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University of Maryland Students Win National Soil Judging Championship

May 4, 2017
Contacts: 

Graham Binder, 301-405-9235

COLLEGE PARK, MD. -- A student team from the University of Maryland's College of Agriculture and Natural Resources took first place in the recent 57th National Soils Competition, where contestants from 24 universities from seven regions around the country inspected various soil pits and worked to correctly identify, evaluate and describe five soil profiles. 

Photo of soil judging competitionIn the competition, hosted by the Northern Illinois University, the Terps finished fourth in the group portion, followed by a dominant showing in the individual portion of the contest with all four UMD contestants finishing in the top 11 (among a field of 93). The combined individual and group scores vaulted UMD into first place overall, marking the second time in the past five years that UMD students have claimed the top spot. It is the fourth time a Terp team has won the national title in the 57 years of the contest.

Soils are the most complex and ecologically significant biogeochemical systems on Earth. Soil processes and soil as a resource are critical to all terrestrial ecosystems, from prairies to tundra, wetlands to forests, and cities to farms. Soil Science is at the center of the study of what the National Science Foundation terms the Critical Zone - the confluence of the air, land and waters that support life on Earth.

“This is a highly prestigious competition with a long, storied history, and it is a tremendous point of pride for our students, our college and the university as a whole to bring home the win,” said Martin Rabenhorst, Ph.D of UMD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and team coach. “These events provide outstanding educational opportunities for our students – and a chance to study soils, landscapes, geology and agriculture in areas they may never have seen. And while these trips are a lot of work, they also are a lot of fun. Many of our graduates consider soil judging the highlight of their college experiences.”

For the soil judging championship, practice and contest pits included a collection of soils that were mostly Argiudolls, Hapludalfs, Endoaquolls and Hapludolls. These were formed from a variety of parent materials including loess, till, outwash, alluvium, colluvium, residuum, and eolian sands. The following students from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources placed: Kristi Persing (first place); Philip Schwartz (fifth place); Shelley Porter (ninth place) and Daniel Smith from the A. James Clark School of Engineering (11th place). The Terp team finished ahead of Kansas State (second), University of Wisconsin Platteville (third), Purdue University (fourth) and University of Wisconsin Stephens Point (fifth).

The Terps won the 1972 National Championship in Blacksburg, VA (Coach Martin Rabenhorst as a team member) and then in 1984 in San Luis Obispo, CA (Rabenhorst Coach) and most recently in Platteville, WI in 2013 (Assoc. Professor Brian Needelman Coach). Terp Judger Chenlin Zhu began an MS program in Environmental Science and Technology within the college this semester, and five of the other team members will be graduating this May (Porter, Smith, Persing, Agee, and Kramer.)  The college hopes to have all the others back on the team this coming fall when they head to Rhode Island for the northeast regional contest.

 

TIAA, University of Maryland Work Together to Develop Next Generation of Nonprofit Leaders

May 4, 2017
Contacts: 

Katie Lawson, 301-405-4622

Mike Tetuan, 704-988-2790

COLLEGE PARK, Md.  – The University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy and its Do Good Institute, along with TIAA, a leading financial services provider, have launched the TIAA Nonprofit Leadership Fellows Program to shape the next generation of nonprofit leaders.


TIAA and the School of Public Policy’s Do Good Institute are building a broad multi-year collaboration that will include three core areas: launching the TIAA Nonprofit Leadership Fellows Program, producing research and thought leadership, and tapping into TIAA’s nonprofit and financial expertise to mentor students who are involved in Maryland’s Do Good Campus initiatives.

A cornerstone of this collaboration is the new two-year TIAA Nonprofit Leadership Fellows Program for exceptional young professionals who are pursuing a Master of Public Policy degree with a specialization in nonprofit management and leadership. The first cohort of five fellows will begin next fall. The program will equip future nonprofit executives to lead high-performing organizations and create a pipeline of talented, diverse and prepared leaders who will drive highly effective nonprofits in creating sustainable change.

“As the leading provider of financial services for the nonprofit community, TIAA is excited to work with the University of Maryland on developing the next generation of nonprofit and philanthropic leaders,” said Doug Chittenden, Head of Institutional Retirement at TIAA. “We were founded nearly 100 years ago in the vision of philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, and this collaboration will allow us to continue his legacy for the next 100 years and beyond.”

"Nonprofits and philanthropists have so often led the way in solving the challenges we face, and their close engagement in society is of ever increasing importance. In working with TIAA, we are able to continue this great tradition of advancing the public good as we develop the next generation of leaders who will take their passion and skills for creating positive change out into the world," said School of Public Policy Dean Robert C. Orr.

Through the TIAA Nonprofit Leadership Fellows program, students will have access to valuable career and professional development opportunities. Fellows will work with the Do Good Institute and leading nonprofits, receiving career mentorship from TIAA experts and executives.

In September 2016, the University of Maryland announced $75 million in public-private commitments to create the Do Good Institute and make it the catalyst for Maryland to become the nation’s first Do Good Campus. The Do Good Institute is reinventing the college experience by transforming students’ idealism into extraordinary outcomes through rich learning experiences built on real-world application.

“TIAA and the Do Good Institute share a common mission to empower and equip others to do good and do well.  By combining forces, we will develop leaders, drive innovations, and produce insights that will transform the world,” said Robert T. Grimm, Jr, Director of the Do Good Institute and the Levenson Family Chair in Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy.   

 

 

 

UMD Ranks First in State for Recycling Efforts

May 1, 2017
Contacts: 

Andrew Muir, 301-405-7068

COLLEGE PARK, Md.—  For the past 11 years, the University of Maryland has competed in Recyclemania, an annual competition for college and university recycling programs aimed at promoting waste reduction on campuses. This year, the university ranked first in state for achieving a 44 percent recycling rate and for collecting close to eight pounds of compostables per person. In addition, the university ranked second in state and 15th nationwide in the Total Recycling category, generating 808,676 pounds of recycling. 

Throughout the eight-week competition, which is managed by Keep America Beautiful, the university saved 885 metric tons of CO2 over an eight-week period. This is comparable to keeping over 173 cars off the road. The university also recycled a little over five tons of shredded documents and nearly 7,000 pounds of electronic devices during an all-campus shredding and electronics-recycling event in March. 

“Once again the University of Maryland community helped make this a successful year,” said Bill Guididas, assistant director, Building and Landscape Maintenance. “RecycleMania is an opportunity to highlight the important contributions that we make towards the reduction of waste on campus. We focused on the quality of our collections again this year and the results were wonderful.” 

A repurposed, customized theme for this year’s competition, “Clean the Stream in 2017,” continued to focus on educating the university community about the recycling process, including the recyclability of commonly used materials. Outreach and education efforts encompassed a sensitive document shredding and e-waste event, educational activities at UMD’s residence halls as a part of the Green Terp program, and the fourth annual “Recycle This!” video contest. Kim Hopkins, communications student, won for her video “How Should Terps Recycle?”

“RecycleMania provides us with an opportunity to heighten awareness about the importance of recycling among college students, and to help make recycling become a part of their daily routine,” said Brenda Pulley, senior vice president, Recycling, Keep America Beautiful. “Our hope is that these recycling behaviors stick with them throughout their lives and that they share what they’ve learned with family, friends and other students.” 

The 2017 tournament featured 320 schools from the United States and Canada, with an enrollment of four million students. Participating colleges and universities were ranked in various categories according to how much recycling and food waste they diverted from the landfill during a two-month period.

Click here to see a summary of UMD’s RecycleMania performance. Click here to see a full breakdown of UMD’s results.

 

Vintage Voices, James Hollister Wellness Foundation Win Grand Prizes at Do Good Challenge

April 28, 2017
Contacts: 

Kaitlin Ahmad, 301-405-6360

COLLEGE PARK, Md.— Vintage Voices, a student project that uses music to improve the mental health and quality of life for the elderly, and the James Hollister Wellness Foundation, a student venture that saves viable medications for developing nations, each won $5,000 at the University of Maryland’s 2017 Do Good Challenge. Held on April 26 at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, this year’s competition saw students raising funds and addressing issues ranging from sexual assault prevention to children’s health to medication recovery.

Photo of Do Good WinnersThe competition—now in its sixth year— inspires students from across campus to take a cause or issue they are passionate about and create the greatest social impact possible, locally and globally. There are two tracks in the competition: the project track, for student-run initiatives that consist of volunteering, fundraising and/or building awareness for a cause or organization; and the venture track, which features student-founded and student-run organizations whose efforts focus on taking their organizations to the next level.

Student groups Preventing Sexual Assault and Symbiont Health both placed second in the competition, receiving $2,500 for their cause, while Terp Thon and Kodactive came in third place, receiving $1,000 each.

During a showcase at the competition, semi-finalists for the Do Good Challenge pitched their projects to attendees for a chance to win the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences “Be the Solution” Showcase Audience Choice Award. Each attendee was able to invest a “Do Good Dollar” to help the team of their choice. Nourish: Mommy and Me and Running Water received the most “Do Good Dollars” and had the opportunity to pitch their project on stage during the finals. Through text voting, Nourish: Mommy and Me was awarded the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences “Be the Solution” Showcase Audience Choice Award, winning $1,000 to further their efforts. Running Water received the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences “Be the Solution” Showcase Audience Choice Runnerup Award, winning $750. 

In addition, the James Hollister Wellness Foundation and Symbiont Health received the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences’ “Be the Solution” Audience Choice Award and earned $1,500 each for their cause.

This year’s competition was judged by Sherrese Clark, managing director for Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management; Kirsten Craft, program manager for the Robert H. Smith School of Business Center for Social Value Creation and 2015 Do Good Challenge Winner; and Rajiv Vinnakota, executive vice president of the Youth and Engagement Division of the Aspen Institute.

The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, MilkBoy Open Performance Venue and Restaurant Near University of Maryland

April 27, 2017
Contacts: 

Katie Lawson, 301-405-4622

Part of the Greater College Park initiative, MilkBoy ArtHouse will include two live performance venues, gallery space, dining and drinks

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – MilkBoy ArtHouse, a new dining, art and performance venue, will open its doors in College Park on May 2. A partnership between the University of Maryland Foundation Board of Trustees, The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center and MilkBoy, a Philadelphia restaurant group and entertainment company, MilkBoy ArtHouse is part of the Greater College Park initiative, a $2 billion public-private investment to revitalize Baltimore Avenue, enhance the academic campus, and further strengthen university-city partnerships.
 
Image of milkboy arthouse"On behalf of the entire University of Maryland Foundation Board of Trustees, I am so pleased to see the opening of MilkBoy ArtHouse. This project is a terrific example of the strategic investments made by the foundation to support the mission and priorities of the University. This amazing venue will bring arts and culture to the thriving and growing Greater College Park area," said V. Raymond Ferrara, Chair of the Board of Trustees, University of Maryland College Park Foundation.
 
MilkBoy ArtHouse’s offerings range from classical, contemporary, cabaret, global pop, indie rock and jazz music to film, performance and spoken word, with the intent to feature UMD students, as well as local, national and international artists. The venue will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., with a full performance line-up to begin in fall 2017.
 
“We’re proud to team up with The Clarice to enhance the arts and entertainment offerings currently available to the University of Maryland campus and surrounding community, and bring a unique dining experience to the area,” said Jamie Lokoff, partner at MilkBoy. “We’re glad to be part of Greater College Park.”
 
UMD students played a key role in the development and design of MilkBoy ArtHouse. Undergraduate students in the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation helped identify design proposals for the space, and two graduate design students in the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies worked with The Clarice and MilkBoy to determine the interior design, including furniture, lighting, seating layout and permanent wall art. MilkBoy ArtHouse also plans to employ more than 50 students for a variety of jobs.
 
“At the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, we are building the future of the arts. Partnering with MilkBoy gives our campus and community a newImage of milkboy arthouse option for both dining and participating in the arts,” said Martin Wollesen, Executive Director of The Clarice. “By bringing adventurous, dynamic performances to College Park, coupled with terrific food and beverage, MilkBoy ArtHouse will nourish imaginations.”

MilkBoy ArtHouse’s first floor includes a restaurant serving elevated American comfort food, as well as an intimate lounge for performances that seats up to 100 guests, while offering food and beverage service. The second-floor performance venue, at nearly 3,200 square feet, can accommodate up to 400 guests for both standing and seated performances.
 
A gallery space on the second floor includes a rotating display of curated visual art from regional artists, and a seating area for guests to look out over Baltimore Avenue. Up to four bars are positioned throughout the space, and a set of large garage doors on the front of the building can be opened to bring the outside in.
 
MilkBoy ArtHouse is located at 7416 Baltimore Avenue in College Park. The university and MilkBoy plan to celebrate the opening of the venue at an afternoon event on May 17, 2017.

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UMD’s Rita Colwell, World-Renowned Microbiologist and Science Leader, to Receive the Vannevar Bush Award

April 26, 2017
Contacts: 

Lee Tune, University of Maryland College Park, (301) 405-4679

Kim Silverman, National Science Board Office, (703) 292-4515

 

 

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Rita Rossi Colwell, Distinguished University Professor in the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies, will receive the 2017 Vannevar Bush Award, the National Science Board (NSB) announced today. The NSB, which supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science, will present Colwell with the award on May 9 during the National Science Foundation (NSF) Annual Awards Ceremony held in Washington, D.C. 

The Vannevar Bush Award honors truly exceptional lifelong leaders in science and technology who have made substantial contributions to the welfare of the nation through public service activities in science, technology, and public policy. Colwell, whose work bridges many areas, including microbiology, ecology, infectious disease, public health and computer and satellite technology is recognized for her significant, life-saving contributions in the areas of global infectious diseases, water and health. 

"It is a great honor for me to be the recipient of the 2017 Vannevar Bush Award. It is extraordinarily humbling when one looks at the remarkable people who have received this award in the past," Colwell said. "This is a challenging time for science and a difficult one for those scientists, engineers, and technologists who are pursuing discovery and creativity driven research. Dr. Bush can be considered the father of the research enterprise of our country.  It is especially gratifying to me to be honored for research and educational accomplishments as that would be the very spirit of Vannevar Bush and his hope for the future as he saw it. As a woman I am proud to be a scientist and contributing as part of the entire talent pool that allows the U.S. to continue to excel." 

Colwell’s passion for science was obvious at an early age. As a sixth-grader, her school principal said to her, “You received the highest science test score ever.  You have a responsibility to meet your potential and you must go to college.” But this was in the 1940s, and discrimination against women, especially in the sciences, was an obstacle.  Hurdles she faced included a high school science teacher who told her not to bother with chemistry in college, as it was not a career suitable for women, and a department chair who denied her a master’s degree fellowship because they were “wasted on women.” Colwell’s steely determination to succeed was apparent, then and now.

Her decision to pursue a career in genetics introduced her to the emerging field of molecular biology and the very earliest use of computers in the pursuit of understanding complex biological systems. In the 1960s, Colwell was the first researcher in the U.S to develop a computer program to analyze bacteriological data. She continued and expanded this work at the University of Maryland, which she joined as a tenured professor in 1972. Today, bioinformatics is used at the very forefront of biological scientific research due to her efforts, along with colleagues, to promote the use of computing tools to facilitate the study of biology.

Colwell’s lifelong passion for studying environmental microbiology, especially in marine environments was fostered by her childhood fascination with the ocean. This passion led to her discovery, in the 1970s, of the presence of Vibrio cholerae, the causative agent of cholera, in the waters of Chesapeake Bay. At the time, conventional wisdom held that cholera was spread from person to person, or from consuming tainted food or drinking water and that its presence in the environment could only be due to the release of sewage into rivers, lakes, streams, and other waters. She proved that the bacteria were native to the aquatic environment, attached to zooplankton, and that that certain bacteria, such as Vibrio species, are capable of entering a dormant state.

The last cholera epidemic in Central and South America in the 1990s brought this disease and Colwell’s work onto the world stage. Colwell advised numerous governments and groups during this epidemic; her extensive knowledge of the organism, public health, genetics, and ecology was used to combat the disease and save numerous lives. She assisted Ecuador to address this epidemic by providing rapid identification of V. cholerae in the hospitals and in the shrimp industry, the latter being a major portion of Ecuador’s gross national product at the time. Similarly, she worked with IMARPE in Peru, playing a role in the development of drinking water criteria that helped guide policies to curb spread of the disease.

Today, bacterial zoonosis is a well-established and increasingly important field of study. Colwell’s interdisciplinary work paved the way for researchers from ecological disciplines and epidemiological disciplines to cross over into each other’s area of study, leading to a better understanding of disease transmission and ways to approach their control.

“Rita Colwell’s leadership and contributions to science and humanity are extraordinary. She made numerous scientific advances and revolutionary discoveries that have been translated into preventing countless of people from suffering with cholera,” said Vicki Chandler, chair of the NSB’s Committee on Honorary Awards. “Rita is a positive role model, both in her passion for her work, her amazing record of service to science nationally and worldwide and in her resolve to succeed and make a difference in spite of barriers.  The National Science Board is proud to bestow her with this award.”

Colwell is distinguished university professor at UMD and the Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health, the senior advisor and chairman emeritus at Canon US Life Sciences, Inc. and the founder and chairman at CosmosID, Inc. She has received numerous awards and recognitions, including 55 honorary degrees from institutions of higher education and is the recipient of the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star, bestowed by the Emperor of Japan, 2006 National Medal of Science awarded by the President of the United States, and 2010 Stockholm Water Prize awarded by the King of Sweden.  A geological site in Antarctica, Colwell Massif, has been named in recognition of her work in the Polar Regions.

Colwell served as the 11th director of the National Science Foundation and co-chair of the Committee on Science, National Science and Technology Council.  She has held a number of advisory positions in the U.S. Government, nonprofit science policy organizations, and private foundations and has authored or co-authored 17 books and more than 800 scientific publications.  Colwell also served as chairman of the Board of Governors of the American Academy of Microbiology, president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington Academy of Sciences, American Society for Microbiology, Sigma Xi National Science Honorary Society, International Union of Microbiological Societies, and American Institute of Biological Sciences.  She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm, Royal Society of Canada, Royal Irish Academy, Bangladesh Academy of Science, Indian Academy of Science, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and American Philosophical Society.  

The NSB established the award in 1980 in the memory of Vannevar Bush, who served as a science advisor to President Franklin Roosevelt during World War II, helped to establish Federal funding for science and engineering as a national priority during peacetime, and was behind the creation of the National Science Foundation. The NSB and the National Science Foundation Past award recipients include: Norman Augustine (Lockheed Martin), James Duderstadt (University of Michigan), Leon Lederman (Fermilab), Shirley Ann Jackson (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), David Packard (Hewlett-Packard Company), and most recently Robert Birgeneau (University of California, Berkeley). 

Jointly, the NSB and the NSF Director pursue the goals and function of the NSF, an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. The National Science Board also serves as an independent body of advisors to the U.S.  President and Congress on policy matters related to science and engineering and education in science and engineering.

 

 

 

 

Hundreds of Free Activities Planned for UMD’s 19th Annual Maryland Day

April 24, 2017
Contacts: 

Natifia Mullings, 301-405-4076

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland will host its 19th annual Maryland Day on Saturday, April 29 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event, a campus-wide celebration of innovation, creativity and academic excellence, offers more than 400 free, educational, family-friendly activities that teach and inspire future innovators.  

Events and activities will span the entire campus, across six learning neighborhoods: Terp Town Center, Ag Day Avenue, Art & Design Place, Biz & Society Hill, Sports & Rec Row and Science & Tech Way.

Highlights for this year’s Maryland Day include:

  • No Excuses Workout and World Record Attempt – University of Maryland alumnus and celebrity trainer Steve Jordan will lead a group fitness exercise and an attempt to break the world record for most people to hold an abdominal plank for 60 seconds.
  • Do Good – Learn, serve and grow with UMD students who are taking on real-world issues. #DoGoodUMD while participating in community service efforts and a scavenger hunt for prizes. UMD chefs will also prepare Do Good recipes that are cost-effective, taste great and offer plenty of variety.
  • The Portal – Connect with someone across the world! Portals is a global network of gold-painted shipping containers that are equipped with immersive audio and video technology that allows guests to experience face-to-face communication though thousands of miles apart.
  • Men’s and Women’s Basketball, and Football Autograph Sessions – Join members of the teams for a photo and autograph session. Members of the football team will also facilitate a training activity.
  • An Afternoon with Sonia De Los Santos – Latin children’s music artist, De Los Santos, performs family-friendly music that reflects on her experiences growing up in Mexico, moving to another country and learning about other countries.
  • Glenn L. Martin Wind Tunnel – Experience rare access to the university’s wind tunnel, which has been used in aerodynamics research since 1949.
  • One Stop Health Fair – The university, along with its community partners, will offer free health screenings and health information.
  • Kid Play Theatre Workshop –A half-hour acting workshop for budding actors includes fun theater games.
  • Maryland Equestrian Club Horse Show–The club hosts a live horse show, exciting demonstrations and interactive opportunities for the whole family. 

In addition, visitors can learn about UMD’s schools and colleges, participate in a campus tour, catch up with fellow Terps, attend a UMD vs. Penn State softball game, and enjoy live performances and food.

To view the full Maryland Day schedule, visit www.MarylandDay.umd.edu. Follow the celebration and join on social media with #MarylandDay.

Maryland Day will take place rain or shine. Parking and admission are free.

 

 

 

 

UMD Announces Finalists for Annual Do Good Challenge

April 21, 2017
Contacts: 

Kaitlin Ahmad, 301-405-6360

COLLEGE PARK, Md.–  The University of Maryland’s Do Good Institute, housed in the School of Public Policy, today announced the finalists for its annual Do Good Challenge, a spring semester competition that inspires students to take a cause or issue they are passionate about and create the greatest social impact possible. The campus-wide challenge encourages students to take fearless ideas that spark innovative solutions to change lives locally and globally. 

Six student-run teams – addressing issues ranging from children’s health to medication recovery to sexual assault prevention – have been selected from more than 90 teams t0 pitch their project or venture to a panel of judges and an audience of hundreds for a chance to win a share of more than $20,000 in prize money.

This year’s finalists include:

  • Kodactive aims to make computer science more accessible through a project-based platform that uses interactive, immersive, programmable STEM toys.
  • Symbiont Health is developing an automated fall detection system that connects primary care physicians with their patients and collects real-time, vital diagnostic information used to reduce emergency responder time.
  • Preventing Sexual Assault aspires to change the culture of sexual assault in all communities at the University of Maryland by educating the community, supporting survivors and advocating for change.
  • TerpThon hosts year-round fundraising efforts that culminate in a 12-hour Dance Marathon to stand in support of current and former patient families of Children’s Miracle Network Hospital.
  • The James Hollister Wellness Foundation saves viable medications for developing nations while reducing the toxic pollutants resulting from pharmaceutical and medical waste.
  • Vintage Voices aims to improve the mental health and quality of life for elderly living in long-term care facilities through the power of music.

The Challenge will take place on April 26 at 6 pm. at the University of Maryland’s Clarice Smith Center for Performing Arts. This year’s Challenge is being judged Sherrese Clark, Managing Director, Morgan Stanley; Kirsten Craft, Program Manager, Center for Social Value Creation & 2015 Do Good Challenge Winner; and Rajiv Vinnakota, Executive Vice President of the Youth & Engagement Division, Aspen Institute. 

The Do Good Challenge started in 2012. Over the last three years, two Do Good Challenge finalists have been named to Forbes's list of top 30 social entrepreneurs under 30 and one venture received a $100,000 investment from an investor on Shark Tank. For more information about the Do Good Institute and the Do Good Challenge visit dogood.umd.edu

 

UMD Announces University Sustainability Fund 2017 Projects

April 20, 2017
Contacts: 

Andrew Muir, 301-405-7068 

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- On the eve of the nation’s 47th Earth Day, the University of Maryland’s Office of Sustainability is pleased to announce its Sustainability Fund projects approved for 2017. The Sustainability Fund provides grants to students, faculty and staff for the implementation of projects that will improve sustainability on campus or in the local community.

Projects approved for funding by the Student Sustainability Fund Review Committee and the University Sustainability Council include:

“This year, we received a number of outstanding proposals,” said Scott Lupin, director, Office of Sustainability. “The University Sustainability Fund is an ongoing commitment by the undergraduate students to support real projects that further campus sustainability efforts. Each of the approved projects lend themselves to furthering the campus standing as a model of a green university.” 

Starting fall 2018, the Master’s Degree in Sustainability will offer two capstone project courses focused on recent developments in analytics, technology, and implementation strategies. In the capstone courses, students will work on projects driven by compelling issues for actual case studies, such as the university’s sustainability goals.

“The Master’s Degree in Sustainability grant is an exciting new educational development, setting forth steps to create an interdisciplinary sustainability master’s degree program at UMD,” said Jelena Srebric, professor, Mechanical Engineering. “The main project idea is to have a program that integrates interested university departments, institutes and colleges to create a campus-wide offering.”   

The Solar Decathlon grant marks an important multi-discipline collaboration for the university. UMD won first place in the 2011 Solar Decathlon for its WaterShed house, which can be viewed at the Pepco Facility in Rockville, Md. The School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and the A. James Clark School of Engineering are leading this year’s entry, entitled (re) ACT.    

"The Sustainability Fund grant is crucial to supporting Team Maryland's efforts in the Solar Decathlon 2017,” said Raymond Adomaitis, professor, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. “The grant comes at a time when we are completing the house design. The funds will be used to support student-led prototyping and system integration teams to assess and fine-tune our design innovations."

Another noteworthy project includes “Student Leadership in Community Sustainability and Resiliency.” This grant aims to accelerate undergraduate and graduate student involvement in the development and implementation of sustainability and resiliency projects on campus and in the surrounding communities. 

"The university is expanding our collaborative engagement off campus, and students will play a critical role in making these initiatives a success,” said Andrew Fellows, director of the Campus Community Connection (C3) project, which is housed under the National Center for Smart Growth and the iSchool. “Enhanced experiential learning opportunities, expansion of applied research and better communications with campus neighbors are just a few of the benefits of student leadership.”

The Fund continues to support maintaining and improving existing campus infrastructure and buildings. Grants will be issued for projects to enhance and increase recycling on campus and in Old Town, as well as providing project support for energy efficient lighting upgrades in Ritchie Coliseum and evaluating the efficiency of several campus buildings.

Research and education will also continue to be a focus for the Fund, with grants issued to support the creation of a Carbon Management Course in the Department of Environmental Science and Technology, Gemstone research projects, and the Voices of Social Change lecture by Jean-Michel Costeau on UMD Social Justice Day.

The Sustainability Fund was created in April 2007 after 91 percent of undergraduate students voted in favor of increasing student fees to create a University Sustainability Fund. Since 2011, the fund has granted $1.8 million to 108 sustainability projects.  For more information about the University Sustainability Fund, please visit sustainabilityfund.umd.edu; to watch a short video on how UMD makes a big impact through small steps click here.

Students, faculty, and staff will come together to celebrate campus sustainability at the UMD Earth Day Festival on Friday, April 21 from Noon-4pm at the Stamp Grand Ballroom. Featured speakers include Dr. Sacoby Wilson, School of Public Health and Dean Gregory Ball, College of Behavioral and Social Sciences. For a full listing of Earth Day and Earth Month events, visit go.umd.edu/earthmonth

UMD Graduate Student Wins Prestigious Lemelson-MIT Student Prize for Innovative Bioengineering

April 19, 2017
Contacts: 

Alyssa Wolice, 301-405-3936

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Lisa Tostanoski, a graduate student in the University of Maryland’s Fischell Department of Bioengineering, has won a $15,000 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize following a highly competitive nationwide search for the most inventive college students. Tostanoski was selected for her efforts to develop two novel biomaterials-based strategies to combat multiple sclerosis (MS) and other autoimmune diseases.

 

Photo of Tostanoski"Ms. Tostanoski’s innovation gives me great hope for the future of human health and patient care," said Darryll J. Pines, dean of the University of Maryland’s A. James Clark School of Engineering. “Fresh approaches to bioengineering have the potential to impact millions of patients. I am incredibly proud of her and the resolve of our entire Fischell Department of Bioengineering in their efforts to dramatically alter the course of intractable diseases.”

 

The nine recipients of this year’s collegiate competition were selected from a diverse applicant pool of undergraduate and graduate students from colleges and universities across the country. Tostanoski was one of two graduate students awarded this year’s prize for the “Cure it!” category, which recognizes students working on technology-based inventions that can improve health care.

 

“Multiple sclerosis is estimated to affect 2.3 million people worldwide,” said Tostanoski, a member of the Fischell Department of Bioengineering Jewell Research Lab, led by assistant professor Christopher Jewell. “While current clinical therapies provide important benefits for patients, they are limited by off-target effects, which leave patients immunocompromised. They also lack cure-potential, which means patients receive regular, lifelong treatments.”

 

Recently, scientists have explored the potential to use vaccine-like therapies to treat autoimmunity. Such techniques aim to specifically control the body’s mistaken attack of “self-molecules” – like myelin in MS – while leaving the rest of the immune system intact. In MS, the immune system incorrectly sees myelin – which insulates and protects nerves fibers in the brain – as foreign. Thus, in MS immune cells enter the brain and attack myelin, leading to slow loss of motor function and other complications. Current therapies for this disease work by decreasing the activity of the immune system; but, they do so in a broadly-suppressive way that often leaves patients vulnerable to infection.

 

In search of a solution, researchers like Tostanoski are working to develop new strategies that enable control over combinations and doses of therapies that reach particular tissues in the body.

 

Tostanoski’s first project applies a targeted injection technique to deposit degradable polymer carriers – loaded with the desired therapeutic cargos – directly in lymph nodes, the tissues that coordinate the body’s immune responses. These particles slowly degrade in the lymph nodes, releasing signals that program cells not to attack “self” tissues. Instead, these cues aim to expand regulatory immune cells that could then leave the lymph nodes and move to the brain and spinal cord to control inflammation and disease. The research team, which joins together the Jewell Lab and the immunology lab of Dr. Jonathan Bromberg at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, is currently working to understand the mechanism as well as the translational potential to other disease models.

 

In the second approach, Tostanoski and fellow researchers use specialized technology to create immune polyelectrolyte multilayers (iPEMs) built entirely from immune signals. These iPEMs are self-assembled on particle templates during production. Then, the templates are dissolved to leave hollow capsules that consist only of the immune cues the lab wants to deliver, eliminating the need for carrier components.

 

Tostanoski, Jewell, and Dr. Walter Royal of the University of Maryland School of Medicine have shown that this approach controls inflammation in samples from human MS patients, and eliminates disease in mouse models of MS. This cutting-edge technique mimics useful features of biomaterial therapeutics – such as co-delivery, targeting, and “cargo” protection – but is much simpler because no carrier components are needed. Even more, this feature also eliminates the risk of activating the immune system in the unintended or unexpected ways sometimes associated with synthetic materials.

 

“More specific and effective therapies for autoimmunity could transform treatment options for patients with autoimmune disease such as multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, and lupus” said Jewell. “Lisa has really embodied the fearlessness and rigor required to bring engineering and immunology together and push these innovative ideas forward.”

 

“Lisa’s work – and that of the Jewell Research Lab – demonstrates the enormous potential for bioengineers to shape the future of human health innovation,” said John Fisher, chair of the Fischell Department of Bioengineering. “Even more, her dedication to the field extends beyond the lab, as she devotes much of her time to mentoring aspiring engineers. For these reasons, Lisa exemplifies what it means to receive the Lemelson-MIT Student Prize. We at the Fischell Department of Bioengineering applaud her on this most recent achievement, and celebrate this historical first for the University of Maryland.”

 

The Lemelson-MIT Student Prize is supported by The Lemelson Foundation. Student prize applicants were evaluated by screening committees with expertise in the invention categories, as well as a national judging panel of industry leaders. Screeners and judges assessed candidates on breadth and depth of inventiveness and creativity; potential for societal benefit and economic commercial success; community and environmental systems impact; and experience as a role model for youth.

 

“These students display the brilliance and hope of their generation,” said Dorothy Lemelson, Lemelson Foundation chair. “We are proud to recognize them for their achievements.”

 

Prior to receiving the Lemelson-MIT Student Prize, Tostanoski was named a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and the University of Maryland’s 2015 Fischell Fellow. She has also contributed to five intellectual property filings, to date.

 

This work was supported by grants to the Jewell Research Lab from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and the National Science Foundation.

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