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sheep graze in pasture
Discovery of ancient sheep DNA revises origin story for purported Viking colony

The Faroe Islands, an archipelago between Norway and Iceland, were once believed to have been settled by Viking explorers in the mid-9th century CE. Thanks to new analysis of ancient sheep DNA, the remote, North Atlantic islands are now shown to have been inhabited by British Isle shepherds centuries before the Vikings arrived.

Jason Chen and Francis Tanglao Aguas
W&M professors hone mixed-reality training to promote diverse hiring

Jason Chen, associate professor of education at William & Mary, is working with Professor of Theatre and Asian & Pacific Islander American Studies Francis Tanglao Aguas are using a grant from the National Science Foundation to create a professional development curriculum.

A person wearing headphones sits at a computer
W&M’s business school gains momentum with new esports & marketing course

The popularity of the esports industry has garnered much attention over how esports functions from a business perspective. This summer, professors Sailesh Patel and Karen Conner brought this discussion to the Raymond A. Mason School of Business by spearheading the Esports & Marketing course.

Map display from new online tool's dashboard
New online tool helps better serve environmental justice

The Elizabeth River Project (ERP) has teamed with researchers from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and William & Mary to build an online mapping tool that can help the non-profit and other community partners better incorporate environmental justice issues into planning and restoration efforts.

Jody Allen
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.

A group of masked students standing outside
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).

Screenshot of Zoom conversation
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.

Marcus Holmes running on campus
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.

Map of W&M campus with various locations highlighted
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.

Portrait photograph of Olivia Ding
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.

Faraz Sheikh
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.

interior of swem library
Virginia libraries negotiate new contract with Elsevier

Six members of the Virginia Research Libraries (VRL) recently completed contract negotiations with Elsevier, the largest publisher of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) scholarly journals.

Jaime Settle sitting at a computer
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.

Laptop with screen showing graphic of Virginia map on left side and three women videoconferencing on right side
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.

Pandemics: Hope from history

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

Illustration of researcher pulling back wall made from data
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.

Group photo of AidData student researchers
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.

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.

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.”

History Professor Christopher Grasso
Completing the puzzle of a 19th century anomaly

W&M History Professor Christopher Grasso's upcoming book Teacher, Preacher, Soldier, Spy: The Civil Wars of John R. Kelso uses autobiographical manuscripts thought long lost to tell the full story of a Union guerrilla fighter in Missouri.

A William & Mary student speaking with smallholder farmers in rural Kenya.
In 'Nature': The role of climate change in armed conflict

Exactly what size role does climate change play in civil unrest? A new study aims to find out. Philip Roessler, associate professor of government at William & Mary , is a co-author on the study, which was published today in the journal "Nature."

Supporting Zambia's campaign against HIV/AIDS

Zambia’s National HIV/AIDS Council needed a system that would provide information on HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment broken down by age and gender. AidData, a research lab at William & Mary, gave it to them.

The Center for African Development is bringing Africa to W&M

With the addition of Professor Iyabo Obasanjo as co-director, the increase of program offerings and larger presence within the COLL curriculum, the Center for African Development is on track to greatly expand its impact.

W&M professors analyze Jefferson Lab economic, intellectual impact

Just how much the presence of the Department of Energy’s Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility influences Hampton Roads, Virginia and the world is evident in two William & Mary professors’ recent economic impact study on the facility.

Historical marker for Bray School unveiled

William & Mary officials Friday morning revealed Virginia historical marker W-109 commemorating the spot where the Bray School — an 18th-century school for enslaved and free black children — was once located.

What the devil? Raft goes empty in annual debate

Students, faculty and staff, and members of the community flooded the Chesapeake rooms in the Sadler Center on March 14 to watch the annual Raft Debate in which three professors, deserted on an imaginary island, represented their disciplines in an battle for a single spot on an imaginary raft.

Examining fathers’ grief after miscarriage

A trio of doctoral counseling students in the William & Mary School of Education published the results of their interviews with fathers in a 2018 issue of The Family Journal.

W&M Lemon Project symposium tied to 1619 anniversary

The event, titled “Celebrating Legacies, Constructing Futures: Four Hundred Years of Black Community and Culture,” will include a meeting of the Universities Studying Slavery consortium and a keynote address by Christy Coleman, chief executive officer of the American Civil War Museum, along with multiple panel discussions.

W&M team aces EU foreign policy competition

Three William & Mary students outlast 16 other prestigious universities to win the Schuman Challenge, a foreign policy contest for undergraduates hosted by the Delegation of the European Union to the United States.

Queen Mary II: A short reign, a lasting legacy for us

Between the ages of 27 and her death at 32, Queen Mary II navigated the line between her traditional duties (for the times) as wife to King William and regent overseeing the business of England when William was away waging war.

Audrey Horning
Historical archaeology

Written history doesn’t always get it right. “What written history tends to tell us is the narrative about what was supposed to happen,” Audrey Horning says. And the gulf between what was supposed to happen and what actually happened can be particularly wide when the topic is the early days of colonial development.

Gérard Chouin (center) confers with Yoruba leader the Ooni of Ife (second from left) on an archaeological site in Nigeria.
Tracking the Black Death

After three years of work, Gérard Chouin is adamant that the medieval-era bubonic plague epidemic, the Black Death, spread to Sub-Saharan Africa and killed large numbers of people there as it did in Europe and the Mediterranean basin in the 14th century.

Martin Gallivan (in cap) discusses how to best excavate a hearth feature with (from left) Madeline Gunter, Jessica Bittner and Megan Willmes ’16 as Jak Scrivener ’ 16 takes field notes.
Understanding Kiskiack

Madeline Gunter and Jessica Bittner were using tablespoons to work around some rocks that were just beginning to peek through the troweled-flat, muddy-looking surface of their working unit. They weren't just random stones.

Evidence of how plate tectonics played out in central Virginia is written in the rocks.
Cry of the Banshee

Large swatches of North American maps might as well be labeled “Terra Incognita” or even “Here be Dragons,” as far as geologists are concerned.


Diving in the Florida Keys at the age of 15, Erin Spencer caught a glimpse of a beautiful fish.

students digging in a pit by Brown Hall

Mark Kostro stood in the back yard of Brown Hall, looking down at a hole in the ground. Even at a glance, the hole was different from the other features investigated by the students and professional archaeologists.

A tale of two cities

It was the best of times. Wahunsenacawh, also known as Chief Powhatan, had settled into a new capital town on a bay off what is now the York River.

Niall Garrahan explores an outcrop in the Foothills
Wide open spaces

The numbers didn’t seem right. “I just didn’t expect the figure to be so big,” says Niall Garrahan ’14. Garrahan was looking at calculations related to the value of land purchased by the City of Boise, Idaho.

Jaime Settle, assistant professor of government at William & Mary.

How do people act in front of the all-seeing eye of their friends’ Facebook newsfeed, especially as a big election approaches? Jaime Settle wants to find out.

Riding students take a turn around the ring at Dream Catchers at the Cori Sikich Therapeutic Riding Center in Toano
Riding to success

Jennifer Anderson began to cry when she saw her daughter at play. Claire, who had been diagnosed with autism, had been taking therapeutic horseback riding lessons. And now Claire was sitting on the floor, placing stuffed animals on top of toy horses.

The Chickahominy look back

The tribal name, Chickahominy, translates to “coarse-ground corn people,” and indeed their language contributed the word “hominy” to English.

A couple of simple questions…

The most comprehensive survey of international relations scholars ever made started at William & Mary with two elementary questions.

The Yankee Well ...

The mist turns into a legitimate drizzle as Joe Jones stands over a hole in the ground on the Historic Campus of William & Mary. He has just removed a large plywood cover sheltering a pit approximately two feet in depth.

Untying the Knot

For the faithful of every creed, the beginning of marriage is a religious and spiritual event. But what about when the marriage ends?

Who owns this meteorite?

On Jan. 18, 2010, a meteorite fell out of the sky and into the examining room of the Williamsburg Square Family Practice in Lorton, Va.

Economic déjà vu

Scott Nelson’s forthcoming book looks at strangely familiar financial landscapes. Junk bonds and unbacked, ineptly bundled mortgages trigger financial crises that prompt competing economic stimulus proposals in Washington, D.C.

Christie S. Warren
Return of the Peacemaker

Christie S. Warren has returned to the William & Mary Law School after spending a year shuttling between Darfur, Kyrgyzstan, Somalia and other geopolitical hot spots.

John Merrick
Even the money is real

The trading floors of Wall Street are the farthest things from the ivory towers of academia. But the Mason School’s commitment to “bring business into the business school” drove the establishment of the Marshall Acuff Financial Markets Center, as well as the activities that go on inside it.

Kids are better than us

James Dwyer, the Arthur B. Hanson Professor of Law at William & Mary, realized that the ideal environment may be one in which there is enthusiastic engagement with life.

A decade of history

Until the time machine is perfected, a NIAHD experience is the best we can do for those who take a serious approach to understanding life in Colonial Virginia.

‘Genius Award'

Shannon Lee Dawdy is among 2010 class of MacArthur Fellows

‘Dr. Jamestown’

A $250,000 gift from Williamsburg residents Margaret Nelson Fowler and Roy Hock will endow a new graduate fellowship honoring renowned Jamestown archaeologist William Kelso.

The Starving Time

A VIMS study of 400-year-old oyster shells from the Jamestown settlement confirms that a harsh drought plagued the early years of the colony and made the James River much saltier than today.

Helping start-ups

The James City County Business and Technology Incubator - a partnership between James City County (JCC) and the College of William & Mary - welcomed a new client this month, Breathe Healthy.

When Mickey D is your neighbor

A study conducted by the Schroeder Center for Health Policy shows a direct correlation between childhood obesity and the proximity of a child's home to fast food restaurants.

Facing Race
Facing race

Analysis of brain waves spurs some deep thinking about how we see others.

Work on display

Research informs New York African Burial Ground's visitor center.

Starnes & co-workers win national awards

A national group of plastics engineers has recognized the work of a research group at William and Mary led by William Starnes, a national leader in the chemistry of vinyls.

Changing the World in 6-page increments

The Project on International Peace and Security engages undergraduates in knotty security issues—and teaches them how to write policy briefs.

It's Better to Be There

From its base in the power center of Washington, D.C., the Global Environmental Governance Project engages the tough problems surrounding international environmental institutions and laws.

Robinson named to Tucker Adjunct Professorship

William & Mary Law School Dean Davison Douglas presented the 2009-2010 St. George Tucker Adjunct Professorship to Neal J. Robinson during a luncheon at the Alumni House on August 28, 2009. The professorship, created in 1995, is given each year to a member of the Law School's adjunct faculty for outstanding teaching.

Government professor observes Afghan election

William & Mary assistant professor of government Rani Mullen served as an international observer for Afghanistan's most recent election-a presidential contest held in late August.

Sustainability interns find big savings quickly

As interns for the Committee on Sustainability (COS), Tyler Koontz '09 and Judi Sclafani '11 spent their summer months researching William & Mary’s recycling and waste services. Thanks to that work—and a recommendation by the students-the College will now save $40,000 annually.

Christopher Gareis is honored for education research

Christopher Gareis, associate dean for teacher education & professional services at William & Mary's School of Education, received the Virginia Educational Research Association's Charles Clear Research Award recently.

A gift to gifted education

Joyce VanTassel-Baska has spent a career making sure that tomorrow's Mozarts and Einsteins get what they need today.

Dig this: WMCAR is 20

William & Mary's Center for Archaeological Research celebrates 20 years of work, opens a new lab and produces an index of projects.

'Travels with Tooy' wins another award

Richard Price's ethnographic account of a "trip down the rabbit hole" with a Samarka curer has won the Gordon K. and Sybil Lewis Memorial Award for Caribbean Scholarship.

A more vivid PLAID

Project-Level Aid, the foreign-aid tracking program based at William and Mary, prepares for launching version 2.0.

Evolution of a research initiative

SOMOS-the Student Organization for Medical Outreach and Sustainability-started as an annual trip, but has grown in size, scope and everything else.

The Mentor

Some people go into a lab, look at the work in progress, and ask "What is it good for?"

Rational Misbehavior

Ah, fixed lifetime annuities. They're the sure thing: A check every month until you die. No matter what the market is doing - bull, bear or pig in a tutu - you're going to get paid.

Plumeri starts faculty support fund

Joseph J. Plumeri, a member of William and Mary Board of Visitors, has committed $2 million to establish the Plumeri Awards for Faculty Excellence.

Roberts honored for contributions to environmental sociology

J. Timmons Roberts, professor of sociology and director of William and Mary's environmental science and policy program, was recently awarded the Buttel Distinguished Contribution Award for his contribution to the field of environmental sociology.

School of Ed. to research literacy

William and Mary's School of Education has received a grant for $152,500 from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia to help fund middle school literacy efforts.