Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Professor Striner's Maverick Fix for Nation's Economic Malaise is Cover of PBK Quarterly

CHESTERTOWN, MD—Washington College history professor Richard Striner’s proposal for fixing the U.S. economy is the cover story of the Winter 2012 issue of American Scholar, the quarterly magazine published by the Phi Beta Kappa Society. His historically rooted pitch: Congress could create money, as it did during the Civil War, funding public projects that shock the economy back to life.
Striner, a Lincoln scholar whose 2010 book Lincoln's Way explored the use of broad presidential powers under six Administrations, says his research for that book piqued his interest in monetary policy, especially how the United States financed its wars and used major public works projects to boost employment. The son of an economist, he delved into U.S. monetary history from the Civil War forward. His proposal may be heresy to some, he notes, but a number of well-respected economists were saying much the same thing back in the 1930s and ’40s.

Striner’s proposal is different from any previous “Greenback” proposal because he envisions a dynamic partnership between Congress and the Federal Reserve—a partnership that would use all of the existing powers of “the Fed” to prevent or counteract inflation.
“I’m hoping this proposal will stimulate a major reconceptualization of what money is,” Striner says. “Most Americans have no idea of how our money supply is created or how money enters circulation, because the subject is hardly ever explained in vivid language that the general public can understand. This article, among its other aims, seeks to rectify that situation.”
November 30, 2011

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Professor Oros Joins US-Japan Policy Network

WASHINGTON, DC—Washington College associate professor of political science and international studies Andrew Oros has been selected to participate in the second cohort of the “U.S.-Japan Network for the Future” program sponsored by the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation and the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership.
The program was created to identify and support American professionals who are becoming specialists on Japan, its international policies and its relationship with the United States. To that end, the Network sponsors workshops, seminars and other opportunities for learning and collaborating.
In 2012, Network participants will participate in a two-day workshop and weeklong meeting in Washington, D.C. and a two-day retreat in Montana. They also will be hosted for a week of study in Japan in June of 2013 and will participate in a public symposium and panel on current events in early 2014.
Professor Oros is one of 14 scholars and/or policy analysts chosen from around the country. The group includes faculty from George Washington University, Stanford, Johns Hopkins and the University of Michigan, along with representatives from the Congressional Research Service, the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, and the United States-Japan Foundation.
The Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation promotes understanding and cooperation in U.S.-Asia relations. Maureen and Mike Mansfield’s values, ideals and vision for U.S.-Asia relations continue through the Foundation’s programs, which create networks among U.S. and Asian leaders, explore the underlying issues influencing public policies, and increase awareness about the nations and peoples of Asia. The Foundation has offices in Washington, Tokyo, and Missoula. For more information, visit
The Center for Global Partnership (CGP) at the Japan Foundation (a Japanese Independent Administrative Institution, or Dokuritsu Gyosei Hojin) works to enhance dialogue and interchange between Japanese and U.S. citizens on a wide range of issues. With offices in Tokyo and New York, the CGP operates grant programs as well as self-initiated projects and fellowships. For more:

Monday, November 28, 2011

Governor's Appointments to College Board Include Pew Trusts Head Rimel, Realtor Janney

CHESTERTOWN, MD—Washington College announced that Governor Martin O’Malley has appointed Pew Charitable Trusts head Rebecca Webster Rimel and real-estate executive Margaret Goldstein Janney ’76 to serve on the College’s Board of Visitors and Governors. Rimel will serve a six-year term, and Janney will fill the remainder of a 4-year term. In addition, business executive Peter D. Davenport was reappointed to a new six-year term.
By agreeing to help guide the 230-year-old college, board members follow in the footsteps of General George Washington, who donated to its founding in 1782 and served on its first Board of Governors.
As President and Chief Executive Officer of the Pew Charitable Trusts for the past 17 years, Rebecca Rimel has led the public charity’s expansion from about 60 employees in Philadelphia to more than 600 staffers located throughout the country and around the globe. The Pew Trusts fund data-driven solutions and goal-based investments to improve public policies, inform the public and stimulate civic life.
Rimel joined the Pew after a short but stellar career in nursing. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree with distinction from the University of Virginia School of Nursing in 1973 and then worked as head nurse in the University of Virginia Hospital Emergency Department and as coordinator of outpatient facilities before becoming an assistant professor in the Department of Neurosurgery. With that post, she became the first nurse to hold a faculty position at the University of Virginia Medical School. She has authored numerous scientific articles on head injuries.
After earning a master’s degree in business administration from James Madison University, Rimel started her work at Pew in 1983 as Health Program Manager. She was promoted to Executive Director five years later and accepted her current position in 1994. The work she oversees in Pew’s original office in Philadelphia focuses largely on urban issues and the arts, while the staff in the Washington, D.C., office works on issues related to the environment, state policy, public health and national economic issues. The internationally renowned Pew Research Center is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts.
Rimel is an emeritus Trustee of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello and has served on advisory boards and committees for numerous other non-profits, including the Council of Foundations, the University of Virginia, and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. She currently serves on the board of Deutsche Asset Management/DWS Funds and CardioNet, Inc. She also is a fellow of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia and a member of the American Philosophical Society and its prestigious Wistar Association. She lives in Kennedyville, Md., with her husband, Patrick Caldwell.
Margaret Goldstein Janney ’76 brings years of experience in government service and politics to the board, beginning with the time she spent campaigning with her father, the late Louis L. Goldstein ’35, a longtime member and former chair of Washington College’s Board of Visitors and Governors who served as Maryland Comptroller for nearly 40 years. A graduate of St. Stephens and St. Agnes School in Alexandria, Va., she earned her B.A. in political science from Washington College and took graduate courses in government and public administration at American University.

Janney worked in Washington, D.C., in the office of Maryland Congressman Roy Dyson for several years before joining the staff of New Jersey Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, where she worked for seven years as Assistant to the Legislative Director. She finished her Capital Hill career as Executive Assistant to Senator Paul D. Wellstone of Minnesota, whom she served from March 1991 to May 1999. In 1996, she was awarded a Certificate of Service from the United States Senate.
Janney has worked in real estate since she and her husband, William R. Janney III ’76, moved to Naples, Fla. She was an owner and agent of Janney Real Estate Services for nearly a decade before joining Amerivest Realty as a realtor early this year. She has been active in alumni affairs for her alma mater, serving as the 1970s decade representative on the Washington College Alumni Council and as co-president of the South West Florida Alumni Chapter.
Returning Board member Peter D. Davenport is Vice President for Marketing at Thomas Scientific, a New Jersey-based company that distributes scientific equipment and laboratory supplies, including those manufactured in Chestertown at its subsidiary, LaMotte Company. Davenport also serves as Executive and Trustee of the Davenport Family Foundation.
In his other volunteer affiliations, he is a member of the Birmingham Township Planning Committee, a trustee of the Stroud Water Research Center, a member of the Board of Regents of Mercersburg Academy, and a Board member of the Brandywine River Museum. He and his wife, Sylvia, both graduates of Tufts University, live in Chadds Ford, Pa.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Washington College Names Fundraiser Gretchen Dwyer As New VP for Advancement

CHESTERTOWN, MD—Washington College has named Gretchen Dwyer, a fundraiser and 16-year veteran of school development and alumni-relations work, as its new Vice President for College Advancement beginning in mid-January of 2012.

Since 2004, Dwyer, 39, has served as Senior Director of Campaign and Leadership Giving at Bennington College in Vermont. In that role, she managed leadership giving, planned giving, prospect research and donor stewardship. She built and managed Bennington’s leadership-giving program, greatly increasing both the number of donors and the size of gifts to the college during her tenure. She also served on occasion as Interim Vice President for External Relations.

Before joining the Bennington College staff, Dwyer worked for two years as Director of Development at the Tower School, an independent K-9 school in Marblehead, Mass., and for four years at Boston University, where she served as the Director of Development and Alumni Relations for the College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

In announcing the appointment to the campus and alumni communities, Washington College President Mitchell B. Reiss cited Dwyer’s fundraising successes and her reputation for forging strong working relationships with multiple constituencies. “I am delighted that Gretchen has agreed to join us at Washington College,” he said. “She has been a central figure in the success of a number of our nation’s premier advancement programs. The leadership-giving program Gretchen built and manages has been responsible for Bennington College’s receipt of more six-, seven-, and eight-figure gifts in the past seven years than in its entire 79-year history. I am confident she will make enormous contributions to Washington College.”

“I am very excited about coming to Washington College and Chestertown,” said Dwyer. “I am looking forward to building on the staff’s great fundraising and alumni relations successes and working together with all members of the Washington College community to raise support for such a dynamic and distinctive college. The combination of the College’s attributes—its known strengths in writing, the excellent programming at its CES [Center for Environment and Society] and C.V. Starr Center, a proud alumni body, a stellar faculty and talented students—is irresistible to me. My family is also excited to join the Chestertown community.”

A native of California, Dwyer earned a bachelor’s degree in English and African Studies from St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y., and a master’s degree in literacy, language and cultural studies from Boston University. She and her husband, Tom Dwyer, have three children, ages 6, 5, and 2.

Dwyer’s appointment concludes a lengthy national search and fills a year-long vacancy in Washington College’s Advancement office. President Reiss thanked Barbara Heck, the Associate Vice President for Leadership Gifts, who has led the department since October of last year. “Barbara and the entire Advancement staff have worked diligently to keep donor development and stewardship on course. I know they will assist Gretchen in every way as we welcome the Dwyer family into our campus and our community.”

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Visiting Neuro-Economist to Explain What Really Motivates Our Financial Decisions

CHESTERTOWN, MD—As economic concerns and debt continue to dog the U.S., and European leaders work to avert financial catastrophes in their own countries, it seems more important than ever to understand just how people make monetary decisions—at home, in business, and in government. Are we even capable of reasonable decisions in the midst of so many temptations to misspend?
Economist Daniel Houser will offer some answers from the field of neuroeconomics when he delivers a talk titled “Temptation and Self-Control” on Tuesday, November 29 at Washington College. The talk, which is free and open to the public, will take place at 4:30 p.m. in Hynson Lounge, Hodson Hall, on the College campus (300 Washington Avenue).
“Temptation and the need for self-control are ubiquitous features of human lives, and can play an important role in the way we make economic decisions,” says Houser, Chair of the Department of Economics at George Mason University and a faculty member of its Center for the Study of Neuroeconomics. His talk will explore the ways temptation influences not only our purchases but also our productivity at work, and will discuss strategies for improved self-control.
The event is co-sponsored by the Washington College Department of Psychology, the Omicron Delta Epsilon International Honor Society in Economics, the Washington College Chapter of Sigma Xi and the Daniel Z. Gibson-John A Wagner Visitor Fund. For more information,

College Seeks Nominations for President’s Medal, Distinguished Service Awards by December 9

Chestertown, MD—Washington College president Mitchell Reiss has called for nominations for two annual honors – the President’s Medal and the President’s Distinguished Service Awards – that recognize meritorious service to Washington College and/or Chestertown and the greater Kent County community. The College is accepting nominations through December 9, 2011. Award recipients will be honored at the College’s George Washington’s Birthday Convocation on Friday, February 24, 2012.
Through the President’s Medal, the College honors an individual or organization from the greater Kent County community who has established an exemplary record of sustained positive contribution to the quality of life in the region and/or at the College. The candidate’s career or organization’s work should be distinguished by service to their fellow human beings and reflect the ideals represented in the Washington College Mission Statement ( In addition, a nominee should have at least five years of demonstrated service in a particular area.
Last year’s recipient was Community Food Pantry president Jim Fouss. Previous recipients include Richard Miller, Leslie Raimond, Ruth Briscoe, Nancy Dick, Chris Havemeyer, Jim Siemen, the Chestertown Volunteer Fire Department, the Kent Family Center, Tracey Davenport, Summer Days Math & Science Camp for Girls, Eileen Dickey, and Jane Hukill.
The President’s Distinguished Service Awards go to Washington College employees who through exceptional performance, leadership and service have made distinctive contributions to the operation of their departments or the campus community as a whole. Nominees can be any members of the faculty or staff who have been employed by Washington College for at least five years.
As many as five Distinguished Service Awards may be given each year. The 2011 recipients were Associate Professor of Mathematics Louise Amick, faculty secretary Catherine Naundorf, John Toll Professor of Psychology George Spilich, Director of Waterfront Activities John Wagner, and Advancement Office secretary Patsy Will (since retired).
Nominations for both awards involve a letter of recommendation, two or three seconding letters, and a résumé or bio recounting the person or organization’s history and accomplishments. Nominations will be reviewed and evaluated by the five-member President’s Awards Advisory Committee. The faculty and staff members who make up the advisory committee for the 2012 selections are George Spilich (Chair), Kate Moncrief, Debby Bergen, Darnell Parker, and Chris Rainer.
Complete nomination information and criteria for the awards are available online at Completed nomination materials should be sent to: President’s Awards Advisory Committee, c/o President’s Office, Washington College, 300 Washington Avenue, Chestertown, MD 21620.
Photo: Community Food Pantry president Jim Fouss accepts the 2011 President's Medal from Mitchell Reiss during the George Washington's Birthday Convocation in February.

College and Friends Celebrate 50th Birthday of Arctic Wildlife Refuge with Film Screening

CHESTERTOWN — About the size of South Carolina, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is home to caribou herds, polar bears, grizzly bears, muskox, doll sheep, wolves, wolverines, snow geese, peregrine falcons and other migratory birds. Discover this isolated and breathtaking preserve at a special screening of the documentary film America's Wildest Refuge on November 29th at Washington College.
In celebration of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge’s 50th Anniversary, the community is invited for cake and refreshments first, at 6:30 p.m. in the McLain Atrium, located in the Toll Science Building on Campus Avenue in Chestertown.
The film, which has a running time of 50 minutes, will be shown at 7 p.m. Colby Hawkinson, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service specialist at Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge, will be on hand that evening to answer questions and explore connections between the Arctic and Eastern Neck Refuges.
The event is sponsored by Washington College’s Center for Environment & Society, the Friends of Eastern Neck Inc., and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. For information email to or call 410-778-7295.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Study Shows Graduates of Private Liberal Arts Colleges More Satisfied with Their Educations

CHESTERTOWN, MD—Washington College alumni were among those surveyed for a major comparative study on the value of a residential liberal-arts education. Conducted on behalf of the Annapolis Group, a consortium of 130 private liberal-arts colleges, the survey shows that compared with alumni of larger universities, graduates of the AG member schools showed significantly higher satisfaction with the lasting impacts of their college experience on their lives and careers.
As a participating member of the Annapolis Group, Washington College had submitted the names of 100 randomly selected alumni to the company that conducted the survey, Hardwick Day.
According to the executive summary prepared by Hardwick Day, “On measure after measure—from the quality of the learning experience to the nature of their engagement with faculty and peers, from the impact on intellectual and personal development to the value to their careers—alumni of private liberal arts colleges, where the residential experience is a core dimension, say that they benefitted dramatically personally and professionally, academically and socially from their college experience. They report this in far greater numbers and percentages than do alumni of large state universities, including the top public universities.”
Click here to read coverage of the survey in Inside Higher Ed.
Or visit the Annapolis Group Web site to read its announcement of the survey results.

Photos by Keanan Barbour-March.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Veterans Project Seeks to Recognize War Service of Washington College Alumni

CHESTERTOWN—The Awards Committee of the Washingon College Alumni Association is compiling a list of College alumni who have served our country in battle.
Director of alumni programs Judie Barroll is heading up the Veterans Project. Her husband Stewart's great-great-great grandfather, War of 1812 veteran James Edmondson Barroll, Secretary and Adjutant of the Troop of Horse, Kent County Militia, is the first of more than 200 veterans listed so far. Recent alumni are listed for combat service in Iraq and Afghanistan. (Click here to see the list.)
“The Awards Committee initiated this project more than a year ago,” Judie explains. “Through an article in Washington College Magazine and by contacting alumni through phone calls and e-mails we have been able to compile a pretty comprehensive list. But we know there are still some war veterans missing and some inaccuracies. This is a living, breathing document that is constantly changing, and we need alumni help.”
The list will live on the Alumni web page ( as it progresses and will ultimately be a valuable record for historians of the College. Judie says the Awards Committee also plans eventually to have the list framed and displayed in a prominent location on campus, “as one simple way to honor our Washington College alumni who have served or are serving our country.”
For more information, contact Judie at or 410-810-7143

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Washington College Team Wins CIA's Tri-State Intelligence Simulation at Georgetown

CHESTERTOWN, MD—Washington College took home the top prize in the largest-ever Undergraduate Crisis Simulation organized by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) November 3 at Georgetown University. The team of four Washington College students won the Maryland bracket and beat out other finalists William & Mary (Virginia bracket) and American University (D.C. bracket). A total of 12 schools competed, including the University of Maryland, University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Sweetbriar College.

The team from Washington College consisted of senior International Studies majors John Preston Hildebrand and Kathleen Pattie; senior Political Science major Kelsey Newborn; and junior Economics major Alex Anbarcioglu. Dr. Andrew Oros, Director of International Studies and Associate Professor of Political Science, recruited and advised the team. Also working with the students was a CIA mentor, an actual collection analyst at the Agency who was assigned to the Washington College team.

The simulation held at Georgetown University last week was one of about 50 such competitions the CIA plans to host around the country this year. The half-day exercise requires speed-reading, quick thinking and cogent writing to provide timely advice to policymakers seeking to resolve an imagined but realistic international crisis.

The four-student team, guided by their CIA mentor, had just two hours to sift through piles of information about an urgent development on the Korean peninsula and prepare a short memo and 10-minute oral briefing for the Director of the Agency, as played by a CIA staff member. “Instead of being stressed, we were all running on adrenaline and excitement,” recalls Pattie. “We really benefited from our teamwork. Even though we had only just met the week prior, our ability to bond together, delegate tasks, and make seamless transitions along with quick decisions was a major asset.”

The top teams from each state division advanced to a final round, where – in front of about 50 other participants, including fellow students, faculty and CIA personnel – they delivered a five-minute briefing to a panel of CIA staff members role-playing the Director of National Intelligence and other senior staff. The Washington College team divided labors according to each member’s strengths: Pattie compiled pertinent questions for Anbarcioglu to ask at a briefing session that only one representative from each team could attend. Newborn wrote the written brief, and Hildebrand delivered the oral briefings. “Our team’s greatest success came from knowing each other’s strengths and encouraging each other,” says Newborn.

“It was an incredible experience,” adds Hildebrand. “I was blown away by the level of realism that the CIA put together for us. Our analyst assured us it was very close to being the real thing.”

The CIA sees the Undergraduate Crisis Simulations as a way to showcase the kind of work its analysts perform and to encourage undergraduates to consider careers in intelligence analysis. If the Washington College team is any indication, the Agency achieved its goal. “I had previously thought about a career in intelligence but had always associated it with movies and television depictions,” says Pattie. “By participating in the simulation I got a clear understanding of what the job entails and was not disappointed by the level of excitement. Now I have a more definitive idea of what the CIA contributes to the nation and am eager to learn more about possible careers there.”

Hildebrand says the fast-paced simulation sealed the deal for his career interest: “The analysts were all incredibly professional and showed the best side of the Central Intelligence Agency. I will definitely be applying for a position in the near future.”

The team’s success illustrated ways Washington College is meeting its goals, as well. “The entire experience proves that despite going to a small school, we are getting the same high level of education that students are getting at larger institutions,” notes Newborn.

“A huge part of our advantage was the analytic nature of WAC's curriculum,” adds Anbarcioglu. “Rather than rote memorization, teachers prize lateral and creative thinking.”

Professor Oros agrees with his students’ assessments that the simulation underscores skills that many Washington College courses convey. “Our small class environment, which offers many opportunities for group collaboration and stresses communicating effectively in writing and speaking gave our students an advantage,” he remarks. “It’s gratifying for me as a professor to see employers stressing the importance of the same skills I stress in the classroom, and to see my students utilize those skills in action.”
Photo: From left, professor Andrew Oros and students Kathleen Pattie, Kelsey Newborn, Preston Hildebrand and Alex Anbarcioglu strike a team pose.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Do Fish Feel Pain? Afraid So, Says Researcher Coming to Lecture Nov. 16 at the College

CHESTERTOWN, MD—Do fish feel pain? And does it matter? These are the questions Victoria Braithwaite, a researcher at Pennsylvania State University, will address in a lecture at Washington College on Wednesday, November 16. Part of the McLain Lecture Series, the talk will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Litrenta Lecture Hall, Toll Science Center, 300 Washington Avenue. A book signing will follow in the McLain Atrium.
Braithwaite, Associate Director and Professor of Fisheries and Biology at the Penn State Institute of the Neurosciences, researches the evolution of animal cognition with a focus on fish learning, perception, and memory. In her 2010 book Do Fish Feel Pain? ( Oxford University Press), she discusses the ethical questions raised by current fishing practices. According to Braithwaite, fish are not the simple-brained creatures most of us perceive them to be, but are instead complex animals with accurate memories, stress responses, and physiological similarities with other vertebrates—even humans.
In light of recent scientific evidence showing that fish have specialized pain receptors, she argues that the kinds of protective measures in place for other animals should be extended to fish.
Braithwaite’s lecture is sponsored by the McLain Program in Environmental Studies and the campus chapter of Sigma Xi, a scientific-research honor society. The Joseph H. McLain ’37 Program in Environmental Studies was established in 1990 to recognize and augment study in the fields of aquatic and environmental studies.

Friday, November 4, 2011

With "Big Girls Don't Cry," Author Examines 2008 Election from a Feminist Perspective

CHESTERTOWN, MD—In the fresh eyes of political observer Rebecca Traister, the presidential election of 2008 not only brought the first African American president in U.S. history into office, but also marked a sea change for women in American politics. Traister, author of Big Girls Don’t Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women, will be at Washington College Tuesday, Nov. 15 to explain the how and why of the new landscape left in the wake of Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin and Michelle Obama after the last ballot was counted.
Traister’s talk, “Big Girls Don’t Cry: Women, Politics and the Media,” will take place at 5:30 in Hynson Lounge on the College campus, 300 Washington Avenue. Sponsored by the Louis L. Goldstein Program in Public Affairs, the event is free and open to the public.
On her web site (, Traister recalls a few of the significant events that are chronicled more fully in her book: Hillary Clinton becoming the first woman in the nation’s history to win a state presidential primary; GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin concluding a nationally broadcast debate by reaching for her newborn son, and First Lady Michelle Obama moving her family into a White House built in part by slaves.
“These are not small things,” says Traister. “These are changes that have piled up fast, creating a world that our grandmothers could barely have dreamed of, that many of our mothers thought they’d never live to see.”

Big Girls Don’t Cry has been praised for revealing important new lessons from the 2008 election. Author Anne Lamott described Traister as “the most brilliant voice on feminism in this country, and said of the book, “I couldn't believe how much Ms. Traister captured and illuminated a story with which I had thought I was so well versed: the 2008 election. She told it as if for the first time.”
A reviewer for Publishers Weekly said Traister “bludgeons conventional political wisdom by trenchantly exposing Palin’s strange triangulation of mainstream feminism, Clinton’s need to appear vulnerable in order to appeal to women, and the precarious position of black women—some of whom were conflicted between supporting candidates who mirrored their gender or their race … Traister does a fine job in showing that progress does not proceed in straight lines, and, sometimes, it’s the unlikeliest of individuals who initiate real change.”
For more information on the event, visit

Poet Dora Malech to Read at Lit House Nov. 17

CHESTERTOWN, MD—Poet and artist Dora Malech will read from her collections at the Rose O’Neill Literary House on Thursday, November 17. The reading, part of the English Department’s “Living Writers” course, begins at 4:30 and is free and open to the public.
In a review of Malech’s 2009 debut poetry book, Shore Ordered Ocean (Waywiser Press), writer Bill Mahire wrote, “Dora Malech knows just about everything there is to know about the risky music that lives in language. But she also knows about Truth and Beauty. She’s far too wise to try and make these last two rhyme, but she constantly tempts them into conversation.”
Malech’s poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Best New Poets, American Letters & Commentary, The Yale Review and other publications. She has received numerous writing fellowships, including a Frederick M. Clapp Poetry Fellowship from Yale, a Truman Capote Fellowship, and a 2010 Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship.
Malech has been both a participant and an instructor at the prestigious Iowa Writers’ Workshop. A native of Bethesda, Md., she now lives in Iowa City, IA, where she coordinates the Iowa Youth Writing Project, an arts outreach program for children and teens.
For more information:

Crossing Racial Lines in Kent County: Nov. 15 Programs Explore Local – and Personal – History

CHESTERTOWN, MD— Less than half a century after legal desegregation came to Kent County, many stories of the community’s long and complex racial history are only beginning to be told. But two special public programs on November 15 will present firsthand accounts of extraordinary family and personal sagas stretching back 200 years. Writer Dionne Ford will explore the history of her own family in “From Slaves to Senators: A Kent County Family in Black and White,” at 4:30 pm at Washington College; a roundtable discussion at the Heron Point retirement community, “Growing Up in the 1960s in Chestertown,” will follow at 8 pm.
Ford’s talk, hosted by the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience at Washington College and co-sponsored by the Black Studies Program and Office of Multicultural Affairs, will be held in Litrenta Lecture Hall, John S. Toll Science Center. The evening roundtable will take place in Heron Point’s Wesley Hall, 501 Campus Ave., Chestertown. Both events are free and open to the public.
Ford’s journey into her Eastern Shore family’s interracial roots began at the age of 12 with a simple question: “Grandpa, are you white?” His answer sent her on a lifelong quest to piece together the stories of the masters and slaves, Confederates and senators, preachers and entertainers whose lives eventually led to her own. Ford's great-great-grandfather, William R. Stuart, was a white Eastern Shore native and Confederate soldier who had several children with one of his African-American slaves, Tempy Burton. (Stuart’s father, also named William R. Stuart, was an early alumnus of Washington College.)
Ford blogs about her search for her ancestors at, often interweaving stories of her great-great-grandparents with those of her interracial immediate family. Her reflections on racial identity and self-determination have also appeared in the New York Times, the NAACP’s blog, and Brain, Child magazine. A former TV reporter, Ford has received several fellowships from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and is currently at work on a novel about a black expatriate in Brazil. Her November 15 talk will focus on the process of delving into what she calls “a not uncommon but often untold part of American history,” and its implications for her family.
The evening program, featuring Chestertown natives Armond Fletcher, Milford Murray, and Ellsworth Tolliver, will focus on a later period of Kent County history, but will explore some of the same themes: where and why American society draws racial lines, how these lines shift over time, and how we might transcend them today. Each of these three speakers experienced racial segregation firsthand and was an active participant in the struggle to integrate Kent County schools and instigate civil rights reform on a local level.
In sharing their stories, they hope to contribute to a larger understanding of the legacy of segregation on the Eastern Shore, and encourage dialogue across racial lines. “Both of these programs deal with different aspects of a topic that shapes all of our lives, and we hope that many people will be able to continue the conversation from one event to the other,” says Adam Goodheart, Hodson Trust-Griswold Director of the Starr Center.
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Founded in 1782 under the patronage of George Washington, Washington College is a private, independent college of liberal arts and sciences located in colonial Chestertown on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The College’s C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience is dedicated to fostering innovative approaches to the American past and present. Through educational programs, scholarship and public outreach, and a special focus on written history, the Starr Center seeks to bridge the divide between the academic world and the public at large. For more information on the Center, visit

Photograph: Dionne Ford poses with her daughters at the entrance to Washington College, where her great-great-great-grandfather was a student.