In the weeks leading up to the 2016 Alumni Awards Ceremony, we’ll be profiling each honoree in detail here on the blog. The Rising Star award is given annually to a graduate of the last 10 years who’s excelled in their field. This year’s Rising Star is Galina Madjaroff ’08, psychology, and M.A. ’11, aging studies, undergraduate program director and clinical assistant professor at UMBC’s Erickson School.
Galina Madjaroff transferred to UMBC from Montgomery College to earn a biology degree and go on to dental school. “Fortunately,” as she puts it, “life takes you to places you never thought you would find yourself.” Madjaroff had grown up in Bulgaria in an inter-generational family, and as such found herself drawn to the aging services program here at UMBC. That particular upbringing “was one of the [things] that sparked my passion for the aging field,” she says. As an undergraduate and graduate alumna, Madjaroff has worked for the Department of Aging Services in some capacity since 2005, beginning as a student worker in website maintenance. Currently, she is the undergraduate program director for the Erickson School, as well as a clinical assistant professor in that department. Madjaroff is also working on her Ph.D. in human-centered computing here at UMBC, and she says her main goal is to develop technologies that improve the lives of older adults with dementia and cognitive decline. In addition to her responsibilities as a staff member, teacher, and student, Madjaroff also serves as a faculty mentor to student organizations, and performs advising and committee work. “The greatest challenge [in my career] has been managing time!” she says. Madjaroff credits Dr. Judah Ronch, dean of the Erickson School, as a source of inspiration and encouragement to her throughout her career. Her husband, Fred Reitz ’10, political science, is also a UMBC alum, and together they have a daughter, Amelia.
In the weeks leading up to the 2016 Alumni Awards Ceremony, we’ll be profiling each honoree in detail here on the blog. This year’s distinguished alum in the Natural and Mathematical Sciences category is Dr. Henry Baker ’78, and Ph.D. ’84, biological sciences. At the University of Florida College of Medicine, Dr. Baker is the Hazel Kitzman Professor of Genetics, as well as a professor of surgery and chair of the department of molecular genetics and microbiology. He is also associate director of the University of Florida Genetics Institute.
As a researcher at the University of Florida College of Medicine, Dr. Henry Baker looks at patients’ genes to determine how they will respond to certain types of treatment for traumatic injuries, as well as what their prognosis might be. The Catonsville native got his start when UMBC was, in his words, “that new college down the street,” conducting undergraduate research in Dr. Frank Hanson’s laboratory. “The biological sciences curriculum was exceptionally well laid out,” he says, “and the integration with undergraduate labs was phenomenal.” After completing his doctorate under the mentorship of Dr. Richard Wolf — someone who Dr. Baker says had the greatest impact on his career — he went on to a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School before accepting a faculty position at Florida, where he’s been ever since. Over the past three decades (and counting), he’s risen in the ranks from assistant professor to endowed professor and department chair, and also sits on the executive and medical admissions committees. He has stayed in contact with his Ph.D. mentor over the years, and says he is proud of how far UMBC has come since he was a student here, particularly in the achievements of President Dr. Freeman Hrabowski and the Meyerhoff Scholars Program. He also takes pride in his relationships with friends, family, and colleagues, and in working with diverse groups of people to help them achieve their goals.
In the weeks leading up to the 2016 Alumni Awards Ceremony, we’ll be profiling each honoree in detail here on the blog. This year’s distinguished alum in the Engineering and Information Technology category is Dr. Vince Calhoun, Ph.D. ’02, electrical engineering. Dr. Calhoun is executive science officer and director of image analysis and MR research at the Mind Research Network, as well as a distinguished professor at the University of New Mexico.
Dr. Vince Calhoun first became interested in imaging technology as an undergraduate at the University of Kansas, specifically MRI and how else engineering principles could be applied to map the human body. After earning master’s degrees in both biomedical engineering and information systems from Johns Hopkins, he saw UMBC’s electrical engineering program as the next logical step, given his research interests. Today, Dr. Calhoun is executive science officer for the Mind Research Network, and a distinguished professor of electrical and computer engineering, biology, computer science, neurosciences, and psychiatry at the University of New Mexico. His lab develops algorithms by which scientists can study the brain through imaging and genetic data. He says one of his greatest challenges as a researcher has been translating his findings in a way that helps people, specifically those with mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder: “We are making great strides in developing approaches to aid in disease categorization and diagnosis, but we still have a long way to go.” Dr. Calhoun is also a five-year cancer survivor, and credits his wife, his three children, and his Christian faith (he holds a certificate in theological studies from the Seminary of the East) for helping him overcome that obstacle.
In the weeks leading up to the 2016 Alumni Awards Ceremony, we’ll be profiling each honoree in detail here on the blog. This year’s distinguished alumna in the Visual and Performing Arts category is Dr. Tiffany Holmes, M.F.A. ’99, imaging and digital arts, Dean of Undergraduate Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
In the mid-1990s, Tiffany Holmes was teaching art at Canton Middle School as a Teach for America corps member, and when the school opened its first Internet-equipped computer lab, she took on the role of Media Specialist as well. After taking her students on a field trip to UMBC’s Imaging Research Center, Holmes decided to apply to the then-nascent Imaging and Digital Arts M.F.A. program, and was thrilled when UMBC admitted her. “I realized that I wanted to expand my creative practice into digital media,” she says, and in the early days of both the IMDA program and the World Wide Web, there were many paths to blaze on that front. Kathy O’Dell’s art history seminar, in particular, was “so contemporary and relevant to the concerns of a developing media artist.” In her doctoral work at Plymouth University in the U.K., Holmes studied the effects of art and design on electricity conservation efforts, and she earned her Ph.D. in 2010, shortly before the birth of her second child. Environmental themes are a constant in her body of work, which has been exhibited all over the world. Her latest exhibition, “Crooked Data: (Mis)Information in Contemporary Art,” is set to launch at the Harnett Museum of Art at the University of Richmond in February 2017. In addition to her creative work and her post as a dean at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Dr. Holmes has raised two children with her husband of 12 years, Duane Carter.
In the weeks leading up to the 2016 Alumni Awards Ceremony, we’ll be profiling each honoree in detail here on the blog. This year’s awardee in the Distinguished Service category is Thomas Sadowski ’89, political science, Vice Chancellor for Economic Development for the University System of Maryland.
As the first person in his family to go to college, Tom Sadowski wanted to get the most for his tuition money. UMBC was his first choice, because it was close to home and first to accept his application. Now, almost three decades later, that investment is paying off in a big way. This past spring, Sadowski took over as vice chancellor of economic development for the University System of Maryland, where he works to leverage system research and build partnerships with the federal government and businesses across the state. Previously, he headed the Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore and the Harford County Office of Economic Development. He can trace his passion for his work all the way back to Dr. Sari Bennett’s course on Metropolitan Baltimore, and credits Dr. Arthur Johnson and Dr. Dennis Muniak for their committed guidance. “I have been blessed to have the opportunity to work on big, game changing projects throughout my career,” he says. “UMBC believed in me and gave me the tools and ability to believe in myself.” One of his proudest moments? Working with federal, state, and local leaders to protect and enhance the Army mission at Aberdeen Proving Ground. He is proud of his education, his circle of friends and colleagues, and his family. Says Sadowski: “UMBC helped shape me and gave me faith in myself to take on big challenges and build a life without limits.”
Shaun Johnson ’13, business technology administration, has written and illustrated his first children’s book, Why Was Six Afraid of Seven? The story is part anti-bullying parable and part reading-and-math primer, and involves the numbers Six, Seven, and Nine dealing with an interpersonal conflict and learning how to solve problems amongst themselves. (Spoiler alert: Seven doesn’t actually eat Nine. It’s only a dream, but the message is clear nonetheless.)
Johnson, who uses the pseudonym Es Kay Johns, says the idea first came to him in a creative writing class he took here at UMBC in 2011. “I don’t even think I ended up using it for the class,” he says, but because it was a twist on a familiar joke, “it always stuck out for me.”
Johnson also has a background in design — he went to high school for it — and when he got the Adobe Suite for his graduate program, he saw a perfect opportunity to illustrate his own book. After a successful Kickstarter campaign and a good round of testing with his young nephew and coworkers’ kids (Johnson works for the Department of Defense by day), the book is now available on Amazon in paperback and hardcover.
“I really want kids to [take from the book] that bullying is wrong, and you should be able to talk about your problems. You shouldn’t have to attack someone verbally or physically…[to] work it out,” he says.
The cover of the Summer 2016 issue of UMBC Magazine you may have received in the mail has a significant error for which I would like to personally apologize to our readers.
In our image of professors then and now, the magazine cover mistakenly paired a recent photo of Professor Emeritus of Africana Studies Willie Lamousé-Smith with an archival photo of longtime UMBC professor of Africana Studies Jonathan Peters from the Albin O. Kuhn Library’s collection of university photographs.
Our magazine team has redesigned the magazine cover digitally to pair Professor Lamousé-Smith with a correct image – which we have posted on the magazine website, to our Facebook site, and to our wider UMBC Alumni site. But I did not catch the error before the magazine was sent to the printing press and then on to our readers.
As you will discover both in the “Editor’s Note” to this issue and in the story about the founding faculty of the university (“So You Want to Be a Pioneer?”), Professor Lamousé-Smith’s wisdom and spirit have played a significant role in UMBC’s rising fortunes as a university through the decades. I have reached out to Professor Lamousé-Smith personally to apologize for this error.
The many contributions and achievements of our faculty and staff are a significant part of what we are celebrating this year in UMBC’s 50th anniversary. It has been part of the mission of UMBC Magazine to tell these stories accurately. In this case, we let our readers down. We hope this note serves both to correct the record and express our regret for the error.