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A Message From The Dean What do democracies need from their universities? This question has animated and inspired me since the summer of 2014 when I began serving as dean, and I think the College’s answer is bold and powerful. Our vision for Arts & Sciences is to help advance a new American enlightenment. Our founding 200 years ago and our history uniquely link the University of Virginia to the fate of the American republic and to advancing the great, unfinished business of democracy. We are thinking and acting at a Jeffersonian scale of ambition for the flourishing of our students, the nation and the world. From our newly launched Democracy Initiative and its teaching, research and public engagement mission; to our new Environmental Resilience Institute; to the work of our talented student-researchers; this issue of A&S magazine demonstrates how we are serving the greater good through world-class teaching and discovery, and how our alumni are leading the way. IAN B. BAUCOM Buckner W. Clay Dean of Arts & Sciences

VOLUME 36 | NUMBER 1 | SPRING 2018 Published by the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

PUBLISHER Eugene R. Schutt, Jr. Associate Dean for Development | President, College Foundation

EDITOR John A. Carfagno Director of Communications

ART DIRECTOR Krista King Ulrich





Kennedy Kipps Vice President of Administration, College Foundation Jake Perez Chief Marketing Officer, College Foundation



Sheila McMillen




Anne E. Bromley Jane Kelly Matt Kelly Katie McNally

Caroline Newman Lorenzo Perez Fariss Samarrai Rob Seal

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Dan Addison Molly Angevine Stacey Evans Jane Haley Peggy Harrison


Steve Jurvetson Douglas Remley Tomas Sereda Jan Skowron Sanjay Suchak



This cohort of students is studying with the College Fellows—some of UVA’s best faculty—and is taking new interdisciplinary courses designed to better prepare them to succeed in the modern world.

NEW MARSHALL SCHOLARS Three College scholars—all with ties to UVA’s political and social thought (PST) program—have earned Marshall Scholarships, paying their way for graduate study in the United Kingdom.


FIGHTING MALARIA “Many people in the developed world believe that the malaria problem has been largely solved, but millions of people are infected and get sick each year,” said UVA biologist Jennifer Güler. In her lab, she investigates the malaria parasite’s ability to evolve drug resistance and searches for ways to overcome it. She and her colleagues published a paper recently on their latest findings in the journal BMC Genomics.

Photos clockwise from top left: Dan Addison, Jane Haley, Tomas Sereda, Stacey Evans

PORTER NENON (PST ’16) will pursue a master’s degree in humanitarianism and conflict response at the University of Manchester. ATTIYA LATIF (PST ’18) will pursue a master’s degree in women’s studies at the University of Oxford and a master’s degree in Islamic and Middle Eastern studies at the University of Edinburgh. JACK CHELLMAN (ENGLISH, PST ’18) will pursue a master’s degree in media, power and public affairs at Royal Holloway, University of London, and a master’s degree in ideology and discourse analysis from the University of Essex.

Jennifer Güler


NEW ACADEMIC DEPARTMENT In October 2017, the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies achieved departmental status after state approval. “Since its inception [in 1981], the institute has promoted interdisciplinary research and interpretation of the African and African-American experience,” said Deborah McDowell, Alice Griffin Professor of Literary Studies and director of the institute. The new status will give the program more autonomy to determine its destiny, McDowell said, allowing faculty members to set their own priorities and curricula.

Debor ah McDowell

The College is expanding its study abroad options with the launch of the UVA Shanghai First program in fall 2018. Twenty first-year students will study at Fudan University in Shanghai, taking two Engagements courses as part of the College’s new undergraduate curriculum, as well as classes taught by Fudan faculty in English. Mark Thomas, a UVA professor of history and economics, will lead the program. The UVA London First program that debuted last semester will continue as well, with 24 first-year students starting their UVA careers at Regent’s University London this fall. Shanghai, China


Danielle Allen

In February, Danielle Allen, a Harvard professor of ethics, spoke about democracy and education at the Paramount Theater in Charlottesville to the nearly 600 students enrolled in the College’s new undergraduate curriculum pilot. Allen, whose award-winning book Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality was the common reading assignment for all students in the new curriculum, was the third speaker in the College’s Engagements Lecture Series. Last semester’s speakers were artist Mark Dion and alumna Margot Lee Shetterly, author of Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race.



Graduate Student Explores Genetic Ties to Social Behavior


graduate fellows

Puglia has also worked as a mentor to undergraduate students in the College. In 2015 she and Jenna Van Dyck (Cognitive Science, ’16) won a “Double ’Hoo” research grant, which awards $5,500 to pairings of undergraduate and graduate students collaborating on research projects. The research grants are funded by the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, the Vice President for Research and the Engineering School. Puglia and Van Dyck researched the factors that make individuals behave differently in social situations. “Because social relationships play such a critical role in our lives, impacting both health and happiness, we hope that the results of our study may one day improve the lives of individuals with poor social abilities by revealing specific neurobiological markers critical for successful social functioning,” said mentee Van Dyck, now a physician’s assistant student at the Medical University of South Carolina.

In 2017, Puglia was one of seven recipients awarded a prestigious Presidential Fellowship for Collaborative Neuroscience, given to graduate students conducting collaborative, multidisciplinary neuroscience research with the potential to generate transformative science.

cognitive, developmental and neuroscience areas of the College’s psychology department, and with the Department of Biomedical Engineering. “To innovate and remain on the cutting edge of brain science requires the integration of diverse scientific perspectives,” Puglia said. “Participation in the fellowship program has allowed my research to span multiple levels of analysis–from genes, to brain, to behavior. I am grateful for this invaluable opportunity to train and conduct research with a multi-disciplinary team.” Puglia’s mentor is Christopher Deppmann, an associate professor of biology who oversees the fellowship program as director of Arts& Sciences’ neuroscience graduate program. Deppmann’s own research, focused on understanding how neurons pass information to each other, is complex and by necessity cross-disciplinary, so he is dedicated to promoting collaborative research projects for his students.

Christopher Deppmann

The fellowships are supported by the offices of the President, the Provost and of the Vice President for Research.

“Our goal is to challenge current research and clinical paradigms by enabling our students to conduct innovative cross-disciplinary research that they could not accomplish without the encouragement and support of the full university. We are in a position to perform transformative work that will distinguish and differentiate our research enterprise,” Deppmann said.

Puglia is studying how individual differences in genes and the brain interact over the first year of life to shape social behaviors. Puglia works with faculty in the

Reported by Fariss Samarrai, Matt Kelly, and Molly Minturn


Photos left to right: Dan Addison, courtesy Scott Doney

Meghan Puglia, a Ph.D. candidate in psychology, has emerged as a leader in the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences in the field of social cognitive neuroscience. The winner of numerous honors and awards, including the Presidential Fellowship for Collaborative Neuroscience, Puglia has published four articles, with teams, in leading neuroscience journals on how individual differences in genes and the brain shape social behavior.

UVA’s Environmental


Bringing world-leading scientists together to face great challenges    By Lorenzo Perez Karen McGlathery’s research as an environmental sciences professor frequently takes her to Virginia’s Eastern Shore, where she has directed the Virginia Coast Reserve Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) program since 2004. More than half of the world’s population lives on coasts and along rivers, and, as indicated by the growing body of scientific research, major cities and population centers around the world are increasingly confronting severe storms, such as Hurricanes Irma, Maria and Harvey; flooding; and declining water security. Below: The Laurence M. Gould, an Antarctic Research and Supply Vessel, on which UVA environmental scientist Scott Doney conducted research in the western Antarctic Peninsula


Led by Karen McGlathery, the new Environmental Resilience Institute brings together resources from across the University. Faculty and students from Arts & Sciences, the Karen McGlathery School of Engineering and Applied Science, the School of Architecture, the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, the Curry School of Education, the McIntire School of Commerce, the Miller Center of Public Affairs and the schools of Law, Nursing and Medicine all will have a role. “Environmental change is one of the biggest issues the world is facing, and it cannot be dealt with by people working only independently and strictly within their disciplines,” said McGlathery, UVA’s associate vice president for research, sustainability and the environment. “The institute will build teams that cross disciplinary boundaries, work together to develop novel ideas and approaches, and transform the way that we do research. There’s just a wealth of people here at UVA doing work in many related fields, and finding ways to connect them will accelerate the process and the impact of our research.”

There’s just a wealth of people here at UVA doing work in many related fields, and finding ways to connect them will accelerate the process and the impact of our research. As the institute develops, McGlathery said it will focus on regions as well as resources such as water and energy that are at high risk. “These are mostly systems problems, and so integrating knowledge about the natural world, technology and infrastructure, human behavior and institutions is needed to inform choices about the future,” she said. “That’s where collaborating with engineers, architects and environmental scientists is really important, as is connecting with policy makers and economists and social scientists to make our research actionable. We have to collaborate, share ideas and find solutions together.”


NEW SCIENTISTS DONEY AND BAND TO PROPEL UVA’S RESILIENCE EFFORTS UVA scientists already conduct environmental research in regions on every continent from the tropics to the poles, serving as a “jumping off point” for global studies on climate and land use change, water and energy security, and other issues. Last fall, two more internationally renowned environmental scientists, Scott C. Doney and Lawrence E. Band, joined the Arts & Sciences faculty to help propel a series of new interdisciplinary research initiatives. Both serve on the faculty advisory group for the Environmental Resilience Institute. A marine chemistry researcher and one of the world’s foremost experts in climate science, Doney is UVA’s first Joe D. and Helen J. Kington Professor in Environmental Change, a professorship provided by Mark Kington (Darden ’88) and his wife Ann in honor of Mr. Kington’s parents.

“The weaponization of climate change by both the left and right has been discouraging and an impediment to progress on this, perhaps the most important issue of our time. I am proud that UVA has chosen to focus on what is fundamental, science, in hiring Scott Doney and his colleagues. UVA is destined to be a world leader and change agent in the years ahead.” — Mark Kington Doney, who was considered in 2010 for a presidential appointment as chief scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, comes to the University from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, where his research as senior scientist focused on the effects of both natural and human-driven climate change. His arrival coincided with the appointment of Band, an ecohydrologist known for his groundbreaking research on natural and urban watersheds and their roles in mitigating and adapting to the negative effects of climate change—such as flooding and drought—and in the provision of high-quality fresh water. While serving as the College’s Ernest H. Ern Professor of Environmental Sciences, Band also holds a joint appointment in the School of Engineering and Applied Science’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Below: McGlathery’s students work to restore seagrass on Virginia’s Eastern Shore.

Photos clockwise from top left: Dan Addison, Dan Addison, UNC Media Relations, courtesy Scott Doney, Sanjay Suchak

McGlathery and other leading environmental scientists in the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences are examining how much of this change is natural and how much is caused by human activity. As they attempt to expand our understanding of the many ways a changing global climate affects societies, and what actions we can take to create more environmentally resilient cities and coastlines, a new University of Virginia institute is encouraging collaborations by researchers not just in the environmental sciences, but in economics, engineering, architecture, the humanities and other disciplines.

“The College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences is extremely excited to have scientists of Scott Doney and Larry Band’s caliber joining our faculty,” Arts & Sciences Dean Ian Baucom said. “These appointments serve as critical steps in this University’s strategic effort in the area of environmental resilience.”

“I’ve always wanted to be at a public university, and the chance to teach at a place such as the University of Virginia that offers such an excellent undergraduate education is a great opportunity,” Doney said. A fellow of both the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Geophysical Union, Doney has extensive leadership experience serving national and international research initiatives convened by the National Academy of Sciences, NOAA and other science working groups. In 2013, he received the A.G. Huntsman Award for Excellence in the Marine Sciences from the Royal Society of Canada and Huntsman Foundation at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography. “For a number of years, my career has been headed toward looking for solutions to environmental problems, and that involves more than just natural science,” Doney said.

Scott C. Doney and Lawrence E. Band

Spanning oceanography, climate science and biogeochemistry, Doney’s work identifying the acidification of oceans as they’ve absorbed billions of tons of carbon dioxide emissions has made him one of the most prominently cited researchers in ecology and the geosciences. Two post-doctoral researchers joined his new UVA lab group last year and are using ocean field data and remotesensing to assess changing conditions in the Antarctic and North Atlantic. In December, Doney deployed to the Antarctic as part of the Palmer LTER project and he is also involved in the UVA-lead LTER program on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. This spring he is teaching a new undergraduate/graduate course on the changing global carbon cycle, focusing on human influences and their impacts on climate.

“You’ve got to work not only with the scientific stakeholders, but also with people who understand the engineering side, as well as the social science side and the political side. The Kington Chair enables just that. It allows me to reach across Grounds and really spend time talking with people and understanding their perspectives.” Band came to UVA after nearly two decades at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he served as director of the UNC Institute for the Environment for the last nine years of his tenure. Band helped transform that institute from an academic initiative focused on undergraduate education to an influential research and public service institute, experience that the UVA Environmental Resilience Institute will leverage as it gets off the ground. Below: the Laurence M. Gould in Antarctica


Band’s extensive research has taken him to landscapes across North America, Australia and China. In 2014, Band was named the Geological Society of America Birdsall-Dreiss Distinguished Lecturer, which allowed him to present 50 talks around the world. He became a fellow of the Geological Society of America that same year, and a fellow of the American Geophysical Union in 2015.

ENVIRONMENTAL RESILIENCE AT UVA: FROM PROMINENCE TO PREEMINENCE Established in May 2017, the Institute is working with $2 million in University-provided seed funding to kick-start collaborative investigations that convene partners in novel ways and that could lead to major grants from funding agencies. Increasingly, federal agencies such as the National Science Foundation are seeking to fund largescale, big problem, collaborative and multidisciplinary projects, often called “convergence” research. These kinds of projects could be game-changers in major problem areas. McGlathery said the Institute will be able to build upon UVA’s rich history of environmental research across several schools. She also is building partnerships outside the University with government agencies, nonprofits and industry. The idea is to engage a broader community to help identify problems and work with researchers to find solutions. Institute researchers also will pursue “rapid response” grants, funding time-sensitive research and workshops that produce rapid results or address event-related issues, such as a major storm or drought.

Beach and boardwalk in Virginia Beach, Virginia

Band said he is looking for opportunities to develop and coteach new classes in urban and watershed resilience with colleagues in the Department of Environmental Sciences and in Civil and Environmental Engineering. Working with the Environmental Resilience Institute, Band will be adapting his research on urban ecosystems, the modeling and analysis of urban tree canopy, the impact of green infrastructure on stormwater, carbon and nutrient loading to coastal waters and the impacts of climate and land use change on the quantity and quality of freshwater supplies. “I have always found the most interesting and challenging issues at the intersection of our disciplines,” Band said. “The University’s new, interdisciplinary initiatives in environmental resilience, data science and cyber-physical systems and the potential to develop innovative solutions to key environmental challenges with faculty and students across the university are especially intriguing.” Below: Students of UVA architecture professor Phoebe Crisman—who focuses on resilient cities—designed this rendering aimed at creating a more resilient coastline around Norfolk's Harbor Park.


Because the Institute is focused on training future leaders, Arts & Sciences students and their classmates across Grounds will play a key role as well. Student and post-doctoral fellows will get to pursue innovative research projects at the intersection of several disciplines. With a program based on a successful model funded by a grant from the Jefferson Trust, they will be advised by faculty in two or more departments or schools. There are also efforts underway to provide students with “real world” experience working as summer “externs” with outside partners in government and nongovernment organizations.

“UVA is poised to become one of the top universities working at the intersection of the environment and society,” McGlathery said. “We can change the way research is done through cross-disciplinary collaboration, and the time to do it is now. Otherwise the rapid changes to the environment that we are experiencing, such as coastal flooding, will outpace our ability to manage the consequences.” “With the addition of Scott Doney and Larry Band to our existing faculty strength, we are in contention to be the best place for the study of resilience in the nation,” added Thomas C. Katsouleas, executive vice president and provost of the University of Virginia. “Their work, in concert with our new Institute and Karen’s leadership, will help us solve some of the world’s most intractable environmental problems.”


Alumna’s Knowledge Helped Shape Hamilton by Katie McNally When UVA alumna and renowned historian Joanne Freeman first took an interest in one of America’s lower-profile Founding Fathers, she never imagined that Broadway might share her enthusiasm. It was a thrill, then, to see how her research helped guide Lin-Manuel Miranda as he wrote a smash-hit musical about Alexander Hamilton, Freeman said.



Photos clockwise from top left: Norfolk District, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, Steve Jurvetson, Architectural rendering courtesy Phoebe Crisman

Freeman, a professor of history and American studies at Yale University, has been studying Hamilton for more than 40 years. She is also a leading expert on early American politics, earning her master’s and Ph.D. at UVA. She studied under Peter Onuf, UVA’s Thomas Jefferson Professor of History Emeritus and one of the founding co-hosts of BackStory, the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities’ popular history podcast. Freeman came full circle by joining BackStory last spring as one of two new permanent co-hosts while Onuf takes a more occasional role. She discussed her plans for BackStory and her Hamilton research with UVA Today. (This interview has been edited for length.)

Lin-Manuel Miranda in the title role of his musical Hamilton, April 20, 2016

Q. As you watch the news and plan for BackStory episodes, what historical moments are on your mind?

Q. What’s it like watching your research translated into art?

A. The one that’s foremost is the 1850s, not only because it was extremely polarized, but because of the nature of that polarization. By the late 1850s, there were two groups of Americans with opposing ideas, each group assuming that the other was un-American and violating fundamental American ideals. Of course, the issue at hand was the problem of slavery, an issue where there wasn’t much of a middle ground.

A. Hamilton captures something of the spirit of America’s founding, the ongoing improvisation and fraught feelings… People don’t think of that generation as real people who were scared and confused and made big mistakes.

Our current polarization reminds me of the extreme polarization of the 1850s in many ways. But our political system is built on debate and compromise. That’s the foundation of our democracy. At present, we’re at a moment of extreme political malfunction. As an early American political historian, I’ve spent decades researching and writing about the creation of our political system. That kind of knowledge really matters right now. To protect American democracy, people need to understand how our political system was created and structured and how ideas about democratic politics evolved over time.

Having people understand that America’s history specifically—and history generally—is fundamentally about people making choices and figuring things out—that contingency matters—that’s all for the better. For that reason, the play has created a supreme teaching moment. Q. How did studying at UVA influence your work? A. UVA is so steeped in history that it’s wonderful to study any history there. But when you study early America, you’re surrounded by what you’re studying. Peter Onuf—who I call “the mentor from heaven”— was also a big reason that UVA was such a great place to learn.


Long before the events of August 11 and 12, Dean Ian Baucom was driven by one question:

What do democracies need from their universities? The College’s new Democracy Initiative, designed from the ground up by the Arts & Sciences community, will bring UVA’s best research in the social sciences, humanities, law and policy into the public sphere. An ambitious, interdisciplinary research and teaching enterprise, the initiative will engage everyone from undergraduates to world leaders.


Illustration by Christophe Vorlet

By Molly Minturn

Dean Baucom discusses the Democracy Initiative and explains the natural and unique connections to UVA.

WHY IS THERE NEED FOR THE DEMOCRACY INITIATIVE? Today’s democracies—old and new alike—face major challenges. These include poverty, joblessness and inequality; population migrations across borders; eroding support for democratic institutions and norms; tensions over religion, race and gender role change; corruption; pressures of food and water shortages, especially in the wake of natural disasters like Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria; and a changing media environment that simultaneously empowers authoritarian leaders and protesting crowds. Leading democracies like ours should advance the unfinished business of democracy. I see our job in Arts & Sciences as repairing the social contract between higher education and our common civic life—a contract inherently connected to the issue of democracy. The nature of this almost unspoken but strong social contract on the place of higher education within our common civic life has become unraveled. The well-being of the republic is tied to the existence of a free and educated citizenry, and the well-being of a free and educated citizenry depends upon universities providing excellent public education. That contract dates back to the Jeffersonian founding of the University of Virginia. That contract has loosened with significant reductions in the overall federal support for education and research, and significant reductions in state support nationwide for public higher education. Furthermore, on a national level, we have not been as clear as we could be about the purpose of a liberal arts education. In my time here, we have made strides in rebuilding this contract. Arts & Sciences has hired 185 new, tenured and tenure-track faculty since the Faculty Forward campaign began in 2012. We’ve launched an innovative new general education curriculum that better prepares students for 21st-century life. Our neurosciences undergraduate program has become a major player in the UVA Brain Institute. Our newly launched Environmental Resilience Institute will tackle some of the biggest problems facing society.

The opportunity stands before us to build on these strengths. For nearly two years, Arts & Sciences has been planning the launch of a new Democracy Initiative, an ambitious, interdisciplinary enterprise. The Initiative will be connected to every aspect of our mission, from teaching, to research, discovery and public engagement with external partners. The impact of our work will reverberate in the future citizen-leaders we educate, in the innovative research that advances our understanding of the democratic project, and in the public engagement that influences its future prospects through policy.

WHAT QUALIFIES THE UNIVERSITY TO LEAD THIS EFFORT? The University of Virginia was created in 1817 for a specific purpose— to educate the American citizenry to help democracy flourish. Our history, along with our proximity to Washington, D.C., uniquely positions the University to be the global center for the study of democracy’s successes and failures, opportunities and threats, and to influence policies that strengthen democracies worldwide. What happens here simply has a meaning and a significance that no other university can match. Our top leadership agrees: the Democracy Initiative received a $10 million matching grant from the University’s Strategic Investment Fund at the Board of Visitors’ June 2017 meeting. Over the next decade, what UVA does will matter with an incomparable intensity.

HOW WILL THE DEMOCRACY INITIATIVE BE STRUCTURED? There will be five main elements: a constellation of group research labs; a biennial democracy summit that brings world leaders to Grounds; a presence in Washington, D.C., with access to policymakers; an expansion and enhancement of the College’s new curriculum; and endowment of the Bicentennial Scholarship Fund and Faculty Diversity Fund to attract talented minds of all means and backgrounds.

WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE COLLEGE AND GRADUATE SCHOOL OF ARTS & SCIENCES IN THE WAKE OF AUGUST 11 AND 12? In light of those horrific events, we issued a call for proposals for an inaugural democracy lab that examines the challenges facing democracies in our local community. In January, we decided that the inaugural lab will be led by religious studies professors Martien Halvorson-Taylor and Kurtis Schaeffer, and focus on religion, race and global democracies. Read on for more about the origin and structure of the Democracy Initiative.


The Democracy Initiative was originally conceived in 2016 through a series of strategic planning conversations between the Dean's Office and A&S faculty. “We were looking for initiatives that responded to ‘big challenges,’ and there are few challenges bigger than how to govern societies effectively, fairly and in ways that are responsive to the wishes of the people, in an era when opinions seem to be increasingly polarized,” said Len Schoppa, associate dean for the social sciences and professor of politics. “The idea resonated with many faculty in the social sciences and the humanities, and the initiative was born.”





$55.5m Compensation research labs will run for three 36% As many as four rotating Initiative to five years at a time, each focusing on a particular

hrough 2017-18








Photos left to right: Dan Addison, Tom Daly, ©United States Navy, Sanjay Suchak

challenge to democracy, Baucom said. The inaugural launch lab will address the events of August 11 and 12. Faculty from a wide variety of disciplines have applied to lead up to three additional labs, anticipated to launch in the fall of 2018. Alongside the rotating labs, there will be one core anchor lab dedicated to the history and principles of democracy. Each lab will be led by a team of 26% faculty with active research agendas in the area, working with postdoctoral fellows, PhD students and small groups $40.2m of undergraduate students. The labs will be housed in Start-up the first floor of the new undergraduate residential facility adjacent to the SouthPackages Lawn complex on Brandon Avenue, opening as early as August 2019.



By partnering with the Darden School of Business on a property in Rosslyn (Northern Virginia), the Democracy Initiative will create a “UVA in D.C.” program, offering opportunities for College faculty to organize and teach outreach programs in the area and for students to learn and participate in internships during the fall and spring terms. The Initiative will also work with the Miller Center of Public Affairs to publicize the findings of its research projects to policymakers in Washington, D.C., and with international organizations.


The Democracy Initiative will expand on the College’s Forums, a two-year undergraduate curriculum program launched in the fall of 2016. Forums are tailored groups of courses (31 credits) organized around a central theme or problem. The Initiative will launch a Forum that explores an important aspect of democracy and ties it to one of its rotating labs.


Partnering with the School of Law, the Miller Center, the Presidential Precinct and Monticello, Baucom said the Democracy Initiative aims to host a biennial “Davos-like summit” of scholars, policy experts and world leaders on Grounds to discuss pressing issues relating to democracy, and to focus on generating new ideas and solutions.

SCHOLARSHIP AND 5BICENTENNIAL FACULTY DIVERSITY FUNDS For the Democracy Initiative to thrive, the University must attract the most talented and dedicated faculty, students, professionals and practitioners anywhere, Baucom said. “Just as democracies are strengthened by embracing equal access and a plurality of perspectives, the University will be strengthened if it remains accessible and affordable to talented students of all means and backgrounds.” Consistent with this vision, the Democracy Initiative includes an ambitious target for the Bicentennial Scholars Program: a need-based undergraduate scholarship program aimed at ensuring affordable access. Likewise, the College will seek endowment gifts to attract the most talented and diverse faculty members to our university. “In short,” said Baucom, “we will both study democracy and embody its highest ideals.”



This Alumna’s Book Just Debuted on the NYT’s Children’s Best-Sellers List by Jane Kelly

Vashti Harrison, who graduated in 2010 with a double major in media studies and studio art, moved to New York City in December 2016 to see if she could make it in the big city. Soon she was working full-time as a freelance illustrator. In the late hours of January 31, 2017, in that small room, a thought came to her: Why not draw one African-American woman every day for the month of February in honor of Black History Month? She would post her art on her Instagram account as a way to challenge herself. “Work can get a little bit monotonous,” she said. “It can be hard to remember that I like to draw.”



A few days into the project, Harrison reached out to her agent to ask if she thought there was potential for a book. As it turned out, the agent was about to ask her the same thing.


The pair pitched the book idea to a couple of publishers, and Harrison says that Little, Brown and Company just “got” the idea. “I had known about Little, Brown since I was a little kid,” Harrison said. “I remember reading the publisher’s name on the side of one of my books.” It also didn’t hurt that the name of her book—Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History—bore a certain resemblance to the name of the publishing company. “It felt like a really nice resolution—Little Leaders... Little, Brown.”

Little Leaders was an instant New York Times best-seller, rising to the No. 2 spot on the Children’s Middle-Grade Hardcover list as of February 5. The book features 40 black women from American history. There are civil rights activists, artists, musicians and astronauts. Each illustrated entry includes a brief biography Harrison wrote for readers aged 8 to 12. “I thought it was a great opportunity to share the stories that are doubly neglected through history—that is, women and people of color,” Harrison said. Little Leaders has drawn major media interest, including from New York magazine, Buzzfeed and the Huffington Post. In January, Harrison appeared on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. Harrison got inspiration for her drawings from characters in children’s classics, such as Eloise, Madeline and Winnie the Pooh. “I really wanted to create this character that felt timeless and really sweet,” she said. The drawings look like paper dolls. “I wanted them all to have the same face and similar poses,” Harrison said. “I wanted them to feel interchangeable. One other thing readers may notice is that in all the illustrations, the subject’s eyes are closed. “It goes back to that vibe I was looking for—that very vintage, classic illustration,” Harrison said. One reviewer characterized the closed eyes as meaning that each of the girls was looking within themselves to embody the story. “I love that,” Harrison said.  

Photos clockwise from top left: Courtesy Vashti Harrison, Dan Addison, Courtesy Sandy Liss, Dan Addison, Little Leaders cover: Little, Brown and Co.

A self-challenge posed in a tiny, sublet room last year in Brooklyn has taken a University of Virginia alumna to a place she never expected: the New York Times best-seller list.


EXCELLENCE BY ARTS & SCIENCES GRADUATE STUDENTS Graduate Students play a crucial role in Arts & Sciences: they teach and mentor undergraduates, assist faculty with work in labs and take on groundbreaking research projects of their own.

“In the ecosystem called the College, we have students and faculty, but the glue is our graduate students,” said Dean Ian Baucom. “They teach and conduct research and serve as a magnet to attract new faculty. Graduate students are the carriers of the University’s reputation.” As state appropriations declined over the past few decades, graduate funding shrank. With philanthropic support for graduate fellows, the University can bring more top Ph.D. candidates and post-docs to Grounds, which, in turn, will attract the best undergraduate students and faculty, boosting departmental rankings and strengthening the College’s reputation as a world-class liberal arts institution.

Here is a look at

INNOVATIVE WORK BY ARTS & SCIENCES GRAD STUDENTS, concerning everything from local bees to distant galaxies.



BUZZ on Bees

In the United States and worldwide, bee populations are declining, and Kathryn LeCroy wants to know why. Her project out of UVA’s Blandy Experimental Farm in Clarke County, Virginia, is helping to solve the mystery.

UVA’s Blandy Experimental Farm Clarke County, Virginia



Photos: Sanjay Suchak, Dan Addison

Last spring, LeCroy, an environmental sciences graduate student, constructed 100 wooden “bee hotels” at Blandy for a project to monitor mason bee populations in Virginia. She organized a citizen science project and hand-delivered 98 of her bee hotels to residents in urban, rural and forested locations across Virginia. Mason bees nested within LeCroy’s hotels throughout the state. LeCroy also distributed 45 bee traps to capture a sample of all the bee species that inhabit the same areas where mason bees “checked into” the hotels.

The decline of Virginia’s native mason bees likely relates to the proliferation of two non-native species of bees that compete for resources and can introduce exotic diseases. LeCroy and her faculty mentor, UVA environmental scientist T’ai Roulston, collected the hotels and traps and worked to identify collected bees.

Over the past year, LeCroy and Roulston documented the distribution of two Japanese species of bees. One, the Osmia taurus, which cropped up in 2002, “was found in almost every part of Virginia,” LeCroy said, “and its abundance in our surveys were orders of magnitude larger than all of the other native mason bees we found in the Commonwealth.”

LeCroy captured and catalogued many species of bees.

“For the first time, we’re starting to have a good understanding of what’s happening with these important pollinators in Virginia.”


Sandy Liss in Arizona

Galactic DISCOVERY SANDY LISS Astronomy graduate student Sandy Liss is part of a team of astronomers that discovered groups of dwarf galaxies— nuggets of stars and gas 100 to 1,000 times smaller than the Milky Way—in the process of merging together. This discovery offers evidence that the mature galaxies we see in the universe today were formed when smaller galaxies combined billions of years ago.

The Magellan Baade telescope in Chile


Sandy Liss (Astronomy MS ’14, Ph.D. ’19), Sabrina Stierwalt and Chris Wiens (Col ’17) in the control room for the Large Binocular Telescope in Arizona

Sandy Liss (Astronomy MS ’14, Ph.D. ’19) and Sabrina Stierwalt in Chile

The team began their search by poring over Sloan Digital Sky Survey data looking for pairs of interacting dwarf galaxies. “We noticed that several of our pairs appeared to be in close proximity to other small galaxies,” Liss said. “Furthermore, many of these nearby galaxies appeared to have irregular shapes, bright clumps and other features that could be indicative of interactions.” A group of dwarf galaxies that are gravitationally bound together

The researchers then traveled to Chile and used the Magellan Baade telescope to take more advanced readings that confirmed the dwarf galaxies were gravitationally bound together.

“There’s a balance between the tranquility of being on a dark, quiet mountaintop with only a few other people and the excitement of collecting brand new data from some of the best telescopes in the world,” Liss said. Liss’s colleagues on the study include UVA astronomy professors Sabrina Stierwalt, Kelsey Johnson and Nitya Kallivayalil, astronomy Ph.D. alumnus George Privon and astronomers at other institutions. They published their findings in Nature Astronomy last year.

Photos left to right: Courtesy Sandy Liss, Jan Skowron, Sloan Digital Sky Survey, Courtesy Sabrina Stierwalt, Courtesy Sandy Liss


The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History in Washington, D.C.



STEVEN LEWIS Steven Lewis, a doctoral student in the McIntire Department of Music, helped curate the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture’s Musical Crossroads exhibit, housed on the museum’s fourth floor. More than 1 million people have visited the museum since it opened in September 2016. Lewis was hired in late 2015 as a research assistant to Dwandalyn Reece, the museum’s curator for music and performing arts. He spent most of 2016 doing research and editorial work for the Musical Crossroads exhibit, writing artist biographies and artifact descriptions and creating a timeline that traces the development of more than 14 music genres over 400 years, from the arrival of the first African Americans in the British colonies in 1619 to the emergence of hip-hop in the 1970s and 1980s.

Musical Crossroads features prized artifacts like Louis Armstrong’s trumpet and Chuck Berry’s cherry-red, 1973 Cadillac.

“It has been a privilege to be involved and to take what I do as a scholar and make it accessible to other people of color and anyone interested in African-American history,” Lewis said. “One of the key points the museum makes is that black history is also the history of all Americans. We are all heirs of this history.” Reported by Molly Minturn, Caroline Newman and Fariss Samarrai


Photos clockwise from top left: Douglas Remley/Smithsonian, Dan Addison, Tom Cogill, Molly Angevine, National Museum of African American History and Culture


Expanding the Circle by Lorenzo Perez


faculty, graduate students

The talented mathematicians sat hunched over their calculations as they worked through a series of problems on an unseasonably warm Sunday afternoon last December. Sunlight streamed through the windows of the University of Virginia’s Charles L. Brown Science & Engineering Library, but no one, not even the small number cruncher wearing yellow soccer socks, shin guards, and cleats, directed a wistful gaze outdoors as they wrestled with a triangular array of binomial coefficients known as Pascal’s Triangle.

from the Curry School of Education, as well as from his faculty colleague and former department of mathematics chair, Craig Huneke. “We are exposing them to logical problems, topology and other concepts that they may never see in school,” Krushkal said. “Some of the things we show them are practical applications of math to real things. Some of them are fun mathematical games that feature deep mathematical principles underneath.”

It was only when Slava Krushkal, a professor in the College’s Department of Mathematics, called for a short break that the 14 assembled students reverted back to elementary-school form, dueling over graph paper and using the wheelchair ramp at the far corner of the room as their own personal jungle gym. “Graduate students will just sit down and work for hours on a problem, but I’ve learned that with kids, you have to entertain them and take breaks,” Krushkal said. For the new Math Circle program that Krushkal launched last fall for 15 local 4th- and 5th-graders nominated by their schools, he looked for inspiration in his own educational experience growing up in Russia. As students achieved fluency in different mathematical concepts, the mathematics curriculum there stressed the importance of students honing their creativity as they think their way through increasingly difficult logic problems. The first Math Circles in the United States were organized by the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley, California. Today, there are more than 200 Math Circles around the country. With the assistance of Gabriel Islambouli and Michael Reeks, two Ph.D. students in the mathematics department, Krushkal organized a semester-long schedule of Sunday afternoon Math Circle sessions. Setting up the program, he received some guidance

The goal of the program, Krushkal said, is to stoke the curiosity of young students who have displayed an early aptitude for mathematics, while steering away from the rote memorization that may accompany their traditional instruction. “We have many first-rate mathematicians at UVA, and the establishment of Math Circles allows us to use this talent to help K–12 students in our area,” Huneke said. “It is enormously empowering for children to think actively about the solution of mathematical problems, and to develop the solution themselves. No matter what the future holds for the children who go through Math Circles, the lessons they learn in problem-solving and self-reliance will be invaluable for them.”


OFFICE OF THE DEAN Buckner W. Clay Dean of Arts & Sciences Ian B. Baucom

Associate Dean for the Arts & Humanities Francesca Fiorani

Associate Dean for the Social Sciences Leonard Schoppa

Associate Dean for the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences Dinko Pocanic

Senior Associate Dean for Administration and Planning Adam Daniel

Associate Dean for the Sciences John Hawley

Associate Dean for Undergraduate Academic Programs Rachel Most

Associate Dean for Development Eugene R. Schutt, Jr.

Alec R. Anderson ’80 Paget, Bermuda

Jennifer B. Gwilliam ’91 Evanston, IL

Beverley Byrd Mills ’81 New York, NY

A. Scott Andrews ’80 Middleburg, VA

Victoria D. Harker ’86 McLean, VA

Ramin Arani Dover, MA

Melody S. Bianchetto ’80 UVA President’s Office Appointee Charlottesville, VA

John L. Nau III ’68 UVA Board of Visitors Appointee Houston, TX

COLLEGE FOUNDATION BOARD OF TRUSTEES Chairman Daniel R. Abramson ’70 Alexandria, VA Vice Chairman W. L. Lyons Brown III ’82, Darden ’87 Batesville, VA Immediate Past Chairman R. Philip Herget III ’85 Alexandria, VA President Eugene R. Schutt, Jr. ’75 Charlottesville, VA Secretary Lisa Smith ’85 Bronxville, NY Treasurer Peter M. Page ’88 Alexandria, VA Chair, Emeritus Society Susan S. Bram ’85 Bronx, NY Vice Chair, Emeritus Society Jeffery D. Nuechterlein ’75, Law ’86 Alexandria, VA President, Benefactors Society Kurt Harrison ’87 Charlottesville, VA

W. Preston Baldwin III ’84 Greenwich, CT

Patricia D. Odrich Greenwich, CT

Clayton F. Jackson ’81 Atlanta, GA

Mark Pirrung ’73 Atlanta, GA

Scott L. Jaeckel ’92 Washington, DC

W. Russell Ramsey Great Falls, VA

Radford “Roddy” Klotz ’77 New York, NY

Joseph A. Schlim, Commerce ’81 Stamford, CT

Jordon L. Kruse ’94 Los Angeles, CA

Elizabeth J. Simmons ’93 Charlotte, NC

Blair Labatt GSAS ’74 San Antonio, TX

Nancy R. Wall New York, NY

Francis J. Loverro ’91 Greenwich, CT

Holly T. Wallace ’85 Kenilworth, IL

James A. Conroy ’82 Stamford, CT

Ransom C. Lummis ’84 Houston, TX

Barry G. Williams ’84 Baltimore, MD

Lauren M. Driscoll ’87 Stamford, CT

John G. Macfarlane III, Darden ’79 Darien, CT

John D. Epps ’75 Richmond, VA

Michael Maquet ’87 Summit, NJ

Student Representatives Sydney K. Bradley ’19 Virginia Beach, VA

Thomas F. Farrell III ’76, Law ’79 Richmond, VA

Kevin J. Maroni Chestnut Hill, MA

Austin Hetrick, Ph.D., English ’18 Charlottesville, VA

Susan T. Gowen ’91 Denver, CO

Eugene E. “Matt” Mathews, Jr. ’90 Richmond, VA

Erik J. Roberts ’18 Potomac, MD

Peter M. Grant ’78, Darden ’86 Charlottesville, VA

Roger F. Millay ’79 Bethesda, MD

Ian B. Baucom Dean of Arts & Sciences Charlottesville, VA Richard M. Berkeley ’74, Darden ’80, Law ’80 Baltimore, MD Mary Kate Cary ’85 Chevy Chase, MD Frank M. “Rusty” Conner III ’78, Law ’81 Alexandria, VA

ARTS & SCIENCES DEVELOPMENT OFFICERS Eugene R. Schutt, Jr. ’75 Associate Dean for Development President, College Foundation 434.924.7646

Liz Blaine ’82, Law ’85 Senior Director of Development, Principal Gifts 434.924.6156

Allison Egidi ’04 Associate Vice President for Development 434.243.8975

Alexa Andrews ’06 Director of Development, Major Gifts 434.243.8434

Pattie H. Burgh Senior Director of Development 434.243.8980

Jonathan Hooe ’10 Development Officer 434.924.7374

John Blackburn ’91, GSAS ’96 Assistant Director of Development 434.924.7926

Michael Clarke ’84 Senior Director of Development, Principal Gifts 434.982.2331

JC Ignaszewski Director of Development 434.924.0743


Jay Nottingham ’00, Curry ’12 Director of Development 434.924.6232 Karen J. Nuelle, Parent ’21 Director of Parent Engagement 434.924.0718 Jessica Robertson ’16, Curry ’20 Development Officer 434.924.8333 | 434.924.7646 |

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UVA Arts & Sciences Magazine | Spring 2018  
UVA Arts & Sciences Magazine | Spring 2018