Sondheim Scholars in the News

Stefanie Mavronis ’12, political science and media and communications studies

Sondheim alumna, Stefanie Mavronis was honored at the UMBC Alumni Association’s Awards Ceremony and Reception with the 2022 Rising Star Award.  This award recognizes outstanding early career achievements.  Her acceptance of the award can be viewed here. The Baltimore native, Sondheim Scholar and UMBC grad outlines her trajectory and growth that began at UMBC and has placed her in a key role on Baltimore mayor, Brandon Scott’s communications team: Stefanie currently serves as Chief of Staff of the Baltimore City Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement.

Farah Helal ’24, global studies and political science

Current Sondheim Scholar, Farah Helal, was featured in the UMBC news in April 2022 for being named as USM Student Regent. She will serve a two-year term and will represent the USM student voice to issues that impact the University of Maryland’s twelve institutions.  Read Farah’s story that led to their appointment by Gov. Larry Hogan to this leadership position.

Katie Poteet ’21, global studies and political science

The UMBC Valedictorian and Sondheim Scholar was featured in the UMBC News in May 2021, following her graduation and prior to her trip to England.  Read Katie’s journey from Harford County, to UMBC to Cambridge University.

Kelsey Krach ’14, anthropology

The April 27, 2021 UMBC Magazine included a feature and interview with Sondheim alumna Kelsey Krach and Delali Dzirasa ‘04, computer engineering. Check out the story and video where they discuss their work at Fearless, a digital services software company built on the ideas of community partnerships and service and the inspiration that began during their time at UMBC.

Asif Majid ’13, interdisciplinary studies

An article, Pursuing Art and Peace Through Theatre of Ideas, on Asif appears in the November 5, 2020 issue of UMBC Magazine.  To learn more about how a fellow Sondheim navigates the challenges of COVID-19 and explores new ways to serve, click here:

Susan Keen ’10, anthropology and political science

Susan Keen, and fellow Sondheim Theresa Bruce, ‘09 political science and social work are featured in UMBC Magazine’s January 25, 2021 video series “Retriever Educators are Everywhere”. To learn more about these educators, including video clips and accomplishments after graduation, visit:

Theresa Bruce ’09, political science and social work

Read about Theresa’s journey from Sondheim Scholar to runner up for 2020 Baltimore City Teacher of the Year in the December 7th issue of UMBC Magazine: .  Theresa was also recognized as a UMBC Outstanding Alumni on October 20 at the 2021 Alumni Awards Ceremony and Reception.

Kristina Gaddy ’09 history and modern languages & linguistics 

Kristina has given back to the program as a guest speaker in the Sondheim Scholars’ writing course a couple years ago.  Her book, Flowers in the Gutter: The True Story of the Edelweiss Pirates, Teenagers Who Resisted the Nazis was published earlier this year.  To read more about Kristina, check out her story in the March 2020 issue of UMBC Magazine.

Aaron Merki ’05, political science

Aaron co-founded the nonprofit organization, Free State Legal after graduation and helped win coverage of transition-related care for transgender state employees under their state health plans. Aaron works as managing director of programs and grants at The Weinberg Foundation.  Learn more about Aaron’s journey and how meeting Walter Sondheim remains an inspiration to today’s work: