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Guest Post: Sumaiya Latif, UMES Hospitality and Tourism Management Student

The 2016 Hunger Banquet 


USG Scholarship & donor luncheon

Sumaiya Latif, UMES Hospitality and Tourism Management Student

The 2016 Oxfam Hunger Banquet was held on November 15th, 2016 and was planned and organized by The USG Student Council. The Campus Kitchens Project was also involved as the event required food for individuals with Lower Income, Middle Income and Upper Income. The participants got to spend the evening with members of the community learning, experiencing, and working to right the wrong of global poverty and injustice.

This is the first time I got to experience the Hunger Banquet and I was very surprised. I was overwhelmed by the number of people that came to show their support. In the beginning of the school year, when I found out about the hunger banquet, I immediately wanted to help any way I could because I truly believe no one deserves to go to bed hungry. When I was a teenager, I witnessed hunger with my own eyes. Even though I have never suffered from hunger myself, I have seen little children on the side of the road suffering from hunger. I have seen kids begging for money so they could buy a piece of bread and feed their hungry stomach. I wanted to help those hungry kids in Bangladesh but I couldn’t because I was just Fourteen. When I came to United States, I noticed the same problem but this time things are different. I am not a teenager anymore. I am an adult who cares about the community and the people who live here.

I decided to get involved and that’s also why I decided to serve as the president of Campus Kitchens Project for this school year. Events like The Hunger Banquet are so crucial for our society because it makes a big difference when it comes to informing others about how serious hunger and poverty is. Many people know that hunger exists in our community but they don’t know how badly it affects individuals. I truly believe a lot of the people who came to this event learned a lot as it was an interactive experience designed to raise awareness about poverty in a fun and enlightening way. It was an honor to be a part of such an amazing event and I am sure a lot of the other attendees can say the same.


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Guest Post: Gabriella Faty, USG Career Services Coordinator


I am a product of The Universities at Shady Grove (USG). I first started at USG as a student in the Political Science program at UMBC. During that time, I became a student worker for the Center for Academic Success (CAS). I was the receptionist and first point of contact for students looking to schedule appointments with a writing coach. Fast forward two years and I’m now working as a Career Services Coordinator in the Career & Internship Services Center (CISC). One of the most fulfilling parts of my job is spreading awareness about resources that are available to students that can help further their professional development.

One thing that I emphasize with students, is the importance of networking and creating a LinkedIn profile. Having your LinkedIn profile up-to-date and active is highly recommended. What’s even better is knowing how to use LinkedIn to your advantage. One tip that I like to offer students is to connect with people who visit your LinkedIn profile. When you see someone from an awesome company in the «Who’s viewed my Profile » section, reach out to them ! That is what networking is all about.

You can also research companies to see if they’re currently hiring for any positions that fall in line with your experience. If you find one, pull the required documents together and apply! Then, head back to that person’s profile and send a personalized connection request. Here is an example:

Hi Jen,

Great to connect with you here!

I see you work as an Account Executive at Company X. I recently submitted my application for an open Sales Representative position there, and I’m looking forward to finding out more about the opportunity—it seems like an awesome place to work!



Another good tip is to see if you have anything in common with the person, like going to the same school or volunteering for the same cause, and feel free to mention it. LinkedIn can be bring you great results in your job search if you put in a little bit of work. Plus, people are always impressed by personal touches. Now head over to LinkedIn, create your profile, start making those connections and don’t forget to connect with The Universities at Shady Grove on LinkedIn!

To learn more about LinkedIn attend the upcoming CISC LinkedIn Workshop:


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Guest Post: Haminat Kareem, Political Science Student Organization Co-President, UMBC Political Science Student

The Election of 2016: Brief Reflections on this Deviant Cycle


Haminat Kareem (left) and Bianca-Marie Livioco (right)

This semester, I am taking a course on the U.S. Presidential Election; as a co-president of the Political Science Student Organization (PSSO) at UMBC-Shady Grove, I knew we would host an election related event and I wanted to have a better understanding of the process. In addition, I thought it would help me to understand the chaos of the Republican primaries, which we all watched cringing at almost every turn.

Now, mid-way through the semester, I realize that the election so feverishly covered by the media and the ‘deciding moments’ that are endlessly replayed and ‘analysed’ by the media (and everyone else) do not tell as much as one would think about how and why a candidate wins an election. It turns out the process is much more complicated and it is predictable with sufficient examination of patterns from past elections. However, there are deviations from patterns and this cycle provides a great example.

This current election cycle challenges some patterns, for instance we saw unconventional candidates on the Republican and Democratic sides rise to prominence in a political context where parties appeal broadly to a coalition of supporters. These candidates gained a lot of support in a political context that considers their positions to be extreme, too much ‘on-the-fringe’ for both sides—Donald Trump in the Republican Party and Bernie Sanders in the Democratic Party.

The socialism purported by Sanders was criticized for being too far-left for the Democratic Party, yet he got overwhelming support, especially from younger Americans. Ultimately, it was not enough support and Hilary Clinton secured the Democratic nomination. Usually a candidate like Trump does not win the nomination of a major political party, he did not set up a strong field organization and he did not organize a fundraising base. Yet he won the Republican nomination, and amassed great public support in the process.

This cycle, beyond the drama and great dislike between the two major candidates, shows the great disaffection Americans have with the current two-party system. Although the full effects of this unusual cycle remain to be seen, there is now a large group of Americans who desperately want to see change in the system and their sheer number and collective disaffection raises some important questions. Will the Republican Party or the Democratic Party be able to absorb and represent the interests of these disaffected Americans? Will this force a reorganization of the parties? If so, will the parties survive a thorough reorganization?

Students at USG, join PSSO on Tuesday, November 8th from 7-10pm in the Green Grove Cafe to learn about the electoral process, the candidates, and see who will win.

 Don’t Forget to Vote!

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Guest Post: Faith Kamei, USG Student Council President, UMBC Psych/Social Work Student

Ask Me About My Groundbreaking Moment

faith“Unity is strength… when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.”
-Mattie Stepanek

This quote is a perfect summary of my ground breaking moment. I believe that no one regardless of race, socioeconomic status or gender should be denied the opportunity to go to get an education. I believe that The Universities at Shady Grove (USG) offers a unique platform that ensures ALL students are provided with an opportunity to receive an education.

Throughout my time at USG, I’ve heard stories about the tremendous support that USG receives from the educational leaders, the legislative supporters and the business leaders in both the county and state sectors. To me, the Biomedical Sciences and Engineering (BSE) Education Facility Groundbreaking Ceremony on October 19, 2016 was more than just the beginning of a new building. The Groundbreaking Ceremony was an opportunity where I was able to physically witness and be part of the collaboration and enthusiasm that was shared among everyone in the room. I was able to verify the stories about the tremendous support that USG receives from across the state.

During the event, I was able to meet and share conversations with the Lieutenant Governor Boyd Rutherford, State Senator Nancy King, County Executive Ike Leggett, Chancellor Robert Caret, and USG Board of Advisors Chairman Mike Knapp. I met delegates, business leaders, university presidents and the faculty and staff of various programs. Through conversations, I realized that everyone in that room was equally passionate and motivated about the success of USG.

My highlight of the groundbreaking was literally breaking ground alongside people who I believe are influential to our educational system. The literal groundbreaking moment of digging in the earth was a collaboration with the state, the county, the business community, the educational representative, the institutional representative and me, a student. This collaboration shows the groundbreaking platform of Unity. With teamwork and collaboration, I believe that many more things will be achieved.

Click here to view photographs from the event.
Click here for the BSE Groundbreaking news story.
Click here for the BSE video.


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Guest Post: Sasha Stone, UMUC Cybersecurity Graduate Student


Alexander “Sasha” Stone

Information Technology, otherwise known as “IT,” is an amazing field that has grown exponentially over the past decade. I can remember like it was yesterday when Facebook came out and changed the way we communicate with one another. Today I can chat, post, and stream anything from my smartphone. I realized that with all of this technology at my fingertips it is important to know how to secure my information.

It was with this realization that I decided to pursue a degree in Cybersecurity.  I started my educational journey at Montgomery College and then transferred to the University of Maryland University College (UMUC) at the Universities of Shady Grove (USG).  I decided to stay at UMUC and pursue my graduate degree in Cybersecurity as well.

The biggest challenge in my Cybersecurity program has been keeping up with the ever- evolving and changing technology. As soon as you get one technology down, it is completely changed the next day. In the field of Cybersecurity, the one phase that is always said by my professors is “cybersecurity is a moving target.” That said, we can never truly get a “fit all” approach to computer security. It is important to understand that it takes not only cybersecurity professionals, but also individual users to fight against the growing number of cyber threats.

The U.S.A. alone gets hit with more than 5,000 cyber attacks every hour and more than 1 million malware threats are released every day worldwide. Check out this map that shows real-time cyber attacks in action. One helpful tip I have learned over the past few years regarding what users can do to reduce their chances of falling victim to cyber threats is to delete any emails from someone you don’t know or looks suspicious.

The growing field of Cybersecurity will continue to evolve and I can only dream of what the future holds for us in the next 10 years!

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Dr. Heather Congdon Returns from Global Interprofessional Conference in UK

heatherDr. Heather Congdon, Assistant Dean for the University of Maryland Baltimore (UMB) School of Pharmacy at the Universities at Shady Grove, and Co-Director for the UMB Center for Interprofessional Education, recently presented at the All Together Better Health (ATBH) VIII conference in Oxford, UK. This conference is a global interprofessional practice and education conference which brings together providers, health systems executives, educators, policymakers, and healthcare industry leaders with the goal of advancing interprofessionalism locally, regionally, and worldwide.

The conference was held from September 6-9, 2016. Dr. Congdon presented three posters: Characterization of Curricular Implementation at Universities across the United States with an Established IPE InfrastructureDevelopment and Integration of an IPE CARE Clinic Visit Flow Sheet for Students , and Implementation of an Interprofessional Education (IPE) Clinical Experience into a SafetyNet Primary Care Clinic. These posters focused on the assessment of interdisciplinary education (IPE) activities, scheduling, curriculum mapping, outcomes assessments, clinic visit efficiency, and developing IPE clinical training sites for health care profession students.

Author(s) of Each Poster:

Characterization of Curricular Implementation at Universities across the United States with an Established IPE Infrastructure

  • Heather Brennan Congdon, PharmD, BCPS, CDE, Assistant Dean, UMB School of Pharmacy at the Universities at Shady Grove, and Co-Director, UMB Center for Interprofessional Education

Development and Integration of an Interprofessional Education (IPE) Clinic Visit Flow Sheet for Students

  • Heather Brennan Congdon, PharmD, BCPS, CDE, Assistant Dean, UMB School of Pharmacy at the Universities at Shady Grove, and Co-Director, UMB Center for Interprofessional Education
  • Kimberly Cate, Masters of Social Work Student, UMB School of Social Work
  • Talia Gimeno, LCSW-C, Care Manager, Mercy Health Clinic, Primary Care Coalition of Montgomery County
  • Crystal DeVance-Wilson, MS, MBA, PHCNS-BC, Clinical Instructor, UMB School of Nursing
  • Jana Goodwin PhD, RN, CNE, Assistant Professor, UMB School of Nursing at the Universities at Shady Grove

Implementation of an Interprofessional Education (IPE) Clinical Experience into a SafetyNet Primary Care Clinic

  • Heather Brennan Congdon, PharmD, BCPS, CDE, Assistant Dean, UMB School of Pharmacy at Universities at Shady Grove, and Co-Director, UMB Center for Interprofessional Education
  • Jana Goodwin PhD, RN, CNE, Assistant Professor, UMB School of Nursing at the Universities at Shady Grove
  • Talia Gimeno, LCSW-C, Care Manager, Mercy Health Clinic, Primary Care Coalition of Montgomery County
  • Katherine J. Morris, LCSW-C, Program Director, UMBC Social Work at the Universities at Shady Grove
  • Joan Pittman, PhD, MSW, LCSW-C, Director of UMB School of Social Work MSW Program at the Universities at Shady Grove
  • Mary Lang, MBA, Chief Strategy Officer, Universities at Shady Grove
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The Changing Face of Higher Education


On Thursday, September 22, 2016, Universities at Shady Grove Executive Director Stewart Edelstein and UMBC student and USG Student Council President Faith Kamei joined an esteemed group of policymakers, educators and higher education experts at “The Changing Face of Higher Education,” a national forum sponsored by The Atlantic and Next America.

“USG provides the platform, the infrastructure [and] the connectivity to the school system, to the community college and to the business community, and a wide array of services that are provided by USG and each of our university partners,” Edelstein noted, when asked by panel moderator and Atlantic editor Alia Wong to sum up the value of the USG approach.

In light of an article The Atlantic published in May, “Bringing College to Students Who Can’t Leave Home,” Edelstein and Kamei were invited to share their insights on USG as a “case study” for the future of postsecondary education in the United States.

Other event participants included U.S. Representative and House Committee on Education and the Workforce Chairman John Kline (R-MN); Hillary for America Surrogate and Education Policy Expert James Kvaal; Excelencia in Education President Sarita Brown; U.S. Chamber of Commerce Vice President of Education Policy Cheryl Oldham; President of Northern Virginia Community College Scott Ralls; and President of Paul Quinn College Michael Sorrell.

Click here to view the full event online.

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