Spring 2023

a group of young people gather around a garden plot, working the soil

Growing Fruitful Campus Connections

The occasional clang of a shovel rings through the chilly spring air amid the chatter of a small group of cheerful students at the UMBC Community Garden. The students and Ariel Barbosa, program coordinator for Retriever Essentials at UMBC and a master’s student in community leadership, are working hard to ready seven garden plots for crop production the growing season. Already, cold-hardy greens are on their way in one bed, and cucumbers and eggplant are growing indoors awaiting transplant. The gardening effort is a new initiative of Retriever Essentials, a faculty, staff, and student partnership to tackle food insecurity within… Continue Reading Growing Fruitful Campus Connections

A woman with dark hair stands next to a piece of art

Squaring the Circle: The Powerful Art of Hadieh Shafie

The most recent artworks by Hadieh Shafie, M.F.A. ’04, intermedia and digital arts, appear like optical illusions, tricks. Tightly stacked lines of colored pencil suddenly twist and warp into circles. The two-dimensional surface swirls and vibrates, like eddy lines in a river or sound waves blasting from a speaker. Tucked into these dancing lines, Shafie has written the Persian word for passionate love: eshgh. The drawings pull together many themes from Shafie’s work and life experience, of leaving her home country of Iran in 1983 at the age of 12 and never going back. From her childhood there, she recalls… Continue Reading Squaring the Circle: The Powerful Art of Hadieh Shafie

in a black and white photo, a woman sits at a desk, pouring over materials

Retriever for Life

Very few Retrievers can say they’ve spent as many years on campus or enjoyed quite so many roles in doing so as Joan Costello ’73, social work. From her first days as a student and student worker; to 41 years as a staff member in the library, audiovisual (AV) services, and multimedia center; to her current role as basketball season ticket holder, committee member of the Founding Four, and board member of the Wisdom Institute—UMBC’s organization for retired staff and faculty—Costello shares why she’s chosen to make UMBC her second home for more than 50 years. The first days I… Continue Reading Retriever for Life

A family gathers around a matriarch in a wheelchair

Caregiving Goes Both Ways

For more than a decade, Rita Choula was the primary caregiver for her late mother who lived with frontotemporal degeneration (FTD), a lesser known form of early onset dementia that typically affects people under the age of 60. “My mother started saying things like ‘I don’t feel like myself. I feel like I’m losing my mind.’ She used to be someone that was really engaged and outgoing and she started to pull back a bit. She used to be very empathetic, very people-loving, and showed a lot of concern, and it reached a point where that empathy went straight out… Continue Reading Caregiving Goes Both Ways

Jamie Gurganus, second from left, poses with softball players displaying their 2022 America East Championship jewelry.

Faculty Unleash Their Inner Coach

In spring 2022, UMBC softball swept all three tournament games to win their third America East championship. The Retrievers held their opponents scoreless, becoming the first team in conference history to achieve this milestone. And no one cheered louder for their success than Jamie Gurganus, faculty in engineering and computing education and mechanical engineering. Decked out in softball gear (and now with a championship ring necklace gifted from the team engraved with “Prof. G”), Gurganus ’04, M.S. ’11, Ph.D. ’20, mechanical engineering, ended her inaugural semester as honorary faculty coach to the record-breaking team on a high note. (UMBC Softball… Continue Reading Faculty Unleash Their Inner Coach

Four people stand in front of a quilt with a gold heart on it. The people are holding copies of a book titled This Belongs to Us.

UMBC Belongs to All of Us

UMBC is a young institution—and not only do we have active alumni from the first four graduating classes still working to make an impact on campus and beyond, we are still discovering new stories about the establishment of the university and the ways the campus community was invited to co- create UMBC at its inception. In fact, Diane Tichnell ’70, political science, describes the impetus for the Founding Four’s book, This Belongs to Us (2023), as its own sort of inception. Several years ago, she had a dream—literal dream while she was asleep. In it, she was attending a lecture… Continue Reading UMBC Belongs to All of Us

two women in professional clothes stand in front of large windows

Office Hours

Each week, UMBC President Valerie Sheares Ashby invites students to her office hours to chat about their lives and their experiences at UMBC. Today, she’s speaking with Viridiana Colosio-Martinez ’22, modern languages, linguistics, and intercultural communication, and M.A. ’24, intercultural communication, who emigrated from Mexico and is currently working on community-engaged research with immigrant communities in Baltimore’s Highlandtown neighborhood. Read more about Colosio-Martinez’s life and work in Shared Stories, Shared Purpose. UMBC Magazine: Viridiana, you have such a compelling personal story. When you first met Dr. Sheares Ashby, what was the most important thing you wanted to convey to her… Continue Reading Office Hours

in a behind the scenes shot on a film set, a man fends off a pretend bear with a door

Grin and Bear It

When asked to describe the cinematic masterpiece that is Cocaine Bear, Scott Seiss ’16, media and communication studies, didn’t mince any words to deliver his thoughts on the hit film based on true events. “I think ‘cocaine’ and ‘bear,’ just those two words pretty much sum it up. A wild rollercoaster ride of gore and jokes.” What started as a Facebook message to then-agentless Seiss’ spam folder with the suspicious but apt subject line “COCAINE” has led to a debut on the silver screen and launched this Retriever from Dundalk onto the national comedy stage. Bear for now, dog for… Continue Reading Grin and Bear It

A young man takes a picture outside with a pinhole camera in a packing tube

How to Make a Pinhole Camera

When Chris Peregoy ’81, visual and performing arts, M.F.A. ’99, intermedia and digital arts, received a tin full of Christmas cookies from his sister around the year 2000, he immediately dumped the contents out on the table to eat later. He had a moment of inspiration staring at the empty container—“This tin would make a great camera.” If you’ve ever looked at an oatmeal container, a hollowed-out book, a mailbox, or an entire room, and thought, “This object would make a great camera,” chances are you are familiar with the concept of a pinhole camera. It’s photography distilled to its… Continue Reading How to Make a Pinhole Camera

Two women talking outside of a red building.

Shared Stories, Shared Purpose

On a warm and bright sunny day in April when the trees in Baltimore City’s Patterson Park are changing from bright green buds to full leaf and the birds are competing with the car horns, Viridiana Colosio-Martinez ’22, modern languages, linguistics, and intercultural communication, and M.A. ’24, intercultural communication, waits in front of the Creative Alliance, a community and performance space a few blocks away from the park. After three years of undergraduate and graduate classes with her professor Tania Lizarazo, Colosio-Martinez is finally meeting her in person.  “I’m nervous and excited,” she says, waving to Lizarazo, associate professor of… Continue Reading Shared Stories, Shared Purpose

Digital collage of abstract and illustrated imagery.

Open to Interpretation

What if you could ask yourself a big question and then use your intuition to follow it wherever it led for as long as it took? It would take a certain kind of guts, right? But, with a willingness to get lost on a tangent, to joyfully put themselves in positions of not knowing, truly creative thinkers can find new ways of translating the world around them. Enter the following: A dancer who makes beautiful movement from fish research. An information systems professor who turns poetry into wine. A data visualizer who draws connections while splattering paint. A mapper and… Continue Reading Open to Interpretation

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