Lift Off

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Olivia Schiermeyer led fifth graders in a countdown as she manned a miniature rocket launcher at the “3…2…1 Lift Off” station. Several covered their ears in anticipation of the blast. … [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...]

Wheels of Change

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Carole Garmon found her inspiration among piles of trash. On a trip to the Stafford County dump, the chair of the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Mary Washington snapped up what others might have passed by without a second glance– two dirty, dilapidated bicycles. Now, more than a year later, Garmon and her art students are collecting and refurbishing discarded or broken-down bikes. They are embellishing them with their own artistic spin, with plans to launch an informal bike share program this semester. “What started with me bringing in two bikes has grown into the Art Bike/Shared Bike project,” Garmon said. In tandem with Garmon’s efforts, the President’s Council on Sustainability is also exploring ways to make the university more bike-friendly through a formal bike plan. Joni Wilson, director of sustainability, serves as the bridge between both groups. She and Garmon hope to debut two finished bikes in conjunction with RecycleMania, an annual … [Read more...]

Family Ties

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University of Mary Washington senior captain Sam Partonen has enjoyed personal and team success as a member of the women’s basketball team. During her three years at UMW, she earned a first team title on the All-Capital Athletic Conference women's basketball team in both 2012 and 2013, and she joined her teammates among the Elite 8 in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III Women's Basketball Tournament, also in 2012. In fact, her coach and teammates agree that she’s the thread that ties the team together. Coach Deena Applebury called Partonen a “key contributing factor” in all the success of their team. Aby Diop agrees that Partonen is a great influence to the team through her positivity and willingness to help her teammates, on and off the court. “Specifically on the court, Sam is a phenomenal player who works hard every second she is on the court,” said Diop, a senior forward. “As a captain and leader she is always motivating us and leading … [Read more...]

Surgeon Scholar

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Chronicles of Courage

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Seven years have passed since Retired Marine Sergeant Kenny Lyon sat down with CBS’s Scott Pelley on “60 Minutes.” With a wire holding his jaw together, Lyon vowed that he would fight to regain everything back that he lost in a mortar attack on May 1, 2006, while serving in Iraq. Today, Lyon is well on his way. He loves to entertain friends, race cars and is in his first year of classes at the University of Mary Washington. Thanks to his classmates at UMW, his miraculous story of recovery will become a part of American history through the Library of Congress’s Veterans History Project. The Veterans History Project of the American Folklife Center, a research center of the Library of Congress, collects and preserves personal stories from veterans so future generations can learn about the realities of war. Lyon is one of 24 veterans who were interviewed by UMW students to have their personal stories of service recorded in history. Every fall since the creation of the project … [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...]

A Second Chance

Nicole Dobson (center) is president of UMW's Students With Disabilities and Their Allies (SDATA).

Nicole Dobson never saw the truck that changed her life. She was asleep in the backseat when the 18-wheeler slammed into her parents’ minivan, sending it toppling head over tail and tossing Dobson 30 feet from the car. When she woke up three weeks later, the vibrant eighth-grade field hockey player was gone. “I went to sleep perfectly normal that one day,” said Dobson, who broke 13 bones, punctured a lung, and suffered a traumatic brain injury in the crash. “I just remember coming to terms with my ruined physical and mental states.” As she pushed through therapy, learning to walk, talk – and think – all over again, she made a decision. She would weave into her future the accident that had nearly stolen it away. Now a Mary Washington junior, Dobson hopes to use her experience to help others deal with their own disabilities – through a career in speech-language pathology and as president of UMW’s Students With Disabilities and Their Allies (SDATA). “Having almost lost life … [Read more...]

Stage Presence

Nicholas McGovern '14 plays Melchior in "Spring Awakening."
Photo by Geoff Greene.

Nicholas McGovern ’14 never planned to major in theater at the University of Mary Washington. He never considered auditioning for a play and had no idea he had the talent to make it on stage. He didn’t realize that he could sing, let alone belt out a tune in front of hundreds or be accepted into a competitive summer acting school.  He never dreamed he would play a lead in the musical “Spring Awakening” at Klein Theatre. But, in a space of a year, it all happened. And it all started with baseball. Growing up in Springfield, Va., McGovern was surrounded by his sports-loving family. Between McGovern and his cousins, they covered all ranges of sports from ice hockey and lacrosse to cheerleading and collegiate sailing. McGovern swam, played football and baseball, for which he was recruited to play on the varsity team at UMW. Although he declared a major in business, McGovern took a theater class during his freshmen year to fill a general education requirement. In that … [Read more...]

Inside the Beltway

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Senior Evan Lauderdale gazes through a glass partition at two co-hosts, poised in front of microphones and computers in a Sirius XM recording studio. Six large television screens cover the wall, tuned to news organizations from around the world. The red light above the studio door beams red, signaling the show is live. “This is the Politics Powered by Twitter show; this is Evan,” Lauderdale greets the show’s first radio caller. “Are you ready to go on the air?” Lauderdale, a business administration and political science double major, is an intern for the “Politics Powered by Twitter” program on the POTUS channel – the ‘P’ stands for politics, not president – which airs from 2 to 3 p.m. each weekday. He’s one of several University of Mary Washington students who are interning in Washington, D.C., this semester, in positions from Capitol Hill to government agencies to media organizations. Lauderdale also helps hosts with their blogs and social media content and edits … [Read more...]