Class notes August 2018



Sabrina Squire (B.S.’76/H&S) retired from NBC12 in Richmond, Va., in May 2018. She was the longest-serving television news anchor in Richmond, as well as the first African-American primetime co-anchor in the market. An Emmy-winning journalist, she was inducted into the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame in 2012.


Michele Young-Stone (B.A.’92/H&S; M.T.’95/E; M.F.A.’05/H&S) had her third novel, “Lost in the Beehive,” published by Simon & Schuster in April 2018. The novel was featured in O, The Oprah Magazine’s spring reading list.


Oscar Holmes IV, Ph.D. (B.S.’02/H&S), works as an assistant professor of management and director of access and outreach for business education at the School of Business at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. He was named one of the Best 40 Under 40 Professors for 2018 by Poets & Quants, a site dedicated to covering and ranking business schools.

Jennifer Lawhorne (B.S.’01/H&S; M.I.S.’13/H&S) has begun screening her documentary, “Fata Morgana,” which concerns the problems facing refugees in Europe. She was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship in 2015 to live with refugees in Sicily. The new work builds on a 2009 documentary in which Lawhorne explored the lives of undocumented kitchen workers in Richmond, Va.

Keylon Mayo (B.S.’06/H&S) owns Mr. Klean Kut Accessories, for which he creates bow ties and other men’s accessories, including several officially licensed VCU designs. His business was featured on CBS 6 in Richmond, Va., and a collection of his designs inspired by traditional African prints and prints from the 1930s was sold at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

Kevin Powers (B.A.’08/H&S) was featured on PBS News Hour on Memorial Day 2018, where he spoke about the significance of the holiday in light of his own experiences as a veteran. His newest novel, “A Shout in the Ruins,” was released in May 2018 in hardcover by Little, Brown and Co..


Keyanna Conner, Ph.D. (Ph.D.’15/H&S) was appointed December 2017 as secretary of administration by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam. She oversees the Department of Elections, the Department of General Services, the Department of Human Resource Management, the Compensation Board and the Virginia Information Technologies Agency. She delivered the graduation speech to this year’s VCU chemistry graduates in May 2018.

Cydni Gordon (B.S.’16/H&S) is in Buenos Aires, Argentina, conducting research on antipsychotic and antidepressant medication as part of a Fulbright scholarship.

Jeanine Guidry, Ph.D. (Ph.D.’17/M), an assistant professor in the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture in the College of Humanities and Sciences, published a study, “Welcome or Not: Comparing #Refugee Posts on Instagram and Pinterest,” in the journal American Behavioral Scientist. Her co-authors included Kellie Carlyle, Ph.D. (Cert.’14/E), an associate professor in the Department of Health and Human Behavior and Policy in the VCU School of Medicine, and Marcus Messner, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Robertson School.

Mechelle Hankerson (B.S.’13/H&S) has been hired to cover state government for the Virginia Mercury, a new state-policy-focused news outlet that will use a nonprofit model. She previously worked for the Virginian-Pilot.

Zackaria Niazi (B.S.’17/H&S) is studying Persian in Tajikistan with support from a Critical Language Scholarship, which is a U.S. government effort to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering certain foreign languages.

Faculty and staff

Tressie McMillan Cottom, Ph.D., assistant professor of sociology, is the recipient of VCU’s Outstanding Early Career Faculty Award for 2018. Cottom serves on numerous academic and philanthropic boards and publishes widely on issues of inequality, work, higher education and technology.