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Employee of the Month

Matthews Steps Up, Named Employee of Month

For someone who was born across the street at then University Hospital and raised just around the corner, Arnold Matthews has come a long way at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB).

On April 27 he took paperwork to the President’s Office as part of his “daily run” only to be met by his Francis King Carey School of Law colleagues Dean Donald B. Tobin, JD, Mary Alice Hohing, Barbara Gontrum, JD, MS, Mary Jo Rodney, Joanne Macenko, and UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, who told Matthews “you are the UMB Employee of the Month.”

Perman went on to tell Matthews some of the wonderful things in his nomination form. For instance, when the other member of the two-man Carey Law facilities team had to go on medical leave “you worked extra hard, you never complained, you did your job, and more,” Perman said. “That’s an extraordinary example for all of us.”

After the president, dean, and supervisors had left the conference room, Matthews let out a sigh, smiled, and said he had just done his job while his colleague was ill. “I figure if I had gone down [sick], my co-worker would have stepped up. I don’t feel I did anything different than anyone else would have done,” said Matthews, who has worked at the law school since 2006. “OK, I might have put in a couple more hours, but that’s not here or there. It needed to get done and I did it.”

That kind of “can-do” attitude has ingratiated Matthews to his Carey Law colleagues. Hohing, director of administration and operations, said in her nomination, “Arnold is a joy to work with; he has a terrific attitude and no job is too big or too small. He is extremely dependable. He does whatever is needed, timely and efficiently, and works to make sure the law school is always seen in a good light.”

Besides delivering materials all over campus, his duties include making sure instructors have all the supplies they need, monitoring the building every day for needed repairs and safety issues, moving furniture, handling small handyman projects, distributing mail and maintaining the postage equipment, changing toner in printers, delivering copy paper, summoning University helpers for things he can’t fix — “all the little things to help keep the law school running,” Matthews said with a smile.

Dean Tobin clarifies that there is nothing “little” about Matthews’ contributions. “Arnold is truly amazing and is essential to our success,” Tobin said. “He is a hard worker who cares deeply about the institution and members of its community. Basically Arnold will do anything asked to make something great.”

That includes Matthews’ favorite part of the job: helping with events. He takes pride in making sure they come off without a hitch, not only preparing rooms for dinners, receptions, and meetings at the law school, but doing whatever is needed to guarantee the event’s success. “There’s a lot of things going on over there,” he said. “Sometimes I bartend, other times we set up food and help with the decorations,” said Matthews, whose multiple talents are appreciated by his co-workers.

Rodney, Carey Law’s director of special events, said, “Words alone cannot express how grateful we are to have Arnold on our events team – not only is he an effective member of the team, he is truly a wonderful person.”

Matthews, who received a plaque and an extra $250 in his next paycheck, appreciates the platitudes, but says he’s just doing his job — a job he likes a lot.

“I came from construction, it’s a lot better than carrying bricks,” said Matthews, who also worked in a factory and served in the military. “I did construction of some sort — plumbing, irrigation, bricklaying — for like 16 years before I came here. Now sitting at a desk I never thought – I just always said I’m not that kind of person. I’ve got to be outside doing things, you know? But this is much easier on my body.”

Not that he spends much time sitting. He’s only at his desk long enough to check his emails to see where he is needed next.

Told that Dean Tobin had mentioned his “friendly, customer service-oriented approach” Matthews replied, “Well, that’s the job. When you’re working with the public you’re supposed to put on a good face and [create] a good atmosphere. Being grumpy and mean all the time — that isn’t me because then the other person is mean. If you show you’re a good person the other person will show they’re a good person, too.

“Things work smoother that way,” Matthews added with a smile. “That’s the way I was brought up.”

Photo caption: Arnold Matthews accepts his plaque with law school colleagues (from left) Mary Alice Hohing, Barbara Gontrum, Dean Donald Tobin, Mary Jo Rodney, and Joanne Macenko.

Chris Zang Bulletin Board, Community Service, Contests, Education, Research, UMB News, University LifeMay 8, 20170 comments
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May President's Message

May President’s Message

Check out the May issue of The President’s Message. It includes Dr. Perman’s column on changing our logo from “The Founding Campus” to “Baltimore,” a story on Malinda Hughes, who gave her $1,500 Employee of the Year prize to the UMB CURE Scholars Program, an invitation to Dr. Perman’s State of the University Address on May 10 and commencement on May 19, a National Mental Health Awareness Month reminder about UMB’s Employee Assistance Program, a safety tip on the UMB Police Force escort service, and a roundup of student, faculty, and staff achievements, including a special section on global health interprofessional projects.

Chris Zang Clinical Care, Community Service, Contests, Education, People, Research, Technology, UMB News, University Life, USGAMay 8, 20170 comments
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Local Food COnnection

$500 Prizes for Supporting West Baltimore

The BEST Buyers initiative (Building Economic Sustainability through Buyers) is a competition among all University departments to maximize the positive impact of their spending on the local community. Two departments will each win $500 prizes at the end of the competition, but the real winners will be the neighborhoods that benefit from your thoughtful spending.

Here’s how it works:

Every department on campus should use the Local Food Connection website to find local vendors that can cater for meetings and events. Buyers can also use the Foodify website to look for vendors with the “UMB Buy Local” identification. Whenever possible, pay for food directly using the University pro-card. This is the fastest way to pay a small business, and pro-card data from the Office of Strategic Sourcing and Acquisition will be used to determine the competition’s winners.

The office that spends the highest percentage of their pro-card purchases on food at West Baltimore merchants between May 1 and June 30 will win $500 to spend on catering in FY 18.

For example: If the Department of Community/Public Health (CPH) Nursing spends $5,000 on catering between May 1 and June 30, and $4,750 is spent at local caterers, their local spend is 95 percent. If the Department of Pharmaceutical Health Science Research spends $10,000 on catering during the same period, but only $2,000 at local caterers, their local spend is 20 percent. Despite having a smaller budget, CPH nursing spent a greater percentage of catering locally, and would win $500 to spend on local catering in FY18 if no other office has a higher local spend.

Another $500 catering prize will be awarded to the office that increases the percentage of the local catering they purchase by the greatest amount compared to the same period last year (May 1 to June 30). For example, if University Counsel spends 20 percent of catering purchases at local caterers between 5/1/16 and 6/30/16, but spends 80% of catering dollars at local firms between May 1 and June 30, they will have a 60 percent increase in local purchasing. If 60 percent is the highest increase among all offices, University Counsel will win $500 towards local catering purchases in FY18.

Winners of the Best Buyers initiative will be announced in early August. Questions about the competition or about how to spend University funds in ways that support West Baltimore communities? Contact Bill Joyner in the Office of Community Engagement.

Questions about the use of the pro-card should be directed to Kathy Bordenski in the Office of Strategic Sourcing and Acquisition.

Make sure to check out local catering options and the Local Food Connection.

Bill Joyner Bulletin Board, Community Service, Contests, UMB News, University LifeMay 3, 20170 comments
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President's Message April

April President’s Message

Check out the April issue of The President’s Message. It includes Dr. Perman’s column on the Neighborhood Spring Festival, a story on the generous gift of Drs. Richard and Jane Sherman, an invitation to Dr. Perman’s State of the University Address on May 10, a recap of Frank Bruni’s and Goldie Blumenstyk’s lectures, part of our President’s Panel on Politics and Policy, a look ahead to the next lecture in that series, Matt Hourihan on the federal budget on May 2, a story on our CURE Scholars, who advanced in the Maryland Science Olympiad, a roundup of student, faculty, and staff achievements, and a safety tip on not texting and driving.

Chris Zang Clinical Care, Collaboration, Community Service, Contests, Education, People, Technology, UMB News, University Life, USGAApril 10, 20170 comments
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Golf Tournament

32nd Annual Charity Golf Tournament

Registration for URecFit‘s 32nd Annual Charity Golf Tournament is now open!

This year’s tournament will take place May 25 at 7:30 a.m. at Oakmont Greens Golf Club and will benefit the Graduate School.

Register by May 5 to get our early bird fee of $360 per foursome, or $98 for an individual. After May 5, prices will go to $400 for a foursome and $108 for an individual. Contact Jacob Pridemore at if you have any questions.


Jacob Pridemore Bulletin Board, Contests, UMB News, University LifeApril 10, 20170 comments
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13th Annual Wing-a-Thon

Do you like chicken wings? Would you like to raise money at the same time? The 13th Annual Wing-a-Thon is a chicken wing eating contest that raises money for the University of Maryland Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center!

Registration fee by April 16 (early/late):
UMB students or Kappa Psi Brothers: $10/$12
Others (ex. non-UMB students): $12/$15

Each team of five is asked to raise an additional $75 ($15 per person).

Event Details

April 24
5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
SMC Campus Center, Elm Rooms A&B


Laetitia N'DriCommunity Service, ContestsApril 6, 20170 comments
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Employee of the Month

SON’s Voytek Named Employee of the Month

Donors feel appreciated, nursing students feel hydrated, visitors to the Living History Museum feel nostalgic, and colleagues feel like chirping — all thanks to the efforts of Lorrie Voytek.

Voytek, assistant director of development at the School of Nursing, was surprised on March 20 when what she thought was a group picture at the President’s Office with her development colleagues Laurette Hankins, Stacey Conrad, and Cynthia Sikorski turned into an Employee of the Month celebration for her.

UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, mentioned Voytek’s work at the museum and on sustainability with GreenSON. “I also know getting back to donors is a point of emphasis with you,” he said. “And making sure that the students who benefit from the donors get to meet them and vice versa. I always tell a story about a donor at Northwestern University [Louise Ploner] who enabled me to go to medical school. I’m forever grateful to her, of course. But I never got to meet her. I never got to say thank you. So I particularly understand the importance of doing that, and I’m grateful you do, too.”

As UMB’s March Employee of the Month, Voytek received a plaque and an extra $250 in her next paycheck. Asked about the award later, she shared the plaudits with the development team (“Cynthia, Stacey and Laurette – that is our team”) and explained why she thought the group picture ruse was totally legit.

“We had 81 endowments that were created when the UMB Foundation offered a 50 percent match, which was the most of any of the UMB schools,” Voytek said. “So I thought the president wanted to thank us for that. I remember thinking ‘why isn’t Dean [Jane] Kirschling here?’ Because she is such an integral part of our success. She hand-writes thank you letters, which I think has made a tremendous impression.”

Voytek also is known for going above and beyond. Before the interview the quasi curator gave a tour of SON’s Living History Museum on the second floor just above the main security desk. The state’s only museum dedicated to nursing, it chronicles the continuing story of the profession.

Voytek, who manages the museum docents and gives tours herself, pointed out the wall of history on the left, education in the back, and research on the right. A 1928 “Flossie cap” is on display that was designed from a pattern given the school by Florence Nightingale, Voytek pointed out, adding how they were starched and fluted. “The new nurses like the antiquated instruments like the Texas Instruments calculator,” on the research wall, she added.

She shrugs off praise for her museum work, saying it falls into “other duties as assigned.” Yet that list has been growing in recent years after some cuts in the development staff. Hankins in her nomination said Voytek “has taken on approximately 50 percent of the duties of the other coordinator position, cheerfully becoming our ‘go to’ person for ordering supplies, paying invoices, reimbursing travel expenses, and helping with our many events.”

Voytek insists she’s just doing her part and is privileged to serve the students, staff, and “amazing” leadership at SON. Putting the students in touch with the donors brings her particular delight. “Most of the students are more than happy to do so and are so appreciative,” she said. “It gives you insight into a group of nurses who are going out into the workforce. I feel very comfortable and confident that we’re in good hands.”

One of the ways Voytek has repaid the students is her work with GreenSON, the School’s sustainability organization, which she co-chairs. It was formed soon after she came to the school 4 ½ years ago. With a degree in conservation and resource development, seven years on the conservation committee in her previous development job at the National Aquarium, and working with the Piney Run Nature Center before that as a stay-at-home mom, Voytek found GreenSON to be a natural fit.

“I shared with them a lot of things we were doing at the National Aquarium that we could be doing here. Slowly but surely we have accomplished several initiatives that we’re pleased with.”

The biggest one is the bottle-filling station on the first floor, so students and employees don’t have to bring bottled water. Filtered water has replaced “those big bottled jugs that would kill your back to lift.” Triple station trash cans are planned to separate trash, one for the landfill, one for cans and bottles, and one for paper. Periodic office swaps allow groups to share supplies, cutting costs and helping the environment.

Voytek, who gets off the Metro and sticks fliers in bikes to promote SON’s third annual free bike repair with Joe’s Bike Shop on April 19 to celebrate Earth Week in the School courtyard, admits conservation “has always been a focal point of my life. It’s important to the students, too. The students are asking for it so we should be providing it.”

So why do Lorrie’s SON colleagues “chirp” their praise of her? “I am a birder, I love to go bird-watching,” Voytek says with a wide smile. “They’re always giving me pictures of birds, bird books. We’ll be having lunch outside and I’ll say ‘did you hear that ovenbird?’ since I can identify birds by their sound. So they get a kick out of that and I appreciate that it makes them more aware of their environment.”

— Chris Zang

Chris Zang Clinical Care, Collaboration, Community Service, Contests, Education, People, UMB Go Green, UMB News, University LifeApril 3, 20170 comments
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National Public Health Week

Celebrate Public Health

During the first full week of April each year, the American Public Health Association (APHA) brings together communities across the United States to observe National Public Health Week as a time to recognize the contributions of public health and highlight issues that are important to improving our nation. For nearly 20 years, APHA has served as the organizer of NPHW. Every year, the Association develops a national campaign to educate the public, policymakers, and practitioners about issues related to each year’s theme.

Join the MPH Program for NPHW

Sign up now for our events!

Monday, April 3
7:30 to 9 a.m.
Ronald McDonald House Breakfast
635 W. Lexington St., Baltimore, MD 21201
Help relieve one worry for families by preparing a home cooked meal. Join the MPH Program as we prepare a healthy breakfast for Ronald McDonald House residents.

Noon to 1 p.m.
#NPHW Photo Session
SMC Campus Center Lobby
621 W. Lombard St., Baltimore, MD 21201
Start the trend and spread the word! Join the MPH Program for a fun photo session in the SMC!

Tuesday, April 4
Noon to 1 p.m.
Movie: “Unnatural Causes…is inequality making us sick?”
660 W. Redwood St., Baltimore, MD 21201, Howard Hall 101B
An acclaimed documentary series that sounds the alarm about the extent of our glaring socioeconomic and racial inequities in health and searches for their root causes.
*Snacks will be served.

Wednesday, April 5
Noon to 1 p.m.
“Join the Movement” Walk
School of Nursing, Courtyard, 655 W. Lombard St., Baltimore, MD 21201 (starting location)
Influential leaders, companies, and organizations are taking important steps to create the healthiest nation. We also can build momentum and show a higher commitment to our nation’s public health. Join the MPH Program as we walk with community members around West Baltimore!

Thursday, April 6
9 to 5:30 p.m.
Public Health Research @ Maryland 2017
University of Maryland, College Park, 1220 Stamp Student Union, College Park, MD 20742
The University of Maryland, College Park School of Public Health and the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, cordially invite you as active participants to explore and learn through poster sessions and panel discussions about recent advances in public health, ongoing research opportunities, and the potential for new collaborations. REGISTER NOW

Friday, April 7
Noon to 2 p.m.
“Got Public Health?” Table Booth
University of Maryland Medical Center Cafeteria, 22 S. Greene St., Baltimore, MD 21201 (1st Floor, South Building)
What are the best sources for public health information? Stop by the public health booth and learn how to get useful preparedness tips, updates, and health alerts.

Oriyomi Dawodu ABAE, Bulletin Board, Clinical Care, Collaboration, Community Service, Contests, Education, For B'more, People, Research, Technology, UMB News, University Life, USGAMarch 15, 20170 comments
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President's Message

March President’s Message

Check out the March issue of The President’s Message. It includes Dr. Perman’s column on the UMBrella Coaching Program, a story on Wes Moore’s presentation on accountability in the Core Values Speaker Series, Karen Fisher launching the President’s Panel on Politics and Policy, a look ahead to Goldie Blumenstyk’s speech on higher education in that series on March 21 and our quarterly Q&A on March 28, a CURE Corner item on the School of Dentistry, and a safety tip on avoiding car theft.

Chris Zang Clinical Care, Collaboration, Community Service, Contests, Education, People, Research, Technology, UMB News, University Life, USGAMarch 3, 20170 comments
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Employee of the Month McLean

Pharmacy’s McLean Honored For Audiovisual Rescue

When William McLean was asked to go to the President’s Conference Room to offer advice on upgrading the audiovisual service there, he thought nothing about it. Problem-solving is all in a day’s work for McLean, who for nearly 10 years has been multimedia manager at the School of Pharmacy.

UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, listened to McLean’s suggestions for several moments on Feb. 9, then changed the subject, letting McLean know he had been chosen as UMB’s Employee of the Month for February.

“I understand there was a big crisis in the pharmacy school,” Perman said, “and the vendor that you’d been using couldn’t handle the problem and you saved the day.”

“Well, I don’t know about that,” McLean humbly responded. “I just did my job.”

“More than your job,” emphasized Perman, who gave McLean a letter, plaque, and assurances that an extra $250 would be in his next paycheck. After Perman left the room, a smiling McLean told three School of Pharmacy colleagues, “Well, that was unexpected.”

Picking up the Pieces

When asked, he explained in detail the “big crisis” Perman had alluded to. In the summer of 2016, the School of Pharmacy was upgrading its $3 million audiovisual (AV) system and had contracted with a company to take out all the old analog technology and replace it with full digital technology before the fall semester.

“The project went out to bid and we don’t have a lot of control over that,” said McLean, who as multimedia manager handles AV systems for the school, which has a satellite campus and does a lot of videoconferencing, recording of lectures, and interactive applications. Awarded the upgrading project in May, the contractor didn’t begin until the end of June and by late July had only completed the demolition, leaving the 45 to 50 lines running throughout Pharmacy Hall that carry AV signals — content, video, audio, control — still not working.

“Classes start mid-August. So it quickly became apparent, due to the fact I’ve been doing this for 20 years, I knew they weren’t going to be able to get this done,” McLean said of the company, which had the contract terminated with the lines still not functioning.

He learned the day before students returned that the integrated system wasn’t working. “It was interesting,” said McLean, not one to get flustered easily.

Beginning the PharmD classes the next day without audiovisual services was not an option. The school’s satellite campus, the Universities at Shady Grove, is fully dependent on distance-learning technology. Had the classes started in Baltimore and not at Shady Grove in Rockville, there would have been an equity issue. So McLean and his three-person team — Jerry Adney, Erich Gercke, and Brian Hall — jumped in with both feet.

Past Experience

Fortunately, they were not strangers to such disasters. A flood in 2011 almost took out the AV control room at the school. A ruptured pipe in 2015 flooded the north end of Pharmacy Hall, taking out AV service to several of the main lecture halls.

“We had disaster carts we had developed for the old [analog] system,” McLean recalled. “Modifying them, I had to come up with a way to do videoconferencing and recording of lectures in the rooms without an integrated system so I built a series of videoconferencing carts and mediasite recording carts that I then tied into the existing systems in the rooms to get us up and running.”

After some long days and sleepless nights, the crisis passed, with the next-in-line bidder coming aboard to help with the task, which is ongoing.

‘School Is Indebted’

“Bill was up to the challenge and fashioned an improvised AV infrastructure to allow the delivery of PharmD courses, keeping the curriculum on track at both the Baltimore and Shady Grove campuses,” said Tim Munn, assistant dean for information technology, and Shannon Tucker, MS, assistant dean for instructional design and technology, in nominating McLean.

“Bill’s creativity and leadership of the School’s AV group ensured that coursework continued on schedule eliminating any need to consider alternate facilities, compressed course schedules, or an extended semester. The school is indebted to his leadership and technical skills during this trying time.”

McLean said he was honored to be Employee of the Month.

“In a position like mine you tend to hear all the bad things and you don’t very often hear the good things, so it’s just very nice,” he said. “Your story isn’t long enough to thank everyone, but I would like to thank my group for all the hard work they do and making me look good. I’d like to thank Tim and Shannon for nominating me and, of course, Dean Eddington and Bill Cooper [senior associate dean for administration and finance] for agreeing to finance the upgrade and to support our advanced programs.”

— Chris Zang

Chris Zang Clinical Care, Collaboration, Contests, Education, People, UMB News, University LifeFebruary 15, 20170 comments
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President's Message February

February President’s Message

Check out the February issue of The President’s Message. It includes Dr. Perman’s column on UMB joining Johns Hopkins in the Clinical and Translational Science Awards Program, a story on Spirit Day, a new philanthropy feature, a safety tip on not walking and texting, CURE Corner, and a look ahead to our next speakers in the Core Values Speaker Series and President’s Panel on Politics and Policy.

Chris Zang Clinical Care, Collaboration, Community Service, Contests, Education, People, Research, Technology, UMB News, University Life, USGAFebruary 6, 20170 comments
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January Employee of the Month - Curry

IMET’s Curry Named Employee of Month

When President Jay A. Perman, MD, entered his Saratoga conference room on Jan. 25, the dozen employees amassed there rose to their feet. “You’re not from around here are you?” Perman playfully said, urging the group to sit.

Actually they were from 1.4 miles away, the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET) on Pratt Street, and some were a little confused, even concerned, as to why they were there.

“Priya [DasSarma] said she had a meeting with HR and asked me to join her since I do the HR work at IMET,” said research administrator Kimberly Curry, MBA. “Outside the conference room when I heard Dr. Perman was going to be there, I’m like, ‘Priya, WHAT did you do?’ And when we walked in and saw [10 colleagues from IMET] it was like ‘is this an intervention or something?’”

Perman turned Kim and Priya’s worried looks to smiles announcing that Curry had been named UMB’s January Employee of the Month.

“People wrote a lot of nice things about you in your nomination,” Perman told Curry, mentioning her knowledge about research grants, her service orientation, the fact she does things with a smile, and is a great team player.

“Frankly, another reason I’m happy you’re the Employee of the Month is that I’ve been doing this for seven years and this is the first time I’m quite sure that we have kept in mind that UMB is larger than the campus proper,” Perman said. “We have all these wonderful people who happen to be a mile or two away in this case as well as people in Montgomery County and elsewhere. So you’re also representing a group of great employees who aren’t on campus every day but who make UMB better.”

‘Wear Different Hats’

Curry, who admits she was “completely stunned” by the award and its $250 prize, has worked at UMB for nearly 16 years, starting out in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and moving to IMET in 2013.

Created by the University System of Maryland Board of Regents in July 2010, IMET is a collaborative effort between the University of Maryland School of Medicine, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES).

Asked her duties, Curry says she “does everything required to manage a program. Payroll to pre-award grant submissions, post-award grant management, anything that’s required for the UMB faculty at IMET. I know a lot of the departments have four or five people. Here I’m it. So I wear a lot of different hats.”

“Here” is the Columbus Center near Pier VI on the Inner Harbor. With a huge sail across its atrium, long gleaming hallways, tanks of specially purified water with fish in the basement, great views of the harbor from the top floors, and test tubes and research galore, IMET is housed in quite a building.

“This is a gorgeous area to be in,” Curry said of the pros and cons of working in a satellite center. “You do lose some of that campus feel when you are down here. But everything else makes up for it. They’re doing such great things here with the ARC facility, the IMET incubator Harbor Launch, and also bringing in all these companies. It’s kind of like the BioPark. We also have the USM chancellor with us now.”

Years in Secret Service

Curry’s more modest office has its own accoutrements. Artwork and pictures of her three kids and an official sign above her desk that makes one take notice: “Kimberly M. Curry/U.S. Secret Service.”

“I did three years with the Secret Service before I joined UMB, right here at the Baltimore field office,” Curry said. It wasn’t the Secret Service depicted in Hollywood. “I sat in an office and typed up orders, process counterfeit bills and that sort of thing. I did get to meet Bill Clinton and Al Gore.”

Then Curry came to UMB and became a star in her own right.

In her nomination form, DasSarma, who is laboratory research supervisor at Columbus Center for her husband, Shiladitya DasSarma, PhD, a pioneering microbiologist celebrating 30 years running his lab in the School of Medicine, said: “Kim is a real gem for the faculty and staff at IMET. She always has a bright energy about her and carries through all tasks with gusto. She is positive, professional, and willing to make an extra call, take an extra step, or give an extra smile. In addition to many other things, including providing special care for foreign students and faculty, she understands the scientific process and its unique needs.”

‘Be the Best You Can Be’

Asked why she goes to such lengths, Curry modestly said it’s part of the job.

“You should always be the best you can be. I know that I would want someone to do that for me and you should always treat people the way you would want to be treated,” she said. “I think it just makes for a happier environment. I try to walk through all of my five labs at least once a week and I try to do it with a bubbly attitude and a smile and I feel that kind of rubs off.”

Sure enough, minutes later as she was leading a visitor on a tour, her IMET colleagues couldn’t have been nicer, explaining their research, pointing out where to get the best views of the harbor, and citing a large framed equation of the human genome.

“I work with fantastic people. IMET is a fun group,” said Curry, who added nothing brings her more joy than when “my faculty” are awarded a research grant or when excited students first arrive. “We exemplify collaboration, our UMB core value, down here at IMET. I work very closely with administration at UMBC and UMCES on a daily basis, as well as the microbiology and biochemistry groups on campus. But when you’ve been on campus as long as I have, and serve on so many committees, you have friends all over.”

Chris Zang Clinical Care, Collaboration, Contests, Education, People, Research, Technology, University LifeFebruary 2, 20170 comments
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Jackie Ball, Employee of the Month

Ball Lauded for Large Role in HR Projects

Jackie Ball, Human Resource Services (HRS) Center supervisor, was in a staff meeting with 30 HRS colleagues on Dec. 14. But her thoughts were elsewhere. She was focused on the new hires she had to process, and the pay and position changes that awaited her after the meeting.

Then an unannounced visitor entered the conference room: UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD. And when he told the group he was there to name Ball as UMB’s December Employee of the Month, she was completely caught off guard, and shed a few tears.

“Leave it to me to spoil the party,” said Perman, touched by her reaction.

Ball, who has worked at UMB for almost 14 years, all in HR, has managed the HR Service Center since January 2008 and is a key partner with the Payroll Office and Center for Information Technology Services (CITS) to ensure employees are paid timely and accurately. During her tenure, she has had a lead role in some of HRS’s largest projects, including the recent Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) reclassification.

“When we look for an Employee of the Month, we always ask to what extent that person represents the core values of the University,” Perman said. “What was especially noteworthy about you, Jackie, was your collaborative nature. People say you’re always open to new ideas, you enjoy interacting with clients. Something else I noticed: I’m told you’re one of our University experts on hiring international employees, addressing their concerns, making them feel welcome. So for all those things, congratulations on your award!”

Giving Thanks to Many

Ball, her composure restored, thanked the group. “I’m at a loss for words. I’m sitting there thinking I have all this work to do and now this, thank you! And it wasn’t just me. It’s not just what I do. I go to Ayanna [Thompson], Patti [Hoffman], Emily [Runser], Dave [Kloc], and Michelle [Graham] — it’s everybody. It’s everybody who helps me do my job and I’m hoping I’m helping you as well.”

Matt Lasecki, SPHR, associate vice president for HRS, added: “Jackie, you do your job with humility and you do it with excellence. You really embody what we’re trying to do in Human Resources and the recognition is very well-deserved.”

A few days after the ceremony, Ball still couldn’t believe it.

We were processing the last payroll cycle for the year and I was still backed up from FLSA so I went to Juliet [Dickerson, HRS director of staffing and career services] and said ‘Can I not go to this?’ She said, ‘No, Matt wants everybody there.’ And when Dr. Perman walked in, I thought, ‘Oh my. What is going on?’”

FLSA Challenge

The FLSA work was particularly grueling. Ball worked on the federal reclassification for six weeks to meet the Nov. 27 implementation date. Then on Wednesday, Nov. 23, when many employees were home preparing their Thanksgiving feasts, HRS learned all FLSA actions across the state were being halted due to a federal injunction. Ball, the HRS leadership team, and their counterparts in CITS conducted conference calls from home to determine how best to undo the actions. Starting on the Monday after Thanksgiving, Ball began undoing all of the work. Some 600 records were touched and retouched, with 100 percent accuracy.

“Excited” to be Employee of the Month, and grateful for the extra $250 in her paycheck, Ball calls the award “a blessing.”

Global Guide

Those she works with consider her the same, especially the international employees whom she helps in various ways. It could be paperwork from the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs, or helping them apply for a Social Security card, or letting them know deadlines to renew their work authorization are approaching.

“I feel good about helping them,” Ball says. “Sometimes they are right off the plane. They come here the next day and they are a little lost. So I put together a little packet for them with step-by-step instructions on things they need to do.”

As Dickerson said in Ball’s nomination form, “Jackie is committed to accountability and her knowledge regarding her areas of responsibility is unprecedented.”

Ball says the award was the perfect Christmas gift. “I mean who wouldn’t want an extra $250 close to the holiday?” she says with a smile. “But it’s not just that. It’s being recognized not only by your peers, but by your supervisor and other people you have a working relationship with. It made that whole difficult FLSA process worthwhile.”

Chris Zang Bulletin Board, Collaboration, Contests, Education, People, UMB News, University LifeJanuary 9, 20170 comments
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Larry Nohe

SON’s Nohe Wins Photo Contest

Larry Nohe, an information system engineer in the School of Nursing, has won the 2016 Snap! UMB Photo Contest with his riveting black-and-white portrait from within the Bromo-Seltzer Tower. Titled “The Inner Workings,” the photo was judged the best of nearly 300 entries submitted by University faculty, staff, and students, and BioPark and Medical Center employees.

Nohe, a UMB employee for 10 ½ years, passes the Bromo-Seltzer Tower each workday on the way to the bus stop. “I heard they were now open weekends for tours so I made special arrangements with them for a Tuesday afternoon. It’s a very small area,” he says with a laugh, “so you can only take so many shots. I was maybe there a half-hour or so.”

The winning photo didn’t overwhelm Nohe, whose photography hobby started with lighthouses over 15 years ago. “I like my third-place Peabody Library shot better,” he says of a color print of the Peabody’s six majestic balconies, which he titled “17 E. Mount Vernon Place.”

All the photos in the contest were not local. Young soo Kim, a third-year student in the law school, submitted dozens of pictures he took from as far away as Istanbul, Mexico, and Chile. Two of his Snap! entries — “Aftermath” from near the Cairo Museum and “Jamaica Station” from New York City — won second-place honors. “I travel during breaks,” he says via email. “Right now I’m in Quito, Ecuador, part of a monthlong South America trip.”

The third annual Snap! UMB Photo Contest, part of the University’s Council for the Arts & Culture, was judged by council chair Yumi Hogan, first lady of Maryland; Fletcher Mackey, a faculty member at the Maryland Institute College of Art; Calla Thompson, an associate professor in photography at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; and Tom Jemski, a photographer, videographer, and instructional support specialist at the School of Medicine.

“We are most grateful for the help of all our judges,” says Steve Bossom, MFA, web developer in the Office of Communications and Public Affairs and coordinator of the Snap! contest. “And we are thrilled with the growth in the contest’s popularity. We went from 110 entries last year to 291 this year. Obviously we have struck a chord with our University community. I thank everyone involved for their support.”

See all the winning photos at

Chris ZangBulletin Board, Collaboration, Community Service, Contests, Education, People, UMB News, University LifeDecember 21, 20160 comments
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Connective Issues - December

Connective Issues Newsletter

Don’t miss the newest Connective Issues from the HS/HSL!

In This Issue

  • Dr. Charlotte Ferencz, 1921-2016: An Appreciation
  • 3-D Printing at the HS/HSL Solves Your Holiday Gift Challenges
  • HS/HSL December Hours
  • AHEC Members to Use Project SHARE Curriculum in Health Literacy Project
  • Innovation Space Provides Google Cardboard Virtual Reality Viewers
  • New Study Shows Quality of Systematic Reviews Leaves Room for Improvement
  • New Comfy Chairs Roll In
  • Library Genie 2016 Survey Results
Everly Brown Community Service, Contests, Education, People, Research, Technology, University LifeDecember 12, 20160 comments
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