Susannah Prucka, Political Science, and UMBC Students Visit U.S. Supreme Court

Susannah Prucka and UMBC students visit the U.S. Supreme Court.

Susannah Prucka and UMBC students visit the U.S. Supreme Court.

Susannah Prucka, an Adjunct Instructor of Political Science, and four UMBC students visited the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, January 20 to sit in on oral arguments and meet with two of Justice Samuel Alito’s law clerks. The students were part of a fall course titled the “Judicial Process,” in which they studied the judicial branch and judicial decision-making.

William Rice, Lereiya Edmonson, Nelly Waribe, and Ellis Zapas were the students who participated in the visit and are all juniors and political science majors. During their time at the Supreme Court, the students saw oral arguments in two cases: Williams-Yulee v. Florida Bar and Armstrong et al. v. Exceptional Child Center, Inc., et al. In addition to meeting with Justice Alito’s law clerks, the students also met with Dan Schweitzer, Supreme Court Counsel for the National Association of Attorneys General. Mr. Schweitzer and the law clerks discussed their respective roles before the Supreme Court and provided insight on life as an attorney.

During the semester, in studying the judicial process, the students heard from several other speakers in the legal profession: the Honorable James Elyer (retired) of the Maryland Court of Special Appeals; Noel Francisco of Jones Day; Larry Doan of the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office, Michelle Martin of the Maryland Attorney General’s Office, and Christopher Wheatcroft ’97, political science, of Alperstein & Diener PA.

Susannah Prucka has been an adjunct instructor of political science since 2012, and is an Assistant Attorney General and Appellate Litigator for the State of Maryland. She is a member of the Maryland and United States Supreme Court bars.

UMBC Welcomed Into CFA Institute University Recognition Program

UMBC has become the latest university to be welcomed into the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute University Recognition Program. The B.S. in Financial Economics program has been acknowledged as incorporating at least 70 percent of the CFA Program Candidate Body of Knowledge (CBOK), which provides students with a solid grounding in the CBOK and positions them well to sit for the CFA exams. This program sets up students well to obtain the CFA designation, which has become the most respected and recognized investment credential in the world.

Entry into the CFA Institute University Recognition Program signals to potential students, employers, and the marketplace that UMBC’s B.S. in Financial Economics curriculum is closely tied to professional practice and is well-suited to preparing students to sit for the CFA examinations. Through participation in this program, UMBC is eligible to receive a limited number of student scholarships for the CFA Program each year.

Public Policy bldng.

“Students in these programs study the Candidate Body of Knowledge, which includes the core knowledge, skills, and abilities identified by practitioners worldwide as essential for successful practice,” said Charles Appeadu, PhD, CFA, Head of University Relations at CFA Institute. “By mastering the fundamentals of the CFA Program as well as the Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct, these future investment professionals gain a strong foundation that helps prepare them well to join the growing CFA Institute community dedicated to promoting the highest standards of ethics, education, and professional excellence for the ultimate benefit of society.”

Economics Professor Douglas Lamdin, who put together the application package for the program, commented that “UMBC students who graduate with the B.S. in Financial Economics and go on to complete the requirements needed to achieve the CFA charterholder designation are in high-level positions in the financial services industry. We hope that participation in the CFA University Recognition Program will spur growth in the number of our graduates who achieve similar success.”

For more information about the CFA Institute University Recognition Program, including a list of other participating universities, click here.

UMBC Hackers to Go to Seoul

UMBC hackers have been participating in hackathons for a year. Their latest victory was in Michigan. Michael Bishoff and Sekar Kulandaivel won third place at MHacks, a competitive 1000 student hackathon at the University of Michigan.

10405357_391227567704346_4588016945018397492_nBishoff says, “We are proud to be representing UMBC at all of the hackathons that we attend and we are definitely giving our school a good reputation in the tech community.”

Kulandaivel and Bishoff created a haptic feedback suit that makes virtual reality more immersive. To do this, they created 12 vibrating modules that are placed on the user’s arms, legs, chest, and head. When various events occur in the virtual environment, the user will feel a vibration in the appropriate location on their body. For example, when a user falls in a virtual environment, they can feel a vibration in their legs, or when a user gets hit in their arm, they can feel a vibration on their appropriate arm.

Kulandaivel and Bishoff won a summer trip to Seoul, South Korea to represent UMBC at the Global Hackathon. The Global Hackathon is a 2000 person hackathon that is backed by the mayor of Seoul. The hackathon’s goal is to increase innovation and produce projects that make a global impact. Attendees of the event will include students from around the world.

U.S. News Gives a Nod to the Department of Information Systems

Think of the best online master’s in computer information technology and what comes to mind? Why UMBC of course.

The program debuted at number 19 in 2014 on the Best Online Graduate Computer Information Technology Programs.  This year, the program was ranked number 11.  US News describes this list as “These are the Printbest online master’s in computer information technology programs, based on factors such as admissions selectivity, faculty credentials and academic and career support services offered to students”.

The department of Information Systems, prepares students to be successful in careers in Information Technology industry and academia.

Examples of areas of research interest are: Health IT, Human centered Computing, Database/Data Mining, Artificial Intelligence/Knowledge Management, and Software Engineering.  This program offers online students access to the same research faculty available to on-campus students.  The program is designed for students who are balancing careers, family, military and/or other life commitments, the focus to prepare them to grow their professional careers in information systems.  


Joan Shin, Education, Wins Prestigious English-Speaking Union Book Award

Joan Shin, Education Professor of Practice, has received additional recognition for her book series Our World with National Geographic Learning. The series is designed to give learners the skills and knowledge they need to learn English and understand the world around them.

Joan Shin

Our World: Level 4, has been chosen as the Best Entry for Learners in the HRH Duke of Edinburgh English Language Book Awards, part of the English-Speaking Union (ESU). The award series was founded in the 1970s to acknowledge innovation and achievement in the field of English language teaching. Winners are selected for originality and substance by a panel of widely respected judges.

Our World uses images, text, and video and provides National Geographic content to young learners of English. The series also provides support and professional development resources for English language teachers. For more information, click here.

Last year, Shin’s book Teaching Young Learners English (National Geographic Learning/Cengage Learning, 2013) received the 2013 Ben Warren International House Trust Prize, which is a prestigious award given annually to the author or authors of the most outstanding work in the field of language teacher education. Shin coauthored the book with JoAnn Crandall, Professor Emerita and former Director of the Language, Literacy and Culture Ph.D. program.

For the official ESU award announcement, click here. To read more about Shin’s work in UMBC Magazine, click here.

David Hoffman, Student Life, Publishes Chapter in Democracy’s Education

david_hoffman_300x375David Hoffman, assistant director of student life for civic agency, wrote a chapter in the recently published Democracy’s Education: Public Work, Citizenship and the Future of Colleges and Universities. The book challenges educators to rethink the meaning of citizenship and education.

Hoffman’s chapter, entitled “Fostering Civic Agency by Making Education (and Ourselves) ‘Real,'” describes the philosophy of BreakingGround, a collaborative approach to innovative campus and community engagement at UMBC. Hoffman draws on his research and experience at UMBC, focusing on students who gained civic agency by causing meaningful change on campus through launching new organizations and engaging in purposeful conversations. The chapter also mentions work done by President Hrabowski, Provost Rous, the Shriver Center and The Retriever Project.

Hoffman writes, “The process at BreakingGround’s heart is a series of real conversations. There is strategy and design behind them: the initiative’s organizers have sought out people on campus who have seemed to embrace or demonstrate civic agency, or who have been in a position to help support its promotion on campus. But the conversations have been essentially free of maneuvering and salesmanship. Mostly we have asked students, faculty, and staff about their own experiences with civic agency (though typically not in those words) and have sought to make the road to BreakingGround’s objectives by walking it with them.”

Click here to learn more about BreakingGround. Learn more about Democracy’s Education here.

Kate Brown, History, Awarded ACLS Collaborative Research Fellowship, Publishes Op-ed in Time

History Professor Kate Brown has been awarded an American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Collaborative Research Fellowship to study the long-term effects of low doses of radiation on human health in the context of the Chernobyl disaster nearly three decades ago. Brown will be working with Timothy Mousseau, an evolutionary biologist at the University of South Carolina.

Kate Brown

The two scholars, with Brown providing the humanist perspective and Mousseau the scientist perspective, will collaborate to explore how knowledge and ignorance of the impact of the disaster has been produced over the last thirty years. The project will aim to historically analyze three decades of scientific research on Chernobyl and Fukushima to highlight the known and debated impact on humans, animals, and plants from long term, low dose exposure to radiation. The research comes at a time when nuclear power is being discussed as a solution to climate change and energy independence.

The project, titled Chernobyl Revisited: An Historical Inquiry into the Practice of Knowing, will run for two years. For more information on the ACLS Collaborative Research Fellowship program, click here.

In related news, Brown published an op-ed on January 21 in Time that discussed nuclear waste cleanup at the Hanford plutonium plant in eastern Washington State. In her article, she analyzed why the cleanup has been such a prolonged, difficult problem to deal with: “…the former Hanford plutonium plant became the largest nuclear clean-up site in the western hemisphere. It costs taxpayers a billion dollars a year,” she wrote.

To read the full column titled “How the Atomic Age Left Us a Half-Century of Radioactive Waste,” click here.