Upcoming Programming at the Talbot County Free Library in April

Children’s Programs


We are Makers

Wednesdays, April 4, 11, 18, & 25, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m.  Create, explore, design and experiment with guided instruction and a fun box full of supplies!  Limited space, please pre-register.

Read with Latte, a Certified Therapy Dog

Tuesday, April 10, 4:00 p.m.  Bring a book or choose a library book and read with Janet Dickey and her dog, Latte.  For ages 5 and up.

Young Gardeners’ Club

Thursday, April 12, 3:45 p.m.  Seeds and Seedlings.  For children in grades 1 – 4.  Pre-registration required.

St. Michaels

Family Crafts

Monday, April 2, 3:30 p.m.  Earth Day Crafts

Maker Space

Wednesday, April 4, 3:30 p.m.  Enjoy STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math) building with Legos and Zoobs!  For children 6 and older.

STEM Story Time at the Lighthouse, Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum

Wednesday, April 11, 10:30 a.m.  Enjoy STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math) story time and learn about living in a lighthouse!  Pre-registration is required for free admission to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.  Please call the Talbot County Free Library St Michaels Branch (410-745-5877) to pre-register for this event.  For ages 7 and under accompanied by an adult.


Wednesdays, April 11 & 25, 3:30 p.m.  Explore Minecraft on the library’s computers.  For ages 5 and older.

Camp-In at the Library

Thursday, April 19, 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.  Enjoy stories, scavenger hunting, snacks, and crafts, with a camping-in-the-wild theme!  Bring your own flashlight and set of binoculars (optional, as we will have extras) for this camping-themed event!  For ages 2 to 8 accompanied by an adult.

Story Time

Wednesday, April 25, 10:30 a.m.  For children 5 and under accompanied by an adult.

Family Unplugged Games

Thursday, April 26, 3:30 p.m.  Bring the whole family to the library for an afternoon of board games and fun educational children’s games.  For all ages (children 5 and under must be accompanied by an adult).

Teen & Adult Programs


Stitching Time

Monday, April 9, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.  Work on your favorite project with a group.  Limited instruction provided for beginners.  Newcomers welcome.

Learn Microsoft Excel from a Pro

Monday, April 9, 6:00 p.m.  Computer Training Specialist Rita Hill teaches the second class of an introductory course in Microsoft Excel.  Pre-registration required.

Joelle Biele

Book Discussion: The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen

Monday, April 16, 6:30 p.m.

A Poetry Reading by Joelle Biele

Monday, April 23, 6:30 p.m.  Joelle Biele’s award-winning work has appeared in American Poetry Review, Antioch Review, Black Warrior Review, Gettysburg Review, Harvard Review, and New England Review.  She has taught American literature and creative writing at Johns Hopkins University, the University of Maryland, Goucher College, the University of Oldenburg, Germany, and Jagiellonian University, Poland.  Biele is the 2017-2018 Howard County Poetry and Literature Society Writer-in-Residence.

St. Michaels

Arts & Crafts

Thursday, April 5, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.  Free instruction for knitting, beading, needlework, and tatting.  Bring your coloring books, Zentangle pens or anything else that fuels your passion for being creative.  You may also bring a lunch.

Bay Hundred Chess

Wednesdays, April 11 & 25, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.  Learn and play the strategic game of chess.  Beginners welcome.  For all ages.

Memoir Writers

Thursdays, April 12 & 26, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.  Record and share your memories of life and family.  Participants are invited to bring their lunch.

Available 24/7: The Library’s eResources

Tuesday, April 17, 10:00 a.m.  A brief overview of some of the library’s eResources, including full-text journals, newspapers, genealogy, language learning, hobbies, and so much more.

Note:  All library programs are free and open to the public.  Unless otherwise noted, patrons do not need to pre-register to attend a library program.

Contact: Bill Peak, telephone: 410-822-1626

In-state Tuition Bill aimed at ‘Dreamers’ advances in Maryland

A bill that aims to ensure young, undocumented Maryland students referred to as “Dreamers,” can pursue higher education by giving qualified individuals access to in-state tuition is advancing in the Maryland General Assembly.

The circumstances under which Dreamers and residents with temporary protective status are exempt from paying the out-of-state tuition rate at public institutions of higher education will be altered under House bill 1536, which is cross-filed as Senate bill 546.

Under the legislation, qualified students would soon be able to pay the in-state tuition rate at any Maryland public higher education institution or the in-county rate at any community college, regardless of whether they live in that county.

The current state Dream Act, passed in 2012, says that an individual who attended a Maryland high school for at least three years and graduated or received the equivalent of a high school diploma pays the same tuition rates that resident students pay.

Current law also states that students are required to begin at a Maryland community college in the same district as the high school they graduated from. Once the student completes 60 credits, they may enroll at a public four-year institution and pay in-state tuition.

The new bill removes the credit requirement and would allow students to directly enter any public state college or university, and extends the period of eligibility from four to six years after graduating from high school. It would go into effect on July 1.

“Countless students who qualify (for in-state tuition) are more than ready to begin higher education at a four-year university right away. This bill will allow these Dreamers to continue their academic career at the college of their choice,” said sponsor Delegate Sheila Hixson, D-Montgomery, in a statement to Capital News Service.

High school senior and advocate for CASA, an immigrants-rights advocacy group, Jesus Vicuña, 18, one of the 9,700 Dreamers under protective status in the state, worries that his time will run out before he is able to pursue his dream of running track at Coppin State University, which just sent him an acceptance letter.

“I started to feel a sense of stability, I no longer had to live in the shadows. … For the first time I started to picture myself at a university and I finally had the opportunity to make my parents’ sacrifices worth it,” said Vicuña, who lives in Baltimore and attends Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, a public high school, about receiving DACA at the age of 15 after immigrating from Mexico with his family at 9 months old.

His DACA waiver runs out in April 2019, he said.

Vicuña got involved in CASA and his high school’s Hispanic club to promote legislation that helps students like him and testified in front of the Maryland House Ways and Means committee in favor of House bill 1536.

“This is a big step towards progress because everything is so unsure at the federal level,” he said.

The Trump administration announced Sep. 5 it was phasing out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and gave Congress six months to figure out a solution. It was further delayed by rulings from federal judges in California and New York, who both ordered the Trump administration to resume processing DACA renewal applications.

While the deadline has passed without a fix from Congress, the case is still going through the federal appeals process, leaving DACA recipients in limbo.

A recent Supreme Court ruling has given DACA participants a reprieve.

The University System of Maryland is monitoring this legislation and will continue to welcome qualified students as they have since the Dream Act was enacted, according to a representative for the University System.

By Hannah Brockway

Dorchester YMCA’s Middle School Basketball Team

On the front of the Dorchester YMCA’s Middle School Travel Basketball Team jerseys it reads, “Championing the cause for community, character and change”. Over the 4 months of the program, now in it’s second year, the 15 boys on the team showed change not only in their skills on the court but within their character as well.

Coached by Pastor Abraham Lankford, his focus wasn’t only to give these young men the skills they needed to be better on the court but to give them skills to be better in everything they do. The players were required to maintain passing grades as well as represent the YMCA’s values of respect, responsibility and caring during games and practices.

“Basketball was just the delivery method of our real purpose, mentoring” says Youth Development Director, Ashlie Elliott. “Through the basketball program, we are able to show these kids that people care and that they can succeed”.

And succeed they did, not only did some players’ grades improve, but the Champions ended their season with a 12-2 record. Most games were hosted at the Dorchester YMCA where the stands were full for every game. Family and friends packed the stands cheering the players on and driving home the YMCA’s misson: to work side-by-side with our neighbors to address critical community needs that help kids develop into smart, resilient adults, for people to improve their health and build a sense of community and for our most vulnerable young people to get the care and support they need.

About the Y

The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits and the largest Human Service organization on the Eastern Shore of Maryland; strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the Shore Ys engage over 35,000 members; men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the shore’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors.  In 2016, the YMCA of the Chesapeake provided over $1,226,000 in assistance to over 12,422 community members, turning no one away due to inability to pay. www.ymcachesapeake.org

Hogan’s Nonpublic schools funding gets ‘BOOST’ from Students

Hundreds of private school students, faculty, parents and supporters piled onto Lawyers Mall in Annapolis on Tuesday for a rally to support Gov. Larry Hogan’s funding for nonpublic schools.

Hogan, legislators and education administrators spoke at the event, put together by the Maryland Council for American Private Education to support the Broadening Options and Opportunities for Students Today program, known by its acronym, “BOOST.”

Cheered on by the many speakers, including Hogan, the crowd chanted “give a boost to BOOST” and “support all kids” throughout the rally.

The BOOST program “provides scholarships for some students who are eligible for the free or reduced-price lunch program to attend eligible nonpublic schools.”

Hogan told the crowd he himself attended private Catholic schools.

“It’s really important that you’re here,” Hogan, a Republican, told the crowd. “We’ve got some legislators across the street in the State House that need to hear from you and I want to make sure you guys are ready to make some noise.”

Among the schools with students and faculty present was St. Francis International School of Silver Spring and Hyattsville, Maryland.

The school’s principal, Tobias Harkleroad, told Capital News Service his fifth graders came to Annapolis to make sure government officials knew they were thankful for support.

They also went to the rally to learn about the political process and make their voices heard.

“We want to make sure that kids like them in nonpublic schools across the state are just as important to our elected officials as the wonderful children in our public schools,” Harkleroad said.

Marianne Schwenz is the mother of an eighth grader at St. Joseph’s Regional Catholic School in Beltsville, Maryland.

Schwenz said the potential funding provided by BOOST would particularly help grow special needs programs, especially in Catholic schools, where she feels there isn’t enough staffing to address the needs of some students.

However, she’s happy with how legislators have responded to the nonpublic school needs over time.

Hogan’s budget, approved by state lawmakers, has increased in each of the past three years funds directed toward the BOOST program. An appropriation of $5 million in fiscal year 2017 was followed by a $5.5 appropriation the following year. Hogan’s proposal for fiscal year 2019 climbs up to $8.85 million. That budget remains under review by the legislature.

“I think (the funding) does definitely need to continue to grow, although I do think our voice is being heard a little more each year,” Schwenz said.

Other supporters included Delegates Shelly Hettleman, D-Baltimore County, and Dana Stein, D-Baltimore County. Representatives from the Archdiocese of Washington and Baltimore Catholic schools also spoke, along with Maryland State Board of Education member, pastor Michael Phillips.

“Today, this is where all of you who attend wonderful nonpublic schools are going to go make sure that we protect our funding and our scholarships,” Hogan said.

Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy conducted a survey of 625 Maryland voters between Feb. 20 and Feb. 22 that found nearly two-thirds supported an increase in funding for the BOOST program. The poll also concluded 58 percent of voters surveyed would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports increasing the BOOST program.

“The facts are that since taking office, Governor Hogan has committed record K-12 education funding in his four budgets, totaling $25 billion,” Eric Shirk, spokesman for the state’s Department of Budget & Management wrote in an email. This includes $6.5 billion in the proposed 2019 fiscal year budget.

But Maryland State Education Association President Betty Weller disagreed with Hogan’s use of funds in a Jan. 17 statement.

“Another year, another Gov. Hogan budget that follows the policy priorities of Betsy DeVos rather than Marylanders,” Weller said, citing the U.S. education secretary, an advocate of charter schools and private school vouchers.

Weller said Hogan should not be funding a voucher program that “overwhelmingly benefits” students in private schools.

By Sean Whooley

Annual Meeting of Talbot County Democratic Forum

1st District Democratic Congressional Candidates Jesse Colvin, Allison Galbraith, Michael Pullen, and Steve Worton will speak at the annual meeting of the Talbot County Democratic Forum on Sunday, March 18 at Easton’s Avalon Theatre.

The social hour begins at 4 pm, accompanied by the Forum’s fabulous smorgasbord and Talbot County Democratic Women’s Club’s silent auction. Following a call to order from Forum President Rick Schiming at 5 pm and a brief business meeting, Talbot County Democratic Central Committee Chairman Scott Kane and the candidates will speak to our cause in the coming election.

Jesse Colvin, Allison Galbraith, Michael Pullen, Steve Worton

Marylander Jesse Colvin spent a semester in Egypt, lived in Syria, taught English to Iraqi students, and served four tours of duty as an Army Ranger in Afghanistan. He then became a consultant to business and government executives, and more recently, he has married and become an expectant father.

Allison Galbraith is a native Marylander, mom, and business owner specializing in federal contracting. Having dealt with the complexities of working with both veteran-owned small businesses and government agencies, she believes that a government of the people can and must work for the people.

Having served as Talbot County Attorney and worked with both Republican and Democratic county councils over the past 24 years, Michael Pullen is intimately aware of Eastern Shore issues. He founded the grassroots organization Talbot Rising, became a delegate to the 2016 Democratic National Convention, and left his position as County Attorney to run for Congress.

Candidate Steve Worton worked 33 years for the Department of Defense, managing over 3,000 people at 23 sites around the world. He retired from Aberdeen Proving Ground in 2014. Having dealt with Senate and House committees, he wants to bring his experience in promoting sound management to Washington.

This event, free and open to the public, also provides an opportunity to join or renew membership in the Talbot County Democratic Forum. For more information visit www.demforum.com or email talbotdemocraticforum@gmail.com.

Frederick Douglass “Read Across Talbot County” Takes Place in Area Schools

On Friday, March 2, in schools across Talbot County, 75 “local heroes” took time out of their day to read to different classes of elementary school students. The event—organized by the Talbot County Free Library in partnership with Talbot County Public Schools, the Talbot County Chamber of Commerce, and others—was part of the National Endowment for the Art’s annual Read Across America program.

This year, locally, in honor of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Talbot County’s most famous native son, the event was called “Frederick Douglass Read Across Talbot County.” Douglass once famously said, “Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”

Patti Willis (back row, center) read with second graders St. Michaels Elementary on Read Across Talbot Day, Friday, March 2, 2018.

From UM SRH, more than 25 team members volunteered to read in schools across the county. Those who volunteered were: Marguerite Spies, Kevin Johnson, Deanna McMullen, Linda Pittman, Carolyn Crist, William Huffner, MD, Melissa Svehla, Jenson Shorter, Tanya Gross, Nancy Cavanaugh, Michelle Kirk, Andrea Shoener, Theresa Banks, Stacey Stanley, Debbie Cahall, Tom Towers, Tawes Harper, Jonathan Kelley, Patti Willis, Ren Boettger, Wynne Aroom. Bruce Singley, Courtney Robinson, Ellisha Scott and Lacie Yacko.

As schools closed early that Friday due to threatening weather, some volunteers were notified of the closures and will be given the opportunity to volunteer next time.

Sheriff Joe Gamble, County Councilman Corey Pack, State’s Attorney Scott Patterson, and UM Shore Regional Health Senior Vice President Patti Willis were among those who took time out of their schedules to demonstrate to local children how important they think reading is.

According to Willis, the second grade class of teacher Kathy Regan at St. Michaels Elementary School was “enthusiastic, engaged and very well-mannered. They loved the stories we read together and since literacy is such an important aspect of personal responsibility for health, I am so pleased to see that reading is alive and well in our schools.”

About UM Shore Regional Health: As part of the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), University of Maryland Shore Regional Health is the principal provider of comprehensive health care services for more than 170,000 residents of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. UM Shore Regional Health’s team of more than 2,600 employees, medical staff, board members and volunteers work with various community partners to fulfill the organization’s mission of Creating Healthier Communities Together.

Frederick Douglass Read Across Talbot Event Takes Place in Area Schools

Officer Yvonne Freeman with students.

On Friday, March 2, in schools across the county, 75 “local heroes” took time out of their day to read to different classes of elementary school students.  The event—organized by the Talbot County Free Library in partnership with Talbot County Public Schools, the Talbot County Chamber of Commerce, and others—was part of the National Endowment for the Art’s annual Read Across America program.  This year, locally, in honor of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Talbot County’s most famous native son, the event was called “Frederick Douglass Read Across Talbot County.”  Douglass once famously said, “Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”

Sheriff Joe Gamble, County Councilman Corey Pack, State’s Attorney Scott Patterson, and Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum President Kristen Greenaway were among those who took time out of their busy schedules to demonstrate to local children how important they think reading is.  In a thank you note to the class he read in, the library’s Bill Peak wrote, “You know I give readings to grown-ups all the time, but I have to tell you I have never had a more enthusiastic and receptive audience than the one I found in Mrs. Burkhardt’s second grade classroom at St. Michaels Elementary School.”

For more information about events being held in celebration of the Frederick Douglass bicentennial, please visit www.fd200.org.  For more information about library programming, please call the library at 410-822-1626, or visit www.tcfl.org.

Republican Committee of Talbot County Commends Thomas Appointment

The Republican Central Committee of Talbot County (RCCTC) commends Wadella Chase Thomas of Easton on her appointment to serve on the Talbot County Board of Elections. Thomas was nominated by Governor Hogan and her appointment was affirmed with consent of the Maryland State Senate
RCCTC Chair Nick Panuzio said ”Wadella’s appointment is well deserved and reflects the very high regard she has earned through a lifetime of service in our community”.

That service includes 41 years as a teacher in Dorchester County Schools; following her graduation from Moton High School and Morgan State University. She also received a master’s degree at Salisbury University. Thomas currently serves as a member of the Core Leadership Team at Church of the King and as a Board member of the local Chapter of Lady Patriots. She has also served as an election judge and as legislative chair for the Mid Shore League of Republican Women.

Panuzio observed that Wadella’s background and experience will be a great asset in working with the professional staff at the local Board of Elections to execute their mission to provide all eligible citizens of the County convenient access to voter registration; to provide all registered voters accessible locations in which they may exercise their right to vote, to ensure uniformity of the election practices; to promote fair and equitable elections; and to maintain registration records, campaign fund reports, and other election-related data accurately and in a form that is accessible to the public.

Maryland Schools Need more Physical Education, lawmaker Says

The majority of jurisdictions in the state set aside fewer than 90 minutes per week for physical education.
But for the past eight years, legislation introduced to require a higher physical activity and education standard in the state has still not seen progress. 
The sponsor of the legislation, Delegate Jay Walker D-Prince George’s, called it “a bill that we’ve seen too many times over the years.”
The proposal requires all public elementary schools to set aside a maximum of 150 minutes per week for physical activity, including a minimum of 90 minutes per week for physical education.
For required minutes not spent in physical education, elementary schools would have to designate a physical activity leadership team to plan and coordinate extra opportunities for activity, the bill states.
The biggest issue remains what the school districts would cut from their academic curriculums to provide more time for physical activity. 
Walker said he “talked to people that work with Boards of Education in the state (who) said if it’s mandated they would find a way to make it work.” 
During the bill’s hearing on Feb. 8, Delegate Carolyn Howard D-Prince George’s, asked how to incorporate more physical education.
“The question has always been, what do you remove or delete in teaching in schools so that we can get the 90 minutes?” asked Howard.
Newport Mill Middle School physical education teachers Matt Slatkin and Shannon Spencer have supported this legislation “from the ground up” because, they told Capital News Service, lack of elementary school physical education affects students when they attend middle school. 
Slatkin told the Capital News Service that Montgomery County Public Schools, where Newport Mill is located, “skirt” around the term physical activity by counting physical education with recess. 
While the county includes the 30 minutes a day for physical activity during recess, students may not even move at all, Slatkin said. He added that recess is often held indoors during the winter and in times of bad weather. 
Slatkin said physical education is taught by a professional teacher, whereas recess does not require a curriculum or standards, and does not teach anything. 
“You can’t try to compare recess to physical education,” said Slatkin. 
According to the Maryland State Department of Education, as of January 2018, Montgomery County has the lowest minimum amount of required physical education per week at 30 minutes, followed by Prince George’s with 40 minutes per week. 
According to a state analysis, 18 of the state’s 24 jurisdictions do not meet the 90-minute standard under the bill; at least four of those would need to hire additional staff — at a total cost of $13.7 million — to meet that requirement if the legislation passes. 
This includes $1.1 million for Allegany, $1.2 million for Cecil, $10.9 million for Montgomery, and $542,000 for Queen Anne’s; these amounts are expected to increase marginally over the following few years, according to the state analysis. Allegany would need 14 teachers, Cecil would need 17, Montgomery would need 133 and Queen Anne’s would need eight to meet the bill requirements, according to the fiscal analysis.
The other 14 jurisdictions that don’t require at least 90 minutes may also need an increase in funds to meet the standard, but they have not been assessed in the fiscal analysis.
The remaining 10 jurisdictions would not need additional funding because they already meet the proposed standards.
The bill would take effect on Oct. 1, but a local school system may apply for an extension until July 1, 2021, to ensure compliance.
The federal No Child Left Behind Act in 2002 altered allotted time for certain school activities, according to the state fiscal analysis.
Following the No Child Left Behind Act, a national study on curriculum by the Center on Education Policy found that schools prioritized time on tested subjects, including math and language arts, and spent less time on other subjects and activities, including lunch, physical education and recess. 
Walker said during committee testimony on Feb. 8 that the bill’s cost has decreased over the years and that “it is possible to implement this program.”
Patricia Swanson, legislative aide for Montgomery County Public Schools Board of Education,  told Capital News Service the board opposed this legislation because it is a large unfunded mandate and does not believe this issue should be decided at a state level. 
Swanson also said “MCPS has taken action to clarify physical education time with schools beginning with the 2018-2019 school year, and is taking steps to gather information directly from each school on current schedules and class time.”
In the 2018 to 2019 school year grades K-5 will be required a minimum of 45 minutes of physical education per week, she said.
Children between 5 and 12 years old should get at least an hour per day of physical activity, according to The National Association for Sport and Physical Education. The activity should be intermittent and a mix of moderate and vigorous exercise, the association said.
While the bill is not expected to progress in the legislative session, Slatkin told the Capital News Service that he believes that as the public’s knowledge grows, so will support for the bill. 
“Nobody knew about this bill the past eight years and now it’s finally getting out,” said Slatkin. “It’s something that the parents want, the students want, and the teachers want.”
By Layne Litsinger

Women on Fire: A March 22 Expert Panel

Vanessa Williams

A distinguished panel of women from journalism, academia, politics, and public policy are headlining on March 22 what is sure to be a compelling and timely panel on the dynamic and evolving role of women in the political arena in general and in the 2018 elections in particular.

The Louis L. Goldstein Program in Public Affairs Women in Public Affairs Project is pleased to present “Women on Fire: How Trump and the #MeToo Movement are Shaping the 2018 Elections.” The free, public event begins at 5 p.m. in Hynson Lounge. Panelists are Vanessa Williams, a staff writer on The Washington Post national desk, Kelly Dittmar, an assistant professor of political science at Rutgers University–Camden, and Krish Vignarajah, candidate for governor in Maryland and former policy director for First Lady Michelle Obama.

Moderated by Melissa Deckman, Chair and Professor of Political Science at Washington College, this panel will consider the reasons why an unprecedented number of women have filed as candidates for office in 2018, how the Trump presidency and the #MeToo movement relate to this trend, and what women’s chances are for success.

Kelly Dittmar

Vanessa Williams is a staff writer on the national desk at The Washington Post, where she has worked since 1996. She writes about race and gender issues in the current tumultuous state of our political institutions. Williams joined the Post as a reporter covering D.C. City Hall. She has also been an editor on the metro and national desks. Before joining the Post, Williams was a reporter/writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where she covered local and state government and politics. She began her career at her hometown newspaper, The St. Petersburg Times, in Florida. Williams is a longtime member of the National Association of Black Journalists, of which she served as president from 1997-1999. She is a graduate of Florida State University, with a Bachelor’s degree in English.

Kelly Dittmar is an assistant professor of political science at Rutgers University–Camden and scholar at the Center for American Women and Politics at the Eagleton Institute of Politics. She is the author of Navigating Gendered Terrain: Stereotypes and Strategy in Political Campaigns (Temple University Press, 2015), as well as a forthcoming volume on women’s representation in the U.S. Congress (with Kira Sanbonmatsu and Susan Carroll). Dittmar’s research examines gender and American political institutions with a particular focus on how gender informs campaigns and the impact of gender diversity among elites and professionals in policy and political decisions, priorities, and processes. At CAWP, Dittmar manages national research projects, helps to develop and implement CAWP’s research agenda, and contributes to CAWP reports, publications, and analyses. This year, she directs Gender Watch 2018, a project to monitor and analyze gender dynamics in the 2018 election. She has been an expert source and commentator for media outlets including MSNBC, NPR, PBS, The New York Times and The Washington Post. Dittmar earned her B.A. from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and her Ph.D. from Rutgers University-New Brunswick.

Krish Vignarajah

Krish Vignarajah is running for governor in the state of Maryland. She served in the Obama White House as policy director for First Lady Michelle Obama and at the State Department as senior advisor under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of State John Kerry. Before joining the White House, Vignarajah worked at McKinsey & Company, where she consulted for Fortune 100 companies, practiced law at Jenner & Block in Washington, D.C., clerked for Chief Judge Michael Boudin on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, and taught at Georgetown University as an adjunct. An advocate of women and girls, Vignarajah has spoken widely on this subject, including at Hood College,where she recently delivered a commencement address that was recognized by BuzzFeed as the #4 Most Inspiring Speech of 2017.The daughter of Baltimore City public school teachers, Vignarajah’s parents emphasized education her entire life. She attended Woodlawn High School in Baltimore and then Yale College. She was a Marshall Scholar at Oxford University, before returning to Yale Law School.

Melissa Deckman

Melissa Deckman is the Louis L. Goldstein Professor of Public Affairs and chairs the Department of Political Science at Washington College.  Deckman’s areas of specialty include religion and politics, women and politics, and state and local politics. Her latest book is Tea Party Women: Mama Grizzlies, Grassroots Leaders, and the Changing Face of the American Right (May 2016: NYU Press). The updated third edition of her best-selling textbook, Women and Politics, written with Julie Dolan and Michele Swers, and which analyzes the 2016 presidential election, is now available through Rowman & Littlefield. Deckman is also an affiliated scholar and chair of the board of the Public Religion Research Institute.

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.


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