CAHSS

News and Updates about UMBC’s College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

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

A college student wearing a black and gold t-shirt standing on a walk way in a college campus

Alberta Ndille ’24—transfer student with an eye for public health and social justice

“Internationalization was a big influence on my choice of major. I’m interested in global health and epidemiological research. Social determinants of health caught my attention. Living in the U.S., I saw a very different approach to maternal health than in Cameroon,” says UMBC senior Alberta Ndille. “I want to research the barriers to maternal healthcare in Cameroon and maybe that can help other countries as well.” Continue Reading Alberta Ndille ’24—transfer student with an eye for public health and social justice

Amy Caballero '22 at her field placement in Seneca Valley High School.

Meet a Retriever—Amy Caballero ’22, new social worker with strong ties to UMBC-Shady Grove

Amy Caballero graduated from UMBC 2022 with her bachelor’s degree in social work. She stayed on at the Shady Grove campus to complete her master’s in social work from the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and she graduates this May. She has a job lined up as a youth development specialist at a local nonprofit. Outside of academia, she says, she’s obsessed with her two dogs, enjoys bouldering, reading fiction and manga, and hanging out with friends. Take it away, Amy! Q: What’s the one thing you’d want someone to know about the support you find at UMBC? A: The support… Continue Reading Meet a Retriever—Amy Caballero ’22, new social worker with strong ties to UMBC-Shady Grove

A woman smiles for a headshot with shoulder-length light brown hair, wearing a white sweater over a blue collared shirt

Charlotte Keniston, Ph.D. ’24—staff member, student, mentor, and a lifelong learner

For most people, obtaining a Ph.D. is a means to an end—authorship, professorship, a career destination. For Charlotte Keniston, it’s about the journey as a lifelong learner. After joining UMBC as a Peaceworker Fellow, Keniston received her M.F.A. in imaging and digital media in 2014. She continued her work in Baltimore and eventually rejoined the Shriver Center Peaceworker Program as a staff member with the intention to work towards her Ph.D. in language, literacy, and culture (LLC). And she did just that. Continue Reading Charlotte Keniston, Ph.D. ’24—staff member, student, mentor, and a lifelong learner

A person in the Caribbean carries large plastic jugs of water into an old apartment building

Thirsty in paradise: Water crises are a growing problem across the Caribbean islands

UMBC’s Farah Nibbs, assistant professor of emergency and disaster health systems, studies the intersection of critical infrastructure and disasters, particularly in the Caribbean. Safe water is essential for all human activity and public health. Nibbs is looking at how and why the Caribbean islands are in a water crisis, and their governments have warned that water scarcity may become the new norm. Her data is sheds light on the root causes of the water crises and to find effective, affordable ways to improve water supply systems. Continue Reading Thirsty in paradise: Water crises are a growing problem across the Caribbean islands

Chuck Peake at his desk in 1969, surrounded by piles of papers.

Chuck Peake—Pioneer of UMBC’s economics program

Charles “Chuck” Peake was hired as the university’s very first professor in economics and entrusted with a daunting task—building the economics department from the ground up. As a professor and mentor, Peake built a tight-knit but inclusive community of economics students and, half a century later, those social bonds still hold strong. Continue Reading Chuck Peake—Pioneer of UMBC’s economics program

A large bill board in the middle of a field reads Hell is Real

How 19th-century Spiritualists ‘canceled’ the idea of hell to address social and political concerns

“Spiritualists believed that people could maintain communication with the living even after death,” discusses UMBC’s Lindsay DiCurirci, associate professor of English. “They thought communicative spirits had a principal role to play in addressing the era’s most pressing social and political concerns, which would be impossible if souls were damned to hell. This idea was a cornerstone of their practice and a driver of their politics.” Continue Reading How 19th-century Spiritualists ‘canceled’ the idea of hell to address social and political concerns

College students sit around a table discussing a book

UMBC’s first Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence shares unique research on neurodiversity in language teaching and learning

“If students have not experienced an inclusive classroom, they may be afraid of managing an inclusive classroom when they become teachers,” says Jules Buendgens-Kosten, a research assistant at the Institute of English and American Studies at Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, Germany and UMBC’s first Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence , whose research helps prepare educators to teach students with dyslexia, ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, and other minority neurotypes. “One way to reduce this fear is giving teachers tools for best practices on neurodiversity in teaching and learning.” Continue Reading UMBC’s first Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence shares unique research on neurodiversity in language teaching and learning

Brick rowhomes with tall buildings in the background neediest areas

Neediest areas are being shortchanged on government funds − even with programs designed to benefit poor communities

Erik Stokan, associate professor of political science at UMBC, collaborated on a study that looked at 20 years of data from the CDBG program, which in 2022 provided about $4.3 billion to cities and states across the country. Federal rules require that 70% of these funds be spent in neighborhoods where a majority of families have low to moderate incomes – a category researchers abbreviate as “LMI.” Continue Reading Neediest areas are being shortchanged on government funds − even with programs designed to benefit poor communities

A writer sits at their desk Guggenheim

Ryan Bloom, English, receives 2024 Guggenheim Fellowship for translation

UMBC’s Ryan Bloom, senior lecturer in English, has received the 2024 Guggenheim Fellowship for translation to work on the first complete edition of the French-Algerian author Albert Camus’s notebooks, journals, and other works. This year, 188 grants were awarded from more than 3,000 applicants from over 52 academic disciplines across the U.S. and Canada. Fellows are provided funding to freely pursue their creative projects through their unique process without any special conditions.  Continue Reading Ryan Bloom, English, receives 2024 Guggenheim Fellowship for translation

a woman in sleeveless shirt and glasses

Meet a Retriever—Camilla Sandoval ’17, M.A. ’19, program coordinator for Maryland Humanities

Meet Camilla Sandoval ’17, history, M.A. ’19, historical studies, a first-generation student who spent part of her time on each of UMBC’s campuses before graduating and putting her studies to work. Today, she spends her days as the program coordinator for grants with Maryland Humanities, where she still employs lessons learned from her time as a Retriever. Continue Reading Meet a Retriever—Camilla Sandoval ’17, M.A. ’19, program coordinator for Maryland Humanities

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