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October 1, 2010

UMBC Announces 2010 Alumni Association Awards

CONTACT:
Eleanor Lewis
410-455-2065
elewis@umbc.edu

Each year, UMBC’s Alumni Association presents annual awards to honor alumni for their professional and personal achievements and service to the University.

The awards will be presented at a ceremony Thursday, October 14 at 7:30 p.m. at the Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery. A reception will follow.

UMBC’s 2010 Outstanding Alumni of the Year (bios follow list):

Engineering & Information Technology
Michael George ’87 Information Systems
Vice President, Amazon.com

Humanities
Vikki Valentine ’96 English
Supervising Editor (Science), National Public Radio

Natural & Mathematical Sciences
Michael Nishimura ’80 B.A. ’84 M.S. ’89 Ph.D. Biological Sciences
Professor of Surgery, Medical University of South Carolina

Social & Behavioral Sciences
Chad Cradock ’97 Psychology
Director of Aquatics, UMBC

Visual & Performing Arts
Dean Alexander ’88 Visual Arts
Photographer

Distinguished Service to the University and Alumni Association
Gene Trainor ’86 Health Science & Policy and Economics
Chair, Exceptional by Example Campaign alumni committee

Young Alumni Rising Star Award
Aaron Merki ’05 Political Science
Associate, Venable LLP

Engineering & Information Technology
Michael George ’87 Information Systems
Vice President, Amazon.com

Michael George has spent the past 12 years with Amazon.com in Seattle. He started his Amazon career as director of systems and networking operations. Since then, he has held senior positions that span several areas, including director of WW third party platforms, general manager/director of WW marketplace, vice president of human resources, vice president of WW payments, vice president of spoken word audio and now vice president of a yet-to-be-announced new business. He joined Amazon in 1998 through the acquisition of the Junglee Corp. where he was vice president of business development. Prior to Junglee, he spent 14 years in the newspaper industry.

Humanities
Vikki Valentine ’96 English
Supervising Editor (Science), National Public Radio

Vikki Valentine, an award-winning science journalist, is science editor for NPR’s science unit and lead editor of NPR’s environment, energy and climate coverage. Before that, she managed the desk’s daily digital output of science, environmental, health and technology stories, and initiated major features and series. Prior to NPR, Valentine worked at Discovery.com and Baltimore Sun.com. Her writing has been published by the Smithsonian Channel, the New York Times, National Geographic, Marketplace Radio, Science and Washingtonian. She graduated with honors from the University College London Wellcome Trust Centre in the History of Medicine master’s program.

Natural & Mathematical Sciences
Michael Nishimura ’80 B.A. ’84 M.S. ’89 Ph.D. Biological Sciences
Professor of Surgery, Medical University of South Carolina

Michael Nishimura has devoted his career to developing novel immunologic approaches for cancer therapy and is recognized for his talents as a scientific mentor. Building upon his strong genetics and immunology training at UMBC, he pioneered the use of retroviral vectors encoding T cell receptor (TCR) genes to engineer an individual’s own lymphocytes to be able to recognize and control the patient’s cancer cells or virus-infected cells. The first clinical trial using TCR gene modified T cells was conducted in Denmark using one of Nishimura’s TCRs targeting the melanoma protein MART-1. He serves as the vice chair for research in the Department of Surgery at the Medical College of South Carolina and has assembled a strong clinical and scientific team committed to bringing this and other novel cellular therapies to the clinic.

Social & Behavioral Sciences
Chad Cradock ’97 Psychology
Director of Aquatics, UMBC

Chad Cradock was named to UMBC Athletics’ Hall of Fame in 2004 after a stellar career as a Retriever from 1993 until his graduation in 1997 and immediately became an assistant coach, but his greater contribution to the UMBC family would begin in 2001 when he became just the second head coach of the swimming and diving program. Since he took over, the Retriever men have won nine consecutive conference championships, including seven straight America East titles, while the women have won four conference crowns. In addition, the amount of alumni giving has gone up over 1,200% during his tenure. Cradock and his staff have been named Coach/Coaching Staff of the Year six times, including being named 2010 America East Coaching Staff of the Year.

Visual & Performing Arts
Dean Alexander ’88 Visual Arts
Photographer

Dean Alexander is a photographer and the owner of Dean Alexander Productions, Inc., based in Baltimore. His work, from advertising and editorial to fine art, has taken him to over 40 countries throughout the world. Clients range from IBM and UnderArmour to non-profits such as the National Institute of Health and HealthCare for the Homeless, while his subjects range from Oprah Winfrey and Lady Sutherland (Lady-in-Waiting to the Queen of England) to Baltimore’s homeless. He has won nearly 100 international awards in his career.

Distinguished Service to the University and Alumni Association
Gene Trainor ’86 Health Science & Policy and Economics
Chair, Exceptional by Example Campaign alumni committee

Gene Trainor is chief operating officer of Foundation Capital, a Menlo Park, California-based venture capital firm. Previously, Trainor served for 10 years as the administrative general partner and the chief operating officer for New Enterprise Associates. He has also served as executive vice president and chief operating officer of Cramer Rosenthal McGlynn, LLC, CFO/Controller of a Mid-Atlantic venture capital firm and a member of the audit group for Ernst & Young, LLP. A certified public accountant, he received his MBA from Loyola College of Maryland. Gene serves on the board of the non-profit Families of Spinal Muscular Atrophy.

Young Alumni Rising Star Award
Aaron Merki ’05 Political Science
Associate, Venable LLP

Aaron Merki graduated from UMBC as a Sondheim Public Affairs Scholar and then attended University of Maryland School of Law as the Bekman Leadership Scholar. While there, Merki founded the FreeState Legal Project, which provides legal services to low-income LGBT clients throughout the Greater Baltimore region. He was named the National LGBT Bar Association's 2008 student leader of the year. After graduating law school, Merki accepted a judicial clerkship with the Hon. Susan K. Gauvey of the United States District Court for Maryland. Now an associate at Venable LLP, Aaron's clients range from Fortune 500 companies to low-income individuals. He continues to serve as chairman of the FreeState Legal Project Board of Directors, which now includes judges, professors, elected officials and some of Walter Sondheim's closest friends.


Posted by elewis at October 1, 2010 10:41 AM