Longwood Magazine | Spring 2024

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Making a mark with 2 NCAA Tournament trips in 3 years

push the limits of knowledge | Taking a deep dive into the Chesapeake Bay
I think every historian’s dream is to uncover a great treasure that no one else has seen and bring it to light.’
—DR. MELISSA KRAVETZ Associate professor of history

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On the Cover

A roar of excitement washes over the Joan Perry Brock Center as the NCAA Tournament bracket for the men’s basketball team is announced on national television. Page 6

President’s Message


8 A World Of Discovery

Faculty push the limits of knowledge every day—and not just in labs.

A City With a Past

New Orleans is the backdrop for an intriguing Brock Experience.


16 Think Tank

Students take a deep dive into the challenges surrounding the Chesapeake Bay.

25 Money Talks

Trailblazing alumna receives $20,000 grant from AT&T.

Grant funds program aimed at supporting, retaining firstyear teachers. 4

One good cause has led to another, and another, and another. Courting Success

Men’s basketball cements a memorable program with NCAA Tournaments. 6

SPRING 2024 I 1 Ever Ready Kinesiology students screen soldiers for physical fitness issues. 5 29 Hitting The
Jackpot Health and phys
teacher wins
in Fantasy Football—and real life.
A Good Start
On Point 3 Lancer Update 6 Class Notes 19 In Memoriam 30
A Life Of Being Seen And Heard



Sabrina Brown Designer

JoDee Stringham

Associate Editors

Gina Caldwell, Matthew McWilliams, Lauren Whittington Photographer Courtney Vogel


AT&T, Glenda Booth ’66, Bristol(Tennessee)HeraldCourier, TheFarmvilleHerald, Lia Fisher-Janosz, M.Ed. ’22, Dave Hooper ’00, Sam Hovan, Jen Clapp Jordan ’08, Victoria Kindon, Mike Kropf ’14, Mecklenburg County Public Schools, NorthernVirginiaMagazine, Nicole Perkins ’05, Paula Prouty ’85, Justin Pope, Michael Pope, Cotton Puryear/ Virginia National Guard, Dr. Melissa Rhoten, Becky Schnekser ’05, M.S. ’06, Jason Snyder, Danise Batista Sumner ’12, Ebony Arauz Tellez

Advisory Board

Wade Edwards, Larissa Smith, Courtney Hodges, Victoria Kindon, David Locascio, Justin Pope

Board of Visitors

Katharine M. Bond ’98, Rector Mechanicsville, Virginia

Fabiola Aguilar Carter Richmond, Virginia

Vellie Dietrich-Hall Charlotte Courthouse, Virginia

Steven P. Gould Danville, Virginia

Nadine Marsh-Carter Richmond, Virginia

Jeffrey Nottingham Raleigh, North Carolina

Kristie Helmick Proctor ’04 Mechanicsville, Virginia

Polly H. Raible ’91 Midlothian, Virginia

Ricshawn Adkins Roane Great Falls, Virginia

Kathryn Roberts ’97 South Boston, Virginia

Brian Schmalzbach Midlothian, Virginia

Shawn L. Smith ’92 Richmond, Virginia

Ronald O. White Midlothian, Virginia


When Longwood alumni look back on their college experience, they picture something they may think is typical for American college students. A beautiful, residential campus. Full-time faculty who know your name, teaching in a small-scale setting. A cohort of fellow students who live and learn together, and walk together across the graduation stage.

In fact, the type of experience Longwood students enjoy is not especially typical these days. Our campus is uniquely beautiful, thanks to dedicated effort and foresight. In terms of teaching, increasingly higher education relies on part-time faculty in the classroom. The arrangement may be good for the institution in the short term, and, of course, many part-time faculty do a wonderful job. But there is a special benefit and camaraderie when students are taught by full-time faculty who build long careers at an institution and are devoted to students they come to know well. Amidst great turmoil in higher education, Longwood continues to invest in faculty and maintains the highest proportion of courses taught by full-time faculty of any Virginia public university.

I’ve always been proud that Longwood represents a kind of ideal of American higher education. This model is rare, expensive and increasingly under threat from powerful economic and cultural forces. Some places, frankly, are giving up and cutting corners. Longwood, by contrast, remains committed to providing the kind of citizen-shaping education that alumni come to appreciate over the full course of their lives and careers. When you support Longwood financially, this is what you are supporting. Another college experience that is rarer than you might realize: cheering on your school in March Madness. There are 41 four-year colleges and universities in Virginia. Only two made it to this year’s NCAA Division I Women’s Tournament, and only three, including Longwood, qualified for the Men’s Tournament. There are only two Virginia institutions where students and alumni have experienced the men’s tournament twice in the last three years: Longwood and UVA. I’m proud of our team’s excellence and the national attention it has brought to the Longwood name and story. I’m also thrilled for our students, faculty, staff and alumni. Like so much of the Longwood experience, it is something distinctive and something they always will remember.

Editorial offices for Longwood magazine are maintained at the Office of University Marketing, Communications and Engagement, Longwood University, 201 High Street, Farmville, VA
email: browncs2@longwood.edu.
letters and contributions
Printed on recycled stocks containing 100% postconsumer waste. To request this magazine in alternate format (large print, braille, audio, etc.), please contact Longwood Disability Resources, 434-395-2391; TRS: 711. Published April 2024
my best, W. Taylor Reveley IV President
are encouraged.
Vice President Emeritus Tim Pierson (left) and President Reveley traveled to Memphis to support the men’s basketball team in its second appearance in three years at the NCAA Tournament.

A City with a Past

Brock Experience set in New Orleans examines how a community’s history influences its future

New Orleans is a city steeped in a unique history and culture, ravaged by Hurricane Katrina almost 20 years ago and grappling with the legacies of slavery, racism and segregation. Does building toward the future require the city to embrace or to forget its past?

A cadre of Longwood students will head south to the Big Easy to examine that civic issue, which is faced by many communities, during the newest Brock Experience program, set to be piloted in the summer of 2025 and officially launch in 2026. One of Longwood’s signature programs, Brock Experiences are a rotating offering of U.S.-based courses developed by faculty that study important societal issues of our time.

The interdisciplinary New Orleans program, which will combine music, environmental science and the history of colonialism and civil rights, will guide students through an exploration of the many ways in which New Orleans defines and is defined by its history.

“As they tour the vibrant streets of one of America’s most colorful cities, students will investigate how a community’s history is woven into a shared public memory,” said Dr. Gregory Mole, assistant professor of history, who will develop and lead the program. “They will immerse themselves in the syncretic traditions of Louisiana voodoo, hear notes of past harmony and

They will immerse themselves in the syncretic traditions of Louisiana voodoo, hear notes of past harmony and discord as they sound through New Orleans jazz halls and sample cuisines seasoned by the interactions of multiple cultures.’

discord as they sound through New Orleans jazz halls and sample cuisines seasoned by the interactions of multiple cultures. They will stroll through iconic neighborhoods, uncovering a history etched into the very architecture and street plans.” Mole, who specializes in French history as well as economic history, said the ideas for building the program came to him after reading an anthropological study of colonial New Orleans. A big focus of the program will be on New Orleans’ legacy of colonialism as well the role that marketing has played in the city’s history.

“It’s a place that very actively sells its past,” he said. “Students will see how a community markets its past, turning a profit by commodifying its heritage.”

Brock Experiences are supported through a gift of $5.9 million from Joan Perry Brock ’64 and her late husband, Macon Brock.

—Lauren Whittington
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ON POINT Pgaim/iStock

Tax Break

Accounting students, faculty prepare free returns for community members

TAX SEASON WAS a little less stressful for some Farmville area residents this year.

For the fifth year in a row, faculty and students in Longwood’s College of Business and Economics prepared free tax returns for anyone whose annual income in 2023 was $60,000 or less.


Good Start



“This can be a stressful time if you are navigating the complexities of the tax code by yourself,” said Dr. Dawn Schwartz, assistant professor of accounting. Students worked with CPAs on staff to prepare professional returns during five sessions offered in February and March.

“This program not only helps community members who cannot always afford hundreds of dollars for an accountant to prepare a tax return, but also gives valuable experience to our students who are training for careers in this field,” said Schwartz. “It’s a win-win for everyone.”

Longwood, Prince Edward schools work together to support first-year teachers

Prince Edward County Public Schools (PECPS) and Longwood are working together on a program designed to support first-year teachers in the classroom and retain them in the district. Funded by a $24,000 competitive grant from the Virginia Department of Education, the New Beginnings Mentor Program is a two-pronged approach.

Longwood faculty and staff members will facilitate training sessions for new teachers focused on critical areas such as classroom management, use of assessment data in instructional decision making and connecting families to resources. PECPS will provide professional development and community-building activities, and, most importantly, pair each new teacher with a mentor who is an experienced PECPS teacher.

PECPS collaborated with Longwood’s Office of Teacher Preparation and Assistant Director Jennifer Whitaker ’99,

M.S. ’09, on initial grant development.

Whitaker noted that the region has a high teacher vacancy rate and emphasized the importance of mentorship during the transition period.

“It’s a way of trying to help them in that first year of teaching, when it can be difficult … . Another topic was taking care of yourself as an educator, making time for yourself, too,” she said. “We can’t give anything if our cup isn’t full.

“Longwood is known for excellent education programs, and we’re known for being a university that produces good teachers, so what can we do to help them and support them?” she said.

$24,000 grant is funding a program designed to support and retain first-year teachers in Prince Edward County Public Schools.

Ever Ready

Kinesiology students screen National Guard soldiers for physical fitness issues

Anyone who has been through boot camp will tell you that being in the armed ser vices comes with a lot of physical demands. But while active duty soldiers have health and fitness built into their daily routines, those in the National Guard only train for a few days each month and don’t have access to the same type of equipment and personnel support—something the National Guard is trying to change by implementing a Holistic Health and Fitness program nationwide.

As part of that effort, a group of Longwood kinesiology stu dents, led by faculty member Tena Ewing, screened hundreds of National Guard soldiers during two weekends this past fall at Fort Barfoot in nearby Blackstone to identify movement dysfunction and muscular imbalances. The students also referred soldiers to resources where they could address issues to optimize their movement to better meet the physical demands of being a soldier.

“When we had the opportunity to take what students are learning in the classroom and use it to support our soldiers, we jumped at the chance,” said Ewing. “These soldiers need to be ready to be called up at a moment’s notice, and part of that is being prepared for the physical rigors of active duty. If we can play a small part in making that happen, we are grateful for the opportunity to be involved.”

One student who helped with the screening said one soldier stood out in particular.

“He had severe hip pain from combat injuries he had suffered while on active duty,” said Rachel Towne ’26, a kinesiology major from Warrenton. “He was one of the few soldiers there who had actually seen war. I have such an enormous amount of respect for people in the military because every one of them is putting themselves in a position where they could sacrifice themselves for their country.”

Cotton Puryear/Virginia National Guard (above) As part of the National Guard’s Holistic Health and Fitness program, students evaluated soldiers at Fort Barfoot in Blackstone for movement dysfunction and muscular imbalances. (right) Sarah Statelman ’27, a freshman kinesiology major, confers with a soldier.


Longwood cements a memorable program with second NCAA Tournament appearance in 3 years

n March, the Longwood Lancers were back on the brightest stage in college basketball.

Over three magical days at the Big South Tournament, Longwood beat three of the top-four seeded teams in the conference—punching a ticket to its second NCAA Tournament appearance in three years. It’s a feat only 23 other programs outside the so-called Power 6 major conferences can claim.

The Lancers and a contingent of supporters traveled to Memphis to be part of March Madness—this time no longer a bright-eyed newcomer. After three straight 20-win seasons under the leadership of head coach Griff Aldrich, Longwood basketball is increasingly being recognized as a program built for sustainable success—and not just on the court.

“I think Coach Griff and the coaching staff have built a program that people always will remember now,” said senior point guard Walyn Napper ’24, who played his final game as a Lancer in Memphis at the NCAA Tournament. “Now Longwood is a powerhouse. The target’s on our back. Like I said, it’s a great program. It will help you on and off the court. It’s not all about basketball. It’s about growing as a man.”

In the increasingly complex world of college basketball, stability matters. Longwood has a beautiful new home arena, a committed coaching staff and strong community support. As for the team, most of this year’s players are eligible to return.

“It’s exciting to see,” said Aldrich. “And I think we’re just on the front end.”

In just his first season as a Lancer, 6-8 forward Tucker, who transferred to Longwood from Xavier University, was a breakout star on the court.

(left) Head coach Griff Aldrich says the future is bright for team leader and graduating senior Walyn Napper ’24, who led the team to a Big South Championship and NCAA Tournament berth in his final season.

(opposite page inset, top) Lancer Nation sends the team off to the FedExForum in style.

(opposite page inset, bottom)

The Lancers take the floor in Memphis for their second appearance in the NCAA Tournament in the last three years.

(right) Elijah Tucker ’25 slams a dunk during practice at Memphis’ FedExForum as the Lancers prepare for their first-round game against the Houston Cougars.

Pushing the frontiers of knowledge in all its forms

UNIVERSITIES ARE OFTEN the places where knowledge—in all its forms—is pushed beyond its current limits. While Longwood professors devote much of their time to working with students, they also are experts in their disciplines and contribute to knowledge in their fields, whether that’s education, business, mental and physical health, the arts, history or one of many other areas of study. ¶ At Longwood, this important work is happening everywhere. Each year, dozens of academic papers are penned and published, data is gathered and analyzed, books are written and breakthroughs are made—all of it enriching students’ experiences in the classroom. And while the typical image that comes to mind when we think of “research” is of lab coats and beakers, the reality is that research is much broader than that. ¶ While it’s impossible to highlight all of the scholarly work being done in every corner of the Longwood campus, the next few pages provide a glimpse of the new knowledge our professors are uncovering outside the laboratory and the passion they have for their disciplines.


Dr. Michael Mucedola


Spreading the word: how to live long and prosper

Dr. Mike Mucedola views research in the field of health and nutrition as an exercise in putting a puzzle together. There is a seemingly infinite number of health-related studies and research to pick through—much of it contradictory.

“It comes down to whom do you believe?” he said. “When you read enough of it, you start to put the pieces together and understand why the validity of certain research is a little bit stronger than others.”

Mucedola, chair of the Department of Health, Recreation and Kinesiology, has been studying centenarian populations for 20 years. The research is clear on one thing: Healthy lifestyle habits correlate to living longer.

“What really interests me about centenarian populations is evidence about how much control we have over our health,” he said, adding that health educators, including his students, are on the front lines of spreading this information about how to live longer and healthier.

At the top of the list of what Mucedola teaches his students— most of whom are headed to careers as health and physical education teachers or in health-related professions—are what he calls the big three: healthy eating, living an active lifestyle and avoiding toxins, such as illegal drugs, tobacco and excessive alcohol.

In a recently published research article, he examined in depth the critical role health educators play in shaping healthy behaviors for their students and community members, and provided data that health educators can use in working with these groups. “Teaching Health Behaviors that Correlate with Centenarian Longevity and Quality of Life” was published in March in the Journal of Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance

Mucedola got hooked on the health and nutrition fields while completing his master’s program, but his interest in studying longevity is more personal. His grandparents are 96 and 95, and living independently.

“We see that with centenarian populations they are not just living to old age,” he said. “They’re independent and active into their late 90s and early 100s. They go out and get their own mail. They garden. They are still living a high quality of life.”


Dr. Eric Hodges

The Black veteran Vietnam experience

r. Eric Hodges received a $100,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities in 2021 to study the combat and homecoming experiences of Black military veterans. His research project had three themes: patriotism, racism in the military and homecoming.

He organized a series of discussion groups with 35 Vietnamera veterans from Prince Edward County—many of whom had been locked out of the county’s public schools in the 1960s. One of his most striking findings was that these veterans did not view their military service as the most influential

“For these guys, actually going through the school closings and the civil rights movement turned out to be more formative for them than their military experience,” Hodges said. “One guy told me that he had post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD], but from what had happened in Prince Edward County—not what happened in Vietnam.”

Many of the participants in Hodges’ study spoke positively about their military experience and were proud of their service. They also said they experienced more racism outside the military than they did while serving. Many of the Vietnam veterans from Prince Edward did not return to the county once they were back in the U.S. “They went somewhere else because they didn’t feel welcome to come back,” Hodges said, adding that most of the participants still felt they had not been welcomed home. One veteran remarked that “a true homecoming would look like nothing we’ve ever seen before.”

Hodges presented his findings at the Veterans in Society Conference at the University of South Carolina in March. He also hopes to write a book to honor the service of these veterans.

His focus on veterans’ reintegration is very personal. He served in the military and was in graduate school at the time the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were winding down. Veteran suicide rates skyrocketed, and he saw service members struggling with homelessness and mental health issues. Hodges noted the broader importance of the humanities in studying the veteran population, many of whom feel isolated and alienated. “It helps them understand they’re part of something bigger than themselves,” he said. “It gives them a framework of understanding and helps them to process and make meaning out of their experiences.” —LAUREN WHITTINGTON


Dr. Hua “Meg” Meng


The connotations of clothing

The genesis of Dr. Hua “Meg” Meng’s recent research— a comparative study of the perception of unisex fashion among millennials and Gen Z in the U.S. and China— was a bright pink T-shirt she borrowed from her husband. She posted a photo on Facebook, prompting numerous comments from her Chinese friends who were surprised she and her husband would share clothing.

So she set out to examine the cultural perceptions of unisex clothing—items that blur gender lines or aren’t easily catego rized as masculine or feminine.

“Deciding what to wear is not just a choice of clothing. It’s more than that,” Meng said. “It’s meaningful. It’s a social practice related to social factors, cultural factors and even political agendas.”

The study by Meng and a co-author based in China is currently in the review process before being published. Their research found respondents in both countries had positive attitudes toward the unisex clothing trend, but there were differences in how they defined and practiced it based on the social and political climates in each country.

Millennials and Gen Z in China embrace unisex fashion, but in a more careful and inconspicuous way due to the communist central government. One example is women wearing a “power look”—a power suit to show they are empowered. Younger Chi nese also embrace Muji style, named after a famous Japanese retail company, which is a gender-neutral design aesthetic rooted in minimalism and Zen principles.

“There are some creative ways for these young people to not completely follow the central government’s message of gender conformity,” Meng said. “They still show their individuality, their empower ment and what they want to express with this type of fashion style.”

Meng’s focus on fashion marketing research is rooted in her personal love of fashion. Her other specialization is sensory research, specifically smells and fragrance. She likes that her research is relatable and accessible to many people.

“I want to understand why consumers think this way, why they behave this way, why they buy this,” she said.

Her interest in consumer behavior and habits was sparked when she was completing her Ph.D. program and received some sage advice from her advisor. “He said if your research is not focused on something you are passionate about, you cannot do this for a living,” she recalled. “It has to be something you really love.”

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Dr. Melissa Kravetz


One woman’s story of Nazi resistance

Dr. Melissa Kravetz is publishing a memoir later this year, but the story is not her own.

She has edited a firsthand account of the wife of Gerhart Seger, a German politician who opposed the Nazis and was imprisoned immediately after Hitler took power. The subtitle of the book, to be published in December, describes Seger as a wife, mother, hostage and Nazi resister.

“She’s one of the very rare, early accounts that we have of a witness to this transition between democracy and dictatorship because her husband was in the Reichstag in the early 1930s,” said Kravetz, whose research is focused on the transition from the Weimar Republic to Nazism. “It’s a very intriguing story of what an ordinary person does in the face of that. It’s very timely, especially as authoritarianism is rising throughout the Western world.”

Both Segers survived early Nazi concentration camps. Ilse and her 18-month-old daughter, Renate, were held as hostages in 1934 but released a few months later through her husband’s connections. The family came to the United States in 1935.

Ilse wrote a memoir of her experiences in 1970—typed on onion paper—but it was never published. Kravetz, who is co-director of Longwood’s minor in women, gender and sex uality studies, worked with Seger’s family members, mostly her grandchildren, on publishing the book. She divided it into chapters and added historical context based on her own expertise and further research.

Ilse Seger died in 1979. Renate died a few years ago, and one of her grandchildren is writing the memoir’s epilogue.

Kravetz connected with Seger’s family through the summer class for K-12 educators she teaches at the Virginia Holocaust Museum. With the Longwood historian’s research emphasis on the role of women, Ilse Seger’s story was a natural fit. Kravetz previously published a book on women doctors in Germany during the same period.

Historical research is much like a treasure hunt, she said.

“I think every historian’s dream is to uncover a great treasure that no one else has seen and bring it to light,” she said. “Ilse’s story has been sitting around since 1970.

“It feels like I have this secret that I’m now about to share with the world, and I’m pretty excited.”


Dr. Mike Waddell


Backstories of today’s classical music composers

Where do captivating melodies come from?

What about musical phrasing that can be so tense or haunting? Or beautiful harmonies that envelop and lift us up?

Dr. Mike Waddell, director of the Wind Symphony at Longwood, has gone straight to the source for the answers to these questions as they apply to classical music being written today.

He has interviewed and published a series of articles about living American composers, specifically those who have written for euphonium, Waddell’s primary instrument, or tuba, both of which are in the low brass family.

His articles dig into composers’ roots and inspiration. What music did they listen to growing up? Did they have formal musical training? How did composing become their primary focus?

Take Anthony O’Toole, whose works were featured at a joint concert of the Longwood Wind Symphony and Chamber Orchestra this spring and who visited campus to work directly with student musicians.

“He taught himself to read music about the same time he learned to read English. That had to change the way his brain worked,” said Waddell. “He can write a musical score like the rest of us can write a paragraph.”

Then there’s Benjamin Horn, whose family’s “obsession” with Michael Jackson filled his young mind with “Billie Jean,” “Bad” and “Beat It” instead of Brahms and Beethoven. “To hear that influence seeping into his music makes it really fresh and interesting,” said Waddell, who soon will have to his credit 12 articles published in ITEA Journal (International Tuba and Euphonium Association), three of which are theoretical analyses of individual compositions.

He brings what he’s learned from this research into his classes, particularly Music Entrepreneurship.

“Part of that class is learning how to make money being a musician,” said Waddell. “We’ve been able to look at the people I’ve interviewed and use them as real examples.”

Waddell himself serves as a real example of that. In addition to his teaching, he performs as a soloist and with chamber ensembles, and he has recorded two albums with the Keystone Quartet, a tuba-euphonium ensemble.

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Dr. Shawn Smith


What pity meant to Shakespeare

Pity hasn’t always meant what you think it means.

“The word ‘pity’ has negative connotations in modern English,” said Dr. Shawn Smith. “It suggests some kind of inferiority and a power dynamic, but in Shakespeare’s time it didn’t really mean that. Then, it was pretty synonymous with compassion. In fact, Shakespeare uses the words ‘pity’ and ‘mercy’ pretty interchangeably.”

Smith’s latest book, Shakespeare and the Theater of Pity: Sinon’s Borrowed Tears, published in 2023 by Routledge Press, is an exploration of how the great English playwright and poet uses the concept of pity in a number of ways to express love and forgiveness, and even cruelty and deception—some of human nature’s most basic emotions.

One of the most enduring examples is from Othello. When the titular Moor comes to Venice and tells Desdemona’s father about the suffering he has endured, Desdemona takes pity and weeps for him. Othello takes this as a sign that she loves him. He says in Act I, Scene 3:

My story being done, She gave for my pains a world of sighs.

She swore, in faith, ’twas strange, ’twas passing strange ’Twas pitiful, ’twas wondrous pitiful. …

She loved me for the dangers I had passed, And I loved her that she did pity them.

Later, when Othello becomes convinced that Desdemona has been unfaithful, her pity and tears become a signal of her deception.

“It’s a fundamental human emotion to have compassion for someone who is suffering,” said Smith. “It’s an emotion that humanizes us and creates a social harmony—but it can also be used for deception, if you pretend you are suffering. In fact, this is often the way it plays out in a courtroom: An appeal to pity is a common appeal that is made by someone in a courtroom seeking mercy from a judge or magistrate. Shakespeare knew all of this deeply and dramatized it.”


Dr. Sarah Tanner-Anderson


Dr. Ronda Walker


Diverse leaders bloom with mentorship in graduate school

Nationally, leadership in our PK-12 schools and university communication sciences and disorders programs have a common problem: lack of diversity. Counteracting this phenomenon and developing strategies that encourage people from different backgrounds and perspectives to enter into these critical fields is on the minds of university faculty across the country.

Dr. Sarah Tanner-Anderson, assistant dean of the College of Graduate and Professional Studies, and Dr. Ronda Walker explore the topic in research published in a recent edition of the scholarly journal Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning.

Their research, titled “Recruiting, retaining, and supporting graduate students of color in PWI [predominantly white institution] education and human services programs,” explores the effectiveness of different strategies in growing and supporting a diverse population in rural graduate schools.

“It starts with recruiting and how you market your program,” said Walker. “Peer mentorship and constant check-ins are very important in helping these individuals not feel so alone— because graduate school is tough. Speaking from experience, people from a minoritized back ground—especially if there are only one or two others in their graduate pro gram—can have feelings of doubt and anxiety. A strong mentorship program can really make a difference.”

In the case of edu cational leadership,

our school systems benefit when there is a talented, diverse pool of leaders equipped to fill influential roles in K-12 systems.

“We really started to uncover the importance of mentoring and how making a good-faith, strongly built relationship with people made such a difference in our alumni,” said Tanner-Anderson. “At Longwood we are trying to show diverse graduate students in marketing materials so prospective students see that they do belong, that they can jump in and conduct research. One early engagement piece for new students is visiting Moton [Museum], and so many of them see that, as educational leaders, they can be change agents in their own communities.”

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Dr. Ronda Walker (left) and Dr. Sarah Tanner-Anderson



Students dive deep into the urgent and complex challenges that surround

Students get their first look at Tangier Island during a Citizen 327 field excursion. Home of a 200-year-old crabbing community, the island is facing the prospect of being submerged in the waters of Chesapeake Bay as a result of sea-level rise/ climate change.

(above right)

Lyndsey Brown ’24 said her eyes were opened to the complex issues facing the Chesapeake Bay and its keystone species, including oysters, during the class.

the Chesapeake Bay

ALMOST EVERYONE —from the environmentalists to the people who depend on the 64,000-square-mile watershed for their livelihoods—are in agreement that the Chesapeake Bay needs help.

Over the past century, it has been affected by urban, suburban and agricultural pollution, energy extraction, overfishing, storm runoff and more.

Despite the bay’s current state—its health was rated a D+ in the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s 2022 status report—the environmentalists, the watermen and others with a stake in the bay’s future agree that the most important thing now is not what happened in the past but instead what we can do to bring the bay back to good health.

That’s pretty much where the consensus ends—and where Citizen 327, Stewardship of Public Waterways, begins.

The course fulfills a Civitae core curriculum requirement, and, with its multiday field excursions to the bay, it also is one of Longwood’s signature Brock Experiences.

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Ebony Arauz Tellez

It’s one of a group of courses that gets students to think about issues that have a critical impact on a segment of American society; to explore the perspectives of multiple stakeholders who have passionate—and conflicting—viewpoints on those issues; and to look at their own perspectives through a multifaceted lens and ask questions.

“This class encourages students to think about human use of resources and how we take care of them. What have we done wrong? What can we do right? These are underlying themes for a lot of critical issues in today’s world,” said Dr. Mark Fink, professor of biology, who co-taught the class with Dr. Melissa Rhoten, professor of chemistry, during the fall 2023 semester. The team also included Dr. Carl Riden, associate professor of sociology.

Many of the 10 students in the class, which met once a week on campus in addition to the field excursions, knew little about the Chesapeake Bay coming into the class.

That included Lyndsey Brown ’24, a theatre education major from Chester, Virginia.

“While I’ve always been environmentally conscious, I’ve never thought about all the issues happening right in our own backyard,” she said.

That changed with Citizen 327.

On the two field excursions to the bay, one over Labor Day and the other over fall break, Brown and her classmates spoke with watermen whose livelihoods depend on fishing, and they spent two days and nights on Tangier Island, where residents are facing the prospect of sea-level rise/climate change submerging their homes in the waters of the bay.

They met with Longwood alumna Jane Crowther ’81, a senior director at Omega Protein, Inc., a successful business that extracts and refines omega-3 oil from small menhaden fish caught in the bay.

Students also met with the Virginia executive director of

During the day they spent aboard the BayQuest as part of a Citizen 327 field excursion, students sorted oysters, which were returned to the reef. They also tried their hands at crab potting and trawling, and visited an oyster hatchery and shucking facilities.

Baliles Center is the perfect home base for exploring Chesapeake Bay issues

Students enrolled in Citizen 327, Stewardship of Public Waterways, this fall struck out on one of their Chesapeake Bay field expeditions from Longwood’s own important “natural” resource: the Gerald L. Baliles Center for Environmental Education at Hull Springs.

Students spent two nights at the center, which is located on the Northern Neck in Westmoreland County.

Dr. Melissa Rhoten and Dr. Mark Fink, who taught the course, hope to offer it again in spring or fall 2025, when new facilities at the Baliles Center will make it possible to spend more time there—and to expand the number of students.

the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, who discussed how populations of the bay’s keystone species—menhaden, oysters and blue crabs—have declined over time due to overfishing and deterioration of their environment from pollution and disease. He also described efforts to restore these critical species, which make or break the ecosystems where they live.

On campus, guest speakers included Longwood faculty from different disciplines and the commissioner of the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, who spoke extensively about the regulatory side of fisheries management.

All this and more was on students’ minds as they threw themselves into the final class discussion of the semester in December. Students posed and responded to questions focused primarily on the issues confronting residents of Tangier Island, which was also the focus of the required reading for the course: Chesapeake Requiem: A Year with the Watermen of Vanishing Tangier Island, a New York Times bestseller described as a “soulful portrait” of the 200-year-old Tangier Island crabbing community.

Many differing viewpoints were respectfully expressed. One student, for whom back home is a small town, felt empathy for the 500 island residents and their strong connection to their tiny island home. Another said spending hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to counteract the sea-level rise didn’t seem economically feasible or reasonable, especially compared with the costs of relocation.

“This course taught me that you have to look at civic issues from many angles and to have empathy for all sides,” said Brown. “For me, it might be losing a tiny spot of land, but for these islanders it’s their whole life.”

That’s exactly what Rhoten wants to hear.

Currently overnight facilities can accommodate only 10 students, but two new bunkhouses that can sleep 12 students each and two new faculty cabins are under construction. Students will also have access to a new outdoor classroom and the center’s $1.2 million, fully equipped environmental research lab.


“The biggest takeaway from this class is to get students to realize that solutions to big problems take a lot of work and a lot of negotiating. You can’t just consider things from one viewpoint. We’re using this class and this set of contentious issues to teach students how they can advocate for a position in whatever environment they find themselves.”

Dr. Melissa Rhoten

Out in the Cold

Becky Schnekser ’05, M.S. ’06 (curriculum and instruction), traveled to Antarctica as part of a program focused on increasing visibility and opportunities for women and girls in STEMM (science, technology, mathematics, medicine) career pathways. Story on Page 23.

SPRING 2024 I 19
Courtesy of Becky Schnekser ’05, M.S. ’06

Friends for Life

The ties that bind Longwood alums are strong. Take, for example, nine members of the CLASS OF 1953: Jean Partridge Drewery, Jean Mercer Luttrell, Anne Conley Bromley, Jo Ann Stick, Mary Jane Tyus Clarke, Nan Bland Seeley, Joyce Richardson Pemberton, Helen Barrow Snyder and Lillian Shelton Cox. All

roommates at one time or another, they remained close after graduation and continued to get together a few times a year, writes Pemberton, even as members were lost over the last 70 years. Today four members of the original group keep up the get-together tradition, shown here at their most recent gathering in September 2023 in Richmond, Virginia: CLARKE (seated) and (standing, from left) COX, PEMBERTON and SEELEY

How the West Was Wonderful

JOYCE NEAL POWELL ’65 (left) of Charlotte, North Carolina, MELODY SAUNDERS WALLEY ’65 of Ringgold, Virginia, and LYNNE GUERIN JOHNSON ’65 got together in October 2023 at Johnson’s home in Denver, Colorado, where they set out on an extensive adventure out West. With Johnson in the driver’s seat, the tour started at Red Rocks Amphitheatre near Denver. Next were the Air Force Academy and the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. A train took them 15,000 feet above sea level to the top of Pikes Peak, and a bus tour of Yellowstone National Park included sightings of wolves, a grizzly bear, herds of bison and Old Faithful. Last stop was Jackson Hole, Wyoming, with breathtaking views of the Grand Teton Mountains. The three alumnae, who say they remember their Longwood days fondly, report they have kept in touch over the last nearly 60 years.


Elizabeth “Betsy” Starling Gravely ’51 earned a degree in physical education from Longwood and went on to teach for many years and to become a leader in her field. She died Nov. 19, 2023. Gravely was president of the Virginia Association for Health, Physical Education and Recreation, and served as executive secretary-treasurer for 15 years. She received the organization’s two highest awards: the Honorary Award and the Pioneer Award. At Longwood, she was class president in her sophomore, junior and senior years. She is survived by many nieces and nephews, one of whom, Edward “Ed” Gravely, had this to say about his aunt’s feelings for Longwood: “She always loved Longwood as long as I knew her, and I’m 78 now.”

Nancy Lou Gilbert Griffin ’54, a lifelong resident of Churchland, Virginia, died on Oct. 6, 2023. An English and history double major at Longwood, she put her education to work in high-school classrooms soon after graduating. After taking a break to raise a family, she returned to teaching in 1976, first at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, then at Sweethaven Christian School and finally in the Portsmouth public schools, where she was named Teacher of the Year at Cradock High School in 1992 and continued working until 1997. Her family shared that she was an accomplished pianist and an avid reader (one book per day) with a special interest in history—particularly the British empire, U.S. presidents and the environs of her hometown—as well as animals. “She could recite the genealogical history of the founding families of Churchland and never had an outing without meeting a friend or former high-school student,” wrote her eldest son Benjamin L. Barnes III. “If she did not know you personally, then she usually knew three or four generations of people in your family tree.”


Dr. Patricia Elizabeth Clifton Harwood ’67 had a long career as an educator, beginning in 1967 with a teaching position at Donelson High School in Nashville, Tennessee, and ending with her retirement from the University of Richmond, where she was a dean, in 2000. She died Dec. 13, 2023. Her obituary noted that, in her career, she often was the only woman around a table of administrators, or one of few, and she became very aware of the need for the expansion of opportunity for and contributions of women. Her final position as the head of a women’s college—Westhampton College at the University of Richmond—enabled her to work to educate and inspire young women to go beyond historic boundaries and to break down barriers to full participation and contribution. She was passionate about educating women students about their history as women, enabling them to believe in themselves and challenging them to go for their dreams. She majored in French and English at Longwood.

20 I LONGWOOD MAGAZINE CLASS NOTES (continued on Page 22)

Innovation on Tap

Head brewer turns winery discards and foraged ingredients into unique craft beers

As the saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

For BRIAN MANDEVILLE ’10 one of those treasures is grape pressings that would normally be discarded during the wine-making process.

As head brewer at Fine Creek Brewing Company in Powhatan, Virginia, he annually gathers pressings from local wineries and turns them into a unique bière de vin, or “wine beer.”

His most recent creation was a barrel-aged saison blend that drew its bright ruby coloring and dark-red fruit character from the cabernet sauvignon skins Mandeville sourced from Blenheim Vineyards in Charlottesville.

“While the sugar is mainly extracted, those grape skins retain a lot of the tannins, and there’s still a ton of potential there,” he said. “The flavors and aromas we’re able to get from them are impressive.”

Working with locally sourced ingredients and highlighting local agriculture is Mandeville’s passion. The items he forages and experiments with for his brews include sassafras leaves, juniper, pine, yarrow, black walnuts, shiso (also known as perilla), chanterelle mushrooms, pawpaws, chamomile and spicebush.

“Beer can play an amazing role in tying people back to the land and agriculture that is all around them,” he said. “As a craft brewer, especially a small craft brewer, we have an opportunity to revert back to those roots of making something that tells a story about where it’s from and the people who are behind it.”

Beer can play an amazing role in tying people back to the land and agriculture that is all around them.’

He enjoys pointing out that many of the ingredients he uses, such as chamomile, have a longer history of being used in beer than hops. A recent brett saison, a slightly funky and fruity light beer made with chamomile grown in the Fine Creek garden, is one brew he was especially happy with.

Fine Creek, a small craft brewery and restaurant, has been the beneficiary of Mandeville’s unique take on beer since 2019. He landed there after stints at O’Connor Brewing Company in Norfolk and Fullsteam Brewery in Durham, North Carolina.

When he graduated from Longwood in 2010 with a degree in political science and global politics, home brewing was just a hobby. He had his sights set on a career in the foreign service, but the lingering effects of the great recession put a kink in his plans for graduate school. Some friends suggested that he turn his home brewing hobby into a career.

It turned into a career that also gave him the chance to put his degree to work through his lobbying efforts to help change Prohibition-era laws that hamstrung the craft brewing industry. While he was in North Carolina, which once had prohibited brewers from making beer stronger than 5 percent alcohol, he served as co-chair of the legislative affairs subcommittee for the state brewers guild. When he started brewing in Virginia, tasting rooms weren’t allowed at breweries.

“I’ve spent a lot of my career lobbying to change laws like these,” he said, noting that he and the many others who contributed to those changes have helped pave the way for the explosion of breweries in Virginia and all over the Southeast in the past 15 years.

Among the ingredients Brian Mandeville ’10 uses in his unique brews are sassafras leaves, juniper, pine, black walnuts, shiso, pawpaws and spicebush.

SPRING 2024 I 21

Roadside Attraction. You may not know Rachael Arrington Graber ’22, but if you’ve been through Chesterfield County, Virginia, on State Route 360 you probably know her hay bales. Her creativity and vivid color choices turn ordinary hay bales into jack-o-lanterns, cartoon characters and much more, attracting attention for Skinquarter Farm Market from spring through late fall. Graber’s primary gig is teaching art at Amelia Academy. A favorite activity is “Artist of the Month,” where students create works in the style of Andy Warhol, Georges Seurat, Picasso and other famous artists. Graber earned a BFA in art at Longwood.

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Gerry Daniel Kruger ’67, a Longwood English graduate who taught that subject for 27 years, is the author of a series of books focused on the life and times of a Canada goose who arrived on the pond at her home in Charlottesville in 2000 with a serious injury. Kruger named him Charlie and aided in his recovery, which regrettably did not restore his ability to fly.

Despite that, Charlie attracted a mate and convinced her to give up flying for a life with him in Virginia. Kruger’s books, the most recent of which was published in July 2023, recount Charlie’s recovery from his disabling injury, his multiple generations of offspring and much more. Kruger read some of her essays on the Charlottesville NPR station, engaging listeners in the gander’s saga. One listener/reader wrote: “I write with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes as I realize just how connected I have become to this lame goose some 100 miles away.”


Do you know a Longwood alum who deserves to be recognized for their good works?

Nominate them for an Alumni Award at go.longwood.edu/ alumniawards

Mary Frances Baldwin Bukva ’72, M.S. ’93 (special education), was inducted into the Warren County (Virginia) High School Athletic Hall of Fame in September 2023. A graduate of the high school, she was a teacher, coach and administrator in the Warren County school system for 48 years before retiring in 2021. Bukva served the Warren County athletics department in a number of ways—including as secretary of the booster club and as a ticket taker for football, volleyball, basketball and wrestling. She is known as the “voice of the softball team” for serving as the announcer and score person for more than a decade. She did not, however, play sports until she came to Longwood. In college, she played intramural volleyball and field hockey, and was a member of the varsity fencing team. She became a team captain for the fencing team and won the Virginia State Women’s Foil Championship in 1971.

Teacher of the Year

Shirley Madison with her students.

Shirley Weston Madison ’77, a fourthgrade teacher at Clarksville Elementary School who has spent her entire career there, was named the Mecklenburg County Public Schools Division Teacher of the Year in 2023. Madison is a 47-year veteran of the division, Mecklenburg County Public Schools 2023

Courtesy of Rachael Arrington Graber ’22

which posted this about Madison on its Facebook page: “The impact of Mrs. Madison’s contributions extend far beyond the classroom, reaching the hearts and minds of everyone fortunate enough to be touched by her educational expertise and loving kindness.” Madison earned an elementary education degree from Longwood.


Dawn M. Vass ’81, who teaches art at Varina High School, was named Virginia Secondary Art Teacher of the Year by the Virginia Education Association (VEA). She also was named the top secondary art teacher in the organization’s Central Region. Vass is the VEA’s regional treasurer, and she helps lead conferences, professional development sessions and workshops. She earned a degree in art education at Longwood.

Gray Stabley Carmichael ’85 started a new business in 2023 as a professional genealogist while balancing a full-time job as an over-the-road truck driver. She’s been on the road with her husband for 14 years and studying genealogy for more than a decade. After completing her mathematics degree from Longwood, she pursued a second degree in meteorology at Lyndon State College in Vermont. She worked 16 years as an on-air meteorologist in Richmond, Virginia; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Chattanooga, Tennessee; and Portland, Maine (where she met her husband). Carmichael now pursues her passion for helping others find their past with Gray Stabley Genealogy Services. She reports that her husband’s family roots go back to the Mayflower, and her family can be traced back to Pennsylvania in the 1700s.

Kathy Hansen

Carneal Taylor ’74 (right) recently found out they have something more in common than their Longwood diplomas: their desire to give every family a merry Christmas. Fox was the 2023 Chesterfield-Colonial Heights Christmas Mother, and Taylor was the Hanover Christmas Mother. The Christmas Mother program is a nonprofit, charitable organization dedicated to providing food, clothes and toys to those in need during the Christmas season and to making sure no one is forgotten during the holidays. Fox majored in chemistry at Longwood; Taylor, in health and physical education.

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SEND US YOUR CLASS notes. If you have any news from your professional or personal life, we’d love to hear about it. Please email the details to us at alumni@longwood.edu. Remember to give us your full name, the year you graduated and the degree you received.

Growth Opportunity

Trip to Antarctica is the pinnacle moment on alumna’s journey of empowerment

Several years ago, BECKY SCHNEKSER ’05, M.S. ’06 (curriculum and instruction), embarked on a journey of empowerment and growth through a program offered by the Australian organization Homeward Bound.

Traveling with her—at first metaphorically and then on an actual culminating trip to Antarctica in November 2023— were 90 women leaders in science, technology, mathematics and medicine from all over the world.

Schnekser, an elementary education major at Longwood and a former science teacher, currently is the maritime educator and manager for Nauticus Maritime Discovery Center in Norfolk, Virginia.

Women in the multiyear program first

developed their own leadership skills together in online modules, which revolved around building visibility for women and girls in STEMM (science, technology, mathematics, medicine) career pathways and leadership development, Schnekser said.

“The icing, or perhaps snow, on top of this momentous experience was being in Antarctica, a magnificent yet very fragile and vulnerable place that feels the effects of global climate change at an accelerated rate. Being there with these incredible, fierce women has deeply impacted me, and I am still unraveling it myself, every day,” she said, adding that she’s looking forward to sharing the many collaborative projects in motion due to the expedition through her position at Nauticus and other activities.

Fox ’85 (left) and Debbie Courtesy of Becky Schnekser ’05, M.S. ’06

Power Trip. Forget steps. Jen Clapp Jordan ’08 covered 140 miles in just half of one day—under her own power. She was among the 2,100 women from 73 countries and territories who competed in the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, in October 2023. The race comprised a 2.4-mile swim in the ocean, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run. Her official finish time was 12 hours, 17 minutes, 23 seconds. “The Ironman World Championship race course in Kona, Hawaii, is considered one of the most challenging single-day endurance events in the world,” said Jordan, who was a history major at Longwood. “It was an honor to race the best female long-course triathletes in the world. I was proud to represent Longwood with a Lancer sticker on my aero helmet and carry that Lancer pride through this iconic race. It was truly one of the most beautiful and inspiring but unforgiving and demanding races I’ve ever completed.” The Kona race was her fourth Ironman competition. “Triathlon has taught me so much. I appreciate that triathlon has given me a certain curiosity: What will I learn when I push toward the edge of my perceived limits and explore what’s beyond? Just because something is difficult doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try it. Doing hard things is how we learn more about ourselves.”

Debbie Shanaberger Oliver ’85 was named 2023-24 Teacher of the Year for Nansemond River High School in Suffolk, Virginia. Oliver’s Longwood degree is in chemistry. She teaches science at the school.


A MONTH program is a volunteer experience designed for alumni and friends. You’ll be rewarded with exclusive Longwood swag depending on your level of participation. Find out more at go.longwood. edu/1hour.


Kimberly O’Connor Melnyk ’90 was elected the chair of the City of Virginia Beach School Board in January 2024. A member of the board since 2014, she previously taught in the Virginia Beach city public schools at Glenwood, Strawbridge and Christopher Farms elementary schools. She also serves on the board of directors for Virginia Musical Theatre. Her Longwood degree is in elementary education.

Dr. William Dunn ’91, founder and president of The Dunn Foundation, was among the community service leaders recognized across the country in January 2024 with a President’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Established by executive order of George W. Bush, the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award is bestowed on a select group of Americans in recognition of their more than 4,000 hours of extraordinary community service per year. The Dunn Foundation is a nonprofit organization that works with community partners to provide a variety of free programs, services and support for those in need. Dunn earned a degree in therapeutic recreation from Longwood.

Dr. Karen Watts Barton ’92, M.S. ’93 (special education), was named vice president of assessment operations at ETS, described on its website as “the world’s largest private educational testing and measurement organization.” Barton heads assessment operations and leads a team of professionals in re-envisioning the design and implementation of ETS assessments, psychometrics, and scoring and reporting. She began her journey into psychometrics when, as a special education teacher, she became dissatisfied with the utility and truth in the assessments of her students. She went on to serve as a research scientist, psychometrician and assessment designer. Most recently, Barton led the solutions and innovations team at Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA). Her bachelor’s degree from Longwood is in psychology. Her Ph.D. in educational research is from the University of South Carolina.

Col. Charles B. Martin Jr. ’92 became the Virginia National Guard’s assistant adjutant general-Army in January 2024. Previously chief of the joint staff, Martin in his new role leads the Virginia Army National Guard and will provide mission readiness guidance in the areas of training, personnel management, command logistics, facilities and maintenance to support more than 7,000 Army National Guard citizen-soldiers. He joined the Virginia Army National Guard in 1994, where he served first as an infantryman and then was commissioned as an engineer officer in 1996 after grad-

24 I LONGWOOD MAGAZINE CLASS NOTES (continued from Page 23)
Courtesy of Jen Clapp Jordan ’08

uating from Virginia Officer Candidate School. Throughout his 29 years of military service, Martin has risen through a series of increasingly key command and staff positions. In his civilian life, he has worked for Altria in Richmond, Virginia, for nearly 23 years, including leadership and management positions in manufacturing, government affairs and corporate citizenship. His Longwood degree is in political science and history.

Dr. William “Bill” Fiege ’95 began his duties as Brightpoint Community College’s president on Jan. 2, 2024. Established in 1967, Brightpoint is one of the largest institutions in the Virginia Community College System. Fiege previously served there as vice president for learning and student success, a role he had held since 2012. From 2004 to 2012, he was dean of the Fredericksburg-area campus and then dean of the Professional and Technical Studies Division at Germanna Community College. His career in higher education also has a notable earlier chapter: seven years at Longwood, where his titles included assistant athletics director for development, assistant director of alumni relations, director of forensics and speech instructor. Fiege earned a degree in political science at Longwood. He also holds a Ph.D. in community college leadership from Old Dominion University.


Money Talks

Trailblazing bilingual speech-therapy business owner receives $20,000 grant from AT&T

TIA JAVIER, M.S. ’19 (speech-language pathology), started off 2024 with a $20,000 bang.

In December, AT&T selected her as the national winner, from 6,700 applicants, of their She’s Connected grant program, which recognizes and rewards the efforts of women who have started trailblazing small businesses. Javier received a $20,000 grant to support and expand Bilinguatherapy, which she founded in 2020 in Richmond, Virginia, to offer speech therapy services in English and Spanish.

(She’s currently hiring and can be contacted through the Bilinguatherapy website.)

The AT&T grant will help her address that challenge with the creation of a program where current clinicians and stu-

April Hartsook Corbett ’96 was named the interim director of Virginia Children’s Theatre in October 2023. Corbett is leading the organization through its 16th season and is focusing on increasing education programming and bringing productions back to the stage. A technical theatre major at Longwood, Corbett has dedicated her life to working in the nonprofit arena and theatre arts. She has worked for several regional theatre companies, including the St. Louis Repertory Theatre, Actor’s Theatre of

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Making the award even sweeter, Javier was recognized during the Dec. 30 Dallas Cowboys’ game at AT&T Stadium with the screening of a video on the jumbotron describing the critical services Bilinguatherapy provides to its community.

Javier started Bilinguatherapy to close the gap in much-needed speech-language services for Spanish-speaking children and their families in Virginia. She discovered that gap when her own daughter needed help—the family speaks Spanish at home—and bilingual speech therapists were in short supply. Bilinguatherapy is the first clinic serving Spanish-speaking patients in Central Virginia.

The clinic handles 200 appointments each week and has a long waiting list, she said. “Hiring is one of my biggest challenges. Trying to find other people like me has been very difficult.”

Hiring is one of my biggest challenges. Trying to find other people like me has been very difficult.’
— TIA JAVIER, M.S. ’19

dents can come to learn both Spanish and the culture of the community they serve.

And Javier is taking an additional step toward increasing the number of bilingual speech therapists in the area by providing an internship this spring for a second-year student in Longwood’s speech-pathology program.—Sabrina

Javier, M.S. 19 (speech-language pathology), was featured on the jumbotron at the Dallas Cowboys stadium as the winner of AT&T’s She’s Connected grant program. Courtesy of AT&T

A Life of Being Seen and Heard

For this alumna, one good cause has led to another, and another, and another

Someone must have forgotten to tell GLENDA BOOTH ’66 that you can’t have it all.

For 28 years she did legislative work for several members of Congress, including the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California.

She was in on the ground floor of creating the federal Department of Education. Her papers detailing that endeavor are in the archives of George Mason University.

She’s an award-winning environmental advocate who has volunteered for Earthwatch all over the world and who fights for the environment at home in Northern Virginia as president of the Friends of Dyke Marsh.

She’s a freelance writer, still active today, whose articles have appeared in

Ms Magazine, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Virginia Living, Virginia Wildlife, Audubon Magazine and other publications.

And, concurrently with many of those activities, she raised two successful sons: Virginia Senate Majority Leader Scott A. Surovell, who represents eastern Fairfax County, and Todd A. Surovell, the director of the Frison Institute at the University of Wyoming, where he is an archaeology professor. She has five grandchildren.

Booth credits several of her Longwood professors with igniting her spirit of social justice and civic duty. As a student, she participated in civil rights demonstrations in Farmville protesting Prince Edward County’s closure of the public schools to avoid desegregation.

Clearly her commitment to righting wrongs was not just a passing fancy.

In 1970, just four years after earning her English degree from Longwood, she co-founded the first chapter of NOW (National Organization for Women) in Virginia and is still working for enactment of the Equal Rights Amendment. In the 1970s, she helped eliminate sex stereotypes from textbooks and to get equal pay for women and more women hired in broadcasting, a male-dominated field at the time.

In 1975, she got her first job in Congress with Virginia Congressman Herb Harris.

“Working in the Congress is a pressure cooker, but I saw it as problem solving,” said Booth. “A lot of people are cynical about government and Washington. They call it political, but I don’t. I was a public servant.

“Solving public policy problems was a very rewarding experience, even though you’re always going to be criticized. People come into the office and yell at you. You just have to stay focused on your values and your goals.”

During her 20 years in the House and eight in the Senate, she was involved in many initiatives, most notably helping to draft and pass bills focused on education, environmental protection and health care.

One bill she wrote in 1989 prohibited insurers from conditioning health-insurance coverage on pre-existing conditions, a practice that many insurance companies used to deny coverage to people who desperately needed it.

State Sen. Scott A. Surovell and his mother, Glenda Booth, in the state Senate on Jan. 10, 2024, after he was sworn in for his third term. Surovell is the Virginia Senate majority leader.

“This was even before Hillary Clinton took on the health insurance issue in 1993,” said Booth. “We had some hearings in the House. It was just heartbreaking. People with serious illnesses would come in and tell their stories about not being able to get insurance.”

The bill ultimately became part of the Affordable Care Act in 2010.

“It took us at least 200 years to get women the right to vote, so these things take time,” Booth said with the hint of a smile in her voice.

“It’s hard not to take on some of these challenges,” she added. “You can’t just let problems fester. We all have a civic responsibility, and we all have an environmental responsibility. I can’t just ignore it. Our democracy gives you many opportunities to have an impact.”

Michael Pope

Louisville, Omaha Community Playhouse and Mill Mountain Theatre. Currently, it could be said that she’s burning the candle at both ends—and in the middle. In addition to her new duties at Virginia Children’s Theatre, she is the director of theatre arts at Roanoke Catholic School and she is the director of marketing and outreach for Center in the Square in Roanoke.

Brenda Edwards-Wade ’96, a veteran teacher with experience in Lunenburg and Nottoway counties, was honored as the outstanding member of the Delta Alpha Chapter of the Delta Kappa Gamma Society International. She was formally recognized at the biennial luncheon of the 15-chapter coordinating council of the Virginia State organization of the society. Edwards-Wade is the treasurer of the Delta Alpha Chapter and a former coordinating council secretary. She earned a degree in English from Longwood.

Laura Helander Socia ’96, M.S. ’01 (environmental studies), became the director of solid waste operations for the city of Bristol, Virginia, in January 2024. “Given my expertise over the past 14 years … working in landfill management, I felt I could really bring something to the table here,” she told the Bristol Herald Courier. Socia previously worked with Dominion Energy, where she served as an environmental compliance manager, and also for the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. Her undergraduate degree from Longwood is in chemistry.

Jeffrey Todd Girardi ’99, a Longwood history graduate, died Jan. 10, 2024. A former deputy sheriff for the city of Richmond, Virginia, his obituary noted that he collected and authenticated American historical artifacts. He was a talented artisan with an extensive knowledge of aging metals.


Dr. Umar Bowers ’01 received a Health Care Heroes Award from the Greater Wilmington (North Carolina) Business Journal in October 2023. Bowers, who is the medical director at Dawson Med, a primary and urgent care practice in Wilmington, was one of three physicians recognized this year. Other categories for the annual awards include community achievement, nurse, innovation and unsung hero. The person who nominated Bowers wrote this in her statement: “What truly sets Dr. Bowers apart is his practice philosophy, which is grounded in personalized, personable care. He is not just a physician; he is a trusted partner in his patients’ healthcare journeys.” Bowers was a member of the basketball team at Longwood and earned a degree in biology.

Darrell Hodges ’07 was re-elected sheriff of Cumberland County, Virginia, in November 2023. A Longwood sociology graduate, Hodges has been sheriff in Cumberland since 2008 and has more than 30 years of experience in law enforcement. The Farmville Herald reported that he won the election with 89 percent of the vote or 2,847 votes, more than any other Cumberland County candidate in the November election.

Fashion Statement. Ashley Greene

Webb ’07, curator of Flapper Fashion of the 1920s at the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts, shared her insights on the exhibition in the museum’s Art After Dark event Feb. 7, 2024. Webb is the owner of Bustle, a business dedicated to preserving, interpreting and offering antique and vintage clothing for exhibitions, private collectors or vintage enthusiasts. She also is curator of collections and exhibitions at the Roanoke History Museum and the O. Winston Link Museum, also in Roanoke. Her Longwood degree is in history and anthropology.

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A Dream Worth Following

DANISE BATISTA SUMNER ’12 is the author of Abuelita’s American Dream: A Puerto Rican Migrant’s Story, a children’s book inspired by the experiences of her great-grandmother, who moved to the United States from Puerto Rico in the 1950s. “The book explains how she had to stop going to school after second grade to take care of her younger siblings. She sacrificed everything so [her family] could have a better life,” said Sumner, who earned a degree in elementary education at Longwood and is a reading specialist at Redeemer Episcopal Day School in Midlothian, Virginia. “Because of her sacrifice, our family has become very successful. We have nurses, teachers, engineers, leaders in tech and several with higher education degrees (myself included).” Sumner said giving Hispanic themes more of a presence in children’s literature was another reason for writing the book. “Only 7 percent of children’s books have Hispanic characters,” she said. “I have had many people reach out to me, saying how much the story resonated with their family’s immigrant story.”

Ross Sumner ’12 reads the book written by his wife, Danise Batista Sumner ’12, to their children. Ross Sumner is a CPA with Adams, Jenkins & Cheatham in Midlothian and earned a degree in business administration/accounting from Longwood.

Dr. Kendall Lee ’01 was appointed to the School Board for Lunenburg County Public Schools in September 2023. Lee, whose Longwood degree is in psychology, is the director of the Infant Toddler Connection (ITC) of the Heartland, which works with families and young children in the Southside region to address developmental delays that can inhibit school readiness.

Dr. Sarah Whitley ’02 presented “FirstGeneration Student Engagement Strategies” at Arkansas Tech University on Nov. 9, 2023, as part of the university’s observance of National First-Generation College Student Celebration Week. Whitley is vice president of the Center for First-Generation Student Success, an initiative of NASPA-Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education and the Suder Foundation.

Christopher Wiles, M.S. ’02 (sociology/criminal justice), a 30-year veteran of the Danville (Virginia) Police Department, was sworn in as department chief in December 2023. During his career with the department, Wiles has held positions in patrol, criminal investigations, honor guard and the community policing unit. He has served as major of the services division, major of the operations division and as deputy chief.

It’s a privilege to serve and lead in an organization that promotes character-building, leadership and inclusivity among our youth.”

Megan Clark ’05, Prince Edward County commonwealth’s attorney, was among those honored in February as members of the Class of 2024 Influential Women of Law by Virginia Lawyers Weekly. The program honors women attorneys and judges for their excellent work on behalf of the justice system and for their clients, their commitment to their communities and their service to the profession. Clark earned a degree in communication studies at Longwood.

Jason Long ’06, who teaches U.S. history at Woodrow Wilson Middle School in Roanoke, Virginia, has been showered with awards this year. He was named Woodrow Wilson’s Teacher of the Year and then was selected as the first recipient of an Education Impact Award sponsored by Roanoke’s WSLS-Channel 10 and Blue Eagle Credit Union. The recognition comes with a $500 award, split between the recipient and their school. In addition to his teaching duties, Long is the History Bowl sponsor and the wrestling coach at his school. He earned a degree in history at Longwood.

Shannon Burks Updike ’03 was promoted to chief compliance officer at HopeTree Family Services, with locations throughout Virginia. A graduate of Longwood’s social work program and a licensed clinical social worker, she is responsible for the agency’s compliance, risk, quality and privacy efforts, including HIPAA compliance. She also will oversee HopeTree’s accreditation processes. Updike has nearly 20 years of service with HopeTree, including experience in youth services, building strategic partnerships and community outreach. She previously served as HopeTree’s program director for Therapeutic Foster Care and Adoption Services.

Emily Wilson Overstreet ’06, an art teacher at Cumberland Elementary School, was named Cumberland County Public Schools Teacher of the Year in December 2023. Overstreet is a twotime winner of the honor, having also won Cumberland’s division title in 2020. An art education and graphic design major at Longwood, she has taught at Cumberland Elementary for 15 years, working with students in kindergarten through fourth grade. “The arts can inspire students and make them excited to learn,” Overstreet told The Farmville Herald. “I want to give students a welcoming space to explore and enjoy the process of creating art or anything they put their mind to.”

Susan Hart ’04, who earned a therapeutic recreation degree from Longwood, was promoted in 2023 to become the first female scout executive for the Virginia Headwaters Council, Boy Scouts of America, which makes her the first female scout executive in the state of Virginia. “As we celebrate progress and inclusion, this moment holds a special significance not just for me personally but for the broader landscape of scouting in our state,” she said. “Presently, there are only 10 female scout executives across the 272 councils nationwide. This fact magnifies the importance of embracing diversity and representation within the scouting community.

Austin Eichelberger ’07, M.A. 09 (English), a full-time professor of English at Santa Fe (New Mexico) Community College, helped design a speakers series being held during the spring semester that he said partially served as a platform for the “overlooked voices of indigenous American writers, many

28 I LONGWOOD MAGAZINE (continued from Page 27) (continued on Page 30)
Danise Batista Sumner ’12

Hitting the Jackpot

Phys ed teacher is a big winner in Fantasy Football—and real life

He didn’t quit his job. He didn’t buy a Porsche (though he could have).

But make no mistake: The amount of money that WILLIE “WIL” MILES ’16, M.S.ED. ’17, won this past fall playing a game that’s been his passion since eighth grade was significant—and arguably life-changing.

Even so, he says winning the high-stakes 2023 National Fantasy Championship (NFC) in football wasn’t about the money. It was about besting the 990 other competitors—weeded down from 4,800 hopefuls during the “fantasy” regular season— thanks to his well-honed strategies and player selections. (He admits a bit of luck also was in that equation.)

A health and physical education teacher and soccer coach in the Powhatan public schools, Miles has sharpened his Fantasy Football skills while fielding dozens of teams each year, competing against high-school buddies, fraternity brothers, colleagues and others in the multiple leagues he frequents.

“I love football. I’ve always been geared toward watching the games and seeing how the players perform,” he said.

When asked how he captured one of Fantasy Football’s biggest prizes, Miles points to his players’ performance during Week 2 of the three-week “fantasy” playoff period. During that week, three of his players earned the most “fantasy” points for their positions: running back Breece Hall of the New York Jets; wide receiver Amari Cooper of the Cleveland Browns; and kicker Jason Sanders of the Miami Dolphins. With an additional four players who were in the top-10 for their positions, Miles accumulated 263 points during that one week of play. His final winning point total for the playoff championship was 727.31.

— WILLIE “WIL” MILES ’16, M.S.ED. ’17

But there’s something else he’s even prouder of: contributing to the success of his students and the players he coaches on the high-school and middle-school soccer teams.

And it was as the head coach of Powhatan High School’s boys varsity soccer team where Miles experienced the biggest thrill—so far—of winning in the “real” world.

What was it like to see his name at the top of the list in the final standings? “A sensational rush,” an “all-time” feeling of happiness and “something I was very proud of,” he said.

“I see teaching as being a public servant,” he said. “I was greatly influenced when I was growing up by some of the health and physical education teachers I had. I want to live up to the standards I saw in them. I am very fortunate to have a career where my commitment to teaching is intertwined with my passion for athletics.”

In 2022, he guided the Class 4 team to their first state tournament in 27 years. They lost in the quarterfinals—in four overtimes—but that in no way diminished the team’s achievement.

“They were a fantastic all-round team. Everyone in the community wanted the best for us,” said Miles, who received Coach of the Year honors. “That team solidified why I’m in this role—just to see that much joy from people who pulled together in a common experience.”

—Sabrina Brown
Courtney Vogel

In Memoriam


Marjorie Robertson Woolfolk ’38 Feb. 10, 2024


Sarah Williams Nelson ’45 Dec. 14, 2023

Louisa Dawson Smucker ’46 June 16, 2023

Mae Ballard Kmeco ’47 Nov. 5, 2023

Doris Burks Stanley ’47 Nov. 5, 2023

Ann Owen Bowling ’49 Jan. 7, 2024

Alice Jordan Campbell ’49 Sept. 23, 2023

Betty Curlee Riley ’49 Nov. 25, 2023

Elizabeth Spindler Scott ’49 Feb. 2, 2024


Cornelia Marston Cockrell ’50 Jan. 15, 2024

Patricia Davis Gray ’50 Oct. 22, 2023

Ellen Marie Moyer ’50 March 21, 2023

Phyllis Asher Neal ’50 July 12, 2023

Rebecca Virginia Yonan ’50 Jan. 24, 2024

Mary B. Gildersleeve ’51 Dec. 9, 2023

Elizabeth Starling Gravely ’51 Nov. 19, 2023

Frances Thomas Pairet ’52 Oct. 21, 2023

Inez Hughes Platt ’52 Feb. 19, 2023

Margaret Jones Born ’54 Feb. 5, 2024

Nancy Gilbert Griffin ’54 Oct. 6, 2023

Ann Edmonds Huntington ’54 Nov. 18, 2023

Elizabeth Boswell Lackey ’54 Dec. 2, 2023

Anne Glenn Savedge ’55 Oct. 29, 2023

Suzanne Prillaman Lowry ’56 Oct. 3, 2023

Nancy Hartmann Welker ’56 Jan. 12, 2024

Pocahontas Simpson Duncan ’57 Nov. 3, 2023

Barbara Roller Hardie ’57 Dec. 27, 2023

Joyce Brisentine Hicks ’57 Nov. 5, 2023

Ann Wheeler Abernathy ’58 Nov. 4, 2023

Janet Lloyd Adams ’58 Nov. 15, 2023

Elaine Chaffin Baskerville ’59 Dec. 4, 2023

Patricia Roach Dillard ’59 Jan. 17, 2024

Coreta Bennett Osborne ’59 Nov. 24, 2023


Elisabeth Ann Nixon Wilson ’60 April 8, 2023

Mary Ellen Miller ’61 Oct. 4, 2023

Ann Kovacevich Ostrander ’61 Dec. 23, 2023

Linda Payne Scarce ’61 Feb. 17, 2024

Sue Caravalla Peterson ’62 Oct. 17, 2023

Gloria Gilliam Gibson ’63 Oct. 6, 2023

Ann Greene Hodges ’63 Nov. 29, 2023

Susan Brittingham Beasley ’64 Nov. 1, 2023

Patricia Williams Hamrick ’64 Oct. 2, 2023

Barbara A. Hewitt ’64 Jan. 17, 2024

Jennie Sodero Britton ’65 Sept. 30, 2023

Betty Biddlecomb Haynie ’65 Nov. 22, 2023

Leslie House Whitehouse ’65 Nov. 1, 2023

Frances Lipford Gale ’66 Jan. 23, 2024

Olivia Gibson Jankosky ’66 Feb. 12, 2024

Sandra Franklin Bullinger ’67 Jan. 5, 2024

Patricia C. Harwood ’67 Dec. 13, 2023

Carole Dawson Kraemer ’67 Dec. 4, 2023

Polly Prince Miller ’69 Jan. 12, 2024

E. Laverne Moore ’69 Oct. 14, 2023


Joyce Taliaferro Waldo ’70 Jan. 9, 2024

Lucille Blanks Purcell ’71 Jan. 26, 2024

Susan Fauber Sihlanick ’72 April 10, 2023

Carolyn Talbot Corswandt ’73 Nov. 3, 2023

Susan M. Winstin ’74 Oct. 23, 2023

Debbie Alspaugh McCormick ’75 Nov. 27, 2023

Marilyn Shull Fore ’78 Nov. 9, 2023

Edith Wagner Humphries ’78 Dec. 17, 2023

Lynn Whitt Schubert ’78 Dec. 21, 2023

Kathy Garber Wray ’78 Dec. 29, 2023

Martha Jo Stine Campbell ’79 April 20, 2023

Jayne Amory Marshall ’79 Jan. 26, 2024


Terry Lee Holt ’80 Feb. 11, 2024

Helen Wilmer Loveday ’83 Feb. 16, 2024

Audrey Chandler Powell ’84 Jan. 29, 2024

Susan R. Kutt ’85 March 29, 2023

Dewayne Alan Walker ’85 Jan. 22, 2024

Constance Byerly Yerger ’86 Jan. 23, 2024

Robert Edmund Liessem ’87 Feb. 14, 2024

Timothy Lee Ruggles ’88 Jan. 28, 2024


Barbara McCrary Johnson ’93 Jan. 2, 2024

John Vincent Bonner ’96 Sept. 29, 2023

Kurt Mason Fichte ’97 Oct. 26, 2023

Leanne Burnop Fisher ’97 Nov. 15, 2023

Thomas Jefferson Powers III ’97 Nov. 14, 2023

Steven L. Turner ’98 Aug. 16, 2023

Jeffrey Todd Girardi ’99 Jan. 10, 2024


Lonnie Chandell Reavis ’01 Nov. 4, 2023

Maureen Ann Crane ’04 Oct. 21, 2023


Amanda Hope Windsor ’13 Oct. 10, 2023

Faculty, Staff and Friends

Jackson Lee Blanton Jan. 6, 2024

Betty A. Bowman Dec. 20, 2023

Raymond E. Brann Feb. 2, 2024

Gordon Albert Bray Jan. 3, 2024

Margaret H. Hargrove Nov. 17, 2023

Madison Vernon Hubbard Nov. 24, 2023

Dorothy A. “Dot” McMillian Oct. 2, 2023

Charles H. Nunnally Jan. 19, 2024

Carolyn Wells Dec. 18, 2023

Bennie R. Wiley Oct. 31, 2023

Robert S. Wu Dec. 28, 2023

of whom are creating mind-blowing work that bucks the conventions of mainstream American writing and entertainment in beautiful and meaningful ways.” Titled The Writing Generation, the series has included readings as well as sessions where attendees are given prompts and time to write. The final presentation, set for May 1, will feature readings by attendees. Eichelberger earned his undergraduate degree from Longwood in theatre. He also holds an MFA in creative writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe.

Amanda Hope Windsor ’13, who earned a degree in social work from Longwood, died Oct. 10, 2023. In her obituary, her family remembered her for “her love of all things beautiful—the water, music, artistic expression, dancing, conversations and cooking… . She played an awesome game of softball, a force behind and at the plate. Amanda so loved her softball and swim teammates, her sorority sisters, her countless friends and, most especially, her baby boy. Amanda spoke the pure, genuine truth, whether you liked it or not, and she could mix up a mean cocktail.”

Amy Ashberry ’09, who works year-round collecting donations and packing shoeboxes with gifts for underprivileged children in more than 170 countries, was named the 2023 honorary chairman of the Mathews (Virginia) Ruritan Club’s Christmas Blessing Fund. A native of Mathews, she teaches kindergarten at Mathews Elementary School. Her Longwood degree is in liberal studies/elementary education.

Scooter Buhrman ’09 is the new general manager of the Tobacco Road Golf Club in Sanford, North Carolina. He stepped into the position in fall 2023, taking responsibility for overseeing golf operations, agronomy, food and beverage, retail, and sales and marketing. Buhrman has more than a decade of experience in golf and hospitality management. He previously was the head golf professional at Champion Hills Club in Hendersonville, North Carolina, for four years, and had held a similar position at the Gates Four Golf and Country Club in Fayetteville, North Carolina. A member of the Longwood golf team as a student, he played professional golf for two years. Buhrman is a Class A PGA professional and is active with the Carolinas Section PGA. He earned a degree in business administration/ marketing from Longwood.

Katie McQuain Lane ’09 is the events and experiences manager for Campbell County Public Library System. In that position, she travels to all four libraries in the county and also helps plan community events, including the Rustburg Street Fair, her biggest event of the year, which attracts more than 1,000 people. She’s also working through her organization, Bringing Animal Renovations to Campbell County, on efforts to build a new animal shelter. After receiving her liberal studies degree in elementary and middle education, she began her professional life as a teacher in several Virginia school districts, including Danville, Richmond, Pittsylvania County and Henrico County.

Curtis Price ’09, principal of Manteo (North Carolina) Elementary School, was named 2023 Principal of the Year for the Dare County Schools. A biology major at Longwood, he previously taught science at the secondary level in Manteo. Dare County Superintendent Steve Basnight sees Price as an outstanding young administrator with a bright future. “He’s willing to look at possibilities. He’s willing to try new

(continued from Page 28)

things. He’s willing to get it wrong and then step back and look at what went wrong and fix it. He works well in his community. He’s seen everywhere. He supports his staff, and he’s fantastic with kids.” Price says he’s in the job he always dreamed of. “It’s been a lifelong dream to be in a position of influence for kids. Really and truly, my passion is about making an impact on every kid, every student who walks in the door,” he said. “I want them to have an everlasting memory of their school principal.”


Colleen Nichols ’10 is the author of Don’t Make It Weird: an Entrepreneur’s Guide to Being Human on the Internet. The book strives to “teach you how to bring your whole personality—the mess, awkward and mundane—to your online presence to create true connection and community.” Nichols was a psychology major at Longwood.

Cameron Patterson ’10, M.S. ’17 (college and community counseling), was appointed to the Brown v. Board of Education Scholarship Awards Committee by Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin in November 2023. Patterson is Longwood’s vice president for student affairs and senior partner for strategic initiatives with the Moton Museum.

Erica Yelland ’10, a former public relations coordinator for Virginia Beach City Public Schools, was named the new director of communications of Fauquier County Public Schools in October 2023. Yelland comes to the Fauquier schools with more than 11 years of communications experience, including 2-1/2 years with the Virginia Beach City Public Schools. She also previously served in the U.S. Navy as a mass communications manager. Her Longwood degree is in graphic design; she also earned an MBA from Strayer University.

Lauren Smiley Sexton ’12 was named 2023 Teacher of the Year for Kempsville High School in Virginia Beach, Virginia, where she teaches mathematics. A graduate of Kemps-

ville herself, Sexton was recognized as an innovative math educator who has taken the reins teaching a geometry project-based learning class and for having a positive impact on the school as the senior class sponsor. Her Longwood degree is in mathematics.

Rebecca Van Hook ’12 teaches first grade at Glebe Elementary School in Arlington, Virginia. But it’s much more than a job for her. “I’ve fallen in love with first grade,” says the Arlington educator, who has been teaching at Glebe for 10 years. “I just love how much they grow within that one year.” Northern Virginia Magazine featured Van Hook in its September 2023 issue, naming her a finalist in their Teacher of the Year awards. In the story, parents and grandparents gave her rave reviews for helping their children not only learn to read but also love to read—and love to learn.

Jenny Morris ’14 feels like she’s back where she belongs after a six-year detour from South Boston Speedway. “I have always thought of South Boston Speedway as home,” said Morris, as she looked forward to beginning her new role as the speedway’s senior director of guest services and administration on Nov. 1, 2023. She had begun her career in auto racing at South Boston in 2007 and spent a decade there learning the ropes, from event planning to race-day duties to timing and scoring. She later worked for a couple of other regional racetracks and spent two years with NASCAR as a timing and scoring official from 2016 to 2018. At NASCAR, she worked directly with race directors in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, the NASCAR Xfinity Series, the NASCAR Cup Series and other NASCAR touring series in race control. Then she completely left the sport, working four years as a payroll manager for a construction company. When South Boston’s management approached her about the senior director opening, she was ready to come back to the track. Morris’ degree from Longwood is in communication studies.

Super Heroes. Lia Fisher-Janosz, M.Ed. ’22 (school librarianship), is committed to helping students think big thoughts. This year the school librarian at Sharon Elementary in Clifton Forge, Virginia, is using the theme of heroes to help students more deeply understand reading and language arts concepts. Through conversations in the library, students are learning how to ask truly intriguing questions about their heroes— an inspiring overall concept, wrote Kim Halterman, superintendent of Alleghany Highlands Public Schools, in a story on the district’s website. Fisher-Janosz, 2022 Librarian of the Year for the Roanoke Region of the Virginia Association of School Librarians, said the “‘big idea’ of heroes and heroism is particularly meaningful, as it places emphasis on humanity’s very best qualities, such as bravery, determination, empathy, selflessness. Heroes can be found in every culture, every walk of life, and they are role models for all of us, a positive force in a world that seems to be increasingly negative and divided.”

SPRING 2024 I 31 CLASS NOTES (continued on Page 32)
Jeff Heeney/Northern Virginia Magazine Courtesy of Lia Fisher-Janosz, M.Ed. ’22

Jayme Gagne ’16 and Wes Hyslop ’15 were married Sept. 29, 2023, at The Mill at Fine Creek in Powhatan, Virginia. Gagne earned degrees in social work and psychology; Hyslop was a business administration/ management major. Celebrating the nuptials in Lancer style were Franklin Marrs ’17 (left), Molly Trivelpiece ’15, Greg Ewing ’15, Lindsey Haas ’15, M.E. ’16 (reading, literacy and learning), James Haas ’15, Franchesca Soliven Branch ’15, Tom Armstrong ’15, Wes Hyslop (the groom), Ian Douglas ’17, Jayme Gagne Hyslop (the bride), Ryan Branch ’15, Kim Deutsch

Elias ’14, Molly Moomau

Jacobs ’15, Matt Doxey ’15, Shannon Dougherty ’15, Sterling Oliver ’15 and Jenny Miller Doxey ’15.

Leslie Bretz ’16 , a Longwood communication studies graduate, joined Washington & Lee University’s Communications and Public Affairs office as social media marketing manager.

Taylor O’Bier ’16 is a digital content producer for Scripps News. Prior to joining the national team, she spent several years producing digital content for Scripps News Richmond and an NBC-affiliate TV station in Norfolk, Virginia. O’Bier is passionate about writing stories on trending topics and issues surrounding equity, diversity and inclusion. A Longwood communication studies/digital media graduate, she has won several Virginia Press Association awards for her newswriting and photography.

Sara Clark ’18 married Colin McLaughlin Oct. 14, 2023, in Smithfield, Virginia, at Windsor’s Castle Park. Kristen Holland ’18 was the matron of honor. The couple resides in Suffolk, Virginia, where Sara is the recreational therapist at Riverside Rehabilitation Hospital. Her Longwood degree is in therapeutic recreation.


Andrew Larsen ’20, M.S. ’23 (counselor education), is a school counselor at Chesterfield County’s Falling Creek Middle School. He currently is working toward becoming a licensed professional counselor (LPC) as he prepares for his residency in counseling.

Dalton Rudd ’20, who earned a degree in business administration at Longwood, has reopened his membership-based woodworking business, Workbench RVA, in a 2,900-squarefoot location at 3310 Rosedale Ave. in Richmond, Virginia. For a monthly fee, Workbench provides woodworkers with tools—including a variety of saws, lathes and drill presses—as well as a space to create.

Holden Allen ’22 will be heading to Florida State University’s doctoral program in communication sciences and disorders after receiving his master’s degree in speech-language pathology from Longwood this May. He has received a full scholarship and stipend from FSU. Allen, whose bachelor’s degree from Longwood also is in communication sciences and disorders, received the Dan Daniel Senior Award for Scholarship and Citizenship as an undergraduate.

Jade O’Connor ’21 and Dr. Chris Bjornsen, Longwood professor of psychology, collaborated on a study focused on body image, eating and emotional concerns of female athletes. Results of the research, which included data from 150 female collegiate athletes, was published in November 2023 in the Canadian Journal of Behavioral Science, a publication of the American Psychological Association. After completing her psychology degree at Longwood, O’Connor went on to earn a master’s degree in sport and exercise psychology at Springfield (Massachusetts) College and is now the assistant director and mental performance coach for the Coppermine Lacrosse Club in Baltimore, Maryland.

Humza Shaikh, MBA ’22, was promoted to director of dining services for Highland Springs, a continuing care retirement community in Dallas, Texas. Shaikh has worked at Highland Springs for nine years, starting as a student server, then progressing through more responsible positions and most recently as the assistant director of dining services.

Stephon Slater ’23, a photography major at Longwood, joined the Lancer women’s basketball program as the team’s director of creative content. “He tells our team’s story through his artistic creativity. Lancer Nation will be able to stay connected to our program in real time,” said head coach Erika Lang-Montgomery. Slater worked with both basketball programs while he was a Longwood student. In 2022, he was awarded College Photographer of the Year Gold in Illustration by the University of Missouri and also earned a Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Undergraduate Fellowship. Slater has worked as a freelance photographer and videographer in both Hampton and Virginia Beach.

32 I LONGWOOD MAGAZINE (continued from Page 31)

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