Smashing a Warlord

Photographer

If you want to fight a warlord in Africa, you might rally the armies of local nations. Or you might smash pumpkins. At least that’s what Robin Brazier, president of Invisible Children at the University of Mary Washington, did to join the organization’s campaign against the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Central Africa. A senior and geography major, Brazier became interested in Invisible Children as a freshman. Founded in 2004, Invisible Children is a charity and lobbying organization working to bring awareness and an end to the abduction of children into the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Central Africa. In 2003, three filmmakers traveled to Africa in search of a story and found that Joseph Kony, leader of the resistance army, was kidnapping and abusing children, forcing them to serve as soldiers in his army. UMW’s chapter of Invisible Children holds awareness and fundraising events to support the campaign against Kony. The chapter is best known on campus for its annual date … [Read more...]

World Ready

Sequoi_HP

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...]

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...]