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Discovery Scholars 2014

Alonte

Alonté Cross

Major: Media and Communication Studies
Sophomore
alontec1@umbc.edu

Where did you go to high school?
Crossland High School, Temple Hills, MD

When and why did you decide you wanted to attend UMBC?
I transferred to UMBC from Regent University in Fall 2012 because of its reputation for being great, the campus size and the in-state tuition rate, of course.

Share one tip you wish you had known before you started your first year at UMBC?
There is not enough time in the day to do everything you want/can! It is so easy to get involved at UMBC and the options are vast. College is a multi-year process so my tip would be to know that you don’t have to do everything all at once.

Why did you decide to participate in the DS LLC?
As a Resident Assistant, I am most interested in working with a first-year population. My resources and experience on campus are what make me most valuable to students on the DS floor, knowing that, I decided to become involved.

Did you know anyone else in Discovery Scholars when you started? Have you made friends through the program?
Although I didn’t participate in the program, my first year at UMBC I did live in Patapsco Hall and met some great people that were in the Discovery Scholars program. We are great friends today!

Would you recommend DS LLC to other new UMBC students?
The DS LLC provides students with a unique on-campus experience that coupled with standard communal practices in the residence halls would give students the ultimate experience. I would definitely recommend it!

Tell us a few interesting things about yourself…?
I am currently the Lead Resident Assistant in Patapsco Hall and President ​of the UMBC Chapter of Sigma Alpha Lambda, a Leadership and Honors Organization. I enjoy music, blogging, photography and social media.

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Khizra

Khizra Ehsan

Major: Biochemistry
Sophomore
khizra@umbc.edu

Where did you go to high school?
Parkville High School

When and why did you decide you wanted to attend UMBC?
I knew I liked UMBC long before my senior year in high school because I got an opportunity to live on campus with the Classic Upward Bound Program, and I absolutely loved the campus. To be honest I decided to attend UMBC as soon I received my acceptance letter and the financial aid the institution offered made my decision making easier too.

Share one tip you wish you had known before you started your first year at UMBC?
DO NOT STRESS-OUT!! Pre-plan everything you can but leave some flexibility in your schedule.

How did you hear about the Discovery Scholars Living Learning Community (DS LLC)?
I found out about it on the UMBC website and found out more about it by talking with Laila over the summer.

Why did you decide to participate in the DS LLC?
It seemed a great opportunity for freshmen and it was.

Did you know anyone else in Discovery Scholars when you started? Have you made friends through the program?
I knew no one from the Discovery Scholars program before my first day but I made friends quickly. Everyone on the floor was very amicable and I met my besties on the floor.

What was the most interesting thing that happened during your first year at UMBC?
The most interesting thing that happened to me during my first year at UMBC was meeting different employers and companies at the job fairs. Handing out my resumes and trying to convince the employers that I am the best they will get made realize what the meaning of “the real world” my teachers talked to me about in high school.

What was your favorite part of being part of Discovery Scholars?
The best part of being part of the Discovery Scholars was the feeling of being part of a team. Going to lunches and dinners together, studying together, going to events together etc.

In what ways did the DS LLC experience help you at UMBC?
DS LLC experience helped me adjust at UMBC. It gave me the extra help that all freshmen need but are sometimes shy to ask for it. I always felt I wasn’t alone; I had Laila, Jill, Peer mentors, Manpreet (our RA) and my friends from the floor to talk to about everything.

Would you recommend DS LLC to other new UMBC students?
Most definitely Yes! I will strongly recommend all new UMBC students to come to campus being part of a smaller community and DS LLC is among the best you can get at UMBC.

Tell us a few interesting things about yourself…?

  • I like to wear the color black
  • I don’t know how to swim (but I would love to learn someday)
  • I am obsessed with Pretty Little Liars
  • I am bilingual
  • I love mathematics

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Tristen

Tristen Hafner-Eaton

Major: Chemical Engineering
Sophomore
hafner1@umbc.edu

Where did you go to high school?
Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, Maryland.
REPRESENT!!!

When and why did you decide you wanted to attend UMBC?

I decided I wanted to go to UMBC when my mom and I were looking for the best college in the area. During that Junior year of high school, I mostly wanted to find a place that would fit my introverted personality while also satisfying a need for a scientific community. UMBC was just the perfect fit for me.

Share one tip you wish you had known before you started your first year at UMBC?

Always know how to operate the given systems for classes, such as Learnsmart, and Connect. Learning how to use these systems early on will save you some hassle in later classes.

How did you hear about the Discovery Scholars Living Learning Community (DS LLC)?

While looking for housing opportunities, I found out about certain communities of people based on what they did and who they were, and the idea intrigued me. I prefer living with the kinds of people who are most like me, and LLC set me up with a group of people that feel like a second family.

Why did you decide to participate in the DS LLC?

I saw it as an opportunity to ease my transition from high school to college, but I later found it to be something that I had an emotional attachment to, and wanted to continue.

Did you know anyone else in Discovery Scholars when you started? Have you made friends through the program?

I knew of one person, whom I went to high school with, though we never really had much interest in talking, and did not start there. However, I did make friends with more than half of the floor, and the best of them are the ones who are going along with me to become peer mentors.

What was the most interesting thing that happened during your first year at UMBC?

The most interesting thing for me, though it may seem a little dull for others, was finding out just how much I had in common with everyone else. I don’t really go to any parties (I’m just not into that scene), so I consider the more interesting things in life to be found in people themselves, and not so much in what they do. The countless amounts of things that I have in common with the people in the LLC, as well as in general on the UMBC campus, has led me to believe with an absolute certainty, that if a student is looking to find people to connect with, Discovery Scholars will find them for you.

What was your favorite part of being part of Discovery Scholars?

Being part of a community, in which we were all heading towards one major objective, while we all had different conditions and situations that we started from. The numerous experiences we have all had gave me and others the wisdom and knowledge of what to do and when to do it, so in a way, us being together, helped others and me achieve more than we had intended.

In what ways did the DS LLC experience help you at UMBC?

I kind of answered this one in the last question, but it helped me by getting me in a community of people who know their stuff, even though no one person knows everything. And it was that community that helped keep me motivated, happy, supported, and, at times around finals, sane.

Would you recommend DS LLC to other new UMBC students?

Yes, but there is an important component to being in DS, you have to care about one another. This is crucial to being a productive member of the LLC, and I hope that anyone who joins it has a natural inclination for the care of others.

Tell us a few interesting things about yourself…?

  • I’ve lived all over the country, so I have a lot of stories to tell about traveling and living in different states, plus out of the country itself.
  • I used to speak Spanish when I was younger, so I’m up for any conversation that could help me bring some of it back.
  • I have a number of hobbies/interests like wood carving, archery, piano, politics, music history, art history, and anatomy, so feel free to strike up a conversation concerning anything like that.
  • I love drawing, and going to play pool at the gameroom.
    Movies, movies, movies. Love the plots, production, and trivia. I’m all about ‘em.
  • I am pretty interested in anything having to do with media or music. I have a taste for any genre out there (except maybe Insane Clown Posse’s music. Sorry Juggalos).

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Julia

Julia Hiep

Major: Pre-nursing
Sophomore
pt21015@umbc.edu

Where did you go to high school?
Atholton High School in Howard County

When and why did you decide you wanted to attend UMBC?

I decided I wanted to go to UMBC in April, after I attended New Student Day. I liked the size of the school and the other students I met, but after I heard Dr. Hrabowski speak and saw the all of the clubs/organizations in the RAC, I was hooked.

Share one tip you wish you had known before you started your first year at UMBC?

It’s great to make new friends at UMBC, so branch out and meet new people! But remember not to limit yourself to only being with college students 24/7. If you can, try to volunteer or get a job somewhere off campus with people that aren’t all the same age as you. I volunteer at my church, so I can interact with both little kids and adults. Some of these adults have given me some great advice.

How did you hear about the Discovery Scholars Living Learning Community (DS LLC)?

While I was filling out my UMBC acceptance stuff online, my mommy suggested that I should apply for the floor. I still have no idea how she heard about the Discovery Scholars LLC since I hadn’t heard of it, but I’m definitely glad I listened to her!

Why did you decide to participate in the DS LLC?

I knew I was interested in medicine or healthcare, but other than that I wasn’t sure what exactly what I wanted to do. I liked the idea of being around a bunch of people with other interests who also were undecided or not certain about their major.

Did you know anyone else in Discovery Scholars when you started? Have you made friends through the program?

I didn’t know anyone else in the LLC when I started, but living on the floor made it really easy to make friends. Since we’re all part of Discovery Scholars and we all had at least one class together, everyone felt connected. The floor became like a really weird (but still great) family!

What was the most interesting thing that happened during your first year at UMBC?

I took a class because I thought it was about something else, but I ended up loving it! I took a class to become an EMT (not entirely knowing what EMTs are or what they do), but when I found out, I decided to stick with it for the semester. I ended up loving what we were learning, so I took the second semester of the class as well. Now I’m volunteering as an EMT in a fire station, and I might become a fire fighter as well.

What was your favorite part of being part of Discovery Scholars?

Being part of Discovery Scholars made it easy for me to be friends with people who don’t necessarily share my interests, and they encouraged me to try new things and go to events that I never would have considered previously.

In what ways did the DS LLC experience help you at UMBC?

It helped me get close to the people on my floor and make new friends with different interests than me, and I also got extra advising from Jill, which came in handy when I decided to switch my major and my spring schedule right before the spring semester started.

Would you recommend DS LLC to other new UMBC students?

Definitely!

Tell us a few interesting things about yourself…?

I’m part of CRU and the pep band, I’m also trying to learn guitar (shout out to Tim for teaching me and shout out to Stacey/Alyssa for dealing with me playing the same 4 chords constantly), I’m a volunteer EMT, I’m obsessed with Pintrest, and I love just about anything with chocolate.

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stacey

Stacey Kramer

Major: Media and Communication Studies
Sophomore
skramer2@umbc.edu

Where did you go to high school?
Thomas Stone, which is in Charles County. It’s just north of where John Wilkes Booth died!

When and why did you decide you wanted to attend UMBC?
I hadn’t really heard of UMBC, but the more I read about it the more interested I was. When I visited, I saw how excited and friendly the students were. I think after that was when I decided on UMBC!

Share one tip you wish you had known before you started your first year at UMBC?
I guess it would be a warning that you’ll have to just go with the flow. In the beginning of the semester I would start getting into the normal workflow, and them WHAM, midterms! I had no idea how busy things could get so fast. So just realize you’ll always be kind of improvising.

How did you hear about the Discovery Scholars Living Learning Community (DS LLC)?
I think I found it on the website when I was researching the school.

Why did you decide to participate in the DS LLC?
I was really indecisive on my major, and I thought the program would be my best shot. I’d found that just taking personality tests online wouldn’t help me.

Did you know anyone else in Discovery Scholars when you started? Have you made friends through the program?
Nope, I didn’t know anyone! Now I know pretty much everyone, including the other mentors! It was great to get to know so many great people.

What was the most interesting thing that happened during your first year at UMBC?
I did so many new things when I got here! Blanket forts were made, balloon animals were born and mourned, and the cold always bothered us anyway. I guess the biggest thing was finals week, because it’s this weird time where everyone is together, but we’re all freaking out together. And doing yoga.

What was your favorite part of being part of Discovery Scholars?
Definitely the people. I met so many wonderful people, and I don’t think I would have come out of my shell as much as I have without them. Our floor has a connection most other floors don’t, and it’s so fun!

In what ways did the DS LLC experience help you at UMBC?
They say that college is when you really start to define yourself, but I think I wouldn’t have defined myself without the LLC. Having Jill (Randles) and Laila (Shishineh) as advisers really helped me figure out what I want to do with my time here, and to make sure that happens. My friends in the program helped me out too, from homework to exploring the campus!

Would you recommend DS LLC to other new UMBC students?
Definitely! If it fits you, then definitely apply. Being in an LLC really adds another dimension to being at UMBC. And if you’re undecided, you get solid advice and lots of ways to figure out your major!

Tell us a few interesting things about yourself…?
I like drawing, so if you see a cat on a whiteboard, that’s me. I like tea, anime/cartoons, and puns. I am in the American Sign Language Club, even though I only know a few signs, haha.

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Tim

Tim Porter

Major: Computer Science
Sophomore
taporter95@gmail.com

Where did you go to high school?
I was home-schooled, but I attended a co-op called Chieftain Institute.

When and why did you decide you wanted to attend UMBC?
I decided that I wanted to come to UMBC because I liked the campus, I was impressed with the level of academics at the school, and also because it’s smaller than UMD.

Share one tip you wish you had known before you started your first year at UMBC?
I wish I had known how important it would be to manage my time so that I would not be scrambling to turn assignments in on time.

How did you hear about the Discovery Scholars Living Learning Community (DS LLC)?
I don’t remember exactly how I heard about DS, but I think it was some part of the application process.

Why did you decide to participate in the DS LLC?
I decided to participate in the DS LLC because I anticipated that I would need a lot of guidance during my first year of college, and I thought that the LLC could provide that.

Did you know anyone else in Discovery Scholars when you started? Have you made friends through the program?
I did know one person when I started, and I have definitely made several good friends during my time here.

What was the most interesting thing that happened during your first year at UMBC?
I think the most interesting thing that happened was when I went to a live showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, however, this is asking me to be appropriate so I can not go into any detail.

What was your favorite part of being part of Discovery Scholars?
I think my favorite part of the Discovery Scholars was the community that the program provided, everyone knew everyone else, and that was great.

In what ways did the DS LLC experience help you at UMBC?
I think it did play some part in helping me figure out what I wanted my major to be, and it also helped me make some great friends.

Would you recommend DS LLC to other new UMBC students?
Yes, I would definitely recommend the DS LLC to anyone.

Tell us a few interesting things about yourself…?
I was home-schooled for most of my life before I got to college, I have been playing guitar for about 4-5 years and I have been in and out of a few bands, I love music, and I love video games.

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Allison

Allison Sanphillipo

Major: Biology
Sophomore
sanpall1@umbc.edu

Where did you go to high school?
The John Carroll School in Bel Air, MD
When and why did you decide you wanted to attend UMBC?

I decided to attend UMBC after learning about all of the impressive academic opportunities offered and after hearing Dr. Hrabowski speak at my high school.

Share one tip you wish you had known before you started your first year at UMBC?
College is difficult, but not impossible, so don’t psych yourself out. Study hard, but set aside time for relaxing and having fun with friends!

How did you hear about the Discovery Scholars Living Learning Community (DS LLC)?
I heard about the Discovery Scholars Living Learning Community from the UMBC (OUE’s ) website.

Why did you decide to participate in the DS LLC?
I decided to participate in the DS LLC because I was unsure about my major, and I also wanted to be a part of a group of people that would make the high school-to-college transition smooth.

Did you know anyone else in Discovery Scholars when you started? Have you made friends through the program?
I knew one person (my roommate Carol) in Discovery Scholars when I started, and I made so many wonderful friends through the program.

What was the most interesting thing that happened during your first year at UMBC?
The most interesting thing that happened during my first year at UMBC was getting to travel to Albany, NY with the pep band for a basketball tournament.

What was your favorite part of being part of Discovery Scholars?
My favorite part of being a Discovery Scholar was having the peer mentors and returners there to welcome us and teach us the ropes of college. Also, having access to extra advising was important to me over the past year.

In what ways did the DS LLC experience help you at UMBC?
The DS LLC experience helped me by encouraging me to explore my interests and learn new things about myself.

Would you recommend DS LLC to other new UMBC students?
I would absolutely recommend DS LLC to other new UMBC students because it was reassuring to be surrounded by people who had similar interests and concerns as mine and to have the peer mentors showing us the ropes.

Tell us a few interesting things about yourself…?

  • I play the flute in the UMBC pep band.
  • I volunteer at the Humane Society and play with cats.

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Carol

Carol Zubrowski

Major: Computer Engineering
Sophomore
zubrcar1@umbc.edu

Where did you go to high school?
The John Carroll High School

When and why did you decide you wanted to attend UMBC?
I decided in the spring of my senior year. I wanted to go to UMBC because it is very good for STEM majors, which I am.

Share one tip you wish you had known before you started your first year at UMBC?
Relax and enjoy college but remember you are here to learn.

How did you hear about the Discovery Scholars Living Learning Community (DS LLC)?
A friend (Allison Sanphillipo).

Why did you decide to participate in the DS LLC?
Allison, wanted to join and suggested I do too.

Did you know anyone else in Discovery Scholars when you started? Have you made friends through the program?
Yes, as mentioned before, Allison, we went to high school together. Yes I made friends, most of my college friends are Discovery Scholars.

What was your favorite part of being part of Discovery Scholars?
The community and friendship that is made between the mentees and the peer mentors is my favorite parts.

In what ways did the DS LLC experience help you at UMBC?
It made it easier to make friends and branch out with getting involved.

Would you recommend DS LLC to other new UMBC students?
Yes, I would recommend Discovery Scholars to other new UMBC Students.

Tell us a few interesting things about yourself…?
I am a part of the UMBC Down and Dirty Dawg Band.

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