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2024 Plumeri Award Winners

one column table with plumeri winners' bios & pictures
Patton E. Burchett

Associate Professor of Religious Studies

Professor Burchett is a scholar of the religions of South Asia.  He received his Ph.D. from Columbiaplumeri-burchett.jpg University in 2012 and his research and teaching focus especially on Hindu religious history and the role of South Asian religious traditions in nationalist politics, contemporary contemplative and wellness practices, and responses to climate change and environmental crisis.  He is particularly interested in how non-Western, non-materialist worldviews can expand our understanding of consciousness and the natural world and help us imagine lifeways alternative to those of western modernity.  His publications include 11 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, as well as his first monograph, "a Genealogy of Devotion: Bhakti, Tantra, Yoga, and Sufism in North India" (2019).  His current, second book project is tentatively titled "The Authentic Yogi: Yoga and Tantra between Science, Relion, and Magic".  Burchett is a founding member of W&M's Mind, Brain & Wellness Seminar and is part of a grant-funded, interdisciplinary W&M team of psychologists, neuroscientists and humanities scholars studying how different individual motivations and socio-cultural perspectives affect the physiological and subjective effects of contemplation and breathing practices.  Burchett is also a member of W&M's Nepal Water Initiative and Interdisciplinary research effort involving conservation, geospatial and marine scientists studying Nepal's water resources.  His grant-funded research examines cultural and religious dimensions of Nepali peoples' interaction with their natural environment, especially rivers, in the context of climate change and other anthropogenic threats, aimed at empowering Nepali conservation leaders in community-based conservation efforts to protect aquatic biodiversity and promote sustainable livelihoods in Nepal.

Brian G. Castleberry

Associate Professor of Creative Writing

Since its inception in 2010, Professor Castleberry has shaped the creative writing program at William & Mary - first as a non-tenure faculty member who spearheaded the creation of a minor program and laterplumeri-castleberry.jpg as the tenured director of that program - and he has led the cause of a new creative writing major.  His stories and essays have been published in leading journals such as the Southern Review, Narrative, Michigan Quarterly Review, LitHub and the Los Angeles Review of Books.  His debut novel, "Nine Shiny Objects", was selected by the New York Times as an Editor's Choice, was long listed for the PEN/Faulkner Award, and won the Library of Virginia Book Award in Fiction.  His forthcoming novel, "The Californians", will be published by Mariner Books in Spring 2025.  Castleberry regularly teaches an introductory creative writing workshop, which invites students from all backgrounds and majors to explore their potential in writing poetry, fiction and nonfiction.  Every semester, he offers courses at the intermediate or advanced level in fiction, courses focused on writing for film or television, or fiction-writing topics courses such as his popular novel workshop and the climate fiction workshop.  He has also offered courses focused on Latin-American literature, contemporary US literature, film studies and the history of television.  He has directed the Patrick Hayes Writers Series since 2014, diversifying the list of authors each year so that a greater number of students feel included in the notion of authorship and see themselves represented and celebrated on campus.  His major research interests are Cold War American culture, early Hollywood cinema and the history of western settlement in the 19th century.  He has previously been awarded the Arts & Sciences Faculty Excellence Award and the W&M Alumni Teaching Excellence Award.

Audrey J. Horning '89

Professor of Anthropology

Currently chair of the Anthropology Department, Professor Horning's research centers on comparative colonialism and the relationship between heritage and contemporary identity, with a focus upon theplumeri-horning.jpg early modern Atlantic.  She has directed archaeological projects in Ireland, Scotland, the United Kingdom and the United States integrating rigorous scientific methods with community engagement.  She has embedded archaeology with conflict transformation through inclusive practice in Northern Ireland and engaged in work with historically marginalized communities in Virginia, exploring the potential of the past to contribute to social justice in the present.  Professor Horning also makes significant contributions to the graduate program in historical anthropology, servicing as primary advisor for 11 graduate students.  In her teaching, she emphasizes ethics and the role of the researcher as a citizen, and she actively integrates students in field and laboratory work.  She has published nine books, including "Ireland in the Virginia Sea: Colonialism in the British Atlantic" (Omohundro Institute, 2013), and "A History of Objects in the Age of Enlightenment" (Bloomsbury, 2021).  She has written over 100 journal articles, book chapters and technical reports and is editor for Archaeological Dialogues, associate editor for Current Anthropology and associate editor for Historical Archaeology.  In 2023, she was elected president of the Society for Historical Archaeology, the largest professional body for the archaeological study of the modern world (A.D. 1400-present).  Prior to joining the W&M faculty in 2016, Professor Horning held senior academic appointments at Queen's University Belfast and the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom.  She holds doctorate and master's degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and a bachelors' degree in history and anthropology from W&M.  

Romuald "Rom" N. Lipcius

Marine Science

Professor Lipcius joined the faculty of William & Mary's Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) in 1986 after postdoctoral fellowships at the Smithsonian Institution and U.S. National Research Council,plumeri-lipcius.jpg and after receiving his doctoral degree from Florida State University.  He is a W&M Biomathematics Program faculty member, and in his cross-campus work he collaborates with Professors Shaw and Shi of the Mathematics Department and Professor Lockwood of the Geology Department.  His expertise includes ecology, fishery management, restoration and statistical/mathematical medling of blue crab, oyster, spiny lobster and queen conch, with emphasis on globally relevant solutions for major threats to marine ecosystems.  Lipcius teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses at W&M and VIMS.  He has supervised 19 doctoral and 18 master's graduate students, served on numerous student committees and has mentored many students from the high school level and up.  With 122 peer-reviewed scientific publications - 61 of which have a student listed as the first author - his publication impact is second highest at VIMS.  He has acquired 82 grants and contracts totaling $23 million.  Lipcius is formally Virginia's expert on blue crab fishery management, having designed the blue crab spawning sanctuary in the Chesapeake Bay and currently serving on the Chesapeake Bay Stock Assessment Committee and Chesapeake Bay Interagency Oyster Team.  He was previously Georgia's expert on oyster ecology in a landmark Supreme Court case on interstate fishery management.  He is also technical advisor to the International Council for Exploration of the Sea.  Professor Lipcius has received various awards in recognition of his achievements: the Aldo Leoppold Leadership Fellowship, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences Kavli Fellowship, the VIMS Outstanding Faculty Award in Research, the VIMS Outstanding Faculty Award in Advisory Service and the Coastal America Award from President Barack Obama.

Elizabeth J. Mead

Professor of Art

Professor Mead teaches sculpture in the Department of Art & Art History.  In the studio classroom, she focuses on teaching her students to see and think carefully.  Emphasis is placed on developing in eachplumeri-mead.jpg student the tools to critically analyze visual phenomenon and to contextualize it.  Her innovative teaching has been recognized with the W&M Alumni Association Award for Exceptional Teaching, and she has been named both a Coco Faculty Fellow and as a W. Taylor Reveley III Interdisciplinary Fellow.  Professor Mead's sculptures, photographs and drawings have been exhibited across the United States, as well as in Australia, England, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Canary Islands, Portugal and Taiwan.  She has been a visiting artist and artist in residence at numerous distinguished institutions including The Slade School of Fine Art, University College, London, England (2001, 2002, 2003, 2013).  Youkobo Art Space, Tokyo, Japan (2002-03), Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota (2002, 2004), Pacific Northwest College of Art (1994, 2000), Southern Methodist University (1993, 1997) and Burren College of Art, Co. Clare, Ireland (1995).  A recipient of the Japan/USNEA Creative Artist Fellowship (2002-03), Mead spent six months living and working in Japan.  She has been awarded work-stay residencies at Sculpture Space in Utica, New York (1992), Jentel Artist Residency, Banner, Wyoming (2012), as well as the Helen Riaboff Whitelely Center Residency, Friday Harbor, Washington (2011) and at the Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris France (2015, 2018, 2025).

Irina B. Novikova

Professor of Physics

Professor Novikova received her Ph.D. in 2003 from Texas A&M University.  After spending three years as a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, she joined the physicsplumeri-novikova.jpg faculty at William & Mary.  For almost two decades Novikova has been working on the next generation of quantum technologies that use laser manipulation of atomic quantum states.  Her work includes a wide range of applications from quantum memory optimization and designing more sensitive atomic clocks and magnetometers to demonstrating new sources of non-classical optical fields and quantum-enhanced spectroscopy and imaging.  She has published more than 90 papers in peer-reviewed journals.  Professor Novikova is a devoted educator and mentor for both Ph.D. and undergraduate students.  She chairs the undergraduate studies committee in the Physics Department and works tirelessly to ensure that physics graduates are best equipped for careers of their choice, both through coursework and through research opportunities.  She played a role in developing a new engineering, physics and applied design track for physics majors and is currently working on ways to better prepare students for careers in the growing quantum science industry.  She is also a regular participant and organizer of various outreach events.  She is a fellow of American Physical Society and Optica (formerly the Optical Society of America) and is a deputy editor in the Optica Journal.  She has held a number of professional leadership positions, and in 2023, she was elected a vice-chair for the division of laser science in the American Physical Society.

Janise S. Parker

Associate Professor of School Psychology

Professor Parker received her doctorate from the University of Florida in School Psychology, and she is a licensed psychologist and nationally certified school psychologist.  Her commitment to community-plumeri-parker.jpgengaged work reflects an intentional integration of service, activist-scholarship and teaching.  In the domain of service Parker has partnered with several community organizations to promote mental health and social-emotional wellness among marginalized youth.  Identifying as a scholar-activist, she consistently aims to produce research that amplifies the voice of marginalized communities and identifies ways to strengthen mental health support provided for marginalized youth.  To date, Parker has published over 40 journal articles, book chapters, and other scholarly work that addresses her approach to scholarship.  Of note, Professor Parker has charted a new territory in the field of school mental health by leading research focused on the intersection of mental health, religion and spirituality among school-age youth.  Consequently, she has been identified as a scholarly expert on this topic.  She is currently editing the first book that will focus on mental health support for religiously and spiritually diverse youth in K-12 schools.  Furthermore, she is a research fellow with the William & Mary Bray School Lab where she has designed a healing-centered micro-course that focuses on community restoration in light of historical and contemporary acts of racial and religious/spiritual division.  She has also developed youth-centered mental health programs in partnership with faith-based institutions.  Overall, Parker takes a healing approach in all she does, and her contributions have led her to receive esteemed awards at the local, state and national levels.  Moreover, she recently founded and directs the Community and Action Research Engagement (CARE) Lab in the School of Education which was developed to address mental health disparities alongside members in the surrounding community through teaching, service and applied research.

Michael A. Powell '04

Director of Gymnastics

Coach Powell strives to provide an experiential education through varsity athletics.  Using the medium of gymnastics, he seeks to enhance the education and growth of student-athletes through excellenceplumeri-powell.jpg in athletics, academics, and community engagement.  Powell has continued the program's legacy of fostering connections throughout campus and the local community.  He has guided student-athletes to the myriad of leadership and educational opportunities available at W&M and, as a result, seven gymnasts have received the Cypher Award in the last eight years for their efforts to make a difference at the university.  Under Powell's leadership, the gymnastics program continues to collaborate with local community partners, maintains a strong and sustaining community of alumni and makes unique contributions to campus life.  Coach Powell serves on the leadership teams for both national championships in men's gymnastics, the NCAA Men's Gymnastics Committee and the working group for the USA Gymnastics Men's Collegiate Championships.  He has also played an active role in a coalition of national organizations seeking to expand NCAA Gymnastics opportunities.  In eight competitive season, Coach Powell has been recognized as the ECAC Conference Coach of the Year three times, and the College Gymnastics Association of East Region Coach of the Year once.  His team won the 2018 Conference Championship and qualified to the 2021 NCAA Championships.  Additionally, his men's teams produced 56 NCAA Championship individual qualifiers, 67 all-conference honors and 51 USA Gymnastics Collegiate All-America accolades.   Among these distinctions are two NCAA All-Americans, three USAG Collegiate National Champions, and four finalists for the Nissen-Emery Award, the most prestigious award in the sport.  Academically, Powell's teams won the National Academic Championship for the highest combined GPA in the sport in 2018 and were three-times runners up.  Individually, his gymnasts have garnered 83 All-American Scholar Athlete Awards and five have been recognized as the top graduating student in their major at William & Mary, spanning four departments at the university.

Joshua R. Puzey

Associate Professor of Biology, Graduate Director of Biology

Professor Puzey currently serves as the Broderick Family/Goldman Sachs Associate Professor of Biology and is a distinguished scholar in evolutionary biology and genomics.  He earned his Ph.D.plumeri-puzey.jpg from Harvard University and completed a National Science Foundation (NSF)-sponsored research fellowship at Duke University.  Supported by prestigious institutions such as NSF and National Geographic, his research delves into various fields, including plant-microbe interactions and genomics in conservation.  His research employees cutting-edge techniques such as machine learning and big-data analysis to unravel complex genomic data, positioning his research at the intersection of genomics and data science.  His expertise in genomics and plant genetics has led to significant contributions in understanding conservation challenges, notably the decline of monarch butterflies and its correlation with milkweed population trends.  Currently, Puzey is conducting groundbreaking research on the intricate relationship between soil microbes and plant growth.  In the classroom, Professor Puzey designs courses that empower students to address contemporary biological challenges, particularly focusing on bioinformatics, conservation genetics and the impacts of the Anthropocene era.  As director of graduate students in biology, he mentors the next generation of scholars, advocating for inclusivity and diversity within academia.  Moreover, Puzey is actively engaged in enhancing internship opportunities for low-income, federal-work-study-eligible students, aligning with his commitment to provide equitable access to education and research opportunities.  His multifaceted contributions underscore his dedication to advancing knowledge and fostering inclusivity in biology.

Daniel M. Runfola

Associate Professor of Applied Science, Graduate Director of Applied Science and Data Science

Professor Runfola is an associate professor and graduate director of Applied Science and Data Science at William & Mary.  His core expertise is in the applied use of machine learning to analyze satelliteplumeri-runfola.jpg data to better understand the relationships between societies and the environment at a global scale.  In addition to his Ph.D. and postdoctoral group, Dan also runs one of the largest undergraduate research groups on campus in the W&M geoLab.  With over 40 peer-reviewed academic publications in high profile outlets including Nature, Dan has also published numerous reports with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, UN FAO, Global Environment Facility and has been a contributor to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  He has received over $5 million in research funding from a wide range of organizations, including the National Science Foundation, Department of Homeland Security, Gates Foundation, Cloudera Foundation, Global Environment Facility and the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative.