Alumni News – Autumn 2016

Dear Meyerhoff Scholars Alumni,

Welcome to the Autumn 2016 edition of the alumni update. We here at the Meyerhoff Alumni Advisory Board seek to keep alumni in touch and up to date with the goings on of our hundreds of alumni around the country.

In this edition, you will see stories of what has been happening for cohort members from M1 to M22. In addition to their academic accomplishments, your fellow Ms are adding to their families, working in their communities, and vacationing like the overachievers you know them to be. As we prepare for the big UMBC 50th anniversary celebration the weekend of September 16 to 19, we also have some news about a meet-up specifically for the Meyerhoff community.

A big thanks to those alumni who shared their stories for this edition. I hope you enjoy it.

Regards,

Meyerhoff Alumni Advisory Board Communications Committee


ALUMNI FEATURE – BEROOK ALEMAYEHU, PHD

berook picture

What year did you graduate from UMBC and of which Meyerhoff cohort are you a member?
I graduated from UMBC in 2009 and am a member of the M16 cohort.

What was your undergraduate major?
Computer Engineering

What is your favorite memory from Summer Bridge?
My favorite memory is when all the boys took part in a highly coordinated, surprise water gun attack on the girls. They got us back later. I think it has now turned into a tradition of sorts that the boys and girls try to pull off surprise water gun/balloon attacks on each other during Summer Bridge. We left a truly dignified legacy.

What was your post-baccalaureate education and where did you receive it?
I earned a PhD in Bioengineering from the University of Pittsburgh in 2015.

What are your two greatest accomplishments (professional or otherwise) since you graduated from UMBC and what makes them bring you pride?
Would it be cheating if I included three?

1) Marrying my wife this past summer because I now get to spend the rest of my life with a person who continues to help me grow and be a better man.

2) Earning my PhD because I was able to complete a goal that I’ve had since I first walked onto UMBC’s campus.

3) Founding the Engineering Diversity Graduate Students Association at the University of Pittsburgh because I was able to help establish a community for graduate students of color in the School of Engineering that hadn’t existed before.

How did your Meyerhoff experience prepare you for those accomplishments?
It goes without saying that the Meyerhoff Program prepared me academically to accomplish a lot, but it also taught me to see myself as a leader and gave me opportunities to practice being one. Plus, developing a habit of always holding doors open for women helped me attract my wife (probably).

What would you most like your fellow alumni to know about you and what you are doing now (professional or otherwise)?
I’m excited to share that I have begun a teaching position this fall at Maret School, an independent K-12 school in Washington DC. I am teaching Physics and Algebra 2 to 9th and 10th graders. I also have a podcast called Cinema Bun where my co-host and I talk about and review movies. Check us out! http://cinemabunpodcast.com/


ALUMNI UPDATES

Maceo Thomas (M1, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 1993) – Maceo has a had a busy travel year and has begun to get in touch with the Caribbean. Since September of 2015 he has visited Haiti twice and Cuba twice. He’s excited to practice his French and Spanish and has made terrible attempts in picking up Hatian Creole. The last trip to Cuba was especially exciting as he visited the birth place of his namesake Antonio Maceo Grajalas, a Cuban national hero, during the Carnival season. Maceo is planning more international trips in 2017. Connect with him at maceothomas@gmail.com or on facebook if you are interested in joining along. In between trips, Maceo returns home to DC where he is a realtor and residential property manager.

Oletha Minto (M2, Chemistry 1994)  Oletha is a physician. It is wonderful work but secondary to being a mother of four kids with her husband, Artie Walker, Jr. One is already in college as a sophomore at the University of South Carolina and is playing in her university band (The mighty sound of the South East). The others are in 5th grade, 3rd grade and 2nd grade.

Her husband Artie works in IT for their church and enjoys a side job in professional photography. You can find Artie on the sidelines of high school games, USC- Aiken basketball games and baseball games. In addition, you can find him crouched down on the floor at USC Columbia basketball games shooting for the local paper.

Oletha and Artie love their kids and all their activities and enjoy travel as a family. Mostly they love travel as a couple. Oletha volunteers at her church in Hospitality as a Church Greeter and with the Music Department as well. Oletha’s plan is one day to open a bakery and work alongside her daughter, as her hobby is baking and cooking.

Jerome Adams (M4, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 1997) – Jerome serves in the Indiana State Governor’s Cabinet as the Indiana state health commissioner (i.e. Surgeon General). His boss (Governor Mike Pence) is Donald Trump’s VP candidate, which has, in his words, “created all sorts of interesting and new things in my life.”

In his role as health commissioner he has:

1) Dealt with the largest HIV outbreak related to IV drug use in the US  http://fox59.com/2016/04/11/austin-indiana-recovers-from-190-hiv-cases-serves-as-warning-to-rural-america/

2) Tesitified before the US Senate. http://www.aging.senate.gov/hearings/opioid-use-among-seniors_issues-and-emerging-trends

3) Testified before the US House of Representatives.  https://energycommerce.house.gov/hearings-and-votes/hearings/what-are-state-governments-doing-combat-opioid-abuse-epidemic

4) Been quoted in Time magazine, but most recently (last few weeks) been quoted in the New York Times and Politico.

http://time.com/3925823/indiana-hiv-drug-use-needle-exchange-hepatitis-c-mike-pence-scott-county/

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/08/under-pences-leadership-response-to-heroin-epidemic-criticized-as-ineffective-226759

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/08/05/health/pain-treatment-hospitals-emergency-rooms-surveys.html?_r=0

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/08/08/us/politics/mike-pence-needle-exchanges-indiana.html

 

Jattu Senesie (M4) speaking at the AAMSE annual meeting.

Jattu Senesie (M4) speaking at the AAMSE annual meeting.

Jattu Senesie (M4, Biological Sciences 1996) – Jattu has spent the summer sharing her message of self care for altruistic high achievers from coast to coast. She had the honor of speaking at the annual national meetings for both the American Association of Medical Society Executives in Baltimore, MD and the National Medical Association in Los Angeles, CA.

In addition to speaking, Jattu spends her time coaching and giving workshops focused on self care and well-being through her company Essence of Strength. You can learn more about Jattu’s work helping those who feel overeducated and under-satisfied to find fulfillment in their lives of caring for others by checking out her website essenceofstrength.com .

Joseph Washington (M4, Mechanical Engineering 1997)  Joseph recently accepted a position at the Community College of Baltimore County as the Engineering Department Coordinator and Assistant Professor.

Jamie Joshua (M10, Biological Sciences 2001) – Jamie was recently promoted to be the Interim Director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at Cornell College of Business – Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management.

Tina C. Williams (M10, Computer Science 2002) – Tina is now teaching at UMBC as an adjunct instructor for the Graduate Cybersecurity Program (courses have included Intro to Cyber, Cybersecurity Law and Policy, Insider Threat, Risk and Compliance). She recently published a poetry eBook titled L.I.F.E. (Living Is For Eternity).

Tina became an attorney, licensed to practice in Maryland, in 2013 and is now running her company, TCecure LLC, a security, intelligence, and critical infrastructure protection company full-time. TCecure has 7 employees, including Tina, with a presence in 6 states and a mix of Federal, state/local, and commercial work as it continues to grow! The company is headquartered in Silver Spring, MD.

For fun, she has taught elementary school students about cybersecurity by showing them how to do a Cesar cipher (simple substitution) to explain cryptography and showed them how to do simple HTML :). Fun times!

Ashley Mentlik James (M14) and her family

Ashley Mentlik James (M14) and her family

Ashley Mentlik James (M14, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 2006)  Ashley and her husband Kyle recently welcomed a new member to their family: their daughter Sloane. She has been lovingly received by her big sister Wynne, adding to their little UMBC family as Kyle is a fellow UMBC alum.

Miguel Palmeiro

Miguel Palmeiro

Miguel Palmeiro (M14, Biological Sciences 2006) – Miguel was recently appointed to Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs. As an attorney, Miguel has been actively involved in the community since founding his own firm in 2013. In the past three years, the firm has expanded into two locations and will be opening a third office this coming fall.

Having been heralded by The Daily Record on their 2015 VIP List: Successful Under 40, listed by the Baltimore Magazine as one of Maryland’s Outstanding Young Lawyers 2016, and Super Lawyers on their 2017 Maryland Rising Stars list, Miguel takes the most pride in being named as one of the Top 10 Best Attorneys for Client Satisfaction by The American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys for the past two years in a row.

Miguel’s firm supports local businesses through sponsored happy hours and they have run charity drives for individual firm clients and larger organizations such as The Montgomery County Humane Society. This fall his firm is sponsoring a build day through Habitat for Humanity and launching their “straight from the source” book & video campaign to help new law school graduates.

His appointment to the Governor’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs is yet another way Miguel defends the citizens of Maryland and helps voice their concerns. Fluent in Spanish, French, Portuguese and English, Miguel is a linguistic asset to a variety of communities.

His firm specializes in Immigration and Personal Injury cases. A Maryland native and a University of Maryland Law Alumni, he takes special pride in being an adjunct professor for The University of Maryland’s Law School and a sponsor of their mock trial team.

To learn more about The Law Office of Miguel Palmeiro, LLC check us out on the web at: www.TheLawOfficeofMP.com

Or like us on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/lawofficeofmiguelpalmeiro

Tabassum Majid, PhD (M18, Interdisciplinary Studies 2010) – Tabassum is starting a new job this fall as the Director of Research at Integrace , a long-term care facility company in MD. She has a co-appointment as Adjunct Faculty in the Interdisciplinary Studies department at UMBC.

Brian Brown (M21, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 2013)  Brian is an MD/PhD student at NYU School of Medicine, where he works on retinoid signaling in Drosophila with Don Ryoo. Brian recently passed the thesis proposal portion of his qualifying exams.

Chinwendu Amazu (M22, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 2014) – Chinwendu is an MD/PhD Student at The Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. She is blessed to say that in the past year, she passed her Medical School Step 1 boards examination. Thus, she has finally started her 1st year of grad school in her MD/PhD program.

Also, she was Co-Author on a paper from her work in the thesis lab that she has now joined. The work was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America  http://www.pnas.org/content/113/16/E2335. She wants to thank her fellow alumni for all their support as well as continuing to keep the Meyerhoff Alumni prospering.


UPCOMING ALUMNI EVENTS

We are just a week away from the celebratory events for UMBC’s 50th anniversary. During this weekend there will be tons of events for your family and friends to enjoy and plenty of opportunities for you to reminisce about your time at UMBC.
On Saturday, September 17th various alumni groups will host events in the affinity lounge at the Uniters Tent during the House of Grit Community Festival. Meyerhoff Alumni have reserved the affinity lounge from 1pm to 2pm and there is room for up to 50 people so we hope to see many of you all there. In addition to free food and drinks there will be prizes and giveaways. Below is the link for more information regarding the festival.
As stated previously there will be many more events and the itinerary can be found here.
If you haven’t done so already please join the event group on Facebook!

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