University of Maryland Individual Studies Program

Spring 2013 Graduates

Chad Dammling
B.S. Healthcare Management within Diversified Communities
Faculty Mentor: Victoria-Maria MacDonald, Department of Teaching & Learning, Policy & Leadership

Healthcare Management within Diversified Communities focuses on coursework in business, cultural diversity, as well as the prerequisites for pre-health professionals. It focuses on changes to communication and leadership within the business of health care providers as a result of the diversification within our nation. Chad’s Capstone Project analyzed awareness and health literacy of diabetes and periodontitis in a local Latino community. In doing so, he was introduced to public health research firsthand, and the necessary changes to the healthcare field when treating a diverse and Spanish speaking community.

In addition to his academics, Chad was President of the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity, Vice-President of Pre-Dental Society, Vice-President of the Club Golf Team, and Vice President of National Society of Collegiate Scholars. Through these experiences, Chad was awarded the Jack H. Deacon, Jr. Scholarship and extended an invitation to Order of Omega, a National Greek Leadership honor society. Chad also worked at the Herschel S. Horowitz Center for Health Literacy and Kaplan Test Prep as a teacher and tutor for the MCAT, DAT, PCAT, and OAT. In summer 2011, Chad attended a summer program at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey for an intensive preparation for dental and medical school. During the school year, he volunteered at the UMD Dental Clinic, Georgetown University Hospital, the Deamonte Driver Dental Project and at several local dental clinics through the DC and MD area.

As a graduating senior this year, Chad will be matriculating to the University of Maryland School of Dentistry in Baltimore, MD. He is thankful for this opportunity and offers the utmost gratitude to his mentors and especially his parents.


Ziyad El Baz
B.A., Middle Eastern Studies
Faculty Mentor: Paul Scham, Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies

Ziyad El Baz is excited to be graduating from the University of Maryland with a degree in Middle East Studies. The curriculum he composed approaches the study of the Middle East from a cross-disciplinary perspective, taking classes from the Arabic, Persian Studies, Government, Jewish Studies, Israeli Studies, and Economics Departments at the University of Maryland. Ziyad’s senior capstone project examined the portrayal of Egyptians and Arabs in Israeli cinema, which combined his passion for international affairs and his love of the visual arts. Ziyad was also fortunate enough to complement his studies with extensive travel in the region. Also, while at Maryland, Ziyad engaged in various internship experiences with organizations including the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations, the American Task Force on Palestine, the Democratic National Committee, and Senator Ben Cardin’s Congressional Office. These experiences gave Ziyad an insider’s look as to how important issues with the Middle East get played out here on Capitol Hill.

Ziyad is very grateful and appreciative to his parents, family and friends for their love and support. He would also like to extend a special thank you to his academic mentors and the IVSP Staff for their support and encouragement.


Ginevra Frank
B.A. Movement and the Mind
Faculty Mentors: Steven Brauth, Department of Psychology and Sharon Mansur, School or Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies

Ginevra Frank is excited to be graduating from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Science degree in Movement and the Mind.  Joining the Individual Studies Program in the spring of 2011, Ginevra’s Movement and the Mind degree focuses on exploring communication of the mind and body, with the brain as the mediator, through movement and dance therapies.  Courses for the Movement and the Mind major come from the fields of psychology, neuroscience, kinesiology, and dance.

During her time at University of Maryland, Ginevra interned at The Sheppard and Enoch Pratt psychiatric hospital in Towson, Maryland, and at Saint Elizabeth’s psychiatric hospital in Washington, DC. At Sheppard Pratt, Ginevra worked at The Retreat where she was able to participate in leading Eastern-based movement therapy groups. At St Elizabeth’s, Ginevra shadowed the two dance therapists, assisting with various dance and movement therapy group sessions. The connection of mind and body explored in this major has grown to encompass outside of school experiences that address Eastern and Western thought, combined with the rich material learned through coursework on campus.


Peter Garafalo
B.A., Film Studies
Cum Laude
Faculty Mentor: Jonathan Auerbach, Department of English

Peter Garafalo is proud to be graduating from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Film Studies. The Film Studies degree combines the theoretical and analytical aspects of film as a cultural phenomenon throughout history with the artistic and technical training necessary to gain experience in filmmaking. With his degree, Peter leaves the University of Maryland with the knowledge of a critic and the experience of an artist.

Peter has independently produced videos, including several short films and one feature-length movie. For his capstone project, he wrote, produced, directed, and edited a series of 12 short films satirizing the style of 12 American directors iconic for their work in a particular time period, movement, or genre. Spanning from Thomas Edison’s kinetographs made in 1895 to the blockbuster films of Steven Spielberg, Garafalo’s series A Man Walks Into A Bar concludes with an embrace of the high-tech, interconnected world in which everyone is a filmmaker.

Aside from making his own films, Peter also served as president of the Maryland Filmmakers Club since his sophomore year, working to teach video production skills to students across campus and helping to produce over 50 short films with the club. Garafalo helped found the East Coast Student Film Festival, a short film festival run by undergraduate students from UMD, GW, American, Howard, and Catholic. Hosted annually at George Washington University, this festival is exclusive to students on the East Coast. Garafalo has worked as a production assistant at the AFI Silverdocs Film Festival for the past two years and plans to work there again after graduation.


Daniel Granot
B.A., Global Development
B.A., Government and Politics
Cum Laude
Faculty Mentors: Stacy Kosko, Department of Government & Politics
Kathleen Cunningham, Department of Government & Politics

Daniel Granot is excited to be graduating from the University of Maryland with a double degree in Global Development and Government & Politics, a minor in International Development and Conflict Management, and a certificate in Multi-Track Diplomacy. His degree combines politics, business, and anthropology to holistically understand how to provide opportunities to improve the quality of life for people in developing areas. The culmination of this study was a thesis entitled “Development and Anthropology: A Symbiotic Relationship? Examining Anthropology’s Role within Development”. His thesis was accomplished through a combination of a literature review, interviews with professionals, and time spent working in a number of countries, such as Thailand, Fiji, and India. After graduating, Daniel plans on attending graduate school to earn his master’s degree.  During his time at UMD, Daniel served as the President of Terp Runners, the Anthropology Student Association, and Terp Exchange; the Communication Coordinator of Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society; the Co-Director of the Individual Studies Program Student Advisory Board; and an Undergraduate Representative for the Facilities Master Plan Implementation Committee. Other accomplishments include founding the Atlantic Coast Club Running conference and interning for the Embassy of Israel. Dan won the 2012 Spirit of Maryland Award, the 2013 H. C. Byrd Citizenship Award, and was named to the Maryland Medallion Society. Dan is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society. Daniel would like to thank his family, friends, advisors, and mentors for their continued encouragement, love, and support.


Julia Kohler
B.A., Health Education Reform
Faculty Mentor: Patricia Alexander, Department of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology

Julia Kohler entered the IVSP program her 2012 fall semester at the University of Maryland as a Health Education Reform major. She was eager and always excited to be a part of IVSP social events, especially ones benefiting prospective students. Starting an internship her 2013 spring semester at the Department of Energy in Washington, DC, she became the head intern under the Learning and Development Program Management Division.

Julia has also participated in extracurricular community service programs such as WE The Readers, where she assists inner city middle schools with literacy skills. Her senior capstone project entailed creating a webpage targeted for adolescent students, titled “Naturally ACTIVE Students”, where she posted video clips, articles, and blog writings around specific health-related topics. Every topic is demonstrated, explained, and analyzed on how performing such behaviors will benefit one’s academic life. She teamed up with a cinematographer to create her very own professional videos for her webpage. Topics included on the webpage are: How to Make Fresh Ginger Ale, How to Make Gluten Free Vegan Brownies, Importance of Community Service, Importance of Having an Internship, Importance of Playing, Introduction to Chess, Introduction to Circuit Training, Introduction to Counseling, Introduction to Meditation, and Introduction to Yoga.

Post-graduation, Julia will begin a dual Master’s Program in Washington, DC with the Urban Teacher Center. She aspires to become a lawyer to litigate educational reform policies after graduate school.


Gloribel Le
B.A., Global Health Policy
Cum Laude
Faculty Mentor: Justicia Opoku-Edsei, Department of Biology

Gloribel is proud to be graduating from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Science in Global Health Policy, with the University Honors citation. Her degree focuses on public health and policy, health sciences, and ethics and global issues. For her Capstone Paper, she examined childbirth and neonatal care initiatives in India to synthesize policy implications for maternal and neonatal health programs.

Through the Federal Semester Program, Gloribel has interned at the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), where she wrote a technical paper on connecting home energy to health and safety and prepared a presentation on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and its potential impact on grantees of ACF’s programs. Gloribel has also been an active member of the UMD Chapter of Health Leads, a student volunteer organization that connects patients from Children’s National Medical Center with local resources and social services, by serving as the Resource Coordinator. She has also been a research assistant for the Stress, Health, and Addiction Research Lab at the School of Public Health.

Gloribel is a member of Phi Beta Kappa scholastic honorary society and has been on the Dean’s List every year. She received the Erik B. Young, M.D. International Travel-Study Award and the UMD Education Abroad Scholarship for her global health and development study abroad in India last summer. She received the American Citizens of Taiwan Origin, Outstanding Student Award. After graduation, Gloribel will be attending medical school.


Victoria Myers
B.A., Renaissance Studies
Faculty Mentor: Michael Olmert, Department of English

Victoria Myers is proud to be graduating with a degree in Renaissance Studies.  Instead of focusing on one subject throughout time, Victoria studied many different aspects of one time period:  The Renaissance.  Her areas of study include art, history, literature, fashion, book history, and Italian language.  Victoria took a summer course in London with her faculty advisor, Prof. Michael Olmert, which was vital to her study of the English Renaissance.  She also spent her junior year in Rome, where she was able to study the Italian Renaissance, especially its art, and improve her Italian.  One of her favorite experiences with IVSP was her independent study of Renaissance fashion (specifically Tudor fashion).  For this course’s final project, Victoria made a recreation of one of Queen Elizabeth I’s gowns.  Victoria’s capstone, “An Alter'd Case:  The Folger Shakespeare Library's Annotated Copy of The Roaring Girl,” was a study of the marginalia in a first edition of Middleton and Dekker’s play The Roaring Girl (1611).  During this study, she discovered that literary editor and book collector Isaac Reed was using this book to prepare a new edition of the text, which he published in 1780. 

Victoria received a full Banneker/Key scholarship, is graduating with an Honors Citation, and has been on the Dean’s list for six semesters. Victoria has been an active member of UMD Freethought, the Satanic Mechanics, Shout “Fire!” Film Society, and the Maryland Shakespeare Players.

After graduation, Victoria intends to get a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education in order to become a kindergarten teacher.  She would like to thank her family and friends for their love and support.


Rana Sharaf
B.S., Global Health and Development
B.S. Community Health
Faculty Mentor: Muhiuddin Haider, School of Public Health

Rana is proud to be graduating from the University of Maryland with a B.S. in Global Health and Development and a B.S. in Community Health. In seeking an educational experience that broadened her understanding of global health, Rana created the Global Health and Development major, which encompasses the fundamentals of public health, global health, intercultural differences and health policy and development. Her analytical capstone thesis paper focused on the health theory Diffusion of Innovation’s ability to successfully promote the adoption of maternal and child health innovations in different global communities.

Apart from her academic experience, Rana had various opportunities to gain research experience. She interned with the Department of Health and Human Services, Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Bureau, working on the MCH Navigator project, an online learning portal providing continuing education resources and opportunities for professionals in the field of maternal and child health. Rana also interned with the District of Columbia’s Perinatal and Infant Health Bureau, communicating and providing follow-up recommendations for families of newborns who tested positive for genetic disorders on their newborn screening tests. On campus, Rana was a research assistant with the Community Health Awareness Messages and Prevention Lab, studying use of social media and text messaging in promoting early detection colorectal cancer screening tests within the African American community in Prince George’s county.

Rana offers gratitude and appreciation to God and her family, friends, academic mentors and advisors for incredible support. She extends a special thank you to her mother for always being the loving, nurturing, and guiding presence in her life.


Natasha Westheimer
B.A., International Development and Conflict Management
B.A. Jewish Studies
Faculty Mentors: Stacy Kosko, Department of Government and Politics
David Crocker, Institute for Philosophy & Public Policy

Natasha is thrilled to be graduating from the University of Maryland with a double major in International Development & Conflict Management and Jewish Studies. Natasha’s Individual Studies degree allowed her to focus her undergraduate coursework on the processes that help developing countries create for themselves sustainable futures.

In conjunction with her specialization in Jewish Studies on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Natasha’s Capstone Project concentrated on water management and allocation between Israeli and Palestinian Territories. Thanks to a grant from the IVSP program, Natasha was fortunate enough to accompany the director of the University of Maryland’s Environmental Law School on a research trip to Israel in March, where she was able to delve deeper into her research on current water policies within the region.

Following graduation, Natasha will be a Research and Policy Intern at the Center for Transboundary Water Management at the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies in Israel.

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Individual Studies Program  Campus Location: 2407 Marie Mount Hall
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IVSP is a degree granting academic program of the Office of Undergraduate Studies