African American Studies
Social and Cultural Analysis Concentration
Hometown: Baltimore, Maryland
Favorite involvement: The Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program
Favorite course: Three-dimensional art and design
Greatest accomplishment: Stepping outside of my comfort zone to embark on my journey to find myself
Future plans: Applying to law school, working to promote social and economic justice, practicing transactional law
Candace Hood-Bey is graduating with a B.A. in African American Studies. Her coursework in AASD’s Social and Cultural Analysis concentration and research in the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program have driven her passion for social and economic justice. Professionally, she hopes to practice transactional law for community economic development. “My sincere hope is that through legal advocacy, I can promote the voices of those materially impoverished and oppressed in order to vindicate their right to live beyond surviving,” she said. Following graduation, Candace looks forward to applying to law school, hone her artistic skills, and work on personal growth. Long term, she hopes to be working toward alleviating socioeconomic instability in tangible ways.
M.A. Applied Anthropology
Hometown: Coppell, Texas
Favorite involvement: Being a TA for the ENSP program
Favorite course: ANTH606 (Qualitative Methods in Applied Anthropology)
Greatest accomplishment: Relationships built with members of the campus community
Future plans: Documenting and confronting the impacts of climate change
Olivia Wolford is graduating with a M.A. in Applied Anthropology. Between her internship with the USGS Bird Banding Laboratory at Eastern Ecological Research Center and serving as a Teaching Assistant for the ENSP program, Olivia’s anthropological research and coursework is complemented by her passion for wildlife conservation and the environment. “My greatest accomplishments are the relationships I have built with fellow graduate students, the undergraduates I TA, and supportive professors, like my advisor Dr. Jen Shaffer,” she said. “I have learned so much from all of them and have been challenged to be a better researcher and person.” Professionally, Olivia looks forward to contributing to the documentation and confrontation of climate change on humans and wildlife.
Criminology & Criminal Justice
Law and Society and Global Terrorism Studies minor
Hometown: Germantown, Maryland
Favorite involvements: Internships (Homicide Unit for PGPD, Robbery Suppression Unit for PGPD, International Center for Terrorism Studies, Behavioral Analysis Unit for the FBI, and Baltimore Child Abuse Center as a Forensic Interview Intern)
Favorite course: CCJS418Q (Crime and Place) and MLAW358U (Crimmigation)
Future plans: Working as a coordinator at the Baltimore Child Abuse Center
Catie Ladas is graduating with a B.A. in Criminology and Criminal Justice. Between her time at several internships and her minors in Law and Society and Global Terrorism Studies, Catie’s undergraduate career is characterized by a well-rounded set of experiences both on- and off- campus. “All of my opportunities I pursued off campus, I was really lucky--I really put myself out there and worked really hard to get those,” she said. “So I felt really lucky to have those opportunities, they were probably my greatest accomplishments.” Catie has most enjoyed Criminology courses involving crime and geography, and she has established a passion in child crime prevention. Upon graduating, she will be taking a full-time position as a coordinator at the Baltimore Child Abuse Center, where she has interned as a Forensic Interview Intern. “I’m really looking forward to starting to put everything I‘ve learned into practice,” Catie said. “I think the University of Maryland equips students with the skills you need for your path and what you need for the real world.”
B.A. CCJS and PSYC
Hometown: Ellicott City, Maryland
Favorite involvement: Acapella for all four years (UMD Treblemakers)
Favorite course: Crim courses taken abroad in Italy
Greatest accomplishment: Working for the Public Defender’s Service in D.C.
Future plans: Pursuing a career in criminal justice
Reeya Amin is graduating with a dual degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice and Psychology. In addition to studying abroad in Italy and staying involving in A capella, the highlight of her undergraduate career has been working for the Public Defender’s Service in D.C. There, she and four others worked in mitigation efforts and investigations research. “We were able to get a juvenile lifer out of prison 25 years early,” she said. “Super, super rewarding.” Outside of her coursework, Reeya was able to complete an internship every summer and most semesters of the past four years, receiving ample exposure to the field of criminology. Following graduation, Reeya will be working as a criminal investigator for a law firm in DC. “I want to be working in a big city helping people who can’t help themselves,” she said. “People who have been sentenced to death, or people whose lives have been taken over by the criminal justice system. I just want to help them take back their lives.”
Hometown: Elkton, Maryland
Favorite involvement: CIVICUS and DSAC
Greatest accomplishment: Serving as Chair of DSAC this year
Future plans: Working for the U.S. Department of Justice
Erica Lemen is graduating with a B.A. in Economics. Her time as a CIVICUS associate then DSAC Board member has been most pivotal in her undergraduate career, especially after serving as DSAC’s Chair this academic year. “It's just been so rewarding to lead this group of people and really support them in ways that I wouldn’t be able to as a regular councilmember,” she said. “I think that the best part of it and the part that’s helped me the most is having Dr. Russel as a serious mentor and connecting with her.” Erica now applies her economics coursework to her position as a Pathways Intern as a budget trainee in the U.S. Department of Justice, hoping to continue to work with the department after graduating. “Maryland has led me here,” she said. “Everything that I’ve done has led me to this position.” In the future, Erica looks forward to reaching a position where she can give back to BSOS.
Environmental Science & Technology
Hometown: Waldorf, Maryland
Favorite involvement: DSAC and ENSP Student Advisory Board
Favorite course: Environmental Law and International Relations
Greatest accomplishment: Pushing for an ENSP environmental justice concentration and managing to help establish an Environmental Justice course
Future plans: Working on Capitol Hill and fighting for environmental justice.
Evan Brooks is graduating with a B.S. in Environmental Science and Policy. He has balanced several involvements outside of courses during his undergraduate career, including serving as a member of BSOS’ Dean’s Student Advisory Council, Vice President of UMD’s College Democrats and currently, as a full-time staffer in the House of Representatives. “My experiences in leadership with BSOS’ DSAC and ENSP is a direct translation to my current job,” he said of his leadership positions. “I’m a staffer on the House Science Committee, so I work full-time. Those three leadership experiences were instrumental in leading me to where I am now and where I want to go in the future.” Upon graduation, Evan will continue working on Capitol Hill and fighting for environmental justice--also a course he helped establish at UMD. “It’s something that’s really personal to me and that I care a lot about,” he said.
Geographical Information Science and Russian minors
Hometown: Towson, Maryland
Favorite involvement: Spending four years with UMD”s Marching Band
Favorite course: GEOG332 (Economic Geography)
Greatest accomplishment: Interning and conducting field work at the USDA
Future plans: Starting his Masters in Geographical Sciences at UMD next year
Peter Fath is graduating with a B.S. in Geographical Sciences. Taking UMD’s Economic Geography course early into his undergraduate career affirmed his goals in the field of geography, and his particular interests in economic and agricultural geography led to his role as an intern with the USDA. “Being able to get field work experience [at USDA] was a great first step of also broadening my scope of knowledge to go to bigger and better places,” he said. Following graduation, Peter looks forward to pursuing his M.A. in Geographical Sciences at UMD next year, alongside becoming more involved with local communities and governments. “So much of everything is nationalized these days, so I feel like in order to affect people’s lives, it needs to be at a local level,” he said. “My parents raised me to be very socially and environmentally conscious, so I’ve always been aware of these issues and had the privilege to understand them at an early age.” Professionally, Peter hopes to become an analyst in the field of geographical information science.
Government and Politics
BSOS Student Commencement Speaker
Leadership Studies mino
Hometown: Salisbury, Maryland
Favorite involvement: Army ROTC
Favorite course/instructor: GVPT377 Internship Course with Candace Turitto
Greatest accomplishment: Getting her desired Army branch (Intelligence)
What do you hope to achieve professionally? Become a well-rounded leader.
Future plans: Attending Airborne School, applying for law school/the JAG Corps
Jung Oh is graduating with a B.A. in Government and Politics. She is BSOS’ Student commencement speaker for the spring of 2021 and is an ROTC Army Cadet. She considers it her greatest achievement to have reached her desired Army branch of Intelligence, and currently interns at The National Defense University in D.C. Between her minor in Leadership Studies, serving as President of College Park International Studies, and as an AROTC representative on the Student Advisory Board she has spent her undergraduate career enriching her leadership skills, and professionally, she hopes to continue to round out her leadership capacities still. After graduation, she most looks forward to attending the U.S. Army Airborne School for paratrooper training.
AAST Studies Minor
Hometown: Ellicott City, Maryland
Favorite involvements: University Student Judiciary, Global Fellows, and on-campus research
Favorite course: GVPT454H (Chinese Foriegn Policy), Dr. Croco’s course on Advanced Empirical Research, Dr. Wong’s course on Asian American Politics
Greatest accomplishment: Completing and Defending her departmental Honors thesis
Future plans: Starting her PhD in Political Science at U.C. San Diego in the fall
Rachel Yu is graduating with a B.A. in Government and Politics. Apart from coursework, Rachel’s time serving in UMD’s University Student Judiciary, Global Fellows program, and engaging in federal internships and on-campus research has led her to plan for a career in academia in the field of international relations. “It has been a tremendous place of growth for me and I've met wonderful people through it as well,” Rachel said of the University Student Judiciary. “I've also been a part of the Global Fellows program and through that, I interned at the State Department and U.S. Census Bureau, so those were great opportunities.” Her departmental Honors thesis analyzed Chinese propaganda in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and her favorite courses encompass Chinese foreign policy and empirical political research. Rachel will be beginning her PhD in Political Science at U.C. San Diego in the fall and looks forward to professionally teaching and researching.
B.A. GVPT and ECON
Global Terrorism Studies Minor
Hometown: Ellicott City, Maryland
Favorite involvements: Interning with the Bureau of African Affairs
Favorite course: Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict with Dr. Kathleen Cunningham
Greatest accomplishment: Defending her thesis
Future plans: Pursuing her Masters in international security
Stephanie Lizzo is graduating with a B.A. in Government and Politics and Economics. Her passions for research and courses like Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict have led her to complete a thesis on rebel groups and look toward the field of international security. Her current internship at the Bureau of African Affairs has been a particularly highlight of her undergraduate career. “It kind of reaffirmed my goal that this is the area that I want to work in, like the intersection between Africa and security,” she said. Following graduation, her plans are to pursue a M.A. in international security and become an analyst at a think tank or in the federal government. “Through my Economics and Government coursework, I got a well-rounded view of a lot of aspects of security: economic security, human security, all of that,” she said. “The classes I took, the professors I got to speak to and learn from, and the data skills came in handy a lot in my professional work and my ability to do more quantitative analysis. I’m really excited to go to grad school and learn from experts in the field.”
Hometown: New Delhi, India
Favorite involvements: Facilitating the Department of Psychology’s Rainbow Room
Favorite course: Dr. Nazish Salahuddin’s PSYC432 (Counseling Psychology)
Greatest accomplishment: Doing an independent Honors thesis project and being an undergraduate program manager for the Department of Psychology
Future plans: Moving to the University of Tennessee to pursue a PhD in counseling psychology
Vardaan Dua is graduating with a B.A. in Psychology. Being an international student from New Delhi, India, he most appreciates the university community and resources his major has offered to students of all backgrounds. “I feel like UMD was the best place in terms of being an international student--with BSOS and Psychology, there is just so much diversity-focused stuff and so many resources available,” he said. “So I was so quick to find almost ‘home’ at Maryland, and I have a lot of school pride in that sense.” Vardaan considers his greatest accomplishment to be working with the Psychology department in an advisory role, assisting with events and voicing student concerns. He also served as a Teaching Assistant for for Dr. Nazish Salahuddin’s Counseling Psychology course, the class in which he discovered a passion for counseling and solidified his interest in pursuing a PhD in the field. In the future, Vardaan hopes to enter academia and engage in research and teaching, along with advocacy work on the side.
B.A. PSYC and AASD
Hometown: Prince George’s County, Maryland
Favorite involvements: Working at the intramural sports department
Greatest accomplishment: Being able to balance courses, work, hobbies, and student leadership
Future plans: Attending a graduate program in psychology
Michael Spooner is graduating with a B.A. in Psychology and African American Studies. Apart from coursework, his undergraduate career has been characterized by his positions working for the intramural sports department, where he has fulfilled several roles assisting intramural student clubs and players. Following graduation, Michael will attend a graduate program in psychology and hopes to apply his undergraduate studies in both majors to his professional work in underserved communities. “More than anything else, I like talking to people and working with and helping people who really need it,” he said. “The courses that I’ve taken have kind of provided me with viable pathways to learn and find careers that would allow me to make an impact that I think would be helpful to people.”