News: Summer 2014

Public Reflects on 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Cool Spring

Nearly 150 people marked the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Cool Spring during a tour sponsored by the McCormick Civil War Institute at Shenandoah University. The tour was presented in association with the U.S. National Park Service and the Clarke County Historical Society. The historical lecture and tour alumnus was led by Shenandoah University alumnus and historic storyteller Jonathan Noyalas ’01, assistant professor of history and director of the Center for Civil War History at Lord Fairfax Community College; and National Park Service Ranger Shannon Moeck.

Studying Abroad This Summer

Shenandoah University students and faculty spanned the globe this summer — working, teaching and performing, completing internships and conducting research.

Nine faculty-led Global Experiential Learning (GEL) trips provided students, faculty and alumni with opportunities to visit other cultures, apply their knowledge or practice their skills in a variety of settings outside the continental United States. Below is a list of destinations, academic topics and individuals who led study abroad or service trips or who traveled internationally for clinical experiences.

Argentina: Spanish, individual students attending summer Spanish language study

Austria: Music Therapy, Daniel Tague, Ph.D.

England: Theatre, Carolyn Coulson, Ph.D.

France and Scotland: Spiritual Life/Religion, Rhonda VanDyke Colby, D.Min.

Ghana: Clinical Rotation, third-year pharmacy graduate student Kyle Feldman

Hawaii: Disability Rights in the Pacific Rim, Diane Painter, Ph.D., with alumni Kauren Fritzius ’13, Gina DeGaetano ’13, and doctoral students Antoinette Funk and Michele Sandy

Nicaragua: Health Professions medical mission trip includes faculty and students from the divisions of Physician Assistant (PA) Studies, Physical Therapy (PT) and Pharmacy, who traveled to Leon, Nicaragua, to provide health care services to underserved populations. Faculty members who participated in the trip included Natalie Nyren ’08 M.S. PAS, PA-C; Anne Schempp, M.PAS, PA-C; J.Leocadia Conlon, M.PH, PA-C; Camilla Hollen, M.M.S., PA-C; Andrea Fergus, Ph.D; and Jamie Klucken, Pharm.D.

Rwanda: Service Trip, alumna Gina Fu ’14 and current student Jordan Healey

South Korea: Teacher Education (English) and learning about Korean culture, Kayleigh Winters and Elizabeth Britton

Adventure Amputee Camp Inspires a ‘Can Do Attitude’

Each July, a unique summer camp in the mountains of North Carolina helps young amputees build character and discover their own strengths. Now in its 20th year, Adventure Amputee Camp brings children from across the United States to a camp where they get to explore new challenges and make lasting memories.

“Adventure Amputee Camp encourages children with amputations or limb differences to stretch their potential and to explore all that is possible,” said Associate Professor of Physical Therapy Melissa Wolff-Burke, Ed.D., camp president who, along with husband Robert Burke, launched the camp in 1985. Each year, former campers return as counselors as do volunteers, like Shenandoah University physical therapy graduates Gopi Pitcher ’14, Karen Hall ’09 and Morgan Epps ’13.

The traditional, five-day, overnight camp serves as a summer oasis for children, ages 8-17, who have lost arms or legs or were born with limb differences. Activities range from highly physically challenging to sedentary and entertaining. River rafting, high ropes courses and water skiing are modified as necessary to meet the ability and interest level of each camper. These activities stretch the emotional and mental resources of campers who strive to meet a personal challenge or goal. Interactions with peers and adult volunteers, who also have amputations, also provide campers with overt and subtle examples of productive and fulfilled lives as adults.

“When you’re a kid missing one limb, and you see another person missing three limbs go swimming, rafting or scuba diving, you might say, ‘Hey, I can probably do that!’” said Dr. Wolff-Burke. “By offering these children physical challenges, peer and adult support and modeling, they are freed from self- or societal-imposed restraints.

“Healthy social contact is also a crucial component,” she said. “These children are always in the minority, but at camp they get to live as part of a majority and are empowered by that experience.”

SSMT Wraps Up Its 31st Season

Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre’s (SSMT’s) 2014 season featured four audience-pleasing shows and record attendance from June 11 through August 3. This season lineup featured “Man of La Mancha,” Monty Python’s “Spamalot,” Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The King and I” and “Mary Poppins” the Broadway musical.

Alumnus Richard Costa ’86 returned to direct “Spamalot,” and actors Stephen Paul Cramer (Jean Valjean) and Christopher Sanders (Javert), who starred in 2013’s “Les Miserables,” returned this season to portray King Arthur in Monty Python’s “Spamalot” and Don Quixote in “Man of La Mancha,” respectively.

“We did very well this season,” Robinson said. “‘Spamalot’ was just a lot of fun, and audiences loved the hilarity of that show. ‘The King and I’ made all the Rodgers and Hammerstein fans happy. It was a beautiful production with 19 children performing in the cast.”

SSMT also welcomed back Strasburg, Virginia, native Russell Rinker, who originally appeared with SSMT several decades ago as one of the children in “Oliver.” He took a break from performing with Blue Man Group to play Lancelot in “Spamalot” and the king in “The King and I.”

Several alumni also portrayed lead roles in the final SSMT production of “Mary Poppins,” including Jack Rowles ’82, who played Mr. Banks; Tara Gessling, who played Mrs. Banks; and Catharine Kay (Kuntz) ’13 , who played Mary Poppins.

Conservatory Students Enroll in New Accelerated Master’s Program

Congratulations to the following students recently accepted into Shenandoah Conservatory’s new accelerated Master of Science in Performing Arts Leadership and Management program: Brittany Irish, B.F.A. in musical theatre (2016); Jasmine Snellen, B.F.A. in dance (2016); Megan Raham, B.F.A. in acting (2016); Lauren Stroman, B.M. in vocal performance (2015); William Abbott, B.M. in cello performance (2016); Michael Hollin, B.M. in french horn performance (2015); Elizabeth Fraser, B.F.A. in acting (2016); Michele Boyd, B.F.A in dance (2015); and Halle Schulman, B.F.A. in dance (2016).

Shenandoah’s performing arts leadership and management program prepares students for dynamic arts careers through rigorous coursework in business, financial management, arts marketing, fundraising, organizational governance, planning and leadership. Conservatory students enrolled in any undergraduate program in music, theatre or dance now have the opportunity to complete the accelerated program at the graduate level, completing a master’s degree with only one additional year of study.

Music Education Students Attend NAfME Summit

Shenandoah Conservatory music education majors Miranda Beard, Xochilt Melendez and Jonathan Mills participated in the National Association for Music Education’s (NAfME) Collegiate Summit in June. The students learned of advocacy efforts and went behind-the-scenes to meet face-to-face with U.S. legislators and their staffs in Senate and House offices on Capitol Hill.

Children’s Literature Conference Celebrates Literacy

For some, reading is breathing and literacy is life. Shenandoah celebrated the 29th annual Children’s Literature Conference by focusing on the partnership of fact and fiction.

The 29th annual Children’s Literature Conference, “It Takes Two: Fact + Fiction = Perfect Partners,” featured 2014 Caldecott winner Brian Floca as a guest speaker. He was joined by several award-winning authors and illustrators including Steve Jenkins, Carole Boston Weatherford, Chris Soentpiet, Deborah Heiligman, Blue Balliett, Deborah Hopkinson, Janell Cannon, Susan Campbell Bartoletti, Tony Medina, Marc Aronson, Floyd Cooper, Melissa Stewart and Aranka Siegal.

National Jazz Workshop

Shenandoah hosted the sixth annual National Jazz Workshop in July, and attendees learned from some of the best jazz musicians in the Washington, D.C., area. Visiting artists included the U.S. Army Blues, the Navy Commodores, the Alan Baylock Jazz Orchestra, the Capitol Bones and others. The workshop also hosted free, daily concerts by guest performers. The National Jazz Workshop was founded by Shenandoah Conservatory Associate Professor of Jazz Studies Matt Niess, a trombonist with the Army Blues and senior instrumentalist with the U.S. Army Band (Pershing’s Own). Watch a video recap of the workshop here. For more information, visit 

Teens Participate in Sixth Annual GO GIRL Program 

Bernard J. Dunn School of Pharmacy, in partnership with George Washington University, hosted the GO GIRL (Genomic Opportunities for Girls in Research Labs™) sixth annual educational outreach program for rising 10th-, 11th- and 12th-grade girls enrolled in Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS).

The GO GIRL program provides hands-on laboratory experience in molecular biology and genomics, offering participants the opportunity to explore laboratory techniques commonly used in forensic and research laboratories using state-of-the-art research facilities at The George Washington University Virginia Science and Technology Campus (GW-VSTC). The four-day summer program is funded by a grant to LCPS from Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Students Volunteer with Our Health, Inc.

Public health and foreign language students are volunteering with Healthy Living Events organized by Our Health, Inc. on the first Wednesday of every month, from June through October. Alumna Katrina Daoud ’13, Cheyenne Simpson, Stephanie Jenkins and Lauren Kesler are helping to raise awareness of ways to reduce preventable child deaths and promote health, nutrition and preventive care.

Athletics End-Of-Season Highlights

The baseball team finished strong with a fantastic spring season for the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. Led by All-America selection Michael Paul, the squad finished the year with a 33-11 overall record and was the No. 1 seed at both the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) Tournament (after finishing with a 17-3 league record) and the Demorest Regional. Coach Kevin Anderson’s squad won the opening two games of the regional before being eliminated with close losses to ODAC rival Bridgewater and eventual national runner-up Emory (Georgia).

Paul, a junior from Red Hill, Pennsylvania, was named All-America by both and the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) as well as the Player of the Year by the ABCA, and the ODAC. Off the field, the third baseman capped his year by earning first-team Academic All-America honors from Capital One. This selection extends the department’s streak to seven straight years in which at least one student-athlete has been named Academic All-America.

In addition to Paul’s being named ODAC Player of the Year, sophomore Darrell Thompson was named Pitcher of the Year and Anderson was tapped as Coach of the Year.

Junior Jaclyn Mohlmann, from Annandale, Virginia, finished off her solid track season by qualifying for the NCAA national championships in the heptathlon.This qualification, just the second-ever for the outdoor track and field program, comes on the heels of Mohlmann’s qualification this past winter in the indoor pentathlon. She ended her outdoor season with a 17th-place finish at the national meet.

Women’s lacrosse had another outstanding year in which it finished as the runner-up in the ODAC regular season race. Coach Lindsey Lutz’s squad won eight ODAC contests for the second straight year and received a bye into the tournament semifinals. Senior Samantha Sisson became the program’s all-time leading scorer in the middle of the season and capped her career with a fourth straight first-team All-League selection. Sisson’s classmate, goalkeeper Ashley Cross, was selected All-League for the fourth straight time (twice a first-team selection) and added an All-Region honor as well.

Student-athletes continued a strong showing in the classroom as well, earning a 2.9 cumulative GPA and having 12 of its 20 teams at 3.0 or better.

Just prior to the start of Apple Blossom Festival this spring, the department put a cap on its year by hosting the first-ever Buzzy Awards. Eleven awards, ranging from Best Team to Comeback Player of the Year, were handed out to student-athletes and teams based on voting of the student-athletes themselves as well as department personnel. The highlight of the evening came in the Courage Award, which was awarded posthumously to Patrick “Packy” Purcell ’12. Purcell, a former football player who lost his battle with cancer in May 2013, will now be the namesake of the award given out to the Shenandoah University student-athlete that displays extraordinary courage in the face of a difficult situation. Below is a complete listing of the Buzzy Award recipients:

Play of the Year: Football, at Hampden-Sydney

Most Supportive Spirit: Nolan Overby, Baseball

Breakthrough Team: Field Hockey

Comeback Player: Kirk Lewis, Men’s Track and Field

Best Moment: Football vs. Hampden-Sydney

Community Service: Baseball

Outstanding Team: Baseball

Best Upset: Football, 36-35 win at Hampden-Sydney

Record-Breaking Performance: Avery Green, Men’s Basketball

Outstanding Faculty Member: Associate Professor of Sport Management Brian Wigley, Ed.D.

Courage Award: Patrick “Packy” Purcell ’12