LA Times: Mantis shrimp wear tinted shades to see UV light, Tom Cronin and Michael Bok

“When you look at a mantis shrimp, you see a vivid lobster-like crustacean whose forearms can strike with the force of a .22-caliber bullet. But when a mantis shrimp looks at you, we have no idea what it sees. That’s because the mantis shrimp possesses one of the most complex eyeballs on the planet, an organ that allows it to perceive a rainbow of colors in both the visible and ultraviolet spectrum without the massive brainpower required for human vision,” so writes Julia Rosen of the Los Angeles Times.

Rosen’s story, Mantis shrimp wear tinted shades to see UV light, tells of Tom Cronin and Michael Bok’s paper. Cronin is a professor of biology and Bok a graduate student who has now moved on to a post doc at Lund University.

The paper, which was recently published in the journal, Current Biology, reported that, “that that mantis shrimp use a set of filters to separate ultraviolet light into discrete colors that get picked up by the animals’ photoreceptors.”

U.S. News, Colleges Work to Engage Women, Minorities in STEM Fields, Penny Rheingans

Delece Smith-Barrow of U.S. News & World Report, recently wrote about the importance of engaging women and minorities in STEM fields. Smith-Barrow interviewed UMBC’s Penny Rheingans, director for the Center of Women in Technology (CWIT).

Smith Barrow wrote: “If students struggle in class and have few peers and faculty that look like them, it’s easy for them to think, “maybe I’m not supposed to be here, either,” says Penny Rheingans, director for the Center for Women in Technology at the University of Maryland—Baltimore County.

Prospective college students who are women or underrepresented minorities can determine if a school can help them in their STEM endeavors by finding out what resources colleges offer these kinds of students.

The Center for Women in Technology at UMBC​ provides mentoring services, ​seminars that discuss topics such as networking and time management and a number of other resources, Rheingans says. A living and learning residence community provided through the program caters to women and men in STEM, but the former group dominates.

“Eighty-five percent of students who live on our floor are women,” she says.

Rheingan encourages prospective students to keep an eye out for school environments that have structures in place that support women. “You’re looking for a community,” she says. Visiting the college and talking to current students is one way to find out about the community, she says.”



Say Something: Jesse Smith

The Chronicle has just featured math major and Meyerhoff Scholar Jesse Smith in their Say Something audio series.

Smith talks about his experience with the Meyerhoff program and how peer
connections through the program have given him a sense of confidence and
what is possible to achieve in his career. The article also links to the
HHMI story about the Meyerhoff Replication Project.

President Hrabowski in Chronicle of Higher Education “On Leadership” Video Interview

The Chronicle of Higher Education‘s Sara Lipka speaks with President Freeman Hrabowski in a new video interview that focuses on how universities can help students succeed.

Dr. Hrabowski discusses the success and replication of the Meyerhoff Scholars Program, as well as similar programs across the disciplines, including the arts, humanities and social sciences. He emphasizes the importance of helping students build supportive peer communities and learn to collaborate with one another.

“We believe the work should be very rigorous, whether in literature or in biochemistry,” Dr. Hrabowski says. “And we believe that we, as professionals, as educators, should be as supportive of those students as possible.”

Click here to watch the video.

Ramon Goings, Sherman Scholars Program, Named “Narrative Changer” by Living Education eMagazine

Ramon Goings

Ramon Goings, Sherman STEM Teacher Scholars Program, has been recognized by Living Education eMagazine for his work to change the conversation about how people talk about and work with Black males, especially in the area of academic achievement. He was named one of 10 “Narrative Changers” for his work.

Click here to read more.

Dale Bittinger, Admissions, in The Baltimore Sun

The Baltimore Sun recently published an in-depth article on spring admissions policies at local universities, exploring them as a mechanism to expand access to higher education.

Dale Bittinger, assistant vice provost of Admissions and Orientation, discussed UMBC’s spring admissions policies, which enable some students to enroll in the spring if they take classes at a community college or another four-year university in the fall, without submitting another application to UMBC. Spring admissions can give students who are not initially offered admission to their first-choice school another opportunity to enroll.

Click here to read the article titled, “For more college freshmen, an offer to start a semester late.”


Donald Norris, Public Policy, in The Washington Post and The Baltimore Sun

Larry Hogan, the Republican nominee for Maryland governor, decided last week to participate in the state’s public financing system in the fall election. Hogan is the first candidate in 20 years to do so for a statewide general election. Hogan will receive a grant of about $2.6 million from the state, and his campaign will not be allowed to spend more than that on the race.

Donald Norris UMBC

Donald Norris, professor and chair of the public policy department, was interviewed about Hogan’s decision by The Washington Post and The Baltimore Sun“It surprises me a great deal that Hogan is going this way,” Norris told the Washington Post. “It tells me that the smart money is going elsewhere or people with money don’t think Hogan is going to win.”

In The Baltimore Sun, Norris said: “Nobody does this because they want to. They do this because they have to — and they have to because they can’t raise substantial amounts of money in any other way.” To read the full articles about Hogan’s decision, click below:

Republican Larry Hogan to use public funds in campaign for governor of Maryland (Washington Post)
Hogan opts for public financing in governor’s race (Baltimore Sun)

Lee Boot, visual arts, in What Weekly

Shifting control of the Internet from the consumer to those with the most wealth means the flow of content will go to the highest bidder, writes Lee Boot, a media researcher and IRC Associate Director, in Why Surrendering Control of the Internet to Market Forces is Crazy Talk, a commentary piece on net neutrality published in What Weekly.

“The Internet Service Providers we pay to connect our homes and business to the Internet and broker content, now want also to charge the content companies like Netflix according to the bandwidth their media require to deliver,” says Boot.

Boot compares the current threat of ISPs controlling the flow of content to when cable service providers promised ad-free digital access to television programming, only to slowly reintroduce advertising into subscriptions after the fact. The fear, Boot argues, is that ISPs—many of which used to be (and still are) cable providers—will honor companies that pay the most with choice quality and delivery.

“It would open a Pandora’s Box of ways to turn new media into the kind of restrictive tool of money and power TV was because it shifts power away from consumers (citizens) toward those with the power to manipulate the media landscape,” says Boot.

Read the full article »

Bambi Chapin, Sociology and Anthropology, on WYPR’s Maryland Morning

Bambi Chapin, an associate professor of sociology and anthropology, is the author of a compelling new book which offers a global perspective on the transmission of culture and childhood development. The book, Childhood in a Sri Lankan Village: Shaping Hierarchy and Desire, describes the results of Chapin’s anthropological research done while living for nearly two years in a central Sri Lankan village observing and studying how mothers were raising their children.

Bambi Chapin book

Chapin was interviewed on WYPR’s Maryland Morning about her new book and what she set out to discover: “How is it that people become the culturally shaped people we become? What happens in how we’re raised, in the experiences that we have that make us want to be in the relationships that we want to be in?” Chapin said. “How does culture get transmitted?”

Discussing her research further, Chapin said, “I really became interested in the subtle, every day kinds of interactions that produce such surprising results. I then tried to unpack that and use it as an example to call into question some of our assumptions of how children are and how they learn.”

“The people I knew in Sri Lanka thought that maturity was demonstrated by knowing when to hold your tongue, knowing who was wiser than you, who would make a better decision, and by choosing to go along with that,” she added.

To listen to interview in its entirety that aired July 9, click here.

Thomas Schaller, Political Science, in Politico Magazine and The Baltimore Sun

An article published July 8 in Politico Magazine discusses recent election strategies used by Democrats in Southern states. Thomas Schaller, a political science professor and author of Whistling Past Dixie: How Democrats Can Win Without the South, was interviewed for the article and offered analysis on how Democratic candidates in recent presidential elections have built coalitions of support in the South.

Tom Schaller

“When you look at the last two Democratic presidents, both of them won non-Southern Electoral College majorities,” Schaller said. “They both had 270 votes outside the South. Their coalitions were a little different in terms of Southern support. Clinton got more ‘bubba’ support in Arkansas, Tennessee, Florida and Georgia. Obama didn’t win any of those states except for Florida but he won Virginia twice and North Carolina once.”

Schaller added that even with President Obama’s wins in the South, “those states have very high, among the three or four highest, populations of non-Southern people … Democrats are winning in the South but not with native Southerners.”

Schaller also published an op-ed in The Baltimore Sun on July 8 about the dramatic shift in corporate taxation in recent decades. You can read both articles by clicking on the links below.

Do Democrats Need a Bubba Strategy? (Politico Magazine)
Not Taxing U.S. Corporations Gives a Pass to Foreigners (Baltimore Sun)