Sondheim Public Affairs Scholars Program

Sondheim Alumni

Graduates from the Sondheim Public Affairs Scholars Program go on to become leaders in public life. UMBC and the Sondheim Program prepare students for entry into the best graduate and law schools, and for first jobs in business, education, and public service. The Sondheim Program actively encourages networking for alumni to mentor and help current Scholars and to connect with their fellow graduates as they pursue education and professional advancement.

UMBC's Alumni Community Retriever Net

Find out how to give to the Sondheim Scholars Program UMBC Campaign

There are many ways for alumni and other supporters to give back to the Sondheim Public Affairs Scholarship Program, including mentoring current students, networking with soon-to-be graduates, sponsoring an internship, or speaking at a scholar seminar.

Contact the program staff to learn more.

Featured Alumni

  • Alicia Wilson
    Graduate, 2004, Political Science

    Currently working for Gordan, Feinblatt, LLC in their litigation practice

    Alicia Wilson is the first UMBC student to win the prestigious Truman Scholarship.

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    My goal is to serve on the Supreme Court. By studying law at the University of Maryland Law School, I hope to address issues of educational and social concern through legal advocacy and public policy directives. Further, I would like to engage in instrumental work on policies involving welfare, Head Start and other service-oriented programs and their implementation in localities around the country. Upon graduation, I endeavor to begin working for the Children's Defense Fund to promote systemic change through grass roots and targeted legal advocacy. It is my aim to be a catalyst for change within Maryland and the country on youth policy issues.

    While a UMBC student, my internship at the Public Justice Center, a non-profit law firm in Baltimore, allowed me to see these policies in action. Our office made sure that people were represented and we tried to keep them from becoming homeless. I focused on juvenile justice and worker's rights issues. I usually spent two days a week in court and then researched and prepared for cases on the remaining days. I also interned with the American Youth Policy Forum in Washington, DC. My activities include interviewing members of Congress and their staff about youth policy issues, attending legislative hearings and writing policy proposals for senior fellows at the American Youth Policy Forum.

    Through the Public Justice Center I became acquainted with a UMBC alumna who was a senior attorney there. She has become a mentor for me and has given me a lot of advice. She is one link in a great UMBC support system. Last year, I interned at the Circuit Court of Baltimore City with another UMBC alumnus, Judge David Young. Through my internship, I was able to draft judicial opinions as well as memorandums for court proceedings. Currently, I am a litigator for Gordon Feinblatt, LLC in Baltimore, MD.

    UMBC has opened a new world to me. Everyone here starts on a clean slate; we help each other to succeed at UMBC. I feel enlightened and I know that this is just the start of a lifetime of constant learning.

    Alicia Wilson was awarded the prestigious Harry S. Truman Scholarship for students who plan to pursue a career in government or elsewhere in public service, and wish to attend graduate or professional school to help prepare for their careers. In addition, Alicia received t he Andrew Levy Scholarship, which is a $30,000 dollar scholarship awarded to two incoming law students to the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

    Click here for a recent interview of Alicia on Baltimore's NPR station, WYPR.

  • Josh Michael
    Graduate, 2010, Political Science
    Currently teaching in Baltimore City with Teach for America

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    Growing up, I always wanted to be a teacher. My teachers had such a profound impact on me. As student member of the Maryland State Board of Education, I began to realize that not everyone had the same great teachers and resources that I was fortunate enough to have.

    When searching for colleges, I wanted to find a place where I could learn about public education not only in the classroom, but through meaningful dialogue, service and research. I found this in the Sondheim Scholars Program and knew it was for me. Volunteering at West Baltimore Middle School, I began to understand the lives of the children I was working with and the challenges they faced. Since then, I have worked with professors studying to become a teacher and researching the impact of different educational issues, such as assessment reform, teacher retention, and the racial and socio-economic achievement gap.

    I want to help children lead successful lives. I currently teach at a middle school in Baltimore City, mentor my students, and have started a lacrosse team at our school. I am helping improve our school and look forward to a career leading school reform. My experiences with the Sondheim Program are helping me become the best educator I can be.

  • Tiffany Yep
    Graduate, 2005, Political Science

    Currently working with microfinance institutions, serving people in poverty around the globe.

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    With her Masters in Latin American and Hemispheric Studies from George Washington University's International Affairs Program, Tiffany has researched microfinance institutions (MFI's) at The World Bank and will being work with a private investment company which channels money to MFI's around the world.

  • Sarah Blusiewicz
    Graduate, 2008, History and Geography, Judaic Studies minors

    Currently working for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local Union 24

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    Sarah discovered her career goal during the Governor's Summer Internship Program, where she worked with the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. This internship turned into a full-time job upon graduation. Sarah is passionate about combining her love of history and Baltimore with making changes in public policy, and is pursing research into the effect of deindustrialization on her own Sparrows Point High School.

  • Andrea Clark
    Graduate, 2007, Political Science and Africana Studies minor

    Graduate, 2009, at Duke University's graduate school, public policy, currently working for the U.S. Government Acountability Office

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    "During the Summers of 2003 and 2004, I served as a student teacher at the Breakthrough Collaborative in Raleigh, North Carolina.  The Breakthrough Collaborative seeks to give at risk students a head start on the upcoming school year by providing them with instruction and mentoring from college students during the summer.  During my time at Breakthrough, I served as an Environmental Science and American Government teacher to seventh, eighth, and ninth grade students.  I am sure during my time there I learned more from the students than I was able to teach them. 

    During my freshman year at UMBC, I volunteered for the Choice Tutorial Program.  I served as a mentor and tutor for children ages seven to seventeen.  This was a rewarding experience because I was able to connect with a group of children whom I shared some similarities and some differences.  Due to my experience at Choice, someday I would like to open a non-profit organization of my own.

    During the Summer of 2005, I joined an elite group of college sophomores and juniors from around the country at the Summer Research Opportunity Program (SROP) at Northwestern University.  During my time there I used United States Census data to analyze trends in residential patterns in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area from 1980 to 2000.  I learned a great deal about research techniques and statistical analysis.  The program culminated with the presentation of a formal research paper entitled, "Trends in Residential Segregation in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area." 

    In my senior year at UMBC, I interned with the Maryland Department of Budget and Management.  At DBM, I worked primarily with the Department's legislative liaison, helping keep track of bills in the Maryland General Assembly and working on research projects.  I also attend committee hearings and was able to see the legislative process in action.

    At UMBC, I served on the Judicial Board and am a member of the Black Student Union and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. The Sondheim Public Affairs Scholars program has encouraged me to be a leader on UMBC's campus.  Since entering UMBC the program has provided activities, information, and support cultivating and encouraging campus leadership."

  • Joe Maher
    Graduate, 2007, Political Science and Environmental Studies

    Completing Ph.d at in Environmental Economics at University of Maryland

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    Joe is on his way to a successful career in environmental policy. During his internship with Baltimore County's Department of Environmental Protection and Resource Management, Joe researched best practices in ecological land acquisition and conservation. Joe's research interests include agricultural runoff pollution and sustainable practices in fish-farming aquaculture, which led him to a Fulbright Scholarship researching sustainable development policies in Santiago, Chile. Joe has worked as a researcher for Resources for the Future, an environmental think tank in Washington, DC.

  • Dominic Cirincione
    Graduate, 2005, Political Science, 2007, Master's of Public Policy

    Currently working at the legal team for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration

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    Dominic has combined his interests in goverment and health into a successful career in health policy and law. Dominic worked for a health care consulting firm in Baltimore as a policy analyst, helping non-profit health care organizations implement pay-for-performance mechanisms in hospitals around the nation. He worked for the State of Maryland Attorney General's Office in the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Having graduated from Maryland Law School, Dominic now works as lawyer with the Office of Legislation for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, creating policy in Washington, D.C.

  • Robert Morris
    Graduate, 2005, Economics and Legal Policy minor

    Currently working as the Assistant Public Defender in Queen Anne's County, Maryland

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    Immediately following graduation from UMBC, Robert interned with the US Embassy in Athens, Greece, drafting economic reports and gathering information from Greek government sources to help the US State Department make policy decisions. Robert conducted economic and statistical analysis on markets to enforce anti-trust laws with the US Justice Department. Having graduated from the University of Maryland School of Law, Robert now serves as an Assistant Public Defender in Queen Anne's County, Maryland.

  • Madeline Hall
    Graduate, 2012, Environmental Studies

    Fulbright Scholar, researching environmental decision making among farmers in New Zealand

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    I care about nature and how humans affect and protect it. I also feel passionate about teaching people about the importance of their natural environment and what they can do to conserve it for generations to come. I help lead UMBC's Chapter of Students for Environmental Awareness, which has been instrumental in our campus's Climate Change Initiatives, including carpooling, Zipcars, farmer's markets, and annual Eco-Fest. I have also volunteered on the nearby The Great Kids Farm and with Baltimore City's Irvine Nature Center Schoolyard Discovery Program, helping urban youth understand the environment. Although very interested in Environmental Education, I am also interested in the role of environmental science within public policy as well as the environmental implications of food production and consumption. I interned with the Environmental Protection Agency, and studied abroad last year in New Zealand, learning environmental management and working on organic farms.

  • Durell Callier
    Graduate, 2007 Social Work and Africana Studies minor

    Currently at University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign's Doctoral Program in Educational Policy

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    A McNair Scholar at UMBC, Durell is interested in urban education, urban youth and minorities. In his senior year at UMBC, Durell had his research on “Predictors of Success among African American Adolescents in an Urban Charter School ” published in the UMBC Review: Journal of Undergraduate Research and Creative Works. Durell will continue to graduate school, focusing on reforming policy that would be the most beneficial to urban populations and specifically regarding education, whether it be through a non-profit agency like Upward Bound, or through a local school board.

    "My name is Durell Callier, and during my first year as a Sondheim Public Affairs Scholar I did community service at the Baltimore Algebra Project (BAP). First I would like to tell you a little history about the Baltimore Algebra Project (BAP). BAP began in Baltimore in 1999 in the basement of our director, Jay Gillen, with just a handful of people, where peers mentored on a one-to-one basis. Currently BAP serves 4 middle schools and 4 high schools in the Baltimore Metropolitan area. The success of the program is largely due to the one-to-one peer mentoring that BAP works so diligently in trying to provide.

    The Baltimore Algebra Project is part of a national organization known as the Algebra Project, which was founded as a continuation of the Civil Rights movement by Robert Moses. Robert Moses, also known as Bob Moses, felt that in order to help African-American's further succeed, they must become proficient in math. At the time Bob was concerned with the math that was offered at his daughter's school; he felt as if the teachers were apathetic and lowered standards because the children there came from socio-economically disadvantaged homes and because teachers believed that they could not achieve like their white counterparts. Bob sought to challenge this notion and so he set up the Algebra Project, whose goal is to increase math literacy among minorities.

    Throughout the years the Baltimore Algebra Project has expanded to various places around the city, and because the members of BAP have a vested interest in education they have also become involved in trying to improve education for the students of Baltimore City. Raising math literacy among minorities is the primary goal of BAP. However, due to the budget crisis that the Baltimore City Public School System (BCPSS) has been facing, BAP decided to advocate for the education of BCPSS students. BAP became familiar with the bureaucracy that occurs at BCPSS, as well as some key political figures.

    BAP has lobbied that education with in Baltimore City be adequately funded, and that the court order of Bradford V. Maryland State Board of Education be upheld. My service at BAP was truly fulfilling, as well as a learning process."

    Along with working as President of BAP, Durell worked in the Summer of 2004 with Upward Bound at UMBC, as an residential advisor during the summer program, tutoring and mentoring high school students to help ensure they graduate from college. Durell was also a member of the Gospel Choir, Black Student Union, Freedom Alliance, and the Youth and Young Adult Ministry.