Terp Winter 2021

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A N E W A G E I N P H YS I C S : 1 6 -Y E A R - O L D P H . D. ST U D E N T 6 “HUBBLE HUGGERS” KEEP TELESCOPE HUMMING 20 TA K I N G TO T H E ST R E E TS TO E N D V I O L E N C E 2 8

W I N T E R 2 0 2 1 / CO N N EC T I N G T H E U N I V E R S I T Y O F M A RY L A N D CO M M U N I T Y

BLOWN AWAY

C OV I D -19 SEEM ED L I K E A S WA N S O N G F O R I N - P E R S O N PER FOR M A NCES. U MD’S FAC U LT Y I S WO R K I N G TO REVIVE THEM.

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CAMPUS CARRIES ON

Fall 2020 was defined by a pandemic, a national reckoning with racial injustice and a contentious presidential election. Terps soldiered on with new health and safety restrictions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 on campus, donning masks, staying 6 feet apart and in some cases heading back to labs, classes and dining halls. They played music and sports safely, proudly stood up for social justice, voted on campus and found creative ways to show their Maryland spirit. And for those studying or working from home, cutouts held their seats at Terps games—but hopefully not for much longer. PHOTOS BY JOHN T. CONSOLI, STEPHANIE S. CORDLE AND EMMA J. HOWELLS



ON THE MALL

ALUMNI NEWS

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$6.8M Gift Follows Unlikely Family Connection Spring 2021: Virtually the Same Experience as Fall

CAMPUS LIFE

8 9 10

Grand Challenges Central Photographing the Unseen Women’s Studies Named for Civil Rights Icon 10 A New Age in Physics 12 Recovering a Fumble in Hiring Practices 13 50 Seasons of Netting Success EXPLORATIONS

14 14 16 16 17 18 19

“Smart Bra” Could Provide Speedy Early Warning of Cancer Where Wood Gets Weird Can Robots Get Us to Follow COVID Safety Rules? Don’t Take the (Click)bait A Walk Through Dior’s Gardens— and His Psyche Taken to Extremes The Big Question

ALUMNI

CONTENTS 2

T E R P. U M D . E D U

40 42 43 43 44 46 48

Alumni Association Trading Touchdowns for Tangos For Terp Fans, an Instant (Fall) Classic Class Notes Beauty, Conscious Fearsome Fabrications From the Archives


FEATURES

ONLINE

New Museum’s Play on Words Maryland faculty help shape and will collaborate with Planet Word, the new interactive D.C. museum celebrating the impact of language.

Driving Kids’ Learning During COVID-19 The Women in Engineering program takes local schoolchildren’s STEM education from the screen to the sidewalk, donating 1,500 model car kits.

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Keeping an Eye on the Universe Thirty years into Hubble’s surprising run, Terps help the revolutionary space telescope stay productive in orbit. BY CHRIS CARROLL

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Trigger Guard Crossing the boundaries between academia and the streets, Professor Joseph Richardson Jr. is driven to find a way out of trauma for young Black men. BY LIAM FARRELL

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Blown Away COVID-19 felt like a swan song for inperson performances. UMD research is seeking to understand and minimize the risks of playing and singing together while tech helps students stay up-tempo. BY SALA LEVIN ’10

Up the Bay With a Paddle, and a Mission An alum becomes the first person to trek the nearly 250-mile Chesapeake Bay on a stand-up paddleboard, raising almost $200,000 for the Oyster Recovery Partnership. Get the latest on the UMD community by visiting TODAY.UMD.EDU.

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FROM THE EDITOR

“i

hate how easily you get to navigate the world.” When a Black female friend, who was having an exceptionally lousy day, pointed out this gap between us, my first thought was, Yes, that’s true. Like many white people, I’d spent part of an interminable 2020 reflecting on privilege since the police killing of George Floyd, reading up on racial history and theory, participating in a unity gathering in my community, and discussing the Black Lives Matter movement and antiracism with family. More than anything, I’ve simply tried to listen more. I suspect tough, uncomfortable conversations like the one this friend and I had are happening around the nation, and at the University of Maryland, more than ever before. UMD’s new president, Darryll J. Pines, has prioritized the institution’s commitment to combat racial injustice and to create a more inclusive and welcoming campus. Besides undertaking an ambitious agenda that includes improving diversity in our curriculum, enrollment, and faculty and staff recruitment, Pines also stepped up to teach a freshman class on this and other timely issues, “Grand Challenges of Our Time.” (See our story on page 8.) This issue of Terp also highlights the efforts of an African American studies professor, Joseph Richardson, to stop the cycle of young Black men suffering from violence, thanks in part to his ability to deftly straddle urban streets and the halls of academia. And we’ll introduce you to Incentive Awards Program Director Jacqueline Wheeler Lee, who’s beaming after a $6.8 million gift to expand its number of full, four-year scholarships to exceptional students, most of whom are of color, into another Maryland county. The donors had no connection to Maryland; Lee and they met through her late mother-in-law, who ran a similar program at the University of Wisconsin. You’ll want to read the amazing story on page 6. As we start what we all hope will be a healthier, happier new year, let’s raise a toast for more good news like that.

Lauren Brown University Editor

Publisher BRODIE REMINGTON Vice President, University Relations

Advisers BRIAN ULLMANN Acting Associate Vice President, Strategic Communications MARGARET HALL Executive Director, Creative Strategies

Magazine Staff LAUREN BROWN University Editor JOHN T. CONSOLI ’86 Creative Director VALERIE MORGAN Art Director CHRIS CARROLL ANNIE DANKELSON LIAM FARRELL SALA LEVIN ’10 Writers LAUREN BIAGINI JASON A. KEISLING Designers STEPHANIE S. CORDLE Photographer GAIL RUPERT M.L.S. ’10 Photography Archivist EMMA J. HOWELLS Photography Assistant JAGU CORNISH Production Manager AADIT TAMBE M.JOUR. ’21 Graduate Assistant

EMAIL terpfeedback@umd.edu ONLINE terp.umd.edu NEWS umdrightnow.umd.edu FACEBOOK.COM/ UnivofMaryland TWITTER.COM /UofMaryland VIMEO.COM /umd YOUTUBE.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 Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle

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INTERPLAY Portraits From a Pandemic

Just wanted to thank you for the beautiful portraits. I loved the diversity of stories. You really captured the humanity, persistence, courage, creativity, resilience and compassion of people. —JULIE E. GABRIELLI, CLINICAL ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF ARCHITECTURE

this month I was just dazzled by Terp magazine. It was well laid out and full of fascinating articles. I hope you can find a way to distribute it beyond alumni to a wider audience. They will be impressed. —BARBARA REINER M.A.’70, PH.D. ’77, SILVER SPRING, MD.

Please pass on my congratulations to Seth Faber and Jamie Fishkin on their April 4 wedding. It is a wonderful date for Terps. My wife and I (both class of ’78) met one night in LaPlata Hall in 1975, and were married April 4, 1982, by the Maryland Hillel rabbi. We wish you the same 38 wonderful years, and counting, we have experienced.

My wife and I read your magazine, once again, front to back. We would not have thought about the school if we hadn’t received the magazine. Well designed with strong copy, great photos, good sheet and good printer. I’m a bit compromised as a graphic designer so I love this stuff, but my girls (both 2016 grads) also read and enjoy it.

—DAVID MARKER ’78, COLUMBIA, MD.

—DAVE RYNER ’83, DERWOOD, MD.

Collecting a New Generation’s Stamp of Approval

This Fall 2020 Terp magazine made me smile and brought tears to my eyes, thoroughly enjoyed it. Kudos to the publishing team. #UMDCollegePark #UMDalum

The University of Maryland can be very proud of Scott English ’93. He has done much to organize and energize the American Philatelic Society, the world’s largest stamp club. As a longtime stamp collector and a former staff member of the APS who worked for Scott, I laud Scott for his knowledge, enthusiasm and leadership in an area he once knew little about. The APS has been incredibly lucky to have him at its helm. —JEFF STAGE, SYRACUSE, N.Y.

Kind Words That Keep Terp’s Crew Going

I have always appreciated the work of the alumni program, but

@MARIEJOEJR VIA TWITTER

WRITE TO US We love to hear from readers. Send your feedback, insights, compliments—and, yes, complaints—to terpfeedback@umd.edu or Terp magazine Office of Strategic Communications 7736 Baltimore Ave. College Park, MD 20742

On March 3, 2021, join the University of Maryland’s annual tradition: Giving Day. It’s when thousands of Terps come together to raise millions and compete in friendly campus competitions. Over $8M has been raised since 2013 to support hundreds of campus areas, creating endless opportunities for faculty and students.

This Giving Day, the opportunity is yours. What will you support?

# G I V I N G D AY U M D | G I V I N G D AY. U M D . E D U


ON THE MALL

NEWS

$6.8M Gift Follows Unlikely Family Connection Program Offering Need-Based Scholarships, Mentoring to Expand Into Montgomery County nearly $7 million gift from a Boston couple will significantly increase the size and long-term impact of a University of Maryland program that supports promising students from selected areas of the state. Starting in Fall 2021, five freshmen from Montgomery County each year will be awarded four-year scholarships, receive mentoring and join a tight-knit peer community in the Incentive Awards Program (IAP)—which until now comprised students in Prince George’s County and Baltimore—through the funding from Phillip and Elizabeth Gross and a matching grant from UMD and the Clark Challenge for the Maryland Promise Program (MPP). It is the largest-ever donation to IAP, now celebrating its 20th anniversary, and to the Maryland Promise Program, created by a 2017 investment from the A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation to provide scholarships to underserved populations from the state of Maryland and D.C. “We’re leveraging matching grant money, and we’re supporting outstanding students in a program where they have a very high chance to succeed and high expectations to perform and impact the community,” Phill Gross says. “Put that together and it was easy for Liz and me to get involved.”

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T E R P. U M D . E D U

That’s despite the fact that he graduated from another Big Ten school, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the Grosses previously had no direct connection to the University of Maryland or IAP. What drew them in was their relationship to a similar program at his alma mater founded, coincidentally, by the mother-in-law of IAP’s founding director. Phill Gross, co-founder and managing director of Adage Capital Management, a money management company in Boston, was looking to give back to UW about 20 years ago when he met Mercile J. Lee, who had established its Chancellor’s Scholars Program and Powers-Knapp Scholars Program to welcome talented students from underrepresented groups. The paired programs emphasized service, leadership development, peer support and mentorship, and provided financial aid and Lee’s inimitable influence. “There were 120 students in the program, and she was a mentor to all of them,” Gross says. “She was a person you didn’t want to disappoint. Everybody felt that.” He and wife Liz made several major gifts to the UW program, with the last one scheduled to be announced in November 2018. When Mercile Lee died a month earlier,

The Incentive Awards Program, celebrating its 20th anniversary, has racked up a record of student success:

180 graduates 84% graduation rate (UMD rate: 87%)

96% one-year retention rate (UMD rate: 95.4%)

36% in living-learning programs (Honors College, College Park Scholars, CIVICUS, etc.)

88 studied abroad 72% with or pursuing graduate degrees

9% with doctoral degrees

P H OTO BY ST E P H A N I E S. CO R D L E


that event became a celebration of her life, and the family memorial service held that day brought together the couple with her son, Robb, and daughter-in-law, Jacqueline Wheeler Lee. Gross had previously heard about IAP, which currently counts 64 scholars, including some of the 23 MPP scholars, and he began asking founder Jackie Lee about the UMD program over the following months. These talks led to his new gift, named for Mercile Lee. The endowed scholarship will fund 20 students at a time from Montgomery County, while a support endowment will allow IAP to hire additional staff and grow its programming.

Spring 2021: Virtually the Same Experience as Fall LEAVE IT TO this pandemic to make spring

look like fall.

To help protect Terps from the spread of

Jackie Lee said the Grosses would never have supported IAP if it weren’t for Mercile, or for the program’s success, including graduates who have gone on to earn advanced degrees, launch successful careers in education, medicine, business and more, and serve their communities. “This gift will catapult IAP toward its longterm goal of welcoming students from every county in Maryland. It isn’t just expanding the number of opportunities we’re extending to students, but it’s also expanding our reach,” Lee says. “It’s so meaningful for me personally as well. I’m touched knowing that the impact of Mercile’s life is even more widely felt than at Wisconsin and in our family.”—lb

The university’s ability

the coronavirus, UMD will maintain a “dedensi-

to maintain some nor-

fied” campus by housing an estimated 4,500

malcy during the global

new and returning students in single rooms in

COVID-19 crisis is a result of

residence halls. Hybrid instruction will return, with about

the community’s adherence to “4 Maryland” behaviors: Wash your

The new semester at the University of

25% delivered in person. Education Abroad

hands, keep 6 feet from others, wear a mask

Maryland is scheduled to start on time Jan.

travel programs remain on hold, but dining

and stay home if you’re sick. Another factor

25, with the first two weeks of undergraduate

halls, libraries, the Stamp Student Union and

was the university’s testing protocols: More

instruction almost entirely online, just as in

recreational facilities will reopen with health

than 67,000 tests have been administered on

late August.

and safety measures in place.

campus since August, with results updated on

That’s just one of the ways that the

Men’s and women’s basketball seasons will

a digital dashboard. (As of press time, it tallied

university plans to reopen after winter break,

continue under tight restrictions from the

echoing in large part the gradual process

county, state and Big Ten Conference, while

This semester, all students living on or

instituted for the Fall 2020 semester.

other Terp sports are expected to start their

near campus and all faculty and staff coming

“If there is a lesson that we have learned throughout this pandemic, it is this: We must

seasons in January or February. Spring break will proceed as planned,

652 positive tests, a rate of just under 1%.)

to campus must get tested every two weeks. Frequent cleaning of buildings will continue,

remain nimble and flexible and expect change,”

followed by two weeks of online instruction

and any Terps headed to campus must still fill

says university President Darryll J. Pines.

and large-scale testing on campus.

out a report that they’re symptom-free.—LB

I N S E T P H O T O B Y J O H N T. C O N S O L I

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ON THE MALL

CAMPUS LIFE

Grand Challenges Central

Pines Conducts as Freshmen Connect, Probe Tough Issues

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T E R P. U M D . E D U

ighty maryland freshmen wading through the most unconventional semester in generations, with a pandemic, social unrest and a fraught presidential election, confronted those issues in an unconventional setting: a Fall course taught by the university’s new president. Darryll J. Pines led the eight-week virtual course, “Grand Challenges of Our Time,” focused on four of them: COVID-19, the Black Lives Matter movement, climate change and voting access. The first class taught by a UMD

E

president in more than 20 years, it brought together first-year students to examine these topics in their historical and current contexts and share their own perspectives in hopes of effecting change. “I want our students to know that they can indeed come up with solutions to the grand challenges of our time,” he says. Pines, who in his previous role as dean of the A. James Clark School of Engineering taught a similar course focused on that field, sought to broaden it after taking the reins at UMD in July.

P H OTO BY ST E P H A N I E S. CO R D L E


Photographing the Unseen Gallery Acquires 1,500+ Images of Utah’s Eerie Skinwalker Ranch

the roughly 500-acre ranch takes its name from the English translation of the Navajo word for a shapeshifting entity. The ranch has reportedly been home to government-funded research projects on unidentified flying objects and other not-easily-explained phenomena. Films, cable TV shows and news articles have told stories of cattle mutilations, crop circles, strange lights and more.

IN UTAH’S UINTA BASIN, among the

“I want our students to know that they can indeed come up with solutions to the grand challenges of our time.” PRESIDENT DARRYLL J. PINES

Bartel’s photographs are valuable not

red mesas and wide-open stretches of

just because of the ranch’s flirtations

land, unusual happenings have been

with the paranormal, says Taras Matla,

part of the local fabric for years—maybe

associate director of the gallery. They

even centuries. Large wolf-like creatures

recall a tradition of photography of the

seemingly impervious to gunshots. Noises

American West pioneered by artists

with no apparent source. Reports of

like Ansel Adams, Carleton Watkins and

unidentified flying objects.

William Henry Jackson.

Now, the University of Maryland Art

These photographers brought viewers

Gallery is offering a glimpse of the area’s

to places like Yosemite and Yellowstone

mysterious Skinwalker Ranch, thanks to

national parks, showing them cliffs,

a donation of more than 1,500 images

geysers and valleys that they likely never

from photographer Christopher Bartel,

would have seen otherwise, much like

a security officer there from 2010 to 2016.

Bartel’s images of inaccessible landscapes.

An online exhibition is planned for early 2021. Located on land once claimed by both

Taken a century or so after some of the most iconic images of the vast West, Bartel’s photographs “help us connect

the Navajo and Ute people that’s now part

the dots in terms of environment, ecology

of the Ute Uintah and Ouray Reservation,

and cultural history,” Matla says.—SL

Like in that last class, he had experts from across campus and around the nation participate in his Wednesday lectures. Several talks were branded as Presidential Distinguished Forums and open to the full campus community. Students also went into small groups to explore the issues more deeply with the help of two co-instructors. One of them, Shelvia English Ph.D. ’19, assistant director of the Incentive Awards Program, says that as a Black woman and Christian, she wanted to show students that the campus is diverse, dynamic and open to different voices. “This is an important way to encourage students to talk to each other about the tough things,” she says.—lb

P H OTO BY C H R I STO P H E R BA RT E L /CO L L ECT I O N O F T H E U N I V E R S I T Y O F M A RY L A N D A RT GA L L E RY

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ON THE MALL

THE FEARLESS GENERATION

CAMPUS LIFE

A New Age in Physics 16-year-old Student Enrolls in Doctoral Program

Women’s Studies Named for Civil Rights Icon Abolitionist, Suffragist Harriet Tubman Symbolizes Department’s Commitment to Values WHEN THE UMD WOMEN’S STUDIES

honorific one in UMD’s history—

department wanted to rename itself

reflects the department’s status as

to better reflect its values—antiracism,

feminist and intersectional thought,”

among them—the faculty didn’t have

says Zambrana. The department, in

to look beyond the state’s history to

conjunction with the Department

find the perfect candidate for the

of African American Studies, offers

honor. Harriet Tubman, the famed Underground Railroad “conductor” who first freed herself and then

the country’s sole minor in Black women’s studies. Ernestine “Tina” Wyatt ’95, Tubman’s great-great-great-grand-

others from slavery, was a Dorchester

niece, said the renaming provides an

County native whose descendants

opportunity to highlight Tubman’s

include UMD graduates.

many lesser-known achievements:

“The renaming could not be more salient and compelling as we again

her philanthropy, her work as a scout, nurse and leader of soldiers during a

confront the enduring structural

Civil War raid to free slaves, and her

pandemics of racial unrest, economic

fight for women’s suffrage.

injustice and health inequality,” says

A revised curriculum includes

Ruth Enid Zambrana, professor and

expanded courses on contemporary

interim chair of the Harriet Tubman

issues around gender, race, ethnicity,

Department of Women, Gender, and

class, sexuality and disability, and

Sexuality Studies.

material on Tubman’s life will be

The name change—the first

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“a national hub of expertise in Black

equity and intellectual freedom,

T E R P. U M D . E D U

incorporated into classes.—SL

J

eremy shuler subscribes to the theory of “many worlds.” It’s a weird but, many physicists argue, mathematically sound interpretation of quantum mechanics holding that every possibility— Schrödinger’s cat lives, it dies, it was actually a dog—plays out in a practically infinite array of universes. If true, then in at least one of them, Shuler is an average high school junior in Texas hoping for a B in trigonometry, who just got his driver’s license and is excited about the upcoming Mavericks game. In our universe, things couldn’t be more different: Shuler can handle differential geometry and complex analysis, rides Shuttle-UM buses from University Park and isn’t a sports fan. Instead, after enrolling at age 16, he’s likely the second-youngest Ph.D. student ever at the University of Maryland. (Stephen J. Smith M.S. ’91, Ph.D. ’97, who arrived as a doctoral student in computer science in 1989, was two months younger.) Shuler is studying theoretical physics, Einstein’s field, which focuses on mindbending questions ranging from the existence of hidden dimension to the nature of time. “The subfield I’m interested in is high-

P H O T O I L L U S T R AT I O N BY M A R G A R E T H A L L


“He can solve a problem presented to him in a way that’s off-scale good.” TOM COHEN, PROFESSOR AND ASSOCIATE CHAIR OF PHYSICS

energy/particle physics, which is great, because it’s a way to understand the fundamental nature of our universe,” he says. It was already clear when he was a toddler that Shuler, while maybe not in his own universe, was on a different track than most, says his mother, Harrey Shuler, who is from South Korea. At 18 or 19 months, he asked what she was doing as she typed an email to her family. “I showed him the Korean consonants and the Korean vowels … I repeated it, like, twice,” she says. “We spent maybe half an hour, and the next day, he could read Korean.” A few

P H OTO BY ST E P H A N I S S. CO R D L E

days after that, he started reading in English. She was completing her aerospace engineering Ph.D. at the University of Texas at Austin, but decided to homeschool Jeremy rather than pursue a career; Jeremy’s father, Andrew Shuler, worked as an engineer at Lockheed Martin in Dallas. The youngster progressed quickly through elementary subjects, then completed online high school courses in two years, graduating at 12. Accompanied by media hoopla, Shuler in 2016 became the youngest-ever student at his father’s alma mater, Cornell University.

Andrew Shuler was able to transfer to a nearby Lockheed Martin location, so the family moved to Ithaca, N.Y. “Cornell was the first actual school I attended,” Shuler says. “But by the end of the semester, I got pretty much adjusted to how things worked there, and the students were pretty supportive of me.” After graduating in 2020, the whole family moved to the College Park area, where Shuler had been accepted in UMD’s highly touted physics department. Tom Cohen, professor and associate chair of physics, says the risk of admitting a student so young is balanced with the possibilities of major reward because of Shuler’s natural abilities. “In terms of straightforward intellectual firepower, he’s got it—he can solve a problem presented to him in a way that’s off-scale good,” Cohen says, adding that math ability is not what set great physicists like Einstein apart. “What’s not obvious yet is how creative Jeremy is; that can be tricky for young prodigies.” Deciding his research focus is his top priority, Shuler says, although learning to teach has also been on his mind: “Being a TA is different from anything I’ve ever done before. I’m a little nervous.” Now 17, he’ll have five or so years to figure out how to corral undergrads as he works on his Ph.D. “By the time he graduates,” Andrew Shuler says, “he might be old enough to celebrate with a glass of Champagne.”—cc

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ON THE MALL

SPORTS

Recovering a Fumble in Hiring Practices Locksley Leads Nationwide Effort to Promote More Minority Coaches

hen he was a kid playing football in Washington, D.C., Terps head football coach Michael Locksley didn’t have to look past the sidelines to see a leader who looked like him. But as he moved up the sport’s ladder—first playing at Towson and then coaching at more than a half-dozen colleges around the country—the coaching box never mirrored the diversity on the field.

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Now that he’s one of only about a dozen Black head coaches among the 130 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) teams annually competing for the College Football Playoff, Locksley is trying to rectify one of its ongoing institutional problems. As president and founder of the nonprofit National Coalition of Minority Football Coaches (NCMFC), he’ll be creating new networking, professional development and advocacy opportunities for diversifying the coaching ranks. “We really didn’t have an organization that truly champions the next generation of coaches,” he says. The numbers of minority coaches have largely been static throughout the FBS and Football Championship Subdivision of Division I since 2012, according to NCAA data. While Black and other non-white players have made up a significant part of the football student-athlete population each year, white men have comprised about 80% of head coaches, more than 70% of defensive

coordinators and above 80% of offensive coordinators. Even the graduate assistant ranks, where most football coaches get their start, are consistently more than 60% white. Locksley has used that as a motivating factor, making sure to cross-pollinate his knowledge across position groups to become an expert all over the field. But as he enters what he terms “the back nine” of his career, the lack of minority successors has bothered him. In 2018, Locksley and Pep Hamilton, who was quarterback coach for the Los Angeles Chargers last season, put together a symposium for minority quarterback coaches and offensive coordinators at Morehouse College, planting the seed for NCMFC. Locksley plans to have the NCMFC hold yearly conventions and provide training for each level of football coaching, so attendees can get “the tools they’ll need to get the job they aspire to.” He also wants to put together a shareable database of candidates for open positions and analyze where aspiring

P H O T O S C O U R T E SY O F M A R Y L A N D AT H L E T I C S


coaches need to improve. That doesn’t just mean X’s and O’s, however. When you interview for a head coaching position, Locksley says, your depth in off-the-field skills such as media relations, office management and budgeting can matter far more than the size of your playbook. “Very few of my interviews involved asking me what I do on third and one,” he says. Maintaining a strong pipeline of candidates is crucial, said Cyrus Mehri, cofounder of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, a nonprofit

dedicated to increasing diversity in the NFL, during an October event on the topic sponsored by UMD’s Shirley Povich Center

for Sports Journalism. While progress was being made after the NFL’s 2003 “Rooney Rule” mandated minority interviews for head coaching and general manager jobs, the number of those candidates actually hired has started declining again. “Like any movement, you have moments of up and down. We got pushed backwards in a big way the last few years,” Mehri said.

50 Seasons of Netting Success

fans share their favorite moments that inspired

As Accomplished Women’s Program Celebrates Milestone, Fans Cheer Memorable Moments

Field House to purchase a ticket. The line was

“The question is, are we at a turning point where we can create a cultural change?” But Locksley doesn’t want to overemphasize obstacles to success, either. As someone who has “zero regrets” about entering the football coaching business, he also wants to rally people to one of the ways they can give back to their own communities. “We’ve got to do a great job of selling the benefits of coaching at every level,” he says. “We have a responsibility to keep the pipeline going.”—lf

Maryland pride.—AD “1992, Maryland vs. Virginia. I was teaching in Washington County, Md. I drove to Cole already backed up beyond the parking area— hundreds of people. I elbowed and worked my way into the building. The ushers were making announcements that the game was sold out. As I turned to leave, a woman walked up to me asking if I needed a ticket. ‘YES!’ She gave me one, I got

EIGHT ALL-AMERICANS. Eighteen WNBA draft

it scanned, found a seat and WHAT A GAME!”

selections. Twenty-two conference titles, six

—ANITA KAY, HAGERSTOWN, MD.

Final Fours and one national championship. That resume is impressive enough on its own, but now,

“My interest in women’s basketball derives

“I was a freshman at UMD in 1971, and while

the Maryland women’s basketball program can

from growing up in West Texas, where girls’ high

thinking the women’s basketball then was kind

add a new stat: 50 seasons.

school interscholastic basketball has been played

of a joke, I have come to love and deeply respect

Since the Terps first took the court when

since 1950, and from my undergraduate college,

the women Terps. My favorite memory is Kristi

women’s basketball became a recognized varsity

Texas Tech, which won the NCAA championship

Toliver hitting that three-pointer over Duke’s

sport in 1971, they’ve turned in a half-century

in 1993. When my daughter began her studies

Alison Bales in the ’06 NCAA championship. It

of high-achieving hoops, with Dottie McKnight,

at Maryland in 2013, I became a season-ticket

was a dagger!”

Chris Weller and current Head Coach Brenda

holder. I’m pleased to support the program,

—JOHN G. STOCK III, ELLICOTT CITY, MD.

Frese combining to lead UMD to a remarkable 43

which I regard as one of the highest quality in

winning seasons.

the country.”

See more about the anniversary celebration at

—STANLEY MYLES, GAITHERSBURG, MD.

umterps.com/Terps50.

As the team marks this year’s milestone,

I L L U S T R AT I O N / P H O T O C R E D I T

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ON THE MALL

E X P L O R AT I O N S

“Smart Bra” Could Provide Speedy, Early Warning of Cancer

with a doctor in India who has too many patients and too few trained assistants to do manual breast exams. Medical personnel without specialized training in developing countries could use a simple, lowcost “smart bra,” sensing lumps

AN INNOVATIVE MIX of latex

within seconds of the garment

and nanoparticles originally

being donned. “We’re looking for

designed in the lab of mechanical

something that would alert to the

engineering Professor Elisabeth

presence of stage 2 cancer when

Smela to give robots “skin” to

it is still treatable,” Smela said.

sense their environments could now provide a critical early warning of breast cancer.

The project was part of the MPact Challenge, devised by then-A. James Clark School of

The flexible coating, which

Engineering Dean Darryll J. Pines

senses pressure through changes

(now UMD president) to celebrate

in electrical resistance, lines a

the school’s 125th anniversary

bra-like garment that can “feel”

in 2019 with a range of creative

cancerous lumps before the

and impactful engineering

disease spreads. Under devel-

projects, and funded in part by

opment as a prototype, the idea

the A. James & Alice B. Clark

was spurred by a conversation

Foundation.—CC

Professor Elisabeth Smela demonstrates the smart bra in her lab last February along with students Rahul Subramonian Bama M.Eng. ’18 (left) and Hudson Ye ’21 (center).

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Where Wood Gets Weird

Researcher Keeps Finding Innovative Ways to Employ the Ultimate Sustainable Material hat’s bouncy, bulletproof, cools you in the summer, keeps you toasty warm in winter and might help save our planet? The answer literally grows on (and in) trees: wood—at least in the many unfamiliar guises it takes on in the lab of materials science and engineering Professor Liangbing “Bing” Hu, director of the Center for Innovative Materials at UMD. Hu is an expert in nanomaterials, which generally are manufactured to have special characteristics—like ultrastrength or superconductivity—based on their microscopic structure. Hu got excited several years ago when he realized there was an almost infinite supply of natural nanomaterial that’s both versatile and strong, and buried in the grain structure of wood. Since then, he’s been developing different methods to access and exploit that hidden resource while developing surprising new applications that a UMD spinoff company, InventWood, is readying for market. “Sustainability and environmental protection convinced me more and more to pursue this,” he says. “Wood is an abundant and renewable material, and an old material people have gained a lot of knowledge about through history. But in terms of innovation, this is not a crowded field.” Read on for a few of the new ways Hu is building on a trusty standby.–cc

W

L E F T P H O T O B Y J O H N T. C O N S O L I ; A B O V E H E A D S H O T B Y M I K E M O R G A N ; I L L U S T R AT I O N S B Y VA L E R I E M O R G A N


“Super Wood” Stronger than steel at one-sixth the weight, wood turns literally bulletproof when Hu and collaborators remove lignin, a natural “glue” that holds the cells together. They compress what remains under extreme pressure to create a rust-free structural material that could be deployed, with support from a $4 million grant from the Department of Energy, in everything from bridges to boats.

Steamed Up

Building Chiller

Wood from Hu’s lab turns seawater

Hu’s radiative cooling wood is pure white

to drinking water. Specially processed

in the visual light spectrum, meaning

basswood, blackened by burning, floats

that on building roofs, it doesn’t soak up

inside a solar evaporator, sucking up

the sun. Paradoxically, it’s pure black—but

saltwater through a vascular structure

only in the invisible infrared spectrum—

naturally designed to avoid clogging from

helping heat radiate back into outer

impurities like salt. Under concentrated

space. The result is a several-degree

solar heat, the wood emits steam that

difference between inside and out, even

condenses into freshwater.

before switching on the AC.

Let’s Bounce A process of heating, freezing and chemical modification turns wood’s normally rigid structure to jelly so it rebounds like a superball. Hu had no specific goal for this recently announced discovery—other

Clear Cuts

than squishiness—but

Wood like you’ve never seen

now some companies are

it—or in this case, seen through

interested in exploring its

it. Hu and his students created

use as a shock absorber.

nearly transparent wood by replacing its lignin with clear epoxy. The result is a beautiful building material that retains its wood grain and admits light like frosted glass, but insulates better.

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ON THE MALL

E X P L O R AT I O N S

Research Asks: Can Robots Get Us to Follow COVID Safety Rules? ONE THEORY OF ROBOTS is that they exist

mainly for “3D jobs”—dirty, dangerous or dull. A new project by Maryland robotics researchers adds two more D’s—delicate and divisive—that surely apply to efforts to persuade fellow humans to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines. (Check out the epic tantrums on YouTube for proof.) Funded in part by the National Science

Don’t Take the (Click)bait Researcher Enhances Tool to Help Users Detect Misleading Headlines, Videos

Foundation, they’re exploring how autonomous robots could encourage social distancing in

FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW! You won’t believe

crowds, or even remotely monitor individuals

what happened next! Why we love … misleading

for signs of illness. In addition to the technical

headlines!

challenges of designing such a system, there’s the social challenge as well. “We don’t want people to feel like their privacy has been intruded upon, but more like a friendly

While they aren’t always malicious, they can lure the absentminded social media scroller to click onto irrelevant content or, worse, an internet scam. Now, with a boost from a $228,000 National Science

companion has come to help them,” says

Foundation grant, a UMD researcher is developing a

project leader Dinesh Manocha, a professor with

computational tool to help users identify and avoid

appointments in computer science, electrical and

such clickbait in both text and video.

computer engineering and UMD’s Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS). In one scenario, the robot could speak to people, says Assistant Research Professor Aniket

“We want to automatically detect these things so that our (online) experience becomes better and our social network becomes more secure,” says Naeemul Hassan, an assistant professor of

Bera in UMIACS, the project co-leader: “Hey guys,

journalism and information studies and affiliate

you’re a little close—could you make more space?”

assistant professor of computer science.

Or it could whisk through a crowd and unobtru-

Hassan is building on his earlier work on BaitBuster,

sively “herd” people apart. One big challenge,

a browser extension that uses machine learning to

Manocha says, is a robot smart enough not to try

determine whether a text headline corresponds to its

to break up families out for a stroll.—CC

article’s actual content, then gives Facebook users a visual warning if it doesn’t. BaitBuster 2.0 will expand to combat video clickbait, requiring new algorithms to compress clips, gather their images and process their transcripts. To increase the impact of the revamped BaitBuster, Hassan and his team will also organize training workshops and coordinate outreach efforts to help engage underrepresented groups in cybersecurity.—AD

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L E F T I L L U S T R AT I O N BY J A S O N A . K E I S L I N G ; A B O V E I L L U S T R AT I O N BY L A U R E N B I A G I N I


A Walk Through Dior’s Gardens— and His Psyche Researcher Writes in New Book About Therapeutic Effects of Nature on Famed Designer arden and floral motifs always inspired Christian Dior’s couture and fragrances: dainty lilies of the valley on a full skirt; embroidered forget-me-nots on a bodice; luscious roses that scented his perfumes. Nature was also a form of therapy for the fashion designer (1905-57), and in the new book “Dior in Bloom,” co-author and plant science and landscape architecture Assistant Professor Naomi Sachs explores the role nature and his private gardens played in his well-being. Dior grew up in a seaside house in Normandy with a lush and fragrant garden, part of which his mother commissioned him to design when he was 10 years old. It was his first designing experience, and a way to be close to his mother, says Sachs. But his family was forced to sell the property following the 1929 market crash. “He longed to recreate the paradise of his childhood, both physically and emotionally, and would spend the rest of his life searching for the feeling of that first home,” she says. When Dior moved to Paris, the unrelenting and frenetic work environment did not suit his temperament. As a budding designer, he rented a small, rustic home in the countryside, where he could reconnect with nature, decompress and feel freer to be himself. In 1949, he bought a property in Milly-la-Fôret with a watermill that dated to the 13th century, then redesigned the site to echo the green spaces

G

from his childhood home. Around the same time, Dior also purchased a larger property near Cannes, where he created a series of stone terraces overlooking the valley and planted hundreds of trees, evergreen shrubs and herbs— and found the scents that infused his signature perfumes. “One of the benefits of being in nature is creativity,” says Sachs. “Dior was a perfect example of someone who used nature to rejuvenate himself.”—at

T O P P H O T O : © B R U N O E H R S / D I O R I N B L O O M / C H R I S T I A N D I O R P A R F U M S ; A B O V E L E F T : © W I L LY M A Y W A L D / D I O R I N B L O O M / C H R I ST I A N D I O R PA R F U M S ; A B OV E R I G H T: © S O P H I E C A R R E / D I O R I N B LO O M / C H R I ST I A N D I O R PA R F U M S

Clockwise from left: Recreating his childhood garden in Granville, France, Christian Dior surrounded the pond at La Colle Noire with plants and flowers dear to him: roses, cineraria, lavender, fuchsia and sage; preparations for Dior’s haute couture SpringSummer 2013 collection.

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ON THE MALL

E X P L O R AT I O N S

FA C U LT Y Q & A MICHAEL JENSEN

Taken to Extremes

How Much Chaos Could the Fringe Wreak Under a Biden Administration? A Terrorism Expert Explains IT’S BEEN MORE THAN 50 years since a seminal

essay in Harper’s Magazine described the “paranoid style” in American politics, but the 2020 election—from baseless allegations of electoral fraud to QAnon’s theory of a liberal cabal engaging in child abuse and cannibalism— made it feel very relevant. Michael Jensen, a senior researcher at the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) at UMD, is an expert on domestic radicalization and manages data collection for the Global Terrorism Database. Terp spoke to him about the endur-

platform in obscure areas, and it’s another

were looking for answers to difficult problems

ance of conspiracy theories, the response of tech

through the use of algorithms, monetization and

(due to the COVID-19 pandemic) and the anxiety

companies and what Joe Biden’s presidential

ad revenue to push those narratives to users

they were facing.

administration can expect from the political

who otherwise would never come across them.

fringe.—LF

That’s where (social media’s) failure with QAnon really has been. We’ve seen QAnon in the yoga

Will Biden’s White House face an increasing amount of extremism and radicalization? The appeal of conspiracy theories really transcends presidential administrations. For the most part, these conspiracies are not terribly creative. This QAnon conspiracy is a narrative that has been a core of conspiracy theories all the way back to early Christianity. Same thing with narratives of government takeovers on public lands, government restrictions on firearms. Do Facebook, Twitter and other social media bans of accounts that spread conspiracy theories help or just confirm suspicions of “knowing the truth”? It’s one thing for the message to be on the

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community and mom self-help groups because of the ways these social media platforms work.

QAnon has maintained relevance and approval—with one supporter winning a congressional seat—even though it hasn’t lived up to its promises of arrests and executions of high-profile Democrats. Why doesn’t that matter? They brought in virtually every conspiracy theory you can think of and tied it back into this network. We didn’t get strong condemnation of the conspiracy theory from political leadership. (President Donald) Trump retweeted QAnon supporters over 200 times. The narrative was really getting pushed at a time when people

What could happen if the Biden administration takes a stronger approach to the pandemic, such as nationally mandating masks or business closures? We already saw it the first time around under a Trump administration. It was the militias on the far right who were leading many of those protest challenges, and there’s no reason they wouldn’t be players in that again. If you see anything that looks like April 2020-type restrictions on business and schools and public and religious gatherings, I think we’d see a pretty strong reaction. This narrative of a stolen election isn’t going to go away overnight. Not only is that dangerous for our democratic institutions, but there are individuals attracted to these movements that are susceptible to being mobilized for acts of violence.

P H OTO BY E M M A J. H OW E L L S


THE BIG QUESTION

What’s the best gift you ever received? THOMAS ANTONSEN

LUCY A. DALGLISH

DAVID KASS

BROOKE FISHER LIU

OLIVER SCHLAKE

DISTINGUISHED UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR OF ELECTRICAL AND COMPUTER ENGINEERING, A. JAMES CLARK SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING

DEAN AND PROFESSOR, PHILIP MERRILL COLLEGE OF JOURNALISM

CLINICAL PROFESSOR OF FINANCE, ROBERT H. SMITH SCHOOL OF BUSINESS

CLINICAL PROFESSOR OF MANAGEMENT AND ORGANIZATION, ROBERT H. SMITH SCHOOL OF BUSINESS

For my 10th birthday, my grandparents gave me a sewing basket. I sewed most of my clothes as a teenager, and I still use that basket every week. I thought of them often as I made dozens of face masks over the past few months.

The best gift I ever received was five shares of the common stock of Long Island Lighting when I was 12 years old. This $100 gift transformed my life. Until then, the only part of my local newspaper (The New York Times) that I read was the sports section. After receiving this gift, I read the business section first and developed my interest in, and passion for, economics and finance. This paved the way for my education and career.

PROFESSOR OF COMMUNICATION; ASSOCIATE DEAN FOR ACADEMIC STANDARDS AND POLICIES, THE GRADUATE SCHOOL; AND ADVANCE PROFESSOR, COLLEGE OF INFORMATION STUDIES

The best material gift, from my parents, was the Time-Life Science Library. A new book would arrive every few months, and I would devour it. The worst gift was a suitcase one year on Christmas. It had me wondering, what message was being sent?

Whenever I came home from college, my mom placed fresh flowers in my bedroom in a crystal vase. She passed away from cancer a year after my graduation, but my daughters and I enjoy filling the same vase with flowers whenever possible.

A very early version of a pocket calculator when I was in second grade (1973). Calculators were officially banned from school, but my parents thought that my interest in math would overshadow the potential shortcomings of having what was then called a “cheating machine.” They were right.

Share your answer and see more faculty responses at terp.umd.edu/BigQ10. Suggest a future question at terpfeedback.umd.edu.

I L L U S T R AT I O N B Y VA L E R I E M O R G A N

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K E E P I N G

A N

E Y E

O N

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The stellar wind from energetic young stars sculpts the roiling red NGC2014 nebula in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way, in a photograph captured by the Hubble Space Telescope (like the others on the following pages). The smaller blue nebula, NGC2020, was created by eruptions from its central star, some 200,000 times brighter than the sun.


T H E

U N I V E R S E

30 YEARS INTO HUBBLE’S SURPRISING RUN, T E R P S H E L P T H E R E V O L U T I O N A RY S PA C E T E L E S C O P E S TAY P R O D U C T I V E I N O R B I T B Y

P H OTO CO U RT E SY O F N A SA / E U R O P E A N S PAC E A G E N C Y/ S P A C E T E L E S C O P E S C I E N C E I N S T I T U T E

C H R I S

C A R R O L L

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A massive star lights the Lagoon Nebula from within and blasts out an intricate landscape of peaks, ridges and valleys in this active stellar nursery, where new stars form out of the gas and dust left over from the death of previous stars. 22

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T H E I D E A B E H I N D T H E H U B B L E S P A C E T E L E S C O P E W A S S I M P L E , A N D B R I L L I A N T.

Loft an observatory above the Earth’s atmosphere, where it wouldn’t need to squint through haze or the light pollution brought on by spreading urbanization. In orbit, it could see galaxies so distant that the light now reaching Earth began its journey soon after the Big Bang, and peer into cloudy regions of space for a front-row seat to the birth and death of stars—an entirely new way to view the universe. Since Hubble’s 1990 launch, dozens of University of Maryland graduates have joined the mission, from flight control operations to communication of its discoveries to the public. They’ve played crucial roles in planning and executing sometimes dramatic space shuttle missions to upgrade its capabilities or repair the aging spacecraft’s components. While Hubble has realized its promise and become one of the great triumphs of NASA’s history, space telescopes have a downside, too: Whatever needs to be done, there’s no easy way to reach it. Now that the shuttle is only a memory and servicing missions have stopped, the approximately 20 Terps working on the Hubble mission at Goddard Space Flight Center—more than 20% of the total—are key in the effort to find innovative ways to keep Hubble operational long beyond the planned launch late this year of its successor, the James Webb Space Telescope. Here are a few of their stories.

PATRICK CROUSE ’90, M.S. ’94 After a mere decade as the

CLAIRE ANDREOLI ’14 On April 24, 1990, the space shuttle Discovery opened its cargo bay doors and gently sent the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit. About

operations project manager, engineering alum Pat Crouse jokes he’s still

three months later and 340 miles below, Claire

the new kid on the block—at least compared to

Saravia Andreoli ’14 was born.

numerous colleagues who have been working

“I’ve never lived in a world where Hubble images didn’t exist, and where our view of the

with the telescope since launch. The uniqueness of Hubble, both as a crucial

universe wasn’t shaped in some way by this

science instrument and as a sentimental

mission,” says the journalism and biological

touchstone, was driven home early in his tenure

sciences double major, today a NASA Astrophys-

when an important component for telescope

ics Division public affairs officer and communi-

positioning began failing. As the head of the

cation lead for Hubble.

mission, it was his responsibility to order its

Andreoli works with writers, photographers,

shutdown and a backup unit turned on. As he

filmmakers and animators to tell the story of

prepared to carry out the decision that could

the space telescope and the staff carrying out

have a fundamental effect on the telescope’s

the historic mission, making sure it isn’t

future, more experienced subordinates advised

lost in the shuffle of NASA news about

him to take it slow. “It was like, ‘Sure you want

solar satellites, trips to asteroids or a return to the moon. “There’s always something new and exciting coming out of the agency,

P H OTO CO U RT ESY O F N ASA / ESA /STS C I ; P O R T R A I T I L L U S T R AT I O N S B Y VA L E R I E M O R G A N

Hubble Space Telescope

to do that without talking to anyone?’” So he “socialized” the issue through successively higher echelons of management at Goddard and then at NASA headquarters and

but we on the Hubble team want

finally ended up in a meeting with top adminis-

people to know it’s not just still

trators—who approved his decision. “That was

alive,” she says. “It’s alive and well

when it really hit me how much people at NASA

and producing important science.”

really care about Hubble,” he says.

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DAVE MURPHY ’89 The Hubble is a telescope, but it’s also a spacecraft hurtling around the planet at 17,000 mph. Keeping its eye trained steadily on a nebula, cluster of distant galaxies or an exotic deep space discovery is the job of Dave Murphy, a UMD aerospace engineering grad who today is the lead pointing control systems engineer. “Our pointing, when we’re doing science, has been compared to being in D.C. and aiming at a dime in New York, and staying focused on Eisenhower’s head,” he says. Hubble’s six gyroscopes, of which three have failed, are key to positioning the telescope; keeping the remaining ones functional is at the core of Murphy’s responsibilities. They’re of a newer, more reliable type installed in the final Hubble servicing mission in 2009 (approved by Terp and then-NASA Administrator Michael D. Griffin Ph.D. ‘77), and could potentially help the telescope stay fully operational for another decade or more. Even if another gyro dies, the engineering team has developed a way to keep making observations at slightly reduced efficiency. Murphy has worked on Hubble, and only Hubble, since graduation, and says he’d be happy to close out his career in the 2030s

STEPHANIE CLARK ’10

wringing every bit of usefulness from the

Teaching kids about Hubble, and potentially

aging spacecraft—which will have unmatched

energizing the next generation of space

observational capabilities in the visual and

explorers, is kinesiology graduate Stephanie

ultraviolet spectrums for years to come.

Clark’s part in the Hubble mission.

“Finding the insight and the inspiration to

“You see everything from their jaws dropping

allow Hubble to continue to do science even

at what they just learned is up in space, to the

with hardware that’s getting old or beginning to

kids who want to tell you all about what they

fail may not be the most exciting work at NASA,

know,” she says.

but it’s very rewarding,” he says.

The versatile communications specialist also creates social media content and gives presentations at various events. “People seem to think you can only get a job at NASA if you’re a scientist or an engineer,” she says. “Actually, you can like writing, you can like teaching people things, you can like graphic design. There are so many jobs that contribute to the mission.”

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A B OV E P H OTO CO U RT ESY O F N ASA ; P H OTO R I G H T CO U RT ESY O F N A S A / E S A / H U B B L E H E R I T A G E T E A M /A . N O T A / W E S T E R L U N D 2 S C I E N C E T E A M

In orbit at an altitude of 340 miles, the Hubble Space Telescope (above, left) trains its instruments on the luminous marvels of deep space, such as a jewel-like cluster of thousands of stars (facing page) called Westerlund 2, a tumultuous star-forming region some 20,000 light years from Earth.


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HUBBLE BY THE NUMBERS 17,000 MPH: Hubble’s speed in orbit 95 MINUTES: time to orbit Earth 1.4M+: Hubble observations in 30 years 2.4 METERS: diameter of main telescope mirror 43.5 FEET: telescope length 27,000 POUNDS: spacecraft weight These aren’t stars; nearly every pinpoint and swirl of light in this teaming image, known as the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, is an individual galaxy, stretching billions of light years away from Earth—and thus, billions of years into the past. Such deep imagery by Hubble has allowed astronomers to peer at the earliest galaxies as they appeared soon after the Big Bang.

13.4B YEARS AGO: when light from most distant galaxy imaged by Hubble began journey to Earth 13.8B YEARS: age of universe, a calculation Hubble made possible Source: NASA

STEVE ARSLANIAN ’89 An unexpectedly quiet sun is providing Hubble with an extended lease on life. According to previous calculations, drag created by solar activity at the far reaches of the atmosphere was expected to end Hubble’s mission by the mid-2020s, but revised

SUZANNE BENEDICT ’87

far you can go and still be safe.”

If Hubble had a test

on to get a master’s in forensic science from

calculations show that it

As a criminal justice major who later went

could stay aloft into the 2040s. “We realized, ‘Hey, the Hubble is going to last

pilot, it might be

George Washington University, Benedict

a lot longer than we thought it would,’” says

Suzanne Benedict.

dreamed of a job more “CSI” than “Star

Steve Arslanian, a payload system engineer and

The senior software

Trek”—death scene investigator—spurring

mathematics graduate who became part of the

engineer started

jokes about how she could step in if the

Hubble mission crew just over a year after grad-

more than 20 years ago as a Hubble flight

Hubble mission ever has an Agatha Chris-

uation, and never left. He’s since spent much of

controller, and today works in the flight

tie-style murder mystery.

his career helping to design and build Hubble

software lab—a facsimile of Hubble’s onboard

When she left NASA for a series of unsat-

instruments like the Advanced Camera for

telescope control unit—creating case scenarios

isfying criminal justice jobs, she was drawn

Surveys, responsible for some of the telescope’s

and seeing how new control software

back by an environment that—while heavy

most stunning images, and then supervising the

handles them before uploading it to the real

on physics and engineering—values different

instruments’ operations in orbit.

spacecraft.

backgrounds and novel approaches to solving

In the testing, Benedict is not exactly

“The idea now is to just make the Hubble last

problems. “Forensics doesn’t seem to want

as long as possible,” Arslanian says. “Part of

buzzing the tower “Top Gun”-style, but says,

me, but Hubble has always kept me around,”

that is making sure we don’t wear out any of our

“We want to take it to the limit to know how

she says.

critical components by overusing them.”

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A B O V E P H O T O C O U R T E S Y O F N A S A / E S A / R . E L L I S ( C A LT E C H ) / U D F 2 0 1 2 T E A M ; R I G H T P H O T O C O U R T E SY O F N A S A / E S A / H U B B L E H E R I TA G E T E A M


RUSS WERNETH ’64, M.S. ’68 Hubble remains as capable as ever in large part to the five servicing missions conducted by space shuttle astronauts between 1993 and 2009. The astronauts in turn learned how to work on Hubble from Russ Werneth, Goddard’s lead for extravehicular activities, aka space walks. Werneth earned his degrees in mechanical engineering at UMD and joined the Hubble mission mid-career. From the moment the telescope first opened its eye in space in 1990, his hands were full. “Everything seemed to go well up to that point, but when we got the first images back, the scientists and engineers realized there was something wrong—really wrong.” Hubble’s primary mirror had been formed incorrectly—it was off by 1/50th the diameter of a human hair around its outside edge, enough to render its images blurry. Replacing the massive mirror was impossible, so engineers instead devised a novel optical workaround, and Werneth’s team designed the tools and procedures to install it, including some underwater testing at UMD’s Neutral Buoyancy Research Facility, the largest such facility at any university. Astronauts in 1993 were able to effect a fix in orbit. “It saved the mission,” Werneth says. “Some think it saved NASA.” After training astronauts for several more A dark tower of gas and dust 56 trillion miles tall juts from a starforming region called the Eagle Nebula. For three decades, such iconic Hubble images have both inspired awe and given scientists new insights into the processes, history and future of our universe.

servicing missions, he retired in 2007, returned for the final 2009 servicing, and today does outreach for the Hubble mission—calling himself and other enthusiasts “Hubble Huggers.” Although the shuttle is retired, one final Hubble mission likely remains (although NASA says no final decisions have been made about the end of the Hubble mission). “At the end of its life, when it can’t do useful science anymore, we will send a robotic vehicle to Hubble that will attach to a plate that we installed on the bottom,” Werneth says. “It will guide the Hubble into the ocean safely, and most of it will burn up on the way down. It will be a sad day for those of us Hubble Huggers—hopefully it doesn’t come too soon.” terp

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Crossing the boundaries between academia and the streets, Professor Joseph Richardson Jr. seeks to find a way out of trauma for young Black men.

BY L I A M FA R R E L L

P H O T O S BY J O H N T. C O N S O L I

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A

N AUGUST EPISODE of the podcast “Life After the Gunshot” starts with two brash personas, but any artifice quickly fades. “DocJoRich,” the host, shouts out to protesting NBA players, advocates for the arrest of the Louisville police officers who shot Breonna Taylor and asks listeners to support Black businesses. “Young Fre$h,” his guest, is an aspiring rapper from southeast D.C., calling in from the passenger seat of a moving car. While the conversation starts casually, DocJoRich quickly steers it to spotlight a fundamental problem that Black men too often face. Young Fre$h is also Chris Edge, who survived a dozen stab wounds only to be shot while on the streets in January 2019. He wasn’t out that night partying; he was trying to sell his food stamps benefits card to cover basic expenses while his partner was working unpaid for the Transportation Security Administration during a federal government shutdown. In other words, he put himself in danger in order to stave off the threat of eviction. The host who coaxes this story out of him is also known as Joseph Richardson Jr., the Joel and Kim Feller Endowed Professor of African American Studies and Anthropology at the University of Maryland. Richardson virtually gives Edge the mic to respond to anyone who would stereotype him as bearing the responsibility for getting shot even though, in the context of his life, he’d made a rational decision. “You cannot, I repeat, cannot just automatically say, ‘Hey, this guy’s a bad guy,’” says Edge, who shares his story to encourage Black men to seek mental health treatment and will be a teaching assistant this semester in Richardson’s class on structural and interpersonal violence. “I was just walking down the street.” Brave, empathetic and groundbreaking, Richardson is broadcasting the —PROFESSOR JOSEPH RICHARDSON JR. kind of research he’s been conducting for decades on the causes and consequences of urban bloodshed for young Black men. He’s also an interventionist, running programs based out of hospital trauma centers to get victims of violence the psychosocial services they need to survive. It’s a mission that thrives amid the tension of the quantitative and the qualitative, the lab and the field.

“This is just part of being Black in America and being in this skin.”

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Collecting numbers is helpful, but just as important to Richardson is hanging out in hospital hallways and finding out whether any doctors and nurses are disparaging their wounded Black patients as getting comeuppance for bad choices. “We can get by these assumptions and get down to the humanity of the people who are there,” he says. “It’s not just about patching people up and going home. Have they ever been to those neighborhoods? Like, really been to those neighborhoods, not just driven through?” As the ongoing coronavirus and urban policing crises reveal and deepen stress in the African American community, Richardson is branching out with his podcast, a documentary miniseries and a new research project on how Black men understand and cope with institutional racism and trauma, a struggle he knows as much as his subjects. “This is just part of being Black in America,” he says, “and being in this skin.”

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OCJORICH GREW UP as JoJo in the northwest Philadelphia neighborhoods of East Mount Airy and East Germantown as they transitioned in the 1970s from predominantly Jewish to lower middle-class African American families. Richardson’s father, a well-known jazz vocalist who bequeathed both his name and nickname to his son, worked in a Sears warehouse, and his mother was a public schoolteacher who used to take him to her night classes at Temple. Michael Bailey, a childhood friend, says Richardson was lighthearted and easygoing yet had a serious, academic side. They were surrounded in youth football and soccer and on the streets by strong Black male role models who showed them the value of taking care of their own neighborhoods. “Men were active, men were visible,” Bailey says. “You treated (a neighbor’s) house like your own house.” That sense of responsibility was critical when the crack epidemic of the 1980s started to make inroads in the area, says Hubie White, a lifelong friend who Richardson considers an older brother. “That neighborhood is still beautiful because of the parents and the community,” he says. “Everybody stood


tall. We prevailed.” Richardson, left, talks with Chris White says that Richardson Edge, center, and frequently lived up to the example Che Bullock, a senior violence intervention set by older residents by acting as a specialist. Edge, aka peacemaker among his peers when “Young Fre$h,” is an aspiring D.C. rapper fights or arguments broke out in who met the pair after the streets or playgrounds. getting shot while trying to prevent his “He’s the perfect person for the family’s eviction. betterment of his community,” he says. Graduating from one of Philadelphia’s best schools, George Washington Carver High School of Engineering and Science, and then the University of Virginia, Richardson originally thought of becoming a Secret Service agent or FBI profiler like the heroine in “The Silence of the Lambs,” and bounced between internships and research projects in the early 1990s while pursuing a master’s degree in criminology and criminal justice. He eventually landed as an ethnographer for a project on youth violence while studying at Rutgers University. It was Richardson’s true introduction to field work, as he recruited 25 middle school kids from central Harlem to study how they navigated the challenges of a neighborhood dominated by the Bloods and Crips. It was also a vivid reminder of how a burgeoning academic profile wouldn’t shield him from aggressive policing, like the time a police officer pulled him over in New York City, erroneously told him his license plates were stolen and, before letting Richardson go, remarked that he would have shot him if he had made any sudden moves. From there, his projects continued to probe at the intersection of the individual and the institutional, examining prison re-entry programs in New York and Chicago and the employment challenges facing high school dropouts in Philadelphia. After Richardson came to UMD as an assistant professor in African American studies in 2006, he began a study on youth offenders held in adult jails in Washington, D.C. The research served as a turning point, for while it was an interesting case study, it also made Richardson feel depressed and powerless. Held in federal custody, the teenagers could be transferred at a moment’s notice hundreds of miles away; Richardson recalls once meeting with a young inmate whose 4 a.m. flight had been grounded by mechanical problems. “They were taking me to South Dakota,” the boy told

Richardson. “Where is that?” Richardson craved digging further, down to the problems that propel people into the criminal justice system in the first place, and help find them a way out. He discovered a potential path when he saw a CNN story on Dr. Carnell Cooper, then a Baltimore trauma surgeon who had created a program to connect victims of violence with psychosocial services like substance abuse counseling and job training. “I wanted to replicate what he did,” Richardson says.

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the individual and systemic strands that lead to gun violence. But first they needed people to talk to, and the pair got nowhere when they wore blazers and ties to patients’ hospital rooms. One man even called Richardson’s office number off his business card when they were together, just to confirm he was really a professor. “Guys thought we were the cops,” Richardson says. “Why would a university professor come in the room? That was totally unrealistic to them.” That suspicion waned when they Above left, Richardson and Bullock stand with Majhe Powers, center, at his high school graduation. The pair was devastated when Powers, dropped the formalities (“It’s pretty who had completed vocational training and been accepted to community college, was killed in southeast D.C. in 2019. Richardson is chronicling the stories of Powers and nine other gun violence survivors in a new documentary series (above right). easy for me to be my natural, Philly self,” Richardson says), and Bullock was won over by Richardson’s willHE FIRST TIME Che Bullock met Richardson ingness just to listen and not judge him. A short time later, in 2013, he was wearing a bulletproof vest he even spoke to one of Richardson’s classes at UMD, and carrying a .40-caliber handgun. although Bullock’s own story almost ended that night At the time, that was Bullock’s standard when his car was sprayed by bullets on the way home. routine. Active in drug dealing, the southeast The professor told him afterward it was time for a D.C. native had been stabbed 13 times during change, and offered him a new start as an intermediary, a nightclub fight and flown by helicopter or “credible messenger” to reach out to the patients to the hospital. When Richardson’s project recruited for Richardson’s Capital Region Violence partner, postdoctoral researcher Chris St. Vil, called Intervention Program, which launched in 2017. Over afterward to ask if Bullockwould be part of a new project, the next two years, Bullock found new purpose working he understandably hesitated. alongside Richardson—“he saved my life”—and “I didn’t know if he was police, or an enemy trying to helping 116 Black men connect with services ranging set me up,” Bullock says. from housing assistance and legal aid to mental health Other potential recruits were just as skeptical when counseling; only one came back with a violent injury. Richardson and St. Vil, now an assistant professor at For many participants, Bullock says, the mental health the University of Buffalo School of Social Work, first therapy was the most important piece. approached them in the hospital for a study on risk “A lot of these guys are born into trauma, walking home factors for recurring violent injuries among Black men. and seeing the eviction notice on their door or their father Identifying what contributed to that repetition—about killed in front of them,” he says. “We are what we see. It’s 32% for patients at that hospital and as high as 60% in just the truth.” certain parts of the country, Richardson says—was the It was also an eye-opening experience for St. Vil, who first step in building a new intervention program. leaned on Richardson to develop his own research techPrince George’s Hospital Center turned into niques. Not only was the project a demonstration that Richardson’s lab after he cold-called and struck up a young Black men can be engaged in academic studies, he working relationship with Cooper, who became the says, but it also affirmed the opportunity for a “golden institution’s chief medical officer. Richardson speculated moment” where the course of someone’s life can be that the medical field might be the nexus point to address changed.

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P H OTOS CO U RT ESY O F J OS E P H R I C H A R DS O N J R.


“They probably never would have come into contact with a service agency without the hospital,” St. Vil says. “The main goal is, do we get them to a point of self-sufficiency where they can be a better manager of their life?”

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S A BLACK MAN with a strong command of urban culture, from the latest music news to a longtime boxing fandom, Richardson is positioned better than lots of academics to cross over from a university into a community like southeast D.C. and come away with information. The young men he works with affectionately address him as “Doc,” providing the first part of his podcast moniker. But that basic identity only goes so far in neighborhoods where all outsiders are treated with suspicion, and Anacostia differs from Harlem in its particulars just like Harlem differs from northwest Philadelphia. “You don’t necessarily get a pass into that space,” Richardson says. “Some things you understand, but a lot of things you don’t.” That philosophy gives Richardson the strength and ability to search for answers in places that most scholars avoid, says Ruth Enid Zambrana, a distinguished university professor in UMD’s Harriet Tubman Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and a mentor of Richardson. He unearths not just the weaknesses in poor Black neighborhoods, but also the strengths—like his research on the importance of uncles for inner-city Black youth—and “has really broken the boundaries of the field,” she says. “He is treading water that no one else has dared to go in,” Zambrana says. Richardson has gone full circle now, and continues violence intervention efforts at the same Baltimore program started by Cooper at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center. Two related projects are in the pipeline as well, including a four-part documentary series based on interviews with 10 trauma victims he met through his work in Prince George’s County. He envisions it forming the basis of a show similar to HBO’s iconic “The Wire,” blending the stories of individuals with the criminal justice, neighborhood and medical situations that shape their lives. The other is a joint effort with two colleagues from

the UMD School of Public Health, Associate Professors Craig Fryer and Kevin Roy, with support from the university’s Brain and Behavior Initiative. By recruiting and interviewing Black men from local barbershops, the UMD Center for Healthy Families and the Prince George’s trauma unit, the team will study how the subjects understand their own traumatic experiences, the health impacts of race-related stress, and strategies for building resilience. “Joe really brings this strong background in sociology and criminal justice … (and) how to think about systems and how they interact with the lives of Black men,” Fryer says. “They are quite diverse, and there is no such thing as ‘the Black male.’ There’s much more richness to who they are.” The work remains urgent as COVID-19 and its attendant economic fallout continues to wreak disproportionate havoc on minority populations, with the homicide rate spiking in cities including Washington, D.C. (“People going crazy ’cause they been in the house,” Edge told Richardson on his podcast. “Since March, my city been turned up to a whole ’nother level.”) Richardson, however, needs no reminders of the wages of gun violence, either personally or professionally. Just two years ago, his best friend, a married father and attorney, killed himself with a gun; and in November 2019, one of his documentary subjects, Majhe Powers, was —CHE BULLOCK, SENIOR VIOLENCE murdered. INTERVENTION SPECIALIST A primary caregiver for his siblings and recent graduate of the Run Hope Work vocational training program, Powers, 21, had also been accepted to community college when police found him with gunshot wounds in the hallway of a southeast D.C. house. When he saw the body of someone he tried to save in a casket, Richardson says, he couldn’t help but also feel accountable—just as he feels accountable for the violence meted out daily in communities struggling with poverty, drugs, guns and the institutional disconnect that too often leaves helping hands out of reach. “As a Black male professor, you can’t really separate yourself,” he says. “The work that we do is very life-anddeath.” terp

“A lot of these guys are born into trauma, walking home and seeing the eviction notice on their door or their father killed in front of them. We are what we see. It’s just the truth.”

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Ally Happ ’23 plays her French horn through a mask with a slit and with a bell cover over the instrument.


BY S A L A L E V I N ’ 1 0

P H O T O S BY S T E P H A N I E S . C O R D L E

COVID-19 felt like a swan song for in-person performances. UMD research is seeking to understand and minimize the risks of playing and singing together while tech helps students stay up-tempo.

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he novel coronavirus had already begun its awful spread through the U.S. when on the evening of March 10, the singers of Washington state’s Skagit Valley Chorale gathered for rehearsal. For two and a half hours, with most group members less than six feet from one another, they raised their voices and filled the air with song— and, it turned out, something more sinister. By the end of the month, 53 of the 61 attendees had fallen ill and two had died, making headlines nationwide. Amateur and professional performers and audiences suddenly faced an existential question: Just how dangerous is singing or playing instruments communally? As communities around the nation continue to try to stave off the spread of COVID-19 with varying degrees of shutdown, that question has persisted, leaving in-person music, theater and dance performances mostly silenced. The creative industry lost 2.7 million jobs and more than $150 billion from April 1-July 31 alone, according to a Brookings Institution study. The performing arts landscape remains murky until an

anticipated vaccine is widely available, and for musicians, singers and other performers without institutional support, the pandemic has been a calamity: emotionally, socially and financially. Jelena Srebric, a University of Maryland professor of mechanical engineering, has stepped onto this dark but brightening stage, co-leading a national study investigating how effectively the virus can be transmitted from the lips of a contralto or the bell of a trumpet to neighboring musicians or singers—and how to mitigate the risks. At the same time, the university’s School of Music and School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies are pioneering creative ways to keep students learning and playing together even while distanced, thanks to new technology and teaching approaches, as well as outdoor opera, livestreamed plays, video projections and other innovations. “I understand performers needing some presence of each other, because … they literally cannot perform (otherwise),” says Srebric. “I would do everything I physically can to help musicians (perform) safely because I understand the need.”

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music comes from deep inside us in the most literal sense, making it a moist, spitty business. Whenever brass and woodwind instrumentalists play a scale or vocalists sing an aria, they expel bits of fluid into the air. Larger ones, known as droplets, fall to the ground within a few feet. But tiny ones, less than five micrometers in diameter, are known as aerosols. They linger in the air, travel farther than droplets and can persist on a surface for up to several hours. Spooked by the Washington state choir disaster, Mark Spede, professor of music at Clemson University and president of the College Band Directors National Association, and James Weaver, director of performing arts and sports for the National Federation of High School State Associations, began diving “I would do everything into research on aerosol production in I physically can to help music performance, but found scant data. musicians (perform) They convened a coalition of more than 125 arts organizations to pool resources safely because I and commission a study on COVID-19, understand the need.” singing and instruments. The team quickly brought on Shelly —JELENA SREBRIC, PROFESSOR OF MECHANICAL Miller, professor of mechanical engineerENGINEERING ing at the University of Colorado, Boulder, as a lead investigator to examine the aerosol projection and velocity of wind instruments, vocalists Opera students Christian Simmons M.M. ’21 (left) and and actors. Soon, Srebric, who had long worked on indoor air Öznur Tülüoğlu M.M. ’21 quality and ventilation, and had published papers with Dr. Don rehearse masked and at a distance. Milton, professor of environmental health at UMD and influenza expert, joined, too. At Colorado, Miller and her team enlisted instrumentalists to perform in front of lasers and stage fog, which allowed them to compute and visualize aerosol volume and velocity through clean air. The initial findings were a dismaying shock. “When (the Colorado team) showed us how much aerosol was coming out of the instruments, our hearts sank very quickly,” says Spede. themselves six feet apart, trombonists needed nine; they have In College Park, Srebric and her team of students, using a to work harder to push sound to the other end of the elongated high-speed camera, measured the particles in breath and speed instrument, making them more efficient vectors—plus, with the of exhalation. Then they modeled how aerosols could disperse slide fully extended, the trombone easily eats into those six feet. through recital halls or rehearsal spaces of various sizes, factorActors, too, produced many more particles while projecting in information about ventilation systems. ing their voices than typical conversation would, the findings The team found that some instruments posed more of a showed. Researchers saw essentially no difference in the threat than others. Trumpets and clarinets—instruments with a number of particles produced by playing an instrument, singing relatively simple, unimpeded shape from mouthpiece to bell— or speaking for the stage. had higher concentrations of particles than more curved ones. The results showed that performing or practicing outdoors, It also determined that while most musicians should position along with masks—both on the musician’s face if possible, with

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a small slit cut out for the player’s mouth, and a bell cover for wind and brass instruments—cut the risk of diffusing aerosols significantly. “Huge,” Srebric says of the difference masks make. “You’re looking at a 50 to 70, 80% reduction in the concentration of particles and the velocity.” Even outside, Srebric recommends that musicians or singers move to a new location or take a five-minute break after an hour of practice. “You build up the concentration” in the air, she says. Moving to a different area or pausing to allow wind to shift the air reduces the aerosols present, she says.

After the initial guidelines were released in July, Srebric received a deluge of questions from music teachers and band leaders around the country who were hungry for information. What type of fabric should we use for masks? (Surgical masks are good, and more important than fabric is fit: Make sure they’re snug around nose and chin. For instruments, a scrap of pantyhose stretched around the bell works.) How long can we stay in a rehearsal space? (Thirty minutes, maximum.) How can musicians empty spit valves safely? (Easy—use a disposable puppy pad.) Lynne Gackle, national president of the American Choral

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Directors Association and professor of ensembles and director of choral activities at Baylor University in Texas, says Miller’s and Srebric’s work has “definitely informed everything we are doing at our university right now.” In the fall, her student singers wore masks, met in a large church sanctuary with a good ventilation system and went outside every half-hour to let the air clear. For Gackle, the guidance allowed a return to the splendor of live music. “On Sept. 7, when I sat in front of that choir and they began to sing, it moved me emotionally,” she says. “I looked out and they were moved emotionally, and I saw tears. I get chills thinking about it right now.” Still, Srebric is bearish on the return of music as leisure until a vaccine is widely available. For musicians, “playing music together is a pretty social experience,” she says. Attending a concert for pleasure, she believes, constitutes “an unnecessary risk.”

the specifics of breath control, the technicalities of finger placement—can those be taught over video conferencing? Last spring, faculty and staff at UMD who focus on musical performance faced unique challenges as classes pivoted quickly to virtual instruction. Justin Drew M.M. ’07, D.M.A. ’19, a lecturer in French horn performance in the School of Music (SOM), says that his was the “ability to discern information in real time—hearing someone play and then instructing the student on how to move forward.” As students followed directions to record their performances on cell phones or laptops, and to use video conferencing to communicate with their instructors, lag time, distortion and generally poor audio quality made the nuances of playing nearly imperceptible. Playing in ensembles over video was all but impossible. The School of Music’s leadership matched funds from a UMD teaching innovation grant and found a solution for the Fall 2020 semester: high-quality web cameras and recorders, as well as software, for the more than 400 music majors. The Zoom Q2n-4K “has been such a game-changer,” says Drew. The camera/recorder provides an audio recording much better than those available on computers or phones. “I’m able to discern a lot of nuances and details in (students’) playing,” he

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Neil Brown ’09, M.M. ’14, a trumpeter, has relied on his work as an audio engineer and teacher during the pandemic.

says. “It’s really changed the experience for both students and me, as a teacher.” SOM also provided mic stands, tripods and other equipment to students—who now own the items. “You don’t know how many 500 mic stands are until you get a truckload of mic stands,” says William Evans, lecturer and director of the music technology lab, who coordinated the purchase of the equipment and its distribution. (Students who couldn’t come to the Clarice Smith


Performing Arts Center in person received their devices by mail.) New ways of creating music, art, theater and dance have been key to continued teaching and learning within SOM and UMD’s School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies (TDPS). Last spring, undergraduates acted in a live virtual production of the fantasy show “She Kills Monsters,” which The New York Times said “made particularly impressive use of filters;” the paper also noted the livestream had twice as many viewers as a simultaneous YouTube reading of playwright David Mamet’s “November,” which featured John Malkovich and Patti LuPone. For some, the move online has expanded the options for guest instruction. Through The Clarice’s Artist Partner Programs, percussion and jazz students have attended a virtual clinic with Boston-based Grammy-winning drummer Terri Lyne “I don’t think the Carrington. TDPS students took a hiphop class with the London theater and students are learning dance collective Far From the Norm. any less because of The outdoors has been essential: the situation—it’s Craig Kier, associate professor and director of the Maryland Opera Studio, just a different kind led opera students in socially distanced of learning.” rehearsals in the courtyard of The —GREGORY MILLER, Clarice. During Homecoming week in SCHOOL OF MUSIC DIRECTOR October, Alexandra Kelly Colburn ’18 directed “art is water, seeds are change,” a video installation of short films projected onto one of The Clarice’s exterior walls. “There’s no question that none of us want to see this continue much longer,” says Gregory Miller, SOM director and horn professor. “But I don’t think the students are learning any less because of the situation—it’s just a different kind of learning.”

still, technology can only go so far in replicating the thrill of creating music with others. For many, the loss is palpable and painful—both in terms of income lost and the energy created by and exchanged between artists engaged in the joint pursuit of something transcendent. “The ensemble experience is really important to learn how to play with others,” says Ally Happ ’23, who plays the French horn.

“It’s where people get joy from being in music.” When Heather MacArthur ’14, M.M. ’17 learned that the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, in which she plays violin, was canceling its spring season, she didn’t immediately worry. Instead, she traveled around the country, learning songs about whatever state she happened to be in and performing them in pop-up concerts for passersby: “Meet Me in St. Louis” at the Gateway Arch, “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the U.S. Capitol. Trumpet player Neil Brown ’09, M.M. ’14 had just returned in early March from touring Texas and Louisiana with one of his groups, the sweetly named Peacherine Ragtime Society Orchestra, when its trips to Ohio and Pennsylvania were suddenly canceled. He had hoped to play some gigs on Easter—a big day for trumpeters—but “it became increasingly clear this was here to stay for a while,” he says. Working as a recording engineer and teacher has helped Brown stay afloat, and others have adjusted to a new, roomier, airier reality. MacArthur played a weekly, outdoor summer concert series in Colorado, where, over several acres, local bands and musicians performed with lots of space between them and the audience. With the Fort Collins Symphony Orchestra, she played in an indoor performance, with all musicians masked and the wind players surrounded by Plexiglas; only 50 spectators were allowed in the vast hall. Some performers are using the pandemic as inspiration for their art. Gabriel Mata-Ortega M.F.A. ’21 has altered his disco-based dance thesis so that his movement is constrained to an 8 x 8-foot square. “I want this space to be seen as a limitation, but also (ask): What can it afford or provide? What space am I making, and how is it helping me?” Srebric’s research continues, deepening the understanding of aerosol spread. Her team recruited singer Allison Hughes for an experiment led by doctoral student Lingzhe Wang that took place in the lab’s environmental chamber, a temperature-controlled room with highly purified air that makes the accumulation of particles, their source and their movement clearer. Tracking velocity and particle concentration as Hughes sang, Wang and the team found that a box fan fitted with an air filter reduced particle concentration by about half, and wearing a mask while singing provided near-perfect prevention of aerosol spread. Srebric hopes that her work will provide a template for a life in which, gradually, in-person harmonies and melodies will reach us all again, even if COVID remains with us for some time. “Without music,” she says, the world “is a really sad place.” terp

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ALUMNI

A S S O C I AT I O N

Letter From the Executive Director TERPS ARE TEACHERS, LAWYERS and community

activists. They are journalists, researchers and creators of new knowledge. They are entrepreneurs, health-care workers and scientists working on a COVID-19 vaccine. As an Alumni Association, we are proud to share their stories with fellow alumni, future and current students, and the state and nation at large. Our most notable alumni icons are members of the Alumni Hall of Fame, featured prominently on the walls of the Samuel Riggs IV Alumni Center. Muppeteer Jim Henson ’60, astronaut Judith Resnik Ph.D. ’77 and “Seinfeld” creator Larry David ’70 are among 68 revered alumni. We honor these Terps annually at A Celebration of Terps: Featuring the Maryland Awards, as well as through the new Alumni Excellence Awards, launched last year. I salute this year’s recipients, shown on these pages, for their accomplishments and contributions in their professions.

Rising Terp Award

The following alumni are an inspiration to the next generation of Terp leaders. All under the age of 30, they have already made significant professional accomplishments.

NIKHIL BALAKUMAR ’14 HEAD OF MARKET DEVELOPMENT-EASTERN REGION, UTILIDATA; CO-FOUNDER, TERP ENTREPRENEUR NETWORK

Balakumar is an innovator, pushing for smarter use of clean energy and better access to utility company data.

DANI BECKERMAN ’12 OWNER, JARS BY DANI

This rising Terp turned her baking hobby into a thriving business when she founded Jars by Dani in 2013. Now, she sells her neatly packed, colorful cakes nationwide.

SAHIL RAHMAN ’12 AND RAHUL VINOD ’11 FOUNDERS AND OWNERS, RASA

Through their Indian fast-casual eateries, these lifelong friends helped feed more than 20,000 people impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition, many of our talented alumni serve as valuable resources to fellow Terps. This past fall, state Dels. Wanika Fisher ’10 and Alonzo Washington ’07 were featured at a UMD Democracy event focused on identity politics. We also heard from Jake Blackmon ’17, director of operations at Smoketown Brewery in Frederick, Md., about the beermaking business. In addition, as part of an alumni panel, former NBA star and lawyer Len Elmore ’78 shared his input on social justice. Alumni experts have also shared information about exercise, food and nutrition. Our new alumni cookbook features dozens of recipes from Terps, including Joy Bauer ’86, NBC nutrition and health expert and No. 1 bestselling author, and Carolyn Gurtz ’70, a Pillsbury Bake-Off grand prize winner. I encourage you to reach out to our awardees and featured alumni through our Alumni Directory at alumni.umd.edu/directory. This past year has been filled with unprecedented challenges. 2021 is a new year filled with new opportunities. And the Alumni Association is excited to share new programs and events aimed at you. I hope you stay safe and have a healthy winter. Go Terps!

EnTERPreneur Award

These Terps are fearlessly disrupting their industries as successful entrepreneurs. We honor three alumni for their significant business contributions.

CATE LUZIO ’97 FOUNDER AND CEO, LUMINARY

Luzio founded a collaboration hub for women to develop, network and connect. She recently expanded her online programs to reach women across the country.

BRETT SCHULMAN ’95 CEO, CAVA

Under Schulman’s direction, the Mediterranean fast-casual chain has expanded to almost 300 restaurants in 24 states, including a location in College Park.

STEVE TOUW ’99 Amy Eichhorst

Executive Director University of Maryland Alumni Association

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CO-FOUNDER AND CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER, IMMUTA

Touw and his UMD Discovery District-based company create software that enables legal and ethical use of data while protecting privacy.


The Alumni Excellence Awards University of Maryland graduates are among the best and brightest in their fields. From scholars and innovators to entrepreneurs, teachers and researchers, our alumni are leaving their mark in our state, nation and the world. The Alumni Excellence Awards provide an opportunity to recognize the accomplishments of select Terps, and honor these recipients with distinction. Careful consideration was made in selecting the following standout alumni, our 2021 recipients of the Alumni Excellence Awards. Learn more at alumni.umd.edu/excellence.

Legacy Award

This distinguished award honors alumni who have left a positive legacy in their community, celebrating their personal and professional lifetime achievements.

Research Award

The University of Maryland is one of the world’s premier research institutions. This award recognizes three alumni for their transformational research and its impact.

AUTUMN GRIFFIN PH.D. ’20 CO-FOUNDER, BLACKADEMIA

Griffin, a postdoctoral researcher studying technology in the classroom, launched the Blackademia digital network to share and celebrate stories of people of color in academic spaces.

RUTH KASTNER ’82, M.S. ’92, PH.D. ’99 FOUNDER OF THE QUANTUM INSTITUTE, AUTHOR, EDUCATOR AND UMD RESEARCH ASSOCIATE

Kastner is a researcher and physics pioneer, known worldwide for her work in quantum mechanics.

SAMUEL RAMSEY PH.D. ’18 ENTOMOLOGIST, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE BEE RESEARCH LAB

Ramsey revolutionized the honey bee world when he discovered that a parasite that threatens the population is feeding on bees’ organs, and not their blood as previously believed.

KAREL PETRAITIS PRESIDENT, PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY TERPS ALUMNI NETWORK; VOLUNTEER WITH REBOUNDERS AND FAST BREAKERS; FORMER TERRAPIN CLUB BOARD MEMBER

This avid Terps fan grew up in College Park and has spent most of her life supporting UMD.

REBECCA EVANS CARROLL ED.D. ’66

GREG SCHAUB ’82

AUTHOR, EDUCATOR AND FORMER DEPUTY SUPERINTENDENT OF CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION, BALTIMORE CITY PUBLIC SCHOOLS

RETIRED MANAGING DIRECTOR, JP MORGAN CHASE; FORMER MEMBER, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND ALUMNI ASSOCIATION BOARD OF GOVERNORS

In 1962, Carroll became the first African American woman to earn a doctorate from UMD.

R E B E C C A E V A N S C A R R O L L P H O T O C O U R T E S Y O F T H E B A LT I M O R E S U N

Schaub boosts UMD’s presence in his home state of Texas through networking events and a scholarship he and his wife created.

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ALUMNI

PROFILES

V E R N O N D AV I S

Trading Touchdowns for Tangos Former Terp, Pro Football Player Vernon Davis Tackles New Challenges on “Dancing With the Stars” fter three standout seasons as a Terp, a sixth-overall selection in the 2006 draft, 63 NFL touchdowns, two Pro Bowl selections and a Super Bowl championship, how hard could a little cha cha be? On ABC’s choreography-crammed competition show “Dancing With the Stars,” Vernon Davis discovered that it required a lot more than a typical end-zone celebration. While the former tight end won’t be able to add the Mirror Ball Trophy to his collection after his Week 6 elimination, he quickstepped, foxtrotted and tangoed his way to a fresh appreciation for a new kind of competition. “I did think it would be easy, but it wasn’t. It was one of the toughest things that I’ve ever done,” he says. “I have a totally different level of respect for dancers.” Rehearsing the routines over and

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over for hours was a new kind of physical grind, but encouragement along the way helped, whether in tweets from fans (the former 49er, Bronco and Washington player has over a million followers after a 14-year career), messages from former Terp teammates D’Qwell Jackson and Shawne Merriman, or comments from the judges. “You’re very comfortable with yourself, which actually says a lot,” judge and veteran choreographer Carrie Ann Inaba told Davis after his Week 6 cha cha. “It’s not easy, these movements, to be comfortable. … But you have an ease about you.” While it wasn’t enough for a perfect 10 or to take home the title, Davis is still grooving in the entertainment industry. He’s producing and acting in the upcoming films “Red Winter” and “A Message From Brianna,” and has more projects in the pipeline. “I challenged myself in a way that was totally unexpected,” he says. “Accomplishing that tells me that I can go even further. Football is not the only motivation that I have.”—ad

P H O T O C O U R T E SY O F A B C / L A R E T TA H O U S T O N


ADAM KOLAREK BRANDON LOWE

CLASS NOTES MAX MAJOR ’05 , a Las Vegas mentalist,

made it to the semifinal round of the NBC competition “America’s Got Talent” after seemingly reading judge Simon Cowell’s mind and wowing the judges. Comic SARAH COOPER ’98 starred in the Netflix special “Everything’s

For Terp Fans, an Instant (Fall) Classic Former UMD Stars Face Off in World Series

Fine” this fall and is developing a CBS comedy series. She appeared on “Ellen” and “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and was profiled in The Washington Post and The New York Times after her lip-synched impersonations

WHETHER FANS WERE ROOTING for the Los

teams battled it out through six games at Globe

of President Trump on TikTok garnered

Angeles Dodgers, the Tampa Bay Rays or just

Life Field in Arlington, Texas, capping a COVID-

millions of views.

for an entertaining 2020 World Series, one thing

shortened MLB season.

was certain from the outset: A Terp would be hoisting the trophy. October’s Fall Classic was the first to feature

Kolarek and the Dodgers came out on top,

Speculative fiction writer N.K. JEMISIN

making the left-hander the fourth Terp to win

M.ED. ’97 was awarded a no-strings-

a World Series championship. But both players

attached $625,000 “genius” grant from

two former UMD players competing against each

provided plenty of highlights on their jour-

the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur

other: Dodgers relief pitcher Adam Kolarek and

neys from College Park to baseball’s biggest

Foundation. She is the only author of

Rays second baseman Brandon Lowe. Their

stage.—AD

science fiction or fantasy to have won the Hugo Award for Best Novel in three consecutive years, 2016-18.

QUICK HITS MARYLAND STATS 5-6 record, 5.03 ERA and 89 strikeouts over 111 innings from 2008-10 LOWE .338 batting average, 10 home runs and 95 RBIs over 120 games from 2014-15 KOLAREK

BEA PEREZ ’91 , senior vice president

2020 REGULAR-SEASON HIGHLIGHTS Led qualified Dodgers pitchers with a 0.95 ERA over 19 innings LOWE Paced Rays’ offense with a team-high 14 homers and 37 RBIs KOLAREK

TOP WORLD SERIES MOMENT Struck out Lowe swinging in first-ever Terp vs. Terp World Series at-bat LOWE After a two-homer Game 2, launched three-run, go-ahead shot in wild Game 4 that Rays won, 8-7 KOLAREK

and chief communications, public affairs, sustainability and marketing assets officer at the Coca-Cola Co., was named to PRWeek’s 2020 Hall of Fame class. U.S. Reps. STENY HOYER ’63 , House majority leader, D-Maryland; DUTCH RUPPERSBERGER ’67 , D-Maryland;

EXTRA INNINGS KOLAREK His dad, Frank Kolarek, also played baseball at Maryland as a catcher from 1974-75 and competed in the Oakland Athletics’ minor league system. LOWE After placing third in the American League Rookie of the Year voting in 2019, he came in eighth in last season’s AL Most Valuable Player Award ranking.

CHERI BUSTOS ’83 , D-Illinois; ERIC SWALWELL ’03 , D-California; and JENNIFER WEXTON ’91 , D-Virginia,

were all reelected to their seats in Congress in November. WILLIAM LACY CLAY ’74 , D-Missouri, lost his 10-term

seat in an August primary. Read about the UMD Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism’s virtual panel of Kolarek, Lowe and ESPN baseball analyst Tim Kurkjian ’78 at today.umd.edu.

T O P L E F T P H O T O : S U E O G R O C K I /A P / S H U T T E R S T O C K ; T O P R I G H T P H O T O : U P I /A L A M Y L I V E N E W S ; I L L U S T R AT I O N S BY J A S O N A . K E I S L I N G

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

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PROFILES

Beauty, Conscious Owner of Skin-Care Company Celebrates Diversity—and Burst in Growth or months, Mia Chae Reddy Ph.D. ’12 has been working 18-hour days, packing and shipping orders of her Moroccan-inspired beauty and wellness products around the world. She never expected sales would skyrocket during the pandemic. Her young company, Dehiya, initially took a hit as the coronavirus gripped the country

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M I A C H A E R E D DY P H . D . ’ 1 2

and squeezed its economy. But just days after police in Minnesota killed George Floyd, setting off protests nationwide, Black-owned businesses saw a surge of attention. Reddy almost immediately sold out her stock. Reddy and Dehiya have been featured in Harper’s Bazaar, Allure, Essence and other top publications. She’s seen a more than 5,000% jump in visits to her website and thousands of new followers on Instagram, and her products are now available at retailers including Nordstrom and Urban Outfitters. She’s also engaged in countless “thoughtful and genuine” discussions about race in recent months, though she admits to feeling ambivalent about her success since the tragedy. As a result, Reddy has stepped more into the public eye—as a voice not only for her business, but also for Black lives.

“I feel like I’m coming into my place as a founder and cultural curator,” she says. “It turns out skin care and products have been a catalyst to have important conversations.” At Maryland, Reddy focused her doctoral research in American studies on Black women growing up in the golden era of hip-hop, and how that formed their conception of identity. A makeup artist throughout college, she conceived the idea for Dehiya several years later during a trip to Morocco, where a fourth-generation herbalist taught her time-honored folk beauty practices. The company, which takes its name from a powerful 7th-century North African female warrior, launched in early 2019 in California. Dehiya’s products, such as the small, handcrafted tool made of terra-cotta and cotton known as a “Mihakka,” are organic, plant-based, vegan and ethically sourced, and many of the ingredients are produced by a women’s co-op outside of Marrakech. “I want to combine ancestral ritual with modern practices,” Reddy says, “to uncomplicate skin care routines and help us return to simple beauty.” —jessica weiss ’05

P O R T R A I T C O U R T E S Y O F M I A C H A E R E D D Y ; P R O D U C T P H O T O B Y J O H N T. C O N S O L I


GIVE THE GIFT OF

EDUCATION The Clark Challenge for the Maryland Promise will establish a $100 million endowment that will provide need-based scholarships to undergraduate students in the state of Maryland and the District of Columbia. For more information, contact Susan Smith in University Development at 301.405.0196 or ssmith86@umd.edu.

SUPPORT THE MARYLAND PROMISE PROGRAM TODAY! 1 Choose the school or other approved program where you hope to support students in need. 2 You can help us by naming your own endowed fund (contact us for program details) or making a gift to the Maryland Promise General Endowment Fund. 3 Receive a dollar-for-dollar match from the university and the A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation. 4 See your scholarship awarded—in perpetuity.


ALUMNI

PROFILES

SEV GEDRA ’11, ’18

Fearsome Fabrications Alum Makes “Walking Dead” Spinoff Sets Ghastly, When She’s Not Wielding a Sword or Crafting EyePopping Costumes reeping rust and spreading decay—just a couple of the things that’ll take over our dying civilization after the zombie outbreak. But what if this apocalypse never happens, and the entertainment of millions depends on making everything look as picturesquely awful as if it had? That’s when you call Sev Gedra ’11, ’18. The studio art and art history grad’s new job is applying an end-of-days patina to locations around her home of Richmond, Va., where AMC shoots the new “Walking Dead” spinoff, “World Beyond,” which premiered in October. It requires more than just basic skill with a paintbrush. “Making things look random, like they occurred naturally, is really hard, because your brain makes patterns naturally,” Gedra says. “Without realizing it, you start doing things in a predictable way, and it doesn’t look real.” Predictability isn’t a word that comes to mind in surveying Gedra’s career so far. Since graduating from the University of Maryland, she’s lived around the country and created in a bewildering range of media: delicately beaded fascinators, and similarly delicate yet vaguely menacing horned headdresses; freakish bodily fluid-spewing costumes for the Richmond satiric shock-metal band GWAR; metal furniture crafted from salvaged fire truck springs and other materials; perfectly made-up faces of both the wedding and monstrous, costume ball variety. (Much of her work can be seen at her website, sevgedramakes.com.) But it seems less random when she

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describes herself and the group of friends she creates with, including her boyfriend, as “fabricators.” “We don’t pick one material,” she said. “My goal in my hobbies, and now my career, is that if you give me a material, I can make whatever you want out of it.” That means metal, wood, fabric and her favorite—foam rubber—among others. Longtime friend Ianje Castellanos got to know Gedra at local sword-and-sorcery recreational combat events in which Castellanos says her friend is known nationally “as one of the most fearsome female fighters.” In addition to pounding competitors with padded swords, she unsheathes her creativity, introducing more realistic-looking shields that have spread throughout this hobbyist community. “She’s a badass fighter and a creative badass,” Castellanos says. “It’s amazing to watch her go Gedra’s work ranges from an alarming fish costume (top) to an elegant into a new medium and master it fascinator, both of which she models. She also creates accessories for a medieval combat sport she pursues with friend Ianje Castellanos (at completely.” left in photo above). When production of “World Beyond’s” first season wrapped, Gedra landed another TV set-painting job and a garden,” Gedra’s not aiming to put with Apple’s upcoming youth basketball down stakes in Hollywood, although she’s drama “Swagger,” produced by NBA star willing to camp out just about anywhere for Kevin Durant and set in Washington, D.C. the right opportunity—namely, a chance As someone who describes her version of to continue vanquishing new challenges in success as “chickens in the backyard fabrication.—cc

T O P P H O T O B Y V I C T O R VA G U E ; B O T T O M R I G H T P H O T O B Y M A D D I E M CGA RV EY; A L L P H OTOS CO U RT ESY O F S EV G E D RA


President Pines points to his newly engraved name on the Frann G. & Eric S. Francis Lifetime Member Wall. Join him as a member today.

After last year, we could all use a refresh. One resolution that’s easy to keep is to join the University of Maryland Alumni Association. By joining you’ll get access to all of the new members-only experiences we’ve developed to help make you the best version of yourself, including invaluable career advice, exclusive swag, personal improvement and financial guidance.

Become a member today

alumni.umd.edu/Member21

free GIFT TO YOU Get this new quarter-zip pullover as a gift when you join.

Lifetime memberships paid in full by April 30, 2021 will be engraved in the fall of 2021. Become a member by March 31, 2021 to receive your free quarter-zip pullover. One gift per household.


ALUMNI

FROM THE ARCHIVES

Archiving Astronomical Achievements As Alum Prepares for Liftoff, Explore Some Out-of-ThisWorld Objects From Past Terp Travels hen nasa astronaut Jeanette Epps M.S. ’94, Ph.D. ’00 launches into a six-month International Space Station expedition later this year, it’ll be one giant leap: She’s scheduled to become the first Black woman to work on the orbiting space lab’s crew. Epps, who studied aerospace engineering at Maryland, will join the ranks of four other space-traveling Terps: Judith Resnik Ph.D. ’77, William McCool M.S. ’85, Paul W. Richards M.S. ’91 and Richard R. Arnold II M.S. ’92. To commemorate the occasion, we joined University Archives on a blast into the past to unearth a few of their donated souvenirs. Richards—who logged a 6-hour, 21-minute spacewalk during his March 2001 mission aboard the space shuttle Discovery—presented his alma mater with photos of the spacecraft and crew (decked out in red, white and blue, of course), a patch with all of their names, and an American flag that’s in surprisingly good condition after its 5.3 million-mile journey.—AD

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E P P S P H O T O C O U R T E S Y O F N A S A ; M E M O R A B I L I A P H O T O B Y J O H N T. C O N S O L I



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My wearable tech WILL FREE UP HOSPITAL _2BEDS. EMILY CHO ’22 / MECHANICAL ENGINEERING

Emily is part of a team developing a monitoring device to allow high-risk patients to safely go home while remaining under the watchful eye of medical personnel. The device could one day help prevent overcrowding of hospitals, particularly during high demand periods.