Alums in the News: Griner, VanDyke, Doyle, Cangialosi, Clements, and Arthurs

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!

Anita GrinerFormer UMBC professor and alumna Anita Griner ’99, psychology, was recently appointed Chief Performance Officer of Cognosante. In addition to her work as a graduate professor at UMBC, where she taught advanced program management sciences, Griner has experience with large IT and healthcare programs. Cognosante focuses on aiding healthcare services, specifically dealing with Health Reform initiatives using technology and BPO services. Read full article.


photo via washingtonpost.comMaureen Evans Arthurs ’13, gender and women’s studies, recently took to the Washington Post blog with an essay exploring the way in which black women are often profiled as sex workers. The piece, written in response to a recent tweet by Ebony editor Jamilah Lemieux, was titled “I’m a black woman with a white husband. People assume I’m a prostitute all the time.” In it, Maureen shared her own experiences and  sparked conversation around the internet about the reality of racial profiling even in communities that pride themselves on diversity and inclusion. Read the full article.


photo via pointandshootfilm.comYou may recall Matthew VanDyke ’02, political science, who was in the news in 2011 due to his fighting and imprisonment during the conflict in Libya. A film based on his experiences recently won Best Documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival. The documentary, titled “Point and Shoot,” is now in theaters in various parts of the nation and numerous festivals across the world. On November 25, the film will come to Baltimore. Check here for location, dates, and more information.


photo via citybizlist.comPatrick Doyle ’10 M.A., applied sociology, ’12 Ph.D., gerontology, recently presented a seminar on dementia at Brightview Arlington, an assisted living facility in Virginia. His talk, titled, “Remembering the Past and Respecting the Present: A Recipe for Successful Interactions with People Living with Dementia,” covered the effects dementia has on the perception of reality. Dr. Doyle shared communication tips to improve connection between family and friends living with dementia. Read more.

Recently, UMBC alumni Greg Cangialosi ’96, English, and James Clements ’85 computer science; ’91 M.S. and ’93 Ph.D., operations analysis, were chosen to serve on the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. In total, 27 people were appointed to work with the NACIE, all focusing on issues relating to the improvement of the competitive workforce. Full list of members.

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

Filmmakers at UMBC Homecoming

This year’s Arts and Humanities Afternoon at UMBC Homecoming on Saturday, October 15, 2011 will focus on alumni filmmakers. To whet your appetite for our afternoon discussion on the art of moving images, we’d like to introduce you to some of the filmmakers who’ll be coming to the event, which will be held in the Skylight Room of the UMBC Commons from 3 p.m. until 5 p.m. We’re also planning some screenings of the work of these filmmakers on campus in the week before the event. Please stay tuned!

Films by the alumni filmmakers will be shown at the Skylight Room in The Commons on the following dates:
Monday, October 10, 2011 at 7 p.m.: Saved! (Brian Dannelly ’97)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 7 p.m.: Films by Richard Chisolm ’82, Steven Fischer ’98 and Daphne Gardner ’09

Read more about these alumni in the Fall 2011 issue of UMBC Magazine.

Behind the Scenes: Josef Novotny ’04

Every year, swarms of talented singers, dancers and aspiring filmmakers move to Los Angeles looking for a chance at stardom.

A meager few actually do it, seeming to instantly top the charts and clog the tabloids. Many more fail, finding the road to celebrity too difficult.

Then there are the patient ones, like former UMBC tennis standout Josef Novotny ’04. Using his skills on the courts to network and secure odd jobs on the sets of movies like Eli Roth’s “Hostel: Part II,” he has begun the long climb to fulfilling his dream of becoming a filmmaker.

“When I moved to LA, I found out (again) that playing tennis was one of the best things to ever happen to me in regards of selling my resume in an extremely competitive field, looking for a job, paying rent, and networking,” said Novotny, a native of Sokolov in the Czech Republic, who believes the pressures of the sport prepared him well for the stress of working in the film industry.

“Competitive sports make you a thick-skinned fighter,” he said. “Viva student athletes!”

Everything In One Place

So how did Novotny make the big leap from the Czech Republic to UMBC? Just like in Hollywood, where buzz can make or break a film, word of mouth led Novotny to Catonsville.

“I wanted to make movies, study, play tennis and travel,” he said. After talking to a friend who already attended UMBC, Novotny realized he could do it all in one place.

“I applied to UMBC and submitted a film portfolio to the film department and was admitted,” he said. “Meanwhile, I was offered a tennis scholarship without which I could not afford to attend UMBC, and that was it. I was in.”

While a student, Novotny more than earned his scholarship. He ranked number one among his teammates in men’s singles tennis, becoming a champion at the Cornell Invitational twice over and winning the Matt Skalsky Outstanding Scholar Athlete Award, having climbed to #4 overall in the Northeast regional rankings his senior year.

The Real World

Following graduation, Novotny made a leap yet again, this time moving to Los Angeles. Instead of landing his dream job right away, though, he took advantage of his expertise in tennis as a means of networking.

“I started looking for jobs within the film industry, of course, but that didn’t happen right away,” he said. “I got myself an afternoon job at one of the many country clubs as a tennis pro. [It was] a very good place to meet the right people.”

Soon after, Novotny landed a job in the mailroom of the William Morris Agency, a talent and literary agency. He then moved up the ladder a bit to the agency’s independent film department, where he was able to read submitted scripts and help out with the buying, selling and packaging of films.

Home Again

In February 2006, Novotny’s student visa expired. Thanks to friends he made on the tennis courts, however, Novotny secured a new job with International Production Company back home in Prague. With IPC, he worked on several commercials before getting the assignment to work on the horror sequel “Hostel: Part II,” for which he shot a behind the scenes feature to be included on the DVD.

“(Director) Eli Roth and his brother Gabe offered for me to do ‘behind the scenes.’ Of course, I took it,” he said. “It allowed me to be everywhere – on set, behind the scenes in the offices of the producers, location scouts (trips to determine shooting locations).”

Once he receives a new working visa, Novotny plans to return to the States early this year and continue working with the William Morris Agency. He’s also working on writing a few scripts, which he hopes to start submitting in the near future. Though he is flexible in terms of movie genre, Novotny’s storytelling goals are clear.

“I love mythology, its stories and archetypes. But I also love movies with a feel so raw and real that pulls you into the scene and wakes something up in you you forgot you had,” he said. “I would like to make films that tell stories of ordinary people who become the ‘heroes,’ not for what they were born as, but for what actions they take. I would like them to be not only a spectacle to watch, but a stinger that gets under your skin and stays.”

Although his young career has taken some twists and turns, Novotny considers himself to be on his way to attaining his dream job as a filmmaker.

“I learned so much,” he said. “Just being on the set every day is such a great experience. I recommend it to everyone who wants to do films. Save up some cash and do it even for free if there is no other way.”

– Jenny O’Grady
Originally posted January 2007