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UMD Named 2013 Best Value College by Princeton Review

February 7, 2013
Contacts: 

Beth Cavanaugh 301-405-4625

2013 Best Value CollegesCOLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland has been named a Best Value College for 2013 by the Princeton Review.  The list, recognizing 75 public and 75 private colleges, ranks selected schools based on a wide range of criteria—from academics to cost of attendance to financial aid. Maryland was recognized by the Princeton Review for its comprehensive aid program, wide selection of merit-based scholarships, living-and-learning communities and top-notch honors program.

"The University of Maryland—College Park is a big school. There are many different people from various backgrounds, as well as numerous student organizations on campus. Some incoming freshmen might find this intimidating, but thanks to the university’s system of living-and-learning communities, which allows students with similar academic interests to live in the same residential community, take specialized courses, and perform research; this campus of almost 27,000 can feel a lot smaller and more intimate than it actually is," says the book's publishers.

The list features 150 institutions -- ranking the top 10 public and private colleges and listing the remaining 65 in each group unranked and in alphabetical order. To generate the rankings, the Princeton Review examined more than 30 factors using data from the Company's 2011-2012 surveys of administrators and students at 650 colleges with strong academic programs.

Read the University of Maryland's profile here.

Documentary by UMD Professor Emeritus to Premiere on Maryland Public Television

February 6, 2013
Contacts: 

Faith Wachter, Maryland Public Television, 410-581-4031

Alana Carchedi, UMD, 301-405-0235

Kiplin HallCOLLEGE PARK, Md. – For 25 years, students from the University of Maryland have gone to England to assist with the restoration of Kiplin Hall, a 17th century manor house known as the birthplace of Maryland.  George Calvert, first Lord Baltimore, built Kiplin Hall in the 1620s and his related families lived in it until 1971.

In March 2012, David Fogle, professor emeritus of the university's School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, and Ken Day, executive producer for Maryland Public Television, received a grant to create a documentary of the historic house, its restoration, student work and related events.

Kiplin HallAlmost one year later, the documentary—Kiplin Hall: Birthplace of Maryland—will premiere on Maryland Public Television. The documentary gives viewers a tour of the historic property and shows how it has impacted the state of Maryland and how the enthusiasm of a group of college students, under the guidance of an impassioned professor, can produce results that few would have imagined.  And when one considers that it was a Calvert descendant in Maryland who started an agricultural school that would eventually become the University of Maryland, the cycle becomes complete.

Kiplin Hall: Birthplace of Maryland premieres at 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 7 on Maryland Public Television. The documentary will repeat at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 10 on MPT 2 and at 11:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 14 on MPT1.

A Black History Month Interview with Archivist Anne Turkos

February 6, 2013
Contacts: 

Dave Ottalini 304-405-4076

Anne TurkosUniversity Communications originally posted this interview with UMD Archivist Anne Turkos in 2008. We've asked her to take another look and have updated it for 2013 as we look forward to another Black History Month.

 

 

 

Q – What can you tell the University of Maryland community about the early days of Maryland Agricultural College and African Americans?

Any question we receive in the University Archives about the early history of the Maryland Agricultural College is always challenging. 

Very few college records exist from this period of time; they have either disappeared over the years or were destroyed in the fire that swept through the college's administration and Barracks buildings in 1912. We also have very little documentation from the college's founder, Charles Benedict Calvert, just a letter or short note here and there. The role of African Americans in the early history of the Maryland Agricultural College is particularly unclear, and a group of undergraduate students, under the direction of professor of history Dr. Ira Berlin, sought to clarify this.  They examined census records and published accounts of the college's construction and funding, among many other documents, and the report "Knowing Our History," produced in 2009, was the result. Many people believe that Calvert lent his slaves to the college to help erect the first buildings, but we have not been able to confirm this to date. We do know that African Americans were employed on campus later in the nineteenth and early in the twentieth centuries, particularly in the college kitchen.

Q - Talk about the first African Americans to enroll at Maryland, and why the university is considered to have been a leader in integration.

Hiram WhittleThe first African American students enrolled in the University of Maryland in the late 1940s and early 1950s, well in advance of the Brown v. Board of Education decision that many regard as the beginnings of desegregation of education nationwide. The first black students, Myrtle Holmes Wake, John Francis Davis and Rose Shockley Wiseman, enrolled in 1948 and took graduate-level education courses through the university. They did not attend classes on campus, however, receiving all of their instruction at sites beyond College Park. The first time they were ever on campus was their graduation day in June 1951, a truly amazing story. Our first African American undergraduate student, Hiram Whittle, enrolled the semester that Wake, Davis, and Wiseman graduated. Whittle, an engineering student, transferred before completing his degree, however.

Hiram Whittle and classMany people are also not aware that the University of Maryland had a leadership role in the integration of athletics in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). Terrapins broke the color barrier in football (Darryl Hill, 1963), track (Elmore Hunter, 1965), swimming (John Williams, 1964-1965), and men's basketball (Billy Jones, 1965).

 

Q - The University of Maryland has many distinguished African American alumni. Can you tell me a little bit about them?

Many of our African American students have had very distinguished careers after graduating from the university. Several have even been recognized in our Alumni Hall of Fame, including Manning Marable, a leading authority on African American history; Renaldo Nehemiah, track star, U.S. Olympian, and professional football player; Leonard Elmore, lawyer, professional basketball player, and television sports commentator; Carmen Balthrop, opera singer; Evelyn Pasteur Valentine, distinguished educator and founder of the Pasteur Center for Strategic Management; and Parren Mitchell, civil rights activist and U.S. Congressman. Other African American alumni of note include Dominique Dawes, Olympic gymnast; Vashti McKenzie, the first woman to be elected bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church; Cedric Dent and Delious Kennedy, Grammy-winning recording artists; Aaron McGruder, nationally known cartoonist; and numerous athletes who have been successful in the pro ranks, such as Torrey Smith, John Lucas, Vicky Bullett, Vernon Davis and Walt Williams.

Q - Maryland was also a leader in bringing African Americans to campus as faculty members - and we have some world-renowned faculty today.

Our first African American full professor was M. Lucia James, who taught in the College of Education from 1965 to 1977. Dr. James led the way for many distinguished faculty who call the university home today, for example: Sylvester James Gates, internationally renowned and award-winning physicist who was just awarded the National Medal of Science; David Driskell, leading authority on African American art and distinguished artist in his own right; and Carmen Balthrop, an internationally recognized opera singer.

Q - A lot of our students chose Maryland because of its diversity - they see the fact that the university is multi-cultural as a real strength. It says a lot about how far we've come since the founding of the university in 1856.

The University of Maryland has worked very hard to create a diverse campus community that is respectful of all people, no matter the color of their skin, their ethnic or religious background or their personal beliefs. And the changes have been very visible and very dramatic. 

Over the last 157 years, we have grown from a student body of 34 white males, who enrolled in October 1859 when the Maryland Agricultural College opened its doors, to a student body of more than 36,000 students, 12,299 of them (as of fall 2012) persons of color. Nearly half the student body now is female. Our students come from all 50 states and nearly 130 foreign countries, not just from Missouri, North and South Carolina, Maryland, and the District of Columbia, as our first students did. A University of Maryland student in 2013 has the chance to learn about so many different cultures and points of view from everyone he or she meets on campus. And Dr. Loh's emphasis on each student having an international experience before graduating only adds enormous value to the diversity we enjoy right here in College Park . We are very fortunate to be part of this multi-cultural environment, and I hope that all members of our campus community can take advantage of the opportunities such an environment offers.

Additional Africa and African American experts at the University of Maryland can be found here.

UMD Scientists Discover Protein that Enables Safe Recycling of Iron from Old Red Blood Cells

February 6, 2013
Contacts: 

Lee Tune 301-405-4679

Offers promise of new treatments for iron deficiency and parasitic worm infections

Human heme recycling: Microscopic image of a macrophage digesting worn-out red blood cells. The blue is the nucleus of the macrophage. The red within the macrophage is HRG 1 protein molecules (highlighted by HRG1 antibodies containing red dye).  The circle of red shows HRG1I proteins surrounding a red cell and ready to take its iron-containing heme.COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Humans survive by constantly recycling iron, a metal that is an essential component of red blood cells, but which is toxic outside of those cells. More than 90 percent of the iron in an adult human's 25 trillion life-sustaining red blood cells is recycled from worn-out cells.

Almost 50 years ago scientists first began hypothesizing that our bodies must have a special protein 'container' to safely transport heme -- the form of iron found in living things – during the breakdown and recycling of old red blood cells and other types of heme metabolism. Now a team of scientists from the University of Maryland, Harvard Medical School, the National Institutes of Health and the University of Utah School of Medicine have identified this long-sought heme-iron transporter and shown that it is the same HRG1 protein that a common microscopic worm, C. elegans, uses to transport heme. In humans, the iron in heme is the component that allows hemoglobin in red blood cells to carry the oxygen needed for life.

The team's findings are based on studies in human, mouse, zebrafish and yeast systems and are published in the Feb. 5 issue of the journal Cell Metabolism.

Adult worms are aligned to form the chemical structure of heme, for delivery to a stylized embryo, superimposed over a scanning electron micrograph of an adult nematode. The image is courtesy of David Hall and Iqbal Hamza. Artwork by Chris Crocker”. "Our current work reveals that the long-sought heme transporter that permits humans to recycle over 5 million red blood cells per second in our spleen and liver, is the same HRG1 transporter protein that my students and I discovered in worms in 2008, and which we showed at that time is used by C. elegans to safely carry heme-iron that it obtains from dirt into its intestine," says team leader and corresponding author Iqbal Hamza., a University of Maryland associate professor in the Department of Animal & Avian Sciences.

"Moreover, we show in this current study that mutations in the gene for HRG1 can be a causative agent for genetic disorders of iron metabolism in humans," he says.

First author Carine White, a UMD post-doctoral researcher and three other students from his lab joined Hamza in the research, along with researchers from Harvard, NIH and Utah.

This study's findings are the third major piece that Hamza and his Maryland lab have added to the puzzle of understanding how humans and other organisms safely move heme around in the body. In addition to their two studies showing the role of the HRG1, that Hamza showed in a 2011 Cell paper that in C. elegans there is a different, but related, protein called HRG3 that transports heme from the mother worm's intestine to her developing embryos.

According to Hamza, the HRG3-mediated pathway that worms use for transporting heme to developing oocytes also appears to be an excellent target for stopping the reproduction of hookworms and other parasites that feed on host red blood cell hemoglobin. Together these three findings could lead to new methods for treating two age-old scourges - parasitic worm infections, which affect more than a quarter of the world's population, and problems of iron metabolism and iron deficiency. The latter is the world's number one nutritional disorder. With the help of UMD's Office of Technology Commercialization and the university's Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute, Hamza has started a company, Rakta Therapeutics, Inc. that focuses on developing anti-parasitic drugs that specifically target the parasite's variation of HRG1 and HRG3 transporters.

Heme, Humans and Bloodless worms
In living organisms -- ranging from humans to baker's yeast -- iron enclosed in a heme cage is a critical molecule for health because it binds to oxygen and other gases needed for survival. However, because heme is toxic, scientists long ago started searching for the existence of proteins that could safely transport heme between cells and throughout the body.

However, identifying such proteins has been a very difficult task because organisms generate heme in a complicated eight-step process that is hard to control for in studies of heme transport pathways.

Hamza first started trying to uncover the secrets of heme transport in 2003. After  briefly and unsuccessfully studying the question of heme carrying proteins in traditional bacteria and mice models, Hamza switched to a non-intuitive study subject, one that doesn't make heme, but needs it to survive, that doesn't even have blood, but shares a number of genes with humans - the C. elegans roundworm. C. elegans gets heme by eating bacteria in the soil where it lives. "C. elegans consumes heme and transports it into the intestine.

According to Hamza, C. elegans has had several other benefits for studying heme transport. Hamza's team had control of the amount of heme the worms were eating. With only one valve controlling the heme transport, the scientists knew exactly where heme was entering the worm's intestine, where, as in humans, it is absorbed.

Moreover, C. elegans is transparent, so that under the microscope researchers could see the movement of the heme ingested by a live animal. 

 

"HRG1 Is Essential for Heme Transport from the Phagolysosome of Macrophages during Erythrophagocytosis," Cell Metabolism, Feb. 5, 2013.

Scientist Contact:  Iqbal Hamza, Ph.D., associate professor, University of Maryland, College Park; Phone: 301-405-0649; Email: hamza@umd.edu

Comet Debuting in New Deep Impact Movie Expected to Star this Winter

February 5, 2013
Contacts: 

Lee Tune 301-405-4679

The  Deep Impact spacecraft, pictured here in an artist rendering, carries a solar panel (right), a high-gain antenna (top), a debris shield (left), instruments for high and medium resolution imaging, infrared spectroscopy, and optical navigation (yellow box and orange cylinder, lower left)COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The newly discovered comet ISON, which late this year could give sky watchers one of the brightest shows ever, shines in a new movie made by a University of Maryland-led team of scientists. The team recently began tracking and studying the comet with NASA's historic Deep Impact spacecraft. 

The "movie"—a brief clip of comet ISON—won't win any Oscars, but it is an early look at a comet that promises to be a major light in the night sky during its close up with the sun beginning November 2013. This close encounter also holds the potential for exciting new scientific insights into the composition of comets, the most pristine remnants of the early days of our solar systems, says Maryland astronomer Tony Farnham and other members of the Deep Impact science team. 

"This appears to be this comet's first ever journey into the inner solar system and it is expected to pass much closer to the sun than most comets—within a distance of only a few solar radii," says Farnham, a research scientist at Maryland. "Thus it offers us a novel opportunity to see how the dust and gas frozen in this comet since the dawn of our Solar System will change and evolve as it is strongly heated during its first passage close to the Sun."

Farnham -- whose fellow team members include Ken Klaasen of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and five Maryland colleagues, including Deep Impact Principal Investigator Michael A'Hearn -- says this comet also stands out because it was discovered much earlier on its first tour of the inner solar system than most other comets. "We see sun grazers [comets that pass relatively close to the sun] all the time, but most are only seen as they flare up very close to the sun. With this comet we are able to study it from where it is currently, farther from the sun than Jupiter and about five times farther from the sun than Earth, until its closest approach to the Sun, called its perihelion, on November 28th."

Comet ISONComet ISON is already developing an entourage (coma and tail) of dust and gas that will continue to grow in size and reflect brilliance as it moves nearer to the sun. Its first solar close-up will cause this luminance to peak and could result in an historic starring role in the night sky.

However, this hot encounter also could result in a spectacular breakup. If ISON survives, it is expected to shine even brighter as it moves away from the sun—bright enough to be seen with the naked eye and possibly even brighter than a full moon, astronomers say. In total, Comet ISON could be visible to sky watchers in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres for at least a couple of months, from about November 2013 through January 2014.

"This is the fourth comet on which we have performed science observations and the farthest point from Earth from which we've tried to transmit data on a comet," said Tim Larson, project manager for the Deep Impact spacecraft at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. 

Deep Impact has executed close flybys of two comets – Tempel 1 and Hartley 2 – and performed scientific observations on two more – comet Garradd and now ISON.  Its first comet flyby was an historic encounter on July 4, 2005, that saw it smash a probe craft into Tempel 1 generating world-wide headlines and unprecedented comet science.

The ISON imaging campaign is expected to yield infrared data, light curves (which are used in defining the comet's rotation rate) in addition to visible-light images. The current movie of comet ISON was generated from initial data acquired during this campaign. Preliminary results indicate that although the comet is still in the outer solar system, more than 474 million miles (763 million kilometers) from the sun, it is already active. As of Jan. 18, 2013, the tail extending from ISON's nucleus was already more than 40,000 miles (64,400 kilometers) long.

ISON poses no threat to Earth – getting no closer to our planet than about 40 million miles on Dec. 26, 2013. The comet was discovered on Sept. 21, 2012, by two Russian astronomers using the International Scientific Optical Network's 16-inch (40-centimeter) telescope near Kislovodsk.

Frequently referred to as "dirty snowballs," comets consist of varying amounts of dust and ice particles. The ices in a comet are both frozen gases and frozen water. Comets warm up and give off gas and dust whenever they venture near the sun. According to current scientific understanding, what generally powers this activity is frozen water transforming from solid ice to gas, a process called sublimation. Jets powered by ice sublimation release dust, which reflects sunlight and brightens the comet. Typically, a comet's water content remains frozen until it comes within about three times Earth's distance to the sun, or 3 astronomical units (3AU), so astronomers regard this as the solar system's "snow line."  At distances beyond 3 AU, other ices, such as carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, sublimate to drive the comet's activity.

The University of Maryland is the Principal Investigator institution for the mission. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., manages the Deep Impact spacecraft and its missions  for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The spacecraft was built for NASA by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colo.

UMD Landscape Architecture Students Take Learning Beyond the Classroom

February 4, 2013
Contacts: 

Beth Cavanaugh 301-405-4625

NIST Courtyard DesignCOLLEGE PARK, Md. – A group of University of Maryland landscape architecture students were recently given an opportunity to apply what they've learned in the classroom to a real-world situation. Officials at the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg enlisted the students to redesign an outdoor space and help turn their underutilized courtyard into an inviting space for employees.

Taking on the challenge, the group of sophomore College of Agriculture & Natural Resources students visited NIST, talked with NIST staff members who care for the grounds or work near the courtyard in question, and came up with plans to redesign it into more of a destination space.

"This NIST courtyard doesn't invite people now. People are just walking through it, getting from point A to point B," says Kelly Cook, an adjunct assistant professor for UMD's Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture (PSLA). "There was a desire to have someone rethink what this space could be—to come up with ways to make it more comfortable, to create sheltered places in it where people can get out of the lab and read a book. There's also the opportunity to redesign the more formal outdoor space right outside the library to make it a more inviting place to work or congregate."

Final Courtyard DesignThe students created 20 different designs, which they recently shared with NIST staff. Their innovative plan featured fountains, pools, shaded arbors, comfortable chairs and tables in sheltered spaces, a 30-foot-long piece of a twisted World Trade Center steel girder as a commemorative object and sculptural element, and ground plants and shrubbery that deer don't like to eat.

NIST architect and planner Susan Cantilli says the students' work is generating interest among NIST employees in creating a more inviting space. "Clearly people see the need for these kinds of enhancements. I'm hoping that we might be able to do something in the future," says Cantilli.

New Criminology Chair Aims High

February 4, 2013
Contacts: 

Laura Ours 301-405-5722

By Laura Ours

James P. LynchCOLLEGE PARK, Md. - James P. Lynch, a prominent expert on crime statistics and victimization is settling in as the new chair of the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice (CCJS) at the University of Maryland. In his new role, Lynch will build upon the remarkable work of the department's interim chair, Professor Charles Wellford, and its former chair, Professor Sally Simpson, to continue expanding the scope and raise the profile of the top-ranked criminology program in the nation.

"I am delighted to welcome Professor Lynch to the College," says Behavioral and Social Sciences Dean John Townshend. "We are extremely fortunate to have attracted such an outstanding scholar and academic leader."

Lynch - who has a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Chicago - previously served as director of the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) in the U.S. Department of Justice from June 2010 until his arrival at Maryland in early January.  Lynch says he was proud to help the bureau expand and update the major data collections it has built and oversees - statistical series that provide timely information on crime and the criminal justice response that ultimately can be used to inform national crime control policies.

Universities Helped BJS Efforts
At the BJS, Lynch witnessed the important role of universities in analyzing and utilizing information gathered by the federal government to better inform public policy.

"Universities work with the BJS to take data collected for statistical purposes and use it for research purposes—a lot can be learned from the supplemental analysis of that kind of data," the new CCJS chair says. "The information that comes from universities doing secondary analyses of statistical data can help bring these data to bear on key topics— victimization rates, crime, de-institutionalization and gun control."

The desire to do academic research that could influence policy debates was one of the reasons why he chose to leave government service and return to academia along with a desire for a change of pace.

"Being a civil servant is an honor but it can be an exhausting honor," he said. "While I loved the BJS and the people I worked with, I missed teaching and collaborating with academic colleagues."

Reputation of the CCJS Program a Major Draw
Lynch says he was drawn to BSOS and to CCJS because of the high caliber of the department's faculty and the unparalleled reputation of the program.

"There is a great faculty here, with a world-renowned senior faculty and a lot of 'muscle' coming from the associate and assistant professors," Lynch says. "You lead departments like that, you don't run them. I look forward to taking some time to get to know the department and find ways that I can help it move forward."

"In the past 20 years the department has focused on substantive areas at the heart of criminology and more recently faculty members are doing research on emerging issues, such as terrorism, cybercrime and white collar crime. I look forward to the discussions we're going to have about the new areas of research we're going to pursue," he said.

He also is eager to begin teaching in the fall semester—after he's had some time to get the lay of the land and discover where his teaching expertise is most needed. Dr. Lynch focuses on teaching and research in the areas of data collection methodologies, victimization, offender re-entry and the role of punishment in social control.

Distinguished Career
Lynch's academic career includes serving as a distinguished professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at John Jay College, City University of New York. He was a professor in the Department of Justice, Law and Society at American University from 1986 to 2005 and chair of that department from 2003 to 2005.

He was the vice president of the American Society of Criminology and served on its board as well as on the Committee on Law and Justice Statistics of the American Statistical Association. Dr. Lynch was co-editor of the Journal of Quantitative Criminology. From 2007 to 2009, he was a member of the National Academy of Science panel evaluating the programs of the BJS.

Lynch has published four books and numerous articles on crime statistics, victimization surveys, victimization risk, and the role of sanctions in social control.

Caribbean Adventure Offers Unique Education Abroad Opportunity for UMD Students

February 1, 2013
Contacts: 

Andrew Roberts 301-405-2171
Dave Ottalini 301-405-4076

By Andrew Roberts

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Studying abroad at the University of Maryland is life changing. Recently, 24 Maryland students took to the high seas on a magnificent sailing ship traveling to the Caribbean archipelago - a volcanic cluster of islands stretching from the southeast coast of the United States to just off the northern coast of South America. 

24 UMD students traveled to the Caribbean archipelago for education abroad programThe Geography of the Southern Caribbean is a two week education abroad program offered during winter term 2013. The course gave these Maryland students - many of whom had never traveled beyond the borders of the United States - a truly unique opportunity to study the physical and cultural geography of the Caribbean, as well as the history that has shaped the region, its landscape and its people.

Led by Joseph Trocino, a lecturer in the Department of Geographical Sciences, the students gained the type of cultural appreciation, universally applicable skills, and international exposure that the University of Maryland prides itself on offering.

A One-Of-Its-Kind Program
The journey took the Maryland students throughout the Leeward Islands, where they learned about the physical and cultural geography of the Caribbean, the complex history of the region, the cultures that define each island, and the economic, political and sustainability issues facing them – individually and collectively. Aboard the Star Clipper, a 360-foot full-rigged clipper ship, the students also learned about life at sea and had the opportunity to learn hands-on about the operation of a complex sailing vessel. The combination of these focuses during a short-term education abroad program makes this class the only program of its kind in the United States.

Caribbean"It was priceless," says Dan Zawacki, an English and secondary education major and a senior at Maryland. "One of my biggest weaknesses as an educator, about to enter the workforce, is having limited experience with different cultures, languages, nations and socioeconomic conditions. I think having gotten this exposure on the trip is extremely valuable for someone in education. It prepares you for appropriately addressing the students you will go on to work with."

Coursework Done Ahead of Time
The students have to complete their coursework before they depart. That includes the reading of two books and 12 custom-tailored online documents. They also have to complete a written essay. The students took it upon themselves to read, write and complete their assignments during the Fall 2012 semester, in addition to their existing workload.

"When the students began their study abroad program in early January, they already had a well-rounded concept of the region and knowledge of geography fundamentals to help put their experiences in context," says Trocino.

UMD students enjoy their Caribbean view during education abroad programDuring the program, the students kept a daily journal to track their activities, lessons and excursions. At the end of the program the students turned in their journals to Trocino, who reviewed them along with the other coursework.

This approach not only ensures that students in the program are able to appreciate the range of diverse cultural, political and geographical environments they are immersed in, but it also empowers students to experience, interpret and learn about the region in an educated and unique way.

Over their two week program, the Maryland students visited eight island nations – all of which have distinctly unique cultures, history, geography and challenges. Interacting with locals, exploring the natural landscape and learning from the island natives enabled the students to gain a new appreciation for the world around them – beyond the universally applicable geography knowledge and skills they acquired.

The benefits, as Trocino has learned over the years, extend far beyond graduation. "I get emails, regularly, from students about their return trips to the region…some for business, others with their families, friends or significant others…sharing things they have learned and asking questions about what they have seen," Trocino explained. "They write to boast about how much they learned, and still remembered. Some impressed friends with their knowledge of maritime navigation or geographical history…others were just proud to intimately know an island that most had never heard of."

View the full photo gallery from the students' adventures or get a taste with this slideshow:

Live from the White House: UMD's Gates Awarded Nation's Top Science Honor

February 1, 2013
Contacts: 

Lee Tune 301-405-4679

President Obama awarded the National Medals of Science and the National Medals of Technology and Innovation during a ceremony on Friday, Feb. 1 at the White House. University of Maryland Professor of Physics Sylvester James (Jim) Gates is one of 12 recipients of the National Medal of Science this year, one of the highest honors bestowed by the United States Government upon scientists, engineers, and inventors.

Read the full announcement here and watch the ceremony:

Hear from all of the National Medal of Science and Technology and Innovation Laureates as they discuss their groundbreaking work and the importance of STEM education to prepare America for the jobs of the future:

 

Maryland Named Tree Campus USA for Fifth Consecutive Year

January 31, 2013
Contacts: 

Karen Petroff, University of Maryland, 301-405-8952
Sean Barry, Arbor Day Foundation, 402-473-9563
Luis Rosero, Toyota, 212-715-7493

Tree Campus USA LogoCOLLEGE PARK, Md. – For its fifth consecutive year, the University of Maryland has been named a 2012 Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation. This national program recognizes colleges and universities for their effective campus forest management and engaging staff and students in conservation goals.

"We are privileged to live and work on one of the greenest campuses in the nation, as this Arbor Day Foundation honor reminds us," said University of Maryland President Wallace Loh.  "I thank the students, faculty and staff who earned this recognition for us through their commitment to enriching the campus environment."

Maryland achieved this honor by meeting Tree Campus USA's required five core standards, including maintaining a tree advisory committee, a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures toward trees, an Arbor Day observance and student service-learning projects.

University of Maryland Campus"We always strive to set the bar high. With a campus that is an arboretum and botanical garden in itself with nearly 9,000 trees and counting, we are doing just that," said Karen Petroff, assistant director for arboretum/horticultural services at Maryland. "In 2012, we planted 1,223 new trees on campus and in 2013 we have plans to continue to diversify and enhance the campus canopy and botanical collections. We are honored to have our work continually recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation."

According to Petroff, partners such as the Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, the Woody Landscape Plant Germplasm Repository Program, the Anacostia Watershed Society and student groups and individuals played a key role in helping to achieve their goal of creating performance landscapes that serve ecosystem, aesthetic and academic functions.

"Students are eager to volunteer in their communities and become better stewards of the environment," said John Rosenow, founder and chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. "Participating in Tree Campus USA sets a fine example for other colleges and universities, while helping to create a healthier planet for all of us."

Tree Campus USA was created in 2008 by the Arbor Day Foundation with support from Toyota. Through their partnership, the Arbor Day Foundation and Toyota have helped campuses throughout the country plant hundreds of thousands of trees, and Tree Campus USA colleges and universities invested $23 million in campus forest management last year. More information about the program is available at arborday.org/TreeCampusUSA.

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