Collaborative research. Joint educational programs. Greater impact for the State of Maryland. By any measure, MPowering the State has made a dramatic impact in just a few short years.
Laura Ours 301-405-5722
Public event at UMD on October 29 will explore issues highlighted in the poll
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland announced today that it is partnering with The Washington Post to poll voters on key social and election-related issues in the state of Maryland. The partnership combines the world-class reporting, polling and public engagement resources of The Post with rigorous academic analysis from UMD’s nationally-renowned Department of Government and Politics.
“The University of Maryland is uniquely positioned to conduct sophisticated data analysis and information visualization,” said Vice President of Research and Chief Research Officer Patrick O’Shea. “With top programs in business, journalism, social, computer, and information sciences, and a location just miles from our nation’s capital, a Washington Post-University of Maryland polling partnership is a natural fit.”
The Washington Post-University of Maryland Poll is designed to provide academics, students and members of the public with insight into both key races and the issues that matter to Maryland voters.
In early October the first iteration of the poll gauged participant views on key topics including: immigration, taxes, education, gay marriage, abortion, job creation and healthcare. Participants were also asked about how race affects their voting decisions, and their perceptions of Gov. O’Malley. The poll also indicated that Brown holds a nine-point lead over Hogan in the Maryland governor's race.
The poll was conducted Oct. 2-5 among a random sampling of 1,005 adult residents of the state of Maryland via live interviews by both conventional and cellular phones. The poll has a plus- or minus- 3.5 percentage point margin of error. Sampling, data collection and tabulation was conducted by Abt-SRBI of New York, New York. The University of Maryland plays a key role in making this information publicly accessible and utilizing it as an educational tool.
"The Washington Post-University of Maryland Poll promises to be very beneficial for the citizens of the state of Maryland. The poll will deliver timely political and policy information. It will also provide an opportunity for us to more thoroughly asses the issues that matter to the state and offer potential explanations and solutions to the most pressing problems,” said Associate Professor of Government and Politics Stella Rouse. “This collaboration will hopefully help bridge the communication gap that sometimes exists between research-based information and relevant public news.”
In addition to its impact as a public education tool, the poll also represents a unique research opportunity for UMD students.
"The poll will advance our research, enrich students’ classroom experiences by allowing them to engage in the design of the questions and analysis of the data, and enhance our ability to provide the public with information on Maryland politics and policy," Associate Professor of Government and Politics Michael Hanmer said.
Professors Rouse and Hanmer also are assistant director and research director, respectively, for The Center for American Politics and Citizenship (CAPC), a nonpartisan, nonprofit research institution at the University of Maryland which addresses major issues of governance. They have worked with students affiliated with CAPC on the design of the poll questions and the analysis of its responses.
The poll is directed by Peyton M. Craighill, The Post’s polling manager, and Scott Clement, a polling survey research analyst for The Post.
“By partnering with the University of Maryland, we’re able to produce more high-quality polls that serve the interest of our readers by providing a better understanding of public opinion in Maryland,” said Craighill. “The partnership also offers offer a unique opportunity for students to gain practical experience in the art and science of polling.”
Post staffers and UMD faculty members will participate in a special event at the University of Maryland to further discuss the poll and related results. The event will be moderated by Al From, founder and former CEO of the Democratic Leadership Council, author of The New Democrats and the Return to Power and member of the CAPC Advisory Board.
Click here for more details about the event.
Contact: Sara Gavin, (301) 405-9235
COLLEGE PARK – Lisa Taneyhill, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Animal and Avian Sciences at the University of Maryland, has been awarded a $1.9 million research grant from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Using chick embryos, Taneyhill and her colleagues will try to uncover how two different cell types migrate and adhere to each other to form the cranial ganglia – a cluster of nerve cells responsible for receiving sensory information like taste, touch and smell. These cellular interactions are critical throughout embryonic and adult development to form new tissues and organs, with abnormalities resulting in animal and human diseases or defects such as certain cancers, cleft palate and heart conditions
“Essentially, we’re looking at the proteins – or the ‘glue’ – that keeps these two cell types together,” explains Taneyhill. “If we are able to figure out why and how these cells interact, it will give us insight into how other tissues are formed and could even lead to advances in therapies based on organ repair and regeneration.”
Employing deep sequencing technology, Taneyhill and her research team will use incubated chicken eggs to identify new genes that control cell movement and interactions in embryos at different stages of development.
“Chick embryo development is very similar to human embryo development,” says Taneyhill. “This will give us a snapshot over different time periods into what is happening in the forming cranial ganglia. No one has really done this before at such an early time in embryo development.”
Taneyhill, who was trained as a cancer biologist, says this project could serve as “an excellent model for cancer research, particularly how cancer cells become invasive” because cancer cells can act similarly to those she will be studying inside the chick embryos. The grant from the NIH will fund five years of research on this subject.
Elise Carbonaro 301-405-6501
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland's A. James Clark School of Engineering will host its second annual Mpact Week, a five-day event showcasing research, education, and innovations, October 16-22, 2014, on its College Park campus. This year’s theme is Disaster Resilience and the role engineers play in developing innovative solutions to help prevent, mitigate, and respond to disasters.
In the last decade, an increasing number of natural and human-caused disasters have led to major financial losses and human casualties across the globe. In 1953, there were 13 federal disaster declarations issued. A half century later, that annual number has quadrupled. Last year, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) issued more than one major disaster declaration per week. Disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion, Superstorm Sandy, and Typhoon Haiyan have cost billions in damage and killed thousands, and a lack of preparedness for these disasters has made the losses worse.
Clark School of Engineering researchers are actively engaged in initiatives to help our national and international communities prepare for disaster scenarios, addressing areas as far-reaching as coastal infrastructure, fire resilience, energy, pandemic outbreaks, cybersecurity, unmanned aircraft systems, and other technologies aimed at providing solutions to disaster resilience applications.
Mpact Week will feature insightful presentations and remarks from distinguished scholars, experts, and thought leaders from the White House, FEMA, the National Institute for Standards and Technology, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the University of Illinois, the Ohio State University, Pennsylvania State University, as well as the University of Maryland, regarding the power of research and innovation to help address these international challenges. Mpact Week events are co-sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Big Ten Committee on Institutional Cooperation, and the University of Maryland Division of Research.
View a schedule of events http://www.eng.umd.edu/mpact.
Nicky Everette 301-405-6714
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland (UMD) in partnership with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) announced the release of BitCurator 1.0, a free, open-source digital forensic software environment that supports libraries, archives and museums in their efforts to acquire, preserve and archive materials that originate in a digital form.
BitCurator 1.0 is the culmination of a three-year partnership between UMD's Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) and UNC's School of Information and Library Science (SILS). The project was made possible through funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
"This is an exciting milestone," says Christopher Lee, principal investigator for the BitCurator project and associate professor at SILS. "Although there are already numerous collecting institutions across the globe using BitCurator, the release of version 1.0 is a further sign of the software's maturity."
Matthew Kirschenbaum, co-principle investigator for the project and associate director at MITH, agreed.
"There is now widespread recognition that digital forensics methods and tools have a significant role in the cultural heritage sector," he said. "With the release of BitCurator 1.0, collecting professionals now have convenient access to a range of open source, digital forensics tools to assist in the processing of born-digital and hybrid collections."
Among its many functionalities, the BitCurator environment allows individuals to create forensic-quality copies of data stored on digital media, scan computer disks for private or sensitive information, generate technical metadata reports (file names, types and access times) and recover deleted files.
Future support for the BitCurator project will live in the associated user community known as the BitCurator Consortium (BCC) —an independent, community-led membership association that will serve as the host and center of administrative, user and community support.
The University of Maryland Libraries joined the BCC as charter members.
"The challenges involved in preserving digital media and the content stored on them are numerous," says Jennie Knies, Manager of Digital Programs and Initiatives for the UMD Libraries. "BitCurator is a fully contained system that employs easy-to-use interfaces to allow for some standard activities necessary for copying, reading and curating digital media."
More information is available at bitcurator.net. BitCurator software, documentation and instructional materials can be downloaded from wiki.bitcurator.net. Join the conversation on the BitCurator users list or @bitcurator on Twitter.
Alana Carchedi 301-405-0235
Day-Long Activities Inspire Students to Flex Innovation Muscles
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland is transforming its popular "Innovation Fridays," which began as weekly pitch sessions, into a full day of innovation activities to help students discover and explore, pitch and refine, and prototype and build their fearless ideas.
New to Innovation Fridays this year, the university is launching WhatIF, weekly gatherings that bring the UMD community together to discover and reimagine topics that students care about. The topics vary each week based on feedback directly from UMD students and span different subjects like sustainability, campus traditions, fashion, and campus safety. Each week, students all over campus will be asked to brainstorm unexpected solutions to questions such as, "How might we make fashion a part of the curriculum at UMD?" or "How might be increase sustainability efforts on campus?" Whether physically present or not, the entire UMD community can participate in the WhatIF series by following #whatifumd on social media to see what others are saying and engage in the conversation.
"For students who may not have ideas for a business but still want to try flexing their innovation muscles, they can spontaneously jump into these weekly ‘design scrums’ with other students of all majors from all over campus," says Dean Chang, UMD's associate vice president for innovation and entrepreneurship. "Innovation Fridays now allows every UMD student to dip a toe into innovation and entrepreneurship by discovering and exploring their fearless ideas and asking ‘What If’?"
The university will also continue its pitch sessions, now called PitchUMD, which give students the opportunity to meet with successful entrepreneurs, and get feedback and advice on strategy, testing, funding and landing their idea in the world. PitchUMD includes:
- Pitch Dingman: Meet with entrepreneurs-in-residence from the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship to talk about business ideas.
- Pitch Impact: Meet with social entrepreneurs-in-residence and advisors from the Center for Social Value Creation and the Center for Philanthropy and Non Profit Leadership to discuss a social impact idea.
- Pitch Mtech: Meet with experienced entrepreneurs from Mtech Ventures along with fellow students from the Startup Shell to talk about technology ideas and discover what students entrepreneurs are working on.
Also this year, students will have access to the new "John and Stella Graves MakerSpace" in McKeldin Library where students can use technology and tools to create prototypes, experiment and learn using 3D printers, vinyl cutters, soldering kits and more.
Innovation Fridays aligns with UMD's ongoing commitment to creating a university-wide culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, providing a collection of signature resources now available across the entire campus for all students.
UMD prides itself as a pioneer in educating the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs, ranked as one of the nation's top schools for entrepreneurship and innovation. In the Princeton Review's 2015 “Best Colleges for Entrepreneurs" list, UMD ranks No. 9 among public schools and No. 21 overall for its undergraduate program. The university was also recognized as No. 1 among public universities No. 2 overall for tech entrepreneurship by the 2013 StartEngine College Index.
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 innovation and entrepreneurship 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 over 400,000 cumulative worldwide enrollments.
Innovation Fridays is a collaboration between the Academy for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship, Mtech, the Center for Social Value Creation, the Center for Philanthropy and Non-Profit Leadership, the Libraries, and the Startup Shell.
For more information on the university's resources for innovators across campus, visit http://innovation.umd.edu.
Maggie Haslam 202-258-8946
Purple Line Community Compact will create a plan for vibrant economic development and community preservation
COLLEGE PARK, Md. —The Purple Line Corridor Coalition, a partnership of regional stakeholders formed by the University of Maryland's National Center for Smart Growth, has initiated a plan with officials from the State of Maryland, Montgomery and Prince George's Counties to develop a blueprint for prosperous development and preservation along the MTA's proposed Purple Line Transit Line. The Purple Line Community Compact will articulate a livability strategy designed to foster vibrant economic and community development for those who live and work along the 16-mile corridor.
"The Purple Line Community Compact represents the next step in a coordinated effort to promote the economic development, small business growth, cultural preservation, and long-term sustainability of transit corridor communities," said Gerrit Knaap, Director of UMD's National Center for Smart Growth. "This is an enormous investment by the MTA and an incredible opportunity for the communities that line the corridor."
The Purple Line Community Compact will present a common vision for the future of the corridor—revitalizing and stabilizing mixed income neighborhoods, preserving community assets, supporting small businesses, connecting workers to jobs and creating healthy and vibrant communities—and a strategy for achieving that vision. In addition, the compact represents an opportunity to leverage the funding, construction and operation of the Purple Line to achieve benefits throughout the communities along its route. The compact serves as a continuation of efforts forged at March's Purple Line Corridor Coalition Symposium, "Beyond the Tracks" which brought over 250 regional leaders and stakeholders to UMD's campus to discuss strategies for community development and preservation along the corridor.
"This agreement is a critical step in moving the Purple Line project forward -- a project that ensures more transportation options for Prince George's and Montgomery counties and creates sustainable, family-supporting jobs for more Maryland families and connected communities," said Governor Martin O'Malley. "Working together with our dynamic coalition of stakeholders, non-profits, business interests, and many others, we'll establish a 21st century transportation network worthy of a modern economy and secure a better transportation future for our State."
"This compact will be an important part of building a comprehensive and sustainable strategy for the communities along the Purple Line, which is going to bring 60,000 riders a day back and forth between Montgomery and Prince George's Counties while creating over 10,000 jobs for Maryland's workers," said Lt. Governor Anthony Brown. "By partnering with County leaders, local businesses, residents, and community organizations, we'll ensure that we're strengthening all of our neighborhoods while helping to grow our economy."
Modeled after other compacts written in Seattle and Baltimore as part of major transit projects, the compact will be developed through an inclusive public process in the form of community workshops, led by committed partners invested in the corridor. The workshops will encourage attendees to participate in activities designed to provide input for the contents of the Purple Line Compact. Leaders are encouraged to attend both workshops to contribute at every stage of the compact development.
Learn about workshop dates and details here.
"The Purple Line ranks as one of the most significant public infrastructure projects of our day," said Rushern Baker, Prince George's County Executive. "This multi-billion dollar effort will reflect the collective vision of an east-west public transit connector that will revitalize and grow our communities for future generations of Prince Georgians."
"Montgomery County is committed to moving the Purple Line forward in a way consistent with job creation and maintaining and improving the quality of life in our neighborhoods," said Ike Leggett, Montgomery County Executive.
Governor O'Malley and representatives from Montgomery County, Prince Georges' County and the PLCC are expected to sign the compact by year's end. Cities, towns, community organizations and stakeholder groups across the corridor also will be encouraged to sign the compact.
The Purple Line Corridor Coalition was formed in June 2013 by the National Center for Smart Growth at the University of Maryland and represents stakeholders from communities, nonprofits and businesses along the Purple Line corridor. The PLCC's mission is to ensure that investments in the Purple Line will achieve the maximum economic, social, and environmental benefits to the residents and businesses of the corridor.
Crystal Brown 301-405-4621
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland has named Amy Eichhorst as the new executive director of the Alumni Association—a key role for leading the engagement of UMD's base of 340,000 alumni. Eichhorst joins UMD from the University of Illinois Alumni Association and will officially start at Maryland on Nov. 17, 2014.
"Amy is an incredible leader and brings 20 years of association management and outreach experience to the University of Maryland," says UMD Vice President for University Relations Peter Weiler. "We are extremely fortunate to have someone with Amy's experience and expertise joining our team."
Eichhorst's background includes providing strategic direction to organizations; implementing organizational and structural enhancements to drive change; and recruiting and managing volunteer boards.
"I'm excited to lead the Alumni Association as the University of Maryland begins its inaugural year in the Big Ten Conference," says Eichhorst. "Through innovative programming, meaningful volunteer opportunities and targeted communications, I'm eager for the Alumni Association to accelerate the engagement of alumni of all generations. Together with my colleagues and staff, I look forward to creating an integrated alumni relations strategy that will advance the goals of increased membership, participation and philanthropy."
Eichhorst previously worked for the University of Illinois Alumni Association, where she was hired to grow the university's grassroots political advocacy organization - the Illinois Connection Advocacy Network. In this role, Eichhorst's work focused on outreach to the university's 750,000 living alumni to provide them with concrete, meaningful ways to support the future of the university. Under Eichhorst's leadership, the Illinois Connection has grown from 500 members to more than 14,000 advocates, including alumni, donors, students, faculty, staff and friends.
Stemming from her success with the Illinois Connection, Eichhorst was also tasked with managing the UI Alumni Association's newly created Alumni Advocacy and Outreach Division. In that role, Eichhorst oversaw the strategy for campus/constituent board relations, regional and international alumni clubs, special interest and affiliate groups, political advocacy, student programming and athletics.
Prior to working at the University of Illinois, Eichhorst served in several roles at the National Association of Realtors, including manager of the housing opportunity program and commercial services, legislative and political representative, and government affairs director. Prior to that, she worked on several political campaigns.
Eichhorst received a Bachelor of Arts degree in government and law from Lafayette College.
Abby Robinson 301-405-5845
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Astronomers have found water vapor in the atmosphere of a planet about four times bigger than Earth, in the constellation Cygnus about 124 light years - or nearly 729 trillion miles - from our home planet. In the quest to learn about planets beyond our solar system, this discovery marks the smallest planet for which scientists have been able to identify some chemical components of its atmosphere.
The researchers’ findings were published September 25, 2014 in the journal Nature. The team was led by UMD Astronomy Professor Drake Deming, an expert in the study of exoplanets, or planets that orbit suns outside our own solar system.
The finding of water vapor and hydrogen in the atmosphere of the exoplanet HAT P-11b is not only an astonishing piece of long-distance detective work, based on analyses of observations by three different NASA telescopes. It also suggests that astronomers’ ideas about how the planets formed appear to hold true for other planetary systems, as they do in our own.
How do scientists detect water in distant exoplanets? They use a quirk of light that happens when a planet transits, or passes in front of, its host star. Material in the planet’s atmosphere absorbs some of the star’s light, and that makes the planet appear bigger – similar to the way our sun seems bigger at sunset, when we are looking to the horizon across a broad swath of Earth’s atmosphere. By plotting changes in the exoplanet’s size, and relating them to the wavelength of electromagnetic radiation that the telescope observes, astronomers get a graph that shows how much of the star’s radiation the planet’s atmosphere is absorbing. The shape of that graph, called a transmission spectrum, can reveal what chemicals are present in the atmosphere.
The bigger the planet, the more obvious are the changes in the planet’s size during its transit across its host star. Astronomers have used this technique to describe the atmospheres of several giant planets, the size of our solar system’s Jupiter. In this study, the team wanted to analyze the atmosphere of a significantly smaller planet.
The team chose HAT P-11b, which was discovered by the Hungarian-made Automated Telescope (HAT) network. It’s about four times the radius of Earth and about 26 times Earth’s mass. Compared to planets in our solar system, HAT P-11b is closest in size to Neptune. But it is much closer to its host star and therefore much hotter, about 878 kelvins, or 1,120 degrees Fahrenheit. It probably has a rocky core, wrapped in a thick, gaseous envelope of about 90 percent hydrogen. Its atmosphere is cloudless at high altitude, but as the team found, it contains the signature of water vapor.
UMD graduate student Jonathan Fraine, the paper’s lead author, observed HAT P-11b using two NASA telescopes — the Hubble Space Telescope, which measures visible and near-infrared light, and the Spitzer Space Telescope, which records only infrared light — between July 2011 and December 2012. The team compared those data to observations by NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope, which was launched to look for exoplanets and continuously records images of the portion of the sky where HAT-P-11b is located.
Why do astronomers look for water on exoplanets? First, because water is a precondition for life – though the presence of water alone is not enough for life to arise. “The water molecule is widespread in the universe,” says Deming. “Wherever you have hydrogen and oxygen, it naturally forms. Even some sun spots are cool enough to contain water vapor, although obviously it’s far too hot for life on the sun.”
Astronomers also want to test the hypothesis that other planets formed the same way ours did. In the primordial solar system, particles of dust and ice carried native electrical charges that caused them to stick together, like household “dust bunnies” do, in a process called core accretion. Early in this process the giant planets that formed far from the sun had enough gravitational pull to attract large amounts of hydrogen gas – the H in H2O.
In our solar system's giant planets, water freezes and precipitates out of the atmospheres, so it occurs only at levels that are difficult to observe. The closer-in, smaller planets, Mars, Venus and Earth, had water early in their evolution, though only Earth retains liquid water at the surface. The smaller the planet, astronomers believe, the more likely it is that heavier molecules like water vapor will be abundant along with hydrogen.
“Our ideas about the formation of planets have been developed to match our solar system,” explains Deming, “and we don’t know whether other planetary systems behave the same way. We want to test the fundamental question of whether small planets are rich in heavy elements, like the oxygen in water vapor.”
The finding of water vapor and hydrogen on HAT P-11b “is a key piece of the puzzle,” Deming says, consistent with astronomers’ main ideas on the formation of planets.
Pamela Morse 301-405-6266
Donation furthers Research, Education Programs, Student Activities and Fellowships
COLLEGE 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.
- Geology’s Thomas Holtz Talks About Our New Understanding of Tyrannosaurus Rex – Radio New Zealand
- Geology’s Michael Brown Publishes Study Showing that Rocks Get Super-heated to 1000 C Under New Mountains - BBC
- Students Showcase Nonprofit Consulting Projects
- University of Maryland Breaks Ground for A. James Clark Hall
- Webrooming’s Threat; Goal-Pursuit in Loyalty Programs
- Quantum Information Expert Andrew Childs Joins UMD as Co-Director of QuICS