October 26, 2020

Poska Earns Grant from the Social Science Research Council

Professor of History Allyson Poska

Professor of History Allyson Poska

Professor of History Allyson Poska earned a COVID-19 Rapid-Response Grant from the Social Science Research Council, in partnership with the Henry Luce Foundation and with the support of the Wenner-Gren, Ford, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur, and William and Flora Hewlett Foundations. These highly competitive grants went to 62 recipients – out of 1,300 internationally who applied – for projects from across the social sciences and related fields that address the social, economic, cultural, psychological, and political impact of COVID-19 in the United States and globally, as well as responses to the pandemic’s wide-ranging effects. Dr. Poska’s paper was entitled, “Convincing the Masses: Global Public Health and Smallpox Vaccination in the Spanish Empire (1803-1810).” The grant money will mainly be used by Dr. Poska to acquire archival material in Peru, where she had planned to conduct research if the pandemic had not hit.

The abstract reads:

In 1803 Charles IV of Spain initiated a campaign against smallpox, opening vaccination rooms across the peninsula and sending the cowpox vaccine around the globe with the Royal Philanthropic Expedition. This global examination of Spain’s smallpox vaccination campaign analyzes the dynamic between the purveyors of the vaccine and the potential recipients. On both the peninsula and around the globe, the vaccination campaign engaged the diverse populations of the Spanish empire: men and women, rich and poor, Africans (both free and enslaved), Indigenous Americans, Filipinos, mixed-race peoples, and whites (both Spanish and American born). The campaign challenged deeply rooted race and gender hierarchies and asserted new claims to governmental authority. I intend to examine how each of these groups asserted their own expectations about bodily authority and governmental control as they accepted or rejected the vaccine. I have already conducted archival research in Spain and Mexico, but my plans to conduct research in Peru this summer were halted by Covid-19.  This project relates directly to the current Covid-19 as public health authorities grapple with the challenge of encouraging hundreds of millions of people of all races, classes, and cultures to submit to a novel vaccine for a novel virus. This research will result in a series of peer-reviewed articles and a book manuscript.

Rapid-Response Grants on Covid-19 and the Social Sciences Recipients (The Social Science Research Council)

UMW Presents Top Faculty Awards

The University of Mary Washington bestowed honors on several professors at the general faculty meeting on Monday.

Professor of Psychological Science Miriam Liss received the 2020 Waple Faculty Professional Achievement Award.

Professor of Psychological Science Miriam Liss received the 2020 Waple Faculty Professional Achievement Award.

Professor of Psychological Science Miriam Liss received the 2020 Waple Faculty Professional Achievement Award, presented by College of Arts and Sciences Dean Keith Mellinger.

Established in honor of 1952 alumna Shirley Van Epps Waple, the nomination-based award recognizes instructors who have made significant contributions to their scholarly or creative area of expertise. The recipient must be a full-time faculty member for at least seven years.

“Exemplifying the UMW teacher-scholar model,” Liss has coauthored published research with more than 40 students in her two decades at Mary Washington, presented at numerous professional conferences and written several books, Mellinger said. “In the words of her department chair, Liss’s ‘ongoing record of stellar and consistent professional activity places her in the very top tier of our talented faculty.’”

Professor of History and American Studies Allyson Poska received the J. Christopher “Topher” Bill Award.

Professor of History and American Studies Allyson Poska received the J. Christopher “Topher” Bill Award.

Professor of History and American Studies Allyson Poska received the J. Christopher “Topher” Bill Award for her contributions to the University and her involvement and leadership in the greater community. Since 2003, this award has been presented annually to a member of the full-time teaching faculty who has served at UMW for at least seven years and has a significant record of service accomplishments.

In her 28 years at Mary Washington, Poska has served on or chaired over 20 university committees, said Assistant Professor of Biology Parrish Waters, who presented the award.

She also helped establish UMW’s Women’s and Gender Studies major, serving as chair for six years. Poska “elevated the program’s stature through impactful speakers, a student research forum and making it an integral and essential part of the UMW experience,” Waters said.

In the community, Poska “brings a strong voice to advocate for those who may otherwise go unheard,” said Waters, citing her service to local organizations like Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault, Empowerhouse and the Fredericksburg Food Bank.

Associate Professor of Computer Science Stephen Davies earned the Grellet C. Simpson Award.

Associate Professor of Computer Science Stephen Davies earned the Grellet C. Simpson Award.

Several awards traditionally given at Commencement were also presented, with the exception of the Mary W. Pinschmidt Award, which will later be selected by the Class of 2020.

Associate Professor of Computer Science Stephen Davies earned the Grellet C. Simpson Award, the institution’s most prestigious honor for excellence in undergraduate teaching, given to a senior faculty member.

Known for “extremely challenging but exceptionally creative courses,” Davies creates materials and assignments tailored specifically for his students, said Provost Nina Mikhalevsky, who presented the annual award. He’s also authored three textbooks that have been adopted by other UMW instructors for their classes, she said.

“He treated my knowledge with respect and curiosity,” said one of Davies’ students, “driving home for me the important lesson that the most learned people always seek to expand their knowledge and are humble about whom they learn from.”

Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences April Wynn received the UMW Alumni Association Outstanding Young Faculty Member Award.

Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences April Wynn received the UMW Alumni Association Outstanding Young Faculty Member Award.

Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences April Wynn received the UMW Alumni Association Outstanding Young Faculty Member Award, presented annually to an exceptional member of the faculty who has served the institution for at least two years but no more than five.

Praising Wynn’s empathy and enthusiasm as both a faculty member and director of UMW’s First-Year Experience, Andrew Dolby, University Faculty Council chair, presented the award to his colleague. “[Wynn] is thoughtful, diligent and meticulous in carrying out every service or obligation she agrees to take on,” Dolby said.

“She is a fantastic professor and a truly wonderful person,” said one of Wynn’s students. “Her classes are streamlined, organized and hyper-efficient – but boy, are they fun!”

John Burrow, a lecturer in the College of Business (COB), was recognized with the Graduate Faculty Award, showcasing 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 UMW for at least two years.

John Burrow, a lecturer in the College of Business, was recognized with the Graduate Faculty Award.

College of Business Lecturer John Burrow was recognized with the Graduate Faculty Award.

Presenting the award, COB Dean Lynne Richardson quoted a recent student, who said that “everyone respects and thinks highly of Burrow.”

At UMW, Burrow has established relationships with local organizations to provide real world challenges for his students, Richardson said. He also helped create a project management certificate and MBA opportunities for cohort classes at the Dahlgren Campus, she said, “extending the reach” and “enhancing the brand” of both UMW and COB.

Poska Presents to Center for Disease Control

Professor of History Allyson Poska

Professor of History Allyson Poska

Dr. Allyson M. Poska, Professor of History, presented her research on the first vaccination efforts in the Spanish Empire to the Center for Disease Control’s Immunization Division.

Dynamic Decade: Women’s and Gender Studies Program Turns 10

Six years after graduating from the University of Mary Washington, Sam Carter ’14 still draws daily on some of the lessons she learned as an undergrad. “Everyone has a different cultural experience,” said Carter, a Women’s and Gender Studies major who’s now a digital director for the House Budget Committee majority staff. “It’s important that […]

Dynamic Decade: Women’s and Gender Studies Program Turns 10

UMW students listen as Women’s and Gender Studies faculty and alums gather together to celebrate the program’s 10th anniversary. Photo by Karen Pearlman.

UMW students listen as Women’s and Gender Studies faculty and alums gather together to celebrate the program’s 10th anniversary. Photo by Karen Pearlman.

Six years after graduating from the University of Mary Washington, Sam Carter ’14 still draws daily on some of the lessons she learned as an undergrad.

“Everyone has a different cultural experience,” said Carter, a Women’s and Gender Studies major who’s now a digital director for the House Budget Committee majority staff. “It’s important that we understand that.”

Carter was back on campus yesterday to celebrate the program’s 10th anniversary. Through this interdisciplinary major, students explore the intersections of gender, race, class, ethnicity and sexual orientation to gain an understanding of the breadth of human experience. Graduates use the perspectives they acquire in the classroom to inform careers in such fields as media, law, health, education and social work, and to influence and inspire future generations. Read more. 

Archaeological evidence shows that vitamin C deficiency wiped out an entire town (Food News)

Poska Wins Research Grants For Book Project

Professor of History Allyson M. Poska has been awarded three research grants for her new book project Contested Equality: Smallpox Vaccination in the Spanish Empire (1803-1810).

The grants include: a Franklin Research Grant from the American Philosophical Society and a Council of American Overseas Research Centers’ National Endowment for the Humanities Senior Research Fellowship. Poska was also named an inaugural recipient of Project Development Grant from the American Council of Learned Societies.  She will be conducting research in Spain and Mexico during her upcoming sabbatical.

Book brief: UMW history professor wins book prize (The Free Lance-Star)

Poska Wins Book Prize

Allyson M. Poska, professor of history, has won the 2016 best book prize from the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women for her Gendered Crossings: Women and Migration in the Spanish Empire.

Poska-book