“Close to Home”
Rich Sponaugle ’95 and ’97, B.S. and M.S. information systems, has come full circle. He is an instructor and the undergraduate program director for UMBC’s information systems program at the Shady Grove Center. The Universities at Shady Grove brings programs from eight universities in the University System of Maryland to the center in Rockville, Md. UMBC offers daytime, upper division classes at Shady Grove that lead to bachelor’s degrees in information systems and social work.
UMBC’s programs at Shady Grove offer transfer students, many of whom have earned associate’s degrees at Montgomery College, an opportunity to attain their educational goals close to home. A full-time information systems teacher and advisor, Sponaugle attended Montgomery College and transferred to UMBC where he earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
It was here at UMBC where Sponaugle started teaching as a graduate student. For several years, he taught seminars and gave presentations with the federal government; his colleagues noticed his ability to make technical topics understandable to a non-technical staff. This recognition encouraged Sponaugle to become more involved with internal education programs at his agency. And, what he discovered was pure enjoyment.
“Teaching has been an amazing experience both professionally and personally. It is very rewarding to watch students go through the process of learning new material,” says Sponaugle.
When UMBC joined the Universities at Shady Grove, Sponaugle saw an opportunity to teach. Not only did he have the convenience of location living and working in Montgomery County, but also a connection with his first generation college students who juggle family, studies and part-time job responsibilities.
“Had UMBC at Shady Grove been around when I was a student, it would have been the perfect fit for me,” says Sponaugle. At Shady Grove, the smaller class size and close associations with the faculty provide a unique, convenient opportunity for students who want to get a quality education right in their own backyard.”