pep band director Corbett-Wilson leads the band outside of the Event Center

Alum Bentley Corbett-Wilson trumpets the pep band and school spirit

Bentley Corbett-Wilson ’17, music education, M.A. ’20, teaching, is UMBC’s director of athletic bands, leading the school pep ensemble, the Down and Dirty Dawg Band. He is a musician (trumpet is his main instrument), band director at Lake Elkhorn Middle School, and faculty member at the International School of Music. But he introduces himself as UMBC’s pep band director first. Q: How long have you been involved in music and performance? A: I think I officially became a “musician” in middle school band in sixth grade. I joined the Las Vegas Youth Orchestra Philharmonic and traveled to China, then I… Continue Reading Alum Bentley Corbett-Wilson trumpets the pep band and school spirit

Safiyah Cheatam, multimedia artist and UMBC IMDA alum

From nurture to apocalypse (and back again) —The Mundane Afrofuturism of multimedia artist Safiyah Cheatam  

Safiyah Cheatam, M.F.A. ’21, intermedia and digital arts, always has her hands in something. In just the past few years, the multidisciplinary conceptual artist has exhibited work at The Peale and VisArts. She co-produced OBSIDIAN, a Rubys Grant-funded Afrofuturist podcast, with alum Adetola Abdulkadir ’17, and served as curatorial research assistant at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture for the special exhibition Afrofuturism: A History of Black Futures. This summer, Cheatam is also serving as a juror for the Hamiltonian Artists Fellowship.  Cheatam devotes her days to providing programming for teen artists as the assistant manager… Continue Reading From nurture to apocalypse (and back again) —The Mundane Afrofuturism of multimedia artist Safiyah Cheatam  

A woman with dark hair stands next to a piece of art

Squaring the Circle: The Powerful Art of Hadieh Shafie

The most recent artworks by Hadieh Shafie, M.F.A. ’04, intermedia and digital arts, appear like optical illusions, tricks. Tightly stacked lines of colored pencil suddenly twist and warp into circles. The two-dimensional surface swirls and vibrates, like eddy lines in a river or sound waves blasting from a speaker. Tucked into these dancing lines, Shafie has written the Persian word for passionate love: eshgh. The drawings pull together many themes from Shafie’s work and life experience, of leaving her home country of Iran in 1983 at the age of 12 and never going back. From her childhood there, she recalls… Continue Reading Squaring the Circle: The Powerful Art of Hadieh Shafie

in a black and white photo, a woman sits at a desk, pouring over materials

Retriever for Life

Very few Retrievers can say they’ve spent as many years on campus or enjoyed quite so many roles in doing so as Joan Costello ’73, social work. From her first days as a student and student worker; to 41 years as a staff member in the library, audiovisual (AV) services, and multimedia center; to her current role as basketball season ticket holder, committee member of the Founding Four, and board member of the Wisdom Institute—UMBC’s organization for retired staff and faculty—Costello shares why she’s chosen to make UMBC her second home for more than 50 years. The first days I… Continue Reading Retriever for Life

A family gathers around a matriarch in a wheelchair

Caregiving Goes Both Ways

For more than a decade, Rita Choula was the primary caregiver for her late mother who lived with frontotemporal degeneration (FTD), a lesser known form of early onset dementia that typically affects people under the age of 60. “My mother started saying things like ‘I don’t feel like myself. I feel like I’m losing my mind.’ She used to be someone that was really engaged and outgoing and she started to pull back a bit. She used to be very empathetic, very people-loving, and showed a lot of concern, and it reached a point where that empathy went straight out… Continue Reading Caregiving Goes Both Ways

Four people stand in front of a quilt with a gold heart on it. The people are holding copies of a book titled This Belongs to Us.

UMBC Belongs to All of Us

UMBC is a young institution—and not only do we have active alumni from the first four graduating classes still working to make an impact on campus and beyond, we are still discovering new stories about the establishment of the university and the ways the campus community was invited to co- create UMBC at its inception. In fact, Diane Tichnell ’70, political science, describes the impetus for the Founding Four’s book, This Belongs to Us (2023), as its own sort of inception. Several years ago, she had a dream—literal dream while she was asleep. In it, she was attending a lecture… Continue Reading UMBC Belongs to All of Us

Hope Weismann smiles at camera.

Meet a Retriever—Hope Weisman ’14, M.A. ’18, transfer student advocate

Meet Hope Weisman ’14, psychology, M.A. ’18, applied sociology, a Transfer Academic Advocate and member of the UMBC community for 10 years and counting. As a transfer to UMBC herself, Hope has found the perfect professional role for herself at UMBC’s Academic Success Center. Thanks for sharing your story, Hope! Q: Tell us about your primary why, and how it led you to UMBC. A: I came to UMBC as an undergraduate student because it felt like it was the right fit for me. I was transferring from a local community college and I had never even been to UMBC.… Continue Reading Meet a Retriever—Hope Weisman ’14, M.A. ’18, transfer student advocate

in a behind the scenes shot on a film set, a man fends off a pretend bear with a door

Grin and Bear It

When asked to describe the cinematic masterpiece that is Cocaine Bear, Scott Seiss ’16, media and communication studies, didn’t mince any words to deliver his thoughts on the hit film based on true events. “I think ‘cocaine’ and ‘bear,’ just those two words pretty much sum it up. A wild rollercoaster ride of gore and jokes.” What started as a Facebook message to then-agentless Seiss’ spam folder with the suspicious but apt subject line “COCAINE” has led to a debut on the silver screen and launched this Retriever from Dundalk onto the national comedy stage. Bear for now, dog for… Continue Reading Grin and Bear It

A young man takes a picture outside with a pinhole camera in a packing tube

How to Make a Pinhole Camera

When Chris Peregoy ’81, visual and performing arts, M.F.A. ’99, intermedia and digital arts, received a tin full of Christmas cookies from his sister around the year 2000, he immediately dumped the contents out on the table to eat later. He had a moment of inspiration staring at the empty container—“This tin would make a great camera.” If you’ve ever looked at an oatmeal container, a hollowed-out book, a mailbox, or an entire room, and thought, “This object would make a great camera,” chances are you are familiar with the concept of a pinhole camera. It’s photography distilled to its… Continue Reading How to Make a Pinhole Camera

Three alumni coaches talk with the mock trial team

All Rise for Alumni Mock Trial Coaches

When Natalie Murray ’22, biological sciences, Thomas Azari ’22, political science, and Lauren Wotring ’22, political science, graduated last spring, they didn’t expect to be returning to UMBC so soon. These recent alums—all members of the 2021 National Mock Trial Championship team—were making inroads in the next stages of their careers, but didn’t hesitate to pick up the phone when the UMBC Mock Trial team called. Together they took on the leadership of UMBC’s B team, guiding the group—composed mostly of first-year students—to the Opening Round Championship Series (ORCS) in March 2023 and saw B team co-captain Fadil Adeite ’26,… Continue Reading All Rise for Alumni Mock Trial Coaches

Beck smiles in front of a sign reading, "Community of St. Dysmas."

Ministering to the Most Vulnerable

Having the sally port gates slam behind her after walking into the prison for the first time was a bit of a shock to Susan Beck ’74, French. Luckily, a friend was there to hold her hand as they adjusted to the tight space and waited for the next door to open. As Beck got her breathing under control, she joined her classmates in a clinical pastoral education class on the rest of the tour of the facility. Beck, a former French teacher and a childbirth instructor, never envisioned her retirement as a career rebirth, but as she contemplated how… Continue Reading Ministering to the Most Vulnerable

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