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.