Hollins Alumna and Celebrated Neuroscientist Elected to National Academy of Sciences

In acknowledgment of her distinguished and continuing achievements in original research, Mary Elizabeth “Mary Beth” Hatten ’71 has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS).

Hatten is the Frederick P. Rose Professor in the Laboratory of Developmental Neurobiology at The Rockefeller University in New York City. After completing her Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry at Hollins, she earned a Ph.D. in biochemical sciences from Princeton University and did her postdoctoral research in neuroscience at Harvard Medical School. She subsequently served with the New York University School of Medicine and the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University.

In 1992, Hatten joined Rockefeller and was appointed the university’s first female full professor and the first female to lead a research laboratory there. Her work has implications for conditions that are partially due to developmental abnormalities in the brain, such as learning disabilities, childhood epilepsy, schizophrenia, and autism. Her work on cerebellar development may one day inform research on treatments for childhood cancers.

The McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience Investigator Award, the Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award, and a Faculty Award for Women Scientists and Engineers from the National Science Foundation are among Hatten’s many accolades. In 2015 she was presented the prestigious Max Cowan Award, which honors a neuroscientist for outstanding work in developmental neuroscience. She is a recipient of the Hollins Distinguished Alumnae Award.

Hatten will be the featured speaker at Hollins’ 175th commencement exercises on Sunday, May 21.

The NAS is a private, nonprofit institution that was established under a congressional charter signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. It recognizes achievement in science by election to membership and – with the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Medicine – provides science, engineering, and health policy advice to the federal government and other organizations.

 

 

 

 

 


First-Year Student Is Crowned Miss Teen Virginia United States

Monica Osborne ’20 will be advocating for locally sourced food and the importance of good childhood nutrition as the new Miss Teen Virginia United States.

Osborne, who hails from Independence, Virginia, won the crown at Roanoke’s Dumas Center on April 8.

As part of her reign, Osborne will be promoting her platform, “Buy Local, Eat Local, Be Local.” She created the initiative in 2013 by partnering with area farmers and farmers markets in southwest Virginia.

“My parents are farmers so every day I see the value of supporting local agriculture and the local economy,” Osborne explains.

Among her duties as Miss Teen Virginia United States, Osborne says she is most looking forward to traveling across the commonwealth to visit elementary schools. “It’s very important to teach children early on in their lives how vital it is to make healthy eating choices.”

This July, Osborne will compete for the title of Miss Teen United States in Orlando, Florida.

 

Photo credit: Goodwin Photography

 

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Hollins Captures Old Dominion Athletic Conference Equestrian Title

For the 21st time, the Hollins University riding team has won the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) championship.

Hollins topped five other schools during competition at the university’s Kirby Riding Ring on April 5 to earn its first conference title since 2013.

The quartet of riders representing Hollins at this year’s ODAC championship show included Randi Byrd ’18, Madi Hurley ’17, Madeleine Lohr ’19, and Allison Sherwood ’20. In addition to Hollins taking top team honors, Lohr earned her second consecutive All-ODAC designation and head coach Claudia Roland was named ODAC Coach of the Year for 2017.

 

FINAL TEAM STANDINGS

Champion — Hollins University                       17 points
Reserve Champion — Sweet Briar College       16 points
Third Place — Lynchburg College                     12 points
Fourth Place — Randolph College                       9 points
Fourth Place — Washington & Lee Univ.            9 points
Sixth Place — Bridgewater College                     3 points

 

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Arbor Day Foundation Honors Hollins with 2016 Tree Campus USA® Recognition

Hollins University has received the Arbor Day Foundation’s 2016 Tree Campus USA® recognition for the institution’s commitment to efficient urban forest management.

“Students are eager to volunteer in their communities and become better stewards of the environment,” said Matt Harris, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. “Participating in Tree Campus USA sets a fine example for other colleges and universities, while helping to create a healthier planet for us all.”

Tree Campus USA is a national program created in 2008 by the Arbor Day Foundation to honor colleges and universities for effective campus forest supervision and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals. Hollins achieved the title by meeting Tree Campus USA’s five standards, which include maintaining a tree advisory committee; developing a campus tree-care plan; dedicating annual expenditures for its campus tree program; holding an Arbor Day observance; and conducting a student service-learning project. Currently there are 296 campuses across the United States with this recognition.

Anna Copplestone, a coordinator in the information technology department at Hollins, helped spearhead the Tree Campus USA designation. “Our campus has always appreciated the natural beauty of its trees, but through this project, many people came together to demonstrate measurable and significant ways in which they physically benefit our environment. Understanding how we interact with our natural surroundings, even passively, is how we come to value and protect them. Hollins has shown its commitment to long-term sustainability efforts, and I hope Hollins continues to earn Tree Campus USA recognition in the years to come.”

Professor of French Annette Sampon-Nicolas, who chairs Hollins’ Environmental Advisory Board, added, “I am thrilled that Hollins is part of the Tree Campus USA program, and so grateful to Anna Copplestone for her dedication and passion for trees. She made it happen. Hollins’ beautiful trees will continue to be well managed, and the Hollins community is committed to fostering urban forests beyond our campus borders.”

Hollins will officially celebrate the designation during its Arbor Day observance on April 28. Highlights will include the placing of the Tree Campus USA plaque on campus, a tree planting, and a screening of the documentary, City of Trees.

The Garden Club of Virginia extended its congratulations to Hollins in this letter to President Nancy Gray.

The Arbor Day Foundation has helped campuses throughout the country plant thousands of trees, and Tree Campus USA colleges and universities invested more than $46.7 million in campus forest management last year. More information about the program is available here.

 

 

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Student Lands Fellowship at World-Renowned Marine Research Organization

A Hollins junior will be spending her summer with a global leader in ocean research, exploration, and education.

Lan Nguyen ’18 is one of approximately 20 to 30 college and university students from around the world who have been awarded a 12-week summer research fellowship at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Massachusetts.

“I applied to about 10 different summer fellowships and internships and this is the one that best matches my interests,” said Nguyen, who hails from Vietnam and is double majoring in environmental science and economics.

Nguyen will be assigned to WHOI’s Marine Policy Center, which performs social scientific research that combines economics, policy analysis, and law with the institution’s basic exploration of ocean sciences.

“I’ll be working with a researcher to identify the benefits of marine resources and address marine issues in Massachusetts and other coastal areas,” she explained. “I’ll learn about methodology in environmental economics research, which is what I want to do in the future. It will be really helpful to me to get that experience and connect to researchers in the field.” After graduating from Hollins, Nguyen plans to pursue a doctorate in environmental economics and added that the fellowship provides “an amazing opportunity” to build up her Ph.D. program applications.

When she enrolled at Hollins, Nguyen was already thinking about combining environmental science and economics. She was referred to Associate Professor of Economics Pablo Hernandez, who specializes in environmental economics and has served as her academic advisor since her first year. “He helped me to find projects that would allow me to identify my research interests. He also offered suggestions on Short Term and summer opportunities and how to best prepare my applications to internships and fellowships. I wouldn’t have had access to that level of advice at a big university where professors have a lot of advisees and don’t have the extra time to spend with students the way Professor Hernandez and others at Hollins do.”

Nguyen also credits Professor of Biology Renee Godard and Associate Professor of Mathematics Julie Clark for bolstering her research skills in environmental science and statistics, respectively. “Incredible” is the word she uses to describe the three faculty members who have actively supported her.

This will be the second consecutive year in which Nguyen has participated in a prestigious summer program. In 2016, she completed an eight-week residence internship at the American Institute for Economic Research. In addition, during the fall of 2015, she worked with the School for Field Studies’ Center for Mekong Studies in Cambodia and subsequently received the organization’s Distinguished Student Researcher Award.

“Hollins students are able to get research experience even during their first and sophomore years,” Nguyen said. “That really helps us to secure other opportunities such as Woods Hole.”

 

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Hollins Announces Winners of the 2017 Margaret Wise Brown Prize in Children’s Literature

  • The annual award showcases the most distinguished picture book manuscript as selected by a panel of judges.
  • This year’s recipients are Adam Rex for School’s First Day of School and Debbie Levy for I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsberg Makes Her Mark.
  • The Margaret Wise Brown Prize is among the few children’s book honors with a cash award.

Arizona-based author and illustrator Adam Rex is the winner of the second annual Margaret Wise Brown Prize in Children’s Literature.

Rex will receive an engraved medal and a $1,000 cash prize for his book School’s First Day of School, illustrated by Christian Robinson and published by Roaring Brook Press. “This charming reversal of first-day-of-school nerves will delight little ones and help put their own anxieties at bay,” said Booklist in its starred review, while School Library Journal called it, “An essential purchase that is simultaneously funny, frank, and soothing. A perfect first day read-aloud.”

Rex’s previous works include the New York Times bestseller Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich, a collection of stories about monsters and their problems. His novel The True Meaning of Smekday was adapted into the DreamWorks film Home in 2014.

This year’s Margaret Wise Brown Honor Book award of $300 goes to Debbie Levy for I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsberg Makes Her Mark, published by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers.

The 2017 competition was judged by three acclaimed children’s book authors:

  • Phil Bildner, who won the inaugural Margaret Wise Brown Prize in Children’s Literature for his book Marvelous Cornelius, which was also a Junior Library Guild Selection and winner of the Parents’ Choice Gold Award.
  • Jane Yolen, co-author of the 2016 Margaret Wise Brown Honor Book You Nest Here With Me as well as more than 350 other books that have garnered two Nebula Awards, the World Fantasy Award, a National Book Award nomination, and the Golden Kite Award.
  • Heidi E.Y. Stemple, co-author of the 2016 Margaret Wise Brown Honor Book You Nest Here With Me and many others.

Hollins University established the Margaret Wise Brown Prize in Children’s Literature as a way to pay tribute to one of its best-known alumnae and one of America’s most beloved children’s authors. The cash prizes are made possible by an endowed fund created by James Rockefeller, Brown’s fiancé at the time of her death.

“The Margaret Wise Brown Prize is one of the few children’s book awards that has a cash prize attached,” said Amanda Cockrell, director of the children’s literature program at Hollins.

The engraved medal presented to the winners was conceived by award-winning sculptor, painter, and Hollins alumna Betty Branch of Roanoke. Winners and Honor Book recipients are presented an original linocut certificate designed and donated by Ashley Wolff, author and/or illustrator of over 50 children’s books. Winners are invited to accept the award and present a reading on campus during the summer session of Hollins’ graduate program in children’s literature.

Margaret Wise Brown graduated from Hollins in 1932 and went on to write Goodnight Moon, The Runaway Bunny, and other children’s classics before she died in 1952. Hollins celebrated her life and work with a year-long Margaret Wise Brown Festival in 2011 and 2012, which featured stage and musical adaptations of her work along with readings, workshops, guest lectures, and other activities for all ages.

The study of children’s literature as a scholarly experience was initiated at Hollins in 1973; in 1992, the graduate program in children’s literature was founded and this year celebrates its 25th anniversary. Today, Hollins offers summer M.A. and M.F.A. programs exclusively in the study and writing of children’s literature, an M.F.A. in children’s book writing and illustrating, and a graduate-level certificate in children’s book illustration.

This summer, Hollins’ children’s literature program will release information on how to submit books for consideration for the 2018 Margaret Wise Brown Prize.

 

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Students Win Major Awards at Model Arab League Conference

Hollins University students earned a number of honors at the Southeast Regional Model Arab League (SERMAL), held March 10-12 at Converse College in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

The Hollins student team represented Palestine at the conference, which is the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations’ flagship student leadership development program. The Model Arab League website states, “There is no comparable opportunity that allows emerging leaders to learn firsthand what it is like to put themselves in the shoes of real-life Arab diplomats and other foreign affairs practitioners. Model Arab League helps prepare students to be knowledgeable, well-trained, and effective citizens as well as civic and public affairs activists. The skill sets acquired and practiced in the course of the Models are designed to serve the participants well regardless of the career or profession they elect to pursue.”

Hanna Strauss ’19 and Hayley Harrington ’19 won the Outstanding Delegation Award for their work on the Palestinian Affairs Council. Reilly Swennes ’20 and Clara Souvignier ’20 were awarded Outstanding Delegation for their work on the Council of Arab Heads of State, while Emmalee Funk ’20 and Dade Hundertmark ’19 won the Distinguished Delegation Award for representing Palestine on the Political Affairs Council.

Professor of Political Science Ed Lynch, who serves as faculty advisor to the Model Arab League students, said Hollins is rightly proud of the students’ accomplishments. “These awards are based on the opinion of judges who observe the proceedings, along with the votes of students in the Councils. To win, delegates have to impress experienced Model Arab League experts as well as their own peers.”

Lynch added, “Hollins students at this year’s SERMAL have continued a long tradition of awards for our university in both Model Arab League and Model United Nations.” He noted that this year’s awards will be placed in Room 304 in Pleasants Hall alongside earlier honors won by Hollins.

Hollins Model Arab League students will next participate in the National Model Arab League in Washington, D.C., at the end of March. This is the first time that Hollins has earned a spot in the national conference, which is limited to 25 colleges nationwide.

SERMAL included 20 delegations from high schools and colleges in the region. Hollins will host the Appalachian Regional Model Arab League, November 10-12, 2017.

 

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Va. House of Delegates Resolution Honors Hollins’ 175th Anniversary

Betsy B. Carr, who represents parts of the City of Richmond and Chesterfield County (69th District) in the Virginia House of Delegates, has introduced House Joint Resolution No. 660, commending Hollins University on its 175th anniversary.

Delegate Carr is a member of Hollins’ class of 1968 and was elected to the House of Delegates in 2009.

 

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Hollins Professor Cited for Exemplary Teaching in Mathematics

Hollins University Professor of Mathematics Caren Diefenderfer is one of three U.S. educators named winners of the 2017 Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award by the Mathematical Association of America (MAA).

Diefenderfer and fellow mathematics professors Janet Heine Barnett (Colorado State University – Pueblo) and Tevian Dray (Oregon State University) were cited for their teaching effectiveness, contributions to mathematics education, and influence outside their institutions.

“These educators exemplify the outstanding work of all our members, who demonstrate the MAA’s commitment to foster the next generation of mathematicians and elevate their potential,” said Francis Su, president of the MAA. “Their dedication to helping students see the history and interdisciplinary nature of mathematics, and to shaping the teaching of mathematics, is to be admired.”

Diefenderfer was recognized not only for inspiring her students in her classrooms and beyond, but also for developing and teaching interdisciplinary courses that help students develop communication skills. In the wider mathematical community, she has been a pioneer in Quantitative Literacy, a field of education whose goal is improving college students’ reasoning proficiency when using quantitative content.  A member of the Hollins faculty since 1977, she holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Diefenderfer, Barnett, and Dray were honored on January 5 in Atlanta at the Joint Mathematics Meetings, the world’s largest gathering of mathematicians.

The MAA is the largest professional society that focuses on mathematics accessible at the undergraduate level. Its members include university, college, and high school teachers; graduate and undergraduate students; pure and applied mathematicians; computer scientists; statisticians; and many others in academia, government, business, and industry. The mission of the MAA is “to advance the mathematical sciences, especially at the collegiate level.”

 

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Hollins Named a 2017 “Best College Value” by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

Hollins University has been named to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance‘s list of the Top 300 Best College Values of 2017. Introduced in 1998, the rankings now combine public schools, private universities, and private liberal arts colleges into a single, comprehensive list. Kiplinger also ranked the top 100 best values in each category.

The school earned the #97 spot on the magazine’s list of 100 best values in private liberal arts colleges. Hollins is one of only four Virginia colleges and universities to make the category’s top 100, joining Washington and Lee University, the University of Richmond, and Christendom College.

“There’s no way around it: College is expensive, and it’s going to stay that way for a long time. So, with our rankings – which weigh affordability alongside academic quality – our goal is to help students and their parents understand what’s really worth the price,” said Janet Bodnar, editor of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine. “While some may have ranked higher than others, all 300 schools on the list are of extraordinary value, being chosen out of a universe of 1,200.”

Kiplinger’s quality measures, which are weighted more heavily than cost, include the admission rate, the percentage of students who return for sophomore year, the student-faculty ratio, and the four-year graduation rate. Cost criteria include sticker price, financial aid, and average debt at graduation. Kiplinger restricts its analysis to measurable standards of academic quality and affordability.

The complete rankings will appear in print in the February 2017 issue of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, on newsstands January 3.