Alumni Advisory Board

In 2013, Dean Richard Finkelstein recognized an opportunity to leverage the University’s network of alumni as a valuable resource with which to expand and articulate the value of a University of Mary Washington education and degree, in terms of reputation, student opportunities, career choices, and personal happiness and fulfillment after graduation. Thus, the CAS Advisory Board was established from UMW / MWC alumni who had achieved high levels of personal and professional achievement within industry, government and academia. These individuals continue to meet quarterly with the goal of looking at existing and envisioned programs within the College of Arts and Sciences, applying real-world perspective and experience, and providing advisory services with rgard to how and where the College could improve and effectively articulate the superior value of the College.

Meet the Alumni Board Members:

Sarah E. Amick, ’03

Richmond, VA
At UMW: Majored in English
Simpson Library student employee, Phonathon, MWC Ambassadors, Hall Council, Chorus, Baptist Student Union

Current Position: Administrative Assistant at VBH Foundation, LifeSpire of Virginia
Previously worked at VCU Libraries and Simpson Library, UMW Libraries
I love everything about Mary Washington, especially my time there as student living on campus all 4 years. One of my favorite classes was my English Senior Seminar course with Professor Mary Rigsby. One of my many favorite spots to be on campus is under the trees lining Ball Circle. I also love the mysterious and magical feeling of the pathway, bridge, and staircase leading up to Melchers, DuPont, and Pollard from Campus Walk near the Eagle’s Nest. My newest favorite spot is the Zen Garden on the way to the Amphitheater!
Mary Washington is such a special, welcoming, beautiful, comfortable, and memorable place to call home as a student and as an alum forever!

John C. Anstey, ‘93

Roanoke, VA
At UMW: Majored in English
Honor Council President; Staff Writer for Mary Washington Bullet; COAR volunteer; Admissions tour guide (specializing in the 8 a.m. Saturday morning tours)

Current Position: President and Founder, Anstey Hodge Advertising Group
Earlier in his career, John worked in the Corporate Communications Department of Reliance Insurance Company in Philadelphia. A former board member of the Public Relations Society of America, John has won awards from the International Association of Business Communicators and the Public Relations Society of America. In 2004, John was named to the “Top 20 Under 40 List” by the Blue Ridge Business Journal, which recognized young, up-and-coming business leaders.
I love the commercial-grade toaster oven at Seacobeck Dinning Hall, where I met my wife while toasting a bagel one morning before an 8 o’clock class in 1990.

Diane Christopher Bridge ’80

Fairfax, VA
At UMW: Majored in Spanish
Took several classes in music, accounting, psychology, and economics.

Current Position: Starbucks
Diane previously worked as a paralegal and case manager for over 33 years in litigation. She managed several large intellectual property and international litigation and arbitration. Some of the firms she worked for were Covington & Burling, Chadbourne & Parke, and Baker Botts.
I loved the small classes and outstanding faculty. I also loved the friendliness of the students, the Honor System, and the beauty and residential aspect of the college. My undergraduate years were a very important part of my personal and intellectual development and enabled me to successfully transition to an independent adult.
Mary Washington continues to be an outstanding liberal arts and sciences university. The stellar faculty, fantastic students, friendly environment, beautiful campus, and small classes allow it to remain a great place to learn.

Trevor S. Daubenspeck ‘08

Richmond, VA
At UMW: Majored in Economics
SGA Student Senate; President of the Film Production Club; Economics Honor Society (Omicron Delta Epsilon); Economics Club; Hall Council

Current Position: Finance & Accounting Manager at Sands Anderson PC
Previously worked as Energy Analyst at ICF International; Finance Manager at LeClairRyan
One of my favorite classes was Law & Economics with Professor Humphrey during my Sophomore year. I still had not declared a major and Prof. Humphrey had just arrived to UMW so both he and his students were really exploring the subject matter. The mix of students in the class was fantastic across all levels of economic thought with some amazing discussions and debates. This class cemented my love for Economics and likely changed my entire life trajectory as a result.
UMW provides such a different experience that is built around students and the educational experience that you do not receive at most other institutions. As a student you get to enjoy learning in a collaborative, supportive environment while still knowing you are attaching yourself to a network that keeps growing and expanding past graduating.

Susan Leavitt, ’83

Washington, DC
At UMW: Majored in Economics and French Literature
Honor Committee / Played Field Hockey / Lacrosse

Current Position: McEnearney Associates, Inc. (Real Estate)
Favorite Spot – Sunken Road and Framar (senior year residence) & Favorite Classes – Economics (Dr. Rycroft), and French (Mme. Blessing)
Professor to student ratio is so low …. my professors remembered me and wrote Grad school recommendations 15 years after graduation. My major had little to do with my career path – I left school and went to NYC to work on Wall Street … Mary Washington gave me the confidence, communication skills, and determination to make my path in finance. I created a position for myself on Wall Street by soliciting the US based foreign banks using my language skills and cultural knowledge to secure their confidence. Wall Street evolved into a career in real estate – which is using my same skills set of communication, the ability to weigh risks and probable outcomes, and a firm grasp of pricing analysis. I credit Mary Washington College with preparing me for the business world.

Kara Matala, DO, ‘94

Roanoke, VA
At UMW: Majored in Biology
Equestrian Team at UMW, was a 50-50 Mentor and worked as a Biology lab aid

Current Position: Family Practice Physician at Roanoke Partners in Health
Previously worked at Bedford Medical from 2001-2011, graduated from PCOM-Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1998 and completed a one year osteopathic internship and Delaware County Memorial Hospital/Crozer Chester Medical Center in Philadelphia 1998-1999. I completed my family practice residency at Carilion Clinic in Roanoke, VA from 1999-2001.
I loved UMW and the small class size where I was able to know all my classmates and work with my professors one on one and the professors knew my name and I was not just a number in class.


Vonzell Mattocks, ’96

Woodbridge, VA
AT UMW: BLS ~ Business Accounting

Current Position: Workforce Analyst and Military Liaison Director
The faculty was amazing, their industry expertise and approachable leadership allowed us to learn first hand about the chosen profession and industry of our dreams. I received offers from major accounting firms and the FBI, but I returned to active duty in the U.S. Marines.I’m truly appreciative for the opportunity and guidance UMW provided.
My education at Mary Washington has allowed me to be a Comptroller Chief, Tax Director, Executive Director, and Entrepreneur thanks to the quality education I received.

Cassandra Pierandri, ’10

Richmond, VA
AT UMW: Majored in Geography
Other activities while at UMW – Washington Guide, SGA Student Senate, and Orientation Leader

Current Position: Executive Assistant, SigEp National Housing
I chose Mary Washington for the small, tight-knit community, the outstanding faculty and hands-on academic programs, and not to mention the beautiful campus setting. Mary Washington will always have such a special place in my heart. It is where many lifelong friendships began for me, it is where I met my husband, and where I began my career. I am so proud to be a small part of this place, and I look forward to Mary Washington’s bright future ahead.


Dana Puga’02

Richmond, VA
AT UMW: Majored in History
History Department Student Representative, The Bullet

Current Position: Prints and Photographs Collection Specialist, Library of Virginia
I had heard horror stories of History 299: Historiography. All potential history majors had to take that class before they could declare their major. I learned very quickly that the class was a means to weed out those who didn’t understand that majoring in history was more than just remembering dates/events, it was intense research and writing and analyzing facts. My class started with 9 people and we had 6 by the end of the semester. Our professor was tough and she demanded a lot out of her students. It was not uncommon to get a paper back covered in red pen. She pushed us to really focus on our writing and public speaking skills and would require us to record our presentations at the Speaking Center prior to giving them in class so she could compare how we improved. The course load was demanding and the class was very stressful. A classmate made us t-shirts at the end of the semester that said “I SURVIVED HIST 299!” I was never so happy to see the end of the semester as I was that year. For the rest of my time at Mary Washington and in the years since I have realized how foundational that class was to making me a better writer, researcher, and public speaker. When it came time to write my senior thesis and my advisor asked me tighten my focus half-way through, I remembered my Historiography professor and the stories she told about her time in grad school and I thought, “if she can do it, I can it!” I ended up winning the Joseph C. Vance award that year for best senior thesis.
The small class sizes really build a sense of community. It’s not uncommon, particularly in your major, to have the same group of students in many of your classes.

Elaine Williams, ’74

Springfield, VA
AT UMW: Majored in Psychology
Bussed tables at Seacobeck Dining Hall. Volunteered at Fredericksburg Suicide Hotline.
Elected to Psi Chi and Phi Beta Kappa.

Current Position: Clinical Psychologist, Private Practice in Fairfax, VA
Previously worked as an in vivo behavioral therapist in Washington, DC and as a mental health and substance abuse therapist in community clinics in Central Virginia. Earned my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at American University.
Forty-five years later, I still value Mary Washington’s small class size where professors know each student. Although my favorite class was, of course, Abnormal Psychology, I also loved my French literature course and my English, religion, and biology classes. Exams largely consisted of essay questions, and almost every course required a term paper. Professors read these exam answers and papers themselves and thoughtfully critiqued them. Having this quality educational experience more than prepared me to succeed in graduate school.
My favorite area on campus was the path between Mercer and Goolrick Halls. Following that path was like walking through an arboretum.

David T. Wrubel, ’97

Alexandria, VA
AT UMW: Majored in Geography
Chair, SGA Academic Affairs Committee; Judicial Review Board member; Darden Award; UMW Alumni Award; near-permanent fixture in the Cartography Lab

Current Position: Chief, Integrated Analysis and Methods, Defense Intelligence Agency
Dave has over 19 years experience in the national security sector. He earned an MA in Geography from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 1999.
UMW taught me a lot of things, but the one that has served me the longest is critical thinking. Above all else, the liberal arts experience at UMW is essential for a rewarding, diverse career.


Alumni Board Recognition 

Former Board Members