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Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council Funds Inclusive Postsecondary Education Program at the University of Maryland

December 21, 2020

Audrey Hill, Associate Director of Communications, UMD College of Education, 301-405-3468

Christy Russell, Director of Operations, Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council, 410-767-3671

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council awarded $100,000 to the University of Maryland Center for Transition and Career Innovation (CTCI) to create “Terps-EXCEED”, an inclusive higher education program for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The program will launch in the fall of 2021 with a small pilot of students.

“As an organization dedicated to the full inclusion of individuals with disabilities in all facets of community life, we know there is a tremendous need for high quality, inclusive college opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. People with intellectual disabilities seek opportunities to work, learn, play and lead full, meaningful lives. An inclusive college experience is a pathway to those continued learning opportunities as well as important social interactions, life experiences, and employment,” said Rachel London, Executive Director for the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council.

“We are pleased to be able to support post-secondary opportunities at UMD for students with disabilities,” said Jennifer King Rice, dean of the UMD College of Education. “With this funding from the Council, we can expand inclusive higher education programming and become a model for the state in serving students with intellectual and developmental disabilities, which helps to ensure college and career access for all.”

Students with intellectual and developmental disabilities have the lowest rates of both competitive employment and college enrollment compared to all other disability groups. Yet, students with intellectual disabilities who complete an inclusive postsecondary program achieve better employment outcomes, expand peer and social networks and increase independence. 

istock image 535297293 credit: monkeybusinessimagesTerps-EXCEED will provide a person-centered approach to inclusive postsecondary education and a diverse array of academic and nonacademic courses, career development and activities. Ultimately, the program is designed for Terps-EXCEED students to leave the program with an expanded social network of friends, colleagues and mentors, a meaningful credential, and better options for lifelong careers.   

The University of Maryland is the perfect place to launch a new inclusive college program for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said Amy Dwyre D'Agati, senior faculty specialist at the UMD Center for Transition and Career Innovation. “We have so many opportunities - courses, internships, social activities - that a Big Ten school can offer, and so many departments are excited to bring this initiative to campus.”

"Having a program like this at the University of Maryland is such an obvious opportunity to harness the potential and talent of this population of students. Really it's a win-win for the Maryland community," said Kellie Racette, a parent of a child with a developmental disability in Howard County, Maryland.

The Council is committed to expanding opportunities for people with developmental disabilities in all facets of community life by eliminating barriers, creating opportunities, empowering people, and promoting innovation. The UMD College of Education is committed to furthering inclusive education for students with disabilities in both K-12 and higher education.

For more information about the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council, visit For more information on the Center for Transition and Career Innovation, visit





National Academy of Inventors Names University of Maryland Vice President for Research and a University Professor as 2020 Fellows

December 10, 2020

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland’s Laurie Locascio, Vice President for Research at the University of Maryland, College Park and the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and Ramalingam “Rama” Chellappa, College Park Professor at UMD have been elected 2020 Fellows by the National Academy of Inventors, joining the ranks of some of the nation’s most prestigious and creative academic inventors. 

According to the National Academy of Inventors (NAI), the NAI Fellows Program highlights academic inventors who have demonstrated a spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on the quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society. Election to NAI Fellow is the highest professional distinction accorded solely to academic inventors. 

The 2020 Fellow class represents 115 research universities and governmental and non-profit research institutes worldwide. They collectively hold over 4,700 issued U.S. patents. Among the 2020 Fellows are 24 recipients of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, six recipients of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences (AAA&S), and two Nobel Laureates, as well as other honors and distinctions. Their collective body of research covers a range of scientific disciplines including biomedical engineering, computer engineering, materials science, and physics. The 2020 class of Fellows will be inducted at the 2021 Fellows Induction Ceremony at the Tenth Annual Meeting of the National Academy of Inventors this June in Tampa, Florida.

Vice President for Research Laurie Locascio

"I am honored and grateful to be recognized by the National Academy of Inventors for the work that I have accomplished in my 30 plus years as a biomedical researcher and inventor," said Vice President for Research Laurie Locascio. "Being named a Fellow of NAI aligns with my continued work here at the university to advance research innovations that make a positive societal impact for individuals in our state and across our country."

Vice President for Research Locascio oversees the University of Maryland’s vibrant research and innovation enterprise at the College Park and Baltimore campuses, which garner a combined $1.1 billion in external research funding each year. Within Locascio’s purview are the development of large interdisciplinary research programs, technology commercialization, innovation and economic development efforts, and strategic partnerships with industry, federal, academic, and nonprofit collaborators. She is a professor in Maryland’s Fischell Department of Bioengineering, and a professor (secondary) in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Locascio previously worked at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), most recently as Acting Principal Deputy Director and Associate Director responsible for leading the internal scientific research and laboratory programs across two campuses in Gaithersburg, MD and Boulder, Colo. As a biomedical researcher at NIST, she published more than 100 scientific papers and holds 12 patents.

College Park Professor Rama Chellappa

“I was inspired to choose engineering as my career soon after I listened to the 1969 landing of Apollo 11 on my home radio in India. I am honored, 50 years later, to be recognized as a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors,” said Ramalingam “Rama” Chellappa, College Park Professor at UMD and Bloomberg Distinguished Professor at Johns Hopkins University.

“This is a recognition of nearly three decades of work I did at the University of Maryland in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies. I am also pleased that NAI elected Clark School alumnus and colleague S. Kevin Zhou (Ph.D. ’04, electrical engineering)—who did pioneering work on unconstrained face recognition in my laboratory as a doctoral student—as a Fellow.”

At UMD, Chellappa has held appointments in the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies and the departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Computer Science. His work includes projects involving signal and image processing, computer vision, pattern recognition, multi-dimension stochastic processes, statistical interference, image analysis, robust and secure biometrics, and artificial intelligence in computer vision. He holds four patents. The many honors and awards in his career include: being named a University of Maryland Distinguished University Professor, the highest appointment bestowed on UMD tenured faculty, a Minta Martin Professor of Engineering in UMD’s A. James Clark School of Engineering, a UMD Distinguished Faculty Research Fellow, and a Distinguished Scholar-Teacher at UMD; receiving a UMD Outstanding Invention Award, a Faculty Outstanding Research Award, the Poole and Kent Teaching Award from the Clark School of Engineering, an Outstanding GEMSTONE Mentor Award, an NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award, and four IBM Faculty Development Awards. 

Read more about Clark School alumnus and new NAI member S. Kevin Zhou here.

Previous UMD NAI Fellows

VPR Locascio and Professor Chellappa join six other highly acclaimed University of Maryland, College Park faculty as NAI Fellows. Other UMD NAI Fellows are:  2019 Fellows Ray Liu and Min Wu, professors in the A. James Clark School of Engineering’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering; 2017 NAI Fellow C.D. (Dan) Mote, Jr., president emeritus of the National Academy of Engineering and a Regents’ Professor and former president of the University of Maryland; Distinguished University Professor Rita Colwell, a 2016 Fellow; and  Distinguished University Professors John S. Baras and Benjamin A. Shneiderman, both 2015 NAI Fellows

The NAI was founded in 2010 to: recognize and encourage inventors holding patents issued from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO); enhance the visibility of academic technology and innovation; encourage the disclosure of intellectual property; educate and mentor innovative students; and translate the inventions of its members to benefit society.

$6.8M Gift to University of Maryland to Extend Opportunities to Local Students

December 9, 2020

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – University of Maryland will receive a nearly $7 million gift from a Boston couple that will significantly increase the size and long-term impact of a University of Maryland program that supports promising students from selected areas of the state.


The gift will allow the Incentive Awards Program (IAP)—which until now comprised students in Prince George’s County and Baltimore— to expand its reach. Starting in Fall 2021, five freshmen from Montgomery County will be awarded four-year scholarships, receive mentoring and join a tight-knit peer community. These scholarships will be made possible through the funding from Phillip and Elizabeth Gross and a matching grant from UMD and the Clark Challenge for the Maryland Promise Program (MPP).


This is the largest-ever donation to IAP, now celebrating its 20th anniversary, and to the Maryland Promise Program, created by a 2017 investment from the A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation to provide scholarships to underserved populations from the state of Maryland and D.C.


“We’re leveraging matching grant money, and we’re supporting outstanding students in a program where they have a very high chance to succeed and high expectations to perform and impact the community,” Phill Gross said. “Put that together and it was easy for us to get involved.”


That’s despite the fact that he graduated from another Big Ten school, the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW), and the Grosses previously had no direct connection to the University of Maryland or the program. What drew them in was their relationship to a similar program at UW founded, coincidentally, by the mother-in-law of IAP’s founding director, Mercile J. Lee.


Phill Gross, co-founder and managing director of Adage Capital Management, a money management firm in Boston, was interested in supporting his alma mater 20 years ago when he met Lee, who had established UW’s Chancellor’s Scholars Program and Powers-Knapp Scholars Program to welcome talented students from underrepresented groups. The paired programs emphasized service, leadership development, peer support and mentorship, and provided financial aid and Lee’s inimitable influence.


The Grosses made several major gifts to the UW program, with the last one scheduled for November 2018. Unfortunately, Lee passed away in October 2018 and did not get to see the impact of the gift. Following Lee’s death, the couple met Lee’s son, Robb, and daughter-in-law, Jacqueline Wheeler Lee who leads the IAP and began inquiring about supporting the IAP.


The new Mercile J. Lee Maryland Promise Incentive Awards Program Endowed Scholarship will fund 20 students from Montgomery County; IAP currently counts 64 scholars, including some of the 23 MPP scholars.


“This gift will catapult IAP toward its long-term goal of welcoming students from every county in Maryland. It isn’t just expanding the number of opportunities we’re extending to students, but it’s also expanding our reach,” Jackie Lee said. “It's so meaningful for me personally as well. I'm touched knowing that the impact of Mercile's life is even more widely felt. Her enduring legacy will now live on through the scholars this gift will support."


The gift, the biggest to the university since Dr. Darryll J. Pines assumed his presidency in July, supports both of his top priorities: to promote excellence and to create an inclusive, multicultural campus community.


“I’m energized by the generosity of Phill and Liz Gross, whose approach to philanthropy is uniquely unbound by geography or personal affiliation,” Pines said. “By giving to IAP and the Maryland Promise Program, they are expanding access to a world-class University of Maryland education, and we are deeply grateful.” 


For more information about the program visit:



University of Maryland’s Student Government Association Allocates Nearly Half a Million Dollars for Student Services

December 3, 2020

COLLEGE PARK, Md -- The University of Maryland’s Student Government Association (SGA) announced the allocation of $410, 249 for critical services to support students facing an unparalleled year; with academic, financial, physical and mental challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Recognizing an increased need for crucial student services, coupled with a surplus of funds on account of an unexpected spring 2020 semester, the SGA quickly committed to expanding student resources to help address the hurdles facing students. The surplus allows the SGA to allocate $410,249 to various funds, programs and initiatives including: 

  • $300,000 to the Student Crisis Fund to support students in financial need, primarily as a result of the pandemic
  • $10,000 to provide free mental health first aid training over the next two semester
  • $48,000 for the supply of free feminine hygiene products in bathrooms across campus
  • $5,000 to the Emergency Meal Fund to provide students who face food insecurity with temporary free meals from UMD dining halls
  • $47,249 to the Campus Pantry to support the installment of a full and functional Culinary Training Center to provide students with a space to increase food literacy through hands-on instruction 

"The SGA has continuously been committed to combatting food insecurity, expanding mental health services, supporting students financially during the pandemic and providing free feminine hygiene products,” said Dan Alpert, Student Body President. “This student-driven initiative will provide thousands of Terps with access to these resources for years to come." 

“There is no doubt that these allocated funds will help many important student services on and off our campus for years to come,” said Patty Perillo, Vice President for Student Affairs. “Together with the university, the SGA is providing much-needed support and relief to our campus community during an unprecedented challenging season. This is an example of exceptional leadership.”


About the University of Maryland
The University of Maryland, College Park is the state's flagship university and one of the nation's preeminent public research universities. A global leader in research, entrepreneurship and innovation, the university is home to more than 40,000 students,10,000 faculty and staff, and 297 academic programs. As one of the nation’s top producers of Fulbright scholars, its faculty includes two Nobel laureates, three Pulitzer Prize winners and 58 members of the national academies. The institution has a $2.1 billion operating budget and secures more than $1 billion annually in research funding together with the University of Maryland, Baltimore. For more information about the University of Maryland, College Park, visit


UMD Announces A "Grow-Your-Own" Teacher Pipeline

December 1, 2020

Audrey Hill,, 301-405-3468


College Park, MD —The University of Maryland, Prince George’s Community College and Prince George’s County Public Schools announced a dual enrollment program today to increase the teaching workforce in the state. 

The Middle College Program enables high schoolers from county schools to earn an associate of arts degree in teaching while completing their high school requirements. Dual enrollment students can then transfer seamlessly into the UMD College of Education’s undergraduate teaching program; the program also aligns with Bowie State University and Howard University’s academic requirements.

“The collaboration is a reflection of our commitment to developing innovative new pathways to prepare an excellent and diverse teacher workforce for Prince George’s County Public Schools and for the state of Maryland,” said Jennifer King Rice, dean of the College of Education. “This model of ‘growing your own’ teachers will increase diversity in the education field, develop teachers from the local community and address critical teaching shortages.”  

In response to the field’s personnel needs, Middle College Program students choose from three teaching pathways: early childhood/early childhood special education, middle school math/science and special education. Students also receive support from UMD faculty and staff, including acclimation to the campus and preparation for teaching assessments.

“We are enthusiastic about working together with the University of Maryland to extend possibilities for our students,” said Mara Doss, associate vice president for teaching, learning, and student success at Prince George’s Community College. “This collaboration guarantees support that prepares students for success and timely completion, removes barriers to transfer, and clarifies pathways to the four-year degree.”  

The Teacher Preparation Program, established in 2017 as part of the community college’s Academy of Health Sciences, provides dual enrollment students with an opportunity to earn an associate’s degree in teacher education. The Early and Middle College programs primarily serve first-generation and other underrepresented students. The Teacher Preparation Program will graduate its inaugural cohort of 31 students in Spring 2021, with the students ready to enter UMD’s teaching program in Fall 2021.

“As we prepare educators for teaching, one of the biggest things is helping them see the importance of partnerships within the local community and in getting to know the families,” said Sonya Riley Ph.D. ’19, who manages the Middle College Teacher Preparation Program partnership at UMD’s College of Education. “As a grow-your-own teaching program, our commitment allows us to bring students from the community, prepare them for the classroom, help them to understand that all students can learn, and then graduate them so they can go back into our local communities, or any community for that matter, and use what they’ve learned in our teacher preparation courses to assist them in their teaching.”

One of many partnerships between the College of Education and local schools, the Middle College Program reflects a commitment to increasing UMD enrollments from county public schools and improving public education in the local school system.

“As we grow the next generation of educators, we are proud to work with the University of Maryland in our dual enrollment collaboration with Prince George’s Community College,” said Monica Goldson, chief executive officer of Prince George’s County Public Schools. “This partnership introduces young people to the rewards of teaching and shaping minds for a lifetime of learning.”


The University of Maryland College of Education provides research– and practice–oriented programs through its three departments: Teaching and Learning, Policy and Leadership; Counseling, Higher Education and Special Education; and Human Development and Quantitative Methodology. College programs prepare students to be educators, counselors, psychologists, administrators, researchers, and educational specialists. The College is ranked among the top schools of education in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. For more information about the University of Maryland College of Education, visit


About Prince George’s Community CollegeNamed a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance designated by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security (2015-2020), Prince George’s Community College (PGCC) provides high-quality education and training for the progressive and career-oriented residents of Prince George’s County. From new high school graduates and career seekers to more seasoned professionals and senior citizens looking to enhance their skillsets, PGCC is comprised of students who represent a wide range of ages, backgrounds, and goals. Serving nearly 35,000 individuals annually, the College is the first choice for higher education for residents of Prince George’s County. Collaborative partnerships, responsive degree and training programs, and a commitment to student success enables PGCC to address diverse education and workforce development demands.

For more information, visit the college website at Prince George’s Community College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104; (267-284-5000); The Middle States Commission on Higher Education is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. 


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