August 15, 2020

UMW Alumna Lands National VP Position to Support Teachers

Princess Moss, who graduated from Mary Washington in 1983, was named vice president of the National Education Association last week. Moss, who credits her success in part to leadership skills she gained in college, has served as NEA secretary-treasurer since 2014. Photo courtesy of NEA.

Princess Moss, who graduated from Mary Washington in 1983, was named vice president of the National Education Association last week. Moss, who credits her success in part to leadership skills she gained in college, has served as NEA secretary-treasurer since 2014. Photo courtesy of NEA.

A position Princess Moss won last week with the National Education Association (NEA) will give her a larger voice for teachers and students throughout the country. A 1983 Mary Washington graduate, Moss will trade her current post as secretary-treasurer of the nation’s largest professional organization, representing three million educators, to become vice president.

She was a Mary Washington music major when she began her nearly four decades of service with NEA, becoming a student member of the affiliated Virginia Education Association (VEA), of which she later served two terms as president. With the COVID-19 crisis further exposing inequities in public schools, Moss wants teachers to know that, in her new role announced last week, she will work to provide safe learning spaces for all, and that she stands with them.

She’s been there, having spent 21 years in the classroom as a public school elementary music teacher. Along the way, she’s held influential positions, supporting the NEA’s mission to ensure students receive well-rounded educations and advocating for the arts in schools. Moss credits her success, at least in part, to her undergraduate career, which gave her strong leadership and communication skills, she told University of Mary Washington Magazine in 2014. Read more.

Alum Skyrockets in Career as NASA Videographer

Paul Morris, who received a bachelor’s degree in theatre from UMW in 2010, is now a video producer for NASA. A documentary he created for the 30th anniversary of the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope has garnered more than 400,000 views on social media. Photo courtesy of Paul Morris.

Paul Morris, who received a bachelor’s degree in theatre from UMW in 2010, is now a video producer for NASA. A documentary he created for the 30th anniversary of the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope has garnered more than 400,000 views on social media. Photo courtesy of Paul Morris.

Paul Morris ’10 grew up recording epic space battles on stop-action film. He’d pose and re-pose Star Wars figures, capturing them with a Sony Super 8 camera that kept conking out.

Now a video producer for NASA, Morris’s outer-space odysseys are a bit more high-tech. A documentary he created – from conception to final cut – for this spring’s 30th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope, went into orbit on social media. With a theatre degree he didn’t know existed when he got to college – and the teamwork and storytelling skills that came with it – Morris turned his innate fascination with all things galactic into a soaring career.

“It’s been an absolute dream,” he said. “I’ve always been obsessed with space and with NASA.”

UMW, too, was ingrained in Morris, whose grandparents Marceline Weatherly Morris ’50 and Elmer “Juney” Morris Jr. ’50, married seven decades this month, began their courtship at Mary Washington. Paul Morris took a cue from the couple, meeting fellow theatre major Cassie Lewis ’11 on campus and marrying her beneath a magnolia tree in his Nana’s backyard. Read more.

Alum Skyrockets in Career as NASA Videographer

Paul Morris ’10 grew up recording epic space battles on stop-action film. He’d pose and re-pose Star Wars figures, capturing them with a Sony Super 8 camera that kept conking out. Now a video producer for NASA, Morris’s outer-space odysseys are a bit more high-tech. A documentary he created – from conception to final cut […]

UMW Alumna Lands National VP Position to Support Teachers

A position Princess Moss won last week with the National Education Association (NEA) will give her a larger voice for teachers and students throughout the country. A 1983 Mary Washington graduate, Moss will trade her current post as secretary-treasurer of the nation’s largest professional organization, representing three million educators, to become vice president. She was […]

UMW, Germanna, Stafford Schools Strive to Ease Teacher Shortage

A new agreement between the University of Mary Washington, Germanna Community College and Stafford County Public Schools gives students who want to become teachers the opportunity to secure college credits while still in high school. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

A new agreement between the University of Mary Washington, Germanna Community College and Stafford County Public Schools gives students who want to become teachers the opportunity to secure college credits while still in high school. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

The University of Mary Washington has signed an agreement with Germanna Community College and Stafford County Public Schools to make it easier for local students to become educators and help ease the state’s teacher shortage.

Streamlining the path from high school to college, the memorandum of understanding, signed last month by UMW President Troy Paino and Germanna President Janet Gullickson, was finalized last week with the signature of Stafford County Schools Superintendent Scott Kizner.

The agreement creates dual enrollment and workforce programs to pave the way for future educators, offering pathways in education and early childhood education to participants in Stafford Schools’ Teachers for Tomorrow (TfT) initiative. The state-recognized high school curriculum has been lauded as a successful “grow your own” teacher program. UMW holds a similar partnership with Spotsylvania County Public Schools, said UMW College of Education (COE) Dean Pete Kelly.

“As a COE at a public university, we have a responsibility to help address the chronic teacher shortage in our area schools and in Virginia,” Kelly said. “We worked together to align coursework and curriculum to ensure students have the learning experiences they need to be successful in the COE at UMW, and in their work as teachers after graduation. We also worked to make sure students get credit for the courses they take.” Read more.

UMW Partners With Germanna, Stafford Schools to Pave Way for Area Educators

The University of Mary Washington has signed an agreement with Germanna Community College and Stafford County Public Schools to make it easier for local students to become educators and help ease the state’s teacher shortage. Streamlining the path from high school to college, the memorandum of understanding, signed last month by UMW President Troy Paino […]

UMW Celebrates 30th Anniversary of Americans With Disabilities Act

When UMW junior Lueden Sheikhnureldin arrived at Simpson Library that early fall morning, something felt off. The old-style wooden chairs in the study area where she’d crammed for so many exams had been replaced by sleek gray-and-green seats.

UMW’s Office of Disability Resources offers access to students in need, with 12 percent of students registered to receive its services. This month, the University is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990.

UMW’s Office of Disability Resources offers access to students in need, with 12 percent of students registered to receive its services. This month, the University is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990.

“I couldn’t concentrate,” said Sheikhnureldin, whose ADHD can cause sensitivity to details like a chair’s texture and feel. “I thought, ‘This is confusing. Everything is changing. I can’t do this.’” She retreated to her Madison Hall room, instead, to study for a biology test.

An English major pursuing a degree in education, Sheikhnureldin is one of hundreds of UMW students with disabilities ranging from ADHD and autism to issues with vision, hearing and movement. “There really isn’t a category that isn’t represented here,” said Jessica Machado, director of the Office of Disability Resources (ODR), which provides services, accommodations and access.

It’s one of the most utilized offices of its type in Virginia, Machado said, with 12 percent of Mary Washington’s more than 4,000 students registered. That’s particularly poignant this month, while the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) celebrates its 30th anniversary. UMW officials like Machado are using the milestone to recognize three decades of strides toward equality for the disabled and also the work left to do.

“We must directly challenge the assumptions and effects of ableism and work to ensure that every member of the UMW community can realize their goals and aspirations here, and that all of us together thrive and flourish,” Provost Nina Mikhalevsky wrote in an email to campus. Read more.

UMW Celebrates 30th Anniversary of Americans With Disabilities Act

When UMW junior Lueden Sheikhnureldin arrived at Simpson Library that early fall morning, something felt off. The old-style wooden chairs in the study area where she’d crammed for so many exams had been replaced by sleek gray-and-green seats. “I couldn’t concentrate,” said Sheikhnureldin, whose ADHD can cause sensitivity to details like a chair’s texture and […]

Free UMW Course Turns COVID-19 Inside Out

Communications Professor and Chair Anand Rao, who is facilitating the eight-week “COVID-19 in Context” series with Arts and Sciences Dean Keith Mellinger, taught Monday’s course on how messaging about the pandemic impacts policies, along with Assistant Communications Professor Elizabeth Johnson-Young.

Communications Professor and Chair Anand Rao, who is facilitating the eight-week “COVID-19 in Context” series with Arts and Sciences Dean Keith Mellinger, taught Monday’s course on how messaging about the pandemic impacts policies, along with Assistant Communications Professor Elizabeth Johnson-Young.

Political leaders and health experts who communicate the impact of COVID-19 to the public are just like anyone else. Some hit the mark. Some don’t. Understandable terms, relatable ideas and the confident presentation of useful information are key to delivering a successful message, said UMW Professor of Communication Anand Rao.

And competent public discourse during pandemic-scale events, he said, can mean the difference between life and death.

The lesson, delivered Monday, was part of UMW’s COVID-19 in Context, a series of biweekly lectures that turn the virus holding the world captive inside out, examining everything from its economic impact to its influence on art. Created for current and incoming students who can receive academic credit, and offered for free to all, it’s quickly become UMW’s largest course ever. More than 1,900 registered participants are in 39 states, plus Washington, D.C., and countries across the globe, including Canada, England, France, Switzerland, Japan and Ghana.

“We have been floored by the response,” said Rao, who presented Monday’s course – “Communicating COVID-19: How We Talk About a Pandemic Changes What We Do” – with assistant professor Elizabeth Johnson-Young live via Zoom.

Nearly 40 faculty members from across the university – from fine arts and humanities to the sciences and social sciences – joined forces, along with guest speakers, agreeing to share their expertise on all facets of the pandemic. Beginning last week with a biological exploration of the virus and a look at how it affects public policy, 16 hourlong sessions take place on Mondays and Wednesdays through July 22. Read more.

Free UMW Course Turns COVID-19 Inside Out

Political leaders and health experts who communicate the impact of COVID-19 to the public are just like anyone else. Some hit the mark. Some don’t. Understandable terms, relatable ideas and the confident presentation of useful information are key to delivering a successful message, said UMW Professor of Communication Anand Rao. And competent public discourse during […]