COURSES AND COURSE-RELATED PROJECTS
American Culture in Global Perspective: Ideas and Issues in Critical Heritage Studies— Michelle Stefano, UMBC folklorist-in-residence and American studies program coordinator, will offer a series of field trips and an all-day seminar in conjunction with AMST 352 to encourage students to think more critically about the heritage enterprise. Students will visit four heritage sites: the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage (CFCH), Accokeek Foundation of Piscataway Park, Delta-Cardiff Heritage Area, and The Kennedy Center. At these sites, students will be able to gain a deeper understanding of heritage-related issues by engaging with source communities, heritage and museum professionals, community outreach staff, as well as cultural policy researchers and tourism specialists. (Awarded 2013-2014).
Applied Sociology: Putting the Sociological Imagination Into Practice Locally— Marina Adler’s course (SOCY 698) will offer students the opportunity to conduct action research with local communities on issues of access to healthy food. Students will research projects addressing food deserts, food security, and environmental problems. This research targets the intersection of local social inequalities, public health issues, and social change. Students will collect data through various methods in research teams; volunteer; document community needs; develop action plans; and make recommendations for change. (Awarded 2014-2015).
Applied Sociology: Putting the Sociological Imagination into Practice Locally — Students in Marina Adler’s course (SOCY 698) conduct community-based action research in Curtis Bay, working to understand and contribute to community well-being with respect to economic opportunity, food access, and a healthy environment. (Awarded 2015-2016).
Backyard Animal Behavior Workshop— Students in Tory Williams’ course will form small teams and embark on group projects that involve delivering interactive presentations on animal behavior to students at Lakeland Elementary/Middle School in Baltimore City. Each college student within a group will be responsible for different aspects of the project (e.g., communicating with Lakeland teacher(s) to best cater presentations to grade-levels, developing hands-on activities for Lakeland students for an active learning experience, documenting presentations to be shared with both the Lakeland and BreakingGround communities). Students will gain an aesthetic appreciation for contributing to the local community and the skill of ‘learning through teaching.’ Goals for the Lakeland students include having fun, learning about science, and increasing motivation to explore science. (Awarded 2014-2015).
Baltimore City Water Supply Aging Infrastructure— Panos Charalambides will teach students from ENME 220H how to use their technical engineering knowledge to improve their communities. Students will learn about critical water treatment issues in Baltimore City, as well as create and use historical and engineering data to develop model and non-model pipe failure estimates. They will then be given the opportunity to help Baltimore City engineers with their efforts in maintaining the city’s water supply network system. (Awarded 2014-2015).
Baltimore Traces— Baltimore Traces is a collaborative teaching innovation that brings several courses together to work with the Center for Emerging Media (CEM), a Baltimore non-profit founded by radio host Marc Steiner. It builds on previous interdisciplinary collaborations including Mill Stories (Michelle Stefano and Bill Shewbridge) and Mapping Baybrook (Nicole King and Steve Bradley) Students involved in the project will contribute to producing audio and video oral histories focused on Baltimore residents and neighborhoods. Public events have been central to the project, and this semester the project is planning an event at the Chesapeake Arts Center on April 28. This event will feature a screening of “Mill Stories: Remembering Sparrows Point Steel Mill” in addition to a community discussion of possible futures. (Awarded 2014-2015).
Building Intergenerational Relationships through Technology— Galina Madjaroff will teach AGNG 499, which will pair UMBC students with senior citizens at the Arbutus Senior Center, Springwell Retirement Community and Charlestown Retirement community, all located in the Baltimore area. In the Springwell Retirement Community, this project will require that students have one-on-one meetings with older adults to help them learn how to use a piece of technology (e.g. a computer, iPad, etc.). In the Arbutus Senior Center and Charlestown sites, the students will be leading basic technology courses for a group of seniors interested in acquiring new skills. As a final class project, students will be required to compile a digital presentation of their experience and share it with fellow students in their courses, as well as present at a campus event that will be held in April. Students will also be keeping weekly logs on the course blog site to reflect on their experiences. (Awarded 2013-2014).
Critically Engaging with Heritage Ideas and Issues in Critical Heritage Studies— Michelle Stefano will lead students from AMST 420 to explore the complexities of heritage-related issues at the local, national and international levels. Students will participate in discussions about readings regarding cultural landscapes, international cultural policy and community outreach and cultural representation. They will meet with heritage professionals by attending a lecture and discussion at the National Museum of the American Indian and Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. (Awarded 2014-2015).
Discover Food: Seed to Table II— In Kelsey Donnellan’s course for students in UMBC’s SUCCESS program (a four-year independence program for students with intellectual disabilities), students will build on food and nutrition skills developed in a previous course. The students will practice safe food handling, apply advanced recipe writing, develop a class cookbook, and improve transferable skills in the kitchen. This will be truly integrated class with SUCCESS students and their peer mentors, because through this process all students bury themselves as seeds of change.
Documenting Cultural Heritage in Partnership with Communities: Sparrows Point, Baltimore— Using audio-visual technologies to research, document and disseminate culture has become increasingly commonplace and is powerful way to preserve and share cultural memories, especially from the perspectives of those who embody and own them. Bill Shewbridge (New Media Studio) and Michelle Stefano (American Studies) are collaborating to bring UMBC students to the Sparrows Point Steel Mill community where they will partner with active and former steelworkers to document local cultural heritage by producing oral testimonies and audio-visual digital stories. This project will move beyond traditional cultural documentation from an outsider perspective to instead focus on the value of supporting communities’ own efforts to share their experiences. (Awarded 2012-2013).
Environmental Justice— Dawn Biehler’s GES 424/624 teaches students to think critically about the ways race, class, gender and geography have shaped communities’ experiences of the physical environment in the U.S. This semester, students will learn directly from Baltimore residents about diverse perceptions of the environment and will develop GIS mapping skills through assisting in the identification and geolocation of amenities and hazards in the community. This project is linked with a four-year National Science Foundation grant to study pest hazards and related environmental issues in Baltimore. Results of interviews with residents and mapping activities will be shared with the community through events and displays at local libraries and community centers. (Awarded 2012-2013).
Environmental Politics — Roy Meyers will teach a new course, Political Science 309 (Environmental Politics), helping students understand how political beliefs and political behaviors about environmental policy are formed and influenced and how political institutions affect decisions on environmental policies. All students will engage in political activities on environmental policy, such as writing letters to officials and agencies; working with electoral campaigns and interest groups on environmental issues; and attending hearings, decision meetings and demonstrations, giving students a range of hands-on experiences in political life and reflection on what they have learned. (Awarded 2012-2013).
Food: An Interdisciplinary Exploration— Through INDS 430, Jill Wrigley will introduce students to the “food system” framework utilized by researchers, practitioners and advocates in the fields of food security, food safety and nutrition. Students will explore the components and stakeholders of our food system along the food supply chain (i.e., seed to table), and the intersecting benefits, problems and challenges the food system generates for public health, the environment and social equity. This semester, the course will vigorously engage students in understanding their and UMBC’s place and functions within the food system. Students will research, propose and, when possible, implement interventions to improve flawed links in the food system and food environments impacting the UMBC community and nearby residents (e.g., cultivating food, promoting food literacy). A growing body of research demonstrates that garden-based learning and culinary education have a positive impact on dietary choices. To that end, this project will focus on providing tools and supplies to create experiential learning spaces for both the UMBC community and some K-5 students in our neighboring communities. (Awarded 2013-2014).
Impacting Baltimore through Engineering — Panos Charalambides will teach Mechanical Engineering 220 (Mechanics of Materials), with an honors component focused on social problem-solving. Honors section student projects will identify critical structural, architectural and functional issues in the greater Baltimore Region, with all students in ENME 220 seeking specific engineering solutions. Implementation pathways and related challenges will be identified in conversations and interactions with community leaders visiting the project presentations. (Awarded 2012-2013).
Introduction to Food System with Civic/Engagement and Food Literacy Collaborative— Jill Wrigley will bring together students from INDS 232 and the SUCCESS program to study the core components of the food system and the challenges it presents to public health, environmental sustainability, social justice and equity. The class will also introduce students to public entities, institutions and community members who are working to better the food system. Students will read about and participate in interventions, including working in the UMBC Community Garden, making plant-based, whole food recipes and preparing fall plantings. (Awarded 2014-2015).
Kinetic Sculpture Race Team— Steven McAlpine will teach INDS 400, a required course for all students on the UMBC Kinetic Sculpture Race Team. The Kinetic Sculpture Project is an interdisciplinary collaborative effort that spans three semesters of building, testing and racing a human-powered (kinetic) sculpture representing themes of sustainability. Students will research existing kinetic sculpture designs, how kinetic sculpture races are organized, how to plan a project timeline, and the role of universities in maintaining the vitality of urban centers such as Baltimore. Essential course questions include: How do we document the design process in a meaningful way? What are the challenges of integrating artistic elements of design with technological requirements and constraints? How can we best represent and explore issues of sustainability in this “upcycle” themed sculpture? (Awarded 2013-2014).
Kinetic Sculpture Race Team— Students in Steven McAlpine’s Kinetic Sculpture Team course (INDS 430) will build, test, and race a human-powered (kinetic) sculpture representing themes of sustainability. Students will research existing kinetic sculpture designs, how kinetic sculpture races are organized, how to plan a project timeline, and the role of universities in maintaining the vitality of urban centers such as Baltimore. (Awarded 2014-2015).
Learning from Older Americans — Carolyn Forestiere, Political Science, prepares political science majors to conduct scholarly research in the social sciences in POLI 301. Students will work directly with a target population—older Americans—as a means of generating data to analyze based on real-world research issues and encouraging empathy. Students will go on a series of field trips to assisted living communities in the Catonsville area to directly interview residents and collect unique data. They will return after their papers are complete to debrief their interviewees and the staff of the facilities that care for them. (Awarded 2012-2013).
Mapping Baybrook: Arts, History and Culture in the Classroom and Community— Nicole King and Stephen Bradley will bring together students from AMST 422 and ART 390 to engage with the local community and learn about environmental justice. Students will gain an interdisciplinary understanding of the complex environmental issues that exist in industrial locations such as Brooklyn-Curtis Bay and utilize practices from various disciplines to produce original historical research, art and design projects. Students will also produce a series of podcasts, in collaboration with Marc Steiner, for WEAA radio. This innovative civic project will culminate in a public event in the South Baltimore community of Baybrook. (Awarded 2013-2014).
Mapping Baybrook: Arts, History and Culture — Nicole King and Stephen Bradley will connect American Studies 422 (Preserving Places, Making Spaces in Baltimore) and Visual Arts 390 (Imaging Research Fellows), engaging South Baltimore community members in an innovative civic project, co-producing original historical research and arts projects. The course will culminate with the community debut of Mapping Baybrook—a digital mapping project that documents Baybrook, a low-income industrial community in South Baltimore. (Awarded 2012-2013).
Media Influences on Environmental Discourses and Action— Rita Turner’s MCS 499 will examine the role of media in influencing discourse and action around environmental issues. Students will explore how information and attitudes about modern environmental problems can be communicated, altered and reproduced through varying forms of media, considering linguistic, rhetorical, conceptual and visual modes of influence. Specific media portrayals and coverage of particular environmental issues will also be analyzed. Students will then work with Baltimore-area organizations to design media products that investigate and communicate socio-ecological problems in the region and seek to encourage active response from the community, engaging both members of the UMBC community and residents in Baltimore-area neighborhoods. (Awarded 2013-2014).
Mill Stories— Bill Shrewbridge and Michelle Stefano will teach students from MLL 495/695 and AMST 403 in the second phase of the Mill Stories project. The project will examine the impact of deindustrialization on the relations between people, place and community, focusing on the Sparrows Point Steel Mill in Dundalk. Students from AMST 403 will interview former steel workers and community members, in collaboration with Marc Steiner. MLL 495/695 students will record and produce videos based on the interviews from AMST 403. The completed works will be incorporated into the project website, Mill Stories, and the digital stories will be screened in Dundalk. (Awarded 2013-2014).
Power, Place and Identity— AMST 420/630, taught by Theodore S. Gonzalves, will introduce students to ongoing conversations in American Studies, with emphasis on current controversies and scholarship surrounding the study of race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality. This semester, students will focus on local spaces and personal experiences involved in the civil disobedience and trial of the Catonsville Nine, developing content for an app conveying those stories. This course is central to a larger project generating a community dialogue that commemorates the 45th anniversary of the Catonsville Nine actions. Students and community activists will explore the historical significance of those actions as well as how we think about social protest, civic duty and citizenship today. (Awarded 2012-2013).
Race, Poverty and Gender— Jodi Kelber-Kaye will teach HONR 300, through which students will work and volunteer for two non-profit partners in Baltimore: Moveable Feast and the International Rescue Committee. Along with experiencing the range of services the non-profits provide, teams of students will work with the organizations to produce projects determined by these organizations as helping them more effectively reach their goals. These completed projects will be presented to community stake holders. Students will also read about historical and current issues relating to race, poverty and gender in Baltimore while applying what they learn to the needs of the non-profits, as well as reflecting on the connections between course readings, their work for the non-profits and their own development as leaders of social change. (Awarded 2013-2014).
Save Our Trees: Stop the Ivy— Many of UMBC’s older trees are being strangled by English ivy (hedera helix), a non-native invasive vine (NNI). Mary Rivkin (Education) and Donna Anderson (Manager, Landscape and Grounds) will offer EDUC 299, a one-credit course that explores the problem of NNIs and challenges participants to protect UMBC trees. The course will include in-class instruction and hands-on work in the outdoors and will require shared leadership and collaboration among participants. Phil Cho (Project Manager, Construction Services) will assist. (Awarded 2013-2014).
Social Action in Baltimore — Jessica Guzman-Rea will focus Social Work 200 on civic engagement in the Baltimore area in relation to the practice of social work, including issues of poverty, hunger, health care or homelessness. Readings, speakers and civic engagement in the community will encourage students to develop their own ideas on social issues and to connect their ideas with successful social action-orientated projects and presentations. (Awarded 2012-2013).
Space and Place in Public Art and Urbanism— Preminda Jacob will teach ART 329, a special topics art history course that will deepen students’ understanding and appreciation of community-based artwork by asking them to collaborate in small teams with members of a local community to create site-specific art projects. Teams will update each other on their field experiences throughout the semester and will be graded on an illustrated, written report based on their personal experience of working with their off-campus community partners. By engaging with the practical dimensions of community-based artwork, students will learn how collaborative work functions at the ground level in designing and producing innovative and impactful art projects with restricted budgets. To ensure that students are well prepared for the off-campus experience, they will be required to enroll in the Shriver Center’s practicum on community service and learning (PRAC 096). (Awarded 2013-2014).
Student Success Ambassadors Program— Jackie Wilson, Cassie Bichy and Ericka Thompson, from the Learning Resources Center and Residential Life, will partner with the Shriver Center on a service learning program to complement the LRC 101A curriculum: Academic Success for Lifelong Learning. Current LRC 101A students will showcase their academic skills for success to students in K-12 at-risk school systems and at the community college level, tackling real-world problems such as retention and performance in educational systems where students are not yet prepared for college-level success. (Awarded 2012-2013).
Studies in Feminist Activism— Kate Drabinski’s GWST 200 focuses on the history and present of feminist activist movements. Students will produce digital stories about local activist movements as well as their own activist projects at UMBC and in the surrounding community, creating an archive of what it means to do activism here at UMBC and beyond. (Awarded 2012-2013).
Teaching Artist = Change Agent — Steve Bradley’s pilot course, taught in partnership with Pat Cruz, Chief Innovation Officer at Young Audiences/Arts for Learning Maryland (YAMD), empowers civic-minded college students to create positive social change through engagement with PreK-12 students and teachers in Maryland public schools. Students in the course learn about the opportunity to develop careers as “teaching artists,” defined as professional artists who also work with students and teachers, having first been trained in public school operations, regulations, educational standards, and curriculum design. (Awarded 2015-2016).
Technological Solutions for Accessibility — Amy Hurst will teach a graduate level course in Information Systems on the fields of assistive technology and accessibility to serve older adults and individuals with disabilities. Students will learn about assistive technologies focusing on the needs of individuals who experience cognitive, motor and sensory impairments. Through readings, a service learning assignment, and interacting with guest speakers active in the local assistive technology and accessibility community, students will either solve accessibility problems for individuals in the community or contribute to assistive technology research. (Awarded 2012-2013).
Theater of Lived Experience— Alan Kreizenbeck will teach Theater 390 inviting a mix of students with and without intellectual disabilities to devise a series of scenes and monologues based on memorable events in their lives, to be presented publicly as the culmination of several weeks of rehearsal. The instructor will stage the various scenes/monologues and will arrange them into a performance that is both entertaining and meaningful. Theatre’s primary function is to tell stories—stories with resonance for both the audience and the performers. Performing personal stories can enlighten and educate an audience and enlarge their appreciation of the many components and variations of the human experience. Enacting a personal story—their own or someone else’s—lets the performers reveal themselves in a safe manner and allows them to experience artistic creation as something that is both personal and public. (Awarded 2012-2013).
Understanding Factors Influencing Literacy in Baltimore Communities— Elaine MacDougall’s ENG 100P/ENG281 class will work with the Reading Partners Program, a tutoring intervention, to collect data about factors influencing literacy achievement for elementary level students. Students will interview parents about reading practices and develop a routine to implement the “Read 15” initiative, which encourages students to read for 15 minutes a day. They will also think critically and reflect on their service and the role of the community in increasing literacy rates in Baltimore City. (Awarded 2014-2015).
West Side Stories: Public History and Urban Revitalization — Denise D. Meringolo, Public History Graduate Program, will teach this community-based public history graduate-level practicum course in collaboration with Baltimore Heritage, a nonprofit historic preservation organization. The project explores the potential of historic preservation and urban public history to promote positive social change in the economically depressed and unevenly developed West side of downtown Baltimore. (Awarded 2012-2013).
Accessibility Hack Day: This weekend-long event held at UMBC will support UMBC students in developing and testing new ideas for making video games that are accessible to people with various disabilities. Students will be recruited to propose ideas for video games that are accessible to people with disabilities. They will then form project groups and will spend the weekend building prototypes of their projects. Faculty and student mentors will be on-hand to provide guidance. Participants will demonstrate their projects, which will be judged by a panel of experts, including representatives from the National Federation of the Blind and the Maryland Technology Assistance Program. The top projects will be awarded prizes.
The broader goal of this project is to jump-start interest among UMBC students, and in the broader community, for developing innovative technical solutions for people with disabilities. We will encourage students to continue the projects begun at this event as research projects (supervised by our group), class projects or independently. We will also encourage students to release their projects publicly. (Awarded 2012-2013).
Allies in Mentorship— Allies in Mentorship is a student-run initiative that provides life-skills mentoring to students at Baltimore’s Commodore John Rodgers School. This grant will AIM’s enhancement and standardization of its mentor development and In-School Session curriculum and materials. (Awarded 2016-2017).
Art of Transformation— Art of Transformation supports Baltimoreans in telling their own stories to counteract misleading narratives about life in our city. This project is being developed by the Imaging Research Center at UMBC in collaboration with Baltimore Imagining Group (big) a coalition of individuals from Baltimore arts, community, and social justice organizations. Collaborators include Culture Works, The US Department of Arts and Culture, Equity Matters,New Lens, and Wombwork Productions. (Awarded 2015-2016).
Applied Learning Experience Summer Forum— Michele Wolff will lead this Applied Learning Experience (ALE) that will bring faculty and staff together to design a program for improving student success. The course participants will explore best practices related to ALEs, design an initiative that will integrate ALEs with existing courses to enhance student success and research potential funders for an implementation grant. The course will culminate in drafting a proposal for grants to fund the ALE course integration. (Awarded 2014-2015).
Applied Learning Experience (ALE) Summer Workshop — A team of faculty and staff members organized by Hannah Schmitz (Coordinator for Public Service Scholars Programs, The Shriver Center), Steve Freeland (Director of Interdisciplinary Studies), Simon Stacey (Director of the Honors College), and Michele Wolff (Director of The Shriver Center) continues to develop and carry out plans for infusing applied learning experiences across the curriculum and gauging their impact on student learning. (Awarded 2015-2016).
Baltimore Infrastructure— With guidance from Panos Charalambides, professor of Mechanical Engineering, students will develop an enhanced model to predict ruptures in Baltimore’s water and sewage pipes, in consultation with the Baltimore Department of Public Works. This project builds on lessons and experiences from Dr. Charalambides’ Mechanics of Materials course, the Baltimore-serving components of which were initiated with support from a previous BreakingGround grant. (Awarded 2016-2017).
Breaking Taboo: Impact Assessment— Psychology professor Jason Schiffman, graduate students in Psychology, and the Counseling Center will collaborate to assess the impact of a workshop and film aimed at destigmatizing the decision to seek mental health counseling on UMBC students’ actual help-seeking behaviors. The workshop and film build on anti-stigma activities funded by a previous BreakingGround grant. (Awarded 2016-2017).
Breaking Taboo: Young Adults Speaking Openly about Mental Illness— Psychology professor Jason Schiffman, staff member Nicole Mooney and graduate students Eryn Bentley and Danielle Denenny will grow their mental health programs designed to reduce stigma, including awareness panels, campus flashmobs, student speaker training and art exhibits. Breaking Taboo will also conduct an empirical evaluation of a film chronicle the journey of UMBC students with mental illness to assess its impact on increasing empathy, reducing stigma and encouraging treatment. (Awarded 2014-2015).
College JUMP— College JUMP, a partnership between BCCC Refugee Youth Project and the UMBC Shriver Center, seeks to empower high school refugee and asylee students in Maryland to acquire the knowledge, skills, and mindset to gain admission and feel prepared for success in postsecondary institutions. The grant supports recruitment of UMBC student mentors and program expansion. (Awarded 2016-2017).
Community Arts Project— This project will provide UMBC education students and faculty with opportunities to work with schools in diverse communities and showcase art as a platform for learning both in and out of the classroom. It will also enable parents, community members, teachers and children to collaborate on a project designed to enhance school facilities/grounds, deepen family and community involvement in schools, and increase avenues of communication between school faculties and families. Teachers, students and parents will join department faculty and students to create public art that might be as simple as decorating bricks to trim a school community garden or as grand as creating a mosaic to beautify a school lobby. The most import product of this work will be the culture of collaboration it fosters.
This project is one in a series of ongoing efforts of the Department of Education’s Professional Development Schools and continues the Elementary Education program’s emphasis on integrating the arts into teaching and learning.The Community Arts Project will increase UMBC teacher candidates’ awareness of, and experience in, working with racially, ethnically, economically and linguistically diverse populations and promote sense of shared purpose among teachers, students and parents, as well as local and UMBC communities. This initiative will also create an increased awareness of the role of the arts in teaching, learning and community building. (Awarded 2012-2013).
Engineers Without Borders—The UMBC chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB-UMBC) is a student-driven group that is completing an ongoing clean water project in Isongo, a small agricultural community in Western Kenya. This semester, Lee Blaney (Chemical, Biochemical and Environmental Engineering) will expand EWB-UMBC’s work to engage students in the arts, humanities and social sciences as collaborators. Initial goals include: (1) making a video documenting the project and its impact; (2) designing a bilingual English-Swahili flyer to promote good hygiene in the Isongo community; and (3) creating a play to actively convey the flyer’s message. The broader EWB-UMBC project will continue for five years and has the potential to profoundly impact both life in Isongo and the careers and perspectives of UMBC students involved in this work. (Awarded 2013-2014).
Food for Thought— Pigtown Food for Thought seeks to educate Pigtown/Washington Village youth about healthy food choices in order to empower them to become advocates in their families and among their neighbors. UMBC graduate students will offer cooking classes for 6-8 Pigtown youth, and will also work with them to make container gardens in their own backyard, harvest produce, and learn how to shop for healthy foods in a neighborhood facing challenges in its supply of nutritious food options. These activities will culminate in a community event where participating youth will share with their community what they have learned.
Throughout this process, the graduate students will begin to understand in a very direct way what a food desert is; why one exists in Pigtown; how food deserts impact health; what can be done to address the situation; and what role the community, businesses and the government play in finding and implementing solutions. Graduate students who work in this area will have opportunities to collaborate with one another and with community partners in organizing seminars and workshops to reflect on their experiences and share their expertise. (Awarded 2012-2013).
The Garden— Undergraduate students envisioned and developed plans for a community garden for the UMBC community, building on the work of previous undergraduate groups. The students have secured a location for The Garden (above the Albin O. Kuhn Library, near the UMBC police station), and forged relationships with faculty members that will lead to connections with courses and research. The Garden will become a forum for community building and for students’ leadership development, innovation, and immersion in issues of food justice and sustainability. (Awarded 2013-2014).
Imagining UMBC Undergraduate Fellowships— Undergraduate students interested in working together to harness the power of the arts and humanities to inspire positive social change will together in the Imagining America conference. The group will develop practical projects that will apply the insights they gained at the conference to opportunities at UMBC and in Baltimore. (Awarded 2015-2016 and 2016-2017).
LIMA: The Community Arcade Machine— Students working together through the Interdisciplinary Studies program will develop a video game console and multi-player games that encourage collaboration and build community. The first console will be placed on a residence hall floor, and the project leads will assess the console’s impact on the floor’s culture and students’ experiences with an eye toward developing additional consoles and games for other campus locations. (Awarded 2014-2015).
The Longwood Apartments Project— Constantine Vaporis and Julie Rosenthal, Asian Studies, have partnered with Food on the 15th, a Howard County, Maryland non-profit, to develop a free food pantry for the residents of Longwood Apartments in Columbia, Maryland. This is a community outreach project involving Asian Studies students as well as the entire UMBC community and residents of Howard and surrounding counties. (Awarded 2013-2014).
Researching Civic Engagement— Language Literacy and Culture doctoral students will assess BreakingGround grant-supported courses and civic engagement activities as a part of their research training and coursework with professors Bev Bickel, Craig Saper and Rita Turner. (Awarded 2012-2013).
Returning Women Students Peer-to-Peer Mentoring Program— Returning women students (or adult learners or mature students) are 25 years or older and completing their first undergraduate degree face a unique set of transition challenges. The Women’s Center launched the Returning Women Students Peer-to-Peer Mentoring Program to address these challenges by creating a learning community of returning women students. (Awarded 2014-2015).
RICA-Baltimore— This project will take place at the Regional Institute for Children and Adolescents-Baltimore (RICA-Baltimore), where kids with emotional disturbance disorders are state-sanctioned to live for treatment and schooling. UMBC students from the Shriver Living Learning floor will provide fun and informative workshops on basic life skills, such as how to do laundry, make simple meals or go grocery shopping. Through interactions with the youth at RICA-Baltimore, UMBC students will also act as positive role models and promote a sense of community in the residence. UMBC students will work collaboratively with the RICA-Baltimore youth to help them gain the necessary skills to succeed in their lives outside the facility and to advocate for themselves. (Awarded 2012-2013).
Service Fest— Undergraduate students Rosa Rada, Michael Allen and Jaelyn Bos will work with the Shriver Center to host a service fest to encourage UMBC students to become involved in community service. The service fest would introduce students to community groups in the area and foster ties to Baltimore City. Students will also be encouraged to sign up for the PRAC-095 course to further reflect on their service. (Awarded 2014-2015).
Springfield Woods Stewardship Project— Timothy Nohe, Matthew Baker and Colin Studds will work with Miriam Avins from the Baltimore Green Space and students from the Friends School of Baltimore to geo-tag visual and audio data for Springfield Woods in Baltimore. The geo-tagged information, as well as videos on conservation, native trees, invasive species and smart tree planting will then be incorporated into a website. The project will connect art, experts and volunteers to urban forests and foster stewardship of the Springfield Woods. (Awarded 2014-2015).
S.T.A.R. Program— Through the S.T.A.R. Program, UMBC undergraduates work with Baltimore fifth-graders to promote STEM education and the aspiration to attend college. The grant covers some costs for an event that will enhance the program’s visibility and support mentor recruitment. (Awarded 2016-2017).
Student Affairs Imagining America Fellowships— Staff members in UMBC’s Division of Student Affairs interested in working together to harness the power of the arts and humanities to inspire student learning and engagement participated together in the Imagining America conference. The group is developing strategies for infusing ideas from Imagining America into the work of the Student Affairs Division. Craig Berger, Coordinator of Student Life for Campus and Civic Engagement, has served as the group’s convener. (Awarded 2015-2016).
TEDxUMBC— Undergraduate students Rebecca Behnke and Niranjani Chidamber, graduate student Ioannis Balanos, staff members Delana Gregg and Dinah Winnick and faculty member Stephen Freeland will organize TEDxUMBC, an event that will feature “ideas worth spreading.” The theme of TEDxUMBC is “Reaching New Heights” and will present talks by UMBC students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members with fresh and multidisciplinary ideas. After the event, the talks will be recorded and shared to engage the community. (Awarded 2014-2015).
Telling Our Stories: I’m Not/I Am— The Women of Color Coalition will partner with the Women’s Center to develop and implement a spring project aimed at combating racialized gender stereotypes, specifically targeting harmful biases against women of color students. The project will 1) raise awareness and launch a critical dialogue about racialized gender stereotypes on campus and in the community at large, and 2) empower women of color students to resist these limiting stereotypes and create their own counter-narratives. The project will begin with a visually striking poster and social media campaign featuring women of color students rejecting racialized gender stereotypes that they’ve encountered. The “I’m Not” campaign will be featured prominently on campus and posted on social media. Subsequently, a series of workshops led by local artists and activists will help participants develop various skills to tell their own identity stories through song-writing, poetry, story-telling, and other forms of artistic expression. (Awarded 2014-2015).
Video Stories of Urban Change— Kate Drabinski will add video elements to the stories she tells on her blog, whatisawridingmybikearoundtoday.com. The goal of this blog has been to capture moments in Baltimore’s history and present and to connect place-based reflections to larger questions of how a city comes to be itself. The video features will help tell stories of movement and change over time. Dr. Drabinski incorporates her blog into her Gender and Women’s Studies courses. (Awarded 2014-2015).
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) — UMBC staff members Trisha Wells (Director, Administrative and Business Services, Student Affairs) and Meghann Shutt (Asssitant Director, Shriver Peaceworker Program) organized this IRS-supported program, which connects tax preparers with people in the UMBC community with low incomes (below $53,000) so they can maximize their tax refunds. Trained UMBC student volunteers provide free tax return preparation assistance and help the people they serve to gain financial literacy. The UMBC Department of Economics has committed to offering internship credit to student tax preparers, and the Baltimore Cash Campaign will provide training to the volunteers. (Awarded 2015-2016).