Geography Students Spend Winter Break in Cambodia

Cambodia 2012_rice field

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...]

Reaching New Heights: UMW Student Climbs Mount Everest


Two years ago, UMW junior Dudley “Art” Franzen flipped a coin. Tails – he and his climbing partner, Scott Campbell, would head to the highest mountain in Argentina; heads – they would tackle the world’s highest peak. Heads won. He was going to the Himalayas. Franzen , a 47-year-old historic preservation major originally from Winnie, Texas, felt up to the challenge. After all, he already had climbed some of the most daunting mountains in the world, including Mount Kilimanjaro. He researched the climate and terrain and trained for the grueling Mount Everest climb both in gyms and in mountains of Fredericksburg and Colorado. Ascent to the 29,000-foot-high summit can take several months and thousands of dollars, so Franzen set his sights on Mount Everest Base Camp, still a formidable 17,598 feet. After he finishes school, he plans to attempt the summit. After two years of preparation, Franzen and Campbell arrived in Nepal last spring and started the climb with a team … [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 Student Doubles as Rescue Squad Captain


UMW senior Jamie Larounis finds time to volunteer hundreds of hours a month as an emergency medical technician (EMT) at the Fredericksburg Rescue Squad, while managing a full course load to earn his bachelor’s degree in political science and secondary education. In fact, the rescue squad recently named him captain of the 150-member volunteer organization. “I had been involved in Boy Scouts since I was a little kid, am still an Eagle Scout and had worked at an outdoor camp over the summer,” Larounis explained. “I wanted to do real 9-1-1.” As a certified EMT-Enhanced, he is able to administer drugs, start IVs and provide life support. Community service, like that of Larounis, is a tradition among the university community, evident in the university’s place on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. Larounis has been a volunteer with the squad for two years and often clocks close to 400 hours a month. He is among a dozen or more UMW students and recent … [Read more...]

UMW Students Place in National Web Debates

web debates photo copy_small

A group of University of Mary Washington students participated in the University of Southern California’s Trojan Web Debates in October, with three students making the top 10 and advancing to the final week of debates. Freshman Steven Apruzese, senior Charles Girard, sophomore Tan Handres and freshman Michael Jaster each argued the topic: “Should same sex marriage be the top priority of the LGBT civil rights movement?” Girard placed sixth in the tournament, Apruzese placed ninth and Handres placed tenth. The debate marked the first time any of the four students had competed in intercollegiate debate. “The four of us camped out in the James Farmer Multicultural Center well after midnight on most nights because the videos were always due at 3 a.m.,” Girard said. “We got to know each other and really learned a lot from each other regarding debating, as well as from the debates themselves.” The two-week online intercollegiate debate tournament started with 18 students representing … [Read more...]

UMW Freshman Blogs for Seventeen Magazine


Every week, Berkley Schmidt takes photos, creates videos or writes journal entries about her freshman year at the University of Mary Washington. She talks about how to navigate college life and offers tips and advice along the way. As one of Seventeen Magazine’s Freshman 15, Schmidt is not just a blogger – she is sharing her UMW experience with a national audience. Schmidt, a Richmond native, was chosen from more than 2,000 applicants to be one of the 15 bloggers on the website and in the pages of the November 2011 issue of Seventeen Magazine, on newsstands October 18. In one blog entry, she describes the Class of 2015’s first week on-campus: The second day here, as we were walking to convocation dressed in our formal attire, a storm fired away on the little town of Fredericksburg. Luckily we had just reached the covered walk when the skies opened up, but the real fun began as we reached the library. Sirens blasted as faculty and Orientation Leaders rushed us … [Read more...]

UMW Hosting German Campus Week

German Week

For the first time, the University of Mary Washington is hosting a “do Deutsch” campus week beginning in October, in conjunction with more than 40 colleges and universities across the United States. The weeks of activities and events, sponsored by the Germany Embassy and the UMW Department of Modern Foreign Languages, are designed to promote German language and culture on campus. “Do Deutsch” week at Mary Washington began on Tuesday, October 25 and will run through Saturday, November 5 and will include contests and competitions, film screenings and special events. All events are free and open to the public. All area high school students as well at UMW students are invited to participate in the essay, visual arts, film/DVD and song competitions, themed “German(y) in your life.” Other events include: Film screenings of “In July” on Tuesday, October 25, “Kebab Connection” on Thursday, October 27 and “We are the Night” on Monday, October 31. All screenings are at 7 p.m. in George … [Read more...]

UMW Philanthropy Class Accepted Grant Applications

Each fall, UMW's philanthropy course awards a total of $10,000 to area nonprofit agencies.

University of Mary Washington students enrolled in a philanthropy class sought applicants for $10,000 in grant money to be awarded to local nonprofit organizations. The class, made up of 22 students called the University of Mary Washington Philanthropic Society, hopes the funds will improve the welfare of the disadvantaged in the greater Fredericksburg area by providing financial support to regional nonprofits, according to the class’s mission statement. The class will award a total of $10,000 to one or more nonprofits on Tuesday, December 6. The deadline for paper applications was Tuesday, October 25 and the deadline for electronic applications was Tuesday, November 1. Eligible applicants must come from the City of Fredericksburg; the counties of Spotsylvania, Orange, King George, Stafford, Caroline, Culpeper and Prince William; the Middle Peninsula or the Northern Neck region. This year, the primary interest of the Economics of Philanthropy and the Nonprofit Sector class … [Read more...]

UMW Student Wins Scholarship From Geospatial Intelligence Foundation

University of Mary Washington senior Morgan Lamon is one of only five undergraduate students selected to the 2011 U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) Scholarship Program.

Fredericksburg, Va. – University of Mary Washington senior Morgan Lamon is one of only five undergraduate students selected to the 2011 U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) Scholarship Program. Lamon, who received a $5,000 USGIF scholarship, joins 19 other winners from high schools, undergraduate programs and graduate programs across the country. USGIF is a nonprofit educational foundation dedicated to promoting the geospatial intelligence field. Scholarship recipients were chosen based on their academic and professional excellence in a field related to geospatial intelligence. Qualified candidates were selected by USGIF’s scholarship subcommittee. Lamon, a geography major with a certificate in GIS, is a member of the varsity softball team. This spring, she was named to the 2011 All-Capital Athletic Conference Softball Team. Lamon, daughter of Bob Lamon and Hannah Cafferty, is a 2008 graduate of Oakton High School. The University of Mary Washington is a premier, … [Read more...]