M.A., Applied Sociology
Hometown: Springfield, Ohio
Plans: Ph.D., UMBC
UMBC has prepared me in myriad ways as an engaged scholar, young professional, and public servant. UMBC has taught me to believe in myself and in my capabilities, and to use them to serve others.
Ciara Christian came to UMBC’s master’s in applied sociology program as a Shriver Peaceworker Fellow, after returning from Peace Corps service in Rwanda. She shares, “Through my experiences, I have learned the importance of interdisciplinarity and seeing the connections across disciplines to address complex, societal challenges. I have learned about the importance of truly engaging community as partners in applied scholarship, and about the symbiotic relationship that occurs when scholars approach communities with an asset-based framework, acknowledging their existing knowledge and capacity.”
While at UMBC, Christian pursued community-engaged scholarship through participatory action research in Baltimore City as well as through her work as coordinator of UMBC’s Grand Challenge Scholars Program, where students of all majors learn how they can effectively collaborate to address important societal problems.
In 2017, as a Sondheim Nonprofit Leadership Fellow, Christian interned at Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance (BNIA). There, she was primarily responsible for organizing Baltimore Data Day, an annual workshop that brings together over 300 community leaders, community groups, nonprofits, government entities, and socially-minded technologists to learn how to access and utilize available public data about their neighborhoods to advocate for change.
Christian will soon begin UMBC’s Ph.D. program in language, literacy, and culture, with a focus on work that prioritizes diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Portrait by Marlayna Demond ’11 for UMBC.