Professor Polack
Professor Polack, a distinguished computer science professor at the University of Mary Washington, possesses a deep curiosity for global exploration. Driven by a desire to broaden her understanding of different cultures and technological landscapes, she aspires to study abroad in countries across the world. Professor Polack's ambition to study abroad exemplifies her commitment to enriching both his own academic perspectives and the field of computer science as a whole.
View UMW Trip 2024
Iceland, where we spent weeks exploring the stunning landscapes of this Nordic island. One of the highlights of the trip was driving around the famous ring road, a 1,332-kilometer highway that circles the entire country. Along the way, we marveled at cascading waterfalls, rugged coastlines, and towering glaciers. We had the chance to immerse yourself in Icelandic culture, sampling traditional cuisine and learning about the country's history and geology. This unforgettable journey through Iceland's dramatic beauty left a lasting impression all of us.
View UMW Trip 2023
After leading a study abroad trip to Brazil and Argentina, where the students explored the wonders of the Amazon Rainforest, embarked on a captivating river cruise along the Amazon, and marveled at the breathtaking Iguazu Falls from both sides of the border, Professor Polack decided to create a photo book. With meticulous attention to detail, he curated a collection of photographs capturing the vibrant landscapes, fascinating wildlife, and joyous moments of the trip. I aimed to provide a visual narrative that would forever remind the students of their remarkable journey.

A Culinary Adventure in Iceland

Throughout my time in Iceland, I got to experience many different foods that are unique to Iceland and I have not seen in the United States.

As the chilly Icelandic winds swept across the cozy café patio, my friends and I huddled around a rustic wooden table, each clutching a steaming mug of Swiss mocha. Despite the unconventional pairing of Swiss flavors in the heart of Iceland, the rich aroma of chocolate and coffee mingled perfectly with the crisp air, warming both our hands and our spirits. With each sip, we savored the harmonious blend of creamy sweetness and robust caffeine, a delightful contrast to the surrounding rugged landscapes.

As we indulged in our drinks, laughter filled the air, echoing against the backdrop of snow-capped mountains and cascading waterfalls. Memories of our journey through Iceland flashed before our eyes – from exploring ancient glaciers to marveling at the ethereal dance of the Northern Lights. Yet, at this moment, it was the simple pleasure of sharing a warm beverage with dear friends that truly captured the essence of our Icelandic adventure.

As the sun dipped below the horizon, casting hues of orange and pink across the sky, we lingered in the café, reluctant to let go of the warmth and camaraderie. With each passing moment, our bond grew stronger, fortified by the shared experience of savoring Swiss mocha amidst the breathtaking beauty of Iceland. As we bid farewell to the day, we carried with us not only the taste of chocolate and coffee but also the warmth of friendship that would endure long after our Icelandic escapade came to an end.

In the heart of Reykjavik, amidst the quaint streets lined with colorful houses, my friends and I stumbled upon a small artisanal food market. Intrigued by the unique offerings, we couldn’t resist venturing inside, where we discovered a display of Carolina Reaper cheese puffs. Known for their fiery heat, the Carolina Reaper peppers promised an unforgettable culinary experience unlike any other. With a mix of excitement and trepidation, we purchased a bag and eagerly tore it open.

As we popped the cheese puffs into our mouths, a wave of intense heat enveloped our senses, causing beads of sweat to form on our brows. The combination of cheesy goodness and the searing spiciness of the Carolina Reaper peppers created a flavor sensation, unlike anything we had ever tasted. Despite the burning sensation, we couldn’t help but reach for another puff, the thrill of the heat fueling our adventurous spirits.

As we walked through the streets of Reykjavik, our mouths still tingling from the fiery cheese puffs, we couldn’t help but laugh at the intensity of the experience. Though our taste buds may have been signed, the memory of trying Carolina Reaper cheese puffs in Iceland will forever remain a testament to our appetite for adventure and willingness to embrace the unexpected, even in the most unlikely of places.


Nestled in a cozy corner of Reykjavik, we stumbled upon a quaint bakery exuding the warm aroma of freshly baked pastries. Among the array of tempting treats, our eyes were drawn to delicate vanilla cream puffs adorned with a dusting of powdered sugar. With anticipation bubbling within us, we each selected one and found a nearby bench to savor our discovery.

As we bit into the fluffy pastry, a burst of creamy vanilla filling danced on our taste buds, eliciting sighs of satisfaction. The sweetness of the vanilla cream was perfectly balanced by the light, airy texture of the puff pastry, creating a heavenly confection that seemed to melt in our mouths. With each bite, we were transported to a blissful state of indulgence, momentarily forgetting the chill of the Icelandic air around us.

As we savored the last crumbs of our vanilla cream puffs, we couldn’t help but smile at the simple joy found in such a delightful treat. In that moment, surrounded by the charm of Reykjavik and the laughter of friends, we realized that it’s often life’s simplest pleasures that leave the most lasting impressions. And as we bid farewell to the bakery, we carried with us not only the memory of those delectable vanilla cream puffs but also the warmth of shared moments and a newfound appreciation for the little joys in life.