Lia Purpura, English, in City Paper

Lia Purpura, English writer in residence, was featured in a Q&A in City Paper about her participation in Baltimore’s CityLit Festival and commented on the creative, artistic community at UMBC.

Lia Purpura

“It’s a completely vibrant, alive place and diverse in every possible way—students from all over the world, of all ages and backgrounds,” Purpura said. “I don’t think I’ve ever had more rigorous or engaged discussions on complex issues with undergraduate classes. My students are curious, brave, unselfconsciously creative, eager to learn, prepared to discuss.”

Purpura is reading at CityLit with colleagues Michael Fallon and Holly Sneeringer, along with three UMBC English majors covering all genres.

“CityLit is a totally unique, homegrown, but in no way provincial event—it presents nationally known authors alongside emerging voices and local talent, and it represents writers of all genres,” Purpura added.

To read the full article in City Paper, click here.

Kimberly Moffitt, American Studies, on The Marc Steiner Show

Kimberly Moffitt, an assistant professor of American studies, participated in a panel discussion on The Marc Steiner Show on April 10 that focused on what the true meaning of “happiness” is in the context of WEAA’s Happiness Spring Membership Drive.

The panelists discussed the pursuit of happiness and what it meant to the founders of the United States, what it means to Americans today and how it’s possible to create a world where everyone has the right to happiness. During the program, Moffitt weighed in on her view of the definition of happiness.

“I think it does mean freedom, and I think that’s what our founders wanted it to mean. I think where we are now is that we see freedom in very different ways,” Moffitt said.

“In some respects I think we’ve moved away from what the original founders wanted to see in terms of this idea of freedom. At the same time of encouraging freedom, we’ve created so many social hierarchies that make it difficult to actually have the freedom to do much of what we’d like to do,” she added.

Other panelists in the discussion included Jeff Singer, Founder and former Executive Director of Health Care for the Homeless and instructor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work and Alex Bostonformer director of Homeless Services in Baltimore City and Country Director for the Peace Corps in Kyrgyzstan and Jordan. To listen to the full segment on The Marc Steiner Show, click here.

John Rennie Short, Public Policy, on Writer’s Voice

John Rennie ShortAs part of Environment Month at Writer’s Voice, a national radio show and podcast featuring author interviews, readings, and reviews, Public Policy Professor John Rennie Short was interviewed about his recent book, Stress Testing the USA (Palgrave MacMillan). In his book, Short applies the stress test concept to four major events the United States experienced at the start of the 21st century: the invasion of Iraq, the financial meltdown, Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill.

“These four major events are the equivalent of an incredible cardiovascular workout for the United States where you saw things that didn’t work so well. When everything is going along well, there is economic growth, and things are progressing and everyone is happy, the system is self-justified,” Short said.

“But when things go wrong, that’s when it reveals things that often we don’t want to discuss or are hidden below the surface,” he added.

To listen to the full interview on Writer’s Voice, click here. The interview was scheduled to air on Writer’s Voice broadcast stations across the country throughout the week of April 7.

UMBC Recognized for Value and Smart Students

Recent reports have recognized UMBC as a top school for “smart students” and a university that provides students with strong “ROI,” relating tuition and other costs to alumni salaries.

Using student-reported data from College Prowler, Business Insider ranked UMBC in the top ten on a list of Public Colleges with the Smartest Students. A student review of UMBC on College Prowler describes, “UMBC is a great university. Its diversity, high-quality education, and leadership opportunities make it a place where everyone can shine.” The Business Insider story generated notable online interest, including over 15,000 views through UMBC’s Facebook page. 

In the College ROI report, UMBC ranked in the top 10% of 1,310 colleges and universities measured — one of the highest rankings among universities in Maryland.

Hilltop Researcher Michael Abrams Co-Authors Two Articles Published in Psychiatric Services

Michael T. Abrams, MPH, a senior research analyst at The Hilltop Institute, co-authored two articles published in the April 2014 issue of Psychiatric Services. The articles are both based on a study of low-income young adults (aged 18-26) discharged from an inpatient psychiatric event, a marker for serious mental distress.

Identifying Young Adults at Risk of Medicaid Enrollment Lapses After Inpatient Mental Health Treatment discusses a study that identified antecedents to Medicaid enrollment lapses in the year following discharge. Such lapses are undesirable because they suggest absence of medical attention that is especially indicated in the wake of an inpatient psychiatric stay.

Medicaid Lapses and Low-Income Young Adults’ Receipt of Outpatient Mental Health Care after an Inpatient Stay discusses a second study that estimated the impacts of Medicaid enrollment disruptions on access to mental health services in the same year following inpatient discharge. That study found that Medicaid disruptions correlated with reduced outpatient mental health service utilization and lower medication possession ratios. Jointly, these articles offer information to policymakers and others regarding the reasons and the potentially negative health care consequences of insurance discontinuities for young adults with substantial, albeit emerging, mental health needs. Such young adults represent an important subset of persons who should gain broader access to medical care coverage via the Affordable Care Act.

Ant Ozok, Information Systems, on The Kojo Nnamdi Show

photo 3Technological advancements such as direct deposit, ATMs and cell phone apps have changed the way people bank. A recent news report found that 50% of the population had not visited a bank branch in the last month.

Ant Ozok, associate professor of information systems, visited WAMU’s The Kojo Nnamdi Show to discuss technological innovations that have transformed personal banking. Ozok, who specializes in human computer interaction, emphasized the importance of a positive user experience, saying, “Banks need to take the precautions that are necessary so that users do what they need to do in an efficient way.”

Click here to listen to “Personal Banking Technology” on The Kojo Nnamdi Show.

Erle Ellis, GES, on WPR and Die Zeit

ErleEllisWebErle Ellis, geography and information systems, recently discussed how humans are changing the planet with Wisconsin Public Radio and Die Zeit.

Ellis explains the idea of the Anthropocene, a term that signifies a new geological epoch where humans significantly impact the earth’s systems. He says, “It’s out of date to see the earth as a natural ecosystem that is disturbed by people. Rather, the earth has become a human system with embedded natural ecosystems.”

Click here to listen to “The Future Of Humans’ Transformation Of The Planet” on Wisconsin Public Radio. Read “Planet of the People” on Die Zeit by clicking here.

UMBC’s Chess Team Ranks Second in the Nation

CHessPhotoOn Sunday, April 6, 2014, UMBC Chess took second place in the President’s Cup, also known as the Final Four of College Chess. UMBC has won the President’s Cup a record six times, and this year competed against Texas Tech, the University of Illinois and Webster University, which grabbed the title this year.

Alan Sherman, director of UMBC’s Center for Information Security and Assurance, has been director of UMBC’s chess program for over a decade. Joel DeWyer, associate director of The Commons, is business manager for the team. His live tweeting of the competition, with play-by-plays conveying the energy of the team, generated a buzz on social media.

DeWyer has previously said of the UMBC chess team, “I admire their passion for their sport, the efforts they make in balancing this passion with their priority of earning a degree, and how they support one another by offering suggestions.”

The Washington Post ran two articles on the President’s Cup this year, calling UMBC’s chess program “one of the oldest and most successful” and a “powerhouse in college chess.” Click to read “The other Final Four — of chess” and “Webster University wins (chess) Final Four” in The Washington Post.

Yonathan Zohar, Marine Biotechnology, on NPR’s The Salt

yoniDespite the popularity of seafood, fish farming is not a common practice in the United States due to concerns about waste and disease. However, recent technological innovations could offer solutions to those problems.

Yonathan Zohar, marine biotechnology, was interviewed by NPR about his work with the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology. Zohar has found a way to farm fish without the risk of disease or need for antibiotics, explaining, “The idea is to have the entire life cycle in completely clean and controlled conditions that are disease-free, so you don’t introduce anything from the outside.” Zohar is also working on a new type of fish food that would eliminate the concerns about waste.
To listen to the story, entitled “The Future Of Clean, Green Fish Farming Could Be Indoor Factories” on NPR, click here.

Project Mah Jongg with Work by Tim Nohe, Visual Arts, in Baltimore Jewish Times, Baltimore Sun

Project Mah Jongg, a collaborative, traveling exhibition that includes sound design by Tim Nohe, visual arts, along with original works by other nationally acclaimed artists, was featured in the Baltimore Jewish Times and the Baltimore Sun this week. Centered upon Project Mah Jongg’s display at the Jewish Museum of Maryland this month, the articles discuss the exhibition’s success in highlighting the tradition, memory and history of Mah Jongg in American Jewish communities.

“Mah-jongg exhibit runs at Jewish Museum”, Baltimore Sun
“America’s Other Pastime”, Baltimore Jewish Times

In the exhibition, Nohe completed sound design for three “Muji” players, documenting games in New York City’s Chinatown and Upper East Side. The exhibition, designed by Abbott Miller of Pentagram, features artwork by Christoph Niemann, Isaac Mizrahi, Maira Kalman and Bruce McCall, and was curated by Melissa Martens. The exhibition’s companion publication “Mah Jongg: Crak, Bam, Dot” was edited by Abbott Miller and Patsy Tarr.

The exhibition, which originated at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, in New York has garnered notice in The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and the LA Times, and is on view at the Jewish Museum of Maryland through June 29, 2014. The show has travelled to Portland, Cleveland, LA, Miami Beach, Atlanta and will continue on to San Francisco this summer. Learn more at Project Mah Jongg’s website.