WC Receives $1 Million Gift to Support Study of Classical World

Andrea Trisciuzzi, vice president for college advancement, accepts two checks totaling over $1 million from William Creager, executor of the estate of a couple who made the gift anonymously to Washington College.

A couple who visited Chestertown regularly for over 30 years has bequeathed more than $1 million to Washington College as an endowment for the study of the Classical world. The couple, who chose to remain anonymous for their gift, were not College alumni, although they were members of The 1782 Society, the College’s leadership giving society, and often attended events on campus.

“They enjoyed Chestertown and the influence the College had on the quality of life here,” says a local resident, also choosing anonymity, who was friends with the pair for some 50 years. “They particularly enjoyed the Washington College Concert Series every year.”

The donors intend for the bequest to encourage development of new academic opportunities and to sustain the work of faculty members already involved in areas of study related to the Classical world. The funds could support the hiring of instructors; library materials; new and existing courses in the literature, history, art, philosophy, or religion (including the study of mythology) of the Classical world; faculty research; and honoraria and expenses for visiting lecturers.

“The study of the Classical world has always been a key component of a liberal arts education,” says Patrice DiQuinzio, Provost and Dean of the College, “and we are thrilled to have this fund to support the work of Washington College faculty who teach courses related to that era.”

“This is truly a remarkable and generous gift,” says College President Kurt M. Landgraf. “It’s clear that Washington College connects with people in sometimes unexpected ways that remind us why we do what we do. The relationship between the College and the town of Chestertown is strong, with powerful potential. This couple saw a local opportunity to affect generations to come, in a meaningful way, and we are deeply grateful.”

About Washington College

Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 35 states and a dozen nations. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at washcoll.edu.

Character Counts Partners with Annapolis Police Department

Character Counts Mid Shore’s Winners Walk Tall program headed west across the Chesapeake Bay to partner with the City of Annapolis’ Police Department after receiving a call from Miguel Dennis, APD Director of Professional Standards.  Dennis, a former Character Coach at St. Michaels Elementary School, knew the program would benefit the youth in the Annapolis area.  Georgetown East Elementary School’s grade 4 was targeted.  Members of the Annapolis Police Department were trained as Coaches and matched with classrooms.

The Character Counts program at GEES was a huge success”, Dennis remarked. “The program was enthusiastically embraced by school personnel, students and coaches.  We look forward to the 2017-2018 school year with another opportunity to teach our younger citizens.”

Front row – Officer B. Coppage; Cpl. A. Miguez; Ms. A. Woytko; Ms. M. Ross; Ms. P. Norris and Cpl. K. Freeman. Back row – Sgt. N. Vaden; Mr. J. Hudson; Chief S. Baker; Lt. K. Krauss; Firefighter K. Smith; Mr. M. Dennis.

An awards celebration was held in May and a Character Counts bench was presented to the school by the APD coaches.

Principal of the school, Mr. Andre Dillard stated, “The program was a complete success! The officers and staff of the Annapolis Police Department were extremely professional and friendly. They were able to build a strong rapport with our students and staff. They also implemented the pillars of the program with complete fidelity. We look forward to having the Character Counts program and the Annapolis Police Department with us for the upcoming school year and for years to come.”

CCMS Executive Director, Susan Luby added, “Youth need a solid foundation of values and to build relationships with law enforcement officers.  This is a win-win opportunity for both the students at Georgetown East and APD.  We are thrilled to expand our programs that make a positive difference in the communities.”

No mid shore funding was used to support the program in Annapolis.  For more information about Character Counts Mid Shore, visit www.charactercountsmidshore.com or call 410-819-0386.

The Collaborative Turtle Research of WC Student and Professor Earns the Cover of “Animal Conservation”

After Hannah O’Malley proposed that her senior thesis be based on research with Washington College Biology Associate Professor Aaron Krochmal, the results of her original hypothesis and the pair’s collaboration to test it are helping conservation managers reassess the role of learning when it comes to moving endangered animals from one habitat to another.

The results of their study are featured in a manuscript entitled “An Empirical Test of the Role of Learning in Translocation” published this summer in the online edition of Animal Conservation. Coauthored by Krochmal’s research associate Timothy C. Roth of Franklin & Marshall College, the paper will be the print edition’s cover story in February 2018.

Hannah O’Malley ’12 in the field radio-tracking Eastern painted turtles.

For O’Malley ’12, a biology major who minored in secondary education and has gone on to become a key member of Walt Disney’s Animals Sciences and Environment education team, co-authorship of her first peer-reviewed paper “feels great, and I’m very excited to officially see it in writing, (and) that my thesis has a purpose beyond just being my Senior Capstone Experience. I love that it has implications for conserving species.”

Although many researchers have studied translocation—the practice of moving an animal from one location to another to protect it from habitat loss or other extinction risks—this research is the first that examines the practice experientially through the lens of cognition and learning. Wildlife managers have long used “soft release”—giving an animal time to learn a new habitat by penning or otherwise protecting it for a period of time before turning it loose—but this research shows that for some species, even soft-release translocation can only succeed if the animals are able to learn the new habitat.

For Eastern painted turtles, whose migratory patterns and navigational methods Krochmal and his students have been studying for eight years, that critical window of learning only happens within their first three years of life. O’Malley was one of Krochmal’s Summer Research students who had worked with him on turtle research at DuPont’s Chesapeake Farms, a 3,300-acre agriculture and wildlife management property near the College.

An Eastern painted turtle with radio tag attached sets off in search of a new water source.

“This project was Hannah’s idea. She was looking into the conservation education side of things but with a strong science background,” Krochmal says. “She suggested the idea of translocating animals with both a short time window and a long time window to compare their behavior against animals that live in that habitat, asking ‘Can you, as newly introduced animal, catch up to their culture?’ And the answer is no, unless you do it when you’re young.”

These data, Krochmal says, encourage more research into this question for other species that are likely to need translocation. And, it can help conservation managers better allocate limited resources—for instance, they may want to spend their money and efforts only on juvenile and newly hatched turtles, rather than adults, since the former are clearly able to learn a new environment while the latter will likely die in the attempt.

“I remember Dr. K saying, ‘What do you think is going to happen?’ and I said, ‘We’re going to translocate turtles and they’re not going to know what the heck is going on,’ ” says O’Malley. “I had already watched how the resident turtles know so clearly what they’re doing. It’s like us waking up in the morning and saying, ‘It’s wintertime and I guess I need to put my coat on.’ They just know what to do.”

Asking newly introduced adult turtles to learn the new habitat “was like moving someone from Florida up north—‘Whoa! I don’t know how to handle this!’ It would have been cool if they miraculously have this sense of direction without having to learn that, but we definitely saw that was not the case.”

In her career with Disney, O’Malley works with other teams to connect children and families to the global environment, creating outdoor education experiences at Walt Disney World in Florida, as well as curricula and resources for educators. For instance, while working with content from the film “Moana,” O’Malley helped develop an activity packet and teacher resource guide that included lessons on sea turtle conservation, while with the new film “Born in China,” she worked on materials related to education and conservation of pandas, snow leopards, and golden snub nosed monkeys—key species featured in the film.

Her work with Krochmal, she says, taught her that the purpose of research is less to find answers than to learn what are the next questions to ask. As an educator now, she also has realized fully the value of his method of mentorship.

“Dr. Krochmal was one of the first educators who treated me as an equal,” she says. “It was, ‘OK, we have this question, let’s work on it together and see where it goes and where it takes us.’ He would say, ‘This is as much your project as it is my project.’ Over time I became more and more invested and empowered and more confident, and I definitely felt like I was contributing, which as a student you don’t always get.”

See the Animal Conservation abstract here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1469-1795/earlyview

Read the entire paper: here: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/317719204_An_empirical_test_of_the_role_of_learning_in_translocation

Learn more about the turtle research here: https://www.facebook.com/taskforceturtle1/

About Washington College

Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 35 states and a dozen nations. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at washcoll.edu.

Psychologist Dr. Lauren Littlefield to Speak at Wye River Upper School

Wye River Upper School is pleased to announce that Dr. Lauren Littlefield, psychologist and associate professor, will be presenting on – Building Better Habits: Organization, Planning and Goal Setting Strategies for Adolescents with Executive Dysfunction.

Dr. Littlefield will support parents and other guests in their understanding of executive functioning and methods for breaking old habits and forming new, more effective ones. The audience will be guided in an activity to help them conceptualize executive functions in everyday terms, which will ultimately help them to assess their own strengths and weaknesses. Participants will build an awareness for what individuals with executive skills challenges experience on a daily basis. These individuals include children and adolescents, individuals who have suffered a concussion, and those diagnosed with learning disabilities, ADHD, depression, and anxiety. Strategies geared toward supporting the different executive functioning challenges will be offered; for instance, learning is supported by planning ahead, managing time, organizing space, and forming routines. Goal setting and its various barriers will also be discussed.
Dr. Littlefield is a psychologist and an Associate Professor of Psychology at Washington College in Chestertown, MD. She teaches Neuropsychology, Psychological Assessment, and Diagnosis and Group Therapy to undergraduate students.

The event is open to the public and will be held Thursday, July 27 from 7pm – 8:15pm at Wye River Upper School located at 316 S. Commerce Street, Centreville, MD 21617. Register for your free tickets by visiting www.wyeriverupperschool.org/tools/speaker-series/.

For more information, contact Katie Theeke at (410) 758-2922 or katietheeke@wyeriverupperschool.org. Wye River Upper School is an independent, college preparatory school serving bright students with learning differences such as ADD/ADHD and dyslexia. We discover through innovation, develop with rigor and celebrate the strengths of our students, while preparing him or her for success in college, career and life.

Wye River Upper School Welcomes New Board Members

Wye River Upper School (WRUS) is pleased to announce the addition of two new members to their Board of Trustees – Dr. Clayton A. Railey, III and Mrs. Darby Hewes. Both members joined the WRUS Board on July 1, 2017. Their diverse experiences in a variety of educational settings brings new knowledge and perspective to the team.  

Railey currently serves as Vice President for Workforce and Academic Programs at the Chesapeake College in Wye Mills, MD. His professional background encompasses many areas including teaching, conflict resolution, museum studies, school administration, theology, and counseling. He has spent years in academia earning several degrees, teaching undergrads, and learning many languages. Most notably he obtained a Ph.D. in English from Vanderbilt University.

Hewes brings strengths in graphic and fine arts, business management, and teaching. Over the years, she has studied fine arts, architecture, graphics, and education. She earned a B.A. from University of Florida, and a B.F.A. from Washington College. She has also taught photography at Washington College and currently specializes in developing marketing materials for various non-profits. Hewes serves on several boards throughout Kent County. Her past work experience in construction management and engineering also adds an important skill set as Wye River continues to maintain and care for their newly renovated building in Centreville.

“Our Board is fortunate to be welcoming these two talented individuals with extensive and relevant backgrounds. Their combined experience encompasses education, the arts, school administration, and marketing – just to name a few. I could not be more delighted to have their help as we continue to enhance and grow the Wye River program,” said Board Chair, Alexa Seip.

Wye River Upper School serves bright high school students with learning differences such as ADHD and dyslexia. Darby Hewes has been getting to the school over the past few years and she explains, “WRUS is a unique environment where students with learning challenges find their frustration turn into excitement and motivation. Strength based learning with an emphasis on areas of organization, time management and self-monitoring prepare students to succeed in college and future careers.  WRUS is one of these unique places where teens can explore their passions, create goals and build a solid educational foundation for their future.”

The School is located in Centreville, MD, and WRUS students come from several surrounding counties. Transportation is provided to both Eastern and Western Shores. For more information, call (410) 758-2922 or visit http://wyeriverupperschool.org.

Mid-Shore Education: A Chat with Washington College’s New President Kurt Landgraf

New Washington College President Kurt Landgraf had been in office not quite two weeks when the Spy staff dropped into his Bunting Hall office for an interview on July 13. In a wide-ranging conversation, Landgraf was frank and ready to ask questions of his own, a good sign that he will be open to give-and-take with other stakeholders in the college community.

As the interview begins, he is answering a question about what attracted him to Washington College. Later, he responds to a question about a recent poll result showing that some 60 percent of Republicans believe that a college education is not good for society. Landgraf disagreed strongly and went on to to express his belief that the liberal arts curriculum helps provide a good foundation for citizenship in a democracy. Click on the picture above to see the video, which runs just over seven minutes.

The new president began with a brief autobiography, not included in the video. He was born in Newark and raised in Rahway, both in New Jersey. He attended Wagner College on an athletic scholarship and played baseball with the Reading Phillies for a while before joining the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam war. After the service, he had a number of jobs, including a short stint at ETS, the Educational Testing Service, before ending up at DuPont, where he spent a major part of his career, overseeing divisions both in the US and abroad.

He worked in the pharmaceutical division and noted that the opioid antagonist drug Narcan was developed during his time there. He spent ten years as head of the European division of DuPont, and was under consideration to become CEO of the entire company. When that position went to someone else, Landgraf was recruited by Educational Testing Services, which at the time was on the verge of liquidation. He turned the company around, stayed there 13 years, and became very interested in education. During that time, he became chairman of the New Jersey Higher Education Commission, which oversees all colleges in the state. Then in 2015, he was contacted about the Washington College presidency.

After the initial phases of the search process, Landgraf was one of the finalists for the WC job — which eventually went to Sheila Bair. When he was on campus for interviews, he said, he asked one young student what was the most important thing he had learned at the school. “Moral courage,” said the student. Landgraf was so impressed that a young person could cite that quality that he decided on the spot that, if he was offered the job, he would take it. That opportunity came this June, when Bair tendered her resignation.

Asked the difference between his former position as a CEO at DuPont and his new one, Landgraf said that a CEO has nearly absolute power in decision-making, whereas a college president is in a position of co-governance with the board. On the other hand, he said, all institutions “are made up of the same kind of mammal;” with human nature the constant.

Washington College has substantial assets that offer high value to prospective students, he said. He cited the waterfront campus, which is currently under development, the Rose O’Neill Literary House, with its strong program of readings and publications; and the Douglass Cater Society, which supports undergraduate students in self-directed research projects all over the world. He plans to continue and, where possible, expand these programs and their impact. Landgraf said the college needs to market these assets to reach its full potential.  These are wonderful programs, offering outstanding opportunities for students and most people

Landgraf is also aware of the college’s relationship with the town of Chestertown. He has already met with Mayor Chris Cerino, he said, and he is planning to attend the town council meeting July 17 to introduce himself. He said he isn’t concerned with past relations between the two entities; “We need to go forward,” he said. He said he plans to work with the Save the Hospital group, to get involved with United Way of Kent County.  It is very important, he said, for the town and the college to support one another.

In explaining the value of a college education in today’s society, Landgraf said that the U.S. depends on three pillars: capitalism, the rule of law and democracy. An educated populace is needed for each of these to carry its weight. A liberal arts education, while it may not appear to prepare students for specific roles in the workforce, is the best preparation for citizenship in general, he said.

It will be interesting to see how Landgraf’s presidency develops. As one college staff member observed, there have been four presidents in five years, with significant turnover in senior staff. The college can obviously benefit from a period of stability, and given Landgraf’s comments on the need to work with the board and his interest in making the college and the town closer than they have been, friends of the college may be encouraged to hope that this is the beginning of a time of stability and regeneration.

MRC Breaks Ground on Restoration and Stormwater Projects at Chesapeake College

On June 28, Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy (MRC) and Chesapeake College jointly hosted a groundbreaking ceremony on the college’s Wye Mills campus. MRC has been leading an effort in collaboration with the college and funding partners to develop a comprehensive initiative to address major stormwater challenges on the campus. A suite of 14 projects will materially improve water quality in the Wye River. The projects include a wetland restoration, bioretention facilities that filter stormwater, and a stream restoration that will reduce erosion and treat pollutants coming off hard surfaces and the agriculture fields surrounding the campus.

Kristin Junkin, director of operations for MRC, led the ceremony by describing the projects and the valuable partnerships with both Chesapeake College and the funders that are supporting the work. These funders include Maryland Department of Natural Resources, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Chesapeake Bay Trust, and Queen Anne’s County. She thanked all of these partners and emphasized the importance and necessity of local leaders taking responsibility for restoring and protecting our rivers and Chesapeake Bay.

Photo: Pictured at the groundbreaking ceremony are (left to right) Rob Gunter (Queens Anne’s County Planning & Zoning), Ben Hutzell (Resource Restoration Group), Michael Mulligan (Chesapeake College), Sarah Hilderbrandt (Maryland Dept. of Natural Resources), Steve & Julie Burleson (MRC Advisory Committee), Barbara Viniar (former Chesapeake College president), Jim Moran (Queen Anne’s County Commissioner), Kristin Junkin (MRC Director of Operations), Evan Blessing (Blessings Environmental Concepts), Greg Farley (Chesapeake College), Bill Anderson (MRC Board), Timothy Jones (Chesapeake College), Michael Wiznosky (Queen Anne’s County Planning & Zoning), Dr. Clayton Railey (Chesapeake College), Lucie Hughes (Chesapeake College), Chris Oakes and Jess Lister (Environmental Concern), Tim Junkin (MRC founder) and Gus (Tim’s puppy). 

The college’s vice president of finance, Tim Jones,thanked MRC and all of the funder partners, saying,“Chesapeake College’s mission is to educate the residents of our five county region. Not only will these watershed projects allow us to enhance our classroom programs, they will also allow the college to serve as a working model of best practices for all residents on the Eastern Shore. The college is very appreciative of our partners on these projects. It is through partnerships like these that the college has become a nationally recognized leader in sustainability.”

Queen Anne’s County Commissioner Jim Moran applauded the well-organized and thoughtful proposal MRC brought to the county, adding that,“Queen Anne’s County is ready to do our part in cleaning up our waterways. We are delighted to work with MRC and we look forward to more projects down the road.”

The attendees at the ceremony had the unique opportunity to explore with the contractors the keystone project in the group, a Regenerative Step Pool Stormwater Conveyance. This project uses shallow pools to slow down and treat runoff from the college’s hard surfaces and surrounding agricultural fields before the water empties into the headwaters of the Wye East River. Attendees got a behind-the-scenes tour on how these types of projects are engineered and constructed.

The Chesapeake Bay Trust funded MRC’s Wye River Assessment that identified the project opportunities, Queen Anne’s County and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation funded the design work, and Maryland Department of Natural Resources and Queen Anne’s County are funding the construction. All of these projects are scheduled for completion by 2018.

Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the restoration, protection, and celebration of the watersheds of the Choptank River, Eastern Bay, Miles River, and Wye River. For more information on these projects, contact Kristin Junkin at kristin@midshoreriverkeeper.org or 443-385-0511.

Gunston Students Earned Medals on the National Spanish Exam

Congratulations to world language students from the Gunston School who recently attained national recognition for excellent performance on the 2017 National Spanish Examinations, earning a total of 1 gold, 3 silver, and 6 bronze medals along with 16 honorable mentions.

“Attaining a medal or honorable mention for any student on the National Spanish Examinations is very prestigious,” said Kevin Cessna-Buscemi, National Director of the Exams, “because the exams are the largest of their kind in the United States with over 157,000 students participating in 2017.”

Front row L-R: Ben Byerly ’17, Isabelle Schmittinger ’19, ​Re​ DeFino ’19, ​Emma​ Johnson ’17, Elyssa Merton ’19, Tyler Judd ’18. Back row L-R: George Bowie ’17, Griffin Hecht ’19, Henry Parkhurst ’18, Davy Song ’19, and Spanish Teacher Ms. Avis Wheatl​e​y.

Gold medalists at level 1: Haorui Song
Silver medalists at level 1: Griffin Hecht, Elyssa Merton
Silver medalists at level 5: George Bowie
Bronze medalists at level 1: Rebecca DeFino, Isabelle Schmittinger
Bronze medalists at level 2: Emma Johnson
Bronze medalists at level 3: Tyler Judd
Bronze medalists at level 4: Ben Byerly, Henry Parkhurst
Students receiving honorable mention at level 1: Rick Archambault, Philip Ashley, Tirza Enriquez, Zack Goss, Brennan Paddy, Garrett Rudolfs; at level 2: Chad Angelini, Simon Cawley, Emma Hottel, Hopewell Murphy, Ryleigh Paskoski, Neel Patel; at level 3: Alice Agee, Alex Papadopoulos, Maddy Romberger; at level 5: Abigail Miller.

The students were taught by Spanish teachers, Juan Angarita and Avis Wheatley. This is the fifth year Gunston has participated in the exams.

The National Spanish Examinations are sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese.

Easton High School Navy Junior ROTC Receives “Outstanding Unit” Award

Easton High School’s NJROTC unit recently held their annual end of year awards ceremony/cadet change of command at the EHS cafeteria. Friends, family members and members of community service and patriotic groups looked on as awards and recognition were given to the deserving cadets. Leadership and scholarship awards were given by representatives from the following groups: the American Legion Posts 70 and 77; the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 5118, the Navy League of the United States; the Reserve Officer’s Association; the Military Officers Association; the Daughters of the American Revolution; the National Society, Daughters of Founders and Patriots of America, the Military Order of the Purple Heart; the Military Order of World Wars; and the Surface Navy Association. NJROTC specific recognitions were also awarded to cadets in the Distinguished and Honor categories.

The event also celebrated the accomplishments of the outgoing staff which was ably led by Commanding Officer Taylor Bennett and welcomed the incoming staff for school year 2017-2018: Commanding Officer Josh Valdez; Executive Officer Shelby Turner, Operations Officer Meredith Strickland; Administration Officer Sergio Velazquez and Supply Officer Jeremiah Gardner.

The unit celebrated a successful year of accomplishments which included the annual Veterans recognition ceremonies, superb performance in drill and athletic meets, and a 3 day field trip to Yorktown and Norfolk Virginia. The Unit was identified by the NJROTC Area 5 Manager, Captain James Daniels as having risen to the “Outstanding” level for the first time in the 21 years the unit has been in existence. All active cadets were awarded the “Unit Achievement ribbon” and a banner will be displayed on the unit ”Guide-on” to be displayed during drill competitions and parades.

The Easton High School NJROTC unit is open to all Easton, Saint Michael’s, North Caroline and Colonel Richardson high school students, offering Naval Science 1-4 classes. There is no obligation, commitment or expectation for students to join the Armed Forces.

EHS Navy Junior ROTC Students Visit Coast Guard Training Center

Thirty-four members of the Easton High School’s NJROTC unit recently spent 3 days at the US Coast Guard’s Training Center in Yorktown, NJ.  Students from Easton, Saint Michaels, North Caroline and Colonel Richardson High Schools who are in the NJROTC unit, spent 2 nights onboard the Coast Guard’s advanced Training facility.  Under the supervision of professional Coastguardsmen and women, the cadets experienced real world training in a variety of areas and gained great appreciation for the perseverance and hard work that goes into the training of those who serve in the United States Coast Guard.

The training syllabus included experiencing the damage control or “wet” trainer; shipboard firefighting, dual ship bridge simulators and “marlinspike seamanship” The group, which included both EHS Naval Science Instructors and two parent/chaperones, also toured the USS Bainbridge, an active duty Navy destroyer based at the Norfolk Naval Station and the battleship “USS Wisconsin, a WW II era battleship at the “Nauticus Museum” complex in Norfolk.

Throughout the training, the Coast Guard’s “core values”: Honor, Respect and Devotion to Duty, were practiced by the professional Coast Guard staff and cadets alike.  “Many cadets felt that the experience was among the best in their young lives and a weekend very well spent,” said Jon Hammond, LCDR, USCG (Ret.), Senior Naval Science Instructor for Easton High School NJROTC.