Summer 2013

Up On the Roof – Summer 2013

UMBC President Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, takes your questions. Q:  I want to thank you for making me proud to have a degree from UMBC. The legacy you are building not only enriches students’ experiences, but adds value to their postgraduate lives. How will you continue the momentum you’ve built – and specifically where will additional capital be directed in the coming years? – John Becker ’01, information systems A:  Wherever I go in the country, people talk about UMBC as a university that is setting a standard for inclusive excellence. So how do we keep the momentum? First, I… Continue Reading Up On the Roof – Summer 2013

To You – Summer 2013

I am on UMBC’s campus almost every working day. As the editor of UMBC Magazine, that’s not unexpected. It’s my job. But before I became editor, I came back to UMBC a number of times after graduating in 1986. Sometimes I returned to see a former professor. Other times, I was invited to speak to young journalists, or a new generation of Bartleby editors. I also attended alumni events. The staff of our alumni relations department work hard to come up with events that will entice you to reconnect with the university and your fellow alumni. These events include talks… Continue Reading To You – Summer 2013

John Jeffries

The News – Summer 2013

CALL TO HISTORY The proscenium theatre of UMBC’s recently-opened Performing Arts and Humanities Building was perhaps the most appropriate venue for this year’s W. Augustus Low Lecture in History. The lecturer was John Jeffries, dean of UMBC’s College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (CAHSS) and professor of history, who will retire from the university on June 30. Among the greatest legacies of his 40 years of scholarship and service to UMBC – much of it as leader of the Faculty Senate and the college – was his guiding hand in making the new building a reality, and literally cementing… Continue Reading The News – Summer 2013

Stephanie Hill

Team Player – Stephanie Hill ’86, CompSci and Economics

When Stephanie Hill ’86, computer science and economics, signed up for her first computer programming class at UMBC, it was almost as an afterthought – an elective to fill out the semester. That class in the programming language COBOL led Hill to become (in her words) an “accidental engineer.” And however serendipitous her start in engineering may have been, she’s been quite a success. At Lockheed Martin’s Information Systems & Global Solutions-Civil division, Hill oversees some of the largest government computer systems in operation today. She’s also been honored by the university as one of its 2012 Alumni of the… Continue Reading Team Player – Stephanie Hill ’86, CompSci and Economics

How To Make a Great Cupcake

With Michelle Kupiec ’89, interdisciplinary studies, Owner of Kupcakes & Co. by Meredith Purvis America’s craze for cupcakes is still going strong – and why not? The best bakers have pushed the boundaries of the cupcake to concoct dozens of colorful confections with new twists (bouffant icings and inventive garnishes) that can dazzle the eyes and delight the taste buds. It’s not as easy as it looks to make a truly amazing cupcake, however, and even for the most polished pastry chefs wrestle with perfecting this single serving of scrumptiousness. So we headed into the kitchen with Michelle Kupiec ’89,… Continue Reading How To Make a Great Cupcake

Greg Cantori

Giving Back – Greg Cantori ’84, Geography

There’s a conventional wisdom that nonprofits should be run like businesses. Be accountable. Watch the bottom line. But Greg Cantori ’84, geography, argues that this thinking’s just as useful the other way around. “Businesses need to be run more like nonprofits,” says Cantori, 52, who was appointed in October as president and CEO of Maryland Nonprofits – an advocacy group for the state’s more than 1,400 nonprofit organizations. Corporations can learn from nonprofits, for instance, that social responsibility shouldn’t be an add-on. “It needs to be embedded into the corporate structure,” Cantori explains. “The best companies to work for watch… Continue Reading Giving Back – Greg Cantori ’84, Geography

Discovery – Summer 2013

CENTER STAGE On a hazy day in Baltimore, Ray Hoff can tell you if the smog that you see is from the Midwest, from Quebec, or from Baltimore itself.Hoff, a UMBC professor of physics and senior science advisor to the Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology (JCET), began his career at Environment Canada with two projects: studying the deposition of toxic chemicals in the Great Lakes and looking at particle concentration in the atmosphere using a laser technology called LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) to take those measurements.When Hoff moved to UMBC in 1999 to become the director of JCET… Continue Reading Discovery – Summer 2013

Back Story – Summer 2013

The Hrabowski Fund for Innovation – established in honor of UMBC President Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, to help UMBC faculty pursue new approaches to teaching – made its inaugural awards in January. Among the recipients were Marie desJardins, a professor of computer science and electrical engineering, Nagaraj Neerchal, chair of the department of mathematics and statistics, and Leslie Morgan, a professor of sociology and anthropology. Each project pushed UMBC’s already burgeoning culture of curricular innovation and pushed it into new directions and disciplines. DesJardins created the ACTIVE (Active Computing Teaching and InnoVation Environment) center to create a more collaborative environment… Continue Reading Back Story – Summer 2013

Composition as Conversation – James Polchin ’89, PoliSci and English

Teaching students how to write more clearly and powerfully in introductory writing classes is at the heart of the university’s mission. But technology is transforming the task, says James Polchin ’89, political science and English, who teaches writing and founded a website – – that celebrates the contemporary essay. Polchin has taught in the Princeton Writing Program, the New School for Social Research, and is currently on the faculty of the Global Liberal Studies Program at New York University.  by James Polchin ’89 It has been nearly 30 years since I walked into a small, green-walled classroom in what… Continue Reading Composition as Conversation – James Polchin ’89, PoliSci and English

At Play – Summer 2013

BLADE RUNNERS On a Thursday night at the Retriever Activities Center, amidst a hard-fought pickup game of basketball  and  wrestling practice on large mats, a group clad in loose-fitting, traditional Japanese-style garments clashes with wooden training swords called shinai. These warriors are members of the UMBC Kendo Club, students of the samurai tradition of kendo, or “The Way of the Sword.” Over a 90-minute training session, they engage with head-and-body-armored instructors from a group called Baltimore-Annapolis Kendo in controlled exercises and watch demonstrations of the sort of action group members might expect in kendo competitions. The club was founded in… Continue Reading At Play – Summer 2013

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