Accolades: UVA Moot Court Team Advances to International Competition

From left: Coach Megan Strand ’08 and law students Lauren Sandground ’18, Jessie Michelin ’19, Shannon McGowan ’20, Isabelle Lelogeais ’20 and Michael Gee ’19.

The University of Virginia School of Law is one of 12 U.S. law schools from a field of 120 to advance to the International Rounds of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court competition, to be held April 1 through 7 in Washington, D.C.

The student team consists of captain Lauren Sandground, a third-year law student; and first-time Jessup competitors Michael Gee, a second-year law student; Isabelle Lelogeais, a first-year law student; Shannon McGowan, a first-year law student; and Jessie Michelin, a second-year law student. They are coached by Megan Strand, a 2008 Law School graduate and former Jessup competitor.

UVA Law finished No. 2 in the Mid-Atlantic regional competition on Feb. 9 and 10, besting law school competitors from Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, Georgetown University and other schools.

“The UVA team has been one win away from International Rounds for the past two seasons, and this year the drought has ended,” Sandground said. “I am incredibly proud of and inspired by the other members of the team, who are all competing in their first season. Going to International Rounds is a testament to their dedication to research and refine complex arguments.”

Sandground said the team drew on the expertise of faculty and alumni to grapple with questions on handling a rogue state like North Korea, undersea research drones and adhering to the Geneva Conventions.

This will be UVA’s 11th appearance at the International Rounds since the competition began and the sixth in the past 11 years. The students will face teams from 95 countries, drawn from more than 645 law schools worldwide.

Each team member has to not only master the complex legal issues addressed in competition’s problem, but to “effectively articulate their respective positions – which is critical not just in the moot court context, but in the practice of law as well.”

Not only is Jessup the largest moot court competition in the world, but it also has historic ties to UVA Law. The competition was co-founded by members of the John Bassett Moore Society of International Law almost 60 years ago, and one of the best brief awards is named in honor of former Dean Hardy Cross Dillard, a 1927 graduate of the Law School. Dillard, who retired from the Law School in 1968, became a judge on the International Court of Justice at The Hague, where he served until 1979.

McIntire Finance Program Ranked 15th in Nation

College Choice, a higher education rankings website, recently anointed the McIntire School of Commerce as having the No. 15 master’s in finance program in the nation.

The site described the program – technically an M.S. in Commerce with a concentration in finance – as “astutely designed to springboard off of previous undergraduate or graduate studies.”

“A team-driven and collaborative, hands-on curriculum, students also benefit from the attention placed in professional communication and leadership skills.”

The site also lauded the program’s mandatory “Global Immersion Experience,” in which faculty members lead students overseas for three weeks to explore doing business in foreign markets, as “exciting and educationally rich.”

Read more about the rankings.

UVA Architecture Project Featured in the Hong Kong Biennale

During a one-week immersion in the fall, School of Architecture assistant professor Esther Lorenz and students in her research studio traveled to Hong Kong for a creative project. Their resulting work, “Kinesthetic Montage Hong Kong,” explores the connection between film, urban space and movement and was exhibited at the 2017 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture in Hong Kong.

While making their way around the city on foot and via public transportation, they captured the aesthetic experience of the sensorial-rich city through audio-visual and graphical means. Each of the short films and drawings focuses on a particular experiential aspect, offering a poetic and critical reflection on Hong Kong’s unique spatial qualities, inspiring new ways of sensing the city and possibly innovative future designs that are grounded in these deeply perceptive observations.  

“Kinesthetic Montage Hong Kong” is funded by the Center for Global Inquiry and Innovation, the Arts Council and the School of Architecture. The Biennale opened Dec. 12 and ran through Feb. 11.

Library Employee Wins Awards for Original Plays

Sean McCord, an audio-visual/information technology engineer for the University Library, recently won awards for two of his plays. He is using his employee education benefit to complete a master’s degree in playwriting from Hollins University’s low-residency program.

In March, he plans to go to Mobile, Alabama, for the Southeastern Theatre Conference, where he will receive the Charles M. Getchell New Play Award for his script, “Moving.” A staged reading of the play will be held March 9. “Moving” was staged in Charlottesville last September.

Earlier this month, McCord was invited to the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, Region 4, in Americus, Georgia, for a reading of his new play, “Mystery at Midnight.” There he received the John L. Cauble Short Play Award, which makes him eligible to be invited to the national Kennedy Center Festival in Washington, D.C., next year.

BLSA To Honor Congressman With Alumni Award

The Black Law Students Association at the School of Law has named U.S. Rep. A. Donald McEachin, a Democrat representing the Hampton Roads area, a 1986 graduate of the Law School, as the recipient of its inaugural BLSA Alumni Spotlight Award.

He spoke at an awards ceremony held Feb. 19 in the Law School’s Caplin Auditorium.

McEachin, who took office representing Virginia’s 4th Congressional District in 2017, previously served in the state Senate and House of Delegates.

“We chose Congressman McEachin as our inaugural recipient because we wanted to recognize his commitment to public service,” BLSA President Jianne McDonald said. “The criteria for future recipients will be identifying BLSA alumni who are engaged in the community in a way that is uplifting the black community.”

English Professor Takes Helm of Influential Journal

English professor Bruce Holsinger recently became editor of the scholarly journal New Literary History: A Journal of Theory & Interpretation, established in 1969 at UVA.

The quarterly journal serves as an international forum for scholarly exchange, publishing work from around the globe and often translating important new articles into English.

Holsinger, who studies medieval literature and writes historical fiction, takes the post as third editor, following colleague Rita Felski, William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of English, who led the journal for almost nine years.

“I’m thrilled and humbled by the opportunity in the coming years to follow Rita Felski in editing and shaping one the world’s most distinguished literary journals,” Holsinger said.

When the late Ralph Cohen, another UVA English professor, founded New Literary History, it was the first English-language journal devoted to literary theory and to general questions of method and interpretation. It immediately established itself as a leading venue for intellectual debate amongst its international and interdisciplinary audience, raising challenging questions about the aims and purposes of literary studies, Felski said.

“It has a huge international reputation and put UVA on the map in many ways,” she said.

UVA Named to National List of Great Neurosurgery, Spine Programs

National health care publication Becker’s Hospital Review recently honored the UVA Medical Center on its list of 100 hospitals and health systems with great neurosurgery and spine programs.

“This award highlights the combined efforts of our neurosurgery and orthopedic spine teams to provide excellent, patient-centered care to serve those in need from across Virginia and beyond,” said Pamela M. Sutton-Wallace, chief executive officer of UVA Medical Center.

“The organizations featured on this year’s list have extensive neuroscience and spine programs, providing treatment and cutting-edge research into neurosurgical disorders,” according to the publication’s staff. “Many hospitals and health systems featured have earned top honors for medical excellence, outcomes and patient experience in their spine and brain surgery departments.”

Becker’s highlighted that UVA is a “Blue Distinction Center+” for spine surgery from insurer BlueCross BlueShield, which means UVA meets quality measures for patient safety and outcomes as well as meeting cost measures for affordability for the more than 1,500 spine procedures performed each year. Becker’s also noted UVA’s research into treatments for glioblastoma, efforts to advance brain and spinal cord injury treatment as well as its multidisciplinary care for patients who suffer traumatic brain injuries.

Hospitals are listed in alphabetical order on the Becker’s list and are not ranked.

Quality Radiation Oncology Care Earns National Accreditation for UVA Cancer Center

The American College of Radiology has reaccredited the radiation oncology program at the UVA Cancer Center for meeting the highest level of quality and patient safety.

The three-year accreditation follows a site visit and peer review of UVA’s radiation oncology program by radiation oncologists and medical physicists who are experts in their fields. According to the American College of Radiology, the review assesses several areas of care, including patient care and treatment, patient safety, the qualifications of team members providing care, equipment, quality control procedures and quality assurance programs.

“This recognition from the American College of Radiology reflects the commitment of our team to providing the highest-quality care each day for our patients,” Dr. Thomas P. Loughran Jr., director of the UVA Cancer Center, said.

National Peers Honor UVA Computational Biologist

William Pearson, a professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics, has been elected a fellow of the International Society for Computational Biology. 

He was elected to the ranks by his peers “in recognition for his development, distribution, and continuous improvements to FASTA” – a DNA and protein sequence alignment software package that Pearson developed with colleague David J. Lipman – “and other similarity search methods, as well as his teaching of the biological and computational foundations of sequence analysis for more than 25 years,” according to the announcement. 

Pearson is one of eight fellows elected this year to add to the current roster of 64 International Society for Computational Biology Fellows.  The 2018 class will be recognized in July at the society’s annual meeting in Chicago.

Pearson is also a fellow of the American Association for Advancement of Science.  

Research Paper Earns National Award

A research abstract arising from work done in the UVA School of Medicine has earned the 2018 Leksell Radiosurgery Award from the American Association of Neurological Surgeons.

Dr. Dale Ding, a former UVA neurosurgery resident, was the lead author of the abstract, “Stereotactic Radiosurgery for the Management of Acromegaly: Outcomes of a Multicenter Retrospective Cohort Study,” which stemmed from a UVA-based, international, multicenter study on stereotactic radiosurgery for acromegaly. The study’s primary investigators are Dr. Jason Sheehan, a professor of neurological surgery and co-director of the Lars Leksell Gamma Knife Center, and Dr. Mary Lee Vance, a professor of endocrinology.

More than 1,500 abstracts were submitted for presentation at the 2018 American Association of Neurological Surgeons Annual Scientific Meeting, to be held April 28 through May 2 in new Orleans. The award winners will present their findings and experiences at the meeting.

Media Contact

Anne E. Bromley

University News Associate Office of University Communications