BSOS Be the Solution Magazine 2023

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Welcoming Dean Susan M. Rivera

Letter from the Chief Development Officer

Dear Friends of BSOS,

On behalf of the students, faculty and staff of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences (BSOS), I want to thank you for your continued engagement and support. We began a new chapter for our college in August when we proudly welcomed Dr. Susan Rivera as our new dean. Introducing her to alumni and friends has been a pleasure. From New York to California, virtually and in person, thank you to everyone who has offered such a warm welcome to Dean Rivera.

During the past academic year, alumni and friends gathered at many events to learn, celebrate and reconnect. From cherry blossom cruises to lectures to Maryland Day, there are countless opportunities to get involved. We hope you’ll join us in the future—learn more at

As you read through the pages of this issue, which showcase the innovative research, programming, activities and accomplishments of our students, faculty, and staff, I hope you understand that your support has helped to make all that we do in BSOS possible. On behalf of all of us in the college, thank you for your donations, and the gifts of your time and talent. We love hearing from and about you, on social media, via email, and in person.

To learn more about supporting initiatives within the college, please email me at We also look forward to your updates and feedback via

Thank you for your continued friendship! •


A New Era of Excellence 2 Taking On the World’s Grand Challenges 6 ‘All In’ on Africa 10 Showcasing Interdisciplinary Resilience Research 14 Department News 16 Peace Chairs News 26 Alumni and Giving News 28
cover and
Photos of Dr. Susan Rivera on
on page 2 by John Consoli/University of Maryland.
Spring 2023
Inside This Issue

UMD is No. 3

in federal social and behavioral research and development funding, according to the Consortium of Social Science Associations



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BSOS Points of Pride >>



In August of 2022, the BSOS community welcomed Dr. Susan Rivera as our new dean, embracing her vision of promoting a culture of impactful research and scholarship, encouraging interdisciplinary collaboration and partnerships, and advocating for the college’s programs.

Welcoming Dean Susan M. Rivera
“My upbringing really informs who I am as a person, and thereby how I lead.”

Rivera is an experienced scholar, teacher, and leader. She joined Maryland from the University of California, Davis, where she served as chair and professor in the Department of Psychology. There, Rivera also was an affiliate faculty member with the Center for Neuroscience, and was a faculty member in both the Center for Mind and Brain and the MIND Institute.

Rivera’s research is focused on investigating brain structure and function in both neurotypical and neurodivergent individuals, including those with autism, Down syndrome and the fragile X spectrum of involvement.

“Dean Rivera is a strong advocate for interdisciplinary research and collaboration on our campus. Her innovative leadership was evident at the interactive research showcase that BSOS held in May. Susan is a champion for the BSOS community, and her energy and vision for the college are inspiring,” said Provost Jennifer King Rice

Making the move across the country with her family was a big change for Rivera. What prompted her to take the leap of faith were the critical research projects, collaborative possibilities, and sense of community that she found at Maryland.

By happenstance, she had been a part of a review process for the college’s Program in Neuroscience and Cognitive Science prior to the deanship becoming available. She had been so impressed by that program and by BSOS that she wanted to learn more about the opportunity to work at Maryland.

“The work being done in this college is so impressive, and makes such a strong impact on the world. We are addressing the major concerns of our times. My goal is to help give everyone the tools and the platforms they need to let the world see what they have to offer, and to elevate our status as a major research, learning and teaching powerhouse,” Rivera said. “I love to learn, and there is so much to learn as dean of this college. Connecting with faculty members, staff, and alumni—and hearing about all they are doing and all they want to do—that is the fun part.”

Rivera’s first two semesters on campus have been exciting and challenging—from co-hosting an inspirational lecture by worldrenowned ethologist, activist and conservationist Dr. Jane Goodall, to promoting the college’s first multidisciplinary research showcase (see page 14), to launching new centers and programs.

Rivera has received strong support from the BSOS community, and from campus leadership. She has also forged a unique community with a group she calls the “sister deans,” as Dean Stephanie Shonekan started in the College of Arts and Humanities (ARHU) and Dean Kimberly Griffin started in the College of Education this summer. The leaders have provided collaboration and support to each other as they took on their new roles.

“Elevating and supporting those around you is how I’ve always led, and that has been amplified in this sisterhood,” Rivera said. “I’m immensely grateful that the stars aligned to put us together on campus at this moment.”

Understanding and Supporting Our Students

Rivera’s unique personal experience informs her service as dean, especially her guidance and advocacy for the student body.

As the youngest of 13 children growing up in Gary, Indiana, with parents who emigrated from Puerto Rico, Rivera was thrilled to attend Indiana University, Bloomington as an undergraduate.

Getting into college was a great achievement. But once she was there, she experienced many challenges—and didn’t always have a road map to success.

“My upbringing really informs who I am as a person, and thereby how I lead,” Rivera said. “My parents were large proponents of education, but as I began my undergraduate studies, I found I didn’t have the vocabulary or the awareness to easily navigate my higher education journey.”

It wasn’t until Rivera’s sophomore year that she realized not only what a first-generation college student was, but that the term described her.

“I pulled a tab off a flyer for a summer research opportunity program for firstgeneration students, and I realized it was for me. That experience got me into a research lab, and I never looked back. I stayed during that summer and worked,” Rivera said. “I eventually learned what graduate school was—I had never heard that term growing up, and I was embarrassed to ask as a student. But when I found out that you

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could be paid to do research and pursue questions that are interesting to you, that this could be your job, I was astounded.”

Question by question, mentor by mentor, Rivera succeeded at Indiana and went on to earn a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.

As someone who worked in bars and restaurants to make money and to be able to eat as an undergraduate, she is driven to be a mentor and an inspiration to students, both to advocate for their basic needs, and to seek out extraordinary opportunities.

Rivera works to make sure that all students have the tools they need to succeed, and that faculty and staff are supported as well.

“It is important to me to foster a general appreciation of the importance of caring for those around you; I keep that top of mind at all times,” Rivera said. “Especially in the times we’re living through, and the impacts of our modern reality, it’s critical not to lose sight that people need to be checked in with and taken care of. That sense of care for our community should be front and center among the shared goals for our college.”

Diversity and Inclusion as Excellence

From her first days on campus, Rivera made it clear that fostering inclusive excellence would be a hallmark of her tenure.

“The reason I gravitate toward the term ‘inclusive excellence’ is that it matches

my view that excellence is inclusivity, and excellence is diversity—it’s not that there is excellence and you bring diversity to it. When you have diverse perspectives at the table, your solutions are smarter. Your ability to answer probing questions increases, and life will just have more color,” Rivera said. “Our college’s mission is to approach grand challenges from every angle. I think it’s important to gather as much unique knowledge and experience as possible to drive ideas forward and find successful solutions.”

One of Rivera’s first actions as dean was to complete the final stages of a bold, college-wide, concerted effort to hire several faculty members focused on racial inequality. Five talented new faculty members were hired as a result, in the Departments of African American Studies, Criminology and Criminal Justice, Government and Politics, Psychology, and Sociology. Each of these new faculty members who start in the fall are members of underrepresented minority groups.

“I am thrilled that these faculty members will join our college in the fall, as they are all innovators and are bringing new ideas to their fields,” Rivera said. “These scholars are fulfilling our goal of making the campus a more diverse and inclusive place. But it isn’t just about bringing talented people here, it is about making sure they succeed on this campus—we’ve been very intentional about putting plans in place to make sure that our new faculty members will have resources, feel included, and have their needs met.”

BSOS is also showing its commitment to inclusive excellence by offering the new Minor in Anti-Black Racism. This minor— which is largely made possible by support from the Department of African American Studies—is a collaborative effort between BSOS and several colleges and schools.

“This new minor will broaden the perspective of so many students, leading to a greater understanding of not only the root causes of racism, but effective ways of addressing racism and promoting a more equitable society,” Rivera said.

Looking Ahead

Outlining future plans, Rivera said that establishing her research lab at Maryland will be important going forward, as will fostering inclusivity and breaking down barriers when it comes to research within and beyond the college.

Rivera has enjoyed meeting alumni and donors at numerous events in the past year, and appreciates the engagement and encouragement she has received. She looks forward to meeting many more community members.

“Meeting alumni and donors is very inspiring—there’s a very strong sense of Maryland pride that comes through. That’s how you know that this is a special place, and that BSOS is a special college,” Rivera said. “This institution that I champion is so phenomenal; it makes certain parts of my job easy. I love when people ask me what is new and special about BSOS.” •

(Photos from left to right) [1] (L to R) Dr. Jane Goodall, Dean Susan Rivera, Professor Tatiana Loboda, and Provost Jennifer King Rice meet before Goodall delivered a lecture at UMD. [2] Dean Rivera greets students at a welcoming Ice Cream Social in the fall.
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[3] (L to R) Distinguished University Professor Sally Simpson, Dean Rivera, Carlyle Group Co-Founder and CEO David Rubenstein, and Robert H. Smith School of Business Dean Prabhudev Konana at the Fishlinger Family Lecture.


INFebruary, the University of Maryland’s Grand Challenges Grants Program invested $30 million in ideas designed to address the world’s most complex problems.

More than a dozen BSOS researchers are helping execute such ideas by serving on projects that have earned either:

Institutional Grants of $1 million per year for three years of funding;

Impact Awards of $250,000 per year for two years of funding;

Team Project Awards of $500,000 per year for three years of funding; or

Individual Project Awards of up to $50,000 per year for three years of funding.

The college community celebrates these researchers and their innovative work.

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Professor Michael Hanmer of the Department of Government and Politics (GVPT), who also directs the Center for Democracy and Civic Engagement, and colleagues in the College of Education, Philip Merrill College of Journalism, and School of Public Policy will use an Impact Award to create a Democracy Initiative. This project catalyzes interdisciplinary innovation to increase trust in our election system, our public schools, the news media, and more. The Democracy Initiative will do so by providing cutting-edge research, innovative teaching and learning, and impactful civic engagement.



Building on his earlier work with the UMD Critical Issues Poll, Anwar Sadat Chair for Peace and Development Shibley

Telhami (GVPT) will use an Individual Project Award to produce additional polls focused on two critical issues of the day. The first is attitudes about threats to American democracy and their impact on American foreign policy. The second is shifting attitudes on racial/ethnic/religious relations in America. The polls will occur over a three-year period of study that spans the 2024 national elections, and there will be at least one annual publication analyzing the results.


Building on prior research, which found that sea surface temperature (SST) is a significant predictor of maritime piracy, Distinguished University Professor Gary LaFree of the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice will use a new Individual Project Award to study SST as a measure of climate change. He will examine its impact on various types of political violence in 109 countries with coastlines. His findings may enable projections of the nature of future threats connected to climate-change induced shifts in food production.


Distinguished University Professor Ellen Williams of the College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences (CMNS) was awarded an Institutional Grant for a multi-person project—of which Professor and Chair Tatiana Loboda of the Department of Geographical Sciences (GEOG) is a part. This project focuses on translating climate science to practice, and on offering experiential research opportunities to undergraduate and graduate students interested in pursuing multidisciplinary solutions to climate change. The project will heavily rely on the strength of existing campus research, which includes work concerning the monitoring and forecasting of extreme events, climateadaptations for agriculture, and the monitoring of air and water pollution globally, and in the state of Maryland.


To meet climate change mitigation goals, researchers are exploring second-generation biofuel crops such as switchgrass, which is able to grow on marginal lands without displacing food crops. However, the current spatial extent and usage of switchgrass is not well-quantified, and the unprecedented areas of future land-use change projected for these crops has the potential to impact biodiversity, water cycles, and food security.

Via an Individual Project Award, Associate Research Professor Louise Chini (GEOG) will use remote sensing data to develop detection and monitoring technologies for switchgrass and its conversions from previous land-use/cover, to help inform future climate mitigation decision-making.

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Assistant Research Professor Jeanette Snider and Professor Rashawn Ray of the Department of Sociology will work with Lecturer Ashley Newby and Professor John Drabinski of the Department of African American Studies on a Team Project Award that will position UMD as a leading anti-Black racism institution. They will do so by developing faculty-student, cross-departmental, anti-Black racism-focused research projects; developing and executing anti-Black racism teach-in workshops for faculty, staff, students, and community members; and presenting research findings to the wider campus and local community through an annual symposia and networking event.

These efforts will also amplify the Minor in Anti-Black Racism—a collaboration between BSOS, the College of Arts and Humanities, the College of Education, the School of Public Health, and the School of Public Policy—that is set to launch in Fall 2023.




Through their Team Project Award, Miranda Abadir from the UMD National Foreign Language Center and Assistant Professor Matthew Thomann of the Department of Anthropology will create a website, called ATLAS, which will increase the understanding of the African continent and its growing global influence. ATLAS will reduce disparities in representation, increase the prominence of African and African American topics of study and encourage more scholarship on Africa by centralizing all UMD research, scholarship, courses, events and student groups focused on Africa.

ATLAS will also host a monthly lecture series and an annual conference on the study of Africa, bringing together interested faculty, staff and students and attracting African thought leaders and scholars to engage with the UMD community.

An Institutional Grant was awarded to Associate Professor Donald Bolger of the College of Education and a team of faculty across campus—including Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences (HESP) faculty members. These HESP faculty (pictured clockwise) are: Professor and Chair Rochelle Newman, Professor Nan Bernstein Ratner, Assistant Clinical Professor Eliza Thompson, and Clinical Assistant Professor José Ortiz, who is also Director of the LanguageLearning Early Advantage Program.

The researchers aim to increase literacy and shrink achievement gaps in schools. They will use cutting-edge models of professional development and community outreach to transform and integrate practices in education, speech pathology, library sciences, and parent/family engagement. They will contextualize their findings with respect to marginalized communities across race, culture, ethnicity, and language, as well as neurodiverse populations.

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Through their Team Project Award, Associate Professor Yi Ting Huang and Clinical Associate Professor Kathy Dow-Burger (HESP); Associate Professor Elizabeth Redcay of the Department of Psychology (PSYC); and Quentin Leifer, a master’s student in the College of Education, will build a video-calling platform called Fostering Inclusivity through Technology (FIT). FIT will promote mutual understanding between people with autism spectrum disorder and their workplace peers by highlighting team sentiment, building rapport with strangers, connecting past and current topics in conversations, and unobtrusively identifying and resolving misunderstandings.



Through his Individual Project Award, Assistant Research Professor Adam Brockett of the Program in Neuroscience and Cognitive Science (NACS) will use the UMD Brain and Behavior Institute’s Small Animal Magnetic Resonance Imaging facility to explore how a single dose of psilocybin—a psychedelic used for the treatment of depression and other mood disorders—alters decision-making and its related brain areas in rodents.


Assistant Professor Anna Li (NACS, PSYC) will use her Individual Project Award to help reduce rates of opioid relapse. Using a rat model, Li will investigate the role of mitochondrial dynamics and associated cellular signaling pathways underlying oxycodone relapse. This work will advance our understanding of molecular mechanisms underlying oxycodone relapse, and could help to uncover potential therapeutic targets for prevention.


Through an Impact Award to Professor Hal Daumé III of the A. James Clark School of Engineering and other UMD colleagues, Assistant Professor Eric Hoover (HESP) joins an 18-person research team in promoting the development of AI in a way that is ethical, transparent, fair, trustworthy, supportive of human creativity, and able to facilitate privacy. This work is especially important for the continued use of AI in areas such as education, healthcare, and more.

The researchers will bring together experts in AI to develop new technology that is responsive to relevant human concerns; in philosophy, to develop tools for representing and reasoning substantively about values; and in human-computer interaction, to better adapt AI systems to people. •

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‘All-In’ on AFRICA

Across departments, numerous BSOS faculty members—and some students—are working on the African continent in 2023 to gain a global perspective and seek solutions to challenges that not only impact that continent, but the rest of the world as well. Described here are just a few of the projects and trips that have been planned this year.

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Associate Professor John McCauley in the Department of Government and Politics was granted $4 2 million to lead the Center for International Development and Conflict Management’s efforts to help the many ethnic, religious and other groups living in northern Ghana find common ground Their common cause: Keeping terrorist groups out of the area McCauley traveled to northern Ghana in late January to hold a kick-off meeting with the project’s local partners, and plans to return every two to three months throughout the year, and for longer stretches in the summer when he’s not teaching

Assistant Clinical Professor Eliza Thompson of the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences will be traveling to Ghana for a few weeks spanning July and August with 15 students These undergraduate and graduate students will gain hands-on experience working with individuals with autism, cerebral palsy, and other special needs at six partner organizations that include schools, nonprofits and clinics Through the department’s first education abroad opportunity, master’s students will be able to obtain clinical hours, while undergraduate students will earn observation hours Students will also participate in cultural activities—including visiting museums, art galleries, and the country’s slave dungeons and forts—to enhance their cultural sensitivity and understanding of the complex issues that surround the impact of colonization on education and healthcare systems


Assistant Professor Catherine Nakalembe of the Department of Geographical Sciences (GEOG) will travel to Senegal in June to conduct on-the-ground training and begin collecting data for an “Earth Observation-enabled regional and national agricultural monitoring in West Africa” project with the NASA SERVIR West Africa Hub The new project will use takeaways from an earlier, related SERVIR project—that one focused on Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania—to strengthen existing early warning systems in Senegal, Mali and possibly Burkina Faso, and to also launch a system to help better monitor crop conditions, yield forecasts and cropland/crop-type maps


Associate Professor Meredith Gore (GEOG) traveled to Cameroon in mid-April for a launch meeting for “Operation Pangolin”—a $4 million project supported by the Paul G Allen Family Foundation that seeks to use new interdisciplinary science to help conserve its namesake, the world’s most trafficked wild mammal The team will gather data on Central Africa’s conservation strategies Gore and her collaborators will develop toolkits for pangolin monitoring and data collection, and work with indigenous peoples, local communities and government agencies to deploy monitoring programs, implement conservation interventions and develop predictive tools for addressing wildlife crime


Nakalembe co-organized the International Conference on Learning Representations’ first Machine Learning for Remote Sensing Workshop with NASA Harvest team members in May The workshop featured presentations on the latest relevant research papers, as well as speakers that included Abigail Annkah, a Research Software Engineer at Google AI; Francis Ngabo, CEO of Rwanda Space Agency; and Charles Mwangi, Earth Observation, Research, Education and Outreach Lead at the Kenya Space Agency

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In late June, Research Professor Molly Brown (GEOG) will travel to Kenya with School of Public Policy Research Professor David Backer, and with Kathryn Grace and Jude Mikal, both University of Minnesota faculty, for a new project supported by the German Federal Foreign Office, in collaboration with specialists at Action Against Hunger The project’s aim is to increase the usability of the modelbased forecasts of child acute malnutrition they created—through the “Modelling Early Risk Indicators to Anticipate Malnutrition” project funded by the U K ’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office—for countries susceptible to climate, conflict, and other serious shocks Improving the design of the models and the application of the forecasts in practice will rely heavily on feedback from potential end users: “What we want to do, in a perfect world, is to change the questions that are asked to get the data we need to do a better prediction of need,” said Brown

Professor and Chair Sangeetha Madhavan of the Department of African American Studies is continuing work on the five-year, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development-funded “JAMO project” that is focused on collecting data on marriage, kinship and children’s well-being in two informal settlements The research team, which features collaborators at UMD and in Kenya, travels to Nairobi this summer to hold a mid-project workshop to take stock of what has been accomplished so far, and to develop the next round of proposals for submission to NIH The team will also continue publishing papers and making the data accessible to graduate students at UMD and elsewhere

Assistant Professor Matthew Thomann of the Department of Anthropology spent most of 2022 in Nairobi, Kenya documenting the typical human papillomavirus (HPV) patient trajectories, and associated pain, experienced by Kenyan men who have sex with men (MSM) Building on that work, Thomann plans to return to Nairobi this summer to—with support from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research—better understand the role homophobia plays in the late presentation of HPV and other anal diseases among Nairobi MSM His interdisciplinary research team will also work to establish an advanced HPV screening process that involves testing cells from anal Pap smears to determine which of the 150 HPV genotypes cause anal warts but no cancer, and vice versa


Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice

Principal Lecturer Wendy Stickle and MLAW Senior Lecturer Christine White will lead undergraduate students on a July trip to Cape Town, South Africa so that students— especially those interested in criminal justice, comparative justice, social justice, human rights, history, public policy, child exploitation, and victim advocacy—can gain a better understanding of “the types of human trafficking occurring in South Africa and the consequences of and reactions to it ” Students will receive three credits for completing one of two courses related to the trip

Associate Professor Jessica Magidson of the Department of Psychology—also Director of the Center for Substance Use, Addiction and Health Research—traveled to Cape Town, South Africa in March with two psychology Ph D students, a postdoctoral fellow, and several staff and collaborators The team supported four National Institutes of Health-funded projects, including “Project Khanya,” which integrates substance use disorder (SUD) and HIV services in Cape Town primary care clinics Other projects the team worked on focused on reducing stigma among community health workers around SUD and mental health in HIV and tuberculosis care; on integrating a peer recovery coach model into community-based HIV services; and on how HIV disclosure can keep men engaged in HIV care Magidson and her team will continue to travel regularly to support these projects

Gore will bookend her 2023 summer with trips to South Africa and Mozambique to help reduce the serious health and national security threats that can result from the intersection of illegal wildlife trade, biosecurity and human health At the center of the five-year, $5 million project supported by the U S Department of Defense are vultures Vultures have body parts used for traditional medicine However, vultures can feed on poached wildlife carcasses that are infected with anthrax, and therefore pose new risks to biosecurity

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Nakalembe traveled to Zambia in early 2023 for a stakeholder meeting to discuss updates to the East and Southern Africa “Digital Regional Food Balance Sheet” that NASA Harvest created to show a complete picture of food availability in Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia These insights contribute to a more predictable trade and policy environment in the region NASA Harvest created the sheet with members of the largest regional economic organization in Africa, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, as well as AGRA, an alliance led by Africans, for African farming communities so that they can create solutions that meet their specific environmental and agricultural needs

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Showcasing Interdisciplinary Resilience Research

The innovative, collaborative research of the faculty and students of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences was featured at a Resilience Research Showcase in the Grand Ballroom of the Adele H. Stamp Student Union on May 4.

More than 300 guests from across campus—and throughout Maryland, Washington, D.C., and beyond—gathered to experience BSOS research in action through the interactive, multimedia event.

“This landmark event gave our researchers not only a spotlight to showcase their extraordinary work, but a rare opportunity to make in-person connections with one another and with collaborators in government, nonprofit, and industry sectors,” said Dean Susan Rivera. “BSOS is proud to be investigating and tackling the grand challenges of our times.”

The event brought to life the BSOS Resilience Research Hub, featuring 40 poster presentations and videos across several resilience themes, including environment, economic, health and safety, democratic, and more.

“In our current times, understanding how and why humans adapt, evolve and thrive in challenging environments and circumstances certainly is an appealing and important research area.

(Below) Dean Susan Rivera (left) and Provost Jennifer King Rice
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Indeed, there is no doubt resilience is a crucial domain of research for our campus, national and global endeavors,” Rivera said as she welcomed attendees.

She later invited UMD Board of Trustees member Singleton McAllister, AFAM/GVPT ’75, to offer remarks. McAllister reflected on the timeliness and the urgency of themes of the day, including gun violence, climate change, and threats to democracy.

The showcase offered a unique and engaging format, providing attendees the opportunity to directly interact with researchers and learn more about their work.

Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Education

Jean McGloin said she was excited to see so many collaborators on campus for the event, including guests from the Maryland Governor’s Office; the National Institutes of Health; the National Science Foundation; NASA; the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; the D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency; the Democracy Fund; and the Climate Justice Resilience Fund, among many others.

“This event showcased the amazing research talent of faculty in our college and was an opportunity to share it with the larger community. I’m so proud of my colleagues’ work, and hope this will lead to more collaboration and research success,” McGloin said.

The posters and videos were displayed according to theme in dedicated sections, with projects from multiple disciplines exhibited in each research theme area.

The research covered a broad array of topics, including the Impacts of Global Environmental Change on Malaria Persistence; Cognitive Resilience in Socioeconomically Disadvantaged Youth; Democratic Resilience to Terrorism in Africa; Supporting Resilience in Underserved Families with ADHD; Crop Planting and Harvest Monitoring Over Ukraine; Pro Stadiums and Safe Voting During COVID; and many more. •

Photos by Mike Morgan/ Mike Morgan Photography Associate Professor Chryl Laird presents her research
BSOS Online Visit the Resilience Research Hub: bsosresiliencehub College of Behavioral and Social Sciences: Be the Solution | 15
(Below) Professor Karen O'Brien discusses her work

Harley Recognized with Interdisciplinary Award


SHARON HARLEY was awarded the 2023 Honorary Feminist Sociologist Distinction Award by the Sociologists for Women in Society (SWS).

This award honors contributions by feminists who are not sociologists, but who have made notable interdisciplinary contributions to feminist theory and praxis.

Harley focuses her research and teaching on Black women’s leadership and crusades for justice, as well as labor history and racial and gender politics in the United States and globally. She is completing a biography of Nannie Helen Burroughs, an early

feminist leader in the Black Baptist church movement and founder of the National Training School for Women and Girls in Washington, D.C, for the Yale University Press Black Lives Series.

Harley is also finishing a scholarly volume of essays and podcasts of participants in her UMD- and Mellon Foundation-funded “African/Black Diaspora” Research Seminar.

“While honoring my scholarship and my history of engagement and leadership of multiple cross-disciplinary projects, this SWS Award recognizes the interdisciplinarity of African American and feminist scholarship as fields of study, and also recognizes UMD’s decades-long embrace and support of interdisciplinarity in its faculty hires and research funding,” Harley said. •

Faculty Awarded Experiential Learning Grant for Unique Project

LECTURER ROBERT CHOFLET, Assistant Professor Angel Dunbar, and Associate Professor Sharon Harley received an Experiential Learning Grant from UMD’s Teaching and Learning Transformation Center (TLTC). This support allowed them to design unique projects for students in ASP202: Black Culture in the United States. It also allowed the instructors to create resources for future sections of the course.

Students in the course worked with various historical cultural archives and visited the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and applied lessons they learned to fashion their own virtual exhibit of Black cultural artifacts as a final project.

“We encouraged students to take what they have learned about cultural traditions and what they have learned from studying historical cultural archives and apply that to a study of contemporary culture. They thought critically about the kinds of

cultural traditions they interact with and value,” Choflet said.

The grant covered the salary of a faculty research assistant, Erica Puentes, who helped to build a database that documents more than 100 sites important to Black cultural life in the areas surrounding Baltimore, College Park, and Washington,

Image via iStock

D.C. This database will be used by the instructors in future student projects.

“The work we were able to do and the resources we were able to organize with the help of the TLTC grant has been a great success for the course, and for the department in general,” Choflet said. •

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Alumna Helps First African American-Founded


Gain National Park Designation

NEW PHILADELPHIA, ILLINOIS is now a national park, thanks in part to Charlotte King, ANTH B.A. ’03, M.A.A. ’08. She successfully lobbied Congress for this recognition of the first town legally founded and registered by an African American in the United States.

The town’s founder, Frank McWorter, a formerly enslaved man from Kentucky, bought freedom for himself and 15 family members. In 1836, he began to sell New Philadelphia lots to free-born and formerly enslaved African and European Americans.

New Philadelphia, King said, later survived “one of the most racially turbulent eras of our country’s history,” but in 1996, nearby highway development threatened what was left of it. That prompted the creation of the New Philadelphia Association, a nonprofit of which King is a part. The organization is dedicated to protecting the historical site and McWorter’s legacy.

Shedding Light on Harriet Tubman’s Early Life

A CLEARER PICTURE of Harriet Tubman’s early life has emerged with the discovery of a home believed to have been occupied by an enslaved overseer on the former Cambridge, Md., farm where she was born. The effort is led by Adjunct Assistant Professor Julie

Schablitsky is chief of cultural resources at the Maryland Department of Transportation. Her team excavated a foundation from a house on private property and unearthed hundreds of artifacts.

These findings followed the team’s 2021 discovery of what is thought to be the home site of Tubman’s father on what is now the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. Both locations were part of the Thompson Farm, where up to 40 enslaved people once lived and where the future Underground Railroad conductor and Union Army nurse and spy was born in 1822.

King’s involvement began as part of her undergraduate thesis work with Professor Paul Shackel, who was already doing research there. The effort to establish New Philadelphia as a national park has taken years of effort by numerous researchers and volunteers, and has been supported by several grants. •

BSOS Online


The team anticipates returning to the site this summer to focus on the interior of the home, and to determine whether smaller living quarters surrounded it. •

BSOS Online


Gov. Wes Moore and Adjunct Assistant Professor Julie Schablitsky share historic findings at a press conference. Photo by Joe Andrucyk/ Maryland GovPic. A house in New Philadelphia, Ill. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.
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Study Shows High-risk Communities Would Benefit from Firearm Safety Training

FIREARM SAFETY TRAINING could significantly reduce gun violence in high-risk communities, research by faculty in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice (CCJS) published in Preventive Medicine suggests.

The study by Professor and Interim Chair Rod Brunson and Assistant Professor Brooklynn Hitchens, both of CCJS, and Brian Wade of the University of Pennsylvania, found that individuals at the greatest risk of experiencing gun violence tend to receive no formal firearm safety training.

They also generally store firearms in insecure locations, which likewise contributes to increased feelings of community unease, spurs individuals’ desire to arm themselves and peers, and raises the likelihood of fatal and nonfatal shootings.

The researchers interviewed 51 Black male residents of Brooklyn and the Bronx, two New York City boroughs where shootings are highly concentrated. All study participants were considered high-risk, meaning they were between the ages of 15-34 and had already been shot or shot at. Some were also unable to legally access guns due to a past conviction.

A unique element of the study is that three-quarters of respondents reported being shot at, but not suffering a gunshot injury, providing a more typical sampling of those who experienced gun violence than a survey of gunshot victims alone. •

BSOS Online


New Book Offers Insight into Religion in Prison

“IN THIS PLACE CALLED PRISON” (University of California Press, 2023) by Assistant Professor Rachel Ellis is a rare in-depth study of religious life in women’s prisons. Ellis interviewed incarcerated women, chaplains, volunteers, wardens, corrections officers and other members of a prison community on the East Coast to gain unique insights.

Ellis shows how members of faith communities are reframing what it means to be imprisoned, and are challenging societal messages of what punishment means. Ellis also found that religious affiliation— or lack thereof—creates a dynamic of “haves” and “have nots” in the prison community.

Legally, incarcerated people must have access to one worship service and one scripture-based service a week. They also have the right to accommodations for religious requirements, such as a Kosher diet for Jewish people.

But beyond those requirements, there are few limits to opportunities and gifts provided by volunteers and charitable organizations. To an overwhelming extent, Protestant Christians benefit from these gifts of time and goods, while people of different faiths—or those who do not identify with a religious tradition—are excluded.

Another disparity in treatment that Ellis noted among women of faith versus women who do not identify as members of a religious group was in how closely small groups were monitored. • Read BSOS Online
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18 | College of Behavioral and Social Sciences: Be the Solution

Alumnus Establishes Neil Moskowitz Economics Lecture Series

THIS SPRING, the Department of Economics hosted its first Neil Moskowitz Economics Lecture in Skinner Hall. The event was the first of a new, semesterly lecture series made possible by a gift from Neil Moskowitz, ECON ’80

“This new series of events will bring some of the world’s most influential economists and economic policy makers to our campus, and will bring our staff, faculty and students together to think about the biggest economics issues,” said Professor and Chair Andrew Sweeting

This lecture series is one of the latest shows of support from Moskowitz, an active member of the Economics Leadership Council and longtime friend and supporter of BSOS.

The inaugural event speaker was Daron Acemoglu of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an expert in macroeconomics, political economy, labor economics, development economics and economic theory. He presented “Distorted Innovation: Does the Market Get the Direction of Technology Right?” •

BSOS Online


Improving the Transition to Renewable Energy

IF THE UNITED STATES is going to achieve the Biden administration’s goal of having 100% carbon pollution-free electricity by 2035, it’s going to have to address some of the renewable energy challenges economists at UMD and the University of Wisconsin (UW) are uncovering.

With support from a $500,000 award from the National Science Foundation, Assistant Professor Chenyu Yang and UW Assistant Professor Sarah Johnston are analyzing data from the renewable energy generator companies that are trying to connect their wind-, wateror solar-powered energy source to the U.S. power grid. This process can sometimes take years, and it must happen before the companies can sell that electricity option to consumers.

“Looking at the data, the interconnection completion rate of renewable generators is lower than fossil fuel generators, and the time it takes for them to go through this process of interconnection is longer than the time it takes for fossil fuels to interconnect [to the power grid],” Yang said. “We’re asking why it’s taking so long for renewable generators to connect, and then once we identify those reasons, offering policy suggestions on how best to improve the interconnection process.”

Yang and Johnston have already identified two major contributing factors: A shortage of engineers who can determine whether a renewable energy applicant will dangerously overload the grid, and the consequence of triggering an overload on the grid. •


BSOS Online
Daron Acemoglu delivers the inaugural Neil Moskowitz Economics Lecture.
College of Behavioral and Social Sciences: Be the Solution | 19
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UMD Satellite Data: Primary Source to Monitor Deforestation

SATELLITE DATA ANALYZED by the Global Land Analysis and Discovery (GLAD) laboratory in the Department of Geographical Sciences has revealed insights into ongoing primary forest loss in Brazil, Indonesia and Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

According to GLAD satellite data, Brazil tops the list for most primary forest loss, having lost 45% of its total tree cover loss between 2001 and 2021. Indonesia lost 35% of its total tree cover loss during the same period. DRC showed an 11% decrease in tree cover since 2000.

The GLAD findings, featured in The Economist, highlight the need for urgent action to curb deforestation and protect the world’s major rainforests. The rainforests in Brazil, Indonesia and DRC are giant absorbers of carbon dioxide, making them crucial players in the fight against climate change.

Since 2000, GLAD has monitored global forest extent and change as a part of the Global Forest Watch initiative in collaboration with

Outreach Initiative Recognizes Science-Minded High School Superstars

THE DEPARTMENT OF GEOGRAPHICAL SCIENCES hosted its second Recognition Banquet for Exceptional Geographical Sciences High School Students in April at the Adele H. Stamp Student Union. The event celebrated the achievements of more than 50 high school students whose teachers nominated them for their outstanding academic and/or extracurricular achievement in geographical sciences or related disciplines.

“I feel great and surprised that I am even capable,” said Cristian Romero, a freshman at Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School who is interested in climate change and disease outbreaks. He earned a scholarship to attend his school and hopes to support his family in the future.

During the evening’s program, the students also learned about innovative ways modern geographers apply their skills, as alumna such as Camille Hoffman Delett shared insights.

the World Resources Institute. Global Forest Watch is an online platform that provides data and tools for monitoring forests.

“The GLAD lab seeks to make timely and accurate maps of our changing planet that can inform how we may balance the maintenance of natural systems with economic development,” said Professor Matthew Hansen, GLAD’s co-director. “To date, nature is losing and the outcomes in the form of climate change, habitat loss and other impacts threaten the entire Earth system and our place in it.” •

The event was created by Professor George Hurtt, who was inspired by a similar initiative that his son participated in from the math department at Brigham Young University. •

BSOS Online

Read the full story at

From left to right: Professor George Hurtt presents awards to high school students Angie Tejeda and Cristian Romero. Photo by Sasha Mikus. the full story at
Read BSOS Online
courtesy of the Department of Geographical
20 | College of Behavioral and Social Sciences: Be the Solution
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Stories by Renata Johnson

Researcher Finds Covid Safety Restrictions Reduced ISIS Violence


featured in American Political Science Review found that lockdowns like those that occurred because of COVID-19 can combat another threat to public safety: acts of violence by non-state actors.

Using ISIS as an example, Birnir and Dawn Brancati of Yale University and Qutaiba Idlbi of the Atlantic Council tested the impact of the pandemic on non-state actor violence by collecting data related to ISIS violent events that occurred in Iraq, Syria and Egypt between December 2018 and June 2020. They compared the acts of ISIS violence that occurred before and after the pandemic began, noting each area’s implementation of two lockdown measures, curfews and travel bans.

The researchers’ models of ISIS violent events in Iraq and Syria in 2019 versus 2020 showed a decrease in attacks coinciding with the pandemic. Lockdowns in Syria were associated with an approximate 15% overall reduction in violence, while in Iraq, the overall decline was around 30%.

What surprised the authors most was not only the changes they observed in the volume of ISIS violent acts, but also the location of those acts.

“It seemed that curfews made it more difficult for ISIS to carry out violent events in heavily populated areas because of the difficulty of moving around when there’s a curfew,” Birnir said. “Our empirical tests showed that there was a reduction in the number of violent events in urban areas, and less of a decrease or even an increase in the number of violent events that took place in rural areas.” •

BSOS Online


UMD Critical Issues Poll: Country of Origin, Race, Politics Influence Gun Violence Attitude

ATTITUDES ABOUT GUN VIOLENCE and firearm policies are influenced by race more than age, and opinions vary widely based on whether respondents were born in the United States and their political affiliation, according to a UMD Critical Issues Poll conducted with Ipsos.

Among the findings of the poll, directed by Professors Shibley Telhami and Stella Rouse of the Department of Government and Politics, those born outside the United States were more likely to support greater gun restrictions compared to those born in the United States. Of those foreign-born respondents, only 14% believed that tighter school security was most likely to reduce gun violence against children, while 33% said fewer guns would do so, and 42% said both equally.

In comparison, a third of those born in the United States said that gun violence against children would be reduced by tighter security, 19% said by fewer guns and 28% by both equally.

“It’s well established that the U.S. leads developed countries by a wide margin in both the number of guns and the number of gun homicides, two correlated measures,” said Telhami, the Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development. “This may be one reason why U.S.-born and foreign-born Americans express different attitudes on guns and gun violence.” •

BSOS Online

Read more in the Maryland Today article at

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College of Behavioral and Social Sciences: Be the Solution | 21
Professor Jóhanna Birnir

A Unique Mural for Children with Unique Communication Needs

theme with cartoon animals floating in space with a wide variety of assistive devices, including hearing aids and cochlear implants. The second follows a “LEAP is where children learn” theme, and consists of a diverse group of children jumping for joy around a frog.

“The mural depicts many of the elements around which LEAP is centered, including literacy, communication and diversity,” said LEAP Director José Ortiz, a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences (HESP).

“Professor Donahue-Shipp and his students drew on concepts fundamental to LEAP to provide a faithful visual representation of our program, and have provided a wonderful contribution to our department through this mural.”

STUDENTS IN THE DEPARTMENT OF ART installed a permanent mural collage in front of LeFrak Hall’s LanguageLearning Early Advantage Program (LEAP) classroom in March to celebrate the children served there.

The installation, directed by Assistant Professor Brandon Donahue-Shipp of the College of Arts and Humanities, has two distinct parts. The first follows a “LEAP for the Stars”

Training Can Improve Older Adults’ Ability to Discriminate Rapid Changes in Sound

NEW HESP RESEARCH published by Professors Samira Anderson Sandra Gordon-Salant and Matthew Goupell offers hope for those who struggle to understand what’s being said in noisy situations.

In a paper published in the Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology the researchers found that younger (18-30) and older (65-85) individuals with normal hearing and older individuals with hearing impairment could undergo training to improve their ability to detect subtle changes in the rate of sounds that can make it difficult to understand speech in challenging situations. These scenarios

The process was inspired by the University of Maryland’s Arts for All initiative, an effort to bolster a campus-wide culture of creativity and innovation. •


The training the researchers provided to the 40-person experimental group involved participants comparing multiple series of rapid tones in nine sessions over the course of three weeks. Compared to the 37-person control group who was asked to detect a single tone in noise that varied in intensity depending on their performance, results from the experimental group showed overall improvement.

include noisy or reverberant environments, or when listening to people who speak at a fast rate.

“We’ve seen some evidence that these temporal processing deficits might be improved in animal models, but this is the first time we've shown it in humans,” Anderson said.

The research found that older normalhearing people who undergo training can essentially restore their ability to discriminate fast changes in the timing of sounds to levels similar to those observed for young adults. •

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22 | College of Behavioral and Social Sciences: Be the Solution
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Faculty Awards and Activities

The National Academy of Sciences elected Distinguished University Professor

Katharine Abraham (ECON/JPSM/ Maryland Population Research Center) to its 2022 cadre of 120 members and 30 international members. The honorees were recognized for their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

“I am truly honored to have been elected as a member of the National Academy of Sciences. The Academy has a well-earned reputation for providing independent and objective analysis and advice to the nation. I hope to be able to contribute to that work,” Abraham said.

Professor Yan Li gave a presentation for the 29th annual Morris Hansen Lecture in 2022. Being asked to deliver this lecture is an honor, as the series was established by the Washington Statistical Society and Westat to honor Morris Hansen. His pioneering contributions to survey sampling and related statistical methods during his career at the Census Bureau and at Westat established many standards and methods, mostly still in use, for the conduct of surveys.

Professor and Director Partha

Lahiri received the Neyman Medal in a joint session of the 3rd Congress of Polish Statistics and 2022 International Association of Official Statistics held in Krakow, Poland. Established in 2012 on the 100th anniversary of the Polish Statistical Association, the Neyman Medal is awarded for outstanding contributions to the development of statistical sciences. The award was established in honor of Jerzy Neyman, the most outstanding statistician of Polish origin and one of the pioneers of modern statistics. •

JPSM-World Bank Training Program in Sampling Techniques

WITH FUNDING FROM the World Bank, the Joint Program in Survey Methodology (JPSM) designed an innovative remote training delivery mode for a 10-week intensive training program providing a much-needed overview of survey sampling procedures to statisticians at the National Bureau of Statistics and academic institutions in Tanzania.

The World Bank received more than a thousand applications to their call to enter this JPSM training program. Ultimately, 20 students were selected to take the training course.

“Our World Bank colleagues say that many graduates are currently applying this JPSM training to technically support the sampling activities of such upcoming surveys as the National Panel Survey, the Household Budget Survey, the Annual Agricultural Sample

Survey, the Financial Scoping Survey, and more,” Professor and Director Partha Lahiri said. “We expect that this new training delivery mode will play a major role in capacity building.”•

College of Behavioral and Social Sciences: Be the Solution | 23
Image via iStock

Psychologist Finds Daily Occurrences’ Impact on Suicide, Self-Harm Ideation in LGBTQ+ Teens

SINCE THE START OF 2023, a record number of antiLGBTQ+ bills have been introduced into state legislatures. Associate Professor Ethan Mereish of the Department of Psychology says such current events add to the list of daily thoughts and experiences that lead LGBTQ+ teens to report having suicidal and non-suicidal self-harm thoughts.

Mereish led a first-of-its-kind study, published in the Journal of Psychopathology and Clinical Science, that asked LGBTQ+ teens to fill out a brief daily survey for 28 days. The teens were asked to identify the unique kinds of stress they experience as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, a.k.a. “minority stress,” and assess and record any suicide and/or non-suicidal self-injury ideation they experienced.

“All of us experience stress, like when we’re running late and stuck in traffic. But on top of those general stressors, LGBTQ+ people experience unique and chronic stressors related to their identities as a result of heterosexism and cissexism, that then put them at greater risk for poor health outcomes,” Mereish said.

The researchers found that on days where participants reported experiencing more minority stressors, they also reported more suicide ideation and more non-suicidal self-injury ideation.

This study is among the first to empirically support the connection between minority stress and suicide and/or non-suicidal self-injury ideation on a day-to-day basis.

“We want to understand how these processes unfold naturally over time and day-to-day without us intervening. We want to understand how minority stress serves as a risk factor for suicide, but at the same time, we want to make sure the youth are safe. We have to intervene if they engage in nonsuicidal self-injury like cutting or other self-harming behaviors, or attempted suicide. We have an ethical duty to reach out to

participants whose responses we’re concerned about and make sure they’re safe,” Mereish said.

Mereish and his research team reviewed survey responses each morning, and contacted participants whose responses they felt necessary to follow up on. If needed—as was so for one study participant—the teen’s guardians were called, then the in-distress teen was referred for inpatient psychiatric care.

“We really need interventions at every level because minority stressors haven’t really decreased, and I project they will increase in states where some of these new anti-LGBTQ+ bills are becoming laws,” Mereish said. “At the school and county levels, that means having policies and trainings that incorporate, protect, and affirm LGBTQ+ teens. At the therapist level, that means affirming teens and teaching them how to manage their emotions in resilient and healthy ways. At the community level, that means providing spaces and activities for LGBTQ+ teens to connect. At the policy level, that means stopping anti-LGBTQ+ bills from becoming law, and doing advocacy work aimed at reducing suicide rates.” •

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24 | College of Behavioral and Social Sciences: Be the Solution
Ethan Mereish

New Book Explores the Experiences of Black Singles

“WHY ARE YOU STILL SINGLE?” To some, this might be a conversation opener. As a successful Black professional, Associate Professor Kris Marsh of the Department of Sociology (SOCY) is challenging the assumptions and premise of this question, especially when it is posed to Black women.

Marsh knows she’s not an outlier in choosing to be single— in 2019, 45% of Black adults in the United States had never married, compared to 24% of their white counterparts. In her new book, “The Love Jones Cohort” (Cambridge University Press, 2023), Marsh explores the rich and varied lives of Black people who choose to live alone. She interviewed 62 single, childfree Black adults, ages 25 to 56, from the D.C. metro area for the book.

Among Marsh’s key findings is that racism has shrunk the dating pool. Today, Black middle-class single women outnumber men 2 to 1—an imbalance that stems in part from systemic criminalization and mortality of Black men due to social factors—which causes them to either date interracially, remain single, or partner with someone of lower socioeconomic status.

Marsh also proposes that society redefine the concept of “family” to go beyond the stereotype of a married, heterosexual couple with children. Marsh notes that not being included in a

Professor Desai Named AAAS Fellow

DISTINGUISHED UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR SONALDE DESAI (SOCY) was named as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

“I am deeply honored to have my research recognized by the world’s largest scientific society,” said Desai, who is also the Director of the National Council of Applied Economic Research’s National Data Innovation Centre in New Delhi, India.

Desai’s scientific contributions concern how gender, class, regional inequalities, and social institutions shape the lives of individuals.

typically-defined family has financial implications, including in the current tax structure, which often benefits married couples.

“This book makes three key contributions. First, it de-stigmatizes singlehood. Second, it promotes broader views of Black love. Third, it focuses on the lifestyles of single people beyond their dating practices or marital status,” Marsh said. •

Watch the video of Marsh discussing her book at

She is working on fielding another round of the India Human Development Survey, a now 20-year-old research effort to track changes in Indian society via 40,000 households during an era of tremendous transition.

“Professor Desai’s multifaceted work sheds light on numerous important social dynamics, especially on how policies can impact women and families in India,” said Dean Susan Rivera. “Her collaborative research inspires our community.” •

BSOS Online
College of Behavioral and Social Sciences: Be the Solution | 25

The Bahá’í Chair Celebrates 30 Years of Progress Toward Peace


the Bahá’í Chair for World Peace hosted 350 international guests in January for an evening of reflection, appreciation and inspiration.

The event featured remarks from speakers including Provost Jennifer King Rice; Dean Susan Rivera; Kenneth Bowers, Secretary of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States; and Sein Chew, President and CEO of Unity Asset Management.

“In keeping with the best traditions of our college and our practice, understandings must always be linked to solutions—and it is here that the Bahá’í Chair’s link to understanding and application articulates the highest values of the BSOS ethos,” Rivera said. “The Chair helps to make an argument as to why universities in general, and the social sciences in particular, remain critically relevant to the nation’s and the world’s success.”

Professor Hoda Mahmoudi, holder of the chair, offered a brief history of the institution, and thanked many attendees for their three decades of support. What, or rather who, will make world peace possible was Mahmoudi’s key message.

“The successes of peace will come from all of us, comprised of a fellowship of the willing. The work of peace will come from a collaboration of those dedicated to toiling in unison, regardful of the past, while being fully in the present, and with a mind to the future,” Mahmoudi said. “We invite you to help us imagine such a new world of peace.”

Bowers ended his remarks with the presentation of a generous $100,000 gift from the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States to the Bahá’í Chair, which will enable future symposia, research, guest speakers and publications.

Via video and in-person testimonials, former and current students shared how the incumbents of the Bahá’í Chair—be it the late Professor Suheil Bushrui, Dr. John Grayzel,

or Mahmoudi herself—impacted their life, personally and professionally.

Professor Rashawn Ray, a frequent lecturer at Bahá’í Chair events, shared the significance of Mahmoudi’s collaboration.

“I consider Hoda to be one of my mentors, one of my friends, and that is because for over a decade we have worked together on a systemic racism initiative. When we were trying to come up with something to work on together, I said ‘Well, I study race in America,’ and Hoda did not shy away from that in a period where people are continuing to shy away from how we think about prejudice and discrimination, in the United States and in a global context,” Ray said. “Whether it is systemic racism, sexism, climate change or other topics, the Bahá’í Chair for World Peace shows the human rights side and gives us hope that true world peace is possible.” •


more at
BSOS Online
26 | College of Behavioral and Social Sciences: Be the Solution
Professor Hoda Mahmoudi, sixth from right, celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Bahá’í Chair with guests. Photo by Hong H. Huynh/University of Maryland.

Telhami, Co-Editors Explore ‘The One State Reality’

IN MARCH, Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development Shibley Telhami co-edited a new book suggesting that a new paradigm is needed to replace the old in order to consider, with clarity, what has become an unavoidable reality in viewing Israel and Palestine as one state.

“The One State Reality: What is Israel/Palestine?” (Cornell University Press, 2023)—which Telhami co-edited with George Washington University Professors Michael Barnett, Nathan J. Brown, and Marc Lynch—brings together an outstanding group of 20 experts, mostly political


THE 2022 SADAT FORUM featured a conversation with Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland. Re-elected in November, Van Hollen is a member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations and serves as chairman of the Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government. He is also a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health Policy.

The forum covered a range of issues, from the impact of a divided Congress to policy toward Ukraine, China, Iran, and Israel. •

BSOS Online

Watch the event at

scientists, to address the current landscape in Israel/Palestine.

The co-editors also released an article in Foreign Affairs, “Israel’s One-State Reality: It’s Time to Give Up on the Two-State Solution,” that goes beyond the book to include recent events and an analysis of U.S. policy choices. •

BSOS Online

Read more about the book at

Read the Foreign Affairs article at

Sadat Art for Justice and Peace Competition

THIS YEAR’S SADAT ART FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE competition showcased two- and three-dimensional works by UMD students focused on the timely theme of gun violence in the United States. Past themes have included the refugee crisis, the impact of the government’s reaction to 9/11 and its impact on the world, and dignity.

The competition—which has been jointly hosted by the Sadat Chair and the Department of Art for 25 years—is now held in coordination with UMD’s Arts for All Initiative. •

BSOS Online

Read more in Maryland Today at

Photo of “Neverending” by art major Mary Mena by John Consoli/University of Maryland. Sadat Forum Senator Chris Van Hollen
College of Behavioral and Social Sciences: Be the Solution | 27

Donors Support BSOS Students, Research and Programs

Dr. Mary Frances Berry Delivers Feller Lecture

IN APRIL, THE BSOS COMMUNITY welcomed Dr. Mary Frances Berry—a world-renowned activist and pioneer in championing racial and gender equality who served as a leader at UMD in the 1970s—back to campus to deliver the Feller Lecture.

Dr. Berry spoke about her time serving as the director of Afro-American Studies, what is now the Department of African American Studies, and being appointed in 1974 to lead the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences, what is now BSOS. Dr. Berry was the first Black woman at UMD to hold such a senior executive position.

The college community thanks our donors and friends for their support. Recent, transformative gifts include:

n Dr. Melanie E. Bennett and Dr. Jack J. Blanchard established a namesake Maryland Promise Scholarship with a gift of $50,000.

n With a gift of $50,000, Ivanna L. Cole, ACCT ’04, and Alonzo S. Cole, Jr., SOCY ’05, created a namesake Maryland Promise Scholarship.

n The Kenneth E. Glover Leadership Development Endowed Student Support Fund was established by Mrs. Lauren Dugas Glover with a gift of $50,000. The fund supports the Judge Alexander Williams, Jr. Center for Education, Justice and Ethics.

n With a gift of $50,000, Dr. Joan R. Kahn created a namesake Endowed Graduate Research Support Fund in Sociology, which provides support for graduate students in Sociology.

n Paul Mandell, GVPT ’95, donated $100,000 to create the Lisa Marion Mandell Maryland Promise Scholarship

n Sachin Sachdeva, ECON ’97, established a namesake Maryland Promise Scholarship with a gift of $50,000.

n Brandon Tepper, CCJS ’98, and Michelle Tepper, CCJS ’99 made a $50,000 gift in support of the Feller Center for Advising and Career Planning.

n A gift of $150,000 from Dr. Jingli Yang, GEOG ’95, and Dr. Peter Li made possible the Dr. Jingli Yang and Dr. Peter Li Endowed Graduate Student Experience Fund •

Dr. Berry discussed her extensive career in academia and as a public servant, which included serving as chancellor of the University of Colorado Boulder; as assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare; and as chairwoman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Following her remarks, Dr. Berry engaged in a Q&A session facilitated by Dean Susan Rivera

When asked about navigating today’s political climate, Dr. Berry encouraged audience members to talk to someone they don’t agree with. She said when one is considering standing up in opposition to, or support for, something that might be controversial or challenging, ask yourself, “Is it right?”

Dr. Berry also said you’ll know you are on the right path when you feel “a fire in your bones.” •


BSOS Online Photo by John Consoli/University of Maryland
28 | College of Behavioral and Social Sciences: Be the Solution
Photo by Stephanie Cordle/ University of Maryland

Introducing New BSOS Board of Visitors Chair

Additional Members, BSOS Board of Visitors


Principal Cyber Security Analyst, U.S. Army


Former Executive Vice President, Monster Government Solutions


President, Three Wire Systems


THE COLLEGE OF BEHAVIORAL AND SOCIAL SCIENCES is proud to announce that Gary L. Rozier, ECON ’99, will serve as the new chair of the BSOS Board of Visitors (BOV).

The BOV advises the dean and other college leadership on a broad range of topics, and also serves the student and alumni communities.

Rozier is managing director of Oak Street Real Estate Capital, LLC. He is an active and engaged alumnus and donor, who has established a namesake Professional Experience Endowment Fund, and a namesake Professional Experience Current-Use Fund. He is also a member of the Economics Leadership Council.

The BSOS community thanks Dr. Katherine Pedro Beardsley, immediate past chair, for her extraordinary service and generosity. Beardsley has been a member of the BOV since 2014, and is the former BSOS associate dean for undergraduate studies. With her husband, Robert Beardsley, she has supported the college through a number of significant gifts and scholarships. •

Former Vice President, Large Customer Strategic Solutions & Customer Advocacy, Pepco Holdings, Inc.


Senior Vice President, Jones Lang LaSalle


Co-Founder & CEO, Adonis


Founding Partner, Churchill Real Estate Holdings

MICHAEL MANN, B.A. GVPT ’02 Partner, Sidley Austin LLP


Founding Partner, Kessler Topaz Meltzer Check, LLP


Global Head of Fixed Income Trading, T. Rowe Price


Head of Global Program Delivery for Digital, Data & Operations, AIG


President, Margrave Strategies; Chief Strategy Officer for Economic Development, UMCP Foundation


Chief Executive Officer, ERT


Office of External Relations

0145 Tydings Hall

7343 Preinkert Dr. University of Maryland College Park, MD 20742

The BSOS Student Experience Fund

The BSOS Student Experience Fund provides stipends for students to gain valuable experiences through alternative breaks, internships, study abroad, volunteering and more.

We are working to provide funding to all BSOS students wishing to participate in enriching experiences outside of the classroom.

Be the Solution is produced annually by the Office of External Relations, College of Behavioral and Social Sciences.

Dr. Susan M. Rivera

Dean and Professor, College of Behavioral and Social Sciences

Kenny Beaver, ’07 Chief Development Officer

Laura Ewald Ours

Senior Director, Communications and Marketing

Tom Bacho Director, Creative Services

Rachael Grahame, ’17

Assistant Director, Communications and Media Relations

Sofia Appolonio, Journalism ’26 Editorial Intern

We gratefully acknowledge the numerous contributions of staff members from Maryland Today and in the Office of Marketing and Communications for this publication. Covers and interior pages contain recycled content.

Chris Campbell

Design and Production


Articles inside

Introducing New BSOS Board of Visitors Chair article cover image

Introducing New BSOS Board of Visitors Chair

page 31
Donors Support BSOS Students, Research and Programs article cover image

Donors Support BSOS Students, Research and Programs

page 30
Telhami, Co-Editors Explore ‘The One State Reality’ article cover image

Telhami, Co-Editors Explore ‘The One State Reality’

page 29
The Bahá’í Chair Celebrates 30 Years of Progress Toward Peace article cover image

The Bahá’í Chair Celebrates 30 Years of Progress Toward Peace

page 28
New Book Explores the Experiences of Black Singles article cover image

New Book Explores the Experiences of Black Singles

page 27
Psychologist Finds Daily Occurrences’ Impact on Suicide, Self-Harm Ideation in LGBTQ+ Teens article cover image

Psychologist Finds Daily Occurrences’ Impact on Suicide, Self-Harm Ideation in LGBTQ+ Teens

page 26
Faculty Awards and Activities article cover image

Faculty Awards and Activities

page 25
A Unique Mural for Children with Unique Communication Needs article cover image

A Unique Mural for Children with Unique Communication Needs

page 24
Researcher Finds Covid Safety Restrictions Reduced ISIS Violence article cover image

Researcher Finds Covid Safety Restrictions Reduced ISIS Violence

page 23
UMD Satellite Data: Primary Source to Monitor Deforestation article cover image

UMD Satellite Data: Primary Source to Monitor Deforestation

page 22
Alumnus Establishes Neil Moskowitz Economics Lecture Series article cover image

Alumnus Establishes Neil Moskowitz Economics Lecture Series

page 21
Study Shows High-risk Communities Would Benefit from Firearm Safety Training article cover image

Study Shows High-risk Communities Would Benefit from Firearm Safety Training

page 20
Gain National Park Designation article cover image

Gain National Park Designation

page 19
Faculty Awarded Experiential Learning Grant for Unique Project article cover image

Faculty Awarded Experiential Learning Grant for Unique Project

page 18
Harley Recognized with Interdisciplinary Award article cover image

Harley Recognized with Interdisciplinary Award

page 18
Showcasing Interdisciplinary Resilience Research article cover image

Showcasing Interdisciplinary Resilience Research

pages 16-17
‘All-In’ on AFRICA article cover image

‘All-In’ on AFRICA

pages 12-15


page 11


page 10
CLIMATE article cover image


pages 9-10


page 8
Excellence article cover image


pages 4-7
Letter from the Chief Development Officer article cover image

Letter from the Chief Development Officer

page 2
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