Bringing value to a current role is one of the greatest benefits of embarking on an educational journey to learn and grow as a professional. Cindy Greenwood '21, P.B.C. Community Leadership, transferred the new skills she gained in her experience with the Community Leadership graduate program at UMBC into her current role as assistant director with UMBC's Center for Women in Technology.
Learn more about Cindy's experience in this episode of UMBC's Mic'd Up Podcast.
About UMBC's Community Leadership Graduate Program
The Community Leadership programs at UMBC prepare aspiring and practicing leaders with the skills and experience needed to generate transformative social change. We help students develop greater self-understanding, engage with the assets and challenges of urban communities, hone practical leadership skills, and build personal and professional relationships that will support their growth as leaders.
Dennise Cardona 0:00
Welcome to UMBC Mic'd Up podcast. My name is Dennise Cardona from the Office of Professional Programs. I am joined by a very special guest, Cindy Greenwood, and she is a recent graduate of the Community Leadership certificate program. Welcome, Cindy.
Cindy Greenwood 0:16
Hello. Good to be here.
Dennise Cardona 0:18
So Cindy, can you tell us a little bit about your self in terms of your professional endeavors and the educational journey that took you to be a student here at UMBC?
Cindy Greenwood 0:29
Sure. So I work at UMBC in the Center for Women in Technology or see what as we go by. And I've worked at UMBC for about 10 and a half years now, the first two were in alumni relations within the Office of Institutional Advancement. And then I moved over to see what so so I've been at UMBC for quite a while. But before I got here, I was in more of a student affairs type of role in higher education at a couple of different institutions. And in my master's degree is in higher education administration. So I've always professionally worked in higher education. So I had thought about a Ph. D. program for a little while, even as I chose to come and work at UMBC, those 10 and a half years ago, I was thinking about the language literacy and culture Ph. D program, and took a couple of courses non degree seeking, but just kind of decided, you know, that wasn't the right path. It wasn't the right time, I chose not to pursue that. And then, you know, so I hadn't been a student for many years after that. And then a colleague on campus actually sent me the an email about this new Community Leadership Program, kind of saying, pass it on to people you think might be interested in this program. And I read about it. And I thought, actually, I might be interested in this program. And so because I'm always interested in learning new things, and continuing my education, even if a PhD wasn't the route that I wanted to take. And so this just seemed like a really good opportunity to take some interesting classes at UMBC, and learn some new things, but a much lower commitment level of a graduate certificate, rather than embarking on an entire PhD.
Dennise Cardona 2:21
What was it about the community leadership certificate program that intrigued you the most, like what made you when you looked at that the document that was sent to you what was it that jumped out to you and said, Oh, my gosh, this sounds like a great fit.
Cindy Greenwood 2:33
Yeah. So I have always been interested in leadership development that has been part of my education and my, my work. I my graduate assistantship, when I was getting my master's was in the Leadership Center at Washington State University. And I've taught when I worked at the University of South Florida, I taught courses in their undergraduate Leadership Studies minor. And so I always was interested in leadership. And so kind of the program takes leadership and doing good work in communities that you're a part of. And I was really interested in that. And I think, you know, I've always cared about a lot of different social issues, but haven't always known. What can I do in communities, and about these issues that I care about? And so I was hoping in this program to kind of take my my interest in Leadership Studies and leadership development and pair that with community development and you know, thinking about how can that leadership be applied to issues that I care about and communities that I care about?
Dennise Cardona 3:43
Yeah, it's really a great gift when we can pair the things we're learning in the classroom with what we care about in the real world, and what we want to do or are doing in our everyday life. So it sounds like the certificate program was a great match in terms of doing that for you. Exactly. What did you expect to get out of the certificate program when you first started taking classes in it?
Cindy Greenwood 4:09
Yeah, when I first heard about the community leadership certificate program, I honestly I heard about it pretty shortly before the semester was going to begin. And so I just thought it sounded interesting and I didn't have time to put a lot of thought into it before I needed to apply. And so I I decided I didn't even sign up for this certificate like officially apply right away. I first signed up as non degree seeking because it was just such short notice. I didn't know for sure if I would take the whole certificate program. So I took the introductory class CLDR 601 non degree seeking and then really enjoyed that course. And so I decided to keep going so initially, I I really didn't know what to expect, it was kind of a short decision. But then I quickly realized that, you know, it wasn't just going to be an opportunity to take a few classes and move on. But there was a lot more to the program. I think Dr. Sally J. Scott, who manages the program, is doing a really good job of kind of creating a community around the folks who are in the program, as well as our community partners. And so there have been different virtual events, bringing the different cohorts of students from the program already I know, it's new, but you know, the few cohorts that have begun, we've been able to have some virtual events. We even did a movie night, like a Netflix party, where we all watched dark city beneath the beat on Netflix together. And, and so I've, that was an unexpected thing that I've gotten out of it is kind of becoming part of this community that's being created around the community leadership program. So that's been a nice surprise. Absolutely.
Dennise Cardona 6:07
Can you talk a little bit about like, is there a point where you've taken something that you've learned in the classroom, and applied it to what you're doing now in your current role?
Cindy Greenwood 6:18
Yeah, yeah, I have a very current example of that, actually, I. So for the capstone course, I knew that, you know, is a six credit course. So it was basically a regular graduate course plus this big project, to make it, you know, more than your average three credit graduate course. And so I wanted to choose something that would also apply to my professional role. And so there was an organization called Building steps that's in Baltimore. And I had heard of them through my role in the Center for Women in Technology a couple of years ago, when one of their students was coming to UMBC as a computer science major, and they reached out to just say, you know, could you connect with the student give her some support. And so what their mission is they are students apply, they have 15 partner high schools in Baltimore City, public schools, and students who are interested in going to college and maybe exploring STEM majors in college, can apply to the program and, and then during their junior and senior year of high school building steps, does a lot of college prep, work with them, helping them to prepare for college and apply to college and scholarships and those kinds of things. And so I wanted to work with them for my capstone for community leadership. And because I thought that in addition to that class project, it could help build a bridge, build some relationships that I could continue in my professional role, and through cu it. And so that is happening right now. So I did the project, which was really helping building steps to to improve their summer math tutoring program for these high school students. And so I worked with Rihanna Shafi, who's the director of the Sherman Scholars program on campus, and she referred me to an alum of theirs, who's been a math teacher at the high school level, as well as teachers at UMBC as well, who really helped us to enhance the math tutoring curriculum that the students would see in the summer. And then I recruited students from our see what community to be the tutors, and did some training with them, which I also utilize some campus partners to help learn, you know, what's important in training tutors before they start working with students. So I talked with Delina Greg in the Academic Success Center, and I talked with Josh Michael, also with Sherman, Scholars Program. And so, you know, I worked on it up until the end of the semester for my project, but then, you know, it continued on from there. And actually, the tutoring just started yesterday. So it's a six week math tutoring program. And so right before I hopped onto this call with you, I was in the zoom with the building steps, folks and the our current tutors. And today is day two of a six week tutoring program that now was my capstone project, but now is a CWIT building steps collaboration.
Dennise Cardona 9:29
Wow, that just sounds like an amazing experience a really enriching learning experience. And I don't know about you, but I feel like I've learned so much more when I can actually get in, roll my sleeves up and do the work and, and you get to see from a different perspective and a different different lens, what the real issues are, especially when it involves community leadership and being able to see like what kind of things what kind of solutions that we we need have and to be able to come at it from different perspective. Just like that, I think it's a really powerful learning tool.
Cindy Greenwood 10:03
Dennise Cardona 10:04
I guess really my one of my last questions to you is, the big one is what was the biggest takeaway that you got from the certificate program,
Cindy Greenwood 10:14
Being in the program, and especially, I would say, this capstone project, and the capstone course, helped me to think about what I could bring to a project or to a community or to an organization in a different way than I had thought about it before. I think, you know, I, similarly to how I work in the Center for Women in Technology, but my background is not in computing, or engineering, which is the college that we're a part of, but I am able to work with students in those majors, to connect them to the technical experts, but I can be their, you know, kind of their advisor in a lot of ways around helping them get through their academics and, and their professional development. But I guess I wouldn't have thought about, you know, being able to do something like this math tutoring program, again, because I am not a math expert. But what I've learned is, you know, you don't have to be the expert in every part of a project, you can, I think that skills that I have, an that I helped, that the program helped me to develop further, are around relationship building and collaboration and communication. So I think that helped me to really see through the community leadership program that I can bring people and organizations and communities together towards a project. And I can help identify who may be the experts in a certain content area are and bring them into the fold and, you know, help kind of manage the project, even if I'm not necessarily the content expert all the time. And that helped me just feel like the possibilities of other kinds of projects I could get involved with, is just broadened more than I would have thought about before being in the community leadership program.
Dennise Cardona 12:09
I'll tell you that what you just said is very powerful. There's, that's the big takeaway. That's its being. When you think about community, you think about there are many different aspects, many different people in situations that make that community make up that community, and learning the different aspects of it, it sounds like you are able to put the pieces together. And even though you're not lucid, the content expert you have you're surrounded by a team of people who you know who you can draw from in order to get that expertise and to be able to make this thing something that is substantial and powerful out in the world. Yeah. Is there anything else, Cindy, that I have not asked you that you feel could lend value to this discussion about community leadership, and the role it takes the role it plays in the world?
Cindy Greenwood 12:59
Sure. Thinking about like the program itself, and the community leadership program itself. I think that, you know, I talked about a lot of the things I enjoyed about it. But I also, I think that one of the things that a direction that I see them taking is offering in addition to just the courses and even in addition to kind of the the events that I talked about, that they're looking for smaller kind of skill, building things that students can get involved in as well. So I had the opportunity while I was part of the program to take a digital storytelling workshop that the Shriver Center was hosting. And most of the participants were from community organizations that the Shriver Center works with from off campus. But as part of the community leadership program, I was able to get in on that. And that was that was cool for me just personally, to learn a new skill and actually get to tell a story of mine. Via you know, a method I had never done before. But then also, I can take that back to my professional role and see what and because we have thought about as an office, how do we tell our story in new and better ways. And I think we have so many impressive students that something like digital storytelling could really benefit what we do there. So yeah, I think that's been a big takeaway is that I can really see how I might use what I've learned and done in the program in my, you know, personal life and my own community involvement, but also, there are lots of parallels and ways that I've been able to bring that into my professional role as well. So I've appreciated that and again, kind of like the building of that community of people that are part of the program. This was also an unexpected benefit. I didn't necessarily join the program thinking oh, this is gonna, you know, improve how I do my job. I just was interested in it and wanting to learn new things. But it's been both.
Dennise Cardona 15:06
That's fantastic. I love digital storytelling as you might be able to, is what I do for a living for UMBC. is I really digitally. And it is a really fantastic way to share stories, to be able to explain something in a way that is really difficult through other means and digital content. It just helps to tell the story in several different ways. So yeah, I'm really glad that you had that experience. And I'm so grateful that you're here with us today to be able to share that experience and to share what you gleaned from the program. And it sounds like you gleaned a lot of really incredible experiences and great takeaways, so I'm really happy to hear that. Thank you so much for being with us today.
Cindy Greenwood 15:51
Thank you for chatting with me.
Dennise Cardona 15:54
Thank you everyone for listening in to this episode of UMBC Mic'd Up podcast. If you'd like to learn more about the graduate program in community leadership at UMBC visit leader.umbc.edu