UMBC’s Y Preschool Celebrates Grand Re-Opening

Day_Care-Reopen-0431The Y Preschool at UMBC celebrated its grand re-opening on Tuesday, August 25 as the campus community gathered to reaffirm UMBC’s commitment to providing high-quality early childhood education. The event featured a tour of the new building, a visit by True Grit, and remarks by President Freeman Hrabowski, Associate Vice President of Human Resources Valerie Thomas, Y of Central Maryland CEO and President John Hoey, and parents of former UMBC preschool students. The preschool, which opens September 1, is at capacity and serves UMBC faculty, staff, students, as well as members of the local community.

President Hrabowski spoke about how the university engaged in conversations with the UMBC community to re-open the center. “This campus believes in the people here, believes in the children,” he said. “We understand how important it is for families to have safe places for their children.”
Day_Care-Reopen-0366In his remarks, Y of Central Maryland President John Hoey emphasized the importance of early childhood education and the unique experiences offered by a preschool located in an university. “We view this as a partnership with UMBC,” he said. Rebecca Zahn, executive director of early childhood development and quality at the Y of Central Maryland, praised the preschool in the Baltimore Sun. “What sets the UMBC site apart from the Y’s other sites, Zahn said, is the access the campus setting provides preschool staff and students,” the article reported.

Parents of former UMBC preschoolers also shared their experiences at the celebration. Delana Gregg, academic advisor at the Honors College, spoke about what the preschool meant to her twin daughters. “My children really found their voice at the Y,” she said. “It was the perfect way for me to be part of their education.”

Read “For the first time in two years, preschool reopens on UMBC campus Sept. 1” in the Baltimore Sun.

Announcing the latest grants from the Hrabowski Fund for Innovation

We are proud to announce the projects awarded grants in the spring 2015 round of the Hrabowski Fund for Innovation competition.


Explore Baltimore Heritage: A Partnership Between Baltimore Heritage and UMBC – A team led by Denise Meringolo, Associate Professor of History, will expand UMBC’s partnership with Baltimore Heritage through supporting the organization’s goals of developing educational material, while also deepening UMBC students’ learning experience and professional development. Specifically, this collaboration will grant students in the History program the opportunity to build meaningful historical content for Explore Baltimore Heritage, a mobile app that lets people build self-guided tours of the many unique historic places of Baltimore and its neighborhoods.


Learning and Innovation at the Interface of Mathematics and Medicine: A NEW Approach – A team led by Bradford Peercy, Associate Professor of Mathematics and Statistics, has proposed the Neuromathematical Experience Workgroup (NEW), a new approach to training students on the interface of mathematics and neurosciences that focuses on interdisciplinary, team-based experiences. The fundamental change in the nature of biological research toward quantitative sciences has identified a need for collaboration with biology and mathematics and statistics. Through the new project both undergraduate and graduate students will develop core skills and tools required in mathematics and neuroscience to form a common foundation that will prepare them for future careers in neuroscience and as research and teaching faculty.

NEXT at UMBC: Researching Connections Between Applied Learning, Affective Learning, and Student Success – A team led by Hannah Schmitz, Applied Learning Program Coordinator for the Shriver Center, is developing a program to investigate the interconnection between applied learning and student affective development. This analysis will set us on a path to generating metrics to help assess the contribution of applied learning experiences, such as internships, research, study abroad, and service-learning to our students’ academic, social, professional, and civic development.


Connections: A Transfer Student Experience Course – A team led by Diane Alonso, Director of Psychology at Shady Grove, will create a transfer student experience course that uses the principles of Interprofessional Education (IPE) to bring students from different disciplines together in a technology-rich active learning environment and challenge them to think beyond their physical and mental boundaries. This innovative course is based on our First-Year Experience program and will be integral in helping transfer students at UMBC at Shady Grove learn and grow as students and professionals.

Proposals for the next round of Innovation Fund grants are due by October 16, 2015. Please consider submitting an application. For more information about the fund, visit

The Hrabowski Fund for Innovation, developed with support of major grants from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Heinz Awards, is a testament to our strong track record of finding novel approaches to teaching and scholarship. The Fund exemplifies our commitment to being a leading public university through investment in faculty initiatives that fuel creativity and enterprise and challenge students to take an active role in their education.

Catonsville Arts & Crafts Festival (9/13)

Catonsville is gearing up for the 42nd Annual Arts & Crafts Festival on Sunday, September 13 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. More than 250 vendor spaces will be filled by unique craft artisans offering handmade, one-of-a-kind creations along with local businesses and civic groups showcasing their best. In addition to a fabulous shopping opportunity, the festival features a full array of food, live entertainment and children’s activities, making it one of the highlights of the year with something for everyone. And admission is free.

Typically drawing between 20-25,000 visitors each year, the Catonsville Arts & Crafts Festival emphasizes unique talent. Craft vendors must make their own merchandise, musicians are drawn from the mid-Atlantic region to perform on two stages all throughout the day, specialty vendors and local restaurants will offer everything from crab cakes to gourmet caramel corn and ice cream, and children’s activities and support services are provided by local Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops and churches.

The Greater Catonsville Chamber of Commerce is pleased to be able to host this landmark event in its 42nd year thanks to the generous sponsorship of Brightview Rolling Hills & Brightview Assisted Living of Catonsville, Charlestown Retirement Community, Coldwell Banker, Dole Pineapple Dippers, Kumon North America, M&T Bank, Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland, Russel Toyota, Today’s 101.9 FM and We Love Catonsville.

New crafters this year include those creating fused glass artwork, baby gifts, olive oil infusions, metal garden art, woodcarving, papercraft, custom jewelry, and even crafts made from unique materials such as Lego® bricks and crab shells. Returning vendors will offer a wide array as well with glass etched, stained or painted, Ravens and Orioles themed household items, photography and fine art, woodcrafts, children’s gifts, and a tremendous variety of fine and costume jewelry.

The sounds of live music will fill street from one end to the other, with everything from classic rock, blues, country and R&B to reggae, jazz and even barbershop harmony. Performers include Automatic Slim and Jim Harrell, Bodkin Creek, Sundown, Blues State, the Bob Margolis Band and many more.

Variety is also the theme for food choices with Italian specialties from Franco’s Italian Bistro, crab cakes by Catonsville Gourmet, hotdogs and hamburgers by Taneytown Deli, and gourmet pizza from Peace A Pizza, plus BBQ, creole specialties, gyros, and crab pretzels. When it’s time for dessert, options include fresh baked goods from Baba’s and the Village Junction Bakery as well as frozen treats from You Scream Ice Cream and Picnic Pops and funnel cakes from Ships Café. In addition, the Catonsville Farmers Market will be open directly adjacent to the Arts & Crafts Festival, offering an assortment of fresh produce, gourmet food and other specialty products.

All children are invited to the KidZone for a swashbuckling good time with pirate themed crafts, games and other activities.

It’s a day of crafts, food, music and fun for all!

F. Chris Curran, School of Public Policy, Writes About Teacher Overtime Policy in Education Week

F. Chris Curran, a new assistant professor in the School of Public Policy, recently wrote a letter to the editor about including teachers in overtime pay discussions that was published in Education Week. In the letter, Curran referenced President Obama’s announcement of plans for changes in overtime-pay regulations, noting that provisions of the proposal would prevent teachers from seeing benefits from the policy.

Chris Curran“While teachers hoping for an extra paycheck may be disappointed, the national conversation on what President Obama calls a ‘fair day’s pay’ should not be allowed to pass the schoolhouse by. It is an opportunity to recognize, and remediate, the fact that teachers in this country are underpaid relative to the requirements and importance of their jobs,” Curran wrote.

He added: “The call for increasing teacher pay is not new, but if policymakers are ready to acknowledge that a salary below $50,000 necessitates compensation for overtime hours, then we should also recognize that teachers are no exception. We know that who is in front of the class has important implications for student outcomes.”

Curran joined the School of Public Policy faculty this month, and he conducts research on education policy with an emphasis on improving educational outcomes for underserved and disadvantaged youth. His research interests include early childhood education, school discipline and safety, teacher labor markets, and politics of education. Read more on the School of Public Policy website. Curran also published an op-ed earlier this month in The Tennessean in which he outlined future opportunities for NashvilleNext, a strategic plan for Nashville’s growth that was recently adopted by the Metropolitan Planning Commission.

Christelle Viauroux, Economics, Finds that Mandatory Life Jacket Use Could Reduce Recreational Boating Deaths by 80 Percent

Christelle ViaurouxA new study by Christelle Viauroux, an associate professor of economics, found that requiring recreational boat operators to wear life jackets would increase the odds of surviving a boating accident by 80 percent. Viauroux conducted the study with Ali Gungor of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Standards Evaluation and Analysis Division and the findings were published in Risk Analysis.

The researchers used data from 2008 to 2011 from the U.S. Coast Guard’s Boating Accident Report Database (BARD) and compared life jacket use to other factors affecting fatalities in recreational boating.

A major goal of the research was to assess the impact of a mandatory life jacket policy on the recreational boating fatality rate. “However, such a major and controversial policy cannot be implemented without a thorough investigation of life jacket effectiveness. A lot of the work focusing on reducing recreational boating fatalities lacked the availability of life jacket use data,” the authors wrote in their published findings.

The research recently received news coverage in U.S. News Health. The story noted that from 2008 to 2011, making life jacket use mandatory would have likely led to a 20 percent increase in life jacket use by recreational boaters and “the researchers estimated the increased life jacket use would have saved more than 1,700 boaters and more than 1,200 drowning victims.” Read “Mandatory life jacket laws could reduce boating deaths” in U.S. News.

Read more about Christelle Viauroux’s research and a press release announcing the findings of the study.

Master’s in Public Policy Info Session (9/28)

Thinking about getting a graduate degree at UMBC? Learn about the UMBC Master’s Degree in Public Policy (MPP) at an information session on Monday, September 28 at 5:00 pm in Public Policy Room 438 on the UMBC campus. Enjoy a light dinner and talk with faculty and current students about the field of public policy, career opportunities, and how to apply to our MPP program. Those interested in the PhD are also invited to the session.

This event is open to prospective students on and off campus. To register, e-mail your name, year, and major to Sally Helms (