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Khandra Sears, PhD
In addition to aiding in the development of vital vaccines, Khandra Sears services her community as vice president of the Union Square Association and sits on the Southwest Partnership board of directors.
School of Medicine, Center for Vaccine Development
Union Square Resident
How does Union Square compare to other places you’ve lived?
I’ve lived in this neighborhood for the last 11 years. Before that, I lived in Hollins Market for a few months. I’m originally from the Bahamas, but I moved to Washington, D.C., to be closer to my parents and attend school. When I got into graduate school at UMB, I commuted from D.C. for a while but decided to live in Baltimore to be closer to school. But even after graduate school, I decided to stay in Baltimore. I like it here. This city still has a smallish feel without forgoing all of the big-city amenities.
What originally made you want to buy a home here?
I originally looked at homes all over the city — in Canton, Pigtown, and some other neighborhoods — but I liked Union Square the most. The community here is very active, there’s plenty to do, and everyone is neighborly. I also can walk to work every day. The neighborhood also is convenient to the MARC station and, though I don’t drive, it’s close to I-95, so it’s easy to get around.
What do you love most about living in your neighborhood?
The community in Union Square is very active and we have a lot of activities throughout the year. For example, every year around Christmas we do a Christmas cookie tour where people open up their homes to everyone. It’s always fun to walk through the park when it’s decorated for the holidays and see everyone’s home renovations, talk to your neighbors, and enjoy holiday sweets.
What are some of your favorite things to do in the area?
I regularly play beach volleyball at the Baltimore Beach by the Inner Harbor, which is a straight shot from my house. But I rarely have to leave the neighborhood to find something to do. I have dinner-and-movie/Game of Thrones nights with friends in the neighborhood a few nights a week. We also have music series throughout the year. The Sowebo Music Series grew out of the monthly concerts we had in Union Square Park from spring to fall, and it recruits music acts from across the country to play in people’s homes, the Carriage House, and Zella’s Pizzeria, which are both in Hollins Market. It’s great because it exposes everyone to new artists in an intimate setting that you can’t get anywhere else. We even have a newer chamber music series that takes place in some of the neighborhood’s larger homes and attracts a bigger crowd.
Are there any neighborhood attractions you’d recommend to someone visiting or looking to move into the area?
If I’m walking home from work and haven’t prepared anything for dinner, I can stop by Primo Chicken and pick up a whole chicken with two sides for a great price. It’s basically three nights’ worth of dinner for one person. If you’re looking more for a place to relax, hang out, and listen to music, then Zella’s Pizzeria is perfect. Pigtown Main Street also is within walking distance and has some great places for food — Culinary Architecture, Breaking Bread, and Ebenezer Ethiopian Restaurant. I’m looking forward to seeing what other restaurants and shops pop up in the area over the next few years.