St. Mary's College News Briefs - Southern Maryland Headline News

St. Mary's College News Briefs

Book Sale Oct. 6-7 at St. Mary’s College

The annual St. Mary's College of Maryland Library Book Sale is Oct. 6 through 7. It takes place outside the library from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., rain or shine. There will be books from all subject areas for sale including popular fiction. Book Prices are $0.50 or $1.00. St. Mary’s College is located at 18952 E. Fisher Road, St. Mary's City, MD 20686. For more information, contact Pamela Mann at

St. Mary’s College Professor Awarded NIH Grant to Research Novel Antidepressant

Aileen Bailey, professor of psychology at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, has been awarded a $213,056 research grant by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The project, "Stress, depression, and effects of novel antidepressants on excitatory synapses,” is in collaboration with Scott Thompson, of the University of Maryland, Baltimore, who will serve as principal investigator.

The NIH funding, which will be distributed over a five-year period, will allow Bailey to examine the behavioral effects of a novel antidepressant drug. She will study the behavioral side effects of the antidepressant including changes in sleep and awake activity patterns, and will also examine if the drug can restore normal behavioral responses across several different models of depression. Bailey will involve undergraduate students at St. Mary’s College in her research.

Findings of this research can play an important role in the treatment of depression. “Typical antidepressant drugs work in only one-half of patients and can take two to three weeks to produce relief from depression,” says Bailey. “Fast-acting drugs like the one we’re testing might improve negative mood states within twenty-four hours.”

The research announced in this press release is supported by the National Institute of Mental Health of the NIH under award number 2R01MH086828. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.

“Resurrecting Apartheid” Public Lecture by Activist Tim Wise, Sept. 24 at St. Mary’s College

A public talk, “Resurrecting Apartheid: From Ferguson to the Voting Booth to the Border,” will be given by activist Tim Wise on Thursday, Sept. 24, at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. The talk will be held in the Auerbach Auditorium, St. Mary’s Hall, starting at 7:30 p.m. It is free and open to the public. St. Mary’s College is located at 18952 E. Fisher Road, St. Mary's City, Md., 20686. For more information about the event, visit

Wise, named one of “25 visionaries who are changing your world” by Utne Reader, is among the most prominent anti-racist writers and educators in the nation. Heightened police brutality, racial profiling, attempts to limit voting access by people of color, and blatantly racialized anti-immigrant backlash are among the issues Wise will explore (and tie together) in this especially timely talk. He will discuss the ways in which racial apartheid is being resurrected (albeit in a 2.0 form) and explain how believers in multiracial democracy can fight back.

Hear from Coca-Cola, Hershey Insiders during Museum Studies Week at SMCM

This year, Museum Studies Week at St. Mary’s College of Maryland focuses non- and for-profit museums that interpret the history of for-profit companies. The first of two public talks will be held Sept. 22 at 4:10 p.m. in Cole Cinema, Campus Center. Ted Ryan, Coca-Cola archivist, will share the scoop in “Behind the Secret Formula of Coca-Cola.” Ryan will discuss how an unknown beverage emerged to become a global American symbol, and how Coca-Cola’s distinctive bottle—turning 100 this year—was inspired during a mistaken library search. On Sept. 24 at 4:10 p.m. in the St. Mary’s College Library, Valerie Seiber, collections manager at The Hershey Story, will dish on “Failures & Fortunes: The Sweet History of Hershey.” The events are free and open to the public. St. Mary’s College is located at 18952 E. Fisher Road, St. Mary's City, MD 20686. For more information, contact Julia King at

St. Mary’s College of Maryland Announces New Major in Environmental Studies

Offering students the tools needed to analyze and solve today’s most pressing environmental problems with an innovative approach that integrates interdisciplinary and experiential learning

St. Mary’s College of Maryland, the state’s public honors college, announced this week the creation of a new major in environmental studies as part of its continuing effort to expand and deepen interdisciplinary and experiential learning curriculum for students.

For more than a decade, St. Mary’s College has offered an environmental studies minor, which had grown into the college’s most popular cross-disciplinary program. “With so much interest from our students and support from faculty, it became clear that we needed to offer more for our students,” explained Sue Johnson, environmental studies program coordinator.

Poised on the banks of the St. Mary’s River, the campus offers students and faculty unparalleled access to a unique learning ‘laboratory.’ In 2014, Barry Muchnick was hired as the college’s first full-time environmental studies faculty. Trained at Yale University as a conservation ecologist and environmental historian, Muchnick brings an exciting entrepreneurial and interdisciplinary perspective to the program. In 2015, Rebecca E. Kelly joined the growing environmental studies program as a three-year visiting assistant professor, grounding several core courses with her expertise as an earth scientist. The new major is further strengthened by over twenty affiliated faculty contributing cross-listed courses in disciplines spanning the entire curriculum.

An interdisciplinary approach built for dual-degrees

The new ENST major builds on the interdisciplinary traditions of the college. “A distinguishing feature of St. Mary’s College is the number of students who choose to double major or add a minor to their course of study,” said Johnson. Students interested in environmental studies can now specialize in one of three tracks: natural sciences, social sciences and policy, or humanities. Students can major exclusively in environmental studies or complement their major with a second major or minor.

The program also supports a range of applied learning experiences, including an applied sustainability practicum, field studies abroad, internships, or independent research. “The new environmental studies program is inherently interdisciplinary, inclusive and experiential,” Johnson notes. “This system allows students to really tailor their education to their interests, and prepares them for a large variety of careers in the environmental workforce.”

A unique hands-on approach to learning

The new major emphasizes experiential education and enables all students to participate in at least one applied learning component. Some of these applied offerings are as innovative as the program itself. This 2015-16 academic year, students enrolled in a Community Sustainable Design course, cross-listed between environmental studies and art, and led by Muchnick and Professor of Art Carrie Patterson, will work alongside community partners to design and build two sustainable tiny houses to explore the connections between sustainable design and community art education. The partnership is with the Forrest Career and Technology Center at Leonardtown High School, the Greenwell Foundation, Lexington Park Elementary School, and the Three Oaks Center.

“The Tiny House course, like other experiential learning opportunities offered as part of the new environmental studies program, cultivates critical thinking and problem solving skills through meaningful exploration of society’s environmental, social, and economic challenges,” said Muchnick. “We are preparing our students for the job market, but also helping them become engaged and effective citizens and stewards through solutions-based, hands-on learning.”

For more information about the new environmental studies major at St. Mary’s College, visit or contact

U.S. News Ranks St. Mary’s College of Maryland a Top Public Liberal Arts College

St. Mary’s College recognized by U.S. News & World Report, The Princeton Review, Washington Monthly, and Money Magazine

U.S. News & World Report has once again recognized St. Mary’s College of Maryland as a top 100 national liberal arts college. In the publication’s “Best Colleges” 2016 edition, St. Mary’s is also ranked in the top six public liberal arts colleges in the nation and is one of only two non-military institutions in the top six.

St. Mary’s College is also ranked on the publication’s 2016 “Best Colleges for Veterans” list. The list is a compilation of top-ranked schools that participate in federal initiatives helping veterans and active service members apply, pay for and complete their degrees.

In other recent rankings:

The Princeton Review recently recognized St. Mary’s in the 2016 edition of its annual college guide, "The Best 380 Colleges." St. Mary’s College is ranked fourth for the “most beautiful campus” and fifth for the “happiest students.”

In Washington Monthly’s 2015 college guide and rankings, St. Mary’s is named among the nation’s top liberal arts colleges and among Money magazine’s “Best Colleges for Your Money” (2015-16).

St. Mary’s is also named one of America’s “Top Colleges" by Forbes (2015), and has been named a 2015 public college of distinction by the Colleges of Distinction publication.

St. Mary’s is also included in the 2016 “Fiske Guide to Colleges” based on the college’s excellence in a broad range of topics of interest to students and their families. Among categories, Fiske scored St. Mary’s four out of five stars for academics and quality of life.

College guide rankings are based on several key measures of quality that include academic reputation, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, career outcomes, affordability, and student selectivity.

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