Romy has been a member of the UMBC community for the past 14.5 years, during which she earned her B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. here. As a graduate student, she was a key strategist for the BreakingGround initiative, served as UMBC’s lead organizer for Imagining America’s 2015 conference in Baltimore, and earned the Jessica Soto Perez Award for her stellar contributions to other graduate students’ academic and professional pursuits. She joined the Office of Student Life team as coordinator for student organizations in 2016, and while in that position transformed the Alternative Spring Break (ASB) program by developing components that emphasized deep learning about Baltimore and options for sustained engagement in Baltimore’s civic life.
Since 2018, as assistant and then associate director of the Center for Democracy and Civic Life, Romy has been directly involved in creating and leading every aspect of the Center’s work. Her signature contributions have included conceiving and co-designing ConnectionCorps (an initiative through which the Center for Democracy and Civic Life prepares students to facilitate its community programs and workshops in ways that empower and connect participants), the Dinner with Friends program series (simultaneous, guided small-group conversations in which participants engage in civil dialogue about contentious issues affecting people at UMBC), and Together Beyond (restorative, guided conversations in the aftermath of potentially traumatic national events). Romy also has been an energetic and creative partner in developing and teaching two innovative Honors College courses: HONR 200 - Talking Democracy, on overcoming barriers to democratic communication; and HONR 300 - Be Your Best Self in Real Life, on thriving and initiating change within institutions.
Romy has become a respected national leader in higher education’s civic learning and democratic engagement movement. Last month in Minneapolis, the American Democracy Project presented her with its first-ever Spirit of Democracy Award, which recognizes exemplary staff leadership.
Her colleagues in the Center for Democracy and Civic Life are going to miss her very much, but we will be cheering for Romy in her new role and looking for opportunities to collaborate.