Student Scholarship Q&A: Kirley Silva, information systems

Every so often, we highlight the importance of student scholarships by introducing you to the very students they help to succeed. Today, we’re featuring Kirley Silva ‘15, information systems, who is an Esperanza Scholarship recipient. This scholarship is awarded to a student of Latino or Hispanic ancestry who demonstrates commitment to the advancement of minorities, especially of Latino or Hispanic descent.

Name: Kirley Silva
Major: Information systemsKirleySilva-7275Scholarship(s): Esperanza Scholarship

Q: Why did you decide to attend UMBC?
As an honors university, I chose UMBC for its challenging and prestigious academics, as well as for its amazing support system and endless opportunities for technology students in Baltimore. Also, as a transfer student, UMBC accepted the majority of my credits and provided me with guidance and support through the whole process, making the transition between community college and university seamless and easy.

Q: What’s been the most amazing discovery you’ve made so far as a student here?
I discovered that although UMBC is a big university, there is a very strong community atmosphere which makes going here a very pleasurable and rewarding experience. I work closely with my classmates and we help each other learn together, while the faculty and staff are extremely knowledgeable and resourceful.

Q: Tell us about a class or club that has really opened your mind.
I took a weekend adventure class for gym credit where I had to face many challenges and try new things out of my comfort zone. I learned the value of motivation, leadership, control, and courage. I gained appreciation for new things and pushed myself harder. As a result of this class, I appreciate the hard work and commitment needed to achieve a goal more than ever. This class and the values I took from it will serve as a driving factor as I continue my studies and become a professional.

Q: How important is it to you as a student to get scholarship support?
As an immigrant and being the first in my family to attend college, there have been many challenges along the way. Also, working while being a full-time student makes the journey much more challenging. Being fortunate to receive the financial help of a scholarship provides immense relief and allows me to continue my education by focusing on my goals and the future.

Q: What are you most proud of accomplishing in your time at UMBC?
As a woman in information technology and a Hispanic student, I am proud to represent the hardworking minority of our university and to enrich the school’s diversity. Being an Esperanza scholar allows me to be a role model to similar students, and well as give hope to those students.

Q: What would you say to the people who provided your scholarship?
Thank you for supporting and believing in me. Your help is not only valued but also empowering as I continue my education and reach my goals. Your support has made a world of difference and I will continue working hard to be the best that I can be and to help my community.

Q: What do you hope to do after graduation?
Following graduation I plan to start a career in the fast growing technology sector of Baltimore as a database administrator. I also hope to, in the future, be able to attend officer candidate school and join the US Navy as an information warfare officer.

Support students like Kirley today!

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Generosity Answered

phonathon thank you

Thanks to your generosity, our student callers raised nearly $60,000 for UMBC this year!

UMBC students called, and generosity answered.

The UMBC Phonathon program began its third year of calling on Sept 15, 2013.

By June 30 2014 (the end of UMBC’s fiscal year), Phonathon callers secured 1,076 gifts for a total of nearly $60,000.

Logan Wern, UMBC’s Phonathon Coordinator, is excited about the impact the gifts will have on the campus. “I’m very grateful for our generous alumni and parents and our hardworking student callers,” said Wern.

It’s true that success is measured in numbers, and giving is up since students began making calls in 2011. However, relationships built by UMBC’s Phonathon are just as important.

“What I love most about being a student caller is the connections I build with alumni and parents. I love sharing exciting news about UMBC, and getting the alumni excited about their alma mater,” says student supervisor Irum Zar ’16. “Giving back to a place that gave you so many opportunities is very important to me, and I love being able to share that passion with other callers as a supervisor.”

A sincere thanks to our generous alumni and parents. We appreciate your support and commitment to UMBC. Because of you, UMBC continues to grow more and more innovative by the year. Thank you!

Help support other student initiatives!

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Meet the Staff: Leslie Waters

Here in the Office of Alumni Relations, we spend a lot of time telling stories about and talking with our wonderfully supportive alums. However, we’ve decided to turn the tables and take time to get to know the people behind the scenes – the advancement and alumni relations staff members who are hard at work on behalf of our alumni. Today we’ll be hearing from Leslie Waters, the Executive Administrative Assistant for the Development Staff.

LeslieWaters-2983Name: Leslie Waters
Job Title: Executive Administrative Assistant
Focus Area: I assist in the Corporate Relations and Alumni Relations areas. Additionally, I assist at events such as the Alumni Awards and A Look Ahead.

Years at UMBC: 2 years

Q: Where are you from originally?
Cincinnati, Ohio

Q: What do you love most about UMBC?
I like the collaborative environment in which the staff members work together toward common goals.

Q: What is your favorite thing about your job?
I like communicating with staff, faculty, alumni, and corporate guests. I also appreciate the teamwork among the colleagues and the sense of community on campus.

Q: Why do you think it’s important to support UMBC?
It is important to support UMBC because scholarships help UMBC students meet their financial needs. I enjoyed hearing a UMBC student during her senior year describe how helpful her scholarship from the Alumni Association was in reducing her parents’ financial burden.

Q: When you were a child, what/who did you aspire to be?
As a young child, I aspired to become a teacher.

Q: If you could be a celebrity for a day, who would you choose?
If I could be a celebrity for a day, I would choose to be Diane Sawyer because she interviews interesting people who frequently inform and inspire us.

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Retrievers Represent UMBC in the Women in Cybersecurity Conference

Taken from the WiCyS Flickr album

Taken from the WiCyS Flickr album

During the past school year, several UMBC students traveled to Nashville, Tennessee to partake in the first-ever Women in Cybersecurity Conference.

Thanks to our wonderful donors, Emily Scheerer ’14, computer science; Christina Malliakos ’14, computer scienceEmily McMurray ’14, computer science; and Ruth Coradin ’16, computer science and applied linguistics, were able to receive supplementary funding for their trip out west. The money was raised through a crowd-funded project undertaken by the Center for Women in Technology (CWIT). When the need for additional funding arose, CWIT reached out to its alumni and friends and rallied community support to ensure that the students would be able to attend the conference.

At workshops on subjects such as cryptography and technical industry, the Retrievers were able to network both themselves and their skills to others in the computer science industry. “I think it is great to be in a place where everyone has the same types of goals as you. The focus of the conference was so specific, it was great to know that other students are going through the same experiences as me, and the professionals have made it through the journey that I am on my professional career,” said Malliakos about her experience at the Women in Cybersecurity Conference. Guests included Emily Shen of the MIT Lincoln Lab and the director of NSA’s training division.

Although the conference was only two days, the experience has had a lasting impact on Scheerer, Malliakos, and Coradin. “I am truly thankful for the opportunity to be a part of such a rewarding experience. I have stayed in touch with both mentors and peers that I met at the conference,” says Coradin.

Thanks again to all of our donors involved in this endeavor!

Learn more about our other student projects here!


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You can make a difference today!

UMBC is an incredible and diverse community of thinkers, creators, and innovators. When we work together, we can accomplish great things.


Alums enjoy the IT & Engineering Happy Hour and Fundraiser

Case in point? Just today, a group of our Information Technology and Engineering alumni raised enough money to fund a student scholarship. They decided to shoot for $1,600, and they raised 105% of that goal with two days left in their campaign.

As they say, the proof is in the pudding. This is one story among many of the generosity of our alumni and the ways in which they change UMBC for the better each year.

As our fiscal year comes to a close today, this demonstration of support is especially timely. Gifts made now will have the most immediate impact on our students as we get to work planning for an amazing new school year.

Give today and watch your gift go to work immediately
for our students.

Posted in Alumni, COLLEGES & PROGRAMS, Engineering and Information Technology, HOW YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE, OUR DONORS, Student Scholarships | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

UMBC Students Need Your Support By June 30!


Support our UMBC students!

Did you know that last year more than 65% of UMBC’s full-time undergraduate students applied for financial aid?

Unfortunately, more than a quarter of those students didn’t receive all—if any—of the support they so desperately need. What’s worse is that it’s often a very small amount of money that holds students back from getting the education they need to survive and succeed in today’s economy.

That’s why we’re turning to you. The great thing about Retrievers is that you know the importance of community support.

Together, we can make sure that our students finish school and get the degree that will help them throughout their lives.

Every gift, no matter the size, will move us forward. Please support UMBC students with a gift, today. When you do, you’ll change someone’s life.

Please support our students today!

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We’re Hiring!

UMBC is looking to hire a new Assistant Director of Annual Giving. We need someone to help us take our program to the next level.

The new assistant director will lead fundraising efforts for the university’s crowdfunding platform; collaborate with UMBC’s Alumni Relations team and other on-campus groups to develop a robust student philanthropy program; request and manage complex data files; proactively provide an ongoing analysis of fundraising progress and reporting; manage the university’s matching gift efforts; and more.

Do you think you have what it takes? Check out the job listing and apply today.


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