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July 15, 2004

Jessica Soto Perez University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez-UMBC Graduate School Bridge Fund to be Announced at Campuswide Memorial

At a campuswide memorial for UMBC graduate student Jessica Soto Perez, the University will announce the establishment of the "Jessica Soto Perez University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez-UMBC Graduate School Bridge Fund" and award Perez a posthumous master of science degree in chemical and biochemical engineering, with a conferral date of August 2004.

The Perez memorial will be held Friday, July 16 at 3 p.m. in Lecture Hall III of the Administration Building at UMBC. Perez was the victim of a fatal shooting on the edge of the campus June 29.

An outstanding Ph.D. student and engaged member of the UMBC community, Perez was a peer mentor for PROMISE, one of many UMBC pacesetting initiatives to increase the number and diversity of Ph.D. graduates in the sciences and engineering who go on to careers in academia. (UMBC's partners in the NSF-funded PROMISE program are the University of Maryland Baltimore and the University of Maryland College Park.)

Faculty and students say Perez embodied the spirit of PROMISE, as she hoped to return to the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez-where she received her B.S. in chemical engineering-to teach and to encourage young people to consider careers in the sciences and engineering.

Now, UMBC and the University of Puerto Rico are working to ensure that Perez's legacy lives on. The "Jessica Soto Perez University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez-UMBC Graduate School Bridge Fund" will provide financial support for University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez students to study at UMBC's Graduate School.

Tax-deductible contributions to the fund can be sent to: Kim Robinson, Director of Capital Campaigns and Stewardship, Office of Institutional Advancement, UMBC, 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, Maryland 21250. Checks must be made to University of Maryland Foundation, Inc. Online contributions are also welcome at Please call 410-455-3700 for more information.

UMBC is recognized nationally as a leader in producing diverse undergraduates who are well-prepared for graduate school and the workforce. The Meyerhoff Scholarship Program is a flagship of more than 10 programs-including PROMISE-targeted at strengthening the presence of underrepresented minorities in a variety of disciplines.

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Posted by dwinds1 at July 15, 2004 12:00 AM