When Mary Wyatt ’74, American studies, was a little girl, she loved to retreat to a secret space in her backyard. There, in a patch of grass surrounded by a grove of apple trees, she spent lazy summer days lying on her back and gazing up at the passing clouds. Flash forward to the present day, where the concept behind Wyatt’s favorite childhood ritual – connecting to nature in a ‘sacred’ space – plays a central role in the organization for which she serves as executive director.

While the parallels between Wyatt’s favorite childhood indulgence and her current job may be pure coincidence, she insists that the ties between her education at UMBC and her professional life are not. As an American studies major, Wyatt indulged in an array of interests – literature, history, music, sociology, art, pop culture – all related to the experience of being an American.

“It infected me with a desire to do something with my life that would really make a difference – in a place where I could actually make a ripple, here in America,” she says.

Read the full story in the Winter 2011 issue of UMBC Magazine.

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