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Alumni Updates

We post alumni notes as we receive them. Use our handy form to send us your news!

For updates received in previous years, check out the categories of class years in the left menu.

Elizabeth Kalocay Ufkes ’01- B.A. English and Art History, an associate attorney with the Norfolk law firm of Swartz, Taliaferro, Swartz & Goodove, P.C., has been selected as a member of "Virginia's Legal Elite for 2013" by Virginia Business Magazine. Beth was nominated by her peers as one of the best in the profession in the "Young Lawyers (Under 40)" category for the second year in a row. Beth practices in the areas of personal injury law and criminal defense. She and her husband Gordon reside in Virginia Beach and are expecting their second child in December. (11/2013)

Vincent Barr '08- B.A. English- Vincent is the online marketing manager at MongoDB, the open-source NoSQL database. He is interested in startups, growth, and your MBTI. (11/2013)

Sean Steele '97- B.A. English- I use the critical reading, writing, and reasoning skills taught at the College, and honed in the English program, every single day as the co-founder and co-owner of a successful technology firm. I teach my employees to read, write, and reason in a more disciplined and systematic way thanks to my own education.

After working in three startup tech firms from 1998-2005, I co-founded infoLock Technologies in July 2005 with Chris Wargo '95. As we approach our ninth anniversary, we are a ten person information security consulting firm lucky enough to have not only survived, but grown, throughout the recent recession years. We counsel healthcare, financial services, insurance, manufacturing, and other companies in how best to protect their most sensitive information and data assets. We're headquartered in Arlington, VA.

In 2013, we were named Arlington County's Technology Small Business of the Year and one of the "Fantastic 50" companies in the Commonwealth, by the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. (12/2013)

Megan Gallagher Bailey '05- B.A. English- Megan has recently went through a teacher certification program to teach English. While waiting on a job opportunity, she has been working on her writing. She was published this past summer by Occupy Magazine on a local school issue, and is in the final stages of submitting her novel to publishers. In the meantime, she and her husband found out that they have a wonderful baby nerd on the way, due in late April. Gareth Killian is expected to be as brilliant and funny as his parents. (12/2013)

Carrie Thornton '97- B.A. English- Since my last update, I have moved to HarperCollins Publishers, where I am an Executive Editor at It Books. My focus remains on memoir, music, film, humor and celebrity publishing. I feel incredibly lucky to get to work with such amazingly talented and interesting folks--like Amy Poehler, Alan Cumming, Aisha Tyler, Kim Gordon and Sherri Shepherd--not to mention talented writers like Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone and Nancy Jo Sales of Vanity Fair. I have been happily married for 8 years now, and we have a seven year old daughter and a three year old son--both destined for W&M we hope!! (12/2013)

Steve Kistulentz '91- B.A. English- In August 2013, I took a new job as director of the graduate program in creative writing at the University of Tampa. My most recent book of poems, LITTLE BLACK DAYDREAM, was an editor's choice selection in the University of Akron Press Series in Poetry. (12/2013)

Catherine Casalino '13- B.A. English- I am currently an Art Director at Grand Central Publishing in New York City, where I oversee the Twelve imprint. Even though this seems a bit of a departure from doing a poetry honors project with Prof Hart, being an English major/History minor and photo editor of The Flat Hat ended up being a perfect mix of experience for working as a graphic designer within publishing. The skills I honed at W&M thoughtful reading, researching, creativity, and visual thinking are things I use every day as an Art Director. I have been honored to work on covers for so many wonderful writers over the years, from Christopher Hitchens to Chuck Palahniuk to Billy Collins.

I will be getting married in July 2014 to Christopher Sergio, who is an Art Director at Penguin and a RISD alumni. (12/2013)

Joan Detz '75- M.A. English- I'm hoping to return to campus in 2014. It's been too long! The highlight of 2013 was being invited to speak in Montenegro at the SEECOM (South East Europe Communicators) Conference. Budva Montenegro (on the Adriatic Sea) was stunningly beautiful, and working with the top government communicators from a dozen countries was an incredible professional experience. (12/2013)

William Huberdeau '09- B.A. English- I just wanted to alert you that I am the graduating class of '09, not '12 as is stated on the website. Please update at your convenience. Otherwise, to add: "He has also accepted an artist in residency position in Olafsfjordur, Iceland for the summer of 2014." (12/2013)

Rachel Olcheksi Doboga '09- B.A. English- After receiving my B.A. in English and M.A.Ed. in Secondary English Education at William and Mary, I became the fifth and sixth grade English teacher at the Congressional Schools of Virginia in Falls Church. I absolutely love teaching, and I never would have realized this is how I am meant to share my passion for books if not for the professors who took the time to help me get to know myself as a reader, writer, and educator. I owe everything to the professors of William and Mary! My big project right now is building the support for creative writing opportunities and publications at my school. Specifically, I am attempting to launch a creative writing blog and literary magazine which will hopefully both be student-run after we achieve some initial organization and editing controls. Also, if there are any authors who are looking for connections to schools, my middle school (grades 5-8) is very eager to arrange author visits and encourage our many enthusiastic readers and writers. Side note: I am writing a novel in my very limited free time, and I would love to connect with fellow writers and alumni to talk about "the craft." Feel free to get in touch about teaching, author/editor talks, or writing via email! (12/2013)

Allyson Zacharoff '13- B.A. English and European Studies- After graduation, I found out I had received a fully-funded Russell Berrie Fellowship to study interreligious studies at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome, Italy for 2013-2014. I maintain a blog on interfaith topics, www.christmasandkreplach.blogspot.com, and look forward to continuing my work in this field in the future. (12/2013)

Katherine Hughes '12- B.A. English- After graduation, I worked at an independent bookstore (Read Local!) and then at the Holocaust Museum & Tolerance Center on Long Island. Now, I am working towards my M.A. in American Fine & Decorative Art at Sotheby's Institute in New York, where the writing and research skills I learned as an English major are serving me well. In my free time, I'm happy to serve on the W&M NYC chapter alumni board - it's fantastic to meet so many W&M alums both in the decorative arts field and in NYC! (12/2013)

Jay Busbee '90- B.A. English- I'm a writer and columnist for Yahoo Sports, covering the NFL, the NBA, college football and basketball, baseball, NASCAR, golf, and more. I've also co-written or ghostwritten several business books. After post-graduation stints in Colorado, D.C. and Memphis, I now live in Atlanta. (01/2014)

Carrie Gross Brady '06- B.A. English- After spending the first six years after graduation as an archivist for the Maryland State Archives (not as glamorous as it sounds, but lots of good experiences) and working for a Masters of Library and Information Science at Catholic University, I landed a job as a catalog and index librarian at the Maryland General Assembly's Department of Legislative Services. Hoping to work towards a job in rare books and special collections somewhere in Maryland or DC. I still think fondly of many of my classes and professors at W&M! (09/2014)

Thomas Lipscomb '61- B.A. English- After a long career in book publishing, from college texts to bestsellers, I founded Times Books at the New York Times and wrote numerous news articles and commentaries for major publications from the WSJ and NYT to RealClearPolitics. I then moved into high tech and founded and CEO'd two public companies based upon my digital patents. (see how flexible a W&M English degree can be in the 21st Century? And I nearly flunked physics.) Now I just won the Playwrights First Award for the best unproduced play of the year, and I am busy getting it produced and finishing a nonfiction investigative report on the strange case of Rudolf Hess, called LAST MAN IN SPANDAU. (09/2014)

Sarah Kyle '12- B.A. English and Psychology- I am in my last year of graduate school! In May 2015, I will graduate with a Master of Arts in Counseling and will begin pursuing licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). I am also getting married in June 2015. (09/2014)

Alex Kyrios '09- B.A. English- In July, I started a new job as a Cataloger at the Folger Shakespeare Library! Following two and a half years in a similar position at the University of Idaho, it's great to be back in the world of literature and humanities. (09/2014)

Nancy Eller '74- B.A. English- After W&M graduation, I taught junior high English as part of a behavior modification team in Frederick, Maryland. At age 29, I moved to Philadelphia to attend U of PAs Wharton Graduate School  a totally logical segue from teaching 8th and 9th grade discipline problems! (I always say that I learned more “ incrementally “ than anyone who ever went through Wharton, as at that time, I had no idea whatsoever as to how the World of Business operated.). I received an MBA in Finance in 1983 and spent the rest of the 1980s doing financial analysis/management in the DC area: for MCI, Earle Palmer Brown Advertising and Washington International Teleport. In 1991, I bought into a start-up Audio Visual Event Production company, CPR MultiMedia Solutions, where I worked as CFO until June of 2013.
FrederickVacationRentals.com, my current business venture, is located in Frederick, Maryland (just 1 hour from DC and Baltimore). I renovated and luxuriously furnished three row houses in the heart of Fredericks Downtown Historic District, which I rent out to visitors, tourists and businesspersons on a short term basis (2-night minimum). I am active in a local Rotary Club and with Frederick County Tourism. I will offer a Special W&M Discount to any English major who wants to experience a visit to a delightful and charming Main Street America city Frederick is a wonderfully vibrant little town.

Footnote: I am completely in awe of my fellow W&M English majors who have actually WRIITEN BOOKS! For my part, I just never found my muse; the longest written document I have produced since 1974 is my annual and always VERY chatty - holiday letter! (09/2014)

Martha (Marti) A. Hunt '70- A.B. English- I am not sure that there have been any big changes since my last entry. I spent last year working intensively on a death penalty repeal campaign in New Hampshire. Our repeal bill was defeated by the lack of one vote in the NH Senate. The vote was tied. I was responsible for five moving vigils in different parts of the state during "crossover" day when the bill moved from the House to the Senate. This involved working with five local committees on routes, programs, booklets for these interfaith events. The vigils were incredibly effective and meaningful street actions. I also continued my involvement with a small ballet school rewriting the narration for the story ballet performed in March, 2014. I had originally written the narration in 2010 and it was rewarding to revised the script for the current dancers in the performance. I also read the narration for the school performance attended by 750 students and for the two public performances. Never thought I would enjoy performance so much.

For the second year in a row I taught chess as the after lunch quiet activity at our church summer art camp for underserved upper elementary students. Although not an exceptional player myself, I so enjoy teaching chess to children. It was a great time. So my retirement from the elementary principalship and teaching is incredibly rich and productive. (09/2014)

Marliss Melton Arruda '88- B.A. English- I've become a bestselling award-winning fiction author with fifteen published works of military romantic suspense currently for sale under my maiden name, Marliss Melton. I taught linguistics in the English Dept. at W&M from 200-2005 and still live in Williamsburg with my husband and family. (09/2014)

Elizabeth Lathrop '03- B.A. English- I have a tenure-track position as an Assistant Professor of Film at Georgia Perimeter College. My minor at W&M was film. (09/2014)

Melissa Bunin Rooney '93- B.S Chemistry and B.A. English- I am now a senior scientific editor at Durham (NC) - based 'American Journal Experts'. I also write a monthly "My View' newspaper column for the Durham News (Raleigh News and Observer). I have written 3 children's books (Eddie the Electron, I Chalk, and The Fate of a Frog), all of which are available online (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.) as well as at numerous independent bookstores (smile). In 2009, I was awarded First Place in the Charles Shull Traditional Poetry category by the Poetry Council of North Carolina for a poem called Hope, the first draft of which was written for a W&M English-class assignment for Henry Hart in 1993.
Also in 2009, I was awarded First Place in the Poetry for Children category of the Burlington Writers Club Contest for a poem entitled "Beyond the Dark".

More info at my webpage:
www.melissarooneywriting.com

For the last 12 years, I have lived in Durham, NC, with my husband Mike Rooney (1993 University of Richmond graduate) and our 3 kids (12YO daughter, 10YO son, 4YO son). (09/2014)

Martha Wessells Steger '66- A.B., Honors, English- At this year's meeting of the National Federation of Press Women (Sept.5-6), I received 4 writing awards in its annual communications contest: first place for travel articles, third place in the writer-photographer category for articles written and illustrated by the same person, honorable mention for magazine feature stories, and honorable mention for articles related to arts and entertainment. (09/2014)

Jean Kreiling '76- A.B. English- Jean Louise Kreiling, 76, earned an M.A. in English at the University of Virginia and briefly taught English at Western Carolina University. However, her musical experiences in Williamsburg (with Pappy Fehr), in Charlottesville, and elsewhere led her to pursue further study in music; she earned a B.A. in music history from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and an M.A. and a Ph.D. in musicology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Now a Professor of Music at Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts, she has taught there since 1987, twice earning the Presidents Award for Academic Excellence. Funded by a variety of grants, she has presented her interdisciplinary work on music and poetry at conferences in Edinburgh, London, Toronto, Honolulu, San Francisco, and elsewhere, and has published articles in several academic journals. Meanwhile, she has continued to write poetry, and her first poetry collection, The Truth in Dissonance, was published in 2014. Her poems have appeared widely in print journals, online journals, and anthologies; she is a past winner of the String Poet Prize and the Able Muse Write Prize for Poetry, and has been a finalist for the Frost Farm Prize, the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award, and the Richard Wilbur Poetry Award, among other honors. (09/2014)

Matthew Plassman '06- B.A. English- Returned to Modern Family for its sixth season (my fourth) in May, but now as the writers production assistant. (09/2014)

Matthew Dube '96- B.A. English- Matthew Dube was named Vice President, Business Development of Merriam-Webster, Inc. (09/2014)