As a child in Iran, Nastaran Azar ’22, biological science, was afraid when she saw her grandmother take out her dentures, but her brother’s explanation of what had happened to her grandmother’s original teeth gave Azar a life goal. “Teeth play a really important role in our lives,” she says. She plans to help others take care of theirs when she eventually becomes a dentist.
At UMBC, Aiman Raza has conducted research under Kevin Omland, professor of biological sciences, and at the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology, located in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. She also completed a virtual summer internship with the Smithsonian, where she studied fish and crustacean communities on oyster reefs in the Chesapeake Bay.
Four UMBC students have been named 2022-23 Goldwater Scholars, tying the university’s past record, set just last year. This year’s recipients are Christopher Slaughter ‘23, computer engineering; Rachel Myers ‘23, chemical engineering; Tobi Majekodunmi ‘23, mechanical engineering; and D’Juan Moreland ‘23, biological sciences and music. UMBC had more winners this year than any other institution in the state of Maryland.
At UMBC’s 2022 Presidential Faculty and Staff Awards (PFASA), Tamra Mendelson said she loves “getting to the core of a concept” in her research and teaching. As awardee after awardee addressed the audience, both in person and online, it became clear that all shared the same “core concept” of UMBC: community.
A new study that tested thousands of fruit flies may eventually give doctors the ability to make better-informed decisions about which medications to prescribe for older adults. “Our genetics matters,” says Mariann Gabrawy. “Humans don’t all react the same to various prescription medications. So it’s really important to be able to look at an individual patient and figure out if some particular medication is going to work for them or not.”
Articles on The Conversation offer context to current events, explain natural phenomena, introduce new research in an accessible way, and more. “The Conversation helps us contribute to our public service mission as a public university,” says Vice President for Research Karl Steiner. “This milestone underscores the importance of academic researchers actively participating in the public discourse of complex issues.”
The largest gift in the history of UMBC—a $21 million donation from the Sherman Family Foundation—will dramatically expand the reach and impact of the university’s K-12 and early childhood education work. The transformational gift will provide funding to launch the Betsy & George Sherman Center as a national model to advance excellence in urban schools.
Spider silks and glues are incredibly difficult to produce synthetically, but could have important medical or industrial applications. Mercedes Burns and Sarah Stellwagen will study sticky substances produced by other animals, which are “sticky like spider silk glues, but maybe their genetic architecture is easier for us to duplicate,” Burns says.
“I was able to access excellent research opportunities in the humanities that I never thought would be available at the undergraduate level,” says Emily Rose Paul ‘21, global studies. “UMBC is known as a STEM school, but I have received the most amazing humanities education as a global studies student. You will be surprised at all that you can find here.”
When listeners tune in to the Retriever Tales podcast hosted by Tirzah Khan ‘21, information systems, who is graduating this week, they’ll hear UMBC voices sharing their journeys of finding and creating community. Moving, inspiring, funny, and thought-provoking, the show is a testament to Khan’s own UMBC experience and a broader culture of co-creating community at UMBC.