Scrutinizing Solidarity

Kristen Powell

Standing outside of Nelson Mandela’s prison cell, senior Kristen Powell had a thought: how is it possible that the apartheid regime came to exist? The University of Mary Washington anthropology major returned from an environmental sustainability trip to South Africa last January inspired to explore answers to her question – and her senior thesis provides her the platform to do just that. Apartheid, a word meaning “the state of being apart,” was a system of racial segregation in South Africa in the latter half of the 1900s. For Powell, the question revolved around why people would identify with   a regime such as apartheid or a sub-cultural group premised on racial supremacy and segregation.    With groups such as American Neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan continuing to thrive in the 21st century, Powell argues that these questions must be explored to address the root forces behind racism in our society. “I started looking into all of the reasons people were drawn to these … [Read more...]

Scanning Through History

Joe Romero_HP

It’s the ultimate combination of old and new. Decked out in full body armor as a gladiator from the ancient Roman Empire, Senior Harry Rol clamps on his helmet and steps onto a 3-D printing scanner in the University of Mary Washington’s 21st century classroom known as the ThinkLab. “You really look the part,” said Associate Professor of Classics Joe Romero, as Rol strikes a pose, knees bent with shield and sword at the ready. Rol, a classics and computer science major, is one of 10 students in UMW’s inaugural course known simply as 3-D Pompeii. The class combines the study of ancient history with cutting edge 3-D printing technology. Students design their own historically accurate replicas and print three- dimensional miniature models. As a final project, the class will create and print a 3-D version of the ancient city of Pompeii before it was buried in volcanic ash in 79 A.D. The unique classroom brings together students from the varied disciplines of computer … [Read more...]

A Palate for Poverty

Jeff Paddock, Two Dollar Challenge 2015

The human body can go three weeks without food – a fact that most people hope to never test. Yet University of Mary Washington senior Jeffrey Paddock is certainly on his way. No stranger to hunger, the international affairs and philosophy major has joined the Two Dollar Challenge at UMW all four years of his college duration. He’s even lived on two dollars a day for a full month while studying abroad in Peru. And this April, Paddock has added a four-day fast as part of his last challenge at UMW. The Two Dollar Challenge is a five-day program, founded in 2006 at UMW, that challenges college and high school students across the United States to live on just two dollars a day—as nearly half the world’s population does—in an effort to raise awareness of global poverty. Participants buy food, hygiene products and other necessities from two dollars each day while following other rules designed to simulate obstacles faced by people living in poverty. Paddock first learned about … [Read more...]

Celebrating Acceptance


Nicole Dobson can’t keep her fingers off her hot pink iPhone. In the few minutes’ walk from her room in Willard Hall to the ITCC, the UMW senior’s Facebook “likes” have revved up. “182,” she says, eyes glued to the screen in her hands. “183!” Dobson’s mid-March post? “BIG DAY – I have been accepted to … Columbia University.” Rewind nearly a decade to another big day. “I faced things no 13-year-old should have to face,” said Dobson, who was asleep in the backseat of her family’s minivan when an 18-wheeler slammed it from behind. She was thrown through a window and 30 feet from the car; suffered a traumatic brain injury, 11 broken bones, and a punctured lung; and spent three weeks in a coma. As she pushed through therapy, learning to walk, talk – and think – all over again, the young field hockey player from Santa Fe realized she’d never be the same. Now, UMW and its Center for International Education (CIE) have proven her right. Just not in the way she’d … [Read more...]

Lifted Learning

Omar Aminzay1_HP

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


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...]

A Degree of Balance


It’s 2 a.m. when Joshua Bailey slides behind the wheel of his car, the last one left in the star-lit mall lot. He checks his phone for missed texts. “Hey JB, we’re going out …” “Josh, you able to chill tonight?” By now, though, at the end of the UMW senior’s late shift at Splitsville, most of his classmates have called it a night. One of nine children, Bailey knew he’d have to work to pay his way through college, but Double Drive wasn’t his first stop. Like many of the 234 transfer students UMW admitted last semester, he got his start at community college. A star business student, he’ll earn a bachelor’s degree this summer. But with a 50-hour job, 20-minute commute, 12 credit hours, and one fiancée, it’s been a balancing act. “You have to be conscious of what you do with your time. How much TV do you watch? How many video games do you play?” Bailey said. “You have to take a bullet in that area.” Growing up, his large family ran on teamwork. He shared a room with … [Read more...]

Skating to Success

Brooke Turner_HP

Brooke Turner flies down College Avenue, four wheels at her feet and a head full of music. She’s humming. “I feel like Superman …” The first line of a favorite song, it mirrors the vibe the UMW senior gets when she glides across campus on her skateboard. Invincible. Her unique way of getting to class, as fresh as her passion for empowering others, has steered her toward a bachelor’s degree in sociology. She plans to keep those wheels turning at Mary Washington, even after she graduates in May. “My whole life I’ve had a passion for teaching,” said Turner, who aims to attend UMW’s Master of Education program in the fall. “Helping and caring for others is something I strive to do every day. It’s something that comes naturally to me.” Her nurturing nature, especially for underprivileged children, has led Turner to make some powerful contributions in the Fredericksburg community. Through internships with Big Brothers, Big Sisters, and James Monroe High School, where she … [Read more...]

Patient Care

Mary Loyd_HP

Mary Loyd examined Beverly Howell a final time before the patient’s discharge from the Stafford radiation oncology center. Before leaving the center, Howell wrapped her arms around the registered nurse in a warm hug. “You’re my scarecrow,” she told Loyd as she returned her embrace. “Remember what Dorothy told the scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz? I’m going to miss you the most.” Loyd takes her role as the beloved scarecrow to heart with all her patients. That’s why the 30-year veteran joined the University of Mary Washington’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing-Completion Program last fall. She knows that the all-important degree will bolster her arsenal of nursing skills and help her reach her career goal as a patient care navigator. “When patients come in for treatment, they’re scared,” said Loyd, who is part of a collaborative team of doctors, nurses and radiation therapists at the Stafford oncology center operated by Mary Washington Healthcare (MWH). “They need encouragement. … [Read more...]

A Thirst for Theatre


Austin Bouchard had no clue about a major or a career path when he auditioned for a University of Mary Washington theatre production before stepping foot on the Fredericksburg campus his freshman year. Now four years later, not only has the senior theatre major found direction as an actor, he’s directing his first full-length theatre production. It all began with that first audition. Bouchard had acted in high school and, on a whim, decided to submit an online audition for a production of Rent. He learned that he landed a lead role in the play shortly after he arrived at UMW. “I’d been in class for all of one day, and all of a sudden I’m in this huge production,” said Bouchard. Despite a successful performance, he put theatre on the backburner. He wanted to get a well-rounded experience at UMW, so he took a computer science class and soon declared it as his major. Then, an art class rekindled a love for oil painting, so he added a major in studio art. “The more you … [Read more...]