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Discovery Scholars Living Learning Community

Meet the Discovery Scholars

Christina Bartko

Noah Owens
Major: Information Systems with a minor in Entrepreneurship
Email Address:

Where did you go to high school?
Atholton High School in Columbia, Maryland

When and why did you decide you wanted to attend UMBC?
Two major reasons led me to choosing UMBC. First, in my junior year, a family friend told me about how great UMBC was with technology-focused majors and also how their undergraduate and graduate students were highly sought after by employers. It was really important to me to study at the best (and nearest) school in the field and to get a job after graduation, so UMBC shot to the top of my list. Second, but most importantly, I made some great friends at New Student Day. We kept in constant contact weeks after the event had ended, joking around in the group chat we had made and just being ourselves. I felt like I really fit with this group of people, while I had barely made an acquaintance at the other new student events of different colleges. Though I knew friends could be made at whichever college I went to, being able to start this new life with a group of new friends from the get-go made my choice that much easier.

How did you hear about the Discovery Scholars Living Learning Community (DS LLC)?
I found out about the Discovery Scholars when I read through the living options provided by Res. Life.

Why did you decide to participate in the DS LLC?
I joined Discovery Scholars partially because I wasn’t sure of my major. I knew I wanted to do something in the field of Computer Science, but Computer Science as a major didn’t interest me. I also knew that whatever major I chose having to do with technology was going to be intense in terms of workload and that it’d be hard to balance obligations inherit with other LLCs in addition to my first year’s classes. Discovery Scholars addressed both of these concerns as it that could help me find my major and seemed like the LLC with the least amount of additional time requirements.

Did you know anyone else in Discovery Scholars when you started? Have you made friends through the program?
Yes and yes! Though I didn’t know it at the time, a friend of mine from high school had applied to the same LLC. Also, students I recognized from the incoming students’ Freshman Excursion trip had also applied to the LLC. I’m glad to say that I’ve made MANY friends through the program. No kidding, living and learning together made making friends a lot easier, created a lot of memories and formed not just a community, but a family.

What was the most interesting thing that happened during your first year at UMBC?
The most interesting thing, or rather the most interesting things that happened to me was that I discovered all of the things I can do and amazing ways that I can get involved on campus. From seminars in business and innovation to my favorite clubs and sport events to volunteering on a service project to introducing even newer students to campus- all of these things were open to me as a student and I couldn't wait to participate in each one of them (one at a time of course!).

What was your favorite part of being part of Discovery Scholars?
All of us sitting together in our dorm at 12 AM chatting it up about life. This happened multiple times out of nowhere in the middle of Welcome Week and it was awesome!

In what ways did the DS LLC experience help you at UMBC?
It allowed me to make some great friends and engage in activities that helped me discover my major. It also informed of various resources on campus that could help me as a student, person and Retriever!

Would you recommend DS LLC to other new UMBC students?
Absolutely. The Discovery Scholars is a chill and fun program that helps new students find their major with people who are also ‘fundecided.’ It’s one of the best LLCs to choose, even if you’re sure of your major. If you ever want to switch your major or want to explore a minor, we provide resources and two great advisors (Jill and Laila) to help!

Tell us a few interesting things about yourself…
- I’m a people person and I love to help others. That’s why I’m returning as a peer mentor for the Discovery Scholars and also why I’m working as a Student Ambassador and Welcome Week Leader for the Undergraduate Admissions & Orientations department.
- I like watching Star Wars, football, anime, Marvel and DC movies, reading and writing poetry, playing video games and just having a good time with friends.