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...]

Basketball Buddies


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All In


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...]