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Peer Advisory Team (PAT)

 

As current UMBC-Shady Grove students, members of the UMBC Peer Advisory Team (PAT) serve as a critical point of contact in the successful and seamless transition of students transferring to UMBC-Shady Grove from other institutions. PAT members undergo extensive leadership development and work closely with UMBC-Shady Grove administrative staff, faculty, and current students to reach out, serve and create meaningful connections with prospective students through a variety of formal and informal recruitment and retention events.   We are proud to be UMBC!

UMBC Shady Grove Peer Advisors

Meet the UMBC Peer Advisory Team members below.

Melissa Akalin, Psychology

Mario Angulo Alvarado, History and Political Science

Melvis Asongwed, Social Work

Kim Castro Casimbon, Psychology

Meg Dillon, Psychology

Christina “Krissi” Diluccia, Psychology

Michaela Friedman, Social Work

Nicole Nashwinter, Psychology

Julie Rivera, Social Work

Laura Roth, Social Work

Pamela Van Horne, Psychology


UMBC Shady Grove PAT Member Melissa

Melissa Akalin

An interesting personal fact ...
I like reading mystery novels, and I love playing Just Dance games on the Wii. I also love theatre, watching plays and taking acting classes.

Why did you choose UMBC-Shady Grove?
I transferred to UMBC last fall from Prince George’s Community College. I choose UMBC-Shady Grove because the location is convenient and the atmosphere is both friendly and upbeat.

What do you like best about UMBC-Shady Grove?
What I like about UMBC-Shady Grove is the location and environment. The location is accessible to many people as it is not too far for anyone who lives in Virginia, DC, or other parts of Maryland.

Another thing I enjoy is the campus environment. I appreciate the small class sizes and the friendly faculty who provide help to students when needed.

What internships and/or extracurricular activities have you been involved with at UMBC-Shady Grove?
Currently at UMBC-Shady Grove I am involved with the UMBC Peer Advisory Team (PAT). The PAT team is a new organization at UMBC-Shady Grove that connects prospective students with current students as they move through the transfer process. The members assist with recruitment events, provide tours of the Universities at Shady Grove and connect with prospective students interested in attending UMBC-Shady Grove. I recently applied for USG Student Council and this fall, I also hope to join the Psychology Student Association (PSA). 

What are your plans after graduation?
I am a psychology major and someday I hope to become a school counselor. I want to work with elementary school children and help them with issues they may be encountering. My main interest is to help children with bullying. With the influence of social media and the increase in suicide rates, I want to develop new ways to prevent bullying or at least enable schools to have a zero tolerance bullying policy, starting at the elementary level since bullying most often begins at an early age.

What advice would you provide to a prospective student?
My piece of advice for new incoming students is to take risks. Never be afraid to show people your talents. Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon that can be used to change the world.” There are going to be a lot of challenges in life and there will be some individuals who will doubt you. The main thing is to keep pushing through the challenges you may encounter. You don’t lose by getting knocked down, you lose by staying down. Never be afraid to be yourself!



UMBC Shady Grove PAT Member Mario

Mario Angulo Alvarado

An interesting personal fact ...
I am a twin!

Why did you choose UMBC-Shady Grove?
I chose UMBC-Shady Grove because I could have a world-class, honors education at a 15 minute drive from my home. Aside from having high quality teachers, I chose UMBC-Shady Grove because it offers its students amazing benefits like small class sizes, state of the art equipment and facilities, plus a safe and socially dynamic environment.

What do you like best about UMBC-Shady Grove?
The class sizes make me feel like I am not just a number, but a student known by the faculty and staff, who matters.

 

UMBC-Shady Grove is a lively place with a variety of clubs and organizations, community events, and a remarkable diversity of people. Economically, UMBC-Shady Grove was my best choice because it allows me to double dip in scholarship and grant money, which is very important for a student in need of financial aid like me.

The facilities and equipment at the Universities at Shady Grove (USG) are known for their quality; I feel like I am entering the next level professionally and academically. The fact that students from nine universities attend The Universities at Shady Grove (USG) demonstrates that it is no ordinary place. In addition, as a result of the emergency contact system and the professional security staff at UMBC-Shady Grove, I have always felt aware of what is happening and most importantly, safe. 

What internships and/or extracurricular activities have you been involved with at UMBC-Shady Grove?
UMBC-Shady Grove allowed me to become substantially involved on the USG campus and with the local community. Through the USG Ambassadors program, for example, I helped organize the USG Open House and served as a speaker on the scholarship panel for prospective college and high school students. I also traveled to a number of high schools in the local community to recruit students and I attended the Light the Night event for the Lymphoma/Leukemia society. USG also offers a number of well-organized campus events that I was able to attend, such as etiquette dinners, an evening with industry, scholarship luncheon, a brunch with the executive director (Dr. Edelstein, an amazing person, who listens to the students), film nights in the auditorium, a Halloween party in the multipurpose building, and fun game and social events like the field day and the spring and fall picnics.  In addition, I am a member of fantastic UMBC-Shady Grove student organizations like the History Student Association and the Political Science Student Organization.

Finally, internships are very important for college students. At UMBC-Shady Grove the opportunities for internships are rampant. Mr. Regimbal and The Shriver Center will work with individual students to help place them internships or improve their competitiveness through resume building, mock interviews, etc. I met John Delaney, Congress Representative, at a USG “Dinner with Industry” event and now I am starting an internship at Congressman Delaney’s Gaithersburg office. All of these opportunities made my first semester at UMBC-Shady Grove very welcoming, full of opportunities to make friends, and fun.

What are your plans after graduation?
Honestly, I am not sure. But, I do not feel scared because I feel that with the number of opportunities and advice UMBC-Shady Grove offers, I will be able to know for sure once my last year of college arrives. Currently, I am still in my second semester and my goals are to build my GPA, continue my high level of involvement with clubs, organizations, and the community, and to perform well in my internship.

Nonetheless, I do have plans and some ideas of what I want to do in the future after graduation. I am considering law school or graduate studies in international relations, and possible work through the State Department. I also would like to continue my career as a soccer coach. The ability to pursue a number of interests is one great thing about attending UMBC-Shady Grove - I am able to coach soccer at a local high school as a part time, go to school full time, and still be a part of all these activities that UMBC-Shady Grove offers.

What advice would you provide to a prospective student?
Look into every opportunity, scholarship, event, program, class, club, and organization at UMBC-Shady Grove. There are wonderful opportunities available and although some are competitive, you never know what you will happen unless you try. Plus, the opportunities provided to you as a student are all a lot of fun, build leadership and character, and are a great way to make friends.



UMBC Shady Grove PAT Member Melvis

Melvis Asongwed

An interesting personal fact ...
A fun fact about me is that I have a great sense of humor and like making jokes. When I am in a tense environment, I use jokes to break the ice or to relieve myself of tension.

Why did you choose UMBC-Shady Grove?
Close to the end of my program at Montgomery College, I had a hard time deciding on which university to transfer to. I had a couple of choices but was more drawn to UMBC- Shady Grove. I talked to a couple of my professors who all had different opinions. However, it happened that one of my professors was a former professor at Shady Grove.

 

She spoke very highly of UMBC-Shady Grove. After weighing all my possibilities, I decided that UMBC-Shady Grove was my best option.

What do you like best about UMBC-Shady Grove?
I chose this institution because of its size and it was much cheaper in terms of tuition. The small class sizes stood out to me because from past experience, classes with thirty or less students often allow more room for active class participation and more interaction with instructors and peers. In addition, The Universities at Shady Grove has free and easy parking. I had no difficulties finding my way around the campus. I instantly fell in love with it. Most of my credits were transferable and the transfer process was much easier than I expected.

What internships and/or extracurricular activities have you been involved with at UMBC-Shady Grove?
I was recommended as a candidate for the Writing Fellows (WF) program at UMBC-Shady Grove by a couple of my professors. Prior to my recommendation, I had an opportunity to meet with a WF for my draft review of one of my papers, which was a course requirement. I was very appreciative of the assistance provided by this program. A few weeks later, I met with one of the coordinators at The Universities at Shady Grove (USG) Center for Academic Success for an interview and was offered a position as a WF. I completed my training and was assigned to work with Social Work 260 students (Social Policy I) last semester. Currently, I am a WF for Social Work 360 (Social Policy II) and will be working with eight to nine students throughout the semester.

Prior to meeting with students for brainstorming sessions and draft reviews, WFs first meet with the professors/ course instructors and discuss expectations for specific assignments. The roles of WFs include giving feedback to students as to whether the content of their paper meets the expectations of specific assignments, modeling and teaching brainstorming, outlining, and prewriting techniques. In addition, we focus on organization, structure, analysis, citations and also responding to questions that students may feel uncomfortable asking in class or asking their professor directly. Some of our top goals as WFs include building students’ confidence in their writing abilities and helping them find their voice as writers. Being a WF has equally strengthened my writing skills, has helped me gain new writing and leadership skills, and has introduced me to a different form of leadership and lots of new information!

What are your plans after graduation?
I plan on entering grad school to obtain my Master’s in Social Work (MSW) right after my graduation from UMBC-Shady Grove. My areas of focus will be child welfare and medical social work.  Though I would love to take a semester or two off after graduation, I am looking forward to applying for advanced standing (where I will be able to complete my MSW in one year instead of two) and I think it would be best for me to just keep going.

What advice would you provide to a prospective student?
Given that I was once a prospective student, I am able to relate to many of the challenges prospective students face or are currently facing, especially when it comes to career choices and choosing among a variety of universities to transfer to from community colleges. My advice to prospective students is that it is very important, first of all, to have an idea or a picture of what you are expecting from or looking for in an institution. With that in mind, “shopping around” becomes much easier because it narrows down your search. As you visit each institution or read about them or even hear someone talk about them, pay close attention, ask questions, take down notes, and make sure you have your list.  Also, do your best to locate information on the requirements of these institutions. Some institutions will have more or less to offer depending on what your preferences and needs are. With these tips, I hope your transfer process will be much easier and less stressful!



UMBC Shady Grove PAT Team Member Kim

Kim Castro Casimbon

An interesting personal fact ...
I love to travel and explore new places.  I have traveled throughout North America visiting several different cities. My personal favorite locations are Las Vegas and New York City because these cities are full of life and energy at all times of the day which made my time there very enjoyable. My thirst for adventure has also taken me to places outside the United States. So far, I have only visited Japan, Canada, and the Philippines, but I plan to explore more of this amazing world that we live in soon after graduation. We live in such a beautiful world inhabited by such diverse people with an array of cultures, religions, and (my personal favorite) foods.

Why did you choose UMBC-Shady Grove?
I chose to transfer from Montgomery College to UMBC-Shady Grove because I thought that the school and location would suit me well. The Shady Grove location is very convenient for me.

Like Montgomery College, UMBC-Shady Grove has smaller class sizes, the staff and faculty are very accessible, and transferring my credits between the two institutions was a smooth process. I am glad that I made the decision to attend UMBC-Shady Grove because I love the fact that a variety of resources are available, the staff is really nice and helpful, and the overall campus environment feels safe and comfortable. 

What internships and/or extracurricular activities have you been involved with at UMBC-Shady Grove?
My first semester at UMBC-Shady Grove was more of a “test drive” for me because I explored my capabilities in managing my GPA while also participating in various student organizations. I wanted to get involved so I started by signing up to be the Junior Representative for the Psychology Student Association and eventually became the Vice President. I then decided to get involved as an Orientation Peer Advisor (OPA) to inform incoming students of the different resources available to them during the orientation process. I knew how important it was to help new students and make them feel comfortable in their new environment so when I found out that UMBC-Shady Grove initiated a new student organization called the Peer Advisory Team (PAT), I immediately signed up. As a PAT leader, I serve as primary point of contact and connect with prospective students interested in UMBC at Shady Grove. After discovering my strength in time management, I also decided to sign up for USG Student Council because I felt like my major and institution was not being well represented. As a UMBC Institutional Representative, I will serve as the liaison between UMBC and the Student Council (SC) by attending SC meetings and Town Halls to communicate any updates or concerns that the students might have.  

During my second semester at UMBC-Shady Grove, I was able to obtain my first internship with a mentoring program, Bridges to Pals, managed under the Mental Health Association of Montgomery County (MHAMC). The UMBC staff helped me put together a professional resume and taught me how to use myUMBCWorks to find internships and jobs for which I qualified. After I was done interning for the Bridges to Pals Program at MHAMC, my supervisor helped me find another internship for a program called Families Foremost Center that is also under MHAMC. Luckily, I got it and I will be interning there throughout the next year. In addition, I was informed that I will be a Writing Fellow for the UMBC-Shady Grove Psychology Department.

What are your plans after graduation?
After graduation, I plan to attend Johns Hopkins University for graduate school to major in Counseling with a concentration in School Counseling. After obtaining my Masters, I plan to work with children in a school setting to help them with their academic career and find their path to a brighter future. While doing so, I also plan to work on establishing my own foundation in the Philippines because one of my goals in life is to help impoverished children receive the education that they deserve. The foundation will help fund their education and establish resources to enable children to live a fulfilled life.

What advice would you provide to a prospective student?
One piece of advice that I would give to a new, incoming student would be do not be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Do what you want without any fear in your heart. Keep reminding yourself that every experience is a learning experience from which you learn and grow to become a better and stronger person.



UMBC Shady Grove PAT Member Meg

Meg Dillon

An interesting personal fact ...
One interesting fact about myself is that I own a Sphynx or a hairless cat.

Why did you choose UMBC-Shady Grove?
I choose to go to UMBC-Shady Grove for a few reasons.  First of all, I was a transfer student from Montgomery College, and I wanted to transfer to a college that was close to my house and to my job.  I also really wanted to pursue my degree in psychology. I researched many different colleges and UMBC had such an amazing psychology program and offered so many different options for my degree. 

 

After doing more research, I talked with UMBC-Shady Grove students, and was able to visit the campus. I fell in love with the campus, all of its accommodations, and there is always a place to park - and it’s free!

What do you like best about UMBC-Shady Grove?
The Universities at Shady Grove (USG) specifically is such an amazing campus because it is not only beautiful, but it offers so many wonderful tools to students.  There is an amazing cafeteria and coffee shop that serves delicious food and coffee drinks.  Also, the library is one of my favorite places on campus.  It allows students to study in a stress free, quiet environment, but it also provides resources that help students study affectively.  The library has very accommodating hours (such as staying open until 2:00a.m.) and there are also many knowledgeable librarians on staff to help students accurately research different subjects or to show students how to use the online library tools.

Specifically in regards to UMBC-Shady Grove, there are many great aspects such as the small class sizes, which allows for more student/professor involvement and it allows students to get closer and be more supportive of each other.   Lastly, all of the programs at UMBC-Shady Grove have amazing professors who want to see us succeed and they have such a passion for their fields, which is an inspiration to all students.

What internships and/or extracurricular activities have you been involved with at UMBC-Shady Grove?
So far, I have just begun to get involved on the campus.  I am currently a Peer Advisory Team (PAT) member, which helps to develop leadership skills and welcome new students into the UMBC Shady-Grove community.  Also, I am apart of Tau Sigma National Honors Societies Leadership Board.  The group, which is open to all UMBC students depending upon their GPA, focuses on helping the UMBC Shady-Grove community and also reaching out and helping the local community.  Lastly, I am a member of the Psychology Student Association, which helps to unite the psychology students on the UMBC Shady-Grove campus by meeting bi-weekly and spending time together to help encourage each other and other UMBC Psychology students.

What are your plans after graduation?
After I graduate, I plan to continue my studies within the field of psychology.  I have not yet decided specifically what I want to do with my degree, but I know that I want to pursue my Master’s Degree.  I want to help my community and would like to work either with young women who have been victims of abuse or young children with disabilities.

What advice would you provide to a prospective student?
One piece of advice I would give to a prospective student is to take advantage of all the benefits that UMBC-Shady Grove offers.  There are so many advantages to attending this campus, such as smaller class sizes, which allow for a more personal connection with professors and other students. I also recommend that students network with other students in their major as well as faculty and staff. These connections provide resources to help students further their studies and their future career.



UMBC Shady Grove PAT Member Christina

Christina “Krissi” Diluccia

An interesting personal fact ...
An interesting fact about myself?  Well, I make weird noises a lot and have several different voices I speak in when I talk to people that I am comfortable around! I enjoy being weird, goofy, and making people laugh, and hope that I can make even the littlest difference in the lives of others.  At school (and in life), we must help each other reach our goals any way we can.

Why did you choose UMBC-Shady Grove?
I chose UMBC-Shady Grove because I really wanted to attend UMBC - it’s such a great school. Yet, I did not want the expenses associated with living on campus and I most definitely did not want the stress of commuting to Baltimore every day.

 

UMBC-Shady Grove was the most obvious choice to ease all my qualms and allow me to pursue an education with an institution that is well known and offers a great psychology program!

What do you like best about UMBC-Shady Grove?
UMBC-Shady Grove is great because it is a close-knit community; in other words, I am not overwhelmed with a huge campus and I am actually able to connect with the professors and students because of the smaller campus size. This is the best part about UMBC-Shady Grove because you get honest, one-on-one feedback to help you prosper in your student career, which is always a plus!

What internships and/or extracurricular activities have you been involved with at UMBC-Shady Grove?
Since becoming a student at UMBC-Shady Grove, I have obtained a Special Volunteer position at the National Institutes of Mental Health and an internship at the Lieber Institute for Brain Development, part of Johns Hopkins University.  The specific extracurricular activities I am involved in since my admittance to UMBC-Shady Grove are as follows: Psychology Student Association (PSA), Tau Sigma National Transfer Honor Society, McNair Scholars Program (on main campus), and now the Peer Advisory Team (PAT)! I am always looking to get more involved.  Shady Grove offers a multitude of opportunities for students to get involved here and on main campus so that their time spent is well rounded and enjoyable!

What are your plans after graduation?
After graduation, I have BIG plans for myself! If all goes well, I plan to go straight into a doctorate program to obtain a PhD in Clinical or Counseling Psychology. My alternative route will be to attend a Master’s program first, and then pursue a PhD. I never planned on medical school but I haven’t shut that door just yet; anything is possible.

What advice would you provide to a prospective student?
Advice I would give to a prospective student is to plan, plan, plan! You need to have a plan for yourself and stick to it. UMBC-Shady Grove is a great option when you transfer, but you need to plan things out. I think the biggest mistake I made in college was knowing what I wanted to do but not creating a long-term plan for myself, which is weird because I am the epitome of a planner! If I could start all over, I would have planned out each semester and school year to a "T". Doing so saves you time and money and it also keeps you focused and on track when life gets in the way. Also, networking is a BIG thing in any field. You can be extremely knowledgeable within a field, but if you don’t communicate and network with others, it will be harder for you to get where you want to be in life—seriously. I made the most personal progress in this area last semester because I networked and I wasn’t afraid to ask questions or meet new people. In a field like psychology, you especially need to network. For example, you may want to work with patients before you have a degree (that would be ME!), but most times you aren’t able to interact with them because you are not trained, certified, and licensed. But, if you know somebody who is willing to vouch for your hard work and dedication is willing to also take that chance on you, you will be exposed to more than you can believe and you will gain relevant experience that you would not have otherwise had if you didn’t take a shot and put yourself out there. Show your passion and network any which way you can; it’ll pay off in the long run. You may even want to look into developing a personal business card which makes an impression and looks professional! UMBC-Shady Grove provides a multitude of ways to help you connect you with professionals in your field of interest.



UMBC Shady Grove PAT Team Member Michaela

Michaela Friedman

An interesting personal fact …
I have practiced yoga for almost 7 years and work a few hours a week at an awesome yoga studio in Takoma Park!

Why did you choose UMBC- Shady Grove?
In 2007, I attended Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts for two years. In spring of 2010, I transferred to Montgomery College and then to UMBC-Shady Grove in the spring of 2012. I chose UMBC-Shady Grove partly because of the convenience as I didn’t want to travel to the UMBC main campus located in Catonsville, MD. As I got to know the faculty through the transfer process, I was impressed by the fact that many of my professors at UMBC-Shady Grove were currently clinicians in the field of social work.

I was also really interested in the opportunity for a field placement as I have spent so much time in the classroom and wanted to practice social work in the real world. I was looking for academic rigor and prestige, and appreciate that at the Universities at Shady Grove (USG) I am not the oldest student in the classroom and that the other students are committed to achieving academic success. 

What do you like best about UMBC-Shady Grove?
As a student at UMBC-Shady Grove, I am able to have access to the resources of a larger state school. At the same time, I have small classes, committed professional professors and motivated classmates. I appreciate the quality of the course material and how the course material applies to my professional career.

What internships and/or extracurricular activities have you been involved with at UMBC-Shady Grove?
This summer I worked at the Family Camp at Echo Hill Ranch in Texas. This program is for kinship care families caring for relative’s children. The weekend portion of the program provided an opportunity for respite, bonding and support. I will be writing a reflective paper of my experiences and will receive school credit. 

During my first semester, I was more of an active member of SWSA (Social Work Student Association) and I look forward to being more involved in SWSA this coming year. I spent much of my first year at UMBC-Shady Grove acclimating to the more rigorous course work and spent less time involved in student organizations.  Now that I am more comfortable with my work load, I look forward to being more involved.

What are your plans after graduation?
Following graduation, I hope to attend the Masters in Social Work program at the University of Maryland Baltimore (UMB) and will apply for the advanced standing one-year program. My passion in life is to help others and improve a broken system. I have a great interest in policy and hope to use my knowledge of social work and the structural barriers to advocate for those who are often silenced.

What advice would you provide to a prospective student?
My advice to prospective students is to reach out to your professors for help and to make an effort to get to know your classmates. The professors really want to help you and can be a source of knowledge and support. With such small classes, I have found that being friendly and getting to know my classmates has enriched my experience so far.



UMBC Shady Grove PAT Member Nicole

Nicole Nashwinter

An interesting personal fact ...
One interesting fact about me is that my family is from Greece.

Why did you choose UMBC-Shady Grove?
I chose UMBC- Shady Grove because it was the perfect fit for me. I transferred to UMBC-Shady Grove because it was not only convenient for commuting purposes, but also had the college atmosphere all within the confines of a tightly knit campus. I knew how important academics were to me and UMBC-Shady Grove offered the personal relationships between students and professors which provided the best academic experience I could ask for.

 

What do you like best about UMBC-Shady Grove?
What I like best about UMBC-Shady Grove is the one-on-one relationships I have with my professors and how available and supportive they are to students.

What internships and/or extracurricular activities have you been involved with at UMBC-Shady Grove?
At UMBC- Shady Grove, I am involved in a few extracurricular activities. Along with being a Peer Advisory Team (PAT) member, I am also a Guided Study Session Leader and a tutor. As a Guided Study Session Leader I create lesson plans for quiz reviews and host study sessions with my fellow classmates. It offers a great opportunity to review for the quizzes and practice the material with one another.

What are your plans after graduation?
After graduation, I plan on pursuing my Master’s in Industrial Organizational Psychology at UMBC- Shady Grove. With this degree I hope to become an I/O Psychologist in an office setting or work with human resources.

What advice would you provide to a prospective student?
For all prospective students, my advice to you is to really take your future goals into consideration. Although UMBC-Shady Grove is small, the benefits are just as immense as any other college or university. UMBC- Shady Grove will open doors and offer connections that will truly be beneficial in the future.



Peer Advisory Team Member Julie R.

Julie Rivera

An interesting personal fact …
Hello! My name is Julie Rivera and I currently attend UMBC-Shady Grove.  I’m majoring in social work with a minor in psychology. One interesting fact about me is that I am pretty knowledgeable about sports because of my brothers. I like watching basketball, soccer and football. My favorite football team is the Baltimore Ravens!

Why did you choose UMBC-Shady Grove?
In Spring 2013, I transferred to UMBC-Shady Grove from Montgomery College. Due to the convenient location and the fact that the Universities at Shady Grove isn’t far from the Montgomery College-Rockville campus,

the choice was pretty clear for me. I also chose UMBC-Shady Grove because of the many resources provided to students and the social work program available at UMBC-Shady Grove.

What do you like best about UMBC-Shady Grove?
What I like best about UMBC-Shady Grove are the class sizes and personal relationships you can create with your fellow classmates as well as your professors.  It feels good knowing that I am able to talk to my professors and they remember who I am and therefore are better able to help me. In addition, I like that UMBC-Shady Grove is composed of 9 Maryland higher education institutions which  are located under one roof at the Universities at Shady Grove; therefore students have increased opportunities to make new friends and network for future possibilities.

What internships and/or extracurricular activities have you been involved with at UMBC-Shady Grove?
I have only been at UMBC-Shady Grove for one semester, but after the completion of my first semester, I have been able to get involved as an Orientation Peer Advisor (OPA) and am part of the UMBC Peer Advisory Team (PAT). As an OPA, I help lead new students through their orientation day and help answer questions when needed. As a PAT member, I assist with recruitment and connecting with prospective students who may be interested in attending UMBC-Shady Grove. It’s never too early to get involved and represent your school! I’ve also managed to meet many different students, including a student who encouraged my involvement this summer with a non- profit network called United We Dream (UWD). The goal of this program is to encourage Congress to create a comprehensive immigration reform plan and make sure they follow through with it. It feels great to be involved!

What are your plans after graduation?
I will be graduating from UMBC in the Spring of 2015. At that point, I hope to attend graduate school and gain my Masters in Social Work. I would like to work within the juvenile detention system as a caseworker helping troubled teens gain confidence and the ability to leave “the system” with goals to improve their lives. After being here at UMBC-Shady Grove for only a semester and already doing things I’ve wanted to do, I feel very accomplished and hope to continue to get involved while maintaining good grades.

What advice would you provide to a prospective student?
For new, incoming students, the best advice I can give is to always know what track you’re on. Attending the USG Open Houses and emailing the Social Work Program Director, Ms. Katie Morris, LCSW-C, definitely helped me understand what classes I needed to take,  to know how long it would take until I needed to transfer and all the requirements I need in order to graduate. As I continue my stay here at UMBC-Shady Grove, I plan to make my time worthwhile by increasing my involvement in various activities and concentrating on my studies to become the best future social worker I can be!



UMBC Shady Grove PAT Member Laura

Laura Roth

An interesting personal fact ...
An interesting fact about me is that I adamantly refused to read until I was in high school. For Christmas my junior year of high school, my mother bought me Harry Potter books 1-4. I was so disappointed that I cried and complained all day. I decided to try them out to appease my mother, and I fell in love. I have now read every single Harry Potter book several times each, and even have a Harry Potter tattoo! I’m happy to say I now LOVE to read and have over 1000 books on my Kindle, but Harry Potter will always be my first love.

Why did you choose UMBC-Shady Grove?
I chose to attend UMBC-Shady Grove campus for several reasons.

 

When I was in the Mental Health program at Montgomery College, many of my peers and advisers recommended UMBC. Many of my classes transferred, and it was one of the only local universities that had an undergraduate degree in social work.  Plus, UMBC‘s mascot is a Chesapeake Bay retriever, the cutest of all mascots, so it was a win-win situation! When researching my options, I soon came to the conclusion that UMBC-Shady Grove was for me. The Universities at Shady Grove is close, convenient, and its small class sizes allow me the individual attention I need. 

What do you like best about UMBC-Shady Grove?
What I really love about UMBC-Shady grove is the individualized attention I get from classmates and professors. Whether or not you’re in an academic club or a straight “A” student, the professors know your name and genuinely want you to succeed. In my whole academic career I have never met so many supportive professors with such passion for teaching as I have at UMBC Shady Grove. Also, the students really support one another, whether it is working on a tough assignment, or dealing with stress at home. I guess what I like best about UMBC-Shady Grove is the  sense of community. The support that is available to you here can really make school feel like your home away from home.

What internships and/or extracurricular activities have you been involved with at UMBC-Shady Grove?
In high school, I was never one for extracurricular activities. That has certainly changed since attending UMBC-Shady Grove. I’m now in my senior year at UMBC and I am a Community Liaison for the Social Work Student Association (SWSA).  I am also a social work intern at The Training Source (TTS), which is a nonprofit that offers free employment training to unemployed and underemployed citizens, and most recently, I became a member of the Peer Advisory Team (PAT)! Even though my senior year has been a busy one, I would recommend to anyone to get involved with at least one organization. I didn’t know the friends and good times I was missing until I joined SWSA, for example.

What are your plans after graduation?
My plans after graduation have recently changed. When I first started attending UMBC-Shady Grove, my plan was to immediately enter graduate school for my Master’s in Social Work (MSW) after graduation, with the goal of entering into an Advanced Standing Program (where you may complete the MSW in one year instead of two) if possible. After three years at UMBC-Shady Grove, a lot of things have changed. I’ve gotten married, and have entered my thirties. After seeking advice from my family, friends, and academic advisor, I have decided to take a year off to start a family. I plan to work part-time as a licensed social worker, and apply to graduate school next winter. I still plan on applying for Advanced Standing, so hopefully, if I have my way, I will have my Master’s in social work two years from now!

What advice would you provide to a prospective student?
My first piece of advice for prospective students is to relax! Going to a university for the first time, or returning after taking a few years off, would give anyone anxiety.  I was very nervous when I first started at UMBC-Shady Grove, but once I got into the swing of things, I realized that I could do it! My professors and peers really made me feel at home, and there are so many resources at UMBC-Shady Grove to make your transition as comfortable as possible. I also recommend having fun and getting involved. One of the best things about UMBC-Shady Grove is the small class sizes. Here you really get to know your classmates and make genuine friendships which helps when studying for finals!



UMBC Shady Grove PAT member Pam

Pamela Van Horne

An interesting personal fact …
The first time I went to college I was not successful, yet with the second try I am thriving.  I am learning not to let my fears hold me back.  I have also learned that while I am in college, classwork always has to come first.

Why did you choose UMBC-Shady Grove?
I chose UMBC-Shady Grove because it is so convenient. I have stayed because I love the faculty and the facilities are wonderful. I began my educational journey in the spring of 2011, majoring in psychology.  As a returning student, whose undergrad experience began decades ago, going back to school was one of the scariest things I have ever done.

 

I am so glad I took the challenge.  I have enjoyed each class I have taken at UMBC-Shady Grove and the internship I completed with the Center for Academic Success (CAS) Writing Fellows Program. I am proud of my success as a student, because I re-entered the academic world filled with self-doubt.  UMBC-Shady Grove offers me the best of both worlds - I get to attend classes on a convenient, beautiful, modern campus and I have the resources of main campus at my fingertips.

What do you like best about UMBC-Shady Grove?
Besides the convenience and beauty of the campus, the thing I have enjoyed the most about my experience here is how welcoming the students and faculty have been.  I have found that I can be as involved in campus life as I have time to be.  I enjoy working as a Writing Fellow, a program close to my heart that gives students peer guidance with their writing projects.  Writing Fellows work out of the USG Center for Academic Success (CAS), a phenomenal resource available for students.  I am also enjoying being part of a new program on campus, the UMBC Peer Advisory Team, where I get to share my love of the educational experience here on campus with others contemplating joining our family.

What internships and/or extracurricular activities have you been involved with at UMBC-Shady Grove?   My main area of interest outside of classes has been with the USG Writing Fellows Program.  I know how important good writing skills are and I enjoy sharing my love of writing with others.  I have an internship with the Writing Fellows Program which has helped me to apply my love of writing within a more professional arena.  Some of my duties include assisting with the scheduling of appointments and record-keeping.

What are your plans after graduation?
I have learned that to be a successful student my classwork does need to come first, but the reward of that is a budding self-confidence and awareness that I am able to succeed in the “hard stuff.”  Each class that I successfully pass builds on that confidence.  My activities at school have taught me that what makes me happiest is being able to help other people succeed in their own lives.  My goal is to continue here at UMBC-Shady Grove to earn my Master’s in Industrial and Organizational Psychology with the goal of working in the field of human resources.

What advice would you provide to a prospective student?  My advice to new students would be to take advantage of all of the services USG offers from tech support which will help synch all of your technology with what is available on campus to the Center for Academic Success (CAS) which will work with you on papers you will need to write for your classes to the staff who will help you write a resume and guide you in your job search.