Profiles

Virginia Keener

Class of 1982
Major/Minor: International Studies; French/German (independent major)

The professors who taught me, the classmates who became friends, the staff who were colleagues all had a profound influence on my life, not just my career. That’s what made my Washington College experience special.

How has your liberal arts education influenced you? How do you apply your LAE in your current career?

I majored in International Studies because I’d been an AFS exchange student and became interested in the wider world. I became a Foreign Service Officer as a direct result of my education.

Who was your favorite faculty/staff member? Story?

Erika Salloch. I took German I to fulfill a distribution requirement as a sophomore; at the end of the year she wanted to know why I wasn’t taking German II, that I’d lose all I’d learned if I didn’t continue for at least another year. I explained that I had to take major courses and didn’t have time for German II. She offered to tutor me through the summer (I was staying in Chestertown to work in the library) to get me to the German III level - and she did.

 What is your favorite Washington College memory?

There are too many - drinking cheap red wine (maybe it wasn’t cheap, what did I know?) with Edward Albee (and lots of other people) after he’d given a speech, attended the performance of one of his plays and then participated in Q&A with the cast, crew, and audience. Editing the Elm and driving back and forth to Dover to get it typeset. Driving to BWI with John D’Amico to pick up Joachim Scholz for his job interview. Class outside in the spring. Geese flying over in the fall. Getting to know the library ladies - and Jeff. Dr. Newell, my freshman/sophomore advisor. Dr. An, my major advisor. Friends. Chestertown. 

Did your Senior Capstone Experience (or thesis project) have a major influence on your future career or your personal growth? If so, please explain what your SCE entailed and how it influenced who or where you are today.

I wrote two theses, one for each major. I don’t think they had a major influence on my career or personal growth; the education I received of which the theses marked the end was the major influence. The professors who taught me, the classmates who became friends, the staff who were colleagues all had a profound influence on my life, not just my career. That’s what made my Washington College experience special.

 

Graduate School:

Monterey Institute of International Studies; no degree (left to join the Foreign Service)