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.
UMBC’s Sherman Center for Early Learning in Urban Communities is now in its third year of supporting, strengthening, and expanding early childhood education in Maryland. The center was founded with the support of a $6 million grant from the George and Betsy Sherman Family Foundation in 2017. It has developed a series of research-based initiatives to address the needs of children from birth to eight years old in Maryland, and the workforce dedicated to educating them.
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.
“Carnegie’s definition of community engagement emphasizes the importance of reciprocity and mutual benefits in the partnerships that are created,” explains Michele Wolff, director of the Shriver Center. “Shriver Center programs ask us to think about how we can make our partnerships more authentic, to effectively meet the needs of all involved. In this way, the longstanding approach of the Shriver Center also reflects the Carnegie Foundation’s principles of reciprocity and mutuality.”
Whether she’s in Jordan or Baltimore, UMBC’s Maheen Haq brings a deep sense of duty to her work with communities facing discrimination. “Amanah is a word in Arabic that means trust. For me this means that if I have knowledge of oppression, I have been trusted with the task of standing up against it,” Haq explains. “I study very hard so that I can develop the best skills to serve communities dealing with grave injustices because they deserve the best.”
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.
“We wanted to purposefully use this summit to convene as many researchers as possible to examine, discuss, and share expertise and data,” Mallinson says. “Our intent is increasing collaboration and resources beyond this room, between institutions and the community, to create tangible, applicable and responsive human- and community-centered research in violence prevention with and for Baltimore.”