I have great news. This year’s valedictorian for our graduation will be Psychology major Kara Seidel. Below is the announcement information from the Provost’s office:
Majoring in Psychology, minoring in American Studies, and earning a certificate from the Honors College, Kara Seidel has maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout her time at UMBC. She is a Sondheim Public Affairs Scholar and has been selected for Phi Beta Kappa. She conducted research in the lab of Dr. Chris Murphy on intimate partner violence and in the Making Words Count Community Psychology Lab. She applied her research methods by investigating ways to support victims of intimate partner violence at HopeWorks, a community-based advocacy and support group for victims of sexual and intimate partner violence located in Howard County, and at SafeHouse, a shelter for women in immediate crisis. She twice served as an HIV/AIDS intern, securing research positions at The Center for Learning and Health at Johns Hopkins University and with the American Psychology Association. She also served as research intern at the Hussman Institute on Autism. In addition, Kara has assumed leadership positions in the Psychology Department, most notably as president of the Psi Chi International Honor Society of Psychology. Kara has made optimum use of her opportunities to gain an understanding of social science methodology and to apply it for the benefit of others. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology.
While building a distinguished academic and research record, Kara dedicated herself tirelessly to wellbeing of others, especially those least equipped to pursue their own interests. She interned for six semesters with SUCCESS, a Shriver Center program devoted to integrating adults with intellectual disabilities into mainstream economic and social life by offering them a college experience. She became a student coordinator after one semester, developing and teaching two classes, and mentoring some 30 student interns. Because of her academic achievement, her leadership in the SUCCESS program, and her wide range of community service, Kara was awarded the Samson, Rosetta A., and Sadie Feldman Award this semester in recognition of her exceptional understanding of the responsibilities of citizenship and her passion to act upon her understanding. Indeed, Kara’s community service and leadership are impressively wide-ranging. She was social justice chairperson at Hillel UMBC, and participated in an interfaith education program on geopolitics with students from UMBC, Goucher College, and Towson University; she organized a multiple sclerosis walk, and ran food drives on campus for victims of flooding in Ellicott City. Kara has shown that making a positive difference in her community is a central component of a good education and of a life well lived.