WC to Confer Honorary Degree on Frederick Douglass on Feb. 23


On the bicentennial of Frederick Douglass’s birth, Washington College is posthumously awarding the famed abolitionist orator, author, and statesman the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws. Douglass’s great-great-great grandson, Kenneth Morris, co-founder and president of the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives, and David Blight, a professor of history at Yale University and director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition, will offer remarks and receive the College’s Award for Excellence.

The free, public event, part of the annual George Washington’s Birthday Convocation, is slated for Friday, Feb. 23, beginning at 4:00 p.m. in Decker Theatre, Gibson Center for the Arts. The ceremony will also be livestreamed: https://www.washcoll.edu/offices/digital-media-services/live/

“Two hundred years after his birth, it is truly an honor for Washington College to recognize the tenacity and the moral courage Frederick Douglass exhibited by speaking out in support of equal rights for all men and women,” says College President Kurt Landgraf.

Born into slavery in February 1818, not far from the College’s campus on Maryland’s Eastern Shore,Douglass came to understand at a very young age that education would be his path to freedom: “Knowledge unfits a child to be a slave,” he wrote. In 1838, he escaped slavery and spent the rest of his life speaking out on human rights issues, including abolitionism and women’s rights, in addition to serving as a federal official and diplomat. His first autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (1845), is taught in universities around the world. Yet Douglass himself never had a college education, and Washington College is believed to be the first institution to award him an honorary degree since Howard University did so in 1872.

When Douglass was born, Washington College—the first college in Maryland and one of the oldest in the United States—had already existed for almost 40 years. Among its founding donors, alongside George Washington, were members of the Lloyd family, on whose Eastern Shore plantation Douglass was enslaved during his childhood. The College remained a racially segregated institution until the late 1950s.

“Even without a formal education, Frederick Douglass steeped himself in newspapers, political writings, and treatises to become one of the most famous intellectuals of his time,” Landgraf says. “Washington College should have been thrilled to enroll such a promising scholar. We can’t change that history, but we can and should learn from it.”

The event coincides with Black History Month and a program organized by the College’s Office of Student Affairs, “The Black Experience: From Slavery to Modern Times.” Over the course of several weeks, students and faculty will learn about and discuss contributions African Americans have made to our society, as well as the legacy of slavery that remains. They will visit the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park and Douglass sites in Talbot County, as well as Cedar Hill, Douglass’s home in southeast Washington that is now a National Historic Site. For a complete listing of events commemorating Frederick Douglass’s bicentennial, visit https://www.washcoll.edu/offices/student-affairs/frederick-douglass-bicentennial/index.php

As part of the Douglass centennial activities on Feb. 23, members of the College’s Black Student Union will deliver copies of the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas: An American Slave to eighth-graders at Chestertown Middle School. Morris will join them; to honor Douglass’s 200th birthday, Morris’s family foundation is distributing one million hardcover copies of the book to middle-schoolers across the country.

The Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives is a modern abolitionist organization dedicated to teaching today’s generation about one of the most influential figures in American history and raising awareness about the ongoing crisis of human trafficking.

As director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale University, David Blight oversees the annual Frederick Douglass Book Prize and other public outreach programs regarding the history of slavery and its abolition. Blight is considered the nation’s foremost Douglass scholar; he recently completed the first major biography of Frederick Douglass in more than 20 years, which will be published later in 2018 by Simon and Schuster.

During Convocation ceremonies, recipients of the President’s Medal, the President’s Distinguished Service Awards, and the Alumni Service Award will also be honored.

About Washington College

Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 35 states and a dozen nations. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at washcoll.edu.

A Valentine’s Day Tea and Talk with Professor Elena Deanda


Washington College’s very own Elena Deanda-Camacho will be giving a faculty tea and talk on Wednesday, February 14, as part of the spring Literary House Series. The event will be held at 4:30 p.m. in the Rose O’Neill Literary House, and it is free and open to the public.

Elena Deanda-Camacho is an associate professor of Spanish and Director of the Black Studies Program at Washington College. She received her BA from the University of Veracruz, Mexico, and her PhD at Vanderbilt U. She studies transatlantic Spanish literature from the Middle Ages to the Enlightenment in Spain and New Spain. Her research focuses on literature deemed obscene by the Spanish Inquisition in Spain and the Americas, and more broadly in obscenity, censorship, and freedom of speech. She has published essays and articles on Cervantes, Lope de Vega, and Teresa de Cartagena, among others. She is currently writing a book entitled Pornopoetics: The Poetics of Pornography in Eighteenth Century Europe.

For more information on this and other events, view our annual Literary Events Calendar brochure here: www.washcoll.edu/live/files/7406-2017-2018. For more information on the Literary House, visit www.washcoll.edu/centers/lithouse/.

WC Student Named Co-Editor of Pre-eminent American Birding Journal


Mike Hudson holds a northern bobwhite at College’s Foreman’s Branch Bird Observatory at WC’s River and Field Campus.

Most Washington College students would count themselves lucky and excited to have an essay they’d written for a class accepted for publication in a national journal. But senior Mike Hudson can go a couple of steps further than that. Not only is an essay he wrote for an introduction to non-fiction class the lead piece for the winter issue of North American Birds, Hudson graduates in May already co-editor of the venerable publication of record for birding enthusiasts and researchers.

Since last spring, Hudson has been juggling his busy college schedule with his new role as co-editor along with Tom Reed of North American Birds (NAB), a quarterly publication of the American Birding Association (ABA) based in Delaware City, Delaware. “Mike and Tom, twenty something field ornithologists based in Maryland and New Jersey, respectively, are dyed-in-the-woolbirders deeply committed to the rigorous scientific traditions of North American Birds,” Ted Floyd, editor of Birding Magazine, who has been helping the new editors learn the ropes, wrote on the ABA blog last April. “These two are wonderful.”

For anyone who knows Hudson, a biology major and English minor, this maybe isn’t so surprising. Birding is a small, passionate world, and Hudson was already deeply immersed in it when he came to Washington College, drawn in part by Foreman’s Branch Bird Observatory at the College’s River and Field Campus (RAFC). From the moment he set foot on campus, Hudson has been a frequent intern and perpetual volunteer at the banding station and at RAFC’s Chester River Field Research Station, riding his bike there at all hours before he finally got a car.

Hudson has been a devoted birder since he was a boy growing up near Baltimore. “I started birding when I was maybe six or seven, my grandfather got me into it,” he says. His other mentor was Bill Stewart, who became the director of ABA’s Young Birder Program. Hudson participated in that program, and by the time he was in high school, the ABA was hiring him as an intern and staff assistant at its birding camps for youngsters. “So I’ve kind of been involved with the ABA since even before the people who are running it now,” he says.

When he learned last year that NAB’s longtime editor was retiring, and that the journal was seeking some new editorial blood, he grabbed the opportunity.

North American Birds, which has a very old history . . . has always been the same thing. It’s always been a journal that chronicles the changes in American bird status and distribution,” Hudson says. By gathering and analyzing reports from birders across the continent, the journal documents changing bird populations, a topic more timely than ever today due to climate change. “The timing was good, they knew they wanted at least one and maybe two editors to take over, they wanted it to be two younger people, and they knew me.”

Hudson shares the lead-off essay, called “Changing Seasons,” with Reed, as well as editing and analyzing regional field reports, blogging, and other duties as they come up. They’re also working to help NAB change with the digital times, and this theme of change—both in the publication as well as in species or populations of birds that used to migrate but that now either don’t migrate at all or not as far—is what Hudson incorporated into his essay for Associate Professor of English Sean Meehan’s Introduction to Nonfiction class.

“Professor Meehan likes to play around with the rules a lot, and one of the things he said at the beginning of the class, he said when you’re writing an essay, you’re not so much writing as you are essaying, as a verb. He took it back to the etymology of the word,” Hudson says, which means “to attempt or try.” “I’d always liked intellectually the idea that when you’re writing an essay, you’re doing something more than just writing, you’re thinking about something bigger. So that was a big thing that changed it for me. It changed my perspective. And, defining what an essay is, a more holistic way of thinking about essay.”

Meehan says as part of his Introduction to Nonfiction class, he “challenges students to identify a real-world audience and publication for their essays… it is fascinating to see Mike put these skills to work, so directly and quickly, even before he graduates.”

About Washington College

Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 35 states and a dozen nations. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at washcoll.edu.

WC’s Goldstein Program Invites International Scholars on Feb. 13


Washington College’s Goldstein Program in Public Affairs is hosting a panel of four international scholars who will discuss how President Donald Trump’s “America First” doctrine is being perceived in their countries. The event on Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. will be held in Hynson Lounge and is free and open to the public.

Muqtedar Khan

Muqtedar Khan, Professor of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Delaware, will moderate the panel. Panelists, who are part of the U.S. State Department’s Study of the U.S. Institute (SUSI) on U.S. National Security Policymaking at the University of Delaware, are Maria Ryan of Nottingham University, UK; Qiang Yang of China Foreign Affairs University; Giorgi Bilanishvili, Director of External Security, Georgia; and Alejandro Frenkel of the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Along with discussing how their countries are responding to Trump’s new foreign policies, they will reflect on the future of America as the leader of the world and the future of the global order that was built under Pax Americana.

Muqtedar Khan is a professor in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Delaware. He is also Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Policy. He founded the Islamic Studies Program at the University of Delaware and was its first director, from 2007-2010. Previously, Khan was a Senior Nonresident Fellow with the Brookings Institution (2003-2008) and a Fellow of the Alwaleed Center at Georgetown University (2006-2007). Khan has been the president, vice president and general secretary of the Association of Muslim Social Scientists. He is the author of “American Muslims: Bridging Faith and Freedom” (Amana, 2002), “Jihad for Jerusalem: Identity and Strategy in International Relations” (Praeger, 2004), “Islamic Democratic Discourse” (Lexington Books, 2006), and “Debating Moderate Islam: The Geopolitics of Islam and the West” (University of Utah Press, 2007). Khan frequently comments on BBC, CNN International, Fox, VOA TV, Bridges TV, NPR and other radio and TV networks. His political commentaries appear regularly in newspapers in more than 20 countries. He has lectured in North America, East Asia, the Middle East and Europe. He earned his Ph.D. in International Relations, Political Philosophy, and Islamic Political Thought, from Georgetown University.

Maria Ryan is an assistant professor at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom. She specializes in post-Cold War U.S. foreign policy, in particular the development of neoconservatism; intellectuals and foreign policy; humanitarian interventionism; the Bush administration and the “Global War on Terror;” and the history of the CIA. For over a decade, she has been researching, publishing, and teaching historical and contemporary aspects of U.S. national security policy. She is currently researching her second monograph, which is provisionally titled “Beyond Iraq: The War on Terror on the Periphery,”and is supported by an Early Career Fellowship from the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Qiang Yang is a lecturer at the China Foreign Affairs University. His research interests include American foreign policy, climate policy, and politics. His courses, which fall under the Department of English and International Studies,include U.S. foreign and national security policy. In addition, he has been researching a ministerial-level project on U.S. climate policy sponsored by the Ministry of Education.

Giorgi Bilanishvili is the director of Georgia’s Department of External Security at the Office of State Security and Crisis Management Council. He specializes in international affairs, national security strategies, NATO, and Russian foreign policy. He has been working in public service for almost 18 years, and completed the National Security and Public Policy Program, a year-long leadership and training course at the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (GFSIS), the most well-respected think-tank in Georgia.

Alejandro Frenkel is a lecturer at the School of Social Sciences at the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina. He researches Latin American politics, defense and security, and regional affairs. He also coordinates a research group at the University of Buenos Aires called “Security and Defense in the 21st Century.” The project engages undergraduate and graduate students of political science seeking to expand their academic training. He previously served as an advisor for the Secretary of International Affairs of the Argentine Ministry of Defense.

The Louis L. Goldstein Program in Public Affairs was established in 1990 to encourage students to enter public service by introducing them to exemplary leaders in and out of government. It has hosted journalists, political activists, foreign policy analysts, diplomats, military commanders and government officials of national and international stature. It also sponsors lectures, symposia, and visiting fellows, as well as student participation in models and conferences and other projects that bring students and faculty together with leaders experienced in developing public policy. Its current curator is Christine Wade, Associate Professor of Political Science and International Studies.

Writer Kim Zarins at the Rose O’Neill Literary House Feb. 6


Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales may make some people yawn, but not the way writer Kim Zarins tells the story. Zarins, a professor of medieval and children’s literature and author of the novel Sometimes We Tell the Truth, retells the tale from the point of view of modern teens, who change things up in unpredictable, entertaining, sympathetic ways.

Zarins will read from her work at the Rose O’Neill Literary House on February 6. The event, which is part of the Sophie Kerr Lecture Series, starts at 4:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

Zarins has a Ph.D. in English from Cornell University and teaches at Sacramento State University. Her debut novel, Sometimes We Tell the Truth (Simon and Schuster, 2016), retells Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales with modern teens, transforming the 14th-century collection into contemporary genres and tackling issues relevant for today’s teens. On the long bus ride to Washington, D.C., a group of seniors each tell a story—some fantastical, some realistic, some downright scandalous—in a competition for the ultimate prize: a perfect grade. Whether zombie war epic, love story between an angel and a devil, tale of interracial adoption, eulogy for a lost sibling, or Harry Potter fan fiction, the tales entertain and invite empathy. In this contemporary young adult adaptation of The Canterbury Tales, students wrestle with issues of class and wealth, fears of going off to college, moral reckoning with the cost of cheating, and LGBTQIA identity.

In addition to Sometimes We Tell the Truth, Zarins has published two picture books for very young children, The Helpful Puppy (Holiday House, 2012) and The Playful Bunny (Cartwheel Books, 2006). When Zarins isn’t reading, writing, or teaching, she hangs out with her family in Davis, California, and coaxes a scrub jay named Joe to take peanuts from her hand.

For more information on this and other English Department and Sophie Kerr events, visit the website at www.washcoll.edu/departments/english/events.php, or view our annual Literary Events Calendar brochure here: www.washcoll.edu/live/files/7406-2017-2018.

WC Students Help Kent County High School Students Learn About Green Chemistry


Gathered around a lab station in a Kent County High School classroom, Washington College senior Alex Riedel and three high school students are busying themselves with an experiment while discussing the future. One of the students says she wants to be a nurse practitioner, and Riedel, a biology major who’s pre-med and taking her MCATs in a month, is telling her about her experience shadowing a nurse who specializes in geriatrics.

“I love her patients!” Riedel says. “But I’m interested in pediatrics too.” While they talk, Riedel helps the students attach small glittery dots to a paper surface until they have completed what is roughly a diamond-shaped pattern. “Are you guys ready to move on?” she says finally, bringing the focus fully back to the reason they’re there—a green chemistry experiment crafted and led by Anne Marteel-Parrish, Professor of Chemistry and Co-Chair of the College’s Department of Chemistry, and six of her students. “OK, next we have to test the different surfaces.”

Anne Marteel-Parrish (right) helps a Kent County High School student set up the experiment.

What they’re testing is how well their creation—a coarse model of a material called Sharklet film—can hold onto a Post-It note as small binder clips are attached to it. The broader technology they are learning about—Sharklet—is a product that mimics on a molecular level the skin of a shark, enabling it to easily repel germs and bacteria from surfaces without the use of chemicals. In this lab, it’s giving Marteel-Parrish and her students a chance to introduce the Kent County students to several concepts related to her fundamental expertise and passion: green chemistry and engineering.

“Green chemistry is all about trying to prevent pollution before it’s formed,” Marteel-Parrish explains to the students during her introduction. While using chemical-based cleaners may purge a surface of germs or bacteria, those chemicals enter humans and the environment, causing all sorts of unintended consequences. Through green chemistry, she says, “We are trying to design everyday products so they don’t harm the environment or people.”

Sharklet technology is an example of biomimicry, Marteel-Parrish explains—when scientists mimic something that occurs in nature. In this case, the inventor realized that the skin of sharks, comprised of denticles in a distinct diamond-shaped pattern, acts as a natural repellent. Sharklet film is now used on all kinds of surfaces, from medical devices to furniture, to repel germs and bacteria. “Nature is a model and mentor to solve human problems,” Marteel-Parrish says.

(L to R) WC senior Simon Belcher oversees Vince Wilson, Matthew Mernaugh, and Jakob Watt in the lab experiment.

Marteel-Parrish, since 2011 the College’s Frank J. Creegan Chair in Green Chemistry, is also the author of Green Chemistry and Engineering: A Pathway to Sustainability (2013, Wiley and Sons). Among many other awards, in 2011 she won the American Chemical Society-Committee on Environmental Improvement (ACS-CEI) Award for Incorporating Sustainability into Chemistry.

She’s also a mother of two students in Kent County’s public schools, and while she had devised a variety of special projects for at the elementary school level, she’d never focused on high school students. Last year, she approached the science teachers about introducing their students to green chemistry through a series of four experiments, which she and her undergraduates would present. They gave her an enthusiastic thumbs-up to the idea, and she worked with them to develop four experiments that complemented what their students were already learning.

“I can teach the same concepts they are talking about, but from the perspective of green chemistry,” she says. “We’re trying to incorporate experiments that fit into their curriculum. I’m not here to tell them what to do, I just want to share my passion.”

But it’s clear that the collaboration is doing more than introducing local high school students to green chemistry concepts. It’s a fun, no-pressure opportunity for them to ask the WC students what college is like and what their future might hold, and for Marteel-Parrish’s students to impart some hard-earned advice, and encouragement.

“You guys did awesome!” Riedel says, as she helps her lab students finish up their work. “It was so fun getting to know you!”

About Washington College

Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 35 states and a dozen nations. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at washcoll.edu.

Natalie Diaz to Read at the Rose O’Neill Literary House


The Rose O’Neill Literary House kicks off this semester’s literary event series with a reading by acclaimed poet Natalie Diaz. The event will be held on Thursday, February 1 at 4:30 p.m., at the Rose O’Neill Literary House. It is free and open to the public.

Natalie Diaz was born and raised in the Fort Mojave Indian Village in Needles, California, on the banks of the Colorado River. She is Mojave and an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Tribe. Her first poetry collection, When My Brother Was an Aztec, was published by Copper Canyon Press in 2012.

Diaz’s work has also appeared in Narrative Magazine, Gwarlingo, The Rumpus, and Ploughshares. Her poetry has garnered the Nimrod/Hardman Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry, the Louis Untermeyer Scholarship in Poetry from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Narrative Poetry Prize, the Holmes National Poetry Prize from Princeton University, a United States Artists Ford Fellowship, a Native Arts Council Foundation Artist Fellowship, and a Lannan Literary Fellowship. Her poems, folding Spanish and Mojave into American English, yield an urgent and important new voice to the canon of contemporary Native American poetry, finding a place among the work of Leslie Marmon Silko and Joy Harjo.

For more information on this and other events, view our annual Literary Events Calendar brochure here: www.washcoll.edu/live/files/7406-2017-2018. For more information on the Literary House, visit www.washcoll.edu/centers/lithouse/.

Washington College Students Bring Food, Fellowship to Community Table


Margot Patois (foreground, left) and other WC students serve local residents who are attending the Community Table dinner.

In the kitchen of the First United Methodist Church in Chestertown, excitement comes on a Monday evening in the form of enormous tin trays, as Washington College students Rose Adelizzi, Felicia Attor, and Lizzie Massey uncover them one at a time.

“Oh, that looks yummy!” says Cheryl Hoopes, a neighbor and volunteer at the Community Table, a dinner that happens every Monday night in the church’s fellowship hall. “Oh, my goodness, it’s still coming, guys! Turkey!” She helps the students and other volunteers uncover the dishes one by one—rice, some kind of mushroom and pasta casserole, roasted veggies—prepping them to go out onto three long tables that will serve as the buffet line once dinner begins. “We love it when the students come,” Hoopes says. “They’re just wonderful. It’s like Christmas every week for us.”

The students are members of Washington College’s Student Environmental Alliance (SEA) and its Food Recovery Network (FRN) chapter. Every Monday evening, they show up with leftover food from the College’s dining hall and contribute it to other food prepared for the Community Table, a weekly gathering that draws a wide range of local residents to share a meal together. The students help set up, serve, and dine with those who have come to dinner. Sometimes only a few are able to come; tonight, nearly a dozen students are helping.

Melia Greene, Felicia Attor, and Rose Adelizzi deliver food to the kitchen of the First United Methodist Church.

“We usually sit down and eat with them, get to know them, and it’s fun when you go into town and someone says, ‘Oh, you served food at the dinner!’ It’s nice to be connected to the town in that way,’’ says sophomore Gillian Heckert-Mitchell, an anthropology major who is now in her second semester of participating in the FRN. “It’s by far my favorite thing of the week. It gets you off the campus, and I just like to serve and meet the community.”

Like many other clubs on campus, the Student Environmental Alliance wanted to become more directly involved with something that served the larger community, says junior Samantha Trikeriotis, a psychology major and the current head of the FRN. Last year, several students worked to create a local chapter of the FRN, a national organization that mobilizes students on college campuses to prevent food waste by donating food that would not otherwise be used.

Don Stanwick, Director of Dining Services, helped the students get organized. The program is now in its third semester, going strong, and he’s encouraging the students to expand it. Stanwick says that Dining Services tries to forecast its menu for the day, estimating how much of a particular dish it will need for the College. Much of the time, leftover food goes into another meal for students, especially soups, he says. But if there’s a large portion that can’t, for whatever reason, be used in time or for another meal, Stanwick says that becomes food for the FRN.

“In the past, it got tossed, and it was just a waste,” he says. “This allows us to give food to somebody who needs food, and that’s why we like the program and we like to support it. It helps out. It’s one of those things that everyone can be involved in. You just have to give a little bit of your time.”

As of November 20, students had recovered 1,207 pounds of food during the fall semester, Trikeriotis says. They head to the dining hall at about 4 p.m. in the afternoon on Mondays and get trays of food, already heated and in a rolling food insulator that the students then drive down to the church. Working with other volunteers from the community, they set up and serve soup, salad, fresh veggies, and multiple entrees. A new addition this year is composting; the students have expanded the College’s composting program to include as much as possible from the Community Table dinner.

“It’s just another way to close the gap on food waste,” says sophomore Melia Greene, who heads up the SEA’s composting program. “It’s fun to teach people about it. Instead of wasting so much, we can teach them to give back.”

Students serving soup and salad wear their FRN ballcaps.

Pastor David Ryan says the Community Table typically draws 100 to 125 people each week. Some of them depend on the meal financially, and for others, it’s a way to connect to their community. People of all ages and backgrounds attend. About six volunteer cooks join up to 10 other volunteers who team up with the College students to provide the food, set up, serve, and clean up.

“It’s for everyone to participate,” Ryan says. “What’s wonderful to me is that people talk about diversity, but here they sit together and stand in line together. There are older people who are fine financially, but they don’t want to eat alone. We really try to serve everyone… being together is part of why we are doing this.”

Chestertown resident Pat Pardee attends nearly every Monday with her husband, Alvin. “It’s always very good,” she says. “You get all kinds of people. No matter who you are, you’re welcome. And it’s nice they have so many College students helping.”

Like many of the students, Trikeriotis says she’d never done anything like this before, and now, it’s something she looks forward to every week.

“Everyone here is really friendly,” she says. “Everyone is really kind, and they’re excited to see all the Washington College students.”

Washington College Business Student Takes Second Place in Global Trading Challenge


Whitney Schweizer

As a financial analyst in Washington College’s Brown Advisory Student-Managed Investment Fund Program, senior Whitney Schweizer is already an experienced investor. Under the guidance of industry expert and executive-in-residence Richard Bookbinder, Schweizer and his classmates are actively investing in a fund that has grown since its inception in June 2008 from $500,000 to $871,000 in real dollars as of October 31.

But, when the business management major from Baltimore participated in a back-to-school trading challenge in derivatives and futures trading, Schweizer finished nearly $33,000 richer—in Monopoly money—and took second place among 1,660 undergraduates around the world. Two other Washington College seniors, Tanner Barbieri and Austin Hepburn, finished among the top 70 competitors. The challenge was held by the CME Institute, an arm of the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace.

“On the first day of class [on financial derivatives], Professor [Hui-Ju] Tsai told us about this challenge, but I wasn’t totally sure about derivatives and futures trading,” Schweizer says. “I had only done stocks trading. After the first couple of weeks of class, I set up the account, took the online course, and then started the trading challenge using scenarios real in every way except the money. It’s a great way of letting students learn. It’s real life, without the consequences.”

Schweizer invested heavily in the energy sector. “It was right after Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, and I suspected fuel prices would go up,” he says. “I just didn’t think they would go up as much as they did. Refineries were shut down, and prices were affected pretty quickly. Then I diversified with wheat. I started with $100,000, and ended the week with $132,607.30.”

Even though the risks and rewards were great, Schweizer’s approach to the investment challenge didn’t stray far from the approach he’s learned to follow as a student in the investment fund program, previously known as the Alex. Brown Program. Administered by the College’s Department of Business Management and led by Richard Bookbinder, who brings his industry expertise to the weekly classes, it offers students of all majors an immersive experiential opportunity to learn about investments. The focus, as Bookbinder has taught them, is always on what’s happening in the world.

“As a group, at every meeting, we start out with current events,” Schweizer says. “We read the Wall Street Journal. We re-evaluate our portfolio. We bounce some ideas off Mr. Bookbinder. Then we start looking for the bigger picture. If it’s a consumer product, who supplies it? And we look at competitors. You want the big picture, as far out as you can get. Those are the risk-and-reward pieces.”

Schweizer seems well-suited to the world of finance. “The Alex. Brown program was the big thing that drew me here,” says Schweizer, who grew up in Baltimore and whose grandfather works for the renowned Brown Advisory firm there. “I knew I wanted to go into finance, and Washington College seemed like a good fit.”