The paths taken by a diverse group of University
of Maryland, Baltimore graduates stretched worldwide as they and their families came together for a series of convocations and celebrations that concluded in a commencement ceremony May 17.
For some graduates, the path to their chosen degrees was over time and not just a matter of distance. That was so for Michael Rosen, MSW, who earned a Master's of Social Work five days before turning 70. He is becoming an addictions counselor. "It's the career I always wanted," he said at the entrance to the Patricia and Arthur Modell Performing Arts Center at the Lyric. Rosen was among about 400 who received MSW degrees from the School of Social Work (SSW) on May 17.
Like many of those emerging from the University's six professional schools and the Graduate School, Rosen already has positions awaiting him. Through a SSW placement, he had been working part-time with the new Center of Excellence for
Problem Gambling at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (SOM) and expects to continue there and take on a separate position elsewhere helping former alcoholics and substance abusers. In previous careers, he was a baseball umpire and, before that, chief operating officer of Town & Country Trust, a a real estate investment trust in Baltimore.
MinhVan Thi Tran, PharmD, a Vietnamese-American and new graduate of the School of Pharmacy (SOP), jumps right into teaching biology in Rockville at Montgomery College and practicing geriatric pharmacy in Baltimore at Bon Secours Hospital. That's where she performed her SOP rotations.
"I will do both, teaching and pharmacy. That is my dream," she said at the School's convocation at the Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel.
"Yes, the ceremony is over," said Tran. I loved it." Yet she was already looking toward the next day, "my big day, my wedding." She scheduled that ceremony the day after graduation because she is hosting 10 family guests for both. Although her parents are deceased, Tran's godmother and godfather traveled from her native Vietnam while uncles and other close relatives traveled to Baltimore from the four corners of the United States.
Adrian Cummins, DDS, from Barbados, is on his way to Brooklyn, N.Y., by way of four years in downtown Baltimore at the School of Dentistry (SOD). As the predoctoral president of the SOD Student Government Association, Cummins dedicated himself as a student to learning the latest in digital dentistry technology and, from his SGA position, advocated strongly for his new profession.
He asked for a residency in New York City and his hard academic work paid off. Cummins will be heading to practice dental services at New York Methodist Hospital. He said, "The University of Maryland School of Dentistry's big draw for students is its leadership in the latest in dentistry technology. I couldn't have chosen better."
Mazen El Ghaziri, PhD, was among the president's fellows. He began his career in nursing and hospital administration in Lebanon, and his parents came from Beirut to take part in his commencement. He played a special role at the Graduate School hooding ceremony on May 16, presenting the Dr. Patricia Sokolove Outstanding Mentor Award as the nominating student. It went to Sue Thomas, PhD, RN, FAAN, professor and assistant dean for the PhD program at the School of Nursing, who holds the award in the photo above. Left to right are Ratnakar Potla, president of the Graduate Student Association; Thomas: El Ghaziri; and PhD student Dzifa Dordunoo.
El Ghaziri's interest lies in prevention and resolution of conflict among health care workers. He has secured a postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for the Promotion of Health in the New England Workplace at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington, Conn.
For the parents of one researcher in the Graduate School, the transcontinental travel ended on the very morning of the hooding ceremony. Dr. and Mrs. John Hu arrived from Taiwan to witness the presentation to their daughter, Li-Yen Rebecca Hu, PhD, who plans to continue investigating factors that may result in sudden unexpected cardiac death.
Beth Totman, JD, started on her path to the UM Carey School of Law convocation at the Hippodrome with a three-week trip to China to play soccer while she was still a high school student. That, in turn, led to a spot on the women's soccer team at Harvard, where she earned an undergraduate degree. At Boston College, she studied Chinese history, including a semester in Shanghai.
Her varied interests next took her to a job at a sports cable station in New York and then to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a spokeswoman. "My position at the EPA increasingly relied on the understanding of complicated legal issues," said Totman, adding that she felt having a JD "would open more doors for me, and push me career-wise."
She was attracted to UM Carey Law for its reputation in environmental law. As for what's next, Totman said she's not sure. "I had a circuitous route that eventually and gratefully led me to UM Carey Law. But, sometimes, you can only connect the dots by looking back."
Novlette Akinseye-Affum, MD, and Kevin Affum, MD, have been on direct paths to becoming physicians since their days at the University of Maryland, College Park, where they were acquainted. He had gone to Laurel High School; she had attended Gaithersburg High School. They met on the day of their admissions interview, became study partners, and then became engaged on March 15, 2012. They married April 21.
The suspense over where they would go next, and whether they could go together, culminated on Match Day, when they secured spots in internal medicine at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. That means they'll go though residency at the same hospital, and will enter the field of primary care at a time when family doctors are much in demand.
Why did they aim for Pittsburgh? "Near," said Affum, and yet a bit afar.