Showcasing Our Students’ Hard Work This Semester: Take a Look!

Characterization of cellular targets and derivatization of a choline-appended Pt anticancer therapeutics.

If you’re like me, you can only guess at the meaning of those words. But Keira Naff ’21, a chemistry major, knows exactly what they mean—and a lot more.

She’s one of more than 400 students who are presenting the results of their research or creative endeavors this week in Longwood’s Fall Student Showcase for Research and Creative Inquiry. Held virtually this year, the showcase features the work of students in disciplines from mathematics to marketing and nursing to neuroscience.

Starting Saturday, Nov. 21, you can take a look at their work online at This includes pre-recorded presentations, videos and artwork. The oral and poster presentations are organized in random order on the event site, but you can search by student name, discipline, project type, class name or keyword. Each pre-recorded presentation is set up to allow you to leave questions and comments for the student presenters. Questions and comments are encouraged.

There’s also a live Zoom presentation session set for 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturday featuring students who are taking this semester’s Elementary School Literacy Instruction course. You can access that session through the main link (above). And you can browse through the showcase program, available now online, to see if your student participated.

“It’s really important for students to get hands-on experience, to understand that learning by listening is not enough. These students who are presenting their projects went above and beyond this semester and I am happy to highlight their impressive work at the Fall Student Showcase,” said Dr. Amorette Barber, director of the Office of Student Research.

So if you have a few spare minutes this weekend, take a look. I think you’ll be impressed with what your Lancers have been up to this semester.

—Sabrina Brown


Thanksgiving reflections and Longwood-managed housing information

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and we’re still here. Not all universities can say that.

I don’t think anyone in the world would say their fall this year has been perfect, but I’m hoping that, as I do, you feel thankful for the things that went right at Longwood this semester.

I’m thankful for the Longwood leadership team that came up with a workable plan. And most of all, I’m thankful for our students—the young people you guided to this point in their lives—who took the situation seriously and, for the most part, followed the guidelines. Again, not all universities can say that.

The last day of undergraduate classes is Nov. 24, and most students will soon head home for Thanksgiving break. Most exams will be proctored online, and we anticipate that many students will choose to take their exams from home. For safety reasons, students who plan to return to Longwood-managed housing (on-campus residence halls, Lancer Park or Longwood Landings) for any length of time after Thanksgiving need to let us know by filling out an Intent to Stay form by 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 16.​

Your student has received the information below about opening and closing dates, but I thought it might be helpful to pass it along to you as well.

Please note that the winter break information is different for students living in Longwood Landings and Lancer Park apartments.

Thanksgiving Break

Residence Halls, Longwood Landings and Lancer Park
Housing Closes: 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 24
Food Outlets Open: None
Deadline to Submit Intent to Stay Form: 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 16
If your student plans to stay in Longwood-managed housing during this period, they need to fill out an Intent to Stay form, available through the Housing Gateway.

Exam Period

Residence Halls, Longwood Landings and Lancer Park
Housing Opens: Noon Sunday, Nov. 29
Housing Closes: Noon Saturday, Dec. 12
Food Outlets Open: Yes (limited hours and outlets)
Deadline to Submit Intent to Stay Form: 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 16
If your student plans to stay in Longwood-managed housing during this period, they need to fill out an Intent to Stay form, available through the Housing Gateway.

Winter Break

Residence Halls
Housing Closes: Noon Saturday, Dec. 12 through noon Saturday, Jan. 9
Housing Re-opens for Spring Semester: Noon Saturday, Jan. 9

Winter Break

Longwood Landings and Lancer Park Apartments
If your student will be occupying the same apartment in spring 2021, they may occupy their apartment over the winter break. However, they must fill out an Intent to Stay form by 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 16. The form is available through the Housing Gateway.

Whatever your Thanksgiving celebration looks like this year,  I hope you have a safe and happy holiday.

—Sabrina Brown

Students have a few tricks up their sleeves as they vie for treats in pumpkin-carving contest

Pumpkin carving has come a long way in the last few decades, and nowhere was that more apparent than in the pumpkin-carving contest held Thursday.

There was hardly a triangle-shaped eye or nose to be found among the entries—but there were a lavender wig, handmade paper sunflowers and some incredibly intricate designs. Contestants ranged from first-time carvers to practiced artisans with years of jack-o’-lantern experience, and each of them had a story to tell.


Inspired by his love of Japanese culture, Rayshad Lindsay ’22 carved Japanese maple leaves onto his pumpkin.

Inspired by his love of Japanese culture, Rayshad Lindsay ’22 carved Japanese maple leaves onto his pumpkin. A physics major who took three years of Japanese in high school, he embellished his pumpkin with carvings of Japanese maple leaves, along with a crescent moon inlaid with diamond shapes—pretty ambitious for his first carving attempt.

Hannah Swain ’22 (left) incorporated items her mom gave her, including a lavender wig and a giant cat’s eye, into her entry. Jordan Matthews ’22 was inspired by her favorite Japanese animation studio.

Continuing the Japanese theme, Jordan Matthews ’22 drew inspiration from Studio Ghibli, a Disney-like Japanese animation film studio that Matthews describes as “very whimsical, fun and magical.” An art education major, she covered her pumpkin with drawings of Ghibli characters.

Kira Pierce ’22, a veteran pumpkin artist, spent eight hours carving the Rotunda facade and the Colonnades into her entry.

When Kira Pierce ’22 dropped off her entry, it was immediately apparent that she took the contest very seriously—just as she does the annual Halloween pumpkin-carving competition between her and her dad, Longwood alum Gary Pierce ’91. Kira, a math major, spent eight hours carving intricate replicas of the Rotunda façade and the Colonnades—two of her favorite campus spots—onto her entry. Her previous pumpkin work includes detailed portraits of Jesus and of the University of Tennessee’s bluetick coonhound mascot Smokey. Why Smokey? Because Kira hopes to do her graduate work in engineering at UT.

Davice Jones ’23, a biology major, proved that pumpkin-carving inspiration can come from the unlikeliest of places. A Student Government Association (SGA) senator, she met with Dining Director Mitch Rodhe Tuesday to give him feedback she’d gathered about the food at Longwood. “He made me laugh,” she said, adding she decided then and there to create her pumpkin in his honor. Lit from within by twinkly lights, her “Mitch” pumpkin is gobbling a “cheeseburger” (represented by a smaller pumpkin) from FarmGrill, one of the restaurants in  the Upchurch University Center’s food court.

Davice Jones ’23 found the inspiration for her pumpkin in an unlikely place: a meeting with Longwood’s dining director.

Prizes were awarded for the best entry in several categories, including Longwood-themed (winner: Pierce), best painted (winner: Hannah Swain ’22) and best classic jack-o’-lantern (winner: Jones).

Also Thursday, the pouring rain stopped and the sun came out just in time for students to trick or treat across campus during the afternoon. Costumes were encouraged for those making the rounds of more than 20 offices that had signed up to welcome students for Halloween.

I think it’s nice that you don’t have to be a kid to celebrate Halloween at Longwood—just a little bit of a kid at heart.

—Sabrina Brown

Students can apply now for shadowing program that connects them with alums in a variety of careers

One of the great things about being a student at Longwood—and then being a Longwood graduate—is the strong connection our alums feel with these young people and the support they provide to them.

One example of this is the Work Shadow Program run by our Office of Alumni and Career Services.

The program gives current students the opportunity to spend a day with an alum working in a career field in which they have an interest. So far, more 55 alums, many of them from high-profile businesses and organizations, have volunteered to host a student for shadowing this year.

The deadline to sign up for this year’s winter break program is the end of October. If you think your student might be interested, now is the time for them to apply here: . The program will be held virtually this year due to the pandemic.

“Alumni really enjoy connecting with students and making a difference in their professional futures,” said Teresa Dodson, assistant director of employer engagement and internship services. “The goal is to give our students a taste of what the professional environment is like as well as to provide networking opportunities for our future alumni.

“We will do our best to find an alum in the student’s area of interest,” she added.

Ryan Young ’00 (left), an attorney in private practice in Glen Allen, hosted two students for Longwood’s Work Shadow Program in December 2019.

Below are some of the alums who have signed up to participate this year. Spending a day with professionals in these types of influential positions could be a life-changing experience for your student.

Editor and junior video editor
National Geographic Studios

Head of technology in corporate and commercial banking
Ernst & Young

Director of talent development
Virginia Tech

Associate compliance tester
Capital One

Senior human resources manager
Federal Reserve Bank in Richmond

International program manager
The Boeing Company

Open source intelligence specialist and analytic training coordinator
U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence

—Sabrina Brown

Putting On A Happy Face

There are many things I love about our Longwood students: They’re friendly, kind, thoughtful, hard-working, unpretentious. Many of them also are really good sports, as the story I’m about to tell you will show.

Recently, 8-year-old Regan Vogel, the daughter of Longwood photographer Courtney Vogel, was on campus. She’d accompanied her mom to an assignment and kept herself busy collecting colorful leaves.

All was not exactly well, though. Regan noticed the smiles of students she encountered were hidden by their dutifully worn masks. Couldn’t they do something about that? Regan mused.

In a moment of collective creativity, the group drew smiles on the leaves and the students placed them in front of their masks for a photo op.


Regan was happy, and we hope these photos make you feel that way, too.

—Sabrina Brown

Doing the Right Thing: Students commit to wearing face coverings on campus—even outside

Humans are great at a lot of things, but one thing we find challenging is making a significant lifestyle change over the long haul.

We gain back that 10 or 20 pounds we fought so hard to lose. We pledge to be tidier, but we only do it for a while. We’re all in for recycling, but it’s time-consuming and we don’t keep it up.

That’s the reason I am so impressed that—more than halfway through the on-campus portion of this semester—most students are still conscientiously wearing face coverings on campus, even outside.

At one student event I attended, where every student was wearing a face covering, one young woman told me that a culture of mask wearing has developed on campus. She added that students who don’t cover their faces quickly find out from their fellow Lancers that it’s not acceptable behavior.

Please encourage your student to continue to follow the guidelines for wearing a face covering, observing social distancing and washing their hands. Their vigilance is key to remaining on campus until Thanksgiving—but, more importantly, to staying healthy.

Also, even though the weather is cooling a bit, we’re continuing to encourage students to spend time outdoors by creating spaces conducive to socializing (with appropriate distancing, of course). This includes 100 Adirondack chairs and four fire pits spread throughout campus.

One hundred Adirondack chairs have been spread throughout campus to encourage students to socialize outdoors.
Four fire pits have been installed on campus: one between Moss and Johns halls, two near Upchurch University Center and one on the Stubbs lawn.

The chairs and the fire pits seem to be a hit. Here’s part of a thank-you note one student sent to a staff member about the new amenities:

“I just wanted to say thank you so much for transforming the outdoor space into an easily accessible and welcoming atmosphere to get students outside. I really have thoroughly enjoyed sitting in the Adirondack chairs or picnic tables on Stubbs and look forward to testing out the new fire pits!”

—Sabrina Brown


Event leaves students with stars in their eyes

The clouds moving across the sky at times decreased visibility but they did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of the Longwood students who turned out recently for an evening of stargazing.

“Even with the clouds rolling in, we were still able to view the moon, Mars, Saturn and its rings, as well as Jupiter and its four inner moons: Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto,” said physics major Austin Hedges ’21, president of the Society of Physics Students (SPS), which co-sponsored the event with the Outdoor Club.

Giving participants that close-up view of “outer space” was an 8-inch telescope equipped with a GPS system programmed with the locations of thousands of celestial objects.

Leah Eick ’23, a nursing major and Outdoor Club media and equipment chair, got an eyeful thanks to the sophisticated equipment. “I’m fascinated by the planets. Just being able to look at something so far away and see the beauty of it is amazing,” she said.

Leah Eick ’23, media and equipment chair for the Outdoor Club, gets a close-up look at distant objects in the night sky.

Dr. Kenneth Pestka II, a physics professor and the SPS faculty advisor, said students received training and practiced using the telescope before taking it to the event. “Once the operator has correctly aligned the telescope, it can accurately track objects, and it can also find celestial objects for the user,” he said.

The Society of Physics Students and the Outdoor Club are just two of Longwood’s more than 175 student organizations. With adaptations for Covid-19 guidelines in place, these organizations are providing students with opportunities to get together to do things they love and make new friends.

Outdoor Club president Crystal Rosenbaum ’21, a nursing major, said her group has been “jam-packed with activities” this fall, including weekly bike rides, outdoor yoga classes and a sunset hike on the High Bridge Trail attended by 25 students.

The stargazing event is another facet of the club’s mission to “get students interested in the outdoors and to continue that interest past their college years,” she said.

The event put Ashley Roberts ’21, a sociology major and Outdoor Club member, in mind of camping trips with her dad where they would lie on their backs and look up at the stars.

“It’s something that’s always interested me,” she said.

Daniel Alvarez ’23, an English education major and treasurer of the Outdoor Club, is a nature lover who spends a lot of time at his home in rural Northern Virginia “down at the creek fishing” and exploring the woods with his dog. He had a telescope when he was a kid, but it was nothing like the one the physics students set up for the stargazing activity.

“It’s nice to be able to look through a telescope that lets you see so much detail,” he said.

Austin Hedges ’21, president of the Society of Physics Students, sets up the telescope for the evening’s stargazing. The telescope has a GPS system that is programmed with the locations of thousands of celestial objects.

That’s just the reaction Hedges was hoping for.

“I think the participants really enjoyed being able to get great views of these objects,” he said. “Especially with Mars, Saturn and Jupiter because with the naked eye they are just small dots in the sky. With the telescope, we could clearly see the red color of Mars, the beautiful rings of Saturn and the bands across Jupiter’s atmosphere.”

The event was such a hit that the two clubs are planning to do it again in the near future—hopefully when the weather will be more cooperative.

“Outer space is so vastly unknown to society as a whole,” said Rianne Woudsma ’23, a physics major and vice president of the Society of Physics Students. “I’m hoping we can get more people interested in what’s out there with these events.”

—Sabrina Brown

2016 Vice Presidential Debate put Longwood in the international spotlight

Just about four years ago, Longwood was in the international spotlight as the host of the U.S. Vice Presidential Debate.

Hosting the debate was an unparalleled experience for the entire Longwood community—especially students, who signed up in droves to volunteer for the event, putting them at the epicenter of an experience they’ll never forget.

We thought today would be a good time to look back on that experience and everything it meant for Longwood, including:
—Increased awareness of our university with more than 40 million viewers and the equivalent of more than $80 million in media exposure
areer boosts for students who made important connections with those organizing and covering the debate
—Opportunities in Longwood classrooms to put an academic focus on the meaning of citizenship and democracy

I hope you’ll enjoy the videos below, which will give you a glimpse into the impact this momentous occasion had on our campus and our community.

—Sabrina Brown

Supporting your student’s emotional and physical well-being

One hundred Adirondack chairs have been spread throughout campus to encourage students to socialize outdoors.

As we get deeper into the semester, I know many of you are concerned about how social distancing and restrictions on gatherings are impacting your student’s emotional well-being.

Of course, it’s not business as usual, but I wanted to let you know that a number of activities and events, including Oktoberfest, as well as student organizations, have adjusted to the health guidelines and are providing your student with opportunities for socializing and making new friends.

Longwood has more than 175 student organizations ranging from sports clubs to academically focused clubs to community service organizations. Please encourage your student to participate—if not in one of the activities below then in something else that aligns with their interests.

STEP Puppies (Service-Dog Training and Education Program), one of Longwood’s 175+ student organizations, has become a welcome fixture on campus.

Oktoberfest Klown and Spirit Leader Dance
noon Saturday, Oct. 3, Stubbs Lawn

Oktoberfest Virtual Concert featuring Lee Brice
7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3
Students will receive an email link to the concert

Outdoor Club Lawn Games
4:30-5:30 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 29, Stubbs Lawn
Cornhole, badminton, lawn bowling and more

Intro to Disc Golf
4-5:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 1, 1503 Johnston Drive

Disc Golf League
noon Sundays, disc golf course, 1503 Johnston Drive

Stargazing with the Outdoor Club and Society of Physics Students
8-11 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 1, Lancer Park Softball Field

Lancer Guard Conditioning and Tryouts
Conditioning: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8-10 p.m., Mac gym
Tryouts: 8-10 p.m. Oct. 15, Health and Fitness Center (based on routine learned in conditioning)
A dance and flag corps

Longwood String Ensemble
7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, Longwood Landings #116
For violinists, violists, cellists and double bassists with at least one year of playing experience

Group Fitness Classes
Various times, Health and Fitness Center
Spin, yoga, boxing, pilates and more

The Fitness Center is open and offers group classes.
Counseling and Psychological Services

If your student shrugs off your suggestions about getting involved and really seems to be struggling, you can encourage them to get in touch with Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS).

“We recognize that many students may be struggling with anxiety, grief, sadness, confusion, loneliness and other difficulties in the midst of navigating a global health pandemic, financial hardships, increased social disconnection, and continued racial injustice and unrest,” says Dr. Maureen Walls-McKay, director of CAPS. “Whatever struggles students may be experiencing, CAPS is here to help.”

CAPS offers individual counseling and group therapy, both in person and via Zoom. There’s even a Zoom support group for students who are in isolation or quarantine. If you’d like more information, you can reach CAPS at 434-395-2409.

Q&A with the University Health Center medical director
Dr. Rob Wade

Dr. Rob Wade and the staff of dedicated professionals affiliated with the University Health Center are working especially hard this semester to support students’ health and wellness. Dr. Wade took a few minutes recently to answer some questions about the Health Center, its procedures for supporting students through Covid-19 and how the semester is going so far. You can find the full Q&A here.

—Sabrina Brown

Activity serves up happiness on the rocks for students

Who knew there was a national Collect Rocks Day?

Patti Carey, that’s who.

That’s why earlier this week there were Longwood students hunting all over campus for the very special rocks created by Carey ’82 and some of her friends in the College of Business and Economics (CBE).

Over the past few weeks, the CBE faculty, staff and students painted more than 150 rocks with cheerful messages and pictures, and then set them out for students to find. Some of the colorful rocks promised the finders CBE swag. The “mayor’s rock” entitles the finder to a key to the town to be handed over by Farmville Mayor David Whitus ’83, who wanted to participate in the event.

As director of student engagement and special initiatives in CBE, Carey is always looking for ways to spread some sunshine for students.

Sarah Kuzniewski ’22 (left), Dorie Walters ’21 and Rachel Wells ’21, all business majors, were some of the students who looked for rocks this morning.

“Last year we were brainstorming things we could do, and I ran through a list of some of those wacky days of the year. I also was aware of the Kindness Rocks Project, where people paint rocks with inspirational messages and leave them for anyone to find. The two just seemed to go together,” Carey said, adding that this is the second year she’s spearheaded the event.

Dr. Dawn Schwartz and Dr. Melanie Marks, both CBE faculty, were among the volunteers who painted rocks this year.

“We just want to show some college spirit and go the extra mile to create a fun activity for students. There are many beautiful rocks, so I hope they end up on desks to remind the students to stay focused and give it their all,” said Marks. “I love the things Longwood does to show students that they are our focus. I think it is especially important this semester that students know we want them to have the best experience possible.”

Some lucky students will get to take home these rocks, painted by Dr. Melanie Marks.

It’s all about happiness, agreed Schwartz ’03, MBA ’13.

“I do this because I want to spread happiness among our students,” said Schwartz. “I did it last year for the same reason. However, this year I can see the toll Covid-19 has had on our students (and really all of us), and I wanted to make it extra special for them.”

Schwartz said she hopes the inspirational messages on her rocks would give hope, joy and “maybe the strength to persevere through whatever they are going through. I know they’re just rocks, but sometimes the smallest thing can be the sign someone needs to keep going.”

If senior Will Watson’s experience is any indication—mission accomplished.

Watson, who is graduating in December with a concentration in accounting, hit the campus at 7 the morning of the “hunt” with the goal of finding the mayor’s rock. A few hours later he had it hand, saying it took a little of the sting out of some of this semester’s challenges and disappointments.

“Today,” he said, flashing a smile and holding up the coveted rock, “I have joy.”

—Sabrina Brown