UMBC at Light City 2017!

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Remember last spring, when UMBC set up camp at Baltimore’s debut Light City festival? Remember all the art, the music, the glow-in-the-dark beer glasses? Dear readers…we’re glad to inform you that this year, we’re back! From March 31 through April 8, Light City Baltimore will once again illuminate the Inner Harbor, and UMBC will be there to help light the lamps.

This year’s exhibition features large-scale artworks by faculty members Tim Nohe and Eric Dyer, and the UMBC Spark gallery space on Calvert Street will house works by UMBC faculty, alumni, and current students. During the day, catch President Freeman A. Hrabowski’s keynote address at Light City’s EduLab. Faculty members Gymama Slaughter, Lee Boot, and Kimberly Moffitt, along with alumni Greg Cangialosi ’96, English, Maritha Gay ’84, health science and policy, and Joseph T. Jones, Jr. ’06, social work, will also be present at the conferences.

26204540931_8e853358d7_oOn top of all that, we’re hosting a shindig of our own! Join us at the Harbor Club at the Pier V Hotel on Saturday, April 1 from 8 to 11 p.m., where you can take in a full panoramic view of the festival, enjoy food and drinks on us, and score some glow-in-the-dark UMBC swag. We can’t wait to see you there!

For more information on our presence at Light City, click here. You can also check out photos from last year’s festival here.

Alums in the News: Paper Flowers and Thoughtographs

Our alumni aren’t just Retrievers: they’re curators, makers, and doers. Let’s see who’s made the news…

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Erin Terwilliger ’09, music, now an instruction and research specialist at the Glenwood branch of the Howard County Library, talked with the Baltimore Sun about a class she recently hosted for teens and adults on how to upcycle books into paper poinsettias. “It’s fun to make something beautiful out of common, everyday objects,” says Terwilliger, who hosted the second in the “Art Escape” craft class series on December 12.

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Emily Hauver ’06, visual arts, curator of exhibitions here at UMBC, recently spoke with Hyperallergic about Dr. Jule Eisenbud, a psychiatrist who attempted to capture psychic projections on film in the 1960s. Eisenbud’s photographs were displayed at the Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery in 2011, and have now been digitized by Special Collections.

Made anything cool lately? Share it with us in a class note!

Alumni Awards 2016: Dr. Kimberly Moffitt, College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

The 2016 Alumni Awards Ceremony is just hours away, and for our last profile, we’d like to introduce you to this year’s Outstanding Faculty Award recipient. Dr. Kimberly Moffitt is an associate professor in the Department of American Studies and the Language, Literacy, and Culture Ph.D. Program here at UMBC, but as we’ll see below, those are just two of the many ways she’s contributed to both our campus and the city of Baltimore.

k-moffit_headshotAs a professor of American studies, Dr. Kimberly Moffitt’s academic interests encompass several aspects of the American experience, from representations of marginalized populations to Black hair and body politics, typically viewed through the lens of the media and popular culture. She also heads the University Faculty Senate, and has recently joined the faculty of Language, Literacy, and Culture Ph.D. program, which she says both helps her to stay engaged in the research process and to cultivate the next generation of academics. Her current projects include an exploration of the ways diverse children are portrayed in Disney media, as well as an edited volume on the TV series Scandal. Dr. Moffitt is also an active and vocal presence in local Baltimore media, frequently appearing on WYPR and WEAA-FM’s The Marc Steiner Show, and contributing op-eds to the Baltimore Sun. In addition, she is the founding parent and board member of the Baltimore Collegiate School for Boys Public Charter School.

When asked what she admires about her students, Dr. Moffitt can sum it up in one word: “GRIT!” She appreciates the chance to work with strongly gifted students who work to balance academics with their other responsibilities, but who also “recognize the need for support along the way.” She fondly remembers the last day of her first Seminar on Black Hair and Body Politics in the fall of 2010, when students decided to stick around her office after dropping off their final papers. They discussed current events, class topics, plans for the holidays. “I felt like the mother hen for the first time in my academic career,” she says, “surrounded by 20+ students…not yet wanting to leave the ‘nest’ of the classroom and our shared experience, and me not ready to let them fly free, relinquishing that special moment.”

Join us for the Alumni Awards Ceremony TONIGHT at the Earl and Darielle Linehan Concert Hall.

Alumni Awards 2016: Dr. Ian Ralby ’02, Modern Languages and Linguistics, and M.A. ’02, Intercultural Communication

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 Humanities category is Dr. Ian Ralby ’02, modern languages and linguistics, and M.A. ’02, intercultural communication, founder and CEO of the international consulting firm I.R. Consilium.

i-ralby_headshotEven after completing a law degree at William and Mary and his M.Phil. and Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge, Dr. Ian Ralby still regards the education he received at UMBC as “unequivocally first rate and world class.” The 2002 valedictorian, former Humanities Scholar, and men’s diving team alum fondly remembers the courses that shaped his interest in international studies and the professors who helped him along the way, naming Brigitte May, Bob Sloane, Tom Field, Stan McCray, Jack Sinnigen, Ed Larkey, Gala Stern, John Stolle-McAllister, Angela Moorjani, and the late Carol Barner-Barry as influences. He also considers himself extremely fortunate to have been mentored by UMBC President Dr. Freeman Hrabowski. In the years since graduation, Dr. Ralby has worked on the Saddam Hussein trial, served at the center of international efforts to develop accountability for armed contractors and private security companies, and has been influential in developing the maritime security architecture to counter piracy, trafficking, illegal fishing, and other crime in Africa. After finishing his doctorate, he spent two years working in Bosnia and Herzegovina as an international law advisor, while also building his own firm, I.R. Consilium in London. After the Ebola outbreak temporarily shut down his work in 2014, he returned to Maryland and took a position with the US Government’s Africa Center for Strategic studies as an expert on maritime law and security. In addition to continuing that work for the Department of Defense, he is also currently leading the largest study ever conducted on refined oil theft in his role as a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council. Over the last year, he has also relaunched his consultancy, I.R. Consilium as a US company, and is engaged by several major clients on matters of international law, security, geopolitics, and strategy. His prolific publishing and frequent lecturing is a testament to his commitment “to learn, grow, and build on what I have done so far in order to have greater and greater positive effect on people’s safety, security, and quality of life around the world.”

Join us for the Alumni Awards Ceremony on Thursday, October 6, in the Earl and Darielle Linehan Concert Hall.

Alumni Awards 2016: Dr. Tiffany Holmes, M.F.A. ’99, Imaging and Digital Arts

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.

t-holmes_headshotIn 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.

Join us for the Alumni Awards Ceremony on Thursday, October 6, at the Earl and Darielle Linehan Concert Hall.

Congratulations to our 2016 Alumni Award Winners!

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Each year, the UMBC Alumni Association celebrates alumni and faculty who have made outstanding contributions to their fields, their communities, and the University. This year, we honor the following individuals for their achievements:

Engineering and Information Technology:
Dr. Vince Calhoun, Ph.D. ’02, Electrical Engineering
Executive Science Officer and Director, Image Analysis and MR Research; Professor of Translational Neuroscience, The Mind Research Network

Distinguished Professor, Departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Biology, Computer Science, Neurosciences, and Psychiatry, The University of New Mexico

Humanities:
Dr. Ian Ralby ’02, Modern Languages and Linguistics, and M.A. ’02, Intercultural Communication
Founder and CEO, I.R. Consilium

Natural and Mathematical Sciences:
Dr. Henry Baker ’78, Ph.D. ’84, Biological Sciences
Hazel Kitzman Professor of Genetics; Professor of Surgery; Chair, Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, University of Florida College of Medicine

Associate Director, University of Florida Genetics Institute

Social and Behavioral Sciences:
Ruby Lu ’94, Economics
Co-Founder, DCM China (2003-16); currently preparing a new startup venture

Social Work:
Joseph Jones, Jr. ’06, Social Work
Founder and CEO, Center for Urban Families

Visual and Performing Arts:
Dr. Tiffany Holmes, M.F.A. ’99, Imaging and Digital Arts
Dean of Undergraduate Studies, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Distinguished Service:
Thomas Sadowski ’89, Political Science
Vice Chancellor for Economic Development, University System of Maryland

Rising Star:
Galina Madjaroff ’08, Psychology, and M.A. ’11, Aging Studies
Undergraduate Program Director and Clinical Assistant Professor, The Erickson School at UMBC

Outstanding Faculty:
Dr. Kimberly Moffitt
Associate Professor, Departments of American Studies and Language, Literacy, and Culture Ph.D. Program, College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

Join us for the Alumni Awards Ceremony on Thursday, October 6!

Learn more about our past award winners:

2015 Award Winners

2014 Award Winners

2013 Award Winners

2012 Award Winners

2011 Award Winners

2010 Award Winners

2009 Award Winners

2008 Award Winners

2007 Award Winners

2006 Award Winners

2005 Award Winners

Past UMBC Alumni Award Winners

UMBC Athletic Hall of Fame

Katie Dix ’10, American studies, on the Bay, Baltimore, and jumping in

Every so often, we’ll chat with an alum to see what they’re up to and how they got there. Today, we’re catching up with Katie Dix ’10, American studies. She’s now the volunteer program manager for Blue Water Baltimore, and also happens to be one of the Daily Record’s “20 In Their Twenties” honorees for 2016.

katiedix1Name: Katie Dix

Job Title: Volunteer Program Manager, Blue Water Baltimore

Major: American Studies and Political Science

Grad Year: 2010

Tell us a bit about Blue Water Baltimore and your role in the organization.
Blue Water Baltimore is a regional, environmental non-profit dedicated to protecting and restoring our local waterways. As the Volunteer Program Manager, I work with all staff to mobilize volunteers to assist us with advocacy and community restoration projects. Annually, over 4000 individuals serve the organization during tree plantings, restoration projects, trash cleanups and routine water quality monitoring.

I am a believer in service; organizing people around a common mission and goal has always been a rewarding experience for me and I am thankful to do it full time with Blue Water Baltimore. There are so many people who want to better their community but need guidance and resources to do it. I always look forward to expanding the capacity of a group by utilizing the skills and talents of volunteers and celebrating the work that we can only accomplish together. I want individuals and organizations that volunteer with Blue Water Baltimore to feel ownership of the programs and projects they work on, a connection to our collective mission to achieve clean water and appreciation for their hard work and dedication.

We live in a city that depends on the landscape. Baltimore’s economy, politics, and culture are defined by our relationship with water that surrounds us: the Chesapeake Bay.

What is your favorite thing about the work you do?
Working with communities and volunteers is the best part of my job. I believe there is power in working alongside someone. When you plant 100 trees, clean a stream or build a greenhouse, you feel a sense of ownership over the project. More importantly, you feel a connection to people that also put in the work. You don’t just walk away from it; it becomes a part of you.  I have a large network of communities because of this work. My profession is covered in sweat and soil and  I wouldn’t have it any other way.

You were recently recognized by The Daily Record as one of Maryland’s “20 in Their Twenties.” How did that make you feel, and what’s next?
It feels really satisfying to make the list. There are so many talented and hardworking people that are recognized. It is a great honor and I am glad that there will be some attention on the work that I have been doing with so many others.

In the next 20 years, I see myself focused on community growth and cultural sustainability through effective land use. I intend to be a public servant that will guide our cities to function in a more humane manner, restore the environment, and operate in a way that is responsive to population needs. It is my goal to engage in planning methods that not only enhance the natural resources and built environment of a community but also its culture. To get there, I am seeking experience and philosophies that help me serve a public and advocate for justice (both social and environmental). I expect — and hope — that this will be a lifelong process.

This fall, I will leave Baltimore for the first time to study Community & Regional Planning at the University of New Mexico. While it will be difficult to leave the city during such an exciting and hopeful time, I am excited to return to school and to live in a landscape so culturally and physically different from where I have lived before. I know I have experience to share and personal views to challenge.

Was there anything about your UMBC experience – a class, a professor, an internship experience – that inspired you to go into nonprofit work? What was your path after UMBC?
Dr. Ed Orser, Dr. Nicole King and Dr. Warren Belasco changed my life forever. The AMST courses I took with them challenged both my perceptions and lifestyle. I had the opportunity to explore concepts of food security, public spaces, community development and cultural sustainability; this led me to my undergraduate research on urban environmentalism and ultimately, the work I do now. I also owe gratitude and recognition to faculty and staff I worked with at UMBC: Dr. Tyson King-Meadows and Jennifer Dress. They pushed me harder than I thought was possible by simply feeding my motivation, providing me with the resources I needed and making me think.  I can’t say enough about any of these people. It is such an honor to know them and they are in my thoughts often.

My training in the humanities and social sciences has helped me perceive my work in a context much different from my science trained colleagues: civic ecology as a way to address many of the complex social ills that plague our urban communities.  Aside from environmental decline, Baltimore faces many other challenges; poverty, crime, systemic racism, poor public transportation and government dysfunction plague the urban community. Environmental degradation is directly tied to these issues. The culture, history, and economy of the city and state are directly tied to the water.  I feel a strong connection between the environment and issues of food security, public spaces, community development and cultural sustainability. While the last few years my work has been focused on natural resources, I have always been interested in one thing: people and an increased quality of life. For the last decade my academic pursuits, professional career, and volunteer activities have been directed towards this goal; they have also put me in a position to create networks and programs that allow us to work effectively towards a more humane metropolis.

After graduation from UMBC, I accepted a position as the Community Greening Resource Network (CGRN) Coordinator with the Parks & People Foundation. CGRN, pronounced “See Green,” an annual membership program assisting individuals, community gardens, schools and green spaces throughout the City of Baltimore. Restoring vacant lots, exploring opportunities to alleviate food deserts, advocating for site development and land protection, organizing communities and educating the public about health became my full-time life. I began this position as an AmeriCorps*VISTA and transitioned to a full-time staff member to continue the development and implementation of the program.  After I moved to Blue Water Baltimore, I joined the Board for the program.

As a first-generation college student, my family did not understand the correlation between my degree and paid stub or my major and chosen career field. They still don’t but to me, it all makes sense. Everything I have chosen to do since my graduation from undergraduate school is connected to the concepts I explored in my classes and in my undergraduate research.

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give an incoming UMBC student?
Jump. Put yourself out there and explore. Dive deep into the things that get you excited or angry or blissful. Connect with your peers and professors. Ask questions that make people think. Explore the things that will make you think for a lifetime.

I started UMBC in 2006 when we were celebrating the 40th Anniversary. I remember listening to speakers just before the fireworks went off above the library, knowing that I was in the right space. UMBC is something special and you should celebrate that grit and greatness this year and well into your years as an alum. You are surrounded by a community of knowledge, wisdom and support. Everyone around you wants you to be a part of the revolution: contribute new knowledge and innovative ideas to address the complications and issues that are present in our world.

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Read about where your fellow Retrievers have been since graduation, and tell your own story here!