Courtney Coppersmith, ‘22, biochemistry and molecular biology, experienced UMBC as a welcoming community on her first visit, and she has devoted her time on campus to paying that spirit forward. She is one of the top softball pitchers in the nation. And she has supported fellow UMBC student-athletes and the broader UMBC community through mental health and food security initiatives.
“One of the things I’m most appreciative of is the inclusive and diverse campus of UMBC,” says Shahreen Zannat ’22. “This means a great deal to me because I often find myself to be a little isolated in group settings due to my disability. But not only are the faculty extremely accommodating, but students go out of their way to support me.”
When Sheila Abellano ‘22 received a letter in the mail about the university’s Finish Line program, she knew it was time. After leaving UMBC in 2009, she raised a family and started two small businesses. Reading that Finish Line would waive her readmission fee and offer support with enrollment, financial aid, and academics, she saw a great opportunity.
Kateryna Yakusheva ’22, global studies and economics, looks forward to working on the international stage, with an organization like the World Bank or International Monetary Fund. Wherever her career takes her, she knows she wants to help different groups come together to manage risks, address conflicts, and build new futures.
An aspiring polyglot, Caleb Ruck ’22, modern languages and linguistics, collected languages like Pokemon when he was young. No college felt right, however, until the day he toured UMBC. He knew right away that it was where he belonged. “I genuinely think that UMBC is the best possible fit that I could have gotten,” he says, “it has a very deliberate underdog spirit.”
Jane De Hitta ‘22 was initially drawn to UMBC by its strong academic reputation and she quickly fell in love with the university. As a social work major who had long worked with adults with disabilities, she wanted to invest in the lives and stories of those around her. But when faced with a cancer diagnosis and chemotherapy, she knew she needed a break to focus on herself. She also knew UMBC would be there to welcome her back when she was ready.
“When I arrived in Spain as a teenager, my teachers did not expect me to go to college because I was an immigrant and because I didn’t have the resources to access certain learning opportunities,” says Melisa Argañaraz Gomez, Ph.D. ’22, geography and environmental systems. “Now, as a graduate student in the U.S., remembering my experience as a teenager helps me connect with the students I support and empathize with their lives.”
Charles Harris ‘22 is graduating this month at the age of 80, after beginning his college journey and his military career in the 1970s. Reaching this lifelong goal is such an important occasion for him and his family that he and his wife postponed their 50th wedding anniversary plans to celebrate the achievement.