July 4, 2020

Jepson Science Center Renovation Revs Up Student Research

Renovations to UMW’s Jepson Science Center incllude new three-story wing with floor-to-ceiling windows facing College Avenue. Inside, geology labs, physics classrooms, and mapping courses showcase science in action. Photo by Adam Ewing.

Renovations to UMW’s Jepson Science Center incllude new three-story wing with floor-to-ceiling windows facing College Avenue. Inside, geology labs, physics classrooms, and mapping courses showcase science in action. Photo by Adam Ewing.

Thanh-Binh Duong’s research on microplastics could be vital to the health of the Chesapeake Bay. Carmen Cantrell studies hydrology on the hunt for dangerous contaminants. The two UMW seniors are among scores of Mary Washington students whose important undergraduate research stands to reach new heights, thanks to the Jepson Science Center’s recent renovation.

The project added more than 42,000 square feet, 16 new labs and three classrooms to the building, along with 30,000 square feet of renovations. A new three-story wing with floor-to-ceiling windows gives passersby a view of geology labs, physics classrooms, mapping courses and other examples of science in action. Inspired in part by the boiler plant across the street and strikingly different from other campus buildings, the modern new wing is meant to put “science on display” on College Avenue.

Almost all of the nearly $28 million cost for the upgrades was covered with funds allocated by the Virginia General Assembly, according to Project Manager Leslie Johnson.

“The past few years we’ve been kind of cramped,” Department of Biology Chair Lynn Lewis said of the original Jepson Science Center, which opened in 1998. “I think this new facility will give a lot of people more access to lab space.” Read more. 

Students to Celebrate Research and Creativity, April 24

Do polymers provide a cure for cancer? Should college be free? Is recycling plastic environmentally friendly? Art 15 (2)These quandaries are a sampling of issues that nearly 400 students from the University of Mary Washington will tackle at the Undergraduate Student Research and Creativity Day Symposium on Friday, April 24. The event, which will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on students’ last day of class, will be located at the Information and Technology Convergence Center (ITCC), with related activities taking place in other academic buildings. The Ridderhof and duPont galleries displaying student artwork will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The symposium, now in its ninth year, represents students from 20 major disciplines, including natural sciences, humanities, modern and ancient languages, social sciences, visual and performing arts, mathematics and computer science. Students will present their works to other UMW students, faculty and the community. According to Grant Woodwell, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and chair of the Earth and Environmental Sciences Department, the symposium gives students the outlet to present their semester-long research in a creative way. “The day helps to highlight the best that we have to offer as an institution of liberal arts and sciences,” said Woodwell. “We are justly proud of the many students who engage in independent learning activities and have had the opportunity to work closely with a faculty mentor.” The Research and Creativity Day Symposium, which began in 2007, has changed locations over the years, most recently taking place at Jepson Hall in 2014. The ITCC will serve as home to the symposium this year, and is projected to be a permanent location for the event in the future. Woodwell, who also organized the event, is excited to bring students’ research to life utilizing the ITCC’s space and resources. “We are looking forward to a spacious display of posters distributed throughout the ITCC,” said Woodwell. “The space will allow better interaction between the student authors and their visitors.”

For more information on the Research and Creativity Day Symposium, visit the event’s website or contact Woodwell at gwoodwel@umw.edu.

Students Presented Work at Research and Creativity Day

Students at the University of Mary Washington gave more than 100 research presentations during the annual Undergraduate Student Research and Creativity Day on Friday, April 26. The event celebrated excellence in undergraduate student research by giving students the opportunity to share their work with faculty, their peers and the public. The presentations represented various disciplines, including the arts, humanities, history, mathematics, sciences and social sciences. “I’m so interested in classics and I enjoyed seeing other people get excited about it too,” said sophomore Carly Tarne, who attended a presentation of classics majors’ senior theses. Topics ranged from environmentally friendly packing peanuts and fictional stories, to the effects of stress and a sustainable analysis for expanding UMW. “It’s the seventh year and each year it’s been growing in participants,” said Grant Woodwell, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “We hope the growing trend continues.” Students presented their work in the form of oral presentations, poster sessions, art exhibits and music and dance performances. “One of the best things was to see people’s reactions. They were involved and asked a lot of questions,” said freshman Yireda Jilili, who presented with classmates as part of her freshmen seminar course. “I definitely want to participate again.” Student Research and Creativity Day is funded by the Class of 1959 Endowment.

Grant Woodwell Featured on Local Comcast Station

Grant Woodwell, professor of earth and environmental sciences, is a featured guest on the “On Location” program of the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania Comcast television station. In the interview, which will run for the next two weeks, Woodwell discusses August’s earthquake in Mineral, Va.