Notable and Quotable

Recent Grad a Lifesaver

Just months after earning a bachelor’s degree at UMW, Lauren Kornacki ’12 learned a different kind of lesson – how it feels to be a hero. In July, Kornacki saved her father’s life after finding him trapped beneath a car he’d been working on. The physics major and basketball player maintained that her Mary Washington experience helped her perform such a feat, as she struggled to contend with the fanfare that followed. “My dad means everything to me,” she told ABC World News. “I’m having a hard time with this attention.” CNN, Fox News, and the New York Daily News also covered the story. Alec Kornacki’s heart had stopped beating when his daughter found him pinned beneath his BMW 525i in the garage of her family’s Richmond-area home. She lifted the car off him, pulled him to safety, and performed life-saving CPR. Kornacki, 52, suffered broken ribs and other injuries – all minor compared to what could’ve happened had the younger Kornacki not taken action. A pool manager, she’d … [Read more...]

Alumna is 10th Circuit’s First Woman Judge

Kimberley Slayton White ’85 is the first woman to serve as judge in Virginia’s 10th Judicial Circuit. Gov. Bob McDonnell appointed the South Boston, Va., lawyer to the eight-county circuit, which includes Halifax County, where White lives with her family. “I am pleased to appoint these highly qualified individuals to the Circuit Court,” McDonnell said in a press release naming several judgeships. “Kim has honorably served the people of Halifax County as their commonwealth’s attorney for the last eight years.” White’s September swearing-in ceremony was a family affair. Her husband, son, and daughter stood with her as her uncle, retired judge and former delegate Frank Slayton, administered the oath. Her sister-in-law, Ellen White, a juvenile and domestic relations court judge in the 24th Judicial Circuit, helped her don the robe of office. Kimberley White, who will hold the interim judicial circuit post until 30 days after the 2013 Virginia General Assembly session begins, … [Read more...]

Writer’s Works Destined for Film

You don’t have to be psychic to know that the latest novel by Maggie Hummel Stiefvater ’03 is headed for fame. Warner Brothers’ New Line Cinema acquired film rights to the first of the bestselling young-adult-fantasy author’s new four-book series, The Raven Boys, before it hit the shelves in September. Producer Akiva Goldsman of A Beautiful Mind and The Da Vinci Code is slated for the project. The Raven Boys, based on magic and Welsh mythology, revolves around an ill-fated romance between the daughter of the town psychic in fictional Henrietta, Va., and a rich boy from the exclusive Aglionby Academy. Stiefvater writes full time now but recalls “a tumultuous past as a history major, calligraphy instructor, wedding musician, technical editor, and equestrian artist.” Her Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy, about a supernatural romance, boasts 1.7 million copies, according to the global publishing company Scholastic, with rights to more than 36 foreign editions licensed to the series’ … [Read more...]

Math Teacher’s Efforts Add Up

This summer fewer than 100 math and science educators received the nation’s highest honor in their field. Chancellor High School math teacher Kimberly Riddle ’98, M.Ed ’04, was among them. “These teachers are the best of the best,” President Obama said of the 97 winners of the 2011 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST), reserved for those who develop and implement effective instructional programs. Riddle has spent a decade teaching algebra, geometry, pre-calculus, and other courses at the Spotsylvania County, Va., high school. Lacing her classes with hands-on activities and discussion, she’s advocated for curriculum changes in algebra-based courses since attending a 2008 session about the importance of visualizations, context, and pattern building. “Knowledge gained should not be withheld for self-serving purposes,” Riddle said on the PAEMST website. “Knowledge should be shared with colleagues.” The award-winning teacher earned two … [Read more...]

Poet Honored for Short Fiction

Organizers of the Rebecca Mitchell Tarumoto Short Fiction Prize hope this year’s inaugural winner sets the standard for future awards. Kelly Cherry ’61 accepted the prize in March for her work On Familiar Terms, a story of multiple generations told in fewer than 20 pages. “The award is definitely starting out auspiciously with such an outstanding writer as Kelly Cherry,” said Gregory Donovan, senior editor of Blackbird, the online literary journal from which winners are selected. He said Cherry’s inaugural selection will make later winners “feel even more positive about the support it brings to their writing and their careers.” Blackbird editors selected Cherry’s work for its subtle narrative voice, masterful compression of time, and affectionate portrayal of character. The family of the late Tarumoto, an award-winning fiction writer, sponsors the prize, in part, to expand the audience for extraordinary short stories. The competition will pay particular attention to … [Read more...]

Swimmers Venture Beyond English Channel

William Davis Lee ’98 and Courtney Moates Paulk ’92 had their eyes on the same prize – the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming. The “grand slam” of distance swimming, the Crown requires navigation of 21 miles of the English Channel, 21 miles of the Catalina Channel off California, and 28.5 miles around Manhattan Island. In June, Lee became the 50th person to finish all three; he circumnavigated Manhattan Island in less than 8 1/2 hours. Paulk, who twice swam the New York leg of the challenge, is one event closer to her goal; she conquered the English Channel in in August in just more than 14 hours. She hopes to swim the Catalina Channel next year. Triple Crown swimmers endure unpredictable currents, plummeting water temperatures, and periodic feedings; they dodge large ships, aquatic life, and litter. Paulk, an attorney with Hirschler Fleischer in Richmond, said she experienced a “power puke” after entering the Harlem River near Manhattan in June. Jellyfish pelted Lee, a … [Read more...]