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University of Maryland Statement Against Hate and Bias

November 5, 2017
Contacts: 

 Katie Lawson, 301-405-4622

 
Statement Against Hate and Bias 
Joel Seligman, AVP for Communications and Marketing - November 5, 2017
 

UMD sincerely regrets the overwhelming misunderstanding resulting in the #UMDNotAHome social media conversation. The statements on social media connected to this hashtag do not reflect the positions of the university or our leaders' mutual commitment to diversity and inclusion on campus and across our nation.

To put it plainly, the UMD administration stands against hate and bias in all of its forms and wants every Terp to feel welcome, safe and at home at the University of Maryland. 

In recent months, there have been instances of intentional provocation by hateful, far-right groups spreading targeted messages that the administration finds despicable. These outside agitators want to divide our campus community into factions that are in conflict with one another from within UMD, rather than see our campus stand together in opposition to the broader forces of hate, white supremacy, anti-immigrant xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia and anti-semitism. 

It is understandable that some members of our community are also disturbed by remarks by university officials, even when the comments are quoted entirely out of context and in a manner that misrepresents the meaning. UMD has seen an example of one of our longtime colleagues unfairly criticized for her efforts to provide legal advice to the University Senate Campus Affairs Committee literally at the same time she is working to advance the cause of inclusion.

The administration encourages all members of our community to work together—students, faculty, staff, administrators and alumni—to increase respect, inclusiveness, and cohesiveness on our campus. A comprehensive list of efforts underway by UMD administration is available at umd.edu/umdreflects 

 

 

UMD Named a 2017 Best College by MONEY Magazine

July 12, 2017
Contacts: 

Jennifer Burroughs, 301-405-4621

COLLEGE PARK, Md.  The University of Maryland ranked No. 11 among public universities according to MONEY Magazine’s 2017 list of Best Colleges. UMD ranked No. 20 overall among U.S. institutions. 

To calculate rankings, MONEY assessed more than 700 colleges in the U.S. based on three equally-weighted categories, including educational quality, affordability and alumni success. MONEY measured 27 factors within these categories covering areas such as instructor quality, measuring the study-to-faculty ratio, affordability for low-income students and value-added earnings, which measures if the school is launching students to better paying jobs. 

Earlier this year, UMD was also ranked a Best Value College by ForbesPrinceton Review and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

UMD Capitol Hill Forum Addresses Health Disparities Research & Action for Equity

September 23, 2016
Contacts: 

Contacts: Elise Carbonaro, 301-405-6501

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland, in collaboration with Rep. John P. Sarbanes and the Big Ten Academic Alliance, recently convened more than 100 people for a Research on the Hill forum focused on strategies to achieve health equity at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C. Moderated by Stephen B. Thomas, Ph.D., professor and director of the Maryland Center for Health Equity in the UMD School of Public Health, the panel discussion engaged experts from academia, federal health agencies and the private business sector in a candid conversation about how to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities among vulnerable populations.

“Our exploratory research holds the solutions to many of the most challenging problems of our day,” said UMD Vice President and Chief Research Officer Patrick G. O’Shea, Ph.D. “As a university, it is our mission to create and understand knowledge to develop better ways to house and heal and fuel and feed our people in advanced societies that are just, secure, and free. Achieving health equity touches on the ‘heal’ aspect of that mission.”

The topics ranged from the progress that has been made in access to medical care as a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to challenges that still remain in improving quality of care and in making the medical care system incorporate public health and address the social determinants of health that prevent people from acting health promotion and disease prevention recommendations. 

“The state of Maryland has embraced the ACA and there is clear evidence that the new incentives are indeed moving hospital systems away from a fee-for-service business model to one that rewards quality care and positive health outcomes over the volume of procedures,” said Thomas. “While the transition is not perfect, our state is a national leader for what the future of health care will look like.”

Panel members shared examples of effective and innovative community-based health interventions and public-private partnerships that are making a difference through culturally-tailored health promotion and disease prevention services, and highlighted the emergence of social determinants of health such as poverty, discrimination and residential segregation as factors that must be overcome.

 “I’m convinced that if you address racial and ethnic disparities with respect to the delivery of health care and health care coverage in this country, you will build the best health care system we can possibly have because diversity is our country’s hallmark,” said Congressman Sarbanes, who, as a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has been a tireless advocate for improving healthcare quality and addressing health disparities.
 
To achieve health equity, researchers, policymakers, and industry leaders must address broader issues beyond the traditional biomedical model and build trust between those who control health care delivery system and those who have lost hope in the system, said members of the panel. 

The panelists recommended that health equity be incorporated into all public policies, not just those related to health care, to reduce and ultimately eliminate health disparities. 

Panel members included:

  • Margo Edmunds, Ph.D., Vice President, Evidence Generation and Translation at Academy Health;
  • J. Nadine Gracia, M.D., M.S.C.E., Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health and Director of the Office of Minority Health within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services;
  • Julia Huggins, President of Cigna Mid-Atlantic;
  • Kolawole Okuyemi, M.D., MPH, Professor of the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, Director of the Program in Health Disparities Research and Inaugural Endowed Chair for Health Equity at the University of Minnesota; and
  • Eliseo Pérez-Stable, M.D., Director of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities at the National Institutes of Health.

House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer, who represents Maryland’s 5th Congressional District and is a distinguished UMD alumnus, also joined the event and emphasized that as an interconnected community, we should all care about health disparities.
 
“It is unacceptable that in the United States, where all are created equal in the words of our Declaration of Independence, that one’s access to healthcare may be higher or lower as a result of race, gender, or income,” said Congressman Hoyer. “Everybody being healthy is of concern to each and every one of us.”
 
He discussed how we must continue to defend the patient protections that Americans are benefiting from thanks to the ACA, such as the no-cost access to preventive services like mammograms and immunizations, as well as remind people of the dramatic increase in the number of people, particularly people of color, who now have health coverage as a result.

The event was held as part of the University of Maryland’s Research on the Hill series, which is aimed at raising awareness of research with great societal significance.

View the conversation at: https://youtu.be/HPedKr0jZLQ

UMD Study Finds Connecting Uninsured Patients to Primary Care Could Reduce ER Use

May 6, 2015
Contacts: 

Kelly Blake 301-405-9418
Hillery Tsumba 301-628-3425

Montgomery County, Md. Initiative Could Improve Health, Reduce Costs

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – An intervention to connect low-income uninsured and Medicaid patients to a reliable source of primary health care shows promise for reducing avoidable use of hospital emergency departments in Maryland. A University of Maryland School of Public Health study evaluating the results of the intervention was published this week in the May issue of the journal Health Affairs

For twenty years, use of hospital emergency departments has been on the rise in the United States, particularly among low-income patients who face barriers to accessing health care outside of hospitals, including not having an identifiable primary health care provider. Almost half of emergency room visits are considered “avoidable.” The Emergency Department-Primary Care Connect Initiative of the Primary Care Coalition, which ran from 2009 through 2011, linked low-income uninsured and Medicaid patients to safety-net health clinics. 

“Our study found that uninsured patients with chronic health issues – such as those suffering from hypertension, diabetes, asthma, COPD, congestive heart failure, depression or anxiety – relied less on the emergency department after they were linked to a local health clinic for ongoing care,” says Dr. Karoline Mortensen, assistant professor of health services administration at the University of Maryland School of Public Health and senior researcher. “Connecting patients to primary care and expanding the availability of these safety-net clinics could reduce emergency department visits and provide better continuity of care for vulnerable populations.”  

Funded by a grant from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the initiative engaged all five of the hospitals operating in Montgomery County, Maryland at the time, and four safety-net clinics serving low-income patients. Using “patient navigators,” individuals trained to help patients find the care they need and can afford, these hospitals referred more than 10,000 low-income, uninsured and Medicaid patients who visited emergency departments to four local primary care clinics, with the goal of encouraging them to establish an ongoing relationship with the clinic and reduce their reliance on costly emergency department care. 

Two hospitals in Montgomery County who participated in the intervention continued the program after the initial grant period concluded because of the benefits they saw for patients and for reducing emergency department visits and associated costs. These hospitals are currently testing a new version of the intervention specifically deigned to link emergency department patients with behavioral health conditions to appropriate community-based services. 

While hospital administrators and health policy experts throughout the country are recognizing that access to primary care improves continuity of care for patients and reduces avoidable use of emergency departments, the implications of this project are particularly important for hospitals in Maryland, which are now operating under a unique all-payer model for hospital payments. Within this new payment structure, Maryland hospitals will have to meet ambitious spending, quality of care, and population health goals. Reducing avoidable use of emergency departments can help in reaching these goals.

The project provides promise not only for hospitals in Maryland but throughout the nation to improve health care experiences and outcomes for their patients. Shared learning systems were an integral component of the project so participants were learning from each other and sharing best practices throughout the project and that learning has now been documented and can be replicated in other communities.

“This was an incredibly rewarding project to work on,” says Barbara H. Eldridge, Manager of Quality Improvement at the Primary Care Coalition. “We created a learning system that permits us to sustain improved communication between patients and their providers, between hospital discharge planners and community based clinics, and across five hospitals operating in Montgomery County.” The initiative has proven successful in Montgomery County, Maryland and is being replicated in communities in other parts of the country. 

“Linking Uninsured Patients Treated In The Emergency Department To Primary Care Shows Some Promise In Maryland” was written by Theresa Y. Kim, Karoline Mortensen, and Barbara Eldridge and published in the journal Health Affairs

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.

UMD Engineers Create Fresh Route to Fresh Water

April 17, 2019
Contacts: 

Melissa L. Andreychek 301-405-0292

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – About a billion people around the world lack access to safe drinking water. Turning salty water into drinkable water can help to fill this essential need. But traditional desalination systems are far too expensive to install and operate in many locations, especially in low-income countries and remote areas.

Now researchers at the University of Maryland’s A. James Clark School of Engineering have demonstrated a successful prototype of one critical component for affordable small-scale desalination: an inexpensive solar evaporator, made of wood. The evaporator generates steam with high efficiency and minimal need for maintenance, says Liangbing Hu, associate professor of materials science and engineering and affiliate of the Maryland Energy Innovation Institute.

The teams design employs a solar-driven evaporation technique known as interfacial evaporation because it localizes this solar energy driven conversion of water to vapor at the air/liquid interface. This technique “shows great potential in response to global water scarcity because of its high solar-to-vapor efficiency, low environmental impact, and portable device design with low cost,” Hu says. “These features make it suitable for off-grid water generation and purification, especially for low-income countries.”

Interfacial evaporators are made of thin materials that float on saline water. Absorbing solar heat on top, the evaporators continuously pull up the saline water from below and convert it to steam on their top surface, leaving behind the salt, explains Hu, who is senior author on a paper describing the work in Advanced Materials.

However, over time salt can build up on this evaporative surface, gradually degrading performance until it is removed, he says.

Hu and his colleagues minimized the need for this maintenance with a device made out of basswood that exploits the wood’s natural structure of the micron-wide channels that carry water and nutrients up the tree.

The researchers supplement these natural channels by drilling a second array of millimeter-wide channels through a thin cross-section of the wood, says Yudi Kuang, a visiting scholar and lead author on the paper. The investigators then briefly expose the top surface to high heat, which carbonizes the surface for greater solar absorption.

In operation, as the device absorbs solar energy, it draws up salty water through the wood’s natural micron-wide channels. Salt is spontaneously exchanged from these tiny channels through natural openings along their sides to the vastly wider drilled channels, and then easily dissolves back into the water below.

“In the lab, we have successfully demonstrated excellent anti-fouling in a wide range of salt concentrations, with stable steam generation with about 75% efficiency,” says Kuang.

“Using natural wood as the only starting material, the salt-rejecting solar evaporator is expected to be low-cost,” adds research associate Chaoji Chen. The evaporator approach also is effective in other types of wood with similar natural channels. The researchers now are optimizing their system for higher efficiency, lower capital cost, and integration with a steam condenser to complete the desalination cycle.

Hu’s lab also recently developed another solar-heated prototype device that takes advantage of carbonized wood’s ability to absorb and distribute solar energy—this one created to help clean up spills of hard-to-collect heavy oils. “Our carbonized wood material demonstrates rapid and efficient crude oil absorption, as well as low cost and scalable manufacturing potential,” says Kuang, lead author on a paper about the research in Advanced Functional Materials.

“Wood is an intriguing material scaffold, with its unique hierarchically porous structure, and it is a renewable, abundant and cost-effective resource,” Hu says. “In our lab, the fundamental understanding of biomaterials (especially wood) leads us to achieve extraordinary performance that is competitive with widely used but non-sustainable materials.”

Other new wood-based materials created in Hu’s lab include light and effective “nanowood” insulating materials; transparent wood; “super wood” that is 12 times stronger and 10 times tougher than natural wood, and potentially could replace steel, titanium or carbon fiber in certain applications; and a wood-derived flexible membrane used to create a heat-to-electricity device.

Read past releases below about other poyrwood-based technologies being developed at UMD.

UMD Researchers’ Wood-based Technology Creates Electricity from Heat (March 2019)

UMD Researchers Create Super Wood Stronger Than Most Metals (Feb. 2018)

A Battery Made of Wood? (August 2016)

 

Wood Windows are Cooler than Glass (June 2013)

 

Two University of Maryland Scholars Named 2019 Guggenheim Fellows

April 17, 2019
Contacts: 

Lee Tune 301-405-4679

College Park, Md. – Two University of Maryland scholars—a literary scholar and a computer scientist— have been named 2019 Guggenheim Fellows, chosen on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise.

Mohammad T. Hajiaghayi, the Jack and Rita G. Minker Professor of Computer Science, and Gerard Passannante, associate professor of English, were among the 168 scholars, artists and writers chosen this year from a group of almost 3,000 applicants. They join a long list of past UMD Guggenheim Fellows that includes groundbreaking historian of slavery Ira Berlin, a Distinguished University Professor; physicist Michael E. Fisher, a Distinguished University Professor and Regents Professor who received two Guggenheim Fellowships (1970 & 1979);  professor of theatre Heather S. Nathans; quantum chemist, Millard Alexander, a Distinguished University Professor; and engineer/physicist Katepalli Sreenivasan.

Awarded by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the fellowships are primarily awarded to those in the creative arts and humanities. These awards recognize those “who have demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts," and provide grants of six to 12 months so recipients can freely pursue their work.

Hajiaghayi is one of 132019 awardees whose work is based in the natural sciences. He will receive $50,000 over 12 months to continue his research on algorithms for big graphs and game theory. Hajiaghayi’s algorithms—which are used by companies like Google and Amazon—analyze data sets with trillions of connections while accounting for user objectives and incentives.

“I want to keep working on solving real-world problems essentially,” Hajiaghayi says. “These technology companies will help me do that because they have huge datasets that you can’t find anywhere else.”

His algorithms also help process large datasets on devices with a limited amount of fast memory—a smartphone or tablet, for example—or devices that are connected to a relatively slow external data source. 

In 2016 Hajiaghayi was a part of a team of computer scientists from the University of Maryland, Stanford University and Microsoft Research that was the first to solve a game theory scenario known as “Colonel Blotto” that had vexed researchers for nearly a century.

Passannante studies European literature and culture from the 14th to the 18th century—from the verses of the poet Petrarch to the philosophy of Immanuel Kant. He is especially interested in how ideas travel. His recent honors include both the new Guggenheim Fellowship and an American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Fellowship to support his research on how contemporary ideas about scale, or the relative size or extent of something, have roots in ancient and early modern arguments about the order of the universe. In his project, "God is in the Detail," Passannante will explore a variety of literary and philosophical discussions of scale—for example, ancient arguments about cosmic order, Hamlet’s musings on infinity,  the discovery of calculus and the bodies of insects as seen through a microscope.

"It's about the history of the strategies we have for confirming that the world is secure and orderly—that 'everything’s fine'—in spite of what experience might say to the contrary," says Passannante. "It’s about finding evidence of order in the very smallest of things."

The phrase "God is in the detail" suggests that the divine is evident in even the smallest of things. Passannante chose it as the title of his project because it speaks to how questions of scale are caught up in questions about the order of the universe. He sees similar patterns emerging in contemporary thought, especially discussions of global warming.

"We live in a moment of profound ecological crisis, but we are dismayingly good at reassuring ourselves by finding order in small things," he said. "I want to create a historical lens through which to see our own practices of interpretation in another light."

The inspiration for Passannante's Guggenheim and ACLS project came while writing his recently published second book, "Catastrophizing: Materialism and the Making of Disaster," which traces the literary and philosophical history of catastrophizing, or imagining the worst. The book touches on everything from Leonardo da Vinci's musings on the destructive forces of nature to the doomsday predictions of Renaissance astrologers.  

"I was struck by the way ideas about scale were connected to ideas about the nature of God," he says. "I wanted to understand how and why people argued historically that God is present in even the smallest of things and how they translated this claim into a feeling."

Established in 1925, the Guggenheim Memorial foundation has awarded more than $360 million to over 18,000 people. Hajiaghayi, Passannate and the other 2019 fellows will be honored next month at a reception in New York City.

8th Annual Good Neighbor Day Returns With Its Largest Volunteer Count

April 12, 2019
Contacts: 

Golshan Jalali, 301-405-0043

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland, the City of College Park and The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) will host the 8th Annual Good Neighbor Day on Saturday, April 13, 2019 at 8:30 a.m. This day of service begins with an opening ceremony held at the College Park Community Center and continues at several service projects that unify Greater College Park to achieve the common goal of beautifying shared community spaces.

“The support we receive for this event is remarkable. Each year we have more and more volunteers interested in participating, which has allowed us to make big impacts in our shared community,” states Sarah D’Alexander, event producer of Good Neighbor Day.

Beginning as a Christmas in April event in 2011, the Good Neighbor Day initiative has developed into a well-known community-wide day of service. Growing from fifty participants in the first year, the 8th Annual Good Neighbor Day anticipates 900 volunteers, the largest number in the event’s history. In addition to UMD students, staff, faculty, and alumni, volunteers will include elected officials, city residents, and community youth uniting to complete over 20 service projects throughout the Greater College Park community.

Since 2012, Good Neighbor Day has gathered more than 2,100 volunteers to complete 50 service projects. The annual food drive has collected approximately 10,000 pounds of food to benefit the UMD Campus Pantry and the College Park Community Food Bank.

“It is great to see families taking part in caring for the environment and teaching their children the value in doing good and being engaged in the community,” says Gloria Aparicio Blackwell, Director of the Office of Community Engagement.

This year, projects will include community cleanups, tree planting at Lake Artemesia, meal packing with Terps Against Hunger, free translation services to community organizations through Terps Translate, landscape enhancement at Paint Branch Elementary, invasive species removal at Sentinel Swamp Sanctuary, and more.

For more information and to register for Good Neighbor Day, visit goodneighborday.umd.edu.

Top Decision Makers, Experts Join UMD Researchers to Broaden the Cybersecurity Conversation

April 12, 2019
Contacts: 

Maggie Haslam 202-258-8946

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The speed and complexity of tech innovation—from 5G networks to the prevalence of artificial intelligence—will require more sophisticated and holistic safeguards, according to cybersecurity experts who gathered last week at the University of Maryland’s first Executive Cybersecurity Summit. The first-of-its kind, three-day event assembled over 125 high-level private sector executives, senior policymakers, government leaders and academic researchers, for a broad conversation including not just technical issues but also often-overlooked intricacies of cyber threats, such as human behavior and economic impacts.

“It takes partnerships that span sectors and disciplines to understand a growing threat of this magnitude and complexity,” said University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh. “Academia already plays a unique role in fostering these partnerships. It’s one of the reasons for convening this summit.”

Sponsored by the University of Maryland’s Office of the Provost, the Executive Cybersecurity Summit was organized by the University’s Maryland Global Initiative for Cybersecurity (MaGIC), a campus entity that promotes and coordinates efforts across the University of Maryland to expand cyber education, research and development activities. The summit was designed to fill a critical gap in the ongoing conversation on cybersecurity by bringing the challenges facing the public and private sector to the research community, and explore not just the technical challenges of cybersecurity, but the tech-induced impacts relevant to organizational leaders.

“I think that the activities and pressures on the ground are so demanding that the public and private sectors have a tendency to move too fast to solve the immediate problem, when actually the problem is much more involved,” says Keith Marzullo, dean of UMD’s iSchool. “That need to move quickly limits their ability to think more deeply. And that’s where we can come in.”

Speakers included Rick Ledgett, former deputy director of the National Security Agency; Grant Schneider, federal chief information security officer and senior director of cybersecurity of the National Security Council; Jon Darby, director of operations for the National Security Agency; Major General Linda Singh, Adjutant General of Maryland; Curt Dukes, VP and GM of CIS; Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger, Maryland’s 2nd District; and Debora Plunkett, former director of the NSA’s Information Assurance Directorate.

Many of the experts stressed the urgency for building the professional workforce on all sides of the cyber issue to include law, public policy, communications and enterprise. Schneider pointed to engagement with both cyber and non-cyber staff as critical to risk management.

“Developing that workforce is one of the most critical things we need to do,” he said. “We need more cybersecurity professionals, we need more STEM, people who can hopefully solve all of these cybersecurity challenges for us. We also need more lawyers and people who can translate what the technicians are talking about, and those who understand the business mission and values. We need a far more nuanced conversation between CEOs and CISOs.”  

Speakers also listed a variety of factors—including fledgling technologies, knowledge and communication gaps, even national and regional emergencies—that compromise security and information by offering more points of entry for cyber hackers and nation-states. Singh touched on the Baltimore riots following the death of Freddie Gray, which cyber attackers attempted to exploit to access the state’s systems. That experience was the impetus, she said, for revolutionizing the Maryland National Guard’s cybersecurity system.

“You need to gather the experts but also give them the space create and innovate,” she said.

Research also plays an important role in studying the interconnection of systems and in understanding how they can make us vulnerable. Ledgett pointed to emerging technologies and techniques such machine learning as areas not well-tested or understood in today’s threat environment. Facial recognition in particular, which is poised to change everything from how we buy things to how we travel, is particularly vulnerable.

“I’ve had colleagues tell me that it will take a cybersecurity breach equivalent to Pearl Harbor to change the game,” said Ledgett. “I think that the work that institutions like the University of Maryland and folks in the private sector can do is essential to making that not be the case.”

MaGIC’s Executive Director Daniel Ennis said he expects the summit to be an annual event at the University of Maryland, possibly bridged with a series of lectures that explore a deeper range of topics connected to the cyber issue.

 “Ultimately a lot of these solutions are going to come from the private sector and academia and the research it develops,” he said.

 

Professor Gives UMD $750K to Support Campus Makerspaces in New Brendan Iribe Center and Across Campus

April 11, 2019
Contacts: 

Lee Tune 301-405-4679

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Bill Pugh, an entrepreneur and UMD emeritus professor of computer science, has donated $750,000 to the University of Maryland to support use of a large makerspace in the new Brendan Iribe (ee-REEB’) Center for Computer Science and Engineering and to fund efforts to coordinate use of the numerous other makerspaces around campus.

A pioneer in programming languages and software engineering, Pugh taught at Maryland for nearly a quarter century and became a successful entrepreneur. For the last several years, he’s been a passionate booster and fundraiser for the new Brendan Iribe Center.

“The Iribe Center was designed as an environment to encourage students to be inventive, to think about what they can do with technology and to partner with people outside their disciplines,” Pugh said. “They’ll come here, see research with drones and robots, art projects infused with technology–all done by students—and they’ll be excited to get involved.”

Pugh’s gift includes $500,000 to staff and operate the Jagdeep Singh Family makerspace in the Brendan Iribe Center.  This 5,300-square-foot makerspace, affectionately called the Singh Sandbox, is supported by a $1 million donation from alum Jagdeep Singh ’86 and Roshni Singh. The nickname is a nod to UMD’s first Sandbox makerspace that opened in 2016 in the Computer Science Instructional Center.

The Singh Sandbox will be guided by the interests of students from any major, who will be able make something even if it’s unrelated to research or a class. Consisting of a large, open collaboration area and six workshops on the first floor, the Sandbox provides specialized equipment that isn’t available elsewhere on campus except to students and researchers in specific departments. The facilities include two laser cutters, a fully equipped wood shop, a large-format printer, a vinyl cutter, a metal milling machine, two types of 3D printers, an advanced electronics fabrication and analysis shop, sewing machines, hot glue guns, a button maker and more.

“It’s so important for students to gain experience beyond the traditional computer science curriculum that is often focused on software,” Jagdeep Singh said. “Makerspaces are a wonderful way for students to work with tangible hardware and apply real-life problem-solving skills to create something in the real world.”

In addition, Pugh and his wife, Lisa Orange, are donating $250,000 to support coordination of campus makerspacesdesignated areas for students to invent and create that are supported and equipped by different units on campus. This gift will support the compiling of data about makerspace resources on campus and development of infrastructure, documentation and programming for the campus maker community. The funds will be administered by Terrapin Works, a collection of digital manufacturing resources/spaces provided to the campus and beyond. Terrapin Works is managed by the A. James Clark School of Engineering. Makerspaces also are available in, and run by, other units such as the Department of Physics, University Libraries and the College of Information Studies.  

Pugh and Orange have been strong supporters of innovation in computer science education over the years, donating nearly $1.5 million to UMD, including to fund the original Sandbox in the Computer Science Instructional Center. Pugh said that makerspaces are important because teaching students about innovation and entrepreneurship means giving them the skills to turn an idea into a reality.

“You have to figure out if building your idea is feasible, and what technology you should use,” he said. “You bounce it off other people. Maybe you start implementing it and find it isn’t going to work, or maybe the technology works but it just isn’t compelling, so you pivot. And you keep pivoting until you eventually come up with something that’s either useful to you or wows your friends and family.”

Pages

April 17
 Michele J. Gelfand and Frances E. Lee will be inducted at a ceremony in October  Read
April 17
Clark School researchers have created a successful prototype of a critical component for affordable small-scale... Read
April 17
 Computer scientist Mohammad Hajiaghayi and author and English faculty Gerard Passannante awarded fellowships on... Read