A P U B L I C AT I O N O F T H E R E V E S C E N T E R F O R I N T E R N AT I O N A L S T U D I E S AT W I L L I A M & M A R Y
VOL. 8, NO. 2, SPRING 2016
Rock Music Oman PROFESSORS RASMUSSEN & BAILEY DECIDE TO SHAKE THINGS UP
ALSO: THE “GHOST POSTERS” COLLECTION AT SWEM LIBRARY LIGO ANNOUNCES DISCOVERY OF GRAVITATIONAL WAVES
A PUBLICATION OF THE REVES CENTER FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDIES AT WILLIAM & MARY VOL. 8, NO. 2, SPRING 2016
FROM the DIRECTOR AROUND the WORLD
Established in 1989, the Reves Center for International Studies is today one of the premier centers for globalization in U.S. higher education. Its mission is to support and promote the internationalization of learning, teaching, research and community involvement at William & Mary through programs for education abroad, international students and scholars, and global engagement across the university.
Alumnus Profile: Q&A with Matthew Long ’98
AidData project unveils China’s mysterious African development strategy
Roa-Varón represents international students at VIMS & abroad
William & Mary is the number one public university for undergraduate study abroad participation, with over 50 percent of the university’s undergraduates studying outside the U.S. before graduation. This year, more than 800 international students and scholars from nearly 60 countries have come to William & Mary. And the Reves Center encourages and assists numerous international strategic initiatives across the university, including the William & Mary Confucius Institute, which offers Chinese language and cultural activities to the campus and community, and the Institute for the Theory & Practice of International Relations, co-sponsored by the Faculty of Arts & Sciences, which supports faculty and student collaborations to find solutions to pressing global problems.
Reves Center Advisory Board
Rock Music Oman
Michael R. Blakey ’98
Richard C. Kraemer, Jr. ’94
iGEM Grand Prize: Try to grasp ‘the magnitude of what they have achieved’
Lee Welton Croll, Ph.D. ’95
Leslie McCormack Gathy ’88
Timothy P. Dunn ’83, Chair
Judy P. Nance ’69
Harriet M. Fulbright, DPS ’08
Luis H. Navas ’82
Richard W. Gates ’94
John E. Osborn ’79
Barbara Glacel ’70, Vice Chair
Sharon K. Philpott ’85
John F. Greenwood ’98
Thomas Reiser ’73
Michael S. Holtzman ’92
G. Hartwell Hylton ’72
Elizabeth M. Weithman, Ph.D. ’87
R. Marc Johnson ’04
7 11 15 18 19 20 23 24
The “Ghost Posters” Collection Celeste A. Wallander Delivers the George Tayloe Ross Address on International Peace LIGO announces discovery of gravitational waves
NEW in PRINT MILESTONES FACULTY FELLOWS
United Kingdom The Plains, VA
Washington, DC Richmond, VA Oak Hill, VA
New York, NY
Williamsburg, VA Darien, CT
Mohammad Koochekzadeh Chesapeake, VA
United Kingdom Jupiter, FL Miami, FL
White Salmon, WA Houston, TX
Williamsburg, VA Vienna, VA
Virginia Beach, VA
FROM THE DIRECTOR
n this interconnected and unpredictable world, it is often hard to see how any individual’s actions can make a tangible, positive difference. Daunting global challenges, including cascading financial crises, accelerating climate change, and the spread of anti-Western terrorist networks, have combined to make many people feel overwhelmed and powerless. Thus it is important for those of us at leading global universities like William & Mary not only to analyze the complex trends changing the planet, but also to empower students and faculty to envision and build a better global future.
(’65) at Charter Day in 2012 was a profoundly moving experience.
Ambassador Fritts, too, was a remarkable man. Bob quickly rose to the top ranks of the United States Foreign Service, serving as U.S. Ambassador to Rwanda and Ghana as well as several high-ranking positions at the State Department. Bob’s understanding of the nuances of African politics and societies was second to none. And like Jim Bill, Bob was an institution-builder. In his retirement in Williamsburg, Bob worked tirelessly Stephen E. Hanson to promote the Reves Center as well as the Public Policy Program, servVice Provost for International Affairs I’ve been reflecting on the impact of ing with distinction on the Advisory Director, Reves Center for visionary leaders lately due to the reBoards for both institutions. I owe International Studies cent passing of two such individuals: a deep personal debt to Bob, as he Professor James A. Bill, the Founding was a member of the search comDirector of the Reves Center for International Studies, and mittee that hired me. I will never forget driving back Ambassador Robert Fritts, who served with distinction for to the airport with Bob after completing my on-campus many years on the Reves Advisory Board. I was privileged interview, and learning that we were both alumni of our to get to know them both after my arrival in Williamsburg respective collegiate men’s glee clubs. Not many job in 2011. Jim Bill was a towering figure in international interviews end with a road trip spent singing old colstudies. One of the nation’s leading specialists on Iranian lege songs in rousing two-part harmony! Today, W&M’s and Middle Eastern politics, Jim’s analysis and advice was extraordinary strengths in the field of global public policy as highly sought after in Washington as in academia. His are a testament to Bob’s wise counsel and tireless support. brilliance and charm immediately struck everyone he met— The extraordinarily lives of Professor Jim Bill and and this played a crucial role in motivating Wendy Reves to Ambassador Bob Fritts truly demonstrate the power of contribute the generous gift that established the Reves Cenindividuals to change the world for the better. At the ter. Jim’s inspiring, dedicated leadership ensured that the Reves Center and across William & Mary, we will strive to center would benefit many future generations of W&M studevelop another generation of globally-engaged leaders to dents and faculty. To see Jim receive an honorary doctorate advance their great legacy. from President Taylor Reveley and Chancellor Robert Gates
World Minded Staff
On the Cover
Editor: Kate Hoving, Public Relations Manager, Reves Center for International Studies
The William & Mary group with faculty at the Sultan Qaboos University in Muscat, Oman. Photo courtesy Pablo Yáñez
Contributing Writers: Áine Cain ’16, The Flat Hat, Erin Fryer, University News & Media; Cortney Langley, University News & Media; Joseph McClain, University News & Media; Mackenzie Neal ‘18, AidData; Amanda Sikirica ’16, The Flat Hat Graphic Designer: Rachel Follis, University Web & Design
AROUND THE WORLD
Alumnus Abroad A Q&A WITH MATT LONG ‘98
AN EXPERIENTIAL LUXURY
What was your major at William & Mary? BA in Government.
SHARES HIS ADVENTURES
Hometown? Salem, Virginia.
TRAVELER AT HEART, MATT LONG
WITH THOUSANDS OF
READERS EVERY DAY THROUGH
HIS AWARD-WINNING SITE
LANDLOPERS.COM. AS SOMEONE WHO HAS A BAD CASE OF THE
TRAVEL BUG, MATT TRAVELS THE
WORLD IN ORDER TO SHARE TIPS ON WHERE TO GO, WHAT TO SEE AND
HOW TO EXPERIENCE THE BEST THE WORLD HAS TO OFFER. BASED IN
WASHINGTON, DC, MATT HAS BEEN TO MORE THAN 70 COUNTRIES
AND ALL 7 CONTINENTS.
Did you study abroad during college? Sadly no, I did not. I did, however, participate in Reves Center activities, and my main focus of study was international relations. I went on to graduate from the University of Kentucky’s Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce with an MA in International Relations. How did you get into travel blogging? At first it was a creative outlet, but it quickly became much more. With two degrees focusing on international relations, foreign affairs was always my first love but I somehow found myself in DC working on domestic policy. I didn’t enjoy it and the web site allowed me the opportunity to “reset” my career. How do you schedule your travels? I do a lot of work with companies and destinations but my trips are always places that interest me, whether for cultural reasons or for the raw, natural beauty.
Saying Goodbye To An Old Friend: Why A Passport Is More Than Paper Matt Long ’98
e tend to ignore those things in our lives that mean the most to us. I barely think twice about my car, and yet without it I’d be stuck at home all day. Similarly other little devices of convenience go without even a nod of token appreciation, including the passport. Last week I took the metro into downtown Washington, DC in order to relinquish a friend of nearly a decade, my passport. Tattered, overflowing with stamps and visas and falling apart to the degree that immigration officials always give it a closer look to make sure it’s real. Yes, it’s time to say goodbye to that great travel companion and to welcome a new addition to my traveling family, but first I wanted to reflect a little on what passports really are and how very important they are to us on an emotional level.
The often forgotten passport reaches new levels of alienation in the U.S., where only about 38% of us even own one. Compare that to other Western nations with rates as high as 80-90%, and we as a country are definitely behind on international travel. We don’t give this small book of power the respect it deserves and while I wish that would change, I know it will be a long process. But it’s already happening. When I first wrote about passports a few years ago, the national ownership average was around 33%. So, the fact that today in 2016 it’s 38% is definite progress, but it’s not good enough. We need to encourage as many people as possible to do a couple of things in their lives: 1) use all of their vacation
days and 2) get a passport. It should be a rite of passage for kids to get their first passport. Whether or not they use it is beside the point, having it in your possession, owning it confers a power that many people simply disregard. MY FIRST PASSPORT
My first passport was green since I was a minor; I’m not sure if they still do it that way, but it was an exciting moment to open it for the very first time and see all of the blank pages, imagining the places I would go. Turns out it wasn’t very many. I got the passport for an exchange program in high school when I spent a month in Paris, living with a family and getting to know the city for the first time. It was my first trip overseas and I couldn’t have been more excited. That was the only time I used that junior passport though and it wasn’t until my last year in college when I needed to get my first adult version. Even though I’ve always had a fierce desire to travel and see the world, I haven’t always had the ability to do so and that was definitely the case in college. So I saved, I worked as many jobs as I could fit into my schedule until I finally had enough money to spend 5 weeks after university graduation backpacking around the UK. It was a transformative experience and a personal one, learning a lot more about myself and preparing for the next chapter of my life. That’s what travel can be sometimes, a way to mark beginnings or ends in a way no other experience can, and throughout it all the only friend I had along the way was my dear passport.
MORE THAN A DOCUMENT, IT’S A GOLDEN TICKET
When I was a kid, instead of rock stars gracing the walls of my room, I had flags and maps. This desire to travel and see the world is just part of who I am – a big part. Maybe that’s why I’ve always seen my passport as being something more than just a collection of pages and stamps, but it really is a Golden Ticket. Just like Charlie Bucket in Willy Wonka, when I got my first passport it really was a Golden Ticket to go off and see the world. At least, it has the potential to do just that. Having it is freedom on a level the likes of which the world has never known. Even if you don’t use it all that often, just having it is important. Being able to go anywhere and do anything you want at the drop of a hat is the ultimate freedom, and it’s an enlightening one at that. It’s our ticket to see and learn and experience more than we ever thought possible, much less knew about. In a modern age where anything can be learned with a few keystrokes, it offers the type of knowledge impossible to find online. It’s a very personal knowledge; one that helps us grow and evolve as people and in the process, have a good time too. No, passports are much more than the sum of their parts, they are one of the few objects we have in our possession that can actually do real and definable good. They’re powerful, and that’s why today I am sorry to see my old one go, but am incredibly excited to see where the new one will take me.
(originally posted on Matt’s blog, Landlopers.com)
AROUND THE WORLD
AidData project unveils China’s African development strategy WHEN AUSTIN STRANGE ASKED A SIMPLE QUESTION ABOUT CHINESE FOREIGN ASSISTANCE, HE HAD NO IDEA THE RIPPLE EFFECT IT WOULD HAVE ON THE WORLD. by Mackenzie Neal ‘18, AidData
n 2011, Austin Strange ’12 was an undergraduate studying economics and Chinese language at William & Mary while also working as a research assistant at AidData, a development research and innovation lab based at the university. Austin wanted to know: Where was China spending its international development dollars, and why? Was China investing in Africa to get something in return? “At the time, I thought China’s behavior in the developing world could reveal important clues about its own domestic politics as well its international intentions,” Strange said. AidData’s Executive Director, Brad Parks, and ITPIR Director, Michael Tierney, had similar questions, and proposed that Strange pursue an independent study project to better understand China’s global development footprint in Africa. Tierney and Parks were particularly intrigued with the idea. AidData had spent the previous 10 years developing a comprehensive database of development finance, but most of those donors were transparent, conforming to international norms and reporting to relevant international organizations. China, however, discloses few details about its overseas development activities. Parks initially agreed to supervise the independent study project, and after he and Strange developed an innovative financial tracking methodology, Tierney saw the game-changing potential of their idea. Tierney stepped in and found funding to help Strange assemble a team of 15 student research assistants. These fellow W&M students
Grassroots research: AidData research associate Austin Strange ‘12 visited Kampala, Uganda, in 2013 to conduct on-the-ground research about China’s aid to Africa. Courtesy AidData
volunteered their time for 10 weeks during the summer of 2012, and the university agreed to provide them with free summer housing to support the initiative. Their goal was simple: to establish proof of the concept that the new open-source methodology was a viable way to comprehensively track Chinese development projects across the African continent. Four years later, AidData’s “Tracking Chinese Development Finance” program, a long-term data collection and research initiative, has mobilized nearly $1 million in outside funding and is now supported by full time project managers, nearly a dozen faculty affiliates from universities around the world and a team of more than 20 research assistants. AidData’s research on China has been published in the Journal of Conflict Resolution and the Journal of Development Studies and it is regularly cited by media, including The Washington
Post, Foreign Affairs, The National Interest, The Economist, BBC, Reuters, Agence France-Presse, China Daily, Al Jazeera and investigative reporting by journalists throughout Africa. “This has been the most exciting project I have ever worked on,” Strange said. “We found that China provided a diverse array of aid to the developing world. Compared to Western donors, it gave less official development assistance but other kinds of aid, like loans for infrastructure projects. It was eye-opening to see just how diverse and deep China’s presence is in Africa’s development.” Strange’s question, resulting methodology and the investment Parks and Tierney made in the project has affected the global policy debate, challenging widely-held assumptions and refuting misconceptions about China’s activity in Africa. The resulting research has made news in China, too. When AidData released
its first major Chinese aid dataset in 2013, the Wangyi Chinese domestic news site ran a feature story on the research findings, and it became the most popular news item throughout mainland China. More than 2,500 visitors commented and almost 120,000 users participated in the online discussion by either commenting or “dinging” (similar to “likes”). “William & Mary is unique in that it treats undergraduate students as scholars in their own right,” Parks said. “They get the opportunity to work one-on-one or in small groups with faculty to pursue cutting-edge research projects with real-world applications. Austin’s example is a powerful one, but there are many more.” “Austin is a great example of a William & Mary student who not only had a great idea,” Tierney said, “but also had the determination to implement the idea so that it has now become a public good for researchers, journalists, policymakers and even the intended beneficiaries of aid. This project shows how anyone at the university – whether an undergraduate student, a professional staff member, or a grey-haired professor – can have an impact on an organization, an academic discipline, and possibly even the world.” Strange is now pursuing a doctorate at Harvard University, specializing in international relations and Chinese foreign policy. He continues to serve as an AidData research associate. AidData continues to add to its database of nearly 2,650 Chinese development projects in 51 African countries worth approximately $94 billion. Early in the spring of 2016, AidData will release similar datasets on China’s development finance activities in Asia and Latin America. None of this would have happened without the idea and initiative of a 20-yearold student at William & Mary.
Roa-Varón represents international students at VIMS & abroad ACCORDING TO ADEL A ROA-VARÓN, SUCCESS IN ACADEMIA REQUIRES THE ABILIT Y TO FIND AND SELECT THE BEST
TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES, EVEN IF THEY ARE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD. by Erin Fryer
Ph.D. student at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Roa-Varón has traveled the globe pursuing her research. She says her experiences as an international student combined with her passion for science has opened her eyes to the importance of international collaborations. “Research at an international level helps gain new perspectives in your field of study, and makes you aware of the potential for different approaches,” says Roa-Varón. “It also facilitates communication that goes beyond language differences by learning others’ perspectives.” Originally from Bogotá, Colombia, Roa-Varón is the international student representative in William
& Mary’s School of Marine Science at VIMS and a member of W&M’s International Student Advisory Board. As such, she plays an important role in increasing community awareness of other cultures and expanding the perspectives of those around her. Roa-Varón has been collaborating with scientists on an international level since her time as an undergraduate at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, when she worked with Dr. Tomio Iwamoto at the California Academy of Sciences and identified mid-water larvae at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard. “These opportunities helped me decide what to pursue for my graduate research, set up international collaborations, and exposed me to different
AROUND THE WORLD proposal for the EAPSI fellowship. “I was lucky that they were offering an introduction to the Chinese language,” says Roa-Varón. “It was very helpful for me to learn some basic expressions, not only to show respect by addressing people in their own language, but also because it helped break cultural barriers.” While she says the class helped, Roa-Varón reveals that the language barrier was one of the biggest challenges she faced. “The language issue impacted every aspect of life, and the challenges started immediately after I got off of the plane,” she says. Adela Roa-Varón in the lab during her summer research fellowship at the University of Shanghai. Photo courtesy of Adela Roa-Varón
working environments,” she says. Roa-Varón brought her worldliness to another level this summer during a two-month stint in Shanghai, China funded by the National Science Foundation’s prestigious East Asia and Pacific Summer Institute for U.S. Graduate Students. EAPSI is a residency program that provides selected students in science, engineering, and education first-hand research experience with a host scientist in Australia, China, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, or Taiwan. Roa-Varón’s dissertation research— under the mentorship of professor Eric Hilton—focuses on resolving the evolutionary relationships among and between hakes and other related fishes such as cod and haddock. She says the EAPSI experience gave her the opportunity to learn a specialized technique in molecular genetics that she is using for her dissertation, and from one of the technique’s pioneers—Dr. Chenhong Li, a professor in the College of Fisheries and Life Science at the University of Shanghai. “During my two months in China, I learned the molecular technique, but also collected data I hope can be incorporated into my dissertation as a separate chapter,” says Roa-Varón. “Additionally, I had the opportunity to collaborate with a graduate student in Dr. Li’s lab, and
expect at least two publications as a result of these cooperative efforts.” The molecular tool that Roa-Varón mastered during her time in China—a protein-coding, gene-capture approach in conjunction with Next Generation Sequencing (NGS)—will help clarify the relationships among different species of hake, knowledge that will help managers better manage hake stocks. “Some hake species are of conservation concern, and their unresolved alpha taxonomy and the lack of diagnostic characters have led to mixed-species in landings data, making management and conservation difficult,” says Roa-Varón. “I hope the results of my dissertation will be useful to fisheries management.” Hake is a popular seafood in Europe, particularly in Spain, but overfishing and other factors have sharply reduced hake stocks in the southerly waters where most reside. CHALLENGES AND REWARDS OF INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH
In her role as an international ambassador at W&M and VIMS, Roa-Varón tries to assist as much as possible with the activities organized by the Reves Center for International Studies and the Confucius Institute, and says she began searching for Chinese classes through the Confucius Institute’s offerings as soon as she submitted her
Roa-Varón describes the challenge of not knowing the language as the closest she has ever felt to being illiterate. “I couldn’t talk, write, or read,” she says. “It makes you feel vulnerable, and it forces you to trust others more than you ever thought you would have to.” While she admits her travel experience was difficult at times, Roa-Varón says China is one of the world’s most fascinating civilizations, and everyday brought exciting new experiences. Aside from the amazing sights and cuisine, Roa-Varón says one of the most lovable social norms in China is everyone’s eagerness to help, and even the individuals who spoke only halting English would try their hardest to assist her beyond her expectations. “Research experiences abroad not only foster necessary skills in a given field, but they also lay the foundation for establishing a global network of collaborators,” says Roa-Varón. “You have the opportunity to get in contact with a new group of scientists, and it helps to break down barriers between fields to build common ground.” “I am sincerely honored and grateful to have been awarded with the EAPSI fellowship,” she says. “It encouraged me to keep moving forward with my research, provided me the opportunity to experience a different culture, and allowed me to discover and enjoy China. Moreover, I have grown as an individual, becoming even more independent and culturally aware.”
Mingling at the Muzayanat al Ibl, a camel beauty pageant in Oman’s western desert.
ROCK MUSIC OMAN
RASMUSSEN & BAILEY DECIDE TO SHAKE THINGS UP
BAILEY AND RASMUSSEN, AND VIDEO/PHOTO CHRONICLER PABLO YÁÑEZ, IMMERSED THEMSELVES IN THE GEOLOGY,
HISTORY AND CULTURE OF OMAN. AND NOT SINCE BJÖRK EMERGED FROM THE SAND TO SHUFFLE AROUND THE
TECTONIC PL ATES IN HER CHEST IN HER “MUTUAL CORE”
VIDEO, HAVE GEOLOGY AND MUSIC COME TOGETHER TO SUCH ASTOUNDING EFFECT. by Kate Hoving Anne Rasmussen, Professor of Music/Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, and Christopher “Chuck” Bailey, Chair of the Geology Department
he program, “Natural History and Culture of Oman” (also known affectionately by its participants as Rock Music Oman) was the first study abroad collaboration by Christopher “Chuck” Bailey, Chair of the Geology Department, and Anne Rasmussen, Professor of Music/ Asian and Middle Eastern Studies.
Their vision resulted not only in a great plan coming together, but also a model for future interdisciplinary collaborations. It took perseverance, creativity and time, though. In fact, it was just about the same time Björk was releasing that video that the process began.
SUM GREATER THAN THE PARTS
It started in 2010-2011, when Rasmussen conducted a few research trips to Oman while on sabbatical. She quickly realized that Oman offers wonderful opportunities for a study abroad experience. It has been a maritime crossroads between South and Southeast Asia, East Africa, and the Mediterranean and Arab World for centuries, and Omanis have a rich distinctive culture and a vibrant traditional arts scene that reflects longtime interactions across the desert and around the Indian Ocean. “Globalization has been going on here for thousands of years. It’s a place to study the world,” says Rasmussen. Inspiration struck while driving through the countryside with her family. “My husband, who is a geologist, kept pointing out one fascinating thing after another,” Rasmussen remembers. So I got together with Chuck Bailey and said, ‘You’ve got to get on this Oman vector.’”
Bailey understood immediately. “Oman’s ophiolites offer a geologic experience unlike any in the world.” It turns out the Oman Ophiolite – stretches of land that expose rocks from the earth’s mantle – is the most exposed and the largest in the world. “As a structural geologist, I’m very interested in the architecture of the earth, how the earth’s crust is put together and how it came to be that way,” Bailey explains. “I wanted to better understand the processes at work that took this chunk of deep mantle and actually thrust it up onto the continent.” Bailey also thought it would be an interesting lesson in sustainability. “This is a desert environment, with only 100-200 millimeters of rain a year – 1/10 of eastern North America,” Bailey adds. “The Omanis have had to be very smart about water resources, how one grows crops, even how one dresses, so I think this could be an extraordinarily eye-opening experience for W&M students.”
With Bailey now intrigued, in 2014 Rasmussen secured a grant from the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center in Washington, DC, to bring a group of W&M student musicians for 10-12 days in Oman. They studied Omani music and performed three concerts. Bailey scheduled his own research trip at the same, accompanied by W&M Geology Department Research Fellow Alex Johnson ’13. Bailey and Johnson would conduct their research during the day, exploring sites like Wadi Bani Ghai, “Then we’d come in from the field, clean up, change our clothes and meet up with Rasmussen’s musicians at concerts,” Bailey recollects. Bailey found that although the ophiolite was what attracted him originally, he realized that “Omanis were so warm and embracing that it would be a spectacular place to bring some W&M students for a field program. We realized the sum would be greater than its parts and had the idea to combine the natural history as well as the culture.”
Rasmussen and Bailey met with countless Omani and U.S. officials (including the U.S. Ambassador at the time, Greta Holtz), geologists, musicians and higher education officials, asking for advice about logistics and protocol and ways they could pull it all together. Although Rasmussen had extensive connections and experience in Oman and the Arab world, it was still a serious undertaking to create a new interdisciplinary experience. “I wouldn’t have done it on my own, frankly,” Rasmussen admitted. Once they returned to the U.S. they realized they needed collaboration on an institutional level to turn their vision into a bona fide (or legitimate) study abroad experience.
Dhows on the Gulf of Oman with Sur in the distance.
WORKING WITH THE GLOBAL EDUCATION OFFICE
“For the next year we sent around various emails and had meetings with the Reves Center for International Studies, who have been incredibly supportive of our fantasy to do this,” Rasmussen explains. “The Global Education Office (GEO) was pleased to partner with Professors Bailey and Rasmussen to support the Oman program,” says Sylvia Mitterndorfer, Director of GEO. “We were able to provide institutional support and structure in line with W&M faculty-led summer programs in the areas of program administration, scholarship, finances, risk management, and student support.” That support came in the person of Ebony Majeed, newly-hired Global Education Special Programs Advisor, who learned on her first day at Reves, September 17, 2015, that her task was to make the Oman trip a reality in time for a January 2 departure. “My job was to handle the nitty gritty and figure out how to turn it into a fully-supported W&M study abroad program.”
Ibri Fort, Ibri Oman. This traditional music and dance genre, Maidan, is popular in the central region of the country. The dance is unique for its somewhat theatrical choreography and the participation of women and men. The group enjoyed it immensely as the female dancers invited them to participate in recognizing the beauty of the individual dancers by putting tips on their heads as they moved by and then later, by inviting them into the circle to dance. The evening of local music and folkloric performance was organized by local hosts Ahmed Sueidan al-Balushi and Sultan al Farsi. Opposite page: Students, led by Bailey, get up close with an ancient ophiolite (an exposed section of the earth’s upper mantle).
nizwa sur WILLIAM & MARY OMAN STUDY ABROAD PROGRAM, JANUARY 2016
Majeed is quick to give credit to the groundwork Bailey and Rasmussen had already put in place. “Planning for Oman had actually begun a year ago,” recalls Majeed. “Key was the relationship with the Center for International Learning (CIL) in Oman. Rasmussen knew people from her research and CIL became the hub around which the program was planned. CIL took care of the on-the-ground and dayto-day logistical components.” Working together, the structure was set, from registration and marketing to designing pre- and post-trip courses and projects. The program was open to all students across campus, not just those with a background in Middle Eastern Studies, music, or geology, so the participating students ended up being a diverse group. Disciplines represented included geology and music, but also neuroscience and classical studies, and all class years were represented. Majeed thinks its diversity was one of the strengths of the program and was especially pleased that in such a short time they
were able to provide an opportunity for an eclectic group that even included a couple of seniors. “It was their last chance to go abroad. They hadn’t been able to go earlier in their career.” MAKING IT ACCESSIBLE
In addition to the grant from the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center, Rasmussen acknowledges another indispensable source of support: “This trip was underwritten significantly by the James H. Critchfield Memorial Endowment, which typically has supported Middle Eastern studies, and particularly Arabic language abroad.” The James H. Critchfield Memorial Endowment Scholarships, administered by the Reves Center, provide support for study abroad programs in the area from Egypt eastward, including the Levant, the Arabian Peninsula and the Gulf and also for the Indian Ocean basin, including programs in India and Singapore. Lois Critchfield, former Reves Advisory Board member, is actively engaged in her support the program and met with the students before
they departed. Majeed confirms how indispensable that support was. “Everyone who requested assistance received it. She made this happen. Without Lois Critchfield this would not be possible.” THINGS YOU JUST CAN’T TEACH IN A CLASSROOM
The students arrived in Muscat on January 2nd and spent four days in the capital before embarking on an eight-day tour of northern Oman’s mountains, deserts, and coastal ecosystems. Their trip ended back in Muscat where they met with students at Sultan Qaboos University, members of the Omani press corps, and newly appointed U.S. Ambassador Marc Sievers, who had just assumed his post January 7. Chuck Bailey kept a blog of the experience and captured both the pace, scope and the magic of the program: “Here’s a sampler from one day in the Rock Music Oman experience: on January 7th we were in the city of Ibri, and started the day early as our host Sultan al Farsi took us on a lively
AFLAJ IRRIGATION SYSTEMS OF OMAN The origins of this system of irrigation may date back to AD 500, but archaeological evidence suggests that irrigation systems existed in this extremely arid area as early as 2500 BC. Threatened by falling level of the underground water table, the aflaj represent an exceptionally well-preserved form of land use. There are 3,000 such systems still in use in Oman. (Source: UNESCO World Heritage List) A single falaj (shown here) carries water through Wadi Mayh.
tour of the goat market, the souq, and the restored Ibri fort. That was followed by a lecture at the Noor Majan Training Institute by visiting scholar Bradford Garvey on Omani music. After lunch we toured Al Sulaif, a ruined and partially restored fort/town, that’s perched on tilted Tertiary strata overlooking a broad water gap. In the afternoon we loaded into our magic yellow school bus and roared out into
the western desert to the Muzayanat al Ibl (think of it as a camel beauty pageant). Our host Sheikh Ahmed took good care of us as we received the VIP treatment, meeting the prize camels and their proud owners. As the sun set we headed back to town for an evening of folk dancing and Omani cuisine inside the walls of the Ibri fort. Our eventfilled day ended after coffee, dates, and conversation with Sheikh Ahmed. A most amazing day.” Field experiences on the trip included day trips to Wadi Mayh, Wadi Bani Khalid, Wadi Shab, the Ghubrah Bowl, and the Bronze Age beehive tombs at Al Ayn. Bailey’s colleague Dr. Abdullah al Ghafri taught the group about
the aflaj [canal system] during a walking tour at Birkat al Mouz. A MODEL FOR FUTURE PROGRAMS
At a Geology Department brown bag in February, students from the trip presented a slide show of their time in Oman. Their enthusiasm and sheer joy from the experience alternated with a serious and detailed explanation of geologic features and history. For Bailey, one of the takeaways is just that: “The experience showed diversity this planet offers – in rocks landscape and climate – but also in culture. I hope this is the beginning of something we can continue to do at W&M, something really unique where we can combine geology and the environment with music, culture and history.” Mitterndorfer and Majeed see the trip as a successful model for the future, establishing processes and best practices for other short-term programs. It also was an example of how faculty and GEO can combine forces to create something great. “The Oman program’s innovative in-
terdisciplinary approach with geology and music as themes of inquiry, provided students a wonderfully unique opportunity to engage with a culture and country that many students would otherwise not have had the opportunity to explore,” says Mitterndorfer. “This is W&M’s only faculty-led program in the Middle East at a time when engagement and mutual understanding is critical and other study abroad opportunities in the region are very limited. As we seek to make study abroad accessible to all students who are interested in such experiences, we know that financial and time constraints prevent some students from participating. This program provided a special opportunity thanks to the generous scholarships from the Critchfield endowment as well as timing over winter break.”
Opposite page, from top: Taking a selfie at Al Ayjah fort in Sur; Meeting with Dr. Abdullah Al-Ghafri of the University of Nizwa to learn about the aflaj. Clockwise from top: The group at the Fort at Ibri; Sultan Qaboos Mosque in Muscat; Al Areesh desert camp in the Sharqiya Sands. All photos courtesy Pablo Yáñez.
But perhaps Rasmussen should get the last word about the value of this remarkable study abroad experience: “These are things you just can’t teach in a classroom. You can show lots of pictures of the great experience you had and so forth, but it’s not the same.”
â€œThis was a piece of work that will likely be one of the foundation stones of how iGEM teams characterise and use these parts in future, leading to much more robust and reliable biological designs.â€?
Photo courtesy iGEM
iGEM Grand Prize: Try to grasp ‘the magnitude of what they have achieved’ AN INTERDISCIPLINARY TE AM OF WILLIAM & MARY STUDENTS HAVE
BROUGHT HOME ONE OF THE BIGGEST PRIZES IN SYNTHETIC BIOLOGY, AN HONOR THAT HAS BEEN CALLED THE WORLD CUP OF SCIENCE. by Joseph McClain
he eight-member team won the Grand Prize in the Undergraduate Division at the iGEM Grand Jamboree held Sept. 24-28 in Boston. More than 250 teams from five continents entered the competition, and W&M’s was the only North American entry among the finals. “To be clear about the magnitude of what they have achieved: They came top of 259 teams of some of the most dynamic and hard-working students in the world,” wrote Markus Gershater, one of the judges of the competition. “A relatively small team, they saw off competition even from incredibly well resourced teams like Heidelberg, who field large teams (>20 team members) with a great amount of support and resources. In the end, the elegant work the W&M team carried out, which could be a small but fundamental piece of how future synthetic biology is carried out, won through.” Taylor Reveley, president of W&M, congratulated the iGEM team on its victory. “This is spectacular,” said Reveley. “The triumph of our iGEM team is the stuff of legend. It reflects the extraordinary research taking place at W&M these days, and it makes clear the amazing degree to which our undergraduates have a strong hand in it.” AN ACTUAL CONTRIBUTION TO SCIENCE
Like all the other competitors, the team began with a starter kit of biological components and were charged with creating a unique biological engineering project. Jacob Beal,
another of the iGEM judges, acknowledged that the W&M project made an actual contribution to science. “To do safe and reliable biological engineering, we need predictably behaving cells,” he tweeted. “W&M iGEM is helping measure predictability.” The winning team worked on their project throughout the summer under the mentorship of Chancellor Professor of Biology Margaret Saha and William Buchser, visiting assistant professor of biology. It is an academically diverse group, led by Andrew Halleran ’16, who is working on a double major in mathematical biology and biology, and Caroline Golino ’17, a computer science major. The team also includes John Marken, ’17, a mathematics major; Elli Cryan ’18, mathematical biology; Taylor Jacobs ’16, chemistry and biology; Michael LeFew ’16, mathematical biology; Joe Maniaci ’18, chemistry; and Panya Vij ’17, neuroscience and computer science. The project was titled “Measurement of Promoter-Based Transcriptional Noise for Application in Gene Network Design.” The basic idea is to characterize the amount of variability in gene expression, the process of converting information stored in DNA to functional products in the cell. “No biological process occurs in the exact same fashion each and every time it takes place. The question is how much does it differ,” Halleran said. The variation in the transcription of genetic information is known as stochasticity, or noise. Biological processes can’t be expected to
be perfectly precise, but reliable engineering requires that the degree of precision they do have be quantified. Understanding transcriptional noise is a vital aspect of bioengineering and synthetic biology offers a number of tools to do so. “Biology today is interdisciplinary,” Saha said. “Synthetic biology is right at the cutting edge of biology, medicine, neuroscience, math, engineering — a wide range of fields.” Discussion in the days immediately following the Grand Jamboree suggested some reasons that made the W&M project stand out to the judges. Halleran said that the choice of project was one aspect that set W&M apart from other teams. “This year a lot of teams built complex gene networks and did really exciting things,” he said, “but what we hoped to do is lay the basic foundation that would allow them to do more gene networks, bigger gene networks, more complex gene networks that actually work in the future.” NOT FLASHY … BUT IT WAS IMPORTANT
Indeed, many of the iGEM cognoscenti seemed to prefer the W&M concept of a good-science-done-well project to one that might have been more glitzy, but made less of a real impact. “It wasn’t a flashy project, but it was an important project,” Golino explained. “One of my favorite things that happened is that another school tweeted at us and said, ‘Wow. William & Mary’s presentation was the most modest and thorough that we’ve seen.’ I think that says it all:
We let the project speak for itself.” Gershater, chief scientific officer at the British bioengineering firm Synthace, explained the W&M project laid important groundwork in the measurement, characterization and quantification of some biomolecular parts. Such basic understanding of biological components is necessary before scientists can begin the useful and beneficial reprogramming of biological systems, he said. “The William & Mary team carried out a very elegant, well thought through characterisation of a fundamental class of genetic parts, measuring the basic variability of those parts’ outputs (the noise inherent in their function),” Gershater wrote in an email from London. “This was a piece of work that will likely be one of the foundation stones of how iGEM teams characterise and use these parts in future, leading to much more robust and reliable biological designs.” TEAM TRIBE ALSO WINS THREE OTHER HONORS
In addition to the Grand Prize, the team also won honors for Best Measurement Project, Best Education and Public Engagement and Best Presentation. Halleran, Marken and Vij were charged with presenting the project on stage. They explained that they needed repeated rehearsals to get their presentation within the 20-minute conference limit, eventually getting to a consistent 19 minutes and 30 seconds. Halleran said they were surprised when they were told on Monday that their presentation had been judged one of the top three and that they would be required to give the presentation again. In front of 3,000 to 4,000 people. With all 150 iGEM judges present. In about 20 minutes. The presentation trio retired to a freight elevator for some intense woodshedding before taking the stage again, this time to clinch the award. Halleran said that he believed that the W&M presentation had two strengths. The first, he said, was making the content accessible to a general audience. The second
strength was demonstrating the interrelationship of the biological and mathematical aspects of their project. “A lot of the talks seem disjointed; they talk about ‘this biological thing’ and ‘this mathematical thing’ and it’s not right — the two work together,” Halleran said. “I think we did a really good job of showing why we needed the math, what the math allowed us to do and what that allowed us to interpret biologically.” The award for Best Education and Public Engagement Project was based on an ambitious Human Practices component including bringing local Girl Scouts into the lab to earn a synthetic biology activity badge, a pen-pal program with other iGEM teams and most importantly, a synthetic biology curriculum for young scientists. Cryan and Vij led the synthetic biology curriculum initiative. ALL THIS SCIENCE, PLUS A K-12 SYNTHETIC BIOLOGY CURRICULUM
“Communication with the public is an integral part of iGEM,” Cryan said, and so teams are encouraged to find ways to make synthetic biology understandable to the public. “Given that synthetic biology is a new science, much of the public is fearful about its potential consequences,” Vij noted, explaining that a proper understanding of the field won’t allow irrational and unreasonable fears to grow. “W&M iGEM created a synthetic biology curriculum that is clear, fun, affordable, and accessible down to the first grade level,” tweeted iGEM judge Beal, a scientist at Raytheon BBN Technologies. His fellow judge Gershater agreed with the value of the synthetic biology curriculum, calling it “a much needed and potentially transformative curriculum for how synthetic biology concepts can be taught in schools.” The multidisciplinary makeup of the team prompted W&M to pursue what Golino described as a “very biomath-y” project. “When you’re working with an ex-
traordinarily diverse group of people, all working on the same problem, but coming from such different backgrounds, you get so many different approaches,” Golino said. “I spent a lot of time just making sure things are running smoothly — project design, experiment design. John’s a math major, and he spent a significant amount of time working on the modeling aspect of our project.” The team credits the mathematical modeling aspect, headed by Marken, as being instrumental in the success of the project. “It was a really unique aspect of the project,” Saha said. “And it really meshes with our William & Mary way of looking at things from an interdisciplinary perspective.” Saha said the interdisciplinary makeup of the team mirrors the increasing trend in biology to incorporate other disciplines in research. “A lot of biologists think this is all about biology,” she said. “It isn’t.” “There’s a lot of really interesting research that can’t just be tackled by biologists or just by computer scientists or just by mathematicians. The only way to prepare students for doing research like that, is by doing research like that,” Halleran said. GOOD SCIENCE TAKES TIME
Research that wins such an award requires long hours spent in the lab. Seven members of the team worked full time on the project over the summer. An eighth member joined the iGEM team in the afternoon, after working all day in a chemistry lab. “Full-time,” Saha said, began at 40 hours a week, with plenty of gusts up to 60 or 70. “Educators talk about ‘active learning,’” Saha said. “This project is the epitome of active learning. If they have a problem — and they had many problems each day, sometimes it’s biological, sometimes it’s mathematical, sometimes it’s coding — they go out into the literature and read deeply, and learn to solve it, by doing.” Most of the team members have experience working on research
or BioBrick. Other components bring the number of BioBricks in the starter kit up to around 2,000. Once the collection of BioBricks is in hand, the students sit down and figure out what they want to make with their collection of biological Legos. The degree of student involvement makes iGEM different from other lab experiences. “iGEM wants this project to be student-driven,” Saha explained. “The goal of the team advisor is to have as little input as possible.” The William & Mary team celebrate their win. From left: Michael LeFew, Caroline Golino, Andrew Halleran, John Marken, Taylor Jacobs, Elli Cryan, Joe Maniaci. and Panya Vij. Photo courtesy iGEM
in the laboratories of W&M scientists, but Halleran and Golino say that the student-driven nature distinguishes iGEM from faculty-directed research projects. “We come up with an idea for a project. We decide how to implement it. Of course, we get guidance from Dr. Saha, but really we decide our own fate,” Golino said. “We’re steering this boat. All our successes and failures, they’re our own. So it’s a very different experience from being given a project and told ‘try and figure this out.’” W&M won the Grand Prize in the Undergraduate Division. There’s also an Overgraduate Division, restricted to participants older than 24. Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands won the Overgraduate Division Grand Prize. Undergraduate runners-up were from the Czech Republic national team and a team from Heidelberg, Germany. Overgraduate runner-up team was from Ben-Gurion University, Israel, while a team from Taipei, Taiwan won the High School Division.
STARTER KIT: THINK BIOLOGICAL LEGOS
Each of the 280 teams in the iGEM competition received an identical starter kit. It’s impossible to avoid comparing the concept to a box of toy building blocks. “Legos are a very common analogy, and they use it themselves at iGEM,” Golino said. “Each individual part is called a BioBrick,” Halleran added. “The idea is that you take your BioBricks and piece them together and build a bigger structure. The building and engineering metaphor is right there.” Many of the individual BioBricks are genes or other DNA sequences that have specific functions and so bioengineers have assigned them functional names, such as promoters, reporters, ribosomal binding sites, etc. They added that each year the starter kit grows in size, incorporating particularly useful products of previous iGEM competitions as new BioBricks. This year’s starter kit included five lab plates. Each plate has 384 wells; each well holds a different part —
The project received financial support from a number of offices at the university. Even though the project was conceived and executed by the students, the iGEM team drew on Saha, Buchser and other W&M faculty for logistical and technical support as well as mentoring, advice and encouragement. Other members of the Department of Biology who contributed were Eric Bradley, Mark Forsyth, Oliver Kerscher and Beverly Sher as did Douglas Young of the Department of Chemistry. Greg Smith and Leah Shaw of the university’s Department of Applied Science gave input on mathematical modeling. iGEM — the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Foundation — began in January 2003 as an independent study course at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where students developed biological devices to make cells blink. iGEM has since spun off from MIT, hosting the iGEM competition each summer, which has grown from five teams in 2004 to more than 250 teams from more than 30 countries this year. “It would be great if iGEM served as a paradigm for all undergraduate teaching labs,” Saha said.
GHOST POSTERS FROM CUBA
OVER THE SUMMER, EARL GREGG SWEM LIBRARY STAFFERS TRAVELED TO CUBA TO BUILD UP THE LIBRARY’S COLLECTION OF ART WORK. THERE, THEY MET AGAPITO MARTINEZ, A SELFPROCL AIMED “RESOURCE HYPERLINKER” AND CURATOR FOR AN EXHIBITION OF “GHOST POSTERS,” POSTERS MADE FOR FILMS THAT WERE NEVER MADE. by Áine Cain ’16
relate to those subject areas,” Director of Special Collections Gerald Gaidmore said. “The Cuban film posters were an ideal fit for this effort.”
“Latin America and International Relations have become an important part of the curriculum so we are beginning to acquire materials that
For “Ghost Posters”, Martinez invited graphic artists to illustrate posters for projects envisioned by film directors that had never been actually filmed, edited, and completed. The second collection pays tribute to Tomas
wem acquired two poster collections curated by Martinez: the “Ghost Posters” collection and the Tomas Gutierrez Alea poster collection, co-curated by Eduardo Marin and Martinez.
Gutierrez Alea, a Cuban director who helped to found his country’s revolutionary film movement. Alea served as a mentor to many other filmmakers and cementing his legacy with his 1968 film “Memories of Underdevelopment”, considered one of the best films of all time. The result of Swem’s acquisition is UnMade in Cuba: Carteles de
Cine, currently on display in the Botetourt Gallery. The exhibition illustrates Cuba’s rich revolutionary film tradition and sheds light on forgotten cinematic projects. “It is a beautiful example of Cuban poster art, which has a rich tradition in Cuba,” Swem Library Head of Media Services Troy Davis said. “It highlights Swem’s commitment to globally minded cultural exchange at an important moment between the US and Cuba.” Along with Professor of Hispanic Studies and Film and Media Studies Ann Marie Stock, Davis co-teaches a course called Curate,
Connect, Cuba that allows students to work on the physical and online exhibition of the posters. Swem Library Burger Archives Specialist Jennie Davy said the interpretative work of students has been a crucial component of the exhibition. “In addition to displaying our newly acquired posters, we wanted students to have the experience of curating the exhibit: researching their makers and greater context, deciding which big idea and narratives to include, writing interpretive labels, and creating metadata for the online exhibit,” Davy said.
All images courtesy Special Collections Research Center, Earl Gregg Swem Library
As part of the course project, students will launch a bilingual online exhibit. “We are excited to put these stunning posters on display,” Dean of University Libraries Carrie Cooper said. “They beautifully represent Cuban culture, art and film. I love that this exhibit came together through the efforts of librarians, archivists, faculty and students. It’s truly a collaborative project.” UnMade in Cuba: Carteles de Cine will run throughout the semester and the summer.
Celeste A. Wallander Delivers the George Tayloe Ross Address on International Peace
by Kate Hoving
t wasn’t clear if the standing-room-only crowd was a reflection of the reputation and caliber of the speaker or the topic. But either way, On January 28, students, faculty, staff and community members filled the seats, aisles and doorways of Tucker 127 to hear Dr. Celeste Wallander, Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and Senior Director for Russia and Central Asia on the National Security Council Staff, speak about The Russia Challenge in 2016. As comfortable discussing the ethnic origins of regions of the former Soviet Union as current tensions in Denmark with Russian helicopter flyovers, Wallander led the audience in a cogent and balanced narrative about what has led up to the current state of the Russian government and economy, their defining features, and the challenges and opportunities likely to appear in the future. Although Churchill’s description of Russia as “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma,” is still widely quoted, Wallander dispelled a lot of the confusion, rumors and assumptions that often cloud an analysis of Russia. The issues at stake are complex and play out in a “world of shifting polarity and shifting power,” and Wallander stated up front that we no longer live in a bipolar system. “While Russia’s political economic system is a big problem for Russia and its citizens’ wellbeing, and while Russian hostility towards the US may increase, the United States does not see Russia and its mere existence as a threat to American national interests.” Certainly the U.S. must “deter further Russian aggression in Europe… and build resilience and reduce vulnerability of potential Russian coercion targets,” but these aren’t the same national security challenges that existed in the 20th century. Wallander was unequivocal: “Let me say what it’s not. What it’s not is the Cold War.” Russia, while still formidable, is not the
“Being around students reminds me why I get up and do my job.” Wallander met privately with students at the Reves Room and at the Institute for the Theory and Practice of International Relations. Photo courtesy Susan Dickerson
same counterbalance it once was. “Russia is a middle power — not a superpower — and it is a power in decline. And that presents particular challenges for American national security policy.” Wallander explained that the Russian economy is shrinking, falling from 6th to 13th place among world economies, and with middle class wages down 10%. Indicative of the economic challenges is that even a top priority project such as Russia’s military modernization has severely slowed its growth in recent years due to dwindling resources in a shrinking economy. Russia’s wealth came from high energy prices, “not because of a flourishing Russian economy or Russian innovation,” so lower prices and lack of demand have a profound effect. Wallander asserts that what she calls Putinism — “a political-economic system rooted in the exercise of political power to acquire and control economic wealth…to enrich an elite, and to keep it in power” — and “the choices and governance methods of the Russian leadership itself,” are a chief cause of Russia’s decline in power. “The national interest is defined in terms of the requirements and sustainment of a political economic system, in which the political leadership is both not accountable to its Russian society and is also the arbiter of how wealth
is generated. The national interest, is actually in fact, a regime interest.” The current political leadership in Russia “believes the processes of globalization and integration are in direct contradiction to its internal political economic system of rule.” By contrast, within the international system, the American purpose “is defined by integration, globalization, liberalism, and modernization,” all aspects viewed with suspicion and contempt by Russia’s leadership. Wallander speculated Putinism is here to stay for at least another decade, but that Russia has the potential to be a partner with the U.S. “Someday there may be a better future where Russia can get on path to modernization and experience advantages of globalization by following international rules.” Until then the U.S. must protect its interests but also leave the door open to a relationship, particularly to solve terrorism, and open doors for exchanges of students and science. “We actually see Russia as a potential partner, as long as it lives by the international laws of the game,” Wallander concluded. “We need to be able and willing to cooperate with Russia when they are willing to be a constructive stakeholder in the international system.”
LIGO announces discovery of gravitational waves
Physics professor Eugeniy Mikhailov spent three years at a LIGO Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before setting up his own laboratory at the College. Along with physics graduate students Mi Zhang and Gleb Romanov and undergraduate Hunter Rew ’16, Mikhailov has been named as a co-author in LIGO’s paper published Thursday in Physical Review Letters.
“The only information about the universe we’ve gotten has been electromagnetic radiation. Even the first humans saw stars through EM radiation … for the first time in human history, we will get information from a completely new type of radiation,” physics professor Marc Sher, who did not participate in the project, said in an email. The detection of gravitational waves fulfills a prediction Albert Einstein made in the early 1900s and is an experimental milestone. But, more importantly to Mikhailov, the signal is interpreted as coming from the merger of two black holes, 1.3 billion light years away. “If it was only the part of the detection by itself, it would be like if I switched to Russian,” Mikhailov said. “You would hear something, there would be a person talking to you, but you wouldn’t understand … But you understanding me, this is the important part.” This ability to interpret the signals allows for the birth of gravitational wave astronomy. As a whole new way to look at nature, gravitational wave astronomy might even have some significant advantages over other areas of astronomy because of how quick and tiny gravita-
Reprinted from The Flat Hat Beyond members of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, several College undergraduates have been involved in LIGO summer research projects. Astronomy Club co-president and physics major Eve Chase ’16 worked at the Laboratoire AstroParticule et Cosmologie in Paris in the summer of 2014, coincidentally modeling an event similar to the one eventually detected by LIGO.
everal William & Mary professors, graduate and undergraduate students helped usher in a new era of astronomy Feb. 11 with the announcement of the detection and interpretation of gravitational waves. The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) team, which announced the discovery, comprised more than 1,000 scientists.
Gravitational waves are disturbances in space-time caused by massive releases of energy.
by Amanda Sikirica ’16
“I created an original computer program to model the expected gravitational wave signal of two black holes spiraling around one another and eventually colliding, releasing immense energy in gravitational waves,” Chase said in an email. Similarly, Melissa Guidry ’17 worked this past summer at the European gravitational Melissa Guidry ’17 uses a magnetometer to measure magnetic signals in Cascina, Italy. detector Virgo in Cascina, Italy. She was gathering tional waves are. Their interactions with data on what signals from magnetic matter are very weak, and therefore the fields look like, so the signals could be wave has very little effect on what it compared to and removed from the passes through. Thus, scientists could noise picked up by detectors, further potentially see the inside of a star. refining the signal such that gravitational waves could be seen more easily. “You look at your own body and you don’t know much about that’s inside,” “I operated a large, bazooka-looking Mikhailov said. “You can probably push magnetometer, carrying it from site to a little bit, but all we can see is the skin. site. At one point I even traveled through But then ultrasounds appeared, and now Tuscan mountains to measure a very we can look at babies growing inside quiet signal,” Guidry said in an email. of their mothers. We would be able to After the announcement, the Physics look inside of the object which is not Review Letters website crashed, as it accessible to us by any other means.” was overloaded by visitors. A viewing The signals LIGO is looking for are of the press conference was held in unfathomably tiny, and there is a lot of William H. Small Hall, where students random noise that the detectors pick up. and faculty gathered to hear the news. Mikhailov’s research with students is adMedia coverage likened the discovery dressing the problem of noise in several to Galileo’s invention of the telescope. ways, including a process of modifying “To be a part of something so huge, light. Mikhailov calls this “squeezed something so beyond yourself that light,” meaning it suppresses quantum will benefit humanity so tremendousnoise. Much like how a professor walking ly, is incredible …. Solving a problem in a class can quiet chatty students, and having the world take delight in it squeezed light should help quiet random reminds you that science is much larger noise so meaningful signals can be heard. than your lab bench,” Guidry said.
NEW IN PRINT
Gender, love, sex in Muslim world at heart of Ozyegin’s latest books 2015 WAS A GOOD YEAR FOR WILLIAM & MARY SOCIOLOGY ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR GUL
OZ YEGIN, WHO HAD THE DISTINCTION OF PUBLISHING T WO BOOKS OVER THE SUMMER – BOTH DEALING WITH SEX, LOVE AND GENDER IN THE MUSLIM WORLD. by Cortney Langley
n August, NYU Press published the book Ozyegin had worked on for more than a decade, New Desires, New Selves: Sex, Love and Piety Among Turkish Youth.
for the future. They experience tension between the neoliberal globalization that has characterized their youth and the current Islamization of public, political and private life.
But while that book was in production, Ozyegin had the opportunity to edit a new volume, Gender and Sexuality in Muslim Cultures, published in July by Ashgate.
“On the one hand, there is the desire to surrender to the seduction of sexual modernity, to renounce the normative model of selfless femininity and protective masculinity, and to reject power and authority located external to the individual,” Ozyegin writes. “On the other hand, there is the longing to remain loyal and organically connected to social relations, identities and histories that underwrite the construction of identity through connectivity.”
“It’s pure coincidence,” said Ozyegin, who teaches in Sociology and the Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies program and is affiliated with the Asian and Middle Eastern Studies program. “I couldn’t resist; I took on the challenge [of the new book]. It was kind of an urgent project for me because it was informed significantly by my teaching.” NEW DESIRES, NEW SELVES
Over the course of four years, between 2002 and 2006, Ozyegin interviewed 87 young Turkish students attending Istanbul’s prestigious Boğaziçi University about their experiences and views on relationships, sex, love and gender. “When you study young people – sex and love, intimacy and desire – these are very important issues for self-construction, the self-making,” Ozyegin said. “That’s why I consider the realm of love and sex as an important site for understanding self-making, gender and sexuality. Through those experiences and narratives, I explore how young Turks reconfigure gender and sexuality.” In Ozyegin’s book, the students’ explorations are tightly bound to the conditions in Turkey over the course of their lifetimes and to their hopes
Four student identities are discussed in the book: straight men, straight women, gay men and those she calls “pious” females, students following a stricter Islamic religious tradition. She had originally hoped to include two more groups: lesbians and pious males. But the majority of her taped interviews with lesbian students were destroyed in travel, while “pious men” refused to speak with her about sex and love, even though she enlisted respected Islamic scholars whom the students admired to intercede. “Part of the reason was that I was inviting them to talk about gender and sexuality,” she said. “Mixing of sexes is an issue in Islam. I’m a stranger, and I tried to engage them to talk about intimate issues … I couldn’t get any interviews with them.” She noted that she isn’t the only scholar trying, and failing, to study pious Muslim men in Turkey. As they continue to gain political power
under Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, scholars have become increasingly concerned that pious men are effectually inscrutable. “There’s a huge empowered Muslim upper-middle class,” she said. “They are invisible in the sense that there is nothing about their look – they don’t have beards, they don’t have Islamic outfits or anything else that would identify them as Muslim. Muslim women who are feminists, they have been complaining that [Muslim men] are not subject to scrutiny because they can easily pass. They don’t have to carry their religiosity.” But what the book lacks from young pious men, it makes up for in the intimate stories and thoughts of the other young adults with whom Ozyegin spoke. “Through sensitive interviews and rich storytelling, Gul Ozyegin shows that we cannot understand young peoples’ intimate lives in universal ways – either as conforming to traditionally religious sex/gender scripts, or as morphing into modern global neoliberal selves,” wrote Michael A. Messner, University of Southern California sociology professor, who reviewed the book. “Instead, Ozyegin paints a picture of young Turkish people today grappling with ‘fractured desire’ in a rapidly changing and contradictory social context.” Ozyegin said that the students she interviewed opened up to her partly because of her position as a university professor, partly because of her commitment to professional ethics and partly due to how she engaged them. “This is not market research; you are not asking what type of soap or detergent they use,” she said. “So there’s this special connection between researcher and the researched. They might say something and I might, not in a fake manner, I would say, ‘Oh, when I was growing up, we were calling those ‘one-night stands.’ So I would engage with them. It was mostly like conversation in that sense. People do not respond if they feel like they are being questioned in a one-sided way. I wasn’t faking it.”
GENDER AND SEXUALITY IN MUSLIM CULTURES
Ozyegin took on the second project, editing Gender and Sexuality in Muslim Cultures, believing classes suffered from the lack of quality texts. “I was always looking for good teaching materials on Muslim identities and cultures,” she said. “What you usually find is either good theoretical work, but with heavy jargon, or some very simplistic, essentialist, Orientalist treatments.” In the project she saw an opportunity to mix theory with empirically rich ethnographies and new studies on global and local Muslim identities and how they’ve been transformed. She also saw a chance to pay critical attention to masculinity in Muslim-majority countries, an area that’s been largely neglected, she said. Ozyegin also organized the book by theme, rather than by country. Most textbooks, she said, devote one chapter per Muslim-majority country – Yemen, Pakistan, Morocco, etc. – and focus on a unique aspect of that country. But the effect, she said, reinforces stereotypes rather than countering them. “If you teach only one article on Pakistan and it happens to deal with honor killings, students leave your class closely associating honor killings with Pakistan,” she said. “Whenever they think of Pakistan, that’s the mark: honor killings.” By organizing the book around broad themes, Ozyegin invited multi-disciplinary, scholarly works that cut across the Muslim world. So the section devoted to “challenged masculinities” includes an essay from Pakistan, another from Egypt, plus three works from present-day Turkey and one from an Ottoman perspective. “Students would then understand that we are talking about multiplicities of identities and subjectivities, complicated questions about social transformations,” she said. “With these examples, they can imagine that there might be others.”
Gul Oz yegin
Ozyegin is not the sole William & Mary voice in the volume. Included is an interview on female genital cutting in Egypt and Kurdistan conducted by undergraduate Faith Barton ’14, who spoke with anthropologist Maria Frederika Malmstrom and Goran A. Sabir Zangana, founder of Doctors against Female Genital Mutilation. Victoria Castillo, visiting assistant professor of gender, sexuality and women’s studies at W&M, wrote the interview’s introduction from a pedagogical perspective, discussing when and how she teaches students about female genital cutting. Ozyegin’s volume has been well-received by scholars who recognized its value to students. “This is a welcome collection on sexualities and gender ideologies in Muslim-majority contexts by established and emerging scholars,” wrote reviewer Frances S. Hasso, associate women’s studies professor at Duke University. “It fills a scholarly gap on body-focused regulations, intimacies, masculinities and queerness … This is a fresh and teachable text.” Hasso’s review is high praise for Ozyegin, who set out to keep students at the heart of Gender and Sexuality in Muslim Cultures. “Our students, when they learn these things, they get excited,” she said. “They are learning something so that they can go out and when they encounter these stereotypical images, they can say, ‘Do you know that in Islamic cultures …’ They feel they are empowered, equipped intellectually to be able to engage with others.”
NEW IN PRINT
Recently Published by W&M Faculty WORKING SIDE BY SIDE:
CREATING ALTERNATIVE BREAKS AS CATALYSTS FOR GLOBAL LEARNING, STUDENT LEADERSHIP, AND SOCIAL CHANGE By Melody Porter, Director of Community Engagement, co-authored with Shoshanna Sumka & Jill Piacitelli
Working Side by Side is a guide for student and staff leaders in alternative break (and other community engagement, both domestic and international) programs, offering practical advice, outlining effective program components and practices, and presenting the underlying community engagement and global learning theory. The book advances the field of student-led alternative breaks by identifying the core components of successful programs that develop active citizens. It demonstrates how to address complex social issues, encourage structural analysis of societal inequities, foster volunteer transformation, and identify methods of work in mutually beneficial partnerships. It emphasizes the importance of integrating a justice-centered foundation throughout alternative break programs to complement direct service activities, and promotes long-term work for justice and student transformation by offering strategies for post-travel reorientation and continuing engagement. Published by Stylus Publishing, July 2015
EGYPT IN ITALY: VISIONS OF EGYPT IN ROMAN IMPERIAL CULTURE By Molly Swetnam-Burland, Associate Professor of Classical Studies
After the Romans conquered Egypt, there was widespread fascination with Egyptian religion and culture in Italy. This book looks at obelisks brought across the Mediterranean to Rome, at Roman tombs evoking kingly pyramids, and many other interactions and appropriations of Egyptian visual culture. Published by Cambridge University, June 2015
DIGITAL DIPLOMACY: THEORY AND PRACTICE By Marcus Holmes, Assistant Professor of Government, with Corneliu Bjola, Oxford University
The objective of the book is to theorize what digital diplomacy is, assess its relationship to traditional forms of diplomacy, examine the latent power dynamics inherent in digital diplomacy, and assess the conditions under which digital diplomacy informs, regulates, or constrains foreign policy. Organized around a common theme of investigating digital diplomacy as a form of change management in the international system, it combines diverse theoretical, empirical, and policy-oriented chapters centered on international change. Published by Routledge Press, April 2015
Open Doors For the third year in a row, William & Mary has the highest percentage of undergraduates participating in study abroad programs compared to any other public university in the United States, according to a report released November 16 by the Institute of International Education (IIE). In the 20132014 academic year, by IIE criteria, 709 W&M undergraduate students (46.1 percent) had studied abroad, up from 674 (or 45.8 percent) in the previous year. Estimates for 2014-2015 suggest that the percentage is nearing 50 percent.
2013-2014 STUDY ABROAD RATE
The university is a leader among global education even when compared with private universities, ranking 18th in the report’s list of top 40 doctorate-granting institutions, both public and private, moving up from 20th in 2012-2013. The only other Commonwealth school listed in the top 40 of doctorate institutions was the University of Virginia, coming in at 31st this year with 38.4 percent.
Jiangsu Cup Chinese Speech Contest William & Mary Chinese studies students recently swept up gold, silver and bronze awards in the 2015 Jiangsu Cup Chinese Speech Contest at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. This is the first year William & Mary was invited to participate in the contest, and thanks to the support of the William & Mary Confucius Institute (WMCI), a team was able to travel to D.C. Colleen Mulrooney ’19 took the gold, Caroline Lebegue ’18 won the silver, and Alexandra Bate ’18 won the bronze. The contest, organized
by a number of Confucius Institutes and the Jiangsu International Cultural association and exchange center, was founded in 2011 and is open to intermediate to advanced Chinese language students who have not lived for more than two years in China. I told my students, ‘You are already successful because you entered the final round,’” said Peng Yu, the Chinese studies lecturer who coached them. “We had a big team. Big universities, like UVA, Georgetown, the University of Maryland, they only had one or two students. We had three.”
Alexandra Bate ’18 was awarded a bronze, Caroline Lebegue ’18 won the silver and Colleen Mulrooney ’19 took the gold at the 2015 Jiangsu Cup Chinese Speech Contest at George Washington University. They were coached by Professor Peng Yu. Photo courtesy Peng Yu
The Roy R. Charles Center for Academic Excellence THE CHARLES CENTER IS RESPONSIBLE FOR COORDINATING THE APPLICATION PROCESS FOR PRESTIGIOUS NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL AWARDS. HERE ARE TWO MEASURES OF ITS IMPACT AND EFFECTIVENESS.
Thirteen recent graduates of William & Mary accepted Fulbright grants to go abroad during the 2015-16 academic year. That total earned the university the 23rd spot on the Chronicle of Higher Education’s list of top-producing research universities, tied with the University of Wisconsin at Madison and Cornell University.
William & Mary is one of the top producers of Peace Corps volunteers in the nation. The Peace Corps ranks its top volunteer-producing colleges and universities annually according to the size of the student body. With 24 William & Mary alumni currently serving with the Peace Corps, W&M is ranked 10th – tied with the University of Montana – among medium-sized schools, which includes institutions with 5,000 to 15,000 undergraduates. Last year, W&M ranked 12th.
Announcing the 2016 Faculty Fellows EACH YEAR, A COMMITTEE OF FACULTY AND REVES STAFF AWARDS REVES FACULTY FELLOWSHIPS TO
SUPPORT FACULTY-STUDENT RESEARCH AND COLLABORATION ON INTERNATIONALLY-FOCUSED, ENGAGED SCHOLARSHIP. THE INITIATIVE IS OPEN TO FULL-TIME WILLIAM & MARY FACULTY IN ALL ACADEMIC UNITS.
PROPOSALS ARE INVITED FROM FACULTY WITH SIGNIFICANT EXPERIENCE IN THE INTERNATIONAL ARENA AS WELL AS THOSE SEEKING TO EXPAND THE FOCUS OF THEIR WORK TO INCLUDE INTERNATIONAL, GLOBAL, AND/OR TRANS-NATIONAL APPROACHES. THE 2016 REVES FACULTY FELLOWS ARE:
STEVEN A. KUEHL
MARINE SCIENCE, VIMS
“NORTH AFRICAN ANDALUSI MUSICAL EXCHANGES” This project will feature a two-week, on-campus residency in Williamsburg by a group of Moroccan performers of traditional North African music from the eastern Moroccan city of Oujda. The performers will work closely with members of the William & Mary Middle Eastern Music Ensemble in preparing two concerts. The Moroccan performers will also meet with undergraduates in a variety of courses, including “Worlds of Music,” “Where is the Middle East,” and “Anthropology of Islam,” with the aim of preparing student listeners for the concert experience. This project builds on a collaboration begun in 2004 in Oujda.
“INTERNATIONAL EXCHANGE PROGRAM AND UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH IN MARINE SCIENCE AND GEOLOGY IN COLLABORATION WITH XIAMEN UNIVERSITY, CHINA” W&M undergraduate students will pursue research projects related to the impact of human modifications to Asian rivers on the coastal environment (“Source-to-Sink” research). Students will travel to China for a 1-month field research experience as part of the course Coastal Environments of China (MSCI 335), which has also been approved for the Coll 300 curriculum. The long-term goals are to establish a robust educational and research partnership between W&M and Xiamen.
“LATER ZANZIBAR ARCHAEOLOGICAL PROJECT” This project addresses two watersheds in the human condition: 1) human ancestors’ first use of stone tools and 2) the impact of “Atlantic World” trade on East African cities. A one-month long excavation season on Zanzibar will include W&M graduate students and focus on 16th century Portuguese deposits. These sites contained tobacco remains and represent early Portuguese colonial efforts, so are ideally situated for comparisons with similar British efforts at Jamestown, North Carolina, and the Caribbean. The organizing questions relate to 1) how widespread was tobacco cultivation across the island 2) how the organization of Portuguese fortified tobacco fields might relate to English ones and 3) how did local Swahili people relate socially, politically, and economically to Portuguese colonists/farmers.
“INTERNATIONAL COLLABORATIVE ECOLOGICAL RESEARCH EXPERIENCES FOR UNDERGRADUATES IN AUSTRALIA” W&M will be part of a consortium of researchers from Tulane University, Cornell University and Griffith University (in Australia), with funding from the International Research Experience for Students (IRES) program at the National Science Foundation (NSF). W&M students will collaborate with each other and with PIs from all these institutions. A cohort of students will travel to Australia each summer for the next three years (2016-18) to perform research on avian behavioral ecology in temperate woodlands surrounding Brisbane, Queensland— an established research site at the Samsonvale reservoir.
FOR MORE INFORMATION AND A LIST OF PREVIOUS RECIPIENTS, VISIT WWW.WM.EDU/OFFICES/REVESCENTER/GLOBALENGAGEMENT/REVESFACULTYFELLOWS.
The world awaits... STUDY ABROAD PROGRAMS offered by the GLOBAL EDUCATION OFFICE (GEO) Summer Faculty-Led Programs:
Undergraduate Exchange Programs:
Australia: University of Adelaide
Canada: McGill University
Austria: Vienna University of Economics & Business
China: Tsinghua University
England: University of Exeter
Czech Republic: Prague
England: Manchester Business School
England: University of Nottingham
France: L’institut d’Études Politiques de Lille
France: Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier III
Greece: Athens/Nafplio India: Bengaluru/Goa
Indonesia & Singapore (Mason Business Program)
Ireland: Galway Italy: Florence
Russia: St. Petersburg
South Africa: Capetown Spain: Cádiz
Spain: Santiago de Compostela
W&M-Sponsored Semester Programs: Argentina: La Plata England: Oxford
Japan: Akita International University Japan: Kanazawa University Japan: Keio University
Netherlands: Leiden University
Scotland: University of St Andrews
Singapore: National University of Singapore South Korea: Yonsei University Wales: Cardiff University
2016 Winter Break & Short-Term Programs: Cuba
200 South Boundar y Street Williamsburg, VA, 23185 Telephone: 757-221-3590 Fax: 757-221-3597
REVES CENTER FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDIES @INTERNATIONALWM
English Language Program
Study English at William & Mary
CO M SUM ING ME 2 016 R !
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PP Sessions throughout the year
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The William & Mary English Language Program prepares students, scholars, and professionals from around the world to succeed academically, advance professionally, and grow personally. We offer an Intensive English Program (IEP), summer preparatory programs, and customized programs. The Intensive English Program (IEP) is an academically rigorous program that combines high-quality English language instruction with the skills needed to succeed in U.S. universities and professional environments through a focus on: •
Core language skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing
Cross-cultural communication skills
Academic study skills
Standardized test preparation
Our experienced faculty and staff can also meet the needs of special groups through customized English language programs on topics such as business, law, and leadership.
Please contact us or see our website for program applications, fees, and dates. www.wm.edu/reves/elp
Published on Mar 24, 2016