Alumni Awards 2017: Steven Storck ’08, Mechanical Engineering and Mathematics, M.S. ’09, Mechanical Engineering, and Ph.D. ’14, Mechanical Engineering

In the weeks leading up to the Alumni Awards Ceremony, we’ll be profiling each honoree in more detail here on our blog. Today, meet Steven Storck ’08, mechanical engineering, M.S. ’09, mechanical engineering, and Ph.D. ’14, mechanical engineering, additive manufacturing engineer at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and this year’s Distinguished Service honoree.


As a triple alumnus of UMBC, Steven Storck ’08, mechanical engineering and mathematics, M.S. ’09, mechanical engineering, and Ph.D. ’14, mechanical engineering, knows his way around campus, to say the least. In addition to his day job as an additive manufacturing application engineer at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, he still makes his way back to UMBC frequently, both as an instructor and an advisor for the school’s Baja SAE team. This is the place where he first discovered his passion for research, and he says he had a lot of support throughout his academic career. “If you were willing to put in the work and had a good idea, everyone at UMBC seemed to encourage you to take on the challenge, no matter how large,” he writes. Storck began his research during his sophomore year at UMBC, when he took over a project from a graduate student who had left. As he continued his education, he had more and more opportunities to delve deeper into his study of materials science and engineering, and was eventually able to apply for a Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) fellowship as a doctoral student. That funding allowed him to develop a material over four times lighter and six times stronger than the current state of the art, and his findings earned him top honors from the Society of Advanced Materials and Process Engineering (SAMPE). Today, at the APL, Storck heads up research and development for various projects, most notably an additive manufacturing technology demonstration part for NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, which is hoped to be the first spacecraft ever to “touch” the sun. He’s also lent his considerable project-management skills to the UMBC SAE Baja team; in 2015, he organized UMBC’s first international Baja event. “This was particularly rewarding,” he writes, “because it allowed [our team] to highlight UMBC on a global stage.”

Join us for the Alumni Awards Ceremony on Thursday, October 5!

Alumni Awards 2017: Marc Zupan, Department of Mechanical Engineering

In the weeks leading up to the Alumni Awards Ceremony, we’ll be profiling each honoree in more detail here on our blog. Today, meet Marc Zupan, associate professor and graduate program director of UMBC’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, and this year’s Outstanding Faculty Award winner.


In just over 14 years at UMBC, Marc Zupan, associate professor and graduate program director in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, has become known as a connection-maker. He connects students with internships, job opportunities, and graduate programs. He’s made international connections with Portugal’s Universidade do Porto through the Global Engineering Program. And he’s made connections across disciplines, bridging the gap between STEM and the humanities by incorporating elements of both into his own teaching.  Asynith Palmer ’06, English, a writer who worked with Zupan to secure funding and design the curriculum for the Global Engineering Program, says it’s his genuine interest in his students’ lives and experiences that makes him the kind of teacher and mentor that he is. “Marc…trains his creativity on helping his students,” she writes. “In fact, he feels energized by meeting with them, learning their interests, suggesting — or creating — possibilities for internships and research, and watching them thrive.” As a researcher, Dr. Zupan focuses on characterizing the behavior of and modeling materials across length scales. He earned his master’s and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the Johns Hopkins University in solid mechanics of materials and completed his undergraduate work at the University of Dayton. He came to UMBC after a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Cambridge MicroMechanics Centre in the U.K., he is a visiting professor at the Universidade do Porto, Portugal and was an active abroad Fulbright Scholar from 2012 to 2013 at the Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto.

Join us for the Alumni Awards Ceremony on Thursday, October 5!

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!

The Fast Lane

Thirty-eight weekends a year, John Klausmeier ’04, mechanical engineering, gets a trackside view to NASCAR’s fiercest races, carefully watching a high performance Chevrolet SS that he has tuned sweep into the curves at nearly 200 miles per hour.

s14_klausmeieringarageGrowing up, Klausmeier loved diving underneath the hoods of automobiles to find ways to make them go faster. That interest (and his time at UMBC) helped him find a career in which he travels the country’s NASCAR circuit as a lead race engineer for one of the sport’s most successful drivers – Danica Patrick – and her #10 car.

Klausmeier found his passion for automobiles and how they work at his parents’ repair shop in Perry Hall. The shop was where he tinkered with carburetors and other components to figure how they worked, and how they could work better.

When it came time for college, “I felt that studying engineering would be a catalyst for merging something I had as a hobby into a career,” he says.

Continue reading The Fast Lane

Outstanding Faculty: Dr. Anne Spence

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 Dr. Anne Spence, Department of Mechanical Engineering, about her career working as a professor at UMBC.

Name: Dr. Anne SpenceAnne Portrait 2
Job Title: Professor of the Practice, Department of Mechanical Engineering
Award Category: Outstanding Faculty

Q: Why did you choose to teach at UMBC?

I chose to teach at UMBC because of its diverse student body, the strength of the undergraduate engineering programs, and the freedom to pursue my interests in engineering education.

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

I have had the privilege of engaging in many activities related to engineering education. Our current work to prepare teachers to teach engineering in elementary, middle, and high school will open the doors of engineering to a new generation of students. We are also developing new mentoring programs that will ensure that all students entering mechanical engineering will benefit from the types of activities formerly reserved for members of our scholar programs.

Q: What do you most enjoy about working with UMBC students?

I love the fact that UMBC students come from a variety of backgrounds. They bring a diversity of experiences that make the student body stronger. It is also great to see students who have participated in Project Lead the Way and FIRST LEGO League coming to UMBC to pursue their dreams.

Q: What is your favorite memory of your time at UMBC?

My favorite memories are of the freshman engineering design competitions. I love watching students flex their engineering muscles through the design of robots, submarines, catapults, solar rice cookers, and hot air balloons while competing and cooperating with their colleagues.

Q: What inspired you to pursue a career in engineering and education?

When I was an undergraduate, I was the only female student in my class and never had a female instructor except in the arts, humanities and social sciences. A few women started with me as freshmen but did not continue in the major. I thought that if they had seen someone at the front of the room that looked more like them, they might have persisted. I felt like maybe I could be that role model for both female and male students alike. I am so happy that I made that choice!

Check out the other Alumni Award winners.

Lift Off

Kamili Jackson ’97, M.S. ’99, mechanical engineering, has witnessed one NASA space launch in person during her nine years at ths14-alumprofile-jacksone agency: the Hubble Servicing Mission 4 in 2009.

Jackson was a contracted materials engineer at NASA for that mission, helping the team make decisions on what metals, plastics and ceramics should be used for the craft. And as she watched her hard work blast off and enter orbit, she was filled with satisfaction.

That same year, Jackson co-founded a project that helps high school students take off into careers in engineering – the Future Innovative Rising Engineers (FIRE), National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), Junior Chapter in Greenbelt.

“We wanted to have a consistent impact on a set of kids,” says Jackson. The FIRE students come from all over Maryland and even Virginia, and they often stay on the team until they graduate from high school and find a college or university. (In 2013, the program began accepting middle school students as well.)

The competition and mentoring in the program is intense. Professional engineers and parents coach participating students through four national competitions in robotics, model rocketry and math. They also teach them coding, software and building techniques, and also facilitate discussions throughout the process. The goal is for the students to design and build their own robots and rockets.

“We get them to learn by doing,” says Jackson. “We want them to take ownership of what they’re learning.” Continue reading Lift Off

Round-Up: UMBC In the News 8/8

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.

View all the other great news on Insights Weekly.