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Saturday, April 25, 2015

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University Launches Dynamic, Interactive Information Website UMD Right Now

December 4, 2012

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.

UMD Statement Regarding Postponement of Film on Campus

April 23, 2015


The University of Maryland was not involved in the decision to postpone or cancel the showing of American Sniper. This decision was made by Student Entertainment Events, a student-led organization comprised of undergraduate students who work alongside advisors in the creation, promotion, and operation of campus events. Their official statement on the decision to postpone the film can be found here: https://see.umd.edu/american-sniper/.

Scholly Wins 10th Annual Cupid's Cup Business Competition Chaired by Under Armour Founder & CEO

April 23, 2015

Greg Muraski, Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland

Laurin Wolf, Under Armour
410-468-2512 ext. 5262

The easy-to-use app allows students to search for and identify available scholarships
based on individual preferences and key criteria

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Scholly, maker of a mobile and web application that allows students to easily find college scholarships, was named the winner of the 2015 Cupid’s Cup Business Competition, chaired by Under Armour Founder and CEO Kevin Plank. The 10th annual event was held April 22 at the University of Maryland, hosted by the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship at the Robert H. Smith School of Business. Scholly founder Christopher Gray, a student at Drexel University, took home $75,000 in cash, plus in-kind services and guidance from top companies and business leaders.

Scholly Founder Christopher Gray and Under Armour Founder & CEO Kevin Plank The annual competition is chaired by Plank, a graduate of the University of Maryland, and strives to encourage interest in student entrepreneurship. The international competition is open to undergraduate and graduate-level students at accredited colleges and universities as well as recent graduates of these institutions. 

Joining Plank on the judge’s panel were Daymond John, founder and CEO of FUBU clothing company and Shark Branding, and star of ABC’s “Shark Tank;” Karen Katz, CEO of Neiman Marcus Group; and Mike Lee, co-founder and CEO of MyFitnessPal, a leading health and fitness platform that is part of Under Armour’s Connected Fitness community. 

The judges evaluated six finalists, narrowed down from a pool of 12 semifinalists who presented at Under Armour headquarters on March 10. 

The $20,000 second place prize was awarded to GudNeSs Bar, a startup out of Duke University School of Medicine that makes an iron-rich nutrition bar to combat anemia in India. The third place prize of $5,000 went to SnappyScreen Inc., makers of a touchless sunscreen application system started by an entrepreneur from Cornell University. Gym Supreme, a University of Maryland fitness startup that makes the Mega Bar home gym system, took home the $5,000 audience choice award, decided by text voting from the nearly 1,000 people in the audience. 

Rounding out the field of finalists were: VirtualU Inc. (from Virginia Tech), a company that created a 3D human modeling technology for use in fitness and healthcare so people can accurately track how their bodies change as they lose weight; and ZOOS Greek Iced Teas (Stetson University), maker of a bottled caffeine-free Greek iced tea.

For more information about the competition, please visit www.cupidscup.umd.edu.

UMD Opens MakerBot Innovation Center to Foster Entrepreneurship

April 23, 2015

Lee Tune, University Communications, ltune@umd.edu, 301.405.4679
Pamela R. Morse, Clark School, pmorse@umd.edu, 301.405.6266, 202.841.8275
Elise Carbonaro, Clark School, ecarbo@umd.edu, 301.405.6501

First Large-Scale 3-D Printing MakerBot Innovation Center at Big Ten University and First in the DC/Maryland Area

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Today the University of Maryland’s A. James Clark School of Engineering opens a MakerBot Innovation Center that is the first in the Baltimore-Washington region and the 6th university-based MakerBot Innovation Center in the world.

R to L: Dr. Michael Galiazzo, President Regional Manufacturing Institute; Mr. Jonathan Jaglom, CEO MakerBot; Provost Mary Ann Rankin; Dean Pines“What we’re seeing here is the future of manufacturing in this country," said Darryll J. Pines, Nariman Farvardin Professor of Aerospace Engineering and Dean of the A. James Clark School of Engineering. “The University of Maryland MakerBot Innovation Center gives our students an edge in the changing and adapting marketplace.  We see 3-D printing as a catalyst for new thinking and are excited to make this technology more broadly available at the University.”

Open to the entire UMD community, the center adds over 50 3-D printers to the 25 previously available in the Clark School and brings the number of 3-D printers across campus to about 100. Print jobs can be uploaded to the cloud and sent to the center by anyone on campus.

UMD has utilized 3-D printing in an educational setting for many years. Clark School faculty, staff and students have worked on projects including vascular grafts, over-sand hovercrafts, prosthetics, automobile parts and robotics. Examples include small-scale robots capable of removing hard-to-reach brain tumors, structures used aboard small helicopters that allow sensors to test for close obstacle avoidance and designing custom-fit protective sleep masks for glaucoma patients to minimize pressure on the face that could otherwise increase a patient’s risk of blindness.

Having a large-scale installation of MakerBot 3-D Printers will allow the A. James Clark School of Engineering to further integrate 3-D printing into the curriculum and introduce more students to this important technology. Every freshman entering the Clark School will use the MakerBot Innovation Center as part of their required introductory course (ENES100), allowing them to get familiar with 3-D printing early on in their careers and to quickly understand engineering concepts and principles that would otherwise be difficult to grasp.

The opening of the UMD MakerBot Innovation Center is at 2 p.m. in the Technology Advancement Program building and will be followed by a special 3-D printing and additive manufacturing showcase by students, faculty and friends and a presentation by Local Motors founder and CEO John "Jay" Rogers entitled, "Welcome to the Third Industrial Revolution - Local Motors and the 3-D Printed Car.” The showcase and lecture will be in the adjacent Kim Engineering building.

The opening of the MakerBot Innovation Center is part of UMD’s 30 Days of Entrepreneurship, celebrating the university’s Fearless Ideas, innovation and impact with a showcase of special events, lectures and contests.

Building Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Fostering a campus-wide culture of entrepreneurship and innovation that engages all 37,000 students is among the highest strategic priorities for UMD’s President and Provost. The comprehensive effort includes offering 101 entrepreneurship related courses across 31 departments; holding 16 different business plan competitions; supporting students with 22 different mentoring programs; creating makerspaces and rapid prototyping spaces; and investing strongly in 3-D printers and scanners to provide the most advanced innovation infrastructure.

The MakerBot Innovation Center adds to and complements existing campus makerspaces and a rapid prototyping space in the Clark School. It will be a key resource for the colocated Startup Shell, a student-run co-working space and incubator, which has already produced over 60 student-founded startup companies. The MakerBot Innovation Center will provide more student entrepreneurs access to 3-D printing and accelerate the product development process by allowing students to iterate more quickly and cost-efficiently than with other prototyping resources already available on campus.

UMD Team Wins EPA Campus RainWorks Challenge

April 22, 2015

Sara Gavin 301-405-9235

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced a University of Maryland team as a winner of its third annual Campus RainWorks Challenge, a design competition created to engage college and university students in reinventing water infrastructure. Student teams across the country proposed innovative green infrastructure designs to reduce stormwater pollution and develop sustainable communities.

EPA invited student teams to compete in two design categories — the Master Plan category, which examined how green infrastructure could be integrated into a broad area of a school’s campus, and the Demonstration Project category, which examined how green infrastructure could be integrated into a particular site on the team’s campus. 

Winning UMD TeamEPA awarded first prize in the Campus RainWorks Challenge’s demonstration project category to an interdisciplinary team from UMD. The team’s design focused on a prominent seven-acre site next to the university’s Memorial Chapel on the College Park campus. Officials from the university and the EPA were on-hand to formally present the award to the winning team at a ceremony held on the steps of the chapel to commemorate Earth Day. 

“The context of the chapel is what informed our design because it is spiritual and a place of healing,” said Harris Trobman, a landscape architecture student at UMD and member of the team that created the winning design. “We were interested in how the peace gardens around the chapel could be extended into a transformative type of space for the community. We took this concept a step further by looking at how we could heal both people and the environment.”

The winning UMD team consisted of four landscape architecture students, including Trobman, Penny Jacobs, Nicholas Yoder, and Johnathan Gemmell, as well as civil engineering students Jaison Renkenberger and Yan Wang. The students were advised by Dr. Victoria Chanse, an assistant professor in the Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture (PSLA).  

To capture and treat stormwater from adjacent parking lots and rooftops, the team proposed to re-design the site by disconnecting existing storm pipes and directing flow into a green infrastructure treatment train designed to treat 100 percent of a one-year storm event.

Image from UMD ProposalThe team’s design replaced traditional lawn with a meadow landscape that included rain gardens, tiered plantings, bioretention, bioswales and rain gardens. This would provide habitat for pollinators and beneficial insect species, and serve as an outdoor classroom and contemplative landscape for visitors and the university community.

UMD’s winning submission was unique in adding high value to the campus landscape and addressing stormwater management issues in a high-priority watershed. The students will split $2,000 in prize money. Faculty from the PSLA Department will also receive money toward furthering green infrastructure research.

“People should know that flooding, eroding backyard stream banks, limited fishing areas, sewer overflows, expensive and low-quality crab or fish are all results of a poor and deteriorating stormwater control infrastructure,” said Jaison Renkenberger, a civil engineering student from the winning UMD team. “Fishing from clean streams, kayaking through restored wetlands and farming Blue Crab are all supported by sustainability.”

EPA also recognized a second team from UMD with an honorable mention award in the master plan category.

EPA launched the Campus RainWorks Challenge in 2012 to inspire the next generation of landscape architects, planners and engineers to develop innovative green infrastructure systems that mitigate urban stormwater impacts while supporting vibrant and sustainable communities. For more information, visit http://www.epa.gov/campusrainworks

UMD President & Distinguished Professor Elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

April 22, 2015

Kristen Seabolt 301-405-4621

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh and Distinguished University Professor of Atmospheric & Oceanic Science Eugenia Kalnay have been named to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious honorary societies. 

With their election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, President Loh and Professor Kalnay join some of the world’s most accomplished leaders from academic, business, public affairs, the humanities and the arts. Since its founding in 1780, the Academy membership has included more than 250 Nobel laureates and more than 60 Pulitzer Prize winners. 

“We are honored to elect a new class of extraordinary women and men to join our distinguished membership,” said Don Randel, chair of the Academy’s Board of Directors. “Each new member is a leader in his or her field and has made a distinct contribution to the nation and the world. We look forward to engaging them in the intellectual life of this vibrant institution.”  

President Loh was appointed the 33rd president of UMD in November 2010. Loh leads the state’s flagship and land-grant institution with 37,500 students and 9,000 faculty and staff members. Loh’s priorities at UMD include excellence and affordability in education, strategic partnerships for research and innovation, physical facilities and environmental sustainability, the Big Ten conference move, and the revitalization of College Park, Md. He serves on the American Council of Education’s board of directors and on the U.S. Comptroller General’s advisory board, as well as received recognition from the American Immigration Council, the National Asian-Pacific American Bar Association and the Association of American Law Schools.

Previously, Loh served as executive vice president and provost of the University of Iowa; dean of Seattle University's College of Arts and Sciences; director, Governor's Policy Office and chief policy adviser to The Hon. Gary Locke, State of Washington; vice chancellor for academic affairs and dean of faculties, University of Colorado-Boulder; and dean, University of Washington Law School. A professor of public policy at the University of Maryland, Loh previously was professor of law at Washington, Colorado-Boulder, and Iowa. He was visiting professor of law at Cornell, Peking University (China), Emory, University of Texas-Austin, University of Houston, and Vanderbilt. His scholarship and teaching are in the areas of law and social change and in criminal justice reforms.

Kalnay is a UMD Distinguished University Professor in the department of atmospheric and oceanic science and the Institute for Physical Science and Technology. Widely recognized as a leader in the field of global numerical weather prediction and analysis, including data assimilation and ensemble forecasting, Kalnay's research interests also extend to coupled ocean-atmosphere modeling, climate change, and sustainability. She has authored more than 150 papers. Her paper on the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP)/National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) 40-Year Reanalysis Project, which she led, has been cited more than 10,000 times. A landmark 2003 paper in the journal Nature on the impact of land use on climate change was chosen by Discover Magazine as one of that year's top 100 science news stories. Her book, Atmospheric Modeling, Data Assimilation and Predictability (Cambridge University Press, 2003), sold out within a year and is now on its fifth printing. 

Kalnay is also a former director of the National Weather Service's Environmental Modeling Center, where she was the architect of ensemble forecasting methods that greatly increased the accuracy of long-term (three to five day) weather forecasts. She has received numerous awards, including the 2009 International Meteorological Organization Prize of the World Meteorological Organization and a NASA gold medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement. She is a member of the UN Scientific Advisory Board on Sustainability, created by the UN Secretary General, and a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering.

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences is a leading center for independent policy research. Members contribute to Academy publications and studies of science and technology policy, energy and global security, social policy and American institutions, and the humanities, arts and education.

With the addition of Loh and Kalnay, there are now 16 active members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences from UMD. The full list can be viewed here

Ocean Winds Blow Away Hopes El Nino Would End California Drought

April 20, 2015

Abby Robinson 301-405-5845

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – A UMD study points to prolonged wind bursts originating in the western Pacific as the reason that the 2014/2015 El Nino will be far less powerful than anticipated and thus unlikely to deliver much-needed rain to California and other western states.

An El Nino is a sporadic warming of ocean temperatures in the central and eastern tropical Pacific that can have ripple effects in weather systems around the globe.  Last month, the federal Center for Weather and Climate Prediction in College Park, Md. announced a long-predicted El Niño had finally arrived, but was far less powerful than expected. 

The new study, published online April 13, 2015, in the journal Nature Geoscience, found that prolonged westerly wind bursts can have a strong effect on whether an El Niño event will occur and how strong it is likely to be.  In addition, the paper identifies three distinct varieties or “flavors” of El Niño, and explains how these westerly wind bursts (WWBs) can determine which of these flavors will take shape. The findings should help refine future predictions of these global-scale climate events.

In addition, the paper identifies three distinct varieties or “flavors” of El Nino, and explains how these westerly wind bursts (WWBs) can determine which of these flavors will take shape. The findings should help refine future predictions of these global-scale climate events.

“These westerly wind bursts are intraseasonal—they’re not weather, they’re not climate, but somewhere in between,” said Raghu Murtugudde, a professor of atmospheric and oceanic science at the University of Maryland who is a co-author on the study. “Our study shows that the wind bursts are definitely having an effect. We better learn to predict them if we are going to have skillful El Nino predictions.”

The researchers analyzed 50 years of tropical Pacific sea surface temperature and westerly wind burst data. They found differences, especially when comparing the data from this year’s weak El Nino event with the record-breaking event of 1997/98.

“The most notable difference was the existence of strong westerly winds extending from the western to central equatorial Pacific in May 1997, which were not seen in 2014,” said Murtugudde, who also has an appointment in the university’s Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC). “The development of strong westerly winds in the central equatorial Pacific in association with the warming to its east appears to be an essential element of large El Nino events.”

After adding westerly wind bursts to their intermediate ocean-atmosphere coupled model, the researchers consistently found three “flavors” of El Nino (rather than one, which was the model’s output without the winds). The three warm patterns included extremely strong events with the largest warming near the South American coast, a cluster of weak warm events centered near the dateline, or moderate warming in the central-eastern equatorial Pacific. For strong El Nino events, the westerly wind bursts grow strong and extend east of the dateline.

According to the research team, the wind bursts affect ocean dynamics by exciting Kelvin waves that produce surface warming in the eastern equatorial Pacific and by generating strong equatorial surface currents that extend the eastern edge of the warm pool.

“We hope this study helps other climate modeling researchers realize the importance of westerly wind bursts on El Nino severity and diversity, and the importance of extending our weather forecast capabilities from two to four weeks to capture WWB variability. Fortunately, the latter is now a focus at the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration, which develops our weather forecasts,” said Murtugudde.

Additional information on the study can be found here

UMD Named a Top 20 Green College by The Princeton Review

April 17, 2015

Kristen Seabolt 301-405-4621

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – With Earth Day just a week away, the University of Maryland has been named a Top 20 Green School for 2015 by The Princeton Review. The annual guide ranks the top 50 greenest schools, as well as lists sustainability information for more than 300 colleges across the country. UMD took No. 20 on the list for its commitment to the environment and sustainable practices.   

“We are honored to be recognized as one of the nation’s leaders in campus sustainability,” said Scott Lupin, Director of the Office of Sustainability at the University of Maryland. “This achievement once again showcases the devotion and excitement that so many students, faculty, staff, and alumni in the University of Maryland community feel towards sustainability and making a positive impact in the world.  With Earth Day taking place next Wednesday, there couldn’t have been a better time to share this exciting news.  We should take a moment to acknowledge and celebrate the recognition but also move forward knowing that there is still more great work we can accomplish.”

The Princeton Review developed the guide based on "Green Rating" scores (from 60 to 99) that were tallied in 2014 for 861 colleges using data from a survey of school administrators. The survey asked them to report on their school's sustainability-related policies, practices, and programs. The Top 50 Green Schools were ranked based on the Green Rating, in addition to a student survey. Data from the student survey included ratings of how sustainability issues influenced their education and life on campus; administration and student support for environmental awareness and conservation efforts; and the visibility and impact of student environmental groups. 

Green Facts” for the University of Maryland include:

  • Green Rating: 98 (out of 99) 
  • The University Sustainability Council advises the president and campus community about the integration of sustainability into campus operations and culture 
  • The Sustainability Studies Minor is the largest minor on campus
  • The University Sustainability Fund provides more than $300,000 each year to launch new sustainability initiatives 
  • Alternative transportation programs, including BikeUMD program, carpool incentives, and campus electric vehicle charging stations   

"We strongly recommend the University of Maryland and the other fine colleges in this guide to the many environmentally-minded students who seek to study and live at green colleges," said The Princeton Review's Robert Franek, Senior VP-Publisher.

Franek also noted the growing interest The Princeton Review has seen among college-bound students in green colleges. "Among nearly 10,000 teens who participated in our 2015 College Hopes & Worries Survey, 61 percent told us that having information about a school’s commitment to the environment would influence their decision to apply to or attend the college."  

The University of Maryland was also recognized in 2014 by the Sierra Club, ranking No. 13 among U.S. colleges and universities for its sustainability efforts. 

Additional information on The Princeton Review’s Top 50 Green Colleges can be found here.  Additional information about sustainability at University of Maryland can be found here.  

UMD Creative Writing Professor Named 2015 Guggenheim Fellow

April 16, 2015

Nicky Everette 301-405-6714

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — University of Maryland English Professor Maud Casey is a recipient of a 2015 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship. Casey’s scholarship focuses on the creative arts through fiction writing.

Maud CaseyCasey is one of 175 scholars, artists and scientists in the U.S. and Canada to win the award from a pool of more than 3,100 applicants. Often characterized as "midcareer" awards, Guggenheim Fellowships are intended for men and women who have already demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts.

Casey has taught in the creative writing program since 2005. 

“We are delighted Professor Casey has received national recognition for her scholarship,” Bonnie Thornton Dill, dean of the College of Arts and Humanities, said. “We are proud of Professor Casey’s exceptional contributions to literature and her achievements exemplify the extraordinary creative talent here in the college.”

During her fellowship, Casey will work on a collection of stories, provisionally titled "Iconographies.” It takes as its starting point images and case studies of female patients found in 19th-century medical reference books from the Salpêtrière, a hospital in Paris where Jean Marie Charcot created the diagnosis known as hysteria. Charcot, a scientist who became known as the father of modern neurology, gave lectures on cases in progress at the hospital that attracted students from all over Europe, including Sigmund Freud. Casey’s stories will focus on the women and her questions about them.

 “I’m excited to see where the stories end up,” Casey said. “Fiction is are always, without fail, full of surprises.”

Casey said she’s driven to write about things that raise “wondrous, generatively mysterious” questions for herself. This collection started after one of the peripheral characters from “The Man Who Walked Away,” – a young girl she based on one of Charcot’s hysterics—remained with her after the novel was complete.

“For me, there are haunting questions at the heart of this girl, and at the heart of the women who were part of Charcot’s famous Tuesday lectures at the Salpêtrière,” Casey said. “What was the nature of their pain? What stories lurked behind the diagnoses hysteria?”

Casey is the author of three novels, “The Shape of Things to come,” “Genealogy,” and most recently, “The Man Who Walked Away,” based on a real-life case history of a 19th century patient at a French asylum named Albert Dadas who suffered with transient mental illness. She has also written a collection of stories, “Drastic.”

Casey is the recipient of the Calvino Prize and a D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities Artist Fellowship. Her book reviews and essays have appeared in The New York Times. She earned her B.A. from Wesleyan University and her M.F.A. in fiction from the University of Arizona. She teaches in UMD’s M.F.A. program in creative writing and lives in Washington, D.C.

Casey is the English department’s fifth winner in the past seven years. She joins the following current faculty members who are Guggenheim laureates including Vincent Carretta, Michael Collier, Merle Collins, Regina Harrison, Matthew Kirschenbaum, Robert Levine, Howard Norman, Stanley Plumly, and Joshua Weiner.


April 24
UMD study reveals more about gravitational dance of two black holes becoming one. Read
April 23
The University of Maryland was not involved in the decision to postpone or cancel the showing of "American Sniper."
April 23
Hosted by UMD’s Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship, Cupid’s Cup strives to encourage interest in student... Read
April 23
First Large-Scale 3-D Printing MakerBot Innovation Center at Big Ten University and First in the DC/Maryland Area Read