October 3, 2023

Geography Department goes “All In” in Fountain for Giving Day

When the University of Mary Washington announced that the theme of 2019’s Giving Day was “All In,” the Department of Geography took that literally. On Wednesday, April 24, geography professors went “all in” the fountain in front of Monroe Hall to celebrate the more than $23,000 the department raised during the annual event, held this year on March 19.

Department of Geography professors went "all in" into the fountain in front of Monroe Hall on April 24 to thank their Giving Day donors.

Department of Geography professors went “all in” into the fountain in front of Monroe Hall on April 24 to thank their Giving Day donors.

The professors who took the plunge were Dawn Bowen, Stephen Hanna, Joe Nicholas, Marco Millones Mayer, Caitie Finlayson, Melina Patterson and Jacqueline Gallagher. Their former colleague, Professor Emeritus Donald Rallis, who now lives in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, jumped into a fish pond there in solidarity.

Gallagher said that getting into the cool water on a warm spring day was a shock, but she was glad that she and her colleagues had the opportunity to put the “fun” in fundraiser.

“We are a fairly small department with about 90 majors, so to be able to raise this much in one day is huge,” said Gallagher, who is chair of the department, which was ranked by College Factual as No. 1 in Virginia and in the entire southeastern region, and No. 10 nationally by College Factual. “We work really hard to foster a sense of community and a strong connection with our students. And we work to keep that bond with our alumni and their families.

The funds raised will go toward the department’s Geography Alumni Scholarship, which is named in honor of Professor Marshall Bowen, and late Professors Samuel T. Emory, James Gouger and Richard Palmieri.

Founded in 1959 by Emory (the namesake of Sammy T’s restaurant in downtown Fredericksburg), the geography department celebrates its 60th anniversary this year and has a number of special events planned. On April 13, the professors gathered with 135 current and former students and their families at Brock’s Riverside Grill for the Geography Honor Society (Gamma Theta Upsilon) induction and annual awards presentation. The event usually draws a crowd of about 50 in a normal year.

The department will also host the Jeff Rountree Geography Challenge, an ongoing fundraiser that is separate from the Giving Day challenge. The 1991 graduate and CEO of the UMW Foundation – who majored in geography – will give $4,000 to the Rountree Endowment when 60 gifts are made to the Geography Alumni Scholarship. The Rountree Endowment is used to help students pay for equipment, data or travel to do research or present at conferences. It helps both graduate and undergraduate students in geography and geospatial analysis.

For more information about the Department of Geography, or to give to the Jeff Rountree Geography Challenge, please visit the Online Giving website or call (540) 654-1037.

Bowen Publishes on Young Women’s Empowerment

Professor of Geography Dawn Bowen has co-authored an article, “Education, Leadership, and Conservation: Empowering Young Q’eqchi’ Women in Guatemala,” with Amy Leap Miller, UMW ’12, which has just been published in the International Journal of Educational Development. This paper marks the culmination of many years of field work in Guatemala with young women who participate in Community Cloud Forest Conservation’s Women in Agroecology Leadership for Conservation (WALC) program. Young women earn small scholarships that enable them to continue in school beyond grade 6 by learning about sustainable agricultural practices, income generation, and farm management, as well as nutrition, health, and human rights. This article is the first scholarly assessment of the program and its role in promoting female empowerment.

Farnsworth, Hanna Columns on Virginia’s Changing Dynamics

Op-ed columns by Stephen J. Farnsworth, professor of political science, and Stephen P. Hanna, professor of geography, appeared recently in  The Washington Post and The Richmond Times-Dispatch respectively. The columns, “This one map shows the Republicans’ problem in Virginia” and “Virginia’s Changing Dynamics,” provided a post-mortem of the Virginia elections.

Finlayson Publishes Cover Photograph in Southeastern Geographer

Caitie Finlayson, Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography, published the cover photograph and cover art essay in the Southeastern Geographer, Volume 56, Number 2, which is available through Project Muse (https://muse.jhu.edu/article/622279). The photograph of Providence Canyon in Stewart County, Ga., was taken last fall as UMW geography students and faculty traveled to the 2015 Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Division of the Association of American Geographers in Pensacola, Fla.

Hanna and Students Publish Article in Southeastern Geographer

Meredith Stone (UMW 2015), Ian Spangler (UMW 2016), Xavier Griffin (UMW 2016) and Stephen Hanna’s article, “Searching for the enslaved in the ‘Cradle of Democracy’: Virginia’s James River plantation websites and the reproduction of local histories,” was published in the Southeastern Geographer, Volume 56, Issue 2, and is available through Project Muse (https://muse.jhu.edu/article/622286).

Meredith, Ian and Xavier were research assistants funded by Dr. Hanna’s Waple Professorship and National Science Foundation grant to examine how the enslaved are incorporated into the histories represented at plantation museums.  This article presents some of their preliminary findings.

UMW Geography Professor Featured on With Good Reason

University of Mary Washington Professor of Geography Stephen Hanna will be featured on the With Good Reason public radio program that airs beginning Saturday, June 13. Students Ian Spangler, Xavier Griffin, Meredith Stone, and Professor Stephen Hanna at Oak Alley. In the show, “Marking Stories of Slavery,” Hanna discusses his research team’s efforts to determine if Southern plantation museums continue to gloss over the wealth accrued through slave labor in favor of more romanticized depictions of plantation life. With Good Reason is a program of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. The show airs weekly in Fredericksburg on Sundays from 1-2 p.m. on Radio IQ 88.3 Digital. To listen from outside of the Fredericksburg area, a complete list of air times and links to corresponding radio stations can be found at http://withgoodreasonradio.org/when-to-listen.  Audio files of the full program and its companion news feature will be available online at http://withgoodreasonradio.org/2015/06/marking-stories-of-slavery/. Hanna is a human geographer by training with primary interests in the economic and cultural characteristics of places within the global economy. He has extensive training and work experience in cartography and geographic information systems. In addition to teaching these topics at the University, he regularly prepares maps for publication in academic books and journals. His research on narratives of slavery and emancipation in Fredericksburg’s heritage tourism landscape has been published in cultural geographies, The Southeastern Geographer, Social and Cultural Geography and as a chapter in Social Memory and Heritage Tourism Methodologies, a book he co-edited. He also co-edited the book Mapping Tourism and has written multiple articles, including publications in Progress in Human Geography, ACME: An International E-Journal for Critical Geographies, Historical Geography and Urban Geography. Hanna is a member of the Association of American Geographers and the Southeastern Division of the Association of American Geographers. He holds a doctorate in geography from the University of Kentucky, a master’s degree in geography from the University of Vermont and a bachelor’s degree in geography from Clark University.

Hanna’s Edited Volume Published

Steve Hanna, professor of Geography, is the lead editor of a recently published book: Social Memory and Heritage Tourism Methodologies.  A part of Routledge’s Contemporary Geographies of Leisure, Tourism and Mobility Series, this volume’s chapters demonstrate methodological innovations for analyzing the process and politics of remembering and touring the past through place. Hanna also co-wrote one of the book’s chapters on using qualitative GIS to study heritage landscapes with Fariss Hodder, a 2014 graduate.

Smashing a Warlord

If you want to fight a warlord in Africa, you might rally the armies of local nations. Or you might smash pumpkins.

At least that’s what Robin Brazier, president of Invisible Children at the University of Mary Washington, did to join the organization’s campaign against the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Central Africa.

Smashing a Warlord

Senior Robin Brazier leads Invisible Children chapter at UMW.

World Ready

Sequoi Phipps has been fascinated by cultures since she can remember. Born into a colorful Caribbean family, she’s intrigued by traditions around the globe.