December 4, 2020

Digital Native

Caitlin Murphy ’12 knew she was prepared for a job that combined her history and digital studies degrees and thought a position at PBS would be the perfect fit.

Not long after she submitted her application, Murphy got a call from the internationally renowned public broadcasting network.

Caitlin Murphy ’12 works at PBS in Washington, D.C.

Caitlin Murphy ’12 works at PBS in Washington, D.C.

They had reviewed her resume and delved into her online portfolio, which she developed while a student at the University of Mary Washington, and it wasn’t long before she had the job.

“When I applied for the position, they said my online portfolio was one of the main reasons they had contacted me,” Murphy said. “It really helped me get a foot in the door. I don’t think I would have gotten called if I hadn’t had the portfolio I did.”

Murphy is a program associate at the PBS headquarters just outside Washington, D.C. She screens upcoming programs, like “Masterpiece Theatre” or “Foyle’s War,” to make sure they meet PBS’ standards.

The position requires an eye for detail and the ability to research, skills Murphy said she honed while a student at UMW.

“Caitlin took full advantage of the liberal arts experience at UMW,” said Jeff McClurken, chair and professor of history and American studies. “Not only was she a history major who wrote a thesis that earned her departmental honors, but she also crafted a second major in digital studies, anticipating our development of the formal digital studies minor by nearly two years.”

Her digital studies major combined her passion for history with her love of technology in a multi-disciplinary way, combining classes in English, art, history, computer science with ds106, UMW’s open online digital storytelling course.

Murphy’s online portfolio, which she developed as an undergraduate, includes work from her classes and her internships.

Murphy’s online portfolio, which she developed as an undergraduate, includes work from her classes and her internships.

Murphy’s portfolio, which she shared during her job interview with PBS, included work from her classes and internships, as well as her work on the James Farmer Lectures project.

“She co-produced a site making the words, sounds and images of Civil Rights leader James Farmer available to anyone,” McClurken said. “She then took an assignment in my class to create a digital portfolio and ran with it, producing an amazing site featuring her projects in several classes in multiple departments.  It’s no surprise to me that PBS hired her based on her work.”

Now, all incoming students have the opportunity to create an online presence like Murphy, through the Domain of One’s Own initiative, launched in August 2013. The pioneering project provides free, personal domain names and web hosting to help students take responsibility for their online identities, as well as explore the implications of what it might mean for them to take control of their work and manage their own portfolios.

“Mary Washington does a really great job of providing opportunities for students,” said Murphy. “A lot of departments are working really hard to integrate digital media into day to day classes and projects. The integration of creating a website, blog or video project to create content that is still valid and historical really provided something a traditional class didn’t.”

Alumni Return to UMW for Homecoming


Hundreds of alumni returned to the University of Mary Washington the weekend of Saturday, Oct. 26 for Homecoming. For the first time in more than 15 years, students and alumni tailgated at the Battleground Athletic Complex on Saturday.

On Saturday, the field hockey team beat Capital Athletic Conference rivals Frostburg State University 11 to 2 and the men’s soccer team defeated Frostburg 2 to zero. The women’s soccer team lost a tough game to the Bobcats 3 to 1.

The weekend also included the five-year reunion for the Class of 2008, a concert by Grouplove in the Anderson Center, and a gathering in the alumni tent at the Battleground Athletic Complex.

The Road to Washington

One alumna's experience at UMW has equipped her for life on the Hill.

Developmental Psychologist Named UMW Graduate-in-Residence

Developmental psychologist and early intervention expert Brianne Friberg, has been named Graduate-in-Residence for the University of Mary Washington’s Department of Psychology. Friberg-1Friberg, assistant professor of psychology and director of the Daniels Research Program at Liberty University, will visit the Fredericksburg campus for three days, including Thursday, September 19 for a public lecture, “A Change in Perspective: Lessons from the Field of Early Intervention.” The talk will take place in Combs Hall, Room 139 at 7:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public. During her visit, Friberg will talk to five psychology classes about her research on risk and resilience in children from birth to age three and models of family-based intervention in the treatment of early childhood disabilities. Friberg also will meet with students who are interested in pursuing careers in early childhood development. After graduating summa cum laude in psychology from UMW in 2001, Friberg received a Ph.D. in human development and family studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Friberg also completed two years of training at the Waisman Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities. Her research examines the effects of early intervention on/for children with disabilities, including the impact of early Head Start and in-home autism programs. The Graduate-in-Residence program began in 1995 as a part of career advising within the psychology department to expose psychology majors to UMW graduates working in their field. Each year, the psychology department faculty nominate alumni who participate in interesting work in the psychology field. The Graduate-in-Residence program is partially funded by the Campus Academic Resources Committee. For more information about the Graduate-in-Residence program, contact the Department of Psychology at (540) 654-1054.

Flipping the Classroom

Passion plus creativity equals great teaching for one UMW grad.

UMW Graduate Wins First Place at Area Entrepreneurship Event

Andy Leonard, a 2013 University of Mary Washington graduate, is one step closer to making his mobile application idea a reality after winning first place at Startup Weekend Fredericksburg. During the weekend-long event, Leonard led a team to present CampusIDeas, an app that enables users to store and access their college IDs on their smart phones or other devices. The win is the second one for the app formerly called Campus Connect, which also took first place at the UMW Eagle Start-Up Challenge. “We want to bring our app to the local college campuses. That is the first step of many,” said Leonard who is already talking with businesses about partnerships around Germanna Community College where the event took place. The idea, which he hopes will someday spread nationwide, is that students will use the app for instant ID access and businesses can then use the app to advertise their services. The CampusIDeas team is now automatically accepted into the FredXchange Startup Accelerator and the Made in FredVA “Shark Tank”-style business plan competition Oct. 24 and can enroll in a free eCornell University online course. Leonard plans to begin a Master of Business program in the fall, but, in the meantime, he is happy to be pursuing a startup business as an entrepreneur.

Barbara Bishop Mann ’66 to Serve as Educator-in-Residence, 5/1

Barbara Bishop Mann ’66 will share her insights from more than three decades as an educator and activist during the University of Mary Washington’s third annual College of Education Educator-in-Residence event on Wednesday, May 1. The lecture will begin at 6 p.m. at the North Building of UMW’s Stafford campus. Prior to the lecture, graduating students from the College of Education will present their research projects from 1 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. Mann’s lecture will be followed by recognition of the College of Education graduates at 6:30 p.m. and a reception at 7 p.m. The lecture, presentations and reception are free and open to the public. Mann retired from Chesterfield County Public Schools in 2003, after 35 years as an elementary school teacher. She served on the Virginia Education Association (VEA) Board of Directors for 12 years and as president of the Chesterfield Education Association (CEA). Mann remains active in the VEA Retired Council, the CEA Board of Directors and the local chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma Society International. An active member of the UMW alumni community, Mann has served on the UMW Alumni Association Board and its Executive Committee. She is a member of the College of Education’s first Advisory Board and is a supporter of UMW education students through two endowed scholarship funds. Mann received a bachelor’s in history from Mary Washington and a master’s in elementary education from Old Dominion University. For a full schedule of student presentations, visit

CEO Doug Dolton ’78 Shares Business Philosophy

Doug Dolton ’78 shared his perspectives on leadership, business and the economy with hundreds of regional leaders on Thursday, March 21, as part of the University of Mary Washington’s annual Executive-in-Residence program.

Doug Dolton ’78 (left) is UMW’s Executive-in-Residence for 2012-2013.

Dolton, founder, chairman and CEO of San Francisco Motor Sports and UMW’s Executive-in-Residence for 2012-2013, emphasized inspirational leadership through boosting employee morale and increasing customer satisfaction.

“In order to make a success out of anything you do, it is critical that you understand how to interact effectively with people,” he said.

During his two-day visit to UMW, he used examples from his decades in business and finance in his meetings with students, faculty and alumni.

“See people as people, not as objects,” he said, stressing that successful business leaders foster cultures of empathy in their organizations.

Dolton has more than 30 years of experience in the financial services and banking industries and has served as president and CEO of Servus Financial Corporation, now owned by Wells Fargo; Chela Education Financing, now owned by Nelnet; and Zopa, a U.K.-based peer-to-peer online lending marketplace. He founded San Francisco Motorsports, a luxury automotive retailer based out of Northern California, in April 2010 and has served as chairman and CEO of the company for almost three years. He received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Mary Washington in 1978.

Established in 1989, the Executive-in-Residence program is coordinated through the UMW College of Business and the Division of Advancement and University Relations.  Since its inception, the program has brought more than 40 well-known and established business leaders to the university.

Click here to view the embedded video.


UMW Alumnus Shares His Experience as U.S. Ambassador

At 24 years old – just four years after donning a cap and gown at the University of Mary Washington – Clifford Hart ‘80 moved halfway around the world. He left his home state of Virginia, where he had attended Mary Washington, then the University of Virginia for graduate school, to take a post in China with the Foreign Service. “It was a treat from beginning to end,” Hart said of his first assignment. “It was a fascinating time to be there.” Hart, now Special Envoy for the Six-Party Talks for the denuclearization of North Korea, spoke with students about his decades-long career in the Foreign Service during a recent trip to his alma mater. “The Foreign Service is a deeply stimulating intellectual exercise,” he said. “You are constantly learning.” As an envoy, Ambassador Hart coordinates U.S. efforts on the Six-Party Talks and leads day-to-day engagement with Six-Party partners. “It has been an occasion for me to learn a lot about a really critical part of our foreign policy,” Hart said. In his 30-year career, Hart has held posts in numerous countries, including China, Taiwan, Iraq and the Soviet Union, and has served in senior positions at the State Department, the White House and the Pentagon. He credits Mary Washington with providing a quality liberal arts education that has served as a foundation for his career. “As a diplomat, you need to draw in the broadest intellectual framework you can,” he said. Hart faults himself for not taking advantage of the full range of liberal arts studies while at Mary Washington, where he heavily concentrated in international relations and political science to Russian and economics. He nonetheless recalls his education with gratitude and pleasure. “On a personal level, I was able to establish close relationships with faculty,” Hart said. “I still benefit daily from [John Kramer’s] instruction 33 years ago.” Kramer, distinguished professor and chair of the Department of Political Science and International Affairs, taught Hart in several international relations classes. “Ambassador Hart was one of the singular best students I have had the privilege of teaching in my 42 years at Mary Washington – and that is saying something because I have had so many wonderful students during my tenure here,” Kramer said. “Of course, it was obvious he had the superior intelligence to excel, but what really impressed me was how even as an undergraduate, he possessed those skills that UMW promotes as foundational qualities of liberal learning: outstanding written and oral communication capacities, well-honed analytical skills and facility in foreign languages, in his case, both Russian and Cantonese.” For Will Kyle ’13, the opportunity to talk to Hart was invaluable. “Meeting with Ambassador Hart was such an enlightening and enriching academic opportunity and personal experience,” he said. Kyle, an international affairs major, said his conversations with Hart yielded critical research for his senior honors thesis on current foreign policy in the Asia-Pacific region. “In my eyes, the experience just goes to show all of the opportunities available to students here at Mary Washington upon graduation from our rigorous, well-run academic programs,” Kyle said. “After meeting with Ambassador Hart, I am more inspired than ever to use my degree to best serve this great country that we live in.” Click here to view the embedded video.

Overseas Adventures

Bethany Farrell '11 is one of 21 UMW alumni currently serving in the Peace Corps.