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 About OLLI E-News

OLLI E-News was created by Rod Zumbro, who served as its editor from 2005 to 2013.

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OLLI E-News October 3, 2014
Print a condensed .pdf copy of this newsletter, two web pages per sheet of paper.
Fall Term New Member Coffee, September 26.

October 3, 2014

Editor of the Week: Leslie Vandivere
Table of Contents

Alerts & Notices

Click here to see open and closed courses.

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Meet Roberta Sherman

by Alice Slayton Clark, Communications Associate

As you must know by now, Mason moved its Loudoun campus this fall to Signal Hill, a site adjacent to the Northern Virginia Community College (NoVA) in Sterling. The goal of the move was not only to improve classroom space, but also to strengthen long-standing synergies between NoVA and Mason, including an increased number of transfer students and enriched program offerings.

Did you know that one of our own OLLI members, Roberta Sherman, is the personification of the NoVA-Mason synergies? Roberta moved to Northern Virginia from Long Island in the 1970’s when her husband got a new job at IBM in Manassas. She was a young mother then, with two small children under the age of five and an itch to earn a college degree in education.

When she approached Mason, she was advised to complete more background classes in history, science, and other core courses as a prerequisite for entering the Mason education program. NoVA Loudoun was the place to start, they said, because of the unique enrollment synergies between the Mason and NoVA campuses (plus classes were a lot cheaper at NoVA, Roberta admits).

So she put her nose to the grindstone and within three years, in between nursery school drop-offs and diaper changes, Roberta finished her preparatory work at NoVA and enrolled at Mason. The transition was “very smooth, with Mason accepting all of the credits,” she assures. It took her another five years and lots of family work-arounds to earn her bachelor’s degree at Mason and become a teacher in the Fairfax County Public School (FCPS) system.

With that, Roberta’s career at FCPS took off. She taught mostly fifth-grade students for 18 years at Great Falls Elementary School and then, earning a masters in education leadership at Mason, she became assistant principal at Forest Edge Elementary in Reston.

The differences at Mason over the years have been stark, Roberta observes. In the early years, the campus was limited and classes were offered at only a few locations such as the Robinson building and Pope Paul VI High School. Today, the campus has boomed in size and students, and classes are offered in multiple venues, she says. Throughout her time at Mason, Roberta remembers really enjoying the collegial relationships she was able to achieve with professors, particularly as a graduate student. NoVA Loudoun has similarly exploded, notes Roberta. “NoVA Loudoun was very small” when she took classes in the early 1980’s, but today, “it feels more like a real college,” she says. And Roberta knows, because she has returned to NoVA several times throughout her career to take classes as part of her certification requirements to teach in Virginia.

Roberta retired in 2009 and joined OLLI upon the recommendation of a friend. Now she and her husband happily attend classes on all three OLLI campuses and particularly enjoy the theater, music, literature, finance and religion survey classes. She still finds time to serve occasionally as a “substitute assistant principal,” but she doesn't want that to interfere with her OLLI classes, she asserts. She also fills her week volunteering with the American Association of University Women, the Dulles Traveler’s Aid desk, and on the board of her temple. And she loves to play mah jongg with a longstanding group of friends and to travel to Europe or to see her three—soon to be four—grandchildren.

Thank you, Roberta, for stepping forward to be profiled as the proud face of Mason-NoVA collaboration. Clearly these synergies spell success!

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It’s a Bird. It’s a Plane.
No, It’s a Drone Over Mason!

by Alice Slayton Clark, Communications Associate

Techies, futurists and science fiction enthusiasts from OLLI gathered at the Church of the Good Shepherd on September 24 to hear George Mason doctoral degree candidate Christopher Vo teach about the practical and legal implications of drone technology and to witness a demonstration of quadcopter drones in flight.

Christopher’s goal at OLLI was to “spread the good news” about the uses of drone technology. For example, drones were recently used to survey damage from the Napa Valley earthquake and are frequently used by civil engineers to inspect structures and by farmers to survey their fields. “Christopher’s demonstration was a win/win for OLLI and Mason,” observed Martha Powers, OLLI coordinator for the event. “We got a well-presented, informative presentation by a very talented Mason grad student, and he got lots of interest and appreciation about drone technology from his audience.”

Christopher focuses his doctoral research on motion planning, finding algorithms for robots so they can move more autonomously and safely between objects. For example, when drones fly in the skies, he would like them to be able to navigate by themselves without hitting trees, people and other hazards. He also has been working on shepherding and tracking, a capability that allows robots to herd things into groups such as rounding up and guiding people to safety in emergency situations. He hopes to complete his doctoral degree this fall.

Christopher has been fascinated by rockets and robots since childhood. “At the age of seven, when other kids were making model rockets they bought from the store, I could only afford to build my own,” he recalled. So Christopher went to the local library to read about rocketry and design his own prototypes. The rest is history.  

President of the D.C. Area Drone User Group, Christopher leads a coalition of 1,200 techies who share ideas about drone technology and teaches workshops on how to create drones for personal use. And if you don’t have time to make your own, the technology has become so affordable you can buy your own aerial drone online for less than $100.

So keep your head low and your sights high. You might just see a drone flying over your neighborhood soon.

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OLLI Book Club

by Ceda McGrew, Book Club Coordinator
The OLLI Book Club will meet on Wednesday, October 8, at 1:30 p.m. at Tallwood.  The book for discussion is The Light between Oceans,  the first novel of Australian author M. L. Stedman. It is the story of World War I veteran Tom Sherbourne who spent four years on the Western Front. Upon returning to Australia he took the job of lighthouse keeper on Janus Island, nearly a half day's journey off the coast. 
All OLLI members are welcome.
The book for discussion in November is The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett.

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Photography Club

by Dan Feighery, Photography Club Coordinator
The Photography Club will meet Friday, October 10, at 9:30 at Tallwood. The speaker is Cam Miller.

Taking a walk every day is good for one's well-being; but taking walk every day for an entire year, snapping between 30-40 photos on that walk, and then writing about the walk via a blog is a full-blown personal photography project. And that is just what Cam Miller, of New Market, Maryland, did. Between Monday, September 3, 2012, and Monday, September 2, 2013, she walked, photographed, and recorded her experiences via an online blog, shared with hundreds who read it online each day.

Cam will share the lessons she learned during her daily photo walks, including great places to walk, tips for seasonal changes, photo workflow, and more. She will also share how others may adapt her ambitious project to suit their own needs. Hopefully her presentation will inspire you to  get out and take a photo walk, too!

Cam Miller is a retired educator turned professional fine art photographer who lives in New Market, Maryland. After living and teaching on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, she moved five years ago to central Maryland, where she is fully engaged in the arts community. She is a member of several museums, arts councils, and photography clubs, as well as one of the co-chairs for Easels in Frederick.

Cam has won numerous awards for her photographs, which include light paintings, landscapes, birds, butterflies, and architecture. She teaches photography classes at Frederick Community College and does private tutoring.

To see the postings of Cam's daily photo walks, visit Her photo website is

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New Book by OLLI Member

by Patricia Daly-Lipe, Author and OLLI Member 

Patricia Daly-Lipe's new book, Patriot Priest: The Story of Monsignor William A. Hemmick, The Vatican’s First American Canon, was published this spring by Strategic Media Books.
Patriot Priest tells the story of the author's great uncle, Msgr. William A. Hemmick. Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and raised in Europe, he became fluent in five languages. When the World War I broke out, he felt committed to help the troops. 

After the war, he was proclaimed the Patriot Priest of Picardy by the Army and Navy. After years spent in Paris, William Hemmick was asked by the Vatican to come to Rome. Ultimately, he became the first American Canon of St. Peter's Representing the Knights of Malta to the Holy See.

The story is a personal glimpse at an epic era in history, from World War I to Paris between the wars, and to World War II and its aftermath. For more information about Patricia's book, visit her website at

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Poetry Corner

Courtesy of the Poetry Workshop

Aureole: Another Love Poem
For Julia, After 58 Years
The gold,
The deathless gold of
Assyria, Babylon, Mycenae,
Egypt, Rome, Bactria,
And all the rest,
Over the millennia,
Never decayed,
As did those dynasties;
Nor is that ancient, precious metal
Designed for any probable
Future passing.
That gold will endure for
Anyone’s eternity.
Like this
Enduring, and
Well-wrought love
Mike Mc Namara

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Arts & Music at George Mason

Performances, next two weeks

By Shelly Gersten, OLLI E-News Staff Writer

For tickets for either CFA or Hylton, call 1-888-945-2468, buy tickets online through the event calendar (see links below), or visit the venue's box office. For more information see the CFA ticket page or the Hylton ticket purchase page.
At the Fairfax Campus Venues

Alonzo King LINES Ballet
Fri, Oct 3, 8:00
Pre-Performance Discussion: 7:15
Admission: $44, $37, $26
Concert Hall
The Senegal St. Joseph Gospel Choir
Sat, Oct 4, 8:00 
Pre-Performance Discussion: 7:15
Admission: $46, $39, $28
Concert Hall
Aquila Theatre: Wuthering Heights
Sun, Oct 5, 7:00
Pre-Performance Discussion: 6:15
Admission: $44, $37, $26
Concert Hall
The Goddess Diaries
Thurs, Oct 9 and Fri, Oct 10, 7:30
The Goddess Diaries is a series of true-to-life monologues. The Goddess Diaries was voted "Best of the Fringe" at the Capital Fringe Festival three years in a row. TheatreSpace
Admission: Adults, $20; Seniors, $10
Virginia Opera: Sweeney Todd
Sat, Oct 11, 8:00
Sun, Oct 12, 2:00
Virginia Opera's 40th season opens with Sondheim's Tony Award-winning musical. Performed in English with English supertitles. Pre-Performance Discussion: Glenn Winters
Concert Hall
Admission: Sat - $86, $72, $44
                  Sun - $98, $80, $48

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Mason Student & Faculty Performances
See for additional student recitals)

School of Theater Studio #1: The Blue Room
Sat, Oct 4, 8:00
Sun Oct 5, 2:00
Admission: Pay what you can from $5 - $30

School of Music Faculty Artist Showcase
Fri, Oct 3, 8:00
Harris Theatre
Admission: Free
Mason Wind Symphony: American Influences
Tues, Oct 7, 8:00
John Kilkenny and Denny Stokes, conductors
Featuring Rodney Mack and the Philadelphia Big Brass with special guest, Doc Nix and the Green Machine
Admission: $10
Concert Hall
At the Hylton Center

Nature Visions Photo Expo
Sep 28–Nov 16
The Buchanan Partners Art Gallery is open to the public Tue–Sat, 10:00–6:00; Thur, 10:00–8:00; and two hours before performances. Gallery Reception: Thur, Oct 2, 6:00–8:00. For more information about the current exhibit, visit For reception RSVP to
Admission: Free

Manassas Chorale: It’s About Time!
Sat, Oct 4, 7:30
Merchant Hall
Admission: $20, $18
Funny People
Sat, Oct 4, 8:00
Area comedians.
Admission: $15.00

The Senegal St. Joseph Gospel Choir
Fri, Oct 3, 8:00 pm
Pre-Performance Discussion: 7:15
Merchant Hall
Admission: $46, $39, $28
Aquila Theatre: The Tempest
Sat, Oct 11, 8:00
Shakespeare’s ultimate commentary on life and art, vengeance and forgiveness. Pre-Performance Discussion: Christopher Marc, Stage Manager, Aquila Theatre Company.
Merchant Hall
Admission: $44, $37, $26

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For further details on any of the above events, please see the CFA event calendar and the Hylton Center event calendar

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Mason Highlights

Other Mason events, next two weeks

By Helen Ackerman, OLLI E-News Staff Writer
Speaker Series: Teresa Carlson, Vice President Global Public Sector, Amazon Web Services, is the head of Amazon’s global public sector and responsible for strategy, operations, sales, and business development for Amazon's Web Services and Cloud Computing business. Fri, Oct 10, 6:00 to 8:00. Stacy C. Sherwood Community Center, City of Fairfax. Cost $5.

China Town Hall: "Can China Move 250M People into Cities?" The China Town Hall is a national program at seventy sites across the country designed to provide Americans the opportunity to interact with leading China experts. The evening's keynote speaker (via live webcast) is Jimmy Carter, the 39th President of the United States. The local guest speaker is Dr. Weiping Wu, professor and chair of the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University. Dr. Wu will share her thoughts on the various opportunities and challenges presented by China’s ongoing and intensifying processes of urbanization and migration and will answer questions from the audience. Thu, Oct 16, 6:45 to 9:30 Mason Global Center (formerly Mason Inn), Salon A. Free

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Meetings & Clubs

The following list covering the next two weeks is extracted for your convenience from the master online calendar maintained by the office, with direct web links added when available. The list is accurate as of mid-week but to check anytime for the latest information, please view the latest forecast of upcoming events on our website (News/OLLI Calendar). Note: All OLLI members are welcome at, and encouraged to attend, meetings of the Board of Directors, committees and resource groups, Kickoff Coffees, etc. (bolded below).
Sat Oct 4 10:30am Tai Chi Club–TA-3
Mon Oct 6 12:00pm FOLLI Stuffing Party–Annex
Tue Oct 7 10:00am
Knitting and Needlework Club–Panera, Herndon
FOLLI Stuffing Party–Annex
Wed Oct 8  1:30pm
Book Club–TA-2
Bridge Club–TA-3
Thu Oct 9  1:30pm Loudoun Program Planning Group
Fri Oct 10  9:00am
 9:30am 10:00am
Recorder Consort–TA-3
Photography Club–TA-1
Craft and Conversation–Cottage
Homer, etc–Annex
Moby Dick Club–TA-2
Sat Oct 11 10:30am Tai Chi Club–TA-3
Tue Oct 14 10:00am Knitting and Needlework Club–Panera, Herndon
Wed Oct 15  1:45pm
Mah Jongg Club–TA-2
Bridge Club–TA-3
Fri Oct 17  9:00am
Recorder Consort–TA-3
Board of Directors–TA-1
Craft and Conversation–Cottage
Homer, etc–Annex
Moby Dick Club–TSA-2

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