July 23, 2024

UMW Graduates Continue Prestigious Fulbright Tradition

For three recent University of Mary Washington alumni, the next year will be one of travel, teaching, and learning a new culture. Aubrey Elliott, Peter Hawes and Michaela Sands, all 2012 graduates, are the 11th, 12th and 13th students, respectively, to receive prestigious U.S. Fulbright grants in the university’s history. The scholarships continue a tradition of Fulbright awards over the past six years.

(from left): UMW graduates Peter Hawes, Michaela Sands and Aubrey Elliott have received Fulbright grants for 2013-2014.

“This is our best showing ever, providing further evidence that UMW’s students are among the best in the nation,” said Nabil Al-Tikriti, associate professor of history. “We also should congratulate the campus Fulbright committee of Patricia Reynolds, Melina Patterson, Rosemary Jesionowski and Dianne Baker for their hard work in advising Aubrey, Michaela and Peter in the application process.”

Aubrey Elliott

Aubrey Elliott

Through the Fulbright, Elliott will spend eight months in Turkey as an English teaching assistant.

“I’m really looking forward to learning a new language, teaching others and experiencing life in another country,” the Culpeper native said.

Elliott graduated from Mary Washington in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in history followed by a master’s degree in secondary education in 2013. He played on the UMW rugby team throughout his time at Mary Washington, including one year as the team’s senior representative. As a senior, Elliott became a member of Phi Alpha Theta, the national history honor society, and Phi Beta Kappa.


Peter Hawes

Peter Hawes

As a Fulbright scholar, Hawes will work for one year as an English teaching assistant in Nepal. In addition to providing classroom instruction, he will assist the Nepal English Language Teachers’ Association (NELTA). Hawes will leave for his placement at a rural school in July.

“I am expecting it to be pretty challenging in a lot of ways,” he said. “For me personally, I feel there is a lot I can learn from people who live in traditional communities like that.”

Hawes, a native of Centreville, received a bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration in creative writing in 2012. While at Mary Washington, he was a member of several campus organizations and was a co-founding officer of the Outdoors Club. He spent his summers and vacations at small-scale, sustainable farms in Virginia and Vermont and at local agricultural conferences. Hawes received departmental honors in English and became a member of Phi Beta Kappa.


Michaela Sands

The Fulbright scholarship will enable Sands, a native of Burke, to spend one year as an English teaching assistant at a school in Thailand. She will leave for her placement in September.

Michaela Sands

“I love traveling and exploring, so this is a great opportunity for me to explore the sociological and anthropological aspects of another culture,” Sands said. “This will be a great journey, both personally and professionally.”

Sands graduated from Mary Washington in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology followed by a master of science in elementary education degree in 2013. While an undergraduate, she volunteered with several campus organizations and was a member of the varsity cross country team. She received the Barbara Bishop Mann ’66 Virginia Educator Award in 2013.

UMW Supports Campus Sustainability Through Donation Drive

The University of Mary Washington is co-sponsoring a campus sustainability event to encourage faculty, staff and students to donate old or unwanted clothing and household items. “Drop N’ Go!” a collaboration with the Rappahannock Goodwill Industries (RGI), began Thursday, April 25 and will continue through Saturday, May 4.

UMW will collect clothes and household items from residence halls in its “Drop N’ Go!” donation drive.

“Our goal is to get students to understand the concepts of reduce, reuse and recycle,” said Joni Wilson, UMW’s director of landscape and grounds.

Bins for the donations will be provided in all residence hall lobbies, Seacobeck Hall, the Fitness Center, Facilities Services and in Lee Hall.

“We’ve done something similar in past years,” said Chris Porter, director of residence life and commuter student services. “But this is the first time we’ve approached the program as partners to increase the likelihood of success.”

Rappahannock Goodwill Industries (RGI) operates 10 stores, one outlet, a commercial laundry, contract custodial and administrative services, three job help centers, and numerous attended donation centers in the city of Fredericksburg and a 12-county region in Virginia. RGI’s mission is to provide to people with barriers to employment – particularly those with disabilities – an array of quality vocational and educational services so that they can work most independently.

For more information about the drive, contact Chris Porter at (540) 654-1058.

Students Gain International Experience During Spring Break

For 10 University of Mary Washington students, Spring Break felt more like winter. The group traveled to Quebec, Canada – where the average high in March is zero degrees Celsius – as part of a weeklong faculty-led study abroad trip.

Students from various levels of French embarked on their journey on Friday, March 1, and reached Canadian French culture after a two-hour plane ride.

Professor Scott Powers and a group of students explore Montreal’s biodome as part of their study abroad trip.

“It’s pretty incredible that French has been preserved in one province in Canada for hundreds of years,” said Sarah Lynch, a sophomore psychology major. Quebec, located in east-central Canada, is the only Canadian province with French as the single official language.

The trip to Quebec, led by Associate Professor of French Scott Powers, was one of five faculty-led study abroad opportunities during Spring Break, including Belize, Guatemala, Germany, Scotland and Ireland. The trips offer students experiences beyond the foreign language classroom – a complete linguistic, cultural and culinary immersion.

“Getting an opportunity to speak French in the real world let me see how much I really had learned,” said sophomore international affairs major Lauren Malecki. “If I mispronounced something many of the locals would correct me.”

Students made maple sugar candy during one of their excursions in Quebec.

Students practiced French while ordering food, interacting with locals and on tours of cultural and historic sites. They saw a theatre performance in RÉSO, one of the largest underground cities in the world, ate a four-course meal at the Parliament of Quebec, attended a class at the University of Montreal and spent an evening at winter festival.

“It’s surprising that right around the corner we can have a completely different cultural experience,” said Meredith Stone, a sophomore geography major.

The trip also allowed students to gain experiential learning credit, a graduation requirement at UMW designed to challenge students to go outside of the bounds of the typical classroom.

Powers hopes that he will be able to take another group of students to Quebec next spring.

“I think the trip made students feel more comfortable with speaking to people in French,” he said. “In a couple of days of being here your inhibitions melt away.”

Multicultural Fair Volunteer Meeting, 3/25

The Multicultural Fair is one of the largest, most anticipated events hosted at the University of Mary Washington. The Multicultural Fair features over 30 performances, multicultural vendors, great ethnic food, and kid-friendly activities. If you are interested in serving as a volunteer, please attend the Multicultural Fair meeting on Monday, March 25 at 4 p.m. in Lee Hall, room 412.  For additional questions about volunteer opportunities, go to the James Farmer Multicultural Center’s website at http://students.umw.edu/multicultural/fair/volunteering/, or contact the James Farmer Multicultural Center at 540-654-1044, or email at umwjfmc@gmail.com.

UMW Students Participate in Student Lobby Day

Thirteen University of Mary Washington students spent a day last week talking to Virginia General Assembly legislators on behalf of the university.  Student Lobby Day provides  students from colleges and universities across the state a chance to meet with the state lawmakers.

“Lobby day is our opportunity as a university to articulate the importance of a liberal arts education and inform lawmakers about all of the exciting things our university is engaged in,” said senior Sean Simons, legislative action chair for the Student Government Association. Simons also majors in political science and political communications.

The students began their day with a brief introduction to Richmond’s General Assembly building. Then, students met with area legislators, including Speaker of the House Bill Howell, Sen. Bryce Reeves and Sen. Creigh Deeds. Afterwards, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling gave the group an impromptu tour of the Rotunda and shared the history of the building.

Erica O’Brien, a senior political science major, enjoyed meeting with the legislative aides.  “I love talking about Mary Washington, and being able to share some of the exciting things that are happening at UMW was fantastic,” she said.

Shirley Martey, a junior political science major, was excited to speak with legislators. “I wanted to practice communicating effectively with people in this environment so I thought this would be an excellent opportunity,” she said.

Student Lobby Day is annual event sponsored by the Student Government Association. More information on the SGA can be found at http://sga.umw.edu/


Program Proposals for Black History Month Due 11/16

The James Farmer Multicultural Center is accepting program proposals for Black History Month in February 2013. The 2013 Black History Month theme is “At the Crossroads of Freedom and Equality:  Celebrating our Past and Shaping Our Future.”  Programs and events that relate to the theme are encouraged, however any programs or events that examine the experiences and contributions of Americans of African descent are welcome.  The program proposal forms are due on Friday, November 16, 2012 by 5 p.m. You can send the completed forms via email to Ms. Greta Franklin at gfrankli@umw.edu, or send them to the  James Farmer Multicultural Center in  Lee Hall, room 211.  Go to the James Farmer Multicultural Center’s website at  http://students.umw.edu/multicultural/programs/black-history-month/ to obtain the program proposal form.  Please contact the James Farmer Multicultural Center at 540-654-1044 for questions regarding Black History Month.

We invite members of the University of Mary Washington community to submit program proposals for the annual Women’s History Month Celebration. Proposals are due by Wednesday, December 12, 2012 and the sponsors will be notified promptly. Approved programs will be included on the Women’s History Month calendar as well as in print and electronic publications. Preference will be given to programs and events relating to the 2013 theme, “Women Inspiring Transformation.”

The program proposal form can be found at http://students.umw.edu/multicultural/programs/womens-history-month/.  Please include as much information on the form as possible.

Return forms and appropriate attachments to:

Women’s History Month Planning Committee
James Farmer Multicultural Center
Attention: Marion Sanford
Lee Hall, Room 211
1301 College Avenue
Fredericksburg, VA  22401
Email at msanford@umw.edu

Stop Hunger Now

UMW Fall Semester Club Carnival Gets Students Involved

Students meet at the Club Carnival

Hundreds of UMW students gathered on Ball Circle on Wednesday, Aug. 29 for the fall semester Club Carnival. Club Carnival is held at the beginning of the new semester as a way for students to get together and learn how they can get involved.

Leaders and members from each club braved the heat and sun to educate their peers about their group, showcase their clubs accomplishments and recruit new members.

With roughly 120 active clubs and organizations on campus there are plenty of options for students to volunteer with an issue they care about, further their studies, play sports or just meet with peers who have similar interests. A full list of the clubs offered at UMW, from biology and politics to Latin dancing and scuba diving, can be found at http://students.umw.edu/studentactivities/student-clubs-and-organizations/list-of-student-clubs/.
Local organizations such as the Rappahannock Emergency Services also attended the club fair to give students opportunities to get involved in their community outside of campus. Even some downtown Fredericksburg favorites like Sammy T’s made an appearance to give out free samples and coupons.

UMW Students & Alumnus Attend Sorensen Institute

At the Sorensen Institute of Political Leadership’s College Leaders Program, party lines are set aside. Participants are not allowed to disclose their political affiliations to each other.

From left: Sean Simons, Meghan Hobbs and Brendan Oudekerk

“It bonds everybody together,” Brendan Oudekerk said. “It is really refreshing to get along with everybody…and know we are working toward common goals. Each person brings different qualities to the table.”

Oudekerk, a 2012 graduate of the University of Mary Washington, and UMW seniors Meghan Hobbs and Sean Simons are among 18 college students or recent graduates who were selected for the four-week-long summer program held at the University of Virginia.

The College Leaders Program, now in its eighth year, brings together youth leaders from across Virginia with a focus on ethics, bipartisanship, public policy and civic engagement. The Sorensen Institute was founded as the Virginia Institute of Political Leadership in 1993 in hopes it would identify and bring together Virginia’s emerging political leaders. More than 1,200 Virginian students have graduated from the Institute.

For Oudekerk, who is working toward a career in economic development, the program is a chance to network and learn more about Virginia politics.

“As a graduate, I’m using it to be more well-rounded,” he said. “It helps to come together with people from different backgrounds.”

The 18 program participants are divided into three groups – economics, higher education or transportation – to develop policy proposals. The groups will present their findings at the end of the program, in hopes a Virginia legislator will want to adopt the proposal.

One of last year’s groups actually got a bill passed, Hobbs explained.

“That’s everyone’s aspiration,” she said.

Hobbs, an international affairs and political science major, plans to attend law school after graduation, but also is interested in politics.

“I have been wanting to get a look into state politics,” she said, “so this program is really helping me with that.”

On Tuesday, June 12, the students met with Sen. Mark Warner and Sen. Jim Webb at the U.S. Capitol Building.

Simons, chair of UMW’s Legislative Action Committee and an intern in President Richard V. Hurley’s office, got to introduce the senators to the group: “It was an honor to have that privilege,” he said.

When the program ends on June 23, Simons says the experience of a respectful, bipartisan atmosphere will stick with him.

“A lot of issues are played in the media as being very polarizing, but people, especially my age, are much more willing to compromise and come together to find solutions,” he said. “I have a greater appreciation for what I think our generation can do.”

UMW Eagles to Host NCAA Sectionals This Weekend

The undefeated UMW women’s basketball team will host the sectional rounds of the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament in Fredericksburg on Friday, March 9 and Saturday, March 10. On Friday, George Fox University will take on Bowdoin College at 5 p.m., with Mary Washington facing Lebanon Valley College at 7 p.m. On Saturday, March 10, the two winners will meet with a trip to the Final Four on the line.

The seventh-ranked UMW team beat Messiah College in the second round of the tournament on Saturday, March 3.

Tickets for each day will cost $7 for adults and $4 for students. Senior citizens and all UMW faculty, staff and students with a valid I.D. will be admitted free of charge.