College Park Scholars kicked off the spring semester with a February dialogue event for students to share their own personal stories around our annual theme, “Migrations.” Many of the participants, as first- or second-generation Americans, spoke of their connections to their parents’ or grandparents’ cultures through food. They also referenced the emotional impacts their families’ respective migration stories had on their own lives.
My first gig at the University of Maryland was an assistantship to Dr. Thomas Holtz, who at the time was creating the Earth, Life and Time program—the precursor to College Park Scholars’ current Science and Global Change (SGC) program. In the 19 years since, I’ve taken on many other responsibilities, including the director of undergraduate studies for the Department of Geology. But my job with Scholars remains by far my favorite.
Marlen Cruz has taken on many roles in her scant 20-some years. First-generation American. First-generation college student. And: a commuter student. “My parents live five minutes away from campus. They were like, ‘There’s no way you’re living on campus,’” she relays, laughing.
Katie Bemb hadn’t intended on becoming a Terp. As a high school senior, she applied to the University of Maryland (UMD) regular decision but was strongly considering another university in the Washington, DC, metro area. That inclination began to change after her best friend—who had applied early action to UMD—got accepted into College Park Scholars. Students who apply early action are automatically considered for the living–learning program.
More than 20 years ago, a University of Maryland sophomore created a Scholars-wide charity softball tournament for his Scholars practicum project.
Washing your hands is serious business—something that the students at the University of Maryland’s Center for Young Children are learning hands-on. “Our kids wash their hands all the time,” says Director Mona Leigh Guha, of the center’s 3- to 6-year-old students. The state requires certain handwashing protocols in licensed preschools, and frankly, it’s good practice. Handwashing with soap is widely recognized as one of the easiest and most effective ways of preventing disease.