Meet Emily

[A young Emily smiles for the camera in a Mary Washington College sweatshirt.]

The UMW Admissions Blog is back in action, friends, and there’s a new blogger in town: me!

My name is Emily Burke. I am a Fredericksburg native who grew up literally across the street from campus. The breezeways and stone staircases proved to be excellent settings for a future theatre major’s imagination to thrive. I had my Girl Scout Brownie bridging ceremony on the bridge between Palmieri Plaza and Seacobeck—I am a 22401 gal through and through. I’ll be honest– when it came time for me to choose a college, UMW was not high on the list. I was ready to get out and see the world, meet new people and reinvent myself… or so I thought. I started at another college that turned out to not be the right fit. I was disheartened. I had started this journey so enthusiastically and it was not what I expected. What was next? Was I cut out for this change?

I decided to move home and do one semester at UMW while I figured out where to go next.

On my first day at UMW, I started with a Dramatic Literature class. I didn’t know it at the time, but I met one of my lifelong best friends right then when he loudly disagreed with me from the back of the class. I then went to Acting II with Professor Cate Brewer.

Reader, I mean it when I say that 20 minutes into that class, I knew I was staying at UMW.

I majored in theatre, was lucky enough to perform in several mainstage and black box shows and truly just had the time of my life.

Always… Patsy Cline, UMW Theatre 2014, Photo by Geoff Greene
Harvey, UMW Theatre 2013, Photo by Geoff Greene








Classmates turned to life-long friends, professors turned to colleagues and my UMW community made that transition period effortless.

I am so thrilled to be in the Admissions office now, and I know I speak on behalf of my fellow counselors when I say we are here to help. We know this season of your life is precious, scary, overwhelming and joyful. We remember! You have lived through so much change in the last two years alone during the COVID-19 pandemic. You will live through more than I can tell you in the next four. The best news of all is that you are not alone in this journey—your professors, your roommates, your campus resource centers are all here to support you through this season. The nerves, the sentimentality, the excitement you may be feeling is all valid, and we are here to celebrate and ensure you that while your life is about to change, when you get here, you will be home.

A lyric from one of my favorite Avett Brothers songs to leave you with;

“Things change and get strange with the movement of time/

It’s happening right now to you”

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