September 19, 2017

Scanlon Publishes Essay on Modernist Writer Rebecca West

Mara Scanlon’s essay “Gender Identity and Promiscuous Identification: Reading (in) Rebecca West’s The Return of the Soldier” was recently published in The Journal of Modern Literature. The article focuses on the frequently overlooked narrator of West’s novel, set on the home front in the First World War. Scanlon interprets Jenny as an embedded reader of the novel’s main plot, a love triangle precipitated by a shell-shocked soldier’s amnesia, which Jenny’s own complicated desire further tangles. Positioned as such, Jenny breaches appropriate boundaries between herself and the “characters” of the main events, exhibiting a radical empathy called “promiscuous identification,” which finally troubles both her class and gender identity. Using theories of readership, Scanlon argues that Jenny’s zealous identification as a reader finally challenges the novel’s own stated moral and seemingly inevitable outcome, one dependent on a model of stable identity that Jenny radically undermines.

Scanlon Publishes on Whitman and (Digital) Literary Tourism

Mara Scanlon, Professor of English, published the essay “‘Afoot with my vision': Whitmania and Tourism in the Digital Age” as a chapter in From Page to Place: American Literary Tourism and the Afterlives of Authors, eds. Jennifer Harris and Hilary Iris Lowe, U of Massachusetts Press. The chapter, drawing on a multi-university teaching experience using digital pedagogies that was funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, focuses on questions of immediacy and presence in digital and embodied tourism related to the American poet Walt Whitman.

Scanlon Shares Paper on Great War Literature

Mara Scanlon, Professor of English, recently participated in the seminar “WW I: Reconsidering Rupture” at the 17th Annual Modernist Studies Association Conference. Her paper, “Mary Borden’s ‘Moonlight': ‘A Crazy Hurting Dream,'” focused on the experimental war book The Forbidden Zone, written by Mary Borden, an American civilian who ran a hospital unit behind the front lines in World War I.  The paper theorized the traumatic encounter with beauty, defined as an “abraded adjacency” in a revision of Elaine Scarry’s terminology from On Beauty and Being Just, which can shock the self from its protective mechanization in a time of violence. The Forbidden Zone is also included in Scanlon’s English class called Literature of the Great War.

Scanlon Presents on Women Modernist Poets

Mara Scanlon, professor of English, presented a paper entitled “Charlotte Mew, H.D., and the Magdalen: ‘what she did everyone knows'” at the H.D. and Feminist Poetics Conference in Bethlehem, PA, H.D.’s birthplace.

The paper examined the Magdalen figures in two poems, not only analyzing the representations of their sexual bodies and the visions they enable for male prophets, but also situating the publications in their wartime contexts, in which the crucified Christ becomes a figure for wounded or sacrificial soldiers.

Accompanying Dr. Scanlon to the conference to further their own research on poet Hilda Doolittle, known as H.D., were three senior English majors: Bailey Meeks, Shannon Birch, and Christina Cox.

UMW Professors to be Featured on ‘With Good Reason’ (The Free Lance-Star)

Professors to be Featured on Radio Program (World News)

Professors to be Featured on Radio Program

University of Mary Washington Professors Mara Scanlon and Mindy Erchull will be featured in upcoming episodes of the With Good Reason public radio program. Mara Scanlon During Professor of English Mara Scanlon’s encore interview, to be broadcast June 27 to July 3, she discusses Walt Whitman and his time as a nurse during the Civil War in a show entitled “America the Beautiful.” In a project that involved collaboration with three other universities, Scanlon worked on a digital humanities project, “Looking for Whitman: The Poetry of Place in the Life and Work of Walt Whitman,” which was funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The full interview will be available beginning the week of the show at Mindy Erchull Associate Professor of Psychology Mindy Erchull’s encore interview will be broadcast July 4 to 19. In this program, entitled “The Innocence Project,” she discusses love and jealousy and the link to abusive relationships. Based on findings from a recent survey, Erchull suggests that women who see jealousy as a positive thing may be more likely to find themselves in abusive relationships. The full interview will be available beginning the week of the show at With Good Reason is a program of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. The show airs weekly in Fredericksburg on Sundays from 1-2 p.m. on Radio IQ 88.3 Digital. To listen from outside of the Fredericksburg area, a complete list of air times and links to corresponding radio stations can be found at

Mara Scanlon Publishes Edited Essay Collection

hi-res-jacketDr. Mara Scanlon, Professor of English, has published an essay collection entitled Poetry and Dialogism: Hearing Over. Scanlon co-edited the volume with Dr. Chad Engbers of Calvin College and wrote its introduction. The book, published by Palgrave MacMillan, extends the theoretical conversation on poetry that is oriented toward an Other and contributes as well to ethnic studies, translation studies, and the field of ethics and literature.

Scanlon’s With Good Reason Interview to be Rebroadcast, June 21

English Professor Mara N. Scanlon’s interview about Walt Whitman and the famed poet’s experiences as a Civil War nurse will be rebroadcast on the public radio program “With Good Reason” beginning Saturday, June 21.

In 1862, poet Walt Whitman went to Fredericksburg to search in field hospitals for his brother who had been wounded in a Civil War battle. Shocked by the bloodshed, Whitman worked as a nurse for years through the end of the war.

The interview, “Whitman at War,” originally aired in 2009. The segment can be heard online at

UMW Awards Top Honors and Honorary Degree at Commencement Ceremonies

The University of Mary Washington presented its top honors during commencement ceremonies Friday, May 9 and Saturday, May 10.

Daniel W. Lipscomb of Purcellville, Va., and Leah C. Tams of Midlothian, Va., received the Colgate W. Darden Jr. Awards, which are presented to the students with the highest grade-point averages (GPA) in the four-year undergraduate program. Both graduates finished with a 4.0 GPA.

Mara N. Scanlon, professor of English in the College of Arts and Sciences, was presented the Grellet C. Simpson Award, the institution’s most prestigious annual award for excellence in undergraduate teaching. The recipient is routinely a senior member of the faculty.

Charles M. Murphy, assistant professor of political science in the College of Arts and Sciences, received the UMW Alumni Association Outstanding Young Faculty Member Award, which is presented annually to an exceptional member of the faculty who has served the institution for at least two years but no more than five years.

Lynn Lewis, professor of biology in the College of Arts and Sciences, received the Mary W. Pinschmidt Award. The winner is selected by the graduating class as the faculty member “whom they will most likely remember as the one who had the greatest impact on their lives.”

Beverly D. Epps, associate professor in the Department of Foundations, Leadership and Special Populations in the College of Education, was recognized with the Graduate Faculty Award. The honor recognizes an exceptional full-time faculty member who has demonstrated excellence in graduate teaching and professional leadership in a graduate program. The person selected must have served in a full-time position at the university for at least two years.

Irene Piscopo Rodgers ’59 received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. The UMW Board of Visitors may award honorary degrees to recognize and express gratitude to individuals who have provided outstanding service or contributions that are instrumental in helping the University achieve major objectives.


Daniel W. Lipscomb & Leah C. Tams

Lipscomb is a psychology major who received a Bachelor of Science degree. He is a member of Psi Chi, the

Darden winner Daniel Lipscomb

Darden winner Daniel Lipscomb

psychology honor society, and Phi Beta Kappa. He recently presented his research, “Crippling Prejudice: A Study of Disability as Part of Diversity,” at the Virginia Psychological Association conference. Lipscomb also founded UMW’s Video Game Club.

“Some of his professors say that he was the one student who really ‘got it’ when learning the concepts behind statistics,” said Provost Jonathan Levin, who presented the award.

Lipscomb plans to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical or educational psychology and hopes eventually to work in the school system with a goal of making school environments more welcoming and receptive to all.

Tams is a history major with a minor in mathematics who received a Bachelor of Arts degree. She has held multiple internships, including at the Smithsonian Institution Archives, Kenmore Plantation and Virginia Historical Society. She is a member of Alpha Phi Sigma and Phi Beta Kappa. She is the recipient of the Almont Lindsey Award for Academic Achievement and Exemplary Service, which recognizes a graduating senior for outstanding academic achievement and service to the Department of History and American Studies.

Darden winner Leah Tams poses with Provost Levin.

Darden winner Leah Tams poses with Provost Levin.

“Her adviser describes her as upbeat, funny and analytical and points out that she will occasionally be seen knitting while she’s thinking,” said Levin.

Tams recently completed research on “Publishing Geographical Information in the Early American Republic” and “The Korean War in the 1960s and 1970s: A Cultural Analysis of the First Six Seasons of M*A*S*H” for her thesis in history for which she received Departmental Honors.

While she contemplates her long-term plans, she will return to work in an internship at the Smithsonian where she will be doing archival work.

Mara N. Scanlon

Mara N. Scanlon, professor of English, has woven together her passion for poetry, women’s literature, Asian American studies, and digital humanities during her decade at UMW.

Mara Scanlon, left, with Provost Levin

Mara Scanlon, left, with Provost Levin

Levin described Scanlon as a leading force in encouraging faculty and students to experiment with innovative approaches to teaching and learning, and commended her for fostering a sense of community in her classes. “She has been known to break out noise makers to accompany her poetry classes,” he said. “One colleague observed that her classes sometimes take on the character of a rock concert. But don’t confuse that for a lack of rigor. As one student put it, ‘If you get an A, you frame that next to your diploma!’”

Scanlon is the co-editor of a forthcoming book called “Poetry and Dialogism: Hearing Over,” for which she also wrote the introductory chapter. Her professional work includes a collaborative, multi-university National Endowment for the Humanities Grant awarded for a project in the digital humanities called “Looking for Whitman: the Poetry of Place in Life and Work of Walt Whitman.” She recently spent a semester on sabbatical for her “Digital Modernism: The Artifact, The Poetess, and The Modernist Journals Project.”

She received her Ph.D. and master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

Charles M. Murphy

Since Charles Murphy joined the Mary Washington faculty in 2009 as an assistant professor of political science, he has made his name for himself, both at UMW and in the community. He has been widely cited as a news source on U.S. politics, and has published numerous scholarly articles.

Charles Murphy, left, with Provost Levin

Charles Murphy, left, with Provost Levin

The recipient of the Mary W. Pinschmidt Award in 2011, Murphy serves as adviser and assistant coach of the university Mock Trial Team, sponsor of the Redistricting Team and is a manuscript reviewer for “Political Behavior” and “American Politics Research.”

“His most noteworthy achievement is his exuberant commitment to the one-on-one relationship that is the heart and soul of a liberal arts education at Mary Washington,” said Levin. “Consider these numbers: in five years, he has supervised 24 independent studies, 39 internships, and another 20 undergraduate research projects. His students have won national essay contests and have presented papers at regional and state professional meetings. And some of his students have landed positions working in the offices of state senators and delegates, thanks to the classroom and internship experiences they had with him.”

Murphy received a Ph.D. in political science and a master’s degree in mass political behavior from the University of California, Riverside and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Baldwin Wallace College.

Lynn Lewis

In her more than 25 years at UMW, Professor of Biology Lynn O. Lewis has researched and taught microbiology and virology, advised countless student undergraduate research projects, and shared her knowledge with colleagues across the country. A former poultry virologist for the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, she serves as the adviser for UMW’s pre-vet program. Her current research involves the analysis of viruses that infect bacteria.

Lynn Lewis, left, with Peyton Kremer '14

Lynn Lewis, left, with Peyton Kremer ’14

“This professor’s enthusiasm for her material is palpable, and her passion is truly infectious,” said Peyton Kremer ’14, who presented the award. “The knowledge I gained in this course on infectious diseases is both fascinating and entirely applicable to my future career in medicine.  But what makes what I have learned in this course truly unique is that I will never forget what she has taught me, and that is entirely due to the tireless efforts of this amazing professor.”

Lewis received a Ph.D. in microbiology and a bachelor’s degree in biology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. She is a member of Sigma Xi, the Scientific Honor Society and the American Society for Microbiology. As the treasurer and a member of the Virginia Branch of the ASM, she has led discussions on the teaching of microbiology to undergraduates.

Beverly D. Epps

Beverly Epps, associate professor of foundations, leadership and special populations in the College of Education, specializes in teacher education. Prior to joining the UMW faculty in 2005, she spent more than 25 years as a teacher and administrator in Virginia public schools, including as the director of testing and curriculum for Prince Edward Public Schools.

Dr. Beverly Epps

Beverly Epps

“These experiences have significantly informed her research and the perspectives and approaches she brings to the classroom,” said Levin. “Her research focuses on how to better serve the neediest populations in our schools, including students from low income families, juvenile offenders, students of color, and those with disabilities.”

Levin said students repeatedly comment on how Epps contributes to their professional growth and readiness for their future and colleagues admire her expertise, energy, and positive outlook.

Epps serves on the advisory board of the Center for Honor, Leadership and Service and is a faculty adviser of the Stafford Campus Honor Council. She received a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia.

Irene Piscopo Rodgers ’59

Irene Piscopo Rodgers ’59 established a career as an expert in microscopy in a time when women in the sciences faced entrenched professional inequality.

Irene Piscopo Rodgers ’59

Irene Piscopo Rodgers ’59

Building on a Mary Washington bachelor’s degree in chemistry, Rodgers accepted a fellowship from the University of Michigan and earned a master’s degree in chemistry in 1961. She was an electron microscopist at Phillips Electronic Instruments before beginning a four-decade career as an independent consultant to FEI, a premier provider of electron and ion-beam microscopes and tools for nanoscale applications.

“Mrs. Rodgers has served her alma mater with devotion and is among UMW’s most generous living donors,” said President Richard V. Hurley. “Her philanthropy has been carefully and thoughtfully structured to benefit UMW students directly.”

Among her significant contributions, Rodgers donated a transmission electron microscope, which put the UMW microscopy laboratory on par with labs of much larger research universities. Afterward, she came to campus to train faculty and students to use the microscope and to recognize student achievements.

Rodgers has endowed two student research fellowships for research in the physical and biological sciences and has established two Alvey Scholarships. An active advocate for Mary Washington, she has enthusiastically participated in 11 reunions of the Class of ’59.