Diane Stonestreet ’22, mechanical engineering, shares, “my time at UMBC has given me the space to better understand and take ownership of my journey as a first-gen student. I’ve become confident in myself, and aware that I do deserve the opportunities that come my way.”
“What makes this award special is that it truly recognizes the work of our entire Division of Information Technology (DoIT),” Suess says. “Our team’s work, particularly in helping the university quickly shift to remote learning last year, due to COVID, reflects a spirit of empathy and collaboration. This spirit has made IT true partners in the university’s success, not just technology experts.”
Persistent. Innovative. Determined. These are the words UMBC’s commencement speakers returned to again and again to describe the Class of 2021. And despite a year of challenges—missing family and friends, technological frustrations, life lived through the computer screen—one of the resounding themes of this year’s Commencement ceremonies was gratitude.
Students from across all three UMBC colleges are graduating this week having taken advantage of the unique undergraduate research opportunities and supportive mentorship UMBC offers. They’re poised to take their research to the next level and move on to new challenges through graduate school and careers.
Four UMBC students have been named 2021-2022 Goldwater Scholars, setting a new university record for the most Retrievers to earn this prestigious undergraduate award in a single year. “The impact that these students will have in their respective fields is immense, and they are ready for the challenge,” says April Householder, director of undergraduate research and prestigious scholarships.
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.
The Research Experience for Undergraduates in Smart Computing and Communications will bring together a cohort of 10 undergraduate students to participate in a paid 10-week, full-time research experience from June 7 to August 13. While the summer 2021 program will be remote, each student will work closely with a research group and mentor.
“UMBC’s community-engaged activity and the people who make this activity possible give me great hope,” shares Michele Wolff, director of the Shriver Center. “Now more than ever, our community and civic engagement can help change the current narrative and move us towards a more inclusive, equitable, and just society.”
UMBC’s newest graduates in computing and data science fields include students at all stages in their education and careers. Undergraduates, master’s students seeking to access new career opportunities, and Ph.D. students completing high-impact research have thrived at UMBC. Many cite the university’s strong academics, accessible faculty, research opportunities, and connections across disciplines as drawing them to UMBC.