STUDENTS BRING ESCAPE ROOM TO BALTIMORE / 08 NYC DJ TAKES MIC TO DEFEND AUTHENTIC RAP / 28 PROF LEADS BEAM TEAM IN BUILDING CYCLOTRON / 32
SPRING 2017 / Connecting the University of Maryland Community
A SURVIVOR OF THE HOLOCAUST, PROFESSOR ARIE W. KRUGLANSKI IS LOOKING FOR THE SOLUTION TO RADICAL VIOLENCE PG. 22
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 SPRING 2017 / VOL. 14, NO. 3
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
Gabriela Hernandez ART DIRECTOR
Chris Carroll Liam Farrell Sala Levin ’10 WRITERS
Steffanie Anne Espat ’15 Jason A. Keisling Hailey Hwa Shin DESIGNERS
Charlie Wright ’17 INTERN
Gail Rupert M.L.S. ’10 PHOTOGRAPHY ASSISTANT
Jagu Cornish PRODUCTION MANAGER
Submit and read letters to the editor at terp.umd.edu.
ON LIN E
FACEBOOK .COM /Univof Maryland TWITTER.COM /Uof Maryland VIM EO.COM /umd
d o you r e m e m be r you r c om m e nc e m e n t day?
Putting on your regalia, decorating your cap and taking photos with classmates as you prepared for your next great chapter? Years of hard work culminated into one moment when you became a Maryland graduate. Our Spring Commencement ceremonies are just around the corner, featuring speaker Mark Ciardi ’83, a Hollywood producer (“The Rookie,” “Secretariat”). We know our graduates will reflect on their transformative experience at umd, whether through outstanding academics, arts and athletics, smarter facilities or unforgettable outside-the-classroom opportunities. The Alumni Association is ramping up its efforts to enhance the student experience through two initiatives. First, we are proud to announce the creation of the Student Alumni Leadership Council, a group of 20 undergraduates charged with sponsoring, planning and coordinating events and programs for prospective, admitted and current students in order to raise awareness of the Alumni Association, enhance school spirit and tradition, and instill a culture of giving back. Students will develop a unique relationship with the Alumni Association, allowing for a seamless transition to alumni after graduation.
Scholarships don’t just open doors—they break down walls for students who might not otherwise be able to attend umd. That’s why we are committed to enhancing the student scholarship experience, which our recent spring membership campaign supported. Ten dollars of every membership sold benefited the Alumni Association Scholarship Fund. This campaign is part of our three-year strategy to increase the amount of scholarships to $50,000 annually. As part of this strategy, student scholarship recipients will be more engaged with the Alumni Association through volunteer and mentorship opportunities. Thank you for making this possible, and I can’t wait to share stories from both of these programs with you. Finally, as spring ushers in new beginnings, I’d like to thank our Board of Governors president, Wanda Alexander ’81, for her two years of service. A board member since 2009, Wanda will remain on the board after July 1 as immediate past president. Thank you, Wanda, for being a fearless leader and advocate for our students.
Amy Eichhorst Executive Director University of Maryland Alumni Association
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 non-discrimination regarding race, color, religion, age, national origin, political affiliation, gender, sexual orientation or disability. COVER “An Exit From Extremism” by Gabriela Hernandez
F E A R L ESS I D EAS Every issue of Terp features examples of how UMD turns imagination into innovation. In this issue, we further highlight those efforts with a “ .” We’ll do the same in future issue on our efforts to discover new knowledge, inspire Maryland pride and transform the student experience.
T U R N I M AG I N AT I O N I N T O I N N OVAT I O N 07 / Betting on Organics 08 / Escape Boom 1 1 / L aughter With a Side of Facts 12 / Open (Art)House
18 / A New Way With Words 18 / Speed Trials 19 / Growing Shade 32 / Beam Team
CONTENTS SPRING 2017 / VOL. 14, NO. 3
02 Here to Stay
COVER STORY: AN EXIT FROM EXTREMISM
02 A New Chapter
Holocaust survivor Arie W. Kruglanski’s lifelong mission to explore the psychology behind radical violence and to stop it suddenly has new urgency.
03 Ask Anne CLASS ACT
04 To the Stars 06 Silver Screen Stunts 07 Betting on Organics
BY LIAM FARRELL
C AMPUS LIFE
08 Escape Boom 10 An Historical Inn-vestigation
SORRY, NOT SORRY
Peter Rosenberg ’02 has taken an unlikely journey from Chevy Chase, Md., to become the popular nyc radio host who hobnobs with— and occasionally takes jabs at— hip-hop’s elite.
11 Laughter With a Side of Facts 11 A Dean Slate 12 Open (Art)House 13 The Kids Who Did It INNOVATION
BY SALA LEVIN ’10
14 Contraband Code
15 The History of Freedom 16 Faculty Q&A
18 A New Way With Words 18 Speed Trials 19 Growing Shade CENTERPIECE
20 Class Action ALUMNI ASSOCIATION
37 Digitally Connected PARTING SHOT
38 Changing the Tune in Charm City
FEARLESS 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.
Tim Koeth, an associate research professor, may be the pied piper of particle acceleration, leading students constructing what he calls the biggest cyclotron ever built by undergrads. BY CHRIS CARROLL
RECENT WEB E XCLUSIVES THAT YOU MAY HAVE MISSED :
• A Terp-ified take on “Humans of New York” • Students raise record-breaking $1M at Terp Thon dance marathon • Alum reveals secrets of the White House grounds in new book
ext 5n o ns 1 how t r u t g at eaders ll ine z n i a ok ag Te or e lo pm nt t print. y Ter d we’r eleva n ve i r r n d an nd t su r, a yea resh a nline a shor y by f o e y th k in ur v sta , bo hin t e r p s to win you you t / e u ed k r t d i l ha d .e nte t. us w go.u m d be e atshir n e a at w 1 s y3 ps Ma a Ter
HOTEL BY THE NUMBERS Rooms
297 Meeting spaces named for UMD connection
(Terrapin Ballroom, Diamondback Ballroom, Jim Henson Meeting Room, Calvert Ballroom)
(Old Maryland Grill, Bagels ‘n’ Grinds, Potomac Pizza and Kapnos Taverna)
Maryland beers and ciders on tap at the Old Maryland Grill
24 Jobs created
Here to Stay Opening of Four-star Hotel a Leap in Greater College Park Redevelopment t h e ho t e l at t h e u n i v e r si t y of m a ry l a n d ,
the anchor of the Greater College Park initiative, is taking reservations in advance of its July opening. The 10-story luxury hotel, built by developer and umd supporter David H. Hillman’s Southern Management Corp., will include 297 rooms, 43,000 square feet of meeting space, four restaurants and a Red Door Salon & Spa by Elizabeth Arden.
Width of lobby sculpture by artist Rodney Carroll The Hotel will celebrate the state through the naming of its many meeting rooms and ballrooms, the locally sourced menu items at the high-end Old Maryland Grill restaurant and the display of paintings and sculptures by Maryland artists. Construction of the Hotel has sparked rapid revitalization of the Baltimore Avenue corridor and campus; through $2 billion in public and private investments, more than 30 research, academic, residential and retail projects have been completed or are under way. For more information, visit thehotelumd.com or call 888.744.0801.
40 feet Parking spots in garage
850 Billiards table in presidential suite
1 Estimated annual state and local tax revenues
A New Chapter UMD, Phillips Award First Book Prize Together
As part of the university’s new partnership with the nation’s first modern art museum, the inaugural University of Maryland-Phillips Collection Book Prize has been awarded. The biennial honor, previously bestowed solely by the museum to support an emerging scholar in modern or contemporary art, went to “The Noisemakers: Estridentismo, Vanguardism, and Social Action in Postrevolutionary Mexico (1921–1927)” by Lynda Klich, assistant professor in the Department of Art & Art History at Hunter College, City University of New York. She received a $5,000 cash prize and publication of her manuscript by University of California Press. HERE’S ONE FOR THE BOOKS:
$2,226,934! The University of Maryland’s fourth annual Giving Day on March 8 was a record-breaker, raising more than $2 million through 6,355 gifts from students and parents, faculty and staff, campus organizations and alumni. The 24-hour giving challenge supports student scholarships, academic programs and campus initiatives.
THE HOTEL INTERIOR RENDERING COURTESY OF SOUTHERN MANAGEMENT CORP.
ASK ANNE Q: HERE’S A COPY OF THIS INTRIGUING PHOTO I SAW IN ADELE’S DURING LUNCH THERE RECENTLY. I’D LOVE ANY INFORMATION YOU CAN PROVIDE—THE DATE, LOCATION, IDENTITY OF THE PEOPLE, ETC.
Questions for Anne Turkos, the university archivist
WHEN JOHN GLENN DIED IN DECEMBER, THE DIAMONDBACK AND THE CITY OF COLLEGE PARK NOTED THAT HE ATTENDED SCHOOL HERE. THIS IS ALSO PART OF HIS NASA BIO. IS IT TRUE?
This photo was printed in the alumni magazine in April 1948, and we have the original in the umd Archives. The scene is the kitchen of the Barracks, the first building constructed on campus, in 1858, for what was then called the Maryland Agricultural College. It burned down in the Great Fire of 1912. The men in the photo were Charlie Dory (far right), Bill Dory (Charlie’s son, behind the potatoes), Ferdinand Hughes (center front) and Spencer Dory (in background). Charlie was in charge of the kitchen facilities for the college. The Dory family lived in the Lakeland area of College Park, and at least one Dory descendant has worked for Dining Services ever since.
John Glenn is featured in the dedication of the 1963 Terrapin yearbook, which acknowledges that, with Glenn’s historic flight, the university has truly gone “out of this world.” The university can claim a connection to him because he took classes at the Pentagon in a unit of umd called University College, which began in College Park and spread around the world, teaching classes to returning students, members of the military and U.S. Embassy personnel. In 1970, this unit became what we know today as University of Maryland University College, one of our sister institutions in the University System of Maryland.
Q: I REMEMBER HEARING A STORY ABOUT A MUCH-BELOVED EPISCOPAL CHAPLAIN WHO DROWNED WHILE RESCUING HIS SON FROM THE CHESAPEAKE SOMETIME IN THE 1960S. WHAT CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT THIS TRAGEDY? — susan stonesifer mls ’97
That chaplain, the Rev. Merrill A. Stevens, and his family had been on an outing on a 40-foot sailboat in September 1964 when his 7-year-old son, Leigh, fell overboard into choppy waters near the mouth of the Chester River. Stevens jumped into the water to save his son and was able to place him back onboard before disappearing under the water himself. His body was found three days later.
Questions may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or @UMDarchives on Twitter. ONLINE lib.umd.edu/univarchives | BLOG umdarchives.wordpress.com | FACEBOOK University of Maryland University Archives
JOHN GLENN PHOTO COURTERY OF 1963 TERRAPIN; DORY PHOTO COURTESY OF UNIVERSIT Y ARCHIVES
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ALUMNI PROFILE / JEANETTE EPPS M.S. ’94, PH.D. ’00
To the Stars umd
Engineering Grad Will Be First African-American iss Crewmember
j e a n et t e epps m . s .
’94, ph . d . ’00 will blast off from Kazakhstan next May to the International Space Station, where she’ll be the first African American to serve on a long-term mission aboard the science platform orbiting 250 miles above earth. She’ll be living and working alongside a Russian mission commander and a German fellow crewmember in challenging conditions that demand smooth teamwork.
“The International Space Station is one of those places where you put politics and differences between people aside, and everyone works well together,” she says. “We on Earth could take a cue from that.” Since nasa selected her last year to serve as a flight engineer for iss Expedition 56/57, which could keep her aloft for five or six months, Epps and her fellow crewmembers have been training around the world.
They’ve simulated flying the Russian Soyuz space capsule, practiced escaping from it in case of an emergency water landing—“hot and crowded” is how Epps described the process of three people changing from spacesuits into survival gear inside the tiny capsule—and ridden a centrifuge to replicate the massive g-forces that could accompany an emergency landing. Epps’ path into space began as a young girl growing up in Syracuse, N.Y.,
PHOTOS COURTESY OF NASA
CLASS NOTES Submit your class notes and read many more at terp.umd.edu.
JAZZ LEWIS ’11 (D-Prince George’s) was appointed to the Maryland House of Delegates in February. He is a former campaign director for U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer ’63 and also worked as political director for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign in Maryland. Five Terps were named to Forbes Magazine’s 2017 “30 Under 30” lists: MACKENZIE F. BURNETT ’15 and fellow Terp DAN GILLESPIE were named among the “Young Innovators Transforming Enterprise Tech.” At UMD, they co-founded Redspread, a collaborative software deployment tool. Now at San Francisco-based CoreOS, she is head of product, and he leads upstream Kubernetes development. She is also executive director of Interact ATX , a nonprofit that helps connect young technologists and thinkers. EVAN LUTZ ’14 was named to its list of Social Innovators; he’s cofounder of Hungry Harvest, which sells “ugly” and surplus produce via a subscription service and donates some of the produce to people in need.
in the late ’70s, when American women first became astronauts. Her brother planted the idea. “When I was about 9 years old, I specifically recall him coming home from college, and after we discussed my math and science grades, he exclaimed, ‘You could be an aerospace engineer or an astronaut too, if you wanted to,’” she says. After receiving her master’s degree and doctorate in aerospace engineering from Maryland, she worked for Ford Motor Company before joining the cia as a technical intelligence officer. Then a friend in the astronaut program, Leland Melvin, convinced her to apply to nasa.
She became an astronaut in 2009. As one of two current black female astronauts, Epps wants to expand the universe of possibilities for AfricanAmerican girls interested in science and technology. “I was raised in a way that there was really nothing I thought I couldn’t do. The fact that I never saw anyone who looked like me doing this didn’t really matter to me, but I think it does matter to a lot of young girls,” she says. “So I do want to send them the message that if I’m doing this, there’s no reason you can’t do this too.”—cc
ADAM BEHRENS ’10, PH.D. ’15 was named to the Health Care list for his efforts to advance the development of vaccines and diagnostic testing. He is a postdoctoral associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Langer Lab. Starwood Capital Vice President AKSHAY GOYAL ’10 made the cut in the finance category. He became the company’s youngest vice president ever when promoted at age 26; he’s helped drive more than $7 billion in deals.
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ALUMNI PROFILE / LISA LOVING DALTON ’75
Silver Screen Stunts Alum Dishes on Hollywood Career in New Book ’75 has been hit by multiple cars, floated as a corpse in a freezing river and even run from the 100-foot-tall Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. Three decades as a stuntwoman and actress in film and television provided all sorts of opportunities to help bring magic to the screen in everything from “Splash” and “Ghostbusters” to “Melrose Place” and “ER.” Dalton, who got her break by waiting tables of producers in New York City after earning her theatre degree at umd, now runs acting workshops. She recently published a collection of anecdotes in her book “Falling for the Stars: A Stunt Girl’s Tattle Tales” and shared a few of her favorites with Terp.—lf l isa lov i ng da lton
Support from the Stars When Dalton was doubling for Meryl Streep in 1982’s “Still of the Night,” a member of the production crew asked Dalton to perform a stunt without a contract. After Dalton reached an agreement and fell from a fake cliff, a makeup artist told her that Streep helped make sure Dalton’s contract was finalized. Five years later, Dalton doubled for Cher during a robbery shot in “Suspect,” and the singer-actress was incensed that Dalton was going to be replaced in the second part of the shoot by the girlfriend of a stunt coordinator’s acquaintance. Dalton had to talk her down from complaining to the director, afraid it might give Cher (pictured with Dalton at right) a difficult reputation in Hollywood. “They both went out of their way to support me in very misogynistic environments,” Dalton says.
Wardobe Malfunction While playing a terrified patron during a restaurant shootout in the 1986 film “F/X,” Dalton learned the importance of not always sucking it up and being a team player. The cocktail dress made for her was cut a little too low and without the proper sleeves to allow for elbow protection, but she decided to go ahead with the scene. By the time she landed on a pile of blownout glass, her elbows weren’t the only things bare. “It always makes me giggle,” she says. Joining a Cult In 1984, Dalton took on her most enduring role in the cult classic martial
arts film “The Last Dragon” (pictured bottom left), from legendary record producer and songwriter Berry Gordy. Wearing five-inch, spiked ankle boots and a red kimono, camo jacket and headband, Dalton played part of the “Shogun of Harlem” gang. Thirty years later, she attended a standing-room-only showing of the movie in Times Square, with an audience speaking and singing along to every word. “There’s something awful nice about that,” says Dalton. “To me, that is what entertainment is all about.”
PHOTOS COURTESY OF LISA LOVING DALTON
ALUMNI PROFILE / SCOTT NASH
Betting on Organics MOM’s Green Idea Keeps on Growing scott nash was born, if not a gambling man, then at least a wagering one. His biggest bet? In 1987, he opened a niche grocery delivery service out of his mother’s garage that eventually became the retail powerhouse MOM’s Organic Market. “I played a lot of poker in high school and college,” says Nash. “I could win pretty easily because all you had to do is bluff on the big pots. I was always willing to. I think that’s the prime characteristic of an entrepreneur.” Today, the former Terp runs a 17-store company with locations in four states and Washington, D.C., that brings in nearly $200 million in annual revenue. The core of MOM’s mission—and Nash’s personal one—is to protect and restore the environment. Nash’s commitment to environmentalism began as a boy, when his parents (a University of Maryland business professor and a homemaker) taught Nash and his brother and sister the basics of environmentalism: don’t pollute, don’t litter. “They weren’t radical hippies or anything, but they had strong, good, old-school liberal values,” says Nash. During summers, Nash’s father took him to the Campus Farm to shovel manure—the original eco-friendly fertilizer—to use on the family lawn. Nash’s nature-loving ways have advanced since then, both at work and at home with his wife Suzanne ’92 and their three kids. “We compost like crazy,” he says. “Everything’s electric in my house, like lawnmowers and cars. There’s always a fight over the thermostat.” In stores, a recycling center offers customers a place to recycle their batteries, denim, corks and more. Stores also provide car-charging stations, use sustainable building materials and recycle heat from refrigeration systems for hot water. But MOM’s didn’t start as an uber-green mini-empire. After three less-than-stellar years at UMD, Nash quit school and went to work for Organic Farms, a wholesaler in Beltsville, then the Smile Herb Shop in Berwyn Heights, where he manned its mail-order produce business. Eventually, he and a co-worker started their own home-delivery grocery business. “But when you go into business with somebody, you might as well be getting married to them,” says Nash. The relationship soon soured, so Nash bought out his partner for $1,400 and grew the startup into the brick-and-mortar MOM’s . MOM’s is now much more than just organic produce—the stores sell green cleaning products, organic clothing and shade-grown, organic coffee beans in addition to a wide range of groceries. Nash hopes to one day see MOM’s stores from coast to coast. “We feel like the bigger we are, the better it is for the planet. People think big is bad. I think bad is bad and good is good. If you’re good, I hope you’re as big as possible, because you have more influence.”—sl
PHOTO BY JOHN T. CONSOLI
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PHOTO BY JOHN T. CONSOLI
Escape Boom Terps Bring Escape Room Craze to Baltimore I’M THE OWNER OF A NEW YACHT, AND
I’ve just been kidnapped by a psychotic lighthouse keeper named Captain White. He’s planning on torturing me, but—lucky me!—he left his tools at home. I have 45 minutes to find a way out of the lighthouse before he returns with his implements. Okay, fine. There’s no lighthouse keeper. In fact, I’ve never been inside a lighthouse. (Also, I can’t afford a yacht.) But this is the story I’m told before my two companions and I are locked inside a lighthouse-themed room and given 45 minutes to get out. We’re at Escape 45, an escape room in downtown Baltimore started last year by three UMD students and a Johns Hopkins alum. The concept of an escape room started in Asia and soon spread to Europe and North America. Groups of up to eight people are locked inside a room and can leave only if they solve an interwoven set of puzzles and riddles. (The situation isn’t dire—if the group remains trapped, an employee will unlock the door.) The idea for Escape 45 came to biology major Dylan Kapoor ’17, mechanical engineering majors and brothers Asad ’17 and Fahed ’18 Masood, and their partner, longtime friend Ashraf Afzal, in 2015, inspired by a friend in California who had recently opened an escape room. “We started doing research and learning about it, and we thought, ‘Hey, we could start this up on our own,’” says Asad Mahood. But before they could start locking people up, they had to figure out the riddles each room would contain. “All four of us would be in Glenn L. Martin Hall, just hashing out ideas on the whiteboard and writing out the puzzles,” says Asad Masood.
PHOTO CREDITS HERE
Those puzzles eventually turned into the three rooms of Escape 45. (In addition to the lighthouse room, there’s one with a jewel heist theme and another made to look like a haunted cabin.) What makes their escape room unique, the owners say, is a focus on automation powered by microprocessors called Arduinos. “It’s a combination of some coding, some parallel circuits and sensors,” says Kapoor. Trapped in the lighthouse room, my friends and I don’t know anything about Arduinos, but we do figure out where to place two magnets on a large wall map, causing a locked door across the room to pop open. This is progress, and we celebrate accordingly. We’re far from the only group at Escape 45 today—indeed, the owners say traffic has been heavy since it opened in February 2016. “Over winter break, we were there until 4 a.m. almost every day,” says Kapoor. “I was working 40 hours a week at my other job and I’d go there every day after work, so I was sleeping just a couple hours a day, but I was having so much fun.” Hoping to sleep more regularly, the foursome hired a crew of employees and is navigating the challenges of running a business while in school full-time. “The benefit of having many partners is that the burden is alleviated from all of us,” says Asad Masood. Having some more partners might have helped us in the lighthouse. I’ll just say this: We didn’t escape. Kapoor and the Masoods assure me that they’ve only seen a handful of such small groups make it out of the room. Still, we politely declined posing for a photo to hang in their hall of shame.—sl
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An Historical Inn-vestigation Report on UMD’s Oldest Building Examines Its Past and Future over its 214-year history, the Rossborough Inn has taken on many identities besides a resting place for weary travelers: a Civil War encampment site for Confederate soldiers, a laundry, a photo studio, a weather station, a museum, a library, a restaurant and office space. What role the campus’s oldest building should play next is the subject of a new report by graduate students in the Historic Preservation Program. Commissioned by Facilities Management in advance of Metro’s proposed Purple Line crossing through campus, the report investigated the Rossborough’s past and imagines its future as a social hub for the campus community “We were essentially tasked with doing a full study of the history of the building to understand its significance, how it’s changed and to think in terms of how this building might be best utilized in light of all the development” on campus, says Dennis Pogue, adjunct associate professor in the Historic Preservation Program. Land speculator Richard Ross constructed the building in 1803 for people following a dusty road between Baltimore and Washington. A later owner, George Calvert, left it to his son, Charles Benedict Calvert, who founded the Maryland Agricultural College, predecessor of umd, in 1856. Over the following decades, the Rossborough housed everything from the president to a chemistry lab. In 1939, the federal Works Progress Administration restored the building according to its original plat map, and it briefly served as a house museum. In its longest iteration, the Rossborough hosted a restaurant and faculty/staff club for nearly 70 years. Around 2006, budget cuts—combined with the opening of Adele’s in the Stamp Student Union—shuttered the club, and the Rossborough became office space, currently for the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. “Right now, students don’t have a reason to come here, and the only time they do is before they’re even students,” says Melissa Butler m.h.p. ’17. She and her classmates hope that the proposed placement of the light-rail Purple Line along Rossborough Drive might jump-start the building’s revitalization. The students suggest that the Rossborough Inn could serve as exhibit space, classrooms, a residence, a café or some combination of the four. “Before McKeldin Mall really became the social center that it is today, this part of campus was where students would come and hang out,” says Camille Westmont m.h.p. ’17. “So we’re hoping that the new developments will help invigorate the Rossborough.”—sl
PHOTOS COURTESY OF UNIVERSIT Y ARCHIVES
Laughter With a Side of Facts Is the Next Jon Stewart at UMD? for students behind the anchor desk in the basement of Tawes Hall this spring, the model for news in the 21st century is less the stern anchor behind the desk than the standup comic behind the microphone. As journalism idols like Walter Cronkite give way to Samantha Bee, a new course is letting students inject some laughs into their news delivery by producing satirical pilots à la Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” and hbo’s “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver.” The course, taught by Tom Bettag, a former executive producer for “abc News Nightline with Ted Koppel,” is part of an effort at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism to explore new avenues for practicing the craft. “The evening news is such a tired form,” Bettag says. “[Students] have seen it since they were born, and it’s all so canned and so hyped, it turns them off.” Combining jokes and current events is nothing new, of course, from early political cartoons to Weekend Update segments on 1970s-era “Saturday Night Live,” but television hosts like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert took the form to new heights. A 2010 Rasmussen poll found that almost a third of millennials believed satirical news was replacing regular newscasts, and a 2012 Pew Research Center survey reported that Americans ages 18–29 were the largest component of “The Colbert Report” and “Daily Show” viewers, at 43 percent and 39 percent—a bigger share than for traditional sources like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and cnn. Social media has also been a boon. Despite taking on weighty subjects like civil asset forfeiture and Puerto Rico’s debt crisis, Oliver’s Sunday night monologues bombard Monday morning Facebook and Twitter feeds (one report on
Donald Trump has been viewed on YouTube more than 30 million times). And Oliver, who sprinkles zingers into substantial reporting and research, is a good model for students to follow, says Leslie Walker, former vice president for news and editor of washingtonpost.com, who is assisting with the course. “He has really shown the value of fact-based comedy,” she says. “What we can do is promote journalistic values in this genre of news.” So on a February afternoon, about a dozen students took the first halting steps to turning tariffs and the endangered species list into laugh lines. It’s an early experiment that students like Summer Bedard ’17 hope will blossom into a sustainable outlet for creativity—and news reporting—at UMD. Bedard, who spends her free time with student comedy group the Bureau, relished the chance to bring together her comedic and reporting sides. “Comedy is a really essential part in spreading information,” she says. —LF Watch a video on this course at terp.umd.edu
A Dean Slate: 3 Leaders Arrive in 2016–17
UMD this academic year has added three distinguished scholars to its corps of school and college deans. We welcome the following new leaders:
Sonia Hirt (School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation) most recently served as professor and associate dean for academic affairs in Virginia Tech’s College of Architecture and Urban Studies. She previously taught at Harvard, the University of Toledo and the University of Michigan. Her research reflects a keen interest in crossing interdisciplinary lines, specifically in architecture, urban planning, design theory and history. Her goals as dean include extending collaborations beyond school walls, in particular, to Baltimore. PHOTOS BY JOHN T. CONSOLI
Keith Marzullo (College of Information Studies) joined UMD from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Before that, Marzullo held positions at the National Science Foundation, University of California, San Diego, the University of Tromsø, Norway and Cornell University. He brings technological and administrative experience to a college working to meet the world’s expanding needs for library and information science, information management and advancements in humancomputer interaction.
Dr. Boris Lushniak (School of Public Health) most recently served as chair of preventive medicine in the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, after 27 years in the U.S. Public Health Service, including as acting surgeon general. He prides himself on being accessible to students and energizing people around the mission and values of public health. His goals as dean include expanding student engagement in public health practice and influencing healthy public policy.
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Open (Art)House The Clarice, Philadelphia Group Open Downtown Performance Venue whether they’re scanning the menu or the schedule, guests at College Park’s new dining, art and performance venue will discover something eclectic. MilkBoy ArtHouse, a collaboration between the Philadelphia entertainment firm MilkBoy and the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, has transformed the former Barking Dog (or Thirsty Turtle or Terrapin Station, depending on your generation) on Baltimore Avenue into a funky, contemporary space.
Gallery space: The front-facing area has rotating display of curated visual art from regional artists. It has seating where guests can look out over Baltimore Avenue when the garage doors are up.
Garage doors: These open whenever the weather permits, giving the space an indoor/ outdoor feel.
Three bars: Three are positioned throughout: one in the restaurant, one in the lounge and the 53-foot-long one upstairs.
Part of the Greater College Park initiative to expand academic, research and residential amenities, MilkBoy ArtHouse is partnering with campus and community groups, from TerpPoets and wmuc to the College Park Arts Exchange, and will feature live music from regional bands this fall. Let’s open the doors and peek inside this space celebrating artistic creativity. —lb
Second-floor performance venue: At nearly 3,200 square feet, this standingroom-only area will accommodate bands and an audience of up to 400.
Restaurant: The menu features “elevated” American comfort food, from mac and cheese and Philly cheesesteak (of course) to duck flatbread and Korean barbecue tacos.
First-floor performance venue: The intimate lounge, ideal for spoken word poetry, jazz or film screenings, will seat up to 100 when it opens in the fall. Guests can be served food and drinks in their seats.
Design: Design students Katie Stepanik MFA ’17 and Sanaya Forbes MFA ’17 worked with The Clarice and MilkBoy to determine the interior design of the space, including furniture, lighting, seating layout and permanent wall art. Staffing: Students will fill many of the jobs, numbering at least 55.
For details, visit milkboyarthouse.com.
ILLUSTRATION BY JASON KEISLING
The Kids Who Did It
Historic 2001 and 2002 Basketball Teams Reunite
the last time the 2002 men’s basketball team stood together on the court, Juan Dixon had just triumphantly tossed the ball into the air as the Terps defeated Indiana to capture the national championship. That is, until Feb. 25, when an older but still commanding squad strode to midcourt in Xfinity Center, former Coach Gary Williams pumped his fist once again and Byron Mouton thrust the trophy in the air. The crowd erupted in cheers during the halftime ceremony that brought back familiar faces from the 2002 and Final Four 2001 seasons. “Things haven’t changed,” says former point guard Steve Blake. “It’s as if we’ve seen each other last week, except for the gray hairs.” In 2001, the Terps knocked off Georgetown and No. 1 seed Stanford in the ncaa tournament, but lost to eventual champion Duke. The following year, the team returned four starters and went undefeated at home (the final season in Cole Field House), including a retribution victory over Duke. The No. 1-seeded Terps marched through the ncaa tournament into the finals, led by Dixon’s 18 points and Lonny Baxter’s 14 rebounds. Students at the ceremony filled the arena with a chorus of “Moo”s for Mouton and wore T-shirts that read “The kids have done it,” an homage to Terps broadcaster Johnny Holliday’s jubilant call as the buzzer sounded in the title game. “It’s great to hear their stories, what they’ve done in their lives,” says Williams. “Their experiences … really developed them as people.” —cw
PHOTO BY GREG FIUME/MARYLAND ATHLETICS
Where Are They Now? Steve Blake played on eight teams over 13 seasons in the NBA. After a stint last year playing in Australia, he is enjoying time with his family and is interested in pursuing a coaching career. Juan Dixon was drafted 17th overall by the hometown Washington Wizards and played professionally for a decade. After three seasons on the Maryland staff, he became head women’s basketball coach at the University of the District of Columbia in November. Lonny Baxter played four seasons in the NBA on six teams, then traveled overseas to play eight more years. He currently works for a credit repair services company and plans to return to Maryland to finish his degree. Chris Wilcox was the highest pick from the championship team, taken eighth overall by the Los Angeles Clippers. He competed for 11 seasons, most recently in 2013 with the Boston Celtics. Byron Mouton played professionally in Germany, China, France and the Dominican Republic. Today, he runs a youth basketball organization called 6th Man Sports.
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The History of Freedom NEH Grant Continues Research on Emancipation TWENTY-FOUR YEARS AFTER HE WAS TAKEN FROM HIS FAMILY and sold at a sheriff’s sale,
former slave Hawkins Wilson wrote to the Virginia Freedmen’s Bureau hoping it could help him reunite with his sisters. The May 11, 1867, letter from Galveston, Texas, listed names of relatives and their former masters and included a note for Wilson’s sister, Jane. In it, he described his recent marriage to a Georgia woman (“You may readily suppose I was not fool enough to marry a Texas girl”), his work as a church sexton and furniture maker, and his memories of the biscuits she baked their last night together. “Thank God that now we are not sold and torn away from each other as we used to be,” the letter says. “We can meet if we see fit and part if we like.” Since 1976, the Freedmen and Southern Society Project at UMD has used affidavits, petitions and records like Wilson’s letter from the National Archives to showcase the rich and complicated history of emancipation from 1861–67. The National Endowment for the Humanities recently awarded the project a two-year, $300,000 grant that will enable the faculty editors to complete the seventh and eighth books in its nine-volume “Freedom: A Documentary History of Emancipation” series, one on law and justice, and the
other on family and kinship. The project has shined a light on the valuable resources available in the National Archives, says Leslie Rowland, project director and associate history professor, as well as provided individual scholars with a roadmap through the voluminous amounts of material produced by the federal government during this time, from the U.S. Army to the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands. “I’m one of the only people in the world who praises bureaucracy,” she says. “The Civil War and Reconstruction brought agencies of the federal government into contact with ordinary people in a way that wasn’t typical, creating a mechanism for producing and collecting the documents on which the project is based.” The bulk of the grant will cover work on the family and kinship volume, Rowland says. It will explore topics like marriage, parenting and the household division of labor as ex-slaves enter a new economic reality. Efforts to reunite with lost family members, such as Wilson’s letter, will also be explored. “Some of these are among the most poignant of letters,” she says. “Just imagine the human circumstances.”—LF
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS, LC-B811-383 [P&P]
NEWSDESK UMD faculty share their expertise with the media:
“There are many
conservatives in the United States that believe science should be free of political pressure.
DANA R. FISHER, SOCIOLOGY, ON MARCH FOR SCIENCE PARTICIPANTS’ BELIEFS CROSSING ANY PARTY LINES, IN THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, FEB. 3.
Researchers Mine Social Media for New Drug Terms acting on a tip from an epidemiologist in florida, researchers at the University of Maryland Center for Substance Abuse Research (cesar) combed through Twitter posts in early 2015 in hopes of learning about a mysterious synthetic street drug known as flakka. Just as they discovered its apparent origin— the Dominican Republic—and informed other researchers, flakka exploded in the news, with users suffering from violent psychotic episodes and dying from overdoses. Could things have been different if law enforcement and public health authorities had known earlier what drug users were talking—and tweeting—about? Today, cesar is working with experts in linguistics and computing at umd’s Center for Advanced Study of Language (casl) to use social media and big data analysis to develop a lightning-fast, automated method to uncover novel drug terms. It’s part of cesar’s mission to develop and run the National Drug Early Warning System (ndews) for the National Institute on Drug Abuse. “There’s a predictive element to this” that might help authorities avoid being taken by surprise by new drugs, says Eric Wish, cesar director and ndews principal investigator. Researchers at casl use computer algorithms to analyze a sampling of hundreds of millions
of North American tweets each month. The algorithms key in on known drug-related terms supplied by cesar, and scoop up contextually similar unknown words, which are sent to cesar for study. Linguists have observed that groups discussing taboo subjects have quickly evolving vocabularies, says Claudia Brugman, technical director of language and social systems at casl. Human analysts poring over tweets, in addition to being incomparably slower than computers, could have gaps in knowledge that would cause them to overlook new terms. “If you want to learn how people are talking about a certain drug and just do a search for ecstasy, for instance, you’re going to miss a lot,” Brugman says. Although the collaboration is in its infancy, the model has performed strongly so far in tests searching for new terms related to use of cannabis and mdma, or ecstasy, the researchers say. Future development could include other social media platforms as the investigators cast a broader net. “It remains to be seen how willing people will be to tweet about their drug use,” Wish says. “But if you want to study something, you need to know what to call it.”—cc
PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY JOHN T. CONSOLI AND GABRIELA HERNANDEZ; ILLUSTRATION BY GABRIELA HERNANDEZ
“Losing this much ice, losing ice that represents roughly the state of Rhode Island in a month and a half, just far exceeded anybody’s expectations of what could happen and the time scale that it could happen in.” KELLY BRUNT, EARTH SYSTEM SCIENCE INTERDISCIPLINARY CENTER, ON THE FAST-GROWING RIFT ON ANTARCTICA’S LARSEN ICE SHELF, ON PBS NEWSHOUR, MARCH 8.
“If it’s just some dude uploading a photo from his phone, this should work really well.” JENNIFER GOLBECK, COMPUTER SCIENCE, ON FACEBOOK'S NEW TECHNOLOGY TO CURB "REVENGE PORN," WIRED.COM, APRIL 6.
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PHOTO BY JOHN T. CONSOLI; LETTERING BY JARED O. SNAVELY
FACULTY Q&A / ROBIN SAWYER
Sex and Balances Retiring Sex Ed Professor Explored Changing Norms With Humor
robin saw y er didn’t set out to be the Steven Spielberg of College Park, but during 33 years at umd, he’s directed five educational videos about sex, making him about as close to a Hollywood star as you’d find on campus. Sawyer, associate professor of behavioral and community health, has taught the immensely popular course “Human Sexuality” to tens of thousands of Terps and became a national pioneer in sex education, bringing into the open once-taboo topics such as date rape, contraception and sexually transmitted diseases through his research and appearances on tv programs like “The Today Show.” Now, as he approaches retirement in August, Sawyer reflects on students’ changing perspectives, the impact of Internet porn and the uncommon dinnertime conversations at his house.–sl
DO YOU THINK THAT THE POPULARITY OF THE COURSE IS ATTRIBUTABLE JUST TO THE FACT THAT PEOPLE ARE INTERESTED IN SEX?
I think in any course, whether it’s this, history, English, physics—if you can’t make things relevant to your students and make them understand why they’re listening to it, you’re going to have a problem. Obviously I’ve got it easy—everybody’s interested in sex at some level. I’m not teaching physics. YOU’RE KNOWN FOR INCORPORATING HUMOR INTO YOUR CLASS. DO YOU THINK THAT’S AN IMPORTANT TOOL WHEN IT COMES TO THIS TOPIC?
Absolutely. I think a good number of students are relatively uncomfortable about sex and sexuality. They live in a hypersexualized world, but they really don’t know much about sex and sexuality. It’s kind of like the Nike ads—they just do it. So when they come into class, there’s a nervousness. I think humor is absolutely essential to break that down and make people feel that they can ask whatever they want and that it’s okay not to know. HOW DO YOU SEE TECHNOLOGY AFFECTING STUDENTS’ DATING OR SEX LIVES?
What’s ironic is that phones are devices of communication, and yet I don’t think communication has improved. When I was in college, you had to actually pick up a phone and say words. It was humiliating and embarrassing and difficult. Now you just text, and it doesn’t matter what you get back because it’s not face-to-face. There’s an addictive quality to it that I don’t think has helped communication. HOW ARE GAY AND TRANSGENDER ISSUES DIFFERENT NOW THAN 10 OR 15 YEARS AGO? I had one guest speaker for a long time
who was a young man who worked in admissions. And
when he left campus, he said, “I’m not sure why you need to do this anymore. I don’t think anybody cares about whether people are gay or straight.” I think partly he’s right. I admire this generation so much because they’re way more accepting of difference than any previous generation. DO YOU SEE HEIGHTENED AWARENESS ABOUT SEXUAL ASSAULT HAVING AN EFFECT ON YOUR STUDENTS? I’ve been doing date rape
stuff since the 1980s. The bad thing is it’s still here. The good thing is we’re paying attention now. I think what we called seduction in the ’80s is called date rape today, which is probably a positive thing. I spend time in class talking about this quite a bit. And I come back to sexuality and communication. How do you communicate? Two people get together, they “hook up.” What the hell does that mean? Usually they’re drunk, but usually they like each other. In my research there’s no discussion before sex. It’s hard to say, “Is this what you want? Oh yes, no.” If there’s any hesitation, there should be some discussion, but if you’re drunk can you have that discussion? DO YOU THINK EASY ACCESS TO AND UBIQUITY OF PORNOGRAPHY ONLINE HAS HAD AN INFLUENCE ON STUDENTS? I think it opens
the door to a not necessarily very accurate depiction of what intimate sexuality might be between two people who actually care about each other. I think there’s a normalizing effect that porn’s typical, this kind of sex is normal, this is what everybody does, why wouldn’t a woman want to do this? I’ll talk to my students and I’ll say, “Do you understand that you live in a totally hypersexualized society?” And they say, “Not really.” Why would they? That’s all they’ve known. HOW DO YOUR FOUR DAUGHTERS FEEL ABOUT HAVING A DAD WHO TALKS ABOUT SEX FOR A LIVING? Two of them went to school here,
and they were cool about it. All their friends would ask, “Can you get me in your dad’s class?” My wife also taught women’s health, so the discussions we’d have at mealtimes were pretty crazy. Then one of them would bring a boyfriend around, and over the roast potatoes, all of a sudden the subject of masturbation pops up. They’re going, “Only in the Sawyer household.” WHY RETIRE NOW? I think it’s like an athlete—you’ve got to know when to stop before you get silly. Who wants to hear about sex from the old man? I think it’s time. I did the math—I’ve taught something like 22,000 students. That’s a lot of minds to pollute.
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A New Way With Words Handy Device to Help Blind Read Without Braille LOUIS BRAILLE’S TACTILE WRITING AND PRINTING SYSTEM opened a new world of information and inspiration to blind people, but two centuries later, reading most text still requires vision. This barrier could be lifted with the development of HandSight, a project by UMD researchers to literally put vision on the fingertips of blind people, using a miniature camera designed to scope out people’s insides. As users wearing the glove-like device scan a book, tablet or poster, a computer reads it to them—but that’s not the half of it. “Reading isn’t the hard part,” says Jon Froehlich, an assistant professor of computer science who’s directing the project. “The difficult part is, when you’re using a nontactile surface like paper, how do you know where to put your finger in the first place, and how do you know when to start and stop on a line?” Existing mobile apps can perform simple reading tasks for blind people, like determining currency values or reading aloud the words in a cell-phone picture. But in the latter case, users get gibberish if they can’t aim the camera precisely. And who wants to break up reading a book with a photo session every page? HandSight is innovative in the way it physically guides users as
they move their hands along a line of text, says Froehlich, who has joint appointments in UMD’s Institute for Advanced Computer Studies and the Human-Computer Interaction Lab. His colleagues in the U.S. Department of Defense-funded project hail from the College of Information Studies and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “We use haptics—which is just a little vibration—either on-wrist or on-finger for guidance,” he says. The system also uses sound cues to help users center their fingers correctly on text. Unlike some other text-to-speech technologies, HandSight allows readers to determine their own pace, as well as to easily reread sections, simply by moving their hand to an earlier part of the text. The system is still early in development, Froehlich says, but the researchers envision centering on a computer processor contained in a smart watch. And they expect it to help with more than just reading. “Our goal is to augment any activity that blind people use their hands for with computer vision, whether it’s helping users discriminate between food cans in their pantries or identify colors and patterns when they select clothes in the morning,” he says.—CC
Student-built Hyperloop Races Toward Global Competition
SpaceX founder Elon Musk proposes a revolutionary mode of supersonic transport that would send passenger or freight pods rocketing through sealed tubes in a vacuum at 800 mph.
Musk announces a SpaceX-sponsored Hyperloop competition; UMD aerospace engineering major Kyle Kaplan ’18 forms a team to design and build a vehicle.
At a design competition in Texas, the UMDLoop team presents its sleek pod concept to SpaceX execs. They invite top teams, including Maryland’s, to build and test a prototype at SpaceX’s California vacuum-tube track.
HANDSIGHT ILLUSTRATION BY GABRIELA HERNANDEZ; HYPERLOOP ILLUSTRATION BY JASON KEISLING
Growing Shade Scientists Create Umbrellas the Natural Way—With Plants the next boom in blooms may not be at ground level, but overhead. Associate Professor David Tilley and Research Associate Jose-Luis Izursa M.S. ’01, Ph.D. ’08 in the Department of Environmental Science and Technology have developed the Living Umbrella to replace the drab canvas of typical awnings with colorful flowers and vines. Tilley came up with the concept while on a sunny pool deck in Las Vegas. The area lacked umbrellas or any other shield from the sun, so everyone swarmed around one little tree. And he saw an opportunity to combine vegetation with umbrellas to enhance the shade experience. “What we’re really about in the lab is trying to connect people with nature,” says Tilley. “We want to take real problems and solve them using natural systems.” With the help of graduate student Nicholas Cloyd ’13 and Research Associate Tim Williamson M.A. ’14, the team jury-rigged a prototype from scrap metal and a cooking wok. The most recent iteration features a 130-pound steel structure with four soil pots, a solar charger for the irrigation system and giant red mandevilla flowering vines. The team has already erected 10 canopies across campus; the patent is pending. This summer, the group will have umbrellas at restaurants in Baltimore, Frederick and Ocean City to test commercial interest. “What it does is it draws people’s attention,” says Williamson. “It’s like a place people want to hang out.”—cw
Out of a field of 27 competitors from around the globe, the 50-plus-member Maryland team wins the Performance in Operations Award for its deft execution of various pod tests at the SpaceX facility. It places fifth in the pod design category.
Frontrunners will reconvene in the first test of all-out speed. UMDLoop will debut a redesigned pod with an improved braking system and enough room inside to carry a human-sized dummy, as the Hyperloop concept moves closer to real-world application.
PHOTO BY EDWIN REMSBERG
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It’s exciting that the vision for a space that will transform the classroom experience and shape the way faculty teach has come to fruition. ” EDWARD ST. JOHN ’61, D.P.S. ’12 (HON.), FOUNDER AND CHAIRMAN OF ST. JOHN PROPERTIES
FACULTY AND STUDENTS WHO WILL USE THE BUILDING OR WHO HAVE TAUGHT OR LEARNED IN PROTOTYPE TERP CLASSROOMS SAY…
“T he science of learning is what the ESJ Center is all about. The inspiring architectural design bridges form and function to help students learn in ways that research has shown to work best.”
PROFESSOR BEN BEDERSON, ASSOCIATE PROVOST OF LEARNING INITIATIVES AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE TEACHING AND LEARNING TRANSFORMATION CENTER
“B efore I had access to a TERP Classroom, I cut up whiteboard from Home Depot so students could each get a section of it, work in groups and upload their drawings. But a TERP classroom, with individual whiteboards around the room, was just fantastic. It’s a much more natural environment for learning.”
ASTRONOMY PROFESSOR DEREK RICHARDSON
A NEW LEVEL OF LEARNING AND TEACHING Take a spin in the newest building at Maryland to discover the classrooms of the future. The Edward St. John Learning and Teaching Center, named for the Baltimore developer, philanthropist and 1961 alumnus who donated $10 million toward its construction, opened in May with the ambitious goal of transforming teaching and learning on campus. The 187,000-square-foot space features labs, informal study spaces, group study rooms, and tech-enhanced TERP Classrooms (short for Teach, Engage, Respond and Participate) with flexibility such as tiered seating, tables, mobile desks and swiveling chairs that encourage active learning and collaboration. The center, the first new academic building constructed on McKeldin Mall in more than 50 years, incorporates Holzapfel Hall. It also houses the Teaching and Learning Transformation Center, the Academy for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Division of Information Technology’s Academic Technology and Innovation team.—LB BY THE NUMBERS 187,000 gross square feet 11 classrooms and 9 teaching labs, with a total of 1,500 seats 7 huddle rooms (formal meeting spaces for students) 12,000 students served per day
“ The Loft is our dedicated classroomstudio-incubator for all types of innovation classes. Its combination of ideation rooms, team project workspace and low-resolution prototyping tools will foster rapid learning by doing and new levels of creativity and innovation.”
“ When I was taking the class in a traditional classroom, six students participated, and that was it. In the TERP Classroom (when I returned as a peer mentor), students have a lot more confidence, and that translated to them being more involved.”
DEAN CHANG, ASSOCIATE VICE PRESIDENT FOR INNOVATION AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP
PHOTO BY JOHN T. CONSOLI
CORINNE KUNTZ ’19, ACADEMIC PEER MENTOR FOR PSYCHOLOGY 101
Second-floor roof garden for use in courses on plant sciences Academy Loft to support innovation and entrepreneurship
Take a peek inside the St. John Center at terp.umd.edu.
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Holocaust survivor ARIE W. KRUGLANSKI'S lifelong mission to explore the psychology behind radical violence and to stop it suddenly has new urgency. By Liam Farrell
after conquering the city of Łódź, the Nazis decided to destroy its past and its future. German forces renamed the Polish textiles and manufacturing center “Litzmannstadt” following their September 1939 invasion, with streets and squares given honorariums for Adolf Hitler, Hermann Göring and Otto von Bismarck. As ethnic Germans were imported to remake the city’s population, Nazis herded more than 100,000 Jews into a ghetto. Between January and May 1942, tens of thousands were murdered in the poison gas vans of the Chełmno death camp. Four months later, on a bright and hot Sept. 4, Mordechai Chaim Rumkowski, the Nazi-appointed head of the Jewish elders, stood before an anxious crowd and confirmed
orders weren’t followed, Rumkowski urged compliance. “They are asking us to give up the best we possess—the children and the elderly,” he said. “Brothers and sisters: Hand them over to me! Fathers and mothers: Give me your children!” Over the next week, nearly 16,000 people were taken to their deaths, with another 600 fatally shot. Yet at this particular hellish moment, the faith that Rumkowski and others had at the ghetto’s outset—that the valuable Łódź industry provided by Jews would ensure survival—was not entirely misplaced. Reliant on the city for everything from pillows and mattresses to military uniform repairs, the Germans exempted 2,500 relatives and children of administrators and workers from the “resettlement” to Chełmno. On the sixth page of the typewritten “Namentliche Liste der von der Aussiedlung befreiten Personen nach laufender Nummern”—roughly, “List of Names of the Persons Exempt from the Resettlement According to Serial Number”—with an incorrect birth year and missing letter in his first name, was No. 178, Włodzimierz Kruglanski, the 3-year-old son of a shoe production manager. Today, Arie W. Kruglanski is a 78-year-old psychology professor at the University of Maryland. Pulled out of the 20th century’s darkest abyss by his family’s hard work, ingenuity and luck, Kruglanski has spent his career studying how people make decisions—and why a portion become extremists bent on using violence. As scholars and experts the terrifying rumors: The Nazis around the world debate whethplanned to deport anyone un- er Western society is reaching der 10 or over 65 years old. a tipping point analogous to Consumed by fear over what the 1930s, with ascendant popthe occupiers would do if their ulism, nationalism, militarism
PHOTO BY JOHN T. CONSOLI
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and a worrying undercurrent of hate crimes and ethnic strife, Kruglanski is working to figure out how the unsaveable can become the saved. If there is an entrance to extremism, he reasons, surely there must also be an exit.
THE THREE Ns No universal, singular combination of race, religion, family or income bracket predicts who picks up a gun or makes a bomb to further ideological goals. Osama bin Laden, founder of al-Qaida, was the son of a billionaire businessman and educated at prestigious institutions. Dylann Roof, a white supremacist who killed nine black parishioners in a South Carolina church, dropped out of school, dabbled in drugs and couldn’t hold down a job, yet he grew up in a middle-class household and had no record of previous violence. After his family received asylum in America, Tamerlan Tsarnaev dreamed of making the U.S. Olympic boxing team before masterminding the Boston Marathon bombing. Kruglanski’s innovation in understanding the foundation of extremism lies in jettisoning demographic diagnoses in favor of psychological signposts he calls the “three Ns”: the need, the narrative and the network. Extremism, he says, provides certain people with a sustaining sense of purpose through a KRUGLANSKI IS PICTURED WITH HIS AUNTS IN THE LODZ GHETTO. THE STARS ON THEIR CLOTHES WERE USED BY NAZIS TO IDENTIFY JEWS.
THE SON OF A SHOE PRODUCTION MANAGER, KRUGLANSKI WAS EXEMPTED FROM A 1942 PURGE. HE WAS #178 ON THE LIST THAT SPARED HIS LIFE.
quest, an enemy to fight and a community of like-minded thinkers. “The foundation is the universal human need for significance,” he says. “Overnight, you become a hero—your kaffiyeh flying in the wind, riding in a Humvee with a big gun.” Postdoctoral researcher Katarzyna Jaśko, Gary LaFree, director of umd’s National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (start), and Kruglanski, a co-founder and former co-director of start, recently put this theory to the test. In a November 2016 paper published in Political Psychology, they analyzed 1,500 ideological extremists from across the political spectrum, whose activities in the United States varied from illegal protests to bombs. They found that failure at work, romantic and social rejection, and abuse were more common among those who pursued violence. Extremists who also had nonviolent friends, or who were expelled from organizations advocating violence, were less likely to strike out. The “big selector” in this process, Kruglanski says, is what narrative sates a person’s need for significance. What cause is he or she willing to fight and die for in the quest? Is it a fight for civil rights or for ethnic or religious supremacy? A terrible result isn’t preordained, he says, suggesting that Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi could be considered “extremists” as well, as their level of self-sacrifice was rare and beyond what most people would be prepared to do. “It can be channeled to being a Peace Corps volunteer or a great humanist if these are the values that are ingrained in you, that are supported by your group,” he says. “Or it can be joining an extremist organization.” LaFree says Kruglanski has been a “pioneer” in applying such psychological theories to political violence. “The individuals involved in terrorist attacks are often different than criminals,” LaFree says. “They could have gone in another direction.”
PHOTOS COURTESY OF ARIE W. KRUGLANSKI AND THE U. S. HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL MUSEUM
The psychological needs of extremists, however, are unlikely to be satisfied by a regular paycheck. “These people have to have hope of a meaningful, significance-lending existence,” Kruglanski says, “if they aren’t going to be vulnerable to these extremist ideas.” Kruglanski led a team that studied the effectiveness of rehabilitation on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (ltte), who fought to create an independent ethnic state in Sri Lanka, surrendered to the military and, in 2009, were arrested and jailed. The researchers found that a holistic menu of vocational, cultural and psychological education, along with extracurricular activities such as sports, led to a notable decline in the former terrorists’ support for the ltte, Tamil independence and armed struggle, in addition to less narcissism and a reduced preference for quick decision-making. Leaving an extremist movement is like recovering from drug addiction, Kruglanski says. One of his forthcoming book projects focuses on former neoNazis in Germany, and he found them extremely vulnerable as they reckoned with the absence of clear-cut meaning and support. Channeling—rather than extinguishing—the search for meaning might be the needed method. “The best way to keep them excited and from sliding back is to engage them in an idealistic endeavor,” he says. Robert Örell, a friend of Kruglanski, agrees. Growing up in Stockholm, Örell struggled with poor eyesight, subsequent academic problems and conflicts with suburban gangs. By the time he was 14, white supremacy groups had helped ground him with clothes, ideas, style and attitude. “We were so right. We were such a strong team,” he says. “Instead of focusing on being a failure, I could focus on being someone they were afraid of.” Compulsory military service, however, gave Örell some distance from his compatriots and self-esteem from being a good soldier. Today, he directs exit Sweden, an organization helping neoNazis and other extremists leave their
“THESE PEOPLE HAVE TO HAVE HOPE OF A MEANINGFUL, SIGNIFICANCE-LENDING EXISTENCE IF THEY AREN’T GOING TO BE VULNERABLE TO THESE EXTREMIST IDEAS.”
FINDING NEW MEANING
KRUGLANSKI AS A CHILD IN THE LODZ GHETTO. HIS FAMILY LATER HID IN A WINDOWLESS ROOM FOR TWO WEEKS BEFORE THE SOVIET ARMY LIBERATED THE CITY.
movements, which he described as “an apocalyptic battle for good and evil.” “There is a great emptiness (after leaving),” Örell says. “Where do you put your engagement and interest?”
CHALLENGING CONVENTION As the Soviet army approached Łódź in January 1945, there were no more lists left to save lives. The Nazis had dug nine large ditches in a nearby cemetery in preparation to massacre the Jewish work crews that lingered in the ghetto. But encouraged by news broadcast over contraband radios and booming Russian artillery getting ever closer, the several hundred souls still inside refused to come out. Before the first Soviet tank entered the city on Jan. 19, Kruglanski, then 5, spent two weeks huddled with his mother, father, grandmother, uncle and aunt in a windowless room, accessed by a cupboard; his father sneaked out at night to scavenge for food. “I knew that there was danger,” he says. “I remember that, the fear of being caught.” The conclusion of World War II, however, didn’t end the family’s troubles. The communist regime in Poland made
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“WHEN UNCERTAINTY BECOMES EXCESSIVE AND ADVERSE, PEOPLE FEEL CONFUSED AND LACKING GUIDANCE FOR ACTION.”
life difficult for Kruglanski’s father, a textile engineer who was slurred as a capitalist. In 1950, the family immigrated to the newly independent state of Israel. After high school, Kruglanski served four years in the Israeli air force working on radar, then went to the University of Toronto to study architecture. Despite liking math and drawing, he didn’t think he had the necessary design talent and was drawn to psychology. After just two years at the University of California, Los Angeles—“I was a young man in a hurry,” he says—Kruglanski earned his Ph.D. in 1968. He has been at umd since 1987. His academic career, centered on motivation and judgment, has been marked by research that defied conventional wisdom. In 1975, Kruglanski theorized that the distinction between external and internal motivation was artificial, since we don’t automatically follow outside commands without some individual deliberation. (“You are not a robot,” he says.) Kruglanski tapped a wellspring of controversy with a 2003 article that reviewed studies of left- and right-wing thinking and found that conservative opinions correlate with traits such as a fear of death, intolerance of ambiguity and sensing threats. High-profile commentators such as Ann Coulter and George Will charged that Kruglanski was positing conservatism as a mental illness, even though the research found that closed-mindedness or threat sensitivity can be beneficial, by heightening awareness and shutting out bad information. And on the other hand, liberal tendencies can lead to disorganization and indecisiveness. “He’s really courageous. That’s very inspiring as a scientist,” says Michelle Gelfand, a umd psychology professor, start researcher and frequent collaborator with Kruglanski. “He is really just a visionary about theory.” His work from the late 1980s is undergoing a mass media revival today. Kruglanski coined the term “cognitive closure” back then to describe the human need for definitive answers. It manifests itself in everyday choices like what to eat and what to wear but can also spur more radical and detrimental behavior.
Kruglanski developed a scale to measure it, asking subjects to rate agreement on everything from “I hate to change my plans at the last minute” to “I feel that there is no such thing as an honest mistake.” Kruglanski has been quoted on cognitive closure in The Atlantic, “pbs NewsHour” and The New York Times in recent months. As someone who believes psychologists have an obligation to offer expertise on current events, he’s found plenty to talk about.
A TIPPING POINT? In February, Kruglanski traveled to Dubai to give a presentation at the World Government Summit, an annual conference that attracts leaders from academia, Silicon Valley and institutions like the World Bank. He was struck by how others’ speeches broadly fell into two camps: one, that we are on the cusp of a technological paradise; the other, that we are revisiting the devastating 1930s. Nearly a decade after the Great Recession, income inequality has widened and large parts of the world lack sustainable economic opportunities. Wars in the Middle East have driven a flood of refugees into Europe, releasing xenophobia once thought to be on society’s margins. Borne along by currents of isolationism and populism, countries such as Poland and Hungary have embraced authoritarian leadership, and far-right parties have gained popularity and influence in France and the Netherlands. The British vote to leave the European Union and the U.S. presidential election of Donald Trump razed the presumed international consensus around open markets and open borders. “We allowed ourselves to accept the politics of inevitability, the sense that history could move in only one direction: toward liberal democracy,” historian Timothy Snyder wrote in his recent book, “On Tyranny: Lessons from the
Twentieth Century.” “In doing so, we lowered our defenses, constrained our imagination and opened the way for precisely the kinds of regimes we told ourselves could never return.” This chain of events fits neatly into Kruglanski’s work on cognitive closure and extremism—namely, the human tendency to gravitate to black-and-white answers, even if they involve violence. “When uncertainty becomes excessive and adverse, people feel confused and lacking guidance for action,” he says. “It is those moments that are exploited by extremist leaders that promise certainty, that promise to alleviate ambiguity and create the world that will be satisfactory and predictable and replete with good news.” In the United States, organizations such as the Southern Poverty Law Center (splc) are sounding the alarm about a resurgent radical right. The splc’s
annual report, “The Year in Hate and Extremism,” described a sharp increase last year in anti-Muslim hate groups and heightened enthusiasm among neo-Nazi publications and racist organizations that interpret the presidential election as an explicit backing of white nationalism. The splc collected nearly 1,400 biasrelated harassment and intimidation incidents between the election and Feb. 7, including vandalized Jewish cemeteries and torched mosques. In February and March, Indian men in Kansas and Seattle were shot in alleged hate crimes, and police said a white Army veteran from Baltimore, who stabbed and killed an African-American man in New York City, was motivated by hostility to interracial relationships. White supremacist flyers were tacked to umd buildings on multiple occasions since December and investigated by university police as hate bias incidents,
with President Wallace Loh calling the posters “an affront to who we are and what we stand for.” Colleges in the D.C. area and across the nation found similar recruitment signs posted by white power groups such as Vanguard America and Identity Evropa. Loneliness, isolation and a feeling of superfluousness, political theorist Hannah Arendt wrote, are the “common ground for terror.” Finding new ways to give people meaning, Kruglanski says—positive, durable and significant meaning—will be critical to avoiding catastrophe. “How do you prepare a new generation for this accelerated globalism, this accelerated technological development, so that billions will not be left feeling undignified?” he asks. The answer, Kruglanski says, will not be found if we isolate ourselves. After all, the walls built today to keep people out may be used tomorrow to keep people in. terp
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AR T WO BY
16 ON ’
AL A LEV BY S IN ’1 0
E Y RICH
PETER ROSENBERG ’02:
HOW AN NYC DJ BECAME RAP’S BIGGEST FAN—AND SHARPEST CRITIC
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He might apologize later, like when he said on Controllers, who were “really underground legends air that he was “truly sorry” for his comments about in the area,” he says. On Friday nights, the Soul ConChuck D. “But,” he says now, “I can’t guarantee I trollers played hip-hop. Rosenberg wanted in. He wouldn’t do it again.” reached out to one of the Soul Controllers, DJ Stylus, Rosenberg’s outspokenness has made him one a.k.a. Rhome Anderson ’97. Eventually, Rosenberg of the most-high-profile hip-hop deejays of his gen- got his own show, going by the name PMD, short for eration. Not only does he banter about rap’s biggest “Peter from Maryland.” news and newsmakers, he’s quick to defend what Anderson recalls him as driven and serious, he considers authentic hip-hop and black culture but also quick-witted, someone who wouldn’t back against diluting forces. He’s also earned a reputation down from a rhetorical or conceptual challenge— as a champion of a classic style of rap, one that which makes for good radio. prizes complicated lyrical technique and strippedRosenberg had already developed his trademark down beats. obsession with his version of authenticity, in which The rapper Busta Rhymes once described rap artists deliver complex, substantively weighty Rosenberg as the only DJ “that’s still trying to lyrics—using literary devices like metaphors and implement that filthy-under-the-nail, holy, sacred symbolism—over rhythmic beats, a style epitomized and pure, unmixed, undiluted, un-tampered-with, by rappers like Nas and KRS -One. real hip-hop s---.” “When you’re a part of something that means a With 330,000 Twitter followers, 236,000 Ins- lot to you and you’re young, you really believe in tagram followers, hundreds of thousands of radio stuff deeply,” says Anderson. “Peter definitely had listeners and upwards of 50,000 for each episode those personality traits at the time, wanting to be a of “Juan Epstein,” the hip-hop podcast that he co- part of keeping hip-hop real and true.” hosts, Rosenberg has a remarkable amount of clout After graduating from UMD , where he studied in rap. A few plays from him can help send an up- journalism, Rosenberg worked at a number of D.C.and-coming artist toward stardom. area radio stations until 2007, when he got a call Sometimes, though, the flock does not respond from Hot 97. “It was my No. 1 ultimate goal from well to his preaching. Sometimes, the flock points out probably age 16,” he says. He started on a Sunday that he occupies an awkward position for a white man. night show, but soon landed the coveted morning “I understand people not wanting to receive my slot, bringing his vision of hip-hop realness to the message because of what I look like,” he says. “But rush-hour masses. I also understand that that’s on them.” “He always feels he’s right, and he wants to talk a lot,” says Cipha Sounds, Rosenberg’s former partner on the Hot 97 morning show and now his co-host on Rosenberg has taken an unlikely journey to be- the hip-hop podcast “Juan Epstein.” “As a listener, come the boisterous radio host who hobnobs with it’s great to have this guy in the morning that has hip-hop’s elite. His childhood in Chevy Chase, Md., opinions, and either you love it or hate it. But my was a placid suburban one. His parents—Mindy, a position was being the quarterback, and Pete was retired school counselor, and M.J., a Capitol Hill always like, ‘Pass the ball to me, pass it to me.’ staffer-turned-liberal blogger—sent their kids to Sometimes you don’t get the ball. But he’d intercept Hebrew school and mostly listened to pop music: it anyway.” Billy Joel, Paul Simon, James Taylor. But Peter’s older brother, Nick, loved rap. On trips to visit their grandparents in New York, Nick “would record the radio, and that was my first real foray, the time I first really started paying attention As co-host of the morning show on famed New York to hip-hop music,” says Rosenberg. City rap station Hot 97, then on the afternoon talkfest At first, the younger Rosenberg was captivated at 98.7 ESPN , he typically interviews rising rap stars, by songs like “Parents Just Don’t Understand” by DJ cracks jokes about hip-hop rumors and grumbles Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince. Soon, he branched about the Knicks. out to artists like Run- D.M.C. , LL Cool J, EPMD, Slick But occasionally, he can’t help himself. He’s sug- Rick and N.W.A. gested that Jay Z is “hanging on to his little brother’s When it came time to apply to college, “I started coattails”—the little brother being Kanye West. He’s doing research about what the scene was like at accused hip-hop elder Chuck D of doing nothing to Maryland to see if it was a place that I could really support current rap culture. He’s tweeted that mega- be interested in,” says Rosenberg. rapper Drake “wouldn’t have been the toughest kid He discovered that the UMD radio station, in my Hebrew school.” WMUC , was home to a group of DJs called the Soul
A 2003 Diamondback article chronicles Rosenberg’s early career, when he was hosting his “From Dusk Til Dawn” hip-hip show on WMUC and nationally on XM and spinning records at Lupo’s on Thursday nights.
Rosenberg, pictured interviewing Nicki Minaj in 2013, hustles daily between Hot 97’s West Village studios, where he’s a morning host, and his afternoon hosting gig on 98.7 ESPN on the Upper West Side.
PHOTOS BY J??????
Rosenberg’s on-air ver- fielded a call on the air from an unrelated cop. bosity tends toward jovial “As an officer yourself, it looks bad, no?” Rosentaunts at his co-hosts, rap- berg asked. “Can you say the words ‘it looks bad’?” pers or even himself—but The police officer stammered. “This is the problem sometimes he feels com- I have with police officers,” Rosenberg said. “Y’all pelled to take a more seri- don’t ever want to point at someone else and say, ous stand, occasionally even ‘You can’t do your job well.’” risking the ire of artists or The video clip racked up 30 million views on wading into tricky sociopo- Facebook, and Rosenberg stands by his stance. “I litical territory. think it affected our black audience,” he says. “They His most notable public felt like, ‘Wow, that was nice.’ It made people feel imbroglio took place in 2012, good, because sadly they hadn’t seen that.” when rapper Nicki Minaj was scheduled to perform at Hot 97’s annual all-day concert, Rosenberg isn’t just a showman; he hosts Summer Jam. He’d already thoughtful, in-depth interviews with some of rap’s labeled “Starships,” her pop biggest names from all eras while hunting for the crossover hit, “one of the next big thing. most sellout songs in hip-hop history.” From one of At the annual South by Southwest festival, Summer Jam’s stages, Rosenberg admonished the he’s hosted showcases that have featured noncrowd: “I know there are some chicks here waiting mainstream and about-to-be-famous acts like Rae to sing ‘Starships’ later. I’m not talking to y’all right Sremmurd before they hit it big in 2016 with their now. F--- that bulls---. I’m here to talk about some single “Black Beatles.” real hip-hop s---.” In 2011, he championed Kendrick Lamar’s debut Minaj’s fans immediately took to social media album, playing songs on the radio, commissionto berate him, and Minaj canceled her appearance ing an original verse from Lamar to release on a at the concert. Rosenberg-compiled mix tape and bringing him in The bad blood lasted until May 2013, when for an extended interview. The lovefest went so far Minaj came to Hot 97’s studios to make an uneasy that Lamar once texted him, “We gon have a long peace. “I am sorry that things went as left as they ride in this music thing together homie.” did,” Rosenberg said. “It’s cool, it’s water under the Rosenberg cites Lamar as one of the rappers bridge,” replied Minaj, though she added, “To me, he’s excited to see respond to the current political you don’t have enough of a resume to make those climate, which Rosenberg believes will breed great comments,” and that “I took a lot of s--- from men art. He points to Childish Gambino and the New who didn’t want me to realize my own worth, who York rapper Kemba as others whose work he is didn’t want me to know the truth about who I was anticipating. and how good I was.” When he’s not spinning rap records, Rosenberg Co-host Ebro Darden chimed in that in addition has co-hosted “The Michael Kay Show” on ESPN’s to being a man, Rosenberg was—he whispered con- New York radio station since 2015 and the wrestling spiratorially—white, to which Minaj said, “Being podcast “Cheap Heat” since 2013. He’s appeared on white also struck a chord with me … I was like, yo, WWE shows as a commentator and he’s curating a he’s on a black station, dissing black people. I just collection of limited-edition WWE -inspired sneakers didn’t like the feel of it.” in a collaboration with the wrestling organization, Rosenberg says now, “My only regret is that Puma and Foot Locker. if I played into some sort of storyline of her life of Rosenberg’s public life is also marked by selfwhite men who are doubtful or s----y, I don’t like deprecating stunts and playful exploits, some of that part. But in terms of how I perceived it, which which take him back to his distinctly non-hip-hop was me defending the music and thinking she could beginnings. In 2012, he appeared in a skit on the do better, this [song] could be better, I think that mix tape “The Black Bar Mitzvah” by Rick Ross— part’s okay.” who is not Jewish—as Rabbi Peter Rosenberg. In Recently, Rosenberg’s criticisms have taken on a a vaguely Yiddish accent, he encouraged the rapper political tone. He chided Charlamagne tha God, a DJ and his friends “to celebrate, to have a nosh.” at rival Power 105.1, for interviewing conservative That goofiness keeps fans listening—but commentator Tomi Lahren, who has compared the so does the punchiness of a riled-up Rosenberg. Black Lives Matter movement to the KKK . And in the “Sometimes I wish I wasn’t so emo in the moment,” wake of the death of Alton Sterling at the hands of he says, “but that’s what makes me interesting.” TERP Baton Rouge police officers last July, Rosenberg
TOP PHOTO COURTESY OF THE DIAMONDBACK; BOTTOM PHOTO COURTESY OF HOT 97
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BY CHRIS CARROLL
Waking the machine requires nearly an hour of button pushing, switch flipping and fine tuning of knobs, accompanied by the rising hum of vacuum pumps and cooling fans. Finally, inside a frying pan-sized steel chamber sprouting an octopus-like array of tubes and metal hoses, an intense magnetic field catches an invisible spray of protons and sends it spiraling outward. The result is a particle beam, and as the electric polarities in the two halves of the circular chamber flip rapidly back and forth from positive to negative, the beam is both pushed and pulled to higher and higher levels of speed and energy. This is University of Maryland physicist Tim Koethâ€™s cyclotron, a type of particle accelerator that won its inventor the Nobel Prize in physics in 1939. The beams that cyclotrons produce, while potentially dangerous, accomplish wondrous thingsâ€”killing cancer cells with extreme precision, for instance, or changing atoms into a different element altogether.
PHOTO BY JOHN T. CONSOLI
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“It’s kind of magical, really—what the medieval alchemists were always trying to do,” says Koeth, an associate research professor in the Institute for Research in Electronics and Applied Physics (IREAP) and UMD’s nuclear reactor and radiation facilities director. The magic of science aside, Koeth’s 12-inch cyclotron is quite modest, both in comparison to the record holder, a giant with a 59-foot magnet located in Canada, and to other radiationproducing devices he’s worked with throughout his career. Those range from giant particle colliders, measuring kilometers in diameter, to nuclear reactors to the University of Maryland Electron Ring (UMER), where the National Science Foundation is funding groundbreaking studies of intense particle beam control.
“It’s kind of magical, really—what the medieval alchemists were always trying to do.” But Koeth’s handmade accelerator has one advantage over all of those more advanced (and costly) devices: He can set undergraduate students loose on it with hex wrenches and screwdrivers. Koeth has brought undergrads into the lab each week this spring in a unique design class aimed at building a new and larger 19-inch cyclotron—the measurement refers to the size of the magnet used to create the beam—that will crank up the beam strength fivefold compared to his existing machine. After a few years and several generations of students, the new accelerator should be up and running, achieving what’s known as “first beam.” It will edge out the 12-inch machine to become the largest-ever cyclotron built by undergraduates, Koeth says. The class is designed to lay the foundation in careers ranging from research to medicine, as well as to introduce students to Koeth’s lifelong vision of science, which is all about devising and building innovations in the lab. It’s an ethic that runs counter to much modern research, in which scientists ask increasingly specialized questions, and often find answers through computerized data analysis. “To me, physics was always about building your apparatus, then going and making your measurements and refining your approach,” he
says. “The prospect of sitting in front of a desk all day was awful.” Despite running UMD’s radiation facilities, conducting his own research and overseeing students, his cyclotron exerts a special pull on him—and those who work with him say that’s putting it mildly. “He’s super busy… But with the cyclotron, he’ll be like, ‘Oh yeah, I just spent the whole weekend working on it.’” says Kiersten Ruisard, a fifth-year physics doctoral student working with Koeth on UMER and a teaching assistant in the cyclotron class. Just what is it about the cyclotron—small and essentially outdated as a research platform—that so motivates a veteran of some of the biggest particle physics projects? “I ask myself that almost every day,” Koeth admits.
Practically every component of the answer lies in his science-obsessed childhood in the 1970s and ’80s. Barely out of toddlerhood, Koeth, now 41, was enthralled by electricity and the motors and pumps that his father, Bill, a diesel mechanic, sometimes brought home. “My father loves telling everyone about how they tried taking me to a Toys ‘R’ Us in north Jersey, and I apparently decided to have a temper tantrum,” he says. “I
Undergraduate students disassemble and clean a vacuum pump for the new cyclotron.
wanted to go next door to the Radio Shack, and when they took me in there, that’s when I was happy.” His father built an electrical experiment station, powered by a 12-volt battery hidden safely out of reach in the basement, where the young Koeth tore apart radios and other electronic devices, then tried to reassemble them. His earliest physics experiment—at age 5—was based on the patterns he’d observed in shining flashlight beams on a wall. He crossed two beams when awake at 4 a.m. one morning, expecting them to smash into each other and change appearance. But they shined through each other with no apparent effect. “I was so excited and curious about this that I woke my parents up and demanded to know why this was,” he says. “Of course, they didn’t know, and it really wasn’t until graduate school that I got the answer.” As a middle schooler, Koeth’s interest turned toward radiation, and he laid out a diagram on his basement floor for a nuclear reactor that luckily never came to fruition. To buy a handheld radiation detector called a Geiger counter, he devised “probably my one and only flash of entrepreneurship” when he offered to inspect all of his neighbors’ houses for radiation for a small fee. He didn’t have many takers. Later, Koeth convinced a teacher to give him an unused Civil Defense Geiger counter, which he carried nearly everywhere, and still owns. One afternoon, while meeting a friend at a school from which he’d transferred, 13-year-old Koeth saw the needle swing wildly. The signal was strongest near a closet door in one of the science classrooms, so he and the teacher dug until they found a box containing a small metal rod. The supremely laid-back teacher was happy to let the boy take the radioactive bauble home. Once there, Koeth tested it with a detector for industrial-strength doses of radiation. He’d never seen a source strong enough to make it react—until then. It says something fundamental about the young Koeth that he’d already prepared for just such an outlandish eventuality by lining the interior of a 60-gallon steel drum with concrete—an accepted way to isolate radioactive material. “I put it in there, and then I told my dad,” he says. Local first responders had trouble believing the call from the elder Koeth, but after a couple of days, New Jersey authorities finally cordoned off his street to mount an emergency response. Was Koeth terrified of the legal consequences,
or of the wrath he’d face from his parents? No. In fact, he was ecstatic as he watched technicians collect the rod and isolate it in a leadlined container. It turned out to be a “nasopharyngeal radium applicator,” used from the ’40s to the ‘60s to treat ear, nose and throat woes with radiation. Luckily, none of the radium had flaked off in the Koeth home, sparing the family a complicated cleanup, or even demolition. A state report entitled “The Piscataway Radium Incident” praised eighth-grade Tim for his “unusually high level of understanding and care in handling the source.” Experts calculated he’d only been zapped with as much extra radiation as he’d pick up from natural sources in a year. It was a small price to pay for discovering his career path.
“It’s a revival of the days of students getting their hands dirty.” On a February morning, three students lined up at a cluttered counter in the cyclotron lab, scrubbing the greasy innards of an old vacuum pump with alcohol and acetone. It will eventually be one of two pumps evacuating air from the beam chamber of the new 19-inch cyclotron. Koeth had been saving them in his garage for a decade, waiting for just this moment. “It’s a revival of the days of students getting their hands dirty,” he says. “I could have cleaned them at any time, but I’ve already done that.” He got his own hands dirty building the 12-inch cyclotron out of donated and surplus materials as an undergraduate at Rutgers University in the mid-1990s. He’d settled on the idea
Teaching assistant and physics doctoral student Kiersten Ruisard (right) and senior Julian Hammett measure the cyclotron’s magnetic field.
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At age 13, Tim Koeth works in his basement science lab, where his fascination with radiation and particle beams took root.
after realizing that with their massive magnets, kilowatts of electrical power, high-voltage radio frequency systems—all working in concert to produce radiation—cyclotrons represent everything that had captured his scientific imagination as a boy. He got it running in 1999 and has been lovingly refining and upgrading its capabilities since. He came to the University of Maryland in 2009 as a postdoctoral researcher, and finally brought the machine from New Jersey last fall. He lured a number of graduate students along with him, including Heidi Baumgartner, a doctoral student in electrical engineering whose investigations center on UMER. As a teenager at astronomy camp, she and friends decided to build their own cyclotron using Koeth’s detailed overview of his own as a guide. “We thought we could probe the fundamental structure of matter,” Baumgartner says. “We wanted to be the first teenagers to produce antimatter.” She designed the machine with the help of email advice from Koeth. He later encouraged her to study physics at MIT, where she moved on to bigger things while retaining the do-it-yourself ethic Koeth helped instill. Undergrad physics major Tom Fowler ’17 started hanging around the cyclotron lab as soon as the machine arrived, even before he registered for the class. “Hands-on designing and building is basically what I’m all about,” Fowler says. “And here, we’re designing something that’s brand new—not doing the same lab every class before us has done—and we’re designing something that is awesome, something that is going to throw protons at things really, really quickly.” The ability to extract the beam from the chamber for use in experiments will be one of the major differences between the 12-inch cyclotron and the one being developed, says Brian Beaudoin ’02, M.S. ’08, Ph.D. ’11, an assistant research professor in the Institute for
Research in Electronics and Applied Physics. (The beam in the 12-inch cyclotron can be observed and measured inside the chamber, but it dies without ever exiting.) Like Koeth, Beaudoin spends most of his time on UMER. He got involved with the cyclotron, however, when Koeth convinced him to drive up to Rutgers with him so they could work on it together. “Being able to tinker with a machine that it doesn’t really matter if it’s broken is really pleasant,” Beaudoin says. “And being able to see the little glow in a student’s eyes when something works— that’s what keeps me going.” There’s no better way to plunge students into the deep end of accelerator physics than to give them a fully functional machine to work with, even if it’s toylike compared to the multibilliondollar behemoths, Koeth says. “Someone could say, ‘Big deal, you spiraled out some protons, you slammed them into a phosphor screen and there was a glow. Why is that exciting?’” he says. “But in doing that, you’ve encountered almost all the principles of accelerator physics, and you’ve had undergraduate students involved through the whole process. That’s what’s unique.” TERP
PHOTO COURTESY OF TIM KOETH
I started attending UMD’s Terp Thon dance marathon to benefit Children’s National Health System when I was in high school and my little brother, Jaiwen, was a Miracle Kid. This year, I led the fundraiser that drew 3,000 supporters and brought in a record $1 million. Next year, Jaiwen, now in remission, will be a Terp— and he’s just as committed to do good at Maryland “for the kids.”
KAIWEI HSU ’17 / PUBLIC HEALTH SCIENCE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR / TERP THON 2016–17
AS A WORLDWIDE LEADER IN FEARLESS RESEARCH, THE UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND WORKS TO DISCOVER NEW KNOWLEDGE, IMPROVE THE HUMAN CONDITION AND EDUCATE THE NEXT GENERATION OF GLOBAL CITIZENS. UMD.EDU #UMDinnovates
EVENTS FEARLESS IDEAS The Campaign for Maryland Our signature event series is coming to you! For more information on events with President Wallace Loh in your neighborhood, visit fearlessideas.umd.edu.
MIAMI LOS ANGELES SAN FRANCISCO
MAY 25 JUNE 20 JUNE 22
SAVE THE DATE: OCT. 28 Homecoming featuring the Life Member Wall unveiling Join fellow Terps as the football team takes on Indiana. The Alumni Association will also engrave the names of more than 700 new lifetime members on the Eric S. and Frann G. Frances Lifetime Member Wall.
1 WOMEN’S BASKETBALL MEMBER APPRECIATION EVENT, FEB. 26
Three generations of the Schlenoff family cheer on the Terps at the Xfinity Center. Featured from left are Jake ‘19, Rani ‘94, Craig ‘93 and Marvin ‘68.
2 TERP BOUNDS, FEB. 24
T R AVEL
Los Angeles-area Terps join together at an event on Feb. 24 for admitted students and their families. These events were hosted around the country by the Alumni Association and Office of Undergraduate Admissions.
3 NETWORKED SUCCESS PROGRAM SERIES, MARCH 11
In this program presented by the University of Maryland Black Alumni, a panel of engineering alumni helps students prepare for their careers.
Travel with Terps in 2018
Looking for a new adventure? See the world with the Alumni Association’s travel program. It offers a variety of international and domestic trips that provide a once-in-a-lifetime experience. VISIT ALUMNI.UMD.EDU/TRAVEL OR CALL ANGELA DIMOPOULOS AT 301.405.7938 TO LEARN MORE.
4 BOARD OF GOVERNORS MEETING, FEB. 24
Lauren Norris '11, M.A. '16, director of student programming (left), introduces to the board members current Alumni Association scholarship recipients, including (from left) Maria Viera '19, Sheida Gholamimehrabadi '17, Tessa Trach '17 and Samantha Bingaman '17.
A L U M N I . U M D . E D U
Celebrating a Monument Maker Alumna Shares How She Helped Bring New Museum, Memorial to Life
Alumni Association Executive Director Amy Eichhorst with Lisa Anders MBA ’95, moderator Sheri Parks and Wanda Alexander ’81, president of the Alumni Association Board of Governors.
he new national museum of African American History and Culture has more than one kind of historical significance to Lisa Anders MBA ’95. As vice president of business development at McKissack & McKissack, a construction management and infrastructure firm, Anders oversaw construction of the Smithsonian Institution’s museum
that opened in the fall. She shared her experiences helping that project come to life—including placing a Pullman railcar and nearly 37,000 other artifacts—during a Feb. 8 talk with nearly 100 alumni. “It wasn’t that long ago that slaves were building the Capitol,” she said earlier. “Now an African American-owned firm like McKissack & McKissack is working for profit to build the African American
museum on the Mall—within eyeshot of the Capitol.” The event at the Samuel Riggs IV Alumni Center, called “Bridging Our Past, Constructing Our Future,” was sponsored by the University of Maryland Alumni Association and the Robert H. Smith School of Business’s Office of Diversity Initiatives to celebrate Anders’ achievements as well as Black History Month. In the discussion, moderated by Sheri Parks, associate dean and associate professor in the College of Arts and Humanities, Anders talked about the career she built on her bachelor’s degree in history and her Smith MBA. The Washington native returned to D.C. to supervise the day-to-day construction of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. Next up will be planning former President Barack Obama’s presidential library in Chicago. “We were honored to co-host this event, as it provided an opportunity to both showcase a talented alumna, Lisa Anders, and bring alumni together to learn about the creation of two national treasures,” says Amy Eichhorst, executive director of the Alumni Association. –lb
Student Alumni Leadership Council The Student Alumni Leadership Council is a new group of 20 undergraduate students. They are charged with sponsoring, planning and coordinating events and programs for prospective, admitted and current students in order to develop awareness of the University of Maryland Alumni Association, enhance school spirit and tradition, and instill a culture of giving back.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT STUDENT PROGRAMING OFFERED BY THE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION, VISIT ALUMNI.UMD.EDU/STUDENTS.
TOP RIGHT: PHOTO BY OLASUBOMI ADESOYE TOP LEF T: PHOTO BY JACK ANGELO ' 16
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CHANGING THE TUNE IN CHARM CITY Ed Polochick, co-founder and artistic director of Concert Artists of Baltimore (cab), leads the ensemble in a dramatic evening of classical music fused with original rock opera pieces at the inaugural Light City Baltimore, a weeklong art and music festival. cab credited the success of this show in part to the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the University of Maryland, which helped the organization and 19 others in Baltimore through a two-year program to re-evaluate their finances, staffing, board governance and more. Many of these professional groups had struggled to sell enough tickets to the next performance, produce a major annual fundraiser or even pay their employees. The DeVos Institute challenged them to plan long-term to create bold, creative exhibits and performances. “The problem in our industry is that when the going gets rough, we end up thinking safe,” says institute President Brett Egan. “The problem with thinking safe is we end up producing art that’s easy to ignore.” –LB
Read the full story behind how DeVos helped turn around the arts organizations at terp.umd.edu.
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