Author Bios

2019 ISSUE 

Zachary Breit is a sophomore at the University of Maryland majoring in Computer Engineering. In the future, he dreams of working in the robotics industry developing control systems software. He is involved in cybersecurity research on campus through the Gemstone honors program and is also a part of the organizational team for Bitcamp, an annual hackathon hosted at UMD. When he isn’t working, Zach loves to run, Geocache, and talk about films (mostly sci-fis and thrillers).

Sarah Browning is a sophomore majoring in Bioengineering and minoring in Art History at the University of Maryland. On campus, she is part of the University’s Honors College and an editor for the Gift to Uplift Club. In her free time, she enjoys drawing, hiking with her dog, and spending time with friends. She hopes that her essay will bring attention to the ongoing opioid crisis, as well as educate the public on the role doctors play in it.

Caterina Ieronimo is a sophomore International Relations major.  She is part of the Arabic Flagship and College Park Scholars International Studies Program.  She plays on the UMD Women’s Club Rugby team and is a member of the Prison Resistance Project.  She speaks Italian, English, and Spanish fluently, and is currently working on French in addition to Arabic.  This summer, she volunteered with Refugee Rescue, the last refugee search and rescue (SAR) operation on the island of Lesvos, Greece.  She hopes to continue SAR work in the future, and to use her language skills and course of study to pursue a career in international migration law.  In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing, and singing.

Ryan Patrick Murphy is a senior at the University of Maryland (UMD) pursuing double degrees in Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering. In addition to being involved in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering Honors Program, he is also an active member of the International Honors Society for Mechanical Engineers, Pi Tau Sigma. On campus, Ryan is an Undergraduate Teaching Fellow for the Electrical Engineering Department, and is involved in the UMD Rocketry Club, Terrapin Rockets. He has previously been involved in the Mechanical Engineering Department as an undergraduate teaching fellow as well as an undergraduate researcher at the Center of Advanced Life Cycle Engineering. He has conducted internships at GE Aviation, Middle River Aircraft Systems, and The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. In his free time, Ryan enjoys running, reading, tinkering and traveling. Following his undergraduate education, he hopes to pursue a Masters of Engineering and eventually obtain his MBA. Ryan would like to thank Anna Goodson for her encouragement during his time taking English 101 at Maryland, as well as her and the entire Interpolations staff for their incredible support and assistance in the editing process!

Evan Ruderman is a sophomore at the University of Maryland and pursuing a degree in Aerospace Engineering. On campus, he is a member of the UMD Loop engineering competition team, a board member for the UMD chapter of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and the coordinator of the Sustainability Fund mini-grant committee. He has interned at NASA Goddard the past two summers and dreams of working as an engineer supporting humanities first missions to Mars. In his free time, he enjoys playing piano and bass guitar, reading, going to concerts with friends, and participating in UMD’s Beekeeping Club.

Abhirami Thaivalappil is a sophomore at the University of Maryland, majoring in Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics on a pre-med track. On campus, she is the Student Advisory Board representative for her Global Public Health Scholars program and works as an undergraduate researcher in the Kao lab on campus. In her free time, Abhirami enjoys embroidery, filmmaking and reading.

Hannah Whitacre is a rising sophomore at the University of Maryland currently majoring in Anthropology. She hopes to become a Robert H. Smith School of Business student to study Marketing and Management. In her free time, you may find her on the courts playing volleyball with her friends. She also loves to travel and intends to apply her business degree at an international level.

2018 ISSUE 

Layo Adewole is a junior majoring in Computer Science. She is on the African Student Association (ASA) Programming Committee and a College Park Arts Scholar. In her free time, she writes original songs and plays piano and guitar, and she plans to pick up another instrument. Layo intends to follow her passion for singing and hopes to become a prominent songwriter and artist.

Jacob Cohen is a sophomore at the University of Maryland majoring in Information Science. On campus, Jacob is a leader in the TAMID Group, a student-led business organization that conducts consulting projects for international startups. In his free time, you can find Jacob watching Curb Your Enthusiasm, a show created by Jacob’s favorite UMD alumnus, Larry David. Jacob hopes his essay will encourage conversation on campus regarding the state of “safe” policies and first amendment rights at colleges across the United States.

Raphael Erfe is a junior majoring in Mechanical Engineering at UMD. He is a member of the Honor Society for Mechanical Engineers called Pi Tau Sigma and works as an Automotive Technician/Mechanic off campus. In his free time, he enjoys working as a freelance violinist, music composition, film scoring, and cooking.

José Hannan is a Sophomore at University of Maryland studying Physics and Math. He plans to go to graduate school for Physics immediately after getting his undergraduate degrees in order to work towards a Ph.D in the field. In his free time, José likes to run Track & Field, play piano, travel, and most of all, learn.

Sara Heckelman is a Sophomore in the Robert H. Smith School of Business, pursuing a double major in Marketing and Supply Chain Management and a minor in Hebrew Studies. Sara is the Business Manager of her a cappella group, Rak Shalom, and works as a consultant for the Tamid Group at Maryland. Additionally, Sara has recently been appointed Academics Chair of Kappa Delta Sorority, Alpha Rho. Sara is also a member of the Clarice Smith Performing Arts School’s Voice Minor Series Program. On weekends, Sara works as a Judaics and Hebrew studies teacher at an arts focused Sunday school.

Nirmeen Shumpert is a sophomore at the University of Maryland double majoring in Community Health and Psychology. On campus, she is an active member of the Black Student Union and the Psychology Research Empowerment Program. She is also fluent in French and Moroccan Arabic, and learned German in high school. Nirmeen’s experience while living in several different countries inspires her to learn about various cultures. In her free time, she loves trying new foods, spending time with her friends, and travelling.

Madison Stech is a rising senior majoring in Criminology and Criminal Justice as well as Government and Politics with a concentration in International Relations. On campus, she spends her free time participating in UMD’s Club Softball program and enjoys working for University Recreation and Wellness. Madison wishes to push herself academically and is studying abroad this semester in Berlin, Germany.

Savanna Wright is a junior in the University Honors Program majoring in Biological Sciences with a concentration in Microbiology. She is a member of on-campus group Maryland Discourse and works for the Police Auxiliary at UMPD. In her free time, she enjoys singing and reading.

2017 ISSUE 

Jacob Friedman is a rising sophomore at the University of Maryland majoring in biology with a concentration in ecology and evolution. Jacob is working at the Institute for Genome Sciences this summer and hopes to attend medical school following his undergraduate studies. In his free time, Jacob enjoys skiing, hiking, running, playing lacrosse on the UMD club team, and going to Baltimore Ravens games.

Salma Ghorab is a junior double-majoring in Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science. In addition to being involved in the Gemstone Honors Program, she is also Co-President and Co-Founder of Engineering World Health at UMD, a member of a professional engineering fraternity called Theta Tau, and an employee of Eppley Recreation and Wellness. In her free time she enjoys ​photography and reading.​

Evan Silvera is a junior journalism major. She is in the University Honors program and involved in campus organizations such as The Diamondback and Mitzpeh. The New York native hopes her essay in Interpolations will raise awareness about the stigma surrounding eating disorders, as well as the need to give equal consideration to the factors beyond media that play a role in the formation of the mental illness.

Lucie Ugarte is a rising sophomore studying electrical engineering at the University of Maryland. On campus, she is a member of Flexus: the Women in Engineering Living & Learning Community, the University Jazz Band, and the Honors College. She loves hiking and seeing live music.

Garett Unger is a rising Senior at the University of Maryland (UMD) majoring in History. He transferred to UMD his junior year. Garett has held two congressional internships with the United States Senate and is currently an Honors Intern for the Department of Justice. Upon graduation, he plans to attend law school. Garett enjoys the challenges which writing brings and is always looking for ways to improve his writing abilities. Aside from academics, Garett enjoys traveling to new places and spending time with friends and family.

2016 ISSUE

Sarah Bender is a sophomore Chemistry major at the University of Maryland. She is in the Science, Technology and Society Scholars program and is currently the Community Outreach Liaison for UMD’s American Chemical Society student affiliates chapter. In her free time, she enjoys swimming, crocheting, and playing bass guitar.

​Corinne Farley, a sophomore at the University of Maryland, is pursuing a major in Bioengineering and a minor in Computer Science. She is involved in both University Honors and the Quality Enhancement Systems and Teams (QUEST) honors program. In addition, she is an active member of the M-LEAD community, serving as a facilitator for the Terrapin Leadership Institute. On weekends, she volunteers as a teaching ambassador for the Computer Science Connect camp for middle school students.

​Nancy Jin, a sophomore at the University of Maryland, is currently majoring in Government and Politics and minoring in Law and Society. During her time on campus, she has been an active member of the Justice and Legal Thought Scholars program. She is part of mock trial, the Phi Alpha Delta pre-fraternity, and is also an ambassador for the college of Behavioral and Social Sciences. She also works for the Orientation Office as an Orientation Advisor and is an intern with the Undergraduate Student Legal Aid Office. In her free time, she likes playing guitar and the bagpipes and watching The Office.

​Muneebah Qureshi, a sophomore at the University of Maryland, is pursuing a degree in Middle School Mathematics and Science with a minor in Meteorology. She is a member of the University’s Honor College. Her Pakistani Pashtun family background inspires her to learn about her culture, especially through language in the form of poetry and song. Her mother encourages her to ask questions, leading to enlightening conversations about Pashtun and Pakistani cultures in various languages. In her free time, she loves to read, listen to various songs from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India, and spend time volunteering at her preschool and mosque.

​Emily Shue is a sophomore double majoring in Biology and Psychology from Rockville, Maryland. She is part of the EIP Honors College, UMD Climbing Club, and Intervarsity. When she is not in class or working for RecWell’s Adventure Program, you can find her rock climbing with friends, practicing music, or enjoying a good book in the sun. Emily would like to especially thank Professor Katherine Kipp Joshi as well as Interpolation editors Scott Eklund and Justin Lohr for their encouragement and advice throughout the writing process.

2015 ISSUE

Jacob Bringewatt is a rising sophomore at the University of Maryland majoring in physics and computer science. While he is majoring in the STEM fields and planning on pursuing a career in scientific research, he has loved reading and writing since a very young age and one day hopes to publish a novel. Outside of academics, Jacob enjoys practicing martial arts and playing the saxophone.

Andy Dunn is a journalism and economics major at the University of Maryland. He is a Diamondback staff writer, a student video assistant for the Athletics Department and programming chair for the Society of Professional Journalists. The Massachusetts native became interested in the relationships between the government, the media and the public through his English class at Maryland and hopes to continue to study the topic.

Taylor Friedman is a sophomore majoring in architecture who is also interested in politics, business, and all things Snoopy. On campus she is involved in the professional architecture fraternity Alpha Rho Chi, the Honors College Student Programming Council, and Maryland Hillel. Writing for Interpolations was a tremendous learning opportunity for her and she hopes her readers spend less time panicking over the U.S. News rankings than she did.

Kelly Hillen is a rising sophomore at the University of Maryland, majoring in chemical engineering. She is in the University Honors Program and is a member of the Primannum Honor Society as well as the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. Kelly enjoys tutoring, which she organizes independently, but also tutors through the UMD Noyce Program and online through Chegg InstaEDU. Besides her passion for science, Kelly loves working with people so she hopes to eventually transition from a career in engineering to one involving management, which she is gaining experience in as an assistant manager at Vector Marketing during the summer of 2015.

Laurie Nesbitt is proud Class of 2018 Terp from Howard County, Maryland. She is an Elementary Education major and holds membership to the CIVICUS Living and Learning program and UMD’s Equestrian Team. She would like to thank her English 101C instructor Kirk Greenwood for encouraging her to submit her essay to Interpolations and Scott Eklund and Norrell Edwards for their assistance in the editing process.

Judith Tsoi, a rising junior at the University of Maryland, is currently pursuing a double degree in violin performance and psychology, as well as a minor in French. During her time on campus, she has been an active member of the Honors Humanities program and the University of Maryland Symphony Orchestra. She enjoys working at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center and looks forward to working as a research assistant in the Language Music and Cognition Lab. In her free time, she loves watching movies, laughing, and making music with friends.

Ben Zimmitti is a freshman Environmental Science and Policy major with a minor in International Development and Conflict Management. Originally from South Brunswick, New Jersey, Ben fell in love with UMD and knew from his first visit that he wanted it to be his home for the next four years. He is in the University Honors program, and has always enjoyed writing, even though he does not plan on pursuing it professionally. Ben clearly possesses an interest for social issues, and would love to work for a non-profit geared toward environmental justice or hunger relief in the future. In the meantime, Ben has gotten involved in the Peer Leadership Council, a student based leadership program dedicated to promoting social change on campus and the community at large. Ben wants to thank the Interpolations Staff and Editors for selecting his piece, as well as for all their help in the editing process!

2013-2014 ISSUE

Austin Baldridge is currently a mechanical engineering student at, you guessed it, the University of Maryland.  When he is not summing the forces acting on an object, he enjoys building with legos and hiking in the woods.  While the essay printed here is the result of many teachers’ faithful training, Austin would like to especially thank Ms. Beth Colson and Mr. Jerry Keehner for explaining the tools of classical rhetoric in mathematic simplicity.

Drew Calamaro is a Junior studying Finance and Supply Chain Management at the University of Maryland. In his spare time, Drew likes to play golf, follow politics and foreign affairs, and read. He is also very interested in emerging technologies, especially 3D printing.

Shachar Gannot: I am a Government & Politics / History double major and Philosophy minor. Throughout my life, I moved back-and-forth between the United States and Israel, graduating from the American International School in Israel in June 2009. Following my graduation, I was drafted into the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) in April 2010 and spent two years serving in the Air Force. While I am interested in many social issues, I am most passionate about women’s rights and animal welfare.

Tamar Gasko is a sophomore, pursuing a double major in theater and… something else- she is not quite sure yet! Likewise, she is not sure what she wants to “do” with her life, but rather is excited to explore and try new things. Her miscellaneous interests and adventures include American Sign Language, traveling to Peru, working the ropes course at MAP, and being a member of Ometz, UMD’s egalitarian Jewish community, and Avirah, UMD’s Israeli Dance troupe.

Simrin Gupta is a sophomore pursuing degrees in Journalism and Communication. She is interested in working in either broadcast journalism or media entertainment upon graduation. She is a second-generation immigrant from India and grew up in Montgomery County, MD. Simrin has been passionate about writing since elementary school and participated in a Humanities and Communications Magnet program in middle school followed by a Communication Arts program in high school.

Nicole Hsiung: I am currently a junior majoring in behavioral and community health. I hope to work in the healthcare field after college serving women and children and hope to pursue a master’s in public health research. I will be interning with the University of Maryland’s Center for Substance Abuse Research in the spring.

Christian Johnson is a member of the first undergraduate honors college program in cybersecurity (ACES) and is a Computer Science major at the University of Maryland. He is currently a Growth Hacker for the Gallup Organization and an Advanced Systems Developer at Mid-Atlantic Crossroads (MAX). He previously held various positions as a big data specialist for NASA’s CIO office and Science Mission Directorate. Christian’s highlights during his time at the University of Maryland include representing the ACES cybersecurity program as Student Board President, as well as serving as the undergraduate representative to the President’s Taskforce on Cybersecurity. He is actively involved in cybersecurity research on campus, and hopes to make contributions to the Computer Science field and cybersecurity industry throughout his studies at the University of Maryland.

Anastasia Kouloganes is junior at the University of Maryland, with a double major in Government & Politics as well as Chinese. She is also pursuing minors in both Global Terrorism and International Development & Conflict Management.In addition to classes, Anastasia is actively involved in Engineers Without Borders, a non-profit group that works to improve the lives of communities in developing countries, as well as the Olympic sport and martial art of judo. Anastasia is currently studying abroad in Beijing to further her language and international relations studies.

Lina Lulli is a sophomore at the University of Maryland, double majoring in Accounting and Information Systems. Lina is very involved on campus, being a proud Images tour guide, a member of the Terp Thon Logistics committee, an Honors Ambassador and an active member of Alpha Phi Omega. Though Lina is majoring in business, her heart is in writing. Writing since she was seven, her publication in Interpolations is an exciting accomplishment for her!

Nicole Newman is a rising sophomore at the University of Maryland majoring in PR/ Communications. She is spending her summer as a marketing intern and hopes to pursue a career in business. Outside of academics, she enjoys being involved on campus in the Maryland community and is an active member of Sigma Delta Tau. Nicole continues to be interested in health and wellness, as portrayed in this essay, and is very excited about being published in Interpolations!

Deanna Rubin: I am a sophomore Biochemistry major at the University of Maryland with future aspirations in the career field of pharmacy. I was born and raised in Miami Beach, FL and leaped at the opportunity to attend a school in a region so far from home to gain new experiences during these formative years. Prior to college, I was a competitive dancer in many styles of dance as well as a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. My skills as a writer were grown and refined here at the University, and they continue to be invaluable academic tools.

Tarika Sankar is a sophomore majoring in anthropology and English. She is in the University Honors Program and is on the staff of the Honors College official student publication, The Winding Banister Review. She is also the secretary of the Anthropology Student Association and a Guided Study Session leader for the Introduction to Psychology course. Tarika is originally from Rockville, Maryland and enjoys traveling, practicing her Spanish and spending time with her family.

Alexis Thompson is a freshman Business Management and Psychology double major and is in the University Honors program of the Honors College. She loves theatre, particularly musicals and Shakespeare plays, and is the Publicity Director for the Maryland Shakespeare Players. Alexis would like to thank the English department and the Interpolations staff, especially Instructor Justin Lohr and Shaun Gannon, for all of their help with the editing process and Ally and Noah for letting her use them in the narrative part of this essay.

Leo Traub is a Journalism major hailing from West Hempstead, N.Y.  Raised in a household with a never-ending inflow of library books, Leo came to love reading and writing from a young age.  After flexing his elementary-age literary license in writing homemade R. L. Stine-inspired thrillers and superhero comic books, he is honored to have his work published in Interpolations.  Leo still dreams of one day seeing his name on the cover of a paperback novel.

Todd Waters is a junior Cell Biology and Genetics student at the University of Maryland, College Park. Originally from Tallahassee Florida, he served for 8 years in the U.S. Air Force as a Chinese Linguist. He currently conducts research in University of Maryland’s Dennis Van Engelsdorp Bee Informed Partnership lab, studying honey bee colony collapse disorder. He plans on attending graduate school at the University of Maryland, with research and academic interests lying at the intersection of food and chemical toxicology, and human health. He lives in the Fordham House of Cooperative Housing University of Maryland, where he enjoys putting together creative writing workshops and collaborative art nights. Additionally, he recently helped create a writing collective and is now working on founding a free library for students in the cooperative.