Navigating the Past

Fariss-Hodder

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...]

Around the Globe in a Semester

Jennifer Greenwood (right) and Vidya Dwarakanath (left) are among more than 100 students in Donald Rallis' online regional world geography course.

Jennifer Greenwood is traveling the globe. Since January, the UMW freshman has visited a medieval cathedral in Worcester, England; interviewed a French student at Sorbonne University in Paris; and surveyed a lush tea plantation outside Rwanda’s capital city of Kigali. Before the semester’s end, she will have journeyed to more than 15 cities in 11 countries—all without ever leaving the Fredericksburg campus. She is one of 115 University of Mary Washington students touring the world with Associate Professor of Geography Donald Rallis through an online regional world geography course. “It’s like I’m there with Dr. Rallis,” said Greenwood, who plans to major in geography because of Rallis’ class.  “It’s amazing to be able to interact with someone who is across the globe. I’m able to connect on a personal level. I’m learning while he’s learning.” The ambitious course is the first of its kind at the university, and, to Rallis’ knowledge, may be unique throughout academia. The … [Read more...]