Join Us for a Jazz Brunch!

cbla_brunch_windowJoin UMBC alumni on Sunday, May 18, from 12-3 p.m. for the CBLA Scholarship Jazz Brunch. You’ll enjoy a fabulous buffet, energizing jazz and fantastic fellowship as we raise money in support of the Second Generation and Esperanza Scholarships.

This year’s event will be held in the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture and the ticket price includes an unlimited brunch buffet, special brunch beverages, and full access to the museum (brunch ends at 3 p.m., access to the museum is available until 5 p.m.).

Music will be provided by UMBC student members of the Jazz Ensemble and will include traditional, contemporary and Afro-Latin jazz.

If you would like to make a gift to support either the Second Generation or Esperanza Scholarships in advance of the brunch (or if you cannot attend but would like to support), please click here (be sure to type in the name of the scholarship in the field marked “other designation.”)

Questions? Contact Balvin Brown ’02 at or Stanyell Bruce in the Office of Alumni Relations at or (410) 455-2632.

Join us for the Jazz Brunch!

Alumni Take Flight with Robo Raven III

Man has long envied the avian ability of flight. Wings offer the opportunity for flight, yes, but also for exploration and a different point of view. Now, three UMBC alumni are working to borrow that vantage point through the Robo Raven project at the University of Maryland, College Park. We spoke with Meyerhoff alumni Ariel Perez-Rosado ’11, M19, mechanical engineering; Luke Roberts ’12, M20, mechanical engineering; and Alex Holness ’13, M20, mechanical engineering, about their continued connection in graduate school and what it is like to work on this amazing micro air vehicle.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAQ: Why did you decide to study robotics?

Ariel: I never really intended to study robotics. I was more interested in materials and structures. However, when I started at College Park, I started working with the wings of a small robotic bird. When it came time to run more experiments I had to rebuild the same robot from scratch. No one else was working on the small bird so I had to figure things out on my own. I slowly started learning what it takes to make a robotic bird. I really enjoyed the project and in order for the project to grow, design changes needed to be made. By the time it came to make Robo Raven I had learned enough robotics to know what we needed to do to make a successful flying robot.

Luke: I decided to study robotics because I wanted to be able to make complete systems that integrated concepts from mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and computer science and robotics utilizes each of those. I knew it would be challenging, and it definitely is, but I really enjoy what I am working on.

Alex: I have been fond of innovation and technology. Additionally, as cliché as it might be, I liked to build with Legos, K’nex, wooden blocks when I was a child. My parents encouraged and enabled me to explore my curiosities. I became a mechanical engineer because I liked to create things, understand processes and mechanisms, and applicable theoretical concepts. I ultimately decided to be robotics because I experienced a number of other subject topics at internships and didn’t find myself fond of them, and I am able to build things regularly. Robotics covers a variety of topics, which keeps the work interesting. Additionally, it is a cutting-edge field, which does make it viable for a future career.

Q: What inspired this project?

Ariel: Our lab has worked on Micro Air Vehicles for years, but recently the research took a new turn. We wanted to look at controlling each wing independently. This is something that birds do but has not been studied in robotics yet. In order to do this, the wings needed to be powered by independent motors. This means that the wings needed to be larger than ever before and calls for a whole new robot. So basically in an aim to study what actual birds in nature can do, Robo Raven was made.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAQ: What are the applications of a project like this?

Luke: There are many applications for this platform. Robo Raven has the potential to be used in the future to monitor farms as a mobile scarecrow or crop inspector, fly at higher altitudes and track weather, or serve as recon for soldiers on the battlefield while looking like a normal bird to the eyes of the enemy. It could also give a push to the FWMAV hobbyist community because of the aerobatics it can perform.

Alex: The project could be used in disaster relief situations, such as gathering video and sensory data (such as chemical sensing). It could also be used in educational programs–bio-inspired robots cover so many disciplines. I remember my best educational experiences being tangible. I am in the process of arranging a visit to my high school to show Robo Raven to a robotics club as a teaching tool.

Q: What’s it like, as alumni of the Meyerhoff Scholars Program, to continue your work together at UMD?

Ariel: It is great to have other Meyerhoff Scholars to work with. I know exactly what they have gone through in terms of classes and experiences. This allows us to hold each other to higher expectations than other students.

Luke: It was really helpful to me that Ariel, whom I already knew, was in the lab when I first got there and helped me get settled in and just have a friend there. I was really excited when I heard Alex was coming because we were in the same cohort and actually roomed together during Summer Bridge. We also worked on a lot of projects together during our undergrad years.

Q: How has your time at UMBC helped you in your work and studies now?

Ariel: UMBC’s Mechanical Engineering Department gave us a great education and foundation in mechanical engineering. The transition from undergraduate school to graduate school was effortless and seemed like an extension of what was already being taught. The Meyerhoff Scholars Program did a great job in preparing us for the research side of graduate school. Thanks to their guidance, I knew what to expect when coming to graduate school. They prepared me and showed me the work ethic necessary to be a good researcher.

Luke: My time at UMBC helped me to learn to push hard, even when classes are ridiculously tough and life is difficult, because there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. I couldn’t see that light very well till the end of undergrad, and now that I’m in grad school and working on this project I see the light more clearly. Sometimes it pops out of my field of vision for a bit but that’s when I put my head down and push on. It comes back.

Alex: The strength of my graduate application and research skills are a result of applying to and completing internships at the admonition of UMBC staff, 5 in total, and, naturally, the academic content I learned at UMBC. UMBC taught me the importance of group collaboration for generating ideas in addition to management of personal assignments and tasks.

Celebrating Retriever Love This Valentine’s Day!


In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, we’re sharing some pictures of Retrievers who fell in love at UMBC. After all, Retriever Love is a beautiful thing! Click here to check out our album of individuals who have met and fallen in love at UMBC.

We also want to wish our alums a very happy Valentine’s Day! Thank you for showing UMBC your love as you support us throughout the year.

If you have your own Retriever Love story, we’d love to hear about it! Please email us your story and a few pictures of you and your special UMBC soul mate at

We love our alumni!

We Love Our Donors_giving blog
It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and we want to take a moment to tell you, our UMBC alumni, how much we ❤ you! You are a huge part of what makes UMBC such a great place, and we couldn’t be happier to be here working for you.

Since we weren’t able to get a Valentine for each and every one of you, we thought we might show our love by reminding you of some of the great alumni perks you’re eligible for:

Awesome Discounts: We’re all trying to save a little money, so be sure to take advantage of the great discounts we’ve found for you on things like insurance, car rentals and tuition. Find out more.

Handy Campus Resources: Need a new book to read? Come visit the library. Want to get in shape? Stop by the RAC. Thinking about changing jobs? Check in with the Career Services Center. Those great campus resources you enjoyed as a student are still here for you when you need them. Get all the details.

Interesting Publications: There’s always something going on at UMBC, and we’re bringing you the news through our magazine, blogs and websites. Read on.

Career Q&A: Marlayna Demond ’11, Visual Arts, Photographer

Every so often, we’ll chat with an alum about what they do and how they got there. Today we’re talking with photographer Marlayna Demond ’11, Visual Arts, about what it’s like to run her own photography business and work for UMBC at the same time.

Name: Marlayna Demond
Job Title: Photographer
Employer: self and UMBC
Scholarships Received at UMBC: Linehan Scholar

Marlayna_CareerQA_100213Q: Tell us a little bit about how you wound up at UMBC.

I knew I wanted to go somewhere that had a strong art program, but I also knew I didn’t want to go to an art school – I didn’t want to give up the chance to take classes in other departments. I looked at several universities in Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania but felt the strongest pull to UMBC, in part because I was awarded the Linehan Scholarship. But I also felt like the size and atmosphere of this university fit me better than any others. I remember the team [of people] helping out with campus tours being really excited, so that helped my decision, too.

As far as my background, my mom is an art and photography teacher at a high school where I grew up, so photography was a part of my life since I was a kid following her around in the darkroom.

Q: What’s it like to run your own photography business?

Running your own business – especially at the beginning – is really hard. But once things get going the best part of the business is word of mouth because it means my clients are happy. The number one way I get new clients is by previous clients sharing their experience with their friends and when I get new clients through recommendations that makes me super happy! My least favorite part is marketing myself, especially in a new [to me] area. I moved from Harford County to Howard County so building up local clients is tough, but it’s finally starting to happen after about a year.

I think UMBC prepared me [to run my own business] with a great network of people and with classes that taught me to think creatively.

Q: You’re also the staff photographer here at UMBC. What’s it like to be back on campus, working at the place you went to school?

I really enjoy working here. I feel comfortable on campus because it’s familiar and I like that I run into some of my professors and friends that are still here. It’s neat to see the campus grow and change – and to stay involved in a way that I might not have otherwise.

Marlayna_CareerQA_1002132Q: Is there a particular class or professor who really inspired you?

All of my photography professors are very approachable. Calla Thompson’s digital darkroom got me interested in digital manipulation and inspired my senior project series. Being involved with the Honors College and Linehan Scholars program also exposed me to a lot of ideas and different art, which are good places to find inspiration!

Q: What advice would you give to students considering UMBC?

Come here! That’s honestly my first thought. It’s a great school – the perfect size for not getting lost in the crowd. Professors are willing to help you and get to know you, but you also have to make an effort and give them a reason to remember you. Take full advantage of your college experience – it’s a great place to make connections and learn from all kinds of people.

Q: What is your favorite part of UMBC?

My proudest memory was completing my senior project and hanging my series in the CADVC gallery as part of the senior show. I spent a lot of time putting it together so it was a great experience to show my work to friends and family. I also have great memories of playing ultimate frisbee. I joined the ultimate frisbee team my senior year and only wish I’d done so sooner because I met a lot of awesome people that I’m still friends with. Everyone says to get involved at school, and I agree – get involved as soon as possible! My other piece of advice is to have fun. There’s no other environment like a university – maybe that’s why I’m still at UMBC!

Check out more of Marlayna’s work on her website.

Anita Jackson ’80 recognized by the Associated Black Charities

From the Baltimore Sun:

“The Associated Black Charities annual gala, “African-Americans in Corporate Leadership,” recognized Catonsville resident Anita Jackson, economic development director for Baltimore Gas & Electric, during the June 11 event at Martin’s West.”

Read the full story.