Headshot of Mulan Bell.

Mulan Bell (she/her)

Alternative Spring Break Leader

Mulan Bell, ‘24, is a Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major. As an Alternative Spring Break (ASB) leader with the Center for Democracy and Civic Life, she is developing an engaging experience through which she and her peers will explore efforts towards transformative justice in Baltimore and ways to bridge the gap between being civically minded and civically active. She aims to learn alongside ASB participants, encouraging them to apply the principles of transformative justice and civic life in their own communities while also developing these skills herself. Mulan participated in ASB 2021, and is excited to have the opportunity to help create an equally powerful ASB experience this year. Outside of ASB, Mulan is a passionate reader and enjoys writing, always aiming to learn more.


Headshot of Candace Dodson-Reed.

Candace Dodson-Reed (she/her)

STRiVE Coach

Candace Dodson-Reed, ‘96, serves as the Chief of Staff to the President and Executive Director of the Office of Equity and Inclusion. As a STRiVE coach, Candace hopes to continue to build strong partnerships with students while encouraging them to use their voices for change in our UMBC community and beyond. Candace previously worked as the Assistant Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs at UMBC, a Vice President at the Greater Baltimore Committee and the Deputy Chief of Staff/Director of Constituent and Community Affairs for Howard County Government. In 2012, she founded the African American Community Roundtable of Howard County, an umbrella group that connects members of the local Black community. Candace serves as Vice Chair of the US Commission on Civil Rights – Maryland State Advisory Committee, on the American Forests Board, on the Maryland Hospital Association Board, on the Maryland League of Conservation Voters Board, and on the Women’s Giving Circle of Howard County Advisory Committee. Candace graduated from UMBC with a B.A. in English and received her graduate degree from the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. She also graduated from the Institute for Educational Management at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education and completed Cornell University’s Diversity and Inclusion Certificate Program. In 2020, Candace was named a Maryland Top 100 Woman. She is the very proud mother of a college senior.


Headshot of Kayla Hickman.

Kayla Hickman (she/her)

STRiVE Coach

Kayla Hickman is the Sustainability Coordinator for the Office of Sustainability. She supports UMBC in achieving its carbon neutrality goal through engaging faculty, staff, and students in programs and events centered around sustainable living and empowerment. As a STRiVE coach, she is excited to foster meaningful connections with students through storytelling and envisioning the UMBC they would like to see. She also hopes to become a better mentor to students interested in building a more sustainable world on campus and beyond. Prior to UMBC, Kayla worked as the Sustainability Coordinator for Weber State University where she managed the university’s on-campus education and outreach programs. There she successfully doubled staff and faculty participation in the Green Office Program and created the campus’s first multi-stakeholder Zero-Waste Council. She earned her B.A. in Environmental and Sustainability Studies from George Mason University. Outside of work, Kayla enjoys writing poetry, roller skating, paddleboarding, crafting, and lounging around with her two cats.


Headshot of Dominique Henriques Melo.Dominique Henriques Melo (she/her)

Alternative Spring Break Leader

Dominique Henriques Melo, ‘22, is a Sondheim Public Affairs Scholar majoring in Biological Sciences and minoring in Dance and Psychology on the pre-medical track. As an Alternative Spring Break (ASB) leader, Dominique develops plans for students to learn how health literacy impacts the experiences and outcomes of immigrants in Baltimore. She participated in ASB 2019 and STRiVE 2020, and supported ASB 2021 as the Center for Democracy and Civic Life’s Community Civic Engagement Intern for 2020-21. Dominique serves on the Sondheim Scholars Steering Committee and works as a research assistant in UMBC’s Social Determinants for Health Inequities (SoDHI) Lab. Outside of school, she likes to dance and spend time outdoors with friends.


Headshot of Polina Kassir.

Polina Kassir (she/her)

Alternative Spring Break Leader

Polina Kassir, ’24, is a Sondheim Public Affairs Scholar double majoring in Biology and English. She brings a passion for education and a commitment to community engagement in Baltimore to her role as an Alternative Spring Break (ASB) 2022 leader with the Center for Democracy and Civic Life. She is developing an ASB experience that will explore educational accessibility for often-overlooked populations of children, including those impacted by the criminal justice system, in immigrant communities, and in poverty. Polina participated in ASB 2021 as part of a group that focused on food justice in Baltimore. She is the News Editor of The Retriever and works in the Brewster Lab (with zebrafish!). She hopes to enter public service through medicine. Outside of school and work, Polina likes to run and prowl her local library for something new to read.


Headshot of Rehman Liaqat.

Rehman Liaqat (he/him)

ConnectionCorps Facilitator

Rehman Liaqat, ‘22, is a Shriver Living Learning Community alum double majoring in Political Science and Public Policy with a minor in Law and Justice. Rehman is a UMBC Merit Ambassador and a member of the Student Hearing Board, Student Government Association’s Finance Board, and Political Science Council of Majors; volunteers with the Choice Program; and works on legislative initiatives affecting Baltimore communities. During the summer of 2021, Rehman spent two months in Pakistan, where he lived and interned with legal experts focusing on the application of constitutional and human rights law to benefit marginalized communities in Pakistan. As a ConnectionCorps facilitator, Rehman hopes to guide dialogues and conversations that help participants experience a sense of community and agency, and prepare them to address social issues and challenges. He cherishes the outdoors, stargazing, and lively conversations with his customers as a manager at a local gas station.


Headshot of Logan L. Lineburg

Logan L. Lineburg (he/him)

ConnectionCorps Facilitator

Logan L. Lineburg, ’22, is a Meyerhoff and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Scholar majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology on the pre-physician scientist track. As a ConnectionCorps facilitator, he hopes to inspire people to engage with our campus and pursue positive change. He collaborated with the Center for Democracy and Civic Life on the Election 2020 event series and in supporting students’ political engagement, and is currently participating in efforts to establish a polling place at UMBC. Logan serves as President of the Meyerhoff Scholars Student Council and as Director of Advocacy and Leadership for the Resident Student Association. He also conducts research as an Undergraduate Research Award (URA) Scholar in the Bieberich Laboratory and enjoys being a tutor and teaching assistant. Logan likes to cook and spend time with loved friends and family outside of enjoying work and school.


Headshot of Brianna Malbon.Brianna Malbon (she/her & they/them)

STRiVE Coach

Brianna Malbon, ‘23, is double majoring in Psychology and Media & Communication Studies with a minor in English. As a STRiVE coach, she creates open spaces for impactful conversations and encourages people to be comfortable and connected with each other. She supports peers in connecting to the resources and stakeholders necessary to reach their goals. Brianna has been involved with the Student Government Association’s Student Organization Support Team as a First Year Ambassador, with the Patapsco Community Council as a representative, and with the Discovery Living and Learning Community as a peer mentor. She is an active member of many clubs and organizations at UMBC, and currently serves as President of Retriever Poets. Outside of her work, Brianna enjoys playing games, reading, and going on long hikes.


Headshot of Wangui Nganga.Wangui Nganga (she/her)

ConnectionCorps Facilitator

Wangui Nganga, ’21, is a Global Studies major with a double minor in World Politics and French Language and Culture. As a ConnectionCorps facilitator, Wangui hopes to help students engage in meaningful conversations and actions that will foster positive change in both their campus and home communities. At UMBC, Wangui has been an active member of the Student Government Association, where she served as Speaker of the Senate and Coordinator of Neighboring Relations. She has also served as a student representative on the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) Student Advisory Council. Wangui enjoys engaging with people of various backgrounds, cultures, and languages and is passionate about international affairs and policy. Outside of UMBC, Wangui has served as an intern for both the Maryland State Legislature and the U.S. Senate. Currently, she serves as volunteer leader for the high school ministry Young Life. Outside of work and school, Wangui enjoys cooking new dishes, reading, hanging out with friends at coffee shops, and spending time with her cat, Lavender.


Mokeira Nyakoe (she/her)

Alternative Spring Break Leader

Mokeira Nyakoe, ’23, is a Health Administration & Policy major with a concentration in Public Health. As an Alternative Spring Break (ASB) leader with the Center for Democracy and Civic Life, she develops plans for students to learn how health literacy impacts the experiences and outcomes of immigrants in Baltimore. Mokeira is fascinated by people’s different perspectives and backgrounds and how they contribute to making every individual unique. Her passions lie in global health and creating a world in which everyone has the resources for the best health outcomes. She co-led an ASB 2021 experience focused on food justice, and participated in STRiVE 2021. Prior to her work with the Center for Democracy and Civic Life, Mokeira participated in Leadership Blueprint, volunteered with Retriever Essentials (UMBC’s food pantry), and served as the Student Government Association Coordinator of Student Engagement. She is currently the Director of Digital Marketing for UMBC’s chapter of the American Mock World Health Organization (AMWHO). Outside of school and work she loves cooking up a storm, exploring all sorts of flavors and spices from around the world.


Headshot of Antonio Silas.

Antonio Silas (he/him)

STRiVE Coach

M. Antonio Silas is the Director of Off-Campus Student Services. His office is responsible for ensuring the well-being and connectedness of adult learners, veterans, commuters, and transfer students at UMBC. Antonio’s expertise is in leadership, inclusion, and the recruitment and retention of underrepresented students. As a STRiVE coach, he is excited to support students in their journeys as they gain the skills and perspective necessary to become effective leaders and contributors to society. Antonio also hopes to improve his own capacity as an effective advocate and support for students through civic education. He earned his B.S. from Tennessee State University, his M.P.A. from Arkansas State University, and his Ph.D. from Virginia Tech. Outside of work, Antonio enjoys photography, traveling, video games, and roller skating.


Headshot of Jadyn Spradlin.

Jadyn Spradlin (she/her)

ConnectionCorps Facilitator

Jadyn Spradlin, ‘23, is double majoring in Political Science and Economics. As a ConnectionCorps facilitator, she hopes to help foster connections with students and help them get involved on campus. Jadyn participated in STRiVE 2021 and loved the experience. In addition to her work with the Center for Democracy and Civic Life, she serves as a peer mentor with the Shriver Living Learning Community, which promotes community service and engagement on and beyond campus, and volunteers at the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS). Outside of school, Jadyn enjoys playing sports, hiking, and going to concerts. She also loves traveling, and hopes to do a study abroad program through UMBC soon.


Headshot of Diane Stonestreet.Diane Stonestreet (she/her)

STRiVE Coach & Alternative Spring Break Leader

Diane Stonestreet, ‘22, is a McNair, Grand Challenges, and Mechanical Engineering S-STEM Scholar majoring in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Mathematics. As a STRiVE 2022 coach and Alternative Spring Break (ASB) leader with the Center for Democracy and Civic Life, she supports students in learning about themselves and their peers, helps them create meaningful relationships with one another, and shows them that they have the power to create positive social change. She is passionate about increasing access to higher education for low-income, first generation, and underrepresented students, as well as helping them thrive in their college environment. Prior to serving as a STRiVE coach and ASB leader, Diane attended STRiVE as a participant in 2020, and has helped facilitate a Change Makers Dinner with the Center for Democracy and Civic Life. Diane serves as one of the head Teaching Fellows for Engineering Science 101 and is the Vice President of Engineers Without Borders at UMBC. In her free time, Diane enjoys hiking, playing video games, and attending concerts with her family.


Headshot of Clair Volkening.Clair Volkening (she/her)

ConnectionCorps Facilitator

Clair Volkening, ‘23, is a Humanities Scholar majoring in English on the Communication and Technology track with a minor in Music. She has a huge appreciation for how people communicate and can create change and community through our actions and words. As a ConnectionCorps facilitator, Clair hopes to develop deeper connections with other members of the UMBC community and to help create spaces in which people can find a sense of belonging. She participated in STRiVE 2021 and is an active contributor to the Civic Courage Journaling Project. She is also Poetry Editor for Bartleby (UMBC’s literary journal), a Writing Fellow for English 100, and an Intern with the Writing Center. In her free time, Clair enjoys taking walks, music, hanging with her cats George and Grace, and all things related to writing and reading.


Wendy Zhang

STRiVE Coach & Alternative Spring Break Leader

Wendy Zhang, ‘22, is double majoring in Psychology and Economics. As an Alternative Spring Break (ASB) leader with the Center for Democracy and Civic Life, she/they hope to empower peers to create a future in which equity is not just a distant possibility, but the societal standard. Wendy is passionate about advocating for marginalized communities and improving our collective capacity to respond to violence. She/they believe in prioritizing people first and foremost, aspiring to embody empathy in everything she/they do. Prior to working with ASB, she/they attended STRiVE (the Center’s leadership retreat for social impact) and participated in the 2020 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement conference. Wendy currently serves as the Assistant Speaker of the Student Government Association and the Secretary of Moot Court and Pre-Law Society. She/they are also an active member of UMBC’s Mock Trial team and Phi Sigma Sigma.