After completing their senior year in the midst of a pandemic, these University of Mary Washington soon-to-be graduates are ready to take on the world. Last March, when UMW suddenly switched to remote classes, these students found themselves in uncharted waters. Nevertheless, they demonstrated resilience, continuing to excel academically and participate in extracurriculars on and off campus. They also served as leaders for the UMW community through the COVID crisis, civil unrest and a contentious and consequential election season.
Here, in part two of a two-story series, 2021 graduates share their achievements and future plans, as well as how Mary Washington has prepared them for life after college. Read Portraits of Perseverance, Part 1.
Jaelynn Scott recently received the Prince Woodard Outstanding Leader Award, given to a senior who’s made a substantial impact on campus and beyond, while exemplifying honor, leadership and service. For Scott, that’s an understatement.
President of the Women of Color club, she’s also a member of the Black Student, African Student and Student Education associations, and she’s active in the James Farmer Multicultural Center and Multicultural Leadership Council. A RISE peer mentor, Student Transition Program counselor and resident assistant, Scott has guided first-year and transfer students, especially those who are underrepresented and first in family, as they transition to life at UMW. And a Campus Vote Project fellow, she’s helped reduce voting barriers for college students.
After UMW, Scott said, “I feel well prepared to stand up for what I believe in and help others find their voice to do the same.”
A history major enrolled in the elementary education program, Scott is a member of honor societies for both programs. Currently a paraprofessional at Anthony Burns Elementary School in Stafford, she plans to pursue her Ph.D. in education.
It was an easy decision to apply to UMW after Alexander Lee received a free T-shirt from the admissions office. But once he arrived on campus, he put in the hard work. As president of the Inter-Club Association, he chartered more than two dozen new campus organizations. “For me, the most important thing about UMW is the way our community fosters student interests.”
The founder of Eagle Wellness Housing, Lee also served in leadership roles for the Association of Residence Halls, Student Senate and Student Conduct Review Board – not to mention the Chess and Video Game clubs and Film Society.
A political science and psychology major, Lee will pursue a law degree at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, in the fall and plans a future career in law or public service.
Psychological science major Emily Beitzell came to Mary Washington to make connections with faculty, like her First-Year Seminar Professor, Miriam Liss. “Her mentorship has truly shaped my education,” said Beitzell, who also minored in business.
During the next four years, she put her mind to it, becoming involved in almost every aspect of the psychology department, from participating in a European study abroad trip with psychology professors and peers, to serving as treasurer for UMW’s Psi Chi honor society chapter. The department’s service learning coordinator, Beitzell connects fellow students to community volunteer opportunities and serves as vice president of UMW’s Habitat for Humanity chapter.
A member of Liss’s research team, Beitzell recently led a study on how COVID-19 affects mindfulness and general anxiety and will soon present her findings at the Association for Psychological Science’s annual conference. She also taught mindfulness to local first-graders, covering concepts like breathing, listening, kindness and generosity.
The psychology department’s Outstanding Senior Award recipient, Beitzell will begin a master’s degree in clinical mental health at George Mason University this fall. She hopes to become a licensed professional counselor, working with children and young adults struggling with mental illness.
A coxswain with Mary Washington’s rowing team, Delaney Resweber spent a good chunk of her college career on the water, even winning first place in her last regatta. But on dry land, she’s also plunged in, majoring in historic preservation and assisting with UMW’s archaeology lab all four years.
Also enrolled in the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) certificate program, Resweber’s research project and paper analyzing mixed-use spaces at Stratford Hall Plantation recently won an undergraduate competition.
Resweber also served as a resident assistant, and completed internships with the Lost Towns Project in Anne Arundel, Maryland, and at Dewberry, a Fairfax engineering firm, where she’ll soon start a geospatial analyst position. “Many of my colleagues are Mary Washington alumni, and I’m looking forward to meeting them once things go back to normal,” she said. Resweber intends to pursue a GIS master’s degree in the future.
Jaelynn Scott is the recipient of a privately funded scholarship. To learn more, visit UMW’s Scholarship Opportunities page.