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UMD Astronomers Partner on Powerful New Automated Sky Survey

November 15, 2017

Leon Tune, 301-405-4679

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- University of Maryland astronomers are celebrating the first image of the sky taken by a new robotic camera with the ability to capture hundreds of thousands of stars and galaxies in a single shot. Astronomers refer to such a first image as "first light".  The camera is the centerpiece of a new automated sky survey project called the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF), based at California Institute of Technology's Palomar Observatory near San Diego, California.

Photo of 'first-light' image

Among the scientists partnering with Caltech in the project are UMD astronomers who made important contributions to the planning and design of it. UMD participation in ZTF is facilitated by the Joint Space-Science Institute, a partnership between UMD and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Maryland scientists are looking forward to detections of new explosive supernovae, hungry black holes, hurtling asteroids and comets, and other astronomical phenomena that can be captured by ZTF’s new telescope-mounted camera during nightly scans of a large swath of the Northern sky.

“The ZTF survey will be transformative for the study of supermassive black holes feasting on stars in the centers of galaxies,” said Suvi Gezari, an assistant professor of astronomy at UMD and a fellow of the Joint Space-Science Institute whose research focuses on time-domain astronomy. “The timing of these events, known as tidal disruption events, can be used to constrain the mass and spin of black holes. Data from ZTF may also offer a rare, real-time glimpse into the formation of an accretion disk—and possibly relativistic jets—around a supermassive black hole.”  

From 2009 to 2017, the blinking and flaring of transient objects in the sky was captured by the Palomar Transient Factory (PTF), a predecessor to the new Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF). The previous project took advantage of the Palomar Observatory’s three telescopes—the automated 48-inch Samuel Oschin Telescope, the automated 60-inch telescope and the 200-inch Hale Telescope.

During PTF's surveys, the Oschin Telescope acted as the discovery engine, then the 60-inch telescope followed up on the targets, gathering information about their identities. From there, astronomers used either the Hale Telescope, the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii, or the Discovery Channel Telescope in Arizona to zoom in on the various cosmic phenomena that enliven our night skies.Photo of horsehead nebula

The powerful sequel to PTF is the new ZTF that is named after Caltech’s first astrophysicist, Fritz Zwicky. Zwicky discovered 120 supernovae in his lifetime. Recently installed at the Oschin Telescope, ZTF's new survey camera can take in seven times more sky in a single image than its predecessor. At maximum resolution, each ZTF camera image is 24,000 by 24,000 pixels—so huge that the images are difficult to display on a normal computer screen.

Additionally, ZTF's upgraded electronics and telescope drive systems enable the camera to take more than twice as many exposures every night. Astronomers will not only be able to discover more transient objects, they will also be able to catch more ephemeral features that appear and fade quickly.

"There's a lot of activity happening in our night skies," said Shrinivas (Shri) Kulkarni, the principal investigator for ZTF and the George Ellery Hale Professor of Astronomy and Planetary Science at Caltech. "In fact, every second, somewhere in the universe, there's a supernova that's exploding. Of course, we can't see them all but with ZTF we will see up to tens of thousands of explosive transients every year over the three-year lifetime of the project."

Images from ZTF will be adjusted, cleaned and calibrated at IPAC, Caltech's astronomy and data center. Software will search the flood of ZTF data for light sources—in particular those that change or move. These data will be made public to the entire astronomy community for both research and education.

“Data from ZTF presents a really great opportunity for students here at UMD, because large survey programs like ZTF will play a big role in the future of astronomy,” said Melissa Hayes-Gehrke, a principal lecturer and undergraduate director of astronomy at UMD. Hayes-Gehrke has led efforts to develop educational materials that make use of data from PTF and ZTF. “It is fantastic to get students in on the ground floor. Astronomers will be mining this data for years to come, so this is an important step to help prepare students for a career in research.”  

Photo of Orion constellation

ZTF's new first-light image is a taste of what's to come. It showcases the large scale of the images and highlights the turbulent star-forming nebula known as Orion.

Astronomers are excited for the unexpected findings that ZTF will likely yield. One of PTF’s biggest discoveries came in 2011 when it caught a supernova, named PTF11kly, just hours after it exploded. The ZTF survey will further expand astronomers’ knowledge of a host of cosmic objects, including young supernovae, planets around young stars, exotic binary star systems and near-Earth comets and asteroids.

“I am most excited for ZTF’s potential to catch interesting comet outbursts. We know that they happen, we just don’t know how often. Many are caught by amateur astronomers,” said Dennis Bodewits, an astronomy associate research scientist at UMD who specializes in comet research. “This will change with ZTF, which will pick up between 30 to 50 comets every time it scans the whole sky. Comets are found all over the sky, so we’re interested in seeing as many of them as we can, in as much detail as possible.”    

Photo: The Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) took this "first-light" image on Nov. 1, 2017, after being installed at the 48-inch Samuel Oschin Telescope at Palomar Observatory. The full-resolution version is more than 24,000 pixels by 24,000 pixels. Each ZTF image covers a sky area equal to 247 full moons. The Orion nebula is at lower right. Computers searching these images for transient, or variable, events are trained to automatically recognize and ignore non-astronomical sources, such as the vertical "blooming" lines seen here. Photo credit: Caltech Optical Observatories.

Photo: The Horsehead nebula can be seen in this portion of the "first-light" image from ZTF. The head of the horse (middle) faces up toward another well-known nebula known as the Flame. Violet to green wavelengths detected by ZTF are represented as cyan, while yellow to deep red wavelengths are shown as red. Computers searching these images for transient, or variable, events are trained to automatically recognize and ignore non-astronomical sources, such as the vertical "blooming" lines seen here. Photo credit: Caltech Optical Observatories. 

Photo: The "first-light" image from ZTF is shown here (inset) within the Orion constellation. The Orion nebula can be seen within the ZTF image. Each ZTF image covers an area of sky equivalent to 247 full moons. Such large images will enable the camera to scan the sky quickly to discover objects that move or change in brightness, such as asteroids and supernovas, even when rare and short lived. Photo credit: Caltech Optical Observatories. 

UMD Ranked in Top 10 for Innovation & Entrepreneurship Education for Third Straight Year

November 15, 2017

Brooke Smith, 301-405-5882

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – For the third consecutive year, the University of Maryland has attained a top 10 ranking in The Princeton Review’s annual survey of the Top Schools for Entrepreneurship. In the 2018 rankings, released this week and featured in the December issue of Entrepreneur Magazine, UMD improved one spot to No. 8 for undergraduate entrepreneurship education overall and No. 4 among all public universities. This marks the seventh consecutive year that UMD has been named a top 25 program for entrepreneurship studies. 

Photo of stickies with various UMD partnerships

The recent string of top 10 rankings coincides with the UMD’s campus-wide presidential initiative aiming to engage all 38,000 students in innovation and entrepreneurship (I&E). This collaboration is spearheaded by the Academy for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (AIE) and engages partners in undergraduate studies, student organizations, social innovation, and not only business and engineering but all 12 schools and colleges. In 2016-2017, there were over 15,000 student enrollments in UMD’s 195 I&E-related courses representing over 50 different campus departments. 

“We talked to students from all over campus and discovered that they’re often forced to choose between either graduating on time or pursuing real-world projects or ventures they’re passionate about. We’re solving that problem by embedding I&E modules in more and more of the existing required general education and pre-requisite courses for various majors so that students no longer have to choose,” said Dean Chang, associate vice president for innovation and entrepreneurship at UMD and the head of AIE. “They get a small taste of innovation, real-world creative problem-solving, and entrepreneurship directly in the courses they were already going to take to graduate.”

The Princeton Review tallied its rankings for top entrepreneurship programs based on a survey it conducted from May through August 2017 of more than 300 schools offering programs in entrepreneurship studies. While most entrepreneurship rankings only include UMD’s extensive business or engineering entrepreneurship programs, The Princeton Review additionally reflects UMD’s unique efforts to engage all 38,000 students in I&E across all 12 colleges and schools. 

The 60-question survey looked at each school’s commitment to entrepreneurship studies inside and outside the classroom. More than 40 data points were analyzed for the rankings. Among them were the percentage of faculty, students, and alumni actively and successfully involved in entrepreneurial endeavors, the number and reach of mentorship programs, and funding for scholarships and grants for entrepreneurial studies and projects.  

For more information on The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur’s rankings, visit www.entrepreneur.com/topcolleges. To learn more about innovation and entrepreneurship at UMD, visit innovation.umd.edu/learn







University of Maryland Start-Up Company Grip Boost Inc. Goes Global

November 13, 2017

Alana Coyle, 301-405-0235

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - University of Maryland start-up company Grip Boost Inc., which developed its grip enhancing gel technology at the university, will now be distributing Grip Boost Batting Gel worldwide. The company has announced that Lizard Skins, a global manufacturer and distributor of sports accessories, has become the product’s exclusive worldwide distributor.

A product of the UMD entrepreneurship ecosystem, Grip Boost’s patent-pending technology was originally invented by the Complex Fluids and Nanomaterials Group in UMD’s A. James Clark School of Engineering.

Former Maryland Football tight end Matt Furstenburg teamed up with engineering graduate students Chanda Arya and Kevin Diehn to spearhead the creation of Grip Boost. With the help of UMD’s Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute and Office of Technology Commercialization, the team filed for a patent on the technology and began customer research into its target market segments. After receiving strong customer feedback, the Grip Boost team set out to develop the technology into a commercial product through seed funding and mentorship from the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship at the Robert H. Smith School of Business.

“To see the technology move from idea to prototype to a top-rated product across multiple sports has been remarkable,” says Harry Geller ’81, successful entrepreneur and business mentor to Grip Boost Inc. “Grip Boost is a prime example of what is possible when students’ entrepreneurial passions flourish with the support of the entire UMD community.”

The Grip Boost gel technology was initially invented to restore grip to football gloves. After gaining strong traction with football players across the country, the Grip Boost team set out to bring its clean grip technology to athletes in other sports.

The team added UMD chemical and biomolecular engineering alumnus Alex Langrock and soon released a reformulated version of the product for baseball players. The Grip Boost Batting Gel is a quick drying, alcohol-based gel that aims to give batters the extra grip and bat control they need without the mess of traditional grip enhancers, such as pine-tar. With product in hand, the team began showcasing their new baseball gel at tournaments and tradeshows across the country where they met Lizard Skins, the official bat grip supplier of MLB.

“When we first met Grip Boost we were very excited and enthralled by their product and knew that this was a product we wanted to be associated with,” said Brad Barker, general manager of Lizard Skins.

“We are extremely excited about this partnership,” said Kevin Diehn, executive vice president of Grip Boost. “Over the past 5 years, Lizard Skins has revolutionized baseball at all levels with their innovative grip products. Through their sales and distribution networks, we will put the Grip Boost batting gel into the hands of elite players across the country. This partnership is an enormous milestone for Grip Boost Inc. and the University of Maryland community has provided us with tremendous support through each stage of our growth.”


University of Maryland Receives Top Prize at APLU Innovation & Economic Prosperity University Awards

November 13, 2017

Jessica Jennings, 301-405-4621

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland was honored for its contributions to the economic development of the community at the 2017 Innovation & Economic Prosperity (IEP) University Awards by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU). As winner of the Economic Engagement Connections Award, IEP’s top prize, and the Place Award. UMD is the first two-time winner of the Connections Award, and the first institution to garner both a category award and the Connections Award in the same year. The award winners were announced at the the 2017 APLU Annual Meeting on Nov. 12, 2017. 

Photo of President Loh at APLU AwardsUMD was recognized mainly for its Greater College Park initiative, a $2 billion public-private investment to rapidly revitalize the Baltimore Avenue corridor and academic campus, which includes dynamic academic spaces, a public-private research hub and vibrant downtown community. The Greater College Park initiative is the result of cooperative work among the City of College Park, Prince George’s County, the State of Maryland, private developers and the university. 

UMD took the top honor, the Connections Award, which recognizes the institution that is doing the most to build connections across all categories of economic engagement — innovation and entrepreneurship, talent development, and social, community, and cultural development. UMD also won the Place Award, which focuses on universities excelling in community, social, and cultural development work, including launching the nation’s first ‘Do Good’ campus. 

“Our close working relationship with College Park is helping us create a destination for research partners and families looking for a vibrant home,” said University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh. “We are deeply gratified to receive this double honor. It validates our growing success.”

In 2015, UMD was also honored with the top-prize Connections Award, and was a finalist for the Talent Award for the university’s partnership with Northrop Grumman to build a talented pipeline of students in cybersecurity. 

A key component of the partnership between UMD, the city and county is the College Park City-University Partnership. The partnership serves an important role in creating a sense of place, including a homeownership program that provides incentives for university and city employees who become homeowners in College Park; and a public charter school, the College Park Academy. 

As part of the Greater College Park initiative, UMD debuted the Discovery District in 2017, encompassing more than 150 acres that stretch from Baltimore Avenue to the research-rich and metro-accessible community along River Road. Discovery District is the epicenter of academic, research and economic development as home to the research park formerly known as M Square, and features amenities like The Hotel at the University of Maryland and the The Art Walk. In addition, a new $2 billion Purple Line light rail system crossing the campus and Discovery District will link UMD and College Park to a set of economically diverse cities 10 miles to the east and west of campus.  

For additional information on the APLU and the IEP University Awards, visit https://go.umd.edu/iepuniversityprogram


UMD-Born Company Gets $1.2M Investment from New Maryland Momentum Fund

November 10, 2017

Lee Tune, 301-405-4679

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – MF Fire, a University of Maryland-born start-up company offering clean-energy efficient wood stoves at an affordable cost, is the recipient of $1.2 million – the first investment from the recently established Maryland Momentum Fund offered by the University System of Maryland (USM).

The USM Board of Regents created the $25 million fund in 2016 to enable the system to invest in and support promising commercial opportunities arising from advances in research and intellectual property at USM campuses. Other critical sources of money in the $1.2 million funding round include Bill Clarke, a leading clean tech investor.

Photo of UMD alumni Ryan Fisher and Taylor MyersMF Fire was started by students in the  University of Maryland Department of Fire Protection and Engineering (FPE), which offers the only fully accredited undergraduate program of its kind in the U.S.

In 2012, UMD Fire Protection Engineering students Ryan Fisher (B.S. ’12, M.S. ’13, FPE) and Taylor Myers (B.S. '12, M.S. '14, FPE; B.S. '12, astronomy) were challenged with developing an eco-friendly “next-gen wood stove.” Together, the duo assembled a team and created a wood-burning stove, dubbed Catalyst, that differs from traditional models in that, utilizing ‘smart’ technology, users can control the stove’s temperature remotely from a phone or tablet. The internal sensors of each stove allow wood to burn more efficiently, so it lasts longer and burns nearly 60 times cleaner. They licensed the technology from the university and formed their company in 2014.

Fisher - the company COO - and Myers – the CTO – have teamed up with 28-year business veteran and entrepreneur Paul LaPorte (CEO) to develop a commercial model for the company.

“With our Catalyst smart wood stove, MF Fire is pushing the bounds of what is possible in wood heat. For the first time, consumers can expect a clean, safe, efficient and effortless wood stove experience – something totally familiar, yet completely modern,” said LaPorte, the MF Fire CEO. “We have reimagined wood fire as a clean energy source, and used state-of-the-art fire science and technology to bring that vision to life – one that deserves a prominent place, whether in a modern smart home, or a rural cabin.”

The team was excited to learn about the USM investment opportunity.

“There aren’t many venture capital funds in this area, so we applied immediately,” said Fisher.  “We actually pitched our idea to the Maryland Momentum Fund twice, and were thrilled when we heard about their investment.”

David Wise, a longtime regional business innovator now serving as director of the Maryland Momentum Fund said, “We are very excited to have MF Fire as the initial investment from the Momentum Fund. The company offers an efficient product based on combustion science and it emerged out of a center of excellence at the University of Maryland.”

Fisher and Myers are both originally from Frederick County. They went to school at the University of Maryland and then started their business in Baltimore.

“It’s definitely a point of pride for us to keep this entire process so close to home,” Fisher continued.  “We plan to use the funds to increase the visibility of MF Fire around the U.S. and Canada, and to aid in the development of a second product, which will be lower cost and available next winter.”

View a video demonstration of MF's wood stove at https://go.umd.edu/woodstove


University of Maryland Dedicates A. James Clark Hall, Transforming Region’s Biotech Corridor

November 10, 2017

Jessica Jennings, 301-405-4621

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland dedicates the new A. James Clark Hall today, a 184,000-square-foot facility that will catalyze engineering innovation and bioengineering breakthroughs and serve as a hub for new partnerships and collaborations throughout the Baltimore-Washington region. A. James Clark Hall is the only space in the nation dedicated to bioengineering and the translation of health-related products that incorporates FDA-funded Centers of Excellence in both Regulatory Science and Pediatric Device Innovation.


Photo of exterior of A. James Clark Hall“Great ideas will turn into life-changing devices and biomedical treatments in this magnificent research building,” said University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh. “Our students, faculty, researchers and partners will have what they need to produce bioengineering marvels, as well as advances in other fields.”


Made possible by the generosity and vision of the late A. James Clark, an alumnus and long-time supporter of the university; the State of Maryland; alumnus and biomedical pioneer Robert E. Fischell; and other donors, Clark Hall will help UMD attract the best and brightest students and faculty to make groundbreaking research possible. The building offers flexible classrooms, an innovation lab, capacity for collaborative student projects and nearly 40,000 square feet of state-of-the-art research laboratories.  


“My father felt the University’s decision to name the School of Engineering after him was the most meaningful honor he would ever receive,” said Courtney Clark Pastrick, board chair of the A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation. “I think he would be humbled to have this cornerstone of innovation named in his honor. Our family is proud of its potential to truly transform the future of education and health in our world.”


Clark Hall is designed to facilitate collaboration and advance cross-disciplinary work. At the heart of the building’s first floor lies the Leidos Innovation Lab, supported by a donation from the Leidos Corporation. The lab provides 6,800 square feet of space for students to work together on cross-disciplinary research and designs, and features overhead utilities, digital displays and movable workbenches, creating an ideal environment for collaboration.


Instructional laboratories and prep areas throughout the building will spur the organic flow of ideas, and a prototyping/fabrication lab will enable innovators to produce instant prototypes of their designs. Two flex classrooms will allow faculty to transform their space into lecture-style rows or small clusters of group tables. Student club rooms will give student startups, competition teams and other groups ample space to develop their ideas and innovations.


“Clark Hall embodies the future of multidisciplinary engineering with human impact,” said Darryll J. Pines, dean of the Clark School and Farvardin professor of engineering. “Our engineers have a long history of life-changing innovations, from the implantable insulin pump to 3-D printed vascular grafts. These state-of-the-art facilities will create the next generation of engineers who will advance human health worldwide, transforming millions of lives.”

Photo of interior of A. James Clark Hall

Interior of A. James Clark Hall









Clark Hall will provide world-class research facilities to the Fischell Department of Bioengineering and the Robert E. Fischell Institute for Biomedical Devices, dedicated to the research and development of new technologies to promote human health. Thanks to the vision and financial support from Fischell, bioengineering has become one of the university’s fastest-growing undergraduate degree programs.


"At the center of the region’s biotech corridor, Clark Hall will offer new opportunities for engineers across all eight disciplines to connect with experts from the University of Maryland School of Medicine on innovations that will change the course of human health for decades to come,” said Fischell Family Distinguished Professor and Bioengineering Department Chair John Fisher. “In this way, researchers from both the College Park and Baltimore campuses can utilize resources housed within Clark Hall to tackle challenges in areas ranging from cancer therapeutics and diagnostics to rehabilitation robotics and tissue engineering.”


A dedicated instructional lab will house top-notch equipment for a broad range of applications, and an imaging suite with cutting-edge technologies that will allow close examination of the body and brain. A bioengineering computational lab will give UMD engineering students and researchers unprecedented modeling and computing power for critical tasks.


Clark Hall will also serve as a hub for new partnerships across the region, bringing students and faculty together with experts from venture firms, research labs, technology companies and federal agencies, to inspire new technologies and improve human health.


A high-tech dynamic forum will be available to host national and international conferences, lectures and seminars, and educational programming aimed at convening the broader engineering community. Conference rooms on each floor and the commons and terrace space will provide additional areas for collaboration.


The legacy of A. James Clark at the University of Maryland extends beyond Clark Hall. The late A. James Clark never forgot that his business successes began with an engineering scholarship at the University of Maryland. In October 2017, the university announced an unprecedented $219.5 million investment from the A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation. Building Together: An Investment for Maryland will increase college access and affordability, inspire the next generation of engineering leaders and spark innovation that tackle today’s most daunting problems.


Clark Hall is also made possible by the generosity of T.K. Patrick and Marguerite Sung, Lawrence C. and Melanie Franco Nussdorf, Ronald and Karen Lowman, Rajan and Sandhya Mittu, and Pepco Holdings, Inc.


For more information about A. James Clark Hall, visit http://eng.umd.edu/james-clark-hall.


For photos of A. James Clark Hall, visit https://go.umd.edu/clarkhallphotos.  


What People Are Saying About Clark Hall

Robert E. Fischell: "I was pleased to be able to provide a substantial gift to the School of Engineering to start the Fischell Department of Bioengineering and the Robert E. Fischell Institute for Biomedical Devices to encourage future engineering students to create wonderful new medical devices for the benefit of all mankind."

Roger Krone​​, ​Leidos Chairman and CEO: “The Leidos mission ​to make the world safer, healthier and more efficient requires an innovative workforce. ​Leidos proudly supports the University of Maryland’s Fearless Ideas Campaign, further equipping the nation’s future engineering labor pool by using our cutting-edge Leidos Innovation Lab on the first floor of the new A. James Clark Hall.”

T.K. Patrick and Marguerite Sung: “As strong proponents of innovation to enhance human health, we were excited to invest in A. James Clark Hall. We are thrilled to be part of this spectacular building project and look forward to hearing about the many ways Maryland engineers will help improve the human condition through bioengineering solutions.”

Lawrence Nussdorf: “Jim Clark was a builder. He leaves his mark on the building he built, the company that bears his name, the region he helped change, the personal values he passed down to those of us lucky enough to work for him and the good works and young students he endowed and mentored.”

Ron and Karen Lowman: “For an excellent program to continue to succeed, it needs to be continually enriched with the best students, a superior faculty, innovative ideas and improved facilities. We are proud to be a small part of moving the Clark School forward to future success.”

Rajan and Sandhya Mittu: “When we were at the Clark School in the 80’s, there was nothing like Clark Hall. We feel very fortunate that we are able to fund an InTerp Suite, to help aspiring entrepreneurs build their companies.”



University of Maryland to Offer Application Fee Waiver to U.S. Veterans and Service Members

November 9, 2017

Jessica Jennings, 301-405-4621

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland is proud to announce a new undergraduate college application fee waiver for members of the U.S. Armed Forces. Driven by the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success--of which UMD is a member--the initiative will allow veterans and current service members to apply for free through the Coalition’s online application. The waiver will be available beginning in August 2018 for students applying for the 2019-2020 academic year.

Photo of UMD student veterans at football game"Given the remarkable service that veterans have provided our country, it's great to be in a position to assist them as they work to further their education,” said Shannon Gundy, UMD’s director of undergraduate admissions. “It is our hope that the fee waiver provided through the Coalition will encourage veterans to take the step of choosing to apply to Coalition schools that are eager to work with them."

“Finding new ways to support veterans at the University of Maryland is one way we can give back to those who have served our country,” said Marsha Guenzler-Stevens, chair of the Veterans Steering Committee and director of the Adele H. Stamp Student Union - Center for Campus Life. “We hope that by making the pathway to education more accessible and removing financial boundaries, veterans will continue to choose UMD as the best choice to further their education.”

Across the country, Coalition members are working to create more opportunities for veterans to attend and graduate from their colleges and universities.

The University of Maryland currently has more than 1,200 student veterans on campus. The university’s Veteran Student Life office offers a hub for resources for student, staff and faculty veterans on campus, and helps support a seamless transition from military life to civilian college life. Programs include health and human services, such as counseling and financial management; transition assistance programs; and Terp Vets, a student-run organization that focuses on outreach, social events and mentorship programs that enhance our student veterans personal and career growth. UMD also has a designated Veterans Center available exclusively for UMD student veterans that offers space to study, receive peer support and interact with fellow veterans. 

UMD has been recognized by Military Times on its “Best for Vets: Colleges” list, which recognizes colleges and universities that are a good fit for service members, military veterans and their families. UMD was also ranked No. 29 nationally as one of the Best Colleges for Veterans by U.S. News & World Report.

Seamlessly integrated into the Coalition’s online application, the fee waiver is easy to use. Applicants indicate their status as “currently serving” or “previously served” in the U.S. Armed Forces, and a list of member schools that honor the waiver will be listed. Qualifying students will then automatically bypass the payment screen when they submit their application.

“Our hope is that this waiver will not only inspire more veterans to apply to Coalition schools, but also convey that our members greatly value their service to our country, and now want to serve them. Plus, with their excellent track record of supporting students — and the graduation rates to prove it — Coalition schools are truly smart college choices for veterans,” said Annie Reznik, executive director of the Coalition.

The Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success is a group of colleges and universities across the U.S. that is committed to making college a reality for all students through its set of free online college planning tools, MyCoalition, that helps them learn about, prepare for, and apply to college.


University of Maryland Statement on Amicus Brief in Support of DACA -- November 9, 2017

November 9, 2017

Jessica Jennings, 301-405-4618

The University of Maryland has joined 49 peer institutions to support a legal challenge to rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Last week in federal court, UMD filed an amicus brief in the case of The Regents of the University of California and Janet Napolitano v. The United States Department of Homeland Security and Elaine Duke, which argues that rescinding the legal protections for DACA students is illegal and unconstitutional.  

“The sacrifices these students and their families have had to make simply to enroll as students at our institutions are legion, and their commitment to bettering themselves and getting the most out of their education is unwavering,” wrote the signatories in the brief. “These extraordinary young people should be cherished and celebrated, so that they can achieve their dreams and contribute to the fullest for our country. Banishing them once more to immigration limbo—a predicament they had no part in creating—is not merely cruel, but irrational.”

The university will continue to identify avenues for offering support to our DACA students and to advocate for a restoration of their legal protections.

UMD Community Members Reflect on Fraught Times

November 8, 2017

Katie Lawson, 301-405-4622

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - As the University of Maryland continues its work to combat hate and create a safer campus, members of the UMD community reflected on these fraught times in our country and community. 

People from across the spectrum of our community—faculty, staff, students and alumni—provided their thoughts on hate in America and on college campuses, and how institutions and individuals can find a path forward. 

Transcripts of the interviews can be found at https://go.umd.edu/healing-after-hate.

This video highlights thoughts from three participants, including Tamara Adams, UMD student and president of the Black Student Union; Jennifer Roberts, assistant professor of kinesiology in the School of Public Health; and Tarif Shraim, UMD’s Muslim chaplain. 

UMD Continues Sustainability Progress Towards Carbon Neutrality

November 7, 2017

Andrew Muir, 301-405-7068

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- The University of Maryland recently released its Sustainability Progress Report, featuring an array of sustainability achievements from the past year. 

Highlights from the report include: 

Photo of solar panels on parking garage

  • The university reduced campus greenhouse gas emissions by 28%;
  • UMD joined the "We Are Still In" coalition of over 1,000 leaders, pledging to forge ahead on climate action to meet the Paris Agreement;
  • President Wallace Loh announced Climate Action Plan 2.0, further charting the path to carbon neutrality by 2050;
  • The Maryland Energy Innovation Institute was launched with $7.5 million in state funding;
  • Campus solar energy production increased with the installation of over 7,000 solar panels on the rooftop of three campus parking garages;
  • Dining Services' new Anytime Dining program removed 6.3 million disposable items from the waste stream and improved the healthfulness and sustainability of food served on campus;
  • Compost collection expanded to more than 25 collection sites;
  • The Green Terp and Green Chapter programs launched through the Office of Sustainability, Department of Resident Life and Department of Fraternity and Sorority Life.  

Photo of Dining Hall “Sustainability has become a way of life for our campus, as students, faculty and staff commit to the future of our planet,” said University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh. “Faculty and staff are at the forefront of climate research. We made a promise and commitment to carbon neutrality. We’re keeping it.”  

In October, the university announced Climate Action Plan 2.0, an update to the original UMD Climate Action Plan first published in 2009. The plan refines several key strategies with a focus on minimizing carbon emissions associated with university air travel, offering incentives to encourage carpooling and use of public transit, and continuing progress on the President’s Energy Initiatives, announced in April 2014.  

The next significant Climate Action Plan milestone will be to reduce carbon emissions 50 percent by 2020.  

In addition to highlighting campus actions and achievements, the Sustainability Progress Report provides the University Sustainability Council and the campus community with data that allows for future planning around sustainability issues. 

The full Sustainability Progress Report is available here:  https://go.umd.edu/progress2017



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