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Sondheim Public Affairs Scholars Program

A message from the Sondheim Public Affairs Scholars Program Director

Dr. Arthur T. Johnson, Professor, Political Science

At UMBC, our students use their college training to become lawyers, social workers, public administrators, justice activists, corporate leaders, teachers, environmental experts and politicians. For students who want to serve their communities and country, the Public Affairs Scholars Program is a special opportunity to learn together.

Beginning with their first year in the program, scholars become active participants in the UMBC community and beyond. Scholars help fellow students build a house for a needy family or bond with children in an after-school reading and recreation program. They meet well-known public leaders and researchers over informal dinners to discuss career opportunities and major policy issues. In two seminar classes, scholars reflect on these experiences and analyze current events using concepts drawn from the social sciences.

What really excites me about this program is how students connect these activities to each other, both intellectually and in the practice of making a difference. UMBC's strong liberal arts curriculum and widely-recognized social sciences faculty help students build research, critical thinking, writing and speaking skills. Scholars put this knowledge into practice as interns in state government, organizers of anti-hunger and human rights campaigns, crisis counselors and Model U.N. participants.

Though in recent decades, it appeared that many Americans withdrew from social involvement, times are changing. We believe passionately that educated, socially involved citizens are the key to improving human and environmental conditions. The Public Affairs Scholars Program prepares students for a fascinating and meaningful life.