W&M Digest - Dec. 23

The Virginia Gazette
William and Mary digest – Dec. 23

Program works to give mothers, children healthy beginnings

William and Mary received a roughly $50,000 grant from the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation to support the Healthy Beginnings project. The university will collaborate with Virginia Commonwealth University, which also received funding on the project.

The William and Mary Healthy Beginnings Project is committed to helping incarcerated women have healthier pregnancies and babies.

The grant will specifically assist incarcerated mothers in identifying pregnancy early and delivering healthy babies to term with nutritional counseling, prenatal vitamins and information about care. Healthy Beginnings also helps new parents and caregivers transition to caring for an infant in its first year.

"This funding is incredibly important," said Danielle Dallaire, Healthy Beginnings principal investigator and associate professor of psychology at William and Mary. "It allows us to continue to provide services to these women and expand partnerships with VCU and local health departments."

Ongoing program evaluation efforts show Healthy Beginnings mothers have babies that are on average 6 ounces heavier than incarcerated mothers who do not participate in the program.

Three winners of Jenkins Memorial Scholarship announced

Winners of the 2015 David C. Jenkins Memorial Scholarship in creative writing were announced Dec. 15 from the William and Mary English Department's Creative Writing Program.

The winners are: Thomas Le for creative nonfiction, Chelsea Blanco for a collection of poems, and Natasha King for fiction.

They were selected from 27 submissions that were judged by Creative Writing Professors Lee Alexander, Brian Castleberry, Henry Hart, Chelsey Johnson, Hermine Pinson, and Nancy Schoenberger.

Now in its third year, the $3,000 scholarships are available to students who have taken at least two upper level Creative Writing classes, according to a news release.

New student group embraces diverse philosophies

William and Mary students organized a new discussion group devoted to diversity after noting the lack of women, minorities and non-Western thought in the philosophical canon.

The Diversity in Philosophy Discussion Group was started in September by philosophy major Allison Heisel, who herself had been navigating what it means to be a woman in the male-dominated field. The traditional philosophy canon is composed almost exclusively of white, Western men, from Aristotle to Wittgenstein, Heisel said.

After speaking with Philosophy Department Chair Elizabeth Radcliffe, Heisel launched an information session to begin organizing the group. Ultimately, she and four other students settled on meeting every other Tuesday night, with facilitators putting out suggested readings beforehand and launching discussion during the meetings.

So far, the group has hosted sessions on feminist bioethics, Marxism, Chinese philosophy and black feminist thought. And from the original five interested students, the group has ballooned into close to two dozen people. Either Radcliffe or Assistant Philosophy Professor Aaron Griffith attend each session to provide faculty support.

Compliled by Education Reporter Michele Canty, who can be reached at (757) 345-2341.

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