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Alumni To Know

Virginia Brumby '01

Despite all advice to the contrary, Virginia Brumby '01, insisted on majoring in Romance Languages at W&L. Since graduation, she has lived, worked, and travelled across six different continents, working as everything from a translator for VIPs and Royalty in Asia, to an assistant to a National Geographic aerial photographer in South America; from a Paralegal at the Department of Justice in Washington, to a Travel & Leisure journalist in India, from a language teacher for teenagers in France and Spain, to a Diplomat for the Netherlands and Quebec. She earned her MBA from INSEAD in 2001 and, with French husband Christophe, currently resides between Singapore and Cambodia, running a Lifestyle Membership that she founded in 2010, Survival Chic.

Virginia offers this advice: "To all the current W&L students with a  sense of adventure, 3 short pieces of advice: Travel! Learn Languages! Work Abroad! The world is your oyster."

Skye Justice '03

Skye graduated from Washington and Lee in 2003 with a degree in Politics. He is an Officer in the U.S. Foreign Service, having joined the State Department in 2006. Currently, he is the State Department's Coordinator for Refugee Affairs for West and North Africa, based at the the U.S. Embassy in Dakar, Senegal. In that capacity, he oversees humanitarian assistance to refugees and conflict victims provided by the United States, working closely with international partners. His previous assignments include the U.S. Embassies in Port-au-Prince, Haiti (Economic and Commercial Officer), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (Political and Economic Officer and Vice Consul), and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (Political and Economic Officer). In Washington, he has worked in the State Department's Office of Central American Affairs and Bureau of Diplomatic Security.

Skye is also a 2006 graduate of the George Washington University Law School. During law school, Skye was a Human Rights Fellow in the office of the prosecutor at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, where he supported the prosecution of accused perpetrators of the 1994 Rwanda genocide. He also clerked for the Capital Area Immigrants' Rights Coalition, where he advised clients seeking asylum in the United States, and at Huddleston Bolen, LLP, a West Virginia-based law firm. Skye speaks French, Haitian Creole, Spanish, Italian, and Swahili.

 J.R. Smith '91

J.R. graduated from Washington and Lee in 1991 after majoring in Journalism and East Asian Studies (Japanese). He spent three years in Japan post-graduation before returning to graduate from the University of Richmond School of Law in 1997. After graduation, J.R. clerked for W&L alum David H. Adams in Norfolk, Virginia, a retired federal bankruptcy judge. He then joined Hunton & Williams in Richmond, Virginia, where he remains a partner today. As a H&W lawyer, J.R. has lived and/or worked in over 40 countries throughout the world, including spending three years opening and managing a new office for his law firm in Tokyo from 2011 to 2014. His legal practice involves corporate finance, infrastructure development, restructuring and commercial litigation.

Lena Golze-Desmond '10L

Lena Golze-Desmond graduated from Washington & Lee Law in 2010 (and from Dartmouth College in 2004 with a degree in Government). After graduating from W&L Law, she received an M.Sc. in Environmental Management from the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, with a specialty in renewable energy. She then returned to NYC (her hometown) and volunteered at the New York Office of the Attorney General in its Environmental Protection Bureau before joining The Overbrook Foundation as an Environment Program Associate.

In Fall 2014, Lena left to begin her own initiative, "Law for the Environmental Grassroots." She also works part-time as Program Manager for the Human Impacts Institute, a non-profit focused on environmental education and creative climate action, and as a Regulatory Affairs Analyst for the Feller Energy Law Group, a boutique energy law firm. She is on the Environmental Law Committee of the New York City Bar Association, a 2013 member and on the Board of the New York City Environmental Law Leadership Institute (NYCELLI), and a Environmental Leadership Program Eastern 2014 Fellow.

Lena encourages anyone with questions on law, environmental law, New York City, or any combination thereof to reach out with any questions they might have!

Eric Brassil '04

After graduation, Eric fulfilled his Boren Scholar service requirement by serving as the Assistant to the Director of Institutional Research at the National War College. From 2005-2006, Eric enrolled in an intensive one year M.A. program at Central European University in Budapest, Hungary, where his studies focused on Post-Communist politics and consociationalism (power-sharing arrangements). Graduating first in his class, he received the CEU Outstanding Academic Achievement Award.

In September 2006, Eric joined the U.S. Department of State (Foreign Service) as an Office Management Specialist (OMS). In his first tour in New Zealand, Eric served as the OMS in the Regional Service Office and, for eight months, as OMS to Ambassador McCormick. In this capacity, Eric led the Ambassador's support team, served as primary liaison between the Ambassador and Mission sections, and coordinated with Public Affairs to plan a wide ranging outreach schedule of 15 domestic trips and five international trips. From 2009-2011, Eric served as the OMS in the Political Section at U.S. Embassy Moscow, where he provided primary logistical support to over 100 high-level delegations, including a visit from President Obama, Vice President Biden and two from then Secretary Clinton. From 2011-2014, Eric served at the OMS Business Practice Advisor and Engagement Coordinator for the State Department Office of eDiplomacy. In 2013, Eric was recognized at one of 25 "Rising Stars" in the federal government by Federal Computing Weekly and in 2014 Eric received OMS of the Year Award by Secretary Kerry for his innovative contributions during his tenure in eDiplomacy.

In July 2015, Eric and his wife, Aniesa Brassil (Bosch) '04, moved to Athens, Greece where Eric now serves as OMS to the Deputy Chief of Mission.