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2021 Plumeri Award Winners

An expandable table displays the 2021 Plumeri Award winners.
Alan F. Albert ’69, M.Ed.’71, P ’03

Associate Director of Athletic DevelopmentAlan F. Albert ’69, M.Ed.’71, P ’03

Coach Albert’s impact on soccer and athletics at William & Mary extends far beyond his alma mater. While he has been at William & Mary for 55 of the last 56 years as either a student or a staff member, his involvement in the broader soccer community has been significant. A two-time alumnus, he served as head men’s soccer coach for 33 years, finishing his W&M coaching career with a string of 29 consecutive winning seasons. His soccer teams produced many outstanding individuals and championships. Al has served as associate director of athletic development for the last 17 years, helping to raise millions of dollars for athletics and for the university. Perhaps his most notable contribution is establishing the Alumni Athlete Giving Challenge, which creates competition among the alumni of each athletics program, encouraging annual gifts to W&M Athletics. In addition to his service to the university, Al helped to start youth soccer in Williamsburg and was co-founder of the organization now known as the Virginia Legacy Soccer Club. Through Virginia Legacy, he founded the Community Partnership, which now provides free after-school soccer programming for more than 250 children from underserved communities. Al has served as president of United Soccer Coaches, the largest soccer coaching organization in the country, involving more than 20,000 coaches at all levels of the game. Most recently, he has been involved as a fundraising advisor to Will Smith ’14, founder of LEAD Africa, a nonprofit that empowers youth to become future leaders through quality education and sports.

Jonathan D. Allen

Associate Professor of BiologyJonathan D. Allen
Co-director, Undergraduate Program in Marine Science

Since his arrival at William & Mary in 2009, Professor Allen has published 21 papers, 11 of which included undergraduate co-authors. His research is focused on the ecology, evolution and development of marine invertebrates, especially echinoderms (sea urchins, sea stars, etc.). This work has led to his receipt of multiple awards from the National Science Foundation, including a current NSF award on the ecology of cloning. Allen’s research takes him and his students to diverse coastal locations including Chesapeake Bay, the Gulf of Maine and the Salish Sea in Washington. Frequently, he and his students collaborate during the summer at marine laboratories and field stations, giving students incomparable access to ecological research in the field. Allen’s work also has been funded through grants from the Australian Museum to support his research into the ecology of sea stars on the Great Barrier Reef. His work in Australia has been especially impactful, as it has revealed novel modes of development in a predatory sea star species that threatens the health of this famed natural area. All of his research projects have undergraduates as a central focus and he often brings his research (and marine creatures) into the classroom, where he teaches courses on integrative animal biology, marine invertebrates and marine ecology.

Annie L. Blazer

Associate Professor of Religious StudiesAnnie L. Blazer

Since her arrival at W&M in the fall of 2012, Professor Blazer has focused on creating religious studies courses that cultivate empathy across differences, increase awareness of cultural and historical contexts, and encourage self-reflection. She was part of the inaugural cohort of the W. Taylor Reveley III Interdisciplinary Faculty Fellowship program in 2016 and the recipient of the Alumni Fellowship Award for Teaching Excellence in 2017. Blazer is an anthropologist of religion with a dual research focus on religion and sports in the U.S. and on how gentrification affects American churches. Her first book, “Playing for God: Evangelical Women and the Unintended Consequences of Sports Ministry” (NYU Press, 2015), is an ethnographic exploration of the religious experiences of Christian athletes. It was recently named one of the top 10 books on Christianity and sports in the last decade by Christianity Today. Blazer is currently writing another book, “American Culture through Religion and Sports,” which offers an overview of the multiple intersections of religion, sports and social issues in the U.S. Blazer’s second research project investigates the effects of gentrification and re-urbanization on religious communities, focusing on the East End of Richmond, Virginia. She taught a seminar on this topic to students at Richard Bland College as part of W&M’s Promise Scholars initiative. Blazer received an undergraduate degree from Michigan State University and a Ph.D. in religious studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Joshua Erlich

Professor of PhysicsJoshua Erlich
Physics Undergraduate Program Director

Professor Erlich is a theoretical physicist whose work has impacted the fields of elementary particle physics and gravity. His publications from the mid-2000s helped to create a subfield known as Holographic Quantum Chromodynamics, and Erlich has been a frequent keynote and plenary conference speaker on that subject. Erlich’s work explained how to use mathematical insights from string theory to make predictions regarding the strong interactions that hold nuclei of atoms together. Erlich’s current work aims to reconcile quantum theory with Einstein’s description of gravitation. As an educator, Erlich has dedicated himself to providing forefront research opportunities for his students, as well as creating entertaining and instructive demonstrations for his physics courses. You will sometimes find him in the classroom climbing into oversized balloons, making music with electrical sparks, or dressing as Darth Vader while modifying his voice with an inert gas. Erlich is heavily involved in outreach, organizing annual workshops for high school teachers and students, working with high school students to develop small-satellite payloads and performing physics demonstrations at schools. He has given public talks about particle physics, including at the IMAX theater of the Virginia Air & Space Science Center, and he enjoys combining physics with his favorite hobby by speaking about the physics of chocolate. Erlich and his work have been featured in Smithsonian, Nature, Physics World, (Science X), American Physical Society News, the Daily Press and NPR’s “With Good Reason.” Erlich received his S.B. (Bachelor of Science) and Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, did postdoctoral research at Los Alamos National Laboratory and the University of Washington, and joined William & Mary in 2004.

Vivian E. Hamilton

Professor of LawVivian E. Hamilton
Founding Director, W&M Center for Racial & Social Justice

Professor Hamilton is a nationally recognized expert on law and adolescents. Her research is interdisciplinary, and she studies how law and policy can better take account of adolescent development. She is currently studying perceptions of Black adolescents and the disproportionate imposition of disciplinary measures on them in both educational and juvenile justice settings. During the 2020-21 academic year, Hamilton founded the Center for Racial & Social Justice, a university-wide initiative housed at William & Mary Law School but within which faculty and students across disciplines will collaborate to conduct research, educate and engage in antiracist and social justice work. Hamilton engages students — undergraduate as well as law students — in every research project. As the Afro-Latina daughter of an undocumented immigrant (later turned citizen) and a Black descendent of slavery, Professor Hamilton experienced firsthand some of the challenges of being a first-generation low-income student. She is thus passionate about helping all students reach their academic potential and providing them guidance and support along the way. At the law school, Hamilton serves as the faculty advisor to the Black Law Students Association, the Equality Alliance (the affinity group for LGBTQ+ law students and allies) and the student-run Journal of Race, Gender, and Social Justice. Hamilton holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Yale College and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Marcus C. Holmes

Associate Professor of GovernmentMarcus C. Holmes
Academic Director, William & Mary-St Andrews Joint Degree Programme

Professor Holmes is a committed teacher and researcher, continuously seeking ways to bring research into the classroom. He arrived at William & Mary in 2014 and immediately co-founded the Social Science Research Methods Center (SSRMC) with Professor Jaime Settle. The SSRMC seeks to connect undergraduate students with similarly minded students and faculty to produce cutting-edge research. His own lab, Political Psychology and International Relations (PPIR), is modeled on the natural sciences lab model of students and faculty working closely together on both collaborative and independent research projects. Holmes’ research in international relations centers on high-level diplomacy and asks why some leaders are able to resolve their differences and build trust, while others remain in relationships of enmity. In 2020, he became academic director of the William & Mary-St Andrews Joint Degree Programme, a joint endeavor with the University of St Andrews that allows students to graduate with a degree from both universities. Holmes is committed to international education, seeing the profound benefits of experiencing two different cultures and learning environments, and he looks forward to ensuring that the program continues its success and growth. In 2018, he published his monograph, “Face-to-Face Diplomacy,” with Cambridge University Press and he is currently working on a second book investigating the concept of social bonds in diplomacy. Holmes is unafraid to cross disciplinary boundaries, frequently combining psychology, sociology and neuroscience with political science. Holmes received an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia, a master’s degree from Georgetown University and a Ph.D. in political science from The Ohio State University.

Meredith W. Kier

Associate Professor of Curriculum & InstructionMeredith W. Kier
Director of Secondary Science Education

Professor Kier’s research focuses on preparing and supporting teachers in culturally responsive STEM teaching to foster access and opportunities for minoritized middle and high school learners. This work prompts her to cross boundaries between schools at William & Mary, universities across Virginia, K-12 schools and local communities. Professor Kier’s grant funding from the National Science Foundation has supported the cultivation of partnerships between urban teachers and Black and Brown STEM undergraduates to teach engineering design through a community-focused lens with middle and high school learners. She also serves as a co-principal investigator of the William & Mary Noyce grant, which provides scholarships to science and math teacher candidates and prepares them to use inclusive and equity-centered approaches to teach students in high-need school contexts. Her interdisciplinary research has generated 25 published peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters and conference proceedings published in some of the top journals in the field, including Teaching and Teacher Education, Urban Education, Research in Science Education, Science Education and the Journal of Technology and Teacher Education. Kier has been recognized in the School of Education through the Janet Brown Straffer Award for equitable teaching and by the university through the W. Taylor Reveley III Award, the Alumni Association Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Gerdelman Family Term Distinguished Associate Professor Award. She received undergraduate and master’s degrees from James Madison University and a Ph.D. in science education from North Carolina State University.

Neil L. Norman

Associate Professor of AnthropologyNeil L. Norman

Professor Norman works at the intersection of the humanities and social sciences, and he specializes in the archaeological investigation of Africa and the African diaspora. For the past 20 years, he has researched the emergences of African cities, the ways those cities were drawn into the Atlantic World, and the profound loss resulting from the trans-Atlantic trade in enslaved people. His collaborative projects partner with local stakeholder communities to investigate dislocations associated with 18th-century warfare in Benin, West Africa, and the biographies of the survivors of the last slaver to spirit people from West Africa to Mobile, Alabama, in 1860. He also has investigated early hominid sites and the ways that early human ancestors negotiated climatic shifts in East Africa. On these projects, he has supervised and mentored 22 students from the University of Abomey-Calavi in Benin and the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. For the past 10 years at William & Mary, Professor Norman has supervised numerous undergraduate and graduate students working on complementary research projects in the Caribbean, North America, Benin, Tanzania and Djibouti. While at William & Mary, Norman has published 20 articles or book chapters and an edited volume. His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Fulbright Foundation, the Fulbright-Hays Foundation, the U.S. State Department, the Center for Historical Research at Ohio State University, the Explorers Club and the American Council of Learned Societies. Norman received a B.A. from Flagler College, an M.A. from the University of South Carolina and a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Virginia.

Silvia R. Tandeciarz

Chancellor Professor of Modern Languages and LiteraturesSilvia R. Tandeciarz

A public-facing humanities scholar in the field of Latin American Cultural Studies, Professor Tandeciarz has published widely on the intersections between memorial and human rights initiatives in the Americas. Her most recent book, “Citizens of Memory: Affect, Representation, and Human Rights in Postdictatorship Argentina” (2017), studies how remembrance, redress and social justice inform recovery from collective trauma. Her work as a translator amplifies her impact on the interdisciplinary field of memory studies. The co-translations of Chilean philosopher Nelly Richard brought two of the most important 20th-century treatises on authoritarianism, gender and representation to English-speaking audiences; and her translations of award-winning Puerto Rican poet Juana Goergen expand our shared understandings of the American experience. Her impact on student learning has been equally significant. In addition to teaching her research, Tandeciarz has partnered with scholars, activists and practitioners here and abroad that offer students signature opportunities highlighting the privileges and responsibilities of global citizenship. Chief among these are a semester-long study abroad program in La Plata, Argentina, focused on human rights; a border studies program focused on issues related to migration; and a National Security Archive Research Internship that trains students to decipher recently declassified government documents that enhance and transform our collective memory of repression in the Southern Cone. Professor Tandeciarz holds a B.A. and M.A. in English from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in literature from Duke University. She has worked at William & Mary since 1999.

Kristin L. Wustholz

Mansfield Associate Professor of ChemistryKristin L. Wustholz

Professor Wustholz’s research program focuses on discovering hidden phenomena in complex materials to solve problems in art conservation, medicine and technology. Her research has uncovered fugitive pigments in works of art, unraveled how energy is produced in solar cells and, most recently, discovered a new paradigm for visualizing biological structures at unprecedented resolution. Wustholz’s scholarship is internationally recognized, generating an unusually high number of invitations to speak at major venues, department seminars and prestigious awards from the scientific community. She is also well known for her commitment to teaching excellence through her service as a Center for the Liberal Arts Fellow, developing innovative courses at the intersection of art and science, and engaging undergraduate and graduate students in long-term research experiences. Her work with William & Mary students has been recognized by the Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, the Alumni Fellowship Award and the 2020 Jennifer and Devin Murphy Faculty Award. Wustholz has received continuous funding since her arrival at William & Mary in 2010 from various agencies including the National Science Foundation, Research Corporation for Science Advancement, the American Chemical Society and the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation. She serves as an Editorial Board member of Communications Chemistry, a high-impact journal from Nature Research publishing. Wustholz received a B.A.S. in chemistry and philosophy from Muhlenberg College, a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Washington, and she completed postdoctoral research at Northwestern University.