Class of 2023

Hello! My name is Matthew Kelbaugh, and I am a rising junior majoring in history and Russian. The last year has been both challenging and productive, as I had opportunity to engage in extensive translation and academic research, in addition to the usually eventful load of schoolwork. I designed a project with my Russian professor which compared Russian, Ukrainian, and American history textbooks’ depiction of Vladimir Lenin, and participated in a group project for MLLI 230 about Kurdish language rights, or lack thereof, in Turkey. Both projects were accepted into URCAD and the Johns Hopkins Richard Macksey National Undergraduate Humanities Research Symposium, and I was able to present at the latter, which was a fulfilling and gratifying experience which I hope to be able to replicate in the future. In addition, the Macksey Journal accepted the research papers of both projects for publication. Furthermore, I was recently endowed with a URA to conduct research about the 2008 Russo-Georgian War, so I am excited about that as well. All of this has proved to be a bit exhausting, but I have also experienced the deep satisfaction of developing meaningful projects and creating a template for my future work and goals this early in my college career.
Also related to my future goals was the opportunity to be a teaching assistant in SCI 100 this last semester, where my role was relatively broad but included elements of curriculum development, grading, and, to a certain extent, teaching. I have also helped design small elements of some of my Russian professor’s classes, which has been a great honor. In any case, I regard these experiences as a prototype for when I organize my own courses and grade assignments. Plus, I earned a little money in the process…
Finally, while the historical times ensure the uncertainty of travel plans, my intended destination for study abroad has shifted as my studies have led to a primary focus on Russia and her sphere of influence. For now, Israel will have to wait, but because of the current political climate with Russia, I have decided that I will select a former Soviet state instead, possibly Ukraine or some other country in that vicinity. Regardless of where I go, I know that the current work I have done and the skills I have sought to improve and develop in college will prepare me for the historical and linguistic research I intend to embark upon when abroad, which will in turn be a launching pad for forging the craftsmanship of historical analysis, at a time when it is desperately needed.

Howdy guys, gals, and nonbinary pals, it’s Theo Reinert. I’m a Media Communications major with a Philosophy minor, and by the will of an obscure Greek god, a junior. I want to go into film/animation writing because my dream is to make Netflix originals watchable again. Quarantine turned the school year into a series of filler episodes that the writers needed to lengthen the series, so not a lot of plot was happening. However, it was a great time for slow character development, painful Rotten Tomato reviews, and looking over peoples’ heads to see what weird stuff they had hanging in their bedroom. Over the summer I got to write for a web mini-series created by Rails Comedy and had a lot of fun working with other writers. As a part of Bartleby, I’m used to critiquing and reviewing writing, so it was nice to be able to write with others again.
When we get on campus, I can’t wait to get back to the Hum scholar events and forums, because the educational side of Tumblr is hardly a replacement for that. More plays! More speakers! Everything taught through the virtues of the Hum Program is excellent writing material. I’ve never grown as fast as a writer or a person as when I’m partaking in Hum events and classes. I also want to observe those three geese that live on campus. There’s some sort of drama going on there– love triangle? Isolation of the third goose? I might throw myself into a character study of geese so I can write a soap opera about them.  I’ll call it, “War and Geese”.

Hi! My name is Clair Volkening and I’m a junior (even though my brain keeps telling me that I should only be a sophomore) English major in the CT track at UMBC. During the pandemic, I became a Writing Fellow for an English 100 class and the poetry editor for Bartleby, UMBC’s Creative Arts Journal. This summer, I am working as an editorial intern with the Baltimore Museum of Industry to help tell the story of Bethlehem Steel, which is the steel mill that used to be located at Sparrows Point in Baltimore and was once the largest steel mill in the world. In the fall, I am looking forward to so many things that I kinda just want to dance around the room. I can’t wait for in-person classes, living with my roommates, seeing more than just a person’s head and shoulders, Hum events, saying hi to Dr. Phin when I pass him between classes, and even eating at Dhall!

Hello everyone! My name is Lexi Smith and I’m a junior majoring in History and Economics with a minor in Public History. In addition to the Humanities Scholars program, I’m a member of the Honors College here on campus, as well as the UMBC Dance Team and the Econ Council of Majors. At UMBC, I’ve learned and grown as both a student and a person through the people I’ve met, the classes I’ve attended, and the projects I’ve taken on. Most recently, I’ve had the opportunity to serve as an economics research assistant with the University of Chicago through the Leadership Alliance’s SR-EIP program and present a research project at the Leadership Alliance National Symposium. Additionally, last fall, I was selected to be a Team Leader with the Honors College, a role that I’m excited to return to this fall! Throughout both of these experiences, I’ve been able to draw on the excellent research and communication skills taught to me by Dr. Phin and the other wonderful professors involved with the Humanities Scholars Program. I love the community that is available to me as a Humanities Scholar; I’ve been able to bond with so many other Scholars through our shared interests and passions. My past two years as a Retriever and a Scholar have been wonderful and I can’t wait to see what this next year has in store for myself and the other members of this program!

Hi! My name is Julianna Bumgardner, and I am a junior at UMBC. I am majoring in English Lit with a Spanish Minor and a Media and Communications Certificate. I hope to pursue a career in publishing, but this past summer and into the fall of 2021, I had the opportunity to intern for my local church’s communications department, and it may have changed my career goals! I’ve loved learning the ins and outs of communications, from video editing, to announcement video recordings, to social media management and graphic creation/design. I’m now leaning towards communications management, but who knows! UMBC has been great at helping me learn different things I love. I’m also involved with Bartleby, UMBC’s Creative Arts Journal where I help run the social media account and write, critique, and edit with others. I’m the Vice President for CRU, a second family I’ve found here on campus, and I’m also a Grit Guide Team Lead for the Undergrad office! I’m so excited to be back on campus and connecting with others face-to-face again this year. I know that this year will bring me personal growth and opportunity for improving not only my writing and academic skills but also my relationships with others, thanks to the Humanities Scholars and UMBC itself!

Hey y’all, my name is Nailah-Benā Chambers and I am a junior majoring in Global Studies and minoring in Chinese. I am a member of SGA and the BSU! I am passionate about advocacy and global relations and have been able to explore those passions through the privilege of writing op-ed pieces for The Retriever, and through the Student Government Association. Being a Humanities Scholar opens a variety of doors for us to pursue our passions and to find new ones as well! My hobbies include learning Chinese, trying new foods, and going to the gym. My hobby for the gym was developed during quarantine as Chloe Ting workouts became a trend on tiktok, however now I really enjoy it for my own benefit and it is a great distraction from everything. Over the summer I was able to intern at the Department of Commerce under the secretary where I learned the scheduling process and just how hectic the government really is. I am hoping that our first semester back since COVID will be a good one, and I am very excited to fall back into the swing of things and be on campus again.

Bonjour! My name is Sarah French. I am a junior at UMBC! I’m an MLLI major with a track in French, and I am also on the pre-physical therapy track. Right now, I’m hoping to go to PT school after finishing my degree at UMBC! Coming into UMBC, and this amazing program, I knew that it was the perfect place to broaden my horizons, and to learn about different cultures, experiences, and people, and I still strive to do that every day. Getting involved really helped me start to learn more about my environment and the new people around me. Being a member of the Honors College, and Phi Mu Fraternity for Women, and the Humanities Scholar Program, I’ve met so many new people that helped me to grow and learn more about them, but also learn about myself. Being in this program really helped me gain the confidence to find things that I was passionate about and do them. My second year at UMBC wasn’t what anyone had been expecting, but I’m so excited to see what this year has in store. I can’t wait to be back on campus in the fall, and finally be back where I belong!

Greetings! This is Julia Hope Palmer and I am thrilled to be returning to UMBC this fall for junior year. The campus is my second home, which is why I am counting down the days to move back (28 to be exact). I’m eager to meet people from different backgrounds, sit next to future friends in class, and attend Agape meetings on Thursday nights in the Commons. Online schooling for 1.5 years was odd and lonely, yet incredible. I will always remember those days in my pop pop’s old desk chair, my dad laughing at YouTube videos down the hall, lighthearted chat messages in class, and the sacred hours at Starbucks that brought back the feeling of busyness. Online school took a lot of the confetti out of college, but with more alone time I began to write more which revealed parts of my soul I didn’t know existed. With that interest in mind, I added a Creative Writing minor and took Introduction to Poetry last semester. After college I intend to teach history and special education in some capacity and I’m gaining experience in the field this summer interning at Indian Lake Christian Camp. There, I belay kids up a rock-climbing tree, make weekly recap videos, teach large group Bible lessons, and more. No matter what my next steps are, the Humanities Program has helped to understand people and the world more and more. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to be a part of it.

Hi everyone! My name is Avnee Sharma (she/her) and I’m a junior in the Humanities Scholars Program at UMBC. I’m an Anthropology and Biology BA double major with a minor in Public Humanities and certificate in the Social Dimensions of Health. This past year and a half of schooling has allowed me to reflect a lot and what I hope to do in my future which resulted in the addition of a minor and certificate. I hope to use all of these classes to narrow my focus on how I want to bridge Anthropology and Biology in grad school and beyond. Under normal circumstances, on campus, I’m president of UMBC’s Anthropology Club and also work with ResLife as a Desk Receptionist. This past summer I participated in UMBC’s CoLab Internship where I worked in a group advertising the Radical Literature collection at UMBC’s Albin O. Kuhn Library which was a great research experience. I can’t believe I’m starting the second half of my college experience while times are still so uncertain, but I’m excited to return to campus and see old and new Hum scholar faces and hopefully attend more talks and shows in person throughout the year. I hope to continue to discover more about myself and my passions as well as learn from more people.