William and Mary

Graduate Studies Advisory Board

The Graduate Studies Advisory Board is a group of educational, corporate, and community leaders with a commitment to enhancing the quality of graduate education in Arts & Sciences at William and Mary.

By increasing graduate funding to provide competitive stipends and research and travel awards, the Graduate Studies Advisory Board is playing an important role in the overall development of W&M's graduate programs in Arts & Sciences. Since 2005, the Board has recognized outstanding graduate research by funding the Distinguished Dissertation Awards and Distinguished Master's Thesis Awards. The Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Mentoring recognize A&S graduate students for their invaluable mentoring of undergraduate students in scholarship and research. The Carl J. Strikwerda Awards for Excellence recognize A&S graduate students for their outstanding written papers on thesis research or scholarship to earn an MA, MS, or MPP degree. In addition, the Board has noted that encouraging outstanding applicants to accept W&M's offer of admission is vital to the success of W&M's graduate programs. Board members fund Graduate Studies Advisory Board Fellowships and Awards, sponsor the Graduate Research Symposium, and broadly support the Arts & Sciences Graduate Studies Program.  

If you would like to support the Graduate Studies Advisory Board, contribute now.

The missions of the Graduate Studies Advisory Board are:
  • Development/fundraising to increase graduate Arts & Sciences financial resources
  • Assisting in the building of a graduate Arts & Sciences community
  • Enhancing professional development opportunities for graduate students
  • Advocating for graduate Arts & Sciences within the W&M community

The Board meets twice per year in Williamsburg and has three subcommittees that continue the work of the Board between these meetings: the Development and Communications Committee, the Student Professional Development Committee, and the Nominations Committee.

Graduate Studies Advisory Board Officers

President: Diane Alleva Cáceres 
Vice-President: Brian Morra
Past President: Cynthia Morton 
Chair, Development and Communications Committee: John Burton
Chair, Recruitment Committee: Debbie Allison
Chair, Student Professional Development Committee: Robert Saunders

Board Member Biographies

Debra (Debbie) Allison '77 BS Chemistry

Debbie Allison retired from Merck & Co., Inc. in 2011. She has more than 30 years experience in the pharmaceutical industry and is an internationally recognized competitive intelligence professional.  At the time of retirement, she was Senior Director of Global Competitive Intelligence and led the Scientific Competitive Intelligence Team responsible for scientific analysis to support strategic decision making within internal research, licensing and marketing for all Merck franchises.  She earned a BS in chemistry from the College of William & Mary and a Master's degree in medicinal chemistry from Ohio State University.  She began her career in the Merck Research Laboratories as a medicinal chemist.  Subsequently, Ms. Allison led a cross-divisional, international effort to develop some of the first chemical structure and reaction information systems for the chemist's desktop through a complete transformation of Merck's internal computer systems.  Her home is in Neshanic Station, New Jersey.

Michael Bracken '86 BS Mathematics

Michael Bracken is the Director of Software Engineering in Northrop Grumman Corporation's Electronic Systems Sector.  In this role he leads an organization of more than 550 engineers, managers and directors and is responsible for software engineering execution on Sector programs.  Prior to Northrop Grumman he was the Director of Programs at L-3 Communications Storm Control Systems where he was responsible for deploying commercial satellite ground command and control systems to numerous customers around the globe.  Mr. Bracken started his career at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and contributed to several earth science missions as a software engineer, systems engineer and project manager.  He received an MS in Computer Science from the Johns Hopkins University (1991).  Michael is also a member of the Industrial and Professional Advisory Council for the College of Engineering at Penn State University.  As an undergraduate he was a four-year, full scholarship athlete on the Tribe men’s basketball team.  He is also a member of the Kappa Sigma social fraternity.  He and his wife Jennifer reside in West Friendship, MD and have three children, Christopher, David, and Alison.  Alison will be the third generation in the family to attend W&M as a member of the class of 2018.

John D. Burton '89 MA History, '96 PhD History

John Burton is an Associate Professor of History and a member of the American Studies Program Committee at DePaul University in Chicago, IL.  As a graduate student at the College of William & Mary, he worked for the Department of Archaeological Research for Colonial Williamsburg.  Dr. Burton teaches a variety of courses on early American History.  His current research is on American Loyalists and their slaves who came to the Bahamas after the American Revolution.  He has co-directed several archaeological excavations at Loyalist Plantations on San Salvador, The Bahamas, and more recently on the Island of Abaco.

Diane Alleva Cáceres '87 BA Economics,'89 MA Government

Diane Alleva Cáceres is Founder and Managing Director of Market Access International, Inc. (MAI), an international trade, investment and enterprise development consulting firm, in Smyrna, GA established in 1997.  While her colleagues manage MAI, she is continuing her intellectual interests by pursuing a PhD in Science, Technology and International Affairs at the Georgia Institute of Technology's Sam Nunn School of International Affairs.  At Georgia Tech, she served as Associate Director and is now Research Associate at the European Union Center of Excellence.  She is also an adjunct faculty member at both the Sam Nunn School and the College of Management. After graduation from the College of W&M, Ms. Alleva Cáceres worked in a variety of international trade and investment positions in Washington DC, including several years with the Australian Trade Commission, USAID, The Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars and the World Technology Foundation.  She was elected as a Life Member to the Council on Foreign Relations in 2002. As a student at W&M, Ms. Alleva Cáceres was co-captain of the swim team.  She and her husband, Mark, and their daughter, Sophia, live in Atlanta.

Kathryn Caggiano '90 BS Mathematics

Kathryn Caggiano is a Senior Lecturer and Director of Master of Engineering (MEng) Studies at Cornell University's School of Operations Research and Information Engineering (ORIE).  Since assuming this role in 2007, she has developed and implemented substantive innovations in program and project administration, student professional development, and performance assessment.  Under her leadership, the ORIE MEng program at Cornell was selected as a finalist for the 2012 UPS George D. Smith Prize, INFORMS' flagship award for "effective and innovative preparation of students to be good practitioners of operations research, management science, or analytics."  Dr. Caggiano has served on Strategic Planning Committees for Cornell's College of Engineering and the School of ORIE, and she sits on the Board of Directors of the Cornell Engineering Alumni Association. She received a Ph.D. in Operations Research from Cornell University in 1998.  Prior to her current position, Dr. Caggiano was a faculty member in Operations and Information Management at the University of Wisconsin's School of Business in Madison, WI.  Outside of academia, she has held positions in technology and supply chain consulting with Price Waterhouse and PeopleSoft.  Her home is in Ithaca, NY.

Kurt R. Erskine, '92 BA Public Policy

Kurt Erskine is an Assistant United States Attorney and is the Chief of the Public Corruption Section for the United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia. In that role, he supervises the prosecution of federal public corruption cases in northern Georgia, which includes the Atlanta area. He has worked as a federal prosecutor for twelve years and, in that time, prosecuted matters involving public corruption, money laundering, wire fraud, securities fraud, bank fraud and other financial crimes. Previously, he supervised the prosecution of criminal health care cases as a Deputy Chief in the Economic Section of the United States Attorney’s Office. Mr. Erskine also served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Miami office of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida from 2001 to 2004. Prior to joining the Department of Justice, Mr. Erskine represented companies and individuals in government investigations and complex civil litigation as well as advised clients on internal investigations, corporate compliance and state and federal regulatory compliance. Mr. Erskine earned a BA in Public Policy from the College of William and Mary in 1992, and a Masters of Health Services Administration from the University of Kansas School of Allied Health and a JD from the University of Kansas School of Law in 1996.

Mike Hoak '02 MA History

Michael Hoak is Director of Public Policy for Humana – one of the nation’s largest providers of health insurance and health and wellbeing services.  He is currently responsible for strategy development and execution of Humana’s state and federal public policy initiatives, including implementation of the Affordable Care Act.  Prior to joining Humana in 2012, he served as Legislative Director for Capitol Counsel, a leading DC-based lobbying and advocacy firm.  In this role, he performed sophisticated research and analyses of federal legislative and regulatory issues for a wide array of health care clients, including pharmaceutical manufacturers, provider organizations, accreditation bodies, and health insurers.  Over his 13-year career in Washington, Michael has also worked as a policy analyst providing counsel to organizations ranging from the National Football League to the port of Hong Kong.  While at William and Mary, he specialized in 20th century American history and authored a thesis on the Civilian Conservation Corps, which now serves as the basis for a display at Colonial National Historical Park in Yorktown, Virginia.  He is a lifelong Virginia resident and currently resides in Vienna, Virginia with his wife Allison and his daughter Ella.

David K. Hood '90 BS Chemistry, '92 MA Chemistry, '96 PhD Applied Science

David Hood is currently a Research and Development (R&D) Manager for the Materials Science Platform at Ashland Specialty Ingredients (ASI), a division of Ashland. He has more than 14 years of professional experience in the specialty chemical industry. After completing a Visiting Assistant Professor position in the Department of Chemistry at W&M, he joined International Specialty Products (ISP). Throughout his career, he has enjoyed technical team building, leading global teams responsible for technology expansion, new business development programs including structuring complex R&D agreements and relationships as well as due diligence processes for corporate M&A activities. His varied technical interests include functional polymeric materials, printing technologies, technical coatings and polymer architecture/design. He holds more than 15 US Patents and has (co)authored more than 30 technical articles. In 2004, he was awarded the Thomas Alva Edison Award (Consumer Division) by the R&D Council of New Jersey. He and his wife, Christina, live in New Jersey with their two children.

Peter Martin '71 MS Physics, '72 PhD Physics

Peter Martin is currently an adjunct faculty member of the Physics Department at Virginia Commonwealth University.  He spent 27 years in industrial research and management with Altria Inc. in both the USA and Switzerland, and took early retirement in 1998. Dr. Martin has since helped develop a physics course for non-scientists at VCU and has spent two years teaching mathematics and physics at the VCU campus in Qatar.  He grew up in England, earned a B.A. and M.A. from Cambridge University in Mathematics and Physics and a Diploma in Education from Oxford University, and came to America to teach in 1965.  Entering William & Mary in 1966, he completed his graduate degrees in experimental nuclear physics and helped coach the very first William & Mary soccer team.  He has been a member of the Board of Directors of the International School of Lausanne and the Editorial Advisory Board of "Filtration News", and developed a mini-course in Science for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Richmond.   Dr. Martin and his wife, Patricia, live in Richmond and have two adult sons.

Larry McEnerney '76 BA English & History

Larry McEnerney is the Director of University Writing Programs at the University of Chicago. He teaches in the Graduate Divisions, the Graduate School of Business, the Law School, post-graduate institutes, and the undergraduate College.  He consults for writing worldwide to professional firms, universities, academic societies, businesses, and government agencies.  He is also a principal in UpFrontPublications and the president of Clarison, Inc., a developer of internet-based programs for writing.  Larry and Cathe (College of W&M '75) have three children, the youngest of whom, Kate, is W&M Class of 2008.

George Miller '67 BS Physics, '69 MS Physics, '72 PhD Physics

George Miller retired in December 2011 as the tenth Director of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, a position he assumed in March 2006 after a distinguished career in national security work at the Laboratory. Throughout his nearly 40-year career at the Laboratory, Dr. Miller tackled a variety of management and scientific challenges in the interest of national security, particularly nuclear weapons.  Dr. Miller continues to provide advice to the Laboratory and various parts of the United States government on matters of national security. He holds memberships in the American Physical Society, Sigma Pi Sigma - National Physics Honor Society, and is Chairman of the Science, Technology and Transformation advisory panel to the Commander of the United States Strategic Command. Dr. Miller and his wife, Sue, live in Livermore, California.

Brian J. Morra '78 BA History

Brian J. Morra is the Sector Vice President for Business Development & Strategic Planning in Northrop Grumman Corporation's Electronic Systems Sector.  In this role he is responsible for the sector's global partnerships, long-range planning, and all investment planning and oversight.  He is a member of Northrop Grumman's corporate Strategic Development Council and Intelligence Advisory Board.  He received an M.P.A. from the University ofOklahoma (1984) and M.A. in government and national security studies from Georgetown University (1987).  Mr. Morra is also a graduate of the U.S. Air Force's Air Command and Staff College and was an adjunct faculty member at the Joint Military Intelligence College and at Air Command and Staff College.  He served a total of 15 years in the United States Air Force – active and reserve components – including a significant amount of time in foreign assignments. Mr. Morra has served on the Foundation Board of Coppin State University, is a current member of the board of directors of CEA, Inc. (an Australian high tech company), and is a long-standing member of the system engineering advisory board at the University of Virginia's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Cynthia Morton '77 BS Biology

Cynthia Morton is the William Lambert Richardson Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology and Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School, Director of Cytogenetics at Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Past Director of the Biomedical Research Institute at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.  She received her Ph.D. in Human Genetics from the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond.  Dr. Morton is a past member of the Board of Directors of the American Board of Medical Genetics where she served as Secretary, Treasurer and Chair of the Accreditation Committee.  She was Chair of the Molecular Genetic Pathology Policy and Exam Committees of the American Board of Medical Genetics and the American Board of Pathology.  She served as a member and Chair of the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, and as a member and Chair of the Board of Regents of the National Library of Medicine.  Currently she is a member of the Counsel of Scientific Trustees of the Hearing Health Foundation and Chair of the Advisory Committee of the Veteran's Administration Genomic Medicine Program.  Dr. Morton is the past Editor of The American Journal of Human Genetics, and is the President-elect of the American Society of Human Genetics.  As a student at W&M, she was active in music, as well as a resident advisor, orientation aide, and member of Kappa Kappa Gamma social sorority, Phi Sigma, Delta Omicron and Mortar Board.

David Opie '88 MS Physics, '91 PhD Physics

David Opie, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Research and Development, at Noxilizer, Inc., has extensive medical device development experience with both start-ups and industry leaders, including Johnson & Johnson and Cook Medical. He has numerous filed and issued patents and has commercialized technologies that are used in life-saving applications. He has experience with cardiovascular and urological implants, equipment design and manufacturing, as well as drug delivery market segments. Dr. Opie has a thorough knowledge of product invention, of Good Laboratory Practices, Good Manufacturing Practices, and design control and product development procedures. Dr. Opie holds a Ph.D. and an M.S. in Physics from the College of William and Mary, and a B.A. in Physics from the University of Delaware.

Robert (Rob) Saunders '00 BS Physics

Robert Saunders is a program officer in the Roundtable on Value and Science-Driven Health Care at the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, fielding issues related to value and costs of health care.  Dr. Saunders came to the position from the office of Congressman Rush Holt (New Jersey), where he was a Legislative Assistant in charge of handling health reform, Medicare and Medicaid, small business, the Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus, and budget policy areas.  For eight years prior, he was a researcher at Duke University, first as a graduate student in Physics (Ph.D., 2006) and later as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Radiology.  While at Duke, he researched the evaluation of imaging systems for their performance in cancer detection, with a specialization in breast imaging and mammography.  He served as a member of the Duke University Board of Trustees from 2005-2007, where he focused on building and grounds issues.  As an undergraduate at the College of William & Mary, he was involved in the Student Assembly, Honor Council, and Delta Phi fraternity.

Betsy Page Sigman '78 BA Government

Betsy Page Sigman is a Distinguished Teaching Professor at the McDonough School of Business, where she has taught since 1999. She holds a B.A. from the College of William and Mary, and an M.A. and a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Prior to coming to Georgetown, she worked at George Mason University, the Bureau of the Census, the Institute for Research in the Social Sciences, Decision/Making/Information, and the Office of Research and Statistics of the Social Security Administration. Her teaching and research interests include e-commerce and social media, data analytics, and survey research. Recent publications include a Harvard Business case study and a Harvard Business Review article, an article in the Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education, a case study in Educause Review Online, and an upcoming article in Decision Line. She is the recipient of the 2007 Joseph F. LeMoine Award for Undergraduate and Graduate Teaching Excellence and the 2009 Dean's Distinguished Service Award. She was the 2008 Faculty inductee into Beta Gamma Sigma. In August 2012, she received an IBM Faculty Award to promote and develop curricula for teaching about Big Data.

Laura J. Terry ’03 BS Biology

Laura Terry is an Associate with McKinsey & Co., where her recent work has focused on ensuring quality standards and regulatory compliance for medical devices. Prior to this, Laura was a post-doctoral fellow in Molecular Biology at Princeton University with support from the American Cancer Society. In addition to conducting laboratory research in molecular virology, she taught courses on influenza, cell biology, and development at Princeton. She received a Ph.D. in Cell & Developmental Biology from Vanderbilt University. Her undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral research has been presented to a range of professional audiences, including the American Society for Microbiology, the American Society for Cell Biology, and the International Herpesvirus Workshop. As a student at W&M, she was active in undergraduate research, music, Nu Kappa Epsilon, and The FlatHat. Laura lives in Atlanta, Georgia, and enjoys distance running, cycling, and traveling.

William (Bill) Tropf '68 BS Physics

William Tropf is retired, formerly serving as Head of Missile Engineering at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL).  His work spanned missile development from concept through flight testing, principally for naval air defense and ballistic missile defense.  His technical specialty is optics and particularly optical properties of materials.  He has contributed chapters to several standard references including the Handbook of Optical Constants and the Optical Society of America's Handbook of Optics.  Since retiring, he continues to work as a consultant at APL.  Dr. Tropf received his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Virginia.  He lives with his wife Lorraine in Fulton, Maryland.

Edwin Watson II '68 BA History, '70 MA History

Edwin Watson is the President Emeritus of the Fredericksburg Area Museum in Fredericksburg, Virginia.  He has worked at a number of museums including serving as chief curator at Tryon Palace in North Carolina, as assistant director of the Kansas City Museum, as director of the Virginia Museum of Transportation, and director of Belle Grove Plantation before moving to Fredericksburg in 1986.  He retired in 2009 after completing the successful adaptive re-use of an historic downtown building which now houses the collections of the museum.  Mr. Watson serves on several local boards and often speaks on the topic of fund raising and the management of museums.  He taught in the museum studies program at the University of Mary Washington and presently teaches history at Germanna Community College.

Gail Williams Wertz '66 BS Biology

Gail Williams Wertz is a Professor in the Departments of Pathology and Microbiology at the University of Virginia School of Medicine.  She obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh Medical School and was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Michigan Department of HumanGenetics.  Work in her laboratory has elucidated the molecular biology of the negative strand RNA viruses and pioneered genetic engineering for this class of viruses to generate new approaches to vaccine development.  Dr. Wertz is past President of the American Society for Virology and has served on numerous advisory boards, including the NIH NIAID Advisory Council and the CDC Basic Science Advisory Board.  She has been a recipient of two National Institutes of Health MERIT Awards and the Bristol Myers Squibb "Freedom to Discover" unrestricted Research Award.  She and her husband, Dr. L. Andrew Ball, are active in land conservancy and recently restored Millbank Farm (ca.1669) on the Rappahannock River where they raise Angus cattle.

Emeritus Members

James Baroody '68 MS Physics
Patricia (Patti) Barry '63 BS Chemistry
D. Nelson Daniel '90 BS Geology & Economics
Ann L. Koch '83 BA Religion
Sherry Manning '67 MS Math
Ronald J. Monark '61 BA Economics
B.Lee Roberts '70 MS Physics, '74 PhD Physics
Maciek Sasinowski '93 MS Physics, '95 PhD Physics
Kumiko (Jean) Takeuchi '76 MA Chemistry