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.
Bishoff 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.
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.
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, 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.
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.
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.
Zakaria Fatih, modern languages, linguistics and intercultural communication, has been selected to the editorial staff of the French Review, the journal of the American Association of Teachers of French. After serving two years as the Assistant Editor, he has been promoted to the position of Review Editor (section: Culture and Society). The French Review “has the largest circulation of any scholarly journal of French and Francophone studies in the world.”
Fatih also recently published an article titled: “The Aesthetics of Fragmentation, or a Way to Read El Maleh” in Expressions maghrébines: Revue de la Coordination Internationale des Chercheurs sur les Littératures Maghrébines. The article is an attempt to read analytically the complex fiction of Jewish Moroccan author Edmond Amran El Maleh, who is also referred to as the James Joyce of Morocco
Timothy Nohe, director of the Center for Innovation, Research and Creativity in the Arts, and professor of Visual Arts, as been selected by the Warnock Foundation as a “social innovator” for his work to create accessible online and smartphone delivered urban forest stewardship resources. The project has been supported by a collaborative team, including lead scientist Matthew E. Baker, associate professor of Geography & Environmental Systems; Butch Berry of The Friends of Springfield Woods; Baltimore Green Space; and cohort of students from the Friends School of Baltimore under the direction of Josh Carlin. The project has also received support from the Breaking Ground Initiative at UMBC. More information on the project is available here.