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UMBC’s newest grads leave a legacy of advocacy, inclusion, and support for fellow students

On the back of every UMBC black and gold ID card is a guide to essential emergency resources, including numbers for health, counseling, sexual assault, and suicide prevention helplines. The new card design was the result of student advocacy through UMBC’s Retriever Courage initiative, seeking to better prevent and respond to sexual assault and violence. And the person who suggested that change is Autumn Cook, graduating this week, a tireless advocate for fellow UMBC students.

A woman with long dark hair pulled back in a pony tail by a white, black, and orange scarf wearing a black shirt and white pants walks on a paved walkway with a green tree and some green shrubs behind her and a short yellow wall and a city behind her.

New UMBC grads honor parents’ immigrant journeys by forging their own paths

Graduating seniors Anthony Cano, Renato Zanelli, and Maya Scheirer came to UMBC with pride and hunger instilled by their immigrant parents’ work ethic. They brought rich cultures, languages, and hearts full of dreams and aspirations with the goal of forging futures of their own. “As a first-generation college student,” Zanelli says, “I can now be a role model for my younger cousins. I can help and inspire them. They will not have to do it alone.”

UMBC’s Gloria Chuku is named the 2020 – 21 Lipitz Professor for her research on the Igbo people of Nigeria

Gloria Chuku, chair and professor of Africana studies, has been named UMBC’s Lipitz Professor for 2020 – 21. This distinguished professorship recognizes and supports innovative teaching and research. Chuku will carry out research for her new book project, “Becoming Igbo in Nigeria and the Diaspora: A History of Ethnic Identity Formation and Negotiation.”

Woman wearing "Take Back the Night" t-shirt speaks into a microphone at the center of a group.

Graduating UMBC student advocates keep building community in an unprecedented time

For Nadia BenAissa and Sam Hertl, UMBC has been a place to grow as leaders and advocates. Their college experiences have been defined by their work to educate, speak out, and create resources for survivors of sexual assault and LGBTQIA+ students at UMBC. As the university community has responded to COVID-19 and transitioned to a virtual environment, they have held steadfast in their commitments.

UMBC’s Mejdulene B. Shomali receives Woodrow Wilson Foundation fellowship for research on gender and sexuality in transnational Arab culture

“Most people don’t know there are twenty-two countries in the Arab league. These countries share Arabic as the primary national language. Many are Muslim-majority nations,” shares Shomali. “Many, but not all.” She notes, “There is great linguistic, cultural, ethnic, and religious diversity within the Arab world.”

“Appreciate the differences”: How study abroad shaped four UMBC student experiences

Many students come to UMBC with the goal of leaving the familiar behind to take on new challenges and gain a fresh perspective. Once they’re on campus, that’s also what inspires some Retrievers to explore international learning opportunities. Balancing course requirements, activities, research, and other responsibilities, while also pursuing study abroad, can prove challenging. But for these four UMBC students earning undergraduate degrees this month, it’s also been transformative.

Student trainer in UMBC t-shirt (at right) chats with a small group of other UMBC students (at left).

UMBC’s newest grads leave a legacy of community-building and support

Meet a few of the many UMBC students graduating this December who exemplify the Retriever spirit of building connections and community by offering a compassionate ear, a helping hand, and a voice of support when it is most needed. Together, these students have created a more inclusive, accessible, and supportive UMBC for everyone, and they continue to reach together to help UMBC grow.

Amy Bhatt shines light on gender and immigration policy in new book High-Tech Housewives

“Now more than ever, Professor Bhatt’s research is crucial in helping all of us understand the everyday impact of high-skilled immigration,” shares Jessica Berman, director of the Dresher Center for the Humanities. “Thriving academic research communities are enriched by the knowledge and expertise highly-skilled international faculty, staff, and students bring and share.”

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