Alums in the News: Paper Flowers and Thoughtographs

Our alumni aren’t just Retrievers: they’re curators, makers, and doers. Let’s see who’s made the news…


Erin Terwilliger ’09, music, now an instruction and research specialist at the Glenwood branch of the Howard County Library, talked with the Baltimore Sun about a class she recently hosted for teens and adults on how to upcycle books into paper poinsettias. “It’s fun to make something beautiful out of common, everyday objects,” says Terwilliger, who hosted the second in the “Art Escape” craft class series on December 12.


Emily Hauver ’06, visual arts, curator of exhibitions here at UMBC, recently spoke with Hyperallergic about Dr. Jule Eisenbud, a psychiatrist who attempted to capture psychic projections on film in the 1960s. Eisenbud’s photographs were displayed at the Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery in 2011, and have now been digitized by Special Collections.

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Alums in the News: November 9-15, 2016

Let’s see who made the news this week…

taiwoAdeyinka Taiwo ’10, visual arts, spoke with Volunteer Maryland about her work with the Montgomery County Community Action Agency, which partners with various groups in the area with the goal of alleviating poverty. Read more about Yinka here.


Delali Dzirasa ’04, computer engineering, and his software company, Fearless Solutions, were awarded a contract by the U.S. Small Business Administration to upgrade the agency’s web presence and user interface. Read more here.

Tell us your news in a class note!

Around the Horn: Photos from the Alumni Awards, The Golden Ball, and Grit & Greekness

While September 19 may have come and gone, our 50th anniversary celebration is far from over, and we’ve had a busy couple of weeks to prove it! Here’s a brief recap of our most recent 50th events.

2016 Alumni Awards

On Thursday, October 6, we celebrated the achievements and contributions of a stellar group of alumni (who you can read about here) at the Earl and Darielle Linehan Concert Hall. UMBC News has the full recap, but you can see a few  of our favorite photos from the event below.

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The Golden Ball

The Visual Arts department held their 50th anniversary celebration on Saturday, October 15, beginning as an exhibition and open house during the day and carrying on into the evening as an elaborate costume party. From vintage tintypes and an anamorphic chalk drawing of True Grit to some truly wild Bauhaus-era getups, The Golden Ball was a feast for the eyes all around. Tim Nohe, professor of visual arts, provided us with some snapshots of the day’s events, with help from Charles Myers.

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Grit & Greekness Alumni Celebration

Elsewhere on Saturday, generations of Greek life alumni gathered at the Institute for Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET) to celebrate the past 50 years and look ahead into the future. “It was incredible getting to reconnect with sisters[,] meet sisters from the past, and talk about how things changed or stayed the same!” said Poulomi Banerjee ’16, health administration and policy, a Phi Sigma Sigma alumna who also spoke at the event.

The evening featured a special musical performance by Rob Manfredi ’88, computer science, and Tim Marsh, and culminated in a step show by the brothers of Phi Beta Sigma and the sisters of Delta Sigma Theta. “The energy was infectious and it seems like everyone had a wonderful time,” said Stanyell Odom, UMBC’s director of alumni relations.

She continued: “For many, it was their first time attending an alumni event and we hope that each and every alum remembers that UMBC will always be their home and that there are many ways to stay connected with a place that holds such a special place in their hearts.”

Check out a slideshow from the evening below. (All photos by Marlayna Demond ’11.)

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Head to the alumni website to update your contact info and get up to date on all our alumni gatherings!

50th Anniversary Weekend 2.0: Visual Arts Golden Ball and Grit & Greekness Alumni Celebration

Miss our 50th Anniversary Celebration Weekend back in September? Never fear, because tomorrow, Saturday, October 15, we’ve got not one, but two chances to celebrate our 50th year in style!


On-campus from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., check out the Visual Arts department’s Golden Ball, a day-long exhibition culminating in a lavish, Weimar Bauhaus-style costume party. Come in costume and enjoy a cash bar, free snacks, and the company of your fellow Visual Arts alumni. Admission is free, but do let us know if you’ll be attending here.


Meanwhile, at the Columbus Center in downtown Baltimore, our Grit & Greekness Alumni Celebration kicks off at 8 p.m. Reconnect with your brothers and sisters, and hear special remarks from Dr. Hrabowski and generations of Greek Life alumni, as we honor the legacy of UMBC’s fraternities and sororities. With an open bar, heavy hors d’oeuvres, and plenty of dancing, it’s bound to be a singular event. Register here!

Be sure to share the memories you make at these events on Retriever Stories, or by using the #UMBC50 hashtag on Facebook or Twitter. We can’t wait to celebrate with you again!

Check out the rest of our calendar, update your contact information, and find out how you can get involved with our alumni community here.

Freedom of Expression: Majid, Alexander

Every so often, we shine a spotlight on alumni who have made the news recently, in Baltimore and beyond. Today, we’re featuring two alums who are making an impact through creative expression, whether through storytelling or visual art.

asif majid
Asif Majid ’13.

Asif Majid ’13, interdisciplinary studies, former class valedictorian and current instructor at UMBC, will relay his tale of getting lost on a pilgrimage to Mecca at the February 10 Stoop Storytelling event at the Senator Theatre in Baltimore. Stoop Storytelling is now in its 10th year, and was created to “foster empathy and build a community” in Baltimore, both by empowering citizens to tell their own unique stories and give audiences a different perspective on other people’s lives.

Photo by John Alexander ’98.

John Alexander ’98, visual arts, has mounted a solo photography exhibit at the Savannah (Ga.) Jewish Educational Alliance art gallery called “Connecting with Nature.” As an artist, Alexander is inspired by Claude Monet, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Mary Cassatt, and says that being out in nature is his “great escape.” The Columbia native has established himself as a wedding, portrait, and commercial photographer since graduating from UMBC.

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Roundup: UMBC in the News

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!

Art Happens: Katie Feild ’05 on Illustration

katie photo Katie Feild ’05, visual arts, has always loved stories: creating them, illustrating them, binding them in books. She went to graduate school to get better at writing them. In her current job at the Maryland Science Center, she looks for stories to tell in the stars and planets. And now, with the release of the new book Land Beast, written by Feild’s grad school colleague Kate Wyer, she has had the opportunity to completely illustrate one.

“This was the first time I had done something that was so heavily illustrated,” she says, ruffling through a black leather case filled with drawings, storyboards, concepts. Some of the papers are covered on both sides with sketches, dabs of paint. Feild says she’s “not very precious” with this sort of thing.

The pictures are done entirely in grayscale gouache, pen and ink. They’re meant to be seen through the eyes of Land Beast’s narrator, a female rhinoceros who’s been poached for her horn and taken from her home.

page68Feild was initially inspired by the atmospheric illustrations Yoshitaka Amano did for Neil Gaiman’s
The Dream Hunters, but her creative process took her in a different direction. Rhinoceri don’t see very well, she explains, so the images are specific sensory details rather than lush scenescapes: a close-up of another rhino’s ear, a dark moon radiating shades of gray onto the white page.

“I do very small work,” she says.

That work tends to get done in between jobs that have little to do with art, and it’s the way Feild has operated ever since she graduated. After finishing her undergraduate degree at UMBC, she stayed on to work in the Office of the Registrar for a number of years, picking up an M.F.A. in creative writing and publishing arts from the University of Baltimore during that time. She chose that program for its focus on book arts, and to understand writing so that she could better house a story in pages.

After graduation, she went through what she calls a “hibernation” artistically, picking up small projects like album cover designs here and there. After leaving UMBC, she went on to work in such diverse places as the Maryland Science Center planetarium – “the most ideal and incredible work,” she says, because she has a chance to “[connect] people to the visible” – and a garden in the Western Maryland mountains.page4

“I like different experiences,” she says, “and they don’t have to be art-oriented…the art stuff just happens.”

When Wyer approached Feild to collaborate on Land Beast, Feild says she was ready to do art again. She had worked with Wyer before, most recently on the novel Black Krim, which she illustrated. What initially began as a proposal for a cover design ended in about 40 illustrations interspersed with the text.

Feild and Wyer published Land Beast themselves under the Ceros Press imprint (something UB’s M.F.A. program encourages its students and graduates to do, in an entrepreneurial sense). “Ceros” is Greek for “horn,” and the book was released on International Rhino Day in September. While the text never explicitly reveals that its protagonist is a rhino, key details like these provide context along with Feild’s artwork.

Feild was not initially going to be credited as the book’s illustrator. “[It] was in essence going to be a book by Kate Wyer that happened to be illustrated,” she says, “…so [when Kate asked me if I wanted to be credited] I was very flattered and felt very honored about that.” She was glad to collaborate with Wyer again, and while Ceros Press was originally meant to be a one-off, they’ve saved the name just in case.

“[It] takes encouragement, openness, trust, and recognition to do meaningful work a lot of the time,” she says. “Kate has definitely always given me this kind of support, as both a good friend and a fellow creative.”

Julia Celtnieks ’13page8