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Announcing the Thomas V. Miller, Jr. Administration Building

June 29, 2020

The University of Maryland's Main Administration building will soon bear the name of Maryland Senate President Emeritus Thomas V. “Mike” Miller, Jr., the longest-serving state senate president in the history of the United States and a visionary leader and tireless advocate for the university.

University of Maryland Named No. 1 College in U.S. For LGBTQ+ Students

June 18, 2020
Contacts: 

Hafsa Siddiqi hafsa@umd.edu 

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland was named the No. 1 college in the nation for LGBTQ+ students, according to rankings released this week by Campus Pride and BestColleges.

The annual state and national rankings, announced during LGBTQ Pride Month, weigh inclusivity, academic support and affordability to determine which colleges provide the best support for LGBTQ+ students. Maryland moved to the top spot from No. 5 last year.

"This recognition validates our intersectional and collaborative approach to supporting LGBTQ+ students," said Luke Jensen, director of UMD’s LGBT Equity Center. "It is an honor—and a welcome challenge to maintain and improve our leadership in LGBTQ+ campus inclusion as we face broad collective challenges related to health and social justice."

The center supports students, faculty, staff and alumni of all sexual orientations and gender identities through educational and outreach events as well as resources for LGBTQ+ people.

Most recently, staff in the center have focused on ensuring full implementation of campus policies, including those on inclusive language for university communications, students’ personal data in university databases and all-gender restroom availability around campus.

Other center programs include Quelcome, a social and networking event at the beginning of the academic year; Q Camp, a community-building retreat; the Lavender Leadership Honor Society for advocates of LGBTQ+ rights—the first of its kind in higher education; and the traditional Lavender Graduation.

The ranking recognizes efforts far beyond the work of the LGBT Equity Center. For example, over a dozen campus units have named liaisons to LGBTQ+ communities. These liaisons conduct outreach and work with colleagues in their units to promote good practices in service of LGBTQ+ people.

The Best Colleges for LGBTQ+ Students ranking recognizes U.S. schools that have established the highest standards for inclusive environments while maintaining strong academic programs. (Others in the top five nationwide are the University of Washington, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Princeton University and Tufts.) The Best Colleges for LGBTQ+ Students in Each State offers a guide for prospective LGBTQ+ students to identify schools that are culturally inclusive, affordable and closer to their geographic location.

“Every student deserves to go to a college that is inclusive and a safe space to learn, live and grow,” said Shane Windmeyer, executive director of Campus Pride. “This June for Pride Month we want to show our ‘campus pride’ for all the campuses working hard to create safer, more LGBTQ-friendly learning environments.”

The rankings combine BestColleges’ traditional methodology of academic support and affordability data along with the Campus Pride Index score, which considers eight LGBTQ+ inclusive factors. The rankings also include descriptions of unique campus resources that provide support to students of various gender and sexual identities.

“We commend all the universities listed on these LGBTQ+ rankings for creating educational environments that allow students of different gender and sexual identities to feel safe and welcome,” said Stephanie Snider, general manager of BestColleges.

 
To view the full ranking list, please visit this link

UMD Leads $10M USDA Project to SustainCorn Belt Agricultural Production

June 18, 2020
Contacts: 

Abby Robinson 301-405-5845

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – University of Maryland researchers will lead a five-year, $10 million project funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to help farmers in the Corn Belt navigate efficient water and nutrient use in order to increase crop production.

The researchers plan to develop a Dashboard for Agricultural Water use and Nutrient management (DAWN) that will help maximize corn, soybean and bioenergy crop production in the Midwestern United States. They expect DAWN to identify innovative ways of increasing land- and water-use efficiency given competing resource demands and varying water availability and quality.

“Our goal is to create a predictive tool that translates complex system science into reliable, usable information for agricultural decision-makers so that they can optimize pre-season, in-season and longer-term practices,” said the project’s lead investigator Xin-Zhong Liang, a professor of atmospheric and oceanic science at UMD with a joint appointment in the Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC). “To do this, we have to link local land-use and water-use practices to large-scale feedbacks and deliver that information effectively to stakeholders.”

Routine decisions such as crop choice, fertilizer use, irrigation scheduling and reservoir operations can have wide-ranging and long-term impacts on water availability, nutrient loss, agricultural production and sustainability. The changing climate and enhanced extremes also threaten production—rainfed crops are vulnerable to droughts, heat stress raises water demand, and floods threaten crop growth and water quality.

“We will build models and decision support tools that represent the complex interactions among agriculture, climate, land and water use, and economic and environmental impacts,” Liang said. “If we can find ways to increase agricultural productivity and reduce input costs and losses due to environmental and biological stresses, and thus increase profitability, this project will be a success.”

According to Liang, current decision support tools evaluate only conditions and tradeoffs at individual points and fail to capture larger system feedbacks. DAWN will include data from large-enough scales to capture feedbacks across different regions, times and sectors.

The project team includes researchers, extension specialists, educators and stakeholders. Partners in the project include researchers at Colorado State University, the University of Illinois, the University of Minnesota, the University of Nebraska and FamilyFarms Group. 

DAWN will be designed collaboratively with end-users to provide short-term forecasts for real-time decision-making, seasonal outlooks for mid-range planning, and scenario projections for long-range planners and policymakers to address adaptation strategies for improving agricultural and food system sustainability.

“Ultimately, we hope DAWN will be a holistic framework of tools that will help bridge the gap between advanced modeling systems and the practical needs of crop producers, water managers and policymakers,” Liang added.

In addition to Liang, investigators on the project from UMD include Applied Environmental Health Professor and Director of CONSERVE and UMD Global STEWARDS, Amy R. Sapkota;  Atmospheric and Oceanic Science Professor and Chair and ESSIC Director Fernando Miralles-Wilhelm; ESSIC Assistant Research Professors Michael Gerst and Thomas Wild; ESSIC Visiting Research Scientist Xuesong Zhang; ESSIC Project Manager Michael Maddox; ESSIC Assistant Research Scientists Junyu Qi and Mitchell Schull; and ESSIC Postdoctoral Associates Yufeng He, Chao Sun and You Wu.

 

University of Maryland Celebrates Virtual Commencement

May 22, 2020
Contacts: 

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Following an uncommon end to the spring semester, the University of Maryland honored graduates in a virtual commencement ceremony on May 22, 2020. Thousands of viewers tuned into the main ceremony, which streamed on multiple platforms. 

University President Wallace D. Loh presided, offering words of pride and encouragement to the graduates who earned more than 8,500 bachelor's, master’s and doctoral degrees from various programs. 

“I regret that the end of the semester was disrupted, and students had to be separated from friends and campus activities,” said Loh. “But I’m heartened and proud by how Terps responded, with grit and determination, and with concern for others, finding ways to stay connected and help each other.” 

In his last commencement before retirement in June, President Loh also conferred honorary doctorates to Hiram Whittle, the first African-American male undergraduate student admitted to UMD in 1951 and to Elaine Johnson Coates, the first African-American female student to earn a bachelor’s degree from UMD. 

The commencement address was delivered by U.S. Rep. Steny H. Hoyer ’63, majority leader of the U.S. House of Representatives and congressman for Maryland’s 5th District. He urged students to take the fearlessness they learned at Maryland and apply it to their futures. 

“Challenge and uncertainty present us with an opportunity to prove that the light of our vision and hope reaches farther than the shadow of our challenges,” said Hoyer. “Class of 2020, I know that you will meet today’s challenge and those you face in the years ahead with resilience and resolve. More than most graduating classes, the class of 2020 has had to be fearless.”

Student speaker Citrupa (Kat) Gopal '20, a biological sciences major, addressed her fellow graduates and also encouraged them to confidently accept the challenges ahead. Additional remarks were made by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and University System of Maryland Regent Gary Attman. Graduates and families were also treated to surprise appearances by special guests and notable UMD alumni Kevin Plank ‘96, Scott Van Pelt ‘88, Maury Povich, Connie Chung ‘69 and WWE’s Mojo Rawley ‘08 throughout the program.  

“It is my sincere hope during your time in College Park that you come to understand that Maryland pride is a very real thing,” Van Pelt shared. “I hope you leave school with it, and I hope you know that all of us that have preceded you across this stage, we have it in you.”

Ahead of the ceremony, graduates received a care package, which included a turtle pin, posters, a commencement program and, for undergraduates, a cap and tassel. All graduates were encouraged to use these items and more to share their UMD memories on social media. More than 1,500 Terps shared more than 3,500 posts on social media using the hashtag #UMDgrad, including photos, videos and their favorite Maryland memories. Many of these memories were shared during the ceremony. 

Individual colleges and schools also hosted their own virtual commencement ceremonies on May 22, featuring remarks from deans, displaying the names of every graduate. In addition to the virtual ceremonies, spring 2020 graduates are invited to attend and be recognized at the Maryland Football game on September 12, 2020, and participate in the December 2020 in-person commencement ceremony. The university continues to closely monitor guidance from state and local leaders, the USM chancellor, and public health officials and will announce additional details when they are available, keeping the health and safety of the university community as the top priority.

To rewatch the full ceremony, visit commencement.umd.edu

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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 280 academic programs. As one of the nation’s top producers of Fulbright scholars, its faculty includes two Nobel laureates, three Pulitzer Prize winners and 59 members of the national academies. The institution has a $1.9 billion operating budget and secures $514 million annually in external research funding. For more information about the University of Maryland, College Park, visit www.umd.edu.

UMD Virtual Spring 2020 Commencement Ceremony

May 22, 2020

Watch the University of Maryland's first-ever virtual commencement ceremony celebrating our spring 2020 graduates! The ceremony includes remarks from President Wallace D. Loh, Citrupa (Kat) Gopal '20, Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer '63, and several special guests, and will offer opportunities for graduates, families and friends to participate live.

Memorial Chapel to Go Red and Blue to Celebrate University of Maryland and Prince George’s County Grads

May 20, 2020
Contacts: 

Golshan Jalali, gjalali@umd.edu

 

The University of Maryland’s (UMD) Office of Community Engagement (OCE) will sponsor the lighting up of the Memorial Chapel with red illuminating lights on the evenings of May 22-24 to celebrate UMD students' graduation.
 
The office will also help turn the chapel blue from May 29-31 in honor of high school seniors in Prince George's County, whose graduation will be held virtually on May 30 and 31. 
 
With graduation being virtual, this is a unique gesture to celebrate UMD and PGCPS grads with an iconic UMD monument. 

Anna Lee, owner of Stripe 3 Adidas and active member of the College Park community, reached out to OCE with the idea of lighting up the chapel so that seniors and their families had a physical representation of their accomplishment. 

“We are in this together. By illuminating the chapel, we want to support students and provide hope as they begin a new journey,” said Gloria Aparicio Blackwell, director of the Office of Community Engagement. “Although they finished the semester under challenging circumstances, they remain in solidarity.”  

Graduates are encouraged to capture a photo under the lights while following social distancing guidelines. 


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University of Maryland to Livestream Virtual Spring 2020 Commencement

May 18, 2020
Contacts: 

 
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - For the first time, the University of Maryland will host its 2020 spring commencement virtually on Friday, May 22. As the university continues to emphasize the importance of social distancing, the ceremony will be streamed across multiple platforms and will include remarks by student commencement speaker Citrupa (Kat) Gopal ‘20, a biological sciences major, and Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer '63. President Wallace D. Loh will confer degrees to the Spring 2020 graduates and confer honorary doctorates to the first African-American male undergraduate student admitted to UMD in 1951 and to the first African-American female student admitted in 1955. The virtual ceremony will also include messages for graduates from several special guests. 

The university is distributing care packages to all Spring 2020 graduates which includes the official commencement program, a turtle pin and other items. Undergraduate seniors will all receive a cap and tassel. Additionally, UMD has called on graduates to share photos, videos and messages of memories, experiences and hope with fellow Terps using the hashtag #UMDgrad for the opportunity to be included in the virtual commencement ceremony. Throughout the program, students will be called upon to respond live on social media and to engage by leaving comments, using designated hashtags, and sharing photos.

WHO:

 University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh
 The Honorable Steny H. Hoyer ‘63
 Student Commencement Speaker Citrupa (Kat) Gopal ‘20
 Several special guests
 Class of 2020 University of Maryland Graduates and Families

 
WHEN:
Friday, May 22, 2020
1 p.m.
 
WHERE:
The ceremony will be streamed live on commencement.umd.edu, UMD’s Youtube channel, and on UMD’s Facebook page

HASHTAG:
Follow the conversation on social media and join in using #UMDgrad.
 
For more information, visit www.commencement.umd.edu.

UMD Professor Christopher Jarzynski Elected to the National Academy of Sciences

April 28, 2020
Contacts: 

Abby Robinson abbyr@umd.edu 301-405-5845

COLLEGE PARK, Md. –University of Maryland Distinguished University Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry Christopher Jarzynski was elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Jarzynski also has joint appointments in the Department of Physics and the Institute for Physical Science and Technology (IPST). 

Jarzynski is one of 120 new members and 26 international members elected in 2020, joining a select group of 2,403 scientists around the country—16 of whom hail from UMD's College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences—recognized for their influential research and elected by their peers. His election brings the total number of UMD faculty who are members of national academies to 60.  

"I feel honored to have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, and I am truly grateful for the support that I have received from colleagues, staff and students since I came to Maryland,” Jarzynski said.

Working at the boundary between chemistry and physics, Jarzynski studies how the laws of thermodynamics—originally developed to describe the operation of steam engines—apply to complex microscopic systems such as living cells and artificial nanoscale machines. A statistical physicist and theoretical chemist, he models the random motions of atoms and molecules using mathematics and statistics.

“Chris Jarzynski has effectively opened up a new field in statistical physics. Now, with precision, one can apply statistical mechanics not only to equilibrium states, but also to finite rate processes that carry a system from one state to another,” Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of IPST and National Academy of Sciences member Michael E. Fisher told Europhysics News in 2011. 

Jarzynski is well known for developing an equation to express the second law of thermodynamics for systems at the molecular scale. The equation is known as the Jarzynski equality. Published in the journal Physical Review Letters in 1997, the paper that introduced his equation has been cited in scientific literature more than 4,000 times.

When the 2018 Nobel Prize in physics was awarded for inventions in laser physics, the Nobel Committee cited testing the Jarzynski equality as an application of one of the winning inventions—optical tweezers. Optical tweezers use laser beams to manipulate extremely small objects such as biological molecules.

More recently, Jarzynski’s research has led to a new method for measuring “free energy”—the energy available to any system to perform useful work—in extremely small systems. This research is fundamental to new technologies and may lay the foundation for development of molecular- and quantum-scale machines.

A Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Jarzynski received a 2020 Guggenheim Fellowship, a 2020 Simons Fellowship and the APS’ 2019 Lars Onsager Prize, which recognizes outstanding research in theoretical statistical physics. He was also awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Prize in the Physical Sciences. He serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Statistical Mechanics: Theory and Experiment and is an associate editor for the Journal of Statistical Physics.

Jarzynski earned his B.A. in physics from Princeton University and his Ph.D. in physics from the University of California, Berkeley. After a postdoctoral appointment at the Institute for Nuclear Theory in Seattle, he spent 10 years at Los Alamos National Laboratory. He has been on the faculty of the University of Maryland since 2006.

30-year UMD Study Finds Predictive Links From Infant Temperament To Adult Personality

April 27, 2020
Contacts: 

Audrey Hill, audreyh@umd.edu 301-405-3468

 

College Park, Md - A 30-year study by University of Maryland researchers found that babies who showed shyness were more likely to become reserved and introverted adults, while those who also showed sensitivity to making errors as teens were more likely to have depression and anxiety in adulthood.

The study was initiated by College of Education Distinguished University Professor Nathan A. Fox. The findings of the study’s current phase, led by postdoctoral fellow Alva Tang, provides the strongest and earliest evidence of a lasting link between infant temperament and adult personality, including social and mental health status. The findings were published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

“Our research helps show that there is continuity between early temperament and adult personality,” Tang said. 

The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, began with more than 150 infants and their families who were recruited at 4 months of age from the Washington, D.C. area. At 14 months, the babies were exposed to unfamiliar situations, like a robot toy or an unfamiliar adult, and those who were very distressed by novel stimuli were labeled “behaviorally inhibited.” 

The term applies to about 15-20% of infants and remains relatively stable across toddlerhood and childhood. Children with inhibited temperaments have been found to be at greater risk for developing social withdrawal and anxiety disorders.

While two other studies have followed inhibited children from early childhood to adulthood, this one, conducted by researchers at UMD, the Catholic University of America and the National Institute of Mental Health, started when the subjects were younger. Over the years, the subjects were brought to the lab at the University of Maryland for testing, sent questionnaires and underwent functional brain imaging, all to chart the influence of infant temperament on the developing personality of the child, adolescent and young adult.

At age 15, for example, participants had their electrophysiological activity measured, using EEG, during a computerized task. At age 26, participants were assessed for psychopathology, personality traits and levels of social functioning with friends, family and romantic partners, as well as education and employment outcomes.

Adolescents who were more sensitive to making errors, called error-related negativity (ERN), were more likely to exhibit internalizing psychopathology, including anxiety and depression, at age 26.

“As we get older, we develop more and more the ability to monitor our behavior and to identify when we’ve made a mistake,” Fox said. “There’s an error-monitoring system in the brain, and it just so happens that behaviorally inhibited kids are sensitive to and vigilant about the environment and their performance. They show exaggerated brain responses when they detect an error compared to non-inhibited children or adolescents.”

The researchers also found that behavioral inhibition at 14 months predicted fewer romantic relationships in the past 10 years at age 26, along with a more reserved personality and lower social functioning with friends and family. 

University of Maryland Strategic Partnership to Lead New USM COVID Research & Innovation Task Force

April 23, 2020
Contacts: 

Natifia Mullins mullings@umd.edu  301.405.4076, Lee Tune ltune@umd.edu 301-405-4679

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Laurie Locascio, vice president for research at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP) and the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB), was named chair of the University System of Maryland (USM) COVID-19 Research and Innovation Task Force.  Charged by USM Chancellor Jay A. Perman, the University of Maryland Strategic Partnership—the enhanced collaboration between UMCP and UMB—will facilitate the new USM Task Force to leverage and mobilize systemwide research and innovations and to engage policymakers, business leaders, and the entrepreneurial community in addressing the state’s COVID-19 pandemic. 

"There is no time more important for collaborative research,” Locascio said. “This pandemic demands that researchers pull together resources and our best thinking to tackle the challenges before us, and we feel the urgency of the task at hand. Together, researchers across the University System of Maryland will work to serve our state, our region, and our world."

Four strategic activities will guide the task force: 1) mobilize resources for positive impact; 2) prepare the USM long-term to address future pandemics and other crises; 3) build awareness of the system’s research and development projects centered on COVID-19; and 4) foster R&D collaborations within and outside the system.

Projects are already underway at UMB, UMCP, and across the system that are advancing the discovery and development of COVID-19 solutions: medical interventions and protocols; virology and vaccine research; engineering solutions; and IT, informatics, and artificial intelligence projects that can inform and accelerate the state’s public health strategy.

Experts across the USM are also influencing Maryland’s policy response and guiding the region’s understanding of the disease and its impacts. The USM COVID Research & Innovation Task Force will engage with business and industry to exchange ideas and help the USM move its expertise to scale in meeting both the health and economic challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Innovation is what we do. But we can do it bigger, better, and stronger if we do it together,” Perman said. “That’s what Maryland’s people deserve, and that’s where our focus is. Therefore, we’re establishing this system-wide task force to steer this essential work—to make sure that the full power of the USM can be applied at this critical moment in time.

The task force will include Perman, UMB Interim President Bruce Jarrell, UMCP President-Designee Darryll Pines, and University of Maryland, Baltimore County Vice President for Research Karl Steiner, UMB School of Medicine Associate Dean of Research and Administration Terry Rogers, and USM Vice Chancellor for Communications and Marketing Timothy McDonough. Senior staffing for the task force will be provided by USM Vice Chancellor for Economic Development J. Thomas Sadowski.

For the full release about the USM COVID Research & Innovation Task Force, visit USM’s Newsroom

 

Pages

September 17
Updates and resources on the reopening of campus amid the COVID-19 pandemic   Read
September 17
Updates and resources on the reopening of campus amid the COVID-19 pandemic   Read
September 9
Initial Projects include Survey Tools to Track, Predict COVID-19 ‘Hot Spots’ Read