Baltimore Sun highlights how UMBC is enhancing the student experience in and out of the classroom

Published: Feb 9, 2017

(UMBC I/O Psychology Professor Elliot D. Lasson reviews the basics of APA writing style with students Wilson Merida, Faith Kamei, and Wendy Lopez. From L-R: Wilson Merida, Elliot D. Lasson, Ph.D., Faith Kamei, and Wendy Lopez.)

Student success has long been a pillar of UMBC’s mission as a public research university, and the Baltimore Sun‘s latest special section on education highlights multiple UMBC programs focused on enhancing student achievement and experiences in and out of the classroom.

APA refresher course helps graduate students advance in their careers

UMBC’s master’s program in industrial/organizational (I/O) psychology offers its students an opportunity to take a refresher course in the American Psychological Association (APA) technical-style writing. Elliot Lasson, professor of the practice and I/O program director, worked with the Center for Academic Success to establish a summer workshop in APA writing after he learned from faculty that a number of students would benefit from extra training in that important skillset.

Elliot Lasson teaches students about the APA style. Photo by Marlayna Demond.

“The APA-style technical writing is less prose, more succinct, more formulaic, and typically written in third person. There’s a very specific way to report the result of a study,” said Lasson. “We hope they know it, but the reality is that students do not all have a strong background in research coming into our program.”

Lasson explained that its essential for psychology students to develop this skill to have continued success as they advance in their careers.

Providing students with technology skills to address workforce needs

The U.S. government and industry have spoken out about a growing, critical demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals. “Between 200,000 to 300,000 cybersecurity jobs need to be filled,” Gib Mason, chief operating officer of UMBC Training Centers told the Baltimore Sun. “The jobs are there waiting.”

The RX5 program, developed by the UMBC Training Centers and Bowie State University, simultaneously addresses the shortage of talented professionals in the cybersecurity industry and the need to improve career opportunities for military veterans and diverse populations. Participants in the RX5 program complete 18 weeks of cybersecurity training, plus a 12-week fellowship, to prepare for a new cybersecurity career.

The program provides students with “a pathway to getting hired,” Mason explained.

UMBC students work with refugee youth in Baltimore to boost college access

UMBC’s College JUMP program provides near-peer college access mentoring for refugee youth in Baltimore City and Baltimore County. Current UMBC students are paired with refugee high school students through The Shriver Center to provide resources, support, and guidance throughout the college application process.

Christina Smith ’15, global studies, serves as the coordinator for the program as UMBC’s Maryland-DC Campus Compact (MDCCC) AmeriCorps VISTA. She said mentors meet with students on a weekly basis to navigate the college application process.

College JUMP 3
A group of mentors, students, and a Chesapeake Hall resident pose at the College JUMP kickoff event. Photo by Brittany DeNovellis.

“They discuss goal setting, career planning, how to adjust to college life, professional email writing skills, how to talk to a professor, interpersonal skills, time management and self advocacy,” said Smith. “The mentor is there to listen and respond, not tell the high school students what to do. The high schooler is the driver of the process.”

Nuam Lun, a high school senior in Baltimore who grew up in Myanmar, is participating in the College JUMP program after learning about it from a friend. At first, she found the college application process to be daunting, but she said the program has helped by providing her with useful resources.

“It was tough at first as a refugee. My English skills have improved. I know how to write better, speak better and how to listen better. I’ve applied to six colleges and for scholarships,” she said.

Read the full education section in The Baltimore Sun

Header image: UMBC I/O Psychology Professor Elliot Lasson reviews the basics of APA writing style with students Wilson Merida, Faith Kamei, and Wendy Lopez. From L-R: Wilson Merida, Elliot D. Lasson, Ph.D., Faith Kamei, and Wendy Lopez. Photo by Marlayna Demond ’11 for UMBC.

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