December 3, 2022

UMW Chooses Alum to Fill Key Communications Role

Amy Jessee ’06 will step into UMW’s Executive Director of University Communications role in June.

Amy Jessee ’06 will step into UMW’s Executive Director of University Communications role in June.

Incoming Executive Director of University Communications Amy Jessee has already mapped out her first days on the job.

As chief communicator for the University of Mary Washington, Jessee will begin by listening – to students, staff, faculty, administrators, alumni, community supporters and others with a stake in telling the university’s stories in the ways that matter most.

When she arrives on campus in late June, she won’t have to start from scratch. Jessee is a 2006 graduate of UMW, where she majored in business administration and English and earned the Colgate W. Darden Jr. Award, bestowed on the undergraduate with the highest grade-point average. She holds a master of arts degree in professional communication from Clemson University. Read more.

Student Affairs Pros Recognize UMW’s ‘Rock Star’ President

University of Mary Washington colleagues have long known how committed President Troy D. Paino is to the student experience – and to the faculty and staff who work day in and day out to make it the best it can be. Now, student affairs professionals throughout the Southeastern United States are spreading the news. NASPA, […]

UMW Chooses Alum to Fill Key Communications Role

Incoming Executive Director of University Communications Amy Jessee has already mapped out her first days on the job. As chief communicator for the University of Mary Washington, Jessee will begin by listening – to students, staff, faculty, administrators, alumni, community supporters and others with a stake in telling the university’s stories in the ways that […]

China-bound Graduate Focused on Global Goals

Bailey Johnson ’21 has a gift for being where she needs to be to meet her goals.

Bailey Johnson ’21 will move to China next summer to join the Schwarzman Scholars, a prestigious graduate leadership program that will give her the opportunity to pursue a master’s of global affairs in Beijing.

Bailey Johnson ’21 will move to China next summer to join the Schwarzman Scholars, a prestigious graduate leadership program that will give her the opportunity to pursue a master’s of global affairs in Beijing.

Starting in August 2022, that will be Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. There she’ll join the newest class of Schwarzman Scholars, pursuing a master’s degree in global affairs. Johnson is among 151 scholars in nearly three dozen countries, chosen from more than 3,000 applicants worldwide for the all-expenses-covered graduate leadership program.

Schwarzman Scholars are “high-caliber individuals with open minds and limitless potential who will serve to deepen understanding between China and the rest of the world,” according to the group’s website.

Johnson fits the bill. She’s already working as a cancer researcher for the National Institutes of Health, chiefly focused on understanding metastatic traits that allow tumor cells to colonize secondary organs. She also is a fellow at the NIH Academy on Health Disparities, studying gaps in health outcomes and addressing related issues.

Classes for Schwarzman Scholars are taught in English, but Johnson brings the advantage of fluency in Mandarin – a language she started learning as a child in Columbus, Ohio. She refined those skills at Mary Washington, where she double-majored in biology and a self-designed course of Chinese cultural studies. Read more.

China-bound Graduate Focused on Global Goals

Bailey Johnson ’21 has a gift for being where she needs to be to meet her goals. Starting in August 2022, that will be Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. There she’ll join the newest class of Schwarzman Scholars, pursuing a master’s degree in global affairs. Johnson is among 151 scholars in nearly three dozen countries, […]

Urban Forester Finds Love of Nature at UMW

The 11,000 to 12,000 trees shading the streets and parks of Lynchburg, Virginia, are a lot to keep up with. But Sarah Hagan, a 2011 University of Mary Washington graduate, has charge of them all, from roots to crowns. As Lynchburg’s urban forester, Hagan oversees trees individually but also as an interdependent whole – the urban […]

Urban Forester Finds Love of Nature at UMW

Sarah Hagan, an urban forester in Lynchburg, Virginia, discovered her passion for science while studying biology at UMW.

Sarah Hagan, an urban forester in Lynchburg, Virginia, discovered her passion for science while studying biology at UMW.

The 11,000 to 12,000 trees shading the streets and parks of Lynchburg, Virginia, are a lot to keep up with. But Sarah Hagan, a 2011 University of Mary Washington graduate, has charge of them all, from roots to crowns.

As Lynchburg’s urban forester, Hagan oversees trees individually but also as an interdependent whole – the urban canopy that keeps the city healthy, vibrant and beautiful. It’s an ever-changing responsibility, varying with each season, storm, dry spell and pest. And it’s an especially pertinent position today, during National Forest Week, a celebration of America’s 193-million-acre system. Read more.

Professors Earn Emeritus Status

With four of several upcoming retirements, UMW bids farewell and issues emeritus status to faculty members Rosemary Barra, Dana Hall, Warren Rochelle and Marie Wellington.

Rosemary Barra

Professor Emerita of Biological Sciences Rosemary Barra

Rosemary Barra has taught at Mary Washington for 38 years and most recently held the William M. Anderson Jr. Distinguished Chair in Biological Sciences.

She joined the biology faculty as an adjunct, quickly became full time and worked her way up to full professor in 1994. She chaired the department from 1993 to 2002. From 2004 to 2010, she served as interim vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty.

Barra has served on and chaired numerous committees at every level, including as treasurer and chair of the board of the Friends of the UMW Philharmonic. Her distinguished research career includes five grants from the National Institutes of Health. She has published 11 journal articles and 51 abstracts, most with undergraduate co-authors.

She has overseen 72 student independent research projects, many resulting in public presentations at the annual meetings of the Virginia Academy of Science, the American Society for Cell Biology and the American Association for Cancer Research.

Barra received the Grellet Simpson Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award in 2003. With a reputation for teaching difficult classes and being a demanding but fair professor, Barra embraced her students’ affectionate nickname for her: Barracuda.

Dana Hall

Associate Professor Emerita of Athletics, Health and Physical Education Dana Hall

Dana Hall, who departs after 34 years at Mary Washington, is senior woman administrator in the department of athletics, health and physical education and senior associate athletic director.

She arrived on campus as an assistant coach and has served various faculty and coaching roles. She coached both field hockey and women’s lacrosse for more than 20 years, for teams that received bids to 18 NCAA Division III tournaments and advanced to three Final Four championships. Hall was named 2001 NCAA Division III National Women’s Lacrosse Coach and 1993 National Coach of the Year in field hockey.

As an administrator, Hall oversaw the introduction of the sports management minor and directed the men’s and women’s golf programs. She initiated a student-athlete leadership academy, holding monthly assistant coach professional development seminars and head coach roundtable discussions.

“During her long and renowned career as both a coach and administrator, Dana has had a positive and lasting impact … that will be felt for years to come,” said Director of Athletics Patrick Catullo. “She will be remembered for her contributions to the success of our athletic department and small college athletics.”

Warren Rochelle

Professor Emeritus of English Warren Rochelle

Throughout two decades at Mary Washington, Warren Rochelle, who coordinates the creative writing program, empowered students of all disciplines to become better writers through their courses in the Department of English, Linguistics and Communication.

“Warren devoted himself to his students with unflagging diligence, personalized attention and true concern, whether on campus or in the study-abroad programs he led in England and Wales,” wrote department chair and Professor of English Gary Richards. Students sought out Rochelle’s “sweet, wise counsel,” noted Professor Judith Parker.

Known for his willingness to lead search committees and organize speaking events, Rochelle  was a prolific writer, publishing dozens of short stories, articles and reviews. He published five books, including a study of the works of Ursula Le Guin, and four novels. One of those novels, The Called, was nominated for a 2010 Lambda Literary Award.

“In this fiction, Warren repeatedly imagined the possibilities of embodied queerness and retold age-old stories to reflect the actualities of our evolving sexualities,” Richards wrote.

Marie Wellington

Professor Emerita of French Marie Wellington

Marie Wellington has shared her love of French language and literature with Mary Washington students for 29 years, teaching beginning to advanced French, and offering courses on 18th-century French theater and prose, philosophical texts, Voltaire, and advanced French stylistics.

Wellington specialized in the literature of the Enlightenment and concentrated her research in theater and prose fiction of that period.

In addition to her book on the theater of Voltaire, she has published articles – in English and French – in such journals as Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century, The Australian Journal of French Studies, Dalhousie French Studies and Romance Quarterly. She participated in numerous conferences on 18th-century studies and served on the editorial boards of four professional journals.

Students appreciated her dry sense of humor and her “propensity to cut through rhetoric and tell it like it is,” wrote Professor of Spanish Elizabeth Lewis.

Wellington served on departmental committees and the University Faculty Council, and her colleagues will miss her lively take on British actors, Project Runway, Steve Martin and travel.

Alumnus Earns Competitive Fellowship to Teach Constitution

2006 graduate Sam Ulmschneider (left), a global studies and history teacher based in Richmond, was recently named Virginia’s 2020 recipient of the James Madison Fellowship.

2006 graduate Sam Ulmschneider (left), a global studies and history teacher based in Richmond, was recently named Virginia’s 2020 recipient of the James Madison Fellowship.

Persistence paid off for UMW graduate Sam Ulmschneider.

The global studies and history teacher was recently named Virginia’s 2020 recipient of the James Madison Fellowship – on his fourth attempt to earn the award.

The $24,000 prize is given to just one recipient per state each year to promote outstanding teaching of the U.S. Constitution in secondary schools. It will allow Ulmschneider to pursue a second master’s degree while he continues to teach gifted high schoolers at his other alma mater, Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School in Richmond.

Two of Ulmschneider’s previous fellowship applications resulted in his being named a runner-up. Undiscouraged, he kept applying, a process that included a lot of essay-writing. “I felt like my students do when they’re filling out their college applications,” he said.

His own education at Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School – and the Advanced Placement credits he earned there – allowed him to focus on his academic interests almost immediately at UMW.

“The advising system was wonderful, and it’s one of the things I took away from Mary Washington,” said Ulmschneider, who double majored in history and philosophy with a minor in religion, and joined the University’s club fencing team. Read more.

Alumnus Earns Competitive Fellowship to Teach Constitution

Persistence paid off for UMW graduate Sam Ulmschneider. The global studies and history teacher was recently named Virginia’s 2020 recipient of the James Madison Fellowship – on his fourth attempt to earn the award. The $24,000 prize is given to just one recipient per state each year to promote outstanding teaching of the U.S. Constitution […]