UMBC Data Science Graduate Programs Start in Fall 2017


UMBC Data Science Graduate Programs

UMBC’s Data Science Master’s program prepares students from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds for careers in data science. In the core courses, students will gain a thorough understanding of data science through classes that highlight machine learning, data analysis, data management, ethical and legal considerations, and more.

Students will develop an in-depth understanding of the basic computing principles behind data science, to include, but not limited to, data ingestion, curation and cleaning and the 4Vs of data science: Volume, Variety, Velocity, Veracity, as well as the implicit 5th V — Value. Through applying principles of data science to the analysis of problems within specific domains expressed through the program pathways, students will gain practical, real world industry relevant experience.

The MPS in Data Science is an industry-recognized credential and the program prepares students with the technical and management skills that they need to succeed in the workplace.

Why Data Science?

  • Organizations have a growing need for employees who are experts in the management and interpretation of big data;
  • Our classes are taught by industry experts who combine their professional experience with theory to provide a rigorous classroom experience; and
  • Our small classes are taught with a mix of in-person and online instruction, providing students the best of an in-classroom experience while allowing for work-school life balance.


The Data Science graduate program at UMBC is designed to respond to the growing regional and national demand for professionals with data science knowledge, skills, and abilities. Bringing together faculty from a wide range of fields who have a deep understanding of the real-world applications of data analytics, UMBC’s Data Science program prepares students for the workplace through hands-on experience, rigorous academics, and access to a robust network of knowledgeable industry professionals. UMBC’s graduate programs in Data Science offers a wide variety of benefits:

  • Exceptional faculty. The Data Science curriculum brings together UMBC’s Departments of Computer Science & Electrical Engineering, Information Systems, Mathematics and Statistics, and several departments from the social sciences to provide students with a rigorous and thorough base of knowledge. Faculty have particular strengths in addressing critical social questions through the application of data science.
  • Rigorous research. UMBC is classified by the Carnegie Foundation as a Research University (High Research Activity).
  • National recognition. For six years running (2009-2014), UMBC was ranked #1 in the U.S. News and World Report’s list of “national up-and-coming” universities
  • Convenient classes. Classes are conveniently offered in the evening on UMBC’s main campus, located just ten minutes from BWI Airport, with easy access to I-95 and the 695 Beltway

For more information and to apply online, see the Data Science MPS site.

UMBC hackathon inspires participants to “Innovate Good” through technology

Ahead of final exams this spring, nearly 200 students gathered at UMBC for “Innovate Good,” a hackathon co-hosted by HackUMBC and The Shriver Center, UMBC’s hub for service-learning, civic engagement, and community-based service delivery. During the 24-hour tech innovation marathon, students collaborated to build mobile, web, and hardware projects focused on solving problems and creating positive social outcomes. Four overarching categories inspired participants in their tech development: health and environment, housing, legal and justice, and education.

Collaborating with The Shriver Center to host the hackathon was an exciting experience, says Celeste Wong ‘18, computer science, co-president of HackUMBC. “There were different aspects to the hackathon we had to think about and work through since we’ve never done a social good Hackathon,” she explained. “In the end it was very rewarding to see students who are passionate about different areas of social justice. Seeing the participants demo and explain their projects really showcased their passion and heart for others at our school and in our community.”

Rick Forno, assistant director for UMBC’s Center for Cybersecurity and director of the Cybersecurity Graduate Program, serves as faculty advisor of the HackUMBC student organization. “Hackathons like HackUMBC are diverse, high-energy events that bring together novices, experts, and mentors to share and apply their knowledge, skills, and personal enthusiasm toward exploring the world of technology and/or developing innovative solutions with technology,” he says. He was delighted at the success of this first themed HackUMBC event in bringing together participants with diverse interests, experiences, and perspectives.

Hannah Schmitz, program coordinator of public service scholars programs in The Shriver Center, agreed, sharing, “So often we see a divide between ‘techie’ and ‘non-techie’ students. The Shriver Center and HackUMBC designed ‘Innovate Good’ to bridge that divide, bringing students together to harness their skills and experiences to co-create interdisciplinary solutions to social challenges.” She explained, “Participants had a chance to collaborate with students with varying disciplinary perspectives, and had an opportunity to learn from, work with, and teach each other.”

An “expo” portion toward the end of the event gave participants an the opportunity to share the hacks that they developed with their peers and receive feedback from faculty judges.

“It’s our hope that each participant walked away with new skill sets and a deepened interest in using their talents to make an impact in their community,” says Schmitz.

For more information about upcoming hackathons at UMBC, visit the HackUMBC website.

Adapted from a UMBC News article by Megan Hanks; header image: Students presenting their hacks at the “expo” portion of the hackathon. All photos by Marlayna Demond ’11 for UMBC.

UMBC seeks Professor of the Practice to head new Data Science program

Prof. Anupam Joshi talking in front of the π² Immersive Hybrid Reality displayCSEE Professor Anupam Joshi talking in front of UMBC’s π² Immersive Hybrid Reality display

Professor of the Practice
Graduate Program Director, Data Science

Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering
University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)

The Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) invites applications for a full time, non-tenure track Professor of the Practice position at its Catonsville, MD main campus.

Responsibilities: Reporting to the Chair of the Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, this position serves as the Graduate Program Director of UMBC’s program leading to a master’s degree in Data Science. This cross-disciplinary program is offered to professional students through a partnership between the College of Engineering and Information Technology; the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; the College of Natural and Mathematical Sciences; the Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering; and UMBC’s Division of Professional Studies (DPS). The incumbent will teach at least two courses per semester in the program. In addition to teaching, among other faculty duties, the incumbent will oversee curriculum and instruction; recruit and supervise qualified part-time faculty; collaborate with DPS on program marketing, student recruitment and retention activities; advise students; pursue business development opportunities with industry; manage UMBC’s Data Science Advisory Board; and carry out the necessary administrative duties associated with academic program oversight.

Salary: Salary is competitive and commensurate with qualifications and experience, and includes regular university benefits.

About UMBC: UMBC’s campus is located on 500 acres just off I-95 between Baltimore and Washington DC, and less than 10 minutes from the BWI airport and Amtrak station. The campus includes the bwtech@UMBC research and technology park, which has special programs for startups focused on cybersecurity, clean energy, life sciences and training. We are surrounded by one of the greatest concentrations of commercial, cultural and scientific activity in the nation. Located at the head of the Chesapeake Bay, Baltimore has all the advantages of modern, urban living, including professional sports, major art galleries, theaters and a symphony orchestra. The city’s famous Inner Harbor is an exciting center for entertainment and commerce. The nation’s capital, Washington, DC, is a great tourist attraction with its historical monuments and museums. Just ten minutes from downtown Baltimore and 30 from the D.C. Beltway, UMBC offers easy access to the region’s attractions by car or public transportation.

Qualifications: Earned doctoral degree or anticipated completion of a doctoral program in a relevant field within one year of hire. Preference will be given to applicants with at least five years of relevant professional experience, preferably as a data scientist. Teaching experience in classroom and/or on-line environments for industry-oriented graduate programs is desired. Candidates should have strong organizational, management, and public communication skills.

Application Instructions: For best consideration, submit a cover letter, a brief statement of teaching, academic, industrial or government experience, complete CV, and three professional or academic references by 1 July 2017 via Interfolio. Document review and selection of candidates will start immediately. Position will remain open until filled. Emailed applications will not be accepted.

We are committed to inclusive excellence and innovation and welcome applications from women, minorities, veterans, and individuals with disabilities. UMBC is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

ABC features UMBC cybersecurity student scholars

Students at UMBC are learning how to hack into systems and prevent attacks. They study hardwarre, software and the tools in between.


Jamie Costello from ABC’s Baltimore affiliate WMAR has a short video feature, UMBC is on a mission to crack the code, on UMBC students who are studying and doing research on the cybersecurity of computing hardware, software and systems.

If you walk through your door and notice your home computer in pieces scattered throughout the house, call UMBC.

In the old days, parents wanted their children to grow up to become doctors and lawyers, now its about becoming cyber security experts.

A select group of students at UMBC knew this was for them. Some tore computers apart. Some knocked XBOX players off their game on purpose. And one student, while in high school and with the school’s blessing, hacked into the school’s security camera system.

Jobs are like gnats on a summer night, college graduates are swatting the offers away. And the pay is good, really good.

Students are learning how to hack into systems and then prevent such attacks. They are studying hardware, software and tools in between. The more we invent and tie into the internet, the more cyber security experts are needed.

Natacha Ngea ’17, B.S. in Computer Engineering, recognized by UMBC

Natacha Ngea, future software engineer, reflects on the impact of mentorship

Natacha Ngea
B.S., Computer Engineering
Hometown: Yaounde, Cameroon
Plans: Software engineer, Harris Corporation

I have had multiple mentors and coaches at UMBC. Their support and feedback have been invaluable in succeeding and building my brand, and to find my voice.

Natacha Ngea (back row, fourth from right) at the Grace Hopper Conference in 2015; photo courtesy of CWIT.

When Natacha Ngea transferred to UMBC from Howard Community College, she knew that she wanted to pursue a degree in computer engineering and she hit the ground running. She became involved with the Center for Women in Technology (CWIT) as T-SITE Scholar. She also received a Returning Women Student Scholarship through UMBC’s Women’s Center, as well as a First Generation scholarship through the McNair Scholars Program, and Society of Women Engineers scholarship.

Ngea particularly credits relationships she developed through CWIT, the Women’s Center, and the Division of Information Technology, as an intern, for helping her access networking opportunities and resources that supported her success.

Ngea pursued a number of exceptional experiences during her time at UMBC. She earned a scholarship to attend the Grace Hopper Conference for Women in Computing, which inspired her to persevere through the challenges of completing her degree as one of few returning women students of color in a computing field. Through attending the conference, she secured an opportunity to intern at IBM in summer 2016.

After taking a course with Tammy Henderson, lecturer of Africana Studies, Ngea was inspired to become a mentor to fellow UMBC students, sharing knowledge gleaned from conferences and workshops, including the National Society of Black Engineers Convention. She also enjoyed working directly with low-income high school students, helping them to prepare for the SATs, and connected with fellow students through the Catholic Retrievers, Jubilee Choir, and Gospel Choir.

Adapted from an article on UMBC News. Portrait by Marlayna Demond ‘11 for UMBC.

Matthew Landen ’17, B.S. in Computer Science & Mathematics, recognized by UMBC

Matthew Landen, peer mentor, pursues security-focused computer science Ph.D.

UMBC’s class of 2017 is graduating this week and UMBC News has provides that highlight examples of the very capable and accomplished new graduates. Matthew Landen, who received a B.S. in both Computer Science and Mathematics, is one of them.

Matthew Landen
B.S., Computer Science and Mathematics
Summa Cum Laude
Hometown: Ellicott City, Maryland
Plans: Ph.D., Georgia Tech

UMBC has taught me the value of and need for collaboration. The world is currently faced with complex problems which cannot be solved by one individual.

Matthew Landen (front row, far right) after a performance with UMBC’s Musical Theatre Club; photo courtesy of Landen.

In his time at UMBC, Meyerhoff Scholar Matthew Landen has excelled in the classroom, the lab, the theatre, and the boardroom.

Landen has pursued several research opportunities, presenting at Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement Day and, most recently, working in the Multi-Agent Planning & Learning (MAPLE) lab led by Marie desJardins, associate dean of the College of Engineering and Information Technology and professor of computer science and electrical engineering. There he was particularly known for helping his peers understand complex concepts.

Landen also worked with students as a teaching fellow for Computing 101, and regularly volunteered to hold extra study sessions for students to support their success. In fall 2016, he became the head teaching fellow for the course, and worked closely with Stacy Branham, lecturer of information systems, to lead class activities, grade assignments, and answer students’ questions.

Landen’s exceptional work led to his induction into the Phi Kappa Phi honors society, and he recently received a highly prestigious and competitive graduate research fellowship from the National Science Foundation.

Beyond excelling as a student, peer mentor, and researcher, Landen has been actively involved in UMBC’s Musical Theatre Club for each fall showcase performance and each spring musical during his four years on campus. He has also served as webmaster for UMBC’s Student Government Association, collaborating with fellow computing students to design websites to help SGA stay organized, transparent, and effective as the primary governance body for UMBC undergraduates.

Landen will pursue his Ph.D. in computer science at Georgia Tech, with a focus on intelligent security systems.

Adapted from an article on UMBC News. Portrait by Marlayna Demond ‘11 for UMBC.

UMBC CSEE Alumni Semmel and Hill address UMBC’s Class of 2017

Global leaders in research and industry to address UMBC’s Class of 2017

UMBC will welcome two alumni—known today as global leaders in their fields—as commencement speakers at this spring’s undergraduate and graduate commencement ceremonies.

On Wednesday, May 24, Dr. Ralph D. Semmel, ‘92, computer science, will speak at the graduate commencement ceremony. Semmel is the director of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), which conducts research and development for the U.S. Department of Defense, NASA, and the intelligence community. He oversees the scientific and technological contributions of APL staff on national and global levels.

“We are absolutely delighted to have Dr. Semmel back on campus to share his story with our graduates,” says Karl V. Steiner, vice president for research.

UMBC physics professors Jim Franson and Todd Pittman both launched their careers at APL, and UMBC and APL have continued to develop meaningful connections throughout the years. “A growing number of our former students now have exciting and impactful careers at APL,” Steiner notes. “The close proximity of our two institutions makes us perfect partners for future collaborations.”

Before his current role, Semmel founded APL’s Applied Information Sciences Department and Infocentric Operations Business Area and served in numerous other research and leadership roles at APL, Wang Laboratories, the MITRE Corporation and the U.S. Army. He has also served on a number of boards, panels, and committees at federal science and technology organizations.

Stephanie C. Hill ‘86, computer science and economics, will speak to the Class of 2017 at UMBC’s undergraduate commencement ceremony on Thursday, May 25. She is the vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin’s Cyber, Ships and Advanced Technologies (CSAT) line for Rotary and Missions Systems.

After graduating from UMBC, Hill became a software engineer at Lockheed Martin. Since then, she has held a wide range of senior leadership positions at the company in information systems, civil business, electronic systems, and sensors business.

“Stephanie Hill is such a great choice for undergraduate commencement speaker. As a female African American computer scientist who has had an incredibly successful career in technology leadership, she embodies UMBC’s commitments to diversity, civic engagement, social responsibility, and lifelong learning,” says Marie desJardins, associate dean in the College of Engineering and Information Technology and professor of computer science.

“She is also an outspoken proponent of STEM education and outreach, and is an inspiring role model for all of our students,” says desJardins.

Several organizations and publications have recognized Hill for her impressive career path and her work to advance STEM education. In 2014, she was included on EBONY Magazine’s Power 100 list, which recognized President Hrabowski in 2016. Locally, Hill was presented with the Greater Baltimore Committee’s President’s Award for supporting the development of minority-owned businesses.

Hill currently serves on the S&P Global Board of Directors and is the chair of the Greater Baltimore Committee. Driven by her passion for STEM education, she is also involved with Project Lead the Way, a national organization that provides STEM teacher training for K-12 educators.

UMBC will honor Hill with a doctorate of public service and Semmel with a doctorate of science.

Community members who aren’t able to attend the ceremonies in person can view them live through the commencement webcast, or follow them on Twitter @UMBC and through #UMBCgrad. Videos of the remarks will also be available online after the ceremonies.

Originally published as a UMBC News article by Megan Hanks.

Prof. Marie desJardins named by Forbes as one of 21 women who are advancing AI research

An article on Forbes’ site this week cites UMBC’s Professor Marie desJardins as one of 21 women who are advancing A.I. research. The article notes that artificial intelligence is “eating the world, transforming virtually every industry and function” and highlights women who are AI educators, researchers and business leaders who are driving the development and application of AI technology.

Professor desJardins joined the faculty at UMBC in 2001, after spending ten years as a research scientist in the Artificial Intelligence Center of SRI International in Menlo Park, California. She received her Ph.D. in computer science in 1991 from the University of California, Berkeley where her dissertation advanced autonomous learning systems in probabilistic domains.

The Forbes article states that

Marie desJardins has always been driven by broad, big-picture questions in AI rather than narrow technical applications. For her PhD dissertation at Berkeley, she worked on “goal-driven machine learning” where she designed methods an intelligent agent can use to figure out what and how to learn. As an Associate Dean and Professor at University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), desJardins has published over 120 scientific papers and won accolades for her teaching, but is equally proud of work she’s done with graduate students on self-organization and trust in multiagent systems.

When desJardins started her career, the AI and computing industry attracted more diverse, multi-disciplinary talent. Over time, she observed that conferences are “increasingly dominated with papers that focused almost exclusively on one subproblem (supervised classification learning) and much less welcoming of work in other subareas (active learning, goal-directed learning, applied learning, cognitive learning, etc),” which she is worried will exacerbate the diversity gap in AI.

“We are already seeing a reconsideration of more symbolic, representation-based approaches,” desJardins observes. “Ultimately I think that we will build more and more bridges between numerical approaches and symbolic approaches, and create layered architectures that take advantage of both.”

Her current research focuses on artificial intelligence, particularly machine learning, planning and decision making, and multi-agent systems. She has published over 125 scientific papers on these topics, and was recently named one of the “Ten AI Researchers to Follow on Twitter” by TechRepublic. At UMBC, she has been PI or co-PI on over $6,000,000 of external research funding, including a prestigious NSF CAREER Award, and has graduated 11 Ph.D. students and 25 M.S. students. She is particularly well known on campus and in her professional community for her commitment to student mentoring: she has been involved with the AAAI/SIGART Doctoral Consortium for the last 16 years and has worked with over 70 undergraduate researchers and four high school student interns. She was awarded the 2014 NCWIT Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award and the 2016 CRA Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award in recognition of her commitment to undergraduate research.

Prof. Ting Zhu receives NSF CAREER award to develop Internet of Things technology


The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded Ting Zhu, assistant professor of computer science and electrical engineering, its prestigious CAREER Award for his work to significantly improve the existing sensing capabilities of common technologies, such as cell phones. The five-year grant will total nearly $500,000.

“We congratulate Dr. Zhu on his NSF CAREER Award, an important recognition of his inventive work and what it may mean for other fields,” said Karl V. Steiner, vice president for research. “Dr. Zhu’s recognition adds to our growing list of outstanding young faculty recognized by peers and national funding agencies for their potential to advance science and technology.”

Ting Zhu, right, works with a student in the lab.

Zhu’s research may have impacts on the daily lives of people who use their cell phones to track activities, like exercise and sleep. He finds that although many mobile phones have activity monitoring systems built in, these capabilities are often not used to their fullest potential.

“The purpose of my research is to enable Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices to conduct accurate, efficient, and scalable N-way sensing,” explains Zhu. “This award will allow me to leverage sensing capabilities from different IoT devices to significantly improve people’s daily life for applications such as personal health monitoring, indoor localization, and smart home automation.”

To integrate research with education, Zhu will collaborate with his colleagues at UMBC to disseminate his research to local communities and recruit underrepresented groups. His work also has potential applications for enhancing the teaching of sensing technologies in classrooms, and his lab will provide opportunities for diverse UMBC students to complete hands-on research related to sensing technologies, as well as potentially exploring connections with virtual reality and 3D scanning.

In the last two decades, UMBC faculty have received 34 NSF CAREER awards. Additional UMBC faculty honored with CAREER awards so far in 2017 include Lee Blaney, assistant professor of chemical, biochemical and environmental engineering, for his work on water contamination, and Tinoosh Mohsenin, assistant professor of computer science and electrical engineering, for her work on energy efficient implementation of deep learning technologies and machine learning algorithms that are developed to function similarly to the brain.

Republished from UMBC News; Photos by Marlayna Demond ’11 for UMBC.

CyberCorps SFS students to meet at UMBC, Friday May 26

CyberCorps SFS Spring Meeting at UMBC

9am-1pm, Friday, 26 May 26 2017, ITE 456, UMBC
open to the public

Six CyberCorps Scholarship for Service (SFS) students from Montgomery College and Prince George’s Community College will present their results solving IT security problems for their county governments. In spring 2017, these students worked collaboratively in a special applied research course at their school to help their county government. In fall 2017, these students will transfer to UMBC to complete their four-year degrees. This activity is part of a pioneering program centered at UMBC to extend SFS scholarships to community college students.

This summer, these students will join forces with SFS scholars at UMBC to work collaboratively on an applied research problem involving analysis of a policy and set of scripts that enable machine owners at UMBC to lower the UMBC firewall on their machines.

09:00  light refreshments
09:30  Introduction, Alan T. Sherman, UMBC
09:35  Report from Montgomery College, Joe Roundy and students
10:40  Report from Prince George’s Community College, Casey W. O’Brien and students
11:45  Introducing the summer research study problem, Jack Suess and Damian Doyle, UMBC Division of Information Technology
12:00  lunch and informal discussions
13:00  adjourn

CyberCorps: Scholarship For Service (SFS) is a unique program designed to increase and strengthen the cadre of federal information assurance professionals that protect the government’s critical information infrastructure. This program provides scholarships that may fully fund the typical costs incurred by full-time students while attending a participating institution, including tuition and education and related fees. Additionally, participants receive stipends of $22,500 for undergraduate students and $34,000 for graduate students. The scholarships are funded through grants awarded by the National Science Foundation.

Host: Alan T. Sherman () is a professor of computer science and Director of the UMBC Center for Information Security and Assurance (CISA), which center is responsible for UMBC’s designation as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education and Cyber Defense Research.

Joe Roundy is the Cybersecurity Program Manager at Montgomery College, Germantown.

Casey W. O’Brien is Executive Director and Principal Investigator of the National CyberWatch Center, Prince George’s Community College.

Support for this event is provided in part by the National Science Foundation under SFS Grant 1241576.

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