Strong Scholars at UMBC

hmstrong_profile_lrgUMBC is thrilled to be the newest school to participate in the Strong Scholars Program with the Hattie M. Strong Foundation. The program provides scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students in teacher-training programs.

The foundation continues the legacy of its founder, Hattie M. Strong. Prior to becoming a philanthropist, she lived a life of considerably less ease, including raising a son as a single mother and journeying with him across the continent to find work during the Alaska Gold Rush!

After marrying Henry Strong of the Eastman Kodak Company, she dedicated her life to helping those less fortunate than her. She supported a variety of causes including hospitals, educational institutions, and social service agencies in the United States, Europe, Asia and Africa. You can learn more about Hattie Strong here.

UMBC’s Education Department selected its first Strong Scholars in January and will continue to make new awards each year. The scholarships will benefit who are completing their student-teaching at a local K-12 school. The scholarship provides important financial aid during a semester where students are incredibly busy and often stretched thin financially.

We know that this scholarship will make a tremendous difference to these students. UMBC is incredibly thankful to have such generous foundation partners!

Contact the department to find out more about UMBC’s Strong Scholars Program.

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 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.

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.

Men’s Soccer Heads Toward National Championship

NCAA Mens Soccer: Hartford vs UMBCAt UMBC, we’re busy celebrating the men’s soccer team and their America East Championship win over Hartford. This sets the Retrievers on the road to the NCAA tournament–their fourth tournament bid in five years.

The team is truly a “Fan Favorite” and Retriever Fever is catching across campus, from the dedicated supporters of Lot 17 to faculty and staff. In fact, The Baltimore Sun  reported that at the end of the America East Championship game, “UMBC fans and students stormed the field and celebrated with the players at midfield.”

The men’s soccer team is in Wake Forest today for the first round of the NCAA tournament–along with a bus full of dedicated supporters–in hopes of continuing their winning streak.

Do you have Retriever Fever? Support the team on the road to victory!

Student Scholarship Q&A: Ariana Seidman, music performance with vocal emphasis

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 Ariana Seidman ‘17, music performance, who is an Alumni Association Legacy Scholarship and Linehan Artist Scholarship recipient. This scholarship is awarded to an undergraduate student who is a child or grandchild of a UMBC graduate, with great community involvement.

Name: Ariana SeidmanAriana Seidman Headshot
Major: Music Performance (Vocal Emphasis)
Extra Curricular Activities: UMBC Stilettos and Musical Theater Club
Scholarships received: Alumni Association Legacy Scholarship and Linehan Artist Scholar

Q: Why did you decide to attend UMBC?
I liked the warm and welcoming music department and the benefits of the Linehan Artists Scholars program. Additionally, my father and older sister attended UMBC and had great experiences.

Q: What’s been the most amazing discovery you’ve made so far as a student here?
I have been amazed by the students at UMBC and the friendships I have made. I love the diversity of the student population and the sense of community throughout the university.

Q: Tell us about a class or club that has really opened your mind.
I have loved being a part of the Stilettos (UMBC’s all-female a cappella group). The a cappella environment is very friendly at UMBC and all the groups are very supportive of each other. I look forward to leading the Stilettos as music director this year.

Q: How important is it to you as a student to get scholarship support?
It is very important to me to receive scholarship support. After graduation I hope to continue my education in graduate school, so support now can help me to go further later.

Q: What are you most proud of accomplishing in your time at UMBC?
I was very proud to be elected Music Director of the Stilettos. It is a position with a lot of responsibility and I’m flattered that the members trust me to do the job.

Q: What would you say to the people who provided your scholarship?
I would thank them repeatedly for supporting my education and allowing me to continue to study what I love both now and in the future.

Q: What do you hope to do after graduation?
I hope to continue on to graduate school to study music therapy, speech therapy/pathology, or vocal pedagogy.

Support UMBC’s scholarships today!

A Legacy Continued: Planned gift helps ensure future of teaching award

5x7-Weber-0132

Catherine Weber ( center)) with Dean William LaCourse and Carl Weber Excellence in Teaching Award recipients

Each year at UMBC, a faculty member is chosen to receive the Carl Weber Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching Award. It honors a faculty member from the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics for exceptional dedication to teaching as demonstrated by his or her enthusiasm, up-to-date teaching materials, effective mentoring, community service in the teaching area, approachability, rigorous learning requirements, coherent teaching philosophy and inspirational teaching style.

The award was established in 2006 by his family in memory of Dr. Weber, Assistant Professor Emeritus and founding faculty member in the UMBC Department of Biological Sciences, as a tribute to his passion for teaching.

“Carl’s enthusiasm for his teaching was infectious,” says Mrs. Weber. She adds that it’s plain to see why each award winner has been chosen throughout the years. “They’re very inspiring enthusiastic teachers. Each one has been doing something innovative as teachers.”

The award has now been given for eight years. In addition to the endowment, a number of people, including Mrs. Weber, have continued to provide annual support for the award. It has successfully created a lasting legacy for Dr. Weber, and it has also given Mrs. Weber an ongoing connection to the UMBC community.

Each year, she has a chance to meet the award recipients. “That has been very nice for me,” she explained. “It keeps his memory fresh, and it’s very gratifying to see the wonderful people who are being honored.”

Now, Mrs. Weber has taken another step to continue support for the award through a trust she created in her estate plans. It’s a contribution that will play an important role in ensuring that Dr. Weber’s passion for teaching continues at UMBC, as the award encourages and honors new and innovative approaches in the classroom for years to come.

For Mrs. Weber, it’s not only another measure of support in memory of her husband, it’s also a very practical matter of planning ahead. “I established the trust to support the ongoing recognition enabled by the award,” says Weber.

Learn more about planned giving.

Student Scholarship Q&A: Kristina Higgins, chemical engineering

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 Kristina Higgins ‘16, chemical engineering, who is an Alumni Association Legacy Scholarship recipient. This scholarship is awarded to an undergraduate student who is a child or grandchild of a UMBC graduate, and who shows great community involvement.

Name: Kristina Higgins
Major: Chemical Engineering
Extra Curricular Activities: Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority and club soccer
Scholarship received: Alumni Association Legacy Scholarship

Q: Why did you decide to attend UMBC? Picture
I chose to attend UMBC because of its outstanding STEM program and the recognition it receives throughout the country. I also love that at UMBC I can walk around campus and see familiar faces, instead of being drowned out in the population of a very large school.

Q: What’s been the most amazing discovery you’ve made so far as a student here?
The most amazing discovery I have made as a student at UMBC is the amount that I have in common with so many people from different backgrounds. UMBC is very diverse and I have had a chance to meet people from all different cultures.

Q: Tell us about a class or club that has really opened your mind.
Delta Phi Epsilon sorority has shown me how to be a well-rounded person. I consistently take part in a variety of activities including community service events, philanthropy events, and different workshops that build skills such as resume builders and study habit tips.

Q: How important is it to you as a student to get scholarship support?
It is very important to me to get scholarship support. My college education is very important to me and I am very thankful to receive support on something that is such an integral part of my life.

Q: What are you most proud of accomplishing in your time at UMBC?
I am most proud of continuing to complete all of my classes to the best of my ability in such a challenging field of study. I continue to surprise myself on what I can accomplish.

Q: What would you say to the people who provided your scholarship?
I would want to express my gratitude and make sure they know that I will be using that scholarship to continue to work hard at UMBC and pursue my future goals.

Q: What do you hope to do after graduation?
I hope to work for an environmental engineering firm in order to help maintain and improve the sustainability of the watersheds around us.

Give back through our alumni scholarships today!