October 25, 2021

UMW Honors Students Earn Early Selection to Med School

When Shreya Murali was in high school, she got the chance to observe an open-heart surgery. She watched, mesmerized, as the surgeon cut through the sternum to reveal the patient’s beating heart.

“At that moment, I knew I wanted to be in that room one day,” said prospective physician Murali, now a rising junior at the University of Mary Washington, where she’s already immersed in cutting-edge cancer research.

She’s getting a jumpstart on becoming a doctor, as one of three Mary Washington students recently accepted into The George Washington University’s School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Thanks to an agreement between the two institutions, UMW Honors students can earn early selection to the highly competitive four-year program by applying during the spring semester of their sophomore year.

Eleven students have been accepted since the partnership was announced in 2015, with four UMW graduates enrolled as of this fall. In a couple of years, Murali, Abigail Delapenha and Hannah Harris will join them. Read more.

UMW Honors Students Earn Early Selection to Med School

When Shreya Murali was in high school, she got the chance to observe an open-heart surgery. She watched, mesmerized, as the surgeon cut through the sternum to reveal the patient’s beating heart. “At that moment, I knew I wanted to be in that room one day,” said prospective physician Murali, now a rising junior at […]

UMW Physics, Math Major Wins Preeminent Goldwater Scholarship

William “Henry” Mills was in his late 20s when he arrived at UMW. After community college and a lackluster job, he’d begun to get serious about making the most of his life. This wasn’t the time, Mills thought, for playing it safe. “I’d always been interested in physics,” he said. “I just never thought I […]

National Day on Write and Why I Write

October 20th is National Day On Writing. Around UMW and all over the globe people will share their love for writing through the #WhyIWrite campaign sponsored by the National Council of Teachers of English. Join others on Simpson’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages and tell us why you write. You can also go to add your thoughts and comments to Simpson’s Call to Contribute page and document your experiences during COVID-19. https://libraries.umw.edu/call-to-contribute-submission-form/
#WhyIWrite #NDoW109

Sponsored by UMW Libraries, UMW English and Linguistics, UMW Honors Council and the UMW Creative Writing Club.

UMW Faculty Teach “Chemistry in the Kitchen”

Join us online for virtual programming from UMW Alumni and UMW’s chemistry faculty

UMW chemistry professors will present “Chemistry in the Kitchen” in three Lunchtime Learning sessions. These sessions will feature chemistry experiments that you can do yourself at home in your kitchen. Watch and enjoy, or conduct your own experiments along with us–we will send a supply list ahead of time so you can join in, if desired.

Each session will focus on a different topic:

Tuesday: Intermolecular Interactions with Dr. Leanna Giancarlo

Wednesday: Polymers with Dr. Kelli Slunt

Thursday: Sustainability with Dr. Janet Asper

Tuesday-Thursday, June 2-4

12:00-1:00 p.m. each day

Online

These experiments are designed for children in fourth-eighth grades, but likely will be entertaining for children outside that range as well.

Join us for one, two, or all three sessions–just pick which you want in the registration form. After you register, you will receive a confirmation email that includes a link to the Zoom sessions. You also will be sent a supply list in advance of the program.

We look forward to seeing you online!

Kelli Slunt: Formula for Success

Kelli Slunt, chemistry professor and inaugural director of UMW's Honors Program. Photo by Suzanne Rossi.

Kelli Slunt, chemistry professor and inaugural director of UMW’s Honors Program. Photo by Suzanne Rossi.

When Kelli Slunt ’91 first came to Mary Washington, she was a biology major who hoped to study medicine. Her plans changed over the years, but she has found a perfect chemistry with the dual roles she now holds at her alma mater. As the inaugural director of UMW’s Honors Program, the chemistry professor helps aspiring doctors – not to mention teachers, lawyers, engineers and more – find seamless pathways to success.

Along with Assistant Director Mara Scanlon and Program Coordinator Amanda Ronay, Slunt works with the admissions office to recruit, select and welcome young scholars whom they will spend the next four years guiding to their goals. She also teaches honors service learning courses – which are open to all students – and plans co-curricular events, field trips and other programs.

First-year Honors students will have a quick immersion into the program – and life at UMW – when City as Text starts next week. The nationally recognized experiential learning initiative, now in its second year at Mary Washington, gives them a chance to explore Fredericksburg and share their observations. This year’s program also will include Campus as Text, and added opportunities for discussion and reflection.

Under Slunt’s direction, the Honors Program has flourished. Alumni are enrolled in medical schools at Penn State, University of Maryland and Eastern Virginia, and in elite graduate programs across the globe. They receive early selection to George Washington University School of Medicine, thanks to an agreement with UMW, and find work at such entities as Dahlgren, the Department of Justice and the American Psychological Association.

“Mary Washington is a place where faculty and students develop strong working and mentoring relationships,” Slunt said. “I appreciated the ability to work one-on-one with a faculty member on a research project when I was an undergraduate. Opportunities like those are why students continue to choose UMW.”

 

Q: When did you become interested in chemistry?
A: I was in a summer research program at UVA while I was a Mary Washington student. The experience working on the synthesis of anticancer drugs was a game-changer for me.

Q: What brought you back to UMW?
A: Raymond Scott, former chemistry chair, brought his students to an undergraduate research poster session at UVA when I was in graduate school. I mentioned I’d like to teach chemistry, and he offered me a visiting faculty position that eventually turned tenure track. I currently split my time between teaching one chemistry lab and lecture per semester, and running the Honors Program.

Q: How has teaching chemistry prepared you to lead the Honors Program?
A: I’ve taught general education courses in which I’ve interacted with a diverse group of students – not just STEM majors – and it renewed my appreciation for the liberal arts.

Q: What’s next for the Honors Program?
A: We just moved to a more central and visible location, next to the bookstore in Lee Hall. We are excited to welcome 102 new Honors Scholars to UMW.

Q: Are you excited about the Jepson Science Center renovation nearing completion?
A: I’m looking forward to having a dedicated lab. During the renovation, I’d have to teach using a cart I brought in weekly.

Q: What’s your favorite thing in your office?
A: A photo of my father-in-law dancing with me at my wedding. He had changed out of his tuxedo into shorts and a T-shirt, but he didn’t want to miss a dance with me.

UMW, Richard Bland College Sign Honors Program Agreement

The University of Mary Washington and Richard Bland College of William & Mary (RBC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that facilitates the transfer of Honors Program students between the two schools. Beginning this fall, UMW will admit into the University’s Honors Program students who have successfully completed RBC’s Honors Program. Mary Washington will […]

UMW Senior Does Groundbreaking Autism and Gender Research

Ren Koloni wants to make academia a more welcoming place for people like them. And at the University of Mary Washington, Koloni found space where they could do just that. Koloni, who identifies as transgender and nonbinary – neither male nor female – and uses they/them pronouns, is autistic and has multiple disabilities. UMW appealed […]

Facilitators for the Common Read Needed

The UMW Common Read is one of the first opportunities to engage the incoming first-year students with classmates, upper-class students, faculty and staff in a shared intellectual experience, which can promote critical exchange of ideas and create a sense of community. The Common Read for 2017 is Hidden Figures. The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly. We are hoping that you will join the discussion on the morning of Aug. 25 at 9 a.m. First-year students from the same FSEM course will discuss the book with one to two faculty, staff or upper class students. We will provide questions and supporting information in advance to help guide the discussions. We hope that you will join in welcoming the first-year students and participating in the fruitful discussions that will kick off their academic experiences at UMW. If you would like to volunteer to co-facilitate a discussion group, please indicate your interest (or check to make sure that you are already participating) on the following google sheet https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1DrRUIaR5MaZ0Qdv-zAaPv4Spnv0uJdmODe2aZ-63BRE/edit#gid=0. If you are teaching an FSEM course, you will be assigned to your group of students unless you indicate otherwise. Please let us know if you have any questions or need a copy of the book.

Thank you,

Kelli Slunt

Tim O’Donnell

China Tops 48th International Chemistry Olympiad (cen.acs.org)