Homework Helpers

Education student

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...]

Where Science and Art Meet

Dr. Tom Riley, university physician and director of the health center, looks at his artwork on his iPad

The University of Mary Washington is a unique meeting place for science and art. UMW’s physician, Dr. Tom Riley, epitomizes the two coming together in full force. Riley, who also is director of the Student Health Center, has focused on science and health since adolescence. After college, he worked at a private family practice for 23 years before coming to UMW in 2007. Many don’t realize that he has been an artist for just as long. The blend of Riley’s artistic and scientific talents is manifested in the giant murals that embellish the walls of the newly renovated Mason and Randolph residence halls. The murals are enlarged versions of Riley’s panoramic photographs of the James, York and the Rappahannock rivers. “I had to do a lot of different things to get those murals to that size,” said Riley. Each mural is about 8 feet high. The longest one is 104 feet, and took 55 individual pictures to create. His photos offer an aesthetic delight in and of themselves, and not … [Read more...]

Envision, Design, Print

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Imagination flourishes on the second floor of Simpson Library. Just ask University of Mary Washington senior Alice Watkins who is turning her two-sided creations into wearable art. She joins others in the UMW community who have discovered the wonders of a new three-dimensional printer, called MakerBot. Watkins is investigating 3-D printing through art in her independent study project called “Blending into Reality.” In a classroom at Simpson Library dubbed the Think Lab, Watkins watches the MakerBot as it whirs and hums while a spool of plastic thread slowly transforms a flat image on a computer screen into a three-dimensional object. She picks up the small, gray piece from the printer and places it with her collection. “That’s the reason it is called the Think Lab,” she said. “If you can think it, you can make it here.” She hopes to make a full-size tunic or vest with the pieces, called “scale mail,” by the end of the semester. Watkins, a studio art major, received … [Read more...]

Positioned for Politics

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Opportunities abound for politically minded students at the University of Mary Washington. Stephen Farnsworth, director of the university’s Center for Leadership and Media Studies, said UMW—situated halfway between the nation’s and the commonwealth’s capitals—stands at the intersection of local, state and federal government. “With the center, we are able to take advantage of our location,” said Farnsworth, who is professor of political science. “We are in a great position – students can be a part of political matters that interest them.” Students are able to intern during the academic year in either Richmond or D.C., without having to take a semester off. In fact, several UMW students are interning with presidential and senatorial campaigns this fall. Those experiences often lead to jobs in politics after graduation. “Over the past dozen years, many Mary Washington students have graduated and gone on to work for presidential campaigns, state senators and members of … [Read more...]

Uncovering the Past

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Growing up in the Republic of Georgia, Ana Tkabladze was surrounded by remnants and relics of the ancient world. She dreamed of someday learning about the sites and making her own discoveries. Now a junior at the University of Mary Washington, Tkabladze, a classics major with a concentration in classical archeology, is already leaving her mark. This summer, she spent three weeks on the Spanish island of Menorca and in Portugal as part of a team excavating and analyzing thousand-year-old artifacts. “I’m basically helping real archeologists find out about that era,” she said. “That’ll go in history later which is pretty exciting.” Tkabladze is one of several UMW students who received an undergraduate research grant for the summer, a time when many students study abroad, intern or work on research. In fact, two to three students in the classics, philosophy and religion department go on excavations each year, either through undergraduate research grants like Tkabladze or as … [Read more...]