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.
On 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 1from 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.
Kimberly Ellison-Taylor ’93, information systems management, is the new chairman of the board of directors for the American Institute of CPAs. Ms. Ellison-Taylor is head of global account strategy for Oracle America, and served on the AICPA board for four years prior to accepting the chairman position.
Jerome Adams ’97, biochemistry and molecular biology, was honored at a Golden Laurel Professional Reception for African-American medical professionals hosted by the Indianapolis Recorder newspaper this past week. Dr. Adams is the first African-American to be appointed Indiana State Health Commissioner by a Republican governor, as well as an assistant professor of anesthesiology at the Indiana University School of Medicine.
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:
When Daniel Carter ’11, political science and information systems, firstarrived at UMBC, he thought he’d be an attorney, but he also had an interest in computer programming, so he did the math and decided to add a second major. This led him down a much different path than he’d expected, and when he graduated, he entered GE’s Information Technology Leadership Program instead of law school. But that doesn’t mean he’s not using both sides of his education to call attention to various issues, from diversity in the tech sector to the effects of mass incarceration.
Today, in addition to his day job as a senior software engineer at FireEye, Carter is working on several applications that propose solutions to public policy problems. Right now, he and his childhood friend Julian Porto are developing a project called GETmaps (“GET” stands for “growth economic trends”), which uses geographic and demographic data to visualize small business impact in different areas. Users can view maps that show, for instance, how much a government invests in small business in a certain area, as well as how many small businesses a locality has.
“The point of it is to bring more attention around the impact that small businesses have on the national economy,” he says. The app was born at a hackathon sponsored in part by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and they’re working with that agency now to bring the app to life.
When asked which of his UMBC experiences have influenced him the most, Carter can point to way more than just one. He says he wasn’t the most social kid coming into college, but that his involvement with the Filipino American Student Association (FASA) helped to break him out of his shell. He held several leadership positions within that organization, and even had the chance to build the registration site for FASA’s national conference.
“I was, like, 19 at the time, and I had just learned to program,” he says. “That was the coolest thing, to use it to help.”
He also cites the interdisciplinary nature of his education as a major influence on him: “Everything I’m doing…I’ve had a class that touched upon that.” He’d advise incoming UMBC students to take on internships, because, as he says, “the learning doesn’t stop in the classroom…You need to apply what you’re learning in your classes outside of [school].”
He realizes his path has been unconventional in more than one way. But Daniel Carter sees his efforts as part of a larger goal to balance the playing field, not just in the communities his apps are built to serve, but in the largely white, largely male tech workforce as well, especially at a time where calls for more diversity and equal representation have rung out across multiple prominent industries.
“It’s an important subject to me because I want to be able to show and talk to other people who are underrepresented. I definitely want to serve those communities, and that’s where my poli sci background comes in,” he says. He adds that since he’s graduated college, he’s been told by multiple people that his particular career trajectory has inspired them in their own.
“They saw that I’m doing it, so they can do it,” he says.
Here at UMBC, we take pride in what our alumni accomplish after graduation, whether it’s on-campus or off. Take a look at some engineering and IT alums who have made the news recently!
Jack Suess ’81, information systems, and M.S. ’95, operations analysis,UMBC’s chief information officer, praised Baltimore-based mobile replacement startup Fixt, which has just received $1.4 million from angel investors. Fixt provides an online platform for large-scale institutions to troubleshoot mobile device problems, and the process usually takes less than an hour, start to finish. Suess says that adopting the Fixt system has saved the university money and time that would otherwise have been spent on mobile-related issues.
Delali Dzirasa ’04, computer engineering,talked with CSO Online about his career path, and offered students advice on how to network within the cybersecurity and IT fields. Dzirasa, a 2011 Alumni Award honoree, started his company, Fearless Solutions, in 2009. “Stay hungry,” he says to young infosec professionals. “There is no shortage of opportunities. Keep learning. Security is one of those interesting things. There are a million ways to get in, and you can’t defend all of them.”
Sarah Ritter ’06, information systems, and M.S. ’11, information systems,is now in graduate school for mobile development at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. WILMA Magazine recently interviewed her for an article on women in Wilmington’s burgeoning tech sector, and she had this to say about teamwork: “I might not be the best driver, but I am an excellent parallel parker. You don’t have to be good at everything…You should learn how to do as much as possible to work well on a team, but you don’t have to be the best at everything to be a great asset on a technical team.”
Joseph Hyman ’11, mechanical engineering, first came up with the idea for a self-brewing coffee mug during a long night in the AOK Library. Today, his MoJoe Brewing Co. has garnered over $85,000 in Kickstarter pledges. Tired college students – or anyone who wants a hot cup of coffee or tea on demand – just fill the mug with water, add their preferred beverage base, adjust the strength settings, and have a warm cup of study support within minutes. “It’s exciting that after years of building a product, people actually want it. And that there’s a demand for it…It makes the sleepless nights worth it,” Hyman says.
One of the things that makes UMBC great is how wonderful our alumni, students, faculty, and staff are. Because of these amazing people, UMBC often finds itself “in the news,” so each week, we’ll be sharing with you a round-up of the most newsworthy achievements from our community.
Our alumni have gone on to excel in many arenas, and we couldn’t be prouder of them. Today, take a look at a couple of computer science alumni who are helping to advance the increasingly vital field of cybersecurity.
As team technical director for the NSA’s Laboratory for Telecommunication Sciences, Josiah Dykstra ’13, Ph.D. computer science, is always coming up with new ways to combat cyber threats,
including a Google Glass-like device that alerts analysts to new threats in real time. Read more about Dykstra and his work with NSA at Fedscoop.
Jamie Butler ’02, M.S. computer science, is now the chief technology officer of the Arlington, Va.-based cybersecurity firm Endgame. Butler’s cybersecurity career began at NSA, and he’s also worked for Mandiant and FireEye. Read more about Butler here.