UMW Economics Professor to Serve as Mentor for National Conference

Shawn Humphrey

Shawn Humphrey, associate professor of economics at the University of Mary Washington, has been chosen to serve as one of 30 commitment mentors for the fifth annual Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU) meeting. The meeting, to be held Friday, March 30 through Sunday, April 1 at The George Washington University in Washington D.C., will bring together approximately 1,000 students from around the world for working sessions, skills sessions and a large-scale service project. As a commitment mentor, Humphrey will facilitate discussions, share resources and build networks among his assigned group of 50 students. He also will help the participants craft their personal commitments to action, plans to address challenges on their campuses, in their local communities or around the world. The CGIU meeting has five focus areas: education, environment and climate change, peace and human rights, poverty alleviation and public health. Nonprofit leaders, entrepreneurs and celebrities will … [Read more...]

UMW History Professor Discusses Digital History Project on Public Radio Show

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University of Mary Washington Professor of History Bruce O’Brien will discuss the effort to translate and digitize 150 early English law codes, including the Magna Carta, during an interview on the “With Good Reason” public radio program beginning Saturday, Feb. 11. The interview can be heard on Feb. 11 at 4:30 p.m. on WCVE 88.9 FM and on Sunday, Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. and Monday, Feb. 13 at 12:30 a.m. on WAMU 88.5 FM. The segment, “The Magna Carta Online,” is expected to be online beginning the week of the show at http://withgoodreasonradio.org/2012/02/the-magna-carta-online/. O’Brien is leading an international collaborative effort called the Early English Laws Project, which aims to re-edit and translate all early English laws issued between 600 and 1225 and make them accessible to the public through an online database.  The project, which started in 2009, will include commentaries, introductions, translations and images of all of the earliest manuscript folios. “We are bringing … [Read more...]

UMW Arrington Poet-in-Residence Wins Prize for Poetry Collection

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University of Mary Washington Arrington Poet-in-Residence Allison Seay ’02 has received the 2012 Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize in Poetry. The award is a collaboration between Persea Books and the Lexi Rudnitsky Poetry Project to sponsor the annual publication of a poetry collection by an American woman poet who has yet to publish a full-length book of poems. The winner receives an advance of $1,000 and publication of her collection by Persea Books. Seay won the prize for her collection of poetry, “To See the Queen,” scheduled for publication in April 2013. As the Arrington Poet-in-Residence, Seay teaches the advanced poetry workshop and the creative writing seminar in poetry at Mary Washington. A Midlothian, Va., native, she is the recipient of the 2011 Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship, one of the largest awards offered to aspiring poets in the United States, and two fellowships from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Her work has been featured in numerous publications, … [Read more...]

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...]