Steering Committee and Retreat

Steering Committee

The Sondheim Steering Committee formed in fall of 2018 when a group of Scholars met with program director, Dr. Laura Antkowiak, and discussed ways for students to play a more active role in the program. The committee was born with the goals of promoting inter-cohort bonding and increasing Sondheim Scholars’ understanding of policy. The group meets throughout each semester to plan movie nights, game nights, and other community building events. The Steering Committee’s most notable accomplishment has been creating an annual student-led retreat for Sondheim Scholars. The committee is an active part of the Sondheim Program, and it welcomes all Sondheim Scholars to join us in helping to develop a closer community and promoting increased knowledge of Baltimore City, policy issues and public policy impacting Maryland.  Through their participation and investment in the Sondheim program, students on the committee add their voices in programming decisions.

2023-2024 Executive Board Leadership

Ava Sekowski, Co-chair

Vunnathi Ankem, Co-chair

Stuart Holton, Vice-chair

Nardos Kebede, Secretary/Treasurer


Leadership responsibilities on the Steering Committee include:

  • Presiding over meetings of the Executive Board;
  • Determining the goals and direction of the organization;
  • Appointing directors with the consent of the majority of the Executive Board
  • Serving as the organization’s official representative for communication with program staff.

Vice Chair:

  • Assisting the Chair with determining the goals and direction of the organization;
  • Assuming the role of Chair in the event of the Chair’s absence or incapacity.


  • Recording minutes during meetings of the Executive Board;
  • Managing and keeping all records of the organization;
  • Managing the organization’s funds and ensuring compliance with all financial rules and guidelines.

Sondheim Student Retreat

The first Sondheim Public Affairs Scholars Program Retreat was organized by the student-run Steering Committee. The 2 night retreat took place in Baltimore City in September 2019. Activities included a Stoop Storytelling workshop with Laura Wexler, a policy workshop led by senior Sondheim Scholars, a session led by David Hoffman and Romy Hubler from UMBC’s Center for Democracy & Civic Life, and a discussion with UMBC’s then president, Dr. Freeman Hrabowski. Fun activities included a scavenger hunt in Baltimore’s Mount Vernon neighborhood, lunch at a local restaurant, making tacos together, and movie night.

After a pause during the COVID-19 pandemic, the in-person student returned in 2022. Activities included a Rebuilding Community workshop with Amelia Meman, LMSW, a student-led policy workshop, games, meals in Baltimore’s Mount Vernon neighborhood and a conversation with CAHSS Dean, Dr. Kimberly Moffitt.