Out of This World

NASA Partners with UBalt for First Space Technology Camp

How do space missions affect astronauts’ mental health? How can spacesuits be redesigned to better fit different people? Can technology be used to signal a spike in radiation levels for an astronaut exploring a new area?

Sitting in a college classroom on a summer day, a group of high school students are eagerly sharing the questions they hope to investigate as part of The University of Baltimore’s first Space Technology Camp.

Dr. Giovanni Vincenti, an associate professor in UBalt’s Applied Information Technology program, praises the ideas that the students will ultimately present at the culmination of the week. “That’s going to drive what we share with NASA,” he says, “and then, who knows?”

The possibilities—in what students can envision about space and their future careers, and in what UBalt can build from this collaboration—are limitless.

Instructor with Student wearing a VR headset


Opening Doors

UBalt Attains New Federal Status to Support Students

With its decades-long mission of opening doors for career-driven students from all walks of life, The University of Baltimore has attained a new level of recognition that affirms its core commitments and capabilities: the University has been designated a “Predominantly Black Institution” (PBI) by the U.S. Department of Education. This designation provides a pathway for UBalt to qualify for competitive grants in several student-facing areas that will support undergraduate programs in science, technology, health education, and related areas of teaching and learning.

In fact, the $65,000 grant to launch Space Tech Camp (page 4) this past summer was awarded through NASA’s Minority Univer-sity Research and Education Project and its Precollege Summer Institute. With its new designation, UBalt was eligible for consideration to receive the grant, and was named one of only 10 institutions nationwide to receive funding in the category of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) or PBIs.

Sixty-seven colleges and universities have attained federal PBI status, and eligibility for the program is determined annually, by a number of factors. Qualifying institutions must serve at least 1,000 undergraduates; have an undergraduate enrollment that comprises at least 40 percent Black-American students and at least 50 percent low-income or first-generation students; and report a low-average expenditure per full-time undergraduate, compared with other schools that offer similar instruction.


The First To Get His Second Chance


James Ruffin III
Photo Courtesy of Photo Magic Media

Standing in a hospital room, waiting on the birth of his fourth son, James Ruffin III, B.A. ’21, is thinking about second chances. In a lot of ways, it was a second chance that got him here, to this moment. It also got him into a cap and gown and a diploma five months beforehand.

Ruffin was among the first students to join The University of Baltimore’s Second Chance College Program when it launched at Jessup Correctional Institute in 2016. When he walked across The Lyric stage during UBalt’s 2021 Fall Commencement, he became the program’s first graduate. It was the end of five years of studying harder than he ever had before, and the beginning of a life that seemed improbable when he was sentenced to 25 years in prison, with no chance of parole, on drug distribution charges.

“This program did so much for me—it changed my life,” Ruffin says. “It took me from off the corner selling whatever I was selling to whoever would buy it, to being able to have an educated conversation with someone. It did a lot for me.”


Preserving Overlooked Stories

Rebuilding Black History in Baltimore, One Story at a Time

In 2017, Angela Koukoui, B.A. ’19, created The University of Baltimore’s Community Archives Program—an annual series of workshops that engages individuals and communities in archival preservation—while working in the Robert L. Bogomolny Library’s Special Collections and Archives. She hoped to dispel the notion that rare artifacts and disintegrating documents, kept locked away in vaults and museums, were the only legacies worth preserving.

Koukoui in the Eubie Blake Cultural Center.
Chris Myers

“Communities and individuals make up history and are deeply connected to what they choose to document and keep—preserving community life and what happens in the neighborhoods they reside in. Community archives break away from the traditional archival process, as the traditional process doesn’t necessarily take the community into consideration,” says Koukoui.


A Fresh Take

on the World’s Most Rich and Powerful

Since the Russian attacks on Ukraine in February, David Lingelbach has fielded many media requests for interviews and opinion pieces on the topic of oligarchy. It’s a term as old as Aristotle, but public curiosity about oligarchs has only increased in recent years, especially as current socio-political discourse becomes centered around the topics of wealth and power. 

Lingelbach, a professor of entrepreneurship in the Merrick School of Business, stands out from other contemporary experts because he’s able to help the public see the big picture more clearly—and consequently understand why it’s so important. That’s because, in true UBalt fashion, he’s a leader in this field whose public intellectualism is deeply rooted in real-world experience.

Prof. David Lingelbach at ”The Wall Along Wilshire (The Berlin Wall Project),“ presented by the Wende Museum, Los Angeles.
John Davis Photography

Lingelbach spent five years working as an investment banker and venture capitalist while living in Russia in the 1990s. During that time, he interacted with many members of the country’s elite, including Vladimir Putin, then Saint Petersburg’s first deputy mayor. So, when Lingelbach addresses the subject of oligarchs, he’s actually rubbed elbows with some of the people he’s discussing.