OL Staff Page

Meet the 2019 UMW Orientation Leader TeamOrientation-13

Melissa Jones
Associate Dean for Student Involvement

Britni Greenleaf
Coordinator for New Student Programs

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Meet the Orientation Leaders

Each year, students apply to represent the University of Mary Washington during New Student Orientation. These students then train during the spring semester and before orientation begins so they are experts on transitioning to college and assisting the incoming Eagles.  These students are leaders on campus and are ready to welcome the incoming students to Eagle Nation. 

Meet The Senior Student Coordinator and Intern for Orientation:

The Senior Student Coordinator for New Student Programs is an upper class student who has had at least one year of experience as an Orientation Leader and at least one year of experience as an Orientation Coordinator. This person knows the ins-and-outs of the program and works directly with the Staff Coordinator for New Student Programs.

Lillian Lester

Welcome home, class of 2023! I’m so excited to welcome you to the university. My name is Lillian Lester and I am the Senior Student Coordinator and Intern for Orientation here at UMW. I am a geography major with a climate science minor from Caroline County, VA. While orientation is my main jam, I also work as a tour guide and at the front desk of the University Center on campus. I am also a cheerleader, member of Alpha Mu Sigma (UMW’s only all inclusive greek organization), and the treasurer for the class of 2020 and executive board of class council, where I help plan a lot of traditional campus events. I can’t wait to see you fly, new eagles!

Meet the Orientation Coordinators:

Orientation Coordinators are student leaders selected with at least one year of Orientation Leader experience. You’ll see them more working behind the scenes, but they are still knowledgeable about UMW and available to answer any questions!

Maelyn Beitzel

Hello Eagles! My name is Maelyn Beitzel. I am a rising junior Biology major with a minor in Environmental Sustainability. I hope to concentrate on plants, I’ve already started by collecting a lot of plants and working in my families mini garden. I have two grumpy dogs who love to cuddle, and I love hearing about everyone’s pets! I work two on campus jobs and volunteer for Team Mathias when I am at home. I can’t wait to help make UMW your home!

Sarah Hood-Recant

Hi! My name is Sarah Hood-Recant, and I am a rising senior at UMW! I’m an Environmental Geology Major, minoring in French as well as working towards a GIS certificate. I am an active member of women’s ultimate club frisbee and an Orientation Coordinator this year. I can’t wait for orientation to start and I look forward to meeting all of you! Get Dirty Go Wash!

Rachel McVicker

Hello! My name is Rachel, I am going into my Junior year as an international affairs major and I am one of the Orientation Leaders for this year! I am on the UMW Rowing team, the treasurer of the Class of 2021 Class Council, and work in the University Center. When I find free time I love walking downtown and eating my way through Fredericksburg. I can’t wait to meet you all!

Joey Opiekun

My name is Joseph Opiekun, legally… but y’all can call me Joey. I’m a rising Super-Senior (think Superman but cooler, no krypnonite fears here… and also Marvel, but that just goes with the cooler*). I major in Finance and English with a concentration in Creative Writing and am the co-President of UMW Breakers, UMW’s Breakdancing Club, and the President and Founder of UMW’s Investment Club. We just came back from Berkshire Hathaway’s Annual Meeting (Warren Buffett’s Annual Q&A) in Omaha. Have questions? Ask! I’ll tell you everything except stock tips. I love dancing, songwriting, long walks, working out, reading, running, anything athletic, investing, teaching, Costco, psychology, evolutionary biology, improv stories, and hearing other people’s wonderful stories. Lastly, I love UMW and the opportunities it provides. I am really excited to welcome all of you to this campus. When you are here, you are home!

Haley Turczynski

Hi! My name is Haley and I am a Psychology major with a Neuroscience minor from Newport News, VA. I am a senior this year and I can’t wait to work with Orientation for my third year! I’m very involved on campus as the treasurer of the Women’s Ultimate Frisbee team (we’re going to Nationals!!), a co-president of Psi Chi (a Psychology Honor Society), and a member of Students Helping Honduras. In my free time I can be found hammocking, at a bake sale, or cooking meals with my teammates. See you this summer!

Meet the Orientation Leaders:

Orientation Leaders are student leaders selected who have been selected to help welcome the incoming students to campus! They are divided into two teams (blue and gray) that alternate working both the first-year and transfer sessions. You’ll be assigned to one of the following students and work with them throughout your orientation experience!

Matthew Bell

I am currently a freshman at the University of Mary Washington. My major is Business Administration. I was a student in the STP program at UMW, which means I have a good source of knowledge for any incoming students planning to attend STP. In high school I played multiple sports such as football, basketball and track. I was a member of the W.E.B Dubois honor society at my school for three years. Before UMW, I volunteered at Riverside Walter Reed hospital in the ER. I was born in Houston, Texas and I lived there for 14 years. It was hard for me to adjust with the move to Virginia especially with the new high school and friends. This is why I can’t wait to help incoming students, because I know exactly how it feels to be in a completely new environment.

Matthew Crawford

Hi my name is Matthew Crawford and I love UMW! I am from Charlottesville, Virginia and went to Albemarle High School. I am a rising fourth year here at UMW. I am majoring in Psychology and minoring in social justice. Aside from studying, I love to spend time with my friends, listen to music, sing, and attend club meetings. I am so excited to meet you all soon!

Payton Creamer

Hi friends!! My name is Payton and I’m from Ridgefield, Connecticut. I’m going into my sophomore year at Mary Wash and I’m a French and Communications & Digital Studies double major. On campus, I’m a fitness instructor, a tour guide, and a member of PAC. I also volunteer often with the local Fredericksburg Food Co-Op. In addition, you can find me swinging on the flying trapeze or practicing aerial silks. I’m SO excited to be your orientation leader and to welcome you with open arms to our amazing community! I can’t wait to meet you! Go Eagles!

Paris Fouser

Hello, I’m Paris Fouser and a rising sophomore at UMW. I was born in Long Beach, California but I’ve lived in Virginia the majority of my life. I’m currently undecided in my major, but I’m hoping that I’ll declare as a Political Science major. At UMW, I’m a TEAL Peer Educator working under the Title IX office, and I’m in the acapella group One Note Stand. On campus I enjoy sitting outside when the weather is nice and napping or reading a book, I sing and mainly listen to R&B. I have 6 chickens and 2 dogs, but my favorite animal is a sloth.

Piper Giannini

My name is Piper Giannini. I am from Amherst, Virginia. Here on campus, I am very involved. I am in the American Sign Language club, Talk to the Hands. I am President of the Honors Student Advisory Council. I am a member of the First in Family Club. I am on Community Council. I work at the UMW Bookstore and at the Writing Center. I am so glad I chose UMW because it is an awesome!

Meredith Glasco

Hello! My name is Meredith Glasco and I am from Chesapeake, Virginia. I am a sophomore for the class of 2022, which makes me a Goat! I am a Historic Preservation Major and Minor in Museum Studies, so I can fulfill my dream of working in an museum and studying classical architecture. I love being involved in campus! I am involved with Orientation, the UMW Philharmonic Orchestra where I play violin, I volunteer with the outreach club COAR, support the LGBTQ+ community with PRISM, and fight for sustainability on campus through BEAM. These issues are all very important to me and I can be seen walking to clubs every day.

Kate Jolly

Bio coming soon

Yoël Kidane

Hello! Ciao! Bonjour! My name is Yoël Kidane and I am a rising senior studying French Literature here at UMW. I am super excited to be part of this OL team and I’m looking forward taking time this summer to get to know each and every one of you. Short background on me, I was originally born in Eritrea, a small country located on the East coast of Africa. I moved to the US with my family when I was 14, and I’m happy to call Mary Washington my new home. Since my first year at UMW, I have been part of several clubs such as: Men’s Club Soccer, Photography Club, and African Student Union (ASU). I have also volunteered with different programs on campus through COAR. I am currently an intern at JPDS, a translating agency that works with top International Organizations. Here are some things that I love: soccer, music, and dancing to Spanish music (Salsa and Dachata). My all-time favorite movie is Lord of the Rings and my favorite TV show is Prison Break. Languages are my passion, and I love to travel. 

Sophia Kovalcik

My name is Sophia Kovalcik and I am a freshman at UMW. I plan to major in psychology, and I hope to one day be a therapist. In high school, I took lots of theater and art classes, and I enjoy working in a creative group environment. My goal at UMW is to help create a friendly environment for students and classmates.

Valentina Leon-Ledezma

Hello, my name is Valentina Leon-Ledezma! I am a rising sophomore at Mary Washington and I am planning to major in Psychology and minor in Social Justice. As for extracurricular activities, I am a sprinter on the Track and Field Team and I am a part of the Peace Corp Program. My hobbies include traveling, making smoothies, running and playing with cats.

Jessica Lynch

Hi! My name is Jessica Rose Lynch and I am a sophomore at UMW. I am an American Studies and Historic Preservation double major with a minor in Environmental Sustainability. Aside from being an orientation leader and tour guide, I am on the E-Board for PRISM, UMW’S LGBTQIA+ club on campus. I am also a Track A Honors Scholar. Lastly, I am a member of Talk to The Hands, (ASL club) Renaissance club, and PAWS. I remember what orientation was like very clearly, and I can’t wait to guide others through their first taste of home!

Gabe Martin

I’m a 19 year old upcoming sophomore (graduating in 2022!) who is a Pisces, I like music and drawing, I’m a very social person and if I could eat chocolate chip cookies and flan every day I think I would be the happiest man in the world. I’m a native Spanish speaker but not many people believe me! I’ve also never broken a bone or been stung by a bee or wasp and I’d like to keep it that way!

Emery Matta

Hello my name is Emery Matta! I am a junior and studying Biology. I am in Alpha Mu Sigma, Campus Programming Board, and Women’s Club Soccer. I love to read and prefer Parks and Rec over the Office. I am a huge Avengers and Game of Thrones fan: BTS has stolen my heart. I love to talk about anything so feel free to ask me!

Brian Merski

Hi! My name is Brian Merski, I’m 19 years old, and before I came to UMW I lived and grew up in my hometown of Vienna, VA. While I’ve had many varied interests, two have always remained consistent; a deep satisfaction from helping others, and a fascination of how the brain works – hence why I am majoring in psychology. I’m the eldest brother of four siblings (myself included) as well as an avid fencer and video game enthusiast. I enjoy anything that is or relates to science, especially anatomy and neuroscience, but I’ve also recently found myself enjoying art of several kinds and music production and recording. Although I’m not a picky eater, my love for sushi nearly rivals my love for life itself.

David Miller

Hello! I am David Miller. I am currently studying Computer Science as my major with a Biology minor here at UMW. In my freetime I enjoy using my programming and electrical engineering skills to throw together various robots and machines. If I’m not in my room I am usually out doing random activities with my friends on campus. This is my second year here and I am loving every second I spend here. On campus I am involved with ACM, the Association of Computing Machinery, the Zen Garden Club, and am going to be an RA for the upcoming school year.

Maya Moore

Hi, my name is Maya and I am a rising junior at the University of Mary Washington, and my major is Psychology with a minor in Contemplative studies. I am a local to Fredericksburg and I have been living here for over seven years, but I was born in Camp Lejune, North Carolina. An interesting fact about me is I lived in Okinawa, Japan for five years when my dad was stationed overseas. My favorite tv shows include The Office, Parks and Rec, and Criminal Minds. For music my two favorite bands are Green Day and Linkin Park. One of my favorite sports to watch is Soccer, and a fun fact about me is that I train in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and I am currently a blue belt. I am passionate about helping others and contributing to a better society and being involved in volunteer work. I’ve recently finished mandatory training at the Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault (RCASA) and have been certified as a Sexual Assault Advocate. This is my first year as an Orientation leader and I am excited to participate and give back to the Mary Washington community. I look forward in helping all the incoming first-years to reassure that their transition will be great and be a viable resource to them.

Myranda Morrison

My name is Myranda Morrison and I am currently a Junior here at Mary Washington, graduating this upcoming Fall! I am an Anthropology major minoring in Business Administration, Museum Studies and Urban Studies. This is my second year as an orientation leader – I loved orientation and working with first-year students so much I decided to come back! I have found quite a few organizations and leadership positions which have greatly impacted my time here at Mary Wash. Currently, I am the Director of Administration for UMW’s Student Government Association, president of the Sociology and Anthropology Club and a student representative for the Anthropology department. I am employed as a star caller at the UMW Phonathon, and have participated in the peer mentor program for two years, as well. I look forward to meeting all the new first-year students this summer!

Rina Murasaki

Hello! My name is Rina Murasaki and I am a sophomore double majoring in Environmental Science (Natural Track) and Political Science and am pursuing the GIS certificate. I am a member of the Eco Village themed living community and a part of the Honors Program and the Jepson Scholars Program. I love to go hiking, traveling, and anything else that lets me explore nature! I was born in Moriguchi, Osaka, Japan, moved to Miami, Florida in 2007, and now consider Woodbridge, Virginia my home sweet home. UMW has given me so many opportunities and I am excited to help anyone navigate this new and incredible experience!

Redd Niero

Hello! My name is Redd Niero and I am a junior here on campus. I am planning on double majoring in creative writing and geology. On-Top of orientation I am a tour guide here, as of this year. I also am con coordinator for Anime Club, and one interesting fact is that I am learning aerial silks on the side. Ask me about it.

Gina O’Reilly

I am a junior commuter student majoring in biochemistry and I can’t wait to share all my fun STEM stories with you. My hobbies on campus include studying in the HCC, participating in Chi Beta Phi events, and hanging out at the gym! On campus, I am also involved in a community service cohort through the biology department. Off campus, I am employed at the Mary Washington Hospital as a scribe for the emergency department. I cannot wait to get to know all of you better through the orientation process and introduce you to the town I grew up in! 🙂

Esteban Ovalle-Garcia

My name is Esteban Ovalle-Garcia and I am a freshman. I am currently undecided, but I am leaning towards a Spanish Major with a Business Admin minor I was born in Richmond, VA. I like to play soccer and swim. Also, in my free time, I like to play video games and watch TV. My favorite TV shows include American Dad, Chopped Guy’s Grocery Games, and old cartoons.

Carleigh Rahn

I’m Carleigh and I am a sophomore English major and Linguistics minor! I’m also in the Honors Program and have found a home in the College of Education. I plan to be a middle school English teacher! I am a staff member at Community Outreach and Resources (COAR), the service organization on campus. I love to spend my time volunteering in the community and tutoring kids at the local community center. During the warm parts of the year, I will be outside in the sunshine doing yoga or reading Cleo Wade’s poetry. My favorite part about UMW is 120% the relationships I’ve built. I’ve been at this school for one year and I am so grateful for the community I’ve found here. My favorite colors are yellow and purple and I cannot make it through a day without at least two cups of coffee. Last but not least, please ask me about Wyoming!

Nic Robinson

I am Nic Robinson a junior biology major graduating int fall of 2019. I am a resident assistant on campus and enjoy attending campus events. I love talking to people and building connections. You’ll normally find me wandering around heaps on science center or in the UC.

Jo Sherwood

Hi my name is Jo Sherwood and I’m a junior here at UMW! I’m a communications and digital studies major with a minor in business administration. I’m from Loudoun County, VA. I’m a huge Marvel and Harry Potter fan and consider myself a movie buff. I’m very close with my younger brother who goes to Virginia Tech. I’m an open book and love making people laugh!

Anna Beth Tanner

Someone: I’m hungry….. Me: Hi Hungry my name is Anna Beth and I love dad jokes! I am very proud to call beautiful King George county my home town. I am majoring in biology and minoring in digital studies. I hope to one day be a wildlife rehab specialist. My favorite animals are unicorns and sea lions. Colton Underwood, as in the Bachelor, follows my dog on Instagram. On campus I work in the Speaking Center, I’m the Class of 2021 Promotions Director, the Class Council Executive Board Historian, and I am a member of Alpha Mu Sigma. In my free time you will most likely catch me singing songs in a Kermit the Frog or Gollum voice, playing the kazoo, watching and over analyzing ABC’s The Bachelor (Yes, I have a bachelor spread sheet…. No, I am not ashamed), sleeping, and crying over the beauty that is Taco Bell. I AM SO EXCITED TO WELCOME ALL THE INCOMING STUDENTS TO ONE OF MY FAVORITE PLACES!!!

Katie Warlick

My name is Katie Warlick, and I am a freshman from Spotsylvania, VA. I’m a Biology major with a double Music and Neuroscience major; I’m also in the Honors Program and the College of Education, and I plan to teach Biology at the Secondary level once I graduate. I am actively involved in Alpha Mu Sigma, the Honors Student Advisory Committee, Campus Programming Board, and I’m currently training to become a Wash Guide! When I’m not in class, I love to spend my time either volunteering at campus events or exploring Fredericksburg with my friends. My favorite thing about UMW has definitely been the immediate sense of community and belonging that I experienced when I first stepped foot on campus. There truly is nowhere else I would rather have the privilege of calling my “home” away from home, and I’m SO excited to share my love of UMW with incoming students!

Jasmine Williams

My name is Jasmine I’m from Newport News, VA. My favorite color’s are pink, Tiffany blue, lime green, lavender, mint green and yellow. I have a pet bunny and we love to chase each other and watch television together. During my spare time I love to listen to music and watch YouTube blogs mostly hair blogs. I’m a history major and love to do research at the library.