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“GREATER” TIME IN COLLEGE PARK / 2 SIGHTS UNSEEN ON RACISM / 20 PANDA PRO’S ANIMAL INSTINCTS / 30

FALL 2015  /  Connecting the University of Maryland Community

CLEAR SOLUTION W H AT I F YO U D E V E L O P E D A W AY TO S A V E TH O U S A N D S O F L I V E S F R O M C H O L E R A— A N D N O O N E W A S I N T E R E ST E D ? P G . 2 6


L E T T E R F ROM T H E E X E C U T I V E DI R E C T OR FALL 2015  /  VOL. 13, NO.1

PU BLISH ER

Peter Weiler VICE PRESIDENT, UNIVERSIT Y RELATIONS ADVISERS

Brian Ullmann ’92 ASSOCIATE VICE PRESIDENT, MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS

Amy Eichhorst EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ALUMNI ASSOCIATION

Margaret Hall EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CREATIVE STRATEGIES MAGAZIN E STAFF

Lauren Brown UNIVERSIT Y EDITOR

John T. Consoli ’86 CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Hailey Hwa Shin ART DIRECTOR

Liam Farrell Chris Carroll Karen Shih ’09 WRITERS

Alex Stoller ’16 EDITORIAL INTERN

Kelsey Marotta ’14 Jeanette J. Nelson MBA ’14 Jesse Wu ’14 Beverly Yeager DESIGNERS

Kelsey Hrebenach ’16 DESIGN INTERN

Gail Rupert M.L.S. ’10 PHOTOGRAPHY ASSISTANT

Josh Loock ’16 PHOTOGRAPHY INTERN

Jagu Cornish PRODUCTION MANAGER

Submit and read letters to the editor at terp.umd.edu.

EMAIL

terpfeedback@umd.edu

ON LIN E

terp.umd.edu

VIDEO

terpvision.umd.edu

N EWS

umdrightnow.umd.edu

FACEBOOK .COM /Univof Maryland TWITTER.COM /Uof Maryland VIM EO.COM /umd YOUTU BE .COM /UMD2101

The University of Maryland, College Park is an equal opportunity institution with respect to both education and employment. University policies, programs and activities are in conformance with pertinent federal and state laws and regulations on nondiscrimination regarding race, color, religion, age, national origin, political affiliation, gender, sexual orientation or disability.

r e m e m be r w h e n you f i r st arrived on campus? For four years (okay, maybe a little longer for some of you J), you learned from outstanding faculty and took advantage of internships and other outof-classroom opportunities. And after getting one of the world’s best educations, you graduated with lifelong friends and memories, ready to take on the world. Fearless. stay fearless, Terps! These simple words embody the new strategic direction of the University of Maryland Alumni Association. We are committed to helping you stay... • connected to the friends you made on campus. • eager to grow your career through professional networking and development opportunities. • united through our new alumni advocacy program. • a fan through our tailgates and game watches. • involved with all College Park has to offer. • committed to helping students through volunteer opportunities. • supportive to a fellow alumnus as a career mentor. Through our extensive regional, affinity and academic networks, we will provide hundreds of opportunities this year for you to engage with umd and fellow Terps where you live and work. To find programs and events in your area, on campus or online, visit us at alumni.umd.edu. I invite all of you to reconnect and visit us on campus at sporting and cultural events. Not sure where to start? How about at Homecoming 2015? A special insert in this edition of Terp highlights Homecoming Week, Nov. 1–7, with a carnival on McKeldin Mall, a comedy show featuring Hannibal Buress and even a way to join other Terps as we take on hunger in our region. Football, friends, fun and giving back—they’re all part of Terp pride during Homecoming Week! The staff, Board of Governors and volunteer leadership of the alumni association recently completed a strategic planning process that sets an ambitious path. Our new vision statement reads: We are the heart of the university, inspiring lifelong connections with a global network of Maryland alumni. We’re here to help you stay active, stay connected and stay passionate. But most of all, stay fearless!

Amy Eichhorst Executive Director, Alumni Association PS: Check out our new stay fearless ad on the back cover of Terp for details on how you can win a new Ford Fusion hybrid!

The power of curiosity has taken humanity on some of its greatest journeys. Before the lifesaving cure, the revolutionary new energy source or the exploration of distant worlds, smart, curious people posed challenging questions about reality: What’s beyond this horizon? What are the laws of the physical world? Why do animals—and humans—behave as they do? Where did it all begin? Today, UMD researchers are studying the human brain to quantify what makes us who we are—while others work to give robots the ability to emulate our thinking. They’re mining the potential of the quantum world. They’re studying the roots of social movements and social change, and employing advanced technology to make sense of the mushrooming quantity of information in the world. Every issue of Terp features our students’ and faculty’s discovery of new knowledge. In this issue, we further highlight those efforts with a symbol ( ). We’ll be doing the same in future issues on our efforts to transform the student experience, turn imagination into innovation and inspire Maryland pride.

DISCOVER MORE

11 / Q  uestioning the Bomb

17 / D  on’t Say No to Solo

12 / First LOOK

18 / W hat Makes Terrapins Tick

14 / Moon Mystery 16 / S  ocial Sickness

26 / Clear Solution


CONTENTS

departments

FALL 2015  /  VOL. 13, NO.1

features

20

IN BRIEF

SIGHTS UNSEEN

02

Sweet Success

A flurry of racist incidents at colleges nationwide last spring suggests that in the quest to become color-blind, we really just closed our eyes. umd students, faculty and staff share essays reflecting on racism.

08

INTRODUCTION BY LIAM FARRELL

A “Greater” College Park

04

Monument to a Hero

05

Ask Anne C LASS ACT

06

Bedtime Stories

09

26

A Gift That Grows

COVER STORY: CLEAR SOLUTION

C AMPUS LIFE

Two umd researchers have developed a way to save thousands from dying of cholera, but few observers seem interested in their low-tech method.

10

All the President’s Artifacts

12

First LOOK

13

A Follow-up Shot

BY CHRIS CARROLL

I NNOVATION

30

14

Moon Mystery

ANIMAL INSTINCTS

16

From birthing pandas to expanding the elephant herd, Brandie Smith Ph.D. ’10 champions conservation through her work at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo.

Social Sickness

17

Don't Say No to Solo

18

What Makes Terrapins Tick

19

Faculty Q&A

BY K AREN SHIH ’09

B O LD. FU N . S M A RT. CU R I O US . PRO U D. Find new stories every week at terp.umd.edu. RECENT WEB E XCLUSIVES THAT YOU MAY HAVE MISSED :

• Kanchan Singh ’12 creates a purr-fect experience at D.C.’s first “cat cafe.” • David Bozak ’97 goes to extremes on “American Ninja Warrior.” • Professor Min Wu has created a method to pinpoint where terrorists’ videos are shot.


IN BRIEF

Unprecedented Redevelopment Reshapes College Park THE COLLEGE PARK OF YOUR MARYLAND DAYS? ADMITTEDLY, NOT SO GREAT.

But nearly 20 projects, such as the Hotel at the University of Maryland and the Brendan Iribe Center for Computer Science and Innovation, are under way or on their way, through partnerships between UMD, the city and private developers. “Greater College Park,” as it’s called, links the university to new amenities on Route 1, and to a growing research enterprise that extends past the campus’ traditional boundaries. “We are building a community here,” says UMD President Wallace Loh. “If we are to recruit and retain the world’s best faculty and staff, we need housing options, stores and restaurants, green spaces. And we need to intrinsically tie together our academics and research with our surrounding communities.” Other goals of the initiative are to strengthen the economy and communicate UMD’s values and strengths. “If we have students who are totally disengaged from the community around them, how can we say we are graduating a student body that is engaged in solving the world’s problems?” says Omar Blaik, founder and co-CEO of the firm U3 Advisors, which is working with the university and city. “In your four years in Greater College Park, you will be part of a vibrant, walkable, diverse community—that is part of your learning. It’s not happening just in the classroom. It’s happening all around you.” Recently announced business additions include a high-tech battery company (founded by UMD researchers) with 60 employees at the old Terrapin Trader site. Housing projects are designed to attract some of the research park’s 4,000 employees, UMD’s 9,000 workers, and staffers at incoming startups and other firms. Others will bring green space, such as the mini park planned for the site of the long-shuttered Little Tavern. Still others will provide attractions, such as the Whole Foods Market plaza and the proposed “art house” performing arts venue. Long-term work continues with the College Park CityUniversity Partnership, Prince George’s County and the state on transportation (Purple Line, Route 1 widening), safety (expanded police patrols) and education (College Park Academy). In the short term, Ken Ulman, UMD strategist for economic development, is working with all of them to turn student and faculty entrepreneurs into College Park business owners, and to match university researchers with venture capitalists and growing companies. “The more people who are working at interesting, innovative companies, the more people who will choose to live here and support great shopping options, restaurants and music venues,” he says. “You’re adding to the ecosystem that creates an amazing college town.”–LB

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VIBRANT DOWNTOWN COMMUNITY

MAP IS NOT TO SCALE.


DYNAMIC ACADEMIC SPACES

  THE BOULEVARD AT 9091 9091 Baltimore Ave. Last known as: Mandalay Restaurant & Cafe 238 apartments, 45 townhomes, retail   COLLEGE PARK PLACE (PHASE I) 8315 Baltimore Ave. Last known as: Koons Ford 157-room hotel, retail including CVS   COLLEGE PARK PLACE (PHASE 2) 4700 Berwyn House Road Last known as: University Professional Center Seven-story building with 275 apartments  BRENDAN IRIBE CENTER FOR COMPUTER SCIENCE AND INNOVATION   A. JAMES CLARK HALL   NEW COLE FIELD HOUSE   EDWARD ST. JOHN CENTER FOR LEARNING AND TEACHING

PUBLIC-PRIVATE RESEARCH HUB

 THE HOTEL AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND 7777 Baltimore Ave. Last known as: Greenhouses 11-story building with 297 rooms, Franklin’s Grill and Oyster Bar, Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa, Bagels ‘n’ Grinds, Potomac Pizza and Kapnos Taverna by Mike Isabella   FACULTY-STAFF HOUSING 4600 Norwich Road Last known as: Sigma Chi house   LANDMARK COLLEGE PARK 7501 Baltimore Ave. Last known as: The Book Exchange 450 apartments, TargetExpress   ART HOUSE 7416 Baltimore Ave. Last known as: The Barking Dog Proposed partnership between Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center and Philadelphia music venue MilkBoy to open performing arts venue featuring restaurant and bar

  MINI PARK 7413 Baltimore Ave. Last known as: The Little Tavern Gathering spot with food trucks, seating, green space   NANDO’S PERI-PERI 7400 Baltimore Ave. Last known as: Ratsie’s Restaurant known for grilled chicken   TERRAPIN ROW Knox Road at Guilford Drive Last known as: The Knox Boxes 418 apartments, retail in seven buildings   DISTRICT 21 COFFEE & WINE BAR 7131 Baltimore Ave. Last known as: College Park Auto Parts Café with organic coffee, craft beers, wine bar, gourmet sandwiches, breakfast fare   RIVERDALE PARK STATION 6601 Baltimore Ave. Last known as: Undeveloped Whole Foods Market, 120-room Hyatt House hotel, nearly 1,000 apartments and townhouses, retail   FLEXEL 383 Paint Branch Parkway Last known as: Terrapin Trader Research and manufacturing facility for high-tech battery. Founded by UMD researchers, expanding from 11 employees to 60   METRO APARTMENT COMPLEX 4301 River Road Last known as: Undeveloped 370 apartments with retail   BRIDGE FROM UMD RESEARCH PARK TO RIVERDALE PARK STATION   Find more details and images of these projects at umd.edu/ greatercollegepark.

ILLUSTRATION BY KELSEY MAROTTA AND JESSE WU


Monument to a Hero Frederick Douglass Square to Be Completed This Fall

a new memorial on campus dedicated to abolitionist and statesman Frederick Douglass will depict one of the most important figures in state history as he was: a man of words who was bigger than life. Construction is finishing up on a 4,500 -square-foot area on Hornbake Plaza featuring inspiring quotes from Douglass carved into pavers and a new wall, plant beds, lighting and benches. An 8-foot-tall bronze statue (below) will be installed later this fall, with him posed as a young agitator in midspeech, flinging one hand in the air, his cape and coat flapping behind him. Distinguished University Professor Ira Berlin, a historian and authority on American slavery, organized the effort among a small group of faculty and administrators to commemorate him on Maryland’s flagship campus. “Douglass spoke to or embodied all of the things that we believe in: equality, education, self-improvement and women’s rights,” Berlin says. Douglass was born a slave on an Eastern Shore plantation around 1818, and was sent to serve his owner’s relatives in Baltimore around age 10. He defied rules forbidding slaves from learning to read or write, and began speaking out against slavery as a teen. He later escaped, and settled in Massachusetts. During the 1840s, when fears ran high that Southerners would capture Douglass and return him to slavery, he fled to Ireland,

then Britain. Finding conditions for the Irish poor as wretched as for slaves back home, he began refining his positions on freedom and civil rights—and his oratory. Vice President for Research Patrick O’Shea, a native of Cork and avid historian, helped dedicate a plaque to Douglass in 2012 at the site of his last speech in that city. There O’Shea heard about a Welsh sculptor’s plans for a new statue, and he helped connect umd with sculptor Andrew Edwards. The statue’s construction and delivery are funded in part with money raised by umd’s group pushing the project, known as the North Stars (named after the guiding direction to freedom and one of Douglass’ newspapers). Douglass’ importance is already reflected on campus in varied ways: anthropology Professor Mark Leone is researching the Wye Plantation, where Douglass was enslaved; English Professor Robert Levine is editing two of Douglass’ autobiographies and writing a book on him; and doctoral students have a yearlong project with University College Cork on Douglass’ impact.–lb

DOUGLASS’ STATEMENTS ON THE WALL INCLUDE:

i am a

Marylander

O ” “

LOVE MARYLAND AND HER PEOPLE.

no man can put a chain ABOUT THE ANKLE OF HIS FELLOW MAN

without at last finding THE OTHER END

FASTENED ”

around his own neck.

Right

is of no sex.

Truth

is of no color.

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MODEL STATUE PHOTO BY JOHN T. CONSOLI


ASK ANNE Questions for Anne Turkos, the university archivist

Q: WHO WAS THE FIRST PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND? —allie bradford ’13 A: Benjamin Hallowell was the president of Maryland Agricultural College, as it was known at the time, for just one month in 1859. A Quaker schoolmaster, scientist and farmer, he served on the conditions that the college farm wouldn’t use slave labor and that he wouldn’t receive a salary. He helped develop the curriculum of ancient and modern languages, natural sciences, English and mathematics. He soon resigned, however, because of his poor health. I read for the first time last year an 1877 obituary that said, “Some twenty years ago a druggist in Alexandria made a mistake in compounding a physician’s prescription and Prof. Hallowell swallowed a poisonous mixture that came near terminating his life. He never fully recovered from the effects of the poison.” Q: IS IT TRUE THAT PORTIONS OF “ST. ELMO’S FIRE” WERE FILMED AT UMD? —bret mcgowen A: One of our grad students found a 1984 “Entertainment Tonight” clip on YouTube (https://youtu.be/26jMQv1uMfc) with unedited interviews of the movie’s cast, including Rob Lowe and Demi Moore, hanging out on Fraternity Row. Plenty of students are milling around in the background, though we don’t know if they were extras or umd students. The filming appears to have taken place in the fall (scenes were filmed in D.C. in October, according to The Washington Post) but we didn’t find any mention of the movie in fall 1984 issues of The Diamondback.

See all Sports Illustrated covers featuring UMD athletes at terp.umd.edu.

Q

IN ITS 70-YEAR PUBLISHING HISTORY, HOW MANY TIMES HAS SPORTS ILLUSTRATED MAGAZINE FEATURED UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND ATHLETES ON ITS COVER? —frank angier ’67 A: We found 14 instances when Terps made the cover, both as student and professional athletes. Most were football or basketball players, with the exception of one golfer, Deane Beman, who went on to win four pga tournaments and serve as its second commissioner, from 1974 to 1994. Here’s a full list: BOB PELLEGRINI

ALBERT KING

football (Nov. 7, 1955)

basketball (March 17 and Dec. 1, 1980)

DEANE BEMAN ’60

RENALDO NEHEMIAH ’81

golf (Sept. 11, 1961)

football (April 26, 1982)

TOM MCMILLEN ’74

LEN BIAS

basketball (Feb. 16, 1970)

basketball (June 30, 1986)

LEN ELMORE ’78

BOOMER ESIASON ’84

basketball (Dec. 10, 1973)

football (Aug. 7, 1989 and Oct. 4, 1993)

MEN’S BASKETBALL TEAM

LONNY BAXTER

(Dec. 2, 1974)

basketball (April 2, 2001)

MARK MANGES

JUAN DIXON ’13

football (Oct. 4, 1976)

basketball (April 8, 2002)

Questions may be sent to terpfeedback@umd.edu or @UMDarchives on Twitter. ONLINE lib.umd.edu/univarchives  |  BLOG umdarchives.wordpress.com  |  FACEBOOK University of Maryland University Archives

PHOTO CREDITS (CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEF T): UNIVERSIT Y ARCHIVES; SPORTS ILLUSTRATED; COLUMBIA/TRISTAR

FALL 2015 TER P

5


CLASS ACT

ALUMNI PROFILE  /  BRIAN MURPHY ’99

Sweet Success Alum Keeps Cake Tradition Alive on the Eastern Shore

“

Until we’re shipping a million cakes a year, I should staple my feet to the floor.

6

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PHOTOS BY TOMMY LEONARDI

brian murphy ’99 works to make sure that everything in his business is run from a logical, commonsense standpoint—“common sense,” he says, “insofar as we run a bakery in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay.” The former commodities trader now owns Smith Island Baking Company, a 6-year-old Eastern Shore business that is churning out 80,000 to 90,000 Smith Island cakes a year and maintaining one of Maryland’s most beloved food traditions. “We’re custodians of an icon,” Murphy says of the Maryland state dessert, defined by its 10 to 12 thin layers of cake, separated by frosting. A former walk-on for the Terp soccer team, Murphy spent a decade w ­ orking for Constellation Energy before earning his mba in 2008 from the University of Pennsylvania. Inspired by stories of successful companies that began as humble enterprises (Berkshire Hathaway, for example, was once a textile company), Murphy looked for his own opportunity. One presented itself in February 2009, when he had a Smith Island cake at his mother’s birthday celebration and discovered the island itself had no major


CLASS NOTES Submit your class notes and read many more at terp.umd.edu.

PA MD

VA

Easton, feels a kinship with the region. He also feels pride in providing jobs in an area that struggles economically. “I like sending big paychecks,” he says. “And I can only send big paychecks if I grow my business.” The Crisfield area, nicknamed the “crab capital of the world,” has long been known for its seafood industry. But Bill Buttrill, president of the city’s chamber of commerce and owner of a plumbing business there since 1983, says dozens of seafood packing houses have

disappeared over the years. A business like Murphy’s, he says, helps provide both needed jobs and a tourist attraction. “Smith Island cakes were just that, a local dessert,” Buttrill says. “Brian made them world-famous.” Murphy has analyzed each part of the cake-making process—what he calls the “motions”—to determine whether it can be better done by machine than hand. The bakery on the island is also now dedicated to cooking individual layers that are combined later in a Crisfield facility; Murphy never plans to leave Smith Island, but needed a more pragmatic approach than packing frozen cakes onto a ferry in the dead of summer. He is also partnering with retailers. The company has cakes in about 175 Giant grocery stores in the mid-Atlantic; 150 restaurants, including Phillips Seafood and the concessions at Camden Yards; and catalogs like Neiman Marcus. So far, NJ Murphy says, he’s shipped to all 50 states and seven countries, including China, DE Afghanistan and India, and is exploring ways to get into Starbucks as well. “Our real competitor is ignorance,” he says. “People don’t know it’s an option.” Murphy has attained prominence not only for his cakes. In 2010, he unsuccessfully ran for the Republican nomination for governor, and digressions on topics like health care, transportation and Milton Friedman show he has not totally left behind an interest in public policy. (Endorsed at the time by Sarah Palin, he sent her a Smith Island cake.) For now, however, Murphy wants to stay focused on his current business and leave flights of fancy for the future. “Until we’re shipping a million cakes a year, I should staple my feet to the floor,” he says.–lf

EMILY GILLIS ’10 graduated from Suffolk University Law School this spring, and she credits her dad for helping her earn her degree. Born with a form of cerebral palsy, she has limited use of her arms and legs and relies on a motorized wheelchair, and Joseph Gillis Jr. brought her to every class for three years. KIP FULKS ’96, Under Armour’s president of footwear and innovation, has funded a major expansion of a team-building program between the Baltimore Police Department and city youths. It will allow Outward Bound to match up all 3,000 officers with students. WILLIE MAY PH.D. ’77 was confirmed by the Senate in May as director of the National Institute for Standards and Technology. May has been with the agency since 1971 and has served as acting director for the last year.

•  ALUMNI

TRAVEL   •

OCT. 14–22, 2016

j

bakery; a few months later, the Smith Island Baking Company was founded, complete with a new logo, packaging, website and recipes. Smith Island, which encompasses three villages nine miles from the town of Crisfield, has fewer than 250 year-round residents. Accessible only by a ferry that also brings in the mail and supplies for a general store, the island offers a glimpse into Maryland’s waterman heritage. Boat, bicycle, golf cart and your own feet are the best way to traverse the island, which is home to stately herons, aggressive flies and haughty wild turkeys. As the story goes, the Smith Island cake was born in the 1800s, when oystermen took desserts out to sea. Having a bunch of thin layers kept the baked goods fresher longer. Murphy, who grew up and lives in

• MEDITERRANEAN •

PATH WAYS & PIA ZZAS

j

From elegant churches rising above lively piazzas to cobbled pathways leading to colorful markets, explore the charms of the Mediterranean on a cruise from Rome to Monte Carlo. For more about this and other trips, visit alumni.umd.edu/travel or contact Angela Dimopoulos ’07 at 301.405.7938 / 800.336.8627 or adimop@umd.edu.


Bedtime Stories

Warm Memories in Grad’s T-Shirt Quilt hile packing up before moving to South Carolina to join Teach for America, Jaishri Shankar ’13 realized she had accumulated an entire wardrobe’s worth of Terp T-shirts over her four years at Maryland.

Each shirt had a story behind it: the first “Gold Rush” tee given out before the men’s basketball team beat Duke in 2010, one with Testudo wearing a sombrero from her senior-year bar crawl across College Park, and a black tee proclaiming “Let’s Tour S’more,” the Dairy’s ice cream flavor celebrating

Maryland Imagers. “I wanted a way to preserve the most significant memories I had at Maryland,” she says. Shankar, who teaches eighth-grade science, had the company Project Repat stitch a quilt from 30 Terp tees, linking together the Maryland memories she didn’t want to let go.–as LET’S TOUR S’MORE

TERP IN SOMBRERO

“Giving tours was one of my favorite things about Maryland because I got to share so much of what I love about our school with people who were looking at it to potentially be their school too,” she says.

This shirt, from a Cinco de Mayo-themed bar crawl, sparks memories of a spicy taco competition at the (now-shuttered) Lime Fresh Mexican Grill. Shankar ate the taco (with tears pouring down her face) and got her drinks and food for free.

GEMSTONE Shankar was active in the four-year Honors College program. “The people I met here and the experiences I had completely shaped my UMD experience,” she says.

MARYLAND BASKETBALL She caught this tee tossed by a cheerleader into the student section of a men’s basketball game.

INDIAN CLASSICAL DANCE COMPETITION

ELLICOTT TERPS The residence hall, home to Gemstone, was where she lived freshman year.

Shankar helped bring a national collegiate contest in traditional Indian dancing to campus her senior year. “I got to share with the university something that was very meaningful to me growing up.”

ODK FOUNTAIN She was inducted into the Omicron Delta Kappa honor society her senior year. She loves this shirt not just because it promotes her membership, but for the image of the fountain, her favorite place on campus.

MARYLAND PRIDE This one from the 2013 Terps-Blue Devils men’s basketball showdown had a big role in the first flash mob organized at a Maryland game.

’13 The back of her senior shirt.

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MARYLAND DAY

GOLD RUSH

Shankar volunteered at Maryland Day all four of her undergraduate years.

This 2010 Gold Rush tee was the first in what’s now a basketball season tradition. Shankar remembers wearing the shirt as students rushed the court after the Terps beat Duke.

PHOTO BY JOHN T. CONSOLI


SE V E N T OP T E R P S NA M E D H A L L OF FA M E R S the maryland alumni association has newly inducted into its Hall of Fame seven outstanding Terps who have ed­ucated, entertained and served their communities. The awards, celebrated once every five years since 1995, honor alumni inventors, entrepreneurs, artists, scientists, political and business leaders and athletes. “All have led extraordinary lives,” association Executive Director Amy Eichhorst said at the June ceremony, “and their accomplishments have

created waves of inspiration that con­ tinue to ripple through our lives today.” Joseph Gildenhorn ’51, a retired busi­ nessman, ambassador to Switzerland and umd foundation trustee, noted that he owes a great deal to the university, where he met a business law professor who guided his career—and his bride. “I know that our university will continue to grow and strengthen, and I look forwarded to playing a role in its ongoing advancement and success,” he said.

2015 INDUCTEES RETIRED LT. GEN . JULIUS BEC TON JR . M . A . ’67 a decorated veteran who later ran the Federal Emergency Management Agency JOSEPH ’51 AND ALMA GROS S GILDENHORN ’53 a husband-and-wife team of D.C . civic and philanthropic leaders and ar t s patrons MICHAEL D. GRIFFIN PH .D. ’7 7 an aerospace engineer and leading figure in space exploration through his work in government, indus tr y and academia CLIFFORD KENDALL ’5 4 a business owner and exper t on the D.C . region’s economic development with a deep well of charitable ef for t s CATHERINE P. MACKIN ’60 (DECEASED) a journalis t who became the firs t woman to regularly solo -anchor an evening T V news broadcas t WILLIAM E . MAYER ’66, MBA ’67 an inves tment banker who led the A spen Ins titute and what ’s now the Rober t H . Smith School of Business ( 19 9 2- 96)

Read more about the inductees at alumni.umd.edu.

ALUMNI PROFILE  /  TIA GAO ’02

A Gift That Grows Alum’s Site Makes Giving Stocks Easy gift cards are easily lost. Toys pile up and gather dust. Clothing styles and tastes change with the season. What’s left to get a kid for her birthday? Stocks, says Tia Gao ’02 (right), co-founder of new stock-gifting platform SparkGift. “It used to be that the uncle would run late to a birthday party, stop by the bank and grab a $50 savings bond and look like a hero doing something that’s really responsible,” she says. “But laws changed, and you can’t buy bonds from banks like you used to. There’s no tool for kids to learn about saving and growing money for the future. We started SparkGift to make it easy to give an investment gift.” Just a quarter of people under 30 report having money in the stock market, according to a 2015 Bank­ rate Money Pulse survey, so Gao says exposing kids early helps dispel fears about investing. SparkGift is simple: All you need is the recipient’s email to send a stock or exchange traded fund (etf). The company offers fractional shares (not available through investment sites like Ameritrade or Fidelity), which means customers can buy $50 of Google stock when each share costs more than $500. After receiv­ ing the email, children or their parents can create an

CO -FOUNDER OF

SparkGift

TOP 3 STOCKS PURCHASED

DISNEY TESLA APPLE

account on the SparkGift site to manage their funds. Since she and two former coworkers launched the company last fall, it has been featured on technology and financial websites such as ReCode and Main Street. She declined to share customer numbers, but says for each account created, five more people, often other relatives, usually join to add money. Gao got her first taste of entrepreneurship through the Gemstone and Hinman ceos programs, helping to develop a wristband to track the location of parolees. “Tia was one of the most talented Hinman students we’ve ever had,” says former Director Karen Thornton. “She’s willing to take risks and leave something that’s comfortable in order to do now what she knows is hard.” Gao forged her own path, as one of few women majoring in computer engineering. Since then, she’s earned two graduate degrees from Stanford, gotten a taste of the startup life, and worked at Microsoft and Google, where she helped launched Google Wallet. Giving up a steady paycheck was a big decision, but “when we realized there was something that could improve lives and didn’t exist,” she says, “then it made it easy.”–ks

GALA PHOTOS BY MIKE MORGAN; GAO HEADSHOT COURTESY OF SPARKGIF T; ILLUSTRATION BY JESSE WU

FALL 2015 TER P

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CAMPUS LIFE

All the President’s Artifacts Class Uncovers, Interprets History at Mount Vernon

A

fter defeating the largest empire on earth and ushering in a new era of democracy as our fledgling nation’s first president, all George Washington wanted was a quiet life as a gentleman farmer at Mount Vernon, overlooking the Potomac River in Virginia. That’s where, for the third summer, students were on their knees in the blazing sun, sweat trickling down their noses as they carefully scraped away layer after layer of dirt, hoping to reveal the man behind the myth. “It’s a really great way for us to really understand him as a person and not as this exalted figure who created our country,” says Emma Schrantz, a member of the Mount Vernon/University of Maryland Field School in Historic Preservation who’s applying to the master’s program at

PHOTOS BY JOHN T. CONSOLI

umd. “He was a human being, he had a life and a family, and he made decisions dayto-day about what plates to buy and what food to eat.” This year, eight students, led by Mount Vernon Deputy Director of Archaeology Eleanor Breen and umd Historic Preservation Program Director Donald Linebaugh, excavated the south grove next to the kitchen, as well as a slave cemetery. This is one of the only multidisciplinary preservation field schools that combines archaeological, architectural and museum interpretation, Linebaugh says. “Being able to read both the aboveground and below-ground evidence is really important for preservation practice today.” The property passed from Washington’s father to his half-brother before coming to Washington in 1754. He gradually expanded the house into a mansion and constructed many outbuildings to

support the 8,000-acre estate’s operations over the next 45 years. The estate stayed in the family until 1858, when the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association bought and preserved it for future generations. Working next to the mansion, in full view of some of the 1 million people who visit each year, the students uncovered everything from prehistoric points used as knives or arrows to rusted iron nails and tobacco-pipe tips that date back to Washington’s day to mid-20thcentury Boy and Girl Scout pins. “It’s not just the physical investigation; it’s how it fits into the context here,” says Andy Malone (above), who’s pursuing dual master’s degrees in urban planning and historic preservation. “Why did Washington have a grove of trees here? There’s the laundry facilities, the farm, the carriage house and the working part of the plantation, and the south lawn where guests would have been entertained, so you have to separate them.”


“He left behind a brilliant architectural Once a week, the legacy, writings, students got a break diaries and financial from the rays (though records, but the not the oppressive daily life things fall humidity) to work in the forest, uncovering an through the cracks.” unmarked slave cemetery just a short walk ELE AN O R B REEN , M O U NT VERN O N D EPUT Y DIREC TO R from Washington’s tomb. O F ARCHAEO LO GY “One of archaeology’s biggest strengths is contributing to African-American history,” which is often unwritten, Breen says. Washington had more than 300 slaves, but the cemetery doesn’t appear in any of his extensive documents. By uncovering the location of these graves, determining how many there are and figuring out a way to mark them, “we can pay tribute and honor the African Americans that were here for so long.” umd is Mount Vernon’s only university partner, but the course is open to students from other schools who want to dig, sketch and chat with the curious public about America’s most famous founding father. “I always wonder what he would think if he knew, ‘That teacup I broke one day, somebody’s going to find that really important and really influential,’” Schrantz says. “I think he would find that amusing.”–ks To see the students in action and some of the items they uncovered, visit terp.umd.edu.

Questioning the Bomb Poster Exhibition Takes on Nuclear Proliferation made from the artist’s own blood. A joker in a gas mask juggling nuclear bombs. A fragile Japanese fan with singed folds. These images are featured among more than 80 posters displayed at the Art Gallery this fall in “Questioning the Bomb.” The exhibition marks the 70th anniversary of the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that ended World War II. Professor James Thorpe ’73, M.F.A. ’76 partnered with colleagues at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and Colorado State University, Fort Collins on the exhibit, in which selected poster designers worldwide were invited to submit work. He participated in a similar show 30 years ago to commemorate the 40th anniversary. For Thorpe, the exhibition is about capturing the history of the atomic bomb and expanding the conversation on nuclear nonproliferation. He fears that over time, people have numbed themselves to the danger posed by these weapons. “As a group, our creative and reflective conscience demands a visual translation of human history, society and culture,” he says, “especially in regard to the rapid affects of technology on our global psyche.”–AS a poster of a mushroom cloud

See a selection of posters in the exhibition at terp.umd.edu.

POSTER ARTISTS (CLOCKWISE FROM LEF T): LANNYA SOMMESE , PARISA TASHAKORI, HARRY PEARCE

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MASTERPIECE

First LOOK Clarice Partnership Turns Theater Into Incubator

D

on’t just take in the latest show from up-and-coming performing artists and troupes. Take part in it. That’s the idea behind NextLOOK, a partnership between the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center and a local community dance center, welcoming audiences to see new works in the research and development phase, and to help shape them. The second year of the series, kicking off in September, will feature five ensembles and individuals, including a clown cabaret, “organic” electronica musician and aerial dance company. During their week of residency at Joe’s Movement Emporium in Mt. Rainier, Md., all will interact with the audience. Martin Wollesen, executive director of The Clarice, says this is part of its larger initiative to expand access to the arts. That also includes opening “art house,” a proposed performing arts venue and restaurant in downtown College Park (see pages 2–3), while Common Tone begins its second season of music performances at Busboys and Poets in nearby Hyattsville. “The typical model for access to the arts is somebody buys a ticket and comes to our facility,” he says. “I’m interested in how we come to our audiences. I’m also interested in how we can nurture the local arts ecology.” Last year, The Clarice and Joe’s selected three promising groups to participate. This year, a panel considered more than 50 applicants from across the region. “It’s a real gift to our artists to give them time, space and dollars to just work on work,” says Brooke Kidd, artistic and executive director at Joe’s. “It’s very difficult for many of our performing artists to have the luxury to pay people for rehearsals, so it’s been exciting to see

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kind of the depth of the work that they get to do.” She and Clarice officials will talk to the emerging artists about marketing, fundraising and sustaining an audience, and each of them is asked to welcome the public inside as the creative process unfolds. The audience, through its feedback, becomes part of that process. “We want to go beyond the typical post-performance discussion and engage with audiences in more active, participatory ways,” Wollesen says.

Pointless Theatre Co. (above), a group founded by Terps to break boundaries between puppetry and traditional theater, participated in last year’s NextLOOK. Members showed snippets of two possible new productions, then asked for the audience’s preferences, opinions and even suggestions about marketing through drawings. “It was a really great chance for us to try out some new artistic ideas in a low-risk environment,” says Matt Reckeweg ’10, co-artistic director.–lb

POINTLESS THEATRE PHOTO BY GENE CARL FELDMAN; ADDITIONAL PHOTO CREDITS FROM TOP RIGHT: IMIA HOLSTON PHOTOGRAPHY; ERICA MONTGOMERY; IZOLDA TRAKHTENBERG; LOUIS PINCKNEY; COURTESY OF ALANA COLE-FABER


NextLOOK

PLAYBYPLAY

in 2015–16 SEP

OCT

28 ~ 02

20 1 5

A Follow-Up Shot Basketball Standout Sulaimon Starting New Chapter in College Park

Taurus Broadhurst Dance fuses traditional West African dance with movement from modern, house and hip-hop. NOV

NOV

02 ~ 06

20 1 5

Margot Greenlee explores the relationship between movement and the body’s capacity to heal in her work, “Medicine by the Book.” JAN

JAN

18 ~ 22

20 1 6

Clown Cabaret gives trained clowns an opportunity to try new material. MAR

MAR

21 ~ 25

20 1 6

Yoko K. promotes social change through electronica and vocals, such as “Tap Project” by UNICEF World Water Week. APR

APR

11 ~ 15

20 1 6

Alana Cole-Faber, Kirsty Little and Maria Neimanis combine aerial choreography with community voices to create flying stories.

asheed sulaimon just wants to get back on the basketball court, even if that means doing the scut work of diving after loose balls rather than taking heart-stopping shots at the buzzer. This fall, the highly touted guard will reboot his athletic career in College Park, trading a blue jersey for red after being dismissed from Duke’s basketball program and deciding to use his final year of college eligibility for a Terp squad that could be a championship contender. “I’m happy for this fresh start,” he says. Raised in Houston by a Nigerian father and Jamaican mother, the high school All-American was a starter for the Blue Devils in his freshman season. He helped lead Duke to the Elite Eight in the 2013 NCA A Tournament, averaged 11.6 points per game and earned a spot on the ACC All-Freshman and All-Academic teams. Sulaimon also made a mark on the international stage with USA Basketball, winning gold medals at the 2012 FIBA Americas Under-18 Championship and the 2013 FIBA Under-19 World Championship. But Sulaimon saw his playing time and stats diminish as a sophomore and junior at Duke, as struggles on the court and a souring relationship with Coach Mike Krzyzewski off it led to his dismissal from the program in January. Sulaimon, who completed his sociology degree requirements in August after just three years, says he had trouble handling the athletic challenges that came with a college basketball career and was “blindsided” when a sport that came so easily started being difficult. The situation was complicated in March with reports accusing Sulaimon of sexual assault, although no charges were filed with the university or local police department. Duke has repeatedly

PHOTO BY HIGH IMPACT PHOTOGRAPHY

declined to comment, citing student privacy laws, and Sulaimon, who always remained in good academic standing, has denied it. Sulaimon plans to pursue a master’s degree at Maryland. He has known Head Coach Mark Turgeon since middle school, when he attended one of the coach’s basketball camps at Texas A&M. “We knew the family, we knew the kid really well,” Turgeon says. “I thought he’d be a good fit for us.” The basketball world has big expectations of Turgeon’s team this year. Besides adding Sulaimon, the Terps return key players like Jake Layman and Melo Trimble. Incoming blue-chip prospect Diamond Stone is another key addition to a team expected to be among the best in the country. “I have to put my head down and do my best to be a great student-athlete at the University of Maryland,” Sulaimon says. “My head is clear right now.”–lf

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INNOVATION

Moon Mystery Scientists Find Evidence Cosmic Collision Formed Moon

THEIA

EARTH

1

THEIA, A MARS-SIZE PLANET IN THE VOLATILE EARLY SOLAR SYSTEM, APPROACHES EARTH ON A COLLISION COURSE.

2

THE IMPACT 4.5 BILLION YEARS AGO LEADS TO A MERGING OF THEIA AND EARTH.

EARTH

3

DEBRIS FROM THEIA FORMS A DISK ABOVE A MELTED EARTH.

T

4

THE MOON

THIS DEBRIS EXCHANGES MATTER WITH THE EARTH AND EVENTUALLY COALESCES TO FORM THE MOON.

hrough the ages, it has inspired poets and painters while inflaming lunatics and lovers. And since the 19th century, the moon has also puzzled scientists. They’ve struggled to explain exactly how Earth obtained its nearly planet-size satellite, bigger than Pluto and not much smaller than Mercury. Because of the moon’s mass—no other solar system planet has a larger one, relatively speaking—its physical influence is profound, affecting tides, geology, the Earth’s tilt and even the rise of life. One early hypothesis on the moon’s origin came from Charles Darwin’s son George, who in 1878 suggested the young planet once spun so rapidly that with the help of solar gravity, it threw enough material into orbit to form the moon. Later astronomers offered other explanations: The moon formed elsewhere but was captured by Earth’s gravity while wandering nearby, or the Earth and moon coalesced in tandem out of dust and debris filling the early solar system. The problem was that none of them actually made much sense or followed the laws of physics—until a new theory arose in the 1970s.

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Called “giant impact,” it proposes that a Mars-size planet called Theia careered through the violent early solar system 4.5 billion years ago and bashed into the Earth, partially melding the two planets and throwing out debris that gravity shaped into the moon. While this explanation seemed more plausible, it raised new questions. The biggest was why terrestrial and lunar rocks showed no obvious chemical evidence that a wayward planet had ever hit Earth, says Richard Walker, a Maryland geology professor. For cosmochemists like Walker, different forms of elements— or isotopes—are the equivalent of dna for biologists. “One of the problems with this model to explain moon formation is the genetic similarity between the Earth and the moon,” he says. A planet from elsewhere in the solar system would be expected to carry different isotopic signatures, but “they are virtually identical.” A paper published in Nature earlier this year by Walker, umd senior research scientist Igor S. Puchtel and postdoctoral researcher Mathieu Touboul provides groundbreaking


Research by evidence reconciling the giant impact theory with Their tests confirmed the hypothesis was spot-on, Richard J. Walker the vexing similarity. providing powerful experimental evidence for the (above left) supWhat they found confirms the giant impact, giant impact. ports a theory of and suggests a collision so violent that it not only “I think for the first time in my life, I was correct violent lunar origins. resulted in the moon, but left a new version of the in making a prediction,” Walker jokes. Earth in its wake. It’s an important result but a narrow one, and it doesn’t close After the impact, hellish conditions prevailed on Earth, the book on the matter. Physicists still must explain important which was encircled with a fiery “flying magma ocean” that details, Walker says, such as how much of Theia’s mass sank may have persisted for thousands of years. Such conditions into the Earth, and how much was ejected into space. As for ensured a thorough mixing of material from Earth and Theia the flying magma ocean, while interesting to envision—“we just and a heat-induced “equilibration” of elements. This homogdon’t know how the physics of that would work,” he says. enization would explain why the two bodies ended up with Maryland astronomy Professor Jessica Sunshine, an expert virtually identical isotopic signatures. on the conditions that prevailed in the early solar system, says To show that the Earth and moon formed at the same time, Walker and his co-authors pushed experimental technique to they tested for the “fingerprints” of asteroids that hit both bodies new levels in the study. Earlier attempts at such studies were after the giant impact. Because the Earth is a larger body, physstymied by the imprecision of measurements, but the margin ics suggests it will attract more asteroids than the moon—and as of error is now tiny, she says. a result, the difference in the concentration of a specific isotope “That’s a testament to better instrumentation, better techof the element tungsten should vary by 20 parts per million niques, and the fact we’re really asking fine questions now,” between Earth rocks and moon rocks. she says.– cc

PHOTO BY JOHN T. CONSOLI; PLANETARY COLLISION IMAGE COURTESY OF NASA/JPL- CALTECH

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Social Sickness

Researcher Links Racism, Physical Wellness while the most poisonous elements of anti-black racism like slavery and legally sanctioned segregation are history, the fallout from centuries of inequality may still be killing people. Racism in its current, subtler guise doesn’t only hurt feelings, says David Chae, an assistant professor of epidemiology and biostatistics. It also has measurable effects on African Americans’ health and mortality. He calls racism a “social toxin” that raises “susceptibility to diseases like heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes. And once someone does develop a disease, racismrelated stressors can lead to accelerated progression and worse outcomes.” Chae has caused a stir with recent research papers documenting this toxin in action. In a paper published this spring in the journal plos one, he combined big data analytics by co-author and former Google data scientist Seth Stephens-Davidowitz with National Center for Health Statistics data to show something disturbing but not necessarily surprising: Blacks in areas of the country where people type the “n-word” most frequently in Google searches are significantly sicker than elsewhere.

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And in a 2014 paper in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Chae found that African-American men subjected to higher levels of discrimination had dna damage that could lead to earlier aging and worsening health. Several factors are to blame, Chae says, including stress and lack of access to health care in disadvantaged communities. And research shows that doctors—without conscious malice—may provide lesser care to black patients because of biased assumptions about how closely they’ll follow instructions. Chae is fighting the notion that racism is a problem solved, says Rashawn Ray, an assistant sociology professor studying health-related racial inequities. “Racism is still a major problem to be tackled to ensure that people really have equal chances of living healthy and beneficial lives,” Ray says. “Dr. Chae’s research illuminates that health isn't simply something internal or genetic. Rather, health has a social component.” Questions of equality animate Chae’s research. He grew up in a low-income neighborhood of New York City and in January watched his Korean-born mother succumb to cancer after decades working physical jobs to provide for her family. He wonders whether her status in society played a role in shortening her life. “Why should someone who’s working class have to die years earlier than someone who’s more privileged?” he says. “Why should someone who’s black live five years less than someone white?”–cc

Why should “someone who’s working class have to die years earlier than someone who’s more privileged?

D AVID CHAE, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF EPIDEMIOLOGY AND BIOSTATISTICS


Don’t Say No to Solo Fears of Looking Friendless Rob You of Fun, Study Says if you find yourself alone on a Friday night, which set of activities would you choose: a solo dinner at a popular restaurant and a new movie, or Thai takeout and a DVR binge? If you choose the latter because you think others equate being alone with being a loser, then you’re probably missing out on a good time, according to new research from UMD marketing Professor Rebecca Ratner, published by the Journal of Consumer Research. Ratner and Rebecca W. Hamilton of Georgetown University conducted a variety of experiments to test whether people have a realistic expectation of how much they will enjoy public, recreational activities on their own. In one trial, they found that people who went through Maryland’s Stamp Gallery by themselves had virtually the same amount of enjoyment as others who went with company—despite anticipating they would like it far less. The researchers also found that people have coping strategies when companionship isn’t an option. For example, individuals are more likely to

go to a coffee shop if they can also do work there, and will head to a movie for a sparser-attended Sunday matinee instead of a packed Saturday night showing. “I’m guessing that a lot of this is deep-seated, almost evolutionary. We don’t want people to think anything is wrong with us,” Ratner says. “I think we associate ‘alone’ with ‘lonely.’” She also sees this as having growing importance. The study’s name—“Inhibited from Bowling Alone”—is a reference to the seminal 2000 book by Robert Putnam about the fracturing of American society and the ensuing loss of social bonds. As people work longer, marry later and have more alone time than past generations, these inhibitions could hurt businesses and prevent people from pursuing the types of activities that create new relationships. Ratner says this phenomenon appears to cross lines of age, gender and even countries. She has presented her research to international audiences and seen nods of recognition. “This is affecting hundreds of millions of people,” she says.–LF

NEWSDESK UMD faculty share their expertise with the media:

We should be “able to provide kids with better, independent online health resources.

DINA BORZEKOWSKI, PUBLIC HEALTH, ON A NATIONAL SURVEY FINDING THAT FOUR OUT OF FIVE TEENS TURN TO THE INTERNET FOR HEALTH INFORMATION, IN THE NEW YORK TIMES, JUNE 2.

“Saying we should have a recession to save the environment is a flippant conclusion. But if we want to manage emissions, we need to think of different ways to grow the economy.” KLAUS HUBACEK, GEOGRAPHICAL SCIENCES, WHO CO-WROTE A PAPER ON WHAT CAUSED CARBON EMISSIONS TO DROP FROM 2007–13, IN THE LOS ANGELES TIMES, JULY 22.

“Once they know the company is paying attention, they are more ready to complain the next time around.” LIYE MA, MARKETING, ON HER STUDY FINDING SOCIAL-MEDIA CUSTOMER SERVICE PROMPTS MORE COMPLAINTS, IN THE ECONOMIC TIMES (INDIA), AUG. 9.

CHAE PHOTO BY JOHN T. CONSOLI; ILLUSTRATIONS BY KELSEY MAROTTA

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What Makes Terrapins Tick

“Terrapins are very poorly studied overall,” says Mihai Pop, an associate computer science professor with the Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (CBCB). “There are few Faculty and Freshmen genome sequences from turtles, and yet they are very important from an Sequence Mascot’s dna evolutionary viewpoint.” what makes a diamondback terrapin, They’re turning out to be an important UMD ’s mascot and Maryland’s state reptile, animal for Maryland freshmen eager to cry salty tears? dive into serious science. The terrapin No, not a second-round loss in the genome project is one of nearly a dozen NCAA tournament—it’s the water they research groups students can join in inhabit. Terrapins evolved in freshwater the First-year Innovation & Research and moved into brackish water like Experience (FIRE ) program. that of the Chesapeake Bay, and they After basic sequencing aimed at use tear ducts to clear excess salt from producing a rare, nearly complete their bodies. “gold-standard” genome, students will How they developed that ability and begin projects analyzing small parts of others that suit them for saline water is the whole this fall, says Stephen Mount, anybody’s guess, however, and it’s just associate professor of cell biology and one of the intriguing questions animating molecular genetics in CBCB . a project at UMD to fully sequence the “They’ll become experts in particular diamondback terrapin’s genome for the gene families,” he says. “Someone could first time. The result will be a genetic be an expert in myosin proteins, which blueprint of one member of the species, are important in muscle contractions. a female captured on Poplar Island that Someone else could study sodium pumps researchers dubbed Testuda. on the cell surface … [and] desalination.”

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The diamondback terrapin DNA project is a chance for the university to both show off its cutting-edge genome assembly expertise and light a fire under young students by plunging them early into serious research. “They’re not giving us busywork,” says Ryan Mitchell ’18. “The best thing about FIRE is that even though you may be a freshman, everyone here is contributing to the actual research.”—CC

“There are few genome sequences from turtles, and yet they are very important from an evolutionary viewpoint.” M I HAI P O P, A SSO CIATE PRO FE SSO R O F CO M P UTER SCI EN CE

ILLUSTRATION BY JESSE WU


FACULTY Q&A / LAURIE FREDERIK

Professor’s Paso Doble Life When she’s not observing traveling artists in the mountains of Cuba or teaching classes on subversive periods in history, laurie frederik straps on her heels, dons false eyelashes and slips into a sparkly dress to samba and waltz her way to the top of the ballroom dancing world. The anthropologist, associate professor in the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies (tdps) and Latin American Studies Center director has traveled the globe for dance and research, studying storytelling and expression through theater, political protest, legal testimony and more. Frederik talked to Terp about how these areas of her life work in harmony. WHY DID YOU STUDY ANTHROPOLOGY?

My first interest was in human evolution and primatology. When I was an undergraduate I went to Kenya and did some work with baboons and other primates and realized that the cultural differences in the humans studying them were much more interesting to me than the primates themselves. HOW DID YOU END UP TEACHING IN TDPS?

I started studying art and politics in South Africa (1993-94). My anthropology research inadvertently coincided with artistic performance and my interests shifted. When I finished my Ph.D. I looked for jobs in anthropology departments. I never expected to work in a theater department, but it turns out that my research was very much performance studies. I just wasn’t calling it that until I came here and realized I fit into that niche. THE U.S. IS EASING TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS TO CUBA, BUT YOU WERE AMONG THE FIRST WAVE OF AMERICAN RESEARCHERS TO GO THERE IN THE MID-1990S. WHAT WAS THAT LIKE?

This is where the theater was really helpful. If you said, “I’m a historian or journalist and want to talk to people in the street about politics, agriculture or law,” the Cuban government would say, no, you can’t do that. But

FREDERIK PHOTO BY JOHN T. CONSOLI OTHER PHOTOS COURTESY OF LAURIE FREDERIK

the people I talked to were under the Ministry of Culture: theater directors, writers, dancers and musicians. I’m an artist too, so there was camaraderie and trust. YOU’VE WON FOUR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS IN BALLROOM DANCING. WHY DO YOU ENJOY IT?

Being an academic is so heady; you’re just immersed in books and ideas, but the ballroom has kept me balanced. The paso doble is aggressive and powerful, the jive is fun and bouncy. All the different dance styles satisfy different parts of your being. You have a partner and an audience, so it’s social fulfillment too. It’s athletic and competitive. And you get to wear rhinestones! DO YOUR STUDENTS KNOW THAT YOU DANCE?

They do eventually find out. I get them up for a tango class when I teach “Performing the Nation.” We read a book about Argentine tango, and it’s all about gender, politics, violence—it’s hard to understand the nuances of any practice unless you get up and try it yourself.–ks


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PORTRAITS BY JOHN T. CONSOLI


in drips and drops, the incidents erode an idealized vision of modern higher education: A noose draped around the neck of a statue honoring the man who integrated the University of Mississippi. Obscene gestures and names tossed at black University of Washington students pro­testing police conduct. The chant from an all-white University of Oklahoma fraternity, suggesting lynching before allowing any AfricanAmerican members. And at the University of Maryland, an un­ earthed student email rips around social media, spewing invective against minorities and women. Then, when a Muslim student group protests the showing of the film “American Sniper,” its members are inundated with threats. Just weeks later, those drops are overtaken by a roaring flood only 30 miles away in Baltimore,

Younger generations have made great strides. A cross-country study of 3,000 people 14 to 24 years old by mt v and David Binder Research in 2014 found that more than 90 percent believe everyone should be treated the same regardless of race. But that belief is a veneer on more unsettling results: 48 percent of white respondents also believe discrimination against white people is as big a problem as discrimination against racial minorities. And 65 percent of people of color said whites have more opportunities than they do. To add to the confusion, most young people in the survey said that they want to have an open conversation about race, but are uncomfortable doing so and have no idea how to even start. The University of Maryland, which won a 2015 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity

Sights Unseen {

UMD Community Ref lects on Racism

}

introduction by lia m farrell

as riots follow the death of a 25-year-old black man who was severely injured in police custody. The contemporary American higher education system was shaped by the civil rights movement in the 1960s, the rise of feminism in the 1970s, and the push for lgbtq recognition in the 1990s and 2000s. After witnessing one of the country’s most potent realizations of racial equality—the two-time election of an African-American to the White House—it was natural to assume some problems had finally been resolved. But perhaps, in the quest to become colorblind, we really just closed our eyes. “You know and I know,” writer James Baldwin wrote to his nephew on the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation, “that the country is celebrating one hundred years of freedom one hundred years too soon.”

Award from Insight Into Diversity magazine, is a place that can help begin a dialogue. “We have a highly diverse student body and a campus community that has been very responsive and engaged around issues of racial social justice,” says Kumea Shorter-Gooden, umd’s chief diversity officer. “We need to expand the safe spaces on campus so that people from all races and identities can engage in honest, difficult, but ultimately productive dialogue about race, privilege, stereotypes and how we can move forward. This is already happening in classes and corridors and dorms, but we can do much more.” In the next four pages and at terp.umd.edu, essays from faculty, staff and students explore the challenges of prejudice in higher education, and how we can change.

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****

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Where Ending

Islamophobia

Can Start

A

friend of mine, a recent graduate, hated talking about Middle Eastern issues in class. Whenever anyone mentioned 9/11 or terrorism, people glanced over at her, as if she was somehow connected to all that because she’s Muslim and wears a scarf. Other students tell me how surprised their classmates look when they speak accentless English or know basic American history. These may seem like petty grievances, but they stem from the harmful racialization of Islam and Muslims. The vast majority of American Muslims are first- or second-generation immigrants from the developing world—a solidly nonwhite bloc of nations. The tragic events of 2001 and ensuing conflicts in majority-Muslim countries created an “us-vs.-them” mentality among the American public. Muslims were cast as inherently anti-American and unpatriotic. In addition, ethnic and racial differences Sana Farooqui ’16 / Government & Politics between the majority-white American and majority-non-white MuslimAmerican populations boost this divisive view, as do visible “Muslim” *** Member, Muslim Students Association identifiers like the headscarf. Media sources, too, have helped reduce all & Student Honor Council Muslims to brown, America-hating terrorists—a prime example being the portrayal of Muslims in “American Sniper.” to be present in such dialogue for any real These stereotypes can translate into harmful change to occur. opinions; a day after the Chapel Hill, n.c., shootTo boost attendance at such events, proings of three Muslim students, a umd YikYak Solidarity between fessors should consider offering extra credit post predicted that “they would have ended up to students. The university can also engage different minority working for isis anyways.” students by incorporating dialogue around groups on campus As centers of learning and knowledge, college social issues in the required univ100 course. can be a strengthcampuses are prime settings to combat IslamoPerhaps the “Words of Engagement” course, phobia and mitigate ethnic, racial and religious which focuses on teaching and learning culening factor. conflict. Colleges should foster dialogue about tural diversity through intergroup dialogue, these social issues, educating students and proshould be mandatory for incoming freshmen viding platforms for solutions. or transfers. A good example was the spring screening Solidarity between different minority groups on campus can be of “American Sniper” at umd, hosted by the a strengthening factor, too. It was heartening to see groups such College Republicans and College Democrats. as the Asian American Student Union, Political Latinxs United for They assembled a panel with speakers from Movement and Action in Society, umd’s na acp chapter and umd different academic fields, points of views and Feminists support the Muslim Students Association during the personal backgrounds, tackling the social is­sues “American Sniper” event. of the film head-on. But many audience memUltimately, it's a point of personal pride to be a Terp, especially bers—especially white males—left right after with a president and administration who actively advocate inclusion the movie ended, before the panel discussion and tolerance. But overlooking the details and contours—as insignifibegan. This is counterproductive; it’s imperative cant as a passing comment, for example—can gradually deepen for the most privileged members of a society and escalate social issues. Whatever solutions the university tries to implement, the main goal should be to foster a permanent environment of mutual respect, diversity and pluralism that lingers with students after graduation.

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It’s Time to Talk

T

his past spring, we were reminded of the persistence of blatant and explicit racism on our college cam­ puses. Scholars have identified multiple, interlocking elements of the campus racial climate, and it is relevant to consider how these play out at a place like umd. The historical legacy of an institution: umd continues to grapple with the remnants of its history due to race, be it the controversy of Byrd Stadium or the legacy of Greek life, with its history of explicit and mandated racial segregation. The past af­fects our present, whether we recognize it or not. We owe it to ourselves to talk frank­­ly about the impact of the past and how it continues to shape the currents of our campus today. Structural diversity: This term refers to the racial and ethnic composition of the student body, and research has shown that a racially heterogeneous institution maximizes the educational benefits linked with diversity. My research collaborators and I have identified how social class diversity, in combination with racial diversity, improves student interaction across race. Social class diversity does not replace racial diversity, but they are complimentary. At u md, we have strides to

Frankly Psychological: The perceptions that students, faculty and staff have of the campus’s racial climate are a key element and reflection of its temperature. White students tend to have the most positive perceptions of climate, while students of color tend to perceive climate less favorably. A university can have diversity and institutionalized supports in place, but the subjective experience and perception that students and others have of the institution can be telling. Our campus has been a national leader in supporting diversity-related efforts and building a positive campus racial climate, but challenges and barriers remain. This will be a significant year as we seek to continue to talk frankly about the inequality that surrounds our campus and permeates university life.

make in bolstering racial, ethnic and socioeconomic diversity, and affirmative action (both raceand class-based) continues to be an essential tool in reaching these aims. Administrative/Organizational: Faculty, administration and policies are critical to making diversity work. It is important for campus units to continue to act affirmatively to hire faculty and staff who reflect the diversity of our student body, as well as to support the administrative infrastructure needed to run diversity-related programming. Ethnic studies programs and general education curriculum requirements are other important ways of incorporating these issues. Behavioral: This dimension of climate encompasses cross-racial interaction and interracial friendship, as well as interaction with peers of the same race and ethnicity. Unsurprisingly, cross-racial interaction and interracial friendship are highest at racially diverse universities. Perhaps less intuitively, involvement in ethnic student organizations is linked with significantly higher cross-racial interaction; these groups have an important role in supporting a broader climate for diversity. Notably, research has linked involvement in fraternities and sororities with lower cross-racial interaction and interracial friendship.

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Julie J. Park /

Assistant Professor, Education ***

Author, “When Diversity Drops: Race, Religion, and Affirmative Action in Higher Education.”

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Dancing While

Meghan Abadoo M.F.A. ’16 / School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies ***

Black

Choreographer & Teacher, Mount Rainier, Md.

A

s a dance artist who is also a these reminders are openly discussed within black, heterosexual and ablecommunities of color, they are often ignored elsebodied woman, it is necessary where because there is a widely held misconcepfor me to acknowledge that my tion that racial inequity is no longer a major work will always be a construction of my problem—that we are “post-racial”—because identity, no matter the content. race-based discrimination is illegal. Last spring, I choreographed a dance This misunderstanding of systemic inequity is theater production called “Wake Up!,” tough to unravel and confront. Nonetheless, umd inspired by Spike Lee’s 1988 does have a program that takes up this film, “School Daze.” With the Silence! challenge, the Words of Engagement setting moved from a fictitious And then—without any transition Intergroup Dialogue program adminishistorically black college cam- or explanation—back to the party. The tered by the Office of Diversity and Inpus to umd, a predominately juxta­position in this scene—discom- clusion. I participated in this six-week white institution, we set out to fort simmering underneath relative course, and the weekly gathering was a explore issues of race and gen- expressions of contentment and a profound and safe environment where der as it concerns contemporary relentless drive toward a seemingly people of different racial backgrounds African-American realities. immovable structure—is what it feels could share their curiosity, emotional In the opening scene, the like to be a person of color within a pain, divergent viewpoints and stories. audience enters from the back mostly white institution. Art, especially dance and theater, of the theater and walks on I’m keenly aware of subtle and shares this capacity for individuality to “stage” into a homecoming party. obvious reminders that my brown- flourish within a unifying environment As the celebration progresses, skinned body—and others like me— of creativity and innovation. It creates a group of performers initiate exists within a racialized system of space for the mutual coexistence of the “step”: a percussive dance inequity, injustice and bias. Yet, while conflict and healing. It can’t alone fix tradition within black Greek the systemic, inequitable practices that organizations. The choreography then promote the safety and success of some groups transforms into a repetitive run toward over others. Art can, however, catalyze and susand against a wall, shifting the tone from tain action when words struggle to generate lastfestivities to a shadowy stillness as the ing change. Artists must be integral voices in the Negro spiritual “I’m Buildin’ Me a Home” strategic efforts toward building more diverse, surges to a sudden end. inclusive and equitable spaces on college campuses and beyond.

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Finding Yourself

in Your Alma Mater

M

y initial entry into the University of Maryland in 1974 was not a comfortable one. As an African American raised in New Orleans in a era of legalized segregation, I had little experience being among whites. I arrived here as a newly minted Ph.D., appointed as an assistant professor of psychology and director of the Community Field Station, when umd was still grappling with the tumult of integration and protests from black students over a lack of support. I still harbored uncertainties about how I would fit in and be viewed by faculty and a student population that was still mostly white—in 1975, only about 2,000 of the university’s 36,000 students were black. Early in my arrival in College Park, I strolled from my office in the psychology department toward McKeldin Library. As I passed others, I tried to catch their eye and greet them with a warm “hello” or “good morning” as we invariably do in New Orleans, even with strangers. They all averted

my gaze or looked away. I felt a chill of rejection and wondered whether umd would ever feel like home, given its culture, history and traditions. The negative feedback I encountered was not directed at me personally, but at the things I valued and were central to my professional identity: applied research with the poor and African Americans. Outside of the core group that I worked closely with, faculty kept their distance. While some students were gracious and accepting, others crossed the boundary into a disrespectful challenging of my evaluations of their work. They seemed to feel that they could question and disagree with me more than with my white colleagues. But I had nowhere else to go. I had to make it here. I realized that I would be at peace only if I took hold of the situation and owned being a member of the university. I had to convince myself that I, Oscar Barbarin, black man, belonged here, and this was my university just as much as it was that of my white colleagues and students. I cannot say that I was persuasive enough to quiet my anxieties. Today, I see that both the University of Maryland and I have changed for the better. I am awed by the growth of the university, how well the campus has maintained its classic beauty, and the success at efforts to diversify demographically. In my return to the campus, I experience no self-doubt, no questions of belonging. At last, I can truly say I belong here. When I pass by students, though, they still look away (this must be Northeastern culture). When I see students of color, I wonder how many continue to experience uncertainty and entertain questions about belonging. How many are engaging in the same self-doubt that pained me many years ago? My hope for them is that Maryland will do much to make this their home away from home, so that in the future they will look back at their time here and say with conviction: umd is my alma mater in the truest and most authentic meaning of the words, “My nurturing mother.” TERP

Oscar Barbarin /

Professor, Psychology Chair, African American Studies Department ***

He most recently served as the Lila L. and Douglas J. Hertz Endowed Chair in Psychology at Tulane University.

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•C  hief Diversity Officer Kumea Shorter-Gooden advocates

In additional

essays

at terp.umd.edu:

for listening to the marginalized and committing to lifelong learning and action. •T  he Rev. Holly Ulmer urges teaching compassion in college. • A ssociate Professor Psyche Williams-Forson tallies the cost of social media on racial discourse. • S tudent Government Association President Patrick Ronk considers how the classroom changed his perspective.

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W H AT I F YO U D E V E L O P E D A WAY T O S A V E TH O U S A N D S O F L I V E S — A N D N O O N E WA S I N T E R E ST E D ? BY C H R I S C A R R O L L

I N A S M A L L, I M P O V E R I S H E D V I L L A G E S O U T H O F TH E B A N G L A D E S H I C A P ITA L O F D H A K A, A W O M A N W A S L U G G I N G A H E A V Y J U G O F W AT E R H O M E F R O M A N E A R BY P O N D W H E N T W O U M D R E S E A R C H E R S , R I TA C O L W E L L A N D A N W A R H U Q, STO P P E D H E R F O R A Q U I C K D E M O N S T R AT I O N . First they poured a bit of the water into a clear glass beaker; then they filled a second beaker with water they filtered for her on the spot. The filter they’d come to Bangladesh to test was no high-tech piece of gear from a science lab or an expensive outfitter. Instead they used a thin, folded scrap of cloth cut from an old sari, a colorful traditional garment women wear throughout South Asia. They showed her the two beakers of pond water—one clear, one green and murky. “She immediately poured all that water out on the ground in front of us,” says Huq, a professor in the Maryland Pathogen Research Institute. “Then she went home, got some sari cloth and went to refill.” The technique was an easy sell to the woman, who immediately grasped that cleaner water could improve her family’s health. Her intuition was borne out by research Colwell and Huq published in 2003 proving sari cloth doesn’t just make water look better—it saves lives by cutting the incidence of the infectious disease cholera in half. And yet more than a decade later, the three-year field study they carried out remains the only time the technique was ever implemented. Governments, foundations and global health agencies have lauded sari cloth filtering for its brilliant

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY KELSEY MAROTTA

simplicity and effectiveness, but they’ve passed on actually using it. No one is questioning the scientific basis of the technique. The wild card many authorities doubt is people—villagers like the woman carrying pond water. Would she continue filtering without researchers present? Would she follow the procedure incorrectly and endanger her family? Such questions are reasonable, given limited resources and the need to focus only on the best interventions, says Dr. David Sack, one of the 2003 study’s co-authors. “Can you teach it to people, and will they follow it?” says Sack, a cholera expert and professor at Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health. “Anytime you have an intervention based on changing people’s behavior, it’s not easy. With cholera, you have to teach 1 billion people” who lack access to safe water.

A GLOBAL PLAGUE Vibrio cholerae is a singularly nasty breed of bacteria. The immune system copes with low doses, but if enough get into the body, typically via polluted water, they overwhelm cells lining the intestinal tract. The bacteria release a toxin with the sole, deadly effect of

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Women use sari cloth to filter water at a pond in southern Bangladesh (above), resulting in water visibly cleaner than unfiltered water (above right). For families without access to safe water (top), it cuts the incidence of cholera by 48 percent. The procedure was developed by UMD researchers Rita Colwell and Anwar Huq (facing page).

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sucking water from the body and expelling it as a whitish fluid in a torrent of vomit and diarrhea that spreads the disease. Cholera infects untold millions, and through dehydration kills an estimated 120,000 yearly, according to the World Health Organization (who). The two umd researchers, specialists in environmental microbiology and molecular microbial ecology, have devoted much of their careers to tracking it. Colwell described the ecology of Vibrio bacteria in the Chesapeake Bay and elsewhere as early as the 1960s in her Ph.D. thesis. She later developed a widely hailed method to predict cholera outbreaks using satellite imagery. Huq Ph.D. ’84, a former student of Colwell’s and a native of Bangladesh, discovered that Vibrio cholerae attaches in droves to plankton called copepods. Since publication of the 2003 sari paper, other means of fighting cholera globally have predominated, including vaccines, chemical water purification, even better nutrition. All are crucial, say Huq and Colwell, who support a multipronged approach. But one thing sets their sari cloth method apart: People without access to more sophisticated methods need little more than simple information to use it. Colwell and Huq still have plans, if not funding, to apply the technique. New funding proposals are in the works to teach the technique in remote Bangladeshi villages, and Huq has tested cloth samples from Africa, hoping to introduce the method in areas of the continent that lack treated water. Utter simplicity is the goal, so people enduring grinding poverty or the aftermath of earthquakes or floods have a fighting chance to protect

themselves. Perhaps that works against it in our technophilic world, says Colwell, a distinguished university professor both at umd and Johns Hopkins University. “It doesn’t have complicated chemistry or sophisticated technology,” she says. “And maybe those who haven’t worked in remote villages suffering extreme poverty never understood what we were trying to address.”

F I E L D STU D I E S In the 1990s, seeking a way to put decades of research to work in the real world, Colwell and Huq settled on the idea of an ad hoc filter from readily available material. Their lab tests, funded by the Thrasher Research Fund, showed that cotton sari cloth, fuzzy from repeated washings, worked as well as some commercial filter membranes, removing 99 percent of cholera bacteria from water. A branch of the National Institutes of Health that deals with infectious diseases declined to fund a large-scale field trial—perhaps believing the method too elementary, Colwell says. But it was anything but a spur-of-the-moment wild idea. “This evolved from many years of research,” she says. “The larger context is 700 or 800 publications on vibrios and disease outbreaks.” Finally in 1999, with funding from the National Institute of Nursing Research, they began a massive field study involving 45,000 people in 65 villages in southern Bangladesh. Researchers trained women as extension agents who fanned out to teach a relatively simple technique: Sari cloth is folded into four layers, then placed over the mouth of a kalash, a water jug used in

PHOTOS AT TOP COURTESY OF ANWAR HUQ; COLWELL AND HUQ PHOTO BY JOHN T. CONSOLI


villages. Water is poured in, then the cloth is removed, rinsed with filtered water and hung to dry. Air and sunlight disinfect it for the next use. The experiment yielded dramatic results, published in 2003 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The researchers documented a 48 percent reduction in cholera in villages that practiced sari filtration, compared to villages that didn’t. Although the trial was carefully designed to focus on cholera and didn’t address other intestinal pathogens, experts say the technique likely prevented a range of illnesses.

O BJ E CTI O N S The result—roughly on par with cholera vaccines, which have cost billions to develop and test—was widely reported in the media and scientific circles, and lauded by leading cholera experts. And yet doubts were rising. Several epidemiologists questioned whether that rate of success was sustainable, or if villagers would disregard the method without constant reinforcement. Some advocates of vaccines for cholera, meanwhile, seemed to think Colwell and Huq were pushing sari cloth as an alternative— which they weren’t. It’s a last-ditch option for millions without access to vaccines or advanced interventions, Colwell says. “We never, never intended it as a substitute for vaccines,” she says. “Ideally, these approaches could be used together. But villagers who lack access to vaccination need something to protect themselves against this potentially deadly disease.” Global applicability is another issue. Batsi Majuru of who says sari filtration clearly works well at stopping waterborne cholera in Bangladesh, but wasn’t tested elsewhere, including places where cholera isn’t associated with plankton or other tiny marine organisms.

Perhaps more importantly, says Majuru, a technical officer for who’s Water, Sanitation, Hygiene and Health unit, the agency backs interventions that are proven useful in tests against a range of disease agents. “At a minimum, it needs to be effective against two pathogen classes—bacteria, viruses and protozoa,” she says. To date, the sari filter’s only documented effect has been to eliminate cholera bacteria in water.

MILLION CASES E STI M ATE D A N N U A L LY

U P TO

STI L L F I LTE R I N G In 2010, a follow-up study showed that five years after researchers left them on their own, 31 percent of Bangladeshi villagers in the study group still filtered water and that the practice still prevented cholera. Interestingly, the practice had spread to some villages where sari filtering was never taught. For Huq and Colwell, it was a promising result that showed a significant portion of study participants followed the routine without guidance. A national media campaign utilizing radios and posters could quickly spread knowledge of the technique to remote areas without clean water, proving the technique’s sustainability, Huq insists. To Andrew Camilli, a cholera expert and professor of micro- and molecular biology at Tufts University, the follow-up study had a “glass half-full, glass half-empty” result. But even if the sari method is less than perfect, he says, it could have saved many lives over the past decade. It’s difficult to understand the collective yawn the method has met with. “Any health care worker going into the villages doing physicals or vaccinations from who or wherever—they should be training people to do this,” he says. “We know it works.” TERP

OF CASES ARE TR E ATA B L E W IT H O R A L R E HYD R AT I O N S A LT S

O F TH O S E I N F E C TE D NEVER DEVELOP SYM P TO M S B UT C A N STI L L S P R E A D TH E D I S E A S E

G LO B A L WARMING M AY H E L P T H E B A C TE R I A P R O PA G ATE

S M A LL C H I L D R E N, TH E E L D E R LY A N D TH O S E W IT H COMPROMISED I M M U N E SY S TE M S AR E M O ST AFFE CTE D

STATI STI C S C O U R TE SY O F TH E W O R L D H E A LTH O R G A N I Z ATI O N


ANIMAL INSTINCTS ALUM CHAMPIONS CONSERVATION THROUGH WORK AT NATIONAL ZOO By Karen Shih ’09

PHOTO BY TIM FLACH/ PETER BAILEY PRODUCTIONS


E

ach morning, before the curious foreign tourists, jaded local joggers or screaming school groups pour into the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, Bao Bao the panda starts her day by crunching soy protein biscuits and sucking on a bottle of honey water. It’s not just a leisurely breakfast. Zookeepers toss the little red biscuits to catch the attention of the 2-year-old as she ambles through a series of metal enclosures that take her from the indoor sleeping quarters to the outdoor habitat. She stuffs them into the corner of her mouth to chew like bamboo, stopping every so often so the keepers can weigh her, simulate drawing blood and have her practice lying down for future ultrasounds. Bao Bao isn’t just an adorable member of the zoo community. Like the twin cubs born there Aug. 22, she’s part of a global effort to save the endangered species. And the odds were stacked against her being here today. Just ask Brandie Smith Ph.D. ’10. A year before Bao Bao was born, her mother, Mei Xiang, suddenly abandoned a week-old cub, which turned out to have had unseen developmental issues. Smith, then the curator of giant pandas, had to make the devastating call to have the cub declared dead after veterinarians were unable to revive it. Even today, with a happy, healthy Bao Bao, Smith still wells up thinking about it. “It’s scary to work with these animals and have zero margin for error,” she says. When they’re born, “it’s exciting but terrifying because you know nothing can go wrong. Everything has to be 100 percent perfect all the time.”

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Now, as the associate director for animal care sciences, she’s responsible not only for the care and management of a wide variety of animals, from elephants and great apes to birds and reptiles, but also for research to ensure these species thrive in both captivity and their natural habitats. “These animals are ambassadors for their wild counterparts,” she says. “We have groups of the best scientists in the world who are working to save these species in the wild.”

From left: Smith examines 2-month-old Bao Bao; 8-month-old Bao Bao plays with Mei Xiang in the outdoor enclosure.

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DREAMS VS. REALITY “Most people grow out of their childish dreams,” Smith says. “I didn’t.” As a kid, she was fascinated by big cats, particularly jaguars, and unusual Australian wildlife like the Tasmanian devil. Her family lived in western Pennsylvania, within driving distance of the National Zoo in D.C., SeaWorld Ohio and the Pittsburgh Zoo, which they visited often. She studied biology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, then zoology at Clemson University, thinking that would get her into a zoo. “I had a master’s degree, two internships, and I couldn’t get a job,” she says. “I was living in my sister’s basement in Boston, volunteering at the zoo there and working as a waitress to earn money.” Then came a job offer: keeper of cheetahs and rhinos at the Dallas Zoo. The catch? It was a temporary position paying minimum wage—in a city she’d never visited and where she knew no one. Of course, she took it. “Most zoo people have a story like that,” she says. “There are more people who want to work in zoos than there are jobs. Once

you prove you can work in the freezing cold and raging heat and don’t mind shoveling poop, you’re in.” She still has a picture of Indy, a black rhino in Dallas, on her wall today. “I remember being amazed at how an animal so big and potentially dangerous could be so gentle,” she says. “He used to love to come up to the bars, lean in, and have the side of his face rubbed or his back scratched. The side of his face was soft, like velvet.” After a year in the blazing Texas sun, she found an opportunity with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (a za) in Maryland as a conservation biologist, where she could work on a larger scope. Over the next decade, she visited almost every zoo in the country and others worldwide, and was promoted several times. Then she started feeling an itch: “I kept thinking, ‘I want to go back to a zoo.’ I wanted to be back on the ground, working with animals.”

ACHIEVING THE IMPOSSIBLE To work with pandas, your personality has to mirror a panda’s: calm, thoughtful and deliberate. But beneath the panda team’s mellow exterior hides the collective determination that brought Bao Bao into the world. Just 1,600 of these endangered animals are left in the wild because of hunting and deforestation— pandas need to eat 20 to 40 pounds of bamboo each day—so studying the 300 or so in captivity is important for maintaining and growing the population. Even with human support, however, pandas reproduce slowly: Females are sexually mature from around 4 to 20 years old, but they usually only have one cub at a time, and there’s at least a two-year gap between each cub (they must be weaned first). At the National Zoo, the panda team tried for years to get Mei Xiang pregnant after she weaned Tai Shan, her first cub, in 2006. He was sent to China in 2010 (as part of the National Zoo’s panda loan agreement), and two years later, Mei Xiang finally gave birth—but that cub died at just a week old. By 2013, “everyone in the zoo, everyone in China had given up,” says Smith. She had jumped at the opportunity to work at the National Zoo in 2008, which put her in charge of all mammal curators. The panda curator soon retired, thrusting her into the day-to-day operations of the panda house on top of her regular duties. She oversaw the 10-person team that not only cares for the pandas, hauling hundreds of pounds of bamboo daily and introducing enrichment materials like mulch and hay, but also works to get Mei Xiang pregnant. “Statistically, Mei Xiang had less than a 5 percent chance of having a cub, given her age [15] and the interbirth interval,” Smith says. Panda pregnancy is a tricky thing. For one, Mei


Xiang and Tian Tian, the zoo’s male panda, have never been able to produce a cub the natural way (it’s tough with only a two-day window each year to try), so artificial insemination is always necessary with this pair. After that, the pregnancy isn’t easy, either. “The trouble with pandas is that there are two parts to their gestation,” explains panda keeper Marty Dearie ’97. A fertilized egg can float around the uterus for three to four months before implanting, which then starts the 40- to 50-day gestation period. Female pandas also experience pseudo pregnancies, during which they go through hormonal changes, build nests, eat and drink less and become more sedentary. None of Mei Xiang’s pregnancies ever showed up on the ultrasound, so “we pretty much know it’s a pregnancy when she has the cub,” Smith says. On Aug. 23, 2013, much to the surprise and joy of Smith, her team and panda fans everywhere, Bao Bao emerged, looking more like a naked mole rat than a bear (save for the thin layer of white fuzz). “We had achieved the impossible—and that was the most adorable panda cub you could imagine in your entire life,” Smith says. The team was more hands-on with Bao Bao than the cub that died and examined her just days after she was born, taking cues from their Chinese colleagues (an approach Dearie credits to Smith’s open-mindedness). They closed off the panda house for months while staffing it 24 hours a day. That brought the already tight-knit crew even closer. The members consider each other family, says biologist Laurie Thompson, who jokes that Smith plays the role of “Mom.” “She’s very good about the work-life balance,” Thompson says, and made sure the team members always rotated and went home to see their kids. Staying grounded was important during that frenzied time, when media descended on the zoo

About

Panda cubs are

pandas live in the wild, with another 300 living in zoos or breeding centers around the world.

the size of their mothers when they are born.

1,600

1/900th

Bao Bao will grow to around

220

pounds (male

pandas are bigger, about 250 pounds).

But for Smith, all of that faded away with the joy of watching Bao Bao open her eyes for the first time, climbing on her mom’s back and rolling down the hills of the outdoor enclosure. Balancing roles as a scientist, educator to the public and international liaison to China, she says, has made working with pandas “maybe my most fun job.”

SAVING SPECIES Of course, Bao Bao isn’t the only baby Smith and her zoo colleagues have brought into the world. On any given day, you can see lion cubs pouncing on each other or a sloth bear cub wrestle his dad. “If you see a pair of animals [at the zoo], someone has made a scientific decision that they should be together,” says Jon Ballou Ph.D. ’95, senior research scientist at the National Zoo and one of Smith’s doctoral advisers.

THOSE EARLY WEEKS AFTER SHE WAS BORN ARE SOME OF MY FAVORITES­—WATCHING HER MEET HER GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT MILESTONES, LIKE FIRST STEPS AND FIRST SOLID FOOD.

for any nugget of news, and the public overwhelmed the online panda cams and voted by the thousands to choose the cub’s name. “While most of the comments were positive, people will say we’re doing bad things,” Smith says. “You have to block that out. There were some pretty brutal comments when we were weaning Bao Bao. They said Mei Xiang was a bad mother and that we were going to hurt the cub.”

“Brandie represents the kind of curators that are really needed,” says Ballou, who oversees the global panda breeding program and advises government agencies on species including the California condor. She’s “concerned about the broader issues of designing good scientific breeding programs not only for the animals at her own zoo, but all animals at all zoos.” Ballou and professor emeritus Jim Dietz, both part of the Behavior, Ecology, Evolution, and Sys-

PHOTOS BY COURTNEY JANNEY AND ABBY WOOD OF THE SMITHSONIAN’S NATIONAL ZOO

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THE FUTURE TAKES FLIGHT As Bao Bao contentedly gnaws on bamboo in front of a crowd of cooing fans, she has no idea her time as panda poobah is coming to an end. Members of the panda team traveled to China this spring to get sperm from a different male— Tian Tian has many siblings, so he isn’t particularly valuable genetically—and they inseminated Mei Xiang with both of their sperm in late April.

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“Every other year, people didn’t expect her to get pregnant,” Smith says. “It was almost like buying a lottery ticket. Now they think, ‘You’re going to give us twins this year, right?’” The public’s optimism was rewarded: Just a day before Bao Bao’s second birthday, Mei Xiang gave birth to two cubs. At press time, the days-old cubs were being rotated between an incubator and their mother’s care to give them a better chance of survival. Since Smith’s promotion earlier this year, however, the day-to-day efforts at the panda house are out of her hands. She’s taking on larger projects, like the multiyear transformation of the elephant habitat, for which she negotiated the acquisition of four Asian elephants to increase the herd to seven. Now she’s working to overhaul the Bird House to create the first major exhibit about North American migratory birds in an American zoo. “There are amazing, spectacular birds in our back yards,” she says. “How do we make this big story accessible to the people who come here to the zoo? How can they help us conserve them?” The National Zoo has more opportunities than most to reach the public, since admission is free for its more than 2 million annual visitors. That accessibility makes her long hours—she usually arrives by 7 a.m. and doesn’t leave until 6 p.m. and is on call during evenings and weekends—all worth it. “I love it because anyone from any walk of life can come through our gates,” Smith says. “It’s such a magical thing when you see these animals and start to appreciate them.” TERP

HOW DO WE GIVE PEOPLE WHO COME TO THE ZOO THE TOOLS THEY NEED TO MAKE DECISIONS THAT WILL HELP WILDLIFE IN THEIR BACK YARD AND AROUND THE ZOO?

PHOTOS (LEFT TO RIGHT) BY JIM JENKINS, MEHGAN MURPHY AND ABBY WOOD OF THE SMITHSONIAN’S NATIONAL ZOO

tematics (bees) Program at umd, advised and supported Smith during her long journey to earn her doctorate. During that decade, she married and had two children, now 9 and 11, while juggling increased responsibilities at aza, then the zoo. Her research focused on animals that live in large groups. Scientists have a good grasp on how to maintain wild genetic representation and avoid inbreeding in animals with known pedigrees, Smith says, but “what do you do with a tank of fish? A flock of flamingos? A herd of antelope?” Tagging each animal and encouraging certain ones to mate is difficult, since animals in those settings tend to do better when given choices. She modeled different ways of plucking animals from different groups at certain intervals to maintain diversity and decrease individual tagging. Her research is just one example of the knowledge and methods that can be used both in zoos and in the wild to save thousands of species facing threats like habitat loss and poaching. Soon, she’ll create opportunities for the next generation of scientists. “My advisers inspired me to think beyond just getting a degree, to the bigger meaning of what I was studying and how it could be used,” she says. Just months into her current position, she’s planning to work with the umd Sustainable Development and Conservation Biology graduate program, so master’s students can research at the zoo.


INTERPRETATIONS

Our Fearless Future

You can reach Dr. Loh at president@umd.edu and follow him on Twitter: @presidentloh.

in recent decades, the University of Maryland has become one of the nation’s leading public research and innovation universities. Today, the university stands as a preeminent institution dedicated to serving its state, the nation and the world. We’ve been recognized by The Wall Street Journal for the quality of our graduates, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance for our overall value, The Princeton Review for our undergraduate entrepreneurship, and U.S. News & World Report for our overall excellence. The State of Maryland’s success depends upon a world-class public research and innovation university. Maryland functions in a knowledge-driven, global economic environment in which change is lightning-fast and innovation constant. Other regions and peer institutions are not standing still, and in the growing competitive environment, Maryland’s continued success must be a priority. The state will depend increasingly on the talent, knowledge and creativity generated by its flagship university. We are a great university. And I believe we can be greater. As the poet Robert Browning said, “The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” So here, then, is our Fearless Idea: Continue our rise in reputation and prestige. We will soon complete a new strategic plan that will chart a course toward excellence in research, undergraduate and graduate education, arts and athletics. But this is not about rankings. This is about impact. With a rise in prestige and reputation, the University of Maryland will drive regional economic prosperity, keep faculty and student talent right here in our region, expand our research enterprise, make progress on some of the most critical issues of our time, and develop a smarter, healthier citizenry. We seek to discover new knowledge, particularly in the fields of cybersecurity, climate change and virtual reality. We seek to inspire Maryland pride by translating our research and faculty excellence into service to our state and our world. We will transform the student experience by offering students tech-enabled education and out-of-classroom experiences that prepare them for the real world. And we will turn imagination to innovation by creating coursework and programs to inspire the next great entrepreneurs. As a truly global leader, the University of Maryland will influence progress on a worldwide scale in areas of policy, science, arts and technology. I encourage all of you to join us on our journey. This is our Fearless future.

truly global leader, “ As theaUniversity of Maryland will influence progress on a worldwide scale in areas of policy, science, arts and technology.

Wallace D. Loh, President

PHOTO BY JOHN T. CONSOLI

FALL 2015 TER P

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IT’S A GAME, ALL RIGHT. IT’S A ROARING, EMOTIONAL, DRAMA-FILLED FOOTBALL CLASH BETWEEN THE TERPS AND THE WISCONSIN BADGERS. BUT IT’S ALSO RELIVING TRADITIONS LIKE THE STEP AND COMEDY SHOWS AND STARTING NEW ONES LIKE VOLUNTEERING WITH STUDENTS. SEEING HOW MUCH THE CAMPUS HAS GROWN AND CHANGED. SHOWING YOUR FAMILY AROUND PROUDLY. EATING TAILGATE FOOD THAT’S NOT SO GREAT FOR YOUR CHOLESTEROL. AND LAUGHING WITH TERP FRIENDS UNTIL YOUR FACE HURTS.

IT’S A WEEK OF MAKING MEMORIES. WELCOME TO HOMECOMING 2015. NOV. 1–7, 2015 HOMECOMING.UMD.EDU


POWERED BY FEARLESS IDEAS.

SUPPORTED BY YOU. Support a student scholarship. Fund exploration in the arts. Invest in pioneering research. One gift every year makes a difference every day.

CREATING A CAMPUS KAYAKING PROGRAM FOR VETERANS WITH DISABILITIES

AWARDED SCHOLARSHIP TO JOIN NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP WOMEN’S LACROSSE TEAM

DESIGNED AND INSTALLED GREEN ROOFS TO GROW GARDENS IN URBAN HAITI

LAUNCHED ORGANIC DRINK COMPANY THROUGH STARTUP SHELL

DEVELOPING HIGHPRESSURE HOSE NOZZLE THAT CAN EXTINGUISH FIRES FASTER

BIG OR SMALL, YOUR GIFTS HELP DISCOVER NEW KNOWLEDGE / INSPIRE MARYLAND PRIDE / TRANSFORM THE STUDENT EXPERIENCE / TURN IMAGINATION INTO INNOVATION.

LEARN MORE AT GIVING.UMD.EDU/TERP


NONPROFIT ORG. U.S. POSTAGE

TERP MAGAZINE DIVISION OF UNIVERSITY RELATIONS COLLEGE PARK, MD 20742–8724

PAID

PERMIT NO. 10 COLLEGE PARK, MD

Change service requested

you don’t have to dress like this to show your terp spirit. cheer your heart out at the game. reconnect with old friends. join the maryland alumni association.

 in a 2016 FORD FUSION HYBRID just byALUMNI.JOIN.UMD/JOIN DRIVE FORWARD | W joining, renewing or upgrading your membership in the University of Maryland Alumni Association! Enter online at alumni.umd.edu/join by Nov. 7.

Go Further MidAtlanticFordDealers.com

Winner to be selected November 7, 2015. Your membership includes an optional $5 tax-deductible contribution, as allowed by law, to the Alumni Association Scholarship Fund. No purchase necessary. For official rules, visit alumni.umd.edu/join.


Terp Fall 2015