Analyst Pegs Personalities to the Letter

For JoNeal Hendricks Scully ’59, a handwritten note can be the scene of a crime. She zeroes in on evidence others might miss, probing each penned character for possible leads. Is it larger or smaller than normal? More pointed or more round? Slanted to the left or to the right? Little details can give Scully big tips about a penman’s personality. She has used them to weigh in on everything from criminal investigations to romantic relationships. But her decades-long career as a certified handwriting analyst came together much like the mysteries she solves – one clue at a time. “It’s like working a puzzle,” said Scully, who studied history, education, and psychology at Mary Washington. “You keep coming around and around. You’re looking for so many things.” Scully taught school for a while after college, but it wasn’t for her. Three years overseas, two children, and one decade later, she decided to revisit her love of psychology. She was excited until the graduate-school … [Read more...]

Diplomat Welcomes New Challenge in China

Ambassador Clifford A. Hart ’80 calls his upcoming diplomatic assignment a choice job that any China hand would aspire to. Starting later this year, Hart will be consul general for Hong Kong and Macau. His fluency in Mandarin and Cantonese will serve him well, and so will the 30 years of State Department experience he brings to the role. Hart is ready for whatever frustrations his new job may bring, as his most recent position proves. He is wrapping up an assignment as special envoy to the Six-Party Talks, with the challenging task of persuading North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program. “The talks themselves haven’t convened since ’08 for a whole bunch of reasons, most to do with North Korea’s misbehavior,” Hart said. But as special envoy since 2011, Hart has worked with China, Russia, Japan, and South Korea to further a shared interest in North Korean denuclearization. Hart’s interest in the Foreign Service dates to his teen years. He skipped his last year of … [Read more...]

Principal Gives Kids Everything She’s Got

Wherever Melanie Kay-Wyatt ’92, M.Ed. ’06 goes, she hears a familiar chorus. Standing outside the ballet studio where her youngest daughter dances. Walking through the aisles at the grocery store. Relaxing at the nail salon. Even during vacations to Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Disney World. “Mrs. Wyatt! Mrs. Wyatt!” they shout, excited − and sometimes even a little shocked − to spy their middle school principal in a civilian environment. Kay-Wyatt, a Fredericksburg teacher and administrator since 1997, has made forging strong relationships with students the cornerstone of her career, chatting them up in classrooms, hallways, lunchrooms, and everywhere in between. So when they spot her out and about, she’s only too happy to engage. “You have to build some kind of connection with them or you lose them,” she said. “That relationship piece is key.” Mentoring tweens wasn’t in Kay-Wyatt’s original career plan. She earned a bachelor’s degree in business at University … [Read more...]

Grad Student Fosters Pet Project

Pepper was about to be killed when Christine Exley ’09, then 17, fell in love with the 20-pound pit bull. The dog, shoehorned into a crate, had survived a month − three weeks longer than average − among the constant influx of strays at the animal shelter. “She never lost her spirit,” Exley said. “I took her home.” Eight years later, the doctoral student of economics at Stanford University is trying to save dogs on a larger scale. To do so, she’s applying a lesson learned in a freshman economics class at Mary Washington. Shawn Humphrey, associate professor of economics, taught his students that the discipline could be used to solve real-world problems – and ultimately help make the world a better place. With so many people looking for pets, and with millions of dogs being killed every year, Exley thought the problem to be solved was in matching them. In early 2012, she and fellow animal-lover Elena Battles started, a company that helps bring together dogs and the … [Read more...]