UMBC Wellness Initiative

Success Stories

Imaging Research Center (IRC)

We in the IRC knew that walking was good for our health, but it wasn’t always easy to fit into our schedules. Walking at the RAC was an option but deadlines and workload made it easy to skip. Then Dan Bailey, Director of the IRC, had an idea to purchase a WalkStation, which is a desk and treadmill combined. The desk surface is adjustable to different heights and the treadmill goes from .3-2 mph, which is great for working. To make sure the Walkstation could handle the kind of work we do here, along with a computer and monitors we have headphones and adjustable lighting. The WalkStation isn’t a gym, but it does keep us moving and alert. The worst thing to do is sit behind a desk all day. Now we can move and work at the same time.

Imaging Research Center

Sarah Leupen

This year, our family signed up for a Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.
In a CSA, a local farmer delivers fresh, organic produce to a pickup site near you
every week during the growing season.

The amount and types of produce vary with the season; this week we got lettuce, red
cabbage, basil, garlic, cauliflower, beets, yellow squash, and Swiss chard. We love
the freshness (unlike produce from CA that takes 7-10 days to get here, our produce
is picked the day before we get it), that we can afford organic vegetables this way,
that we're eating more veggies than we would otherwise, that we get to try new
veggies. Also, much less energy is spent getting our food to us. It's a win for us,
the farmers, and the planet!

Sarah Leupen
Biological Sciences


Club Maebelline’s was born out of a need to relieve pressure. We come together and dance to our favorite songs, usually from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. (Dancing ability is truly in the eye of the beholder! This is what really makes it fun.) There are few inhibitions! As the sound of people saying, ‘Oh, yeah,’ ‘Ahhh’ and ‘Awright, Go Head’ drifts through the office more people gather. Some dance, some laugh, some run away (not wanting to show their moves just yet), some just watch and others pull out cell phone video cameras. It lasts for about 5 minutes. Then we disperse back to our desks feeling happy for having had that moment, relaxed, and energized. It’s a stress-reliever and team builder in one, and it’s great!

Mae Golden
Supervisor, Bursar's Office/Student Billing

Continuing and Professional Studies Department

This spring we started a 6-month Biggest Loser program. We each paid $25 and while the initial incentive was to win the money, we quickly realized it wasn’t just about the cash. Ten of us began counting calories, exercising and coaching one another. We invited guest speakers to provide information about healthy eating habits and proper exercise. Individual goals were set to provide momentum and weekly weight loss was awarded.

In the end we lost 116.6 pounds – everyone was a winner! We are now eating better and have increased levels of activity. We have also inspired others in the department to become aware of their weight. Most importantly, the group learned to support each other and work together towards a common goal.

Continuing and Professional Studies

Diane Crump-Fogle

I began walking with a work friend several years ago as a way to help maintain my weight. So, instead of going to lunch together, we would walk the track in the RAC. I have really bad allergies, so I rarely walk the Loop. Also, the track is easier on my knees.

My good friend has since retired from UMBC, but I have continued to walk for years now. It really is one the best exercises you can do. It helps to maintain my weight and it’s a great way to break up my day, which can be very hectic and fast-paced. I find that walking can be a great time for reflection as well. So, I consider it a very important part of my day and whenever possible, I spend about 25 minutes during my day taking a brisk walk.

And I’m not alone. Seeing all of the other staff walking is motivating as well.

Diane Crump-Fogle
Associate Director
Career Services Center

Steven McAlpine

When we moved to Catonsville from Boston three years ago, running and biking were activities that I did when I had "extra time" (which, as a parent of two young children, doesn't exist). So my wife and I found a place to live within a few miles of campus so that I could either jog or bike to work. This built-in exercise regimen (even on rainy days) has become much more than a regular workout; it is now a reflective practice where I meditate on my roles as father, husband, teacher, and member of the UMBC family. "Life in the Slow Lane" for me has created a space where I can gain perspective, drink in the beauty of my surroundings, and find my rhythm in this thrilling adventure that we call "higher education."

Steven McAlpine
Assistant Director, Interdisciplinary Studies
Interdisciplinary Studies

Marjie Gill

Last year I was diagnosed with asthma and found my weight kept me from doing the things I enjoyed. My doctor challenged me to lose 30 lbs and instead I lost 45. I began walking the loop & then jogging. I now go for a "wog" walk/jog every day.
With a heavy schedule, I block out 1 hour a day for myself to exercise. The wog allows me to have some alone time and clear my head. I challenge my mind and body. No longer am I looking for a 2PM snack. Wogging the loop allows me to appreciate all the hard work and dedication our department provides to the campus.
Many of FM staff walk at lunch or use the gym. We encourage & challenge each other to get & stay fit. Best of all, I no longer need my inhaler or medication! I feel young & energized.

Marjie Gill
Work Control & IT Systems Manager
Facilities Management

B. Rose Huber

The day I signed up for a half marathon was the day I decided to regain my health. It had been years since I had run on a regular schedule, and my weight had fluctuated. My strength and flexibility had decreased, and I was feeling all-around sluggish. In March 2009, almost on a whim, I signed up for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon. That was the moment I decided that I was going to do this. Without that moment, there wouldn’t have been months of training. Without months of training, I wouldn’t have run that half marathon in May 2009. And without that half marathon, I wouldn’t be a runner again.

I’m proud to have a video of me crossing the finish line after 2 ½ hours of running:

B. Rose Huber
Assistant Director of Public Relations
Office of Institutional Advancement

Michelle Flinchbaugh

Until I was diagnosed with an under-active thyroid, my weight ballooned out-of-control. As my dose of Synthroid increased, I discovered that I love the feeling of physically moving and began hiking and weightlifting and then eating healthfully to support my physical hobbies. I've lost 75 pounds and reduced my high cholesterol and borderline high blood pressure to very low. UMBC has been a partner in my success, as I could not have done all of this without the presence of the RAC, a flexible work schedule, and generous leave. The sense of strength, capability, and self-confidence I've gained from these physical activities carries over to my work and other aspects of my life, allowing me to be more courageous and accept more challenges.

Michelle Flinchbaugh
Acquisitions Librarian

Larry Wilt

After I broke my leg in 1998, I read some research which indicated that weight training slows and perhaps even reverses bone loss in adults. Upon reflection, I realized that in focusing on work and family, I had been neglecting my physical fitness. So, I started a regular weight training regimen in the UMBC RAC and I have continued it for 10 years now. I soon discovered that this exercise program contributed to my overall health, kept my weight down and made me feel more energetic. And, I've not broken any more bones. The key to getting enough exercise, at least for me, has been to be sure to set aside time for it on a regular schedule.

Larry Wilt
Director of the Library

Lisa Akchin

I have chosen regular yoga practice as a way to balance the fast pace and stimulation of my job. I make 30 minutes for yoga each morning at home and attend a weekly group class. The balance I gain from yoga often helps my mind and body remain calm when work is challenging. I also find that my sleep is more restful and restoring.

Lisa Akchin
Assistant to the President
Organizational Communication & Government Relations

Jill Weinknecht Wardell

During a stressful period in my life, I decided to begin a regular meditation practice. Before I began practicing, I noticed how tense my body would become under stress and how reactive and unaware I was in certain situations. When I became aware of this, I knew I needed a change in order to better serve my professional and personal relationships.

After a few weeks of meditating, I began to notice my breath flowing smoothly and a sense of ease return in my body. But most importantly, I began to cultivate a sense of being an observer and getting to choose my response instead of my response choosing me. With this ongoing practice, my mood improves and others think I’m so calm. I remind them it’s a practice!

Jill Weinknecht Wardell
Training and Development Specialist
Training and Organization Development

Teresa Aylsworth

I have the kind of job someone once described as “sit and spread!” I have learned over the years that if I can take a good walk in the afternoon I feel absolutely re-born. Not only am I burning extra calories, I get to breathe fresh air and blow away the cobwebs in my brain. I return to my work refreshed and energized for whatever the afternoon throws my way.

The great thing about walking is that you can tailor it to you own needs. You can walk fast or slow, uphill or not, one mile or ten. There are no rules and the only cost is a pair of decent tennis shoes. So put on your shoes and meet me on the loop!

Teresa Aylsworth
Executive Administrative Assistant II
College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

Derrick S. Johns

I have prescribed to a regular exercise program ever since I started playing sports in high school. I have continued exercising because I discovered the benefits a fitness program provides in my life, on and off the job.

Being a police officer, I find that being in the best physical condition is a must to perform my job. Not knowing from day to day what you might encounter on this job is enough to give you the mindset that you need to be in the best shape you can.
Exercising is one of the best stress relievers known. A stressful day at work or home is easily forgotten with a good workout. I find that when I feel good about myself and like the way I look everything else at home and at work falls into place and my stress level is a lot lower.

Derrick S. Johns
University Police Officer
Police Department

Lynn Kennedy

In March I was diagnosed with Diabetes. I had never been heavier but because I have fibromyalgia which causes chronic pain, I didn’t exercise much. Eager to manage my diabetes without medication, I began hypnotherapy for weight loss. Almost immediately I found myself choosing healthier foods and walking more, without actually trying. Gradually my weight went down as did my pain. Today, fifty pounds lighter with another forty to lose, I feel and look better than I have in years. I exercise daily on a treadmill and do resistance and core work. My blood sugar and cholesterol have come down significantly. Even a broken ankle in October didn’t stop me! Best of all, I am having fun again.

Lynn Kennedy
Administrative Assistant II
Gender and Women’s Studies