A Heritage in Clay

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Feeding Their Brains

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Lifted Learning

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Omar Aminzay is tackling his MBA at the University of Mary Washington in the same way that he approaches lifting 525 pounds, one day at a time. The first-generation American, whose parents emigrated from Afghanistan in the 1970s as refugees, has mapped out his life for the next decade. He aims to compete in his next powerlifting competition within the next 10 months; advance to a middle management position within five years; become a chief financial officer within 10 years.  He’ll accomplish these goals one day at a time. “My parents came here for the American dream. They sacrificed their lives to make a better one for me. That is what fuels me,” said Aminzay, who works as a project accountant for CACI Incorporated. “A day that I don’t have a plan is a bad day.” Aminzay, who starts each day with a to-do list, received his bachelor of science in business administration in three years at UMW, and he’ll complete his master of business administration in one year. He works 40 to 50 … [Read more...]

Open-Door Policy

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The door in Ana Chichester’s Combs Hall office is always open. In fact, her University of Mary Washington students know better than anyone that the professor of Modern Languages and Literatures is always willing and able to help with questions and concerns. “Ana always pushed me to work hard and not settle,” said Chareese Ross, a 2006 graduate who works in the Office of Communications and Outreach at the U.S. Department of Education. “She did not have low expectations for any student and she wanted her students to succeed at the highest level possible. That was such an important lesson to learn.” Whether it’s a question about a recent major declaration or advice on which classes to take, Chichester offers a listening ear and will help find a solution. “The students, hands down, are what energize me the most,” said Chichester, who also is director of the Bachelor of Liberal Studies program. The Cuban native, who moved to the U.S. at the age of 16, always knew she … [Read more...]

Basketball Buddies

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Sparks Fly on Study Abroad

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On a blue-sky August morning, Flora Chung Takoshima and Akiyuki Takoshima ’05 maneuvered two little girls and a paraphernalia-laden stroller along Campus Walk. Yua, 11 months old, gurgled and grinned in her parents’ arms. Four-year-old Yuki romped on the green grass and took in every sight – especially the Palmieri Plaza fountain. … [Read more...]

A Step Ahead

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Revealing Moments

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Taking on Twitter

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Is it a human or a Twitter bot? Researchers from the University of Mary Washington and the Naval Surface Warfare Center want to know for sure. UMW computer science majors Bryan Holster and Chris Zimmerman, under the guidance of Professor Stephen Davies, have teamed with scientists at the center’s Dahlgren division to get to the bottom of this sometimes perplexing social media mystery. The partnership is one of several ongoing collaborations between the University and the Naval Surface Warfare Center. For novices to the Twitter sphere, a Twitter bot is an automated software program that posts content or tweets to the online social network Twitter. For instance, the bot @everyword spent seven years tweeting every word in the English language, while @EnjoyTheFilm posts spoilers in response to the tweets of unsuspecting movie-goers. Since the fall, Holster and Zimmerman have collected an innumerable number of tweets using a Web application that they built. Then they developed a … [Read more...]

Cataloging Clues

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Paul Murphy spends his days discovering clues to America’s past. Surrounded by a magnifying glass, latex gloves and a hand-held dusting brush, the University of Mary Washington historic preservation major sorts through a box of seemingly innocuous objects to identify and catalog bits of history. He spies a small sherd of ceramic, perhaps part of a bowl or plate once used by Native Americans; a triangular chipped rock, probably a prehistoric spear or an arrow; and a smooth piece of stone, likely used by hunters to skin animals. “It’s not like being a historian where you read what somebody else wrote and then write your ideas about it,” said Murphy. “It’s something new. You’ve found it, you’ve excavated it, and you interpret it to study how other people lived.” Murphy is one of 11 veterans working at The Veterans Curation Program in Alexandria – an employment and training program for wounded, disabled and recently separated veterans who served during the Iraq and Afghanistan … [Read more...]