Eschewing Control Leads to Passionate Art

  It’s hard for Will Copps ’08 to describe the art he creates from light and sound because he’s not quite sure himself what it is. “Yes, it’s weird,” said Copps, whose media include computer technology and sonar sensors. “I find it exciting to think about the possibilities of technology and how to tie them into art.” One piece, Digital Synthetic, creates an image only when a viewer stands in front of it. It consists of a flat screen with changing shapes and colors that form a different “video painting” for each viewer. “It captures the uniqueness of that moment,” he said. “I really like incorporating the user.” Others in turn have really liked his work. Copps, 26, was among those chosen for Momentum: A National Juried Exhibition for Emerging Artists With Disabilities last year at the Smithsonian Institution’s S. Dillon Ripley Center in Washington, D.C. One of 15 artists chosen, Copps received an award of excellence and $2,000 for his part in the exhibit, which … [Read more...]

Job Suits Editor’s Wanderlust

MJ Figel Day ’97 has cuddled a koala in Australia and lounged with a lion in the African nation of Zambia. The senior editor at Sports Illustrated Swimsuit has traveled to Tunisia, Turkey, and Thailand, to Costa Rica, Canada, and Croatia, stepping on every continent except Antarctica in just over a dozen years. As a college freshman, Day had never so much as boarded an airplane. Childhood vacations were confined to the East Coast. Day chose the University of Mary Washington in part because it reminded her of her small hometown in New Jersey. “Bigger universities scared me,” she said. Plus, “I didn’t want to go to a party school. I was in it for an education.” Day made up her mind after one tour of the picturesque campus. “I’m an aesthetic person. I was drawn to it. Academically, it was a really good match. I didn’t go on any more college tours after Mary Washington.” Day, who had planned to become a lawyer, majored in political science. But a trip to Chicago to visit her … [Read more...]

Olsen Still Disc-Struck Attorney

Eric Olsen ’82 was no athlete, but the guys doing Frisbee tricks in Ball Circle looked like they were having a fabulous time. So the Fredericksburg native, who’d been picked last for every sport while growing up, walked out of Madison Hall in the fall of 1978 and joined the party. “I saw these guys making incredible Frisbee throws, and it was very impressive,” he said. “Then you start throwing, and it’s such a fun thing to do.” Olsen, 51, hasn’t set down his disc since. Even as the freshly elected Stafford County commonwealth’s attorney, he organized April’s 36th annual Virginia State Frisbee Tournament in Fredericksburg. The tournament started on the Mary Washington campus while Olsen was still a James Monroe High School student. Today it’s grown into the nation’s largest, attracting more than 150 Frisbee players from around the country to compete at Pratt Park in events that range from accuracy and distance tests to more acrobatic and freestyle performances. Olsen … [Read more...]

Fall Expert Pursues Balanced Life

As a physical therapist, Roberta Ann Newton ’69 has reached the top, but she refused to take the elevator to get there. An internationally recognized leader in fall prevention for older adults, Newton insisted on climbing the steps to her sixth-floor office at Temple University, from which she retired last year as a clinical professor of medicine. Taking the stairs – and any chance for exercise – is serious business for Newton, since staying active reduces the risk of injury in case of falls, a phenomenon that threatens the independence – and lives – of millions each year. For her contributions, Newton received the American Physical Therapy Association’s highest honor last spring. The Catherine Worthingham Fellow award was the checkered flag on Newton’s career, a fast track to professional success that had its starting line in grade school and picked up speed during her undergraduate years. “There was never a doubt for me. Mary Washington was the prime place I wanted to go,” said … [Read more...]