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Carey Law’s Sidhu Brings Unique Perspective to Student Remarker Role

With an impressive array of internships and leadership roles, Aarti Sidhu gained great experience and enjoyed many accomplishments during her three years at the Francis King Carey School of Law.

But in applying to be the student remarker at UMB’s Commencement — and beating out a half-dozen candidates for the honor — Sidhu stressed that what made her a good candidate to speak to the Class of 2018 wasn’t her résumé but the perspective she brings to the lectern.

“As a minority woman in America, and the child of immigrants, I have overcome many challenges and adversities,” Sidhu says. “At every turn, I’ve learned and grown more, into the woman I am today. And UMB has contributed to this substantially.”

Sidhu’s contributions to UMB were substantial, too, as she turned her beliefs into action by advocating for social change, juvenile justice reform, and fair representation for underserved populations – and going the extra mile to do it. She joined Carey Law’s School-to-Prison Pipeline Clinic (now called the Youth, Education and Justice Clinic) in August 2016 and served for four semesters, well beyond the one-semester requirement.

“I’ve been most inspired in my work there,” says Sidhu, who is allowed to practice law under a supervising professor. “We advocate for youth in schools in Baltimore City. Our goal is to do our part to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline and work to get students the education they deserve.”

Born and raised in Richmond, Va., Sidhu is one of three children of parents who emigrated from India in the 1970s. She earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and psychology from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and worked as a consultant and a paralegal before arriving at Carey Law in 2015.

In Baltimore, she found many outlets to help people:

  • As a legal intern with Disability Rights Maryland, she lobbied for special education rights in the state legislature and advocated for students with disabilities.
  • As an Education Reform Project intern with the ACLU of Maryland, she created policy recommendations for the legislative session to increase funding for Maryland schools.
  • As a volunteer with Community Law in Action, a program of the nonprofit Baltimore Corps, she promoted positive community change through youth mentoring.
  • As a law clerk with Maryland Legal Aid, she supported its Community Lawyering Initiative by planning and implementing direct civil legal services to the community.

“After graduation, I hope to work in juvenile justice and more specifically education,” says Sidhu, who won the Monumental City Bar Association’s Juanita Mitchell Scholarship for her work with underserved populations in Baltimore. “I hope to ensure students are receiving the education they’re entitled to.”

Sidhu also was an active member of the Carey Law community. In her second year, she was chosen as the first chair of the school’s Diversity Committee, a particularly meaningful role because of her passion for diversity and inclusion.

“The committee was created to serve as a liaison to the administration and to work with it to improve our school climate,” says Sidhu, who was an advisor during her third year. “I held a number of events, conducted a schoolwide survey to identify concerns regarding diversity, and set a plan to be carried out in coming years.”

Sidhu also served as secretary of the Black Law Students Association, community outreach co-chair of the Suspension Representation Project, and vice president of the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association. She was selected to the school’s 21-member National Trial Team and was manuscripts editor of the University of Maryland Law Journal of Race, Religion, Gender, and Class.

Sidhu says she couldn’t have taken on these tasks without many other helping hands — “I’m thankful to my support system and those who challenged me and laughed with me,” she says — and leaves her fellow graduates with a simple message:

“Pursue your passions, stay true to yourself, and be kind.”

— Lou Cortina

To read more about the commencement speakers and honorees, visit this link.

For more on next month’s ceremonies, visit UMB’s Commencement 2018 website.

Lou CortinaBulletin Board, Education, Global & Community Engagement, People, UMB News, University LifeApril 23, 20180 comments
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Plaza Garage: One Lane In, One Lane Out

A note to Plaza Garage parkers:

Beginning Monday, May 21, and ending Friday, June 8, the Plaza Garage will be undergoing necessary structural repairs. To accommodate these repairs, a temporary change in daily garage operations will be necessary. Entry and exit will be done through one lane only. This will be managed by 24/7 traffic control within the affected areas in the garage.

The ability to use the garage’s revenue control system will not be possible; therefore, all patients and visitors must adhere to an $8 cash-only flat rate due upon entry. University-issued prepaid or chargeback vouchers also will be accepted upon entry as payment. All patients and visitors with alternate forms of payments such as credit cards, debit cards, or checks must park in the Baltimore Grand Garage or the Penn Street Garage.

During this time, there will be areas within the Plaza Garage that will require spaces to be taken out of service. This, coupled with the temporary operational changes, could cause delayed entrance and exit with the possibility of the garage becoming full more frequently.

To address the issue of redirecting permit holders because of the garage becoming full or having delayed entry and exit, the Office of Parking and Transportation Services (PTS) is offering a limited number of parkers the opportunity to relocate temporarily to the Penn Street, Saratoga Street, or Baltimore Grand garages.

PTS will handle requests on a first-come, first-served basis. To request the relocation, please email your parking liaison your first and last name, permit number, and preferred garage selection (Penn, Saratoga, or Baltimore Grand). PTS will confirm by email when we have switched you to the garage you chose.

When the structural repair is complete, your liaison will notify you when you must return to your home garage.

Electric vehicle spaces also will not be accessible during this period. Alternate electric vehicle spaces are available at the Baltimore Grand, Pearl Street, Pratt Street, and Saratoga Street garages.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

Dana RampollaUniversity LifeApril 23, 20180 comments
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Enhance UMB’s Social Media Efforts With This Online Survey

The University’s Office of Communications and Public Affairs wants your input on UMB’s social media. Complete our survey and let us know how we can better improve our engagement, content, and social presence.

Your input will help the office define our communications with the UMB community. The survey should take no more than 10 minutes, and we assure that all answers provided with be kept in the strictest confidentiality. Please complete the survey by Friday, May 25.

Click here to take the survey.

Kristi McGuireBulletin Board, Collaboration, People, Research, University LifeApril 20, 20180 comments
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Peace Corps Director Olsen to Give UMB Commencement Keynote Speech

Former UMB faculty member Jody Olsen, PhD, MSW, confirmed in March as the director of the Peace Corps, will be the University’s keynote speaker at commencement on May 18.

Olsen has served four previous stints — the most recent in 2001 to 2009 as deputy director and then, for eight months, acting director — with the Peace Corps, the country’s flagship international service organization with more than 230,000 American volunteers assisting in 140 host countries since President John F. Kennedy established it in 1961.

Interested in giving back, Olsen came to UMB in 2010 and became immersed in activities as a visiting professor at the School of Social Work, lecturer at the Graduate School, founding member of UMBrella (UMB Roundtable on Empowerment in Leadership and Leveraging Aspirations), even moderating UMB’s 2017 Women’s History Month panel discussion with community leaders and Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh.

Olsen also kept international affairs close to her heart as director of UMB’s Center for Global Education Initiatives and co-chair of the Global Health Interprofessional Council. She used her deep knowledge of international development (she has traveled to more than 100 countries) and her commitment to interdisciplinary learning to redefine high-quality out-of-country experiences and give UMB students a transformative global education.

She was nominated by President Donald Trump to lead the Peace Corps on Jan. 3. In her remarks before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in February, Olsen focused much of her testimony not on the Peace Corps’ work overseas, but on how Peace Corps volunteers strengthen their home communities once they return from service abroad.

“Returned Peace Corps volunteers bring home unique language, cultural, and diplomatic skills,” she said. “They are true global citizens, contributing to our economy, our country, and the urban and rural communities where they live and work all across the United States.”

She added: “Time and again … I see the remarkable ways that returned Peace Corps volunteers teach, inspire, and strengthen communities back home in the United States.”

The students from across UMB’s schools benefited in much the same way from the four summer research projects in Malawi that Olsen participated in and the student trips she led to Central America and South Asia.

“We’re trying to cultivate a mutually respectful situation to solve problems,” Olsen said in 2014 after 33 students from all seven UMB schools traveled in teams to Rwanda, Kenya, Gambia, Malawi, Zambia, Hong Kong, and the Philippines to work on solutions to community-specific health problems. “The opportunity to do that is a gift. It gives students a head start in a world where we’re increasingly dependent on each other.”

Olsen knew she wanted to work globally during her first few days as the Peace Corps’ country director in Togo. With the ink barely dry on her dissertation — a study of end-of-life satisfaction in elderly populations — Olsen landed in the West African nation with her family. There, she oversaw the work of 135 volunteers.

“I walked into that office and I knew immediately I would stay international,” she said. “I liked the action. I liked leading international teams and creating an environment for people to be successful.”

Now confirmed, Olsen will have the opportunity to do just that for the 7,400 current Peace Corps volunteers. She could face hardships, with the organization perhaps facing 15 percent budget cuts, according to some reports.

But Richard P. Barth, PhD, MSW, dean of the School of Social Work, has no doubts that Olsen will excel.

“Jody Olsen is a tireless champion,” he said. “She is a terrific communicator, relentlessly optimistic and affirming, and exceptionally knowledgeable about all things international.”

Glenn Blumhorst, president and CEO of the National Peace Corps Association, echoed Barth’s praise after the nomination was announced. “America and the world need the Peace Corps now more than ever,” Blumhorst said in a statement. “We’re excited Jody has the opportunity to lead it.”

— Chris Zang

To read more about the commencement speakers and honorees, visit this link.

For more on next month’s ceremonies, visit UMB’s Commencement 2018 website.

Chris ZangPeople, UMB News, University LifeApril 18, 20180 comments
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Lunch and Learn Seminar: ‘What to Expect – Body Pain As You Age’

Join University of Maryland Pain Management for a free Lunch & Learn seminar on April 24, as Dr. Omar Alyamani, instructor of anesthesiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, will answer questions and discuss normal and abnormal body changes during the aging process.

Here are the details:

  • When: Tuesday, April 24
  • Time: Noon
  • Where: Sheraton Columbia Town Center Hotel, 10207 Wincopin Circle, Columbia, MD 21044
  • To attend: Registration is required. Sign up at this link or call 1-800-492-5538.
  • Note: Lunch will be provided.
Merideth MarrBulletin Board, People, University LifeApril 12, 20180 comments
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UMBrella Seeking Applications for Women Student Leaders Conference

The National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL) will host its annual leadership conference for female undergrad and graduate students, with a goal to provide a robust experience for the next generation of women leaders. The event will be held May 30 to June 2 at the University of Maryland, College Park.

UMB and the UMBrella Group are again sponsoring this event, and, as part of its sponsorship, UMBrella will offer two scholarships for current UMB students to attend the conference.

Scholarship winners will be able to take advantage of numerous workshop sessions, attend a graduate school and career fair, and listen to keynote speakers. In addition, the students will be able to network with other students from around the country.

Interested students can submit a one-page letter stating why they would like to attend via email to

Submissions will be reviewed by the UMBrella founding members. For further information about the conference, please visit the NCCWSL website.

Sonya EvansPeople, UMB News, University LifeApril 10, 20180 comments
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On Westminster Burying Ground and Catacombs Tour, You Get to Know Poe

Lu Ann Marshall has been giving tours of the Westminster Burying Ground and Catacombs for 38 years, so when she asked the UMB group attending her April 4 presentation how many were there because they love Edgar Allan Poe, she was shocked that not a single hand went up.

“OK, I’m leaving then,” joked Marshall, who is an academic coordinator at the Francis King Carey School of Law. “Well, actually, I’m going to talk about Poe for a while, so maybe you’ll love him when I’m done.”

Indeed, as the group of nearly 40 UMB employees, students, and staff sitting in church pews beneath Westminster Hall listened intently, Marshall offered up fascinating tales about Poe, the 19th-century American writer best known for his short stories and poetry. Poe died at age 40 in Baltimore in 1849 and is buried along with his mother-in-law and wife inside the hall’s gates at the corner of Fayette and Greene streets.

During the tour, which was organized by UMB’s Council for the Arts & Culture in cooperation with the law school, Marshall also spoke about the history of Westminster Hall, once a 19th-century Presbyterian church, and its graveyard. She told of Frank the Body Snatcher, the janitor who would steal corpses for medical school students to study. She talked about ghost hunters and reports of paranormal activity in the catacombs. And she discussed the dignitaries buried there, most notably Samuel Smith, a former U.S. senator, House representative, Baltimore mayor, and military general who was responsible for the defense of Baltimore in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.

“When Smith died in 1839, the city of Baltimore basically closed and everybody went to his funeral,” Marshall said. “He should be the most famous person buried here.”

If not for Poe, of course. “Yes, Poe is our big draw,” Marshall said.

And what about Poe? Marshall delivered a series of interesting stories, including:

  • Poe was popular with children, but less so with adults. “He used to walk down the street and kids would follow him after ‘The Raven’ came out and get him to recite the poem,” Marshall said. “But people were a little skittish about him. He was not a monster, and he respected women, but he had this wicked sense of humor and a wicked imagination, and that’s what got him into trouble.”
  • He married his first cousin, Virginia, but that was not uncommon in the mid-19th century. “That kept not only the family name, especially if you were prominent, but it also kept the money within the family,” she said, adding that Poe was 26 and Virginia 13 when they married, also not unusual back then. “Young girls married men who were old enough to support the family, so a lot of times their husbands were in their 20s and 30s or beyond.”
  • Virginia died in 1847 at age 24 and was buried in New York. About 40 years later, the graveyard was being moved, so the cemetery’s caretaker took her remains, mostly bones by then, and stored them under his bed for a year while he raised money to travel to Baltimore to reunite her with Poe. “Now, that is a Poe fan,” Marshall said. “He brought her to Baltimore and insisted on placing her in a bronze casket, and she was placed under the Poe monument.”
  • The circumstances surrounding Poe’s death add to his mysterious legend. He was found unconscious in the doorway to a polling place on Lombard Street, near what is now Little Italy, and died five days later, she said. “God, help my poor, tortured soul,” were among his last words. “There have been about 25 reasons given as potential causes of his death, including alcoholism and drug addiction,” Marshall said. “There’s even a theory that he died from rabies, which is interesting for someone who wrote ‘The Black Cat.’ On his death certificate, it said ‘brain fever.’ If they didn’t know what you died from, that was listed as the cause.”
  • Poe was a distinctive dresser and easy to recognize. “He always wore a very nice black hat, carried a silver-tipped cane, and always wore a black suit with cravat tie,” Marshall said. But when Poe was found unconscious before his death, he was wearing dirty work boots and pants that were too short and tied with a rope. This led to the theory that Poe was cooping, a 19th-century practice in which men were forced to vote repeatedly for the same candidate in an election. They would be “cooped up” in a warehouse, given drugged liquor, and taken to polling places in different clothing or disguises to evade detection.

These are but a few of the stories about Poe that are central to the Westminster Burying Ground and Catacombs Tour. The Westminster Preservation Trust, which owns the hall and grounds, sponsors tours four times a month from April through November, during weddings at the site, and for individual group outings.

Leading the way, always, is Marshall, who calls it a labor of love.

“I’ve always been fascinated by history – and graveyards,” she says. “My father and I used to enjoy driving through graveyards, so this kind of combined two of my loves.”

— Lou Cortina

To learn more about the upcoming events at Westminster Hall, click here.

Lou CortinaFor B'more, People, University LifeApril 9, 20180 comments
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Halal on the Lawn: Bring Donations, Get Free Food on April 20

The Neuroscience Outreach & Volunteer Association’s (NOVA) Fifth Annual Halal on the Lawn will be held April 20 on the School of Nursing Lawn. There will be food, lawn games, music, and more, and NOVA will be collecting donations to use as prizes at its monthly Bingo events for the patients at Spring Grove Hospital Center in Catonsville, Md. As a thank you for donations, NOVA will provide free Halal in return!

Here are the event details:

  • What: Fifth Annual Halal on the Lawn
  • When: Friday, April 20
  • Time: 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • Where: School of Nursing Lawn
  • Requested donations: Adult clothing, including shoes; toiletries (shampoo, toothpaste, etc.); activities (books, games, Sudoku puzzles, etc.).
  • Co-sponsors: NOVA and the University Student Government Association (USGA)
Kasey GirvenCommunity Service, For B'more, People, UMB News, University Life, USGAApril 9, 20180 comments
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April 18: Nurses for Global Health’s 11th Annual Conference

The interprofessional student group Nurses for Global Health will host its 11th Annual Conference on April 18 at the School of Social Work Auditorium. The title of this year’s conference is “Global Health on Edge: What in the World is Going On?”

The conference will focus on emergent issues in global health, including gun violence, disaster preparedness and response, and social isolation. These critical global health issues will be examined through a global and local lens via a stellar lineup of speakers (see below).

Here are the event details:

  • What: Nurses for Global Health 11th Annual Conference
  • When: Wednesday, April 18
  • Time: Noon to 5 p.m.
  • Where: School of Social Work Auditorium, 525 W. Redwood St.
  • Registration: Go to this link.

The speakers include:

  • Erricka Bridgeford, The Baltimore Sun 2017 Marylander of the Year, Baltimore Ceasefire
  • Capt. Patrick Denis, MBA, BSN, RN, CHEP, Medical Reserve Corps, U.S. Public Health Service
  • Sacoby Wilson, PhD, MS, Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health, University of Maryland, College Park School of Public Health
  • Capt. Aisha Mix, DNP, MPH, MSN, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services




Anne BrennerBulletin Board, Education, For B'more, People, University Life, USGAApril 6, 20180 comments
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Next UMBrella Caregivers Support Group Meeting is April 23

UMBrella hosts Caregivers, a support group for members of the UMB community who care for elderly loved ones. Open to all faculty, staff, and students, we meet once a month to socialize, learn from each other, share resources and information, and hear from experts on a wide range of topics.

UMBrella events are open to all UMB faculty, staff, and students.

Here are details on the next Caregivers meeting:

  • Date:  Monday, April 23
  • Time: Noon to 1 p.m.
  • Where: SMC Campus Center, Room 203
  • Registration: You can register at this link.
Sonya EvansCommunity Service, Education, People, University LifeApril 6, 20180 comments
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‘Scarred for Life’ Exhibit on Display at HS/HSL Through June 22

A fascinating exhibit by artist Ted Meyer is on display at the Health Sciences and Human Services Library’s (HS/HSL) Weise Gallery through June 22. Meyer is a nationally recognized artist, curator, and patient advocate who helps patients, students, and medical professionals see the positive in the worst life can offer.

Meyer’s 18-year project “Scarred for Life: Mono-prints of Human Scars” chronicles the trauma and courage of people who have lived through accidents and health crises.

Meyer seeks to improve patient-physician communications and speaks about living as an artist with illness. Telling stories about his art and the stories behind his scar art collection, he offers insight into living with pain, illness, and disfigurement. Meyer has been featured on NPR and in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, and USA TODAY. His work has been displayed internationally in museums, hospitals, and galleries.

Meyer’s rare niche mixes art, medicine, and stories of healing and survival, drawing from his experience as a lifelong patient with Gaucher disease, an enzyme deficiency that affects bones and joints. Meyer spent much of his childhood in severe pain. His work is influenced by his many hospital stays, where he began mixing art and medical supplies. (How can you make something out of IV tubes, bandages, and pipe cleaners?) Contorted, graphic skeletal images appear in his early paintings, reflecting his belief that he would not reach his 30th birthday. He now considers himself normal and healthy, having outlived friends, family, and early expectations.

Everly BrownClinical Care, Education, People, University LifeApril 5, 20180 comments
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