Michele Osherow, English, Participates in the U.S. Premiere of “The Veil”

The Veil

Photo credit: St. Johnn Blondell. Actors from left to right: Michele Osherow, Steve LaRocque, Jane Squier Bruns.

This past summer, The Quotidian Theatre in Bethesda hosted the U.S. premiere of Conor McPherson’s play “The Veil,” which debuted in 2011 at London’s National Theatre. The description of the play is as follows on the Quotidian website: “Set in a haunted mansion in rural Ireland in 1822, surrounded by a restive, starving populace, ‘The Veil’ weaves Ireland’s troubled colonial history into a transfixing story about the search for love, the transcendental, and the circularity of time.”

Michele Osherow, an associate professor of English, played the widowed Lady Lambroke, the owner of the Irish country manor where the play takes place. Osherow and other cast members received a strong review in the Washington Post for their work: “LaRocque’s Rev. Berkeley, Decker’s Mr. Audelle, Osherow’s Lady Lambroke and Mayo’s Hannah are all well-rounded characterizations, their lines spoken with unstilted English and Irish accents.

The play ran from July 18-August 17 and in addition to the Washington Post, it received praise from MD Theatre Guide, DC Theatre Scene, Broadway World, and DC Metro Theatre Arts. To read more of the reviews and find more information about “The Veil,” click here.

Osherow has extensive experience in professional theatre and serves as the Resident Dramaturg for the Folger Theatre in Washington, D.C. She received a 2012 best actress nomination from D.C. Theatre Scene for her work in Brian Friel’s Afterplay (Quotidian Theatre).

Tanya Olson, English, Wins 2014 American Book Award

The Before Columbus Foundation has announced the winners of its 35th Annual American Book Awards. The prestigious American Book Awards were created to provide recognition for outstanding literary achievement from the entire spectrum of America’s diverse literary community. The purpose of the awards is to recognize literary excellence without limitations or restrictions.

Boyishly Tanya OlsonTanya Olson, a lecturer in UMBC’s English department, received a 2014 American Book Award for her book Boyishly, published by YesYes Books in May 2013. The book is a collection of poems which explores personal and public constructions of gender, violence, and America and it received the following review from “Good Reads”:

“Tanya Olson’s BOYISHLY is a magic book. It casts a spell upon you. Olson uses language like Gertrude Stein does, building large monuments of sound into humming lattices, where a ‘whale will do as a whale will do, ‘ or where ‘tree forms shapes for tiger’ and ‘tiger takes shape / under tree.’ In this book, Olson writes poems to a future America from beyond the planetary gravestone, where there is only a ‘boyish summer’ and the ‘boyish waters.’ The voice says come back to me. I am not done with you. I was waiting for you all along.”–Dorothea Lasky

Olson will be formally recognized for her award on Sunday, October 26 at the SF Jazz Center, Joe Henderson Lab in San Francisco, California. For more information on the 2014 American Book Awards and to see the complete list of recipients, click here. You can read more about the Before Columbus Foundation here.

Doctoral Program in Gerontology Lecture Series Announces Fall Speaker (10/10)

Debra StreetThe University of Maryland Baltimore and University of Maryland Baltimore County Doctoral Program in Gerontology Lecture Series has announced its fall speaker. Debra Street, Ph.D. will present, “Faces and Places: How Social Relationships and Residential Context Influence Health and Wellbeing in Assisted Living.”

Street, a professor of sociology, chairs the University of Buffalo Department of Sociology. She is the recipient of the 2011 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and the 2013-14 UB Gender Institute Janice L. Moritz Distinguished Lecture Award. She conducts research on issues associated with health and income security over the life course.

The lecture is scheduled for Friday, October 10 from 2:00-3:00 p.m. in the UMBC Commons room 331.

Truman Scholarship Information Session (9/24)

The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation awards scholarships ($30,000) for graduate study to persons who demonstrate outstanding potential for and who plan to pursue a career in public service. Approximately 55 awards are made nationally each year, with one award given per state and certain territories. In 2014, 24 awardees were students at public universities.

The Truman Scholarship is a prestigious award for which juniors with a record of public service and demonstrated interest in government and politics compete. The Foundation defines public service as employment in government at any level, uniformed services, public interest organizations, nongovernmental research and/or education organizations, public and private schools, and public-service orientated nonprofit organizations such as those whose primary purposes are to help needy or disadvantaged persons or to protect the environment. Most Truman Scholars seek law degrees or master’s and doctoral degrees in public administration, public policy, public health, international relations, government, economics, social services, education, urban planning, conservation and environmental protection.  However, all majors are eligible. For example, some Scholars have pursued medical, physical science or even business degrees – but these Scholars were able to clearly demonstrate how these degrees would further their careers in public service.

In an effort to increase UMBC’s applicant pool, Tara Yglesias, Deputy Executive Director of the Foundation, will speak with students and faculty on Wednesday, September 24, at 12 noon in room 107 of the Physics Building. 

Please bring this opportunity to the attention of those students who might be eligible to compete this year and of those who might be interested in the future.  If they cannot make the presentation on September 24, they should contact UMBC’s faculty representative, Art Johnson, at ajohnson@umbc.edu or 5-2195. Students should have a strong GPA of at least 3.7.  To apply, students must be nominated by their institution and complete an application, including a policy brief. Dr. Johnson and others will work with each nominee throughout the application process.

The UMBC deadline for expressing interest in applying is October 20 but students are encouraged to speak with Dr. Johnson before then. UMBC applicants must complete their applications no later than January 28, 2015.

Those faculty who are interested in learning more about this competition and UMBC’s application process are encouraged to contact Dr. Johnson and/or attend the presentation on September 24.

John Rennie Short, Public Policy, to Present Lecture at National Heritage Museum

The National Heritage Museum in Lexington, Massachusetts contains exhibitions, collections and programs based on American history, traditions and culture. It contains the Van Gorden-Williams Library, a research library specializing in American Freemasonry.

John Rennie ShortAs part of the museum’s series on its collection of historic maps, Public Policy Professor John Rennie Short will present an upcoming lecture entitled, “Cartographic Encounters: Native Americans in the Exploration and Mapping of North America.” Short, an expert on the history of cartography, will discuss how Native Americans were an essential element in the European and American exploration and mapping of North America in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. He will use diaries and official reports in describing the role of indigenous people in mapping and exploration. Specifically, Short will focus on Native Americans’ roles as guides, informants and mapmakers.

The lecture is scheduled for Saturday, October 4 at 2:00 p.m. at the National Heritage Museum. For more information, click here.

Scott Casper, Dean of the College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, on WYPR’s Humanities Connection

Who are we and where have we been are questions fundamental to the human existence that are studied by UMBC students as part of a well-rounded liberal arts education. Scott Casper, Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences and Professor of History, recently provided a commentary on WYPR’s Humanities Connection in which he advocated for studying the humanities as a way to prepare students for a thoughtful and civically engaged life.

Scott Casper

“In a world of polarized politics and cost-benefit analysis, our realm of possibilities is often cast as ‘either-or': Republican or Democratic, guns or butter, right or wrong. A liberal arts education encourages us to imagine another approach: not ‘either-or,’ but ‘both-and,’ a world of complexities rather than easy answers, interconnections rather than boundaries,” said Casper.

As part of his commentary, Casper outlined five distinct areas in which UMBC students encounter “both-and”: the global and the local, the changing and the timeless, the intellectual and the spiritual, the arts and the sciences, and thought and action.

“By asking questions that are fundamental to human existence and by encouraging ‘both-and,’ rather than simplistic ‘either-or,’ answers, the liberal arts prepare students at UMBC and elsewhere for a lifetime of reflection and purpose,” Casper said, adding, “the interplay of reflection and purpose is the bedrock of thoughtful citizenship, and the hallmark of a life well-lived.”

To listen to the full segment that aired on Humanities Connection, click here.

Kate Brown, History, To Speak at Baltimore Book Festival

History Professor Kate Brown will speak at this year’s Baltimore Book Festival, which runs from September 26-28. The festival features hundreds of appearances from local, celebrity and nationally-known authors. More than 100 exhibitors and booksellers will be on hand at the festival with readings, workshops and panel discussions also on the agenda.

Kate Brown

Brown is scheduled to present a talk on Friday, September 26 at 7 p.m. as part of the Ivy Bookshop author tent. She will be discussing her award-winning book, Plutopia: Nuclear Families, Atomic Cities, and the Great Soviet and American Plutonium Disasters (Oxford University Press, 2013), in which she tells the stories of Hanford, Washington and Ozersk, Russia. The Soviet and American governments created these communities to produce the plutonium that fueled the nuclear arms race during the Cold War.

Earlier this year, Brown was awarded the 2014 Ellis W. Hawley Prize from the Organization of American Historians (OAH) for the best book-length historical study of the political economy, politics, or institutions of the United States, in its domestic or international affairs, from the Civil War to the present. She also received the American Society for Environmental History’s George Perkins Marsh Prize for the best book in environmental history.

For more information on the Baltimore Book Festival, click here.