Class of 2018

Hello! My name is Flora Kirk, and I am beginning my fourth and final year this upcoming semester. I am an Ancient Studies major (concentration Roman History and Archaeology) and Political Science minor in the UMBC Humanities Scholars Program and UMBC Honors College. UMBC has allowed me to be very involved both on and off campus, as well as keep up with my studies. During the academic year I am a (paid!) student assistant at the AOK Library’s Special Collections, Secretary and Designer for the UMBC Ancient Studies Council, and Vice President of Design for UMBC’s Student Events Board. During the summers I have pursued additional experience in Ancient Studies, including an internship at the Roman Baths, UK in 2015, an intensive Ancient Greek course at Kings College London in 2016, an archaeological field school in Transylvania, Romania in 2017, and an internship at the Great North Museum, Newcastle UK, also in 2017.
As you can see from my summer experiences, UMBC and the Humanities Scholars Program have given me ample opportunity to travel while furthering my education. All of my summers have been funded in part or full by UMBC scholarships, whether for research or in reward for academic achievement. Through the Humanities Scholars program, I spent a semester abroad in Rome in the Fall of 2016, where I studied Italian and continued my Roman history and archaeology studies. The experience enabled me to visit countless local sites I had only studied before from books, as well as meet fellow students with similar interests. My archaeology field school experience in Transylvania was similarly immersive, involving staying with a local Romanian host family and excavating at an operating dig site. It was also made possible through the help of the UMBC Honors College.
Under my Ancient Studies mentor, Dr. Melissa Kutner, I will be finishing my thesis on Roman numismatics this year, hopefully presenting it at URCAD 2018. Thanks to UMBC’s support of undergraduate research, I have been following this project since Sophomore year, even being awarded an Undergraduate Research Award to continue my work. While many of my opportunities have been possible through different departments, I would not have found them so easily, or been as qualified, without the Humanities Scholars Program. Through the Hum seminars, outside lectures, and excursions, I have been able to broaden my horizon, meet a loveable group of fellow humanities students, and expand my skills immensely!


Hi, my name is Kelley Bennett, and I am double majoring in Media and Communications Studies and History. I’m in my fourth year at UMBC, and I’ve learned so much in my time here. I’ve learned better time management and individuality, and I think I’ve grown a lot as a person. I’ve had some great classes with some incredible professors, all of whom have had a passion for their subject and for sharing knowledge.
I’ve loved every part of being a Humanities Scholar, but one of the best experiences I’ve had is joining this community of scholars. All of the scholars are motivated, hard-working, passionate people who have a desire to learn. I’ve also loved all the excursions we’ve taken as Humanities scholars, which show how the program wants to further us both academically and culturally.
In addition to being a Humanities Scholar, I am on the Humanities Scholars Senate, which meets to advise the program director on activities and events for the program. I also assist Dr. Oskoz with the social media presence for the program, with help from fellow scholar Sage Burch. Additionally, I am currently the Vice President for the Media and Communications Council of Majors, and I work as a tour guide and student assistant at the UMBC Undergraduate Admissions Office.
This past fall I spent a semester abroad in Swansea, Wales. I had a wonderful time, studying history and exploring the area around me. It was great to get out of my comfort zone a little and my time abroad taught me a lot of independence as I learned how to navigate an unfamiliar city on my own.
While I can’t believe my senior year is already here, I’m excited for the challenges it will bring. I’ve had such a wonderful time at UMBC these past three years, and I look forward to the year to come!


Zoe Russo 2015I’m Zoe Russo, though I prefer to go by Emory, and I am a senior at UMBC and the Humanities Scholars Program. I graduated from the International Baccalaureate program at Edgewood High School, and am completing a double major in History and the English Literature track. I am considering attending graduate school, and would like to pursue a career in writing, possibly in journalism or publishing. In the fall semester of 2016 I studied abroad in Estonia at the University of Tartu, where I studied history and Russian language. At UMBC I am a member of Freedom Alliance, Spectrum, Bartleby Literary Magazine, and more.


Hello, my name is Morgan Chadderton and I’m entering my fourth and final year as a humanities scholar at UMBC. I am a Modern Languages, Linguistics, and Intercultural Communication major, studying French and Russian. I am also pursuing a political science minor.
In addition to being a Hum Scholar, I am also a member of the Honors College. I am also involved with Russian Choir and this upcoming year I will be President of the Russian Club. I also have to opportunity to begin conducting research as part of the MLL Departmental Honors program.
The past three years have been an amazing educational experience. Through the Humanities Scholars program, I have been able to attend interesting seminars, theater events, informative workshops, and many other exciting things. I have also been able to interact with a group of inspiring individuals who share a common interest: a love for the humanities. There are so many great aspects of the Humanities program, but my favorite is the study abroad requirement. Because of my interest in foreign languages, studying abroad was a personal must for me, and I am glad to be a part of a program in which studying abroad is not only encouraged, but required.
This past summer, I took my first plane trip ever to the city of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan for an 8-week intensive language program. A few weeks later, I studied in Lyon, France for a semester. In the span of 6 months, my world had expanded and broadened drastically. Of course, I learned a lot about French and Russian and about different cultures, but I also learned important life skills, such as adapting to changing situations and being more independent. I think that being part of the Humanities Program has been like studying abroad. Because of the seminars, workshops, and excursions, I have been immersed in the humanities, expanded my world-view, and learned many different skills. I am very grateful for the experiences I have had thus far, and I am looking forward to another educational and exciting year.


Hello, my name is Emily Grace and I am entering my final year as a Humanities Scholar and Honors College Student at UMBC as an English Literature Major with a Music Minor. On campus, I am a senator on the Humanities Scholars Senate, the president of Sigma Tau Delta (the English honors society), a writer for Engineers Without Borders, and a Desk Staffer for UMBC’s Graduate School. Off campus, I am a paid vocalist at St. Agnes Catholic Church, and have held internships with BrickHouse Books, a Baltimore-based publishing house and with Loch Raven Review, a Baltimore-based online literary journal. I recently completed a study abroad semester in Aberdeen, Scotland, where I was able to study Scottish literature, learn about the British system of education, travel the UK, and make wonderful friends with whom I still keep in touch. In my senior year, I will be completing an honors thesis through the English department that focuses Elizabeth Bishop’s poetry as well as my own creative work, which I will defend in the spring semester and hopefully present at URCAD. I will also be applying to graduate programs in which I hope to continue my study of poetry.
As a Humanities Scholar, I have had many wonderful opportunities these past three years, and I look forward to the new experiences my final year in the program and at UMBC promise to bring. Some of my favorite experiences have been the Humanities Forums that are put on by the Dresher Center every semester, and I have enjoyed hearing people speak about their research in a variety of fields. I have also enjoyed the community the Humanities Scholars Program has developed. I have met some of my best friends because of this, and am glad to be a part of a close-knit group of scholars with whom I can spend time, discuss a variety of topics, and attend shows and other cultural events in Baltimore.


Kaitlyn MoretzI’m Kaitlyn Moretz, and I’m a Media & Communications major. I’m excited to be experiencing more of an urban lifestyle at UMBC, although it will be very different than the rural part of Harford County I currently live in! I love to read, write, work with children, and spend time outside (when it’s warm).
I was an editor for my high school’s newspaper, and I had an internship and was published in the local magazine the Harford’s Heart. I was also involved in many clubs, and spent a lot of my time coaching youth soccer and lacrosse. I’ll definitely be up for volunteer opportunities at UMBC.
I’m a night owl, and at 2 am you’ll probably find me awake reading (Catch-22 right now). I’m always writing down thoughts and ideas that hopefully someday might become of use, instead of a jumbled mass of the random things I think of. I ask a lot of questions, enjoy running (after I’m done it), am not a fan of boy bands, and have a weird talent for finding four leaf clovers.
I am honored to be a part of the Humanities Scholars Program, and I can’t wait to study abroad. I hope to take advantage of the opportunity to be involved in a program with other ambitious, interesting students. Wish me luck!


My name is Louis Alberti and I am an English literature major and creative writing minor. After 3 years at UMBC, I have learned a lot about myself and my field of study. I’ve taken a wide array of literature courses ranging from early modern literature to literature from the first world war. I’ve also taken courses in fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. These classes have consistently pushed my boundaries and, as a result, I have become a more well rounded scholar and artist. The Humanities Scholars program has pushed me even further in my academics and personal life. Out of all of the amazing opportunities that I’ve had thanks to the Humanities Scholars Programs, I’d have to say that the LLC was the has made college all the more enjoyable, and I hope that the new scholars have as good of an experience as I’ve had.
In Fall and Winter 2016 I worked as a desk staffer in Harbor Hall, and I will be returning this fall as a desk staffer in Potomac Hall. In Fall 2016 I was also on the executive board of QUMBC, a queer activist group on campus, as their communications director. However, while I was studying abroad QUMBC and Freedom Alliance decided to merge their orgs together into the LGBTQ Student Union. While I will not be serving on the board for this year, I am looking forward to continuing my work with them.
As previously mentioned, I spent my spring semester abroad. I studied English literature with creative writing at Swansea University in Swansea, Wales. I had previously studied in Wales for the summer and I loved it so much that I decided to go back. Wales is a country that really supports and sustains its creative writers. Its culture as well as its geography inspire writers, myself included, to write about this magical place. In addition to this, there are many writers groups throughout Wales that foster community and promote each other’s work. I had such a great experience there, and I am hoping to go back one day for a masters.


Hello, I’m Kelly Wan, a senior double majoring in Global Studies and Financial Economics and double minoring in Chinese and Asian American Studies. During the last three years at UMBC, I have discovered some of my favorite courses and academic topics, developed strong relationships with my fellow peers and professors, and actively participated in multiple organizations, such as Honors College, HSP Senate, and SGA. Most notably, I am the current President of the Cleftomaniacs, UMBC’s premiere co-ed acapella group.
Being a Humanities Scholar has given me numerous opportunities to learn and grow as a student, researcher, and world traveler. Throughout the program, the best part is undeniably study abroad. I spent the previous summer and fall semesters in China, with the former at Shaanxi Normal University in Xi’an via the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) and the latter at East China Normal University in Shanghai. While abroad, I advanced my Mandarin skills, immersed myself in Chinese culture, toured numerous cities, and ate an abundance of delicious cuisines. By having the chance to study abroad, I was able to complete my Global Studies major and Chinese minor through courses unparalleled at UMBC. It also helped pique my interest in applying for a Fulbright fellowship to conduct research on social and cultural issues in contemporary Chinese society.


Julian Tash 17

I am Julian Tash, a rising junior double-majoring in Asian Studies and History with minors in Japanese Language and Computer Science. Since the moment I entered UMBC, I was met with a warm and nurturing environment which has been the source of many opportunities for me.
Last summer, my advisor introduced me to an intensive Japanese summer program at Middlebury College, where I spoke exclusively in Japanese for ten weeks. I became incredibly interested in Japanese language and culture because of my time at Middlebury and my studies at UMBC. Now, I am preparing to embark on a year-long academic study at Nanzan University in Japan.
My teachers and mentors at UMBC have also provided me with a wealth of research opportunities. In Fall 2015, I interned at the Walters Art Museum, where I researched the histories related to several objects, including a significant group of Buddhist statues. In Spring, I was able to participate in several multidisciplinary projects: under my Asian Studies mentor, Dr. Constantine Vaporis, I did an independent study on the Mekong River which culminated in research that I presented in the Bard Conference on Asia and the Environment; as part of the History Honors Program, I researched the South China Sea with Dr. Meredith Oyen and presented my findings at the Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement Day; guided by Dr. Preminda Jacob in the Visual Arts Department, I am extending the research I began at the Walters Art Museum with an Undergraduate Research Award.
I have learned a great deal about the world through research. Because of my work, I am better able to dissect and understand arguments when reading news articles, visiting museums, or reading books, which has in turn lead me to better appreciate the subjects about which I study. Thanks to the guidance given by my fantastic advisors and the Humanities Scholars Program, my time at UMBC has enriched my life and taught me how to critically and deliberately understand the world— tools that will prove invaluable during my study abroad and throughout my life.


Hello! My name is Mary Farrell and I am a double major in Global Studies on the International Affairs track and German, as well as pursuing a certificate in Russian. I have loved my time at UMBC and I am so sad to see it coming to an end! UMBC has been such a wonderful place to learn and grow. All of the students are dedicated to what they want to do and the professors are always ready and willing to help.
Being in the Humanities Scholars program definitely shaped my time at UMBC for the better, providing opportunities to better myself and interact with peers who were just as passionate as I was. I wouldn’t trade the experience for the world.
UMBC provides so many opportunities to get involved. I was recently elected the Vice President of Standards for the PanHellenic Association as well as both Director of Finance and Secretary for my sorority, Delta Phi Epsilon. I am very excited about the opportunity to grow as a leader over the coming year. I will also be doing research on German national identity in television as a part of my departmental honors work, specifically in regards to the youth counter-culture movement of the 1960’s, and I cannot wait to start. In addition, I am a member of the Honors College and have an on-campus job in the Language, Literacy, and Culture PhD Program.
Last fall I had the opportunity to travel to Lüneburg, Germany and study at the Leuphana University. I had a wonderful time learning more about the language and culture, as well as travelling around Germany and Europe, and eating one too many German sausages. It’s amazing how much I learned just over one semester, and I can’t wait to have the opportunity to go back one day.


EmmaBarnesJuly2015 updateMy name is Emma Barnes, and I’m double majoring in English (Communications track) and Biological Sciences. I plan on using these specializations to go to graduate school, then to pursue a career in science writing. Through my chosen fields of study and the Humanities Scholars program, I’ve been able to explore both humanities subjects and science courses. The Humanities Scholars program gives me the flexibility to pursue these different subjects with a focused goal in mind. Spending time with other scholars in our seminars and in the Humanities Forums was also a great experience.
My favorite part of the Humanities Scholars program is the ability to interact with other scholars, particularly when living on the Humanities floor, or during other events. It’s very enjoyable to be able to spend time with other students with similar interests and often-different perspectives. For my upcoming study abroad, I’m considering programs related to conservation biology, possibly in South America, hopefully where I can also utilize and improve my writing skills. This year, I’m planning to take more in-depth courses from both of my specializations, and look for opportunities outside of what I’ve done previously. The benefit of being in the Humanities Scholars program is that I have the freedom to do so.


My name is Kate Giitter, and I’m studying English Literature with a certificate in Secondary Education. As I enter my junior year at UMBC, I look forward to continuing my work as a peer writing consultant and a Writing Fellow with the UMBC English Department, as well as my lab work with a human operant lab on campus. As of Spring 2016, I am a co-officer and co-founder of a new student organization: the Education Council of Majors.
Of all the many reasons to love UMBC (have you seen our squirrels?), the Hum program is responsible for much of my enthusiasm. With help from the Humanities Scholars Program and the Honors College, I have had the pleasure of establishing great working relationships with professors. The humanities forums—such as a brilliant talk by author Dinaw Mengestu— work together with our seminars to expand our education beyond course work. Between humanities forums and the scholars themselves I have been exposed to diverse disciplines and perspectives, not to mention have made many lifelong friends.
This Spring I hope to be studying in Eastern Finland, where I can continue taking literature courses while also learning more about their progressive education system. In the meantime, I look forward to spending another year with the wonderful students and faculty that make up the Hum program.


Hi, I’m Megumi (but most people call me Meg) Gomyo and I am a senior double majoring in Media and Communication Studies and French with a minor in Asian American Studies. The most important thing I’ve learned so far at UMBC is to not be afraid to be myself! The UMBC community is a warm and accepting one that I am so proud to be a part of.
In the past three years, my favorite part about this program has been the opportunity to learn – through our freshman seminars, to the forums, even our outings each semester – have offered chances to learn about different topics I might never even have approached, had I not been a hum scholar. Also, studying abroad was a pretty neat experience! I spent this past spring in Pau, France; I lived with a host family and took various intense courses, like one on the French comic, and one focused on the impact of French literature on culture. I learned so much – and am grateful for the detailed grammar worksheets I brought back with me!
Before school starts again in August, I’m hoping to read at least ten books this summer, like last year (currently on Hiroshima mon amour by Marguerite Duras), and I’ll be going to Disney World (my parents and I go every year). In the fall of 2015 I was lucky enough to participate in the Disney College Program and I hope to work for Disney again after I graduate.
Since I’ll be back on campus for one more year, I’ll be returning as a tour guide for the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and Orientation, and as this year’s President of the Media & Communications Studies Council of Majors. I am also eager to be in the MLLI Honors Program – I’m anticipating a lot of work, but I am so so so excited!


My name is Rebecca Haddaway, and I am a senior majoring in English Literature, Global Studies, and French. At UMBC, I have discovered a passion for research and learning that is leading me down the path of graduate school. As a UMBC student, I have always been encouraged to get involved, get active, and get interested. There are so many opportunities available for students to take advantage of to find their niche. Being a Humanities Scholar has been an additionally rewarding experience that I would recommend for anyone considering the program. When I graduate, I will miss the interesting lectures and dinners that scholars are invited to, and of course waffle day.
Outside of class, I work at the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, am a co-director of the Environmental chapter of UMBC’s Global Brigades, and am a brother of Alpha Phi Omega (a co-ed community service fraternity).
In Spring 2017, I studied abroad in Geneva, Switzerland, at the University of Geneva. My program allowed me to focus on an independent research project, guided by a professor at the university. I am returning to UMBC as a more independent student, with plenty of interesting research under my belt.
My two current research topics are Gender and Migration in Literature by female Caribbean authors, which I am pursuing with the English Honors Program, and medicine and travel in 19th Century French Archeological Fiction, which I researched in Switzerland and will continue with the Modern Languages and Linguistics Honors Program. I am excited to spend a busy senior year in my favorite building––the library!


photo_2015-08-29_20-47-55Hi! I’m Carrie Cook, a sophomore (expected graduation date Spring 18) majoring in English (Communication Technology), and minoring in Political Science and Music. This year, I am excited for my classes, because they will be more specialized in the areas I’m actually interested in.  I also play in the UMBC Symphony Orchestra, and am involved in InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. This semester, I’ve begun working in the office of Undergraduate Admissions as a student assistant. I love reading, baking, watching old movies, napping, and scrapbooking. I’ve been called a grandma, but I’m not sure where that could have come from.
My favorite part of the Hum Program is the connections I’ve been able to make with others through living on the Humanities LLC. I’ve made best friends through my fellow scholars, and it is from their help that I have truly adjusted and come to genuinely live this school. We get creative with our free time, and have been known to do anything from marathoning movies to growing trees on the windowsill. College has afforded me so many opportunities, and I can’t wait to see what else lies ahead!


I’m Morgan Zepp, a senior English Literature and Global Studies double major. I am also pursuing minors in writing and Spanish.
The past few years, I’ve spent a lot of time among individuals who are incredibly civically engaged and optimistic about serving others in the local Baltimore community. I’ve made many friends who are devoted to starting initiatives in order to make real changes in the world around them—one of those initiatives is called the Reach Initiative, which is a mentoring program for high school girls in Baltimore who have an interest in studying STEM fields in college. A friend of mine started this program after researching and noticing first-hand the troubling gender gap in those fields, and felt that something could be done with the resources at our institution in order to counter that. Now she has graduated, and I will fill her place as Director of the program. People who make these initiatives are commonly found at UMBC, and I feel very grateful to have these exemplary peers when considering the things that I can do to be engaged with the world around me.
I am very excited this year to do my part in encouraging a more literary climate at UMBC as Senior Managing Editor of Bartleby, UMBC’s literary arts journal. Fellow Humanities Scholar Alex Armbruster (Junior Managing Editor) and I plan to make the editing experience a better one for all of those involved with selecting pieces for the final publication.
The Humanities Scholars program has also been instrumental in education about what humanities majors can do to be connected to people outside of higher education. The seminars that I took during my freshman year were instrumental particularly in terms of understanding social history, storytelling, and interviewing. I’ve continued to use those skills in semesters since and in other areas of my work. UMBC is a place where faculty and staff take students seriously and treat them with full respect of their potential. As such, it’s a great opportunity to be selected as a France-Merrick Fellow for the 2017-2018 year, meaning that I will be a liaison for the Shriver Center in terms of advocating for students to participate in service-learning.
(During the Spring ’17 semester, I studied abroad in Peru, which was a very welcome break from the busy world of UMBC. I saw many llamas and ancient ruins, but I’m glad to be back at UMBC and ready to take on a new year.


My name is Mary Davis and I am a senior double majoring in Global Studies and Visual Arts as well as minoring in French. I plan on graduating in the Spring of 2018 and then pursuing more education. I have thought about using my skills in a branch of the military or completing the graduate school program through the Peace Corps. These past three years I have gained great knowledge and friends through the UMBC Humanities Scholars program. The program expects the hum scholars to attend cultural events and lectures from many scholars. I would say the access to many wonderful resources is my favorite thing about being a humanities scholar.
I have found that UMBC is a very diverse and open school, allowing students to connect with different activities and sports and cultures while maintaining a high degree of education. I am a part of the musical theatre club as well as the club soccer team. I am part of the leader board for the club team and attend weekly meetings as well as help guide practices. I work at the RAC as a desk staffer and enjoy interacting with other students and athletes. I will be living on the Intercultural Living Exchange LLC floor for the fourth year and be a part of its French cluster. I studied abroad at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland in the spring of 2017. I chose Lausanne because it allows me to study French safely and in a new culture. I really enjoyed meeting people from different countries and being able to challenge myself with a new learning style. I learned many new things about Switzerland and its culture that I had never known before and definitely feel like it is part of me now.


Natalie Cook pic July2016Hey there! My name is Natalie Puig, and I am a Humanities Scholar graduating class of 2018. I am a Global Studies Major, and am specifically in Track 2: Development, Health and the Environment. I also have a certificate in Spanish language. I really found that this track contained knowledge I wanted to have moving forward in my life.
The best part about going to UMBC has definitely been the people. I have great friends here, and learned so much from them about the world that I never thought I would come across before. They help give me lightness in my step, validate my feelings, and above all remind me to constantly be curious and keep an open mind. Most of them are STEM oriented but as a Humanities Scholar this is good for me; it keeps me fresh on how a completely different part of the educational system operates, in positive and negative ways. They form the networks I will have for life, but even more important to me, true family.
The best part of being a Humanities Scholar is that you really have to work for what you want. The requirements and opportunities almost force you to get out there and be involved. The events are always truly insightful in one manner or another, and the advisors and students I work with give me a view into a world of higher education that I would not find elsewhere.
Currently I am part of the Violence Prevention Advocacy on campus, focusing on educating young adults about relationship violence and how to respond to it in all of its possible forms. I also am currently interning with The Dancing Herbalist, LLC in Frederick, MD and am receiving some really great holistic health education.
My plans are to study abroad in Ireland during the spring semester of 2017. I will be studying at the National University of Ireland, Galway. I desired a university that would easily match the credits I needed while also being in a country I had never visited before.


My name is Naomi Martinez, and I am double majoring in Modern Languages, Linguistics, and Intercultural Communication (Spanish) and Health Administration and Policy (Public Health). Through my experiences at UMBC I have had the opportunity to meet and learn from a very diverse group of people with a wide variety of interests and passions. By working as a desk staffer for the past three years, and through my involvement in different clubs, I have had the opportunity to make many new connections. Additionally, I have had the opportunity to take classes in both the humanities subjects and the science field, giving me a very broad-based education and a strong foundation for graduate school.
The Humanities Scholars Program has provided me with a smaller group of like-minded scholars with whom I have had the opportunity to learn and grow. The freshman seminar was very rewarding in that it helped improve my writing and analytical skills and pushed me to grow academically and as a person. One factor that initially drew me to the Humanities Scholars Program was the requirement to study abroad. I had always dreamed of studying abroad, but I knew that the Humanities Scholars Program would provide me with the support that I needed to go through with it.
In Spring 2016, I studied abroad in Valparaíso, Chile. Since I am a Spanish major, I chose Chile because I wanted to go to a Spanish-speaking country, and I wanted to be immersed in a culture in South America. While in Chile I was able to take classes on the history of Chile, Chilean poetry, geography, and even the traditional dances of Chile. Many of these classes transferred back and enabled me to earn credits towards my MLLI degree. While in Chile, I had the opportunity to travel extensively and to learn more from my host country, and myself, than I had ever thought possible. I am grateful that studying abroad was a requirement for the Humanities Scholars Program, because my experience in Chile was easily the highlight of my college career and one of the most invaluable experiences I’ve had so far in my life