Up Close and Personal

Katie Wilson with sea lion[2]_HP

  Charlie Reed surveyed the marine life surrounding him as he snorkeled off the coast of the Galapagos Islands. Suddenly, two black, glassy eyes gazed back at him. He stared face-to-face at a 200-pound female sea lion. “At first, it was a little scary,” the University of Mary Washington senior said. “Then you realize they are just trying to play.” The Galapagos Islands, the site of a UMW faculty-led Spring Break trip, are known for their biological diversity – and for wildlife that haven’t been conditioned to be afraid of humans. Reed and his 23 fellow UMW students experienced that firsthand during their nine-day trip, a joint effort by Andrew Dolby, professor of biology, and Melanie Szulczewski, assistant professor of environmental science. The trip was one of five faculty-led study abroad experiences over Spring Break, including in Quebec, Guatemala, Austria and India. “What makes this course unique is that it is holistic,” Dolby said. Students will receive … [Read more...]

Immersed in Guyana

cuccinelli airplane

Artifacts from the indigenous Amazonian people known as the Waiwai surround Anthropology Professor Laura Mentore as she pores over her latest research—cultural perceptions of water in light of climate change—in her office at the University of Mary Washington. Each artifact from the villagers in the tiny South American country of Guyana has a story. The shaman’s basket contains a deer bone flute and other instruments used to heal community members; the 7-foot longbow attests to the Waiwai’s claim of making the longest bows of all the indigenous groups of Guyana; then there is the matapi, a long woven instrument that looks like a giant Chinese finger trap, which is used by women to process cassava—the main staple crop of most indigenous peoples of Amazonia. Mentore’s roots run deep in Guyana. Her husband, George, a professor at the University of Virginia, is originally from a coastal town in the South American country and her two children, Kamina, 6, and Elka, 2, have traditional … [Read more...]

Building Global Leaders

Tanzania_Homepage

  In a small village in Tanzania, Mama Anna teaches local children from a makeshift classroom in her home. She greets everyone in the village by name and always looks for ways to help others, even in the face of her positive HIV diagnosis. “As a leader, she is innovative, compassionate and committed,” said Meagan Holbrook, a 2013 graduate of the University of Mary Washington. “Those three traits enable her to do great things in her community and allow others to benefit from her talents.” Holbrook and eight UMW students traveled to Tanzania in July as part of a faculty-led study abroad program. The 14-day trip, led by Vice President for Student Affairs Doug Searcy, was the culmination of last semester’s “Cultural Leadership in Tanzania” leadership seminar course. “I think in America sometimes we lose sight of what community means and what family means,” Holbrook said. “In Tanzania, even when people may not have had the time or the resources, they welcomed us into … [Read more...]

A World Class Education

Jose alternate_web

Jose Sainz was 18 when he left his home in the bustling city of Bilbao, Spain, to live with a host family in a one-stoplight Michigan town. “Being flown out to the middle of Detroit, it was like, ‘Where do I go from here?’ ” Sainz, UMW associate professor of Spanish, said about the start of his experience as an exchange student in the ’80s. But confusion turned to confidence as he got used to American culture and learned to thrive in it. Since he stepped onto the Fredericksburg campus in 2001, Sainz has pushed to give Mary Washington students the same opportunity he had. Each year since, he has led students to his native Bilbao. And in 2011, he established the Center for International Education. Now, as the center’s first director, he wants all UMW students to study abroad. “It really complements their education,” regardless of major, said Sainz, an authority on the history, politics, and culture of 20th-century Spain. He earned a master’s degree in foreign language and … [Read more...]