The Hilltop Institute at UMBC has led numerous high-impact health care research projects over a nearly 30-year history at UMBC. “The Hilltop Institute epitomizes the spirit of UMBC’s mission to integrate teaching, research and engaged scholarship, and service to benefit communities in Maryland and beyond,” says Cynthia Woodcock, executive director of Hilltop.
Due to the constraints of COVID, student researchers have become even more creative in using technology not just to display their research, but to pursue their research at a time when in-person interviews, fieldwork, and traditional performances aren’t possible. Students learned to do interviews online and navigated lab research within physical distancing guidelines. They also responded to the pandemic by examining the changes in society and in themselves.
“Dr. Hrabowski has been at the forefront of creating and promoting a vision of how we think and talk about aging and longevity,” shares Dana Bradley, dean of UMBC’s Erickson School of Aging Studies. And the inclusive, forward-looking vision that he and the Erickson School emphasize has had notable impacts, including on the student experience.
Community-engaged work has been integral to the UMBC experience for so many Retrievers, including the four featured here. Despite coming from such different academic programs, they have all been able to connect in meaningful ways with local and international communities. And after graduating this week, they’ll each apply their talents, skills, and sense of commitment to community-engaged careers.
“Our ceremony provides an opportunity to reflect upon the tremendous personal growth of each of our graduates,” explains Dana Bradley, dean of the Erickson School. “We celebrate the amazing opportunities our graduates have as leaders in aging services to ensure that our society is ready to embrace the longevity economy.”
Bradley believes “This is a world where engineers, designers, coders, visual artists, musicians, writers, mathematicians, economists—you name it—they are all needed to design living, working, and transportation spaces that are responsive to how humans age. This is a collective question that needs answers from all fields.”