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A&S News Archive

Academic Year 2020-21

Illustration of Mohamed Noor in space wearing a Star Trek style uniform
Resistance (to science) is futile

Mohamed Noor ’92 brings the science to science fiction as a consultant for “Star Trek: Discovery”

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W&M announces spring, summer 2021 Green Fee awards

With the promotion of sustainable practices at the forefront of these grants, the Committee on Sustainability members approved a total of $35,712 to be spent across a broad spectrum or projects, from academia and research, to operations that advance sustainability on campus.

Caroline Duckworth
2021 grad headed for D.C. and an elite foreign policy fellowship

William & Mary senior Caroline Duckworth ’21 is among a group of 12 students from across the country to be selected for a 2021-2022 fellowship with the James C. Gaither Fellows Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP), a foreign policy think tank in Washington, D.C.

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Eight from W&M receive Fulbright student awards

Eight William & Mary alumni and students have been selected to receive U.S. Student Program awards, which will fund their teaching and research in countries around the world during the 2021-2022 academic year.

Ann Marie Stock
A unique view: Stock reflects on time as vice provost at W&M

Ann Marie Stock left the classroom to add her time and talents to the administration at William & Mary. As vice provost for academic & faculty affairs the past four years, she has had an opportunity to broadly impact teaching and learning.

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Government Majors Lead Student Assembly Efforts on Renaming

It’s not uncommon for William & Mary’s Student Assembly to be staffed and led by women and men studying government. But few SA administrations have drawn more government students—or had an effect as welcome—as that led by government major Anthony “A.J.” Joseph ’21. His leadership, and that of his team, encouraged the university to rename several buildings on campus this academic year—including the Government Department’s home.

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A Tour of Attika

Students from Prof. Paga's course on "Classical Athens" invite you to check out their website: A Tour of Attika

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Ancient is modern: W&M professor talks teaching classics

Molly Swetnam-Burland, Adina Allen Term Distinguished Associate Professor of Classics at William & Mary, received the 2020 Award for Excellence in Teaching of the Classics at the College Level by the Society for Classical Studies.

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The 2021 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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Blind Activism in the Cold War

This week’s podcast is a recording of a live interview I did with Maria Cristina Galmarini for the Keynote session at the Aging, Disability and Health in Socialist Europe and Beyond Workshop held in late March at the University of Pittsburgh.

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W&M campus structures named for trailblazing alumni

Following a consultative and thorough process established earlier this year, William & Mary’s Board of Visitors voted Friday to rename two campus buildings and name one campus structure to honor trailblazing alumni who helped open the door for marginalized people at both the university and beyond.

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On Buckroe Beach: Filming 'Dance of the Orcas'

Omiyẹmi (Artisia) Green, W&M associate professor of theatre and Africana studies, discusses her choreo-ritual "Dance of the Ocras" as it is being filmed at Hampton's Buckroe Beach.

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Congressman Scott outlines path to equality in virtual conversation

Congressman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott spoke about efforts to redress longstanding racial and economic inequality and systemic racism in the United States during a virtual conversation on April 8 with students, faculty, staff and other members of the local community.

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U.S Mission in Nigeria Awards Grant for Preservation of Nigerian Cultural Monument

The U.S. Mission in Nigeria has awarded a grant of $400,000 for the conservation of the late 14th century Sungbo Eredo Earthworks of the Yoruba Ijebu Kingdom in Nigeria. This is the largest Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) grant in Nigeria and the second-largest in sub-Saharan Africa.

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W&M's Jody Allen appointed to commission to study slavery

Jody Allen, assistant professor of history at William & Mary and director of the Lemon Project, was recently appointed by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam to the Commission to Study Slavery and Subsequent De Jure and De Facto Racial and Economic Discrimination.

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Announcement from AMES

We are excited to announce the approval of our new AMES CONCENTRATION TRACK: Comparative Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (AMES).

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W&M's One Tribe One Day is April 13

Next Tuesday, April 13, is One Tribe One Day — William & Mary’s eighth annual celebration of giving back and paying it forward.

Protesters in Aden, Al Mansoora during the Arab Spring 2011
Q&A on Arab Spring 10 years after

Sharan Grewal is an assistant professor of government at William & Mary and a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution. His research examines democratization, religion, and civil-military relations in the Arab world, especially Egypt, Tunisia, and Algeria.

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W&M strategic planning to put vision into action

Returning to a strategic planning process that was paused a year ago for COVID-19, William & Mary leadership outlined updates to the final phase of planning during a virtual community conversation Monday.

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W&M partners with CDC on mask usage study, results show campus is masking up

New data collected by student researchers show that 97% of William & Mary’s campus community is wearing masks in public spaces. The university is one of roughly 60 institutions partnering with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to conduct an eight-week mask observation study as part of the CDC’s Mask Adherence Surveillance at Colleges and Universities Project (MASCUP).

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One year under pandemic: Creativity, resiliency and community at W&M

One year ago today, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. Over the past 12 months, the university and its community members faced unprecedented challenges, all while finding ways to support one another and the larger community.

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New research project examines internationalization at William & Mary

Faculty from the School of Education Higher Education Program have launched a research project to help advance understanding of the engagement of William & Mary faculty in internationalization efforts both on campus and abroad.

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W&M opens new Esports Training and Research Center

William & Mary’s Esports Training and Research Center will include a research lab and training facility designed to foster interdisciplinary collaborations around gaming.

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Zvobgo on ICC Investigation

The ICC says it can investigate Israel’s alleged war crimes in the Palestinian territories. Netanyahu and Biden object.

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W&M’s working group on naming, renaming submits final report

William & Mary’s Working Group on the Principles of Naming and Renaming (PNR) this week presented its final report to President Katherine A. Rowe, who accepted it during the Board of Visitors meeting Thursday in the Alumni House.

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A saison for teamwork

Drew Stephenson ’92 and Laura Papp ’18 combined forces to get Pleasure House Brewing through the pandemic.

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On the national stage: W&M alumni join Biden-Harris administration

William & Mary alumni have a long history of service at the highest levels of government — a legacy stretching from George Washington (who received his surveyor’s license at William & Mary in 1749) to our current Chancellor, Bob Gates ’65, L.H.D. ’98, former Secretary of Defense.

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Service opportunities at W&M continue to grow

Adapting to pandemic conditions, William & Mary’s Office of Community Engagement has transformed its ongoing programs to continue reaching out and the Presidential Call to Service Council is spending this academic year exploring what service expansion could look like in the future.

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Mark D. Anderson Wins 2021 Sutlive Book Prize

The Department of Anthropology is pleased to announce Mark D. Anderson as the winner of the 2021 Vinson Sutlive Prize for his book From Boas to Black Power: Racism, Liberalism, and American Anthropology.

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Running milestone earns W&M professor audience with popular comedian

W&M Associate Professor of Government Marcus Holmes has run more than 8,000 miles since joining online physical training program Zwift in 2018, an accomplishment that opened an opportunity for him to chat with British comedian/actor Eddie Izzard during a recent virtual marathon.

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Michael A. Butler column: A tribute to George P. Shultz

George P. Shultz, who died on Feb. 6 at the age of 100, was a great man, a great patriot and a great U.S. secretary of state. He quite possibly was the most underrated secretary in our history.

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Mapping campus love stories

As fellows at W&M’s Center for Geospatial Analysis, Kira Holmes ’17 and Colleen Truskey ’17 showed the power of maps.

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In pandemic, W&M celebrates its birthday and the power of connections

As has become custom with birthdays in the pandemic, William & Mary celebrated its 328th on Thursday with a virtual version of its annual Charter Day ceremony. The tradition marks the day on which the university received its royal charter in 1693.

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Jamelah Jacob '21 receives Monroe Prize

Jamelah Jacob '21 has been awarded the 2021 James Monroe Prize in Civic Leadership, which goes to “a student who has demonstrated sustained leadership of an unusual quality, leadership combined with initiative, character and an unfailing commitment to leveraging the assets of the William & Mary community to address the needs of our society.”

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Meet the 2021 Alumni Medallion recipients

The Alumni Medallion is the highest award the Alumni Association can bestow on a graduate of William & Mary.

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Olivia Ding ’21 awarded Thomas Jefferson Prize in Natural Philosophy

Olivia Ding is the 2021 recipient of William & Mary’s Thomas Jefferson Prize in Natural Philosophy. The honor is endowed by the trustees of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation to recognize excellence in the sciences and mathematics in an undergraduate student.

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Paying the price: How Williamsburg’s Black business sector died in the 20th century

Alexa Doiron, a writer at WYDaily, discusses in her article celebrating Black History Month the shift in the business landscape of the Williamsburg community during the 20th century when many Black-owned businesses were driven to close. She highlights the importance of preserving the historical documentation surrounding the events leading to their closure, through speaking with descendants of those who were there and on projects such as the Williamsburg Documentary Project and an American Studies undergraduate honors thesis.

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New Publication: Macromolecular Bioscience (2020)

In this article, the Schniepp Lab collaborated with Deakin University in Australia to characterize silver nanoparticles synthesized in situ on silkworm silk nanofibrils.

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Ideal Muslim subjectivity: W&M professor presents two views in new book

Faraz Sheikh, assistant professor of religious studies at William & Mary, has published a new book, “Forging Ideal Muslim Subjects: Discursive Practices, Subject Formation, & Muslim Ethic,” which discusses the forms a religiously-informed, ethical Muslim life can take.

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W&M grad named policy advisor to VP-elect Kamala Harris

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris have named Ike Irby as Policy Advisor in the Office of the Vice President. Irby earned joint graduate degrees from William & Mary and its Virginia Institute of Marine Science in 2017.

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Molly Swetnam-Burland wins national teaching award

Professor Swetnam-Burland has been awarded a 2020 Collegiate Teaching Award from the Society for Classical Studies, the most prestigious teaching award for college teachers of Classical Studies in the US.

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W&M Society of Physics Students wins Outstanding Chapter Award

William & Mary’s chapter of the Society of Physics Students put together an impressive slate of fun and educational activities for 2019-2020, and when a pandemic hit, they went virtual, barely breaking stride.

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W&M students support local elementary students as Virtual Learning Partners

With local schools closed for much of the fall semester due to the pandemic, Olwen Herron, superintendent of Williamsburg-James City County Schools, knew that partnering with William & Mary was one way the division could better support their K-5 students during virtual learning.

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W&M alumna leads groundbreaking research platform at Moderna

Melissa J. Moore ’84 is the chief scientific officer of platform research at Massachusetts-based Moderna Inc.. She is a key part of the biotech company’s effort to produce 200 million COVID-19 vaccines for the U.S. government to distribute to Americans across the country.

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The science of political polarization and social media

To better understand how politics play out online, W&M News spoke with Jaime Settle, associate professor of government at William & Mary. She is the director of the Social Networks and Political Psychology Lab and her book, Frenemies: How Social Media Polarizes America, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2018.

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W&M alumni coordinate vaccine distribution with Operation Warp Speed

When the Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization for the first coronavirus vaccine, Operation Warp Speed’s distribution plans sprang into action — and so did two William & Mary alumni.

Descendants of enslaved Blacks explore Virginia history

Growing up, George Monroe Jr. avoided the historical site that was just a few miles from his family’s property in Virginia, James Monroe’s Highland. “To be honest with you, the old folks, the family back in the day, they frowned on it,” he said. “Who really wants to go visit a plantation, knowing your family members were enslaved there?”

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W&M awards seven sustainability projects Green Fee grants

The William & Mary Green Fee, established in 2008 by student request, has provided over $1.6 million in funding for sustainability-related projects. This fall, the W&M Committee on Sustainability (COS) awarded Green Fee proposals for seven sustainability-related projects, totaling $24,038.

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The call of alma mater: Alumni opt to live near William & Mary

The idea seems to be gaining momentum among alumni for such reasons as: the opportunity to return to a familiar setting filled with treasured memories from the dawning of adulthood; to enjoy the cultural, recreational and intellectual benefits of living close to a university; and to strengthen bonds with others in the W&M community.

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Minor in Educational Studies offers undergraduate students a new dimension to their major

When he started at W&M as a freshman with an interest in government, Aidan Gosset ’22 had no idea he’d end up creating his own major focused on education. It soon became his goal as he began taking classes within the interdisciplinary Minor in Educational Studies offered by the W&M School of Education.

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W&M alumna named White House press secretary

William & Mary alumna Jen Psaki '00 has been named the next White House press secretary by U.S. President-elect Joe Biden, who will take office in January.

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Farm to food bank: Alumna helps launch the FarmLink Project

Along with peers across the country, Anna Laws ’18 helped launch The FarmLink Project, a nonprofit that transports surplus produce from farms to food banks in need while restoring the jobs of farmers and truckers.

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Ask a health expert: How do I safely enjoy the holidays?

As we head into the holidays, W&M News spoke with Carrie Dolan, an epidemiologist, an assistant professor in health sciences and a member of William & Mary’s Public Health Advisory Board, about ways to enjoy the season safely.

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On the write track

At a time when social interactions are limited because of the COVID-19 pandemic, one-on-one sessions between students and peer consultants through the Writing Resources Center provide a valuable human connection.

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W&M students learn from Black-led community organizations as interns

As part of the sociology department’s Social Justice Policy Initiative at William & Mary, six students are doing internships this semester with three local organizations working in the areas of voter registration, legal redress, educational equity and African-American history.

Center for Conservation Biology’s Libby Mojica cradles a golden eagle
In ‘Science:’ CCB’s bird-tracking data added to Arctic Animal Movement Archive

Bryan Watts, the director of William & Mary’s Center for Conservation Biology, and Fletcher Smith, a research associate at the CCB, are part of an effort to share animal-tracking data to get a handle on what is ahead for the diverse animal populations of the changing Arctic and near-Arctic habitats.

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Once in imminent danger, rare woodpecker reaches milestone in its recovery

The Piney Grove Preserve has shifted from receiving red-cockaded woodpeckers from other populations to donating woodpeckers. The movement marks a milestone in the recovery of the species and is a testament to the valuable work of W&M’s Center for Conservation Biology.

The Impact of COVID-19 on College Students Studying Abroad

On Wednesday, October 28, the Schroeder Center for Health Policy concluded its multidisciplinary speaker series on the COVID-19 pandemic with a virtual talk from Dr. Eric Pedersen, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences from the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California and adjunct behavioral scientist at the RAND Corporation. Dr. Pedersen’s research focuses on the areas of young adult/adolescent substance use and co-occurring mental health disorders.

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Swem announces plans for new patio

William & Mary Libraries is adding a new space with people who love the outdoors in mind. The Libraries announced it will begin constructing a patio outside of Swem in December.

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W&M Photomania students see through new lens amid COVID-19

This fall’s pandemic conditions have brought new challenges as well as discoveries for students participating in the COLL 100 photography class, which Lecturer of Art Eliot Dudik teaches.

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Abby Comey's First Novel "Minnesota Nice"

Minnesota Nice is about Lucy and Cumar—two teenagers who represent radically different corners of the same small town outside Minneapolis.

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Disparities, Determinants and Data in the Era of Covid-19

On Wednesday, October 14, William & Mary’s Schroeder Center for Health Policy continued its multidisciplinary speaker series on the COVID-19 pandemic with a virtual talk by Rashida Dorsey, Ph.D., M.P.H., the founder and principal of WisdomBuilds, LLC

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W&M’s three new deans discuss leadership, innovation amid pandemic

William & Mary President Katherine A. Rowe discussed leadership during a pandemic during her latest virtual community conversation Oct. 20 as she hosted Education Dean Rob Knoeppel, Law School Dean A. Benjamin Spencer and Arts & Sciences Dean Maria Donoghue Velleca.

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Meet Dr. Chinua Akimaro Thelwell, an Interdisciplinary Scholar on Race and Place

Dr. Chinua Akimaro Thelwell has always found college classrooms to be one of the “few spaces in American society where people could have honest and informed conversations around race and racism.” When entering the higher education space as a professor, Thelwell wanted to incorporate those ideas and conversations into his teaching.

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Meet William & Mary’s new deans

This fall, as new students began classes at William & Mary for the first time and returning students adjusted to a semester unlike any other, they were joined by three new faces — William & Mary’s new deans of the Arts & Sciences, Law School and School of Education.

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Meet Dr. James Skelton

Newly hired Assistant Professor James Skelton's research subjects often involve the quirky organisms people usually don’t notice or even realize exist. Read on to find out what a Quantitative Symbiologist does.

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2020 Archaeology Month

Every October, Virginia celebrates archaeology at libraries, museums, historical societies, clubs, and at active archaeological sites.

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W&M professor adapts dance curriculum for remote learning

All three of William & Mary Professor Joan Gavaler’s dance classes this semester have a mix of in-person and remote students. This has made for challenging, but refreshing, turns in adapting her teaching.

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W&M alumna helps lead COVID-19 vaccine study

Dr. Lisa A. Jackson ’84 has conducted numerous vaccine studies, but the task before her in March was different — the timing compressed, the stakes higher — when her team launched one of the first human clinical trials for a vaccine to block infection from the virus that causes COVID-19.

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The 2020 Art History Curatorial Project

The 2020 Art History majors' student-curated the exhibition, SCALES OF CHAOS - The Dance of Art and Contemporary Science now online!

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W&M arts building construction continues

Construction on William & Mary’s new performing arts facilities is continuing this fall after being delayed early in the calendar year due to unforeseen increases in construction costs.

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Deputy Secretary Figueroa Speaks about COVID-19's Effects on Virginia

On Wednesday, September 23, the Schroeder Center for Health Policy continued its multidisciplinary speaker series on the COVID-19 pandemic with a virtual talk from Virginia’s Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Resources, Marvin Figueroa.

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Faculty in the Press: Professor Knight on the Use of Blackface in Hollywood

In her article, “A Brief Guide to 21st-Century Blackface,” published on September 25th, New York Times writer Aisha Harris explores numerous cases in which Hollywood has utilized blackface, quoting Professor Arthur Knight's book, "Disintegrating the Musical: Black Performance and American Musical Film."

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The Definitive Edition Lab

This past summer, four students from Professor Melanie Dawson’s Twentieth Century Women Authors class were given the opportunity to work with her on a Definitive Edition Lab focused on Edith Wharton’s 1925 novel The Mother’s Recompense. The authors of this piece were lucky enough to be two of those students. While Professor Dawson has been working on this edition for the Oxford University Press for four years, we only joined for five weeks. Though the pandemic created more challenges than expected, we were determined to make the most of our short time together. So, what is a Definitive Edition Lab and how does one work in one? And how does a pandemic complicate that work?

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Duke Award winner Kathleen Morgan ‘knows her stuff,’ and it shows

Morgan, W&M's associate director for faculty personnel services in Arts & Sciences, received the Charles and Virginia Duke Award, which honors exemplary service to the university by someone who is not a student or instructional faculty member.

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W&M’s undergraduate teaching lauded by U.S. News

William & Mary offers some of the most exceptional undergraduate teaching in the country and boasts a higher alumni giving rate than any other public university, according to a report released today by U.S. News and World Report.

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W&M alumnae work to transform primary care

Dena Bashri ’20 and Shivani Gupta ’20 graduated from William & Mary to become two of the six inaugural fellows working remotely for Transforming Primary Care on projects such as ensuring telehealth access to those experiencing homelessness and tracking the supply chain of COVID-19 testing kits.

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Dr. Michael Blakey to Participate in "Reclaiming the Ancestors" Panel

On September second Dr. Blakey Michael Blakey will be a panelist for "Reclaiming the Ancestors: Indigenous and Black Perspectives on Repatriation, Human Rights, and Justice," sponsored by the the Society of Black Archaeologists, in partnership with the Indigenous Archaeology Collective and the Peabody Museum.

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Justice for Native Americans, more than a century later

Legislators in Washington state observed this principle when they passed a law in 2014 enabling Native American defendants tried before 1975 to have their convictions overturned if they were exercising treaty-reserved rights to fish at “usual and accustomed places” off reservation. If those people are now deceased, family members may appeal on their behalf, allowing restorative justice even in cases that date back 100 years.

Books on John Tyler provide look at W&M alum and U.S. president

Only once in United States history have presidential and vice presidential candidates come originally from the same state, much less the same county. Such was the case in 1840, when William Henry Harrison and John Tyler, both born in small Charles City County, ran on the Whig Party ticket and won.

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W&M's Parks Research Lab releases Campus Greenspace Map

For the past seven years, Dorothy Ibes has been using William & Mary’s outdoor space as a laboratory to understand the relationship between human health and human access to nature. 

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W&M establishes Social Justice Policy Initiative

William & Mary students and faculty have formalized and expanded several programs focusing on equity issues in the local community, and added new ones, with the establishment of the Social Justice Policy Initiative in the sociology department.

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Physics postdoc wins JLab prize to further ‘backwards’ research

A postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Physics at William & Mary, Wenliang “Bill” Li is studying proton structure — just like many people who conduct their nuclear physics research at Jefferson Lab. But he’s studying a new aspect of it: the backward perspective.

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Government Faculty & Former Students Publish in CSAE

Professor Phil Roessler + former students publish "Cash Crop Revolution, Colonialism and Legacies of Spatial Inequality: Evidence from Africa" via Centre for the Study of African Economies.

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Staying vigilant against the virus

Epidemiologist Erica E. Smith ’08 helps coordinate Delaware’s response to COVID-19

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Pandemics: Hope from history

Gérard Chouin, associate professor of history at William & Mary, discusses COVID-19 in the context of past pandemics.

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NYT quotes Jaime Settle on Politics & Human Nature

NYT author quotes Professor Settle's research in article discussing the affects of polarization and individual's views on current public health recommendations concerning the corona virus.

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AidData's Important Work

Ariel BenYishay talks about the important work produced by AidData.

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AidData sheds light on Chinese foreign aid

AidData, a research lab based at William & Mary’s Global Research Institute (GRI), has been building a new dataset that sheds light on China’s vast portfolio of grant- and loan-financed projects around the globe.

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W&M releases updates on Fall 2020 Path Forward

William & Mary recently released a series of updates about its plans for the fall semester. The updates contain new details about remote learning and work, physical distancing and safety measures, fall course offerings and planned use of space on campus.

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Quarantine and the chemistry of the great indoors

As COVID-19 and stay-at-home orders upended life as we know it, W&M chemist Rachel O’Brien turned her kitchen into a makeshift laboratory. She and her lab students literally cooked up experiments in their homes by measuring aerosols released during cooking.

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Wilderness leader: Alumna relies on small teams to achieve big goals

As the first woman to become president of the National Outdoor Leadership School, Terri Watson ’85 brings nearly three decades of experience in corporate and nonprofit roles to an organization that enrolls more than 25,000 students annually in programs around the world.

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JEDI Alliance: Building a coalition to advance equity, diversity in the geosciences

Jason Chen, Gerdelman Family Term Distinguished Associate Professor at the William & Mary School of Education, has secured a new grant from the National Science Foundation that aims to combat inequity by building a national alliance of researchers working together to effect large-scale change.

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Creativity, serendipity enhance CGA's pivot to online classes

Faculty with William & Mary’s Center for Geospatial Analysis instill graduate and undergraduate students with the skills and understanding to use mapping and visualization techniques in projects ranging from art history to field biology.

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Social distancing at the outcrop: Separate cars, PPE and maybe snorkeling

William & Mary's geology department is going ahead with field work this summer, heading to their outcrops and fossil beds armed with more than their rock hammers. Faculty mentors have come up with an evolving set of creative ways to maintain social distance.

Statement on Current Events

"The role of The Lemon Project: A Journey of Reconciliation is to tell the full story, to administer the medicine, and to make it plain for all to see and learn from. Of course, some people will find the medicine difficult to take and it will make them uncomfortable, but that is the price we all must pay if real and lasting change has a hope of surviving."