CURE Spotlights 2021


Proud Baltimore native Gia Grier McGinnis, MS, is the new executive director of the UMB CURE Scholars Program.

As we come to the end of another year of academic programming, we reflect on the past year with a sense of pride about the many things we’ve accomplished. We achieved much this academic year despite the rapidly changing health and safety conditions of this past fall and winter.

I have to give continued thanks and gratitude to our team, our scholars, and our families for their dedication and determination. UMB CURE successfully resumed in-person programming in fall 2021 and welcomed back 115 scholars. We did so safely with COVID-19 screenings, temperature checks, and masks, but also in style as we moved our classrooms into the new UMB Community Engagement Center (CEC). The scholars found their personalized bricks on the CEC’s paved Welcome Way entrance and marveled at their new lab spaces.

As 2021 came to a close, we celebrated a major milestone in CURE history: Our Cohort 1 scholars received their first set of college acceptances. Our scholars have since received over 110 college acceptances to date, and we are supporting them in making their final decisions on fall enrollment. We also launched our CURE Scholarship Fund, whose selection committee recently awarded $100,000 in college scholarships to 16 scholars. These scholars will graduate May 6, becoming our first CURE alumni!

We also onboarded a new deputy director, Katharina Furrs, who was formerly our mentor program manager. In this newly created position, Katharina will set programmatic direction for our multiyear STEM pipeline. She comes to the role with over 10 years of experience in youth development and nonprofit management.

As you continue to adjust to a new normal, take comfort in family and friends and take time to care for yourself. We look forward to future successes and new innovations.

Yours in Service,
Gia Grier McGinnis, MS, DrPH

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