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.

Cangialosi Business Innovation Competition creates a new platform for student startups

CBIC-LogoGreg Cangialosi ‘96, English, has made a name for himself as a serial entrepreneur with a passion for helping others succeed.  Since he graduated from UMBC, he has gone on to run two companies, and made it a personal mission to turn Baltimore into a hub for startup companies. To help support that initiative, the MissionTix CEO and co-founder of the startup incubator Betamore gave a generous gift to UMBC to establish the Cangialosi Business Innovation Competition.

The CBIC launched last year through the Alex. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship to give undergraduate and graduate students an opportunity to develop and present their business plans, and get a head start on establishing their companies. The first competition was held in the spring of 2014.

“His spirit is all about entrepreneurism,” says Susie Lynch, a development officer at UMBC. “[He’s] passionate about others’ success…[and] having a thriving startup community in Baltimore.”

Cangialosi had been involved with the Alex. Brown Center for some time before the competition began, according to the Center’s director, Vivian Armor. Among other initiatives, he was a featured speaker for the Entrepreneurship Speaker Series, developed and taught UMBC’s Entrepreneurial Marketing course, and served as a judge for the university’s annual Idea Competition, upon which the CBIC is based and which still runs every fall.

As a result of his long term involvement with the Center, [Cangialosi] realized there was a need to provide the next level of competition and support for students who were serious about starting a business,” says Armor. The CBIC, she explains, was intended to connect students with the larger Baltimore business community.

To enter the competition, students submit their business plans to a panel of qualified experts. Those selected for the next round are paired with a mentor to help them fine-tune their ideas, and in the final round, they present their fully-formed startup plans to a panel of community business leaders and investors. In addition to a cash prize of up to $5,000 for seed funding, competition winners receive free Betamore membership, as well as free legal services, accounting advice, and fundraising and pitch advice.

Andrew Mavronicolas ‘14, information systems, is one such beneficiary. He was one of 10 finalists in last year’s inaugural competition, and his company, Backpack ‘Em, is now located in UMBC’s Cyberhive incubator. The company provides a platform for an intra-campus marketplace, its most popular use being textbook selling and trading. Mavronicolas says the support he received during and after the competition was invaluable in helping him get his business off the ground.

The greatest gain that we had from the competition was easily the insights given by judges [and] investors, our mentor, students, and the university. This allowed us to improve upon our business idea by expanding our revenue models. It also helped us to perfect our pitch and gain the confidence to go meet with university decision makers and investors,” he says.

According to Armor, the competition will continue every spring semester, and has been a boon to the Brown Center’s visibility on campus. “[…Now] more students are aware of the wide range of initiatives and programming the Center makes available,” she says.

Lynch says Cangialosi is personified by his Twitter hashtag of choice: #neverstop. “That’s him in a nutshell,” she says. As the CBIC enters its third year, one hopes that that tenacious entrepreneurial spirit will be fostered within and passed onto several generations of students.

– Julia Celtnieks ’13

Alums in the News: Burneston, Hollander, Comfort, and Cangialosi

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!

Trixie and MonkeyIn a recent article from the Baltimore Post Examiner, Keri Burneston (Trixie Little) ’99, visual and performing arts, discusses “Us, Naked: Trixie and Monkey,” a new documentary about Burneston’s burlesque act filmed by Kirsten D’Andrea Hollander ’97 M.F.A., imaging and digital arts. Burneston shares how the idea for her documentary came around as well as how she found inspiration after teaching yoga and discovering unusual performance mediums. Hollander, who was Burneston’s professor at UMBC, began filming the documentary in 2004.

To read the full interview, click here.

Paul Comfort ’87, history, was recently named new head of the Maryland Transit Administration. Comfort resigned from his elected position as a county commissioner in Queen Anne’s County in order to dedicate his time to fulfilling the Administrator’s role at the MTA. He brings to his new position over 28 years of experience within transit operations with an emphasis on customer service, a skill that will be essential to improving the MTA.

Click here for more information.

*Photo by Jaclyn Borowski

In April, Greg Cangialosi ’96, English,  unveiled a new advisory board and plans to transform Betamore into a regional tech hub. The new advisory board includes Tom Sadowski ’89, political science. Betamore wants to help local entrepreneurs stay in the area without having to go to New York, Boston, or Silicon Valley to succeed. Their aim is to bring together those in the Baltimore area who support and work with entrepreneurs and businesses to create a reputable environment where start-ups can get their ideas established.

Read the article here.

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The Daily Record names alumni to 2015 Influential Marylanders list

Two weeks ago, The Daily Record released its 2015 Influential Marylanders honorees list, and we are proud to announce that five UMBC alumni were named.

Congratulations to Stephanie Hill ’86, computer science and economics; Laura Howell ’86, political science; Lily Bengfort ’93, English; Rob Deford ’93, geography; and Greg Cangialosi ’96, English.

A reception for the honorees will take place on March 26 at The Grand Lodge in Cockeysville. For more information on the event, click here.


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.

Alums in the News: Cangialosi, Gimbel, Harrison and Sherman

We are proud of our alums and their constant achievements. Recently, four of UMBC’s alumni, in particular, have made it in the news and we thought you should know! 

Greg Cangialosi, photo by Baltimore Sun
Photo by Barbara Haddock Taylor, via the Baltimore Sun.

Greg Cangialosi ’96, English, was recently profiled in the Baltimore Sun’s Take 10 column. The article celebrates Cangialosi’s success on the tech scene, from the 2011 sale of his company, Blue Sky Factory, to his current roles as co-founder of Betamore and CEO of MissionTix. Cangialosi had this to say about his recent success:

“In 1996, right after college [at UMBC] I was a music promoter for about two to three years. I promoted concerts and nightclubs – everything from the 8×10, Lithuanian Hall, Recher Theatre, UMBC – all that kind of stuff. It was a brutal, cutthroat business. I got burned out on it. But that’s where I [gained] my marketing chops. That’s where I learned how to hustle.”

The Sun also talked with Cangialosi about his 10 favorite things, which include his watches, a collection of awesome caps, and tickets to great concerts. Find out the rest of Cangialosi’s favorite things.

Photo by Melissa Gerr, via the Baltimore Jewish Times
Photo by Melissa Gerr, via the Baltimore Jewish Times

Steven Gimbel ’91, philosophy, was recently featured in the Baltimore Jewish Times about his new book, Einstein’s Jewish Science. Gimbel will present his ideas from the book and lead a discussion as part of the Odyssey Program noncredit liberal arts offerings at Johns Hopkins University on March 13 at the Homewood campus.

Gimbel had this to say of about the book:

“The big questions now are at the intersections of things, and that’s what Jews have always done. This book began talking with someone in religious studies, but I’ve collaborated with people in physics, in the chemistry department, in health sciences, economics, in our education department. Being Jewish lets you look for insight wherever it is, knowing there are other routes to it.”

Read the full article from the Baltimore Jewish Times.

NPR logoMelanie Harrison ’11 Ph.D., Marine Estuarine Environ Science, recently appeared on KQED, an NPR-affiliate station in Northern California, where she discussed her upbringing and how it led to her career as an environmental scientist. Here’s a sneak peek at what she had to say:

“In those Alabama lakes, I learned to swim, bait a hook and catch catfish, bream and bass. I caught my first hook in the jaw, too, and saw my great grandmother clean and cook the fish she had caught for dinner that night. She was a great fisherwoman and gardener and my first teacher in life. She taught me the wonders of nature and the bounty it can produce, and that by doing, you can be whatever you want to be.”

Listen to Melanie’s story.

TEDx Talks logoTEDx Talks recently published a talk by Andrew Sherman ’83, political science, on the importance of harvesting intangible assets. Sherman is a Partner in the Washington, D.C., office of Jones Day and a recognized international authority on the legal and strategic aspects of business growth.

In this talk, he challenges us to find ways to better use the many assets that already exist in our communities and companies. You can watch the full TEDx Talk by Sherman below:

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Tell us about it in a class note!

Cangialosi ’96, English, Aims To Help Start Up Start-Ups

Baltimore entrepreneur Greg Cangialosi ’96, English, has set his sights on helping new tech companies take off and fly.

The founder of Blue Sky Factory, a tech marketing firm Cangialosi founded in 2001 and sold this year, will team up with Sean Lane, chief executive of BTS Corp., a software company in Baltimore, the Baltimore Sun reports:

Their goal: Make small investments in several startups, germinate their own ideas, and help nurture the city’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

“We want to bring in bright people who are running companies, to help give them a shot in the arm,” Cangialosi said.

A former member of the UMBC Alumni Association Board of Directors, Cangialosi has stayed involved with UMBC, most recently acting as a judge in the university’s entrepreneurially-inspired “IDEA competition.”

Read the full Baltimore Sun story here.