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

February 1, 2013

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

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

UMD Technology Measures Super Bowl Reactions in Real Time

January 31, 2013

Dave Ottalini, University of Maryland, 301-405-4076
Bill Day,  Frank N. Magid Associates, 757-771-1230

University of Maryland Professor Philip ResnikUpdate: Below are some topline results from the study. The full results are available here.

  • Nearly 400 consumers from ages 17 to 67 and from coast-to-coast participated throughout the game.
  • Consumers had the strongest response to the Budweiser 'Clydesdale' ad; however, the respondents reported little to no intent to purchase while watching the spot.
  • Kia's 'Babylandia' ad showed strong reaction from consumers. Activation responses came late in the spot, driven largely by the technology demonstration driving the spot's punchline.
  • Subway's blooper driven 'Februhuh' spot missed the mark with consumers, eliciting high levels of "blah" and "dislike" reactions across the sample.


COLLEGE PARK, Md. - University of Maryland Professor Philip Resnik's React Labs is partnering with Frank N. Magid Associates this Sunday to take a comprehensive, real-time look at how consumers engage with the Super Bowl and its advertising. The research will use React Lab's innovative mobile technology - developed at the University of Maryland - to measure how engaged viewers are, their reaction to the Super Bowl and its commercials, and if they plan to buy any of the products advertised.

The React Labs technology utilizes a mobile app that enables users to react to an event moment by moment. The new real-time polling platform captures viewer engagement with what they're watching, while simultaneously collecting temporally fine-grained, interpretable data about their responses.

"React Labs harnesses the potential of mobile technology to tap into people's immediate, unmediated responses to what they're seeing and hearing," says Professor Philip Resnik, founder of Bethesda-based React Labs.

Resnik holds joint appointments at Maryland in the Department of Linguistics and at the Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS).

"Our goal for this project is to build a platform that seamlessly integrates with how consumers watch and react to major media events like the Super Bowl," he says.

The technology was last used to judge reactions during the presidential debates at the University of Maryland and other colleges and universities across the U.S.

This is the first time it has been used with a Super Bowl.

"We want to measure everything from the game itself, to Beyoncé's half time show, to the all-important commercials," says Magid Executive Director Bill Day. "Online polls and social TV during the game only scratch the surface of what we can learn about how people really engage with the Super Bowl."

Leveraging its domain expertise in content development and advertising effectiveness, Frank N. Magid Associates will provide a comprehensive view of the game, the ads and consumers' engagement with both. Magid's advertising experts will be available to provide instant analysis of the impact of this premier marketing event.

Additionally, a full graphics package, custom data sets and expert opinions will be available to selected media outlets in advance and immediately after Sunday's game.

About React Labs
React Labs LLC, based in Bethesda, Maryland, offers an innovative technology platform for collecting moment-by-moment reactions on a large scale using mobile devices.  Originating in research at University of Maryland by founder Philip Resnik, PhD, the technology was developed in collaboration with user experience and political science experts and made its debut with large scale collection of public opinion during the October 2012 presidential debates.  For more information, see  E-mail:; phone: (302) U 2 REACT (You, too: react!  302-827-3288).

About Frank N. Magid and Associates
Founded in 1957, Frank N. Magid Associates provides research-driven, strategic media counsel on the evolving consumer mindset for clients in 37 countries. The company helps businesses that are struggling to make sense of a constantly evolving marketplace connect with an increasingly elusive, splintered consumer who is seemingly hidden behind an expansive array of technologies. Magid not only provides businesses with an understanding of the attitudes, opinions, and actions of today’s technology-saturated consumers, but also offers research-driven strategic advice on how to successfully brand, advertise, market, and design their products and services. For more information, please visit Magid on the Web at

UMD Freshmen Take Second Place in Global “Code Wars”

January 30, 2013

Lee Tune 301-405-4679

UMD Students Watch Intently During "Code Wars"On Jan. 26, 17 teams comprised of more than 60 University of Maryland students competed in the 2013 Windward Code Wars, a day-long competition that gathers students from top universities around the world to analyze a programming problem, create a solution and pit their skills against each other.

Participating teams were challenged to write a code—or create “orders”—for an A.I. in the following scenario:

“Welcome to the booming city of Windwardopolis. The largest high-tech companies all have corporate headquarters here in Windwardopolis. You own a limousine service with one limo (yes it’s a small operation, but a proud one). These CEOs need to travel to the other corporate headquarters. Your job is to provide them the transportation from one location to the next. And to do so with a smile – no one likes an unhappy driver.”

The teams accumulated points based on how optimally their code transported the passengers to each of the locations.

During the competition, UMD students put their codes to the test against hundreds of students from schools around the world. Two of the university’s teams, “String Theory” and “Terps,” made it to the quarter-final and semi-final rounds before team “String Theory” took second place in the final competition.

“String Theory,” a team of UMD Computer Science and Computer Engineering freshmen, included Eric Jeney, Brendan Rowan, Daniel Sun, Matt Bender and Kevin Harrison. Each member of “String Theory” won an HP laptop and a Microsoft Kinect.

Windward Code Wars in Action

Iron Man Cal Ripken to Deliver Spring 2013 Commencement Address

January 29, 2013

Beth Cavanaugh 301-405-4625

Cal Ripken, Jr.COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Cal Ripken, Jr., one of the greatest baseball players of all time and a Maryland legend, will deliver the University of Maryland commencement address on May 19, 2013. Ripken, who played professional baseball for 21 years and founded Ripken Baseball, Inc. and the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation, will address the more than 7,000 graduates and thousands of family and friends at the spring ceremony.

“I want to thank the University of Maryland for this tremendous honor. As a Marylander I am excited and very much look forward to delivering this speech to the graduating students,” said Cal Ripken, Jr. “I hope that my life experience allows me to impart some wisdom and give them a message that will serve them as they start their careers. While I never attended college, opting to pursue my baseball career after high school, I have great respect for higher education and the great value it brings to young people.”

“Commencement is a time to recognize and honor the many outstanding achievements of our students during their time at Maryland,” said President Wallace Loh. “Throughout his career, Cal Ripken, Jr. has shown himself to be a natural educator, an extraordinary athlete, and a generous philanthropist who has exhibited dedication and heart in all that he has accomplished. His participation in our Commencement ceremony will be an inspiration to our graduates and their families.”

"On behalf of the graduating class, I am honored and privileged to welcome Mr. Ripken as our featured speaker,” said graduating senior Stephanie Barcomb, co-chair of the Commencement Speaker Selection Committee. “Through his legendary baseball career, entrepreneurial endeavors, and philanthropy, Mr. Ripken has proven to be a true leader and inspirational role model.”

“He is a local hero and has had an accomplished career both on and off the field,” said graduating senior Alysia Cutchis, co-chair of the Commencement Speaker Selection Committee. “Many Maryland students and alumni grew up idolizing Mr. Ripken’s talents, hard work and determination. To hear him address the graduating class will be a once in a lifetime experience.”

About Cal Ripken, Jr.
Born and raised in Maryland, Ripken played both shortstop and third base for the Baltimore Orioles for more than two decades – breaking many records along the way. In 1995, Ripken broke Lou Gehrig’s Major League record for consecutive games played – voluntarily ending the streak in 1998 with 2,632 consecutive games. Ripken, who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007, is one of only eight players in history to achieve 400 home runs and 3,000 hits. 

Since his retirement from the sport in 2001, Ripken is using his skills, experience and passion for baseball to help grow the game at the grassroots level through his organization, Ripken Baseball.

In 2007, Ripken was named as a Special Public Diplomacy Envoy to the U.S. State Department. In this role he travels the world using baseball as a tool to spread goodwill. He has traveled to China, Nicaragua, and most recently to Japan, where he and former teammate Brady Anderson spent time with the children impacted by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that devastated much of the country.  

Ripken has always placed a strong focus on giving back to the community. In 2001, he and his family established the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation in memory of Ripken’s father. The foundation uses baseball themed programs to make a positive impact on young people in our countries most challenged areas.

Ripken is also a best-selling author and a popular public speaker. 


Click here to see students’ reaction to the news around campus.

UMD's Gates Awarded Nation's Top Science Honor

January 28, 2013

Lee Tune 301-405-4679

Photo Credit: Ryan K Morris/National Science & Technology Medals FoundationPresident Obama presented the National Medal of Science to Gates in a White House ceremony on Friday, Feb. 1. Gates is one of 12 scientists to receive this award, the nation’s top honor for scientists. Watch the ceremony here.

Update: In January 2013, Gates was appointed to the position of University System of Maryland (USM) Regents Professor. The award, among the System's most prominent faculty recognitions, honors Gates' exceptional academic and research achievements.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – President Obama has named University of Maryland Professor of Physics Sylvester James (Jim) Gates as one of this year’s recipients of the National Medal of Science. The National Medal of Science and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation are the highest honors bestowed by the United States Government upon scientists, engineers, and inventors. This year’s 12 Medal of Science and 11 Medal of Technology and Innovation awardees will receive their awards at a White House ceremony in early 2013.

“I am proud to honor these inspiring American innovators,” President Obama said in a White House statement announcing the winners of the two awards.  “They represent the ingenuity and imagination that has long made this Nation great—and they remind us of the enormous impact a few good ideas can have when these creative qualities are unleashed in an entrepreneurial environment.”

The National Medal of Science was created by statute in 1959 and is administered for the White House by the National Science Foundation. Awarded annually, the Medal recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to science and engineering. A committee of Presidential appointees selects nominees on the basis of their extraordinary knowledge in and contributions to chemistry, engineering, computing, mathematics, or the biological, behavioral/social, and physical sciences. The National Medal of Technology and Innovation was created by statute in 1980 and is administered for the White House by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Patent and Trademark Office.

“I am so very humbled by the support I have received from the University of Maryland over the years and without which my receiving of this honor would have never come to pass,” said Gates, the John S. Toll Professor of Physics and Director of the Center for String and Particle Theory at Maryland.” Thank you all for allowing me to represent our campus,” he said in an email to UMD President Wallace Loh and other campus officials.

“Congratulations [Jim] on being honored with the National Medal of Science,” said President Loh.  “All of us at the University of Maryland are thrilled and proud of your recognition. And, of course, the entire University community basks in the reflected glow of this prestigious award.”

Gates is known for his groundbreaking work in supersymmetry and supergravity, areas closely related to superstring theory. In 1983, he co-authored the seminal book "Superspace or 1001 Lessons in Supersymmetry. He also is widely known for his work popularizing science, promoting the importance of research and science education and enlightening young people on the fun, wonder and opportunities of careers in science and engineering. In 2007, the American Association for the Advancement of Science honored Gates with its Public Understanding of Science and Technology Award.  

Gates is a member of the President Obama's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and also has served as a consultant for multiple U.S. government agencies (National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, Department of Defense), corporations (Educational Testing Service, Time-Life Books) and speaks nationally and internationally to diverse audiences.

This year’s Medal of Science recipients include:

  • Dr. Allen Bard, University of Texas at Austin, TX
  • Dr. Sallie Chisholm, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MA
  • Dr. Sidney Drell, Stanford University, CA
  • Dr. Sandra Faber, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA
  • Dr. Sylvester James Gates, University of Maryland, MD
  • Dr. Solomon Golomb, University of Southern California, CA
  • Dr. John Goodenough, University of Texas at Austin, TX
  • Dr. M. Frederick Hawthorne, University of Missouri, MO
  • Dr. Leroy Hood, Institute for Systems Biology, WA
  • Dr. Barry Mazur, Harvard University, MA
  • Dr. Lucy Shapiro, Stanford University School of Medicine, CA
  • Dr. Anne Treisman, Princeton University, NJ

Listen to Gates discuss 'Uncovering the Codes for Reality' on On Being with Krista Tippett.

Find out why Gates decided to pursue a science career and learn about his research in an interview with AAAS Kids News.

President Loh Named 2013 Influential Marylander

January 25, 2013

Beth Cavanaugh 301-405-4625

Wallace LohCOLLEGE PARK, Md. – University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh has been named a 2013 Influential Marylander by The Daily Record. Loh was recognized for his significant impact in the field of education and his demonstrated leadership throughout the state. Loh and the other honorees selected by the editors of The Daily Record will be formally recognized at a reception in March.

“We are proud to recognize Wallace Loh as one of The Daily Record’s Influential Marylanders,” says Suzanne Fischer-Huettner, publisher of The Daily Record. “Dr. Loh has had a profound impact on both his profession and this state. We are pleased to honor him for the tremendous contributions he has made and undoubtedly will continue to make in the future.” 

In November 2010, Loh became UMD’s 33rd president – leading the state's flagship institution with more than 37,000 students, 12 colleges and schools, 9,000 faculty and staff. During the past two years, Loh has made innovation, entrepreneurship, diversity and globalization priorities in his pursuit of academic excellence at UMD. Most recently, Loh led the decision to move to the Big Ten Conference and join the academic consortium of Big Ten universities, known as the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) in 2014. This new affiliation will continue to advance the university’s excellence in education, research and innovation; athletics; finance and business administration; and communications, fundraising and marketing.

Navigating Career Change: UMD Expert’s Tips for Baby Boomers

January 25, 2013

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – As the head end of the baby boomer population continues to reach retirement age, studies estimate that more than 80 percent of them plan to keep working after retirement and many of them are looking for a career change.
Joyce RussellThe University of Maryland’s Joyce E. A. Russell, vice dean and director of the Executive Coaching and Leadership Development Program at the Robert H. Smith School of Business, has some sound advice for baby boomers who may be weary of making that change: rest assured, there is hope—and many resources—for older workers.

To help with the process, Russell has compiled several career tips, featured in the Washington Post this week, with some specialized advice and services to help the 78 million boomers out there navigate into a new career field.

Figure out what type of work you may be interested in

Baby boomers may not want to do the same type of work after age 50 that they did when they were younger. More than 50 percent of working retirees say they want to work in a new profession. The National Business Services Alliance has a job match survey that compares a person’s work interests and personal characteristics to hundreds of job profiles, providing them with a list of best-fit jobs. After users finish identifying work interests, they can identify their transferable skills and see enhanced job match results.

The Labor Department has an online tool to help people consider career options related to their original career. By entering your current or previous job at the MySkills MyFuture website, you are able to see other career fields that might give you ideas of alternative careers to consider, which have some similar characteristics to your previous job. It also enables you to narrow your search based on certain work-related characteristics and even list locations by zip code.

Keep your skills current

AARP offers WorkSearch, an online skills assessment system for job seekers. It helps identify the types of jobs you may be best suited for based on your work interests, personality characteristics, and the work/life skills you already have. The WorkSearch system also provides skills validation tests based on a person’s assessment results and numerous free online Essential Skills courses, which can be used to help to upgrade the skills needed to increase your qualifications. Another valuable site from the Labor Department is Career OneStop, which provides more information on training programs.

Use websites designed to help boomers

Some boomers may not have had to update their resumes or write a cover letter in 30 years so they might need help with this. They may not have learned how to network using social media. To do all this, they should refer to some websites designed specifically to assist boomers: has a section entitled “careers at 50+” seeks to bring together employers with older job seekers. has lots of valuable information to help seniors with their career plans. has numerous resources for boomers and older workers looking for new jobs and career-change strategies and tactics. lists jobs and other ways of earning money. You can search job listings, post your resume, register for e-mail job alerts, use a jobs-wanted tool and find useful resources for mature workers. is a job site designed to help baby boomers and older workers in finding employment. Job seekers can search job listings, find a collection of career articles and resources, and listings of local job fairs across the country. is a career resource site for older job seekers that has lots of age-related career content, from resume writing to job search strategies. They also have a career and education section to assist boomers who are considering a career or job transition. has information for searching for a job and starting your own business, among other resources for seniors. is a site which offers articles and resources to help a person find a new career after ending a current career.

As many companies know, baby boomers and seniors have much to offer the workforce, whether as full-time employees, part-timers, consultants or in other creative work arrangements. Some statistics have shown that more than 50 percent of U.S. companies are willing to negotiate special arrangements for older workers just to keep them in the workplace. If you are one of these older workers, take advantage of the career resources out there, many of which are free, to get yourself set up for your next career move.


To contact any of the University of Maryland's baby boomers experts, visit

Clark School Students’ Human-Powered Helicopter Achieves Record-Breaking Flight

January 24, 2013

Lee Tune 301-405-4679

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The Gamera human-powered helicopter team, comprised of students from the University of Maryland's A. James Clark School of Engineering, has officially had its Aug. 28, 2012, flight certified as a world record of 65.1 seconds by The Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), also known as The World Air Sports Federation.

Pilot Colin Gore, a materials science and engineering graduate student at the Clark School, was in the cockpit for the flight. The flight was accomplished in a revamped Gamera II vehicle.

With its flight in August, the Gamera team had also unofficially satisfied two of the three American Helicopter Society Sikorsky Prize competition requirements with its 65.1-second flight, staying within a 10 square meter area and hovering at two feet of altitude.

To win the Sikorsky Prize, the team must also achieve a height of three meters during a flight of at least 60 seconds that stays within the prescribed 10 square meter area. The Gamera team will continue its work toward meeting the competition requirements by increasing the altitude of its flight.

Watch the team’s record-breaking flight:


Quick Quote: Public Policy Dean Don Kettl on Debt Limit Extension

January 23, 2013

Jennifer Lynn Talhelm 301-405-4390

Don Kettl, dean of the School of Public Policy, University of Maryland:

Don Kettl"This reschedules as least one of the pending budget crises, but it also forces action on the budget, for the first time in years. The process doesn't guarantee results, but no results are possible without a process that gets a budget passed. Members of Congress won't  want to face the prospect of losing their pay, and that creates extra incentives for nudging the budget process along.

"The Republican House has passed this to turn up the heat on Democrats in the Senate, daring them not only to complete the budget process on time but also to identify—first—specific cuts to meet aggressive budget targets. It's a master stroke to put the Republicans out front on the issue of highest public visibility, and leaves to Democrats the dirty work of identifying just what programs they'd agree to cut.  In less than a month, the House Republicans have moved from a very clumsy fumble of the sequestration debate to an extremely clever effort to regain the high ground. The strategy resets the calendar, in part, and heightens the focus on which programs will survive—and which will suffer cuts."


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