Students From Across Disciplines Represent UMW Nationally

Ethan Bottone_featured

University of Mary Washington student Ethan Bottone earned national distinction as a member of a regional team placing second in the Association of American Geographers World Geography Bowl last month in New York City. Perhaps more impressive, he helped claim that win as a sophomore in a competition dominated by graduate students. The Southeastern Division of the Association of American Geographers team—made up of mostly graduate students—missed first place by a mere 20 points. In November, Bottone secured a spot on the team after placing third overall in the regional bowl. “Competing against grad students was really nerve-racking at first, because I was just sitting there thinking, ‘Wow, some of these people have been in college since I started high school',” Bottone said.  “But after answering a few questions, I just felt settled down and ready to play, like there wasn't any gap between our educations.” The geography department isn’t the only opportunity for UMW students … [Read more...]

Historic Preservation Students Blend Humanities and Sciences

NS Mt Vernon 9

When Audra Medve first visited Mount Vernon as a child, she was struck by the timelessness of George Washington’s home, so much so that she returned dozens of times. She never could have imagined she would be an intern at the estate decades later as a senior in the historic preservation program at the university named for Washington’s mother. Medve enrolled at the University of Mary Washington after the Navy transferred her husband to the Washington, D.C. area in 2008. “There are very few undergraduate degrees in historic preservation available in the United States, and when I decided to return to school I realized I lived within 30 miles of a truly wonderful program,” Medve said. Medve’s internship is one of a dozen this spring through UMW’s historic preservation department, regarded as among the best in the nation. Each year, internships range from local preservation organizations like the Historic Fredericksburg Foundation and the Fredericksburg Area Museum, to … [Read more...]

UMW Political Science Students Collaborate on Book Project

(From left) Ian Huff, Assistant Professor of Political Science Chad Murphy, Chris Blough and Eric Stortz in Monroe Hall

As a political science and pre-law philosophy double major, Michael Behrens figured he would spend much of his senior year writing extensive research papers. He never expected to collaborate with his professor on writing a book. Behrens and three fellow seniors -- Chris Blough, Ian Huff and Eric Stortz -- have teamed up with Assistant Professor of Political Science Chad Murphy to research and write chapters for a book on presidential rhetoric. The project is one of more than dozen research initiatives in the university’s innovative undergraduate research program. This semester’s undergraduate projects delve into such issues as women in Islam; statistical consulting for after-school programs; stress, guilt and eating; the effects of Atrazine in zebra fish; and the effects of exercise and estrogen on mouse hearts. Still Behrens isn’t surprised to be part of such a challenging project at UMW. “That’s just the environment that the school’s attitude cultivates,” he said. “If … [Read more...]

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...]