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Ebony Nicholson with $18,500 check

Live Near Your Work Grant Recipients Settle into Southwest Baltimore

Ebony Nicholson, MSW ’16, didn’t really need to be told about the charms of Hollins Market or sold on the benefits of residing just a short walk from your workplace.

Nicholson, academic coordinator for diversity and inclusion initiatives in the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) Office of Interprofessional Student Learning and Service Initiatives, has lived in the Southwest Baltimore neighborhood since 2015, renting a house first as a student at the School of Social Work and then as a University employee.

Now, with help from UMB’s improved Live Near Your Work (LNYW) Program, Nicholson, 28, is a proud Hollins Market homeowner. She is among the most recent recipients of the $18,500 grant ($16,000 from UMB, $2,500 from the city of Baltimore) from the program, which since its launch in late January has helped 13 University employees buy homes amid seven targeted Southwest Baltimore neighborhoods.

Nicholson is thrilled to be a member of this group — and to remain a member of the Hollins Market community.

“I decided to stay in the neighborhood because I love my community members,” Nicholson says. “Hollins Market is a socioeconomically diverse community, which reminds me to think outside of my personal lens. As a young black woman, it feels good to live in a predominantly black and diverse community. There is a sense of collective responsibility and care for each other that is unmatched in the other communities where I have lived.

“I really enjoy my walks home from work and with my dog because there is always someone with whom to have a quick chat. I know most of the community members by name and at the least by face, and there is nothing like that sense of security.”

Like others before her who’ve utilized the LNYW grant this year, Nicholson says living near her workplace has provided practical benefits. For her, though, the benefits extend into the mental and physical realms.

“Walking to and from work is a part of my meditation. It gives me a chance to take in my surroundings and notice the world around me,” she says. “In a car, things are going by so fast, we often miss the little things. It is also great to have a little physical activity built into my routine.”

‘Steady Flow of Interest from UMB Employees’

Emily Winkler, UMB Human Resource Services benefits manager and coordinator of the LNYW Program, says success stories like Nicholson’s fill her with pride and joy, and she is extremely pleased with the progress of the initiative, which was upgraded from $5,000 per person to $18,500 in January.

“I am getting a steady flow of interest from UMB employees, and many of them are taking the time to find the perfect home,” Winkler says. “This continues to be a rewarding experience, making many of our employees’ homeownership dreams come true.”

Olayinka Ladeji, MPH, PATIENTS Program project manager at the School of Pharmacy, is one of those new homeowners. Ladeji, who used to live in Northwest Baltimore and has worked at UMB for a year and a half, says she is particularly happy with her shortened commute, having bought a house in Washington Village.

“I was most attracted to the interior of the homes I visited in the neighborhood while house-hunting,” said Ladeji, who says she stacked an additional $10,000 in outside grants to her LNYW funds when she closed on the property. “I appreciated all the different resources that were made available to me by the program, including referrals to different organizations in Baltimore that assist homebuyers.”

Long Commute? Not Anymore

When it comes to time saved, though, LNYW grant recipient Barbara Andersson takes the commuting cake. A program administrative specialist at the School of Dentistry, Andersson recently bought a home in Barre Circle, leaving her apartment in Kensington, Md., which is about 40 miles away from the UMB campus.

“I had moved to Kensington to work in the dental clinic that we operated at the University of Maryland, College Park site. After that location closed, I had been driving to Baltimore daily,” says Andersson, a six-year UMB employee. “I’ve regained at least 10 or more hours a week by not having to commute in the rush-hour traffic.”

To get a better feel for Southwest Baltimore, Andersson participated in the Live Baltimore trolley tour last January that took potential homebuyers around the seven targeted LNYW neighborhoods — Barre Circle, Franklin Square, Hollins Market, Mount Clare, Pigtown/Washington Village, Poppleton, and Union Square. She also sought input from colleagues and students about the communities that surround the UMB campus.

“I spoke to anyone who happened by my desk, especially the dental students, to ask which area they lived in and how they liked it,” she says. “Everyone was so supportive, and I got many positive reviews of the area.”

Meanwhile, another LNYW grant recipient, Tamiko Myles, statistical data assistant at the School of Social Work, is particularly proud to be contributing to one of the program’s stated goals — the revitalization of Southwest Baltimore — after having lived in the city’s Oliver, Northwood, and Westport neighborhoods.

“The communities that are being targeted by this grant are well in need of people who are ready to invest in and improve them,” says Myles, a 20-year UMB employee who moved into a home in Pigtown/Washington Village with her family in July. “With an open mind and that type of readiness, the employees of UMB are those people.”

— Lou Cortina

For more information, check out the Live Near Your Work Program website.

To read more about the program and previous grant recipients, go to this Elm link.

Lou CortinaBulletin Board, For B'more, People, UMB News, University LifeOctober 4, 20180 comments
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Live Near Your Work Community Partners

Community Partners Pitch In with UMB’s Live Near Your Work Program

The University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) improved Live Near Your Work (LNYW) Program has produced about one new homeowner per month since it launched in January. From Hollins Market to Pigtown to Barre Circle, the doors to homeownership are swinging open for UMB employees in Southwest Baltimore.

The key to the program’s success is the upgraded $18,500 grant, which consists of $16,000 from the University and $2,500 from the city of Baltimore. And the commitment of UMB leaders such as President Jay A. Perman, MD, and chief business and finance officer and vice president Dawn Rhodes, MBA, has been instrumental.

But the program’s community partners deserve kudos, too, for their efforts to help UMB employees navigate the sometimes difficult purchasing process that moves from shopping to sale to settlement. In addition to the city of Baltimore and its Housing Authority, the partners from the nonprofit sector aiding the LNYW Program are Live Baltimore, the Southwest Partnership, and GO Northwest Housing Resource Center.

When it began considering a relaunch of the LNYW Program, which used to offer incentives totaling $5,000 and was little used, the University realized it needed stronger partners to support the homebuying process, Rhodes says. “We quickly understood that UMB didn’t have the knowledge base that a group like Live Baltimore has to assist our employees with securing other assistance that is available for buying a home,” said Rhodes, who called the nonprofit “an irreplaceable asset to our LNYW Program.”

“With this partnership, it was really important to have the ability to help people from start to finish in the process,” said Liz Koontz, program director at Live Baltimore. “And then the University was able to make a partnership with the city of Baltimore, as well, so that the city is able to cut both sides of the check at settlement. We’ve been able to make it a really smooth process for UMB employees.”

Information and Incentives

Live Baltimore has facilitated homebuying education sessions with University employees, and program manager Ross Hackett has spent about 70 hours on campus directing group and one-on-one sessions. The meetings cover other incentives that could be stacked with the UMB grant, information about the seven qualifying neighborhoods, and the properties for sale in those communities — Barre Circle, Franklin Square, Hollins Market, Mount Clare, Pigtown/Washington Village, Poppleton, and Union Square.

Live Baltimore also sponsored a neighborhood trolley tour in January soon after the LNYW relaunch, an event that was well-attended and well-received by UMB employees.

“I didn’t know any of the neighborhoods affiliated with the program,” said Tara Wells, a program administrative specialist in the Department of Organizational Systems and Adult Health at the School of Nursing who bought a home in Pigtown using the LNYW grant. “The trolley tour really helped me get a feel for the neighborhoods.”

Steven Douglas, MA, MLS, was a Hollins Market renter before becoming a Hollins Market owner, so he knew all about the neighborhood, but he said the tour had a side benefit. “It gave me an opportunity to interview real estate agents,” said Douglas, head of collection strategies and management at the Health Sciences and Human Services Library.

Added Hackett: “The January trolley tour in particular was special because we designed it to feature those seven neighborhoods. So if people were just learning about the program and considering living in one of those neighborhoods, they had the opportunity to see them all and learn about them at one time.”

Checking Out the Inventory

The Southwest Partnership’s involvement, meanwhile, included sponsoring a housing fair in March that gave prospective buyers a chance to assess the housing inventory among the seven targeted neighborhoods. Karen S. Park, MBA, MA, chief of staff to Rhodes, says the Southwest Partnership, led by Executive Director Michael Seipp, has been an invaluable contributor.

“Michael has assisted in coordinating UMB’s participation in several housing fairs within the Southwest Partnership community, two of which were specifically targeting UMB employees,” Park said. “These activities have allowed our team to connect employees with real estate agents, community association leaders, and developers to better understand each community as well as the housing availability in each neighborhood.”

Before signing a contract of sale, employees wishing to use the LNYW grant must obtain a homeownership counseling certificate in a two-step program provided by a HUD-certified agency. UMB’s partner for this parameter is GO Northwest Housing Resource Center, which has offered workshops that touch on building credit, choosing a lender, buying homeowners insurance, and other issues. Employees are free to use another agency if they wish.

“Our partnership with GO Northwest has assisted many employees in obtaining their homeownership counseling certificate,” Park said. “All employees who participated in their workshops obtained one-on-one financial counseling, which, when coupled with the programs provided by UMB Human Resource Services, has enabled many of them to stabilize their financial status to apply for credit and save for the down payment.”

‘Near’ Is the Operative Word

Live Baltimore partners with other institutions in the city to promote homeownership in Baltimore. One aspect of UMB’s program that makes it special, Hackett says, is the proximity of the University to the targeted neighborhoods.

“The seven neighborhoods are literally in walking distance of UMB,” Hackett said. “That really drives home the idea that the place where you work could also be the community in which you live. What we’ve learned is that these communities are extremely neighborly, their biggest strength is the connection among residents, and everyone’s committed to the community in which they live.”

And how do the folks at Live Baltimore feel when another home goes to closing?

“We get really excited when we hear that, especially when someone we’ve worked with closely gets the grant,” Koontz said. “It’s life-changing for them, and we’re just happy we can be a part of that. All of these incentives really help people get into the house without needing to have tens of thousands of dollars on hand, and that was UMB’s point in improving the program.”

Said Hackett: “That’s the news we like to get, and these appointments were especially fun for me because people are generally in good spirits when they know they are eligible for $18,500 in grants and possibly more on top of that. I’m thrilled to hear that people are settling and utilizing the grant.”

— Lou Cortina

Read about UMB employees who have bought houses using the LNYW grant at The Elm website.

Read more about the program at the LNYW website.

 

Lou CortinaFor B'more, People, UMB News, University Administration, University LifeJuly 23, 20180 comments
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Tara Wells in kitchen

Grantee Wells Sings Praises of UMB’s Live Near Your Work Program

Tara Wells has been on quite a winning streak in the last year, winning the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) Employee of the Month Award, getting a job promotion, and, most recently, becoming the proud owner of a rowhouse in Pigtown.

Wells, a program administrative specialist in the Department of Organizational Systems and Adult Health at the University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON), is the latest UMB employee to take advantage of the improved Live Near Your Work (LNYW) Program, using the combined grant of $18,500 — $16,000 from UMB, $2,500 from the city of Baltimore — to help purchase her home this month.

“This is surreal. It’s so overwhelming,” said Wells, who describes her LNYW experience, from start to settlement, as sort of a wonderful whirlwind after she decided to abandon a different nonprofit organization’s homebuying incentive program. “I decided in February to go forward with Live Near Your Work. I learned about the incentives, went to the Southwest Partnership’s housing fair in March, looked at homes for sale online, and found my house. I signed a contract April 1 and went to settlement June 1.

“I visited my mother last weekend, and when I was leaving her house, I said, ‘Mom, I’m going home to my house now.’ It still seems a little weird to say that, but it feels great!”

Urged by UMSON Dean Jane M. Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN, to pursue the program, Wells attended the Jan. 11 internal kickoff event at the SMC Campus Center, where UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, said it was his dream to see more University employees living among the program’s seven targeted neighborhoods — Barre Circle, Franklin Square, Hollins Market, Mount Clare, Pigtown/Washington Village, Poppleton, and Union Square.

The dream came true for Wells, who also attended a trolley tour of the neighborhoods sponsored by Live Baltimore, one of UMB’s community partners in the program. Living in an apartment in Baltimore County and not being a Baltimore native, she found the trolley tour to be especially helpful as she discovered more of the charms of Charm City.

“I’m originally from Prince George’s County in the D.C. area, so I didn’t know any of the neighborhoods affiliated with the program,” said Wells, who was honored last year as UMB’s September Employee of the Month for her then-role as an administrative assistant II at UMSON. “The trolley tour I took in March really helped me get a feel for the neighborhoods. I’m visual, so I wanted to see where my future home could be.”

Meeting the ‘Mayor’

Wells says she settled on Pigtown primarily because of a chance encounter with William “Bus” Chambers, a longtime resident who is known as the “Mayor of Pigtown.” She was checking out the neighborhood one evening after work, saw Chambers outside his home, and decided to approach him.

“I introduced myself, he was friendly right off the top, and we talked for two hours,” Wells said. “He told me everything about the neighborhood. I tell him all the time now that he was pretty much my deciding factor on living in Pigtown, because he made me feel so comfortable. The neighborhood is quiet. It’s really peaceful. And the neighbors on my block have been awesome.”

Wells says she had a housewarming party recently, and she has been warming up to the neighborhood, too, checking out the dining establishments around her new digs and in other nearby neighborhoods. She offered praise for Primo Chicken and especially Zella’s Pizzeria, which she calls “amazing.” Living so close to work is great, too, Wells says.

“I get to save on gas and wear and tear on my vehicle, since it only takes me four minutes to drive here,” she said. “I also can go home for lunch if I’d like, and if I stay late for work, I still get home at a decent time. And I can walk or ride a bike to work if I feel like it. I like having the option.”

Spreading the Word

Wells, who says she stacked a Federal Home Loan Banks incentive of $5,300 on top of the UMB and city funds, is the seventh employee to buy a home with the improved LNYW grant, with seven others in the purchasing pipeline. And there’s room for plenty more, because the University has committed $1.5 million to the program, which means 90-plus employees could take advantage of the LNYW grant.

And to spread that word, the LNYW Program has perhaps its biggest cheerleader in Wells, who would use another title. “I guess you could say I’m a cheerleader, but I’d say I’m more like a public relations person,” she said. “I was just telling a security guard about the program recently, so I have to check to see where his process is. He just got married, and I was like, ‘Go for it!’ ”

Emily Kordish, Human Resource Services benefits manager and coordinator of the LNYW Program, is glad to have Wells’ promotional talents. “I appreciated her genuine sense of excitement throughout the process. She was wonderful to work with,” Kordish said.

The feeling is mutual.

“Each and every person I’ve dealt with in the program was so patient, answered all my questions, and made this process so quick and easy,” Wells said. “I would encourage anyone at UMB to take advantage of this program. I just told another co-worker to hurry up and do it. I said, ‘You’ll be a homeowner, and it’s a great investment.’ ”

— Lou Cortina

Learn more about the LNYW Program at its website, which includes application instructions, neighborhood testimonials, and more, and get a list of upcoming events here. Read about Shea Lawson, the first grantee under the improved LNYW Program, and other grantees’ stories on The Elm.

Lou CortinaFor B'more, People, UMB News, University Administration, University LifeJune 28, 201843 comments
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Live Near Your Work Grant Hits Home as UMB Employees Buy Houses

When the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) relaunched the Live Near Your Work Program this year, President Jay A. Perman, MD, detailed the initiative’s upgrades, putting a focus on the University’s new $1.5 million commitment. Perman said he expected the revised grant from UMB – which increased from $2,500 to $16,000 — to be a “game-changer” for the program when applications opened in late January.

After 3½ months, the game indeed has changed in a big way — and UMB employees Vonetta Edwards, PhD, and C. Steven Douglas, MA, MLS, can attest to that. Both have used the money to help buy homes in Hollins Market, one of seven neighborhoods adjacent to UMB eligible for the program, joining a half-dozen other employees who’ve taken the plunge into homeownership with aid from UMB, with more prospects in the pipeline.

Edwards, a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Genome Sciences at the School of Medicine (UMSOM), moved into her new home in Hollins Market this month, using the grant that includes $16,000 from UMB and $2,500 from the city of Baltimore to help with the down payment and closing costs. As intended, the funds served as a cash catalyst, pushing her to action.

“This is a great program, and it propelled me from thinking about purchasing a home to actually doing it,” said Edwards, who has worked at UMB for 5½ years and had been living in an apartment in Mount Vernon. “Especially for first-time homebuyers, the amount that covers both closing costs and the down payment is almost too good to leave on the table. Even if you do not see it as your ‘forever’ home, you are getting in as the areas develop, so you can consider it an investment.”

Douglas is head of collection strategies and management at the Health Sciences and Human Services Library and a 16-year UMB employee. He had been renting in Hollins Market, and the grant helped him buy a house in the neighborhood. “Its proximity to campus, downtown, and the harbor first attracted me,” he said.

The new homebuyers follow Shea Lawson, a research project coordinator at the Brain and Tissue Bank at UMSOM who was the first UMB employee to close on a home using the new Live Near Your Work (LNYW) grant and moved into a home in Pigtown in March. (Read Shea’s story.) Pigtown/Washington Village,  Barre Circle, Franklin Square, Hollins Market, Mount Clare, Poppleton, and Union Square are the program’s seven targeted neighborhoods.

‘Very Pleased With Progress’

At a news conference launching the revamped program in January, attended by Mayor Catherine Pugh, Perman referred to LNYW as Dawn Rhodes’ “baby,” and Rhodes, MBA, the University’s chief business and finance officer and vice president, is thrilled with her baby’s growth. “We are very pleased with the progress of the improved Live Near Your Work Program,” she said. “It is helping very deserving individuals become homeowners.”

Emily Kordish, UMB benefits manager and coordinator of the LNYW Program, has been helping to guide employees through the process. She’s equally thrilled with the results.

“I’m extremely excited and honored to be a part of a program that has been making such a big impact in our employees’ lives,” Kordish said. “Employees have been contacting me not only to take advantage of this benefit, but to also take the steps so they can be ready to buy. This has truly been a rewarding experience.”

Edwards and Douglas attended an LNYW Program employee kickoff session and information panel at the SMC Campus Center on Jan. 11 and took part in the homebuying counseling sessions and neighborhood tours sponsored by Live Baltimore, one of the initiative’s community partners.

“The counseling sessions provided lots of useful information that helped to demystify the homebuying process,” Douglas said. “And the trolley tour gave me an opportunity to interview real estate agents.”

Edwards said she loved the trolley tour because it gave her a good overview of neighborhoods that she wasn’t too familiar with. “I had heard the names of all of them but did not have a mental geographic map of how they were spread out,” she said. “The tour also allowed you to see which neighborhoods you would be comfortable living in.”

As for the counseling sessions, Edwards said, “They allowed me to determine what payments I felt comfortable with and thus how much house to look for. They also brought up issues and situations that I had not thought about in buying a house, like monthly security system payments, the home warranty, and such.”

Reaping the Benefits

Now that she’s in Hollins Market, Edwards says living close to her workplace is a great benefit.

“I do bench research and sometimes have to come in on the weekend,” she said. “So a 10-minute walk in, or five minutes on the orange circulator, beats a 20- or 40-minute bus ride in, plus public transportation on the weekend is not extremely reliable.”

Another perk? “I still get to avoid purchasing a car,” Edwards said.

Both UMB employees praised the program, its community partners, and its facilitators, including Kordish and Daibeth Saunders, development officer for the city of Baltimore.

“The process was amazingly easy,” Douglas said. “Emily here on campus, Daibeth with the city, my real estate agent, and my mortgage agent all worked together to get me into the house.”

“I would like to thank Emily Kordish and Daibeth Saunders for making this a seamless process,” Edwards said. “I also thank UMB leadership for facilitating this process and making my first home a reality.”

— Lou Cortina

Lou CortinaFor B'more, People, UMB News, University Administration, University LifeMay 15, 20185 comments
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UMB Employee Lawson is First to Buy House in Improved Live Near Your Work Program

Living in an apartment in Charles Village, near the Johns Hopkins University campus where she went to college, Shea Lawson had to take four buses and sometimes more than an hour to get to and from her job as a research project coordinator at the Brain and Tissue Bank at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

She wasn’t crazy about the commute or, as she put it, “putting money down the rent drain.” Last fall, she was thinking about buying a house but wasn’t sure she could swing it financially, so she started thinking about shopping for a condo instead.

But when an email touting the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) improved Live Near Your Work (LNYW) Program landed in her inbox in early November, her outlook on buying a house brightened. She sprang into action, eager to take advantage of the grant that provides University employees up to $18,500 toward the purchase of a home in seven targeted Southwest Baltimore neighborhoods — Barre Circle, Franklin Square, Hollins Market, Mount Clare, Pigtown/Washington Village, Poppleton, and Union Square.

“I jumped on it pretty quick,” Lawson said of the program, which officially launched Jan. 9. “When I saw the advertisement [in November], I went on the Zillow real estate website, looking at houses in these neighborhoods. I was mostly looking at Pigtown, Barre Circle, and Hollins Market, because I was more familiar with those areas.”

Taking Ownership

She soon contacted a realtor and toured about 10 houses between late November and mid-January, all while working with a mortgage company to set up the financing for a potential purchase. She completed the program’s required homebuying counseling sessions with UMB’s LNYW partner, GO Northwest Housing Resource Center, attended the employee kickoff event at the SMC Campus Center on Jan. 11, and was among the first to apply when applications opened Jan. 29.

Today, Lawson is the proud owner of a rowhouse in Pigtown, the first grant recipient in the improved LNYW Program, which offers $16,000 from UMB and $2,500 from the city of Baltimore, a dramatic increase from the program’s former $5,000 incentive. The University has committed $1.5 million to the initiative, with hopes that 90-plus employees will take advantage of this financial benefit. Lawson says the program was a perfect fit, opening the door to homeownership and fulfilling her desire to stay at UMB long term.

“I really didn’t have enough for a down payment on a house. I would’ve had to canvass some relatives for a loan,” said Lawson, who has been working at UMB since May 2017. “This allows me to be financially independent. And being near my work was appealing, especially after I decided I wanted to stay at UMB for a while. If it weren’t for this program, I probably would’ve ended up in another rental situation.

“I actually had been trying to get my financials in order to possibly look at condos. I thought that might be the next step for me. A house seemed like a much bigger investment than I initially thought I was ready for. But seeing the Live Near Your Work Program advertised and looking into that, it all of a sudden became feasible.”

Emily Kordish, Human Resource Services benefits manager and the LNYW coordinator, said of Lawson: “Shea was extremely pro-active and resourceful. She really utilized our resources and website and got everything together on her own to get this done. It was a very seamless and positive process working with her.”

Home Sweet Home

Lawson, a city native who went to high school at the Baltimore School for the Arts before earning a bachelor’s degree in history at Johns Hopkins, is thrilled with her purchase, a rowhouse that was built in 1900 and had been refurbished in the past year.

“I didn’t have a specific type of house in mind when I started looking,” she said. “I just looked at everything in my price range and any place that had decent parking options. The house I found has a spacious, open floor plan that still manages to feel cozy and inviting, with solid workmanship on all of the interior features. All of the inside was redone. Half of the basement is finished. And they put a parking pad in the back.”

As for the neighborhood, Lawson says she liked “the close-knit and friendly vibe of the street and block,” and adds that her proximity to M&T Bank Stadium and other downtown attractions was a plus.

“I can see the stadium lit up at night from my back bedroom window, which is a fantastic view for a lifelong Ravens fan like me,” she said. “It will be convenient to my new digs in Pigtown without being overwhelmingly intrusive. It’s the best of both worlds!”

Lawson was extremely pro-active in pursuing the grant, but she also praised Kordish and the program’s partner organizations for helping make her homebuying experience a success.

“It’s been very smooth. The program is run very well,” Lawson said. “Everyone I’ve encountered who’s a part of it — Emily Kordish, Live Baltimore, GO Northwest — they’re very much enthusiastic about it and want to get you the information you need. Also, the Live Near Your Work website has a lot of good information and is really well done.

“I got a lot of help from a lot of good people in the program and from my realtor and my lender — everyone made it easy for me to communicate with them. The Live Near Your Work Program, you can tell they are passionate about this, they want it to work. It’s not just the money UMB has put up, it’s that they’re engaged.”

— Lou Cortina

Housing Fair on March 25

The Southwest Partnership is holding housing fair Sunday, March 25, that is open to the public and will feature UMB’s Live Near Your Work Program. The fair runs from 11:30 a.m to 4 p.m. Click here to register.

More LNYW Information

To learn more about the LNYW Program, click here.

To read more about the program’s launch, click here and here.

Lou CortinaFor B'more, People, UMB News, University Administration, University LifeMarch 16, 20180 comments
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Improved Live Near Your Work Program Offers up to $18,500 Grant

The University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) is launching its improved Live Near Your Work (LNYW) Program, which offers homebuying assistance to UMB employees while showing the University’s commitment to the community, with an informational kickoff event Thursday, Jan. 11, at 3 p.m. at the SMC Campus Center, Elm Ballroom A.

The LNYW Program is designed to open the door to homeownership and stabilize and revitalize targeted Southwest Baltimore neighborhoods, offering eligible UMB faculty and staff $16,000 in grants to use toward the down payment and closing costs for the purchase of homes in Barre Circle, Franklin Square, Hollins Market, Mount Clare, Pigtown/Washington Village, Poppleton, and Union Square. In addition, participants may be eligible to receive a matching grant of up to $2,500 from the city of Baltimore, and they may qualify for additional grants from programs outside of the University.

Purchasing a home in a qualifying neighborhood allows UMB employees to become involved in active and ever-growing communities; shorten lengthy commutes to work; live within walking distance of restaurants, stores, stadiums, and cultural centers; and choose from a variety of housing types, ranging from historic rowhouses to newly constructed condos.

To qualify, you must be a regular full- or part-time (50 percent FTE or more) faculty or staff employee who is in good standing, complete a homebuying counseling program, demonstrate creditworthiness, and contribute a minimum of $1,000 to the down payment.

You can find application instructions, program parameters, employee testimonials, neighborhood information, and more at the Live Near Your Work website. Applications open Jan. 29. Here is a list of upcoming events.

Program Kickoff

Thursday, Jan. 11, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., SMC Campus Center, Elm Ballroom A

This forum will provide an overview of the program’s parameters and qualification requirements and offer information about homebuying incentives from a panel of UMB officials and community partner organizations. Featured speakers include UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, and Chief Business and Finance Officer and Vice President Dawn M. Rhodes, MBA.

The panelists include Emily Kordish, LNYW Program coordinator, UMB Human Resource Services; Matthew Gregory, GO Northwest Housing Resource Center; Liz Koontz, Live Baltimore; and Michael Seipp, Southwest Partnership. In addition, information tables will be set up for more one-on-one discussion with Human Resources staff and community partner representatives. The kickoff event will feature light refreshments. To register for the event, click here.

Homebuying Workshops

Saturday, Jan. 20, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. SMC Campus Center, Room 351

Saturday, Feb. 3, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., SMC Campus Center, Room 351

Completing a homebuying workshop is the first of a two-step process toward earning a homeownership counseling certificate, which is required to qualify for the LNYW grants. The second step requires a private homeownership counseling session, which you can sign up for during this workshop, hosted by GO Northwest Housing Resource Center. Learn more about the counseling here.  Register for one of these homebuying sessions here. Employees only need to attend one session.

Live Baltimore Trolley Tour

Saturday, Jan. 27, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Starting at the SMC Campus Center and hosted by Live Baltimore, this narrated bus tour will take participants around local neighborhoods, including the ones that qualify for the LNYW Program. UMB employees can get a free ticket to this tour by registering and using the promo code umb1807. You can register for the tour here.

By attending the tour, you will have a chance to become eligible for a $5,000 grant toward the purchase of a home in the city through Live Baltimore’s Buying Into Baltimore incentive. Learn more about this incentive here and read a list of frequently asked questions.

Live Baltimore Education Sessions

TBA

Starting in March, Live Baltimore will be providing on-campus education sessions about homebuying incentives, living in the city of Baltimore, and more. Included in the schedule will be opportunities to meet one-on-one with Live Baltimore staff in an effort to customize the available homeownership programs to the buyer’s needs. Group sessions will offer a high-level overview of the homeownership programs and incentives available through the city of Baltimore and the state of Maryland. A schedule and more information on these sessions will be available in the coming weeks.

Applications Open

Jan. 29

Go to the LNYW website for application instructions.

— Lou Cortina

 

 

Lou CortinaGlobal & Community Engagement, UMB News, University AdministrationJanuary 9, 20180 comments
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‘Live Near Your Work’ Benefits Touted as Improved Program Kicks Off

Bill Joyner, MSW ’14, coordinator in UMB’s Office of Community Engagement, knows a thing or two about living and working in Baltimore, so he’s a compelling advocate for the University’s improved Live Near Your Work (LNYW) Program.

Joyner, speaking as a panelist at the LNYW Program’s employee kickoff event Jan. 11 at the SMC Campus Center, extolled the virtues of owning a home in a neighborhood adjacent to campus, describing the commuting, community, and financial benefits he has experienced as a resident of first Hollins Market and now Union Square.

“I’ve been in the area a long time, and I highly recommend living there,” Joyner told a crowd of 60-plus UMB employees. “Your commute is minimized if not eliminated. I can be home in 10 minutes walking, and I don’t have to pay for monthly parking on campus. I also pay much less in housing now that I pay a mortgage instead of rent.

“There’s also something special about living on this side of MLK Boulevard near campus. You don’t just live close to work, you live in a real community where your neighbors actually know your name and you know their name. You get to know the people who own the businesses to and from work, and you stop in and say hello. And the time you had spent commuting, you get that back, and can spend it how you want, which is really important for work-life balance.”

Joining Joyner on the panel were Emily Kordish, benefits manager and LNYW Program coordinator, and representatives of three key community partners: Liz Koontz, employee outreach manager for Live Baltimore; Michael Seipp, executive director of the Southwest Partnership; and Matthew Gregory, program manager for GO Northwest Housing Center.

Before the panel took questions, UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, delivered opening remarks and Dawn M. Rhodes, MBA, chief business and finance officer and vice president, gave an overview of the revamped program, which they both see as a great opportunity for the University to help revitalize and stabilize Southwest Baltimore.

The program offers up to $18,500 in grants ($16,000 from UMB and $2,500 from the city of Baltimore) toward the purchase of a home in seven nearby neighborhoods: Barre Circle, Franklin Square, Hollins Market, Mount Clare, Pigtown/Washington Village, Poppleton, and Union Square. To qualify for the LNYW Program, one must be a regular full- or part-time (50 percent FTE or more) faculty or staff member who is in good standing, complete a homebuying counseling program, demonstrate creditworthiness, and contribute a minimum of $1,000 to the down payment.

Perman said he expects the University’s financial commitment will “change the game” compared with the former LNYW program’s $5,000 grant, which consisted of $2,500 apiece from UMB and the city.

“We’ve dramatically increased that number to $16,000,” Perman said. “I hope that these grants will help many of our employees who are first-time homebuyers and I hope it will make a difference in the community. It is a vibrant, shared community where there are multiple stakeholders. My dream would be to see many of you walking to and from work and to see you out at local restaurants and local shops.”

Perman introduced Rhodes, who walked the crowd through PowerPoint slides that detailed the program’s parameters and partnerships. She said the University’s initial $1.5 million commitment is expected to help 93 employees buy homes.

Rhodes said a requirement that an employee live in the house for at least five years was added to help fulfill the goal of community stabilization – “We don’t want employees flipping these homes; we want them living there,” Perman said — and she added that the onus was on employees to make sure their application is complete before submitting it to the city, which will disburse the grant funds.

Having said that, Rhodes explained that there will be many hands helping applicants navigate the road to homeownership.

“Do not at any point get overwhelmed,” she told the employees. “We have intentionally created partnerships with people who can provide you with answers to any question you have. This is an intricate process, but we’ve got the experts to help you get through it. We would not be here today without the collaboration of our community partners. These people are just as excited as we are about this program, because we’ve been working on this together for the last seven months.”

The panel fielded questions after Rhodes’ presentation, with Kordish describing UMB educational efforts such as Launch Your Life financial planning classes and the community partners discussing events they will be hosting in the coming months to support the LNYW Program.

Live Baltimore will host a trolley tour Jan. 27 that starts at the SMC Campus Center. The narrated tour (free to UMB employees) will take participants around local neighborhoods, including the ones that qualify for the LNYW Program, and features a lottery for an additional $5,000 incentive that can be stacked onto the UMB grant. “We’re really committed to the Southwest Baltimore neighborhoods,” Koontz said.

The Southwest Partnership, which organizes and promotes community-building and revitalization efforts, has scheduled a housing fair for March 24 at the UM BioPark. “We are going to bring together developers who are renovating houses, realtors, and brokers, and you will be able to walk through the door and basically be in the Macy’s of house shopping,” Seipp said. “You’ll be able to see between 50 and 70 houses — some already completed and others that are just shells.”

GO Northwest will host homebuying workshops at the SMC Campus Center on two upcoming Saturdays — Jan. 20 and Feb. 3. Completing the workshop is the first of a two-step process toward earning the homeownership counseling certificate required for program eligibility. The second step is a private homeownership counseling session, which you can sign up for during the workshop.

Ying Zou, PhD, associate professor and director of the Clinical Cytogenetics Lab at the School of Medicine, was gathering information at the kickoff event. She says she lives in Ellicott City, would like to cut down on her commute, and is intrigued by Hollins Market in particular.

“I always wanted to live close to my workplace to avoid traffic,” she said. “One of my best friends lives in Hollins Market. Sometimes we go there for pizza, sometimes we go to the market, sometimes they have art shows in the streets. It’s interesting, and there are a lot of activities in Southwest Baltimore.”

Jimmy Mszanski, MBA, assistant director at URecFit, also was soaking up the LNYW information, saying he was drawn by the idea of owning a home instead of renting and cutting down on his commute from Woodlawn.

“Living just outside of the city, there is traffic and things like that I don’t particularly like,” he said. “But living near work and living within the city, there are more things to do within walking distance, and that’s something that attracts me.”

— Lou Cortina

Learn more about the LNYW Program at its website, which includes application instructions, neighborhood testimonials, and more, and get a list of upcoming events here.

Click here for more coverage of the LNYW launch, and click here to watch a video of the Jan. 11 event.

Lou CortinaCollaboration, Community Service, Global & Community Engagement, People, UMB News, University Administration, University LifeJanuary 16, 20180 comments
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On Your Feet! actor Doreen Montalvo and others

For ‘On Your Feet!’ Cast Member, Acting Is a Labor of Love

A group of 15 UMB students, faculty, and staff took their lunch breaks and gathered at the Hippodrome Theatre on June 7 for an intimate conversation with Doreen Montalvo, a longtime actor and principal performer in the touring production of the musical On Your Feet!

The Broadway 101 lunchtime event was the latest in an enlightening series organized by the University’s Council for the Arts & Culture that takes members of the UMB community behind the scenes of the Hippodrome and its shows. On Your Feet! — which just finished a six-day run at the historic venue on Eutaw Street — is billed as “an inspiring true story about heart, heritage, and two people who believed in their talent and each other to become an international sensation: Gloria and Emilio Estefan.”

In this production of the musical, Montalvo plays Gloria Fajardo, the mother of Gloria Estefan — and a staunch critic of her daughter’s music career. Though Montalvo plays the unsupportive mother, the actor herself has much in common with the show’s main characters, and she shared stories of her career that illustrated her love of the theater, determination to make it on Broadway, and dedication to her craft.

“I still go to dance class when I’m home at least once or twice a week,” Montalvo told the UMB group. “I still take voice lessons with my same voice teacher that I’ve had since I was 18 years old. You’re constantly learning.

“I love it, and what’s why we do it — because we love it.”

Montalvo discovered that love of performing at an early age: A priest in her parish recognized and nurtured her talent, and she recalled singing in church as early as 6 years old. She said she chose to study broadcast journalism in college because her school didn’t offer theater as a major.

After graduating, Montalvo began her career at a local television station in New York, but her love of theater never left her. At 24, she heard about a yearlong touring production of Man of La Mancha and decided to audition. Much like with Gloria Estefan and her mother in On Your Feet!, Montalvo’s mother was not supportive of her acting career at first. She wondered why her daughter couldn’t simply continue to work in journalism and pursue theater as a hobby.

But Montalvo said her mother quickly came around. Montalvo booked a role in that production of Man of La Mancha, for which she received her union equity card, and she never looked back. She has been acting on Broadway and in television and film ever since.

‘Survival Jobs’ Before a Life-Changing Show

Montalvo shared many stories that illuminate what life is like as a theater actor and what it takes for a show to finally reach Broadway. She held many “survival jobs” over the years, including voiceover work and part-time posts at trade shows and conventions that allowed her to make a living while continuing to audition.

Her first Broadway show was Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony Award-winning musical In the Heights, which focuses on the largely Hispanic-American neighborhood of Washington Heights in New York.

Montalvo revealed that she was the first person in New York to audition for Miranda for In the Heights, when the playwright/performer was 20 years old. In September 2002, Montalvo joined the first reading of In the Heights in the basement of The Drama Bookshop in New York. She participated in readings of the show for five years and stayed with it through various productions until making her Broadway debut in the ensemble at nearly 40 years old, when the show premiered at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in 2008.

Montalvo spent nine years working on the show in some capacity, from the first reading to closing night on Broadway. To put it simply, Montalvo said “That was the show that changed my life.”

That was just one of the stories from the Broadway 101 event’s conversation that illustrated the uncertainty of a life spent in theater, but Montalvo never let it deter her from pursuing her goals, and she told others not to be deterred, either: “It’s never too late to live your dream. It’s never too late to dream it and do it.”

After her time in In the Heights, Montalvo continued acting in theater. She joined the cast of On Your Feet! early on, when she participated in the second reading of the show — the first of Act 1 and Act 2 together.

Referring to the musical’s subjects, Montalvo said Gloria and Emilio Estefan were actively involved from the beginning. She remembered the surreal moment of singing Gloria Estefan’s songs with Estefan sitting in the room for the first time. “The minute those two walked in the door of the theater, everybody’s hearts just stopped. They are two of the most generous and loving people on earth,” Montalvo said.

After the reading of On Your Feet!, Montalvo re-auditioned for the Chicago production of the show and stayed with it as an original Broadway cast member in the ensemble as well as the understudy for Gloria’s mother when it debuted on Broadway. She took over the role of Fajardo for the final six months of the Broadway production. After a break, she returned to reprise her role on the national tour, which led her to the Hippodrome on June 7.

Don’t Stop Working on Your Craft

One UMB attendee asked whether Montalvo feels like there are more roles of substance for Latina performers today than in her earlier years as an actor. Montalvo said that when she was starting out, “West Side Story was pretty much it,” but with shows like In the Heights, Hamilton, and On Your Feet!,  more roles are being written that allow performers to share their heritage with the audience in a universal way. “It’s wonderful to be able to celebrate a culture and share the culture, yet keep the show open to everyone and make the story open to everyone.”

When it comes to getting a show to Broadway, Montalvo noted that securing investors to fund the production is crucial, and that involves getting people to come and see the show and to believe in it.

As for her advice to aspiring actors and performers, Montalvo noted the importance of being a triple threat — singing, acting, and dancing — and encouraged people to always continue to learn and work on their craft.

“Keep taking classes. Don’t stop,” she said. “Keep learning constantly. And keep growing.”

–  Emma Jekowsky

Visit the UMB Council for the Arts & Culture website to learn more about its events and programs.

Emma JekowskyCollaboration, Education, People, UMB News, University LifeJune 11, 20180 comments
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Dean Delivers State of the School of Pharmacy Address

On Sept. 11, faculty, staff, students, alumni, and officials from across the University of Maryland, Baltimore gathered in Pharmacy Hall to listen as Natalie D. Eddington, PhD, FCP, FAAPS, dean and professor of the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, delivered her State of the School of Pharmacy Address. The address, which Eddington also presented at the Universities at Shady Grove on Sept. 6, highlighted the school’s recent accomplishments and advancements in its strategic plan areas of pharmacy education, research, practice, community engagement, and pharmapreneurship.

“Great institutions are committed to their strategic plans, and the School of Pharmacy is no exception,” Eddington said. “The latest iteration of our five-year strategic plan was implemented in 2016 and sets forth lofty goals to achieve before its conclusion in 2021. This year’s State of the School of Pharmacy Address provides an opportunity for us to reflect on those goals that we have already realized while offering a glimpse into the future at new initiatives on which we will embark in the years to come.”

Celebrating a milestone year

Eddington began her address with a recap of the School’s recent 175th anniversary celebration, which began in January 2016 and featured events attended by faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends of the school. The 18-month celebration not only reflected on the school’s history but also highlighted its ambitions for the future, culminating in a once-in-a-lifetime event that honored nine of the school’s most extraordinary alumni as its Founding Pharmapreneurs and heralded the next era of innovation at the School – an era of pharmapreneurism.

“Our goal is to emulate and follow the example set by our nine founding pharmapreneurs, and offer our faculty, students, and staff every opportunity to be innovators of their own,” Eddington said. “Following their lead, the school will move in a direction in the years to come that no other pharmacy school in the country has conceived of – the creation of programs and initiatives focused on pharmapreneurism.”

Advancing academics

Speaking about the School’s leadership in the area of education, Eddington explained that the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program remains the largest academic program at the school, receiving an average of 1,000 applications for each class of 160 students. She also noted that the School’s two doctoral programs – the PhD in Pharmaceutical Health Services Research (PHSR) and the PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences (PSC) – continue to attract the best and brightest students, commending the PhD in PSC program’s participation in the Meyerhoff Graduate Fellowship Program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, which aims to increase diversity among students pursuing doctoral degrees in biomedical and behavioral sciences. Eight graduate students currently enrolled in the program are Meyerhoff fellows.

Showcasing the expansion of the school’s academic catalog, Eddington highlighted its three online master’s degree programs – the MS in Regulatory Science, MS in Pharmacometrics, and MS in Palliative Care. Led by Mary Lynn McPherson, PharmD, MA, MDE, BCPS, CPE, professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice (PPS) and executive director for advanced postgraduate education in palliative care at the school, the MS in Palliative Care launched in the spring of 2017 and has enrolled 80 students, including 14 physicians, 25 nurses, 11 pharmacists, six social workers, and two veterinarians. “The diverse careers held by students in the MS in Palliative Care program illustrate the truly interprofessional nature of this field and further support the demand for advanced knowledge in the field,” she said.

Breaking new ground in research

Shifting the focus to research, Eddington spotlighted the school’s integrative approach to drug discovery and development, innovative patient care, and medication outcomes and their economic impact. She reported that faculty, postdoctoral fellows, pharmacy residents, and graduate students at the school were awarded more than $28.1 million in grants and contracts during Fiscal Year 2017 – a 5 percent increase when compared to Fiscal Year 2016.

In addition to highlighting several faculty members who recently received or renewed multimillion-dollar grants with leading funding agencies such as the National Institues of Health and the National Science Foundation, Eddington presented a number of pioneering research initiatives in which the school is involved, including its participation in the National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL) and a new partnership with the University of California, San Francisco to accelerate the pace of innovation in pediatric drug and device development.

She also explained how interdisciplinary efforts spanning the school’s three departments are helping to combat drug addiction across the nation, including efforts by researchers in PSC to develop a new opioid compound with no abuse liability, work by faculty in PPS to establish criteria for analyzing data from the state’s prescription drug monitoring program to help identify potentially harmful drug interactions and inappropriate prescribing, and initiatives led by researchers in PHSR to help shape state and federal policy surrounding prescription drug abuse and medication quality in long-term care and mental health.

“Nowhere is our focus as a comprehensive school of pharmacy more evident than in our approach to addiction,” she said. “This impressive body of work encompassing our education, research, practice, and community mission areas focuses on one of our nation’s top public health crises and demonstrates our commitment to playing a major role in curbing the dangerous trends of opioid addiction.”

Leading the pharmacy profession

In the area of practice, Eddington reported that faculty in PPS provided care for nearly 23,000 patients across Maryland in a variety of settings, including outpatient clinics, hospital units, and community pharmacies. She spotlighted the recent launch of the Applied Therapeutics, Research, and Instruction at the University of Maryland (ATRIUM) Cardiology Collaborative and congratulated Magaly Rodriguez de Bittner, PharmD, BCPS, FAPhA, professor in PPS and associate dean for clinical services and practice transformation, on being named the inaugural population health fellow with the University of Maryland Medical System, which helped pave the path for the school to partner with the medical system through a contract with its Quality Care Network to provide pharmacy services and case management support to about 125,000 patients.

Partnering with the local community

Underscoring the school’s commitment to engaging with the local community, Eddington spoke about how members of the Patient-Centered Involvement in Evaluating the Effectiveness of Treatments (PATIENTS) program, which empowers patients to ask questions about their health care concerns and actively participate in studies to answer those questions, hosted or participated in 350 community events throughout West Baltimore, reaching 1,500 patients and community members. She also applauded the work of the school’s numerous student organizations, which organized more than 70 events for members of the greater Baltimore community, noting that several of those initiatives were part of national campaigns, including the National Script Your Future Challenge, or recognized with national awards, such as the school’s American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists student chapter receiving the organization’s 2016 Student Chapter of the Year Award.

Major charitable giving events also were spotlighted during the presentation, including the success of the school’s inaugural online Giving Day and the creation of new scholarships as a result of endowments made by the family of Felix A. Khin-Maung-Gyi, BSP ’83, PharmD, MBA, who founded and served as chair of Chesapeake Research Review before his death in 2014, and Ellen H. Yankellow, BSP ’73, PharmD ’96, president and chief executive officer of Correct Rx Pharmacy Services.

Looking toward the future

To conclude her address, Eddington offered a look into the future at the School of Pharmacy – a future made even brighter with the recent launch of its new initiative in pharmapreneurism.

“As we move into our next 175 years, the School of Pharmacy remains committed to providing our faculty, students, and staff with the tools and resources they need to solve the perennial, long-term problems facing health care, research, and society,” Eddington said. “Exclusive to the School of Pharmacy, pharmapreneurism formalizes this commitment, allowing us to focus on building innovative pharmapreneurial programs that can be incorporated into every facet of the school.”

Malissa Carroll Clinical Care, Community Service, Education, Research, UMB NewsSeptember 26, 20170 comments
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Martin Poster

SOP’s Annual Research Day Showcases Students’ and Trainees’ Work

Dozens of faculty, staff, and students at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy convened in Pharmacy Hall on April 12 to attend the School’s annual Research Day. Designed to highlight the latest research from the School’s students and trainees, this year’s event featured the presentation of the School’s annual Andrew G. DuMez Memorial Lecture and offered opportunities for participants to both exhibit their current work and network with potential collaborators.

“Research Day is a truly remarkable event that allows us to showcase and celebrate the breadth and depth of research being conducted by students and trainees at the School of Pharmacy,” said Natalie D. Eddington, PhD, FCP, FAAPS, dean and professor of the School, as she opened the event. “In addition to offering us an opportunity to learn more about the diverse research taking place at our School, Research Day provides an opportunity for students, residents, and postdoctoral fellows to gain insight and feedback about their work, with the hope of stimulating new collaborations across the wide range of disciplines at the School.”

Measuring Up in Pharmaceutics

To kick off the day, Michael J. Tarlov, PhD, chief of the Biomolecular Measurement Division at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), delivered the School’s annual Andrew G. DuMez Memorial Lecture. Titled “The Role of Measurements and Standards in the Development and Manufacturing of Biopharmaceuticals,” the lecture focused on the development and manufacturing of protein therapeutics – also known as biologics. Tarlov highlighted several biologics-related projects in which his team is currently involved and spoke about the institute’s participation in the recently established National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL).

The University of Maryland, including the School of Pharmacy, is also a member of NIIMBL, which aims to bring safe drugs to market faster and develop workforce training.

“The future of biologics is incredibly exciting,” said Tarlov. “With the launch of NIIMBL, there are truly endless opportunities for collaboration across academia, government, and industry as we work to address some very interesting challenges in the development and manufacturing of biologics. The School of Pharmacy and NIST could be excellent collaborators in this area, and I look forward to opportunities to work together with your researchers in the field.”

Showcasing Innovative Ideas

Following the lecture, nearly 80 student pharmacists, pharmacy residents, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows participated in a poster session during which faculty, staff, and students had an opportunity to network and learn more about the cutting-edge research being conducted by up-and-coming researchers across the School. Awards were presented the following students and trainees whose posters received the most positive feedback from faculty outside of their department:

“In addition to highlighting the outstanding work of our students and trainees, Research Day offers a valuable opportunity for faculty, staff, and students from across all departments to aid in the professional development of these young researchers,” says Bruce Yu, PhD, professor in PSC and organizer of this year’s event. “Students and trainees can reflect on the thoughtful feedback that they receive during this event, and use those suggestions to make their presentations even stronger at regional, national, and international meetings and conferences. It is truly a beneficial event for all who participate.”

Advancing Health for All People

At the conclusion of the poster session, attendees were invited to listen as six promising researchers from across the Departments of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research, Pharmacy Practice and Science, and Pharmaceutical Sciences delivered brief presentations about their current projects. Topics of the presentations ranged from advancing treatments for diseases such as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and iron-deficiency anemia, examining a potential tool to improve medication adherence among pediatric patients and the pharmacist’s role in facilitating inpatient to home hospice transitions of care, understanding treatment selections for patients with rheumatoid arthritis, as well as the ethical issues related to informed consent in randomized controlled trials for antibiotic medications.

“With approximately 50 percent of pediatric patients not taking their medications as prescribed, the need to improve medication adherence among children and adolescents cannot be understated,” said Grace Wo, a second-year student pharmacist. “The RemindeRx bracelet that I designed combines positive reinforcement and patient engagement to encourage medication adherence in pediatric patients. Together with my team, we examined parents’ opinions and beliefs about the effectiveness of the RemindeRx bracelet. It was an honor to be selected to present our research.”

Malissa Carroll Education, Research, UMB News, University LifeApril 26, 20170 comments
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Southwest Partnership Housing Fair on March 25 Features UMB’s LNYW Program

The Southwest Partnership, one of the community partners in UMB’s Live Near Your Work (LNYW) Program, is holding a spring housing fair on Sunday, March 25, at the UM BioPark. The fair is open to the general public and will feature a presentation about the University’s improved LNYW grant, information about Southwest Baltimore neighborhoods from residents and community leaders, tours of homes for sale in the area, and more (see below).

The LNYW Program offers eligible UMB employees up to $18,500 in grants ($16,000 from the University and $2,500 from the city of Baltimore) toward the purchase of a home in seven nearby neighborhoods: Barre Circle, Franklin Square, Hollins Market, Mount Clare, Pigtown/Washington Village, Poppleton, and Union Square.

To qualify for the program, you must be a regular full- or part-time (50 percent FTE or more) UMB faculty or staff member who is in good standing, complete a homebuying counseling program, demonstrate creditworthiness, and contribute a minimum of $1,000 to the down payment.

Here are details about the Southwest Partnership Spring Housing Fair:

When and where

  • Date: Sunday, March 25
  • LNYW Program presentation: 11:30 a.m. to noon
  • Housing fair: Noon to 4 p.m.
  • Bus tours: Start at 12:20 p.m.; last one at 3:50 p.m.
  • Where: UM BioPark, 801 W. Baltimore St.

What to expect

  • Learn about the LNYW Program’s qualifying neighborhoods from community leaders
  • Get a better understanding of the LNYW qualifications
  • View housing stock and tour homes for sale in the area
  • Meet lenders, real estate agents, and home developers
  • Tour businesses and historical landmarks
  • Talk with residents, teachers, and community leaders
  • Explore all the benefits and incentives that can stack up for a new home purchase
  • Sign up for homebuying counseling, which is a requirement of the LNYW Program
  • Get a chance to win a new iPad Mini or other door prizes

 Registration and Other Links

  • To register for the Southwest Partnership Spring Housing Fair, click here.
  • Check out the Southwest Partnership’s website for resources and more information about the neighborhoods that make up the “Hidden Gem of Baltimore.”
  • Check out the LNYW Program website for information about program eligibility, parameters, the application process, and more.
  • Read about the first UMB employee to buy a house under the improved LNYW Program.
Lou CortinaBulletin Board, For B'more, UMB News, University LifeMarch 19, 20180 comments
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The President's Message-June

The President’s Message

Check out the June issue of The President’s Message.

It includes:

  • Dr. Perman’s column on last month’s State of the University Address
  • A recap of commencement, UMB’s Neighborhood Spring Festival, Glendening and Ehrlich’s political discussion, and the CURE Scholars’ end-of-year celebration
  • A look ahead to Dr. Perman’s June 19 Q&A
  • Stories on philanthropic gifts to the schools of medicine and nursing
  • Two more employees benefit from the Live Near Your Work Program
  • UMB police start active shooter response training
  • A roundup of student, faculty, and staff achievements
Chris ZangABAE, Bulletin Board, Clinical Care, Collaboration, Community Service, Contests, Education, For B'more, People, Research, Technology, UMB News, University Life, USGAJune 11, 20180 comments
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The President’s Message

Check out the April issue of The President’s Message.

It includes:

  • Dr. Perman’s column on Peace Corps Director Jody Olsen and the global/local movement she’s helped shape
  • Recaps of the employee recognition luncheon and human trafficking lecture
  • A story on how the Housekeeping Department has benefited from UMB’s Project SEARCH, which trains and hires individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities
  • CURE Corner spotlights
  • A story on the first employee to benefit from our improved Live Near Your Work Program
  • A roundup of student, faculty, and staff achievements
Chris ZangABAE, Bulletin Board, Clinical Care, Community Service, Contests, Education, For B'more, People, Research, Technology, UMB News, University Life, USGAApril 4, 20180 comments
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The President’s Message

Check out the February issue of The President’s Message. It includes Dr. Perman’s column on the Live Near Your Work Program, a look ahead to his quarterly Q&A on March 7, CURE Corner, a story on Jody Olsen’s nomination as Peace Corps director, and a safety tip on winter driving.

Chris ZangBulletin Board, Clinical Care, Collaboration, Community Service, Contests, Education, For B'more, People, Research, Technology, UMB News, University Life, USGAFebruary 2, 20180 comments
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Email Security: Magnifying glass

Don’t Fall For Fake Student Job Postings

Jobs that sound too good to be true should raise a red flag for any college student. Fake job postings abound in unsolicited emails sent to your student account and in online job listing sites.

Fake jobs can be attempts to steal personal information about you or steal money or bank account information from you. You also could get entangled in criminal activity, so be cautious.

Here are some tips to help you identify fake jobs. You should always carefully research the legitimacy of employers before applying.

Common Job Scams Targeting College Students

  • Mystery shoppers
  • Envelope stuffing from home
  • Repackaging or shipping from home
  • Issuing checks/check processing from home
  • Model/talent agencies
  • Pyramid sales schemes
  • A variety of scams in which a student is asked to pay for certification, training materials, or equipment with promise of reimbursement

Overpayment Scams

Watch out for overpayment scams. These are often posted as a bookkeeper, personal assistant, administrative assistant, etc., to assist in processing checks or mystery/secret shoppers. The “company” sends a check to the “assistant” (student), who is then responsible for taking their “salary” out of the check and wiring the remainder of the money back to the “company.” These checks are fraudulent and can leave you out thousands of dollars and facing criminal charges.

Beware If the Email or Job Posting:

  • Does not indicate the company name
  • Comes from an email address that doesn’t match the company name
  • Does not give the employer contact information — title of person sending the email, company address, phone number, etc.
  • Offers to pay a large amount for almost no work
  • Offers you a job without ever interacting with you
  • Asks you to pay an application fee
  • Wants you to transfer money from one account to another
  • Offers to send you a check before you do any work
  • Asks you to give your credit card or bank account numbers
  • Asks for copies of personal documents
  • Says you must send payment by wire service or courier
  • Offers you a large payment for allowing the use of your bank account — often for depositing checks or transferring money
  • Sends you an unexpectedly large check

No legitimate employer will send payment in advance and ask the employee to send a portion of it back. DO NOT provide any personal information, especially Social Security numbers or financial information! 

Examples of Suspicious Ads

The following job posting was rejected by the Student Employment Program Job Board:

“Agile and Responsible individual is needed to fill the vacant position of a Personal Assistant (Part time) Someone who can offer these services: *Mail services (Receive mails and drop them off at UPS) *Shop for Gifts *Sit for delivery (at your home) or pick items up at nearby post office at your convenience. (You will be notified when delivery would be made).”

A student notified the Student Employment Program that she received the following email:

“If you are resourceful, organized, good with paperwork and honest, you can make three hundred dollars ($300) a week, as a business assistant. This flexible but formal position would only take at most two hours of your time daily, or even less, depending on your work-speed. You would be needed Mondays through Fridays, but the job’s flexibility lies in the fact that your duties are clear-cut and would take little of your time to be executed daily. Kindly get back to me ASAP if you are interested and wish to know more about this opportunity.”

Another student received an email offering them a “New, interesting, and respectable job” as a typist.

A recent actual email to UMB students:

Dear The University of Maryland, Baltimore Students…

At Market Force Information Company. Get paid $185- $250 Twice a week and we offer Survey Evaluation Services to various shopping outlets and Organizations. We want all Survey  Evaluation to take complete pride in their work, writing intelligent surveys that are clear, honest and observant.

The information collected by Market Force Information  Compliance Services reaches clients, but will always conceal individual identity. Survey results are aggregated by combining responses with those provided by other participants who have also completed the online survey. This data is stored in a database that can be analyzed by clients, but personal data will never be revealed, sold or traded without your permission.

You are providing input for the development of a product or service.

Market Force Information Compliance Services Is one of the most popular paid survey panels in  America. My survey provides a variety of interesting surveys, including product reviews, service reviews buyers opinion, general opinion, Survey Evaluation just to name a few. Find below Job description (available survey).\The recruitment is restricted to US and Canada residents only.

JOB DESCRIPTION (AVAILABLE SURVEY):

Survey Evaluation services are to be carried out in your location in which you will carry out a survey on the performance and effectiveness of the stores with which you will be directed to carry out a Survey Evaluation on and we would like you to become our Survey Evaluation. Salary/Wage: – $185-$250 per survey assignment.

 Your employment packet includes businesses/stores evaluation (Macy-Stores, Banks, Wal-Mart, CVS, McDonald’s, Best Buy and many more). Assignment instructions will be sent to you via email after you must have received the payment for the Survey assignment.

 Payment for the assignment/wages would be sent to you by Certified Check. No experience required and no upfront payment needed from you (Application is Free).

If you would like to be considered for this survey assignment, please fill out the application below and kindly send the requested details to the email above. 

    Name:

    Current Address:

    City:

    State:

    Zip Code:

    Home Phone:

    Cell Phone:

    Alternative email address:

    Preferred Time to Call:

    Occupation: none

    Can you check email at least twice daily?

Report Suspicious Ads

If you feel that you’ve been the victim of a scam, please contact University Police at 410-706-6882.

Researching Ads and Employers

Why is it important to research every opportunity?

  • To find out if the job and the company are legitimate
  • To gather information to help you determine whether the company or job is a good fit for you
  • To find data to help you write targeted resumes and cover letters
  • To find facts to help you answer interview questions such as: Why do you want to work for this company?

Visit the organization website

If the organization in question doesn’t have a website or the website doesn’t seem to match the advertised job, there may be cause for concern. Note the professionalism of the website. Is there specific contact information? Are jobs and career information actually posted on the site? Lack of pertinent information is a red flag.

Use personal contacts, Linked-In, or other networking sites

Do you have any connections to help you find inside information? If you belong to a professional association, they may be able to put you in touch with people who can advise you. Search Linked-In by “People” and the advanced search fields for “Company Name.” Click the “Current Companies Only” checkbox to receive information on people currently listed as employed by this company.

Use Google

Search by the name of the organization to gather information and recent news. You also can search by “scam” to look for signs the company has been reported in any type of fraudulent activity.

Check with consumer services

Two organizations to utilize are the Better Business Bureau or the Federal Trade Commission to see if any complaints have been lodged against the company.

Investigate the company’s references

If you aren’t sure a company is legitimate, request a list of employees or contractors. Then contact the references to see how satisfied they are. If a company isn’t willing to share references (names, email addresses, and phone numbers), this is a red flag. You may want to research the references a bit as well, to be sure they are legitimate.

Be suspicious of poor communication skills

Be careful when an employer cannot communicate accurately or effectively on the website, by email, over the telephone, etc. If communications are sloppy, how professional is the organization?

Exercise caution when asked to pay any fees

Most legitimate employers will not charge to hire you! Don’t send money for work-at-home directories, advice on getting hired, company information, or for anything else related to the job. There are some well-known internship programs that do require payment to place you in internships, but check with your department’s internship coordinator to determine if the program is legitimate.

Review payment information

When information about salary isn’t listed on a job posting, try to find out if you will receive a salary or be paid on commission. Find out how much you’re paid, how often you are paid, and how you are paid. If the company doesn’t pay an hourly rate or a salary, be cautious and investigate further.

Beware: Scam ads can be found in legitimate publications

Read all information carefully. If the opportunity sounds too good to be true, it probably is! Just because a job lead appears in a legitimate publication, it doesn’t mean that the job or company is necessarily legitimate. Forget about getting rich quick.

Additional information about job scams

Federal Trade Commission video about job scams

Sarah SteinbergTechnologyDecember 11, 20180 comments
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