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...]

A Helping Hand

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A golf cart pulled up to the front of Randolph Hall, loaded down with the makings of a college bedroom and a new life at the University of Mary Washington. Within seconds, volunteers, including senior Paige Gaddy, swarmed the vehicle, snapped up boxes, welcomed the new students, and quickly put anxious parents at ease. “It was nice to see the smiles on the faces of incoming students and their parents as they were surprised that they were receiving so much help,” Gaddy said. “Not only is it a positive experience for incoming freshmen and their parents, but also the move-in crew. I was surprised at how much volunteering for move-in got me excited and ready for the year to begin.” She was on the other side of the equation just a year ago. She transferred to UMW in 2012 after receiving an associate’s degree from Tidewater Community College. Gaddy was one of 150 upperclassmen who woke up early on Friday to move their newest classmates, both transfers and first-time freshmen, … [Read more...]

Patient Doctor

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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...]

Building Global Leaders

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  In a small village in Tanzania, Mama Anna teaches local children from a makeshift classroom in her home. She greets everyone in the village by name and always looks for ways to help others, even in the face of her positive HIV diagnosis. “As a leader, she is innovative, compassionate and committed,” said Meagan Holbrook, a 2013 graduate of the University of Mary Washington. “Those three traits enable her to do great things in her community and allow others to benefit from her talents.” Holbrook and eight UMW students traveled to Tanzania in July as part of a faculty-led study abroad program. The 14-day trip, led by Vice President for Student Affairs Doug Searcy, was the culmination of last semester’s “Cultural Leadership in Tanzania” leadership seminar course. “I think in America sometimes we lose sight of what community means and what family means,” Holbrook said. “In Tanzania, even when people may not have had the time or the resources, they welcomed us into … [Read more...]

Potter’s Fire

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In Search of Turtles

Senior Bryan Finch measures a turtle he found near the Fredericksburg Canal.

An uncommon turtle discovery has sparked detective work between a University of Mary Washington professor and his students that will help shed light on the species in the Fredericksburg region. More than two years ago, Professor of Biology Werner Wieland asked students in one of his classes to bring in a local animal. Much to Wieland’s surprise, one student brought in a species of turtle – a yellow-bellied slider – that is not known to occur in the Fredericksburg area. The find brought up questions for Wieland— was this turtle an isolated case or is there a bigger population established? With the help of seniors Yoshi Takeda and Bryan Finch, Wieland has spent the last two summers finding out. Wieland’s project is one of dozens funded through UMW’s Summer Science Institute, a 10-week undergraduate research program started in 1999. The students and professors will present their work at an all-day symposium on Wednesday, July 24. This summer, Wieland and his students … [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...]

Welcome Home

Orientation leader Radwan Jarrar (far right) joins other OLs on the steps of George Washington Hall during Orientation.

When a family walked toward Randolph Hall early on a Wednesday morning, luggage in hand, Radwan Jarrar was ready and waiting. “Good morning! Welcome to Mary Washington, your new home,” he said. Jarrar, a senior at the University of Mary Washington, is one of 35 orientation leaders, known as OLs, tasked with easing the transition to college life for nearly 900 new students. “I want to have them interact as much as they can and feel comfortable coming to me with questions,” he said. “That’s the foundation of being an OL to begin with.” This year, orientation at UMW took a different format than past years. Incoming students and their parents spent two days on campus at the end of June, learning about campus resources, becoming acquainted with student life and traditions and meeting faculty and administrators. Students also registered for their first semester of classes and met with academic advisers. “This orientation was created to establish an early connection to … [Read more...]

Seeds of Promise

Andrew Shipman '13 worked at Foode in downtown Fredericksburg while a student at UMW.

Life often takes an unconventional route. Just ask Andrew Shipman who graduated in May from the University of Mary Washington in American studies. As valedictorian of Fishburne Military School in Waynesboro, Shipman entered the Fredericksburg campus in 2006 full of determination, but within two years grew discouraged and stepped away from the classroom. He took jobs prepping food in Fredericksburg restaurants where he discovered a fascination for food. He cultivated his passion for cuisine at Veritas Vineyard  & Winery  near Charlottesville studying under classically trained chef Jonathan Burroughs. Already he distinguished sharp differences in local and non-local flavors as a teenager, which he learned while helping his father load and drive trucks at Standard Produce in Charlottesville. But he soon found himself ready for a new challenge. With a couple of years of real-world experience behind him, Shipman returned to UMW in 2010 with a new appreciation for … [Read more...]