December 4, 2020

Face of Feminism

Senior Paige McKinsey is passionate about empowering women.

UMW Commemorates Anniversary of Religious Freedom Statute

The University of Mary Washington will commemorate the anniversary of the enactment of Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom on Thursday, January 29 with a lecture “Religious Freedom and the Culture Wars” given by Douglas Laycock, one of the nation’s leading authorities on the law of religious liberty.   Douglas Laycock, 2015 Jefferson Lecture speaker The presentation will take place in at 7:30 p.m. in George Washington Hall’s Dodd Auditorium and is open to the public free of charge. A Robert E. Scott Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Virginia, Laycock has testified frequently before Congress and has argued many cases in the courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. He is the author of the leading casebook Modern American Remedies; the award-winning monograph The Death of the Irreparable Injury Rule; and co-editor of a collection of essays, Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Liberty. He recently published Religious Liberty, Volume I: Overviews and History and Volume II: The Free Exercise Clause, the first half of a four-volume collection of his many writings on religious liberty. The UMW Department of Classics, Philosophy, and Religion has sponsored the annual Jefferson Lecture on Religious Freedom since 2002, bringing scholars and public figures to the stage to enlighten students and visitors about religious freedom and the significance of Jefferson’s impact. Jefferson’s statute was enacted by the Virginia General Assembly on January 16, 1786 and established the legal right to complete freedom of worship in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The statute also was a significant step toward the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The presentation also will recognize the winners of a middle school essay contest on the theme of religious freedom, co-sponsored by the UMW Department of Classics, Philosophy, and Religion and the Fredericksburg Coalition of Reason. Each winner will receive a certificate on-stage before the lecture. For more information about the event, please contact Craig Vasey, professor and chair of the Department of Classics, Philosophy, and Religion at (540) 654-1342.

A Digital Kind of Paintbrush

A sprawling American beech tree outside of Woodard Campus Center doubles as an artists’ canvas for art students at the University of Mary Washington. This fall, Assistant Professor Jason Robinson’s eight advanced video technique students created imaginative digital designs through one-minute films projected onto the tree. The technique, called projection-mapping, requires careful consideration of the […]

Smashing a Warlord

Senior Robin Brazier leads Invisible Children chapter at UMW.

World Ready

Sequoi Phipps cultivates a love of geography and travel at UMW.

Munching the Numbers

M&M's give sociology students a taste for statistics.

Speaking Center – Services for Stafford Students

The Speaking Center has extended services to the Stafford campus. Stafford students that need help with class presentations, interview preparation, or public speaking can make an appointment with the Speaking Center at 540-654-1347 or Consultations are held in the ITCC (Room 437) on the Fredericksburg campus Monday through Friday.  Please see our website for more detail:

Konieczny Publishes in Linear Algebra and Its Applications

Janusz Konieczny, professor of mathematics, co-authored a research article, The largest subsemilattices of the endomorphism monoid of an independence algebra, published in the journal Linear Algebra and Its Applications.

UMW Students Receive Fulbright, International Scholarships

University of Mary Washington students and alumni will travel, teach, and explore new cultures thanks to prestigious grants and scholarships. Charlotte Johnson '13 has received a Fulbright grant to spend a year in Germany. Charlotte Johnson, a 2013 international affairs and German graduate, is the 14th student to receive a U.S. Fulbright grant in the university’s history. Her scholarship continues a tradition of Fulbright awards at UMW over the past seven years. As a Fulbright scholar, Johnson will work for one year as an English teaching assistant in Germany. She will leave for her placement at the end of August. “I spent a year in Germany as a high school exchange student, so I have been dying to go back ever since,” Johnson said. “I want to go back as a leader as opposed to a student. This time, I can bring what I’ve learned [at UMW].” Johnson, a native of Tyaskin, Md., was very involved during her time at UMW, including as president of the club swim team, co-president of the German Club and a member of both the political science and foreign language honor societies. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the largest U.S. exchange program offering opportunities for students and young professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and primary and secondary school teaching worldwide. The program currently awards approximately 1,900 grants annually in all fields of study, and operates in more than 140 countries worldwide. Shirley Martey '14 will spend one year in China thanks to two prestigious scholarship programs. Shirley Martey, a 2014 political science graduate, received a Boren Scholarship for a program in China. Boren Scholarships are funded by the National Security Education Program, a major federal initiative designed to build a broader and more qualified pool of U.S. citizens with foreign language and international skills.  NSEP’s Boren Awards program provides students with resources and encouragement to acquire language skills and experience in countries critical to the future security and stability of our nation. This year, 165 students were offered awards from a pool of  868 applications. Earlier this year, she was awarded the Department of State’s Critical Language Scholarship for an intensive language program at Suzhou University in China. She’ll spend two months in Suzhou after graduation, then travel to the Harbin Institute of Technology for nine months of study through the Boren Scholarship. “As a Ghanaian American woman, I hope to be able to contribute a unique perspective to the conversation about U.S.-China relations, helping to develop a mutual understanding of the differences in each other’s policymaking structures and processes,” Martey said. Shirley, a native of Centreville, Va., has served in leadership roles in multiple on-campus organizations, including as chapter president of the Pi Sigma Alpha and Mortar Board honor societies and as a peer mentor for underrepresented students. Students Zaire Sprowal and Katherine Hansen have received the Gilman International Scholarship for their summer studies in Guyana and China, respectively. The scholarship provides awards to U.S. undergraduate students who are studying abroad and receiving Federal Pell Grant funding at a two-year or four-year college or university. Sprowal will study with the UMW Guyana program under the leadership of Laura Mentore to gain the unique experience of living in an indigenous community and rainforest environment while developing his qualitative research skills. Hansen will participate in a two-month internship in Shanghai, China through the College of Business led by Wei Chen. Senior Michael Crawford will travel to Leipzig, Germany later this year thanks to a competitive scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Services, known as DAAD. Crawford will work alongside scientists to study how cow grazing affects plant biodiversity of grasslands. Crawford will work from October 2014 until July 2015 at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in the Department of Ecological Modelling for a scientist named Volker Grimm. In working for Grimm, Crawford will work to simplify an existing ecological simulation that details how certain plants grow or do not grow in conjunction with cow grazing. DAAD is the largest German support organization in the field of international academic cooperation, and is a private, federally and state funded, self-governing national agency of the institutions of higher education in Germany. The scholarship is a similar award to a Fulbright scholarship, but is only for Germany. The organization awards competitive, merit-based grants for use toward study and research in Germany at any of the accredited German institutions of higher education.

UMW Students and Faculty Collaborate with Dahlgren Researchers

Eight University of Mary Washington students have received hands-on guidance this semester from mentors at the Naval Surface Warfare Center at Dahlgren. The students shared the results of their undergraduate research projects during poster presentations on Wednesday, April 30 at UMW’s Dahlgren campus. UMW professors Debra Hydorn, Melody Denhere and Stephen Davies collaborated with the students and mentors on four projects:
  • Statistical modeling and analysis of counts in time – using social network data, students Kim Hildebrand and Candice Benshaw analyzed the number of Twitter messages sent within a county in the U.S. during a given hour.
  • Simulation of a social network graph – students Cody Reibsome and Benjamin Blalock established a model of the collection of individuals that a member follows and the collection of individuals who are followers on Twitter.
  • String edit distance for micro-blogging text – in order to follow trends on Twitter there is a need to be able to account for misspellings. Students Jonathan Blauvelt and Anthony Bell used a distance measure to determine the similarity of tweets.
  • Citation prediction and analysis – students William Etcho and Josiah Neuberger explored methodologies for predicting the number of citations a paper or patent receives or for identifying emerging technologies.
For more information about the projects, contact Hydorn at