Gib Mason, Training Centers, Discusses Entrepreneurship in the Baltimore Business Journal

gib-masonToday the Baltimore Business Journal features a new interview with Gib Mason, chief operating officer of UMBC Training Centers, focusing on his experiences both as an educator and entrepreneur.

In the interview, Mason shares lessons he learned working as the chief operating officer at Big Bang, a Baltimore sportswear company that popularized foldable wraparound ear warmers. He also discusses his passion for teaching about entrepreneurship, and how he helps students understand the essential role of failure in entrepreneurship. “Be open to the perspective of the people around you,” he advises. “Don’t ever believe you have it all figured out.”

Click here to read “How UMBC professor Gib Mason nurtures fledgling entrepreneurs” in the Baltimore Business Journal (subscription required).

Dwight Polk, Emergency Health Services, on

Dwight PolkDwight Polk, paramedic program director and senior lecturer of emergency health services, recently presented at the Arrowhead EMS Conference in Duluth, Minn. about exploring the psychological impact of line of duty deaths (LODD) on EMS organizations. Polk regularly teaches and presents at regional and state EMS conferences around the country.

The editor of, a news service for EMS professionals, wrote an article analyzing Polk’s presentation in discussing the inevitability of planning and preparing for a line of duty death in the profession. The article mentioned several key takeaways from Polk’s presentation, including having updated emergency contact forms, protection of evidence in LODDs, engaging the news media as a partner, and using an authorized spokesperson to speak on behalf of the department, among other topics.

Polk serves as a mental health professional for two CISM teams and is a CIT trainer for the Howard County Police Department. He is the co-author of two textbooks; “Pre-Hospital Behavior Emergencies and Crisis Response”  and “Law Enforcement Responder: Principles of Emergency Medicine, Rescue and Force Protection.”

To read the full article on, click here.

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

Donald Norris UMBCIn the days surrounding Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s State of the State address, Donald Norris provided analysis on what to expect for the remainder of the legislative session. Norris, professor and director of UMBC’s School of Public Policy, discussed GOP fundraising, the relationship between the governor and legislature, and ongoing discussions over the budget.

Norris was interviewed for several articles in the Baltimore Sun and Washington Post. To read complete coverage, click below:

A GOP governor means new challenges for longtime Md. Senate President Mike Miller (Washington Post)
As budget battle heats up in Annapolis, Democrats rally around school funding (Washington Post)
Hogan, GOP have raised over $2 million since his victory (Baltimore Sun)
Democrats say most of Hogan’s agenda won’t pass (Baltimore Sun)

Ari Ne’eman ’10, Political Science, Wins Inclusion Award

Alumnus Ar Ne’eman ’10, political science, received the second annual Morton E. Ruderman Award in Inclusion from the Ruderman Family Foundation. The award recognizes individuals who have made contributions to the inclusion of people with disabilities in the Jewish world and the greater public.

Ne’eman was honored for his work as the president and co-founder of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) and member of the President’s National Council on Disability. He founded ASAN as a freshman at UMBC and was appointed to the National Council on Disability by President Obama in 2009. “People with disabilities deserve the right to have our voices at the center of the national conversation about us,” Ne’eman said. “I believe that no conversation on autism or any disability is complete without the meaningful inclusion of those most directly impacted: people with disabilities ourselves.”

Read coverage of Ne’eman’s award below:

Autistic self-advocate and Obama appointee Ari Ne’eman wins $100,000 Ruderman prize (Haaretz)
Autism Self-Advocate Cited For Inclusion Work (The Jewish Week)

Dennis Coates, Economics, in The Buffalo News

Dennis CoatesAs the discussion continues surrounding a potential new stadium for the Buffalo Bills, an article published January 24 in The Buffalo News examines the possible economic impact of a major sports and entertainment district in the city’s downtown.

Economics Professor Dennis Coates was interviewed for the article and shared that new stadiums don’t necessarily generate job growth and economic development: “If the argument is being put forward that there’s going to be ancillary benefits and job growth discount all of that completely. There’s no evidence that they ever happen,” said Coates. “What I and many others have found is that using stadiums with the intent of them being economic-development tools is not effective.”

Coates added that new stadiums tend not to spur economic growth, but rather shift it from one end of town to another with patrons simply doing business elsewhere: “They’re not actually doing more economic activity than they used to,” said Coates, a Western New York native. “They’re just doing it elsewhere.”

To read the full article “Spinoff of downtown stadium depends on ‘destination’ appeal,” click here.

Michele Williams Unveils Smart Scarf

michelewilliamsMichele Williams, human-centered computing PhD candidate, unveiled the Smart Scarf, at at the Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction at Stanford University and MIT’s Technology Review picked up
on it. Williams had the opportunity to work on the scarf as part of her internship with Microsoft Research.

The current prototype—which the researchers made after consulting with people with autism and hearing and visual disabilities—is a flexible laser-cut garment made of hexagons of industrial felt overlaid with conductive copper taffeta. Some of the modules can heat up, while others can vibrate.

All the modules are controlled by one master module that is also responsible for communicating with the smartphone app over Bluetooth. The modules link together with metal snaps and are interchangeable; if you want a heat-producing module closer to your stomach and a vibrating one on your neck, you can unsnap the chain and reconfigure it, says Asta Roseway, a principal research designer at Microsoft Research and a paper coauthor.


Michele Wolff, Shriver Center, and Stephen Freeland, INDS, in The Catonsville Times

Michele Wolff, Shriver Center, and Stephen Freeland, interdisciplinary studies, were featured in an article about UMBC’s new Summer Enrichment Experience in The Catonsville Times. The Summer Enrichment Experience (SEE) is a commuter day program through the Shriver Center which offers academic courses for middle and high school students.

Michele Wolff, UMBC Shriver Center DirectorWolff shared her goals for the program, saying, “The idea is to give the middle and high school students the opportunity to be on a college campus, but also the opportunity to have an interesting and exciting way to learn about the sciences or arts and humanities based content.”

Stephen Freeland, INDSFreeland, who will teach “Cosmos on Campus” at SEE, described the importance of exposing middle and high school students to a different way of learning science. “We teach them that science is about the steady accumulation of facts and that has no resemblance to what an actual scientist does,” he said. “That completely underestimates the creativity, the role of hypothesis testing- the whole point is investigating what we don’t know, not what we do know.” Instead, Freeland has designed his course to enable students to “ask important questions in a way that gives reliable answers.”

SEE will run from July 13- August 7. Registration is open and there is a discount available for UMBC faculty, staff and alumni. Visit to learn more.