All posts by: Allison Cruz '18

My UMBC Commencement: “Black and Gold Runs in My Family”

Four years ago, I graduated from high school. I remember experiencing conflicting emotions, both the pride of academic achievement and the questions about where to go to college and what to study. Family and friends often asked me, what do you want to be? Because whatever I wanted to be must transfer into what I study in college, right? All I knew was that I wanted to go to UMBC, but not because of its stellar academics, social life, or diverse student population — which, of course, I became well acquainted with during my time here. I chose UMBC because… Continue Reading My UMBC Commencement: “Black and Gold Runs in My Family”

UMBC's gamelan, a unique Indonesian musical instrument

Beat of a Different Drum: UMBC’s Unique Musical Instrument, the Gamelan

In the corner of the Music Box theater, a spacious room on the first floor of the Performing Arts and Humanities Building, lives a curious collection of gold-colored instruments. Organized in an ensemble on the floor, all of the pieces make up the gamelan, one of the most unique musical instruments on campus. “Take your shoes off and find a spot to jump right in,” says instructor Gina Beck, M.A. ’90, ethnomusicology, as she invites her students to sit on floor mats behind each individual piece of the Indonesian instrument. They file in toward the gamelan and choose their places.… Continue Reading Beat of a Different Drum: UMBC’s Unique Musical Instrument, the Gamelan

Baltimore’s Flickering Treasures: Amy Davis at UMBC

Baltimore City offers much in terms of history, entertainment, and beauty. But from the outside looking in, the city’s widespread poverty and racial problems capture the most attention. Since media narratives often focus solely on the idealistic or the negative aspects, it can be difficult to view this city with a realistic lens. As part of The Dresher Center Humanities Forum series, Baltimore Sun photojournalist Amy Davis presented her take on what makes for an honest Baltimore narrative, acknowledging both the city’s strengths and failings. She also shared images and stories from  her recent book Flickering Treasures: Rediscovering Baltimore’s Forgotten Movie… Continue Reading Baltimore’s Flickering Treasures: Amy Davis at UMBC

Q&A: Aminata Jalloh ’10, First-Time Children’s Author

Aminata Jalloh ’10, American studies, recently published her first children’s book titled The Biggest Little Brother, a story about the complexities of sibling relationships and immigrant families. Here, the first-generation Sierra Leonean-American shares how her time at UMBC shaped her career in teaching and writing for children. – Allison Cruz ’18 How did your education at UMBC impact your career in teaching and now writing children’s books? I was always interested in the experiences of first and second generation Americans, so attending UMBC and majoring in American studies was a natural fit. It was an interdisciplinary area of study which… Continue Reading Q&A: Aminata Jalloh ’10, First-Time Children’s Author

Q&A: Adam Kurtz ’09, Artist, Author, and Brand

Adam J. Kurtz ’09, visual arts, is an artist and author whose work for brands such as Urban Outfitters, Fishs Eddy, Tumblr, Penguin Random House, and Strand Bookstore (among others) offers emotion, humor, and at times darkness. His books, the most recent entitled Things Are What You Make of Them, contain insightful thoughts about communicating one’s personality and emotions into meaningful work. Here, Kurtz talks about his talents and artistry, and about how UMBC impacted his career after graduation. – Allison Cruz ’18 Q: You have done so much creative work as an artist and as an author. What inspired… Continue Reading Q&A: Adam Kurtz ’09, Artist, Author, and Brand

Q&A: April Householder ’95, New Director of Undergraduate Research

UMBC’s new Director of Undergraduate Research and Prestigious Scholarships, April Householder ’95, spends her days opening doors to students exploring the vast world of research.  As an alumna of visual and performing arts with a minor in art history, she also boasts a fascinating background in documentary filmmaking and media criticism. Here, Householder talks about how her time learning and working at UMBC helped shape her work in film, teaching, and her new work in the division of Undergraduate Academic Affairs (UAA). Q: What are your thoughts about your education at UMBC? How did UMBC help prepare you for your research,… Continue Reading Q&A: April Householder ’95, New Director of Undergraduate Research

Slideshow: Moving In at UMBC

Move-in day is a highly anticipated undertaking for college students everywhere, and UMBC is no exception. Lugging their suitcases, decorative furnishings, and pre-semester anxieties, UMBC students swarm the campus to turn their little dorm into home for the next four months. Sometimes they enjoy a little help from family and friends. Below are recent images of Retrievers moving in and enjoying the campus-wide welcome. A big thank-you to Alexis Harris ’19 for taking the photos! [nivoslider id=”8438″] Move-in day excitement always carries over into Welcome Week activities where students meet up with old friends and make new ones, too! Below… Continue Reading Slideshow: Moving In at UMBC

#YouAreWelcomeHere: Making International Students Feel Right at Home

Upon entering the UMBC campus, visitors arriving at the drop-off circle in front of the Administration Building are greeted in a way that’s uniquely UMBC — with bricks saying “Welcome” in dozens of languages from around the world. The greetings are subtle but plentiful, displayed on the grey areas of the brick pavement. This is but a small example of the many ways that diversity is celebrated on this campus, including the numerous flags of the world on display in The Commons, the variety of culturally-based clubs and organizations, and more. And, UMBC is always finding new ways to welcome international students to our campus,… Continue Reading #YouAreWelcomeHere: Making International Students Feel Right at Home

Winter 2012: UMBC Closed for Snow?

UMBC is known as a hale and hearty campus that rarely closes its doors because of winter weather. But the great ‘Snowpocalypse’ of 2011 closed down the campus for almost a week. Fortunately, no cars skidded down into the Library Pond – an event caught on film by The Retriever’s William Morgenstern and featured on the front page of the newspaper’s February 10, 1970 edition.

Summer 2011: UMBC’s Women’s Center

In its almost two decades, the Women’s Center at UMBC has touched countless lives. As the center and its staff (left) begin a yearlong celebration of its 20th anniversary in September, acting director Jess Myers is looking for your memories of this UMBC Institution. Does our collection of Women’s Center memories jog your own memory? Find out more about the ‘100,000 Stories – Which One is Your’s?’ commemoration and how you might get involved or share your story at

Winter 2010: Traveling the World with UMBC’s Ancient Studies

Ancient studies at UMBC has always meant to travel, as we discovered when Phyllis Hicks Clark ‘70, history, shared her photos with UMBC Magazine of a 1969 ancient studies trip to Greece. Forty years later, UMBC students went back to Greece on an ancient studies-organized trip. Here are some photographic relics of both journeys. Picture Captions: The amphitheatre at Epidauros (330 BCE), shot in 2009. 1969 UMBC sojourners caught Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis on film at an Athens market. Larry Wilder ‘70, biological sciences, at Olympos. Billy Johnson, a current student in Ancient studies, at the Temple of Athena Aphaea on… Continue Reading Winter 2010: Traveling the World with UMBC’s Ancient Studies

Winter 2009: UMBC’s Sounds of Music

UMBC’s Quad has been filled with the sound of music in every era, from today’s Quadmania (above) to a student music performance (inset) in the university’s earliest days.

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