STEM Students Shine During the Spring Semester | UMBC Campus News

Here’s a recap of what’s in the news in and around the UMBC campus, originally brought to you by UMBC News.

This news recap is brought to you by UMBC’s Division of Professional Studies, offering a broad array of professionally-focused master’s degrees and certificate programs that address industry needs while anticipating future opportunities.

UMBC Receives excess of $63 million from NASA for CRESST II Affiliation

The Center for Research and Exploration in Space Science & Technology II (CRESST II) is a partnership between NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and four universities in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area– with UMBC being one of the main contributors of funds. NASA put forth $178 million split between the four universities to extend support for the program through 2027. Since its last renewal in 2016, the CRESST II program has offered hands-on learning opportunities for UMBC students interested in space science. “We’re trying to do more to support their growth, and also prepare them to move onto other things afterwards,” said Don Engel, director of UMBC’s Center for Space Sciences and Technology (CCST) and assistant professor of computer science and electrical engineering. “We’re building more infrastructure around career support for our scientists, especially those at earlier levels.”

Social and technological innovations by UMBC students honored at Cangialose Business Innovation Competition

UMBC’s Alex. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship hosted the eighth annual Cangialosi Business Innovation Competition on April 29th. The competition was split into two categories; technological innovation and social impact beyond technology. The two categories were won by Balaji Viswanathan, Ph.D. ‘21, computer science, and Mariah Qureshi ‘23, computer science respectively. Viswanathan’s winning innovation was Invento– a technology designed to monitor movement patterns to detect fall risk in older adults. His inspiration for this stemmed from a fall his grandfather suffered injuries from while living at a senior care facility a few years ago.  Qureshi’s winning idea was to expand codeHer, a nonprofit organization that works to address the gender gap in STEM fields. The organization plans to expand course offerings in the Baltimore area, and plan to develop after school programs for high school and middle school students to increase knowledge and awareness of the need for women in STEM.

2021 UMBC graduates jumpstart their careers through internships

Viviana Angelini ‘21, political science, learned about the importance of internships early in her college career. She worked with Florida Congressman Gus Bilirakis for two years, then the US Department of Defense, and the National Security Agency. She fell in love with working with intelligence, which fueled her decision to pursue a master’s degree in security policy studies from George Washington University in the fall. Travis Twigg M.P.S ‘21, data science, had realized that work in geography and environmental systems was what he wanted to study while working with his professor Dillon Mahmoudi. Twigg has focused on satellite imagery in his research, and most recently with his internship with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, he worked to create a model that could distinguish clouds from smoke in satellite imagery. This interest pushed him to enroll in another master’s degree in data analytics at Georgia Institute of Technology. Luke Matthews ‘21, financial economics, had five internships throughout his time at UMBC. They ranged from working with small businesses, to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, to financial planning.  All of this applied experience eventually was able to land him his dream internship with Bank of America in investment banking, ending in a job offer after graduation. He took another position with T. Rowe Price as a fixed income research intern during his senior year to sharpen his skills in the field. Matthews advises all UMBC students to use the Career Center to their advantage because “Almost every internship I had is because of the Career Center,” he said.

UMBC Graduate earns algorithmic fairness research funding at Stanford University

Jordan Troutman ‘21, M29, computer science and mathematics, has been interested in algorithmic fairness – understanding biases created by computer algorithms – since his freshman year at UMBC. He recognized that the technologies we rely so heavily on – facial recognition and social media algorithms to name a couple – can create some consequences for minority communities, whether intended or not. Through his research and studies at UMBC under information systems assistant  professor James Foulds, Troutman was awarded Knight-Hennessy Scholarship, an extremely competitive scholarship that provides students with a full-ride scholarship as well as leadership and community-driven training, to fund his Ph.D in computer science from Stanford University. He is UMBC’s first Knight-Hennessy Scholar. Troutman mentioned that the support from the UMBC community, as well as his family, was what made him feel confident in his abilities as a researcher and be able to understand how much of an impact his research can have not only on his community, but the world at large.

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