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WIE DREAM Conference Inspires High School Students

February 26, 2013
Contacts: 

Ted Knight 301-405-3596

2013 WIE Dream Conference attendeesCOLLEGE PARK, Md. - High school girls from across the region gathered at the University of Maryland on Feb. 23, 2013, for the Women in Engineering (WIE) Program's 5th annual DREAM (Developing Revolutionary Engineers and Mentors) Conference to explore their passion for engineering and innovation.

"Diversity and the inclusion of women are critical to the field of engineering," explained Dr. Paige Smith, director of WIE. "There is a strong connection between innovation and diversity. Diversity brings creativity and creativity drives innovation."

Smith went on to share the exciting news that, at the time of the conference, an unprecedented 33 percent of the A. James Clark School of Engineering's fall 2013 admitted engineering undergraduates are women.

Throughout the day, participants rotated through a series of highly interactive discussions, demonstrations and an information fair that showcased the innovations, applications and opportunities that engineering offers. The conference encouraged participants to be inquisitive, to hone problem-solving skills and to invent solutions for real-world problems.

For many participants, the WIE DREAM Conference was a chance to catch a glimpse of life as a college engineering student. Panels were led by UMD faculty, staff and current students on topics such as engineering abroad, the Gamera Project and cybersecurity. The event also featured forums with professional women engineers from a variety of leading organizations like BAE Systems and NASA, who explained the work they do and encouraged students to reach for their dream jobs.

The event featured a keynote address by Denise Russell Fleming, vice president of business technology & transformation at BAE Systems. Fleming shared the inspirational story of her path to success, stressing that the best path may not always be a straight line. Fleming encouraged students to have a strong center, to be open to new possibilities and to embrace changes in direction. And, most importantly, to "enjoy the ride!"

"I couldn't be happier with today's events," concluded Bria McElroy, Assistant Director of WIE. "We aim to inspire these young women, and I feel that's exactly what we've accomplished together."

2013 WIE Dream Conference attendees

UMD to Launch Mid-Atlantic Innovation Hub

February 22, 2013
Contacts: 

Eric Schurr 301-405-3889

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — The University of Maryland is teaming with two top universities in the Mid-Atlantic region to tackle an enduring challenge: how to translate $60 billion in research funding into new products and companies that benefit society.

National Science Foundation Innovation CorpsThrough $3.75 million in funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the University of Maryland, along with George Washington University and Virginia Tech, will launch a regional Innovation Corps (I-Corps) node with one sweeping goal: find the best entrepreneurial student and faculty researchers and help them bring their discoveries to market.

"I-Corps is aggressive, methodical, and just what our region needs," said Dean Chang, associate vice president for innovation and entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland, lead institution for this program. "We live in one of the most fertile areas in the country for technology-based research, and our goal is nothing short of finding 300 of the most talented research teams and guiding them through the best technology commercialization program available."

I-Corps takes researchers through a seven-week program with a methodology that draws upon decades of experience in Silicon Valley, emphasizing talking to as many potential customers as possible, pivoting in response to resulting insights, building low-cost prototypes to get customer feedback, constantly adapting, and building a scalable business model.

Successful outcomes for I-Corps include a new startup, patent or technology license to a company. The program will also foster a culture of entrepreneurship among researchers and students.

Through the new Mid-Atlantic I-Corps Node, NSF will select up to 50 research teams from across the country each year and the Mid-Atlantic Node will select an additional 50 teams of its choosing. With up to 100 teams trained each year for three years, the total could reach 300.

In addition, the Mid-Atlantic I-Corps Node will establish a mentor development program to attract, train and retain top-notch mentors. It will also create a post-I-Corps support program to help teams with follow-on activities, such as continued customer development, minimum viable product (MVP) prototyping, technology transfer and licensing, fundraising, legal services and hiring executive talent.

The University of Maryland, George Washington University and Virginia Tech pull together a wide and experienced collection of resources and personnel to make the Mid-Atlantic I-Corps Node a success. Collectively, the three institutions have already taken nine teams through the national I-Corps program.

The new Mid-Atlantic I-Corps node is one of three announced by NSF, with additional nodes supported in California and New York, through a total of $11.2 million in funding. These add to existing I-Corps nodes at Georgia Tech and the University of Michigan. Collectively, these nodes create the foundation of NSF's plan to establish a National Innovation Network designed to propel research to market.

COE Honored for Commitment to Global Diversity

February 22, 2013
Contacts: 

Halima Cherif 301-405-0476

Neil Tickner 301-405-4622

University of Maryland College of EducationCOLLEGE PARK, Md. – The College of Education at the University of Maryland will be honored with the 2013 Best Practice Award in Support of Global Diversity by the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE). The award recognizes a school, college or department of education that fosters diversity, equity and global awareness as core elements of its educator preparation programs.

The AACTE Committee on Global Diversity, which reviews the award, selected Maryland for making significant contributions to global diversity not only for its students, but also for the educator preparation profession. The program was found to be comprehensive and systematic, with an extensive scholarly record of addressing the goals and missions of global initiatives.

The College of Education team was commended for building long-standing, collaborative partnerships with government entities and school systems, which help to produce internationally literate graduates for the community's diverse schools. Maryland is the only institution in the U.S. to be selected to host the Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching program for the past three years.

"The university is delighted but not at all surprised to learn that our College of Education has won the AACTE 2013 Best Practice Award in Support of Global Diversity, as its commitment to internationalizing the college has been long-term, intentional and innovative," said Ross Lewin Ph.D., vice president for international programs at Maryland. "The University of Maryland believes that a great university must be a globally connected university, and has made significant strides toward that goal in recent years. We sincerely appreciate AACTE's recognition of the tireless efforts of our College of Education international outreach."

The Committee gave special recognition to Marylands's Office of International Initiatives for reflecting a vision of sustainability that is focused on global initiatives. It also highlighted grant opportunities that are available for faculty development and curricular implementation around global issues.

Alums Give D.C. Nightclub Encore Performance on MPT

February 22, 2013
Contacts: 

Alana Carchedi 301-405-0235

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - More than 15 years after one of Washington's most storied nightclubs shut its doors, three Maryland alumni are primed to give The Bayou an encore performance.
   
Dave Lilling '78, Vinnie Perrone '80 and Bill Scanlan '80Dave Lilling '78, Vinnie Perrone '80 and Bill Scanlan '80 interviewed dozens of musicians, former employees and patrons; culled video and photos from live performances; and gave freely of their time and money to produce a documentary on the eclectic Georgetown venue that saw the likes of Billy Joel, Foreigner, Kiss and Bruce Springsteen grace its stage.

"The Bayou: D.C.'s Killer Joint" airs at 9 p.m. Monday, Feb. 25 on Maryland Public Television. (Find your local channel here).

"It was just a really cool place, there was no other club like it," says Scanlan, who frequented the club as a Maryland undergraduate and is now a producer and on-air commentator for CSPAN. "It was huge, cavernous, raucous—and a really great place to hear music."

The 90-minute documentary covers the colorful history of The Bayou from its beginnings in 1953 as a Dixieland swing joint, to the heyday of rock 'n' roll in the nation's capital in the late '60s and '70s, to the final gig on New Year's Eve 1998.

The building was razed six months later and a movie theater and other commercial buildings now stand in its place.

The film includes rare footage of the last performance by Eva Cassidy, the soulful Maryland singer who died of cancer at age 33, six weeks after performing her signature song, "What a Wonderful World," on The Bayou's stage.

Other notable local musicians featured in the film include guitarist Nils Lofgren, the late go-go musician Chuck Brown and blues master Mark Wenner from The Nighthawks.

"I think people will be surprised when they see this film," says Richard Harrington, who retired in 2008 after 28 years as The Washington Post's national music critic. His memories of the nightclub go back to the late 1960s, when antiwar protests were in full swing and the counterculture and the establishment squared off all across Washington.

"[The Bayou] was one of the few places in D.C. where the hippies and Marines got along," he says. "That should tell you something about the vibe of the place."

Disaster Management Software Meets Sandy Challenge

February 21, 2013
Contacts: 

Greg Muraski 301-405-5283

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – In Superstorm Sandy's aftermath, New York City police officers worked alongside "Occupy Sandy" volunteers to haul supplies for survivors. The effort was supported by an open source software system named Sahana Eden (abbreviated from "Emergency Development Environment"), and its post-Sandy application illustrates an emerging model for grassroots disaster management that complements resource-challenged government response systems, says a University of Maryland data management expert.

Louiqa Raschid, a professor in the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business and the Institute of Advanced Computing StudiesSahana is "the world's leading open source software program for the rapid deployment of humanitarian response management," says Louiqa Raschid, a professor in the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business and the Institute of Advanced Computing Studies. She has worked to distribute the platform on a pro bono basis as founding chair of the Sahana Software Foundation. "It helps pinpoint those in need in real time and coordinate efforts to get them relief."

Occupy Sandy adopted the Sahana program to network with other community groups and administer material assistance and volunteers from the hardest hit communities, including the Rockaways in Queens, Staten Island and Coney Island, where recovery efforts will continue for months to come.

"The platform is ready to take off in the U.S., especially at the grassroots level," Raschid says. "I'd recommend that community response groups look into this now – before the next calamity."

How Sahana works
Volunteers use Sahana to coordinate relief efforts from Brooklyn's St. Jacobi ChurchSahana streamlines IT-based humanitarian management by making it possible for organizers to share information – otherwise confined to spreadsheets and Google documents – using database technology. "This database driven application can accommodate rescue management, volunteer management, situational awareness, shelter management and logistics, and it's adaptable to multiple languages," says Raschid, whose research specialties range from data management and information integration to social media modeling to financial cyber infrastructure.

Devin Balkind, executive director of New York-based Sarapis, a nonprofit working with the Sahana Foundation in supporting Occupy Sandy, says the key to Sahana's versatility lies in its capacity for "enabling users to efficiently cross-reference massive sets of data that would otherwise stretch the limits of spreadsheets."

Occupy Sandy collaborator Respond and Rebuild, for example, has used the platform to track and map more than 180 work orders – each with nearly 50 variables of information – targeting residential and business properties in the Rockaways. Such variables include property type, basement and first-floor flooding depth, damage description, work order details covering necessary equipment and total of volunteers, and the total of the property's occupants and whether they intend to stay. This helps response teams triage and identify the most urgent situations.

More broadly, Sahana has facilitated 400-plus phoned and e-mailed supply and service requests from various New York distribution points. "Administrators in these cases are able to confirm request availability and generate a waybill, or checklist, for inventory gathering and delivery instruction," Balkind says.

Global Applications
Raschid, now treasurer and a director of the Sahana Software Foundation, has spearheaded worldwide NGO and government adoption of the platform. It originated in Sri Lanka where "Sahana" means "relief." A team of IT specialists helped the Sri Lankan government pinpoint relief targets by creating a database of relief camps and a demographic breakdown of more than 26,000 survivors of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Subsequent applications include the following:

  • Government officials administered missing persons reports and triage and patient intake records following the 2005 Pakistan Kashmir earthquake.
  • Police tracked missing persons following the 2008 Chengdu-Sitzuan (China) earthquake, locating 42 survivors and reuniting them with their families.
  • Nearly 700 organizations responded to about 10,000 assistance and information requests through the platform in the wake of the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
  • U.S. Library of Medicine tracked missing persons from the 2011 Joplin, Mo., tornado in coordination with state public safety officials.
  • Government agencies and community groups collaborated through the platform in 2011 Tohoku, Japan earthquake and tsunami response and recovery efforts.
  • The Red Cross incorporated the platform in an "IBM Smarter Command Center" in response to the 2012 Chilean wildfires.

Sahana Software Foundation lead developer Fran Boon (front, center) uses the Sahana platform to assist in managing requests for meals from an “Occupy Sandy kitchen” in Brooklyn’s Bay Ridge neighborhood where volunteers have prepared and distributed thousands of meals daily to dozens of sites serving Sandy survivorsGrassroots Effect
The platform has been a very effective tool for government-wide relief efforts. But it also empowers grassroots-level recovery, says Sahana Foundation CEO Mark Prutsalis – whose Brooklyn neighborhood is in proximity to some of the worst damage from Sandy.

"The burned out blocks on Breezy Point and downtown Rockaway Beach reminded me of the torching of Dili, East Timor, during independence in 1999, and the flooding, beach erosion and water damage is slightly reminiscent of, incredibly enough, the  tsunami damage I witnessed in India and Sri Lanka," says Prutsalis. "Experiencing the recovery has convinced me that in 2013, traditional top-down disaster relief is incapable of preparing for and responding to the scale of these disasters."

The scope of Superstorm Sandy's damage and subsequent demand for relief personnel and supplies overwhelmed New York City's emergency management structure, even with its coastal storm plan, Prutsalis says. But Sahana helped diffuse the pressure by enabling "highly effective community-based organizations like Occupy Sandy to rapidly establish community trust and effective assistance networks in the weeks following the storm. The result has been the most effective, efficient and flexible response I have witnessed in 20 years as a disaster relief professional."

Building a User Community
Sahana supported a volunteer hub in Staten Island that provided hot food distribution, donation drop offs, supply pickups, volunteer dispatches, legal-financial aid and moreIn seven years, Sahana has become well-known in disaster management circles. It has been utilized extensively the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent societies, and New York City's Office of Emergency Management uses it to coordinate and manage emergency shelters.

Effectively applying the platform requires changing organizational workflow, as the immediate aftermath of a disaster is the worst time to introduce a new technology, says Raschid.  "Ideally, an organization or community would adopt Sahana in a pre-disaster mode and use its features for relief planning and preparedness training. So, we focus on strengthening existing partnerships and forging new ones. Ultimately, this is an open source community that needs to be built by individuals."

Balkind concurs: "All the technology in the world is worthless without the folks in affected areas doing relief work and practicing mutual aid."

"A software solution based on Sahana Eden isn't going to muck-out a house, deliver diapers or give people the experience of personal connection," he says. "But what it will do is organize information critical for all those tasks taking place. As an open source platform, there are no licensing restrictions and the source code is accessible to anyone who wants to view, use and modify it."

Raschid's grassroots Sahana promotion has targeted, among others, participants of the Grace Hopper Conference for Women in Computing. "Sahana has been involved in an extremely successful Open Source Day initiative at the conference since 2010," she says.

Raschid is helping students understand the transformational role of new technology, like Sahana, as a faculty mentor for the Smith School's Technology and Business Transformation Fellows Program. She also plans an internship at UMD through Smith's Center for Social Value Creation to engage MBA and undergraduate students to help raise Sahana's profile.
 
"We need to do a lot more," she says. "We want government agencies and grassroots groups in every community equipped and prepared."

Povich Panel Considers Sports Risk and Safety

February 20, 2013
Contacts: 

Dave Ottalini 301-405-4076

Povich Center 301-405-4605

The Shirly Povich Center for Sports JournalismCOLLEGE PARK, Md. - Just how risky is playing sports? The Shirly Povich Center for Sports Journalism at the University of Maryland will hear from a wide variety of voices on this issue during a panel discussion Wednesday, Feb. 27. The 7 p.m. event at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism on campus features a panel of media, media professionals and players from the Baltimore-Washington, D.C. area.

The topics will range from Robert Griffin III's now infamous playoff game and subsequent injuries to the ever-evolving concussion issue in professional and amateur athletics to how children and their parents deal with the risks of playing sports.

Panelists Include Haas, Sansiveri, Hallenbeck, "Doc" Walker, O'Donnell, Hyman
Dr. Stephen A. Haas is a retired physician for the Wizards, Capitals and Nationals as well as the former medical director of NFL Player Benefits. He will use his experience from years of treating professional athletes to discuss first-hand knowledge of the effect professional sports have on athletes.

Representing the NFLPA will be Sean Sansiveri who is staff council for the players association as well as an adjunct professor in the Georgetown University Sports Management program.

Scott Hallenbeck is the executive Director of USA Football, which is the official youth football development partner of the NFL and is emphasizing a new approach to what they call "a better, safer game."

Rick "Doc" Walker who is a commentator for ESPN 980 and Comcast SportsNet brings perspective from the playing field as a retired football player who spent his playing-years with the Washington Redskins and Cincinnati Bengals.

Katie O'Donnell, who played field hockey for the 2012 Olympic team in London, as well as the University of Maryland, also brings perspective from the playing field as well as coaching as the student-assistant for the University of Maryland.

Rounding out the panel is Mark Hyman, the author of "Until it Hurts," a book about America's obsession with youth sports, and an adjunct professor at George Washington University teaching sports law, sports communication and sports management.

The panel will be moderated by George Solomon, the director of the Shirley Povich Center and long-time Washington Post sports editor.

The event in Knight Hall's Richard Eaton Auditorium is free and open to the public. For more information, please email events@povichcenter.org or call 301-405-4605.

Seed Grant Competition Powers UMD's Future of Information Alliance

February 20, 2013
Contacts: 

Dave Ottalini 301-405-4076

Future of Information AllianceCOLLEGE PARK, Md. – The Future of Information Alliance has chosen four University of Maryland teams as initial FIA-Deutsch Foundation Seed Grant Competition award winners. Each team has won up to $25,000 to carry out projects aimed at the information challenges and opportunities of today's world. Forty-four students and faculty mentors from nine UMD colleges and schools submitted proposals. The teams will present their results on May 6.

The award winners include:

  • Approach: Every Voice, Every Path - Approach layers information on a site, allowing users to choose a path and listen to multiple stories and found sounds that might otherwise be unavailable. This site-specific mobile art-app does not just offer an opportunity to contemplate difference, but expands who shapes the story of a space. Everyone's voice counts. Every path should be walked.
  • The Digital Cookbook: A Friendly Guide for Making the Local, Global - This virtual "cookbook" will help people document and share an event online by providing resources related to documenting and sharing events. The initial focus of the research is the National Mall. The cookbook will be designed to be easily understandable for novice users yet innovative enough that more advanced users will also benefit as their groups work to share their cultures and document experiences through collaboration.
  • Safe Space and Knowledge Discovery: Social Media in the National Park Service – This project will create a rudimentary design for a social media platform for middle school youth to compliment the in-person programming of the National Park Service (NPS) Junior Rangers program.
  • Wikid GRRLs: Teaching Girls Online Skills for Knowledge Creation - The goal of this project is to encourage and help middle school aged girls to think of themselves as tech-savvy and smart, and to give them the confidence and skills to contribute to online knowledge projects. We propose to advance this goal by teaching teenage girls a variety of online skills, including how to run and contribute to a knowledge-based website. The emphasis is on learning skills that are engaging (that they see as fun) and have wide applicability, across their school curriculum and beyond.

Claire Valdivia, of the "Safe Space and Knowledge Discovery" team, presents at FIA Seed Grant Competition Semi-FinalsTo develop their projects, the four winning teams will collaborate with Future of Information Alliance founding partners like the National Park Service, the Newseum, the Barrie School and WAMU-FM.

"We are excited by the innovative ideas coming from students collaborating across disciplines during the first year of the seed grant competition," says Merrill associate dean and associate professor Ira Chinoy, co-director of the Future of Information Alliance. "The four winning teams included 22 students and faculty mentors from six colleges working with several of the Future of Information Alliance's founding partners. We're looking forward to seeing what these teams will accomplish over the next three months and beyond."

About the Future of Information Alliance
The Future of Information Alliance was launched at the University of Maryland in 2011. It was created to serve as a catalyst for dialogue across disciplines and to promote research on issues related to the evolving role of information in our lives. By identifying shared challenges and encouraging innovative solutions, the Future of Information Alliance seeks to facilitate a future in which information in all its forms can be an effective resource for all. The founding partners include the Library of Congress, the National Archives, the Smithsonian Institution, the National Geographic Society, the Newseum, Sesame Workshop, the U.S. National Park Service, the Barrie School, the Online Academy, WAMU 88.5 and Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley. The Future of Information Alliance is co-directed by Ira Chinoy, a University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism associate professor and associate dean, and Allison Druin, a professor at the University of Maryland College of Information Studies (iSchool).

UMD Center for Math Ed. Joins National STEM Teaching Initiative

February 19, 2013
Contacts: 

Halima Cherif 301-405-0476

Neil Tickner 301-405-4622

100Kin10COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The Center for Mathematics Education (CfME) in the University of Maryland's College of Education has joined a national partnership committed to the goal of recruiting, preparing, and retaining 100,000 science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) teachers in 10 years.

100Kin10 is a multi–sector mobilization that responds to the national imperative to train 100,000 excellent science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) teachers over the coming 10 years. The partnership was founded and is led by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and Opportunity Equation.

The Center for Math Education is one of 159 100Kin10 partners unified by a single, ambitious goal: to prepare all students with the high–quality STEM knowledge and skills to equip them for success in college and the workplace.

"We are honored as a university–based center to be selected to participate in this national initiative," said Professor Daniel Chazan, director of the Center for Mathematics Education. "Our selection recognizes our efforts on campus over the last decade to multiply the pathways by which STEM teachers are prepared. By multiplying the pathways toward certification as a STEM teacher, we have greatly increased the numbers of STEM teachers produced by our campus."

Over the next five years, CfME, working with other colleagues from the University of Maryland and district partners, will prepare 100 STEM teachers per year. Half of these graduates will teach for at least three years in a high needs school. CfME aims to prepare a diverse pool of STEM teachers who exhibit disciplinary expertise, cultural competence, and commitment to students and achievement.

More and better trained STEM teachers are essential to prepare America's students to fully participate in our democracy and to comprehend, and devise solutions to, complex national and global challenges. All students–not just those fortunate enough to attend certain schools—must have STEM literacy to find meaningful employment in a rapidly changing economy that has at its center a range of jobs based on skills grounded in the STEM disciplines.

Partner organizations were selected following a rigorous vetting process based on the innovation and boldness if of its commitment(s) toward expanding, improving, and retaining the best of the nation's STEM teaching force. CfME was nominated and selected based on its demonstrated resources and know-how, as well as a proven ability to deploy those assets creatively and strategically to address the nation's shortage of STEM teachers and ensure high-quality STEM learning for all students.

Watch this video to learn more about the 100Kin10 initiative:

UMD RecycleMania Goal: Win the 'ACC Grand Champion' Title

February 18, 2013
Contacts: 

Dave Ottalini 301-405-4076

Bill Guididas 301-405-3293

2013 RecycleManiaCOLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland is once again taking on the RecycleMania challenge to reclaim its 2011 'ACC Grand Champion' title from Boston College, who placed first in the ACC in 2012. RecycleMania is a national recycling competition between hundreds of colleges and universities to see who can recycle the most from Feb. 3 to March 30. This is the seventh year the university is participating.

"The competition seeks to tap into school spirit as the motivator to reach students who would not necessarily be interested in environmental issues otherwise," says Adrienne Small, recycling specialist in the Recycling and Solid Waste unit on campus. 

A state law - the Maryland Recycling Act - requires all counties and state units - including the University of Maryland - to recycle. Since its enactment in 1998, more than 1,000,000 tons of trash are being recycled throughout Maryland each year. The university has been working hard to improve campus recycling - in 2003, only 17% of waste was being recycled. During the 2012 calendar year that figure jumped to 70%. University officials say RecycleMania will help generate momentum for recycling efforts around campus so UMD can reach its 2013 goal of a 75% recycling rate.

"The University of Maryland has placed a high priority on recycling over the past few years," says Student Affairs Vice President Linda Clement. She says that while Maryland has made good progress, entering the RecycleMania contest will help "maintain and enhance this upward trend.”

How RecycleMania Works
The annual 8-week competition challenges colleges across the United States and Canada to collect the most recycled and trash materials. Weekly weigh-ins monitor the amounts each college reports and rank them based on volume per capita, determining which has the best recycling rate as a percentage of total waste and which produces the lowest volume of trash and recycling.

Collection will be done at various locations around the campus. Materials that will be accepted include all paper products (including cardboard, books, mail, magazines, and newspapers), bottles, cans, and all items that would go into the single-stream recycling bins. The university will compete in two additional categories this year: food service organics (which includes pre- and post-consumer food waste such as compostable dinnerware and napkins) and electronics.

Follow the University of Maryland's RecycleMania progress here.

Learn about UMD's electronics recycling drive taking place Feb. 26-27.

Md. Citizens for the Arts Honors Clarice Smith Center Executive Director

February 15, 2013
Contacts: 

Erica Bondarev 301-405-0199

Susie Farr, executive director of the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of MarylandCOLLEGE PARK, Md. – Susie Farr, executive director of the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland, has been awarded the Sue Hess Arts Advocate of the Year Award by Maryland Citizens for the Arts (MCA). The Sue Hess Award is given to individuals whose advocacy efforts have significantly benefitted the entire Maryland arts community and Farr is a longtime leader and innovator for the performing arts in Maryland. Her commitment to community engagement as a crucial component of arts programing has made the Clarice Smith Center a national model for academic integration and collaboration with on-campus and off-campus community groups at a university performing arts center.

"I'm deeply honored to receive this important award," said Farr, "and proud of the many ways we have opened doors to transformative arts experiences for the campus and all of Maryland's communities."

"The impact that Susie's work has had on the communities surrounding the Clarice Smith Center is vast. In an area of the state that was traditionally under-served she created a source of cultural enrichment which reaches far beyond the University's borders," said John Schratwieser, executive director of Maryland Citizens for the Arts.  "Her work is exactly the kind of advocacy we seek to encourage with the Sue Hess Award."

The award will be presented at Maryland Arts Day in Annapolis on Wednesday, Feb. 20.

Susie Farr is a nationally known arts administrator and advocate who has made significant contributions to the performing arts, in the nonprofit sector and in higher education. Since becoming the Clarice Smith Center's executive director in 1999, Farr has overseen the growth and development of a major performance venue. Under her leadership, the Center has earned a reputation for adventuresome programming and community engagement. Prior to her position at the Clarice Smith Center, Farr headed the Association of Performing Arts Presenters as executive director for 13 years, where she developed The National Task Force on Touring and Presenting the Performing Arts to address the complex issues facing the arts and culture in America. She has extensive experience in creating and administering new initiatives in support of diversity, arts advocacy and audience development.

About the Sue Hess Arts Advocate Award
The award is named in honor of the first Chair of the Board of Trustees and longest serving member of the organization, Sue Hess, who is known for developing a network of grass roots arts supporters, driving tremendous change and growth in MCA. The first award was given in 2009 and is awarded annually.

About Maryland Citizens for the Arts
Maryland Citizens for the Arts is a statewide arts advocacy organization, founded in 1977 to represent all Maryland artists and arts organizations of all disciplines. MCA works to increase public recognition and support of the arts and the role they play in the quality of life and economic vitality of Maryland by advocating for the arts across the state and by promoting adequate public funding at the local, state and federal levels.

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