Washington, DC Chapter Newsletter Feature Story Archive

Your fellow alumni in DC have some amazing stories to tell, we've collected some of them here!

Spring 2021

John ('81) and Bishop ('18) Snedden at Rocklands Barbeque & Grill

Rocklands Barbeque & Grilling Company celebrated its 30th anniversary in December 2020. For father-daughter team John ('81) and Bishop ('18) Snedden, this milestone of their family business was personal as well as professional.

Julianna Keeling '19 at Terravive

For Julianna Keeling '19, a combination of events, interests, and a deep conviction within herself led her to establish a company she first thought of during her time in high school. Her eco-friendly business, Terravive, produces biodegradable products and was a natural extension of her own journey with environmentalism.

Claudia Crowder '98 at MOM's Organic Market

The drive to 'make a difference' can feel overwhelming at times, particularly given the events of the past year. Overlapping and intersecting needs, issues, and action points have received enhanced visibility or urgency, including racial justice and fluctuating relationships with physical and mental health. Claudia Crowder '98, the Senior Category Manager at MOM's Organic Market, discussed the ways in which some of these issues intersect with her professional life and the profound effect that something seemingly innocuous – groceries! – can have on individuals and families.

KP Rurka '20 at Spring Mill Bread Company

In 1993, Spring Mill Bread Company opened its doors under the capable hands of the Rurka family.  In the 28 years since, the Rurkas have celebrated the expansion of their family business and W&L graduations for two of their children, Alexander ('17) and Katherine Page ('20).

Fall 2020

Lainey Johnson '16 at Back on My Feet

Lainey Johnson '16, the Workforce Development Manager at Back on My Feet, first heard about the company through a W&L connection during her Elrod Fellowship. She works with adults experiencing homelessness in the area and discuss how her work was impacted by the pandemic.

Cynthia Cheatham '07 at BIO

Cynthia Cheatham '07, a DC native, works at BIO, a trade association for biotechnology, as Director of Industry Research and Education. Cheatham confers with research scientists, medical doctors, CEOs, consultants, and communications firms to create products and events for people working in healthcare and the life sciences.

Lyndsay Polloway '06 at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Lyndsay Polloway '06, Vice President of Events at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, works to organize virtual events, meetings, and webinars for the Chamber so the organization can continue to provide timely information and practical updates to their national and international network of members.

Lily Mott '23 at Be the Change

Lily Mott '23, from Evergreen, Colorado, worried that her plans to live in downtown DC while working as a press intern for Congressman Joe Neguse (D-CO) were fleeting. However, with the support of the university, Mott found summer housing and focused on taking advantage of DC's unique offerings.
After protests on police brutality and racial injustice in the city, she created "Be The Change," a podcast series focused on young people making an impact on their communities and the world.

Summer 2020


Not often do three Washington and Lee alumni have the opportunity to work at the same office together. Dr. Karen Blackburn '06, Alyssa Bower '19, and Clara McCollam '19 have all worked at Bloom OB/GYN, located in Friendship Heights, for the past year. Blackburn, a physician at the practice, deeply enjoys the opportunity to work with recent graduates and students.

Keith Steele '79 at AstraZeneca

From the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, specialists like Dr. Antony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx have become regular fixtures on cable television, as Americans looked for medical leadership and guidance during this public health emergency.

Even prior to talking points on face masks and social distancing grabbing the public eye, Dr. Keith Steele '79 centered his career on the study of disease and vaccine research.

Monette Veral '15 at MedSupplyDrive

This pandemic, while challenging, demonstrates that people can still take action and contribute to the betterment of society. MedSupplyDrive, a volunteer organization founded in March 2020, is led by a coalition of Georgetown University medical students working to donate various medical supplies and PPE to numerous hospitals across the country.

Monette Veral '15, a Biochemistry and East Asian Languages & Literature double major, is a current Mid-Atlantic regional coordinator for MedSupplyDrive. She also works as the Communications Director for the Department of Family Medicine at Georgetown University, where she is a third-year medical student.

Bethlehem Dammlash '06 at First Book

Bethlehem Dammlash '06 joined First Book in 2013 and currently works as its Director of Member Services. Dammlash and her team provide assistance to members using the First Book Marketplace and also provides internal support on campaigns and initiatives that the organization is running.