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Each year, the UMBC Alumni Association presents awards to honor alumni for their professional and personal achievements and service to the University. They truly represent the best of UMBC.

The 2014 awards were presented on Thursday, October 9, in the Performing Arts and Humanities Building Concert Hall on the UMBC campus. Congratulations to UMBC’s 2014 Alumni Awards Honorees!

Learn more about our past award winners

Engineering and Information Technology
Dr. Claudia Pearce ’89 M.S., ’94 Ph.D., Computer Science
Senior Computer Science Authority, NSA

Dr. Claudia Pearce serves as NSA Technology Directorate’s Claudia Pearce-Alumni_Award_Recipients-2014-2786Senior Executive Academic Liaison (SEAL) for UMBC. She received her B.S. in Mathematics and M.S. in Industrial and Systems Engineering from the University of Florida. For much of her career, Dr. Pearce was in research and development positions. During that time, she led research and development programs for information retrieval, knowledge representation and storage, knowledge distillation, and knowledge access and sharing. For the last 10 years, Dr. Pearce has been responsible for the recruitment, retention, and continued technical health and growth of computer scientists at NSA. Her significant accomplishments in this role include forming a computer science development program; establishing technical workforce metrics and roadmaps; creating new computer science courseware, workshops, and other offerings for the agency’s technical community; and spearheading a university outreach program for computer science.

Dr. Pearce is also an avid quilt maker and trumpet player. She has shown her quilts in juried international competitions and has competed nationally in trumpet competitions. Dr. Pearce plays trumpet in the Frederick Symphony Orchestra and the Montgomery Village Community Band. She and her husband, Jonathan Cohen, reside in Glenwood, MD. The views and opinions expressed are those of the affiliate and do not reflect those of NSA/CSS.

Donna Lewis ’86, English
Unit Chief, Office of Professional Responsibility, Transportation Security Administration,
Department of Homeland Security
Cartoonist, Washington Post News Service and Syndicate

Donna Lewis-Alumni_Award_Recipients-2014-4476Donna Lewis is a lawyer by day and cartoonist by night. Her cartoons are syndicated daily – and internationally – by the Washington Post News Service and Syndicate.

Ms. Lewis’ legal career began with civil litigation, focused primarily on issues related to disability. After 10 years in litigation, she transitioned to consulting with the management side of business in the hopes of helping supervisors deal more successfully with employees’ differences and diversity. In 2006, Ms. Lewis accepted a position with the Office of Civil Rights and Liberties at the Transportation Security Administration. She is currently a Unit Chief in the Office of Professional Responsibility where she adjudicates matters involving misconduct. Ms. Lewis earned her Juris Doctorate at the University of Maryland at Baltimore.

At UMBC, Ms. Lewis focused on writing.  Since graduating, she has written articles and essays for every organization she’s worked with and she has always juggled personal writing projects. One of those projects was a stint in stand-up comedy, which helped Ms. Lewis discover her love for writing punchlines. That interest eventually turned into a daily cartoon and a daily comic strip.

Natural and Mathematical Sciences
Michael Adelstein ’96, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
CEO, Potomac Photonics, Inc.

MikeAdelsteinMichael Adelstein is the CEO of Potomac Photonics, which works on projects to fabricate devices to treat cancer, diagnose concussions, develop new pharmaceutical drugs, and many others. In 1997, Mr. Adelstein joined Potomac Photonics as a sales administrator, and became immediately intrigued and inspired by the micro manufacturing technology emerging for applications in industries such as medical, biotech, electronics, and others. He focused his efforts in developing and implementing a strategy to grow a contract manufacturing unit, which became the company’s primary focus. In 2011, Mr. Adelstein was promoted to President and CEO, and in 2013, he led a buyout of the company and oversaw the relocation to bwtech@UMBC Technology and Research Park. After graduating from UMBC, Mr. Adelstein earned a Masters of Science in Technology Management and became a CPA. He also served six years in the Maryland National Guard 29th Light Infantry Division.

Social and Behavioral Sciences
Kaliope Parthemos ’93, Psychology
Chief of Staff, Office of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake

kaliAs Chief of Staff to Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Kaliope Parthemos serves as a senior adviser to the Mayor and five Deputy Mayors, in addition to overseeing the Department of Finance, Department of Human Resources, the Law Department, Citistat, Office of Public Affairs, Board of Estimates, and day-to-day management operations of City Hall.

Ms. Parthemos has served Baltimore City government in management positions for more than seven years. Prior to her current role, she served as Deputy Mayor for Economic and Neighborhood Development for four years, serving as senior advisor to the mayor on all matters related to development projects, economic and business development strategies, planning, zoning, housing, recreation and parks, and special projects. Additionally, Ms. Parthemos also served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Ms. Rawlings-Blake in her past role as City Council President. Before serving in City government, Ms. Parthemos served as a foster care caseworker with Baltimore City Department of Social Services and as a Public Defender in Baltimore City.

Ms. Parthemos has deep roots in Baltimore. She was born and raised in Baltimore’s historic Greektown, attended Baltimore City Schools, and later earned her bachelor’s degree at UMBC and her law degree from the University of Maryland School of Law.

Visual and Performing Arts
Hadieh Shafie ’04 M.F.A., Imaging and Digital Arts
Independent Artist

Hadieh Shafie - Alumni_Award_RecipientHadieh Shafie is an independent visual artist. Her work has been included in a number of exhibitions in the U.S. and abroad including the Jameel Prize traveling exhibition presented at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the Institute du Monde Arabe, Paris; Casa Arabe, Madrid; Cantor Arts Centre, Stanford University; and the San Antonio Museum of Art, Texas. Ms. Shafie has been recognized with an MSAC Individual Artist Grant, a Mary Sawyers Baker Prize, and was shortlisted for the Jameel Prize. She was also selected by the Marie Walsh Sharpe Foundation for the Space Program in 2012. Ms. Shafie’s work is in a number of public collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the British Museum, the Farjam Collection, the Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art, Sheldon Museum of Art, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Currently, Ms. Shafie is in the studio producing work for a solo show with Leila Heller Gallery in New York.

Distinguished Service
Gib Mason ’95, Economics
Chief Operating Officer & Director of the Center for Leadership and Innovation, UMBC Training Centers

gib-masonGib Mason serves as Chief Operating Officer & Director of the Center for Leadership and Innovation at UMBC Training Centers.  Additionally at UMBC, Mr. Mason also serves as a board member for the Alex. Brown Entrepreneurship Center; teaches and develops curriculum for both the FYS and ENTR programs; and acts as a faculty advisor within the Interdisciplinary Studies program. Throughout his time here, he has also facilitated strategic planning for multiple departments and provided leadership development training for all members of the UMBC community. Mr. Mason previously served as Chief Financial Officer at EMG Corp, a national environmental and engineering assessment-consulting firm. He also worked as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer at 180s, Inc., a branded consumer-products company. He assisted in transforming it from a four teammate and $1 million revenue firm in 1999 to a global company of over 100 teammates and $45 million in revenue by 2004. Mr. Mason is a certified public accountant and received his Master’s degree in Organizational Development and Strategic Human Resources from Johns Hopkins University.

Rising Star
Isaac Kinde ’05, Biological Sciences
M.D./Ph.D. Candidate, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Isaac - Kinde_Alumni_Award_RecipientIsaac Kinde is a medical scientist with an interest in academic and commercial molecular diagnostic tests. He is currently pursuing both his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees in a combined program at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. His doctoral research produced novel cancer diagnostics based on improvements in DNA sequencing technology. Notable resultant applications include a prototype screening test for ovarian and endometrial cancer from Pap smears, a noninvasive method of monitoring bladder cancers from urine, and a revelation in the development of treatment resistance from analyzing the blood of patients with colon cancer. Descriptions of his inventions and their applications appear in prominent scientific journals – such as Science Translational Medicine, PNAS, and Nature – and are the subject of several patent applications. His work has attracted considerable attention from the industry, spurring partnerships to facilitate its commercialization. He has been recognized nationally as one of Forbes Magazine’s “30 under 30” in Science and Healthcare and as a “Game Changer” by Men’s Fitness.

Outstanding Faculty
Dr. Anne Spence
Professor of the Practice, Department of Mechanical Engineering

Anne Portrait 2Dr. Anne Spence is a professor of the practice in UMBC’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, where her primary focus is on activities related to engineering education. She dedicated her academic career to aerospace engineering, earning a B.S. at Missouri S&T, an M.S. at the University of Texas-Arlington, and a Ph.D. at the University of Maryland, College Park. Dr. Spence joined the faculty at UMBC in 2001. Her current work to prepare teachers to teach engineering in elementary, middle, and high school will open the doors of engineering to a new generation of students. She is also developing new mentoring programs that will ensure that all students entering mechanical engineering will benefit from the types of activities formerly reserved for members of UMBC’s scholar programs. As a leader in the Project Lead the Way and FIRST communities, she seeks to identify best practices in educating teachers and engaging students to persevere through the STEM pipeline.


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