Giving Highlight: College of Natural and Mathematical Sciences

Editor’s note: Here at UMBC, our students are the heartbeat of campus, and we are committed to providing them the best possible education. So, for the month of March, we will be highlighting our amazing academic departments, some of their recent achievements, and ways that you can help fund their continued excellence.

Your gift is extremely important and many of our students are depending on you. Please show your support and make an impact today. With you we can make a difference.

The Chemistry and Biochemistry department is proud to announce that last year 76 B.S., 4 M.S., and 4 Ph.D. students joined the ranks of its illustrious alumni; almost 50% were female students and 30% were from underrepresented groups. The department would also like to welcome Dr. Zeev Rosenzweig as its new chair. Before coming to UMBC, Dr. Rosenzweig served eight years as program director at the National Science Foundation Chemistry Division.

With your help, the Chemistry and Biochemistry department can continue supporting undergraduate research and supplying new equipment to our students.

Click here to donate.

mathstatThe Mathematics and Statistics department is pleased to announce that Dr. Bedřich Sousedík will be joining the faculty this fall. Before to coming to UMBC, Dr. Sousedík was a research associate at the University of Southern California and the University of Maryland, College Park. The department is also pleased to announce that the 9th Annual Probability and Statistics Day will be held this spring; the event is funded by the National Security Agency and will consist of workshops and a one-day conference.

With your help, the Mathematics and Statistics department can continue awarding scholarships and funding student trips to national conferences.

Click here to donate.

pyicshThe Physics department would like to welcome its 10 new Ph.D. candidates: Reed Espinosa, Daniel Miller, Daniel Orozco, and John Sullivan are candidates in the atmospheric program; Fernando Calderon Vargas, John Diehl, Alex Henegar, Garrett Hickman, Diana Marcu, and Jane Sprigg are candidates in the physics program. The department is also proud to announce that its Atmospheric Physics graduate program is in the process of performing collaborative research with NASA and NOAA.

With your help, the Physics department can continue supporting undergraduate and graduate research and awarding scholarships.

Click here to donate.

Crowdfunding Highlight: Alternative Spring Break

Here at UMBC, we are eagerly anticipating the arrival of spring; spring means mild temperatures, longer afternoons, outdoorsy fun, and, of course, spring break.

For most, this much needed respite from school is chance to take a mini-vacation, but for our amazing students, spring break is an opportunity to give back to the community through week-long service engagement trips. This year UMBC is offering four different Alternative Spring Break trips, and they all could use your support.

Please consider funding these wonderful opportunities.

Will Hope for Change 5Homelessness (led by students Markya Reed and Megan Lynch): Participants in this ASB trip will learn about the experience and challenges of homelessness, and reflect on approaches to addressing the issue through public policy and community action. Participants will work with local organizations and people in Baltimore experiencing homelessness.

Click here to donate.

TEAR 2Public Health (led by students Poulomi Banerjee and Monsuru ‘Neyo’ Adekoya): Working with free clinics and other health-focused nonprofit organizations, participants will learn about the state of health care in Maryland, social factors that can affect health, and populations that suffer from health disparities. Through reflection and conversation, the participants will consider approaches to making positive change in this area.

Click here to donate.

ARC1Intellectual and Physical Disabilities/ARC (led by student Simin Hossain): Participants will spend time each day at the ARC of Carroll County (which serves people with intellectual and physical disabilities), developing relationships with clients, learning about the population, and dispelling stereotypes and stigma.

Click here to donate.

7_ASB clowningAlternative Healthcare/Gesundheit! Institute (led by students Tina Nassehi and Lisa Dang): During spring break, students will interact with patients as they learn about the Patch Adams’ medical model–the belief that laughter, joy, and creativity are an integral part of the healing process. Students will also study the Institute’s approach to social justice and lend a hand in maintaining the sprawling 300-acre campus.

Click here to donate.



Investing in UMBC: Clolita Vitale ’75 makes planned gift

Clolita-4487Clolita Vitale ’75, theatre, is truly a Retriever Believer. When she first walked onto UMBC’s campus in the late 1960s, she was struck by how new the university was. She even recalls walking around on plywood planks as construction was underway. But where some might have preferred an older, established school, Vitale found UMBC’s newness exciting–a promise of things to come.

Since then, Vitale has been involved with UMBC in just about every way possible. As a student, she decided to study theatre and dance. Though she would later pursue a career in law, she says her time in the performing arts program at UMBC was critically important to her. The tight-knit community and creative ingenuity of faculty and fellow students inspired and supported her, and it’s something she’ll always remember. “They helped me find my sense of self,” she says.

Later on, when she joined the staff at UMBC, she felt that Dr. Freeman Hrabowski and the other campus leaders were supportive. They encouraged her to get involved on campus and grow professionally. Eventually, she became an Assistant Vice President and University Counsel. “They allowed me to evolve,” Vitale says. “It didn’t seem like I was in the same place standing still for 30 years.”

Even after moving on to other career opportunities, Vitale has stayed deeply connected to the campus community. She’s taken UMBC students under her wing, helping them get their start in life. And she’s supported the university with gifts to the arts (including naming two seats in the new PAHB theatre) and now with the decision to make a planned gift to the university.

That pioneering spirit that is so prevalent in UMBC’s earliest faculty and alumni is clearly present in Vitale. She invested in the place that invested in her, and she’s been proud to watch UMBC grow into a nationally recognized research university. “I feel like someone who went from the horse and buggy to the space age,” she says.

Vitale says she felt it important to give early on, even when she could only make smaller donations. “I knew that even if I only had $100, it was important to contribute,” she says. “I knew it would go to something really needed.”

There’s no doubt that Vitale’s passion for UMBC is real–her voice is full of emotion as she reflects on everything she’s experienced at the university. And now, more than 40 years after she first came to campus, Vitale continues to support UMBC. In fact, as she looked forward to retirement, she knew there was no question that she would include UMBC in her will. “You can’t take a place you’ve been associated with for so long and just forget about it,” she explains. She sees her planned gift as an opportunity to leave a legacy at the place that has so deeply impacted her life. “It means something to me,” she says. “I want to be a piece of that.”

Learn more about making a planned gift to UMBC.


Student Scholarship Q&A: Samantha Carestia, visual arts

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 Samantha Carestia ‘15, visual arts (animation), who is a UMBC Grant recipient.

Name: Samantha N. CarestiaSamantha Carestia
Major: Visual arts (animation / interactive media concentration)
Extra Curricular Activities: March of Dimes Walks, The National Society of Collegiate Scholars, creating digital ads for a local restaurant
Scholarships received: UMBC Grant

Q: Why did you decide to attend UMBC?
I decided to attend UMBC because of the Visual Arts degree program, which contains many of the aspects that I find desirable in my major. The visual arts program with the animation/interactive media concentration allows me to focus on both 2D and 3D artwork, made both physically and electronically, and extend the range of tasks I can perform in my desired field. I was also attracted to UMBC because it is an “in-state” school with a very high academic rating. I had looked at other institutions, even attending a different one in my freshman year that offered a large scholarship. I transferred to UMBC when I realized that UMBC had a program that better suited my educational needs.

Q: What’s been the most amazing discovery you’ve made so far as a student here?
I think that the most amazing thing I discovered at UMBC is the instructors. They are very compassionate about what they are teaching and do so in a way that draws you into the subject. They are also so very helpful and accessible when I have a question or a problem. I am also amazed at how kind and active the UMBC community is.

Q: Tell us about a class or club that has really opened your mind.
I feel that [the] course ART 384 — Introduction to 3D Computer Animation — was the class that most opened my mind. This class let me work with 3D modeling, which is something I have always wanted to do. I found I have a knack for it, which is great!

Q: How important is it to you as a student to get scholarship support?
I am the daughter of what some may call “older parents.” My father is retired on Social Security, and my mother’s job is their only other income. They have sacrificed a lot to assist in my college tuition and expenses as best they can so I won’t be saddled with a huge amount of loans when I graduate.With the economy as it is today, there are challenges obtaining employment. A large amount of school loans may make it very difficult to concentrate on my employment search. This scholarship also means a lot to me because it means my parents won’t have to struggle as much in their efforts to help me achieve my goal of a college education.

Q: What are you most proud of accomplishing in your time at UMBC?
I am most proud of my high GPA. I am especially proud of the past two semesters with 6 courses each, and obtaining and maintaining a 4.0 GPA both semesters.

Q: What would you say to the people who provided your scholarship?
I feel it is my obligation to continue doing my very best in my studies to prove not just to myself and my parents, but also to those that believe in me and have helped me that their faith and assistance are not in vain.

Q: What do you hope to do after graduation?
After achieving my goal of a degree from UMBC, I hope to obtain employment at a nearby game-making studio, such as Bethesda, or find a job making web pages for a local firm. I will probably have to prove myself and start from the bottom and work my way up to my ultimate goal.

 Support UMBC student scholarships today!

Student Scholarship Q&A: Danielle Bouchard, social work

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 Danielle Bouchard ‘15, social work, who is an Alumni Association Legacy Scholarship recipient.

Photo12_16AName: Danielle Bouchard
Major: Social work and print media minor
Extra Curricular Activities: NASW Member, BSW Representative for NASW, Meals on Wheels Volunteer, President of the Social Work Student Association, Vice President of Phi Alpha Honor Society, and avid rock climber.
Scholarship received: Alumni Association Scholarship

Q: Why did you decide to attend UMBC?
I wanted to attend an institution that provided opportunities for research, had a diverse student population, and was in close proximity to Washington, D.C. I was also drawn to UMBC because of the reputation of its social work program.

Q: What’s been the most amazing discovery you’ve made so far as a student here?
I am able to interact and study with students from an array of different ethnicities, races, and cultures. I am able to have intellectual conversations with students who have opposing views on topics discussed in and outside of class.

Q: Tell us about a class or club that has really opened your mind.
My first semester at UMBC I enrolled in SOWK 200 taught by Dr. Guzman-Rae. She opened my mind to the vastness and versatility of a social work degree. I was introduced to the various types of roles social workers can play: macro, mezzo, and micro. We can be brokers, advocates, counselors, educators, facilitators, or a combination of them all.

Q: How important is it to you as a student to get scholarship support?
If I did not receive any scholarship support, I would have had to postpone attending school full-time and have work another job to offset the expenses of attending school. It is extremely important to me to receive these scholarships so I can focus on my education and my long-term career goals. In addition, without the Gilman Scholarship I would not have the resources to study abroad in Ecuador and Peru this past term.

Q: What are you most proud of accomplishing in your time at UMBC?
My involvement in the Social Work Student Association. A couple students and I reignited SWSA by increasing membership and providing monthly opportunities for all students to become involved on and off campus helping other individuals within the community.

Q: What would you say to the people who provided your scholarship?
I have been fortunate enough to meet with two of the donors of my scholarships and will hopefully meet with the third within the coming months. I expressed my gratitude for their generous donation and explained how the scholarship has helped me further my education.

Q: What do you hope to do after graduation?
I hope to be accepted into the William J. Clinton Fellowship for Service in India. I want to work with victims of human trafficking in rural areas of India. After the program, I hope to attend UC Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy and School of Social Welfare.

Making Year-End Giving Easy

You can quickly and easily make your year-end gift online. Gifts by credit card must be submitted no later than midnight EST on Wednesday, December 31.

Checks must be dated and postmarked by Wednesday, December 31, to be counted in the 2014 tax year. Please make checks payable to the UMBC Foundation and mail to the UMBC Foundation at 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD 21250.

The gift of appreciated stock can be beneficial to UMBC and you. You may be eligible to take a charitable deduction for the market value of the securities, and could potentially benefit by avoiding capital gains tax and reducing your estate tax. You can request additional information about donating securities by visiting UMBC Foundation.

Planned gifts can be a significant benefit to you, your family, and UMBC. Bequests, charitable gift annuities, and charitable remainder trusts offer donors a variety of ways to support the university. For more information, visit our Planned Giving website. You can also contact Kim Robinson, Senior Development Officer, by phone at 410-455-3700 or by email at

A gift of personal property includes equipment, inventory, books, works of art, or other tangible property. Gifts of personal property are accepted by UMBC. Gifts in kind can be used to benefit the university, an academic department, or program as designated by the donor. If you are interested in pursuing this type of gift, please call Kim Robinson, Senior Development Officer, at 410-455-3700 or email her at

You may reach Dayna Carpenter, Director of Annual Giving, at 410-455-3377 or

If you have already made your gift, thank you!

All contributions are administered by the UMBC Foundation for the benefit of UMBC.

Leading the Way: Supporting Students Beyond the Classroom

Dr. Ana María Schwartz Caballero, associateschwartz
professor of Spanish and second language
education, is something of a fixture here at UMBC: she’s worked at the university in various capacities for the past 30 years, mostly bouncing between the Language and Education Departments, but always making sure to stay closely involved with students.

However, you won’t find her just on UMBC’s campus. Since Dr. Schwartz Caballero is heavily involved in Baltimore’s Hispanic and Latino community, you’re just as likely to find her running a meeting of the Latino/Hispanic Faculty Association. Or walking through City Hall with the rest of the members of Mayor Rawlings-Blake’s Hispanic Commission. Or presenting her research on language teaching and learning to the Alliance for the Advancement of Heritage Languages.

So, it should come as no surprise that Dr. Schwartz Caballero was selected to receive the 2014 NFL Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award at a special presentation ceremony during the Ravens’ September 28 game.

It should also come as no surprise that she chose to donate the $2,000 grant that came with the award to UMBC’s Esperanza Scholarship Fund. “My heart has always been with the students I work with and the community here at UMBC,” says Dr. Schwartz Caballero. “I couldn’t think of giving money to anyone else.”

Which is exactly why she chose the Esperanza Scholarship: it supports undergraduate and graduate students of Latino or Hispanic ancestry and/or students committed to the advancement of minorities, especially of Latino or Hispanic descent. And, as faculty advisor for the Hispanic/Latino Student Union, as well as a member of the UMBC Hispanic and Latino Student Admissions Advisory Group, Dr. Schwartz Caballero knows that students need all the support they can get. “I know that students struggle. They work hard, juggling jobs and schoolwork, and that can be very stressful.”

For students of immigrant families, though, it can be even more difficult. “Students from families that are just beginning to be established here often lack the financial support available to others,” explains Dr. Schwartz Caballero. “And, in many cases, the students themselves, on top of working and going to school, are also supporting their families however they can.”

And Dr. Schwartz Caballero is doing what she can to help, too. “It takes a long time to build up the funds for something like that [the Esperanza Scholarship], and any donation can help build that base. I just hope it makes someone’s life a little easier.”

Support the Esperanza Scholarship Fund.

Meet Your Student Callers: Shannon, Class of 2016

Phonathon 3

Once a month, we’ll profile one of the amazing Phonathon students working in UMBC’s call center. This week, say hello to student caller Shannon, class of 2016.

Shannon is from Montgomery County, MD, and is working toward a degree in political science with a minor in psychology. We sat down with Shannon to get to know her a little better and here’s what we learned:

Q: Why did you choose to come to UMBC?

A: I chose UMBC because I believe it is an academically strong campus. Also, when I visited for the first time I automatically fell in love with the campus and believed that I could really see myself being a part of the UMBC community.

Q: What activities do you enjoy outside of class?

A: Outside of class I take advantage of many activities UMBC has to offer. One thing offered is volunteering opportunities such as BARCS. BARCS is an animal shelter located in Baltimore and I try to visit as much as I can on Sundays. I really enjoy being able to get away from schoolwork and being able to relax by walking/playing with dogs. I also enjoy the fact that I am helping bettering an animal’s life.

Q: What do you like best about being a student caller?

A: What I like best about being a student caller is talking with alumni and listening to their experiences here at UMBC. A lot has changed since some alumni have graduated and updating them on how much our campus has improved makes me proud to go to school here.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: Hopefully, I plan to continue on to law school and become a lawyer.

Q: What do you enjoy most now that you’re here?

A: I very much enjoy our school spirit and sense of community. Everyone is very friendly and welcoming and I feel right at home here.

Learn more about the UMBC Phonathon!

UMBC Needs Your Help on #GivingTuesday

The Thanksgiving leftovers have dwindled away and many of us have put a significant dent in our holiday shopping lists, having bustled through Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. Three years ago, Giving Tuesday was established to encourage us to to break away from the consumerism and chaos that has swallowed up our holiday season and return to a spirit of giving.

This year, there are a number of great causes to consider at UMBC for Giving Tuesday. Your commitment truly is a gift that will keep on giving, and our communities will benefit from the great work of the students this spring.

Support UMBC Students on #GivingTuesday!