September 22, 2023

Lift Off

UMW honors students inspire young scientists.

Symposium Showcases Student Research

Kimberly Hildebrand shares her poster presentation during the Summer Science Institute Symposium.

Kimberly Hildebrand shares her poster presentation during the Summer Science Institute Symposium.

University of Mary Washington students and faculty gathered in Jepson Hall on Wednesday, July 24 for a day dedicated to original STEM-related research. The Summer Science Institute Symposium was the culmination of 10 weeks of research for more than 20 undergraduate students and their faculty mentors.

During the symposium’s awards ceremony, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Richard Finkelstein, applauded the dedication of the faculty mentors and the innovation of the students’ projects. The importance of research, he asserted, is how it fosters in students the ability to think through abstract concepts with an eye toward practical applications.

Brooke Andrews (left) and Professor Nicole Crowder

Brooke Andrews (left) and Professor Nicole Crowder

Ngoc Quyen Huynh (right) and Professor Hai Nguyen

Ngoc Quyen Huynh (right) and Professor Hai Nguyen

The following students received awards for their research:

  • First Place Poster Presentation: Brooke Andrews, “Synthesis and Purification of 4,4′-di(n-alkyl)-2,2’bipyridine” Adviser: Nicole Crowder
  • Second Place Poster Presentation: Ngoc Quyen Huynh, “Fabry-Perot Interferometer” Adviser: Hai Nguyen
  • First Place Oral Presentation: Patrick Mullen, “Absorption Spectroscopy of Rubidium” Adviser: Hai Nguyen
  • Second Place Oral Presentation: Kathie Belrose-Ramey, “Locating the Binding Site of RAI1 within the CLOCK Regulatory Region” Adviser: Deborah Zies
Kathie Belrose-Ramey (right) and Professor Deborah Zies

Kathie Belrose-Ramey (right) and Professor Deborah Zies


A list of all student research projects is available in the symposium’s program.


STEM Summit Showcases Area Technology

The second annual FredTech STEM 16 Summit brought together more than 350 educators, students, community members and business leaders at the University of Mary Washington on Saturday, April 20. Click here to view the embedded video. The day-long event featured seminars on STEM programming in school districts and women in technology, as well as a STEM career panel.  The summit also included more than 45 projects from UMW, regional elementary and secondary schools, Germanna Community College, and local and regional businesses and nonprofit organizations. Six UMW offices and academic departments were represented at the summit, including the Department of Biological Sciences, the Department of Computer Science, the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, the Department of Mathematics, the Office of Admissions and a 3D printing demonstration. UMW computer science student David Peworchik was honored with the “SWIFT Scholarship in Computer Science” Award for the 2013-2014 academic year, which provides a merit scholarship to a top computer science major in the region. The scholarship is funded by the Society for World Interbank Financial Telecommunications, Inc (SWIFT). In addition, UMW students, Alex Gilley, Zach Goodwin, Jerome Mueller and Russell Ruud , were named as SWIFT Student Research Fellows for the 2013-2014 year.  They received funding from SWIFT and UMW to attend the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) conference  in San Diego in July.  The students will present their part of an interdisciplinary research project in the area of pharmaceutical discovery.  Their work with supercomputers and data analysis may lead to new treatments for diseases such as HIV and Tuberculosis, according to Associate Professor Karen Anewalt, chair of the Department of Computer Science. In conjunction with the summit, UMW held a titration competition and its seventh annual calculus tournament. In the team competition of the calculus tournament, the team from Paul VI High School in Fairfax came in first place and the team from the Commonwealth Governor’s School came in second place. In the individual competition, Jack Sweeney of Paul VI High School won first place and Lina Hong of Paul VI High School won second place. In the titration tournament, members of UMW’s honors general chemistry class won first place, followed by senior chemistry majors in second place. The summit culminated with a keynote lecture by David Kerr, a program lead in the Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Communications.

UMW To Host Regional STEM Summit, April 20

The University of Mary Washington will host the second annual FredTech STEM 16 Summit on Saturday, April 20 to showcase innovations in science, technology, engineering and mathematics from across the region. The summit, co-sponsored by UMW, FredTech and the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce, will be held at the Anderson Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and is free and open to the public. The event will showcase STEM-related projects from students, educators and businesses. More than 25 local secondary schools and universities will participate, including UMW, Germanna Community College and the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren. Additionally, more than 50 booths will include STEM-related presentations. The summit also will include demonstrations on advancements in robotics and lasers and a STEM career fields panel. To register for the summit visit, or call (540) 373-9400. For more information, contact Mary Garber, FredTech executive director, at or George Hughes, the STEM 16 chairman, at

Radio Show Features UMW Chemistry Professor

Leanna Giancarlo, chair and associate professor of chemistry at the University of Mary Washington, will discuss issues surrounding boosting student performance in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, during an interview scheduled to air on the “With Good Reason” public radio program. The program, “STEM Education in America,” will air beginning Saturday, Jan. 26. Giancarlo, one of four experts in the program, will explore the negative stereotypes of scientists in pop culture. The program also will feature Linda Rosen, the chief executive officer of Change the Education, Robert Tai, associate professor in the Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Special Education at the University of Virginia and Sevan Terzian, associate professor and associate director of graduate studies at the University of Florida’s College of Education. Giancarlo earned a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania, after receiving a bachelor’s of science in chemistry from the University of Scranton. Giancarlo is a member of the Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society, the Virginia Academy of Science and the American Chemical Society. A recipient of UMW’s Alumni Association Outstanding Young Faculty Member Award, she also received a School of Arts and Sciences Dissertation Fellowship while at the University of Pennsylvania. “With Good Reason” 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 “With Good Reason” is the only statewide public radio program in Virginia. It hosts scholars from Virginia’s public colleges and universities who discuss the latest in research, pressing social issues and the curious and whimsical. “With Good Reason” is produced for the Virginia Higher Education Broadcasting Consortium by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and is broadcast in partnership with public radio stations in Virginia and Washington, D.C.

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News release prepared by: Sarah Tagg