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In Easton, archaeologists hope to uncover earliest free African American settlement (Baltimore Sun)

In Easton, an untold story of free African Americans is being discovered through bits of glass, shards of pottery and oyster shells. Piece by piece, University of Maryland archaeologists, historians from Morgan State, and the local community are uncovering the history of The Hill, a community they believe to be the earliest settlement of free African Americans in the United States, dating to 1790.

 

Starburst Wind Keeps Galaxies 'Thin'

July 24, 2013
Contacts: 

Lee Tune 301-405-4679

Unlike humans, galaxies don’t have an obesity problem. In fact there are far fewer galaxies at the most massive end of the galactic scale than expected and scientists have long sought to explain why. A new, UMD-led study published in the journal Nature suggests that one answer lies in a kind of feast and fast sequence through which large galaxies can keep their mass down.COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Unlike humans, galaxies don’t have an obesity problem. In fact there are far fewer galaxies at the most massive end of the galactic scale than expected and scientists have long sought to explain why. A new, UMD-led study published in the journal Nature suggests that one answer lies in a kind of feast and fast sequence through which large galaxies can keep their mass down.

Galaxies become more massive by ‘consuming’ vast clouds of gas and turning them into new stars. The new study shows in unprecedented detail how a burst of star formation in a galaxy can blow most of the remaining star-building gas out to the edge of the galaxy, resulting in a long period of starvation during which few new stars are produced.

“For the first time, we can clearly see massive concentrations of cold molecular gas being jettisoned by expanding shells of intense pressure created by young stars,” says lead author Alberto Bolatto of the University of Maryland. “The amount of gas we measure gives us very convincing evidence that some growing galaxies blow out more gas than they take in, slowing star formation down to a crawl.”

The team of astronomers used the new Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), a giant radio telescope in the high desert of northern Chile, to discover billowing columns of cold, dense gas being pushed out of starburst galaxy NGC 253, also known as the Silver Dollar or Sculptor Galaxy. In starburst galaxies, stars form about 100 times faster than in more normal galaxies like our Milky Way.

NGC 253 – with its slightly askew orientation – offers astronomers an excellent view of the star formation clusters near the galaxy’s center, clusters that turn out to be the point of departure for material being pushed from the galaxy.

“ALMA is opening a new window for observations of galactic winds,” says Sylvain Veilleux, also at the University of Maryland and a coauthor on the paper. “Winds have the potential to be incredibly disruptive and carry away a significant fraction of the star-forming material of a galaxy.”

The team says their results may help explain the universe’s surprising paucity of high-mass galaxies. Computer models indicate that old red galaxies, which are far more massive than the Milky Way, should be considerably more common than they are. In their youth, these galaxies likely ejected a large fraction of their gas that would have otherwise formed stars.

Gas can be removed from a galaxy in two ways. One is through the action of a central, supermassive black hole, called an active galactic nucleus.  Material is pulled into the black hole, becomes superheated and produces powerful jets or wide-angle winds that can propel material far from the galactic disk. However, evidence suggests that the black hole at the center of NGC 253 is not currently active.

The other way to potentially blow gas out of a galaxy is through galactic winds generated by star formation, but previously this had not been observed with enough resolution or sensitivity to measure the outflow of gas or its reductive impact on subsequent star formation.

As new stars form they exert powerful destructive influences on their environment. Initially, their light and winds of particles push on the surrounding gas. Later, if they are massive enough, stars explode as supernovas, a process that further drives the surrounding material away from the stellar birthplace. The current study indicates that in NGC 253, the concentration of hundreds or thousands of such destructive stars in one region is responsible for launching powerful flows of gas out of the galaxy.NASA image of NGC 253

Previous X-ray spectrum observations of NGC 253 have shown gas made of hot ionized hydrogen atoms streaming away from its star-forming regions. However, alone this insubstantial gas would have little if any impact on the fate of the galaxy and its ability to form future generations of stars. The new ALMA data show the far-more-dense molecular gas getting its initial “kick” from the formation of new stars and then being swept along with the thin, hot gas on its way to the galactic halo.
 
Using only a portion of its eventual full complement of 66 antennas, ALMA measured the mass and motion of carbon monoxide (CO) in the gas ejected from the central regions of this galaxy. The researchers determined that vast quantities of molecular gas – likely 9 times the mass of our Sun and possibly much more – were being ejected from the galaxy each year. At this rate, the galaxy could run out of gas and star formation slow to a crawl as in as few as 60 million years.
 
The researchers also determined that the gas is traveling somewhere between 25 to 155 miles (40 to 250 kilometers) per second, streaming approximately 1,500 light-years above and below the disk.  This may not be fast enough for the gas to reach escape velocity from the galaxy. If not, the gas will likely get suspended in the galactic halo for many millions of years.
 
 “More studies with the full ALMA array will help us figure out the ultimate fate of the gas carried away by the wind,” said Adam Leroy with the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, a facility of the National Science Foundation (NSF). “This will help us understand whether these starburst-driven winds recycle or truly remove star forming material.”

Bolatto agrees, but says: “Probably in a galaxy like this, the gas is pulled back into the heart of the galaxy, perhaps after several hundred million years. Star formation then takes off again and the whole process repeats itself.”

The National Science Foundation (NSF) provided core funding for this research through multiple grants to the university-based U.S. scientists as well as through NSF support of NRAO and ALMA construction and operations.

“Understanding how galaxies can evolve so radically and so dramatically is one of the hottest topics in astronomy today,” said Dan Evans, NSF program officer. “This work will have far-reaching implications for our understanding of the evolution of the cosmos. The result also is a true testament to the partnerships forged over many years between the University of Maryland research team, NSF and its international partners in the ALMA Project.

Study Shows Common Chemicals Harm Honey Bees' Health

July 24, 2013
Contacts: 

Heather Dewar, 301-405-9267

Researchers collect pollen samples from honey bee hives used to pollinate blueberries in Maine. Photo: Michael Andree COLLEGE PARK, Md - Commercial honey bees used to pollinate crops are exposed to a wide variety of agricultural chemicals, including common fungicides which impair the bees’ ability to fight off a potentially lethal parasite, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Maryland and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The study, published July 24 in the online journal PLOS ONE, is the first analysis of real-world conditions encountered by honey bees as their hives pollinate a wide range of crops, from apples to watermelons.

The researchers collected pollen from honey bee hives in fields from Delaware to Maine. They analyzed the samples to find out which flowering plants were the bees’ main pollen sources and what agricultural chemicals were commingled with the pollen. The researchers fed the pesticide-laden pollen samples to healthy bees, which were then tested for their ability to resist infection with Nosema ceranae – a parasite of adult honey bees that has been linked to a lethal phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder.

On average, the pollen samples contained 9 different agricultural chemicals, including fungicides, insecticides, herbicides and miticides. Sublethal levels of multiple agricultural chemicals were present in every sample, with one sample containing 21 different pesticides. Pesticides found most frequently in the bees’ pollen were the fungicide chlorothalonil, used on apples and other crops, and the insecticide fluvalinate, used by beekeepers to control Varroa mites, common honey bee pests.

In the study’s most surprising result, bees that were fed the collected pollen samples containing chlorothonatil were nearly three times more likely to be infected by Nosema than bees that were not exposed to these chemicals, said Jeff Pettis, research leader of the USDA’s Bee Research Laboratory and the study’s lead author. The miticides used to control Varroa mites also harmed the bees’ ability to withstand parasitic infection.

Beekeepers know they are making a trade-off when they use miticides,  said University of Maryland researcher Dennis vanEngelsdorp, the study’s senior author. The chemicals compromise bees’ immune systems, but the damage is less than it would be if mites were left unchecked. But the study’s finding that common fungicides can be harmful at real world dosages is new, and points to a gap in existing regulations, he said.

“We don’t think of fungicides as having a negative effect on bees, because they’re not designed to kill insects,” vanEngelsdorp said. Federal regulations restrict the use of insecticides while pollinating insects are foraging, he said, “but there are no such restrictions on fungicides, so you’ll often see fungicide applications going on while bees are foraging on the crop. This finding suggests that we have to reconsider that policy.”

In an unexpected finding, most of the crops that the bees were pollinating appeared to provide their hives with little nourishment. Honey bees gather pollen to take to their hives and feed their young. But when the researchers collected pollen from bees foraging on native North American crops such as blueberries and watermelon, they found the pollen came from other flowering plants in the area, not from the crops. This is probably because honey bees, which evolved in the Old World, are not efficient at collecting pollen from New World crops, even though they can pollinate these crops.

The study’s findings are not directly related to colony collapse disorder, the still-unexplained phenomenon in which entire honey bee colonies suddenly die. However, the researchers said the results shed light on the many factors that are interacting to stress honey bee populations.

When College Diversity Delivers Benefits: UMD Study

July 22, 2013
Contacts: 

Halima Cherif, UMD College of Education, 301-405-0476
Neil Tickner, UMD Communications, 301-405-7476

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The benefits of race-conscious college admissions are only fully realized under certain conditions, concludes new University of Maryland-led research. To stimulate meaningful cross-racial engagement, incoming freshman classes should reflect both racial and socio-economic diversity, the researchers report.

The peer-reviewed study appears in the June 2013 issue of the "American Educational Research Journal." The researchers say their study is the first to test empirically how socio-economic diversity affects racial interaction in colleges.

"Social class and race not only affect who goes to college, but what actually happens to students once they begin the journey of learning together," says lead author Julie J. Park, an assistant professor of education at the University of Maryland (UMD)."Social class and race not only affect who goes to college, but what actually happens to students once they begin the journey of learning together," says lead author Julie J. Park, an assistant professor of education at the University of Maryland (UMD). "Socio-economic diversity matters, not only because we need to broaden access to universities, but because it better equips these institutions to support racial diversity. A broader mix of students helps encourage more fluid interactions."

Park's team analyzed questionnaires filled out by more than 15,000 students at 102 U.S. colleges and universities on their campus interactions in and out of the classroom, including contacts with students from different races and social-economic backgrounds. Students reported as freshman and then again four years later as seniors.

The researchers found that students who reported higher levels of interaction with those from different socio-economic backgrounds also had significantly higher levels of contacts with other races, and an overall higher level of mixing with students from diverse backgrounds.

These findings "indicate that both socioeconomic and racial diversity are essential to promoting a positive campus racial climate," the researchers write. "Racial and socioeconomic diversity, while interrelated, are not interchangeable."

Park explains that white students from lower class backgrounds tend to have more experiences with people from different backgrounds due to the racial composition of American high schools.

"For one thing, sharing similar socio-economic backgrounds provides a way for students of different races to find common ground," Park adds. "Socio-economic diversity in combination with racial diversity creates a safer, more level playing field where people can meet and learn from each other."

The study's findings have practical implications for college admissions policies. "In order to better support both racial and socioeconomic diversity, selective and highly selective colleges need to increase efforts and dedicate additional resources toward recruiting, admitting, and supporting greater numbers of academically talented low-income students of all races and ethnicities," the authors write.

The study is the latest in Park's research, which focuses on diversity in higher education. She has a new book out that echoes the findings of this study, "When Diversity Drops: Race, Religion, and Affirmative Action in Higher Education." It examines the impact in California of Proposition 209, which banned affirmative action statewide.
 
The study's full text is available here.

Mapping the Brain To Understand Cultural Differences

July 18, 2013
Contacts: 

Neil Tickner 301-405-7476

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – A University of Maryland-led research team is working to help diplomats, military personnel, global managers and others who operate abroad to peer inside the minds of people from very different cultures.

"Some cultures are 'loose' and others very 'tight' – quick to spot and react to violations of social norms. Yet we know very little about how these vast cultural are realized in the brain," says University of Maryland cross-cultural psychologist Michele Gelfand, who is leading the interdisciplinary research team.With a three-year, $813,000 grant from the Department of Defense researchers will literally get inside the heads of people from various cultures to study the underlying neural-biological processes associated with cultural permissiveness versus restrictiveness.

"Some cultures are 'loose' and others very 'tight' – quick to spot and react to violations of social norms. Yet we know very little about how these vast cultural differences are realized in the brain," says University of Maryland cross-cultural psychologist Michele Gelfand, who is leading the interdisciplinary research team. "This work builds upon an exciting new field of cultural neuroscience to examine how differences in the strength of norms across the globe are 'embrained.'"

Gelfand's team will use brain measurements to help explain and predict a wide range of cultural differences, from self-control to creativity to cooperation.Gelfand's team will use brain measurements to help explain and predict a wide range of cultural differences, from self-control to creativity to cooperation. Though the field is in its infancy, she says it can advance understanding of group identities, cultural norms and belief systems.
 
"Social norms, though omnipresent in our everyday lives, are highly implicit," Gelfand says. "This research has the potential to facilitate the development of theoretical models and measures with improved predictive power. It will advance our understanding of the connection between culture, brain, and behavior."

The team will focus on developing tools to assess the strength of social norms, as well as policy recommendations for managing clashes of moralities, and techniques for better intercultural interaction.

Gelfand's co-investigators are Luiz Pessoa, who directs the University of Maryland Neuroimaging Center, Shinobu Kitayama, director of the University of Michigan Culture and Cognition Program, and Klaus Boehnke, a professor of social science methodology at Bremen, Germany's Jacobs University.

The research builds upon on an earlier 33-nation study in Science, in which a Gelfand-led team assesses the degree to which countries are restrictive or permissive and the factors that made them that way.

The research grant was awarded by the Defense Department's Minerva Initiative, which aims to improve the department's basic understanding of the social, cultural, behavioral, and political forces that shape regions of the world of strategic importance to the United States. The UMD project is one of only 14 funded by Minerva from a total pool of 280.

Gelfand received a prior Minerva grant in 2012 to study radicalization and a MURI grant in 2008 to study culture and negotiation in the Middle East. She can be contacted at mgelfand@umd.edu.

See also http://www.umdrightnow.umd.edu/news/research-can-climate-change-heat-conflict.

Maryland Agriculture is $8.25 Billion Industry

July 18, 2013
Contacts: 

Sara Gavin 301-405-9235

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The impact of agriculture on Maryland’s economy amounts to $8.25 billion annually, according to a recent study published by the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Maryland.

Professor Loretta LynchThe study, conducted by Professor Loretta Lynch and graduate student Jeffrey Ferris, looks beyond the revenue generated from farm products ($1.8 billion) and takes an in-depth look at how the agricultural and forestry industries weave their way into nearly every sector of Maryland’s robust economy.

Graduate student Jeffrey Ferris“While agriculture and forestry uses occupy 66 percent of Maryland’s land, agriculture only accounts for less than one-percent of the state’s gross domestic product,” says Loretta Lynch, Ph.D., co-author of the study and Director of the Center for Agricultural and Resource Policy at UMD. “We suspected, however, that evaluating the ripple effects generated by agriculture on Maryland’s economy would tell us a different story.”

Using an input-output analysis, the study takes into account the numerous industries that provide supplies and services necessary to process, manufacture and package products grown and harvested from Maryland’s farms and forests. UMD researchers found that for every dollar generated directly by agriculture or forestry industries, 45 cents was added to other sectors in the state; and, for every five jobs generated in these industries, three additional jobs were created around the state. The total economic impact of Maryland agriculture amounted to $8.25 billion annually and 45,600 jobs.

The study was commissioned by Cheng-i Wei, Dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Maryland. “Agriculture is a part of Maryland’s economy that is often overlooked and underestimated but this study reinforces that it is essential to our state’s economic health,” says Wei, Ph.D. “It is important that we understand the full impact of agriculture so that we continue to discover innovative ways to keep the industry prosperous and train the next generation of leaders who will preserve it.”

While the number of farms in the state continues to decline, farmers are adapting, modernizing and becoming highly efficient, producing more with less for local, regional, national and international markets.The study, the first of its kind since 2005, also highlights the changing face of agriculture in Maryland. While the number of farms in the state continues to decline, farmers are adapting, modernizing and becoming highly efficient, producing more with less for local, regional, national and international markets. Steady profits, however, are necessary to keep Maryland operations from shutting down and causing a snowball effect on the state’s economy.

“The decline of the agricultural and forestry sectors would have an impact on not just farm families and agriculturally based businesses,” the study states. “It would ripple out to the entire economy, causing distress to workers in many sectors, and losses to taxpayers, businesses, and others who benefit from a strong Maryland economy.”

To view further details from the report, The Impact of Agriculture on Maryland’s Economy, please click here.

MD at Risk: New Report Details Sea Level Challenges

July 16, 2013
Contacts: 

Dave Ottalini 301-405-1321

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Sea levels are rising worldwide, but they're rising two to three times faster in the Chesapeake Bay. A new semester-long investigative project coordinated by the University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism's Capital News Service (CNS) shows that sea level rise is putting major coastal areas of the state of Maryland at risk, including some of the state's most iconic places — Fells Point in Baltimore, Harriet Tubman's birthplace, and Fort McHenry, home of the national anthem.

"What's at Risk: Sea Level Rise in Maryland" is a collaborative, multiplatform investigation by Merrill College classes that includes a website featuring a wealth of multimedia content and an innovative map that shows the neighborhoods that could be affected."What's at Risk: Sea Level Rise in Maryland" is a collaborative, multiplatform investigation by Merrill College classes that includes a website featuring a wealth of multimedia content and an innovative map (right) that shows the neighborhoods that could be affected. Nearly one million Maryland residents live in the affected areas.

The website, with its innovative mapping, is the work of CNS Multimedia Bureau Director Sean Mussenden's online classes and Haralamb Brainalu, a graduate of the University of Maryland's A. James Clark School of Engineering.  CNS students spent the semester crunching numbers and moving that data into interactive maps.

Senior Lecturer Deborah Nelson's investigative reporting class looked at the effects of rising seas around the state, while students in Able Professor in Baltimore Journalism Sandy Banisky's urban affairs reporting class covered how Baltimore is dealing with climate change.  Finally, Lecturer and Photojournalist Bethany Swain's video journalism students captured the stories of Marylanders confronting the problems of higher water and more intense storms. The result is a multiplatform story package that lets readers see how dramatically sea level rise will affect the state — and how their governments are responding.

The package of multimedia stories released this week can be viewed online at http://cnsmaryland.org/sealevelrise and has also been distributed to CNS affiliates throughout the state of Maryland and Washington, D.C.

Tracking the Kudzu Bug in Maryland

July 16, 2013
Contacts: 

Sara Gavin 301-405-9235

Image Credit:  Russ Ottens, University of GeorgiaCOLLEGE PARK, Md. - A group of researchers at the University of Maryland is spending the summer tracking the latest invasive pest to threaten crops and aggravate homeowners along the East Coast – the kudzu bug.

The olive-brown bug, measuring less than ¼ inch in size, is a species native to Asia that typically feeds on kudzu vines and then migrates to soybeans and other types of available beans. It was first discovered in the United States in Georgia in 2009 where it caused significant losses for soybean farmers and has been gradually traveling north ever since.

Dr. William Lamp, a UMD entomology professor, is leading a team of researchers studying the bug's presence in this state. Earlier this summer, the team detected the kudzu bug in five southern Maryland counties including Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, Prince George's and St. Mary's.

"We haven't been finding huge populations but that might be due to the fact that it's just new here," says Alan Leslie, a graduate student working in Dr. Lamp's group.  "The potential is there for (the kudzu bug) to be an economic pest but now that we know for sure it's here, we'll have to do further studies and figure out how big of an impact it will have."

The pests in Maryland have all been collected on kudzu, not on soybeans, but the Maryland Department of Agriculture is encouraging soybean growers to watch for the pest and to learn about appropriate pesticides that can help control it.The pests in Maryland have all been collected on kudzu, not on soybeans, but the Maryland Department of Agriculture is encouraging soybean growers to watch for the pest and to learn about appropriate pesticides that can help control it. Information for growers is available at www.kudzubug.org/grower.html.

Much like the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, the kudzu bug can also be a nuisance to homeowners. When crushed, it can stain surfaces, cause skin irritation and emit an unpleasant odor. The insects are most likely to try to invade homes in the early spring and fall. Tips on how to keep kudzu bugs out of your house can be found at: www.kudzubug.org/homeowner.html.

UMD researchers will be monitoring sites all over the state throughout the duration of the summer to determine whether the pest could be as problematic for Maryland as it has been in other parts of the country.

"We still don't know the extent of the insect inside of Maryland," says Leslie. "There is concern that it has the potential to hang around and for the populations to increase but we just don't know yet. We need to take a closer look."

For more information on kudzu bug research in Maryland, visit http://mdkudzubug.org/.

UMD Uncovering Oldest U.S. Community of Free Blacks?

July 15, 2013
Contacts: 

Neil Tickner 301-405-7476

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – A University of Maryland archaeological team is excavating what may be the oldest community of free African Americans in the United States. Preliminary evidence indicates that the area in downtown Easton, Maryland, known as "The Hill," may predate by more than two decades the oldest known U.S. community of free African Americans.

U.S. Census and land records indicate a number of free African Americans settling on The Hill between 1789 and 1800, the research team says. Currently, Treme, a New Orleans neighborhood, is recognized as the oldest free black community in the nation. It dates to 1812, and recently celebrated its bicentennial.

Audrey Schaefer (UMD Undergraduate) describing the work in her excavation unit to a tour group from the Maryland State Archives.The team is digging on the property of the Talbot County Women's Club, headquartered in a house that dates to at least 1793 – one of the oldest on The Hill. The 1800 Census indicates that three free African Americans lived on the property.

So far, the team has confirmed that the archaeology of the site has been undisturbed by development in succeeding centuries. Also, they recovered some raw material there that suggests one of these African Americans may have worked as a blacksmith.

"Records paint a stark, high-contrast image of this area shortly after the American Revolution," says University of Maryland archaeologist Mark Leone, who is leading the excavation and directs the Archaeology in Annapolis program. "On The Hill and throughout this county, hundreds of free African Americans appear to have lived cheek-by-jowl with whites. Yet just down the road, plantations flourished with hundreds of black slaves. Our excavation may confirm this picture and uncover some of the striking social nuances."

Leone is collaborating with another research team at Morgan State University in Baltimore led by Dale Green, a professor of architectural history and preservation who researched Talbot County, Maryland land records and Census data. He estimates that 410 free African Americans lived there by 1790 – a development that began decades before. His work provided a compass for where to dig and what to look for.

Elizabeth Berry, Nicole Punzi, and Angie Barrall (UMD Undergraduates) screening soil from the excavation on The Hill at the Women's Club of Talbot County."We've dug through the records, and now with this excavation, we can let the land tell the story," Green says. "This is an important and remarkable story of race, place and time that can provide a new understanding of a highly complex social landscape. A measure of unity existed among some religious and racial groups. Perhaps the objects they left behind can give a voice to these unsung social pioneers."

At the dawn of the republic, as early as 1789 – even before the first U.S. Census – Green says a free black man purchased a property on The Hill at the corner of Goldsborough and Aurora Street. A woman named Grace Brooks purchased her family's freedom in 1788 and property on The Hill in 1792.

"The community most likely began to form in one way or another following the freeing of slaves by Methodists and Quakers who lived in the area," says UMD doctoral student Stefan Woelke, who is directing the site work for Leone. "We know little about the lives of these free African Americans in the 18th century, so whatever we find in the ground should provide new clues to the texture of their lives."

Another of Leone's UMD doctoral students Tracy Jenkins has worked with Green combing Census records from 1790 through 1820.

"I EXPECT ARCHAEOLOGY TO SAVE THE NEIGHBORHOOD"
Efforts to raze and redevelop The Hill brought together an unusual community-based team to save it. Historic Easton, representing diverse community factions, is funding the research and the excavation – for its educational impact, to establish The Hill's historic provenance and to gather community support.

Stefan Woehlke and Kathrina Aben (UMD Graduate Students) describing the excavation process to a tour from the Maryland State Archives"I expect archaeology to save the neighborhood," says Priscilla Morris, an Historic Easton officer who has been investigating Hill history for more than a decade. "There is potential to save the built environment by digging up the cultural significance. I expect renewed and expanded pride of place to follow. Kids are chasing Professor Green during his walking tours this summer and asking him "are we really the oldest?"

The President of Historic Easton, Carlene Phoenix, spent much of her time growing up on The Hill and wants to restore the vital community values she remembers, as much as the buildings.

"Once, the Hill was like a little town, self-contained and self-sufficient," Phoenix says. "It's part of our identity and who we are. The people who lived here paved the way for us, and we owe it to them to recover their rich history. The Hill can and should become an historic destination."

Morris, who describes herself as an amateur historian, adds that the area's history has been popularly known for its past slaveholders and slaves, especially Frederick Douglass, who grew up nearby. These excavations may help produce a better understanding of this unusually early pocket of abolition and free blacks.

"Until now, the story was told by its plantation elite and by Frederick Douglass," explains Morris. "This quieter and more complex story of early emancipation, commerce, and property ownership is one we are just on the cusp of acknowledging. It is time to learn what we don't know. If we don't dig out the truth of it now, we may lose our past."

The excavation will continue through July 26th. University of Maryland students are conducting the excavation work under the auspices of Archaeology in Annapolis.

UMD and Tavis Smiley Launch 75k Innovation Challenge

July 12, 2013
Contacts: 

Ted Knight, UMD, 301-405-3596
Jessita Usher, Tavis Talks, 323-290-4690

The University of Maryland's A. James Clark School of Engineering, in partnership with broadcaster Tavis Smiley, will launch a $75,000 TS/UM Social Innovation Challenge to help address some of society's most pressing issues in three key areas: hunger, education and sustainability.  COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland's A. James Clark School of Engineering, in partnership with broadcaster Tavis Smiley, will launch a $75,000 TS/UM Social Innovation Challenge to help address some of society's most pressing issues in three key areas: hunger, education and sustainability. 

The inaugural TS/UM Social Innovation Challenge invites aspiring entrepreneurs to develop transformative solutions to affect positive change for individuals and communities across the nation.  The Challenge serves as a prompt for diverse groups of people to come together to solve specific societal issues by harnessing inventiveness and bringing innovative ideas to the marketplace.

Submissions will be evaluated by a panel comprised of representatives from academia, business, community/grassroots, government, nonprofit groups and the technology community.  The winners will be announced in January 2014.

The TS/UM Social Innovation Challenge supports UMD's commitment to increase the number and quality of new businesses inspired by competition to create a large and strong new generation of entrepreneurs who benefit society.

"I believe that competitions are crucial to create a climate of innovation and entrepreneurship, and for driving new advances in targeted social areas," says Darryl Pines, dean and Nariman Farvardin Professor of aerospace engineering at the Clark School. "The future economic growth and competitiveness of the United States depends on our capacity to innovate."

"Solutions to the many daunting problems facing the United States and the global community will come from a diversity of thinking in the areas of science, engineering and technology," says Smiley. "I can think of no better way to invest in our collective well being than to invest in the minds of the future." Smiley is host and managing editor of the nightly talk show Tavis Smiley on PBS, host of The Tavis Smiley Show and co-host of Smiley & West from Public Radio International.

The TS/UM Social Innovation Challenge will award a minimum of $25,000 each to three social innovators, one in each of the target impact areas of hunger, sustainability and education.  Additionally, each winning entrant will have an opportunity to appear on the Tavis Smiley Network, receive an entrepreneur mentorship at the Clark School's Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech), and showcase their innovation at Platform Summit 2014.

UMD is ranked as one the nation's top schools for innovation and entrpreneurship, including a #14 ranking in the Princeton Review and Entrepreneur Magazine's Top Colleges for Entrepreneurship in 2012. The university also recently launched the Academy for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, a signature initiative to infuse the university with a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship across all colleges, building on the institution's excellence as a research university.

For more information about the Challenge, visit www.tavistalks.com/socialinnovator or via twitter #socialinnovator.

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