Highlights from the 2014 Alumni Awards

The long Homecoming Weekend was kicked off in a big way on Thursday, October 9, with the annual Alumni Awards Ceremony.

This year, the ceremony was held in the stunning Performing Arts and Humanities Building Concert Hall, with receptions preceding and following the event in the Dance Tech Studio.

Those in attendance were treated to speeches by the honorees, as well as lots of smiles and laughter.

And of all of the quotes about the night, Director of Alumni Relations Stanyell Odom said it best: “This year’s winners are an outstanding representation of UMBC. All of the members of our community should be proud of their accomplishments and contributions to the campus and their respective professions.”

Congratulations, Alumni Awards winners of 2014!

Please enjoy a slideshow of pictures taken at the event by photographer Marlayna Demond ’11.

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Outstanding Alumnus: Isaac Kinde ’05

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 witIsaac - Kinde_Alumni_Award_Recipienth Isaac Kinde ‘05, biological science, about his research with cancer diagnostics. 

Name: Isaac Kinde ’05, biological science
Title: M.D./Ph.D. Candidate, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Award Category: Rising Star

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

The Meyerhoff Program was the most important reason why I chose to attend UMBC as a California native. Its immersive scientific experience was attractive, but I was even more excited about the opportunity to be closely surrounded by like-minded peers. The engagement of the faculty, staff, and administration further inspired confidence in my decision. I now return yearly to help interview candidates for the Meyerhoff Program.

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

Working with my research mentor, Dr. Michael Summers, was transformative. It was then I recognized that the best way to learn science was to do science. Having no prior research experience, I remember his patience and commitment to mentorship being central to my persistence in the lab. Equally memorable was how much fun I had. The group skiing trips, picnics, and mountain biking outings were great ways to bond with my colleagues and blow off steam. As a direct result of his mentorship, I ended up applying to combined M.D. /Ph.D. programs instead of solely pursuing my M.D.

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

My doctoral research produced novel cancer diagnostics based on improvements in DNA sequencing technology. Example applications include a prototype screening test for ovarian and endometrial cancer from Pap smear specimens, a noninvasive method of monitoring bladder cancers from urine, and a revelation in the development of treatment resistance from analyzing the blood of patients with colon cancer. With the help of my mentors and collaborators, I have published descriptions of these technologies and applications in leading scientific journals and submitted several patent applications detailing the inventions. Encouragingly, this work has attracted considerable attention from industry, spurring partnerships to facilitate its commercialization. The ultimate goal is to bring meaningful cancer diagnostic tests to the clinic – where the real difference to patients’ lives can be realized.

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

My greatest challenge led to my greatest success. When I began the graduate school portion of my training program, I joined a team working on applying new technologies to detect cancers at early, highly curable stages. We repeatedly identified the wrong technology to accomplish our goal, but the potential impact of finding the right technology kept us going. Three years later we created the technology we needed – a method that significantly improved the accuracy of commercial next- generation DNA sequencers. It wasn’t an easy process but the benefits of our technology have made the effort worthwhile. We’re now developing this technology for use in the earlier detection and optimal management of several cancers.

Check out the other Alumni Award winners.

Congratulations to the 2014 Alumni Award Winners!

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Each year, the UMBC Alumni Association presents awards to honor alumni for their professional and personal achievements and service to the University. Throughout the coming weeks, we’ll be introducing you to each award winner individually, but for now, we would like to congratulate them all on their wonderful achievements. 

The UMBC Alumni Association proudly honors these distinguished alumni and faculty for their accomplishments and dedication to the University:

Engineering and Information Technology
Dr. Claudia Pearce ’89 M.S., ’94 Ph.D., Computer Science
Senior Computer Science Authority, NSA

Humanities
Donna Lewis ’86, English
Unit Chief, Office of Professional Responsibility, Transportation Security Administration, Department of Homeland Security;
Cartoonist, Washington Post News Service and Syndicate

Natural and Mathematical Sciences
Michael Adelstein ’96, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
CEO, Potomac Photonics, Inc.

Social and Behavioral Sciences
Kaliope Parthemos ’93, Psychology
Chief of Staff, Office of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake

Visual and Performing Arts
Hadieh Shafie ’04 M.F.A., Imaging and Digital Arts
Independent Artist

Distinguished Service
Gib Mason ’95, Economics
Chief Operating Officer & Director of the Center for Leadership and Innovation, UMBC Training Centers

Rising Star
Isaac Kinde ’05, Biological Sciences
M.D./Ph.D. Candidate, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

In addition to our alumni honorees, the Alumni Association has established an Outstanding Faculty Award and the inaugural recipient is Dr. Anne Spence, Professor of the Practice, Department of Mechanical Engineering.

The 2014 awards will be presented during Homecoming on Thursday, October 9, 2014 at a ceremony in the Albin O. Kuhn Library at 6:30 p.m. Register now.

Join us as we acknowledge these outstanding UMBC community members.