UMBC will expand its work boosting diversity in academia from Maryland to the national level through a new NSF INCLUDES Alliance: Re-Imagining STEM Equity Utilizing Postdoc Pathways (RISE UPP). The RISE UPP Alliance, anticipated to officially launch in fall 2022, is modeled after the PROMISE Academy, a high-impact initiative co-led by UMBC that supports faculty diversification in the biomedical sciences across University System of Maryland (USM) institutions.
“We’re really excited that the NIH has the confidence that we can do the work,” says Justine Johnson. G-RISE builds on a solid foundation from the successful Inititiative for Maximizing Student Development Meyerhoff Graduate Fellows Program, but, says Rachel Brewster, “We’ve built onto that a number of new elements.”
“Service is a pathway to opportunities for everyone if we allow it to be accessible to all,” says Keenan Hickman, M.P.S. ’22, community leadership. “It is about leading through example and perseverance, and finding joy in completing innovative complex projects with a myriad of community members and organizations.”
Noah Sienkiewicz, the NASA recipient, says UMBC’s partnerships with the agency helped set him up for success. “I’ve gotten to be more exposed to actual NASA work, and sit in meetings with NASA officials,” he says. “So, as far as the childhood dream of ‘I want to work for NASA,’ I feel like it’s been a great stepping stone to doing that.”
“I had never been part of a university whose work was centered around social justice,” says Nicholas Nguyen ‘21, M.A. sociology. “The Peace Corps showed me how political systems work at an international level. UMBC’s Peaceworker Program is giving me an understanding from a social justice and antiracist perspective.”
“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.”
Two UMBC projects have taken flight this spring, designed to support the academic, creative, and social success of Baltimore City students through arts opportunities. Both projects are funded through the UMBC-Charlesmead Initiative for Arts Education, which was established in 2018 with a $500,000, five-year gift from the Charlesmead Foundation.