Ask the President – Spring 2018

Published: May 15, 2018
(Freeman with Students)

Q: I was wondering if you had any advice for a finance student?

— Godwin Okoro, senior financial economics student

A: I think it’s really important that students work with our Career Center, where the staff members do a superb job of giving advice to students about opportunities. We have many employer partnerships. And I hope that you participated in the recent Career Fair where we had over 100 employers. It’s critical that students apply for internships beginning after their freshman year, because practical experience will give them increasing opportunities.

For a senior, the most important advice is to listen to the experts in the Career Center and talk with professors for general advice. It’s important not to be too specific in what you’re looking for. The most important tip to new graduates is to get broad experience that can shape their vision for the future.

Broad education always helps. And students need to understand the different tracks or paths one can take in financial institutions, from technology, data science, and cyber security to becoming analysts. I also recommend talking with the Career Center about connecting with UMBC alumni in those fields who can give specific advice to students.

Q: As we see expressions of hate and racism on college campuses around the country, how is UMBC addressing these issues?

— Maceo Thomas ’93, biochemistry and molecular biology, and a member of the Meyerhoff Scholars Program’s first cohort

A: UMBC regularly communicates our values and our support for all of our residents, students, faculty, and staff, and the larger community. We speak to the need to not accept prejudice of any kind, whether it’s racism, or homophobia, or religious intolerance, or sexism.

We have a number of forums sponsored by the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences and by student groups that provide opportunities to hear different perspectives on the divisive issues in our society. And I would say many of our courses across the disciplines address issues of prejudice at UMBC. We encourage open dialogue, and we encourage people to keep an open mind and listen to other perspectives.

If you look at social media and talk with our students, they appreciate our speaking out against these types of prejudice. And they want to know that we are prepared when acts of intolerance arise, whether involving sexism or racism or other issues. And we have a number of people on campus who are focused on giving our students support during these times. In my talks and a number of the talks of other administrators, we encourage students to get beyond their comfort zone and to get to know people different from themselves. While it’s important for each group to appreciate its own cultural roots, strengths, and challenges, we need as a society to encourage more robust dialogue across different groups. UMBC is constantly working to support that idea.

Click here to read UMBC’s statement after the unrest in Charlottesville, August 2017.

Do you have a question for UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski? Send it to, and it may appear in a future issue of UMBC Magazine.

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