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.

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.


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!

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


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.

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!


Annual Mulligan Lecture Recognizes 2014 Scholar

Berghaus2014-6824_modEditor’s Note: The UMBC physics department recently honored the life of Joseph Mulligan, one of the founding faculty members, with their annual Mulligan Lecture and award. This year’s recipient, Kim Berghaus, is the first undergraduate student to receive the award. Her lecture, presented on May 14, 2014, is titled “The Life and Work of Albert Einstein.” Recently, Berghaus shared her thoughts with us on this opportunity:

The Mulligan lecture is a beautiful tradition, held every end of the school year about a topic in the history of physics to honor Joseph F. Mulligan. Holding this meaningful lecture was an amazing opportunity for me to get involved and connect with the physics department beyond just the classroom.


(L-R) Hilke Berghaus, Francisca Berghaus, Mrs. Mulligan, Kim Berghaus, Rafael Berghaus

Presenting my work to faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students, in and outside of physics, was an important lesson for myself and prepared me for future communication of my scientific work.

The Mulligan award allowed me to do original research on Albert Einstein and visit the Einstein Museum in Berne. That journey was the foundation for my lecture, as it exposed me to deeper insight
into his life.

The lectureship also strengthened my applications to graduate school and helped me get admitted into great physics Ph.D. programs such as Johns Hopkins University and the University of Texas in Austin. I am grateful for the unique opportunity and my special thanks goes to Mrs. Mulligan.

– Kim Berghaus, ’14, physics

Watch Berghaus’ lecture here!

Student Scholarship Q&A: Kristine Galli, health administration and policy

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 Kristine Galli, health administration and policy, who is a Barbara E. Burkman Health Administration and Policy Program Scholarship recipient. This scholarship is given to a student who has demonstrated academic stature and scholarly/creative activity in their chosen discipline.

K. GalliName: Kristine Galli ’14
Major(s): health administration policy
Scholarship(s): Barbara Burkman Scholarship Award

Q: Why did you decide to attend UMBC?

A: The school has a great reputation and I love the diversity of our campus community. I knew I could learn from experts in my field while cultivating relationships that have enriched my life more than ever expected. I will be graduating with an amazing degree and incredible friends.

Q: What’s been the most amazing discovery you’ve made so far as a student here?

A: Definitely learning about other students has lead to the most amazing discoveries. People are amazing and everyone has a story, so take the time to listen because both of your lives are enhanced through that connection.

Q: Tell us about a class or club that has really opened your mind.

A: Being a Peer Health Educator through University Health Services for two years was a fun and influential way to empower myself and benefit the campus community. This position helped me learn about health issues that are most pertinent to college students and engage many different subcultures to help empower them through knowledge, as well.

Q: How important is it to you as a student to get scholarship support?

A: It was extremely important for me to receive scholarship support for multiple reasons. Having your hard work acknowledged is always fulfilling, but more than that I am very grateful that this support takes some of the financial burden off of myself and my family. There are many areas of life to manage in university, so when someone helps you in such a significant way it allows you to focus more energy on succeeding in school versus worrying about how to pay for it.

UMBCQ: What are you most proud of accomplishing in your time at UMBC?

A: Thankfully I have been able to do a lot with my time at UMBC including founding a mental health awareness student organization, Active Minds. I am very happy I was able to bring this organization to campus and am extremely impressed by the students who have taken over its management. They are definitely making a powerful and positive impact on the well being of UMBC students.

Q: What would you say to the people who provided your scholarship?

A: Thank you so much!  It means a lot that people like you invest their hard-earned money to help students succeed.

Q: What do you hope to do after graduation?

A: I was accepted into the University of Manchester to earn a Master’s in International Disaster Management. While this is awesome, I have deferred for a year to explore other interests before committing to this path. We will see what life has in store!

Support the Barbara E. Burkman Scholarship!

Northrop Grumman Funds Scholarship

Northrop Grumman’s Electronic Systems sector recently donated $30,000 to establish the Northrop Grumman Scholarship at UMBC. Awards of $10,000 will be made to three students who are U.S. citizens studying Computer and Electrical Engineering, which will serve a goal of increasing the quantity of Americans graduating with undergraduate and graduate degrees in those fields. Initial awards will be provided to high-performing sophomores and juniors, who may be candidates for UMBC’s accelerated BS/MS program.

Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in unmanned systems, cyber, C4ISR, and logistics and modernization to government and commercial customers worldwide. The scholarship recipients will be eligible for summer internship positions at Northrop Grumman.

“Northrop Grumman is proud to support education programs that will develop tomorrow’s leaders in computer science and engineering. I am very pleased Northrop Grumman is partnering with UMBC,” says Ted Imes, Sector Director, Talent Acquisition at Northrop Grumman Corporation.

UMBC thanks Northrop Grumman for their continuing commitment to our students.

Show your support of UMBC. 

Jazz Brunch Raises $1000 for Scholarships

Recently, the Chapter of Black and Latino Alumni hosted their annual Jazz Brunch. The event brings together alumni from across the years for fellowship and food. It is also an opportunity to raise money and awareness for the Second Generation and Esperanza Scholarships. Thanks to attendees at this year’s event, the Chapter was able to raise $1,000 for those funds.

For many of our alums, giving back to UMBC is an important part of acknowledging all they’ve received in their lives. “My experience as an undergraduate student at UMBC was not only memorable but life changing,” says Dr. Yvette Mozie-Ross ’88, health science and policy. “By giving back, I’m able to pay it forward to ensure that others are able to share in this remarkable experience.”

Our alumni and donors know that by investing in UMBC, they are making a difference for future generations.

“Each time I return to campus, I feel a sense of pride for UMBC’s tremendous growth. I want to play a part in UMBC’s advancement by remaining connected to the institution that helped shape my professional and personal development,” says Dr. Tamara L. Lewis ’92, psychology. “Giving back and saying ‘thank you’ are two important lessons my parents taught me as a child. I believe it’s important for alumni to give both of their time and monetary donations, no matter how small. Every donation helps UMBC remain in the forefront of producing tomorrow’s leaders.”

Support the Esperanza or Second Generation Scholarships with Your Gift Today!