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.

The Hunt


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Abby, April, and Kaylie had always shared a deep fascination with Icelandic horses. So, when they finally decided to embark on their long-awaited adventure to Iceland, their first mission was clear: to find these majestic creatures in their natural habitat.

Their journey began in Reykjavik, where they eagerly planned their itinerary, mapping out the best routes to explore the Icelandic countryside. Armed with cameras and binoculars, they set out on their quest, their excitement palpable in the crisp Icelandic air.

Their first encounter with Icelandic horses was nothing short of magical. As they drove through the rugged landscapes, they spotted small herds grazing in fields of emerald green, their long, flowing manes billowing in the wind. Pulling over to the side of the road, they approached the horses cautiously, marveling at their gentle demeanor and distinctive features.

With each passing moment, their admiration for these resilient creatures grew. They watched in awe as the horses moved with grace and elegance, their powerful strides carrying them effortlessly across the terrain. Abby, April, and Kaylie couldn’t resist the urge to reach out and stroke their soft, furrowed coats, feeling an instant connection with these magnificent animals.

As the day wore on and the sun dipped low on the horizon, exhaustion began to catch up with them. The rhythmic hum of the car’s engine and the gentle swaying motion lulled them into a state of blissful relaxation. Before they knew it, all three of them had succumbed to the soothing embrace of sleep, their dreams filled with visions of Icelandic horses galloping through the vast, open fields.

When they finally awoke, the sun had set, casting the landscape in a soft, ethereal glow. Stretching and yawning, they exchanged sheepish smiles, grateful for the brief respite that had rejuvenated their spirits. With renewed energy and determination, they continued their journey, eager to explore more of Iceland’s natural wonders and create memories that would last a lifetime.

As Abby, April, and Kaylie ventured deeper into the Icelandic wilderness, they stumbled upon a sight that took their breath away: a snow-made Icelandic horse. Standing tall and proud amidst a field of glistening white, it seemed almost ethereal, as if it had emerged from the very essence of the winter landscape.

Approaching with a mixture of awe and reverence, they marveled at the intricate details of the snow sculpture. Every curve and contour of the horse’s form was meticulously crafted, capturing the essence of its real-life counterparts with astonishing accuracy. Its mane seemed to ripple in the frosty breeze, and its eyes appeared to gleam with a silent wisdom that spoke of ancient tales whispered by the winds.

Unable to resist the urge to get closer, Abby, April, and Kaylie reached out to touch the snow-made Icelandic horse, their fingers brushing lightly against its icy surface. In that moment, they felt a profound connection to the land and its mystical inhabitants, a bond forged by the shared wonder of exploration and discovery. And as they stood there, surrounded by the silence of the Icelandic wilderness, they knew that this encounter would forever remain etched in their hearts as a testament to the beauty and magic of the natural world.

After their encounter with the snow-made Icelandic horse, Abby, April, and Kaylie continued exploring Iceland’s stunning coastline, their senses alive with anticipation. As they followed a winding path that led them closer to the sea, the sound of crashing waves grew louder, echoing against the rugged cliffs that rose majestically from the water.

Finally reaching a secluded beach, they eagerly scanned the horizon, hoping to catch a glimpse of seals basking in the sun. With each passing moment, their excitement mounted, fueled by the possibility of encountering these elusive creatures in their natural habitat.

Their patience was soon rewarded as they spotted movement near the shoreline. Peering through binoculars, they watched in awe as a group of seals emerged from the water, their sleek bodies gliding effortlessly through the surf. Basking in the warmth of the sun, the seals seemed completely at ease, their playful antics filling the air with a sense of joy and wonder.

Drawing closer, Abby, April, and Kaylie found a vantage point from which they could observe the seals without disturbing them. With cameras in hand, they captured every moment, from the graceful dives into the water to the adorable antics of seal pups frolicking on the shore.

For hours, they remained transfixed by the mesmerizing sight before them, losing themselves in the timeless rhythm of nature. As the sun began to dip below the horizon, casting a golden hue over the sea, they reluctantly tore themselves away, their hearts full of gratitude for the unforgettable experience.

As they made their way back to their accommodation, the memory of their encounter with the seals lingered in their minds, a reminder of the beauty and wonder that awaited them at every turn in their Icelandic adventure. And as they drifted off to sleep that night, the rhythmic lullaby of the waves echoed in their dreams, promising more magical encounters in the days to come.

https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?visual=true&url=https%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F1807122768&show_artwork=true&maxheight=750&maxwidth=500

As their Icelandic adventure continued, Abby found herself drawn to the icy landscapes that surrounded them. Eager to experience the thrill of walking on ice, she convinced April and Kaylie to join her on an expedition to a frozen lake shimmering under the pale light of the moon.

Donning their warmest gear, they ventured onto the pristine expanse of ice, their boots crunching softly with each step. The air was crisp and still, the only sound the whisper of the wind as it danced across the frozen surface.

With a mischievous grin, Abby began to glide across the ice, her movements smooth and graceful. Inspired by her friend’s spontaneity, April and Kaylie followed suit, their laughter echoing in the silent night as they twirled and spun beneath the moonlit sky.

For a moment, time seemed to stand still as they lost themselves in the simple joy of skating across the frozen lake. The worries of the world melted away, replaced by a sense of freedom and exhilaration that filled their hearts to the brim.

As they danced and twirled under the watchful gaze of the moon, Abby felt a profound sense of connection to the natural world around her. In that frozen moment, she understood the timeless beauty and power of the Icelandic landscape, a feeling that would stay with her long after their adventure came to an end.

With tired but happy hearts, they finally made their way back to solid ground, their cheeks flushed and their spirits soaring. As they huddled together under the starlit sky, they knew that this night would be etched in their memories forever, a testament to the magic and wonder of Iceland’s icy realms.