William and Mary Digest Oct. 26

Students can take foreign relations class in D.C. next year

Starting early next year, students at the College of William and Mary can expand their knowledge of foreign affairs by spending their spring break in the nation's capital.

As part of the DC Spring Break Seminar, students from any major can take a class covering the 2016 election, how the World Bank dispenses aid, the role journalism plays in policy debates, and more.

Mike Tierney, a professor of government and international relations, will teach the class, called Foreign Policy: International Development, Security, and Commerce.

David Trichler, the director of operations at AidData, will also help teach the class. AidData is a think tank that tracks trillions of dollars in funding meant for economic development all over the world.

"We anticipate a great line-up of guest lecturers who are embedded deep in the policy process, and we hope that the course will provide helpful context to enrich students' coursework back on campus by engaging them in current, complex debates in foreign policy," Tierney said.

Dominion Foundation funds more sea turtles research

With some new funding from the Dominion Foundation, William and Mary's Virginia Institute of Marine Science can study the intricacies of sea turtle nesting and the effect that changing weather conditions can have on nesting overall.

"The Dominion Foundation has generously supported the efforts of VIMS researchers for several years, and we are very grateful for this most recent grant," says John Wells, VIMS dean and director.

Turtles who nest in Virginia waters may shed some light on how turtles further south could react to what could be a swift-changing climate in coming years. Virginia sits on the very northern end of sea turtles' nesting range, so they see conditions that could be in stark contrast to their counterparts further down south.

"The turtles that move farther north due to climate change can help us understand how tolerant they are of extreme weather and how it affects them," says VIMS Assistant Professor David Kaplan.

Government professor creates game meant to intrigue, inform students

William & Mary government professor Paul Manna and Northwestern professor and Jerry Goldman wanted to find a way to bring people a bit closer to this country's past and its vaunted list of leaders and athletes new and old.

They created Presidential Baseball, which is available online for free and tests players' knowledge of past presidents and baseball players.

Players must choose a baseball figure that is closely related to the president that they see and will read about on the screen.

"We think of the president as the face of the country, and people often describe baseball as the nation's pastime," Manna said. "So we thought this was a neat way to link up this figure who personally represents America to this game that through its history reflects a lot of aspects of American history."

Pete Rose and Richard Nixon are tied together in the game for example. Both had substantial success, but saw their careers overshadowed by scandals.

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