Geography Students Spend Winter Break in Cambodia

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While winter break sent scores of college students scrambling for the comforts of home, UMW geography major Brian Brown spent his winter break out of the country for the very first time.  He was one of seven UMW seniors in Cambodia as part of a three-and-a-half week study abroad program with Associate Professor of Geography Donald Rallis and Assistant Dean of Academic Services Amber Huffman, who is a geography graduate of UMW. The students chronicled their journeys through blog posts and social media, like Brown’s description of his arrival in the country: A pop sounded from the rear of the car.  The driver slowly pulled off the dusty and dark avenue to assess the situation.  A haze hung in the air, tinted blue by a sign for a cheap hotel.  The back tire was flat.  I waited, watching motorcycles drift by at a carefree pace, while my first Cambodian acquaintance worked to get us back on the road. The winter break program, offered for the first time at Mary Washington, is one of … [Read more...]

UMW Political Science Professor Discusses ‘Arab Spring’ on Public Radio Show

Ranjit Singh, associate professor of political science

University of Mary Washington Associate Professor of Political Science Ranjit Singh will reflect on his experience with Bahrain’s royal family in relation to last year’s uprising in the Middle East during an interview on the “With Good Reason” public radio program beginning Saturday, January 7. The interview can be heard on January 7 at 4:30 p.m. on WCVE 88.9 FM and on Sunday, January 8 at 7 p.m. and Monday, January 9 at 12:30 a.m. on WAMU 88.5 FM. The segment, “Reflections on Arab Spring,” is expected to be online beginning the week of the show at http://withgoodreasonradio.org/2012/01/reflections-on-the-arab-spring/. From 1992 to 1993, Singh worked as a ghostwriter for one of the royal family members of Bahrain. He was allowed access to members of the royal family and got to know them on a personal level. Now, 20 years later, Singh is sharing his experiences with the man who would become the minister of information of Bahrain and a key figure in the country’s most recent … [Read more...]

UMW English Professor Receives Fellowship From Virginia Commission for the Arts

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Steve Watkins, professor of English at the University of Mary Washington, is a recipient of a 2011-2012 Artist Fellowship from the Virginia Commission for the Arts. The Virginia Commission of the Arts awards fellowships annually to artists residing in Virginia in recognition of creative excellence and to support their pursuit of artistic excellence. Watkins is one of four Virginia artists honored in the field of fiction. Each artist will receive a fellowship of $5,000. Watkins is the author of “Down Sand Mountain,” winner of the 2009 Golden Kite Award for Fiction from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, as well as “What Comes After,” a young adult novel published in 2011. His young adult novel “Juvie” is scheduled for publication in fall 2013. Watkins also is the author of a short story collection, “My Chaos Theory,” a finalist for the Paterson Fiction Prize and an honorable mention for the Library of Virginia Fiction Award. His non-fiction book “The Black O: … [Read more...]

UMW Debate Coach Named National Coach of the Year

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Adrienne Brovero, head debate coach at the University of Mary Washington, was honored with the Ross K. Smith National Coach of the Year Award from the National Debate Tournament. The award, given annually at the Wake Forest University intercollegiate debate tournament, is reserved for exceptional teachers who advance the forensic art. Brovero received this distinction during a ceremony on Friday, November 11 at Wake Forest University. “This award recognizes that Coach Brovero is one of the most distinguished intercollegiate debate coaches in the United States today,” said Timothy O’Donnell, director of debate at UMW. “There is no higher honor in the debate coaching profession and this recognition by her peers affirms what we at UMW have long known – Adrienne Brovero is one of the best debate coaches in the country.” Under Brovero’s leadership, members of the UMW debate team have been among the top 16 teams in the nations for much of the past five years, including a third place … [Read more...]

Where Great Minds Get Creative

Colin Rafferty, professor of English

Fourteen students recently sat in a circle in a University of Mary Washington classroom, framed by the view of falling leaves outside the large window. Some students rested their hands on laptops, others opted for the traditional stacks of papers and books. A handful of reusable water bottles and half-empty coffee cups decorated the otherwise sparse table. With the precision of scientists and the careful eye of artists, the group spent nearly an hour dissecting the original work of two students in the class. The professor sat in the circle with the students, guiding the discussion at forks in the road, careful not to dictate the direction. Once the critique drew to a close, applause erupted, as if to pay homage to the artistic endeavor. The scene offered a glimpse into the intricate creative writing process where tone, structure and narrative reign. “We never get to see writers in the act of writing, the way we can with actors or musicians or dancers,” said Colin … [Read more...]

UMW Professor Emeritus Receives National DAR Award

John Pearce

John N. Pearce, former director of the James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library and former professor of historic preservation at the University of Mary Washington, has been honored with the prestigious History Award from the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. The distinction, given for lifetime contribution to American history, is awarded to only seven Americans each year. Diana Wallace Perrussel, regent of the Overwharton Parish Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, presented the gold medal to Pearce on Saturday, November 12 at the residence of UMW alumna Judy Barton who nominated her former professor. “Who deserves this award more than John Pearce?” said Barton ’93 who spent more than a year pursuing the nomination. She considers herself lucky to have been his student. “He’s so full of knowledge in all subjects,” she said. Pearce was recognized for his leadership of the James Monroe Museum and his long-standing devotion to … [Read more...]

UMW Political Science Professor Presented in Washington D.C.

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Emile Lester, assistant professor of political science, has researched and written about the intersection of religion and education, along the way developing his argument that not only is teaching religion in public schools possible, it is necessary. Through a case study of Modesto, Calif., the first school district in America to require a course in world religions, Lester works to dispel the notion that secularists and conservatives can’t work together. Instead, he argues in “Teaching about Religions: A Democratic Approach for Public Schools” that balanced world religions courses are essential for fostering tolerance among young people. Lester discussed the book at a forum on Tuesday, November 1 at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. The forum, “God in the Classroom: Exploring the Place of Religion in Public Schools,” was presented by the Religious Freedom Project at the Newseum and Wesley Theological Seminary. The evening also included the Washington D.C. premiere of the … [Read more...]

UMW English Professor Receives Milton Society Award

Ben LaBreche, assistant professor of English

Ben LaBreche, assistant professor in English at the University of Mary Washington, has been selected to receive the prestigious James Holly Hanford Award from the Milton Society of America. The award recognizes a distinguished published article on John Milton, the 17th century poet and author of Paradise Lost, and will be shared this year by two recipients. LaBreche won the prize for his essay, “Espousing Liberty: The Gender of Liberalism and the Politics of Miltonic Divorce.” The essay, selected from among the more than 100 Miltonic articles published each year, appeared in English Literary History, a quarterly journal of The Johns Hopkins University for scholars and educators in English and American literature, literary history and theory. The Milton Society will present the award to LaBreche at the annual dinner meeting of the society at the Modern Language Association convention in Seattle in January 2012. LaBreche currently is writing a book on Milton’s conception of liberty … [Read more...]

Claudia Emerson Reads at National Book Festival

Claudia Emerson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and English professor at the University of Mary Washington, will read from her work at the Library of Congress’ National Book Festival. Emerson’s reading will take place on Saturday, September 24 from 2:35 p.m. to 3:20 p.m. on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The festival is free and open to the public.

Fredericksburg, Va. – Claudia Emerson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and English professor at the University of Mary Washington, read from her work at the Library of Congress’ National Book Festival. Emerson’s reading took place on Saturday, September 24 from 2:35 p.m. to 3:20 p.m. on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The festival was free and open to the public. Emerson read from “Pharaoh, Pharaoh,” “Pinion: An Elegy,” “Late Wife” and her latest work, “Figure Studies,” as part of the Poetry & Prose pavilion at the festival. Fellow authors at the pavilion included Michael Cunningham, Dave Eggers and Rita Dove. A book signing session followed Emerson’s reading from 4 to 5 p.m. In addition, Kelly Cherry, a 1961 alumna of the University of Mary Washington and Virginia poet laureate, read from her work on Sunday, September 25 from 1:55 p.m. to 2:40 p.m. in the State Poets Laureate pavilion. She has published 20 books of fiction, poetry and nonfiction; eight chapbooks; and … [Read more...]

Political Analyst, Media Expert Moderates Fredericksburg Forum

Stephen Farnsworth, author, political analyst and professor, will serve as moderator for the University of Mary Washington’s Fredericksburg Forum on Wednesday, September 28. The program, which features political strategist Karl Rove, will be held at 8 p.m. in George Washington Hall’s Dodd Auditorium. Tickets are required.

Fredericksburg, Va. – Stephen Farnsworth, author, political analyst and professor, served as moderator for the University of Mary Washington’s Fredericksburg Forum on Wednesday, September 28. The program, which featured political strategist Karl Rove, was held at 8 p.m. in George Washington Hall’s Dodd Auditorium. Farnsworth, an expert on media and politics, will rejoin the faculty of UMW in January to open the Center for Leadership and Media Studies on the Fredericksburg campus and to teach in the Department of Political Science and International Affairs. He taught at UMW for 13 years until 2008 and has researched elections, the mass media, the presidency and public opinion in the United States. Farnsworth is currently associate professor of communications at George Mason University. He is the author of “Spinner in chief: How Presidents Sell Their Policies and Themselves” and “Political Support in a Frustrated America.” He also co-authored “The Nightly News Nightmare: … [Read more...]