GiveCorps Spotlight: Help Model UN get to New York City!

There are so many ways to show UMBC your support, and helping out a student organization is just one of them. Today, we’re focusing on our Model United Nations team, which needs your help to get to a conference in New York next month.


Our Model UN students last fall.

At the end of March, UMBC’s Model United Nations team is headed to New York City to represent India at the national conference…and they need your help to make it happen.

Model UN provides a wonderful opportunity for students to debate global issues and develop leadership and public speaking skills. Your gift will help defray the cost of transportation, lodging, and delegate fees, making the competition more affordable and accessible for all participating students.

Our fundraising goal for the Model UN conference is $3,000. Will you help this bright bunch of students get there this year?


For even more opportunities to support UMBC, head to our GiveCorps page!



Meet the Phonathon Caller: Fiyin, Class of 2016

FiyinEvery so often, we’ll profile one of the amazing Phonathon students working in UMBC’s call center. This month, we sat down with student supervisor Fiyin, class of 2016, an information systems major from Burtonsville, Maryland.

Q: Why did you choose UMBC, and what do you like best now that you’re here?

A: Honestly, I chose UMBC because [it was kind of] the perfect university…It was small enough, but also had the perfect majors[.] Also, it’s pretty close to home [,and] it doesn’t cost too much…[Now that I’m here, I enjoy] the camaraderie, [and] also the classes, despite the fact that they are a little bit more difficult than most colleges’…[If] you do put in the work, you do get the payoff, which is not only a good grade, but the fact that you’re graduating from an honors college.

Q: What activities do you enjoy outside of class?

A: Playing basketball with friends, just hanging out. Does [Phonathon] count as “outside of class”?

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

A: I’m not even that much of a student caller anymore, because I’m a supervisor now, but [I like] the instant interaction with alumni, most of all. The fact that that you can learn so much from people who’ve been in your position, some a while ago, some not too long ago. It kind of gives you basic knowledge [of] what you’re going to encounter once you graduate…I’ve gotten people that will tell me [where to] apply for internships and things like that, so that’s pretty cool.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: After graduation, I plan on going into the workforce…Hopefully, I’m able to get an internship in [the IT] field soon enough.

Check out the other fantastic projects our student callers are raising funds for!

Off the Beaten Path: Creating a Legacy for Students in the Arts


 Todd Carton ’77, interdisciplinary studies, has never been one to follow a conventional route. As an undergraduate, his degree program (then called Option II) combined theatre criticism, literature, and creative writing. Additionally, his experience as a tutor in the Learning Resource Center inspired him to get a master’s degree in linguistics and teach English as a foreign language.

When that market proved dry, he went on to become an accountant and work for several nonprofit organizations until his retirement. It’s certainly not what one might expect from a former theatre student!

Despite his varied career paths, Carton has remained committed to both the performing arts and UMBC.  He says his professors encouraged him to go off the beaten path and fostered “an independent and creative thinking process.”

He recalls, specifically, an American literature final he took as an undergraduate. The first question on the exam was about William Faulkner, and Carton was inspired to write his answer in that author’s distinct stream-of-consciousness style.

By the time he finished, he realized he only had a few minutes to answer the other two essay questions, but he passed the exam “despite giving [the questions] short shrift.”

“I think that built a strong attachment to UMBC for me,” he says now.

Carton has directed his philanthropy to support the arts at UMBC in significant and deeply personal ways. His initial gift, made when the first phase of the Performing Arts and Humanities Building opened in 2012, was to name the building’s box office in memory of his late brother, Steven M. Carton, whom he remembers as “the coolest guy ever.”

More recently, he has established the Carton Family Endowed Scholarship (named in honor of his parents) to support promising students in the performing arts who come from disadvantaged backgrounds. He has also included the university in his estate plan, in hopes that the scholarship fund will continue to grow and benefit more students far into UMBC’s future.

The inaugural recipient, Chandler Stafford ’19, theatre, says she is “truly honored and grateful” for the opportunity, and says that not having to worry about how she’ll pay for school has given her much more freedom to pursue her artistic and academic goals.

“With the help of this scholarship […] I can focus on furthering my knowledge and growing in my field of study,” she says.

Carton is looking forward to meeting Stafford at the Endowed Scholarship Luncheon later this semester. When asked what he might say to her, Carton says he would “…encourage [her] to make the most of [her] opportunities at UMBC, and to realize that…it’s possible to use a UMBC education and succeed in a field that may not be a direct line from your [degree].”

Alternative Spring Break: The ARC of Carroll County

As we wrap up our spotlight on Alternative Spring Break, we’d like to talk about another trip that impacts our Maryland community. The ARC of Carroll County serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout their local area, providing resources for employment, education, transportation, and community living.

On this ASB trip, students will have the chance to work directly with the people the ARC supports, building bonds and breaking down stereotypes about disability. Your gift will  go towards supplies, food, lodging, and transportation for 12 students who are bound to remember this trip for the rest of their lives.

To donate to the ARC ASB trip, click here. To hear from the student leaders themselves, click the video below:

Alternative Spring Break: Public Health

This week, we’ve been focusing on UMBC’s Alternative Spring Break trips, which give students the chance to go out into the world, make a difference, and learn more about issues affecting society on their week off in March. Today, we’re shining a light on the Public Health trip.

Through this service-learning opportunity, students will learn about the Maryland through hands-on service projects in free clinics and health-focused nonprofit organizations throughout the city of Baltimore. This year’s trip, in particular, will focus on the issues of childhood obesity and food deserts in Baltimore.

As with the other trips we’ve featured this week, any financial contribution you might make is much appreciated, and will help cover the cost of supplies, lodging, food and transportation for 12 students. To give, head here. To hear straight from this year’s trip leaders about the positive impact of the Public Health trip, give this video a watch:

Alternative Spring Break: Homelessness in Baltimore

Here on the giving blog, we’ve been giving you an look at UMBC’s Alternative Spring Break programs, which give students a chance to participate in a service learning project over the March holiday. This next trip takes students right into the city of Baltimore, where, over the course of one year, at least 30,000 people will experience homelessness at one point.

Over their spring break, students will work on various projects throughout the city, and learn about how its homelessness problem intersects with poverty, crime, and other issues facing Baltimore. Your gift will go towards supplies, lodging, food, and transportation for 12 UMBC students.

To give to the Homelessness ASB trip, head to GiveCorps. To learn more about the trip from this year’s student co-leaders, take a look at this video:

Alternative Spring Break 2016: Gesundheit! Institute


As we near the end of the calendar year, we’d like to remind our community of the many places their gifts might go this holiday season. This week, we’ll be focusing on next year’s Alternative Spring Break trips. These provide a wonderful opportunity for students to spend their week off doing good for the communities and gaining a new understanding of the world.

One of these trips will take students to Patch Adams’ Gesundheit! Institute. They’ll interact with patients, help maintain the grounds, and learn about Adams’ humanistic model of health care and the Institute’s approach to social justice. In past years on this trip, students have visited veterans’ hospitals and retirement homes in the area, tended to organic gardens, and kept the Institute’s rural West Virginia campus clean and bright.

Your donation will go towards the cost of supplies, lodging, food, and transportation for 12 students over the upcoming spring break. To give to the Gesundheit! trip, head to the GiveCorps site. For more from the students themselves, take a look at this video!


Dr. Marilyn E. Demorest establishes new faculty advancement fund

Demorest-1957When Professor Emerita of Psychology Dr. Marilyn Demorest started teaching at UMBC in 1972, the university was six years old, and the psychology department had ten faculty members. As her career grew and developed, so did UMBC. By the time she retired in 2010, the school had exponentially increased in size, both in terms of enrollment and faculty hiring.

The latter was one of Demorest’s many responsibilities as Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs from 1998 through her retirement. Her years of experience as both a professor and an administrator showed her the many challenges a university’s faculty may face. To that end, she’s created the Marilyn E. Demorest Faculty Advancement Fund, an endowment set up to support faculty members’ career development.

Dr. Patrice McDermott, current Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs and Dr. Demorest’s successor, says she’s not surprised that Dr. Demorest created an endowment related to faculty advancement. Demorest trained McDermott for the job. “Her devotion to faculty was well-known, and she instilled those values in me as well,” McDermott says.

As a professor, Dr. Demorest sat on several committees related to faculty promotion and tenure, and got a firsthand look at some key issues facing faculty members at such a young university. At that time, she explains, the university usually had to do more with less. Faculty often had to take on substantial service activities, which could hinder their research efforts.

She cites her work with Advance, the National Science Foundation’s initiative for women in STEM fields, as the biggest influence for her gift. Through that project, she says, “we saw how innovative programs” could be effective in advancing all faculty, not just women and not just STEM faculty.Demorest-1970

At a university as committed to innovation as UMBC, a faculty advancement grant like this one provides the resources for professors to mentor and connect with each other, and Dr. Shawn Bediako, the inaugural recipient of the award, is committed to those ideals.

As a previous recipient of an NIH career development grant, Dr. Bediako, an associate professor of psychology at UMBC, developed an interest in helping faculty define their professional and scholarly goals beyond just achieving tenure. He has also served as a mentor to junior faculty both at UMBC and at other institutions.

I am deeply honored to be the first recipient of this award. Dr. Demorest’s generous gift will provide an opportunity for me to collaborate with faculty colleagues across campus and find innovative ways to align our personal and professional goals with the institution’s vision,” he says. He is currently finalizing his plans for the award as the fall semester gets under way.

As the award is announced to the entire campus community, Dr. Demorest says the key word in the delivery is the “advancement” rather than “development” of faculty, and that the award will ideally expand beyond mentoring efforts. When faculty members can define and pursue their goals, whether in research or teaching, the entire university community will benefit.

“The notion is [one of] moving forward,” she says, and adds, “I’m looking forward to the fund growing over time and supporting even broader programs and initiatives.”

Learn more about how you can support UMBC!

Cangialosi Business Innovation Competition creates a new platform for student startups

CBIC-LogoGreg Cangialosi ‘96, English, has made a name for himself as a serial entrepreneur with a passion for helping others succeed.  Since he graduated from UMBC, he has gone on to run two companies, and made it a personal mission to turn Baltimore into a hub for startup companies. To help support that initiative, the MissionTix CEO and co-founder of the startup incubator Betamore gave a generous gift to UMBC to establish the Cangialosi Business Innovation Competition.

The CBIC launched last year through the Alex. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship to give undergraduate and graduate students an opportunity to develop and present their business plans, and get a head start on establishing their companies. The first competition was held in the spring of 2014.

“His spirit is all about entrepreneurism,” says Susie Lynch, a development officer at UMBC. “[He’s] passionate about others’ success…[and] having a thriving startup community in Baltimore.”

Cangialosi had been involved with the Alex. Brown Center for some time before the competition began, according to the Center’s director, Vivian Armor. Among other initiatives, he was a featured speaker for the Entrepreneurship Speaker Series, developed and taught UMBC’s Entrepreneurial Marketing course, and served as a judge for the university’s annual Idea Competition, upon which the CBIC is based and which still runs every fall.

“As a result of his long term involvement with the Center, [Cangialosi] realized there was a need to provide the next level of competition and support for students who were serious about starting a business,” says Armor. The CBIC, she explains, was intended to connect students with the larger Baltimore business community.

To enter the competition, students submit their business plans to a panel of qualified experts. Those selected for the next round are paired with a mentor to help them fine-tune their ideas, and in the final round, they present their fully-formed startup plans to a panel of community business leaders and investors. In addition to a cash prize of up to $5,000 for seed funding, competition winners receive free Betamore membership, as well as free legal services, accounting advice, and fundraising and pitch advice.

Andrew Mavronicolas ‘14, information systems, is one such beneficiary. He was one of 10 finalists in last year’s inaugural competition, and his company, Backpack ‘Em, is now located in UMBC’s Cyberhive incubator. The company provides a platform for an intra-campus marketplace, its most popular use being textbook selling and trading. Mavronicolas says the support he received during and after the competition was invaluable in helping him get his business off the ground.

“The greatest gain that we had from the competition was easily the insights given by judges [and] investors, our mentor, students, and the university. This allowed us to improve upon our business idea by expanding our revenue models. It also helped us to perfect our pitch and gain the confidence to go meet with university decision makers and investors,” he says.

According to Armor, the competition will continue every spring semester, and has been a boon to the Brown Center’s visibility on campus. “[…Now] more students are aware of the wide range of initiatives and programming the Center makes available,” she says.

Lynch says Cangialosi is personified by his Twitter hashtag of choice: #neverstop. “That’s him in a nutshell,” she says. As the CBIC enters its third year, one hopes that that tenacious entrepreneurial spirit will be fostered within and passed onto several generations of students.

Cross-posted from the UMBC Alumni Blog.