UMW Students Compete for National Grant

Students from the University of Mary Washington are competing for a $5,000 grant from the Pepsi Refresh Project to fund their individual study project. For their project, the UMW computer science students are developing two games for iPod touch devices for students at Hartwood Elementary School in Stafford County.

The four students, with associate computer science professor Jennifer Polack-Wahl, have been working on the project all semester. The Pepsi grant would allow the students to purchase 17 iPods and a Mac computer for a kindergarten-first grade combined class at Hartwood Elementary. Students will continue to work on the games for the iPods over the summer and next semester.

Polack-Wahl has been working with teachers at Hartwood to develop games that will target specific areas of weakness for young students. One game will focus on single digit addition and the other will focus on coin recognition. Both games will be animated and interactive.

Starting April 1, UMW’s project will be eligible for voting on the Pepsi Refresh Web site. Members of the public can vote for their favorite project one time every day through April 30. The top 10 proposals in the $5,000 category will receive funding.

The Pepsi Refresh Project awards up to $1.3 million every month during 2010, in the categories of $5,000, $25,000, $50,000 and $250,000. The proposals must be from individuals, non-profit organizations or pro-social businesses that want to make a positive impact in the community. The ideas must have an impact within the United States and must be completed within a year of receiving the funds.

Members of the public can vote for UMW’s project at, starting April 1st. For more information, contact Polack-Wahl at (540) 654-1318.

About Brynn Boyer

Brynn Boyer is assistant director of media and public relations and a 2010 graduate of UMW.