Research for Social Change at URCAD

Janet McGlynn is director of communication and outreach in UMBC’s Office of Undergraduate Education.

mcglynn_cropEach year I have the pleasure of organizing a unique forum for sharing students’ extraordinary research, creative projects and scholarly contributions to the common good. Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement Day (URCAD) 2013 (Wednesday, April 24th) will feature more than 200 presentations by UMBC students on projects spanning (and sometimes blending) the disciplines.

Some of the projects aimed at contributing in creative ways to positive social change include:

  • 3D Modeling for Older Adults, by Uvonne Andoh, Farnaz Feizian and Joshua Dutterer (Mentor: Amy Hurst, Information Systems). This project explores the use of three-dimensional printing technology to help older adults gain autonomy and enhance their quality of life. 12:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., Poster Presentation, UC Ballroom.
  • Promoting Social Change through Service Learning, by Kathleen Algire-Fedarcyk (Mentor: Jessica Guzman-Rea, Social Work). This research examines the impact of a BreakingGround grant-funded semester-long Social Work course, in which students developed ideas relating social issues and connected them with action across levels of influence, on the students’ civic attitudes.10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m, Poster Presentation, UC Ballroom.
  • Social Entrepreneurship: My Strategy to Bring about a Change on UMBC Campus, by Yohka Tanaka (Mentor: David Hoffman, Office of Student Life). This interdisciplinary social action project involved identifying potential new menu options for campus eateries and developing a community organizing approach to building support for the changes.12:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., Poster Presentation, UC Ballroom.
  • Mapping Baybrook: From Main Street to the Harbor, by Jennie Williams, Katie Hern, Thomas Myers, Hayley Nelson, Lacey Wilson and Collin Wojciechowski (Mentor: Nicole King, American Studies). This presentation, arising from research and experiences in a BreakingGround grant-funded American Studies course, features research on the role of historic main streets in understanding a community’s past as reflected in the present.1:45 p.m., Oral Presentation, UC 312.
  • Development of a Low-Tech Process for Treating Bacterial Contaminants in an Unprotected Spring in Isongo, Kenya, by Dalton Hughes and Chris Mullen (Mentor: Lee Blaney, Chemical, Biochemical and Environmental Engineering). This presentation explores water quality issues affecting a small village in Kenya visited by the students and their faculty mentor on a recent Engineers Without Borders trip, and proposes a method for removing contaminants from the water source. 12:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., Poster Presentation, UC Ballroom.

I’m looking forward to being informed, provoked and challenged by these and many other student projects. What are you looking forward to seeing and learning about at URCAD this year?

Contact the author, Janet McGlynn, at


  1. […] Contact the author, Kathleen Algire-Fedarcyk, at Read about more URCAD projects aimed at contributing to positive social change here. […]

  2. […] research as well. I presented my thesis at Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement Day (URCAD) in 2007, and published it in the UMBC Review: Journal of Undergraduate Research the following […]

  3. […] (CHASA) conference hosted at the University of Maryland, College Park. It is amazing to say that URCAD was actually our second official academic conference!  But to be honest, URCAD was a bigger day […]

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