Congressman Elijah Cummings visited UMBC this month to speak with faculty, staff, and students from across the university about UMBC’s national leadership as a research university and commitment to growing Baltimore through long-term partnerships in local communities.
The morning focused on several major UMBC research centers and labs. Joining Congressman Cummings were Belay Demoz, director of the Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology (JCET); Jan Merka, director of the Goddard Planetary Heliophysics Institute (GPHI); Jane Turner, associate director of the Center for Research and Exploration in Space Science and Technology (CRESST); Gymama Slaughter, assistant professor of computer science and electrical engineering and director of the Bioelectronics Laboratory; and Lee Boot, associate director of the Imaging Research Center (IRC).
Tyson King-Meadows, incoming associate dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and Karl V. Steiner, vice president for research, also offered their perspectives on UMBC’s well-rounded research portfolio, beyond the conversation’s focus on research strengths in physics, geosciences, space science, and bioengineering.
After a brief campus tour, Congressman Cummings met with several leaders among UMBC staff whose work focuses on students’ academic success, including Renetta Tull, associate vice provost for graduate student development; Keith Harmon, director of the Meyerhoff Scholars Program, and others.
The congressman also spoke at length with scholars from UMBC’s three colleges: Sheniqua Brown ’15, M.S. chemical engineering; Marina Congedo ’17, physics and ancient studies; Ciara Davis ’17, mechanical engineering; Joseph Hunter ’16, biological sciences; Da’Kuawn Johnson ’17, biochemistry; Naomi Mburu ’17, chemical engineering; Larry Morton ’16, biological sciences; Alexis O’Malley ’16, psychology and mathematical sciences; Andreas Seas ’16, mechanical engineering; and Manisha Vepa ’18, economics and global studies.
These students represented the Sherman STEM Teacher Scholars Program, Meyerhoff Scholars Program, and UMBC Honors College. They are pursuing a range of PhD and MD/PhD programs and the most prestigious national and internships and fellowships available. They also spoke of their experiences with and deep personal commitments to community engagement in Baltimore, supporting local groups from refugee communities to elementary school students.
Images: Congressman Elijah Cummings visits UMBC on March 10, 2016. Photo by Marlayna Demond ’11 for UMBC.