Illustrator Brings Newly Discovered Dinosaur Species to Life

By Laura Moyer Thanks to scientific illustrator Andrew McAfee ’05, the world now knows how a recently discovered dinosaur species looked when it wandered North Africa in the late Cretaceous period. Paleontologists from Egypt’s Mansoura University unearthed the fossilized remains of the plant-eating dinosaur, a member of the titanosaur group, in what’s now the eastern part of the Sahara Desert. In January 2018, the creature was given the name Mansourasaurus shahinae to honor the university and Mona Shahin, a supporter of its vertebrate paleontology program. The Egyptian scientists collaborated with paleontologist Matthew Lamanna, McAfee’s boss at Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh. As the paleontologists realized the significance of their discovery, they needed a compelling image of the approximately 80-million-year-old dinosaur to share with the public, Lamanna said. They entrusted the job to McAfee. A biology major at Mary Washington, McAfee joined the … [Read more...]

Award Highlights Blakey’s Leadership

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce honored Marion Blakey ’70 with its Carol B. Hallett award, which recognizes excellence in the aviation industry, at its annual Aviation Summit in March in Washington, D.C. The timing coincided with Blakey’s announcement that she will retire as CEO of Rolls-Royce North America, a position she has held for three years. The Rolls-Royce executive role capped Blakey’s long career in public service and private-sector aerospace and defense roles. Under President George W. Bush, Blakey served first as chair of the National Transportation Safety Board and then as administrator of the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA), with responsibility for the entire national air space system. After leaving the FAA in 2007, Blakey, who studied international relations, served as president and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association before assuming the Rolls-Royce leadership. … [Read more...]

Iowa Calls Former USDA Scientist

Catherine O’Connor Woteki ’69 has rejoined the faculty of Iowa State University, this time in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. She previously served as dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. She recently was inducted into Kappa of Virginia, the UMW chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. Before her return to Iowa State University last summer, Woteki served from 2010 to 2016 as chief scientist and undersecretary for research, education, and economics at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Woteki served as the first undersecretary for food safety at USDA from 1997 to 2001. In 1999, she was elected to the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine, now known as the National Academy of Medicine. … [Read more...]

VRA Director Honored for Lifetime Achievement in Public Finance

In January, Gov. Ralph Northam reappointed Stephanie Hamlett ’81 executive director of the Virginia Resources Authority (VRA). She served previously as executive director of VRA from 2010 to 2012 and from 2014 to 2017. Hamlett was chosen last year for the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Virginia Chapter of Women in Public Finance. The organization annually honors a woman who has long served in public finance and who has made a mark on that field in Virginia. Hamlett has held a number of positions at the Virginia Office of the Attorney General, including counsel to a variety of state agencies, the Virginia Retirement System and the Virginia College Savings Plan among them. She also has served as opinions counsel and was staff counsel to the Virginia House of Delegates Finance and Appropriations committees. Hamlett earned a bachelor’s degree in history at Mary Washington and a law degree from the University of Richmond. She holds a master’s degree in tax law from the College … [Read more...]

Mary Washington Grads Helped Make Code Girls

Historian Elizabeth “Betsy” Rohaly Smoot ’82 played a key role in author Liza Mundy’s research for the bestselling book Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II. Speaking on campus Jan. 25 as part of the William B. Crawley Great Lives Lecture Series, Mundy described working with Smoot, a now-retired historian with the National Security Agency (NSA). Mundy said Smoot not only directed her to important parts of the NSA archive, she helped by contacting families of the code breakers. Among the code breakers was Virginia Urbin Melvin ’43, one of many Southern women recruited to do the important work in support of American and allied efforts in World War II. Melvin passed away in 2003. Day after day the code breakers deciphered messages that pinpointed the locations of Japanese supply ships. After the war, the women were sworn to secrecy about their contributions. But the oath of secrecy was eventually lifted and records declassified, so … [Read more...]

Top Virginia Housing Post Goes to UMW Alum

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has named Erik Johnston ’03 director of the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), which aims to create affordable and prosperous communities in which to live, work, and do business. Johnston’s previous post was chief deputy of DHCD. Johnston studied political science and international affairs at Mary Washington, earning the Colgate Darden Award for achieving the highest grade-point average in his class. Johnston earned a master’s degree in public administration from Virginia Tech. His expertise includes transportation, economic development, housing, and community development. … [Read more...]

Alumna Guides Creation of Army Museum

Kerri Curran Kline ’08 is playing a key role in the creation of the National Museum of the United States Army, expected to open in late 2019 at Fort Belvoir in Northern Virginia. Kline is chief operating officer of the Army Historical Foundation, the funding side of a public-private partnership with the Army to build the museum. After earning a bachelor’s degree in history at UMW, Kline began working for the foundation as a marketing assistant. As she took on more responsibility with the foundation, she earned a master’s degree in museum studies from Johns Hopkins University. She’s now pursuing a nonprofit management certificate from George Mason University. The Army is the last of the major service branches to get an official museum. When it opens, it will share stories of individual soldiers and of the Army as an entity from 1775 to the present. … [Read more...]

Bruner-Yang: Divine Dining

Chef Erik Bruner-Yang ’07 has a new venture, Brothers and Sisters restaurant and bar at the oh-so-hip The LINE DC. The new hotel in Northwest Washington repurposes a century-old church, which inspired the restaurant’s name and pipe organ décor. Unlike Bruner-Yang’s eatery Maketto, Brothers and Sisters features a variety of American and international dishes. The chef also has a second restaurant at The LINE, a “standing-room-only” speakeasy-style eatery called Spoken English. … [Read more...]

Grad Advances Health Care for All

Shawn Gremminger ’04 will continue to advocate for a U.S. health care system that serves everyone – especially the most vulnerable families – in his new position as senior director of federal relations at Families USA. The consumer health care organization is dedicated to improving health and health care for all in the Unites States. Gremminger has more than a decade of experience working in the nonprofit sector on federal health policy with a primary focus on Medicaid, Medicare, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and the Affordable Care Act. Most recently, he served as director of legislative affairs for America’s Essential Hospitals (AEH), an organization that represents more than 325 large public and safety-net hospitals and health systems across the country. He studied political science and earned a master of public policy degree from the George Washington University. … [Read more...]