October 14, 2019

UMW Launches Centennial Celebration, ‘Farmer Legacy 2020’

For the University of Mary Washington, 2020 will be a particularly significant year. As civic engagement ramps up for the national election next November, UMW will celebrate several institutional milestones, including the 30th anniversary of the James Farmer Multicultural Center and the tenth anniversary of UMW’s Women’s and Gender Studies program. Moreover, January 12, 2020, […]

Stefanie Lucas-Waverly: Break the Cycle

Title IX Coordinator Stefanie Lucas-Waverly in front of Fairfax House. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

Title IX Coordinator Stefanie Lucas-Waverly in front of Fairfax House. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

The Center for Prevention and Education (CPE) has rolled out a collection of events this October to promote National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Among them is Break the Cycle, a spin class co-hosted by Campus Recreation.

Though she’s an avid cyclist herself, Title IX Coordinator Stefanie Lucas-Waverly’s mission at UMW goes beyond exercise. Events like this highlight the importance of healthy relationships and preventing partner abuse. According to BreaktheCycle.org, nearly three out of every four Americans know someone who has experienced domestic violence.

The Violence Against Women Act has made great strides since it passed 25 years ago, but there’s always work to be done. The $300,000 grant Mary Washington received from the Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women in 2016 has helped tremendously, Lucas-Waverly said, leading to CPE’s launch and more resources for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, including the You are Not Alone guide and a coordinated community response team.

“The grant also enabled us to hire Jaime Opanashuk, who works in the Talley Center,” said Lucas-Waverly. UMW’s confidential victims advocate and case manager, Opanashuk is a bridge between those who have experienced sexual assault, misconduct and domestic violence and their decision to seek counseling, legal advice or other options.

As for Lucas-Waverly, her student affairs background and passion for equal access to education primed her for her position, which monitors the University’s compliance with Title IX, prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex. She also ensures that all employees receive proper education and training and that UMW adheres to protocol when addressing a complaint.

“Our office serves all members of the Mary Washington community – faculty, staff and students,” said Lucas-Waverly. “We’re here to help and make sure you know you are not alone.”


Q: What brought you to UMW?
A: I’m originally from California and have slowly made my way east. My partner and I moved to Fredericksburg from Chicago two years ago, and it was excellent timing that the Title IX investigator position was open. I became the Title IX coordinator this past March.

Q: October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. What activities are planned?
A: We’ve partnered with Safe Zone, Campus Recreation, the Office of Disability Resources and several off-campus organizations like Empowerhouse and Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault to create events that promote healthy relationships. These include Pizza and Consent, an LGBTQ+ friendly interactive workshop, and Let’s Talk, a discussion about the risk factors faced by students with disabilities – who are almost twice as likely to experience sexual or domestic violence – and prevention. Learn more.

Q: Tell us about Step Up! and how we can get involved.
A: It’s an award-winning bystander intervention program that we launched at UMW in 2018. It covers all sorts of problematic situations, such as alcohol abuse, hazing, depression, discrimination, sexual assault, eating disorders and academic misconduct. Learn more.

Q: The work you do sounds emotionally taxing. How do you cope with it?
A: My partner and I love hiking and taking our dog on long walks. I’m also very invested in my yoga practice and love to cycle.


UMW Welcomes Hundreds to Campus for Family Weekend

The University of Mary Washington will welcome hundreds of family members and friends today through Sunday for Family Weekend 2019. The annual fall event brings students’ loved ones to campus to experience a slice of Eagle life and spend quality time together. Games on Ball Circle, open class sessions, peeks at UMW’s Simpson Library and […]

Mike Muckinhaupt: Eye on the Storm

Mike Muckinhaupt has always been fascinated by tornadoes – from childhood games of twirling around on the playground to real-life chases where he’s faced whirling storms and furious funnels of air.

Mike Muckinhaupt

UMW Director of Emergency Management and Safety Mike Muckinhaupt

His interest in severe weather was further piqued when he worked as a radio technician at his local Amateur Radio Emergency Services group in Ohio. Shortly after, he decided to pursue emergency management as a vocation. According to Muckinhaupt, the ability to remain composed and keep others calm in crises can only be learned over time, and through experience.

Muckinhaupt joined UMW two years ago as a fire safety officer. Now UMW’s director of Emergency Management and Safety, he describes his job as “Jack of all trades, master of none.” On any given day, he monitors weather forecasts, looking for issues that may have popped up overnight, and attends safety-related meetings all across campus.

With expertise that runs the gamut, Muckinhaupt is prepared to report in any situation – fire, weather, life safety, you name it. Just don’t mention his fear of heights.

Q: What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
A: Watching everyone come together during an emergency and working as a team. I have had a lot of proud moments here at UMW watching our team work as one.

Q: The most challenging?
A: Trying to get the word out about our department and the importance of emergency management and safety to all students, staff, faculty and visitors. This is why I urge everyone to visit our website. If you have questions, please ask before an emergency strikes!

Q: What constitutes an emergency?
A: Any situation that requires immediate action to eliminate a risk to life or property.

Q: What should everyone have in their go-to emergency bag?
A: Water, non-perishable food, flashlights, a first aid kit and cash are the five most important items. The Virginia Department of Emergency Management’s checklist can help assist with preparation for emergencies of any nature.

Q: Anyone who spends much time on campus is familiar with the booming voice that warns them to seek shelter. How does it work?
A: The Area Warning System is sounded for various emergencies. A computer is set up at our Communications Center showing all of the speaker arrays. With two clicks of the mouse, the system is activated and will sound for as long as necessary. If you hear the AWS, take immediate action!

Q: A memorable emergency you’ve had to respond to?
A: In June of 2006, when the area I was supporting received over 6 inches of rain in one hour, alongside a Tornado Warning, high winds and power outages. I was working at the Emergency Operations Center as a scribe and runner to the Law Enforcement desk. Going through training during that emergency was the best on-the-job training that I have received.

Q: What’s your motto?
A: Pay It Forward. This motto was adopted by our family in memory of my mom. Performing a random act of kindness may mean more to someone than you could ever realize.

Sign up to receive emergency alerts at https://www.umw.edu/alerts/.

Psychology Graduate-in-Residence Talks Motivation

When James Llewellyn ’87 was a senior, the psychology suite in Chandler Hall – where the University Center now stands – was voted one of the top 10 favorite campus hangout spots by Mary Washington students. “The professors were so engaging and fun; learning from them was truly a gift,” said Llewellyn, who credits psychology […]

At 30, UMW’s Simpson Library is an Open Book

James Pape doesn’t think of Simpson Library as being the big brick building with all the books across from the Hurley Convergence Center. “The library is the entire campus,” said Pape, Simpson’s access services and outreach librarian. “Students are still using the library when they’re reading books or other materials in their residence halls or […]

Service Project Takes UMW Students ‘Into the Streets’

Early Saturday morning, a wave of 200 blue shirts emblazoned with the words “Little ripples make big waves,”stretched out across the front of the University Center. Wearing the shirts were UMW students gathered for Into the Streets, one of six annual events hosted by UMW’s COAR (Community Outreach and Resources), whose mission is to provide […]

Biden Leads Democratic Nomination in Virginia, UMW Survey Finds

Former Vice President Joe Biden holds a substantial lead over his rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination in Virginia, according to a new University of Mary Washington statewide survey. Biden was the favorite of 23 percent of registered voters in the survey, with 9 percent favoring Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and 9 percent favoring Vermont […]

Audra Bielke: Going in on a High Note

UMW Philharmonic Operations Manager Audra Bielke. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

UMW Philharmonic Operations Manager Audra Bielke. Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi.

You’d think Audra Bielke would always keep her cool around famous people. After all, the UMW Philharmonic’s operations manager already has one season under her belt of juggling logistics for the popular Celebrity Concert Series. But being in the presence of one legendary opera diva left her star-struck.

“Before I worked at Mary Washington, I attended Renée Fleming’s concert with the Philharmonic in fall 2017,” said Bielke, who hails from Minnesota and traded brutal winters for Virginia’s scorching summers over a decade ago. “I’m a longtime fan and have seen her perform several times, so I was delighted when she came to Fredericksburg!”

These days, Bielke takes in stride the aura of celebrities; helping the musical luminaries who come to campus is all part of her gig. Her responsibilities include making arrangements for guest performers, coordinating volunteers and planning special events for the orchestra. And that’s in addition to stewarding Friends of the Philharmonic. “We have hundreds of dedicated supporters, and I enjoy getting to know them all,” she said.

Though it’s still a month away, Bielke is already preparing for the return of virtuoso violinist Itzhak Perlman, who kicks off the Philharmonic’s 49th season on Oct. 26.

“I’m always cognizant that our performances not only represent the Philharmonic, but also Mary Washington as a whole,” Bielke said. “So it’s important that everything is perfect.”

Tickets for the Celebrity Concert Series performance with Itzhak Perlman went on sale Sept. 23 for the general public. Contact the Philharmonic office at (540) 654-1324 with questions or for a season brochure.


Q: What brought you to Mary Washington?
A: I helped plan the 2017 Concert for Hope with the UMW Philharmonic to benefit Loisann’s Hope House. This community effort raised over $200,000 to end homelessness in our region. I was thrilled when an opportunity later arose to be employed by the orchestra.

Q: What’s your musical background?
A: I grew up playing piano and clarinet. Alas, I’m a better operations manager, so I now leave playing music to the pros.

Q: What’s your favorite piece of classical music?
A: Vaughn Williams’ “The Lark Ascending.” I live in a rural area, and it’s visceral and soothing to listen to this piece while watching the nature surrounding me.

Q: What would you say to someone who has never listened to classical music?
A: Come to our Fiddlestix family concert on Oct. 20, which is free and open to the public.

Q: What makes the Philharmonic unique?
A: The community-orchestra partnership is very special. Our students play alongside and learn from local musicians and vice versa.

Q: What would people be surprised to learn about you?
A: I have a master’s degree in international relations and studied Mandarin Chinese.

Q: What do you enjoy about working in Pollard?
A: My office abuts the music practice rooms, so I listen to students playing their instruments all day. Thanks to guidance from our music faculty, I get to hear their progress throughout the semester.

Q: What’s your motto?
A: Leave nothing to chance. It’s served me well in this job.

UMW ‘Keeps the Light On’ Banned Books Week

Born in Russia, UMW sophomore Katia Savelyeva has called America home for most of her life. But the English major sometimes wonders what it would be like had she stayed in St. Petersburg. “I hope I’d still do things that don’t require as much bravery here in the United States,” said Savelyeva, who read aloud […]