Four UMBC students have been named 2022-23 Goldwater Scholars, tying the university’s past record, set just last year. This year’s recipients are Christopher Slaughter ‘23, computer engineering; Rachel Myers ‘23, chemical engineering; Tobi Majekodunmi ‘23, mechanical engineering; and D’Juan Moreland ‘23, biological sciences and music. UMBC had more winners this year than any other institution in the state of Maryland.
At UMBC’s 2022 Presidential Faculty and Staff Awards (PFASA), Tamra Mendelson said she loves “getting to the core of a concept” in her research and teaching. As awardee after awardee addressed the audience, both in person and online, it became clear that all shared the same “core concept” of UMBC: community.
The past pandemic year saw arts communities unable to connect with audiences in traditional ways. Usually reliant on people gathering together to experience their work, creators and performers were thrust online. Some artistic experiences were rendered impossible, but the challenging situation didn’t slow the creative efforts of visual and performing artists of UMBC’s Class of 2021.
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.
As the pandemic surged across the country last spring, university arts venues closed their doors, but that didn’t stop UMBC artists from creating. Without the traditional opportunities for collaboration that can be so important in dance, music, theatre, and the visual arts, they turned to new approaches and to individual projects with determination and passion.
Majoring in the arts requires intense levels of stamina and self-discipline — long hours rehearsing, creating, writing, designing, interpreting — coupled with an inner drive for inquiry and perfection. UMBC’s undergraduate and graduate students in the arts are no exception, reaching forward even in this era of social distancing.