All posts by: Catalina Sofia Dansberger Duque


A person with short black hair, wearing an olive green dress shirt stand in front of a brick building. Baltimore.

Community leader renews his Baltimore roots

“Service is a pathway to opportunities for everyone if we allow it to be accessible to all,” says Keenan Hickman, M.P.S. ’22, community leadership. “It is about leading through example and perseverance, and finding joy in completing innovative complex projects with a myriad of community members and organizations.”

An adult with dark hair pulled back wearing a Fuchsia dress jacket and a blouse with Fuchsia flowers stands in front of a tree. Immigrant, UMBC, teenager.

Giving voice to immigrant experiences

“When I arrived in Spain as a teenager, my teachers did not expect me to go to college because I was an immigrant and because I didn’t have the resources to access certain learning opportunities,” says Melisa Argañaraz Gomez, Ph.D. ’22, geography and environmental systems. “Now, as a graduate student in the U.S., remembering my experience as a teenager helps me connect with the students I support and empathize with their lives.”

An adult with short black hair wearing a light brown sweater stands in front of some trees.

A dancer’s discipline and dedication

“I am driven by knowing that I can help future generations of my family explore what the world has to offer,” says Joshua Gray. “My work can open up opportunities for them and help them look at the world and their experiences in a different way.”

A portrait of Derek Musgrove smiling, wearing a blue button down shirt.

New Carnegie Fellow Derek Musgrove examines Black political movements in the U.S., 1980 – 1997

“Dr. Musgrove’s selection for the Carnegie Fellowship is further confirmation of the great work happening in the humanities at UMBC,” says Kimberly Moffitt, dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. “We are appreciative of Carnegie’s recognition of his work and of the human experience during such a moment in history.”

Pamela Bennett

“Parenting in Privilege or Peril,” a new book by UMBC’s Pamela R. Bennett, explores barriers to the “American dream”

The notion of the “American dream”—that hard work can lead to social and economic mobility—has existed in the United States for centuries, and it has been disputed for almost as long. Pamela Bennett’s new book takes on this idea. Bennett, associate professor of public policy, explores some of the social, educational, and economic factors that impact the decisions that middle- and working-class parents make in hopes that their children can attain the “American dream.” 

UMBC’s Haleemat Adekoya receives prestigious Truman Scholarship for education advocacy

In addition to Haleemat Adekoya winning the Truman Scholarship, this is the second time that two UMBC students have been named finalists. “This national recognition highlights the fact that UMBC is indeed a magical place that fosters community leaders and passionate public servants, such as Haleemat,” says Rehman Liaqat ‘22, political science, a fellow finalist.

UMBC’s Farah Helal, longtime student advocate, is named USM student regent

Farah Helal ’24, global studies and political science, is the newly appointed 2022 University System of Maryland (USM) student regent. “Student representatives provide educators and policymakers with the perspective needed to ensure the student voice is valued and understood throughout the decision-making process,” she says.

$21M Sherman Family Foundation gift supports UMBC’s bold commitment to PreK-12 research, teaching, and learning

The largest gift in the history of UMBC—a $21 million donation from the Sherman Family Foundation—will dramatically expand the reach and impact of the university’s K-12 and early childhood education work. The transformational gift will provide funding to launch the Betsy & George Sherman Center as a national model to advance excellence in urban schools.

One-on-one: A conversation about UMBC’s global community

Praise Lasekan ‘25 checked off two major items from his to-do list this academic year: he traveled over 6,000 miles from Nigeria to the U.S. for the first time and he became a Retriever. Learn about his experience in a conversation with Adam Julian, UMBC’s director of international student and scholar services.

A man wearing a white dress shirt and dark rimmed glasses stands in front of a light brick building.

Smithsonian features Erle Ellis’s research on how humans have shaped ecology over millennia as a top discovery of 2021

“Our work shows that most areas depicted as ‘untouched,’ ‘wild,’ and ‘natural’ are actually areas with long histories of human inhabitation and use,” Ellis previously shared with UMBC News. They might be interpreted like this, he suggests, because in these areas, “societies used their landscapes in ways that sustained most of their native biodiversity and even increased their biodiversity, productivity, and resilience.” 

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