COEIT and CNMS Host AAAS “Communicating Science” Faculty Workshop

AAAS19On Friday, April 10, the College of Engineering and Information Technology and College of Natural and Mathematical Sciences hosted a “Communicating Science” workshop for STEM faculty, organized through UMBC’s Office of Institutional Advancement. Over 40 faculty registered for the day-long event.

Speaker Linda Hosler from the Center for Public Engagement with Science and Technology at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) presented strategies for communicating scientific research to public audiences and media. Faculty honed concise, accessible messages about their scientific research and practiced presentations on camera and in an interview setting. The workshop also helped researchers identify pathways and opportunities to communicate about scientific research with a range of audiences, from policy makers and funding agencies, to news media, to students and colleagues in other fields.

Rachel Carson and Her Sisters: Their Legacy for Today (4/21)

Rachel CarsonAuthor Lecture and Book Signing, Organic Refreshments
Tuesday, April 21, 4-6 p.m.
Albin O. Kuhn Library, 7th floor

As part of Earth Week at UMBC, Dr. Robert K. Musil will present a talk on his book Rachel Carson and Her Sisters: Extraordinary Women Who Have Shaped America’s Environment (Rutgers University Press, 2014). Dr. Musil is president of the Rachel Carson Council, senior fellow at the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies, American University, and former CEO of Physicians for Social Responsibility.

In the book, Dr. Musil tells the story of Rachel Carson, who is credited with advancing the global environment movement. The following description of the book is posted on its website: “In Rachel Carson and Her Sisters, Robert K. Musil redefines the achievements and legacy of environmental pioneer and scientist Rachel Carson, linking her work to a wide network of American women activists and writers and introducing her to a new, contemporary audience. Rachel Carson was the first American to combine two longstanding, but separate strands of American environmentalism—the love of nature and a concern for human health. Widely known for her 1962 best-seller, Silent Spring, Carson is today often perceived as a solitary ‘great woman,’ whose work single-handedly launched a modern environmental movement.”

The event is sponsored by several groups on campus, including The College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, The College of Natural and Mathematical Sciences, Biological Sciences Department, Chemistry and Biochemistry Department, Education Department, Gender and Women’s Studies Department, Geography and Environmental Systems Department, History Department, Honors College, Interdisciplinary Studies Program, Sustainability Matters, and Women in Science and Engineering Group.

Vanderlei Martins on the Value of Cube Satellites

CubeSatVanderlei Martins, a professor of physics and researcher with the Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology (JCET) joined Sheilah Kast on Maryland Morning to discuss his cube satellite or CubeSat project. Martins is working with students, other professors and NASA scientists to build the backpack-sized satellite. Martins plans to use his tiny satellite to study the role of aerosols, particles in the atmosphere, in cloud formation. Aerosols, he says, are essential for forming clouds. If there weren’t any aerosols there wouldn’t be any clouds.

Listen to the program


Biology and Batteries

In the quest to make a better battery Evgenia Barannikova, a graduate student at UMBC in the department of chemistry and biochemistry, has isolated a peptide, a small sequence of amino acids, which binds to lithium manganese nickel oxide (LMNO), a material that can be used to make high performance batteries.


“Biology provides several tools for us to solve important problems,” said Evgenia Barannikova, a graduate student at UMBC. Barannikova works in the lab of Mark Allen and studies how biological molecules in general can improve the properties of  in batteries. “By mimicking biological processes we can find the better solution,” she told

Read more at: 
Scientific American

U.S. Secretary of Energy, Ernest Moniz, Visits UMBC

Last week the U.S. Secretary of Energy, Ernest Moniz, visited UMBC to meet with President Hrabowski, faculty and students.

WBAL’s Tim Tooten covered the visit. Tooten reported that Moniz explained that there was a growing need for underrepresented minorities to help fill the energy-related jobs of the future.

Sec_Energy_Visit14-4127Moniz first met with a group of students from UMBC’s prestigious Meyerhoff Scholars program. Students said that Moniz’s remarks made a big impact on them.

“I think I am going to go and look more into what energy can do and what I can do in research for energy,” Aida Berhane ’17, chemical engineering, told Tooten.

“To see the amount of funding available for the future of energy and to see someone like him kind of taking charge, not supporting one particular project, but a variety of different energy-related fields, it was nice to see,”Stephen Vicchio ’15, chemical engineering.

But the visit was not just limited to students. Faculty and administrators met with the Secretary as well.

“The Secretary provided an insightful picture of the breadth and scope of the Department of Energy and its impact on scientific research, development, and technology. His inspirational approach highlighted many of the opportunities afforded by the DOE that will indeed benefit our students and faculty at UMBC,” said William LaCourse, Dean of the College and Natural Mathematical Sciences.

“It was a very successful conversation,” added Karl Steiner, Vice President for Research. “It allowed us to share with the Secretary the breadth of our expertise in energy research.”

Faculty included in the visit were: Belay Demoz, Director for the Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology (JCET); Ruben Delgado, Assistant Research Scientist, JCET; Andrei Draganescu, Associate Professor, Mathematics and Statistics; Tinoosh Mohsenin, Assistant Professor, Computer Science and Electrical Engineering; Jeffrey Gardner, Assistant Professor, Biological Sciences; and Mark Allen, Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

UMBC Undergraduate Research Conference a Success

UMBC held its 17th annual undergraduate research symposium on October 25.
This event was open to students from outside UMBC, with participants coming from Maryland universities and colleges, as well as participants coming from as far away as Massachusetts and Alabama.
The conference was by all accounts a tremendous success with 500 participants from 16 states.

17th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium in the Chemical and Biological Sciences (Register by 10/22)

This Symposium seeks to display the diverse array of student-committed endeavors and foster the communication of their relevant novel results and concepts. The event exclusively features undergraduate research in all areas of chemistry, biology and biochemistry with the understanding that progress at the chemical and biological interface requires cross-fertilization from the broadest possible spectrum of these disciplines.

The Symposium invites mentor-approved contributions from undergraduates investigating any aspect of chemistry, biology, and biochemistry. These advances will be disseminated in a daylong event that typically offers nearly 200 student contributions and gathers more than 400 beginning scientists, mentors, and other guests. The event will feature two poster sessions with posters judged by panels of participating mentors and other qualified attendees. Judges will rank first and second place posters in each category with non-financial awards presented at the event’s end.

The event is free, but registration is required. Light-fare refreshments and lunch will be provided. Faculty mentors and qualified attendees are encouraged to support this exceptional undergraduate experience by volunteering to serve as poster session judges.

Abstract Submission Deadline: Midnight EST, Thursday, September 25, 2014

Advanced Registration Deadline: Midnight EST, Wednesday, October 22, 2014