Word Wielder

Writer Gives Voice to Superheroes

  Marguerite Bennett ’10 was trembling so violently she had to stop her car and collect herself. Celebrated comic book writer Scott Snyder, Bennett’s mentor and one of her professors in the Sarah Lawrence College graduate writing program, had pulled her aside after class and casually asked if she might like to help him with his upcoming project, the 2013 Batman Annual #2. For Bennett, a longtime Batman fan and comics consumer, this was the graphic novelist’s equivalent of Yankees star Derek Jeter asking her to help him with his swing. Or Warren Buffett offhandedly suggesting she help him with some financial advice. She was still wearing what she called her “crazy person smile” when she got behind the wheel of her white Hyundai that frigid January evening to drive to her Yonkers apartment. She hadn’t even managed to get off campus when she stopped the car to process the moment. “I started shaking. I had to pull off the road and try to keep from crying, and I had to … [Read more...]

Holding Out Hope

Lawman, Chaplain Helps Young Men Fight Despair

Hope has been a powerful influence in the life of Richard Arline ’77. He had it as young teen in the early 1960s, when his mother let him leave their North Carolina home for high school in the Northeast. He had it as an enlisted Marine fighting in Vietnam. And he had it as he earned a degree in sociology from Mary Washington at a time when men on campus were few, and African- American men still fewer. Today, Arline is 66, retired from a long career in law enforcement. He’s on the school board in his New Jersey town and is an active volunteer in his community. He and wife Mamie have two grown sons – one a Navy veteran, the other a special agent with the Department of Homeland Security – and six grandchildren. But there’s something else Arline feels compelled to do. In December, he completed requirements for a master’s degree in divinity. His goal is an urban ministry to help African-American youths navigate a society they, and Arline, see as set against … [Read more...]

Analyzing Antarctica

A doctoral program in high-energy particle astrophysics took Katie Mulrey '08 to one of the coldest places on earth.

Katie Mulrey ’08 studies cosmic rays in Antarctica and blogs about it for Scientific American.  As part of a doctoral program, Mulrey is a researcher with NASA’s ANITA collaboration in Antarctica. Now in its third campaign, ANITA (Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna) is a balloon that hoists 2½ tons of antennas, communication equipment, cables, and data recording instruments. Once aloft, ANITA detects radio signals from neutrinos and cosmic rays, the highest energy particles in the universe. When Mulrey left UMW with a degree in physics and mathematics, the New Hampshire native went straight into a Ph.D. program in high-energy particle astrophysics at the University of Delaware. In her first year, she chose ANITA as her research project, in part for the opportunity to travel far away. “Traveling to remote parts of the world to do science is my cup of tea,” Mulrey said. The project includes 30 team members representing 10 institutions in the United States and abroad. … [Read more...]