DRIVE: John W. Jeffries Dean’s List Award honors high achievers

UMBC is about to celebrate its 50th anniversary, and we didn’t get this far without the dedication of some incredible people. People like Dean Emeritus John Jeffries, who joined the UMBC History Department in 1973, and spent the next 40 years helping his students and the university excel.

When Dean Jeffries retired as Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences (CAHSS) in 2013, an anonymous donor established the John W. Jeffries Dean’s List Award in his honor. The fund—which recognizes Dean Jeffries for his dedication to UMBC students and his commitment to seeing them excel—provides critical support for high-achieving students who aren’t already receiving a specialty scholarship. If they’ve demonstrated their drive by reaching the Dean’s list for three consecutive semesters, they’re eligible for the award.

This spring, Dean Jeffries had the chance to meet with some of the students who had received the award and learn a bit about their UMBC journeys.

Sunita Mengers ’16, biological sciences, had just returned from Spain when she met with Dean Jeffries. “Receiving this award helped me fully immerse myself in the local culture and allowed me to adapt to a new environment,” she explains. Hoping to continue her studies at med school, Sunita said UMBC’s close-knit and supportive environment played a big role in helping her reach her goals.

“The whole [UMBC] community helps you succeed,” she adds.

That sense of community and support is a feeling common across campus, especially among the award recipients. “I received personalized classroom instruction from quality professors who truly care about the well-being of their students,” says Ayushi Aggarwal ‘16, biochemistry and molecular biology.

The students also felt the impact of the reward well beyond their initial acceptance. Thanks in part to this scholarship, Olsi Leka ’16, computer engineering, is achieving his career goals.

“I have accepted a position [at Texas Instruments in Dallas] as a product engineer, a position that will allow me to continue my learning process beyond the doors of UMBC,” he says.

For Marianne Kirchgessner ’16, social work, the Dean John Jeffries Award is allowing her to continue her education. “[Receiving this scholarship] was a blessing because it lessened the burden for me and my parents and freed up some money to pay for grad school,” she says.

Given Dean Jeffries’ long history of helping students, it seems fitting that the fund established in his honor should do the same, as it prepares these talented Retrievers to take everything they’ve learned at UMBC into their bright futures.

“I’m both delighted and honored by the award, which helps high-achieving Dean’s List students who do not hold UMBC specialty scholarships complete their undergraduate education,” said Dean Jeffries. “I’m especially honored to have my name associated with these remarkable young men and women.”

Katharine Scrivener

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Phenomenal World: Juliana and Homer Schamp Memorial Scholarship seeks to inspire the next generation of teachers

Think back to the science classes you took as a child. What do you remember about them? Did you watch a caterpillar spin a cocoon and emerge a butterfly, or a tadpole grow into a frog? Did you turn baking soda and vinegar into a fuming volcano, or set off a homemade hot air balloon from the school parking lot? Did you feel a sense of wonder as you watched the world work its unique magic?

That’s the sense of wonder the late Homer W. Schamp, Jr., UMBC’s first dean of the faculty, professor emeritus of education, and trained physicist, pursued science with, and one he sought to instill in both his students and his own children. His wife Juliana Reese Schamp, who worked on important sociological research for the state of Maryland, treated life the same way, until her passing in 2009.

With the Juliana and Homer Schamp Memorial Scholarship, their sons, Brough and David Schamp, hope to keep their parents’ legacy of intellectual curiosity alive in the next generation of K-12 science educators.

Throughout his life, Dr. Schamp, a former College Park physics professor who joined UMBC in 1965, emphasized early education as a crucial part of a child’s intellectual development. His own introduction to science began during his childhood in rural Ohio, when, according to his son David, he became fascinated with the engineering of farm equipment. It’s a curiosity he emphasized to the education classes he taught here, and something he brought up his own children with as well.

“He exposed us to all kinds of different things as we were growing up,” says Brough. “Mushroom hunting, […] botany, the stars, everything. […] His main field was physics, which is really pretty abstract, but what he really was interested in was the phenomenal, real world that we live in.” After his retirement, Brough says, Dr. Schamp built several kinetic sculptures and interactive physics-based artworks, including a large kaleidoscope on display at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore.

Brough shares his father’s belief that science “should be a hands-on subject,” and says that computers and technology can create a distance between students and the physical world around them.

“The kids should be inspired by something they saw, heard, felt, experienced,” he says. “[That] inspiration is something that is often lost if you’re just looking at something on a computer and answering questions.”

In keeping with his philosophy on education, Dr. Schamp made sure to hire only the highest-quality professors, and it’s doubtful that UMBC would be the hub for innovative teaching and experiential learning it is today without the Schamps’ early influence.

“UMBC was my father’s life’s work and both of my parents conceived of it as a first rank teaching institution,” David says. While his mother, Juliana, was never a faculty member, she was “instrumental in [UMBC’s first faculty] being hired, as recruitment usually began as an evening in our home where my parents could converse [with candidates] on almost any topic.”

Giving back to UMBC seems to run in the family: Homer and Juliana Schamp established the Joseph D. Reese Memorial Prize, a biennial award given to history students, in memory of her father. “It seemed only natural to want to contribute to a place so dear to [our parents],” says David.

He agrees with his brother that their parents raised them to be thinkers, to ask questions.

“I often later felt I had learned my most important lessons at home — specifically how to learn — [and] that curiosity and thoroughness were rewarding and that it had to come from within. Knowing how to learn is the most crucial skill a teacher can pass on and my parents really encapsulated that skill. I would hope any future teachers would want to engender that in their pupils,” he says.

We don’t know exactly what science education will look like when the first Schamp scholar teaches their first class, but we do know that they’ll have the intellect, leadership, and natural curiosity to inspire a new generation of learners.

Julia Celtnieks ’13

Make a gift to UMBC today, and help inspire a new generation.

 

Did You Know?

Your gift is worth much more than you think.

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UMBC is a great place to get an education, make friends, and build your future — but many alumni don’t realize how many donors made their experience possible. Although most of our donations support student scholarships, we also raise funds for programs to build on-campus community, help students connect with employers, and extend learning beyond the classroom to include real-world research and exploration.

When you give back, you fund all the things that have made UMBC known for exceptional undergraduate education and research after just 50 years.

Another thing most alumni don’t realize is that our reputation depends on you. The percentage of alumni who give back each year contributes to our national ranking, meaning that when you make a donation of any size, you’re helping to strengthen the value of your degree.

Most importantly, as a donor, you can feel confident that 100% of your gift goes straight to the program, department, or group you choose. You can support whatever means the most to you, while also supporting the university that means so much to all of us.

Make your gift of any size today. It’s an easy way to make a big difference.

“What An Unbelievable Place This Is:” Linehan Reception Celebrates UMBC’s Commitment to the Arts

When we think of art, we tend to think of finished pieces: paintings in galleries, dances and plays performed to a sold-out crowd, freshly pressed full-length records and live symphonies. But the reality is that art is so much more than final product. It’s what we can’t see — the equipment, the time, the relentless pursuit of creativity, and donors like you — that makes it possible.

At the end of each academic year, we celebrate the hard work and creative achievements of some of UMBC’s most talented student artists at the Linehan Artist Scholars Reception. This year, guests at the reception were able to take in a student showcase in the Performing Arts and Humanities Building’s Dance Cube, a massive glass structure overlooking Hilltop Circle.

Since 1999, the Linehan program, established with a generous gift from Earl and Darielle Linehan and currently headed by Doug Hamby, associate professor of dance, has been advancing UMBC’s reputation as a center for the arts as well as STEM, and the PAHB is a centerpiece of that effort. Much like any fine work of art, the building took several years of planning and multiple phases of construction before the finished product could be shown, inhabited, and practiced in. The past several Linehan receptions have been held here: achievement within achievement.

According to Scott Casper, dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, the Linehan program prides itself on being not just a scholarship, but a community. Students live together on the Visual and Performing Arts floor in Harbor Hall, and have several opportunities a year to visit museums and performances in Baltimore, New York, and Philadelphia. Students at the reception related their experiences within the Linehan program (among them: seeing the Paris Opera Ballet perform Jonathan Safran Foer’s Tree of Codes and visiting the Museum of Modern Art).

This year’s showcase featured a variety of student art from across disciplines. On the visual arts side, Adan Rodriguez ’17 assembled a short video presentation, compiling various works from design, animation, and film students, as well as their commentary on their work, their influences, and what art means to them.

Art, says animation major Justyna Kurbiel ’18, is “a sharing of ideas,” but it also takes a lot more work than people realize.

“They never really know what’s just outside the frame,” she says plainly, before the camera pans back from her face, revealing microphones, monitors, and the screen behind her.

Ryan Bailey ’16, dance, choreographed and performed a piece set, intermittently, to Earth, Wind, and Fire’s “September” and long periods of frenetic, movement-filled silence. Chanel Whitehead ’17 performed Romani Lachrymose, an original and deeply melancholy composition by Samuel Winnie ’16, music, on cello, with Winnie accompanying her on a laptop and synthesizer.

Ally Kocerhan ’16, theatre and gender and women’s studies, who, at the time of the reception, was facing a choice between the California Institute of the Arts and New York University for graduate school, directed Jessie Gilson ’17 in a scene from Christopher Durang’s Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You. Gilson’s character, Diane, an ex-Catholic, tells the story of the loss and trauma that destroyed her faith to one of the nuns who taught her in school.

The performance moved Earl Linehan, who told Gilson, “I’m a Catholic [and I get it]…I could hear Sister Madeline talking to me.”

“What an unbelievable place this is,” Linehan told the crowd. “I choke up every time.”

Julia Celtnieks ’13; photos by Marlayna Demond ’11

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“Because We Can”: Endowed Scholarship Luncheon Celebrates Philanthropy at UMBC

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As UMBC heads into its 50th year, we’ve been looking back on our tales of grit and moments of greatness. What better time to do that than the Endowed Scholarship Luncheon, a yearly event where donors meet the students who’ve benefited from their contributions? Throughout this spring’s luncheon, speakers stressed the importance of investing in young people, and how education can bring forth greatness from humble beginnings.

Sylvia Brown came from such beginnings in rural Virginia, and said that she wouldn’t have been able to get where she is today – teacher, administrator, philanthropist – without the help of caring parents and teachers in her youth. She’s since dedicated much of her life to ensuring access and opportunities for young people across the Baltimore area. She and her husband Eddie Brown were some of the first donors to invest in the Meyerhoff Scholars Program, and they have provided abundant support to UMBC over the years.

Mrs. Brown spoke of the importance of giving, and said that it fills her with gratitude to see a beneficiary of her gifts turn around to help someone else. As she looked around the room at students sitting with the donors who funded their scholarships, she said, “I think it’s been working.”

Jackie Hrabowski, former faculty member at UMBC, current board member at T. Rowe Price, and wife of UMBC President Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, also cited key influences from her childhood on her choice to give back. Her parents were known in their community for their generosity, and she remembered asking her father, as a teenager, why their family had to be the ones to help out all the time.

Her father answered, quite simply, “Because we can.”

The people who have established scholarship funds for UMBC students have done so not out of obligation, but because they could, because they wanted to invest in the success of future generations. Scholarship recipients, in turn, have a habit of paying it forward.

Awardees use their gifts not only to put themselves through school, but to give back to the institution and the community. One such beneficiary is Parker James ’16, health administration and policy, who, as a France-Merrick Fellow and Sondheim Public Affairs Scholar, co-created Students for a Healthy Baltimore, an organization that places undergraduate volunteers at health clinics throughout the city. He says these opportunities have affirmed his commitment to removing barriers to health care access for the underprivileged.

As Vice President of Institutional Advancement Greg Simmons ’04, M.P.P. public policy, put it, stories like these matter, and the establishment of endowed scholarships demonstrates the university’s commitment to elevation. Dr. Hrabowski agreed, citing UMBC’s contribution to the growth of the middle class and to the next generation of leaders.

As Dr. Hrabowski said, if we can do all this in 50 years, imagine where we’re headed next.

— Julia Celtnieks ’13

Give our students a hand, and pay it forward by making a gift today. For more photos from the event, head to Flickr.

Help Biological Sciences Grow!

Editor’s note: Here at UMBC, our students are the heartbeat of campus, and we are committed to providing them the best possible education. We’re 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.

Biological SciencesThe Department of Biological Sciences is proud to announce that they were able to continue to impact students last year by providing an exceptional education. This year the department hopes to continue with their impact on students.

Your financial support will help award scholarships, sponsor internships, and provide state-of-the-art equipment for our students.


Support the Department of Biological Sciences!

[Photos] You Helped Us Raise $5K for Scholarships!

Thanks so much to everyone who came out to the 10th Annual Wine Tasting and Silent Auction hosted by our Chapter of Young Alumni. By attending the event, you helped us raise nearly $5,000 for student scholarships. In fact, since 2009, together we’ve raised almost $30,000 to support UMBC students.

We’re also grateful to our generous sponsors, whose contributions came in at nearly $7,500 this year. Without their support, this event would not be possible.

We loved seeing you all there and hope you had as good a time as we did! We’ve shared just a few photos from the event below, but we hope you’ll check out our full gallery on Flickr.

With You, We Can Send Students to National Conferences

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.


EconomicsThe Economics Department is proud to announce that professor Scott Farrow was named economics coordinator for the Department of Homeland Security’s National Center on the Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE). The department would also like to announce that professor Dennis Coates was chosen as editor of the Journal of Sports Economics, effective summer of 2015.

With your help, the Economics department can provide scholarships for economics and financial economics majors and supply new computers with the latest version of Stata, an econometric software.

Click here to donate.


MCSThe Media and Communication Studies Department is excited to share that last year the department awarded student scholarships and provided state-of-the-art equipment for classrooms.

With your help, the Media and Communication Studies Department can continue supporting these worthwhile initiatives and continue providing students a top-rate education.

To donate, click here.


Political ScienceThe Political Science Department is thrilled to share that in the past year, the department funded student trips to national conferences and supported undergraduate and graduate research.

With your help, the Political Science department can continue supporting these worthwhile initiatives and providing students a top-rate education.

Click here to donate.

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 General 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.