History Lessons

Jeff McClurken, associate professor and department chair of history and American studies, is an expert on American history, the Civil War and digital history. He makes connections between the old and the new and blends history and technology in his teaching.

Students rule in Jeffrey McClurken’s history classes. His creative and tech-savvy charges have a say in everything from the syllabus to assignments and provide insight on the new and innovative courses taught by the associate professor and chair in the Department of History and American Studies. McClurken, an expert in Civil War history and a sought-after presenter on digital learning, says the experience is just as beneficial for him as it is for the students. “I am inspired by and driven by those interactions with students,” said McClurken. That’s just what happened in a seminar two years ago. When students questioned the technology behind communications and how the Internet affects the way they think and learn, McClurken put them to work designing a History of the Information Age course. They co-wrote the course syllabus with McClurken, even providing input on assignments and topic areas to cover. “We not only learned the content, we also learned how to create … [Read more...]

Overseas Adventures

Bethany Farrell (left) is a Peace Corps volunteer in Bejaad, Morocco

Before Bethany Farrell was old enough to have a driver’s license or board a plane alone, she dreamed of discovering new cultures, helping others and traveling beyond her Williamsburg, Va., home. “When I ended up at [University of] Mary Washington, I was pleasantly surprised that a lot of people at Mary Washington choose the same path,” Farrell, a 2011 UMW graduate, said. Community service and a strong sense of civic responsibility are integral to the fabric of UMW. In fact, UMW ranks among the nation's top small universities for alumni serving in the Peace Coprs. Farrell, one of 21 alumni currently serving in the Peace Corps, is in the midst of a 22-month stint in Morocco as a youth development volunteer. While at Mary Washington, Farrell felt her dream grow and develop, both through her work as a theatre and political science double major and through experiences overseas. As a junior, she left the U.S. for the first time as part of the European Capitals summer study … [Read more...]

Record Breaker

Senior Lisa Charney led the UMW field hockey team to the NCAA

As a high school senior in Fairfax, Va., Lisa Charney fell just shy of a field hockey championship round. Four years later, Charney got her chance to compete on a national stage, this time as co-captain of the University of Mary Washington’s top-ranked field hockey team. Along the way, the senior psychology major racked up regional and national awards and set new UMW records. “Being able to go this far senior year of college was absolutely amazing,” Charney said. “To do it with such an amazing team was an experience I‘ll never forget.” UMW’s team reached the semifinal round of the NCAA Division III championships, after a season for the record books. Ranked in the top three nationwide, the Eagles finished the season with a 20-2 record and with players like Charney receiving accolades. Charney, who set a UMW season record with 25 goals, was named Player of the Year for the 2012 Field Hockey College Division All-State Team. She earned National Field Hockey Coaches … [Read more...]

Fostering Leadership

A history and political science major, Jeremy Thompson is often in Monroe Hall

For senior Jeremy Thompson, balancing life as head of one of the University of Mary Washington’s largest student organizations with the demands of a double major comes naturally. A history and political science major, Thompson is known across campus, not only as president of the Student Government Association (SGA), but as a Washington Guide, stage production manager for Dodd Auditorium and a mentor to first-year students through the RISE Peer Mentoring Program. “It’s an honor,” Thompson said of his SGA position. “We deal with so many issues on a daily basis. Our goal is to make student life better. At the end of the day, it’s a pretty nice thing to be able to tell the President and the Board [of Visitors], ‘this is what the students want or don’t want.’” To make sure he knows the pulse of student life, Thompson holds office hours each week to hear student concerns and feedback. Every month, he has lunch with President Richard V. Hurley and invites other students to join … [Read more...]

Homework Helpers

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Math homework stumped one local Fredericksburg second-grader. She was puzzled by the number sequence problem in the evening assignment, and the more she tried to work the problem, the more exasperated she became. UMW senior Ciara Norquist sensed her frustration and convinced her to take a break from her studies. They built charts and focused on finding patterns. Within minutes, the student returned to her homework and completed it with ease “For the kids, it’s like having a second teacher. The one-on-one time is important,” said Norquist, who is among 31 UMW tutors who have volunteered with the Hazel Hill Homework Club. The club, which started fall semester, began as a way to help UMW students fulfill their service-learning requirement in an “Elementary Social Studies Methods” class, taught by John Broome, assistant professor in the College of Education. Students in Broome’s class are required to complete 10 hours of service and many opt to volunteer as tutors for the … [Read more...]

Drive to Succeed

Doug Dolton '78, chairman and CEO of San Francisco Motorsports, is serving as UMW's Executive-in-Residence for 2012-2013

Within five years after graduating from the University of Mary Washington, Doug Dolton ’78 went from working as a bank teller to being the chief executive officer of a small bank. Now the chairman and CEO of San Francisco Motorsports, a luxury automotive retailer based out of Northern California, Dolton attributes his success to hard work and a strong sense of personal responsibility. “My philosophy has always been ‘if you do what is right for customers, it will ultimately come back to benefit you,’” he said. “A lot of that was born at Mary Washington. It was a very grassroots kind of place where the philosophy was ‘learn, contribute and be honest.’” Dolton will share his business philosophy during a visit to campus in the spring as part of UMW’s Executive-in-Residence program. He hopes his message of “work really hard and be really honest” will resonate with students. In his more than 30 years in the banking and financial services industries, Dolton said his experience … [Read more...]

Economics of Giving

Junior Taylor Knight has chosen to make volunteerism a large part of her life

For the eighth year in a row, the University of Mary Washington’s Economics of Philanthropy and the Nonprofit Sector class is the recipient of a $10,000 grant from Doris Buffett’s Learning by Giving Foundation. But this year, juniors Chelsea LeHew and Taylor Knight are taking it one step further. LeHew and Knight, among 26 students in the class, are brainstorming ways to raise even more money, collect more donations and involve community members. UMW is one of 17 colleges and universities to receive a Doris Buffett grant this semester. Buffett’s program promotes the study of philanthropy by donating funds to students to distribute to local nonprofit organizations. In September, LeHew and Knight, both economics majors, held a bake sale in front of Read All Over Bookstore in historic downtown Fredericksburg. They sold baked goods, some of which were donated by a local home-based bakery, Fat Girl Cakes. “We’re really lucky to have that support from the community, too. Our … [Read more...]

A Poet’s Perspective

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The door to Claudia Emerson’s office on the Fredericksburg campus tells a story: her favorite quotes about writing and poetry are pinned to a corkboard; a name badge from her appearance at the 2011 National Book Festival hangs from a hook; and a black and white photo of Emily Dickinson is front and center. Emerson, the Arrington Distinguished Chair of Poetry at the University of Mary Washington, drew inspiration from a Dickinson poem for the title of her own latest poetry collection, “The Opposite House.” Emerson finished the book, recently accepted for publication, during her Guggenheim Fellowship sabbatical last semester. The sabbatical took her from catacombs in Sicily to medical history museums in Frederick, Md., and Chicago. “I became interested in looking at loss from a distance and looking imaginatively into the lives of others,” she said, explaining that “The Opposite House” ranges from poems about rural life in America to poems of travel and medical history. As … [Read more...]

Culturing Independent Inquiry

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In the tissue culture lab in the University of Mary Washington’s Jepson Hall, Chloe Fusselman donned a white lab coat, put on gloves and carefully picked up a beaker of liquid. She was practicing her sterile lab techniques with her adviser, Professor of Biology Deborah O’Dell, since the methods are critical to her research project this semester. Fusselman and fellow senior biology major Kara Arbogast are both researching the chemical bisphenol A, known as BPA, in separate projects. Both students received undergraduate research grants from UMW for their work. Fusselman’s project looks at the effect of BPA, a chemical found in many everyday household products, on healthy prostate cells. BPA, O’Dell explained, mimics the hormone estrogen and is frequently linked to breast cancer. “In the literature, there are some references that BPA could be linked to prostate cancer, too,” O’Dell said. Research like Fusselman’s will help scientists find out. As Fusselman developed her … [Read more...]

Global Reach

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U.S. Ambassador Rose McCartney Likins ’81 has lived all over the world, but still calls the University of Mary Washington “home.”  More than three decades after she graduated, Likins returned to her alma mater to share her experiences as the U.S. Ambassador to Peru with the next generation of international relations students. In a classroom in Monroe Hall where she might have sat as an undergraduate student in the late 1970s, Likins used examples from her extensive career in public service to illustrate concepts in class, from macroeconomic policy to free trade agreements. A former international relations student herself, she could relate to the students around the table. Back then, Likins never could have imagined that decades later she’d be back at Mary Washington as a public policy expert. “It’s such an honor to represent the U.S. abroad,” she said. Likins has served as U.S. ambassador to Peru since August 2010. She was U.S. ambassador to El Salvador from August 2000 to … [Read more...]