July 23, 2024

Lewis Receives Third Annual Board of Visitors Faculty Leadership Award

Professor and Chair of Biological Sciences Lynn Lewis

The University of Mary Washington recognized professors in late August at the Fall 2023 Faculty Meeting.

Professors of biology, education, environmental science, math and sociology were praised for their commitment to their fields, support of students and contributions to UMW and the surrounding community.

Professor of Biology Lynn Lewis received the third annual Board of Visitors (BOV) Faculty Leadership Award, which is designated for a faculty member who advances UMW’s mission by spearheading a major institutional initiative or program. Read more.

UMW recognizes Biology professor for ‘much-needed insight’ during COVID-19 (Augusta Free-Press)

Editorial: Science, personal choice must work together (The Free Lance-Star)

Lewis Quoted in Free Lance-Star Editorial on Vaccines

Professor and Chair of Biological Sciences Lynn Lewis

Professor and Chair of Biological Sciences Lynn Lewis

Professor and Chair of the Department of Biological Sciences Lynn Lewis weighed in on an editorial in The Free Lance-Star entitled “Science, personal choice must work together.”

Lynn Lewis, Ph.D., has a better feel than most for using science in making policy. She’s professor and chair of biological sciences at the University of Mary Washington, and she’s involved with advising school leaders on the policies UMW should follow on the pandemic.

“Science is not static,” she says. “There are always questions, and things are never known beyond a shadow of a doubt.”

So when guidelines switch from vaccinated people don’t need a mask to you must mask regardless of vaccination status, it’s because the information we have has shifted. “It’s not that you’re getting conflicting information,” she says, “it’s that things on the ground have changed.” Read more.

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. 

Biology Professors Present at National Conference

Deborah O’Dell and April Wynn presented a poster titled “Transforming the Biology Major Through Course Based Research” at the AAC&U/PKAL meeting “Transforming Undergraduate STEM Education” held Nov. 4-5 in Boston. The poster was co-authored by O’Dell and Wynn and Biology Professors Andrew Dolby, Lynn Lewis, Alan Griffith and Deborah Zies. The presentation described changes in the biology major that ensure that every biology student participates in authentic research before they graduate.

UMW Awards Top Honors and Honorary Degree at Commencement Ceremonies

The University of Mary Washington presented its top honors during commencement ceremonies Friday, May 9 and Saturday, May 10.

Daniel W. Lipscomb of Purcellville, Va., and Leah C. Tams of Midlothian, Va., received the Colgate W. Darden Jr. Awards, which are presented to the students with the highest grade-point averages (GPA) in the four-year undergraduate program. Both graduates finished with a 4.0 GPA.

Mara N. Scanlon, professor of English in the College of Arts and Sciences, was presented the Grellet C. Simpson Award, the institution’s most prestigious annual award for excellence in undergraduate teaching. The recipient is routinely a senior member of the faculty.

Charles M. Murphy, assistant professor of political science in the College of Arts and Sciences, received the UMW Alumni Association Outstanding Young Faculty Member Award, which is presented annually to an exceptional member of the faculty who has served the institution for at least two years but no more than five years.

Lynn Lewis, professor of biology in the College of Arts and Sciences, received the Mary W. Pinschmidt Award. The winner is selected by the graduating class as the faculty member “whom they will most likely remember as the one who had the greatest impact on their lives.”

Beverly D. Epps, associate professor in the Department of Foundations, Leadership and Special Populations in the College of Education, was recognized with the Graduate Faculty Award. The honor recognizes an exceptional full-time faculty member who has demonstrated excellence in graduate teaching and professional leadership in a graduate program. The person selected must have served in a full-time position at the university for at least two years.

Irene Piscopo Rodgers ’59 received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. The UMW Board of Visitors may award honorary degrees to recognize and express gratitude to individuals who have provided outstanding service or contributions that are instrumental in helping the University achieve major objectives.


Daniel W. Lipscomb & Leah C. Tams

Lipscomb is a psychology major who received a Bachelor of Science degree. He is a member of Psi Chi, the

Darden winner Daniel Lipscomb

Darden winner Daniel Lipscomb

psychology honor society, and Phi Beta Kappa. He recently presented his research, “Crippling Prejudice: A Study of Disability as Part of Diversity,” at the Virginia Psychological Association conference. Lipscomb also founded UMW’s Video Game Club.

“Some of his professors say that he was the one student who really ‘got it’ when learning the concepts behind statistics,” said Provost Jonathan Levin, who presented the award.

Lipscomb plans to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical or educational psychology and hopes eventually to work in the school system with a goal of making school environments more welcoming and receptive to all.

Tams is a history major with a minor in mathematics who received a Bachelor of Arts degree. She has held multiple internships, including at the Smithsonian Institution Archives, Kenmore Plantation and Virginia Historical Society. She is a member of Alpha Phi Sigma and Phi Beta Kappa. She is the recipient of the Almont Lindsey Award for Academic Achievement and Exemplary Service, which recognizes a graduating senior for outstanding academic achievement and service to the Department of History and American Studies.

Darden winner Leah Tams poses with Provost Levin.

Darden winner Leah Tams poses with Provost Levin.

“Her adviser describes her as upbeat, funny and analytical and points out that she will occasionally be seen knitting while she’s thinking,” said Levin.

Tams recently completed research on “Publishing Geographical Information in the Early American Republic” and “The Korean War in the 1960s and 1970s: A Cultural Analysis of the First Six Seasons of M*A*S*H” for her thesis in history for which she received Departmental Honors.

While she contemplates her long-term plans, she will return to work in an internship at the Smithsonian where she will be doing archival work.

Mara N. Scanlon

Mara N. Scanlon, professor of English, has woven together her passion for poetry, women’s literature, Asian American studies, and digital humanities during her decade at UMW.

Mara Scanlon, left, with Provost Levin

Mara Scanlon, left, with Provost Levin

Levin described Scanlon as a leading force in encouraging faculty and students to experiment with innovative approaches to teaching and learning, and commended her for fostering a sense of community in her classes. “She has been known to break out noise makers to accompany her poetry classes,” he said. “One colleague observed that her classes sometimes take on the character of a rock concert. But don’t confuse that for a lack of rigor. As one student put it, ‘If you get an A, you frame that next to your diploma!’”

Scanlon is the co-editor of a forthcoming book called “Poetry and Dialogism: Hearing Over,” for which she also wrote the introductory chapter. Her professional work includes a collaborative, multi-university National Endowment for the Humanities Grant awarded for a project in the digital humanities called “Looking for Whitman: the Poetry of Place in Life and Work of Walt Whitman.” She recently spent a semester on sabbatical for her “Digital Modernism: The Artifact, The Poetess, and The Modernist Journals Project.”

She received her Ph.D. and master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

Charles M. Murphy

Since Charles Murphy joined the Mary Washington faculty in 2009 as an assistant professor of political science, he has made his name for himself, both at UMW and in the community. He has been widely cited as a news source on U.S. politics, and has published numerous scholarly articles.

Charles Murphy, left, with Provost Levin

Charles Murphy, left, with Provost Levin

The recipient of the Mary W. Pinschmidt Award in 2011, Murphy serves as adviser and assistant coach of the university Mock Trial Team, sponsor of the Redistricting Team and is a manuscript reviewer for “Political Behavior” and “American Politics Research.”

“His most noteworthy achievement is his exuberant commitment to the one-on-one relationship that is the heart and soul of a liberal arts education at Mary Washington,” said Levin. “Consider these numbers: in five years, he has supervised 24 independent studies, 39 internships, and another 20 undergraduate research projects. His students have won national essay contests and have presented papers at regional and state professional meetings. And some of his students have landed positions working in the offices of state senators and delegates, thanks to the classroom and internship experiences they had with him.”

Murphy received a Ph.D. in political science and a master’s degree in mass political behavior from the University of California, Riverside and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Baldwin Wallace College.

Lynn Lewis

In her more than 25 years at UMW, Professor of Biology Lynn O. Lewis has researched and taught microbiology and virology, advised countless student undergraduate research projects, and shared her knowledge with colleagues across the country. A former poultry virologist for the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, she serves as the adviser for UMW’s pre-vet program. Her current research involves the analysis of viruses that infect bacteria.

Lynn Lewis, left, with Peyton Kremer '14

Lynn Lewis, left, with Peyton Kremer ’14

“This professor’s enthusiasm for her material is palpable, and her passion is truly infectious,” said Peyton Kremer ’14, who presented the award. “The knowledge I gained in this course on infectious diseases is both fascinating and entirely applicable to my future career in medicine.  But what makes what I have learned in this course truly unique is that I will never forget what she has taught me, and that is entirely due to the tireless efforts of this amazing professor.”

Lewis received a Ph.D. in microbiology and a bachelor’s degree in biology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. She is a member of Sigma Xi, the Scientific Honor Society and the American Society for Microbiology. As the treasurer and a member of the Virginia Branch of the ASM, she has led discussions on the teaching of microbiology to undergraduates.

Beverly D. Epps

Beverly Epps, associate professor of foundations, leadership and special populations in the College of Education, specializes in teacher education. Prior to joining the UMW faculty in 2005, she spent more than 25 years as a teacher and administrator in Virginia public schools, including as the director of testing and curriculum for Prince Edward Public Schools.

Dr. Beverly Epps

Beverly Epps

“These experiences have significantly informed her research and the perspectives and approaches she brings to the classroom,” said Levin. “Her research focuses on how to better serve the neediest populations in our schools, including students from low income families, juvenile offenders, students of color, and those with disabilities.”

Levin said students repeatedly comment on how Epps contributes to their professional growth and readiness for their future and colleagues admire her expertise, energy, and positive outlook.

Epps serves on the advisory board of the Center for Honor, Leadership and Service and is a faculty adviser of the Stafford Campus Honor Council. She received a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia.

Irene Piscopo Rodgers ’59

Irene Piscopo Rodgers ’59 established a career as an expert in microscopy in a time when women in the sciences faced entrenched professional inequality.

Irene Piscopo Rodgers ’59

Irene Piscopo Rodgers ’59

Building on a Mary Washington bachelor’s degree in chemistry, Rodgers accepted a fellowship from the University of Michigan and earned a master’s degree in chemistry in 1961. She was an electron microscopist at Phillips Electronic Instruments before beginning a four-decade career as an independent consultant to FEI, a premier provider of electron and ion-beam microscopes and tools for nanoscale applications.

“Mrs. Rodgers has served her alma mater with devotion and is among UMW’s most generous living donors,” said President Richard V. Hurley. “Her philanthropy has been carefully and thoughtfully structured to benefit UMW students directly.”

Among her significant contributions, Rodgers donated a transmission electron microscope, which put the UMW microscopy laboratory on par with labs of much larger research universities. Afterward, she came to campus to train faculty and students to use the microscope and to recognize student achievements.

Rodgers has endowed two student research fellowships for research in the physical and biological sciences and has established two Alvey Scholarships. An active advocate for Mary Washington, she has enthusiastically participated in 11 reunions of the Class of ’59.

Faculty Members Represent UMW at Virginia Academy of Science

Werner Wieland, Professor of Biological Sciences at University of Mary Washington, has been elected a Fellow of Virginia Academy of Science.   Professor Wieland attended the Annual Meeting of VAS May 23-25, 2013 where his student Yoshi Takeda presented results from their work as part of the UMW Summer Science Institute entitled “Turtles of the Fredericksburg Canal: Introduced Species and Estimates of Population Sizes.

Professor Wieland has been an active member of VAS since 1984 and has held a variety of leadership positions in the Academy.   In May 2005, he was elected VAS Vice-President and served as Program Chair for the 84th Annual Meeting in 2006.  He was President of the Academy in 2007-2008 and has served as Editor of the Virginia Journal of Science since 2002.

At the same meeting Deborah O’Dell, Professor of Biological Sciences,  was elected President of the Virginia Academy of Science.  Professors O’Dell,  Rosemary Barra, Theresa Grana, Stephen Fuller, Lynn Lewis, and Deborah Zies of the Department of Biological Sciences also made presentations at the meeting.  Professor Stephen Gallik attended as Councilor for the Section on Biology.