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...]

A Step Ahead

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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...]

World Ready

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Sequoi Phipps has been fascinated by cultures since she can remember. Born into a colorful Caribbean family, she’s intrigued by traditions around the globe. She got hooked on geography when she took a world regions course her freshman year at the University of Mary Washington. From her laptop screen on the Fredericksburg campus, she traveled online with UMW Professor Donald Rallis as he hop-scotched from one exotic site to another, visiting places such as Istanbul, Rwanda, Johannesburg, Malaysia, Cambodia and China. “We didn’t just look at geography and the architecture and the people,” she said. “We looked at the culture and how people interacted with other cultures. Dr. Rallis made you think from so many angles.” Now a junior geography major, she has found her niche in urban planning. From Spanish style architecture on the West Coast to Victorian-style downtown buildings, she is amazed by the influence a nationality can have on the design of a city. “I am interested … [Read more...]

Standing Up Against Sexism

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Ask Chris Kilmartin what his ideal stage would be, and he may divulge a secret wish to appear on “The Daily Show” trading barbs with political funny guy Jon Stewart. Still, Kilmartin, a part-time stand-up comedian and full-time University of Mary Washington psychology professor, says he is just as happy making an impact in the classroom and on the national stage—shattering stereotypes about gender psychology and bringing attention to the serious issue of sexual violence. A 20-year-plus UMW veteran, he’s the author of “The Masculine Self,” and co-author of “The Pain Behind the Mask: Overcoming Masculine Depression,” which have been translated for overseas markets. And he’s touring the country with his revived solo show, “Crimes Against Nature,” a humorous, compelling and personal look at the pressures, absurdities and contradictions of masculinity.   Kilmartin has made a career of navigating difficult topics in a way that makes the taboo approachable and opens … [Read more...]