George Derek Musgrove’s research on gentrification in the nation’s capital featured in the Washington Post

musgroveIn advance of the annual Conference on D.C. Historical Studies, the Washington Post highlighted research by George Derek Musgrove ’97, history, associate professor of history, that identifies four distinct waves of gentrification in Washington, D.C. and reflects residents’ viewpoints of how it has impacted the city.

At the D.C. historical studies conference, Musgrove presented a talk with his colleague Chris Myers Asch at the University of the District of Columbia titled “We Are Headed for Some Bad Trouble: Gentrification and Displacement in Washington, D.C., 1920-2014.” Musgrove and Asch were part of a panel discussion to assess how historical patterns of race- and class-based inequality shape today’s urban landscape in Washington.

The talk was previewed in the Washington Post by columnist John Kelly. In his research, Musgrove identified the first wave of gentrification in 1920s Georgetown: “[Musgrove] said that when gentrification later moved across other neighborhoods, people would say they didn’t want them to end up ‘like Georgetown,’ which was seen as exclusive — and nearly exclusively white.

Poorer white residents moving out of neighborhoods such as Anacostia had ample housing options. But blacks were constrained by segregation and restrictive covenants. Policies such as rent control have allowed some neighborhoods, such as Adams Morgan, to remain diverse,” Musgrove said in the article.

“Our purpose in writing this was to give people an idea of how old gentrification is in the city and, in the process, to give people an idea of why older residents in particular react to it in the way that they do,” he added.

Last year, Musgrove was interviewed by WAMU’s Metro Connection program about his gentrification research.

Marie desJardins argues that ultra competitive hackathon culture may discourage women from pursuing careers in cybersecurity

desJardins, Marie (CSEE)There is a high demand for fresh talent in information security, but the industry has struggled to hire and retain professionals from an essential portion of their potential talent pool: women. Just 10 percent of people working in information security are women, and in a new Slate article UMBC’s Marie desJardins suggests the emphasis that recruiters and people in the industry place on competitive extracurricular activities, such as hackathons, may be dampening women’s interest in the field.

Activities such as hackathons—events where coders compete to build a new product or service, working continuously over a set period of hours or days—offer participants the chance to network with corporate recruiters, present their creations to industry experts, and even land internship offers. However, desJardins points out, “The way we train our girls, we don’t necessarily raise them to be competitive against other people.” This can leave girls at a disadvantage when recruiters expect them to have experience in highly competitive extracurricular activities, even more than demonstrating strong grades in challenging coursework.

To increase the number of women who choose careers in information security and cybersecurity, desJardins suggests emphasizing how the creations developed at events like hackathons can impact society, and creating more opportunities for students in these fields to demonstrate their skills and talent in ways that recruiters value.

“It’s not that girls don’t like these things, but it’s one kind of thing. It’s one way of testing out scientific ideas and comparing them against other people,” desJardins notes.

Read the full article, “Hackathons Have a Gender Problem,” on Slate.

Kimberly Moffitt analyzes Republican presidential debate, discusses the impact of social media on student activism

Following the November 10 Republican presidential debate on Fox Business Network, Kimberly Moffitt, an associate professor of American studies, was a guest on the Baltimore Sun’s “Roughly Speaking” podcast to provide reaction and analysis. Other guests on the podcast hosted by Dan Rodricks included Melissa Deckman, chair and professor of political science at Washington College, and Peter Jensen from the Baltimore Sun editorial board.

The segment covered a range of topics, including how candidates received more equal air time than prior debates and were given a chance to cover differences in several significant policy issues.

“There has been so much attention drawn to the two front runners that often times it appeared that Trump and Carson were receiving a lot more air time,” Moffitt observed. “In this particular debate, it seemed that there was a cross section of being able to hear the different voices and also to hear about those divides in terms of immigration, higher education, and whole notion of the family…those pieces I had not heard before, and it was simply because we had the opportunity to hear from so many of the candidates.”

Listen to the complete “Roughly Speaking” podcast on The Baltimore Sun website.

Also this past week, Moffitt joined ABC 2 Baltimore on November 12 for a segment on the role of social media in college protests. She discussed how social media can promote both positive and negative outcomes.

“What we see social media doing is helping to advance student activism and movements across the country, but it also has its negative side affects, especially what we see with people responding to these student activists,” explained Moffitt.

Watch the full segment on ABC 2’s “In Focus” program.

WEAA’s Marc Steiner Show broadcasts UMBC Critical Social Justice Week keynote panel

The Marc Steiner Show aired a special two-hour broadcast November 2 that was a recording of UMBC’s Critical Social Justice Week keynote panel “Baltimore in Action: Always Rising.” Marc Steiner moderated the panel which featured several prominent social justice activists and leaders from across Baltimore to discuss a range of issues currently impacting the city. Topics discussed included the city’s rich history of social justice and activism and the power of community organizing in addressing challenges.

Guests on the panel included  Rev. Dr. Heber Brown, III, pastor of Pleasant Hope Baptist Church and executive director of Orita’s Cross Freedom School; Dr. Marisela B. Gomez, physician, community activist and author of Race, Class, Power, and Organizing in East Baltimore: Rebuilding Abandoned Communities in America; Tawanda Jones, activist and sister of Tyrone West, who was killed by Baltimore police in July 2013; Jacqueline Robarge, founder and director of Power Inside, a project of Fusion Partnerships; and Kwame Rose, social activist and hip-hop artist.

Critical Social Justice: Baltimore 365 was held October 19-23 at UMBC. The initiative was coordinated by the Women’s Center with Student Life’s Mosaic: Center for Culture and Diversity. Critical Social Justice Week aims to explore social justice in both theory and practice from academic, activist, and artistic perspectives. This year’s event explored ways to cultivate deep and lasting commitments to Baltimore City.

Lee Blaney explains how technology can transform pollutants in chicken manure into a valuable product

Lee_Blaney_headshotWhile manure is often used as fertilizer for crops, regulations designed to protect the environment do not allow farmers to use untreated manure on fields that already saturated with elements like phosphorus. Lee Blaney, assistant professor in the department of chemical, biochemical and environmental engineering, is developing new technologies in his lab to remove phosphorus from agricultural waste, such as chicken litter, to transform it into two highly valuable products: processed animal litter that can be used as fertilizer and chemicals that can be sold to farmers with land that is deficient in rather than saturated with particular nutrients.

Blaney explains in a new Voice of America video that he sees this challenge as an opportunity to turn agricultural waste into a product that is profitable, and does not pollute the environment. His thought process is to ask “What’s in there? Can we extract it and turn it around into a valuable product?”

VOA video_Lee BlaneyFor updates on the work of the Blaney Lab, see their website and Twitter.

President Hrabowski joins new panel to examine future of undergraduate education

President Hrabowski will serve as a member of the Commission on the Future of Undergraduate Education, a panel of experts tasked with studying the impact and effectiveness of the nation’s existing educational systems and identifying the challenges and opportunities facing higher education.

The panel, formed by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, will use research drawn from higher education institutions across the country to forecast the future of the nation’s education needs and offer recommendations to ensure undergraduate education remains accessible for students from all backgrounds.

The three-year initiative, led by co-chairs Michael McPherson, President of the Spencer Foundation, and Roger Ferguson, TIAA-CREF President and CEO, includes expertise of national leaders in education, business, and government. The commission is funded with $2.2 million from the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

President Hrabowski discusses how his experiences during the Civil Rights movement inspired his career in education

In a recent interview on PBS’s Tavis Smiley Show, President Hrabowski shared how his experiences as a young boy during the Civil Rights movement shaped his future in higher education and inspired his pursuit of STEM achievement for students of all backgrounds.

Much of the discussion revolved around topics addressed in Dr. Hrabowski’s latest book, Holding Fast to Dreams.

Dr. Hrabowski recounted meeting Martin Luther King, Jr. and participating in a peaceful march, which led to his arrest. He also commented on how the experience compelled him, and many others, to take a more active role supporting the community and each other. “We Americans have the right to say when we think something is wrong, and that we can make a difference,” said Dr. Hrabowski.

During the interview, Dr. Hrabowski also addressed public perception of standardized tests, noting that while we need to be mindful of the limitations of test scores as a measure of success in student achievement, they serve an important role in the educational process.

“We want to make sure we’re not simply testing and penalizing children, but tests are important,” he said.

Dr. Hrabowski also emphasized the importance of increased support for all students. “We have to make sure we’re giving children, families, and teachers the support they need in ensuring that the child learns how to do well on standardized tests,” he said.