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Sondheim Public Affairs Scholars Program

Meet the Scholars

Sondheim Public Affairs Scholars are among the most active students at UMBC. An essential quality of each Scholar is an interest in community service and Scholars typically seek out new opportunities to serve at UMBC and in the Greater Baltimore Community. Scholars willingly seek leadership roles in campus-affiliated organizations while maintaining their commitment to academics and interest in new experiences.

  • Travis Bell
    Political Science and Psychology

    Goal: Lawyer working with people with mental health problems

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    Travis is focusing on psychology and political science as a Sondheim Scholar in preparation for his career goals of working in mental health courts. Travis worked as a research assistant with the UMBC Habits Lab, studying how to help people break addictions, and as an intern with the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center, working with patients with severe mental health issues. On the legal side, Travis has interned with the Baltimore County Office of the Public Defender, and with the U.S. Justice Department on extradition cases. As a first year student, Travis volunteered at RICA of Baltimore, mentoring middle school and high school students with behavioral and mental disorders . He is UMBC's Mock Trial Team President , helping the club travel and compete against other schools, and is active in the Pre-Law Society. Travis also works as a soccer referee for youth and adult games, good preparation for his career goal of serving as a judge. Recently, he studied abroad in Chile, and created a documentary film about culture exchange between that country and the U.S.

  • Caitlyn Leiter-Mason
    Gender and Women's Studies and Political Science

    Goal: work in state politics

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    Caitlyn's fascination with politics started in the 3rd grade and most recently led her to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC in 2012, as a delegate for President Obama from MD's 6th Congressional District. Caitlyn is the President of UMBC's College Democrats, where she organized a marriage equality advocacy effort and rally for college students across Maryland. Last spring, she interned with the office of   Delegate Anne Kaiser , in the Maryland General Assembly , and also worked with the Women's Media Center, addressing sexism in the coverage of female candidates in the media. Caitlyn worked at the Heartly House, a domestic violence and sexual assault agency in Frederick, MD during the summer. She also studied abroad in Tunisia, learning about the Arab Spring and social movements in the middle east and northern Africa.

  • Taylor Good
    Mathematics and Political Science

    Goal: applying science to public policy

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    Being a Sondheim Scholar has helped Taylor realize how to navigate both science and policy in a rapidly-advancing technological world. Taylor’s interest in public service led him to be both a Maryland House of Delegates Page and
    a Page for the U.S. House of Representatives. In his two years at UMBC, Taylor has filled the key role of Chief Justice of the Student Government Supreme Court and has performed extensive bio-mathematical research with the Undergraduate Mathematics Biology Training Program. He also volunteered as a tutor for the Baltimore Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, mentoring youth while researching the school’s model of professional training and education. Taylor participated in the Governor’s Summer Internship Program, where he worked at Maryland StateStat, utilizing his math analysis skills to help Maryland policy makers.

  • Patrice Matthews
    Environmental Science

    Goal: volunteer with the Peace CorpsRead more

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    This semester, Patrice has been able to combine her passions for conservation with her love of Spanish, by studying abroad in Ecuador. In this program, she performed independent research on how traditional agricultural practices of the indigenous population have been impacted by the petroleum industry. Patrice is a writing tutor at UMBC, copy editor for our newspaper, the Retriever Weekly, and blogger with Baltimore Sun and the Economist magazine's editorial cartoonist, KAL at USDemocrazy. Last year, Patrice tutored refugees living near UMBC through the International Rescue Committee in Baltimore.

  • Jennie Williams
    American Studies

    Goal: graduate school

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    A regular performer at UMBC's Open Mic Nights and in local coffeehouses, it is not surprising that Jennie received an Undergraduate Research Award to investigate the role of open mic events as community spaces in the U.S. Jennie is interning with Maryland Traditions with the Maryland State Arts Council. She is helping collect oral histories of the steel workers from the recently closed Sparrows Point Steel Plant. Last summer, Jennie worked with the United Way, facilitating their Summer Service Program for high school students. As a first year Sondheim Scholar, Jennie worked with people with Multiple Sclerosis at the local YMCA, helping them exercise in the pool and maintain social connections.

  • Carlyn Rubin
    Health Administration and Policy

    Goal: graduate school in public Health

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    In her first year at UMBC, Carlyn volunteered for an organization called Health Leads, working as case manager to connect limited income individuals and families to public benefits and community resources, such as food assistance, public health insurance, utilities subsidies, affordable housing, and employment assistance. This summer, Carlyn interned with the Summer Youth Nutrition Program in Montgomery County, teaching youth nutrition and fitness skills. At UMBC, Carlyn is the head of the Student Government Associationís Department of Health and Wellness, working with faculty and staff to improve the health of the campus. She also helps lead UMBC's SUCCESS Program, providing adults with developmental disabiltiies with a college experience.