July 23, 2024

Cooperman Joins Editorial Board of “Political Behavior”

Associate professor of Political Science Rosalyn Cooperman has been invited to join the editorial board of Political Behavior, a peer-reviewed journal that publishes original research in the general fields of political behavior, institutions, processes and policies.

The journal is published in association with the Elections, Public Opinion and Voting Behavior section of the American Political Science Association.

Voice Lessons

New sexual assault and prevention specialist helps victims speak up

Character and Community

A Play in Three Acts


Jackie Filicko: senior; psychology/theatre major; brainiac from Midlothian

Gwen Levey: junior; theatre major, musical theatre/arts administration minor; dreamer from Annandale

Character and Community

A Play in Three Acts


Jackie Filicko: senior; psychology/theatre major; brainiac from Midlothian

Gwen Levey: junior; theatre major, musical theatre/arts administration minor; dreamer from Annandale

Catherine O’Meara: junior; psychology/theatre major; tomboy from Warrenton

Theatre girls


Three over-achieving theatre majors talk “UMW.”

Act One: U-M-What?

Jackie: We were driving on 95, and I saw the exit for the University of Mary Washington. I literally looked it up from the backseat. Small classes were important to me. In high school, I developed a bond with so many of my teachers. I really wanted to carry that over into college. That’s how I learn best.

Gwen: [clasps hands] I was originally supposed to go to school at Fordham University at Lincoln Center, take classes at Julliard, but it was incredibly expensive. My grandma had lived in Fredericksburg, and I knew about Mary Washington. I got a performing arts scholarship from my high school to come to UMW, but my first tour, to be honest, I didn’t like it. The second time, I toured with (Department of Theatre and Dance Chair) Gregg Stull and that completely changed my point of view.

Catherine: I got invited to UMW to audition for governor’s school for theatre but it got cut short so I only saw the back of duPont. I finally went to a Discovery Day and completely fell in love with it, like crazy about it. I loved how it looks, the size, the whole classroom experience they talked about. I was one of those kids who didn’t apply anywhere else.

Act Two: Theatre 101

Jackie: [tucks hair behind ear] I’ve always loved theatre but in high school, I had extreme stage fright. I didn’t get into actual theatre until I came here. Sophomore year I did a practicum and was second assistant stage manager for Lysistrata, my first foray into the theatre department and seeing how a production works. Last fall I was cast in Sunday in the Park With George. It was my first acting experience ever. I loved it.

Gwen: We had a landing over my living room, and I’d put on performances and make my parents watch. I loved Christmas because we’d put on shows, Mary Poppins or The Sound of Music. I was 6 when I was first onstage in community theatre. I did Spring Awakening my first semester at UMW. I always knew I wanted to major in theatre, but what’s amazing is (Assistant Professor of Music) Mark Snyder’s composition class; I’m getting to write two to three songs a week.

Catherine: I did my first show in kindergarten, first lead in a musical when I was 12 – 45 Minutes From Broadway; I was Mary. I was an athlete, so for a long time I wasn’t focused on theatre at all. When I was diagnosed with severe asthma, they said I could never play again. That was the turning point; that summer I got into the New York Film Academy, an awesome, amazing experience. At UMW, I auditioned for Miss Firecracker and got a call back. Then I met Gwen in acting class.

Gwen:[hugs Catherine] Yay!

Catherine: We both did a summer internship on Always … Patsy Cline, and I really started getting involved. When I got a lead role in Doubt, I declared a theatre major.

Act Three: Setting the Stage

Jackie: Psychology helps you understand people. I use a personality type indicator on my characters to understand how they’d act in different situations. This summer I volunteered at Camp Bruce McCoy for survivors of traumatic brain injury. It was a paradigm shift. I’d love to act, but I really want to go to grad school and pursue occupational therapy.

Gwen: I definitely want to keep acting, but I know I’m going to do singing and songwriting. When I was 12, I went to New York to do my first demo, then ended up working with a label in Nashville and getting a development deal writing for artists. When you’re so young, you get taken advantage of. Now I’m getting paid to write for an artist based in Japan, so I’m kind of trying to keep the ball rolling.

Catherine: [glances knowingly at Jackie] Psychology helps with every aspect of life, especially theatre, especially when you’re playing those really gritty roles. In a scene in class from Angels in America, I played an agoraphobic addicted to valium. Having that psychology experience gives you a step up. I want to go into film. Film’s really my passion.

The End

Just the Beginning

Curiosity and Calculations

UMW junior Melisa Pilipovic was 2 when she came to America as a refugee.

Her parents had fled their homeland during the Bosnian War, bringing with them only what they could carry across the sea.

“It’s unbelievable thinking about how far we’ve come,” Pilipovic said of her family’s rise from the rubble. “Going through it all, seeing things progress so much, it makes me want to give back to them even more.”



A first-generation college student, she’s banking on Mary Washington – and her love of accounting – to do just that.

From the start, Pilipovic was all about business. While her classmates crunched cereal before school, she crunched numbers. She’d opened a savings account by kindergarten; taught herself QuickBooks by 13. Now majoring in business administration and accounting – offered for the first time at UMW this fall – she plans to cash in on a dynamic career, pushing her family’s sparse U.S. start even further into the past.

“There’s something about accounting that just makes sense,” she said. “I could sit down and do it forever. I love to open the book.”

From the Bosnian town of Velika Kladuša, the family settled in Waynesboro, Virginia, where Pilipovic grew up learning Serbo-Croation from her parents, English from her teachers. In governor’s school, she tackled subjects like physics and molecular biology. But it was numbers – always numbers – that made her mind race.

When she enrolled, UMW offered neither finance nor accounting as majors, but she’d fallen in love with its not-too-big feel and the College of Business.

“I appreciated the program and what it could offer,” said Pilipovic, who plunged in, joining upper-level accounting courses; marketing, ambassador and mentorship programs; “everything I could possibly do.”

To get through that first year, she’d turn for support to Assistant Accounting Professor Dave Henderson ’95, who also fed her passion for travel. She’s studied abroad in Costa Rica, London and France, and in the U.K. on a trip led by Henderson.

“She’s engaged with faculty. She’s made connections,” said College of Business Dean Lynne Richardson, who appointed Pilipovic an inaugural student member of Mary Washington’s Leadership Colloquium Advisory Board. “She’s taken advantage of everything this campus has to offer.”

UMW’s liberal arts and sciences have even opened her mind to topics like French cinema and meditation.

“I’m not just this nerdy accounting person,” said Pilipovic, who worked last winter at Liberty Tax Service and helps run her parents’ trucking businesses.

An only child, she’s gained something else at Mary Washington. Her roommates, she said, are “the sisters I never had.” Most nights she makes them all dinner – spaghetti, maybe, or chicken and rice.

When she’s not in the kitchen, she might be online, re-tweeting stories from professional equality advocates like Lean In, working to boost all women in business.

“As women, we tend to judge, put up walls,” she said. “You have to put those down. Our accomplishments fall under one umbrella.”

She turns to social media, too, to share Mary Washington victories, both athletic and academic.

“I appreciate how much we’ve grown and accomplished,” said Pilipovic, who plans to stay on in the MBA program. “I want to make sure people know I go to UMW.”

Floating Hope

While his teammates tugged at their Speedos and swim caps, Dalton Herendeen had his own worries.

“It’s the first time my peers were going to see me without my leg,” he said of the start of middle school swim practice. “That’s scary.”

He took a deep breath, plunged into the pool and surfaced to a sight he would never forget: everyone staring, afraid to get in the water with him. He pled with his parents not to make him go back, but they wouldn’t budge.

Floating Hope

UMW assistant coach teaches swimmers to defy adversity

Grit and Gravity

Fighting dyslexia fueled biology major’s quest to help others.