Teaching Tactics

Lauren Puglia

Lauren Puglia remembers teaching her stuffed animals as a first-grader in her basement using a toy easel. Today, she’s living that childhood fantasy as a multiple disabilities teacher while taking classes for her master’s degree in education at the University of Mary Washington. … [Read more...]

Raising the Rails

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Maxime Devilliers loves the Virginia Railway Express. The University of Mary Washington senior relishes the views of the river, the clean train, the friendly atmosphere and the cheap fare. But there is a big problem that prevents him from riding. … [Read more...]

Immersed in Guyana

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Artifacts from the indigenous Amazonian people known as the Waiwai surround Anthropology Professor Laura Mentore as she pores over her latest research—cultural perceptions of water in light of climate change—in her office at the University of Mary Washington. Each artifact from the villagers in the tiny South American country of Guyana has a story. The shaman’s basket contains a deer bone flute and other instruments used to heal community members; the 7-foot longbow attests to the Waiwai’s claim of making the longest bows of all the indigenous groups of Guyana; then there is the matapi, a long woven instrument that looks like a giant Chinese finger trap, which is used by women to process cassava—the main staple crop of most indigenous peoples of Amazonia. Mentore’s roots run deep in Guyana. Her husband, George, a professor at the University of Virginia, is originally from a coastal town in the South American country and her two children, Kamina, 6, and Elka, 2, have traditional … [Read more...]

Taking Flight at UMW

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Call Glen Ackermann the consummate adventurer. Whether he’s competing in obstacle races or flying half-way around the world, Ackermann lives daringly. His latest venture: seeking a master of business administration at the University of Mary Washington. “I wanted to keep my mind fresh and active and an MBA is a great thing to have,” said 54-year-old Ackermann, who began taking classes last semester. During the day, the retired Navy pilot works as a program executive for Northrup Grumman where he travels to Japan every six weeks to meet with potential clients. When he’s not in Japan, he manages a team in the United States in offices from New York to D.C. This year alone, he has racked up 150,716 miles with United Airlines and that doesn’t include his regular flights to New York. There is never a typical day for Ackermann, and he likes it that way as evidenced in his choice of extra-curricular activities. He enjoys competing in Spartan races, eight-mile obstacle course … [Read more...]

Mindful Lessons

Zachariah-Kronemer

When Zakaria Kronemer strolls down campus walk at the University of Mary Washington, he isn’t thinking about his upcoming exam or the conversation he just had. Instead, he focuses on his feet as each step pounds the brick walkway. He feels the air touching his hand as the wind blows and concentrates on his muscles as they work to move his legs. Kronemer lives in the moment. It’s a lesson that he learned this summer as one of 40 students from around the world studying the Buddhist practices of meditation and T’ai Chi in the mountains of eastern China at the Shengshou Temple. After returning to UMW this semester, the junior philosophy major’s outlook on life has changed. Most significantly, he’s adjusted his outlook on the everyday mundane tasks. “Everything in the monastic life is a contemplative process,” said Kronemer, who traveled to China after receiving a scholarship from the Woodenfish Project aimed at educating emerging scholars on Chinese Buddhism. “That’s something … [Read more...]

Navigating the Past

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On clear sunny days last semester Fariss Hodder rode her forest green, off-roading bike from the University of Mary Washington to downtown Fredericksburg. The senior, with a Trimble Juno GPS always handy, set off on a special mission – searching for commemorative markers of the city’s storied past. This trek to local historic sites became routine for Hodder over the past year as she worked with Geography Professor Stephen Hanna. Together, the two created a geographical information systems (GIS) database designed to measure how and where slavery and emancipation was represented on 224 markers that Fariss mapped in the city’s historic district and on the Fredericksburg campus. “It was like a little discovery mission every time . . . It’s incredible the amount of history you can learn just by walking downtown.” said Hodder, who photographed each marker, collected data on the date each marker was installed, who installed it and the historical topics it represented. The venture … [Read more...]

Mathematical Predictions

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What if there was a better way to track and predict the spread of worldwide epidemics like H1N1 flu and HIV before they happened? At the University of Mary Washington, Casey Howren ‘14 answered this question when she developed a computer program that uses mathematical formulas to predict the progress of global epidemics. Meeting on a daily basis with her mentor, Mathematics Professor Leo Lee, to help guide her research, the mathematics and sociology double major looked at the current ways that the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization track epidemics, and she realized that she could improve the process. Right now, those organizations track epidemics as they are happening. They follow how quickly epidemics spread in real time and then predict how they will continue in the future. Howren’s algorithm-based computer program takes this process a step further by predicting how an epidemic will spread from the first infected person before it ever happens. In … [Read more...]

Birds-Eye View

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A group of University of Mary Washington students gasp as they spy two bald eagles flying from their large nest over the winding Rappahannock River and into the surrounding woods. “Those are immature bald eagles,” says one student who notices that these eagles have not yet developed the iconic white feathers on their heads. That won’t happen until they are at least 4 years old, adds another student. … [Read more...]

Flipping the Classroom

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At first glance, Jon Meister ’13 looks like a teacher from another time with his handlebar mustache, black satin vest, and thick-framed glasses, but his teaching style – honed at the University of Mary Washington – is anything but old fashioned. For his final research project, Meister explored one of the latest trends in education, a flipped classroom. At its most basic level, a flipped classroom is where students learn a lesson at home via video and then come to class to work on homework. It’s a move away from the traditional classroom where a teacher gives a lecture and then students work on homework problems on their own time. In his final semester at UMW, Meister was a student teacher at his alma mater, Norview High School in Norfolk, Va. He worked with 18 seventh-grade students to flip the way that they learn algebra and geometry. Meister recorded YouTube math lessons that the students watched outside of class time, and then the students worked in the classroom on … [Read more...]

Going Places

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When Sridhivya Kumar first moved to the United States, she hesitated to order from an American coffee shop, dined mostly on native Indian food and felt uncertain of how to manage public transportation. Today nearly three years later, Sri, as her colleagues know her, laughs at her early insecurities. She confidently orders her regular Caramel Macchiato coffee and dines at her favorite burrito restaurant. She’s even shed public transportation for a driver’s license that enables her to drive to the University of Mary Washington Stafford campus for night classes to earn a master's degree in Management Information Systems. “I love information systems,” said Kumar, who earned a bachelor’s in commerce from Madras University in India. “I get to talk to people in real-time technology who operate software, know how to build things, exchange ideas, approach problems.” Kumar was born in Tiruppur, India, before moving to Northern Virginia. She was drawn to UMW’s Master of Science in … [Read more...]