Preethi Badugu (she/her)
Preethi Badugu ’23 is a biology major on the pre-medical track with a minor in emergency health services. As an Alternative Spring Break (ASB) leader, she aspires to have open conversations about topics that are considered taboo. She believes that there are many issues that need to be talked about candidly for change to be initiated, and she wants to be able to create a space where anyone can express any of their concerns without the fear of criticism. At UMBC, Preethi is a member of Phi Delta Epsilon and a resident assistant with Residential Life. She also is involved with Brighten a Day Baltimore, the local chapter of a nonprofit organization that spreads cheer to people living in isolation. In addition, she is an EMT who loves working with people and giving the best care she can. Outside of school, Preethi loves to paint and draw, and she tries to spend as much time as she can outdoors. She is an avid Netflix binge-watcher and really enjoys spending time with her family and friends.
Katie Brungard (she/her)
Katie Brungard ’24 is a mathematics major with a minor in economics and a certificate in Spanish studies. As a ConnectionCorps facilitator, she hopes to foster meaningful connections between students in which they can be their authentic selves, and to inspire members of the UMBC community to create change right where they are. Katie participated in Alternative Spring Break (ASB) 2021 with a focus on food justice; is currently the vice president of UMBC’s Best Buddies chapter; and works as a peer tutor in the Academic Center for Student-Athletes. During the summer of 2022 she volunteered with Camp PALS, a program for young adults with Down Syndrome. Outside of school, Katie enjoys reading, crafting, walking her two dogs, and spending time with her loved ones.
Tamaya Davis (she/her)
Tamaya Davis ’25 is double majoring in sociology and psychology. As a ConnectionCorps facilitator, she hopes to encourage students to engage in dialogue as a way of understanding other points of view, learning new things, finding community, and addressing racial and social challenges. Tamaya participated in the Center for Democracy and Civic Life’s Coalescence 2022. She also was part of the Student Government Association’s First Year Ambassador program, where she gained experience working with the organization’s Finance Board and Department of Diversity and Inclusion. She served as an orientation peer advisor during summer 2022. She loves playing on her Nintendo Switch, listening to music, crafting, reading, and hanging out with friends and family.
Kayla Hegbe (she/her)
Kayla Hegbe ’23 is pursuing dual degrees in biological sciences and political science on the pre-medical track. As a STRiVE coach, Kayla hopes to empower her peers to learn more about themselves and the changes they can make within their community and beyond. She also hopes to encourage participants to be the best versions of themselves at UMBC. Previously, Kayla has worked with the Student Government Association (SGA) as the coordinator of programming for the Student Organization Support Team and as the associate director of first-year development. She also works in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions as a Grit Guide. When she isn’t studying, Kayla is spending time with her family, binge-watching TV shows and musicals, cooking, hiking, or reading.
Nia Hopkins (she/her)
Nia Hopkins ’24 is majoring in psychology with a minor in biology on the pre-medicine track. She has a longstanding passion for social justice and civic engagement, and is excited to turn that passion into action during her time as a Alternative Spring Break (ASB) leader. In this role, she hopes to create an experience that propels both her and her peers into being civically engaged within the Baltimore community, as well as develop the skills needed to be advocates of change in their own communities. Beyond her work with ASB, Nia engages in service-learning through the Shriver Center. She participated in the UMBC Interdisciplinary CoLab, where she conducted narrative-based research on the community structure of East Baltimore. Outside of school, Nia enjoys reading, watching new shows, and trying out new cafes with friends.
Bella Guardado (she/her)
Bella Guardado ’24 is a Meyerhoff Scholar double majoring in chemistry and sociology. As an Alternative Spring Break (ASB) leader, she is passionate about exploring the intersections among ableism, educational inequity, and health inequity in Baltimore. She is developing an experience in which she and her peers can understand how common stereotypes about the disabled community contribute to a lack of accessibility. She hopes to support ASB participants in creating meaningful relationships and empower them to pursue positive social change. Bella participated in ASB 2020 and 2021 with a focus on transformative justice. She is a member of UMBC’s American Chemical Society Chapter and Disability Advocate Union. Outside of school she enjoys playing with her dogs, listening to music, and playing video games.
Musa Jafri (he/him & they/them)
Musa Jafri ’24 is majoring in political science with minors in English and music. He has been involved in diversity, equity and inclusion work at UMBC with a focus on educational policy and pedagogical practices. As an Alternative Spring Break (ASB) 2023 leader he plans to co-create an experience that will offer an opportunity for students to realize how much their contributions, ideas, and work — their civic potential — can result in tangible change and profound impacts in their communities. Musa is a Center for Democracy and Civic Life political engagement intern, president of the Political Science Council of Majors, and co-chair of the University System of Maryland’s Student Civic Leaders Committee. Previously, Musa served as the Student Government Association’s director of civic engagement. In his free time, Musa likes playing Dungeons and Dragons, composing music, and playing his bassoon.
Catherine Kim (she/her)
Catherine Kim ’24 is a financial economics major with a minor in psychology. As a ConnectionCorps facilitator, Catherine hopes to strengthen a sense of community among UMBC students and provide support through conversation while fostering deep interpersonal connections. She participated in the Center for Democracy and Civic Life’s Coalescence 2022, and the experience inspired her to be more involved with the Center. At UMBC, Catherine works with Residential Life as a desk assistant and has volunteered with Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA). In her free time, Catherine enjoys pilates, Netflix, and shopping.
Brianna Malbon (she/her & they/them)
STRiVE Coach & ConnectionCorps Facilitator
Brianna Malbon ’24 is majoring in psychology with a certificate in industrial-organizational psychology and a minor in media and communication studies. As a STRiVE coach and ConnectionCorps facilitator, she aims to create open spaces for impactful conversations and encourage people to be authentic and form genuine connections with each other. She makes it her mission to support her peers by connecting them 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 member, and with the Discovery Living-Learning Community as a peer mentor. She is an active member of many clubs and organizations at UMBC, and is currently in her second year as president of Retriever Poets. Outside of her work, Brianna enjoys playing games, reading, and going on long walks.
Amina Musa (she/her)
Amina Musa ’23 is a biology major on the pre-medicine track with a minor in social welfare. As an ASB leader, she hopes to empower, listen, and uplift voices to bring change to her community. She hopes to encourage participants to step out of their comfort zones and participate in social change conversations. Amina is the president of the Pakistani Student Association (PAKSA) and the vice president of programming for Phi Delta Epsilon. She also is one of the cofounders of Brighten A Day Baltimore, the local chapter of a nonprofit organization that spreads cheer to people living in isolation. In her free time, Amina loves to go to coffee shops, cook, and listen to music.
Moraa Nyakoe (she/her)
Moraa Nyakoe ’24 is a biology major on the pre-medicine track. She has a passion for being engaged in her community while educating herself on how she can be a leader for those around her. Moraa participated in the Center for Democracy and Civic Life’s Coalescence 2022 and hopes her passion for leadership rubs off on other UMBC students as she serves as a STRiVE coach. During spring and summer 2021, she realized her calling to being a leader as a math tutor and part-time group leader at Lakeland Elementary/Middle School in the UMBC Summer Math Program. She has continued to pursue her passion and develop her skills as a resident assistant with Residential Life. Outside of school, Moraa enjoys making connections in her community, traveling, and spending time with her loved ones.
Jada Sanders (she/her)
Jada Sanders ’24 is a France-Merrick and Jacqueline C. Hrabowski Scholar majoring in political science on the pre-law track. As a STRiVE coach, she is dedicated to helping people form strong connections with others through meaningful dialogue about their experiences and backgrounds. Jada currently serves as a Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation intern with The Shriver Center’s Choice Program. She is also a Woolie for this year’s incoming first-year students and is involved with the Sherman Literacy Fellows Program as a student coordinator at Bay Brook Elementary School. Jada is also a former member and peer mentor with the Shriver Living-Learning Community, a program designed to promote student engagement through service-learning. Outside of her involvement at UMBC, Jada enjoys spending time with family and friends, trying new restaurants, watching 80s/90s films, and discovering new music to listen to.
Oliver Santos (he/him)
Oliver Santos ’24 is pursuing degrees in English, math, and political science. As a ConnectionCorps facilitator, he hopes to help students find a sense of belonging in the UMBC community and feel empowered to advocate for themselves in the political process. In addition to his work with the Center for Democracy and Civic Life, Oliver is the treasurer of Retriever Poets and the associate STEM editor for the UMBC Review. In spring 2022, he received the Braly Award for creative nonfiction from the UMBC Department of English for his essay “Nasaan ang Pilipinas,” about Filipino-American identity. Oliver is deeply passionate about the issues of climate change, human rights, and fairness within the justice system. Outside of UMBC, he loves reading, gardening, and spending time with his many pets. After graduating, he hopes to pursue a Ph.D.
Samantha Smith (she/her)
Dr. Samantha Smith is the Director of the Office of Health Promotion. Since joining the UMBC community in 2016, Samantha has worked on a number of public health interventions that have included advising the Peer Health Educator internship, developing health education material to support campus COVID-19 prevention efforts, and improving campus healthy relationships education. As a STRiVE coach, she hopes to find new ways to co-create with students and to learn about the diverse experiences that our students are having. Samantha received a bachelor of science degree in human biology from the University of Texas at Austin in 2013 and went on to receive her master of public health from Emory University in 2015. Thereafter, she completed her Ph.D. in Behavioral and Community Health at the University of Maryland, College Park. Outside of work, Samantha is an avid adventure-seeker and is constantly looking for new places to visit. Spending time with friends and family also brings her joy.
Collin Sullivan (he/him)
Collin Sullivan ’19, M.P.P. ’21 is the Coordinator of Digital Credentials within the Division of Professional Studies and an adjunct instructor with Undergraduate Academic Affairs and Information Systems. In his primary role on campus, Collin works with faculty, staff, external partners, and students to design, review, and implement high quality microcredentials from courses, programs, or activities that offer authentic learning experiences and promote lifelong learning and engagement. Previously, Collin was a part of the Division of Information Technology’s Instructional Technology Team, where he supported various learning technologies and online teaching and learning. He earned both his bachelor’s degree in information systems and economics and his master’s degree in public policy from UMBC. During his time as an undergraduate student, Collin served as a student coach and consultant for STRiVE, an intern for the American Democracy Project, and president of UMBC’s Student Government Association. He is pursuing his Ph.D. in Teaching and Learning, Policy and Leadership at the University of Maryland, College Park and plans to focus his studies on civic education.
Liewawit “Lia” Tafesse (she/her)
Liewawit “Lia” Tafesse ’24 is a social work major minoring in emergency health services on the pre-medical track. As an Alternative Spring Break (ASB) leader, she hopes to create an experience for her peers in which they can be agents of change in Baltimore while developing civic capacities such as civic agency, solidarity, and civic literacy and discernment. Lia is a resident assistant for Residential Life and vice president of the Phi Alpha Honor Society. She also is training to become an EMT. Outside of school, Lia enjoys baking, reading, and playing the piano.
Clair Volkening (she/her)
Clair Volkening ’23 is a Humanities Scholar majoring in English on the communication and technology track and minoring in music. As a STRiVE coach, she 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. Clair participated in STRiVE 2021 and is an active contributor to the Center for Democracy and Civic Life’s Civic Courage Journaling Project. She is also a tutor with UMBC’s Writing Center, a College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences editor for the UMBC Review, the president of the service-oriented New Friends of Yours Club, and a writing fellow for English 100 courses. In her free time, Clair enjoys listening to and making music, doing yoga, drinking tea, amateur glamping, and hanging with her cats Grace and George.