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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

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University Launches Dynamic, Interactive Information Website UMD Right Now

December 4, 2012
Contacts: 

Crystal Brown 301-405-4618 crystalb@umd.edu

College Park, Md. – Today, the University of Maryland launched a brand-new multimedia news and information portal, UMD Right Now, which provides members of the media and the public with real-time information on the university and its extended community.

UMD Right Now replaces Newsdesk, which previously served as the university’s news hub and central resource for members of the media. The new site is aimed at reaching broader audiences and allows visitors to keep up with the latest Maryland news and events, view photos and videos and connect with the university across all of its social media platforms.

“We designed UMD Right Now to be a comprehensive, vibrant site where visitors can find new and exciting things happening at Maryland,” said Linda Martin, executive director, Web and New Media Strategies. “Through social media, video, photos and news information, we hope to engage visitors and compel the community to explore all that Maryland has to offer.”

The new website, umdrightnow.umd.edu, contains up-to-date news releases and announcements, facts and figures about the university, a searchable database of faculty and staff experts, information highlighting innovation and entrepreneurship at UMD, additional resources for news media and other campus and athletics news.

“UMD RightNow is the place to go to find out all the things happening on and around campus on any given day,” said Crystal Brown, chief communications officer. “This website brings real-time news, events and information right to your fingertips.”

For more information and contact information for the Office of University Communications, please visit umdrightnow.umd.edu.

Leidos Invests in Innovation Partnership with UMD

September 24, 2014
Contacts: 

Pamela Morse 301-405-6266

Donation furthers Research, Education Programs, Student Activities and Fellowships

LeidosCOLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland received a $200,000 donation from Leidos, a national security, health and engineering solutions company, to support research, education programs, student activities and fellowships.

The commitment of support reflects an ongoing relationship between Leidos and UMD to provide high-quality education and research opportunities for students and faculty. 

"We're excited to support one of the nation's finest research and educational institutions and the next generation of technical leaders," said Jim Cantor, senior vice president and chief engineer for Leidos National Security Sector and UMD executive sponsor.  "Such support not only provides critical resources and opportunities for students and faculty at institutions like UMD, it strengthens the nation as we work to maintain a strong high-tech research and manufacturing capability that is fundamental to national security."

The donation supports UMD's leading engineering, public health, and cybersecurity research and education programs. 

The gift includes the launch of the UMD-Leidos Seed Grant Program, a new initiative to facilitate and incentivize collaborations between UMD researchers and Leidos subject matter experts in the areas of health and national security. 

"UMD and Leidos are both global leaders looking to solve the grand problems of our time," said Patrick O'Shea, vice president and chief research officer at the University of Maryland. "We are delighted about the UMD-Leidos Seed Grant Program's potential to catalyze bold new research."

The donation also supports:

  • BitCamp, a student-run 'hackathon' where over 1,000 students demonstrate their skills on testing vulnerabilities of websites, apps and hardware projects.
  • Programs that promote diversity in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), including the Maryland Center for Women in Computing Ambassadors, the Center for Minorities in Science and Engineering Banquet, and Women in Engineering DREAM Conference.   
  • Efforts in the Departments of Electrical & Computer Engineering and Epidemiology & Biostatistics.
  • Talent development programs in the A. James Clark School of Engineering, the Department of Computer Science, and the University Career Center.
  • Membership in the Maryland Cybersecurity Center Corporate Partner Program and M-CERSI (University of Maryland Center of Excellence in Regulatory Science and Innovation) Industry Consortium, a program that brings together experts to discover regulatory science practices that promote innovation in medical devices and pharmaceutical, while also addressing critical safety concerns.

Reimagining Route 1 as Prominent Arts and Culture District

September 23, 2014
Contacts: 

Nicky Everette 301-405-6714

College Park Think-a-ThonCOLLEGE PARK, Md. — Imagine a street with a world-class art gallery and movie theater, where visitors and local residents stroll, shop and dine at sidewalk cafes alongside students and artists.

Now, imagine that street is Baltimore Avenue—also known as Route 1—College Park's major artery connecting residents, business owners, workers and the students, faculty and staff at the University of Maryland. As the university and city consider plans to reinvigorate Baltimore Avenue, the College of Arts and Humanities' Center for Synergy is asking the community to rethink the area and to imagine the impact arts and culture can play on its revitalization. 

The center plans to convene the greater College Park community for a Think-A-Thon planned for October 11. It recognizes that the university is a major anchor institution in College Park and Prince George's County. This supports the vision of turning College Park into a top 20 college town by 2020.

The event is intended to help university administrators, College Park officials and other city stakeholders, including residents, artists and students, gather information for a future redesign during an afternoon brainstorming session. All are invited to share ideas about how art and culture can address community challenges and help turn College Park into a national destination for living, learning and arts. 

"The Think-A-Thon is another reason that College Park is a smart place to live," said City of College Park Mayor Andrew Fellows. "We've always been thoughtful—now we've begun to do so collectively, by creative and collaborative design."

Actively engaging the community as a stakeholder gives the regional redesign a holistic approach, said Center for Synergy Director Sheri Parks.

"We're working very synergistically with the City of College Park," said Parks. "Arts and culture are central catalysts in the transformation of communities into highly livable environments that benefit everyone."

The center is leading the university's conversation as it relates to the infusion of arts and culture in a redesign, and seeks to engage community input in a series of pre-Think-A-Thon events leading up to the larger event.

Omar Blaik, CEO and founder of Philadelphia-based U3 Ventures, plans to attend the session to listen and learn what community members want. Blaik is an experienced consultant who helped transform swaths of Philadelphia around the University of Pennsylvania. He is now working with the University of Maryland in the larger East Campus redesign project with the goal of turning College Park into a vibrant campus that is integrated with its community through retail, dining, business, arts and culture.

The College Park Think-A-Thon is scheduled Oct. 11 from 2 to 5:30 p.m. at the College Park Community Center, 5051 Pierce Avenue, College Park, MD 20740.

For more information or to register, visit www.arhu.umd.edu/thinkathon.

UMD Recognized for Top Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programs

September 22, 2014
Contacts: 

Alana Carchedi 301-405-0235

Top 25 Entrepreneurship ProgramsCOLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland (UMD) has been named one of the country's "Best Colleges for Entrepreneurs" by the Princeton Review. In the 2015 list of the top entrepreneurship programs, published in Entrepreneur magazine, UMD ranks No. 9 among public schools and No. 21 overall for its undergraduate program.  This is the fourth consecutive year that UMD has been named a Top 25 Entrepreneurship Program.

"UMD has always been a pioneer in educating the next generation of entrepreneurs, and now our university president has set a bold goal of broadening innovation and entrepreneurship to all 37,000 UMD students to prepare them to tackle the world's toughest problems," says Dean Chang, UMD's associate vice president for innovation and entrepreneurship. "We're now starting to create incredible I&E opportunities for students of all majors as a result of a collective effort by the Deans of every college, as well as numerous I&E-related programs across campus."

Over the past year, student enrollment in I&E courses at UMD has doubled.  The University of Maryland offers 141 innovation and entrepreneurship courses taught by 103 faculty representing 34 different campus departments; and UMD students have access to more than 21 I&E mentoring programs involving more than 113 external mentors. There are 16 different business, innovation and seed fund competitions for aspiring entrepreneurs and innovators with cash prizes in excess of $850,000. The university also celebrates I&E during its annual '30 Days of EnTERPreneurship' and offers the #1 Entrepreneurship MOOC on Coursera with more than 400,000 cumulative worldwide enrollments.

Based on surveys sent to school administrators at more than 2,000 institutions from April to June in 2014, the Princeton Review recognizes the Top 25 for their excellence in entrepreneurship education. Schools are chosen based on a number of factors, including:

  • The levels of their commitment to entrepreneurship inside and outside the classroom;
  • The percentage of their faculty, students, and alumni actively and successfully involved in entrepreneurial endeavors;
  • The number of their mentorship programs; and
  • Their funding for scholarships and grants for entrepreneurial studies and projects.

In addition to The Princeton Review's ranking, last year Silicon Valley's PandoDaily named UMD the Top Public School for Tech Entrepreneurship

To view the full list of rankings, visit www.princetonreview.com/entrepreneur.  To learn more about entrepreneurship and innovation at UMD, visit http://innovation.umd.edu.

UMD Honors Local Communities for Sustainability Efforts

September 19, 2014
Contacts: 

Mike Hunninghake 301 405-7956

Five Prince George's Municipalities Receive "Sustainable Maryland Certified" Award

Sustainable Maryland Certified

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The Environmental Finance Center at the University of Maryland honored five Prince George's County municipalities for achieving Sustainable Maryland Certified status during an awards ceremony at the Maryland Municipal League's annual Fall Conference.

Officials from Berwyn Heights, Cheverly, Greenbelt, Riverdale Park, and University Park accepted their awards at the annual ceremony marking the achievements of Maryland communities striving to become more sustainable.

Joanne Throwe, director of the Environmental Finance Center, congratulated the certified towns: "These newly certified Sustainable Maryland municipalities have demonstrated, each in their own unique ways, their commitment to strengthening the social, economic and environmental pillars of sustainability in their towns and cities. I commend their elected officials, municipal staff, and of course the passionate volunteers of their Green Teams for their efforts to shine a guiding light on the path forward for all of Maryland's communities to a brighter, more sustainable future."

To achieve Sustainable Maryland Certified status, municipalities are required to form a Green Team comprised of local residents, community leaders, municipal staff and officials; complete a variety sustainability-related actions worth a total of at least 150 points (including two mandatory actions and two of six priority actions), and submit the appropriate documentation as evidence that the Sustainable Maryland Certified requirements have been satisfied.

Highlights of each municipality's sustainability efforts include:

Town of Berwyn Heights

Berwyn HeightsThe Berwyn Heights Green Team implemented a number of efforts to engage with Town residents. The Green Team established a regular page called the GreenBee in the Berwyn Heights Bulletin, which includes information such as gardening tips, information about local farmers' markets, energy efficiency recommendations and other suggestions for ways that residents could implement sustainable practices. Its Facebook page publicizes events and other information related to sustainable and environmentally-friendly actions for residents to consider. The Green Team has also helped in expanding the local school gardens, including establishing a composting system, creating a pollinator garden and creating a vegetable garden. The Town conducted energy audits on the Town Center, Senior Center, and Public Works building, which identified ways to save energy and save tax dollars. At a "Stormwater Solutions: Rain Barrels and More!" workshop, residents learned about rain barrel rebates, how to install a rain barrel, and where rain barrels were already installed in the local community. A Community Garden launched in 2014, which  includes a plot dedicated to a local food bank, provides residents the opportunity to both grow fresh food and connect with neighbors, and. A storm drain-marking project held in partnership with Berwyn Heights Elementary School alerted residents to the importance of protecting water quality in the local watershed.  The Town's Tree City USA designation affirms its commitment to maintaining a healthy urban tree canopy, providing numerous benefits including clean air, clean water, and reducing temperatures in the summer.
 
"We take great pride in that Berwyn Heights' effort to achieve Sustainable Maryland certification was a true community effort that involved citizen volunteers, town staff, and community stakeholders," said Berwyn Heights Mayor Cheye Calvo. "Although the effort initially focused on getting the points required to become certified, it quickly took on a life of its own.  By rallying the community behind a shared goal and putting in place the infrastructure to promote green policies and practices, Sustainable Maryland will continue to yield meaningful benefits to the Town of Berwyn Heights and the environment well beyond this important milestone."

Town of Cheverly

CheverlyA strong base of volunteerism pervades the efforts of the Town of Cheverly's application this year. A Green Home and Garden Tour, organized by Cheverly Conservation Alliance, made up of Progressive Cheverly, the Cheverly Garden Club, and the Friends of Lower Beaverdam Creek, offers residents and visitors alike inspiration for a variety of ways to save energy and protect natural resources at the household scale. The pesticide-free Cheverly Vegetable Gardens are managed by volunteer residents who are Maryland Master Gardeners, and includes plots dedicated to producing food for two local food banks. The Cheverly Composting Program distributed low-cost compost bins to 10% of Cheverly residents in its first year, and has a 2-year goal of having about 25% of Cheverly households composting, providing significant savings on landfill tipping fees. Finally, a beacon of Cheverly's sustainability efforts can been observed in the form of a 60-foot high wind turbine, which generates power for the Cheverly Public Works building, and stands a testament to this community's commitment to a sustainable future for future generations.

"The town of Cheverly is honored to receive the Sustainable Maryland Certification award," said Dave Kneipp, Chair of Cheverly's Green Team. "This award recognizes the hard work on behalf of the town staff, various community organizations, and numerous individuals who make Cheverly a green community and a great place to live. Cheverly is proud to be a leader in the sustainable movement and ensuring a rich environment for future generations."

City of Greenbelt

GreenbeltSustainability is embedded in the history of the City of Greenbelt, a planned community designed during the Great Depression. It's unique cooperative structure, mixed-use town center, variety of housing types, and extensive grade-separated pedestrian pathways all contribute to a strong network of civic engagement and progressive endeavors.  The Greenbelt Advisory Committee on Environmental Sustainability (Green ACES) provides leadership for the community's efforts to go green. The Greenbelt Forest Preserve has protected 225 acres of woodlands for the enjoyment of residents, and the preservation of habitat and water quality within the City. The Greenbelt Community Garden Club manages three community gardens, which foster healthy food and social interaction. Fresh food is also available at the City's farmers market. A recently adopted Sustainability Plan offers a roadmap for local efforts to save energy, promote alternative transportation, reduce waste, and protect natural resources. The new Public Works building incorporates a variety of green features, including energy-efficient lighting, water conservation measures, and a high-efficiency geothermal heating system. And a variety of events and programs, including composting workshops, tree plantings, solar home tours, and the annual Green Man Festival all serve to promote sustainability to Greenbelt residents on regular basis.

"Greenbelt is proud to receive the Sustainable Maryland Certification," said Greenbelt Mayor Emmett V. Jordan. "There is a legacy of balance between the environmental, economic and social objectives that have shaped this community over time.  This certification reinforces the partnerships between residents, local civic/business organizations, and the city administration to improve our current practices and to strive for a more sustainable future."

Town of Riverdale Park

Riverdale ParkProgressive planning and community engagement were standouts in the Town of Riverdale Park's Sustainable Maryland application. Foremost amongst these efforts was the Town's commitment to making the new Riverdale Park Station as sustainable as possible. Town Council put several conditions on the property's zoning that included stormwater management, tree conservation, green space and walkability. Riverdale Park Station will be the first "LEED for Neighborhood Development" project in the Prince George's County. Another planning effort focused around Riverdale Park's Town Center, which features a MARC train station and a popular farmers market, but also long-vacant properties. University of Maryland - University College students, in conjunction with the Sustainability Committee, produced a "Revitalizing Riverdale Park's Town Center" report that surveyed residents and assessed current land uses. This report led to Developers Open House and design competition, which together with the report, is expected to yield a plan for re-activating multiple existing buildings within the long-vacant Town Center. Other planning efforts included a Green Design Workshop held at Town Hall, which engaged the community to express its needs and wants for a new municipal building. Feedback from the community will lead to a LEED certified development. Finally, in their efforts to engage the community, Riverdale Park's Sustainability Committee has created a website where residents can find out about RPSC, farmers market, tips for being green, planning and development in their backyard, and links to social media about other sustainable happenings.
 
"Riverdale Park is honored to be recognized for our efforts to leading Maryland's sustainable future," said Ashley Ebbeler, Chair of the Riverdale Park Sustainability Committee. "With the help of Sustainable Maryland Certified our Sustainability Committee worked along side residents, town staff and elected officials to consider the environment in all facets of municipal governance from policy creation to land use development. We are excited to continue to pursue a green future in way we can!"

Town of University Park

University ParkInnovative initiatives in the areas of energy efficiency, renewable energy, and waste reduction stand out in the Town of University Park's 2014 Sustainable Maryland application. The nationally recognized STEP-UP (Small Town Energy Program- University Park) program fostered a remarkable level of engagement amongst residents, with 25% of households conducting an Energy Star Home Performance assessment and 16% of households investing in incentive-assisted energy efficiency upgrades, resulting in a 13% reduction in energy usage. The University Park Elementary School became the first Prince George's County school to host a rooftop solar array, with the Town and the School District sharing in a revenue stream from the sale of electricity and renewable energy tax credits. On the waste reduction front, a municipally-run kitchen waste compost program diverts tons of food scraps from the municipal waste stream, saving on landfill tipping fees and creating valuable organic matter for use in local gardens. With these innovative initiatives, along with many others, including it's long-standing Tree City USA designation, back-yard mosquito control program, and annual stream cleanups, the Town of University Park has clearly demonstrated its leadership in municipal sustainability in Maryland.
 
"From protecting our stream and urban tree canopy to our solar-powered town hall, to stepping up to make our homes more energy efficient, we have shown that sustainability is a core principle in University Park," said Sarah Moseley, University Park Green Team Co-Chair. "Now we are proud to be recognized for that work as a Sustainable Maryland Certified community.  Our town has worked together for years, meaning 'It's Easy Being Green in University Park' ."
 
The complete list of municipalities to achieve Sustainable Maryland Certified status this year includes:

  • Town of Bel Air (first municipality certified in Harford County)
  • Town of Berwyn Heights (Prince George's County)
  • Town of Boonsboro (first municipality certified in Washington County)
  • Town of Chesapeake Beach (first municipality certified in Calvert County)
  • Town of Cheverly (Prince George's County)
  • City of Greenbelt (Prince George's County)
  • Town of Snow Hill (Worcester County)
  • City of Takoma Park (Montgomery County)
  • Town of Riverdale Park (Prince George's County)
  • Town of University Park (Prince George's County)

According to Mike Hunninghake, program manager for Sustainable Maryland, "These awards are a testament to the passion and dedication of volunteers, municipal staff and elected officials to lighten our collective imprint on the Earth, restore the natural world, and plan together to create a better tomorrow for our children and their children."

UMD Alumna Awarded 2014 "Genius Grant"

September 18, 2014

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The MacArthur Foundation has named its 2014 class of MacArthur Fellows, including University of Maryland alumna Pamela O. Long, a historian of science and technology.  Long was recognized for her work in deepening our understanding of the historical roots of empirical science.

The MacArthur Fellows Program awards unrestricted fellowships to talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction. There are three criteria for selection of Fellows: exceptional creativity, promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishment, and potential for the fellowship to facilitate subsequent creative work. Each fellow receives a no-strings-attached stipend of $625,000 over five years.

Pamela O. Long is an independent historian of science and technology who is rewriting the history of science, demonstrating how technologies and crafts are deeply enmeshed in the broader cultural fabric. Through meticulous analysis of textual, visual, antiquarian, and archival materials from across Europe, Long investigates how literacy, language, authorship, trade secrecy, and patronage regulated the interactions of scholars, artisans, architects, and engineers of the early modern period.

“Those who think creativity is dying should examine the life’s work of these extraordinary innovators who work in diverse fields and in different ways to improve our lives and better our world,” said Cecilia Conrad, Vice President, MacArthur Fellows Program. “Together, they expand our view of what is possible, and they inspire us to apply our own talents and imagination.”

Long received a B.A. (1965), M.A. (1969), and Ph.D. (1979) from the University of Maryland. She has held a series of fellowships and visiting positions at prestigious institutions, including Princeton University, the Getty Research Institute, the American Academy in Rome, the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., and the National Humanities Center.

Tigers, Pandas & People: A Recipe for Conservation Insights

September 18, 2014
Contacts: 

Melissa Andreychek 410-919-4990

A motion-detecting camera trap captures the image of a tiger in Chitwan National Park, Nepal. Credit: Neil Carter, SESYNCCOLLEGE PARK, Md. - A new study by Neil Carter, a University of Maryland research associate and postdoctoral fellow at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) at UMD, shows that we can better understand how nature and humans are interlinked by comparing apples to oranges.

Or, more accurately, tigers to pandas.

The study, published in Ecology and Society, compares Chitwan National Park in Nepal, which shelters approximately 125 wild endangered Bengal tigers, and Wolong Nature Reserve in southwestern China, home to an estimated 154 wild endangered giant pandas to reveal that useful conservation insights can be found in unlikely places. The authors show that applying the same methodology to these vastly different environs can uncover shared patterns and common insights.

"For people interested in wildlife research and conservation, there's an increasing awareness of the need to go beyond biology and ecology, and to incorporate insights from various other disciplines, like social psychology and economics," said Carter. "We know it's important, and now we're saying, 'here's a good way to do it.' The idea is: you can use a common framework to understand the fundamental ways people and wildlife interact, despite the differences in social and economic settings."

On the surface, pandas and tigers seem to have different impacts. Pandas eat bamboo. Tigers sometimes eat livestock, and, rarely, even eat people. Although both located in Asia, Chitwan and Wolong are also characterized by important differences in biophysical environment: for example, the topography in Wolong is more rugged, while Chitwan lies at relatively low elevations.

Neil CarterIn spite of these differences, both biodiversity hotspots share deep, complex links with the humans that depend upon their rich but finite natural resources. Approximately 5,000 residents live within Wolong, and conservation policies represent a constant struggle to balance residents' need to secure a livelihood with the pandas' full reliance on vast access to bamboo. Chitwan has no residents, but the people living adjacent to its borders venture inside to harvest its resources. The park borders are porous both ways: tigers can venture out to attack livestock and can also pose a threat to the people who walk through the woods.

Economic costs of living near wildlife are likewise widespread. Those closest to panda and tiger habitat, in particular, have incurred high costs from conservation efforts, including restrictions on certain agricultural activities, fuelwood collection, timber harvesting, and hunting.

Both animals bring advantages, too—which range from the tangible, like attracting tourists, to matters of the spiritual and national pride.

"People and wildlife are tightly coupled human and natural systems," said Jianguo "Jack" Liu, Rachel Carson Chair in Sustainability at Michigan State University and co-author of the study. "Over many years, interdisciplinary studies on pandas, tigers, and the people who live amongst them are revealing some universal truths about conservation around the globe."

At the core of the study's framework is an understanding of how conservation efforts directly affect wildlife and people, because impacts on local residents can in turn significantly affect wildlife. The authors note that how policy is executed, how people living in and around the reserves behave, and common telecoupling processes—e.g., socioeconomic and environmental interactions over distances, such as tourism and migration—all loom large across many diverse flagship nature reserves. Giving scientists a framework to compare these similar dynamics leads to broad insights about human–wildlife interactions that can facilitate knowledge exchange and inform wildlife conservation policies across and between locations.

"Much of what we learn from one site trickles to other sites," Carter said. "For instance, we've seen that how much responsibility local people have to monitor and manage a forest track is significant. Nepal took the lead in experimenting with ways to have people manage their forest. Now that's being tried in other places. You won't get one answer. You get different points of view—and that's important."

In addition to Carter and Liu, the paper's co-authors include Andrés Viña, assistant professor at Michigan State University; Vanessa Hull, doctoral student at Michigan State University; William McConnell, associate professor at Michigan State University; William Axinn, professor at University of Michigan; and Dirgha Ghimire, associate professor at University of Michigan.

University of Maryland Extension Celebrates 100th Anniversary

September 18, 2014
Contacts: 

Sara Gavin 301-405-9235

Smith-Lever Act of 1914 created national Cooperative Extension Service

UMD Extension

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - For 100 years, the University of Maryland Extension (UME) has been charged with the responsibility and privilege of delivering practical, research-based information to the citizens of Maryland to help improve every aspect of their lives.

The signing of the Smith-Lever Act by Congress in 1914 officially created the national Cooperative Extension Service, a state-by-state network of educators who extend university-based knowledge directly to the people. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of this significant milestone in our nation's history and its impact on our state specifically, special events are planned all across Maryland during the month of October.

Extension offices in each Maryland county and Baltimore city will host open houses in order to celebrate past accomplishments and demonstrate how UME is not only relevant today, but poised to remain a leader for the next 100 years. Participants can expect interactive demonstrations, food tastings, garden tours, historical displays, games, prizes and fun for the whole family at the open houses around the state.

Additionally, the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, which administers University of Maryland Extension, will host an open house at its Clarksville Research Facility on Saturday, October 11.

"The 100th anniversary of the Smith-Lever Act gives us a great excuse to introduce University of Maryland Extension to members of the community who may not be aware of us and all that we offer," said Dr. Stephen Wright, UME's associate director. "I encourage all Maryland residents to find an open house in their county and to come find out how we can serve you."

University of Maryland Extension prides itself on providing "solutions in your community" through various key program areas including agriculture, environment and natural resources, 4-H youth development, food and nutrition, health and wellness, financial planning, home gardening and the Chesapeake Bay. Currently, UME employs 200 faculty members and 200 support staff located at offices in all 23 Maryland counties and Baltimore city.

To learn more, visit www.extension.umd.edu.

New Research Unveils Population Patterns of U.S. Immigrants from Mexico

September 17, 2014
Contacts: 

Michael S. Rendall, mrendall@umd.edu

UMD and CIDE researchers uncover new phenomenon: U.S. immigrants from Mexico come disproportionately from areas with less-educated populations

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Mexican immigration dwarfs migratory flows into the United States from other countries. Studies of Mexican immigrants in the United States have emphasized their low average level of education compared with other immigrant populations as well as with Mexicans who remain at home.

A new study published in Population and Development Review, “Two Decades of Negative Educational Selectivity of Mexican Migrants to the United States,” by Michael S. Rendall, professor of sociology and director of the Maryland Population Research Center at the University of Maryland and Susan W. Parker, professor of economics, Centro de Investigation y Docencia Economicas (CIDE), Mexico, helps to explain this phenomenon. 

“Immigration has commonly been considered to be selective of healthier more able individuals with higher levels of schooling than the population as a whole, motivated by greater opportunities in the destination country,” according to Rendall. “Yet in this case, Mexican migrants have lower education, on average, than Mexicans who remain at home. Why?  By looking carefully at place-size data we find that a disproportionate share of Mexican migrants came from rural and small-urban areas (population less than 20,000) through the 1990s and 2000s. Because these areas have lower schooling levels than medium- to larger-sized urban areas of Mexico, the result is that migrants have lower education than the overall Mexican population at the most common migration ages.”  

Migrants who completed primary school are the most over-represented group relative to the Mexican population aged 18-54, and migrants who completed any upper secondary education are the most under-represented group. The study concludes that the geographic factor is the major cause of the apparently anomalous negative educational selectivity of migration from Mexico to the United States.

This phenomenon is significant not only because education affects migrants’ labor market prospects and impacts in the United States but because it also affects outcomes for their children, i.e. second-generation immigrants.

Rendall adds, “The restrictive U.S. immigration policy that has been in place throughout the 1990s and 2000s does not appear to have had the intended effect of deterring unauthorized migration overall. It may, however, have had a greater deterrent effect on higher-educated migrants than on lower-educated migrants.”

New Detector Captures Unprecedented Range of Light Waves

September 17, 2014
Contacts: 

Kathryn Tracey 443-340-2299

UMD Research Opens Door to Future Applications in Medicine and Security

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - New research at the University of Maryland could lead to a generation of light detectors that can see below the surface of bodies, walls, and other objects.

Using the special properties of graphene, a two-dimensional form of carbon that is only one atom thick, a prototype detector is able to see an extraordinarily broad band of wavelengths. Included in this range is a band of light wavelengths that have exciting potential applications but are notoriously difficult to detect: terahertz waves, which are invisible to the human eye.

Top-down view of broadband, ultra-fast graphene detector capable of detecting terahertz frequencies at room temperature. Credit: Thomas Murphy
A research paper about the new detector was published in Nature Nanotechnology.  Lead author Xinghan Cai, a University of Maryland physics graduate student, said a detector like the researchers' prototype "could find applications in emerging terahertz fields such as mobile communications, medical imaging, chemical sensing, night vision, and security."

The light we see illuminating everyday objects is actually only a very narrow band of wavelengths and frequencies. Terahertz light waves' long wavelengths and low frequencies fall between microwaves and infrared waves. The light in these terahertz wavelengths can pass through materials that we normally think of as opaque, such as skin, plastics, clothing, and cardboard. It can also be used to identify chemical signatures that are emitted only in the terahertz range.

Few technological applications for terahertz detection are currently realized, however, in part because it is difficult to detect light waves in this range. In order to maintain sensitivity, most detectors need to be kept extremely cold, around 4 degrees Kelvin, or -452 degrees Fahrenheit. Existing detectors that work at room temperature are bulky, slow, and prohibitively expensive.

The new room temperature detector, developed by the University of Maryland team and colleagues at the U.S. Naval Research Lab and Monash University, Australia, gets around these problems by using graphene, a single layer of interconnected carbon atoms. By utilizing the special properties of graphene, the research team has been able to increase the speed and maintain the sensitivity of room temperature wave detection in the terahertz range.

Using a new operating principle called the "hot-electron photothermoelectric effect," the research team created a device that is "as sensitive as any existing room temperature detector in the terahertz range and more than a million times faster," says Michael Fuhrer, professor of physics at the University of Maryland and Monash University, Australia.

Graphene, a sheet of pure carbon only one atom thick, is uniquely suited to use in a terahertz detector because when light is absorbed by the electrons suspended in the honeycomb lattice of the graphene, they do not lose their heat to the lattice but instead retain that energy.

The concept behind the detector is simple, says University of Maryland Physics Professor Dennis Drew. "Light is absorbed by the electrons in graphene, which heat up but don't lose their energy easily. So they remain hot while the carbon atomic lattice remains cold." These heated electrons escape the graphene through electrical leads, much like steam escaping a tea kettle. The prototype uses two electrical leads made of different metals, which conduct electrons at different rates. Because of this conductivity difference, more electrons will escape through one than the other, producing an electrical signal.

This electrical signal detects the presence of terahertz waves beneath the surface of materials that appear opaque to the human eye – or even x-rays. You cannot see through your skin, for example, and an x-ray goes right through the skin to the bone, missing the layers just beneath the skin's surface entirely. Terahertz waves see the in-between. The speed and sensitivity of the room temperature detector presented in this research opens the door to future discoveries in this in-between zone.

Pages

September 30
The University of Maryland has named Amy Eichhorst as the new executive director of the Alumni Association—a key role... Read
September 24
The University of Maryland received a $200,000 donation from Leidos, a national security, health and engineering... Read
September 23
As the university and city consider plans to reinvigorate Baltimore Avenue, the College of Arts and Humanities' Center... Read
September 22
The University of Maryland has been named one of the country's "Best Colleges for Entrepreneurs" by the Princeton... Read