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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."

UMD Research Team Developing Powerful Data Visualization Tool with Support from Oracle

January 23, 2013

Lee Tune 301-405-4679

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland's Human-Computer Interaction Lab has garnered the support of the Oracle Health Sciences Institute for its research that is helping medical professionals analyze millions of patient records by developing a powerful data visualization tool called EventFlow.

Watch UMD's Ben Shneiderman, professor of computer science, Catherine Plaisant, senior research scientist, and Jennifer Golbeck, director of the Human-Computer Interaction Lab, discuss their research and the development of EventFlow:

"Invisible" Filipino History in Annapolis Documented by UMD Researchers

January 22, 2013

Kathrina Aben 301-651-8430

Dave Ottalini 301-405-4076

GalaCOLLEGE PARK, Md. – Filipinos have been an invisible minority in Annapolis for more than a century. Now, researchers at the University of Maryland are using oral histories as a way to flesh out their life and times – documenting the incredible challenges they faced – and successes they celebrated.

After the Spanish-American War, the Philippines became a U.S. territory. Filipinos were brought to Annapolis – home of the Naval Academy – to serve as desk interns, fire fighters, construction laborers, messmen and stewards. In many cases, the Naval Academy replaced African Americans with Filipinos leading to increased racial tensions.

For three years, University of Maryland Archeologist Mark Leone’s Archaeology in Annapolis Summer Field School has worked to uncover what has been described as a surprisingly complex relationship between the ethnic communities – that was at times marked by violence but also intermarriage and social inter mixing.

And while the archeological digs have produced some amazing discoveries (see Forgotten Annapolis Immigration Conflict Uncovered by the UMD Archeology Project), the Filipino community itself has come to feel that their story in Annapolis has not been told. As one former steward says, “No one ever asks Filipinos about their history or knows of it.”

But this past summer, the Maryland Archeology in Annapolis project took a giant step towards giving this underrepresented community a voice. UMD graduate student Kathrina Aben interviewed ten individuals – early pioneers, descendants, and new immigrants. By trying to understand Filipino – American history, archeologists hope to put history to paper for the first time and find new locations in Annapolis to explore.
Aben – who is studying archaeology - says that the oral histories help “reveal the structural racism Filipinos faced and details the methods they came to use to combat both social and legal discrimination.” She says further alienation resulted from racial tension with the white and black communities over job competition and fears of miscegenation.
“There was a lot of things that happened that I don’t like,” says former steward Leo Toribio. “At that time, discrimination was tight.”
Restaurant on Cornhill StreetOver the years, the Filipino community created their own haven in Annapolis. They lived inside and outside of the city.  Filipinos occupied locations such as Hell Point, Eastport, and Truxon Heights.  Yet they still struggled with acceptance by city residents.  Filipino-run restaurants – like one on Cornhill Street (right–blank red wall with door) – had no name and advertised by word of mouth. Customers would order “Hawaiian” food despite their unmistakable Filipino roots.
There was a social organization – the Filipino-American Friendly Association created in the 1920s whose clubhouse on 4 Dock Street is especially interesting to Professor Leone. “It’s a culturally significant site,” he says, “that has great potential for archeological research.”
Aben is hoping that additional sites, like the Association clubhouse, will become part of the Archeology in Annapolis Summer Field School program.
“Filipinos are bound together even today by their shared struggles of immigration, segregation and integration,” Aben says. “This research remains relevant and important to the Filipinos still living in Annapolis and the overall Filipino diaspora in the U.S.
If you are interested in helping Professor Leone and his team find additional sites for his Archeology in Annapolis summer program, please contact him directly by email at or by calling 301-405-1429.
Questions surrounding the Filipino diaspora and history should be directed to Kathrina Aben via email at


Quick Quote: Men's Baseball Head Coach John Szefc on Earl Weaver

January 20, 2013

Matt Bertram 301-314-8093

Dave Ottalini 301-405-4076

John Szefc, head coach, men's baseball, University of Maryland:

John Szefc“Earl Weaver is an absolute Hall of Fame manager. There are only 19 managers in the Hall of Fame, and he is one of them. That says a lot.

“I grew up in New York and was lucky enough to attend many games at Yankee Stadium, many against Weaver’s Orioles. Those were always great games and Billy Martin and Weaver could really put on a show.

“He was just a hard-nosed baseball manager and I am sure a lot of managers emulate him today.”

Mighty Sound of Maryland Chosen to Perform in 2013 Inaugural Parade

January 18, 2013

Missy McTamney 301-775-4254 

Beth Cavanaugh 301-405-4625

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- The University of Maryland will play a part in the 2013 Inauguration of President Barack Obama -- with the Mighty Sound of Maryland being chosen to perform in the 57th Presidential Inaugural Parade. UMD’s marching band was chosen from thousands of applications to participate in the January 21st event through an extensive application process, which included submitting audio and video recordings of the band. During the parade, the band will perform the “Washington Post March,” as well as the “Maryland Victory Song,” and will unveil new uniforms, which were purchased in part with the $25,000 first-place prize the band won in CBS television’s 2010 "Hawaii Five-O Marching Band Mania" competition.  

While this will be a first for all 255 band members and Band Director Richmond Sparks, the Mighty Sound of Maryland has been selected to perform at four other presidential inaugurations: 

  • Ronald Reagan's second term in 1985, which was canceled due to weather
  • President John F. Kennedy in 1960
  • President Dwight Eisenhower in 1953 
  • President Woodrow Wilson’s second term in 1917


Watch the CBS Baltimore report on the Mighty Sound of Maryland:


This story originally appeared on January 9, 2013.


UMD Expert Recognized in Movement to Improve Capital Markets

January 17, 2013

Greg  Muraski 301-405-5283

Russ WermersCOLLEGE PARK, Md. - Russ Wermers, associate professor of finance in the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, has garnered international recognition for his recent work toward restoring integrity to capital markets.

Recently tapped to help rewrite the global accreditation criteria for evaluating investment performance, Wermers earned first place in the Investment Management Consultants Association’s 2012 Journal of Investment Consulting Academic Paper Competition for his research yielding a formula to minimize risk and maximize return on investments. The findings, in Monitoring Daily Hedge Fund Performance When Only Monthly Data is Available, address the time lag that has plagued investors seeking to monitor their hedge funds on a daily basis.

Based on using monthly, low-frequency models to forecast daily, high-frequency hedge fund returns, Wermers' solution is “a useful process for accurately forecasting daily returns of hedge funds, which helps advisors and investors to better weigh the risk and value within their portfolios,” according to the Investment Management Consultants Association.

Forthcoming in the journal, Wermers' study follows "Performance Evaluation and Attribution of Investment Managers," his textbook detailing the latest, most optimal methods for judging both active and passive managers of mutual fund and hedge funds. Published in 2012, the work prompted the 70,000-member Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute to recruit Wermers to help devise the curriculum for a new Certificate in Investment Performance Measurement – the industry’s international accreditation for investment performance analysis.

Vojislav (Max) Maksimovic, the Dean's Chair Professor of Finance and chair of Smith’s finance department, says the recent developments affirm Wermers – who earned a university-wide teaching award in 2005 – "as both a research leader in the field of global investment management and invaluable resource to Smith finance students for cutting-edge insight to capital markets."


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