August 25, 2019

Brittanie Naff: Taking Fitness to Heart

Brittanie Naff, assistant director of Campus Recreation. Photo by Suzanne Rossi.

Brittanie Naff, assistant director of Campus Recreation. Photo by Suzanne Rossi.

Want to jog through the streets of Paris, browse Facebook or catch up on Netflix – all without leaving Mary Washington? Brittanie Naff says now you can – and still squeeze in your workout – thanks to the cardio equipment she and her team have brought to the fitness center. UMW employees are invited to take the new machines for a spin – or sprint – and enjoy healthy snacks and beverages at Cardio & Katora, Friday, Aug. 23, noon to 2 p.m.

Planning special events like this is just one of Naff’s responsibilities as assistant director of Campus Recreation, a job she’s held since 2016, when she met now-supervisor Kelly Shannon, who convinced her to become an Eagle.

Naff, who has a master’s degree in public health from Virginia Tech, ensures that Mary Washington’s recreational facilities, staff and programs meet the fitness and wellness needs of the UMW community. She assists with marketing efforts, hires instructors and trainers, and manages schedules for group fitness programs like Zumba, barre, yoga and cycle.

“I’m living proof of the impact fitness programs can have on students’ lives,” said Naff, who began hitting the gym after trying a Zumba class her freshman year. “When I realized I could make a career out of managing collegiate fitness programs and facilities, I pursued that and haven’t looked back!”


Q: How did you know it was time for new cardio equipment at UMW’s fitness center?
A: Our rental term was ending, so we worked with procurement to secure a new vendor. We wanted quality, affordable machines; excellent customer service; and an asset management system that allowed us to track the status of the equipment to limit downtime in case parts break. We found it all with Matrix Fitness and got 45 pieces of cardio equipment, six with cool touch screens that let you escape to other locales.

Q: We’re excited for Cardio & Katora! The coffee shop and gym equipment are new, but what else do exercise and caffeine have in common?
A: When planning this event, we all agreed that exercise and healthy, delicious drinks and food contribute to a high quality of life. Why not put these things together and promote the message? You’ll see plenty of collaborations between Campus Rec, Katora Café and UMW Dining in the future, and you can find Mindful Dining info at the Top of the UC.

Q: What would you say to people who feel guilty about procrastinating starting a fitness routine?
A: It’s never too late. You have to find something you enjoy if you want to stick to it. Exercise can be way more than treadmills and dumbbells!

Q: What’s your favorite way to exercise?
A: I love Orange Theory. The workouts are intense – but modifiable, the coaches are motivating, the music is awesome and the classes work with my calendar. All I have to do is show up!

Q: What would people be surprised to learn about you?
A: I started dating my husband when I was 15, after a high school homecoming dance.

Q: What’s your motto?
A: Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.

Farnsworth Lectures at Fake News Hackathon in Malaysia

Stephen Farnsworth, professor of political science and director of UMW's Center for Leadership and Media Studies

Stephen Farnsworth, professor of political science and director of UMW’s Center for Leadership and Media Studies

Stephen Farnsworth, professor of political science and director of the University’s Center for Leadership and Media Studies, recently presented a lecture, “How Governments and Media Companies Struggle with Fake News,” at the Break the Fake Hackathon, a project of the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative and U.S. Department of State. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Professor Farnsworth, who was in Malaysia this summer as a Fulbright Specialist at Methodist College Kuala Lumpur, also judged the hackathon entries, projects designed to assist in the identification of fake news or to reduce its dissemination.

Dr. Farnsworth has also been quoted in several national and world news stories:

Virginia Republican in close race now backs ‘red flag’ gun bill (The Washington Post, Greenwich Time)

Trump steps up attack on Congresswoman (CTV News Canada)

Presidential Health, a private or public matter? (Revista Credencial) 

Democrats see boost in fundraising (Chesterfield Observer)

Battleground Parking Lot Construction

The construction of the expanded parking lot is projected to finish in October. Currently the parking area in front of the Physical Plant is closed. Staff and visitors to the Physical Plant may park in the east (loading dock side) parking lot and enter the building via the back lot during business hours. Athletics access to the locker room and physical therapy area is around the west side of the building around the construction fence, up the jogging trail from Softball. Until the project is complete week-day parking by students and coaches will be at the north end of the soccer fields, closest to Hanover Street. Contact Rob Johnston at if you have questions.

Last Call to Submit Events to the Family Weekend Schedule!

Family Weekend 2019 will take place Friday, October 4-Sunday, October 6. We will be accepting submissions for events you would like to have included on the schedule through Monday, September 2.

Please submit your events here.

Questions pertaining to Family Weekend can be directed to Sandrine Sutphin at

Wilson Comments on Survivors of Mass Shootings

Laura Wilson, assistant professor of psychology

Laura Wilson, assistant professor of psychology

Assistant Professor of Psychological Science Laura Wilson continues to provide insight about the psychological effects of mass shootings to national media. She was recently interviewed on in an article titled “‘National anxiety’ about mass shootings following massacres in El Paso and Dayton.”

“The narrative we hear in these impacted communities is, ‘I never thought it would happen here,’ and so I think that gets people thinking, ‘Well then, that can happen to me too,'” Wilson said, adding, “The immediate aftermath is the greatest level of risk for that type of reaction and then we tend to see it decrease over time.” Read more. 


Rettinger Comments on Cheating in Higher Ed in USA Today

David Rettinger, associate professor of Psychological Science

David Rettinger, associate professor of Psychological Science

David Rettinger, associate professor of psychological science and director of academic programs at the University of Mary Washington, was recently interviewed by USA Today in an article titled, “Students are still using tech to cheat on exams, but things are getting more advanced.” “Technology presents new ways for students to do things that they’ve always been doing, which is avoid doing the work themselves,” said Rettinger, president of the International Center for Academic Integrity. “Forever, students would go to a book and copy things for a paper. Copy and paste plagiarism is as old as reading and writing, but now it’s so much easier. You don’t even have to leave your desk to do that. The bar has gotten much lower.” Read more. 


President Paino: UMW Fosters Connections, Community

Mary Washington President Troy Paino spoke with faculty and staff during the All-UMW Assembly. The University is gearing up to  welcome a new class of students. Photo by Norm Shafer.

Mary Washington President Troy Paino spoke with faculty and staff during the All-UMW Assembly. The University is gearing up to welcome a new class of students. Photo by Norm Shafer.

What makes Mary Washington shine in Virginia’s intensely competitive higher-education environment? According to President Troy Paino, it’s connections and a sense of community. He delivered that message at his All-UMW Assembly on Friday, where he shared accomplishments, updates and reflections with a roomful of faculty and staff, as the campus prepares to welcome a new and diverse class of students this week.


In a world where news headlines show that human bonds are increasingly frayed, Paino told the crowd in Dodd Auditorium, Mary Washington is “a place where transformative relationships are formed.” He pointed to studies that show college graduates attribute their future success to three factors: mentorship experiences, opportunities to apply learning outside the classroom and a strong sense of community. That’s precisely what UMW offers, Paino said. Read more. 

Gallagher Receives Topher Bill Service Award

Jackie Gallagher, associate professor of geography, is this year's Topher Bill Service Award recipient.

Jackie Gallagher, associate professor of geography, is this year’s Topher Bill Service Award recipient.

Jackie Gallagher, associate professor of geography at the University of Mary Washington, has been recognized with the J. Christopher (Topher) Bill Outstanding Faculty Service Award for her contributions to UMW and her involvement and leadership in the greater community. The award was presented at the University’s opening faculty meeting on Monday, August 19.

Announcing the award, Parrish Waters, chair of the Sabbaticals, Fellowships and Faculty Awards Committee and assistant professor of biology, said Gallagher has shown a remarkable dedication to UMW students and faculty as well as the Fredericksburg community.

“[Dr. Gallagher] has worked for years to establish meaningful relationships with local K-12 schools that introduce students and educators to the tools and curriculum of her discipline and foster intellectual excitement for this material. Her engagement in community service extends beyond the classroom, as she applies her scientific knowledge of water, weather and climate to improve and enhance local natural resources.” Read more. 

Faculty Participation in Honor Convocation: Friday, August 23

In our annual celebration of honor, UMW’s Honor Convocation will take place on Friday, August 23 at 4:30 p.m. in the Anderson Center. New students will recite and sign the University’s honor pledge, signifying their promise to uphold UMW’s ethical code. Faculty members are strongly encouraged to attend and are reminded to please wear UMW regalia and arrive no later than 4:10 p.m. Robing will be held in Goolrick Gym.

UMW Welcomes Class of 2023

Move-In Day 2019. Photo by Suzanne Rossi.

Move-In Day 2019. Photo by Suzanne Rossi.

For eagles, building a nest is a bonding activity. The same could be said for the 900-plus first-year students who on Wednesday made the University of Mary Washington their home.

Move-In Day 2019.

Residence halls opened their doors to the Class of 2023, who arrived with parents, siblings, pets and armloads of bedding and clothes, as well as furniture, mini-fridges, laptops and shower caddies. They immediately began making connections with fellow students, and  President Troy Paino and wife Kelly, who – along with UMW staff – were on hand to help with the hauling. The freshmen strategically placed personal mementos and Mary Washington gear around their rooms, to remind them of the people who gave them their wings and those who’ll help them take flight.

Read more.