There are scores of UMBC alumnae who are changing the world through their contributions, leadership, and talent. Throughout Women’s History Month, we are highlighting just a few of our alumnae who we look up to as leaders in their fields. We know there are thousands in our UMBC community who deserve to be recognized, so we invite you to use #UMBCtogether on social media to share with us those who inspire you.
Sarah Butts ’07, social work
Director of Public Policy
National Association of Social Workers
As a licensed master social worker, Sarah Butts is taking her advocacy straight to the top of the policymaking world on Capitol Hill. Her next-level challenge? Making sure that professionals working to protect society’s most vulnerable populations are themselves adequately protected.
Mina Cheon, M.F.A. ’02, imaging & digital arts
Maryland Institute College of Art
Dividing her time between Baltimore, New York, and Seoul, South Korea, Mina Cheon produces artwork – “Polipop” – that draws inspiration from global media and popular culture, intersecting politics and pop art in evocative ways, while maintaining her connections to UMBC and the MFA program.
Kizzmekia Corbett ’08, M16, biological sciences and sociology
Senior Research Fellow | Scientific Lead
Coronavirus Vaccines & Immunopathogenesis (coVip) Team
National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
National Institutes of Health
As the lead researcher tasked with developing the Moderna vaccine, former Meyerhoff Scholar Kizzmekia Corbett’s work has been recognized by Time, CNN, Essence, and more. Corbett’s contributions to the scientific field, including her work with fellow Retrievers, have made an indelible mark upon the history of our world.
Gargi Dasgupta, M.S. ’01, Ph.D. ’03, computer science
Director, IBM Research India
CTO for IBM India/South Asia
Gargi Dasgupta appeared on Fortune India’s “Most Powerful Women in Business” list in 2019. In reference to the work that landed her on the list, her profile states that “one key accomplishment has been to establish IBM’s leadership in artificial intelligence (AI)-driven business process and IT automation.” Dasgupta remains active in her involvement with UMBC, recently joining the Computer Science and Electrical Engineering Advisory Board.
Stephanie Hill ’86, computer science and economics
Executive Vice President of Rotary and Mission Systems (RMS)
When Stephanie Hill 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.” Technical.ly Baltimore just declared Hill one of “5 Black innovators in Maryland you should know.” In addition to her work at Lockheed Martin, Hill was also the first Black woman to chair the Greater Baltimore Committee board of directors.
Adrienne Jones ’76, psychology
Maryland House Speaker
Adrienne Jones made history in 2019 when she was sworn in as the first Black and the first female Maryland House Speaker. Jones’s exceptional leadership landed her on The Daily Record’s Power 100 List in 2021 for her contributions to the state of Maryland. According to Baltimore Magazine’s list of 30 women who are “shaping Baltimore’s future”, she’s part of a cohort of female leaders who are “moving Baltimore forward, shaping the future of the region in terms of its priorities, policies, and passions—and inspiring others with their compassion and empathy.”
Ruby Lu ’94, economics
Founder of Atypical Ventures
Ruby Lu is one of the earliest investors in her home country’s technology sector. Her investment in China’s e-commerce, software, and healthcare industries has helped to grow companies and create jobs. In 2019, Lu started her own firm, Atypical Ventures, and is one of a small group of women investors who have risen to the forefront of China’s venture capital world.
Patricia Ordóñez, M.S. ’10, Ph.D. ’12, computer science
Department of Computer Science
University of Puerto Rico – Río Piedras
The first Latina to receive a Ph.D. in computer science at UMBC, Patricia Ordóñez’s path wasn’t always easy. She worked to overcome obstacles and has built a “university data science program and create[d] a computer science education program for K-12 public schools.” Ordóñez also founded the Symposium of Health Informatics for Latin America and the Caribbean.
Kaitlyn Sadtler ’11, biological sciences
Earl Stadtman Investigator
Chief of the Section for Immuno-Engineering
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging & Bioengineering
Without comprehensive nationwide testing, it’s been impossible to measure in real time the total number of Americans who have been exposed to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. However, there is another way to come up with a reliable estimate, and Kaitlyn Sadtler is leading the charge. Sadtler’s research found that nearly 5% of Americans surveyed contracted undiagnosed COVID-19 in the summer of 2020. Her career research has landed her on Forbes “30 Under 30” for science in 2019, and a spot as a TED Fellow.
Jennifer Walsmith ’90, computer science
Vice President, Cyber & Information Solutions (CIS)
In 2020, Jennifer Walsmith was named one of WashingtonExec’s “Top 25 Cyber Execs to Watch.” In her role, she leads a team of over 2,000 from across the U.S. to provide critical support to the Defense Intelligence Systems Agency and protection against cyber attacks. In addition to this distinction, Walsmith was named WashingtonExec’s Intelligence Council Chair.
Alicia Wilson ’04, political science
Vice President for Economic Development
Johns Hopkins University
Alicia Wilson’s commitment to strengthening the community became even more prevalent during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through her work with Johns Hopkins and local organizations, Wilson established the East Baltimore Food Initiative to serve more than 1.5 million meals to working adults who weren’t eligible for programs that targeted children and older adults. Wilson’s dedication landed her on Baltimore Magazine’s list of 30 women who are shaping Baltimore’s future.
We know there are thousands in our UMBC community who deserve to be recognized, so we invite you to submit a Class Note about your news and use #UMBCtogether on social media to share with us those who inspire you.