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Discovery Scholars Living Learning Community

Meet the Discovery Scholars

Christina Bartko

Christina Bartko
Major: Financial Economics; Minors: Music and Entrepreneurship & Innovation; Certificates: Preprofessional Studies Accounting and Management Accounting
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Where did you go to high school?
Howard High School

When and why did you decide you wanted to attend UMBC?
I decided I wanted to attend UMBC right before the deadline for acceptance because UMBC was actually my second choice. My first choice was located in Nashville, TN, and though I was accepted there as well, I decided to attend UMBC for financial reasons and because it was closer to home. I love UMBC and have never regretted my decision.

How did you hear about the Discovery Scholars Living Learning Community (DS LLC)?
As I applied for housing the spring before my freshman year, I noticed the opportunity to apply to the DS LLC, so I did.

Why did you decide to participate in the DS LLC?
My mom encouraged me to apply. At the time, I thought I knew what I wanted to major in, but after a lot of thinking, I ended up switching majors first semester of my sophomore year. Discovery Scholars provided me with resources and relationships to assist me in making an informed decision.

Did you know anyone else in Discovery Scholars when you started? Have you made friends through the program?
Technically, I came in on the floor having met two people previously, but I did not know either of them well. However, I made many lasting friendships through the program. My roommates freshman year through junior year were all people I met through the Discovery Scholars.

What was the most interesting thing that happened during your first year at UMBC?
Not to give anyone any ideas, but with the help of friends I made on the floor and in Patapsco, I pranked my RA on April fools day my freshman year…a story for another day. Also, when I started at UMBC, I was not the best at recognizing sarcasm. I always assumed people were serious, and they’d be like "…Christina…haha", so my friend and I developed a hand sign to use whenever anyone was sarcastic to help me start to recognize sarcasm. Needless to say I taught it to almost everyone I knew at the time, and it helped A LOT. People started to think it was sign language though, haha.

What was your favorite part of being part of Discovery Scholars?
I think the most common question asked of new college students is “What are you majoring in?” I know it can be frustrating when you don’t yet know, or are not yet confident, in what you want. Discovery Scholars doesn’t dwell on questions regarding your major. Instead, it provides students with resources with the ultimate goal of figuring out what path is best for you. Not only is the focus YOU, but the program understands that determining that choosing a major is a gradual process, and not something most people wake up one day and know. Discovery Scholars provided me with countless opportunities to learn about myself, so I could make that decision for my future. I am looking forward to helping the new DS learn about themselves this coming year!
Also, the friends I made through the program played a huge part in my experience…they are incredible and I am truly blessed.

In what ways did the DS LLC experience help you at UMBC?
The DS LLC played a large role in helping me find my place at UMBC. It was the community I was included in since the beginning, where I was encouraged to be myself and to pursue my passions. I still remember meeting Jill at my freshman orientation.

Would you recommend DS LLC to other new UMBC students?
Absolutely!!! I participated in the DS LLC my freshman year and enjoyed it so much that I came back as a peer mentor when I was a sophomore. I genuinely believe in its mission to both foster a healthy community and to help students learn more about themselves, discover which major is right for them, and ultimately be successful in their pursuits.

Tell us a few interesting things about yourself…
Green is my favorite color. I love mangos. I recently have been reading the Twilight series for the first time. A few years back, I earned my black belt in Tae Kwon Do. After graduating, I plan to move to Nashville, TN to pursue accounting by day and music by night.