February 24, 2018

Regional Conference Puts UMW Geography on the Map

UMW’s Department of Geography received high marks at the annual Southeastern Division of the Association of American Geographers (SEDAAG) conference. The event, held last month in Starkville, Mississippi, showcases research from across the region. [Read more…]

Steer Students to Stress-Free Zone

Balloon_HPThe Office of Student Affairs and Engagement will host the Stress Free Zone next Monday, Dec. 11, through Wednesday, Dec. 13, from noon to 3 p.m., throughout the University Center. The event, held during exam week for stress-weary students, is packed with snacks, massages, games, balloons and more, including the all-time student favorite – those lovable therapy dogs. Faculty and staff are encouraged to share event details with students.


Fredericksburg City Schools Night, Dec. 9

Do you have children attending a Fredericksburg City School?

Do you have a friend who works for Fredericksburg City Schools?

You won’t want to miss Fredericksburg City Schools Night presented by Home Team Grill.

Fredericksburg City Schools Night

FREE ADMISSION for Fredericksburg students and employees!

Join us on Saturday, Dec. 9, for a UMW Basketball doubleheader against Salisbury at Rosner Arena!

Fun halftime contests and free giveaways for fans!

Women’s Tipoff  1 p.m.  –   Men’s Tipoff 3 p.m.

UMW Basketball Tickets

$20 Vocelli Pizza VIP Courtside Seats

$10 Arena Chair Seats (behind team benches)

$5 General Admission Bench Seating

And don’t forget! FREE Admission for UMW Faculty, Staff and Students (must have Eagle One ID)

For schedules, scores and more, visit www.umweagles.com.

Eric Shaw Named Wagner Wealth Management Athlete of the Month

Senior men’s basketball forward Eric Shaw has been named the UMW Wagner Wealth Management Athlete of the Month for November.

Eric Shaw Named Wagner Wealth Management Athlete of the Month for November

Eric Shaw Named Wagner Wealth Management Athlete of the Month for November

Shaw led UMW to the Hyatt Place Tipoff Tournament championship by gaining tournament MVP honors after wins over Randolph College and Denison University. In the championship win over the Big Red, Shaw became the 20th player in program history to surpass 1,000 career points.

He gained all-tournament honors the next weekend at the Doubletree Hotels Tournament at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University. The Eagles have a 5-1 season start, with their CAC opener win Wednesday over St. Mary’s College.

UMW Wagner Wealth Management Athletes of the Month

September – Jessica Cavolt (field hockey)
October – Matt Spencer (men’s soccer)
November – Eric Shaw (men’s basketball)

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Joanna Catron: Home for the Holidays

Just up the road from UMW stands a house on a hill. Known as Gari Melchers Home and Studio at Belmont, the 18th-century Georgian-style structure belonged to the renowned American Impressionist painter. Beyond its quaint cream-colored siding and emerald green shutters, Curator and Interim Director Joanna Catron knows every inch of the house by heart. She should. She’s worked at Belmont – one of two public museums administered by the University of Mary Washington – for 34 years.

Joanna Catron, curator and interim director of Gari Melchers Home and Studio at Belmont. Photo by Alex Sakes.

Joanna Catron, curator and interim director of Gari Melchers Home and Studio at Belmont. Photo by Alex Sakes.

From Melchers’ celebrated naturalist paintings to the cups from which he and wife Corinne drank tea at their dining room table, Catron, an expert in American art, handles the time capsule with care. And at no other point of the year is Belmont more beautiful than Christmas, when Catron and her staff drape mantles with greenery, hang wreaths on the doors and gussy up trees.

They decorate as the couple would have back in the early 1900s, inspired by Corinne – her holiday letters, her love of gardening, even sentiments from relatives, like her brother, who dubbed the place “Bird-mont” on account of the Melchers’ turkeys, chickens and guineas. The theme is showcased in Belmont’s Holiday Open House, which runs through Jan. 5, with free admission for UMW faculty and staff.

Q: When did you begin working at Belmont?

A: In May 1983, right out of graduate school. I had interned at Mary Washington as an undergraduate student and I ran into [UMW Professor of Art and Art History] Joe Dreiss at a symposium of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., who led me to the position.

Q: As curator – and now interim director – what are your responsibilities?

A: People think of a curator as a glamorous job but, really, it’s not. I think of it as a keeper of the past. I care for the collections and do all the cleaning and polishing in the period rooms, which requires special handling. I also conduct research on the paintings and write interpretive information with our staff to share with the public. I’m juggling both roles, so budget and fundraising are also important. It takes a tremendous amount of funding to keep a place like this operating.

Q: How has the museum evolved since you first walked through its doors?

A: It’s changed dramatically over the years. Thanks to a talented staff of professionals, the stewardship of the bricks-and-mortar side of things is well in hand. And we’ve made other great improvements, particularly with regard to programming, and other amenities, so that we feel we have greater relevancy in our community.

Q: What’s your role in preparing for the Holiday Open House?

It’s a challenge decorating the place. It’s so large it seems we can never do quite enough to cast the desired magical spell. Besides, we don’t have any documentation of the place at Christmas, and no surviving ornaments. We have some idea from Corinne Melchers’ letters and journal entries that she decorated with greenery cut on the property, but that’s it. We try to keep it natural and appropriate to the 1920s, but the rest is a bit of a guessing game.

UMW’s Eagle Madness scored big on Tuesday, Nov. 7!

The pep rally-style event marked the beginning of Mary Washington’s 2017-2018 basketball season, drawing hundreds of Fredericksburg-area sports fans to the Anderson Center’s Rosner Arena to #RockTheRoz. Hosted by UMW Athletics and presented by Chick-Fil-A and radio station 99.3 The Vibe, Eagle Madness delivered high-energy performances, contests and prizes.

UMW’s dance, cheer and step teams lit up the court, while a deejay worked the turntable. Sharpshooters from both the men’s and women’s basketball teams competed for the three-point championship. And Mary Washington faculty and staff won bragging rights in a head-to-head contest against a randomly selected group of students.

Children showed up in full force, with a dunk contest for the soon-to-be stars of the court and opportunities to meet and snap photos with UMW’s Division 3 players.

Lights, Camera, Thank You!

The Office of University Relations would like to thank everyone who came out to be part of the Fox 5 event on campus last Friday, Oct. 20. The Washington, D.C., television station featured the University of Mary Washington in its “College Tour” series, filming live on Ball Circle, with morning show anchors Annie Yu and Kevin McCarthy from 7 to 11 a.m.

Special thanks to featured guests President Troy D. Paino, Professor of Historic Preservation Michael Spencer, Professor of Art and Art History Rosemary Jesionowski, Instructional Technology Specialist Lee Skallerup Bessette, Athletic Director Ken Tyler and our very own “Campus Hero,” longtime UMW employee Grace Anne Braxton – who were interviewed on camera.

Special thanks, too, to the Department of Theatre and Dance, and Dining Services, and Sammy D. Eagle and the UMW cheerleaders, who were with us all morning long.

But the pre-Homecoming broadcast could not have worked without help from the students (both Devils and Goats) and staff, faculty and administrators, club members and athletes who showed up to show off their Mary Washington spirit. Go, Eagles!

View photos and watch video clips from Fox 5’s “College Tour” stop at the University of Mary Washington.

Melissa Yakabouski: ‘Open House’ Party

As a Mary Washington student in the early ’90s, Melissa Yakabouski was leading campus tours and events for the Admissions office. She couldn’t have known then that more than two decades later, she’d be doing the same thing at Saturday’s UMW Open House. From counselor to director of undergraduate admissions, she’s held an array of responsibilities, even coordinating UMW’s first open houses, called “Super Saturdays.” The one-day events take a year to plan, draw hundreds of guests, and call for plenty of “planning and tweaking,” but Yakabouski’s got it down pat.

Director of Undergraduate Admissions Melissa Yakabouski talks with a student staff member

Director of Undergraduate Admissions Melissa Yakabouski talks with a student staff member

Q: What’s a fun alternate name for your position?
A: Chief Plate Spinner

Q: How long have you worked in UMW Admissions?
A: I’m a Mary Washington grad who never left.  But I’m not one to say, “that’s how we’ve always done it.” We have to be innovative and forward-looking in this competitive landscape.

Q: What do you love most about your job?
A: When students have that a-ha moment and you can see they feel at home here.

Q: You play a major role in deciding who gets accepted to UMW. What are the three top adjectives to describe the type of student you’re looking for?
A: Self-motivated, Academic, Engaged

Q: What do you love most about Open House?
A: Honestly, my favorite part is the end of the day when we know we’ve put on a great event, when families walk away with a high-quality introduction to UMW. I’m very proud of Mary Washington and what we offer. I want to do that justice in how we present ourselves to prospective students and guests.

Q: What’s the most tedious task that goes into planning an Open House?
A: Academic Showcase sign set-up is my least favorite part of the day. My secret talent is setting up and breaking down tables, chairs and signs, all while wearing heels and a suit. Seriously, I have a highly skilled, professional team. Planning and running the day successfully is way more about them than me.

Q: What’s one memorable event from a past Open House?
A: At one event, where I help manage bathroom traffic, I engaged a dad in conversation and indicated I was with Admissions. Later that morning after I was onstage introducing the president and other speakers, he found me and said, “you didn’t tell me you were in charge of Admissions.” Nope, I’m just another Admissions team member on bathroom duty.

Tiffany Oldfield: Keeping Eagles Safe

For many people, October means brisk air and colorful foliage. For UMW Title IX Coordinator Tiffany Oldfield, October is all about calling attention to Domestic Violence Awareness Month. As the days get shorter and the weather gets cooler, her office stays busy planning a string of events that signify the importance of recognizing domestic violence survivors and the need for education to help prevent future acts of violence.

UMW Office of Title IX Director Tiffany Oldfield

UMW Office of Title IX Director Tiffany Oldfield. Photo by Alex Sakes

Q: What do you like most about being UMW’s Title IX Coordinator?

A: Interacting with our students and employees and providing resources and support. I enjoy helping people through difficult times and through what can sometimes be a very difficult process.

Q: Why did you choose this line of work?

A: I have a passion for it and am committed to helping end sex- and gender-based discrimination. I love working with students, which is why I was drawn to higher education.

Q: Why is it important for the UMW community to recognize Domestic Violence Awareness Month?

A: We want to bring the awareness of dating violence to our community. If students and the community are better able to identify red flags in their friends’ or their own relationships, are able to confidently access resources, and know how to be strong allies, survivors feel more empowered and supported, and the entire community becomes better at recognizing and preventing violence and abuse.

Q: What does your office offer to UMW students, faculty and staff?

A:  Our events have a two-fold goal – to provide concrete resources and education and to encourage discussion and awareness. The more the community is engaged with issues of gender-based violence, the less acceptable, alienating and common that violence becomes.

Q: What has been your proudest achievement at UMW?

A: Working with the Title IX team to help our students and employees.

Marilyn Wojdak: Costume Made

With production deadlines creeping closer, layers and layers of fabric spread like icing on a cake across the Klein Theatre costume shop. Patterns and sketches are displayed for technician and supervisor Marilyn Wojdak to inspect. Compartmentalized in the artistic space are industrial sewing machines, sergers and steam irons – a concoction of crafty apparatuses. It’s where students and professionals alike imagine a whole other world of clothes into reality. Wojdak has spent a decade guiding UMW students through the production of inventive costume construction. Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, which runs through Sunday, is no exception.

Marilyn Wojdak works on a dress in the current Klein Theatre production of "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike."

Marilyn Wojdak works on a dress for the current Klein Theatre production of “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.” Photo by Alex Sakes.

Q: What’s a typical day like in the costume shop?

A: I design patterns, oversee student construction of mock-ups, do fittings, alter patterns, cut fabrics, assemble garments and make sure the finished product is tailored to each individual actor. My primary job is to educate our students in the construction of the clothing.

Q: What are some memorable costumes you’ve worked on?

A: One of the most beautiful was a ball gown from Lady Windermere’s Fan. It was black and white with embroidery down the front and so many hours went into its construction. Another favorite was when we did Seascape; the students had fun making the lizard suits – lycra body suits with iridescent fabric modifications to bring out the scaly nature of their “skin”.

Q: What’s it like working with students?

A: I work with students through every step of the process. Sometimes that involves teaching them a new technique like putting in a zipper or how to properly hem a garment, but often it just involves refining their skills. It’s most rewarding when a student tries something new  thinking they simply can’t do a good job, but in the end, they succeed remarkably.

Q: What do you love most about your job?

A: I have often heard actors say that they can fully inhabit and portray a character much more when they finally wear the clothing onstage. It’s always wonderful to see that happen!