By Stacy Kever and Priscilla Saraiva
The most recent student retention rate for UMW students was 76 percent. Out of the 840 freshmen that enrolled at the University in the fall of 2001, 638 of those students graduated from UMW within six years. U.S. News & World Report has recognized UMW for having one of the highest retention rates in the region.
Many of alumni from the university, that many of the current students are familiar with, have moved on to greater fulfilling careers and experiences.
Shin Fujiyama, a graduate from the class of 2007 and a very active student during his years at UMW, is working towards establishing himself in the working world.
“I am currently self-employed by the nonprofit company I started called Students Helping Honduras Inc,” Fujiyama said.
To raise money for his main focus, helping orphans from Honduras, he organized a community-wide walk-a-thon and gained much outside support from foundations and students along this way. He has since expanded his goals toward helping many deserving people of South America.
However, it was not his nonprofit company that he solely relied on after his graduation. His studies at UMW gave him the opportunity to choose between a couple of options.
“I took the MCAT and was ready to apply to medical school but decided to postpone that because I saw the potential that SHH had to offer.”
Subsequently, his decision took him far and he can proudly say that the Students Helping Honduras Inc. is now “one of the fastest growing student-based nonprofits in the U.S.”
“I couldn’t have asked for a better job, despite the difficulties of living in a developing country,” Fujiyama said. “I am learning so much every day. I would hate to be in a cubicle in an office building, saving up just to buy a big house and nice car. Life is short so I would like to live out my dreams.”
Fujiyama is grateful for his time spent at UMW and the lessons he learned as a student.
“I learned to set goals and relentlessly pursue them at UMW and that is the most important characteristic that the nonprofit world demands,” he said. “I also met so many amazing people who are now fighting alongside me for the cause. I couldn’t have done this without my friends from UMW.”
Fujiyama has high expectations for the work he does with Students Helpig Honduras Inc.
“Since the day I saw boys in an orphanage without shoes and twelve year old girls in the streets prostituting themselves in Honduras, I have been on a mission. My role is to shake things up so that people from our generation can unleash their potential to help kids that need it most.”
Wendy Lindner graduated from Mary Washington in the year 2007 as well. She majored in Psychology, and as soon as she graduated, she went to grad school at Marymount University. She will graduate in May 2009.
“I started grad school at Marymount University in Arlington, working towards my M.A. in School Counseling,” she said. I work part-time at a bank to earn spending money.”
She does not fully enjoy working at the bank, but enjoys her internship and hopes to work there for good.
“I do enjoy my internship at an elementary school. This will be my ‘real’ job eventually and I love going to the school and seeing the kids everyday!”
Her internship involves working directly with the children in an elementary school.
She does miss Mary Washington, but is ready to be out of school.
“I will say that I miss Mary Wash a lot,” she said. “I am ready to be done being a student though. I think it will be great to have a Monday through Friday job next year, instead of doing schoolwork all the time. But I did love my undergrad experience, mostly because of the friends I made, and I miss it, and them, everyday.”
Emily Nicotera graduated from the University of Mary Washington in 2007. She now works for IBM at an office in Springfield. She is a consultant on the US Postal Service project. She measures the delivery performance of the USPS and makes recommendations for performance improvement.
“The project is one of IBM’s largest public sector (i.e. related to the fed govt) contracts – very high profile. The test results that we provide to the client (Consumer Affairs Dept of USPS) are reported in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and CNN.”
Nicotera feels that a lot of her job is routine, which can get dull at times. However, she does enjoy the traveling.
“I’m hoping for a trip to Hawaii, Guam, or Puerto Rico, however I’m really excited right now because I am traveling to California for the month of December, which should be fun,” she said.
“I will probably stay on this particular contract through May at least,” she said. “It’s a lucrative business and one of the best kinds of jobs in the Washington DC Metropolitan Area.”
Kathyrn Horner graduated from MWC back in 1966 and majored in math. She got a decent job right out of college and enjoyed it for the most part.
“Right out of college I was a System Engineer for IBM, but I am now retired.”
“For last 30 years worked for a software development company, designing software for financial institutions.”
She enjoyed her time at MWC and still holds close friendships with the people from college.
“After 40+ years, it is hard to remember — I certainly enjoyed my 4 years at MWC and still enjoy the friendships that started there. Thinking back I am sure that I was ready to tackle the working world and move on,” she said.