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2019-20 News Stories

Moesha Parsons in cap and gown
Recent grad leaves legacy for Minorities in Medicine

As a student, Moesha Parsons ’20 founded Minorities in Medicine, a student organization for pre-med students of color. Though she has graduated, the organization will continue to support future students like her.

Megan Casey stands dressed head to toe in personal protective equipment
Alumna uses experience combating Ebola to fight COVID-19

As an officer with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Megan L. Casey ’04 evaluated hospital and clinic infection control practices in Sierra Leone during the Ebola outbreak in 2014. Now she's taking her expertise stateside.

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2020 virtual graduation

Watch our 2020 graduates as they parade across our virtual stage.

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Seven W&M alumni selected to receive Fulbright Scholarships

The seven alumni are among more than 2,100 U.S. citizens who received the Fulbright U.S. Student Program award in 2020. The prestigious award provides students the funding they need to study, research and teach abroad.

Heather Kenny places a band on a bluebird
In a quiet world, research on noise and nesting bluebirds

Heather Kenny, a biology master’s student at William & Mary, has spent the past two years studying the parenting behavior of bluebirds. Specifically, she is working to understand how human-made noise influences nesting and productivity.

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Professor Chouin participates in Webinar on the the latest research into the Black Death

Gerard Chouin recently participated in a Webinar run by the Medieval Academy of America, entitled "The Mother of All Pandemics: The State of Black Death Research in the Era of Covid-19." Gerard shared the virtual stage with other experts in the fields of bioarchaeology, genetics, climate history, literary studies, and art history.

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William & Mary board re-elects top two executive officers

William & Mary’s Board of Visitors voted Tuesday to re-elect John E. Littel P '22 as rector and William H. Payne II '01 as vice rector of the governing body of the university. Additionally, Barbara L. Johnson J.D. '84 was elected as secretary of the board.

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Congratulations Russian Studies Class of 2020!

Graduation looks different this spring semester. We may not be able to gather in person for commencement yet, but that doesn't diminish the great accomplishments of our graduates. The faculty and staff from the College of William & Mary are sending their congratulations and best wishes to the Class of 2020.

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W&M to celebrate 2020 graduates with virtual conferral ceremony

On May 16, William & Mary will mark the day that was previously reserved for this year’s Commencement exercises with its first-ever virtual conferral ceremony. The university plans to celebrate 2020 graduates in-person in the fall.

Closeup of sundial at Swem Library.
W&M announces SAT, ACT test-optional admission pilot

William & Mary will make standardized test scores optional for undergraduate applicants in the 2020-2021 admission cycle under a new three-year pilot program that responds immediately to difficulties high school students are facing in scheduling the standardized tests.

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W&M announces 2020 spring Green Fee projects

The William & Mary Committee on Sustainability has announced the spring 2020 Green Fee awards, which will be awarded to seven campus projects.

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W&M alumnus on a mission of Comfort

Having completed a month-long mission of helping New York City hospitals that were overwhelmed by the coronavirus pandemic, the USNS Comfort has sailed back to Virginia with about 600 doctors, nurses and other crew members, including Dr. A. Scott Morris ’10, a lieutenant in the Navy’s Medical Corps and an alumnus of William & Mary.

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W&M takes a ‘one team’ approach to career development

At a time when more than 30 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, William & Mary’s career development leaders are collaborating to share information and leverage resources across different departments and schools.

Caroline Watson, MA Candidate
Anthropology Master's Degree Student Caroline Watson Published

Congratulations to our graduate student Caroline Watson, who recently co-authored an article in American Antiquity on socio-economic interactions of Piedmont Village Tradition communities in Southeastern North America.

Dr. Jennifer Primeggia in uniform
On the front lines: A physician’s view of the pandemic

In early February, while most Americans were still going about their usual daily routines, Dr. Jennifer Primeggia ’02 and her fellow physicians working in infectious diseases at Virginia Hospital Center near Washington, D.C., were preparing for an influx of patients with COVID-19.

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The 2020 W&M Student Literary Awards

The W&M Student Literary Awards are an annual contest recognizing achievement in student writing, sponsored by the Creative Writing program and the Department of English. The awards are open to all William & Mary students. Independent judges decide winners and runners-up in each of five categories: Group of Poems, Short Fiction, Single Poem, Creative Nonfiction and Drama/Screenwriting.

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ACTR Essay Contest

Four of our Russian students received honorary mentions for ACTR Essay Contest!!!

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Study calculates true cost of food waste in America

A new study by Zach Conrad, assistant professor in William & Mary’s Department of Kinesiology & Health Sciences, finds that the average American consumer spends roughly $1,300 per year on food that ends up being wasted.

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AMES hosts Open House

AMES HOSTS OPEN HOUSE, MARCH 2, 2020 TO CELEBRATE THE NEW AMES/APIA LIBRARY

Portrait photograph of Eden Maness in the lab wearing a lab coat
Finding a possible new way to treat schizophrenia

For her research into the underlying neurobiology of attentional processing in the context of schizophrenia drug discovery, Eden Maness is the recipient of the William & Mary Graduate Studies Advisory Board Award for Excellence in Scholarship in the Natural and Computational Sciences.

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Social distancing in birds

One of many things that the COVID-19 pandemic will be remembered for is the introduction of the term “social distancing” to the global lexicon. For bird behaviorists, the term and its variants have been in use for over a century.

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Immune-system cells of fish are ingesting plastic…and then dying

The research lab of Patty Zwollo, an immunologist and professor of biology at William & Mary, has discovered that just as whales swallow plastic thinking it’s food, some cellular components of the immune system in fish “swallow” bits of microplastic that they mistake for invading pathogens.

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James Monroe's Highland in Le Monde

Highland appeared in the French newspaper Le Monde on March 27 and 28, 2020. This coverage features recent conversations with the descendants of men and women enslaved at Highland.

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AidData: Powerful lessons in global development

As a research lab of the university’s Global Research Institute, AidData facilitates innovative research projects that bring students and faculty together to solve global problems.

Richard Palmer
In Memoriam: Professor Emeritus of Theatre, Richard H. Palmer

Through his dedication, Professor Palmer developed generations of informed, imaginative, and energetic theatre practitioners, sending dozens of students forward to pursue advanced study. His generosity as a mentor and an academic advisor are well documented, and his high standards inform the work of his students and professional colleagues today. His former students are now teaching, writing, performing and creating theatre all over the country.

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Grocery shopping tips for the age of coronavirus

With panic buying affecting grocery stores throughout the country, we spoke with Zach Conrad, assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology & Health Sciences, to discuss ways to food shop effectively.

Maria J. Donoghue Velleca
Maria Donoghue Velleca selected as William & Mary dean of Arts & Sciences

Maria Donoghue Velleca, an accomplished scholar and award-winning educator who served as senior associate dean for faculty affairs and strategic planning at Georgetown University’s College of Arts & Sciences, has been selected as William & Mary’s dean of the Faculty of Arts & Sciences, President Katherine A. Rowe announced today.

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COR Students Attend Simulation Conference

Hosted in D.C., the Winter Simulation Conference showcases leading-edge developments in simulation modeling and analysis methodology alongside application areas.

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A Remembrance of L. Clifford Schroeder, Sr.

Although he did not attend William & Mary himself, L. Clifford Schroeder, Sr. had a strong love of the College and took great pride in what W&M students can do to address pressing problems affecting society.

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Secular Misfits: What Humanistic Jews and Ex-Muslims Can Teach Us About Religion:

Dr. Joseph Blankholm of UC-Riverside spoke at W&M Feb 26th. Being secular does not always mean being nonreligious. Deconverting from Judaism, for instance, does not simply unmark a person as Jewish, which remains a cultural or ethnic identity even after rejecting religion. Like secular Jews, ex-Muslims face unique challenges, and being betwixt and between is awkward. These secular misfits are creating new and important ways of being secular and religious that are not properly either. Bursting the seams of these categories, they help us see clearly their construction.

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Postponed: W&M's Raft Debate

William & Mary's 2020 Raft Debate will be held in the Sadler Center's Commonwealth Auditorium March 19 at 6:30 p.m.

A series of planting pots containing Mars-like soil
How scientifically accurate is 'The Martian'? Ask W&M’s budding astrobotanists

Jon Kay, a visiting assistant professor of geology at William & Mary, is using the hypothetical situation Matt Damon’s character finds himself in — being stranded on Mars and forced to grow his own food — as a real research question for students in his new COLL 150 class Science and Science Fiction.

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W&M Students Prepare for the Age Wave

For many William & Mary students, the first weekend of the Spring 2020 semester meant easing back into the routine of campus life after the winter break. But for nearly two dozen William & Mary students, that first Friday afternoon was the start of a deep dive into one of the most serious challenges facing the U.S. and other aging societies: How do individual families and the country as a whole pay for the long-term care that so many aged and disabled persons need?

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Professor Fabian Arzuaga and "Critical Theory: 50 Years After Adorno"

Over Thanksgiving break, Professor Arzuaga traveled to Mexico for the 2019 Adorno Conference, “Critical Theory: 50 Years After Adorno.” Arzuaga and his colleagues set out to discuss and reflect upon capitalist society through the lens of Theodor W. Adorno.

Jefferson Lab's experimental Hall B is full of equipment to study the strong force
In ‘Nature’: Researchers probe the space between protons and neutrons

In the first direct probes of the core of the nuclear interaction, researchers find that leading theories on interactions between protons and neutrons describe them well, even in conditions where the protons and neutrons strongly overlap, such as in neutron stars.

Kelebogile Zvobgo
Discussion helps launch International Justice Lab at W&M

William & Mary students, scholars and community members gathered Jan. 31 to celebrate the launch of the International Justice Lab at the university with a roundtable discussion on “International Law and Justice: Challenges and Challengers in the 21st Century.”

A MERS coronavirus shows its namesake crown-like structure under the microscope.
A coronavirus Q&A with a virologist

Kurt Williamson is a virologist, an associate professor in William & Mary’s Department of Biology who specializes in the study of viruses. He offers some scientific context for the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

Karin Wulf Interviews Alexis Coe About Her Cheeky New George Washington Biography

No one would describe Alexis Coe’s unconventional biography of conventional biographical subject George Washington as boring. Starting with its cover illustration, a playful Washington grinning at the reader, You Never Forget Your First is a wink of sorts, at Washington biography and at the ways that Americans have very consistently misremembered the first president.

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W&M Students Discuss Gerrymandering

William & Mary’s Global Film Festival included a documentary and accompanying conversation about gerrymandering in Virginia and the nation.

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Students take their research to Montreal

This past July, Professor Jaime Settle and four students from the Social Networking and Political Psychology (SNaPP Lab) traveled to Montreal to share their research at an international conference.

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Students lobby for W&M at 24th annual Road to Richmond

Road to Richmond, sponsored by the W&M President’s Office and the Office of Government Relations, offers students a platform to represent their interests before members of the Virginia General Assembly.

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2020 Study Abroad trip to Oman

Please read an update from AMES Director, Anne Rasmussen about the third iteration of the interdisciplinary Study Abroad trip to Oman

Brian Castleberry
DOG Street Journal profiles Brian Castleberry

The DOG Street Journal recently profiled Professor Brian Castleberry. Read all about his new novel, his teaching, and the time he met Beyoncé.

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W&M cuts ribbon on new entrepreneurship hub

William & Mary students are collaborating with faculty and business leaders to not just develop start-ups, but to develop themselves into entrepreneurial thinkers at the university’s new entrepreneurship hub.

Suzanne Hagedorn
Forgotten saint sparks W&M professor’s curiosity

Suzanne Hagedorn, associate professor of English and affiliated faculty with the Medieval and Renaissance Studies program at William & Mary, has been researching St. William ever since a trip to Rochester Cathedral in England three years ago.

Molly Mitchell
VIMS scientist wins national Early Career Leadership Award

Molly Mitchell of William & Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science has earned an Early Career Leadership Award from the US CLIVAR Program for her efforts to develop and share sea-level forecasts and other planning tools with coastal risk managers and emergency responders in Virginia and the mid-Atlantic region.

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Lamar Shambley '10 helps Brooklyn teens study abroad

Lamar Shambley '10 founded Teens of Color Abroad, a nonprofit that offers language immersion study abroad programs to high school students of color, to provide the same opportunities to others.

Nicholas Balascio
W&M's Balascio named among Virginia's outstanding faculty

William & Mary geologist Nicholas Balascio will receive the Outstanding Faculty Award, the commonwealth’s highest honor for instructors at Virginia’s institutions of higher education, public and private.

W&M finishes second at Ranger Challenge
W&M makes history at Ranger Challenge

Competing independently for only the second year, William & Mary finishes second at the All-American Brigade Ranger Challenge to qualify for the exclusive Sandhurst Military Skills Competition

Zhaoning Johnson Liu
W&M alumnus wins Schwarzman Scholarship

A William & Mary alumnus has earned an international graduate fellowship and will join rising leaders from around the world for a year of study in China.

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Medicaid Expansion in Virginia: A Community Discussion

The Office of Community Engagement hosted a productive round-table looking at the logistics of Medicaid coverage and its expansion as a result of new political realities in the state

Chuck Williamson at a podium
Unexpected path brings Army vet to W&M

After a medical retirement from injuries sustained during his service, Charles “Chuck” Williamson ’21 found himself at a crossroads.

Omiyemi Artisia Green
W&M professor chronicles journey of grief, renewal in choreo-ritual

William & Mary Associate Professor Omiyẹmi Artisia Green's "Dance of the Orcas," which she has termed a choreo-ritual that incorporates dance, music and prose, will be performed Nov. 7 at 8 p.m. at the Commonwealth Auditorium.

Joanna Schug
Meet this year's Faculty Fellowship awardees

Each year, the Alumni Association honors five professors in the early stages of their careers who exemplify teaching excellence at William & Mary.

Rachel Oberman stands inside the server room of William & Mary’s High Performance Computing cluster.
geoLab: Students use satellites & AI to make a better world

Rachel Oberman got a call one Thursday evening during her sophomore year. A presentation for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation needed corrected boundary maps for all countries in the world. By Monday.

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Dr. David Gushee: Moral Leadership in a Divided Age

David Gushee, Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics and Director of the Center for Theology and Public Life at Mercer University, gave a lecture drawing from material in his recent book, Moral Leadership for a Divided Age.

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Campaign to Save the New Deal Mural

Professor of art history, Charles Palermo, helped craft a petition that played an important part in the fight to save a '30s fresco cycle from destruction in San Francisco.

The cover of Building on the Legacy: African Americans at William & Mary
First history of African Americans at W&M published

“Building on the Legacy: African Americans at William & Mary,” an illustrated history, was written by Jacquelyn McLendon, professor of English, emerita, and was released this month.

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Wiipongwii and Keilitz meet up in Kazakhstan

Recently Troy Wiipongwii, MPP '18, and Ingo Keilitz, visiting Professor of Public Policy, travelled to Nur-Sultan Kazakhstan for the International Association of Court Administrators at the Supreme Court.

W&M students at the Great Wall
Eight weeks in Asia: W&M students get real-world experience a world away

Twenty William & Mary students departed for internships in Asia this summer through the Freeman Intern Fellowship Program. They returned with souvenirs in their suitcase, professional work experience on their resume and a better understanding of the career path in their future. The Freeman Intern Fellowship program places undergraduates in structured summer internship opportunities throughout East Asia. Locations include Tokyo, Beijing, Singapore, Seoul, the Philippines, and many more. Each student receives around $5,000 to defray living and travel expenses.

A person dressed in period clothing looks at a book
Jane Austen fans visit William & Mary

More than three dozen women and men donning bonnets and top hats visited Swem Library last week in search of new insights into their favorite author, Jane Austen.

Seated students in an outdoor location on campus with tall trees in the foreground
W&M unifies diversity and inclusion initiatives

William & Mary is taking a university-wide approach to diversity and inclusion following task force reports by each of its five schools: Arts & Sciences, the W&M School of Education, W&M Law School, the Raymond A. Mason School of Business and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.

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Why is impeachment in the Constitution?

With impeachment in the news, W&M News sat down with historian Karin Wulf to discuss the origin of the impeachment process outlined in the U.S. Constitution.

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William & Mary American Bosnian Collaboration

The ABC project is a unique international research opportunity for students interested in making a difference in the world and getting to know another culture in depth and up close. Students focus on testing educational approaches to teach English and media skills to help bridge cultural differences in the region.

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So Many Ways to Ken the Past

We can learn a lot from excavating archaeological sites. But that's just one of many ways our students and faculty reveal the past.

Deborah Morse
Morse to explore novel 'Black Beauty' in Tack Faculty Lecture

English faculty member Deborah Morse will give fall Tack Lecture, “Liberating Black Beauty: A narrative on animal rights, gender, race and nation,” on Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. at the Sadler Center’s Commonwealth Auditorium.

R. Benedito Ferrão
Ferrão receives Fulbright Award

R. Benedito Ferrão, an assistant professor of English and Asian & Pacific Islander American studies, has received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program award to India in the field of literature.

Xu Liu receives IEEE award

Xu Liu has received a 2019 IEEE Computer Society TCHPC Early Career Researchers Award for Excellence in High Performance Computing.

Leah Glenn performs a dance move
A passion for dance and justice

When Leah Glenn first considered designing a study abroad program to Cape Town, she knew dance would be more than a physical activity to complement coursework.

Advisor of the Year 2019

Professor Anya Lunden is the 2019 Monica Potkay Advisor of the Year.

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The Opening of a Child Language Lab

Dr. Kate Harrigan and research assistants announce the completion and opening of new Child Language Lab at William & Mary.

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W&M faculty, students excavate Sanctuary of the Great Gods

William & Mary Classical Studies Lecturer Andrew Ward and Assistant Professor Jess Paga took three students to excavate the Sanctuary of the Great Gods on the Greek island of Samothrace from June 23 through Aug. 11.

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Department Hosts First Archaeology Day

On September 21 the department hosted the first W&M Archaeology Day, at which students and faculty of several departments shared news of their research and excavations.

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25 years after genocide, Rwandan survivors teach students about forgiveness

William & Mary students went on a soul-searching trip through Rwanda this past summer to explore the country’s efforts at peace education and forgiveness since the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi that killed more than 1 million people.

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William & Mary’s freshman phage lab goes viral for the 12th straight year

A new lab of select William & Mary freshmen takes on the study of bacteriophages each fall. It’s a program supported by the Science Education Alliance of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute called the Phage Hunters Advancing Genomic and Evolutionary Science (SEA-PHAGES) project.

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The 1619 anniversary: Where does the American story begin? | Opinion

Four hundred years ago, in August of 1619, more than 20 African captives arrived by ship to the English colony of Virginia, predating the Mayflower journey that brought English Pilgrims to what is now Massachusetts by a year. As recently explored in the New York Times Magazine’s 1619 Project, this anniversary reignites questions about American history, including: Which stories has it prioritized, and which has it left out?

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An Artist's Gift

Alumnus Dr. William H. Sterling leaves a gift that would benefit the university's Department of Art & Art History

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Q&A: Robert Trent Vinson on the history, legacies of 1619

W&M News recently talked with Robert Trent Vinson, Frances L. and Edwin L. Cummings Professor of History and Africana Studies, about 1619, its significance and its part in the upcoming ASWAD conference.

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LGBT Children's Book in 20 Languages

Jonathan Branfman, visiting assistant professor in FMST and GSWS, has published the LGBT children's book: "You Be You! The Kid's Guide to Gender, Sexuality & Family".

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Lemon Project fosters historical discussion, will host campus symposium

As the new academic year begins, the Lemon Project is celebrating its ninth year of working towards discovery and reconciliation for African Americans enslaved by the College of William and Mary in the early days of its history. As it nears the completion of its first decade in operation, the Project continues to build scholarship and awareness of these untold stories through research, open dialogue and community engagement.

William & Mary Ph.D. student Shuangli Du and staff scientist Dr. Doug Beringer working in front of computers inside William & Mary’s Ultracold AMO Physics Laboratory.
Using ultracold atoms to find WMDs

Seth Aubin, associate professor of physics at William & Mary, recently received a grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to develop a new type of instrument capable of detecting hidden infrastructure for weapons of mass destruction.

Travis Harris stands in front of gravestones at Oak Grove Cemetery
Doctoral research details Magruder neighborhood history

In his William & Mary doctoral dissertation, Travis Harris Ph.D. '19 details how residents of the predominantly African American neighborhood of Magruder were displaced when the Navy took over their property to build Camp Peary in the early 1940s.

1619-2019: From Trauma to Triumph

In late August of 1619, a ship landed in Point Comfort, Virginia with what was recorded as “20 and odd Negars” on board. In the language of the era, the word ‘negar’ meant black, and these men, women and children from West Central Africa had dark skin, burnished by the sun.

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Mite work: Greenhouse uses predatory insects for pest control

The William & Mary greenhouse has started a new program to limit the use of chemicals by relying on predatory insects for pest control. It’s the biological equivalent of fighting fire with fire – and so far it’s working.

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Philosopher receives NEH summer institute grant

Elizabeth Radcliffe, Professor of Philosophy at William & Mary, and Angela Coventry, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Portland State University, have received a grant of $185,975 from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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How The Kashmir Region Became A Geopolitical Hot Spot

People in Kashmir are hoping that life starts returning to normal in the next few days. Ever since the Indian government revoked the territory's limited autonomy earlier this month, millions of Kashmiris have been cut off from the outside world, living without internet or phone services. But Kashmir is no stranger to unrest. And to give us some history on how we got to this moment, we're joined now by Chitralekha Zutshi. She's a professor of history at the William & Mary.

A sign saying "You Belong" is held up among a large crowd outside of the Wren Building
Get to know W&M's newest undergraduates

The Class of 2023 will include approximately 1,540 students, selected from more than 14,600 applicants. Additionally, 180 new transfer students are expected to enroll this fall.

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Remembering Toni Morrison

Faculty in the English Department share their thoughts on the passing of one of America's greatest contemporary writers.

NATO was — and still is — absolutely essential

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is the most successful alliance in history. In its 70 years, NATO has brought a historically unprecedented period of great power stability to Europe. NATO’s “attack on one is an attack on all” guarantee, underscored by the presence of American military forces on the continent, assures the security of the democratic West’s territory and political institutions. A strong trans-Atlantic alliance was — and remains — absolutely essential to our defense of American national interests.

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W&M to offer Bachelor of Arts in Japanese Studies

William & Mary will begin offering a Japanese Studies major this fall, becoming the only public university in the state to offer a bachelor’s degree in the discipline.

Intern Profile - Patrick Wise, MPP '20

My work at EPA this summer mainly entails sustaining, improving, and translating the Agency's evidence-based performance management policy implementation.

Headshot of Lizabeth Allison, Chancellor Professor of Biology at William & Mary
Allison wins Ruth Kirschstein Diversity in Science Award

Lizabeth Allison, Chancellor Professor of Biology at William & Mary, has been awarded the Ruth Kirschstein Diversity in Science Award by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Rapoport and Mele on the Perot Legacy

Professor Emeritus Ron Rapoport and Nicco Mele, Class of 1999, evaluate the legacy of the late Ross Perot, business entrepreneur and two-time Presidential candidate.

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Gail Williams Wertz ’66, M.A. ’19 digs into new career

Gail is currently a full-time graduate student in anthropology and archaeology at William & Mary, returning to her alma mater after an almost 50-year career in biomedical research.

William & Mary student Laura Anderson is seen working in the Anatomy Lab, instructing a fellow student about the structures within an actual human bone.
A human approach to human anatomy

William & Mary's Human Anatomy Lab is a class that for over 50 years has allowed undergraduate students to gain an understanding of anatomy using actual human cadavers.

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Architecture instructor brings real world to W&M students

Edwin Pease, senior lecturer in the Department of Art & Art History, has taught at William & Mary since 1990 while also working full-time as a partner in Stemann Pease Architecture. His students get the best of both worlds.

A bald eagle strikes an unusual “spread eagle” pose on a nest near Hopewell along the James River.
For the Glorious Fourth, the James River eagles have landed (and nested)

The Center for Conservation Biology has compiled 2019 survey results for bald eagles nesting along the James River. The breeding population has increased to 302 pairs, making the James the most significant tributary for eagles throughout the Commonwealth.