Scanning Through History

Joe Romero_HP

It’s the ultimate combination of old and new. Decked out in full body armor as a gladiator from the ancient Roman Empire, Senior Harry Rol clamps on his helmet and steps onto a 3-D printing scanner in the University of Mary Washington’s 21st century classroom known as the ThinkLab. “You really look the part,” said Associate Professor of Classics Joe Romero, as Rol strikes a pose, knees bent with shield and sword at the ready. Rol, a classics and computer science major, is one of 10 students in UMW’s inaugural course known simply as 3-D Pompeii. The class combines the study of ancient history with cutting edge 3-D printing technology. Students design their own historically accurate replicas and print three- dimensional miniature models. As a final project, the class will create and print a 3-D version of the ancient city of Pompeii before it was buried in volcanic ash in 79 A.D. The unique classroom brings together students from the varied disciplines of computer … [Read more...]

A Thirst for Theatre

AustinBouchard-7_HP

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...]

Taking on Twitter

Photographer

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...]

Around the World in Nine Apps

Jennifer Polack Wahl 6

Nine applications in a year; thousands of downloads from all over the world; one dedicated UMW professor. Jennifer Polack-Wahl, professor of computer science, leads a small group of student researchers who in just 12 months is making a sizeable impact in elementary schools in the Commonwealth and across the nation. Polack-Wahl and the team, known as S.M.A.R.T. (Student Made Applications and Researching Technology), has created applications, or “apps,” for iPads, iPhones and iTouches specifically geared toward addressing Virginia SOL math and literacy requirements for elementary school students. This semester, the group released an app that focuses on the history of ancient Egypt. Apps on money and life science are in the works. Polack-Wahl is collaborating with the Charlottesville, Va., school district, which is using the apps, to make sure the content and format are effective. And with Apple technologymaking its way into elementary school classrooms, the S.M.A.R.T. team is … [Read more...]