University of Maryland Individual Studies Program

Spring 2014 Graduates



Kenneth Bayton
B.A., Sports Media Management
Faculty Mentor: Gideon Mark, Robert H. Smith School of Business

Sports Media Management is the connection of the knowledge of media with concepts and practices related to business management in the context of sports. Such knowledge provides an in-depth understanding of sport communications, the ability to analyze sports in the media, and management of sport organizations.

Kenneth created this major with the plan of learning everything that he can in the areas of sports, media analysis and business management.  Understanding that the sports industry includes many different areas, he took coursework in Kinesiology, Journalism, Communications, Business Management, Leadership, and Economics. His coursework taught Kenneth a vast spectrum of concepts and was broken up into three core concentrations: sports, media analysis and management. He incorporated those concepts into a capstone project that researched and analyzed the trends of NCAA conference realignment and connected those trends to the University of Maryland’s decision to leave the Atlantic Coast Conference and enter the Big Ten Conference.

Along with his coursework, Kenneth was a Marketing Intern with the UMD Athletics Department and a Member Services Supervisor with Campus Recreation Services. He also attended the Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism Symposium and was a member of the American Marketing Association, Sports Business Society and Sports Marketing Club. In the future, Kenneth plans to attend graduate school and become a sports media consultant.

Lastly, Kenneth would like to thank Dr. Joan Burton, Mrs. Lori Praniewicz and Mr. Gideon Mark for everything they have done throughout his journey through IVSP and his college experience.

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Andrea Doukakis
B.S., Environmental Sustainability
Summa Cum Laude
Faculty Mentor: Bruce James, Department of Environmental Science and Technology

Andrea is enthusiastic about graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree. in Environmental Sustainability, which has concentrations in environmental science, society and sustainability, and economics. These focus areas were all used in her capstone project, which analyzed old growth paper, recycled paper, and tablets to see which, through the lens of sustainability, was the greenest option. 

A native from South Jersey, she was able to find her niche at the University of Maryland after getting involved with sustainability on campus. She interned at the UMD’s Office of Sustainability for almost two years. Her first role was with the Green Office Program, where she helped offices on campus become more sustainable. Her other, and most rewarding role, was as the head LEAF Outreach team intern. Andrea co-created the LEAF (Lead, Educate, Act, and Facilitate) team with her supervisor and it has become a great success. The team works to teach the campus community about sustainability and ways to get involved as well as rewarding those already doing their part in being green. Andrea was also a Sustainability Advisor, where she taught first year students about sustainability, how the campus is progressing, and ways that students can get involved. 

In her spare time, Andrea was part of the Terrapin Tap Troupe, and the Greek Heritage Society. During her senior year, Andrea got involved with health and fitness and spent time participating in Zumba and Hip Hop Shake classes at the gym. She has received her certification as a LEED Green Associate, was a junior year inductee to Phi Beta Kappa, is a member of Primannum Honors Society, and received the honor of being a Senior Marshal at graduation. 

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Kristina Furuyama
B.A. International Political Economy
University Honors College
Faculty Mentor: Bartlomiej Kaminski,Department of Government and Politics

Kristina joined IVSP in 2012 with a major in International Political Economy: Japanese Perspective, which focused on the intertwined relationship between economics, politics, and Japanese language and culture. For her capstone project, she combined her background in second language education to research the effectiveness of Japan's policies in English language education.

During her years at Maryland, Kristina participated in various student organizations and programs including the Japanese American Student Association, Terps for Change, and Student Entertainment Events. She was also a member of the Language House's Japanese cluster for three years. After declaring her IVSP major, she interned for the International Student Conferences and the Japan-America Society of Washington D.C. She has been teaching at the Japanese Center Four Seasons for the past three years and plans to continue doing so after graduation, while also pursuing a career in U.S.-Japan relations.

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Rabee Haq
B.A., Positive Psychology, Philosophy, and Happiness
Summa Cum Laude; University Honors College; Phi Beta Kappa
Faculty Mentor: Ryan Curtis, Department of Psychology

Rabee was inspired to explore the field of human fulfillment during his high school philosophy class. During his time at the University of Maryland, he co-founded Project Hello Stranger, a group dedicated to promoting happiness, altruism, and friendliness on campus. For his capstone project, he engaged in positive psychology research, measuring the happiness levels of undergraduate students, and cross-comparing various demographic groups, including sex, age, class, college, and major.

Rabee is also the only Khan Academy Medical Volunteer, a position that was created for him specifically. Through Khan Academy, he is working on providing free medical educational material globally, which receives 30,000 - 50,000 visits worldwide a day. In addition, he served as a program director for the inaugural TED talk event at the University of Maryland, which was labeled a Fearless Idea Event by the Office of the President.
In terms of academic achievement, Rabee was selected to Phi Beta Kappa, the oldest and most prestigious honor society for the liberal arts and sciences. He is also a member of Psi Chi, the international honor society in psychology. In addition, he has been a member of the University Honors College for the past two years, and will serve as the first alumni member of the Honors Student Advisory Board this coming year.
Rabee would like to thank the following people: Dr. Barbara Jacoby, Dr. Susan Dwyer, Dr. Ryan Curtis, Dr. Joan Burton, Lori Praniewicz, and his parents. With their help, he was able to have the best and most fulfilling undergraduate experience he could ever imagine.

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Jessica Holt
B.A., Leadership for Social Change
Faculty Mentor: Noah Drezner, College of Education

Jess is excited to be graduating from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Leadership for Social Change. Her major combines elements of leadership theory, diversity, and U.S. policy and history to understand the critical thought process behind creating social change. For her capstone project, she created and executed a leadership development program for undergraduate students called Learning as a Way of Leading. This program focused on increasing students’ capacities to work towards positive social change in their respective communities.
Through the Individual Studies Program, Jess was able to create an academic major that reflected her true passion. Outside of IVSP, she has had many opportunities to learn about her major beyond the classroom. As an undergraduate she played an integral part in the Peer Leadership Council, was a Multicultural Involvement and Community Advocacy (MICA) Peer Educator, and worked as an office assistant for Congresswoman Donna Christensen, among other extracurriculars. The combination of Jess's academic and experiential learning opportunities is something that she felt made her undergraduate experience meaningful.

Post-graduation, Jess will be moving to Costa Rica to complete her Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) certification and stay there for a year to teach English. She hopes to use her degree to understand cross-cultural experiences and engage in meaningful service work.

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Gabriella Kaiyal-Smith
B.S., Ethology
Faculty Mentor: William Ray Stricklin, Department of Animal and Avian Sciences

Gabriella Kaiyal-Smith is excited to be graduating from the University of Maryland, College Park with a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Behavior. Her degree focuses on using biological and psychological principles to assess animal welfare conditions and environmental fitness.  Her capstone project, a paper entitled "A review of canine neotenization theory and its domestic animal welfare implications," examines how the theory that domestication arises from extending youthful characteristics into adulthood emerged as the field of ethology expanded. Using her own experience working in animal shelters and her research on animal welfare, she speculates on the ways in which neotenization could alter how we view behaviors associated with good animal welfare.

Gabriella has also dedicated much of her life to social justice work. She has been active in the University of Maryland chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, and has also worked to expand the national network of Students for Justice in Palestine campus organizations.

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Christina Neidlinger
B.S., Cross Cultural Communication in Agricultural Development
Magna Cum Laude; University Honors College; Phi Beta Kappa
Faculty Mentor: Bartlomiej Kaminski,Department of Government and Politics

Christina is thrilled to graduate Magna Cum Laude with her Bachelor of Science degree in Cross-Cultural Communication in Agricultural Development and a minor in Spanish Language and Culture. Her major incorporates the study of agricultural development technique, economics of agricultural sector, and cross-cultural leadership to communicate effective agricultural techniques in developing nations. In her senior thesis, Christina created a fictional town in the Andes mountain range and proposed a comprehensive development strategy based in real-world practices.

During her time at Maryland, Christina was able to participate in a variety of activities. She served on the Individual Studies Student Advisory Board, co-founded and served as Vice President of Fundraising for the ProDev international development student group, performed and served as secretary for the Mockappella comedic a cappella group, was a teacher’s assistant for Writing for Non-Profits, and completed the Global Semester Program with a six-month internship at the Embassy of Spain in Washington, D.C. Christina is proud to be a member of Phi Beta Kappa Academic Honor Society (of which her grandmother was a member) and Sigma Delta Pi National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society. After coming to Maryland with a Presidential Scholarship, she is leaving with her Honors Citation, having appeared on the Dean’s List every semester. She is honored to serve as one of the Senior Marshals for Undergraduate Studies at main commencement. After graduation, Christina will travel to Ecuador to gain international experience. She plans to return to the United States to seek a job in international development and food security.

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Leilani Padua
B.A., International Relations with Persian Studies
Faculty Mentor: James Glass, Department of Government and Politics

Leilani joined the IVSP program Spring 2012. Her major, “International Relations with Persian Studies”, allowed her to increase her awareness of how different international actors with different political beliefs, cultures and societies would interact with one another, especially concerning the issue of international security. Leilani studied abroad in Sydney, Australia at Macquarie University focusing on Australian and Pacific Rim perspectives on terrorism and counterterrorism. Leilani’s senior thesis will analyze the way terrorism and counterterrorism policies affect policies on an inter- and intra-national level, specifically in the Middle East.

Leilani has interned with the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) since her sophomore year. She also interned with the Federal Aviation Administration during the summer coming into her senior year. She was also honored with the Diversifying Security Studies Fellowship her senior year, funded through the Department of Homeland Security. Leilani has been heavily involved with the Asian American Community, serving as Vice President of the Filipino Cultural Association and as Public Relations Officer for the Filipino Intercollegiate Networking Dialogue, Inc.

After graduation, Leilani will be interning at University of Denver in Colorado, conducting research on the relationships between violent non-state actors. She hopes to pursue a career in counterterrorism analytical work. Leilani would like to thank God and her family and friend, and the IVSP Staff and mentors for their love and encouragement.

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Jennifer Pearse
B.A., Global Development & Diplomacy
Faculty Mentor: Todd Allee, Department of Government and Politics

Jennifer Soba Pearse is studying Global Development and Diplomacy. Jennifer, who hails from Opobo Town, Rivers State, Nigeria, created her major because she recognizes the correlation between development and diplomacy. Her major is defined as the study of the interplay between governments, economic systems, and intergovernmental organizations. In addition, it teaches how to analyze complex social and political situations in the international sphere, with special focus in conduct of international relations and development through the intercession of professional mediators. The three areas of focus are Poverty and Economic Development, Diplomacy and Mediation, and Socio-Political Relations. Her capstone project is titled "Different Approaches to Corporate Social Responsibility: A look at Oil Corporations."

Jennifer has been a part of the Federal Semester Program, Peer Leadership Council, Rawlings Undergraduate Fellows and the alternative breaks program. These programs taught her concepts of social change and public leadership. She is committed to promoting the idea of active citizenship among youths in Nigeria through her non-profit the Em-powerment project. She aims to do this through service learning, education and leadership.  She believes it will contribute to the development of Nigeria while also empowering Nigerian youths to invest and commit to their society for a better tomorrow.

Most importantly, Jennifer plans to advance the Em-powerment project with all that she has learnt. She hopes her project will become a sustainable movement that will encourage Nigerian youths everywhere to get involved in their community.

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Cara Shillenn
B.A., Gender Studies in the Radio Industry
University Honors College
Faculty Mentor: Linda Steiner, Philip Merrill College of Journalism

Cara Shillenn is thrilled to be graduating from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Gender Studies in the Radio Industry. This degree combines a wealth of courses ranging from sociology and women's studies to leadership to communication and ethnomusicology. Through these courses, she has sought to explore the history of women's relationship with radio in order to determine how they have succeeded, struggled, and what needs to be done now to make the industry more accessible to women and other minorities.

Outside of her major, she has worked on campus since her freshman year in Hornbake Library (as a student assistant in Special Collections). She has worked on the WMUC: Saving College Radio exhibit there for the last two years and spoke at a symposium this year about her work with the collection. She has also worked as a music programming intern with the Kane Show at Hot 99.5 and SiriusXM, and now works as a producer/board operator at Radio America. She also moonlights as a DJ at WMUC. Cara played on the club water polo team on campus for her first three years at school, and she has made Dean's List every semester.

After graduation, Cara would like to be a producer for music radio. She thanks her parents, sisters, friends and advisors for being incredibly supportive throughout the last four years– she couldn't have done it without you!

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Rebecca Silverman
B.A., Global Women’s Health
Summa Cum Laude; CIVICUS
Faculty Mentor: Donna Howard, School of Public Health

Rebecca Silverman is thrilled to be graduating with a degree in Global Women’s Health. Her major studies how to improve women’s health among economically and gender challenged populations, exploring challenges, strategies, and opportunities related to promotion of women’s health. For her Capstone Project, she created and implemented a girls’ empowerment club called Power Up for 4th to 6th graders at Langley Park-McCormick Elementary School. Power Up is an 11-week curriculum that explores themes including self-esteem, healthy bodies, education, and friendship.

During her time at Maryland, Rebecca served as a counselor at UMD Help Center’s counseling and crisis intervention hotline and founded JFem, the only Jewish, Feminist community on campus. She is currently the Senior Event Manager at UMD’s Memorial Chapel, helping run weddings, concerts, memorial services and other ceremonies. During her junior year, Rebecca was an intern at the National Research Center for Women and Families as well as at Jewish Women International. She has attended three alternative break trips where she volunteered in Arizona, Israel, and Nevada. Last summer, she was chosen to participate in a year-long program called Intel for Change Smart Girls=Smart world, through which she traveled to Ecuador to learn about barriers girls face in getting an education.

After graduation, Rebecca intends to continue her work with girls’ empowerment groups and to earn a degree in counseling psychology. She would like to thank her IVSP mentor, Dr. Donna Howard, Dr. Joan Burton, Lori Praniewicz, and her family and friends for their unwavering love and support.

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Mairin Srygley
B.A., Education and Social Change in Latin America
Summa Cum Laude
Faculty Mentor: Nelly Stromquist, College of Education

Mairin Srygley is excited to be graduating Summa Cum Laude from the University of Maryland with Bachelors of Arts degree in Music (Voice) and in Individual Studies: Education and Social Change in Latin America. Education and Social Change in Latin America couples the study of educational practices, pedagogies, and policies with intercultural social entrepreneurship to explore how to bring about positive social change in Latin American communities.

During her time at Maryland, Mairin was the recipient of the Creative and Performing Arts Full Tuition Scholarship, the President’s Scholarship, the Northop Grumman Employee’s Children Scholarship, the Presser Scholar Award, the Individual Studies Program Research and Development Grant, and the Maryland Summer Scholars Award. In 2010, she served as an English and Computer Instructor at Volcancito Elementary School in Panama. From 2011-12, she worked as a student aide at the Center for Young Children Preschool, and in 2012, she studied abroad in El Salvador through the course, “Risk, Poverty, and Education: El Salvador’s Children. She returned to El Salvador in the summers of 2012 and 2013 to complete her capstone ethnography project with Dr. Paula Beckman. In 2012, she co-founded Voices: Arts for Social Change, a UMD student group dedicated to empowering students artists to use the arts for social change.

Mairin is now interning at the Kennedy Center’ Changing Education Through the Arts program and will begin working this summer with OrchKids, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s El Sistema-inspired music education program.

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Mohammad Zia
B.S., Global Diplomacy and Development
Summa Cum Laude; University Honors Program; Phi Beta Kappa
Faculty Mentor: Donna Howard, School of Public Health

Mohammad Zia is excited to be graduating from the University of Maryland with a degree in Global Diplomacy and Development. Mohammad is passionate about economic empowerment and he loves to travel. Mohammad has volunteered with marginalized youth in Tanzania, Morocco, and Senegal. He has also volunteered with rural farmers in Uganda and with Syrian refugees in Jordan. Mohammad served as an intern with USAID, the U.S. State Department, and the U.S. Department of Justice. He also recently served as a part-time research consultant for the Wamda Research Lab, a think tank in Amman, Jordan, where he co-authored a report on regional economic and entrepreneurship ecosystems.

Mohammad is a Rangel Scholar and a recipient of the UMD Honors College Portz Award, the Princeton University Public Policy and International Affairs Fellowship, the Boren Scholarship, and the Harry S. Truman Scholarship. Mohammad will be graduating with an Honors Citation and as a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, and the Maryland Medallion Society. After graduating, Mohammad will be spending the summer as a Truman Fellow for the Inspection Panel at the World Bank. In the fall, Mohammad will return to Jordan to continue studying Arabic.

Mohammad would like to thank his parents and his siblings for their love and support. Mohammad would also like to thank Dr. Joan Burton and Dr. Donna Howard for their incredible guidance and mentorship.


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Individual Studies Program  Campus Location: 2407 Marie Mount Hall
Appointments: 301.314.0023  Email: individualstudies@umd.edu
IVSP is a degree granting academic program of the Office of Undergraduate Studies