Alums in the News: Myers (M1), Ellison-Taylor, Adams

Let’s see who made the news this week…

myersOliver Myers ’94, M1, mechanical engineering, M.S. ’96, mechanical engineering, and Ph.D. ’07, mechanical engineering, who’s now an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Clemson University, recently spoke to the USM Foundation about the effect the Meyerhoff Scholars program has had on his life and career: “You don’t consider the impact when you’re going through school, but thinking about it now, it weighs heavily.”

ellison-taylorKimberly Ellison-Taylor ’93, information systems managementis 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.

adamsJerome Adams ’97, biochemistry and molecular biologywas 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.

Tell us your big news in a class note!

App-tivism: Daniel Carter ’11 on making a difference in tech

Daniel Carter graduated in 2011 with a degree in political science and information systems.

When Daniel Carter ’11, political science and information systems, first arrived 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.

GETmaps was born at the Free Enterprise Hackathon last October in Washington, D.C.

Carter and Porto are are also the creators of Just Hires, which was mentioned in a recent Bustle article about D.C. tech activism. That app works like a TurboTax-Tinder hybrid to match ex-convicts with businesses looking to hire returning citizens. (At this writing, they have tabled that project to focus on GETmaps.)

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.

Julia Celtnieks ’13

Give to UMBC today to help our students make a difference in their communities!

Happy Retriever Love Week!

A couple of weeks ago, we put out a call on social media for couples whose love stories began at UMBC. We got so many great responses that while Valentine’s Day may have come and gone, we’ve decided to extend the holiday through Friday to share your stories on the blog. Happy Valentine’s Day the Second through Sixth!

6A62BF94-A2AB-498D-851A-7D908DC79B425698E789-DEBD-4338-9169-2032D4566156 (1)In August 2000, Kenneth Knight ’03, information systems, and M.S. ’05, information systems, was a transfer student looking for advice on his classes. During a fire drill, a mutual friend led him to Angela Washington Knight ’03, information systems, and M.S. ’05, information systems, and from then on, Kenneth says, they were “inseparable.” They have been married since September 2003. (Photo courtesy of Kenneth Knight.)

IMG_5400Leah Concannon Mayer ’02, psychology, met Patrick Mayer ’02, philosophy and political science, the first month of their freshman year at UMBC, and the two were longtime friends by the time they started dating in 2003. They dated long distance while attending graduate school in separate parts of the country, and got married in 2006. They both work at Siena Heights University in Adrian, Michigan, where Patrick is an assistant professor of philosophy and Leah directs the McNair Scholars Program, and have two children. (Photo courtesy of Leah Mayer.)

Kat Joe PicJoe Fleshman ’14, economics, met his wife Kat Schuster Fleshman ’14, theatre, during their freshman year at UMBC. They started dating in early 2011 and “quickly became attached at the hip.”

“UMBC was so important to our relationship because we grew up here together. We have great memories of [H]omecomings, Quadmanias, and working with ResLife and the Commons to leave our marks on the campus. We gave everything we had to this school, and it gave us more than we could have ever hoped for in return. We were lucky to have many of our closest friends and UMBC family involved with our wedding in June 2015.

“I know I’m the happiest I’ve ever been because of the opportunities that UMBC gave us to allow our relationship to blossom,” Joe writes. (Photo courtesy of Joe Fleshman. And yes, that is Nick Offerman of Parks and Recreation and UMBC Homecoming 2013 fame.)

image.pngStephanie Fields Lightfoot ’95, sociology, worked at the UMBC Bookstore as an undergrad, and Leon Lightfoot ’94, information systems management, was a frequent browser among the shelves. In 1993, Stephanie says, “he finally got the nerve” to approach her, and so began their courtship. A visit to the Shriver Center during her senior year led Stephanie to join the Peace Corps, a decision Leon supported “with hopes that [she] would return to him after two years.”

Indeed, when Stephanie stepped back onto U.S. soil after her service, Leon was waiting there with a ring. After 17 years of marriage and two children, Stephanie says, “If it weren’t for UMBC, there would be no Lightfoot family of [four].” (Photo courtesy of Stephanie Lightfoot.)

Read UMBC Magazine’s 2014 feature on UMBC couples here.


Spotlight on bwtech@UMBC

Alumni Delali Dzirasa ’04, computer engineering, and Andrew Mavronicolas ’14, information systems, were recently featured in a SmartLogic video promoting bwtech@UMBC. Both alumni run companies based in the research park: Dzirasa is the president of the software company Fearless Solutions, and Mavronicolas is co-founder of Backpack ‘Em, an online intra-campus exchange platform. Ellen Hemmerly, executive director of bwtech, is also featured. Watch the whole clip here:

Alumni Awards 2015: Andre Gudger ’99, Information Systems

In the weeks leading up to the Alumni Awards Ceremony, we’ll be profiling each of this year’s honorees in detail here on the blog. Today we introduce our Engineering and Information Technology award winner, Andre Gudger ’99, information systems.

Gudger,AndreAndre Gudger serves in the Obama administration as Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manufacturing and Industrial Base Policy at the Department of Defense. In his current role, he provides analysis and advice to the government on the workings of the industrial supply chain as it relates to our national defense. He is also the DoD lead for President Obama’s National Network of Manufacturing Innovation, and has spearheaded several initiatives to study new defense manufacturing technologies. He previously headed the Office of Small Business Programs at the DoD, where he advised the Secretary of Defense on matters related to small businesses and helped the department meet both its small business prime contracting and Service Disabled Veteran Owned goals for the first time in history. Mr. Gudger came to the DoD with a lengthy resume in the defense, intelligence, and investment banking industries, the most notable entry being his tenure as Chairman and CEO of Solvern Innovations. In eight years, he grew the company’s ranks to 1,300, and worked with the University of Maryland’s Human Computer Interaction Lab to develop data visualization and executive dashboard technologies. After the company was acquired by TeleCommunication Systems in 2009, he served as the Senior Vice President of that company’s Cyber Security Group. In addition to his bachelor’s from UMBC, Mr. Gudger holds an M.B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and has studied in Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Mexico, Brazil, and Poland. He counts UMBC’s President’s Advisory Council as one of many boards he has served on, and continues to drive for innovation as a leader within the federal government.

The Alumni Awards Ceremony is this Thursday, October 8. Don’t forget to register!

Congratulations to Our 2015 Alumni Award Winners!

12662632914_2f93612cac_zEach year, the UMBC Alumni Association celebrates those people who have made outstanding contributions to the University, their fields, and their communities. This year, we extend that honor to the following distinguished alumni and faculty:

Engineering and Information Technology:
Andre Gudger ’99, Information Systems
Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Manufacturing, and Industrial Base Policy, U.S. Department of Defense

Natural and Mathematical Sciences:
Dr. Yoon-Ho Kim ’01 Ph.D., Applied Physics
Professor, Pohang University of Science and Technology

Social and Behavioral Sciences:
Bryan Kelly ’92, Economics
Co-Founder and Managing Partner, The Kelly Group

Visual and Performing Arts:
Dr. Lisa Urkevich ’86, Music
Professor and Chair of Music and Drama, American University of Kuwait

Distinguished Service:
The Honorable Allan Kittleman ’81, Political Science
County Executive, Howard County Government

Rising Star:
Nicole DeBlase, ’06, Financial Economics
Executive Director, Equity Research, Morgan Stanley

Outstanding Faculty:
Dr. Tara Carpenter, Senior Lecturer, Chemistry and Biochemistry
College of Natural and Mathematical Sciences

Join us as we celebrate at the Alumni Awards Ceremony on Thursday, October 8!

Learn more about our past 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

Meet an Alum: Drew Ballantine ’14

Name: Drew Ballantine ‘14, information systems
Employer: Berkshire Associates Inc.

submitted by Drew Ballantine
submitted by Drew Ballantine

Q: Where are you from originally?
Glen Burnie, MD

Q: What’s your favorite UMBC memory?
Sledding with other members in the Pep Band in Hartford

Q: Why do you think it’s important to support UMBC?
I think it’s important to support UMBC because it’s a great school. It provides a lot of different opportunities for us, both in majors and extracurricular activities. It pushes us to really define ourselves and discover who we really are. And we should give back so that it can continue to do so to the younger generations.

Q: Do you have a favorite hobby or pastime?
My favorite hobby is to play the drums.

Q: If stuck on a desert island with a CD player and only one CD, which CD would that be?
They’re Only Chasing Safety by Underoath.

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