GRIT-X was a series of “presentations to celebrate the achievements of UMBC’s alumni and faculty.” The program was broken into 30 minute sessions “where select groups of alumni and faculty will describe interesting and important aspects of UMBC’s impact in the areas of research, scholarship and creative achievement.”
The event was organized and sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Research and the Office of Institutional Advancement in the Linehan Concert Hall in the Performing Arts and Humanities building.
GRIT-X was hosted by Karl V. Steiner, vice president for research. Each 10-minute talk that followed afterwards covered diverse number of topics, from theater to environmental engineering to politics and to education. The speakers included Kiirstin Pagan, Katie Hileman, Lee Blaney, Tyson King-Meadows, Rebecca A. Adelman, Vanderlei Martins, Lee Boot, Karsonya Wise Whitehead, Govind Rao and Thomas Schaller.
Pagan (theatre ’11) and Hileman’s (acting ’12) talk was called, “When Art Becomes Your Business.” They were once UMBC students and now are co-founders of the high quality and award-winning Interrobang Theatre Company, a dream that originated with four UMBC theatre graduates, David Bransington, Hilleman, Pagan, Jessie Poole and Brady Whealton. They will be producing their seventh show later this year. They explained how they got started, why Baltimore was where they wanted to make their mark and what artistic and business aspects were necessary to cultivate a successful theatre company.
Lee Blaney, assistant professor in chemical, biochemical and environmental engineering, hosted a talk called, “Our Environment is on Drugs.“ He discussed our everyday contribution to pollution, through antibiotics, pain relievers, sunscreens and fragrances that end up being flushed down the toilet. These same contaminants, Blaney discussed, have been detected in Baltimore streams and Chesapeake Bay oysters and mussels. He explained the issue even further, discussing the importance of the solution and the possible solution that can be achieved.
Tyson King-Meadows, associate dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, had a talk that was called, “Why the Color of Your Canary Matters for Democracy.” He discussed how extraneous stimuli can affect how voters vote without them even realizing it.
Rebecca A. Adelman, associate professor of media and communication studies, gave a talk titled, “Beyond the Checkpoint: Rethinking Citizenship and Surveillance.” She discussed the American visual culture of the Global War on Terror as well as “conventional analyses of surveillance.”
Vanderlei Martins, physics professor and Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology member, hosted a discussion called, “Reaching for the Skies – Sun, Pollution, Clouds and Climate.” His talk discussed man-made pollution on “earth’s energy balance and precipitation”. He also discussed the “HARP micro satellite (the size of a loaf of bread) for launch in early 2016 as a prototype for future satellite and aircraft missions that will simultaneously measure aerosol and cloud properties to better characterize their interaction and effects on Earth’s climate and precipitation.”
Lee Boot, director at the Imaging Research Center, had a speech called, “A Grand Visualization Challenge: Putting Humpty Together Again.” His talk discussed the ways individuals visualize knowledge and information. His current IRC project is titled, “The Art of Transformation.”
Karsonya Wise Whitehead, associate professor at Loyola University, hosted a talk named, “From ReSearch to MeSearch: Finding Ways to Add Your Voice to the Wind of Social Memory.” She discussed the power of the written word, the ways parenthood is navigated, the research process and the importance of contributing one’s voice to the conversation.
Govind Rao, director at the Center for Advanced Sensor Technology and professor in chemical, biochemical and environmental engineering, held a talk called, “Inventing Tomorrow at UMBC.” His talk discussed disruptive innovation where technology and globalization advances create societal and environmental change. Two UMBC inventions discussed may save millions from the effects of a suitcase size device and a cardboard incubator.
Thomas Schaller, chair of the political science department, hosted a discussion called, “Teaching Politics in an Era of Civics Decline.” He talked about how civics education is disappearing from high schools and how America is becoming more diverse.