All posts by: Magazine Editor


A large bill board in the middle of a field reads Hell is Real

How 19th-century Spiritualists ‘canceled’ the idea of hell to address social and political concerns

“Spiritualists believed that people could maintain communication with the living even after death,” discusses UMBC’s Lindsay DiCurirci, associate professor of English. “They thought communicative spirits had a principal role to play in addressing the era’s most pressing social and political concerns, which would be impossible if souls were damned to hell. This idea was a cornerstone of their practice and a driver of their politics.” Continue Reading How 19th-century Spiritualists ‘canceled’ the idea of hell to address social and political concerns

Brick rowhomes with tall buildings in the background neediest areas

Neediest areas are being shortchanged on government funds − even with programs designed to benefit poor communities

Erik Stokan, associate professor of political science at UMBC, collaborated on a study that looked at 20 years of data from the CDBG program, which in 2022 provided about $4.3 billion to cities and states across the country. Federal rules require that 70% of these funds be spent in neighborhoods where a majority of families have low to moderate incomes – a category researchers abbreviate as “LMI.” Continue Reading Neediest areas are being shortchanged on government funds − even with programs designed to benefit poor communities

a woman in sleeveless shirt and glasses

Meet a Retriever—Camilla Sandoval ’17, M.A. ’19, program coordinator for Maryland Humanities

Meet Camilla Sandoval ’17, history, M.A. ’19, historical studies, a first-generation student who spent part of her time on each of UMBC’s campuses before graduating and putting her studies to work. Today, she spends her days as the program coordinator for grants with Maryland Humanities, where she still employs lessons learned from her time as a Retriever. Continue Reading Meet a Retriever—Camilla Sandoval ’17, M.A. ’19, program coordinator for Maryland Humanities

Man standing behind UMBC podium, smiling.

Meet a Retriever—Christian Jassani ’27, a first-year ambassador and active student leader

Meet Christian Jassani, a first-year political science and global studies major. Christian is a member of the Honors College, Susquehanna Community Council, Honors Council, and SGA. He has taken advantage of the many opportunities UMBC offers, which has helped him to grow, both socially, and academically. From these opportunities, he has been able to gain confidence in himself, find a family at UMBC, and make connections with staff who are there to support his academic journey every step of the way. Continue Reading Meet a Retriever—Christian Jassani ’27, a first-year ambassador and active student leader

All photos courtesy of Monroe Kennedy.

Meet a Retriever—Monroe Kennedy, III, ’12, mechanical engineering professor at Stanford University

Meet Monroe Kennedy, III, a Meyerhoff Scholar (M20) who earned his B.S. in mechanical engineering from UMBC in 2012 before earning his M.S. in robotics and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering and applied mechanics from the University of Pennsylvania. Monroe is now an assistant professor in the mechanical engineering department at Stanford University. His work is in collaborative robotics, building systems capable of extending robotic autonomy to scenarios where robots work closely around humans and must anticipate their needs to be effective teammates. Outside of his role as a professor, Monroe serves as a national director for Black in Robotics, a… Continue Reading Meet a Retriever—Monroe Kennedy, III, ’12, mechanical engineering professor at Stanford University

Meet a Retriever—Hyojin Choi, psychology and social work major and student leader

Meet Hyojin Choi, a double major in psychology and social work at UMBC at The Universities at Shady Grove. A transfer student, Hyojin is an active member of the peer advisory team and president of the Psychology Student Association—all while also serving as a social work intern at the Housing Opportunities Commission of Montgomery County, Maryland. In fact, he looks forward to working there after graduation. Take it away, Hyojin! Q: What do you love about your internship? A: As an intern at HOC, I have learned much about how housing works in the United States and the many challenges… Continue Reading Meet a Retriever—Hyojin Choi, psychology and social work major and student leader

Laura with House Speaker Adrienne Jones ‘76, and fellow Alumni Association board member Lisa Nissley ‘01, after all three women spoke at the 2024 UMBC Annapolis Reception: Saluting Women Leaders.

Meet a Retriever—Laura Howell ’86, disability advocate and Alumni Association governance committee chair

Meet Laura Howell; she graduated from UMBC in 1986 with a B.A. in political science. She is an advocate for those with developmental disabilities and the CEO of the Maryland Association of Community Services, having recently celebrated her 20th anniversary in the position. Laura is also an active member of the UMBC Alumni Association Board of Directors, serving as chair of the governance committee. She credits her time at UMBC and the support she received here for preparing her for a career of advocacy and service. Take it away, Laura! Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself. A. I… Continue Reading Meet a Retriever—Laura Howell ’86, disability advocate and Alumni Association governance committee chair

three woman walk together smiling, wearing black and gold

Meet a Retriever—Ciomara Matamoros, mom of three and aspiring school psychologist

Meet Ciomara Matamoros ’24, psychology, who is a first-generation college student pursuing her dream of becoming a school psychologist while raising three kids. She’s a member of the Peer Advisory Team at The Universities at Shady Grove and part of the Psychology Student Association. After graduation, she plans on getting her master’s in psychology. Here, Ciomara shares how she gets it all done.  Q: Briefly introduce yourself. What’s one thing you’d want another Retriever to know about you? A: I am a senior psychology major at UMBC. I am also a mother of three and my favorite activities include watching… Continue Reading Meet a Retriever—Ciomara Matamoros, mom of three and aspiring school psychologist

Poulomi Banerjee '16, M.P.P. '21, and Emma Hagen '14, high five while holding a sign that reads Welcome to Our Community of Inquiring Minds. (Marlayna Demond '11/UMBC)

Meet a Retriever—Poulomi Banerjee ’16, M.P.P. ’21, annual donor and advocate of the UMBC community

Meet Poulomi Banerjee, a double alumna—earning her degree in health administration and policy in 2016 and her M.P.P. in 2021—and current public policy Ph.D. student at UMBC who believes in the power of this community! She has her sights set on becoming just the 141st triple alum in UMBC history (bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. from UMBC). When she’s not working toward Retriever history, Poulomi works as the associate director of annual giving and alumni communications at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. In her spare time (we’re just as surprised as you that she has any), you can… Continue Reading Meet a Retriever—Poulomi Banerjee ’16, M.P.P. ’21, annual donor and advocate of the UMBC community

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