Well, who wouldn’t want to enjoy a glass of wine with the founding director of the Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center at the Schar School? But who knew that Louise Shelley has also led wine tastings for more than a decade as a member of a Washington, D.C., wine and cheese society? Not only is she an often-quoted expert on human trafficking, illicit trade, and animal poaching, but she knows her burgundies from her Bordeaux.
Pull up a chair and pull out a cork: Shelley will demonstrate her affinity for all things oenophilic on Friday, November 6, at 5 p.m. EDT as part of a series of “get to know your professor” sessions called First Fridays.
The virtual series is intended as an opportunity to see what Schar School professors do when they are not in the classroom, in the hopes of getting to know them a little better, said Paul Nooney, associate director of student services at the Schar School.
“During the pandemic, we feel it is more important than ever and more challenging than ever to give students the opportunity to interact and make connections with their classmates and professors,” he said. “This was a way to bring students and faculty together in an informal setting without academics being involved.”
When Nooney put out the word among faculty that the First Fridays talent showcase was being organized, there was a fear that few would want to reveal their hidden passions. In the end, “we had six professors step up, and it’s revealing as to what their talents are outside of the classroom,” he said.
The series begins at 5 p.m. EDT Friday, September 4, with a double-feature. Tonya E. Thornton, director of the Centers on the Public Service and a professor of emergency management, will balance spoons on her nose and then demonstrate how to make a cocktail called the “French 75.” Or it might be drinks first, then spoons.
“Being a part of the Schar School’s very first First Friday is exciting,” the Mississippi-native said. “Not only do I get to demonstrate how to make one of my favorite cocktails—a cocktail favorite among many faculty, by the way—but also showcase how it is possible to hang six spoons from your face at the same time. Think of it as extramural sports in a collegiate world where COVID-19 has canceled many activities.”
The second part of the program will be a musical performance as pianist and professor of public policy John Sutherland Earle and violinist Carolyn Wu (a cardiologist) present movements from sonatas by Beethoven.
“The selections show the many aspects of Beethoven—brilliance, verve, passion, anger, joy, tragedy, and humor,” Earle said. “And they show his history-making burst of creativity around 1800, when his style changed from one steeped in Viennese classicism to one heralding the romantic revolution.”
The First Fridays performance is a partial preview of a live-stream concert the duo will perform as part of the Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic’s summer chamber series from the Lyceum in Old Town Alexandria, Va., on Sunday, September 6, at 3 p.m. View registration information: http://bit.ly/EarleWu.
Friday, October 2, sees another double feature. The evening begins at 5 p.m. EDT (each event begins at 5 p.m. EDT) with professor of public policy and education Anne Holton, who recently stepped down as interim president of George Mason University, and adjunct professor David Ramadan, a former member of the Virginia House of Delegates (R-87th), leading viewers on a tour across the country to see how the presidential electoral votes might go in each state. Will the Democrats flip the Senate? Who will win Virginia’s battleground House races? And who will take the White House?
The political prognostications will be followed at 6 p.m. EDT with associate professor Jeremy Mayer hosting a trivia competition he is calling “Headgames.”
"There will be four or five rounds and questions will range from pop culture to politics to literature to sports to anything,” said Mayer. “One round will be the Either/Or round: You’ll have a list of 10 things with five belonging in one category, five in another. There will be pop music questions—those who know their ‘90s music will have a slight advantage—I may have questions about Arlington history and I may even throw in one from my section of PUBP 500."
Each of the First Fridays events is free of charge but registration is required: http://bit.ly/ScharFridays