And The Award Goes To…


We have had an amazing summer so far and we hope you have been too! UMBC has been in the news quite a few times recently including recognition as a top 100 public university from both Money Magazine and Forbes. Money Magazine made note of UMBC’s impressive 50 year record in their College Planner notes. They went even further naming UMBC one of the top three public universities in Maryland! There’s something to celebrate.

Forbes had a number of accolades on their Top Colleges list including the recognition of UMBC as the #6 mid-sized public college and a #134 top research universities nationwide.

Time Higher Education named UMBC one of the world’s top young universities for a fifth time in April. Add in UMBC appearances in the Princeton Review’s 2016 “Colleges that Pay You Back” Guide and the 2017 Fiske Guide to Colleges for students’ access to academic and social resources!

UMBC was also just named a “Great College to Work For” by The Chronicle of Higher Education, one of only 80 universities on the list. What we are trying to say is that from the students to the faculty and staff, UMBC is really topping the list!



Interested to see more? Come visit us and check out UMBC for yourself!

Have a great summer everyone!


UMBC Professor Named to National Academy of Science!

A huge congratulations to Dr. Michael Summers on being named to the National Academy of Science! This is one of the highest honors a research can earn and Dr. Summers has definitely earned it. Over his 30+ years of research as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, Dr. Summers has worked on unraveling the mystery and solving the problem that is the HIV/AIDS virus. His research is focused on the HIV-1 virus and how the retrovirus is transmitted.


What could be better than this? Dr. Summers is one of the best mentors on campus and truly believes in training the next generation of scientists! Just take a look at the number of individuals, both graduates and undergraduates, involved in his research: The Summers Lab.


It’s great to have such a national treasure call UMBC home! You can check out a full write up from UMBC here!

Until next time Retrievers!


Ed Devine


5 Things with Ed: Research Headlines From 2015

Hello once again future Retrievers! With 2016 fast approaching I wanted to take a look at some of the research headlines from 2015. We encourage all of our students to participate in research during their years at UMBC. Without any further ado, here are my top 5 research headlines from 2015.

  1. Cameras Flashing – In recent news, UMBC unveiled its brand newxlarge 3D scanning room that utilizes 90 cameras to take over 900 images of an object. These images are then used to create a three dimensional model. One of the coolest features of the scanning room? The subject can be stationary or mobile. Read more here.
  2. Breathing Easy – A team of UMBC researchers have been working on a new, wearable device to help monitor environmental asthma triggers. The new device is aimed towards aiding children who are working to manage their asthma and help them prevent future attacks, reducing anxiety. Read more here.
  3. Mind the Gap – Researchers struck a breakthrough with regards to cell development and signaling this past June. A team of mathematicians and biologists found that the three dimensional structure off egg cells played a very important role in cell to cell signaling and how cells mature and develop. The article, found here, goes further into depth on the impact it could have on other fields, like cancer treatment.
  4. A Galaxy Far, Far Away – Two UMBC researches, in collaboration with a larger team, examined the interaction between particles from a black hole in a nearby galaxy. The team used over 25 years of data from the Hubble Telescope . The behavior of this particular black hole was not described before and is helping to better understand the rare phenomenon. While the full article was published in Nature a brief update can be found here.


    I couldn’t resist a Star Wars reference here.

  5. Into the Fold – A team of UMBC researchers and students are working to better understand the packaging mechanism of HIV. This mechanism has eluded researchers for almost 30 years. The team is focusing on understanding a major mechanism that packages a folded protein before it is released to infect other cells. This new target holds promise for another method for antivirals to prevent and stop the infection’s spread. The article can be found here.

So there are five great highlights from UMBC’s research! On a side note to all of you students out there finishing up your semester, keep going and finish strong. Soon you get to relax and celebrate!


Last Star Wars gif, I swear.

UMBC Student Researchers: Leaders in their Field

Last week was one of UMBC’s most exciting annual events: URCAD! What’s URCAD, you ask? The acronym stands for Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement Day and the event features research and creative work from UMBC Undergraduate students across our 42 majors. The Baltimore Sun profiled UMBC and URCAD recently, interviewing just a few of the 230 AMAZINGLY SMART student presenters. As you’ll read in the Sun article, UMBC has a strong focus on connecting our students with applied learning experiences, we even have an on-campus publication dedicated to Undergraduate researchers! What amazes me about URCAD is the range of research taking place with our students. As you glance through the presentation topics you see some fascinating project topics, including research in the arts, social sciences, sciences, and humanities. Be sure to check out the Baltimore Sun article and our website for more information.

Undergraduate Research at UMBC

A few weeks ago the UMBC community gathered for our annual Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement Day (URCAD).  URCAD is a chance for our undergraduate students to share the research they have been working on during the past academic year.  We talk quite a bit about undergraduate research here at UMBC but that is because it really happens!  Our students are out there working with their professors or on their own on amazing research across all majors.  The chance to do research at UMBC allows our students to dive deeply into what they are interested in, and it provides excellent experience in addition to what they are learning in the classroom.  Check out the following video about URCAD that appeared on UMBCtube.

New UMBC Research Website

Earlier today I found myself reading through Insights Weekly, an email that is sent to UMBC students, staff and faculty each Friday with news about what is happening at UMBC, and I came across an update on the new Research website that was recently launched.  We have written about research before on the Admissions Counselors’ blog because, well, research is big here at UMBC.  We’re an Undergraduate research university, which is something that is rather unique to our campus.  Students in all majors are able to do research; some students even start when they are freshmen!  In fact, I know of a student who I met while I was out on the road during the Fall of 2007 who now does research with Dr. Michael Summers, our Howard Hughes Medical Investigator.  Research is a great way for students to dive into what they are interested in and get excellent experience in their field.  Students aren’t required to do research, but many choose to participate in research, whether it is independently or right alongside their professor.

I suggest taking a look at our new Research website and checking out the opportunities available to UMBC students.  You can also see some of the amazing things that our professors are up to in addition to teaching their classes.  Enjoy, and have a great weekend!

Retrievers on Top in Rankings

Okay, so I have to throw this one out there (because it is pretty awesome). You’ll find this story all over the UMBC homepage, in the Baltimore Sun, and in national news stories. UMBC has been ranked one of the TOP 5 Up-and-Coming schools in the nation! We were given this wonderful title as part of the U.S. News and World Report’s Best Colleges Guide for 2009. The Up-and-Coming rankings were determined by head honchos (including university presidents, provosts, admissions deans, etc) at universities across the nation and refer to universities that are leaders in innovation and universities that are making leaps and bounds on their campuses. Another school not too far down the road from UMBC, George Mason, was ranked #1 in the list of Up-and-Coming colleges. As you can see in the excerpt on the UMBC website this ranking “…speaks to what we’ve known all along. We stand out in combining our commitment to undergraduate education with achievements in graduate education and research and success in engaging students of all backgrounds. It’s exciting to see our reputation catch up with reality!”

We’re incredibly proud to have earned this ranking among national universities. For the full store check out the following link (click picture):

An Honors University in Maryland…

After representing UMBC at college fairs throughout the region and seeing the looks of excitement, confusion, and worry on high school students’ faces, I can tell you the number one question students and parents have about UMBC: “So, what does an honors university mean?!?” In short, being an honors university means that every UMBC student is offered an honors education. Of course that just leads to the next question, “how’s an honors education different from a non-honors education?” That’s where the longer answer comes in to play. So, here goes…

First, UMBC offers students the opportunity to conduct research. You may be thinking, “big deal — all institutions offer research, and who wants to do research anyway!” Though many insitutions do offer research opportunities to their undergraduate students, they are typically not offered until students’ junior or senior year. At UMBC, you can participate in research as soon as you feel ready and the topics students’ have conducted research on are about as diverse as our student population! Our own Vanessa recently researched Will Ferrell movies (Sorry Vanessa, I know the topic was a little more specific!). So, research can be more than working in a lab with goggles and a bunsen burner (though if that’s what you’re in to, go for it!). Students in the past have even travelled to far away places like India and Italy to conduct their research. Bottom line, UMBC fully supports students’ research, no matter the topic or field of study. You can even get money to do research and UMBC honors students’ research at the annual URCAD (Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement Day).

Though research opportunitites are a big part of what makes UMBC an Honor’s University, there’s definitely more to it! Since every student at UMBC is offered an honors education, the professors obviously play a part in the honors university. UMBC is considered mid-sized (approximately 9,000 undergraduate students) which means that we are big enough to offer top research opportunities, but small enough that students can easily access and build strong relationships with their professors. As an alum of UMBC, I can personally say that the professors here are amazing. They are challenging in the classroom, but are truly interested in the well-being of their students. They are definitely a large part of what gives UMBC the “small-knit community” feel.

In addition to the professors, the students themselves add to the “honors university in Maryland”. Students at UMBC are driven and highly motivated. They aren’t afraid to do their own thing and are excited about the unique learning opportunities available to them. Though classes can be tough, UMBC students tend to work together rather than against one another so that everyone can succeed. UMBC is also in the top 10% for diverse universities in the nation which is evident to anyone who walks around our campus. Students have different interests (there are 210 clubs and organizations on campus), religious beliefs, political views, and more.

Last, it wouldn’t be appropriate to talk about UMBC without mentioning our president, Dr. Hrabowski. Dr. Hrabowski understands the value and importance of obtaining an extremely strong education — he received his Ph.D. when he was only 24!! Dr. Hrabowski is a great leader, and one that we are proud to call our own. He plays a big part in the UMBC community and continues to build UMBC into a truly unique university.

Well, I hope you are beginning to understand why UMBC is considered “an honors university in Maryland”. As you may have noticed, there really isn’t one set explanation, just like there isn’t only one type of experience available to UMBC students. If you were to talk to 100 students at graduation this Thursday about their experience at UMBC you would probably hear 100 different answers, which is pretty cool if you ask me! 🙂

Undergraduate Research

We’ve mentioned it before, and I’m going to say it again: We do research here at UMBC!  Yep, that’s right; we’re an undergraduate research university.  This may seem boring to many of you, and research may be something you think does not interest you, but it really is an excellent opportunity for undergraduate students.  Research is something that can help a student gain more experience in their field, develop their skills, and build their resume (trust me, that is important for applying to jobs and grad schools).  Undergraduate research is available for all of our students in all majors here at UMBC, and of course we love to hear about the work they have done.  On Wednesday, April 23 UMBC will be holding the Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement Day.  We call it URCAD for short and according to the website, “UMBC has sponsored Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement Day annually since 1997. This event features oral presentations, poster sessions, and artistic exhibits and performances, typically by students who have completed this research during the current academic year.  This campus celebration of achievement affirms UMBC’s commitment to the twin goals of research and a distinctive undergraduate experience.”  This day will feature work from all undergraduate students at UMBC who have conducted research, scholarship or creative work in the last year.  This event is open to all UMBC students, faculty, staff, mentors, and the general public.  We would love you have you at our campus to check out our students’ excellent work and to see what you could be a part of in the future.  For more information on URCAD please visit the following website:

Take care and have a great weekend!