Link Roundup: UMBC in the News

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.

For more UMBC community updates, head to UMBC News.

Roundup: UMBC in the News

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.

For more campus community news, visit UMBC Insights!

Career Q&A: Lauren Bucca ’13, English

Every so often, we’ll chat with an alum about what they do and how they got there. Today we catch up with Lauren Bucca ’13, English, who, after an internship in the Medieval Manuscripts Library at the Walters Art Museum and graduate studies at the University of Durham, now works for the Rowman & Littlefield publishing company.

Name: Lauren Bucca
Job Title: Publicity Assistant, Rowman & Littlefield
Major/Minor: English, double minor in History and Medieval and Early Modern Studies
Grad Year: 2013

FB_IMG_1444088617770What led you down the path to publishing?

The world of publishing is a kind of haven for someone with deep literary inclinations. I have always been interested in book publishing, having been intrigued by the way a manuscript becomes a finished product. But I didn’t think I could get into publishing, since I had always heard that it was competitive and had never before interned with a publishing company. I applied to many publishing jobs before I obtained an interview with Rowman & Littlefield, and was fortunate to get the job; I believe that my library and archival experience made me a suitable candidate. Academic publishing seems like the perfect fit for me since it combines my love of learning, writing, and communicating with diverse people.

You went to graduate school at the University of Durham in England. What was that like?

I loved my experience in Durham, England, mostly because it was the ideal location for studying medieval history and literature. Durham is situated on a peninsula, and is an idyllic medieval city with a castle, cathedral, and winding cobblestone streets. The university also provided a unique experience, since it is separated into different colleges which were essentially hubs for social events (including Harry Potter-like dinners, complete with black robe attire). I even joined the graduate rowing team of my college as a coxswain, which was a challenging experience as I attempted to steer the boat away from Durham’s many bridges.  I greatly enjoyed living with people from my college, as most of them were from other countries[,] which gave me the opportunity to learn about other cultures and to make life-long friends. In my Masters course, I had the chance to study medieval manuscripts, catalogue 14th century charters, and discover the historic locations in and surrounding Durham. Overall, the academic community and beautiful city (especially the cathedral) provided for an exceptional opportunity to immerse myself in researching the early medieval period.

What stands out to you the most about your UMBC experience?

The academic support from my English and Honors College professors stands out the most to me, besides making wonderful friends and spending three years working at the library. At UMBC, I was never “spoon-fed” information, but [rather] encouraged to ask questions and find the answers through my own research. I was able to do an independent honors study with Dr. Gail Orgelfinger from the English department (she’s amazing), which later turned into [an undergraduate research] project in the UK. This project, supported also by funding and advice from Dr. Simon Stacey at the Honors College, helped me develop into a scholar and gave me the confidence to continue my research at the masters’ level.

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give an incoming UMBC student?

Besides having fun and not stressing yourself out, this is a great time to take advantage of your professors’ knowledge and
advice. Try to see how your current academic plan can transfer to a job. Also, make sure you have at least one internship, because it is way easier to get a job after graduation if you have some work experience. I am grateful that my advisor, Dr. Kathryn McKinley, provided me with an opportunity to intern at the Walters Art Museum. I worked with the manuscripts and rare books, and loved it so much that I continued volunteering there after graduation. Though my career isn’t in an archive or a museum, the skills I obtained there transferred well into my current job.

Round Up: UMBC in the News, 10/24

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.

Read more at UMBC Insights!

Expanding the Map

Joan Kang Shin’s approach to teaching English as a foreign language embraces children and community on a global scale.

Imagine that you’re an experienced high school teacher in a country like Pakistan, Serbia, or Colombia. Your specialty is English as a foreign language. Your school doesn’t have many resources, but you have a good rapport with your students, and you’re proud of what you do.

Then one day your government announces that English as a foreign language (EFL) classes will now be required for all students beginning in elementary school. You are yanked from your familiar high school setting into a room full of squirming 7- and 8-year-olds still learning the basics of their native tongues. You are willing to give it a try, but you have no idea how to start.s14-feat-expanding

This scenario has played out in EFL classrooms around the world in the last decade, as national ministries of education introduce mandatory English classes at younger and younger ages. And a remarkable number of those displaced teachers – hundreds of teachers from more than a dozen countries – have turned to Joan Kang Shin ’99, M.A., instructional development, and ’08, Ph.D., languages, literacy and culture, for advice and support to make the transition.

Continue reading Expanding the Map

Outstanding Alumna: Donna Lewis ’86

Over the next few weeks we’ll be introducing you to this year’s Alumni Award winners. The UMBC Alumni Association proudly honors distinguished alumni and faculty for their accomplishments and dedication to UMBC. Today we’re talking with Donna Lewis ‘86, English, about her career working as the Unit Chief for the Transportation Security Administration and her work as a cartoonist for the Washington Post News Service and Syndicate.

Name: Donna Lewis ’86, EnglishDonna Lewis-Alumni_Award_Recipients-2014-4476
Job Title: Cartoonist, Washington Post News Service and Syndicate // Unit Chief, Office of Professional Responsibility, Transportation Security Administration, Department of Homeland Security
Award Category: Humanities

Q: Please tell us a little about why you chose to attend UMBC and what, if any, involvement you have with the university currently.

I chose to attend UMBC after leaving a larger university. I wanted to be a shining star, a high achiever, and, most importantly, I wanted to develop meaningful relationships with my professors, peers, and mentors. At the larger university, I just couldn’t find that level of intimacy. At UMBC, I immediately felt like a champion. I knew my peers on a first-name basis and I developed dynamic relationships with my professors, all of whom knew my name and probably much more about me. For me, UMBC felt like home and the people I met through the English Department and my classes felt like family. I sponsored my first UMBC intern in 2014 and she is now working with me again since graduating last spring! I hope to sponsor two more interns in 2015. My first intern obviously worked out great – for both of us.

Q: Is there a particular class or professor at UMBC who really inspired you?

Linda Benson inspired me to reach much farther than I was used to in my processes of thinking, writing, and analysis. I was always an outgoing and competitive student but I was at risk of being lazy in my thinking, focusing on the A grade and not the greater challenges of expanding my perspective or testing my own beliefs. Linda Benson challenged me to do more than earn an A on a paper. She forced me to keep peeling the onion and to question my thinking. After that, I knew that earning the A wasn’t the end goal.

Q: Please tell us a little about the trajectory of your career and what you are working on now.

I began my legal career in litigation, focusing primarily on issues related to disability. After 10 years of litigation, I transitioned to the management side of business in the hopes of helping supervisors deal more successfully with employees’ differences and diversity. In 2006, I accepted a position with the Transportation Security Administration. I am currently a Unit Chief in the Office of Professional Responsibility where I adjudicate matters involving misconduct. My focus these days is to be an excellent leader in the organization and in the training of future leaders.

Q: What has been the greatest success in your career? The greatest challenge?

The greatest success in my career has been becoming a syndicated cartoonist. I am a writer, first and foremost, and I have always worked hard to develop my writing skills. I have written articles and essays for every organization I’ve ever worked with and I’ve always had a personal writing project in progress. Around the time that I transitioned from the private sector to the Federal Government, I also decided to mix it up a bit with my writing and try some different forms. After a very enjoyable stint in stand-up comedy, I realized that I loved writing punchlines. One day I added a favorite punchline to a drawing and a cartoon was born. Today I have a daily cartoon and a daily comic strip, both of which are syndicated internationally through the Washington Post Writers Group. Getting syndicated is difficult proposition. There are few opportunities for syndication. I am confident that my getting syndicated is proof that hard work and dedication to taking creative risks pays off. I never dreamed or even thought of being a cartoonist and now I cannot imagine not being one. The greatest challenge? Life. Life is challenging and inconvenient. I assume most people don’t need for that to be explained.

Q: What are your proudest personal achievements?

I am proud of my ability to keep working hard no matter what the challenges are. Life is filled with ups and downs and many forces that are not conducive to following one’s dream. But hard work keeps you focused during the hard times and, hopefully, challenged during the easier times. I am proud that I listened to my mentors and just kept moving forward. The harder you work, the better prepared you are to seize good opportunities when they come along.

Check out the other Alumni Award winners.

Alums in the News: Hill, Westervelt, Sahler, and DeGuzman

Here at UMBC, we take pride in what our alums accomplish after graduation. Take a moment to see which Retrievers have been on the move and making news!

stephanie hill
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Working at Lockheed Martin and having a passion for STEM education, Stephanie C. Hill ’86, computer science and economics, describes her path with STEM education as unexpected. After taking  a programming class she became fascinated with the course and changed her career plans accordingly. Hill now works at Lockheed Martin, providing IT solutions to federal services such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and more. Due to her hard work and desire to spread STEM education, Hill has received various awards to recognize her excellence. She hopes her story will encourage people to pursue a STEM education. Read the full article.

drew westervelt
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Drew Westervelt ’09, economics, is the co-founder and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Hex Performance, a new company focused on cleaning products for athletic gear. Now, stores like Wegman’s and Whole Foods are stocking their shelves with these products uniquely designed for the care and cleaning of workout gear made from synthetic materials. Westervelt is taking on a rather unusual task as COO of a company and a professional athlete, but he is proving his ability to be successful in both. Read more.

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Erick Sahler ’89, graphic design and art history, created a new silkscreen print as a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Cape May-Lewes Ferry, a landmark special to Delaware residents. This limited-edition art piece debuted at the Art Sale held in Bethany Beach on August 30 and 31, an annual Labor Day weekend event. Read the full article.

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Christine DeGuzman ‘02, English, was recently named principal of Meade Middle School. She has put a lot of time and effort into developing stronger support for children with emotional and behavioral problems through programs like Restorative Practices and Alt One. DeGuzman enjoys her time working at the middle school, and hopes to give the students the opportunity to continue in higher education and future careers. Read more.

Have a story of your own to share? Submit a class note.