September 22, 2017

Bowling Throws First Pitch for Flying Squirrels

Lisa Bowling, Vice President for Advancement and University Relations, threw the first pitch at the Richmond Flying Squirrels game on Wednesday, Aug. 9. The minor league baseball game was part of the Fredericksburg community night at the Diamond. Mary Washington alumni, parents and friends joined together to watch the team take on the Portland Sea Dogs, a Boston Red Sox Double-A Affiliate.

Scientist Travels Globe to Track Climate Change

Nancy Maynard ('63) studies the impact of development and climate change on the world around us.

Mapping Heritage Trees

On a cold winter morning, biology major Elizabeth Piña ’18 and Associate Professor of Biology Alan Griffith met on the lawn at Brompton to determine just how big the Brompton Oak really is.

Home Equity

Advocate toils for equal access to housing.

Paino Visits Archaeological Field Project in Stafford

Earlier this summer, UMW President Troy Paino visited the annual Department of Historic Preservation archaeological field project.

The current excavations are focused on an antebellum garden associated with an 1840s slave quarter and kitchen quarter complex in Stafford County. The project has been led by incoming Assistant Professor Lauren McMillan for the past three summers.

Stafford site
Cheyenne Johnson, Troy Paino and Cathy Smith examine artifacts.
Stafford historic preservation project.
UMW President Troy Paino and UMW historic preservation students work on a site in Stafford County.
Historic preservation project in Stafford County.
UMW President Troy Paino and UMW historic preservation students, under the guidance of Assistant Professor Lauren McMillan, work on a site in Stafford County.

SOAR Makes a Splash With First-Year Students

Members of Mary Washington’s incoming class traded tablets and cell phones for campfires and bug spray to live off the grid, so to speak, for three days and two nights.

And they loved it.

SOAR experience

More than 48 hours with no Wi-Fi, no social media. Not even showers.

“I didn’t touch my phone all day,” said Abigail Conklin, a first-year student who took part in UMW’s Summer Orientation Adventure Retreat (SOAR). “I didn’t want it. I didn’t think about it. I didn’t need it.”

Held for the first time at UMW’s Eagle Lake Outpost in Stafford County, this year’s SOAR offering was a primitive camping trip with no running water. The program complements the on-campus Orientation activities all first-year students experience and puts budding Eagles in touch with fellow freshmen and natural settings surrounding the city of Fredericksburg.

“I think it’s a really great opportunity for them,” said rising senior and camp leader Daria Fortin as she served grilled cheese sandwiches cooked on a Coleman camp stove. “Besides being outdoors and learning about camping and that kind of stuff, it’s a way for them to bond with each other.”

Part of a 600-acre collection of properties assembled by the UMW Foundation, Eagle Lake Outpost is teeming with streams, a lake filled with lily pads, camping and picnic areas, boats and a dock. The site, established a decade ago off Route 17 in Stafford County, also features four log cabins, including a science-type lab, classroom space and more. Groups of staff and alumni have gathered there over the years, along with environmental science classes for field studies and research.

But SOAR is the site’s first large-scale program, said Foundation CEO Jeff Rountree. “[We] are excited to see such enthusiasm for the Outpost, which has always been one of UMW’s best kept secrets,” he said of the two late-June sessions, which held about 15 campers each and were so popular some had to be waitlisted.

The property provided the perfect low-pressure environment for first-year students, who pitched tents and got up close with nature – frogs, turtles, bunnies and bugs, including fireflies that lit up the night. And they began to form friendships that will grow throughout their college careers.

“I thought it would be a way to make some solid friends,” said Iisak Kukkastenvehmas-Skiggs, who hails from Northern Virginia, en route from London.

Fortin and fellow camp leader Michael Middleton ’16, who’s in Mary Washington’s master’s of education program, steered the agenda. In addition to hiking and water activities, like swimming, boating, tubing and fishing, participants took part in team-building exercises, with ice breakers, campfires, picnic-style meals, sunrise yoga sessions, games and crafts.

“Most of them just finished Orientation so it’s kind of a follow-up experience,” said Graduate Assistant for Fitness and Wellness Erin Hill ’17, who helped organize the event put on by Student Involvement, with help from the offices of Campus Recreation and Orientation. “They get the chance to gather and get to know their fellow freshmen.”

The upperclassmen were on hand to answer questions about life and traditions at Mary Washington, and each session ended with a tubing trip on the Rappahannock River, followed by lunch at Old Mill Park.

“I love this group,” said first-year student Riley Gildea of Waynesboro, Virginia. “I’ve learned so much on this trip. It’s given me a window into college.”

A Beautiful Cause

UMW senior Amanda Lynn Short rocked a shimmering black and gold dress in the Miss Virginia evening-wear segment.

UMW senior Amanda Lynn Short competed in the recent Miss Virginia Pageant in Roanoke. At UMW, she's a cheerleader and president of the Commuter Student Association.
UMW senior Amanda Lynn Short competed in the recent Miss Virginia Pageant in Roanoke. At UMW, she’s a cheerleader and president of the Commuter Student Association. Photo by Kimberly Needles.

She sported a lacy cropped top for her talent, ukulele and vocals to Elvis’ Can’t Help Falling in Love. And the pale yellow number she wore in the swimsuit competition? Oh, my.

She’s got the beauty, talent and brains, but for this psychology and philosophy major, it’s the platform that makes pageantry personal. Thanks to a childhood incident, human trafficking hits closer to home for Short than viewers might have imagined when she answered her interview question onstage. And with the help of Mary Washington’s pre-law program, she plans to take her passion to the courtroom, where she’ll fight this terrible crime as an attorney.

“That was almost me,” said Short, recounting her experience as a 9-year-old girl, when two women nearly snatched her during a trip to her mother’s native Philippines. “By the grace of God, my mom screamed my name and I ran.” The family learned later that during their trip, a pair suspected of human trafficking had been detained.

“In 2016, there were 148 crimes of human trafficking that were reported. Fifty-nine of those crimes were reported against minors,” Short told the host of the Miss Virginia Pageant, held in Roanoke and livestreamed online. “It’s time for Virginia to take a stand and say ‘no’ to human trafficking. There’s no reason why we are waiting to solve this issue.”

A graduate of King George High School, Short fell for the beautiful campus, small class sizes and serious vibe at Mary Washington, where she’s president of the Commuter Student Association and a cheerleading captain. She carries an 18-credit course load, interns with the Charles B. Roberts law firm in Fredericksburg and works at a bridal boutique in Spotsylvania County.

“I’ve always been a busy lady,” said Short, who recently took the LSAT and hopes to get into a Virginia law school. “I try to be involved as much as possible.”

UMW senior Miss Hanover Amanda Lynn Short sported a pale yellow bikini during the swimsuit segment of the 2017 Miss Virginia Pageant. Photo by Julius Tolentino UMW senior Miss Hanover Amanda Lynn Short sparkled in a black and gold dress during the evening-wear segment of the 2017 Miss Virginia Pageant. Photo by Julius Tolentino UMW senior Amanda Lynn Short competed in the recent Miss Virginia Pageant in Roanoke. At UMW, she's a cheerleader and president of the Commuter Student Association. Photo by Julius Tolentino UMW senior Amanda Lynn Short competed in the recent Miss Virginia Pageant in Roanoke. At UMW, she's a cheerleader and president of the Commuter Student Association. Photo by Julius Tolentino UMW senior Amanda Lynn Short competed in the recent Miss Virginia Pageant in Roanoke. At UMW, she's a cheerleader and president of the Commuter Student Association. Photo by Julius Tolentino UMW senior Amanda Lynn Short (far right) poses with competitors in the 2017 Miss Virginia Pageant (from left to right), Miss State Fair of Virginia Taylor Reynolds, Miss Mountain Laurel Caroline Weinroth and Miss Piedmont Region Carlehr Swanson. Photo by Julius Tolentino UMW senior Amanda Lynn Short competed in the recent Miss Virginia Pageant in Roanoke. At UMW, she's a cheerleader and president of the Commuter Student Association. Photo by Julius Tolentino UMW senior Amanda Lynn Short competed in the recent Miss Virginia Pageant in Roanoke. At UMW, she's a cheerleader and president of the Commuter Student Association. Photo by Julius Tolentino

She was still a teenager when she entered her first pageant in the King George Fall Festival, placing among the top five and claiming the crown the following year. She won the Miss Hanover title in January and wore that sash in the Virginia pageant in Roanoke. She didn’t make the final round but won a $500 scholarship for her volunteer work with the Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault and her knowledge of Virginia’s human trafficking laws.

“Of course, it’s super disappointing not to make Top 11,” she said. “One goal of mine from last year was to be a lot more prepared and confident coming into this year, and I definitely achieved that.”

Short hasn’t been back to the Philippines since her narrow brush with the cause she now champions, but she hopes to return someday to see relatives. For now, she’s fighting for Virginia, the state with the seventh highest human trafficking rate in the U.S. and the last to pass legislation to stop it.

“Our state is not adequately preparing our youth to be aware of such dangers,” she said. “That’s why I feel I must advocate this issue.”

Watch the livestream of all three of the 2017 Miss Virginia Pageant evening competitions.

All Over the Map

Melanie Fuechsel was in middle school when she saw that old Spanish coin peeking out through the crust of the Earth. The piece from the past, uncovered during her first archaeological dig, would color her future.

Now a GIS intern at the Fortune 500 engineering firm AECOM, Melanie Fuechsel '17 studied bottle glass from a Civil War encampment while at UMW. Photo by Norm Shafer.
Now a GIS intern at the Fortune 500 engineering firm AECOM, Melanie Fuechsel ’17 studied bottle glass from a Civil War encampment while at UMW. Photo by Norm Shafer.

“It was the coolest thing they’d found to date,” said Fuechsel, who graduated from Mary Washington in May with a bachelor’s degree in historic preservation and a Geospatial Information Science Certificate (GISc). “After that I was hooked.”

Now a GIS intern at the Fortune 500 engineering firm AECOM, she was drawn to UMW for its unique historic preservation program. Despite her late start – she transferred from a community college – she embodied the spirit of a liberal arts and sciences education, soaking up hands-on learning experiences, attending conferences across the country and taking courses in everything from forensic archaeology to cell biology. Finally, at the place where antiquity meets technology, she found her sweet spot.

“I just want to try it all,” said Fuechsel, whose senior capstone project, exploring the evolution of segregation in Fredericksburg, melded her two courses of study. The remote sensing she learned in the GISc program, for example, let her make maps showing the people and periods she explored with historic preservation professors.

Born in Berlin, Fuechsel was 7 when she moved with her family, including sister Martha Fuechsel, M.Ed. ’17, to Warrenton, Virginia. After high school, she indulged her hunger for learning and “did a lot of things to try to spread my wings,” she said. She toured Germany, volunteered in fire and rescue, and worked for a hospital, the National Park Service and the school system.

“Sometimes it’s just as much about finding out what you don’t want to do as it is about learning what you do want to do,” Fuechsel said. “It’s OK to fail; that’s how you learn.”

At Mary Washington, she kept up the pace, working in Residence Life, interning at the Mosby Heritage Area, volunteering at the Montpelier Foundation and loading up on experiential learning opportunities.

Now a GIS intern at the Fortune 500 engineering firm AECOM, Melanie Fuechsel '17 studied bottle glass from a Civil War encampment while at UMW. Photo by Norm Shafer.
Now a GIS intern at the Fortune 500 engineering firm AECOM, Melanie Fuechsel ’17 studied bottle glass from a Civil War encampment while at UMW. Photo by Norm Shafer.

“Historic preservation is a hands-on field,” said Fuechsel, who – in addition to her capstone project on segregation – helped conserve historic objects at the Masonic Lodge, designed coloring book pages for Archaeology in the Community and studied bottle glass shards from a Civil War encampment.

“She threw herself into the project 110 percent,” said Adjunct Professor of Historic Preservation Lauren McMillan, who advised Fuechsel on the study she presented at the Middle Atlantic Archaeological Conference in March. “Melanie’s ability to combine her passion for history and material culture with her skills in GIS and other digital technologies makes her a unique graduate of the program and … a highly sought-after historic preservation practitioner.”

Fuechsel joined UMW’s Mortar Board honor society and Historic Preservation Club, presented her work at the Student Research and Creativity Symposium and holed up at the Center for Career and Professional Development. She showed her share of school spirit, as well, attending events from the serious Honor Convocation and Eagle Gathering to the super silly lip sync contest and ice cream social.

“Mary Washington has so many cool things,” she said. “You’re surrounded by people who really have your best interests at heart.”

All Over the Map

Melanie Fuechsel was in middle school when she saw that old Spanish coin peeking out through the crust of the Earth. The piece from the past, uncovered during her first archaeological dig, would color her future.

Now a GIS intern at the Fortune 500 engineering firm AECOM, Melanie Fuechsel '17 studied bottle glass from a Civil War encampment while at UMW. Photo by Norm Shafer.
Now a GIS intern at the Fortune 500 engineering firm AECOM, Melanie Fuechsel ’17 studied bottle glass from a Civil War encampment while at UMW. Photo by Norm Shafer.

“It was the coolest thing they’d found to date,” said Fuechsel, who graduated from Mary Washington in May with a bachelor’s degree in historic preservation and a Geospatial Information Science Certificate (GISc). “After that I was hooked.”

Now a GIS intern at the Fortune 500 engineering firm AECOM, she was drawn to UMW for its unique historic preservation program. Despite her late start – she transferred from a community college – she embodied the spirit of a liberal arts and sciences education, soaking up hands-on learning experiences, attending conferences across the country and taking courses in everything from forensic archaeology to cell biology. Finally, at the place where antiquity meets technology, she found her sweet spot.

“I just want to try it all,” said Fuechsel, whose senior capstone project, exploring the evolution of segregation in Fredericksburg, melded her two courses of study. The remote sensing she learned in the GISc program, for example, let her make maps showing the people and periods she explored with historic preservation professors.

Born in Berlin, Fuechsel was 7 when she moved with her family, including sister Martha Fuechsel, M.Ed. ’17, to Warrenton, Virginia. After high school, she indulged her hunger for learning and “did a lot of things to try to spread my wings,” she said. She toured Germany, volunteered in fire and rescue, and worked for a hospital, the National Park Service and the school system.

“Sometimes it’s just as much about finding out what you don’t want to do as it is about learning what you do want to do,” Fuechsel said. “It’s OK to fail; that’s how you learn.”

At Mary Washington, she kept up the pace, working in Residence Life, interning at the Mosby Heritage Area, volunteering at the Montpelier Foundation and loading up on experiential learning opportunities.

Now a GIS intern at the Fortune 500 engineering firm AECOM, Melanie Fuechsel '17 studied bottle glass from a Civil War encampment while at UMW. Photo by Norm Shafer.
Now a GIS intern at the Fortune 500 engineering firm AECOM, Melanie Fuechsel ’17 studied bottle glass from a Civil War encampment while at UMW. Photo by Norm Shafer.

“Historic preservation is a hands-on field,” said Fuechsel, who – in addition to her capstone project on segregation – helped conserve historic objects at the Masonic Lodge, designed coloring book pages for Archaeology in the Community and studied bottle glass shards from a Civil War encampment.

“She threw herself into the project 110 percent,” said Adjunct Professor of Historic Preservation Lauren McMillan, who advised Fuechsel on the study she presented at the Middle Atlantic Archaeological Conference in March. “Melanie’s ability to combine her passion for history and material culture with her skills in GIS and other digital technologies makes her a unique graduate of the program and … a highly sought-after historic preservation practitioner.”

Fuechsel joined UMW’s Mortar Board honor society and Historic Preservation Club, presented her work at the Student Research and Creativity Symposium and holed up at the Center for Career and Professional Development. She showed her share of school spirit, as well, attending events from the serious Honor Convocation and Eagle Gathering to the super silly lip sync contest and ice cream social.

“Mary Washington has so many cool things,” she said. “You’re surrounded by people who really have your best interests at heart.”

UMW Alum Shines on Jeopardy!

UMW alum Becca Arm ’16 walked away from a recent episode of the long-running TV game show Jeopardy! with $27,500 and a second-place finish.

Now employed as a library assistant, Arm served as a special collections student assistant in the Simpson Library during her time at UMW.

UMW alum Becca Arm ’16 walked away from a recent episode of the long-running TV game show Jeopardy! with $27,500 and a second-place finish.
UMW alum Becca Arm ’16 walked away from a recent episode of the long-running TV game show Jeopardy! with $27,500 and a second-place finish. Photo courtesy of Jeopardy Productions Inc.

“She was a wonderful library assistant, very detail-oriented and a very good writer,” said UMW Head of Special Collections Carolyn Parsons. “We’re excited to see that she’s gone into the library profession.”

Arm was a fierce contestant on Jeopardy!, leading her competitors – a management consultant and the returning champion, an ESL teacher – for most of the game.

She tore through categories like “1817,” “design & architecture” and “children’s books” in the show’s first round, finishing in the lead with $9,000. In the second round, she muscled through topics including “similes,” “entertaining fruits & vegetables” and “Biblical pairs,” maintaining the lead with $22,200. Arm also snagged one Daily Double in each of the game’s first two segments.

In Final Jeopardy, she questioned the answer – “His First novel, from 1920, incorporated some of his pieces from The Nassau, a Princeton literary magazine” – correctly (F. Scott Fitzgerald) but wagered only $5,300, which left her just short of winning the game.

Arm, who lives in Herndon, Virginia, majored in art history and was a scholarship recipient at Mary Washington. She is interested in onomastics, the study of names, she told the show’s host, Alex Trebek, who admitted to being unfamiliar with the topic.

“It can be any kind of name, but I’m interested in personal names, given names. I like to watch what’s in the media, what’s going on in the news, see what’s going to become popular as a baby name,” Arm told Trebek. “It’s kind of fun.”