August 3, 2015

Club Carnival, Aug. 26

All campus departments are invited to participate in the fall 2015 Club Carnival Fair! The event will be on Wednesday, Aug. 26 from 5-7 p.m. on Ball Circle. Set up for department tables will begin at 3:30 p.m., but all tables must be set by 5 p.m. for the start of the event. If you wish to host a table at Club Carnival, please login to myUMW and register at the following form:

Please send any questions to

Farewell for Melina Downs, Aug. 10

Melina Downs Makes a Move
From public relations to public school

Are you smarter than a fifth grader? Probably not, if the fifth graders are the ones in Melina Downs’ classroom at Locust Grove Elementary School!

Melina, who has worked for her alma mater eight years, will be writing lesson plans instead of press releases and posting on the blackboard instead of EagleVision screens. With a freshly minted MA in education from UMW, 2015, Melina has landed a full-time job close to home as a fifth-grade teacher at the school she attended and the school her children will be attending.

For nearly a decade, Melina has been an invaluable asset to UMW, first on the Stafford campus and, later, in Fredericksburg. Our media manager, she manages to squeeze a lot into each day, including longtime and dedicated service to the Leadership Colloquium and to the Staff Advisory Council.

Many of you all across campus have been touched by Melina’s energy and smile. Help us send her off in style. Please drop by University Relations, suite 300 in Eagle Village, after lunch on Monday, Aug. 10.  From 1 to 3 p.m, we will offer Blackstone coffee and delectable desserts.

UMW Families Attend Engineering-Maker Camp

University of Mary Washington kids got their first taste of 3-D printing and robotics last week when they attended an Engineering-Maker Camp at the Stafford campus.

The College of Education offered the free two-day camp to University employees’ kids where they learned about 3-D design, scanning and printing; basic wiring and circuit-building; built electronic books, paintings and greeting cards and built simple motor-powered robots, among other activities.

“The camp went very well,” said Professor of Education George Meadows, who led the camp. “I think the kids really enjoyed working with the variety of technology we were able to introduce them to.”

Staff Advisory Council Updates

Larry Atkins Award Nominations

Nominations are open for the annual “We Couldn’t Do it Without You” Larry Atkins award. Nominations are open until Sept. 10.  Please go to:

 UMW Back-to-School Drive

The S.A.C. is currently collecting donations for the annual back-to-school drive that ends Aug. 28. In cooperation with Stafford County Schools and Apple Federal Systems, our donated school supplies will be distributed to the most needed places. Each campus will have a LARGE yellow box that will be used to store donated items and Stafford county will pick them up.

Box locations:
Fredericksburg campus — GW hall main entrance and various small boxes across campus
Stafford campus — South building
Dahlgren campus — lobby

Needed Items:
Pencils – Pens – Crayons – Paper (large rule) – Folders – binders – Glue – Glue sticks – Tissue – Colored pencils – Calculators – Backpacks
*Aug. 7 – 9 is the tax free weekend to shop for back to school items

Faculty & Staff RecFEST, Aug. 19

Changes include creation of a total body circuit, increased free weight space, new TVs and increased efficiency for users.

Changes include creation of a total body circuit, increased free weight space, new TVs and increased efficiency for users.

Campus Recreation has been busy updating equipment and programs this summer. Come out and check it out at our inaugural Faculty & Staff RecFEST on Aug. 19 from 4:30-6 p.m.

Get info on fall programs, tour the facility, enjoy group fitness-class demos, tryout Lifting 101 and win some giveaways, and prizes!

“Go Set a Watchman” Book Discussion, Aug. 5

Join Gary Richards at the University Bookstore for a group discussion of “Go Set a Watchman” by Harper Lee on Aug. 5 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. in Lee Hall. RSVP by Friday, July 31 to (540) 654-1631 or

Students Present Research at Annual Symposium

Summer-Science-InstituteHave you ever gotten exasperated while waiting to be seated at a restaurant? It’s a universal problem that has frustrated customers and owners around the globe.

Senior Evan Mays is working to help restaurants figure out what causes long wait times. The computer science major spent the spring and summer semesters collecting data at Seacobeck Dining Hall. He used information from customers’ wireless devices to estimate the number of people visiting the restaurant and the amount of time they stayed.

The research project, “Predicting Wait Times with Wi-Fi Network Traffic,”  was a win for  Mays, who received first place for his presentation at the annual Summer Science Institute Research Symposium on Wednesday, July 22. His mentor was Jennifer Polack, professor of computer science.

As for Seacobeck Hall, Mays has a suggestion on how the dining hall can minimize its wait times: Open a second register during peak hours.

Mays was one of 18 presenters whose research projects ranged from examining soil pollution at a mining site to analyzing the Japanese yen/U.S. dollar exchange rate.

Other winners included:

Second Place Oral Presentation: Samuel Clark, “Optimization of SELEX Parameters for RNA Aptamer Selection, Advisor: Randall Reif, assistant professor of chemistry

First Place Poster Presentation: Kristina Krumpos, “Genetically Engineering a Plasmid Expression Vector for Nuclear Localization Studies,” Advisor: Stephen Gallik, professor of biology

Second Place Poster Presentation: Taylor McConnell, “Analysis of Potential Bioaccumulation of Heavy Metals in Native Plants at an Acid Mine Drainage Site along Contrary Creek, Virginia,” Advisor: Melanie Szulczewski, associate professor of earth and environmental sciences

UMW School Supplies Drive Starting Now

As you go out and gather school supplies for your own students, please think to pick up an extra pack of paper or colored pencils, etc. to drop in our collection boxes for Back to School Days @ UMW.  The
S. A. C. is sponsoring the collection of elementary school level supplies to help needy students in the area this year. The members of the S. A. C. have been asked to put a collection box out in their area to collect items. We need all items necessary for back to school, including backpacks, tissue boxes, paper packs, pencils, colored pencils, crayons and composition books.

We appreciate everyone’s effort to support those less fortunate in our area. This program will run until the end of August.


Your Staff Advisory Council members

Nina Thompson Retirement Reception, July 30, 3 p.m.

465-ninaNina Thompson, associate vice president for Stewardship and Operations, has announced her retirement from the University of Mary Washington after 14 years of outstanding service. During her time at Mary Washington, she has been instrumental in finalizing details of countless donor gifts that have led to the establishment of new endowments, largely in the area of scholarships. Additionally, she has provided dedicated service to the UMW Foundation to ensure that new fund accounts reflect donor intent, while serving as a primary liaison between the Office of Advancement and the UMW Foundation. Out of the many relationships that she stewarded with Mary Washington alumni and friends, Nina initiated the Alumni College and Alumni College on the Road programs that continue to provide new opportunities for alumni to experience the expertise of our faculty and the camaraderie of shared experiences.

A farewell reception for Nina is being held on July 30 from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Kalnen Inn at the Jepson Alumni Executive Center.  Please drop in to wish her well.

News from Human Resources

Staff Gathering, Oct. 13 – Save the Date

Remember to save the date for Tuesday, Oct. 13 Staff Fall Gathering. More details to follow!

Employee Recognition Programs

UMW offers several recognition programs that show appreciation for the hard work and dedication of UMW employees. For more detailed information, please see the link to the Employee Recognition Programs section of the Human Resources website.

Flexible Spending Account (FSA) Tips and Reminders

Additional information regarding the Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is located under “What’s New”