UMW Geography Professor Teaches Classes from South Africa

Donald Rallis in South Africa

On the return trip from a recent visit to South Africa, Donald Rallis missed a connecting flight to Washington, D.C., yet still managed to teach his classes--from a hotel room at London’s Heathrow Airport. The associate professor of geography is no stranger to distance learning. Previously, Rallis has taught classes from China, using Skype, and Cambodia, with an Internet program called Dimdim. While in the past Rallis experienced difficulties with the Internet connection abroad, he successfully taught classes during his most recent trip to South Africa, once again using Dimdim. For his four fall 2010 classes, he made sure they all were studying Africa at the time of his departure. “In regional geography, I think it gives an immediacy to the experience if I’m there,” Rallis said. “It helps bring to life something that might not be as lively on the pages of a textbook.” Sarah Alvarez, a student in Rallis’ geography of sub-Saharan Africa … [Read more...]

UMW Microfinance Group Launches Business Plan Competition in Honduras

UMW students in La Ceiba pose with El Progreso Mayor Alexander Lopez (foreground.)

A microfinance institution run by University of Mary Washington students will expand in December by offering grants and training to entrepreneurs in the El Progreso community of Honduras. La Ceiba MFI, created by UMW students to lift entrepreneurial-minded Hondurans from poverty, is initiating its first-ever business plan competition at the end of the fall semester. The competition will allow El Progreso residents to submit business ideas to La Ceiba. Established entrepreneurs will be eligible for business grants, while aspiring entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to take financial literacy and business development courses to help advance business plans. Previously, La Ceiba has supported businesswomen in the Honduran communities Villa Soleada, Las Brias and Siete de Abril by providing microloans. In 2009, the UMW Bookstore began selling eco-friendly clutches, earrings and other items made by Honduran artisans to support Esfuerzo de Amor, an employment program operated by La … [Read more...]

UMW Philharmonic Concert to Feature Disney, Holiday Classics


Mickey Mouse making brooms come to life won’t be the only magic on display at the University of Mary Washington’s annual Holiday POPS concert, to be held at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, Dec. 2-3 in George Washington Hall, Dodd Auditorium. In its 40th holiday performance, the UMW Philharmonic Orchestra hopes to mesmerize audiences, playing traditional yuletide melodies and several works from Disney’s “Fantasia” while showing the 1940 classic on a large screen in Dodd Auditorium. “It’s going to be really fun for the audience,” Philharmonic Orchestra Conductor Kevin Bartram said. “It begins the holiday season in Fredericksburg.” During the Friday show, the orchestra will give away free trips to Disney World to audience members. The giveaway, sponsored by Dream Travel Fredericksburg and The Walt Disney Company, includes airfare for four, and resort stay and park tickets for eight. “This really is a rare concert, … [Read more...]

UMW Two Dollar Challenge Selected to Present at Global Conference

Meredith Greenwell ‘11 (left) poses with Professor Shawn Humphrey and Laura Dick ‘13.

What began several years ago as a class project for an introductory macroeconomics course at the University of Mary Washington will gain national recognition during the first U.S. Summit for Global Citizen Diplomacy in Washington, D.C. The Two Dollar Challenge, with its nonprofit partner Opportunity International, was among 10 groups invited to the November 16-19 conference because of their innovative approaches to engaging citizens in the worldwide fight on poverty. The partnership will share its initiative Wednesday, November 17 during the summit convened by the U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy in conjunction with the U.S. State Department. Representing Two Dollar Challenge from UMW are Shawn Humphrey, Two Dollar Challenge founder and an associate professor of economics; executive director Erin Kelly ’09; national president Meredith Greenwell ’11; and campus president Laura Dick ’13. The Two Dollar Challenge has been adopted at other colleges since it was … [Read more...]

UMW Student Creates Learning Game for Elementary School Youngsters

UMW computer science major Jacob Bowman designed an interactive learning game for iPod Touch devices that will help kindergarteners and first-graders hone their short-vowel skills.

Customized elementary school education? There’s an app for that. Kindergarteners and first-graders can credit University of Mary Washington junior Jacob Bowman for designing an interactive learning game for iPod Touch devices. The game is available for free download in the Apple App Store. The “Short Vowel Mahjong” application, otherwise known as an app, is intended for anyone wanting to reinforce short vowel sounds or start short vowel recognition. In the first three days after it launched, the game was downloaded 109 times. During the app’s development, Bowman was advised by Associate Professor of Computer Science Jennifer Polack-Wahl. “He did all the artwork himself, which made it easier to submit it to iTunes,” said Polack-Wahl, who submitted the game to Apple before it was approved. “I don’t see myself making money off my art, but I do like to incorporate it into computer science,” Bowman, a computer science major, said. … [Read more...]

Gari Melchers Home and Studio to Host Realism Exhibit

Pictured is Happiness (Gianna), 2006, by Loren Kloosterboer, acrylic on masonite.

Gari Melchers Home and Studio at Belmont will host the exhibition “The New Reality: The Frontier of Realism in the 21st Century” from Saturday, December 4 through Sunday, February 27, 2011. The exhibition, organized by the International Guild of Realism, features 56 artists from the United States, Canada, the Netherlands, Korea, Russia, France, Iceland, Romania, Norway and Finland, with 65 paintings in a wide variety of media. The exhibition incorporates the latest developments in realism while comparing these new works with their historical predecessors. Traditionally, realist techniques encompass a truthful reproduction of a person, place or thing. However, modern technologies of photography, television, movies and the computer have aided in the evolution of realism found in the exhibit. “The New Reality” was developed as a traveling tour by Smith Kramer Fine Art Services in Kansas City, Mo. Gari Melchers Home and Studio is a 27-acre estate and former … [Read more...]

UMW Hosts Red Flag Campaign to Combat Dating Violence


A student club at the University of Mary Washington is leading an effort on the Fredericksburg campus to raise awareness of dating violence on college campuses. This week, Student Anti-Violence Educators (SAVE) launched the Red Flag Campaign, a nationwide movement to combat dating violence. The group lined Campus Walk with red flags and posted fliers throughout campus that address emotional abuse, coercion, excessive jealousy, isolation, sexual assault, victim blaming and stalking. Women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest per capita rate of intimate partner violence, according to figures supplied by the Red Flag Campaign. “We’re so susceptible to that violence,” said Shelley Hillberry, president of SAVE. “It doesn’t have to be this scary thing, it can be changed.” She hopes the campaign will help open discussion on campus, saying dating violence is “not a taboo topic.” As part of the campaign, male students, … [Read more...]

Civil Rights Activist Roger Wilkins to Present James Farmer Lecture at UMW

Civil rights activist and award-winning journalist Roger Wilkins will give a public lecture at the University of Mary Washington on Thursday, Nov. 18, as a James Farmer visiting lecturer. The talk will be held in George Washington Hall, Dodd Auditorium, at 7 p.m., and will be followed by a question and answer session as well as a reception. Wilkins served as assistant attorney general during the Johnson Administration and shared Pulitzer Prize recognition with Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein and Herblock for The Washington Post’s 1972 Watergate coverage. In addition to the Post, Wilkins has written for The New York Times and frequently appears in the editorial sections of the two newspapers, among others. He authored “Jefferson’s Pillow: The Founding Fathers and the Dilemma of Black Patriotism,” and is a regular commentator on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. Currently, Wilkins serves as chairman of the NAACP Crisis magazine, chair of the board of trustees of the … [Read more...]

UMW Names University Librarian


Rosemary Huff Arneson has been selected as the librarian for the University of Mary Washington. Arneson, who will begin work at UMW in January, will administer all aspects of library operations, including the university archives. She succeeds University Librarian Emeritus LeRoy S. Strohl III, who retired in May after 25 years at Mary Washington. “I am excited that Rosemary Arneson will join the Mary Washington family,” said Provost Jay Harper. “She will bring experience, technical expertise and proven leadership to UMW libraries.” Arneson has served as university librarian for Carmichael Library at the University of Montevallo in Montevallo, Ala., since 1999. In addition, she served as chair of the university’s web advisory committee and encouraged the library’s use of Web 2.0 technologies, such as Facebook, Flickr and the instant messaging platform Meebo. Arneson has given numerous presentations addressing the use of technology in the … [Read more...]

UMW Students, Vice President Network to Combat Domestic Violence

James Sennett poses with Vice President Joe Biden.

University of Mary Washington senior Shelley Hillberry and junior James Sennett attended an invitation-only reception at the home of Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, September 22 to recognize the 16th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The students were chosen for their involvement in Student Anti-Violence Educators (SAVE), a UMW club which seeks to educate and promote awareness of sexual assault and relationship violence. The reception was held by the pool behind the vice president’s residence, located on the grounds of the United States Naval Observatory. “It was really intimate,” said Hillberry of Spotsylvania County. “[Biden] gave me a big hug. He was just hanging out, talking to people and mingling.” The reception opened with a speech from Dr. Biden, who is a full-time English professor at a community college near the White House. Her remarks were followed by a longer speech from the vice president, who … [Read more...]