All In

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Christian Hughes flings Eagle gear into the crowd on Ball Circle and adlibs a joke into the mike. The UMW junior’s perfectly comfortable onstage as a Family Weekend emcee, with no memorized material. Just confidence. That’s all he brought with him to college – no pictures, no posters, no high school pals. He saw Mary Washington as a place to start fresh and try different things. Determined to soak it all in, he joined many of the University’s more than 120 student organizations, finding new friends, new interests, and a new sense of self. “A light bulb went off in my head that what you do here will define the rest of your life,” said Hughes, a double major in political science and economics. Growing up in Charlottesville, he was the kind of kid who took charge, planning an alternate high school prom and launching his own landscaping company. His school principal mother and fire captain father met as undergrads and cast so much school spirit onto their children Hughes knew … [Read more...]

A Win for Wesley

Senior and Men's Tennis Captain Tyler Carey. Photo Credit: Bob Martin

It was a bittersweet moment. As the Fredericksburg campus at the University of Mary Washington sweltered under the August heat, senior Tyler Carey met Wesley Berry, a 19-year-old boy with cancer, for the first time. “It was great to feel like I was helping someone out,” said Carey. “But at the same time, you know that this kid has cancer and that’s never something you want to hear.” Carey was matched with Berry through the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation, a nonprofit organization that pairs children and families battling brain tumors with college and high school sports teams. Wesley was 12 years old when he first found out he had cancer in 2007 and has since been in and out of the hospital, undergoing radiation treatment, chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant. Carey, originally from Richmond, learned about the foundation through his dad, who suggested he get involved. “It didn’t even cross my mind to say no,” said Carey. “I wanted to help change someone’s life.” That … [Read more...]

Analyzing Antarctica

Katie Mulrey in Antarctica with the ANITA balloon

It turns out that life in Antarctica is quite similar to life in college. Just ask Katie Mulrey, a University of Mary Washington alumna studying cosmic rays through NASA’s ANITA collaboration in Antarctica. Now in its third campaign, ANITA is a scientific balloon that detects radio signals from neutrinos and cosmic rays, the highest energy particles in the universe. Following her undergraduate degree in physics and mathematics, the 2008 UMW graduate went straight into her Ph.D., studying high energy particle astrophysics at the University of Delaware.  During the first year of the program, students choose a research project, and ANITA provided an opportunity for travel. “Traveling to remote parts of the world to do science is my cup of tea,” said Mulrey, who is originally from Merrimack, New Hampshire. The project includes 30 team members representing 10 institutions in the United States and abroad, although Mulrey was one of just 12 who traveled to Antarctica’s U.S. … [Read more...]

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...]

Face of Feminism

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Paige McKinsey was in middle school when the March for Women’s Rights played out on Capitol Hill. But there she was, rallying with her mother and tens of thousands of others. “That was the first time I ever experienced the word ‘feminism,’ ” said McKinsey, a UMW senior majoring in women’s and gender studies and international relations. “It was a really important experience, participating in the system at such a young age.” She could make a difference, she realized, just by showing up. Not that McKinsey, now a full-fledged feminist, “just shows up” for anything. If she isn’t touting equal rights at Lee Hall, she’s tweeting the dangers of adopting Greek life or rallying for the ERA in D.C. She’ll take that passion with her to West Africa when she enters the Peace Corps this spring. But the strides she’s made for Feminists United will remain at Mary Washington. “She’s taken them out of the shadows to be a real, critical part of campus life,” said Women’s and Gender Studies Chair … [Read more...]

A Digital Kind of Paintbrush

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A sprawling American beech tree outside of Woodard Campus Center doubles as an artists’ canvas for art students at the University of Mary Washington. This fall, Assistant Professor Jason Robinson’s eight advanced video technique students created imaginative digital designs through one-minute films projected onto the tree. The technique, called projection-mapping, requires careful consideration of the shape, texture and color of the platform’s surface when designing. “Moving edited footage onto the tree made it transform from two to three dimensional,” said Tyler Duenas, a senior and studio art major. “The way my video looked on the tree was what I hoped that it would be. All the colors came through and the shape of the tree activated the faces in my video.” “Projection-mapping is a real-world skill,” said Robinson, UMW’s first digital art professor in the Department of Art and Art History. Commonly used in theater productions and stage shows, projection-mapping requires deep … [Read more...]

Revealing Moments

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Parliamentary Predictions

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The European Parliament always intrigued Girard Bucello, but the University of Mary Washington junior never thought he’d be on the frontlines in Switzerland assisting with inaugural research about the European Union’s governing body. This fall, he’s spending the semester studying at the University of Geneva involved in cutting-edge research about the voting patterns of the organization of 28 countries. The topic has been virtually unaddressed since the Parliament has been in existence for only 50 years. “Ultimately, we want to understand how the European Parliament works, but since it’s such a new government body, there’s not a lot of data. That’s where we come in,” Bucello said. “Looking at how [members] cast their votes lets us predict what the outcome of any particular vote might be, but it also tells us a lot about what the European Union itself is going to look like in five or 10 years. It’s very interesting to be involved in a field of research where there’s actually not a … [Read more...]

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...]

Smashing a Warlord

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If you want to fight a warlord in Africa, you might rally the armies of local nations. Or you might smash pumpkins. At least that’s what Robin Brazier, president of Invisible Children at the University of Mary Washington, did to join the organization’s campaign against the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Central Africa. A senior and geography major, Brazier became interested in Invisible Children as a freshman. Founded in 2004, Invisible Children is a charity and lobbying organization working to bring awareness and an end to the abduction of children into the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Central Africa. In 2003, three filmmakers traveled to Africa in search of a story and found that Joseph Kony, leader of the resistance army, was kidnapping and abusing children, forcing them to serve as soldiers in his army. UMW’s chapter of Invisible Children holds awareness and fundraising events to support the campaign against Kony. The chapter is best known on campus for its annual date … [Read more...]