Campus Life

Two men in a rowing boat that is in water paddling oars in front of a backdrop that says USRowing

Finding Gold on the Water

Push, pull, push, pull. On goes this routine of synchronized oar movements as rowers—nestled in long, tapered boats—move through the water with precision and speed. The trim boats glide through the water with seemingly effortlessness, and as a child, Mark Couwenhoven finds himself entranced.  One day he’ll learn just how much effort this smooth process takes, but for now, Couwenhoven watches his older sister and her fellow competitors shoot through the water with dolphin-like gracefulness.  “I went to my sister’s races and became enthralled with rowing—I knew that it was what I wanted to do when I got older,” Couwenhoven… Continue Reading Finding Gold on the Water

UMBC's campus from a bird's eye view, with gold location pegs superimposed the image to indicate research zones

Putting UMBC Research on the Map

Spring on UMBC’s main campus brings a host of familiar sights and sounds: blooms on the magnolia trees, the chatter of red-winged blackbirds calling from the reeds around Library Pond, greening grass on the campus Quad, and black-and-gold-bedecked Grit Guides leading groups of prospective Retrievers around what may soon become a home away from home. The guides cover the usual highlights—Academic Row, the Retriever Activity Center, the AOK Library, eating establishments, and residential halls. UMBC is a place to live, to learn, and to find community. And while some of the functions of campus spaces are obvious, others are often… Continue Reading Putting UMBC Research on the Map

Seniors sitting together in a circle, clapping hands while listening to a saxophone player

The Senior Class

Retrievers for life, that’s UMBC’s promise, and a  group of residents at Charlestown’s senior living community are keeping their end of the bargain. Located two miles away from UMBC’s Catonsville campus, 60 or so retired and current faculty, staff, alumni, and friends at Charlestown are enjoying the ongoing cultural and educational perks of the two institutions. Several of these “Friends of UMBC” are laying the groundwork for continued exchange and connection—jazz concerts, classes about gender and sexuality, high-profile speakers—leaving a legacy for future generations to follow. Continue Reading The Senior Class

Live Music Strikes a Chord for Retrievers

It may be coincidental that UMBC was founded in the midst of rock n’ roll’s most revolutionary years, but early Retrievers certainly made sure to create spaces to bring live music to the campus, in intimate settings and on much bigger stages. Since then, iconic bands and artists such as Frank Zappa, the Goo Goo Dolls, Alanis Morissette, All-American Rejects, the Strokes, Brand New, Foo Fighters, Yellowcard, All Time Low, My Chemical Romance, and more, have all played shows for UMBC’s students. But while UMBC has a rich history of hosting renowned artists, they have always had a soft spot… Continue Reading Live Music Strikes a Chord for Retrievers

a woman with bright green hair stands in front of shelves of thousands of Pez dispensers

PEZ—The Sweetest Hobby

Beware of crushes. Especially as a 10-year-old in 1995. They might lead to a lifelong hobby, rooms of your house dedicated to your collection, a quirky and supportive community, and even a spot in an Emmy-winning documentary. Katie Chrzanowski, however, has no regrets. After a brief crush on someone who collected PEZ, and thinking that starting her own collection would be a fun competition, she’s now the proud owner of more than several thousand PEZ dispensers, the host of the Maryland PEZ Gathering, and an extra on the set of The Pez Outlaw. But Chrzanowski ’07, visual arts, doesn’t just… Continue Reading PEZ—The Sweetest Hobby

Two women smiling, standing in front of bookshelf, holding scenic landscape paintings.

Office Hours with President Sheares Ashby and URCAD student artist

During her office hours, President Valerie Sheares Ashby makes it a point to meet weekly with students and hear about their UMBC experiences and their aspirations for life after UMBC. Today, Jenna Beshara, a senior English and visual arts double major, shares her Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement Day (URCAD) project with the president. Beshara, who spent last summer on a study abroad program in Wales, painted a series of Welsh watercolor landscapes with paints she made herself using only natural ingredients. In this excerpt of their conversation, she and President Sheares Ashby discuss the importance of pursuing art and research through a sustainability lens. Continue Reading Office Hours with President Sheares Ashby and URCAD student artist

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

Man sitting behind a drum kit playing under purple lighting.

Sharing the beat of his own drum—Connor LeFevre ’23 finds success through UMBC’s music tech program

On a chilly February night, some of the most dedicated local music fans pile in for a floor show at a small grunge venue, Baltimore’s Ottobar. When the first band, Lean Tee, takes the floor and begins playing, the mood of the room shifts from anticipation to excitement. Connor LeFevre ’23, music technology, sits behind the drum kit in the center. This show represents a pretty typical night for LeFevre, as he has centered his life around music—a career move, he said, made possible by his major at UMBC, which gave him full-time access to recording spaces and instructors who remain active in their musical fields. Continue Reading Sharing the beat of his own drum—Connor LeFevre ’23 finds success through UMBC’s music tech program

A group of Retrievers digging and working to plant trees in a field.

6 Earth Day events that will ground you to our planet 

While Earth Day may be a one-day affair, our everyday actions affect the Earth 365 days of the year. This April, UMBC is celebrating Earth Month, allowing the community to dedicate time to reflect more deeply on the environmental challenges we are facing and also celebrate the many gifts our world has to offer. In partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the United States Geological Survey (USGS), UMBC is hosting a lineup of free, exciting, Earth Day events happening all month! You don’t even need to leave campus to join in on the fun all while learning about… Continue Reading 6 Earth Day events that will ground you to our planet 

Two people in conversation in front of a crowd of students

Ballet dancer Misty Copeland shares personal mission in visit with students at UMBC

Misty Copeland is a ballerina on a mission—and last week she brought that mission to UMBC. Renowned for both her ethereality and powerful muscularity, as well as her activism in diversifying a white-dominant field, in 2015 Copeland became the first Black woman promoted to principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre, a top U.S. ballet company.

On March 6, Copeland spent a day on campus—meeting with dance majors in the Dance Cube, speaking one-on-one with alumni and young dancers at a reception, watching student dancers perform, and participating in UMBC’s first annual Artful Conversations, a public Q&A in Linehan Concert Hall.
On March 6, Copeland spent a day on campus—meeting with dance majors in the Dance Cube, speaking one-on-one with alumni and young dancers at a reception, watching student dancers perform, and participating in UMBC’s first annual Artful Conversations. Continue Reading Ballet dancer Misty Copeland shares personal mission in visit with students at UMBC

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