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.

Sylvia Foley ’76- B.A. English, is a writer and an editor based in Brooklyn, NY. My first book, Life in the Air Ocean (Knopf, 1999), a collection of linked stories, was named one of the Best Books of 1999 by the Los Angeles Times. The title story won 1997 Frederick Exley Fiction Competition. My stories have appeared in many literary journals, including Story, Open City, LIT, Zoetrope, and The Antioch Review; and in the anthologies On the Rocks: The KGB Bar Fiction Anthology (St. Martin’s Press, 2002) and They’re At It Again: Stories from 20 Years of Open City (Open City Books, 2011). My poetry has most recently appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review. A story is forthcoming in the fall issue of r.kv.r.y quarterly (http://rkvryquarterly.com/). I hold an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University and have received fellowships from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and Yaddo.  Short story "In the Wing Museum" appeared in the Spring 2015 issue of the Antioch Review. This November I'll be in residency at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, working on a novel (I was also a fellow in 2013 and 2014). (9/2015)

Melissa Daniels ’08- B.A. English, in Aug. 2014, I graduated with my M.A. in English from The Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College.  I'm so thankful for the ways that the William and Mary English Department Faculty prepared me to pursue graduate school in English through challenging coursework and thought-provoking class discussions. (9/2014)

Alex Kyrios ’09- B.A. English, has been a cataloger at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., after two and a half years in a similar position at the University of Idaho. He's thrilled to be at an institution focused on excellence in the humanities, and appreciates the work English faculty at W&M did to set him on this path. (9/2014)

Erica Weitzman ’97- B.A. English, joined the Department of German at Northwestern University as an Assistant Professor in 2014, after having received her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from New York University in 2012. She has also held positions at the University of California, Berkeley and the Universitat Konstanz. Her first book, Irony's Antics: Walser, Kafka, Roth and the German Comic Tradition, is out with Northwestern University Press in 2014. (10/2014)

Rochelle Zuck ’01- B.A. English, was awarded tenure and promotion to Associate Professor of English at the University of Minnesota Duluth, where she teaches early American literature. (10/2014)

Barbara Drucker Smith ’64- B.A. English Language and Literature, You can find more details of my publications and relationship to William & Mary through the years in the book printed with all who graduated from William and Mary that came out within the past year.  For the past year and a half I have spear headed the poetry group that meets on the second Thursday of the month at 6 P.M. at the Newport News Peninsula Fine Arts Center.  Sofia Starnes was highlighted this month and The Nearest Poem Anthology that she edited during her tenure as Poet Laureate of Virginia.  Next month Jay Paul of CNU will be featured.  We always open it up for open reading.  People can read their poem, a favorite poem, or pick out a piece of art and write an ekphrastic to the art work.  I do many ekphrastic poems for the exhibitions at the Charles Taylor Art center as well.  I was honored to read poetry at the memorial gathering at the Wren for David Jenkins who was my professor of creative writing at William & Mary. (10/2014)

Charlene Smith ’05- B.A. English and Theatre, in 2014, Charlene finished her graduate school education, receiving a Master of Letters and Master of Fine Arts in Shakespeare and Performance from Mary Baldwin College in partnership with the American Shakespeare Center. As part of her MFA work, Charlene was the head editor on a book of essays about the MFA year, "Rogue Shakespeare: Scholarship and Stagecraft in an Ensemble-Based MFA Company." Charlene is currently the Artistic Director of Brave Spirits Theatre in Washington, DC. (10/2014)

Will Huberdeau ’09- B.A. English, I'm a writer and a poet and I teach English and journalism at Granby High School in Norfolk, VA.. (11/2014)

Amanda Stanley King ’04- B.A. English Literature, After 3 exciting years living abroad in Australia, I've returned to the US. My husband (Andrew King, '05) and I are now living near Knoxville, Tennessee. He's working at Oak Ridge National Lab as a soil microbiologist and I've just started a job as Digital Communications Strategist for Pyxl, Inc. (12/2014)

Michelle Gabro ’13- B.S. English and Philosophy, I just accelerated (graduated a semester early) a Masters of Teaching Secondary English program at UVA's Curry School of Ed (just graduated, Dec 2014) and accepted a mid-year position as a 6th grade Language Arts teacher at Burley Middle School in Charlottesville, VA. (12/2014)

Ana Munoz- Open Program: English language assistant in Spain. Becoming a language assistant for one academic year in a Spanish private school is a unique opportunity for recent graduates that want to gain international experience. They deliver 20 teaching hours a week of conversational activities to reduced groups of children, receive additional training and get paid for it. As well as developing their language skills, exploring a community and living a multicultural experience, participants will improve their CV, gain the satisfaction of firing young imaginations and get skills and experiences that are highly appreciated by recruiters.

For further information, please visit www.meddeas.com or write an email to candidates@meddeas.com. Att to Ana Munoz, Meddeas delegate in DC area. (1/2015)

Sarah Ross ’12- B.A. in English, As of summer 2015, completed first year of a PhD program in English at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, focusing on Victorian literature and culture. (5/2015)

Joseph Boselovic ’11- B.A. in English, is the co-editor of a new book, "Only in New Orleans: School Choice and Equity Post-Hurricane Katrina" (Sense Publishers). The book brings together multiple perspectives to assess the state of education reform in New Orleans, ten years after Hurricane Katrina. (6/2015)

Peter Baxter ’05- B.A. in English, I am in my second year of teaching English at American Collegiate Institute in Izmir, Turkey. (9/2015)

 

Kate Hughes ’12- B.A. in English, recently completed her Masters in American Fine & Decorative Art, Kate now works as the Curatorial Research Assistant at Historic Charleston Foundation in Charleston, SC. (9/2015)

Dale Meikle ’99- B.A. in English, Will graduate from Stanford University with a Master's Degree in Comparative Literature in June 2016. (9/2015)

Jane Vance ’80- B.A. in English and Art, weaves her work as Vice President of Help Save the Next Girl, her essays about sexual predators and criminal trials, her medical mission service in impoverished Zambia, and her decades of trekking with healers and farmers in the remote Nepal Himalayas into her teaching and her art. Her lineage painting of an accomplished Tibetan master resulted in the 2010 Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences awarded documentary, A Gift for the Village. Vance's exquisitely detailed narrative paintings are in private collections around the world. She is currently collaborating with Gil Harrington on a book about the murder and the legacy of Morgan Harrington, who was Vance's student at Virginia Tech in the Spring of 2009. She will present a TEDX talk on November 19 on the campus of Virginia Tech in the Moss Center. (9/2015)

Patrick Plaisance ’95- M.A. in English Literature, is a professor in the Department of Journalism & Media Communication at Colorado State University. His second book, 'Virtue in Media: The Moral Psychology of Excellence in News & Public Relations' (Routledge) was published last year. Plaisance also is Editor of the Journal of Media Ethics. (9/2015)

Michael Tubbs ’01- B.A. in English, was recently selected to lead the communications office at the NASA Shared Services Center at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. We provide administrative support in the areas of Financial Management, Procurement, Human Resources, and Information Technology to NASA's field Centers nation-wide. I have been with NASA since 2006. (9/2015)

Lea Brumfield ’07- B.A. in English and Environmental Studies, moved to Charlottesville and just started a Master's program in Urban and Environmental Planning at UVa, with expected graduation 2017. Currently working with UVa's Institute of Environmental Negotiation. (9/2015)

Lydia Dambekalns ’81- B.A. in English and Studio Art, has been a professor at the University of Wyoming for 20 years now. I love the Rocky Mountain west and am co-owner of a ranch where we raise horses and hay. I still have our family farm in the Shenandoah Valley, but don't get back to the 'Burg often. Many fond memories of classes in the Wren and the Brafferton. Although I'm actually teaching art education, not English, I use my writing skills for publishing articles. Miss lovely Williamsburg and hope you are all well. (9/2015)

Karen Hall ’78- B.A. in English, Simon & Schuster is publishing my novel, "Dark Debts," on May 15, 2016. It was originally published by Random House in 1996. I rewrote it for the same editor (now at S&S) and it is being published for its 20th anniversary. (9/2015)

DJ Wagner ’91- B.S. in English and Physics, is a physics professor at Grove City College in Pennsylvania, and currently serving as president of the national Society of Physics Students.  I am active in the field of physics education research.  I get to use skills developed as an English major when I parse student responses and develop curriculum addressing common student difficulties. (9/2015)

Eliza Urban ’13- B.A. in English, received her Master of Arts degree in English Literature from Louisiana State University in May 2015.  Right now, I'm continuing in the doctoral program at LSU; my studies focus on 19th century theatre and the popular sciences (including mesmerism, animal magnetism, and many forms of spiritualism). (9/2015)

Sarah Hudgins Nicholls ’03- B.A. in English and M.A. Ed in Elementary Education, I am currently teaching 6th grade reading and language arts in Nashville, Tennessee and am the English department chair. My husband and I just had our first child, a boy, on May 1st. (9/2015)

Romana Huk ’81- Ph.D. in English and Government, just became Editor-in-Chief of one of our English Department's primary journals, Religion & Literature (I'm a professor at The University of Notre Dame.) (9/2015)

Andrew Zawacki ’94- B.A. in English, has recently been awarded a Howard Foundation poetry fellowship. In addition, his translation from the French of Sabastien Smirou, See About: Bestiary, is due from La Presse / Fence Books in fall '16. That project was supported by a National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellowship and by a grant from the Centre National du Livre. (9/2015)

Stephanie Wardrop ’90- M.A. in English (British and American Literature), is currently teaching writing, literature, and cultural studies at Western New England University and writing YA novels. My Snark and Circumstance series, an "update" of Pride and Prejudice, is an Amazon bestseller. Someday I need to set one in Tucker Hall :) (9/2015)

Becky Koenig ’12- B.A. in English and History, is a reporter for The Chronicle of Philanthropy, the national news website and print magazine for nonprofit and foundation coverage. I also freelance for other publications, including The Washington Post and Sauce Magazine. (9/2015)

Rachel Watson ’14- B.A. in English, is in her second-year of Master of Arts in English studies on a Graduate Teaching Assistantship at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA. She will graduate in May 2016 and hopes to teach community college or university-level composition and literature courses. (10/2015)

Aaron Mosby ’05- B.A. in English and American Studies, co-wrote and served as assistant director for a dog & pony dc (http://www.dogandponydc.com/) theatrical production called, "Squares" (http://www.dogandponydc.com/squares) which enjoyed two runs in 2015, the first in May at the Cincinatti Fringe Festival and the other in July at the DC Capital Fringe Festival.
"Squares" is one of dog & pony dc's newest projects, exploring systems of privilege and coded language in the context of playground games. How do you square inequality with the American dream? And how can jump ropes, rubber balls, and sidewalk chalk help us find out? (10/2015)

Jay Busbee ’90- B.A. in English, My book EARNHARDT NATION, a biography of the Earnhardt family of NASCAR fame, will be published by HarperCollins in February 2016. Happy to provide more info/answer Qs from any and all students, faculty and alumni. Thanks! (10/2015)

John Bavoso ’07- B.A. in English and Government, John Bavoso's short play, Adam & Steve, will have its world premiere in Sydney, Australia, on January 23 and 24, 2016, as part of the Short+Sweet Sydney festival. (12/2015)

Martha Spong ’82- B.A. in English and History, is the editor of THERE’S A WOMAN IN THE PULPIT: Christian Clergywomen Share Their Hard Days, Holy Moments and the Healing Power of Humor (SkyLight Paths / July 2015 / $18.99). This book arose from an online community, where a few dozen women bloggers coalesced around our common work as pastors. Those dozens now reach into the thousands.  From the beginning, we determined that, despite differences of theology, practice and life circumstances, our belief that God calls women to ordained ministry is the common ground on which we stand. Find us online at revgalblogpals.org. (4/2016)

Matthew Burlingam ’13- B.A. in English, is currently a Director in the K12 Public Education Practice at Hanover Research in Washington, D.C. My team provides quantitative and qualitative evaluations of district programs and investments, supports strategic planning efforts, and designs research agendas to investigate methods of improving student achievement and managing financial and human capital. Previously, I was a senior development associate at Hanover focused on global higher education in the UK, New Zealand, and Australia.

One of my clients (local to the Williamsburg area) is Newport News Public Schools! (4/2016)

Robin Russell Gaiser ’68- B.A. in English, My first book, “MUSICAL MORPHINE: Transforming Pain One Note at a Time," will be released June 1st, 2016, by Pisgah Press and Talking Book in print, ebook and audio formats. This work of creative non-fiction chronicles my work as a music practitioner offering live, acoustic vocal or instrumental music at the bedsides or chairsides of the critically and chronically ill, the elderly and dying in Hospices, hospitals, nursing homes, rehabs, and private homes.
More information, including purchase opportunities and reading/signing events, is available at www.robingaiser.com or on FaceBook at RobinRussellGaiser.  (4/2016)

Gloria Oh ’11- B.A. in English, After living abroad in Budapest, Hungary for nearly three years working at Central European University, I moved back to the U.S. fall 2015 to finish training for my first marathon in Portland, Oregon. Shortly thereafter, I applied to jobs in earnest and landed one at The Atlantic magazine at the start of 2016, where I have been working as a producer for AtlanticLIVE. I'm looking forward to visiting Tucker Hall homecoming weekend 2016, my fifth year out! It's been quite a journey since graduating, but if I could do college all over again, I'd still major in English. Hands down. (4/2016)

Lisa LaBanca Rogers ’82- B.A. in English,  has received the 2016 PEN - New England Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award for her picture book manuscript, MR. MARSHALL'S RED WHEELBARROW. The manuscript explores the relationship between poet William Carlos Williams and the owner of the wheelbarrow, an African American vegetable vendor who was a patient and friend. Lisa, a former newspaper reporter and editor, is an elementary school librarian. She is represented by Erzsi Deak of Hen&ink Literary Studio. (4/2016)

Jason James ’02- B.A. in English, This summer I will self-publish my first novel titled "ANOM: Awakening" through Amazon. For me, this is the realization of a life-long dream -- one that I pursued during my time at the College.  "ANOM: Awakening" will be available on Amazon starting June 25, 2016. For more information, visit www.jasonrjames.com (4/2016)

Doug Casey ’89- B.A. in English, I hope all is well in the 'Burg! Just sending along a few updates and best wishes to you all. Beginning in December, I began serving as Connecticut's point person for educational technology. Our Commission oversees technology for schools, libraries, universities, and many towns. We provide broadband Internet service to more than 1 million students a day.

I look back fondly at my days on campus and, specifically, in Tucker Hall. What I tell my teenage son and daughter is that, no matter what you do, you need to be able to think critically, communicate clearly, and write professionally. So many people I have worked with over the years --- some in high places --- do not demonstrate these skills. I want to thank the College and English Department for not settling for okay or decent, demanding excellence out of William & Mary's students to equip them to serve and learn for a lifetime! (4/2016)

Christopher Adams ’08- B.A. in English, after completing an MA in Chinese literature at the School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London), I moved to Shanghai on a Fulbright scholarship, to work on playwriting projects. I now live in London where I am the administrator of the London Rare Books School at the Institute of English Studies. My short plays have appeared in London, Birmingham, Dublin, and Shanghai, and my first full-length play will be produced in May 2016. (4/2016)

Julia Powers ’13- B.A. in English, since graduation in 2013, I've been freelance writing, interning at a church, and applying to graduate school. I'll be starting a Master's in Divinity at Duke University Divinity School in Fall 2016, with hopes of working in church ministry and continuing to write. Online publications can be accessed at www.juliapowersblog.com/publications. My first print publication (a personal essay) just came out April 2016 in Open Minds Quarterly, an Ontario-based magazine featuring "the poetry and literature of mental health recovery." This edition of the quarterly was their first-ever classroom edition with accompanying teacher guide, which I contributed to as well, aiming to foster conversation about mental health among young people. Thanks to the William & Mary English Department for helping me develop my writing voice and share it with others! (5/2016)