Alumni Awards 2016: Dr. Ian Ralby ’02, Modern Languages and Linguistics, and M.A. ’02, Intercultural Communication

In the weeks leading up to the 2016 Alumni Awards Ceremony, we’ll be profiling each honoree in detail here on the blog. This year’s distinguished alum in the Humanities category is Dr. Ian Ralby ’02, modern languages and linguistics, and M.A. ’02, intercultural communication, founder and CEO of the international consulting firm I.R. Consilium.

i-ralby_headshotEven after completing a law degree at William and Mary and his M.Phil. and Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge, Dr. Ian Ralby still regards the education he received at UMBC as “unequivocally first rate and world class.” The 2002 valedictorian, former Humanities Scholar, and men’s diving team alum fondly remembers the courses that shaped his interest in international studies and the professors who helped him along the way, naming Brigitte May, Bob Sloane, Tom Field, Stan McCray, Jack Sinnigen, Ed Larkey, Gala Stern, John Stolle-McAllister, Angela Moorjani, and the late Carol Barner-Barry as influences. He also considers himself extremely fortunate to have been mentored by UMBC President Dr. Freeman Hrabowski. In the years since graduation, Dr. Ralby has worked on the Saddam Hussein trial, served at the center of international efforts to develop accountability for armed contractors and private security companies, and has been influential in developing the maritime security architecture to counter piracy, trafficking, illegal fishing, and other crime in Africa. After finishing his doctorate, he spent two years working in Bosnia and Herzegovina as an international law advisor, while also building his own firm, I.R. Consilium in London. After the Ebola outbreak temporarily shut down his work in 2014, he returned to Maryland and took a position with the US Government’s Africa Center for Strategic studies as an expert on maritime law and security. In addition to continuing that work for the Department of Defense, he is also currently leading the largest study ever conducted on refined oil theft in his role as a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council. Over the last year, he has also relaunched his consultancy, I.R. Consilium as a US company, and is engaged by several major clients on matters of international law, security, geopolitics, and strategy. His prolific publishing and frequent lecturing is a testament to his commitment “to learn, grow, and build on what I have done so far in order to have greater and greater positive effect on people’s safety, security, and quality of life around the world.”

Join us for the Alumni Awards Ceremony on Thursday, October 6, in the Earl and Darielle Linehan Concert Hall.

Alums in the News: Ralby, Ordóñez, and Cradock

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!

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Ian Ralby ’02, modern languages and linguistics, M.A., intercultural communications, writes about Ebola’s effect on organized crime in West Africa. The impact of Ebola has dramatically slowed down, and even stopped, criminal activity throughout the region. Although there is an ironically positive affect of Ebola, there are various negatives as well. For example, illegal fishing because of the “infected” waters. Read more on Ebola’s effect on organized crime.


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Computer science was not always considered a man’s profession. In fact, many of the pioneering computer scientists were women. But during the 1980s, that changed. In this piece by NPR,  Patricia Ordóñez ’10 M.S. and ’12 Ph.D., computer science, discusses her experience as a woman studying computer science. She explains that when desktops were introduced for use in the home, it caused a shift because these “toys” were more often purchased for boys than girls. Read the full story.



chad cradock
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UMBC’s Chad Cradock ’97, psychology, recently celebrated his 200th Career Win at CCSA North Invite, a home swimming meet. This has also made Cradock the leading coach in history for wins in the program, surpassing Sid Burkot. “It is a pleasure for a milestone like this to occur at home,” said Cradock. “I am proud to work with talented athletes both in the past and the present for their spirit of hard work and upholding UMBC tradition.” Read the full article.



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

Round Up: UMBC in the News, 10/24

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.

Read more at UMBC Insights!

Estonian Excellence

There isn’t an NCAA in Estonia. No college recruiters or flashy promoters. So back in 2011, rising UMBC senior Lauri Käi had to get onto the radar of UMBC men’s and women’s swimming and diving coach Chad Cradock ’97, psychology, the old fashioned way: grit, determination, and some timely word of mouth from other Estonians – including Herol Marjak ’13, history, and Johan Rohtla ’14, biochemistry – who have swum competitively at UMBC.

Flash forward three years. Käi is one of the top performers on UMBC’s successful swimming and diving teams, chalking up individual achievements and s14-atplay-kaeiflyhelping the university’s 200- and 400-yard medley relay teams finish at the top of the America East Conference.

And like many UMBC student-athletes, Käi has been just as successful in the classroom, double majoring in political science and philosophy with minors in international affairs and legal policy.

UMBC was a very different experience from higher education in Estonia. “It seemed really big!” Käi observes. “Universities back home are just buildings that are spread out around the city, but there’s no actual campus.”

Käi hopes to attend law school in the United States after graduation and plans to enjoy his last year of competitive swimming for UMBC.

Cradock observes that “it has been great to watch [Käi] grow as a person. He’s someone that supports his teammates, cares a lot for the sport, and is invested in the betterment of himself. I know when he gets into the real world, whatever he does, he’s going to be extremely successful.”

— Katharine Scrivener

Read more from the UMBC Magazine!

Meet the Staff: Lexi Coon

headshotName: Lexi Coon
Job Title: A&D Communications Intern
Focus Area: Writing for the UMBC Giving and Alumni Blogs
Years at UMBC: 3
Grad year (if alum): hopefully fall of 2015!

Q: Where are you from originally?

I was born in Manhattan, KS, and lived there for about 2 years (not that I remember any of it). As far as I’m concerned, I’m a born and raised Delawarean.

Q: What do you love most about UMBC?

I really enjoy how many people are willing to help you succeed in whatever it is you want to do. Everyone here really does want to know how you are doing and if there is a way they can help you. Also the squirrels are really entertaining.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about your job?

I’d have to say my favorite thing about working for Alumni Relations is the people I work with. I can come in really tired and grumpy, but by the end of the day they have me laughing and smiling. There’s a lot of camaraderie and energy around here.

Q: Have you ever done anything crazy or out of the ordinary?

Well since I’m a swimmer, I have a thing for water. My dad and I both became certified scuba divers when I was ten, and a few years later we got to dive in the Epcot Aquarium in Disney! It was unbelievable. Also, this past year when I went home for Christmas, two of my friends and I went surfing on the Eve of Christmas Eve just because we could. The water temperature was about 44 degrees, but it was totally worth it.

Q: If you could visit any place in the world, where would you go?

I can’t pick just one. I have a running list of where I want to go, from all over Europe to the Galapagos Islands. I’m very much a beach girl, so any place that has sunshine, sand, and cool animals and culture always appeals to me.

Round-Up: UMBC In the News 6/27

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.

Read more great news about the UMBC community here!