Renetta Tull: Equity in STEM

Renetta Tull, Associate Vice Provost of Graduate Student Development and Postdoctoral Affairs, is seeking equity in STEM for all.

RenettaTull was recently the lead author on an article for peerReview titled, “The Jessica Effect: Valuing Cultural and Familial Connections to Broaden Success in Academe.” The article begins:

Jessica Soto-Pérez, daughter of Antonio Israel Soto and Luz N. Pérez, received her undergraduate degree from the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez. She was a promising chemical engineering graduate student at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) and peer mentor for its National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) program—PROMISE: Maryland’s AGEP.

Jessica’s future plans included returning to her native Puerto Rico to pursue a career as an engineering professor. Unfortunately, she didn’t reach that goal because in 2004, she was tragically killed by her husband.

Tull makes the argument that institutions need to “definitively invite and actively include the family members and friends of graduate students in informative and celebratory events and programs.” She writes:

This practice of “family and friend” inclusion is the legacy of Jessica. It ultimately achieves several purposes including, but not limited to (1) serving as an advising model that faculty and administrators can utilize to both recognize and value the cultural and familial connections of their graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and colleagues in the STEM disciplines, (2) promoting an understanding of the university experience among those who may not be familiar with academic processes and timelines, (3) reducing feelings of isolation on the part of students and family members, and (4) expanding the opportunities for family members to offer their students the support necessary for degree completion.

Tull is now heading to the Microsoft Innovation & Policy Center in Washington, D.C. to participate in “A New America: Empowering Hispanic Millennials for Tech Leadership,” organized by the National Journal and The Atlantic.

Tull will discuss how we can reverse the trend of Hispanic underrepresentation in STEM professions and better prepare Hispanic students for high tech careers. Other event participants include U.S. Representative Tony Cárdenas; Cecilia Muñoz, Assistant to the President and Director of the Domestic Policy Council for the White House; Rafael Bras, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Georgia Institute of Technology; Alejandra Ceja, Executive Director, White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics; and Deborah Santiago, Co-Founder, COO and Vice President for Policy of Excelencia in Education.

Biotechnology Graduate Program Virtual Info Session (10/21)

UMBC’s Biotechnology Virtual Information Session is scheduled for October 21 from 12 – 1 p.m. Participate to learn about UMBC’s Professional Graduate Programs in Biotechnology offered at UMBC’s Main Campus and at UMBC-Shady Grove in Rockville.

Virtual information session participants will hear more about the application process as well as program format and curriculum. Participate to learn how a master’s degree or graduate certificate in biotechnology can help you excel in the industry. RSVP for the information session here.

Student-Athletes Receive Training to Support Healthy Relationships

On Thursday, September 12, Janet Judge, president of Sports Law Associates, addressed hundreds of UMBC student-athletes on the perils of hazing. This training program offered an opportunity for students to closely examine how to build healthy relationships in all aspects of their lives.

The event was funded by a Verizon Wireless program that supports campus-wide education about relationship violence prevention and creating a healthy, supportive community.

UMBC Upward Bound Reflects on Peer Leadership in Capital News Service

Corris Davis, director of UMBC Upward Bound, and academic counselor Brittany Walker ’12, sociology, spoke to Capital News Service about how Upward Bound is changing to better serve low-income students. Upward Bound, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, teaches low-income high school students skills in leadership, communication and academics.

UMBC Upward Bound supports 140 students from east Baltimore and Baltimore County. Since 2007, the program has trained graduating students to mentor high school students. As a senior in high school, Walker became a peer leader for underclassmen and said the program “[brought] everyone together as one.”

Now, peer leadershp has become a mainstay of the Upward Bound program and Davis presented on UMBC’s experience with it at the Council for Oppotunity in Education’s national conference this week.

Click here to read “As Upward Bound Turns 50, Program at UMBC Evolves to Serve Students.”

Presidential Teaching and Research Professor Nominations (Due 12/1)

The 2014-15 Presidential Teaching and Research Professor nominations materials were recently distributed across campus. Nominations should be forward to the Office of the Provost no later than December 1, 2014.

Click here for a copy of Dr. Hrabowski’s letter and nomination guidelines. If you have any questions concerning these awards, please contact Jerilyn Johnson in the Provost’s Office at 410-455-2333.

Lecture by Sonia Nazario, Author of “Enrique’s Journey” (9/23)

Join us for an evening with Sonia Nazario, author of “Enrique’s Journey,” the 2014 New Student Book Experience.

Her lecture is scheduled for Tuesday, September 23rd at 7:00 p.m. in the UC Ballroom. A reception and book signing will follow. Although the book was selected with new students in mind, all UMBC community members are welcome to attend.

Ms. Nazario’s visit is sponsored by the Division of Undergraduate Academic Affairs, the Office of Institutional Advancement, the Division of Student Affairs, with the support of PNC Bank, the Latino Hispanic Faculty Association, and the Dresher Center for the Humanities.

Amanda M. Knapp, Assistant Vice Provost, in Buffalo Business Magazine

Amanda M. Knapp, Assistant Vice Provost, Academic Standards and Policy Administration is featured in the Autumn 2014 issue of Buffalo Business Magazine.

In the article, Knapp discusses her career in higher education and the impact of her work, saying, “Serving others is the greatest reward, and I am honored to work with thousands of students from across the globe…”

Click here to read the feature, which can be found on page eight.