Alum’s book reviewed

History alum (’94)  David Preston’s book was recently featured in a review essay in the William and Mary Quarterly, a leading journal of the colonial and early national period, on the cutting-edge works that have appeared on Iroquois history in the past few years.  See the essay at

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Recent Graduate, Joe Calpin, Featured in Local Paper

Joe Calpin of Dumfries found a love for the Chinese language through martial arts films and studying Kung Fu while in high school. Since then he has continued to pursue it within his undergraduate studies. While at UMW last year, he studied abroad in Harbin, China and this year is in Taiwan with the International Chinese Language Program.

He said, “Dr. Susan Fernsebner, professor of history at the University of Mary Washington, took my simple desire to study Chinese history and gave me the tools to dig deep into that history. It was actually through her that I became aware of the ICLP here in Taipei.”

Calpin recognizes the issue that “a number of people have their fair share of doubts about higher education, particularly in a depressed economy where everyone’s money is tight.”

But to him, it is quite worth it.

Calpin said, “If nothing else, I have received opportunities to study and do things that I would have never had outside of college. I couldn’t imagine where my life would be now without UMW providing the space for me to grow and ponder.”

According to Calpin, “You would expect that information given in a classroom stays within the confines of that room or even the campus, but I see the exact opposite. In taking part of the educational experience at Mary Washington, I soon discovered that with all of that knowledge I couldn’t help but open my eyes to issues that exist in our society today.”

Margaret Greene (’06) Wins Fulbright-Hays Fellowship

Margaret Greene, UMW History alum (’06), has won a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowship. Currently a third-year doctoral student in Modern Chinese History at the University of California, San Diego, she is pursuing a dissertation entitled “The Sound of Ghosts: Chuanqi, Kun Opera, and the Staging of a New China.”

Her project focuses on the elite form of kun opera, particularly its celebrated genre of supernatural tales, after the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.  In contrast to the traditional narrative, which states that kun opera was on a steady decline from the later years of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) until the 1990s, her preliminary research has shown a flowering of kun opera in the 1950s and early 1960s – thanks in no small part to state efforts to preserve China’s illustrious artistic past (including ghosts!).  Margaret’s work explores the interaction between state policy and artistic production, and how politicians, dramatists, and performers attempted to create artistic forms for a “new China” that were at once appropriately socialist and thoroughly Chinese in character.

Margaret will leave this fall for a year’s research in Shanghai, China, where she will be affiliated with East China Normal University (ECNU).

Job Opportunity for History/American Studies Graduate

This would be a great job for one of our graduates, especially if you’ve certified to teach.   The following is from the CHNM website.

The George Mason University, Center for History & New Media (CHNM) within the Department of History and Art History is hiring a full-time Outreach Manager for the National History Education Clearinghouse (

Responsibilities include working with K-12 history/social studies teachers nationally, coordinating outreach activities and materials, and project management. B.A. by August 2010, or an equivalent combination of training and experience, is required; M.A. degree in history and K-12 teaching experience are preferred. This is an exciting opportunity that is particularly appropriate for someone with a combined interest in education and history. The successful candidate will be an energetic, well-organized person who takes initiative, works well in a team, and is comfortable performing a variety of tasks.

For full consideration, apply online at for position number 10403z. Please include a cover letter, resume or CV, and list of three professional references.

CHNM will start looking at applications by July 15, 2010.

Marissa Allison (’10) Wins State Department Fellowship

Marissa S. Allison, a History and Middle Eastern Studies graduate (2010) of the University of Mary Washington, has won a Critical Language Scholarship from the United States Department of State. With this prestigious award, she will travel to Muscat, Oman for a 9 weeks of intensive study of the Arabic language.

As noted in UMW’s own announcement of the award, Marissa completed study abroad programs in Costa Rica, Jordan, and Egypt while a Mary Washington student. She also has gained experience as an Arabic media research intern with the global intelligence network Stirling-Assynt, as a research intern at the Palestine-Israel Journal in Jerusalem, and through a Baghdad Embassy virtual internship. In addition to being named to the Dean’s List and receiving honors with the Virginia Social Sciences Association for an undergraduate paper and student presentation (based on her senior thesis, written with Dr. Al-Tikriti, on the 1979 Siege of Mecca), Marissa is a magna cum laude graduate of UMW.

History Alum to present at Civil War Roundtable

The Fredericksburg Civil War Roundtable would like to invite four University of Mary Washington History undergraduates to join them at their regular monthly meeting at 6PM on Wednesday, March 24, 2010 in the ballroom of the Jepson Alumni Center for dinner and program. The scheduled program is titled “Mine Run: Reflections of the Reality of War” and will feature Kati Singel, a 2007 history major graduate of UMW and former National Park Service historian. Ms. Singel is currently a graduate student at West Virginia University.

If you are interested in attending, please contact Dr. McClurken.

Alumni in the News

See the following article about Class of 2007 graduate (and Almont Lindsey Award winner) Kati Singel: