March 30, 2017

UMW Celebrates Trailblazers for Women’s History Month

  Founder and executive director of Feminist.com Marianne Schnall will be the keynote speaker as the University of Mary Washington celebrates trailblazers and visionaries during Women’s History Month this month. She will speak on Monday, March 20, at 7 p.m. in Lee Hall, Room 411, on the Fredericksburg campus. The talk is one of a […]

UMW Named Top Peace Corps Producer

For the 13th year, the Peace Corps has ranked the University of Mary Washington among the nation’s top-producing colleges for alumni now serving as Peace Corps volunteers across the globe.Ranking No. 2 among small schools or institutions, Mary Washington has jumped six spots from its No. 8 ranking last year, with 13 UMW alumni currently […]

UMW Named Top Peace Corps Producer

For the 13th year, the Peace Corps has ranked the University of Mary Washington among the nation’s top-producing colleges for alumni now serving as Peace Corps volunteers across the globe.Ranking No. 2 among small schools or institutions, Mary Washington has jumped six spots from its No. 8 ranking last year, with 13 UMW alumni currently […]

Serving in Senegal

As the hot sun begins to descend in Kedougou, Senegal, women leave their huts for a late afternoon stroll to the village well. The sound of swaying buckets and rushing water is heard as each woman waits her turn for the pump. In a sea of chatty girls, UMW alumna Maura Slocum listens carefully to their enunciations as she works to perfect the native language of Pulaar.

M Slocum
Maura Slocum works on an agriforestry project.

Slocum is living in this rural West African country as a Peace Corps volunteer. Arriving in mid-December, she’s still adjusting to the dramatic cultural shift from the familiar Fredericksburg campus where she graduated last May with a degree in environmental science.

M. Slocum
Maura Slocum ’16 with some of her Senegalese family.

She’s following a rich tradition of Mary Washington alumni who have been chosen to serve with the volunteer global outreach established by President John F. Kennedy in 1961. In fact, UMW has been included among the top 20 of the Peace Corps’ list of top-producing small schools since 2005. In all, more than 230 UMW alumni have served the 27-month commitment around the world since the Peace Corps’ inception.

Maura Slocum '16
Maura Slocum ’16 with some of her Peace Corps siblings.

At home in her host family’s compound, Slocum spends much of her time with her young siblings, Sadie, Maimudu and Abdoulaiye, who love introducing her to new places. Ranging in ages from 3 to 9, they aren’t the youngest of the bunch. Not long after she arrived, her young host mother gave birth to twins.

“My family and neighbors were very welcoming,” Slocum said. “They even got me to dance in the drum circle at the [babies’] naming ceremonies.”

When she’s not practicing Pulaar or spending time with her host siblings, Slocum tends to her personal compost and tree nursery.

“I arrived to the village at the end of the harvest season, so there is not a lot of agriculture work right now,” Slocum said. “The main focus right now is garden preparation, since the farming season will not begin until the rains come in March or April.”

As an agroforestry volunteer, she aims to help bolster food security and sustainability by integrating trees into agriculture.

Just under a year ago, Slocum beamed with excitement over her acceptance into the Peace Corps as she stood with a UMW environmental sciences team in the polluted water of Contrary Creek in Louisa County. A senior at the time, Slocum researched soil contamination and worked to improve it, a skill that will serve her well in helping the villagers of Kedougou..

Preparation was key for Slocum in December of 2016, when she arrived in the village with a population of 250.

Melanie Szulczewski, Slocum’s advisor and former agroforestry volunteer for the Peace Corps, encouraged her to apply to the Peace Corps and offered her support.

“I talked with Maura extensively about the application process,” said Szulczewski, associate professor of earth and environmental sciences. “She could clearly outline her goals and was well prepared with abundant volunteer experience.”

Slocum has been preparing for her Peace Corps service since high school. On a mission’s trip to Guatemala she discovered her passion to serve, and when it came time to choose a university, she had her eyes on the prize.

“The University of Mary Washington was fundamental in my journey to the Peace Corps,” Slocum said. “I actually chose UMW over James Madison University because I read that UMW had such a high number of alumni who go on to serve.”

With a team of friends, family and professors to support and advise her, Slocum seamlessly transitioned from a UMW student to a Peace Corps volunteer.

“I believe Maura will truly embody the goals of the Peace Corps,” said Szulczewski. “She will be helping others while growing as a global citizen.” 

 

 

 

Serving in Senegal

As the hot sun begins to descend in Kedougou, Senegal, women leave their huts for a late afternoon stroll to the village well. The sound of swaying buckets and rushing water is heard as each woman waits her turn for the pump. In a sea of chatty girls, UMW alumna Maura Slocum listens carefully to their enunciations as she works to perfect the native language of Pulaar.

M Slocum
Maura Slocum works on an agriforestry project.

Slocum is living in this rural West African country as a Peace Corps volunteer. Arriving in mid-December, she’s still adjusting to the dramatic cultural shift from the familiar Fredericksburg campus where she graduated last May with a degree in environmental science.

M. Slocum
Maura Slocum ’16 with some of her Senegalese family.

She’s following a rich tradition of Mary Washington alumni who have been chosen to serve with the volunteer global outreach established by President John F. Kennedy in 1961. In fact, UMW has been included among the top 20 of the Peace Corps’ list of top-producing small schools since 2005. In all, more than 230 UMW alumni have served the 27-month commitment around the world since the Peace Corps’ inception.

Maura Slocum '16
Maura Slocum ’16 with some of her Peace Corps siblings.

At home in her host family’s compound, Slocum spends much of her time with her young siblings, Sadie, Maimudu and Abdoulaiye, who love introducing her to new places. Ranging in ages from 3 to 9, they aren’t the youngest of the bunch. Not long after she arrived, her young host mother gave birth to twins.

“My family and neighbors were very welcoming,” Slocum said. “They even got me to dance in the drum circle at the [babies’] naming ceremonies.”

When she’s not practicing Pulaar or spending time with her host siblings, Slocum tends to her personal compost and tree nursery.

“I arrived to the village at the end of the harvest season, so there is not a lot of agriculture work right now,” Slocum said. “The main focus right now is garden preparation, since the farming season will not begin until the rains come in March or April.”

As an agroforestry volunteer, she aims to help bolster food security and sustainability by integrating trees into agriculture.

Just under a year ago, Slocum beamed with excitement over her acceptance into the Peace Corps as she stood with a UMW environmental sciences team in the polluted water of Contrary Creek in Louisa County. A senior at the time, Slocum researched soil contamination and worked to improve it, a skill that will serve her well in helping the villagers of Kedougou..

Preparation was key for Slocum in December of 2016, when she arrived in the village with a population of 250.

Melanie Szulczewski, Slocum’s advisor and former agroforestry volunteer for the Peace Corps, encouraged her to apply to the Peace Corps and offered her support.

“I talked with Maura extensively about the application process,” said Szulczewski, associate professor of earth and environmental sciences. “She could clearly outline her goals and was well prepared with abundant volunteer experience.”

Slocum has been preparing for her Peace Corps service since high school. On a mission’s trip to Guatemala she discovered her passion to serve, and when it came time to choose a university, she had her eyes on the prize.

“The University of Mary Washington was fundamental in my journey to the Peace Corps,” Slocum said. “I actually chose UMW over James Madison University because I read that UMW had such a high number of alumni who go on to serve.”

With a team of friends, family and professors to support and advise her, Slocum seamlessly transitioned from a UMW student to a Peace Corps volunteer.

“I believe Maura will truly embody the goals of the Peace Corps,” said Szulczewski. “She will be helping others while growing as a global citizen.” 

 

 

 

Creative Communication

A picture is worth a thousand words, or so they say. For first-generation college student Joemmel Tendilla, a picture is priceless.

Though his immediate family moved to the United States before he was born, Tendilla’s roots are in the Philippines, and it can be difficult to communicate with some of his relatives, whose native language is Tagalog.

UMW student Joemmel Tendilla uses photography to express himself.

That’s where photography comes in.

After receiving his first camera as a hand-me-down from his sister when he was 16, Tendilla taught himself how to capture beautiful images and tell stories through his lens. Now the UMW sophomore uses photography to break down the language barrier within his Filipino-American family.

“I communicate with my family through my pictures,” said Tendilla, a sociology major pursuing a minor in social justice. “Some of my family doesn’t speak fluent English, so it’s easier to show them pictures than to try to find the words to explain it.”

As the first person in his family to attend a four-year college, Tendilla has become a role model for relatives both in America and abroad. He started at UMW in August 2015 with a partial scholarship for his outstanding community service and leadership.

“My family is very proud,” he said. “Being the first to go to college in the U.S. is a big deal.”

Hoping to leave his print on the Mary Washington community, Tendilla has jumped head-first into his education, joining the photography club and doing an internship with UMW’s Department of University Relations.

“I believe knowledge isn’t gained just by sitting behind a desk,” said Tendilla, who took photos for the university’s website and social media platforms during a fall-semester internship. “These opportunities have allowed me to improve my photography and make connections that add value to my education. That’s something that will be invaluable when I graduate.”

With unlimited outlets for experiences outside of the classroom, Tendilla feels like he can be himself at UMW.

“I honestly cannot see myself going anywhere else,” he said. “Mary Washington is just a place where I feel at home.”

Eagle Madness

Silence swept over UMW’s Ron Rosner Arena. More than 500 Students and community members rose to their feet. With prize money on the line, first-year student Paige Haskins stood center court, poised for the adrenaline-pumping finale of last night’s first-ever Eagle Madness event.

She drew a deep breath, took a running start and sent the ball soaring into the air. When it swooshed through the net, students rushed to the floor. The crowd went wild, chanting “Write the check,” “Write the check” to UMW President Troy Paino and Athletic Director Ken Tyler, who’d agreed to split payment of the $500 award.

Lacrosse player Paige Haskins lacrosse player Paige Haskins

The heart-stopping half-court competition was the culmination of a series of activities that marked the début of Eagle Madness, a spirit-boosting midnight madness-style event hosted by UMW Athletics. The two-hour inaugural event celebrated the start of UMW’s basketball season, set to open this year with a men’s game on Tuesday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. in the Anderson Center.

Featuring raffles and games like musical chairs, an Eagle relay race and a poster slogan scramble, the evening also included performances by UMW’s dance and step teams. Senior Mikey Barnes led the event as emcee, introducing the players and coaches for the men’s and women’s basketball teams, and pumping Eagle pride through the crowd.

UMW celebrates Eagle Madness. UMW celebrates Eagle Madness. UMW celebrates Eagle Madness. UMW celebrates Eagle Madness. UMW celebrates Eagle Madness. UMW celebrates Eagle Madness. UMW celebrates Eagle Madness. UMW celebrates Eagle Madness. UMW celebrates Eagle Madness. UMW celebrates Eagle Madness.

Both teams have big goals for their seasons, which include a total of 26 home games to be played in the Anderson Center’s Ron Rosner Arena.

“I think it’s important to never be complacent,” said sophomore and men’s basketball player Johnny Cronin, who was part of the team’s 15-12 record last season that led them to the CAC semifinals. “You have to push yourself.”

Men’s Head Coach Marcus Kahn echoed the sentiment, that his goal for the team is simple: to keep getting better each day.

With Head Coach Deena Applebury at the helm, the women’s basketball team, which will enter the season ranked 22nd in the nation, has lofty ambitions, as well. The team returns with a 24-5 season in which they claimed the CAC Championship.

Senior Megan Green looks to her teammates to build that success.

“These girls have changed my life,” Green said. “They are the greatest group of women I have ever met. They are the reason I’m here and loving life.”

For more information about the UMW Athletic teams, visit http://www.umweagles.com. To learn more about season tickets to UMW’s men’s and women’s basketball games, visit http://umweagles.com/general/2016-17/releases/20160826gz0xnn.

Election-Ready

With ballot and pencil in hand, you walk over to a covered voting booth. Looking down, you see a line of empty white bubbles next to names you’ve heard on the news for more than a year. But do you really know what the names stand for? Are you ready to vote?

On Tuesday, Nov. 8, more than 4,300 University of Mary Washington students will be eligible to vote for the first time. In preparation, UMW political experts Stephen Farnsworth, professor of political science, and Rosalyn Cooperman, associate professor of political science, weighed in on the 2016 U.S. Presidential election to answer questions from our own UMW community.

Professors Farnsworth and Cooperman answers questions about the election. Professors Farnsworth and Cooperman answers questions about the election. Professors Farnsworth and Cooperman answers questions about the election.

If I vote third party am I voting for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton?

Cooperman: If depends on which state you’re voting in. If you’re voting in the Commonwealth of Virginia, I don’t know that a third party vote would affect the outcome given the polls that I’ve seen. In terms of Clinton having a comfortable enough lead in registered voters in the Commonwealth, it would be a vote for Trump. But would it affect the outcome of this state contest? Probably not.

Farnsworth: The main thing is that people have very different political environments and very different states. When you look at Virginia, the polls show an advantage for Hillary Clinton. So the consequences, in my view, are that the gap does seem large enough that more or less people can do as they please without affecting the outcome very much. If we were having this conversation about voters in Florida or North Carolina or Iowa, then we’d be looking at a state that’s a lot closer than Virginia looks to be right now, and that would suggest the wisdom of being very careful about the outcome. What often happens when you vote third party in a close election is the candidate you personally least like ends up benefiting.

Does it seem likely that Virginia will vote Democratic for three presidential elections in a row?

Farnsworth: Having Tim Kaine on the ticket as a vice presidential nominee is going to add a few points to the Democratic total in Virginia. If Kaine were not on the ticket, Hillary Clinton might be in more of a competitive race in this state. That being said, assuming that Tim Kaine is on the ticket four years from now, there would still be a couple-point bump for the Democrats in that situation. But it’s important to remember that Virginia’s purple-state status hasn’t gone away even with Tim Kaine on the ticket. The average right now for Virginia is about a four-point advantage for Hillary Clinton so it’s still more or less purple, it’s just not as purple as say Florida or North Carolina or Ohio might be right now.

Donald Trump has implied that he may not accept the results of the election. Is a candidate’s concession statement a legal requirement or just a political tradition?

Cooperman: Is a candidate’s concession speech a formal requirement? No.  But I think what candidates understand, at least candidates prior to this election cycle have understood, is that there is something to be celebrated if not encouraged by the democratic transition. Winners and losers alike accept the outcome and the system resets for the next election. There is an expectation of being able to potentially look at how the vote count preceded, but that’s a very different tone from the outright and disturbing notion of refusing to accept the election outcome unless one wins.

Farnsworth: Donald Trump talking about the illegitimacy of this process before it even takes place has increased the likelihood that people will be very upset on Election Day. It may not be very pleasant for those people waiting to vote or having to face questions about whether they’re legitimate voters. I think that what Donald Trump has done is deeply troubling and really undermines the way Democrats and Republicans have been competing in elections for decades.

How can Republicans go about healing the rift within their party?

Cooperman: I recently interviewed Jennifer Pierotti Lim, a 2007 alumna of UMW, who founded Republican Women for Hillary. She spoke very candidly about the Growth and Opportunity Report that came from the Republican Party in early 2013 following their loss of the 2012 election. She was delighted that the Party recognized the need for outreach with communities of color and younger voters, and the need to be intentional in highlighting the role of women partisans in the Party. Then this campaign comes along, and she feels like her idea of what it means to be a Republican isn’t valued in the Party anymore. In fact, many of the people who find themselves in a group like Republican Women for Hillary have come out and said, “I’m a Republican, but this is a bridge too far for me in terms of supporting Donald Trump.” There is and should be a concern about how easily and whether or not those folks will come back into the party fold. The Republican Party is not a viable party without women.

Farnsworth: I think the key question is how much of a margin there is on Election Day. The scenario for the Republican Party is going to be a very painful one if it’s close. If the Republican Party doesn’t lose by much, the party’s identity crisis continues for another four years because they’ll continue down the same track. If the Republican Party gets blown out, they might make a more definitive turn.

Enthusiasm about the election peaked in March, when Sanders was drawing wide millennial support in his bid for the Democratic nomination. It dropped some in August and again a little last month. Why should millennials be sure to vote next week?

Farnsworth: I think that you have to appreciate the fact that these one-day presidential elections have extraordinarily long-term consequences. Whether you like or don’t like one or both of these candidates, you will be governed by one of them and the decision made by this country on Election Day will affect things like the Supreme Court, our international relations and war and peace. Who knows how much the impact of a presidential election can be? It’s important to remember that the consequences downstream in terms of whatever might come across four years of a presidency can really have dramatic impacts. So even if you think that Election Day doesn’t matter, for four years you’ll learn that it does.

Cooperman: This enthusiasm gap will have an impact on the candidates who run. Political science research tells us that younger people are not reliable voters and most are very turned off by the prospect of running for office. That’s a problem for this election and ones in the future. Democracies work best when people opt in – to vote and be invested enough in the system to want to participate in a meaningful way. If millennials sit out this election, they’ve given away their voice and an opportunity to have their say about how we order our priorities and spend finite resources.

Students on Ball Circle

Rosalyn Cooperman, associate professor of political science, specializes in American political parties and the U.S. Congress. Her articles have been featured in multiple publications such as, American Political Science Review (2010), Virginia Social Science Journal (2011), and Political Science Quarterly (2015). She is a regular contributor to Presidential Gender Watch. Before coming to the University of Mary Washington in 2003, Cooperman’s professional experience in the political arena included serving as a campaign manager for Congresswoman Jill Long (IN-4) and working in the Montana State Legislature. Currently, she teaches the FSEM “U.S. Campaigns and Elections,” in which her students deconstruct the 2012 presidential campaign to analyze the current 2016 campaign.

Stephen Farnsworth is professor of political science and director of the Center for Leadership and Media Studies at the University of Mary Washington. He is the author and co-author of five books and dozens of scholarly articles on the presidency, mass media and Virginia politics. His political commentary has appeared in many media outlets such as The New York Times, Washington Post and C-SPAN. Farnsworth is a former Canada-U.S. Fulbright Research Chair in Public Policy at McGill University in Montreal and a former chair of the political communication section of the American Political Science Association.

Pumpkin Palooza: COAR, Candy and Costumes

On an unusually warm October afternoon, multiples of Batmans, scarecrows, witches and cowboys lined Campus Walk to fill their plastic pumpkins with candy. “Trick or treat, smell my feet,” an Egyptian princess teased as she reached for a Kit Kat bar. A few feet away an angel giggled and bit into a Reese’s Peanut Butter […]

Conquering Congress

Just before dawn in the nation’s capital this summer—before tourists flooded the streets—UMW alumna Grace May placed her order in the Dunkin’ Donuts, located inside the James Madison Memorial Building of the Library of Congress.

Great mind feature, September 16, 2016. (Photo by Norm Shafer). Great mind feature, September 16, 2016. (Photo by Norm Shafer). Photographer

“I was the very first customer every day,” said May, who was in the city for her Library of Congress internship. “They even memorized my order, a blueberry donut and tea.”

This past summer, May was one of 38 students – out of 800 who applied – to be accepted into the 2016 Junior Fellows Summer Intern Program at the Library of Congress. It’s an appointment she owes, in part, to the hands-on experience she’s collected while working with UMW’s Digital Archiving Lab. As part of the library’s Humanities and Social Sciences division, May spent 10 weeks creating templates that resulted in a presentation on display in the U.S. Presidential Inaugurations collection.

“I was given projects such as taking old content and creating new templates for items housed in the Library of Congress,” said May, who would commute into the city each day. “I also worked to make the website for The Main Reading Room more accessible.”

With a focus on the digital, May would spend hours online making library materials more accessible to users. She also had the chance to tour the Library of Congress, getting to see incredible artifacts like President Lincoln’s inaugural Bible.

“It was the same Bible that Obama and Lincoln placed their hands on,” said May, describing what turned out to be one of her favorite experiences during the internship.

At the end of the summer, the junior fellows put on a presentation within their divisions. May’s presentation focused on the U.S. Presidential Inaugurations collection. She created a template for this collection that made it easier to view and research the items within it. While presenting, May showcased the current template along with her modifications.

Before her summer internship, May had spent one year working with UMW’s Digital Archiving Lab, helping to convert Simpson Library’s rare and unique archival materials to digital formats.

“Grace has been a crucial element in helping us get our digital collections online,” said Carolyn Parsons, head of UMW’s Special Collections and Archives. “She’s digitized various Mary Washington publications, added metadata and helped us get our campus blueprint online.”

May graduated this past spring with a bachelor’s degree in history but is still working on her post-baccalaureate degree in computer science at Mary Washington. With only three classes left, she will officially finish her undergraduate studies this December.

“It’s one thing to learn about it in school,” said May, reflecting on how her experience at UMW positioned her for success at the Library of Congress. “But to actually apply it and make sure that you’re doing it to the best of your abilities – that’s the real goal.”