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2022 Plumeri Award Winners

Lizabeth Allison

Chancellor Professor of Biology and Department ChairLizabeth Allison

Professor Allison received her B.S. and M.S. from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks and her Ph.D. in zoology (molecular and cellular biology) from the University of Washington. Before coming to William & Mary, she spent eight years as a faculty member at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Professor Allison is an internationally recognized leader and scholar in the field of traffic control in cells. Her major research focus is on thyroid hormone receptor intracellular trafficking and the role of receptor mislocalization in cancer and endocrine-related disorders. At W&M, she has mentored 11 graduate students and more than 150 undergraduate research students, including 42 honors students, many of them coauthoring peer-reviewed papers with her on National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation-funded research. Professor Allison has garnered over $4.1 million in grant funding as sole principal investigator. She teaches upper-division molecular biology courses, and is a co-author of Biological Science, in its seventh edition; and sole author of Fundamental Molecular Biology, in its third edition. She is the recipient of numerous awards: a State Council of Higher Education in Virginia (SCHEV) Outstanding Faculty Award in 2009, one of three inaugural Arts & Sciences Faculty Awards for Teaching Excellence in 2011, a Plumeri Award for Faculty Excellence in 2012, the 2020 Thomas A. Graves Jr. Award for Sustained Excellence in Teaching, and the Ruth Kirschstein Diversity in Science Award, which is a national honor from the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology given to an “outstanding scientist who has shown a strong commitment to the encouragement of underrepresented minorities to enter the scientific enterprise and/or to the effective mentorship of those within it.” She currently serves on the A&S Committee for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Michael Blakey

National Endowment for the Humanities Professor of Anthropology, Africana Studies and American Studies; Director, Institute for Historical BiologyMichael Blakey

Michael Blakey is National Endowment for the Humanities Professor of Anthropology, Africana Studies and American Studies at William & Mary, where he is founding director of the Institute for Historical Biology. He is a leading anthropologist whose training and productive research career (80 publications) integrates human biology, history and culture, including critical work in the history and philosophy of science. 

As scientific director of the New York African Burial Ground Project, Blakey organized the sophisticated interdisciplinary study of more than 400 human skeletal remains in the archaeological and historical context of 18th-century slavery with a budget of nearly $6 million. The African Burial Ground became a U.S. National Monument in 2006. He contributed to the democratization of knowledge by innovating publicly engaged research with “descendant communities,” a term he coined. These communities collaborated on the design of archaeological research and gave informed consent, elevating the ethical standards of bioarchaeology. The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2018 rubric for engaging with descendant communities in interpreting slavery at historic sites and museums is partly rooted in his “clientage model.”

Professor Blakey has frequently produced public programs and managed media inquiries around these topics as well as discussions of race and racism. He was a key advisor of the popular “Race: Are We So Different?” exhibition and website of the American Anthropological Association. He produced the statewide town halls of the Remembering Project (2010-2014) sponsored by the Virginia General Assembly, the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and William & Mary. He currently advises many African American descendant communities, protecting their cemeteries, ancestral remains or histories around the Southern and Eastern United States. These are struggles for equal human dignity against the disregard and objectification of the living and their dead. Blakey is currently collaborating on a conference in Japan on similar issues involving the Ainu. In 2022, Blakey was invited by the American Anthropological Association to convene and co-chair a task force to consolidate new ethical standards for archaeological and museum treatments of all human remains across the United States.

Blakey taught at Spelman College, Howard, La Sapienza, Columbia, and Brown universities, from which his students have become prominent members of the profession. He continues to work with former students long after they achieve their doctorates. He was president of the Association of Black Anthropologists, represented the USA in the World Archaeological Congress in Cape Town (1999) and gave its keynote on “Black Lives Matter and Archaeology” in 2021. Blakey was a research associate in physical anthropology at the National Museum of Natural History (1985-1994), and continues as a member of the Scholarly Advisory Committee of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution.

He has received many awards, including the President’s Award of the American Anthropological Association, the Legacy Award of the Association of Black Anthropologists, an Honorary Doctor of Science from The City University of New York and the Centennial Medal of the Graduate School of University of Massachusetts-Amherst (2008), where he received his Ph.D. in 1985. He has recently given distinguished annual archaeology lectures at Uppsala University, Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar, The New York Academy of Sciences and others.

David Feldman

Professor of EconomicsDavid Feldman

Professor Feldman’s research broadly examines theoretical and policy questions in the economics of higher education. His work has appeared in economics journals and interdisciplinary higher education journals, including the Journal of Higher Education, Research in Higher Education, the Journal of Human Capital and Change. This work explores college attendance and graduation rates, the determinants of state higher education appropriations and competing theories about the causes of rising college cost.

Together with Robert B. Archibald, he is the author of two Oxford University Press books. The first, titled “Why Does College Cost So Much?” (2011), explored the drivers of college cost and price in the postwar era. The second work, titled “The Road Ahead for America’s Colleges and Universities” (2017), examined the challenges facing the American higher education system over the next 30 years. He is currently working on a manuscript about policy options for improving higher education student access and success. Feldman also writes widely for major education associations, national news magazines, policy journals and newspapers. He is a frequent media commentator on higher education issues.

Feldman received the Stephen J. Trachtenberg Award for thought leadership in higher education from the American Association of University Administrators in 2019. In 2012, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Officers honored him with the Robert P. Huff Golden Quill Award for his work on college cost and financial aid. The recipient of a William & Mary University Professorship for Teaching Excellence in 2006, he chaired the economics department from 2011 to 2016. Feldman received his undergraduate degree in economics and political science from Kenyon College, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in economics from Duke University.

Adwait Jog

Adina Allen Associate Professor of Computer ScienceAdwait Jog

Professor Jog’s research focuses on developing innovative techniques for making next-generation computers more efficient, reliable and secure. Specifically, he specializes in the architecture of graphics processing units (GPUs), which are becoming an inevitable part of every computer. GPUs are specialized hardware developed to speed up applications in many areas such as graphics, artificial intelligence and high-performance computing (HPC). To accomplish the research mission, Jog leads an active group consisting of William & Mary students at all levels: doctoral, master’s and undergraduate. In collaboration with his advisees, Jog has consistently published at peer-reviewed and highly selective international venues. In total, he has co-authored 27 very well-cited publications since his arrival at William & Mary in 2015. Of these, 22 are co-authored by William & Mary students. He is especially proud of four Ph.D. graduates from his research group who have secured tenure-track positions at other universities or are well placed in the computer industry. His group has been supported by several grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF), including the prestigious NSF Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) award and NSF Computer and Information Science and Engineering Research Initiation Initiative (CRII) award. In 2021, he was named as a recipient of the Google Research Scholar Award, which was given to only six researchers worldwide working in the general area of computer systems. Overall, Jog has been a principal investigator on three NSF grants, one Argonne National Laboratory subcontract, and a Google award totaling more than $1.1 million in external funding. Jog received an undergraduate degree from the National Institute of Technology (NIT), Rourkela, India, and a Ph.D. in computer science and engineering from Pennsylvania State University.

Matthias Leu

Associate Professor of BiologyMatthias Leu

Professor Leu studies the effects of human stressors on biodiversity at three spatial scales. At the broadest scale of North America, in collaboration with students and faculty from Millersville University, he investigates the temporal variation in threat prevalence for species listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), identifies key factors for species that were successfully delisted from the ESA, and quantifies the mechanisms through which invasive species affect endangered and threatened species. At the regional scale, Leu and his students investigate how land use affects the distribution of birds, amphibians and butterflies. In collaboration with William & Mary faculty, they also study how urbanization and human land use correlate with the prevalence and distribution of tick-borne diseases. At the local scale, he investigates frog and butterfly movement patterns and, in collaboration with researchers at William & Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science, the ecosystem function of human-made living shorelines, which are increasingly implemented to curb land loss. Since arriving at William & Mary 2019, Leu and his colleagues have published 31 papers, 17 of which included student authors. He provided research opportunities for more than 65 undergraduate students and mentored 17 honors students and 12 M.S. graduate students. His students have won five William & Mary awards and six best presentation awards at scientific meetings. He was awarded William & Mary’s inaugural Graduate Faculty Mentoring Award and, with his colleagues, the President W. T. Reveley Interdisciplinary Fellowship. He and his colleagues have received research funding from various state and federal agencies, including the National Science Foundation.

Michael Luchs

Shook Term Distinguished Professor of BusinessMichael Luchs
Director, Jim and Bobbie Ukrop Innovation & Design Studio

Professor Luchs’ research and teaching address both the production and consumption sides of our economy, with a focus on developing the strategies, methods and practices that help individuals become better consumers, and help organizations develop products and services that make people’s lives better. His recent research has been focused on the application of wisdom theory to consumer psychology, with a Templeton-funded grant to study the habits of “wise consumers.” His research has been published in a wide variety of top academic journals, including the Journal of Marketing, the Journal of Consumer Psychology and the Journal of Product Innovation Management. His research has received more than 3,900 citations and he has won best-paper awards from the Journal of Product Innovation Management, the American Marketing Association’s Marketing & Public Policy Conference, and the Association for Consumer Research’s conference on Transformative Consumer Research. Professor Luchs has also won multiple teaching awards including the Page Prize for Sustainability Issues in Business Curricula and the student-nominated Faculty Excellence Award. He currently teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses including Customer Insights for Innovation, Sustainability Inspired Innovation & Design and New Product Development. Prior to earning his Ph.D., Professor Luchs worked for over a decade as a consultant and as a manager in industry. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in 2008. Professor Luchs also earned an M.S. in marketing from the University of Texas at Austin, an MBA from the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, as well as a B.S. in engineering and a B.A. in psychology from Tufts University.

Deborah Morse

Sara E. Nance Professor of EnglishDeborah Morse

Professor Morse’s areas of specialization include Victorian studies, the English novel, the animal in Victorian literature, and feminist studies. In 2017, she was recognized as the inaugural Sara E. Nance Professor of English. Previously, she was the Vera W. Barkley Term Professor of English from 2014-2016 and was an inaugural fellow in the Center for Liberal Arts from 2014-2016. She also received a 2013 Plumeri Award, and her scholarship is directed more than ever upon issues of diversity and social justice. In particular, she has been writing and lecturing on the influence of the slave trade and enslavement in the British West Indies on the Brontë sisters, brilliant Victorian writers from an abolitionist family. Her most recent publication explores the influence of formerly enslaved abolitionist Frederick Douglass upon Emily Brontë’s novel “Wuthering Heights.” Professor Morse’s current book project is entitled “Brontë Violations: Social Justice and Novel Form.” Public engagement with the humanities has become increasingly important to her, and she has been an invited lecturer in venues as varied as the University of Aberdeen’s Centre for the Novel, W&M’s Tack Faculty Lecture and Audible’s “The Great Courses.” In 2018, she joined the international Cambridge University Press editors of “The Complete Works of the Brontës,” a 12-year project and the first edition in more than 40 years. Professor Morse earned a master of arts and Ph.D. in English literature from Northwestern University and a B.A. in English literature from Stanford University.

Amy Quark

Associate Professor of SociologyAmy Quark

Professor Quark’s research focuses on the capacity of civil society to enact social change. Her earlier scholarship explored the conditions under which civil society actors in rising powers such as China and India can recast the rules governing transnational economies in their favor. More recently, she has forged a set of community-engaged research collaborations with grassroots organizations that advocate for change in the greater Williamsburg area. For example, Quark and colleagues have partnered with The Village Initiative to launch The Local Black Histories Project. This project has allowed faculty and students to learn alongside The Village Initiative’s Community Advisory Board, consisting of 16 leaders in the Black community. Together, this faculty-student-community collaboration has resulted in an open educational resource — The Local Black Histories Project website — which houses an online archive of oral histories and curated exhibits that illuminate the experiences of the Black community in the greater Williamsburg area. To amplify community-engaged and policy-oriented scholarship, Professor Quark led the launch of a new center for faculty-student research, the Social Justice Policy Initiative (SJPI), housed in the Sociology Department, which now houses eight research projects and has engaged more than 60 undergraduates as Research and Community Fellows over the past two years. As part of the SJPI, Professor Quark also launched a Community Fellows program to match outstanding W&M students who have a commitment to public service with internships in nonprofit organizations led by communities of color. In 2016, Professor Quark received the Arts & Sciences Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence and in 2018, she was named a W. Taylor Reveley Faculty Fellow for innovative, community-engaged collaborations with faculty in Sociology, Theatre and Africana Studies. She received her undergraduate degree at the University of Regina and her master’s degree and Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Juliette Smith

Associate Professor of Marine SciencesJuliette Smith

Juliette Smith is an associate professor in the Department of Aquatic Health Sciences at William & Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science. Her research group investigates the ecology, chemistry and ecotoxicology of toxins produced by harmful algal blooms (HABs) in coastal environments.

Due to the evolution of her career, she is comfortable crossing disciplines, borrowing from concepts rooted in oceanography/limnology, biochemistry, analytical chemistry, toxicology and ecology. Since she joined the faculty at VIMS in 2014, her research has largely focused on the Chesapeake Bay and recent research objectives have moved her into local shellfish hatcheries, where she works with colleagues to evaluate HAB toxins and other stressors as possible impediments to aquaculture production. A current goal is to build a network of cutting-edge technology, the Imaging FlowCybotot, across the bay and seaside Eastern Shore to provide real-time HAB data as an early warning system for oyster harvesters, hatcheries and health officials.

Dr. Virginia Wells

Chief Medical Officer, Director of Medical Services and Team Physician, William & Mary AthleticsDr. Virginia Wells

Dr. Wells serves as the team physician and director of Sports Medicine, and she provides primary care for the student-athletes at William & Mary. She supervises the daily operations of the sports medicine team and helps to facilitate the care and treatment of the athletes who might be ill or injured. She and her team strive to make care easily accessible to students who are navigating class schedules, weight room training, practice and competition schedules. She has expanded the services available in the training room to include laboratory testing, electrocardiograms and pharmaceuticals. The availability of these services is invaluable to our student-athletes, whose schedules leave little opportunity to access treatment during normal business hours. Dr. Wells serves as a member of the campus Public Health Advisory Team and her expertise in infectious diseases provides an additional resource to the well-represented faculty leaders working to help the university navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prior to joining the faculty at William & Mary, Dr. Wells served as hospital epidemiologist at Virginia Commonwealth University, followed by private practice in Williamsburg. As a former student-athlete, she has found her dream job, and it is with great excitement and gratitude that she enjoys the privilege of caring for her students and watching them compete and develop.