2nd Battalion (assault), 82nd Aviation Regiment. He is a distinguished military graduate of James Madison University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in public policy and administration in 2013.