Alumni Association News

Letter From the Executive Director
Terps are teachers, lawyers and community activists. They are journalists, researchers and creators of new knowledge. They are entrepreneurs, health-care workers and scientists working on a COVID-19 vaccine. As an Alumni Association, we are proud to share their stories with fellow alumni, future and current students, and the state and nation at large. Our most notable alumni icons are members of the Alumni Hall of Fame, featured prominently on the walls of the Samuel Riggs IV Alumni Center. Muppeteer Jim Henson ’60, astronaut Judith Resnik Ph.D. ’77 and “Seinfeld” creator Larry David ’70 are among 68 revered alumni. We honor these Terps annually at A Celebration of Terps: Featuring the Maryland Awards, as well as through the new Alumni Excellence Awards, launched last year. I salute this year’s recipients, shown below, for their accomplishments and contributions in their professions. In addition, many of our talented alumni serve as valuable resources to fellow Terps. This past fall, state Dels. Wanika Fisher ’10 and Alonzo Washington ’07 were featured at a UMD Democracy event focused on identity politics. We also heard from Jake Blackmon ’17, director of operations at Smoketown Brewery in Frederick, Md., about the beer-making business. In addition, as part of an alumni panel, former NBA star and lawyer Len Elmore ’78 shared his input on social justice. Alumni experts have also shared information about exercise, food and nutrition. Our new alumni cookbook features dozens of recipes from Terps, including Joy Bauer ’86, NBC nutrition and health expert and No. 1 bestselling author, and Carolyn Gurtz ’70, a Pillsbury Bake-Off grand prize winner. I encourage you to reach out to our awardees and featured alumni through our Alumni Directory at This past year has been filled with unprecedented challenges. 2021 is a new year filled with new opportunities. And the Alumni Association is excited to share new programs and events aimed at you. I hope you stay safe and have a healthy winter. Go Terps!     Amy Eichhorst Executive Director University of Maryland Alumni Association
The Alumni Excellence Awards
University of Maryland graduates are among the best and brightest in their fields. From scholars and innovators to entrepreneurs, teachers and researchers, our alumni are leaving their mark in our state, nation and the world. The Alumni Excellence Awards provide an opportunity to recognize the accomplishments of select Terps, and honor these recipients with distinction. Careful consideration was made in selecting the following standout alumni, our 2021 recipients of the Alumni Excellence Awards. Learn more at Rising Terp Award The following alumni are an inspiration to the next generation of Terp leaders. All under the age of 30, they have already made significant professional accomplishments. Nikhil Balakumar ’14 HEAD OF MARKET DEVELOPMENT-EASTERN REGION, UTILIDATA; CO-FOUNDER, TERP ENTREPRENEUR NETWORK Balakumar is an innovator, pushing for smarter use of clean energy and better access to utility company data. Dani Beckerman ’12 OWNER, JARS BY DANI This rising Terp turned her baking hobby into a thriving business when she founded Jars by Dani in 2013. Now, she sells her neatly packed, colorful cakes nationwide. Sahil Rahman ’12 and Rahul Vinod ’11 FOUNDERS AND OWNERS, RASA Through their Indian fast-casual eateries, these lifelong friends helped feed more than 20,000 people impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
EnTERPreneur Award These Terps are fearlessly disrupting their industries as successful entrepreneurs. We honor three alumni for their significant business contributions. Cate Luzio ’97 FOUNDER AND CEO, LUMINARY Luzio founded a collaboration hub for women to develop, network and connect. She recently expanded her online programs to reach women across the country. Brett Schulman ’95 CEO, CAVA Under Schulman’s direction, the Mediterranean fast-casual chain has expanded to almost 300 restaurants in 24 states, including a location in College Park. Steve Touw ’99 CO-FOUNDER AND CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER, IMMUTA Touw and his UMD Discovery District-based company create software that enables legal and ethical use of data while protecting privacy.
Research Award The University of Maryland is one of the world’s premier research institutions. This award recognizes three alumni for their transformational research and its impact. Autumn Griffin Ph.D. ’20 CO-FOUNDER, BLACKADEMIA Griffin, a postdoctoral researcher studying technology in the classroom, launched the Blackademia digital network to share and celebrate stories of people of color in academic spaces. Ruth Kastner ’82, M.S. ’92, Ph.D. ’99 FOUNDER OF THE QUANTUM INSTITUTE, AUTHOR, EDUCATOR AND UMD RESEARCH ASSOCIATE Kastner is a researcher and physics pioneer, known worldwide for her work in quantum mechanics. Samuel Ramsey Ph.D. ’18 ENTOMOLOGIST, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE BEE RESEARCH LAB Ramsey revolutionized the honey bee world when he discovered that a parasite that threatens the population is feeding on bees’ organs, and not their blood as previously believed.
Legacy Award This distinguished award honors alumni who have left a positive legacy in their community, celebrating their personal and professional lifetime achievements. Rebecca Evans Carroll Ed.D. ’66 AUTHOR, EDUCATOR AND FORMER DEPUTY SUPERINTENDENT OF CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION, BALTIMORE CITY PUBLIC SCHOOLS In 1962, Carroll became the first African American woman to earn a doctorate from UMD. Karel Petraitis PRESIDENT, PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY TERPS ALUMNI NETWORK; VOLUNTEER WITH REBOUNDERS AND FAST BREAKERS; FORMER TERRAPIN CLUB BOARD MEMBER This avid Terps fan grew up in College Park and has spent most of her life supporting UMD. Greg Schaub ’82 RETIRED MANAGING DIRECTOR, JP MORGAN CHASE; FORMER MEMBER, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND ALUMNI ASSOCIATION BOARD OF GOVERNORS Schaub boosts UMD’s presence in his home state of Texas through networking events and a scholarship he and his wife created.


Leave a Reply

* indicates a required field