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2014 Alumni Awards

Manisha Vepa

Contributing Writer

Every year, the UMBC Alumni Association presents awards to distinguished alumni to honor their accomplishments and their service to the UMBC community. The Alumni Association Board of Directors receives and evaluates nominees, before selecting the honored alumni to receive one of three awards: the Outstanding Alumnus Award, Distinguished Service Award and Rising Star Award. In addition, the Board selects one UMBC faculty member who will be recognized for their impact and extraordinary teaching.

The Outstanding Alumnus Award is awarded to an accomplished alumnus in each of the following fields: Engineering, Humanities, Natural and Mathematical Sciences, Social and Behavioral Sciences, and Visual and Performing Arts. Aside from gaining prominence in their field, the awardee should show a continued interest and involvement in the UMBC community or the Alumni Association.

In Engineering, the award was given to Dr. Claudia Pearce, a 1994 Ph.D graduate. She was honored for her work for the NSA in helping develop the agency’s technical communities, as well as her work in spearheading a university outreach program for computer science undergraduate and graduate students.

In Humanities, Donna Lewis, a 1989 graduate, was honored for her work as a Unit Chief for the Transportation Security Administration\ where she works to help resolve problems with misconduct.

In Natural and Mathematical Sciences, the Alumni Association recognized Michael Adelstein for his accomplishments in the fields of business and science. Since graduating, Adelstein founded his company Potomac Photonics and works on developing devices to treat cancer and diagnose other conditions.

Kaliope Parthemos, the Chief of Staff for Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, received the award for the Social and Behavioral Science field.

For Visual and Performing Arts, Hadieh Shafie was awarded for her accomplishments as an independent visual artist.

The Distinguished Service Award is awarded to a recent graduate of UMBC who has continued to show dedication to the school through a single act or record of exceptional service. This year, the recipient of the award was Gib Mason, a 1995 graduate. At UMBC, Mason works towards developing curriculum for both the FYS programs and the ENTR programs and serves as a faculty advisor for current undergraduate students majoring in interdisciplinary studies. He has also helped improve and provide leadership training for members of the UMBC community.

The Rising Star Award is awarded to a undergraduate alumnus who graduated fairly recently. This year, the recipient of the award was Isaac Kinde, a 2005 graduate. Kinde has gained prominence in the medical field through his research and inventions and has recently been recognized for his achievements in Forbes magazine.

The Outstanding Faculty Award was given to Dr. Anna Spence. Spence is the professor of practice in the Mechanical Engineering department, and she has been working to help teachers better teach engineering to students of all ages. She also helps to develop mentoring programs for UMBC students that are not part of any of the scholars programs.

The awards will presented during a ceremony held on October 9 in the new Performing Arts and Humanities Building.