Where Are They Now...
Mahfuza Sharmin ('17 PhD, Computer Science) is a postdoctoral research fellow at Stanford University. Her research focuses on the intersection of Artificial Intelligence (AI), and mammalian gene regulation, where large-scale genomics data meets the emerence of articifial intelligence. Mahfuza hopes her AI-based techniques will create virtual clinical trials for immune diseases in order to replace direct patient participation. To this end, she is developing deep learning based methods to understand regulatory processes in the immune system, and stem cells.
Lieutenant Commander Joseph Slaughter ('17 PhD, History) graduated from the US Naval Academy in 1999 with a B.S. in History. From 2001-2005, he served as a C-2 Greyhound pilot, logging over 100 carrier arrested landings over the course of two deployments on the USS Harry S. Truman. He earned his M.A. in U. S. History from the University of Maryland in 2006 and subsequently taught in the U.S. Naval Academy Department of History from 2006-2008. After serving as a Catapult, and Arresting Gear Officer on the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, he returned to the U.S. Naval Academy Department of History in the fall of 2010 where he currently serves as an Junior Permanent Military Professor. Joseph returned to the University of Maryland in the fall of 2012. His Ph.D. dissertation Faith in Markets, Christian Business Enterprise in America, 1800-1850 examines the intersection of religion, and capitalism in early nineteenth century America. He resides in Annapolis, MD and enjoys golf, tennis, boating, and watching college sports with his wife Casey, daughter Wren, and son Graydon.
Rotunda Floyd-Cooper ('17 PhD, Education Leadership) has always been intrigued by mathematics. Upon entering a degree program in mathematics at Hampton University, she discovered her passion- the desire to empower female, and minority students in mathematics. As a result, she decided to forgo a career in actuarial science, and focus her career on contributing to education thus becoming a secondary mathematics teacher. Shortly thereafter, Rotunda decided to pursue an advanced degree which focused on both her interests in applied mathematics, and mathematics education. She completed two master’s degrees (one in Applied Mathematics and one Mathematics education) at Virginia Tech and Virginia State University, respectively. Since then she has worked in numerous capacities to support her passion for empowering young people from traditionally underrepresented groups to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Rotunda recently served as the principal of Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School in Beltsville, MD, Executive Director of the Maryland Mathematics, Engineering, and Science Achievement (MESA) program at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, a program which seeks to promote interests in careers in STEM. Additionally, she has served as a coach to principals in her role as Systemic Improvement Specialist in Prince George’s County Public Schools.
Noor White (’17 PhD, Biological Sciences) is a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow. Her research looks at the genetic basis of night vision across all nocturnal birds. With this data, she hopes to unravel the evolutionary history of nocturnality in birds, and identify potential genetic predispositions to evolving nocturnality. Vision is well conserved across vertebrates, and thus Noor’s findings are relevant across organisms, and have important implications for the treatment of human visual diseases. For her doctoral work, Noor studied genome-scale approaches to phylogenetics, using unprecedently-large molecular datasets to construct evolutionary trees at multiple scales for members of the avian order Strisores, or nightbirds. Strisores contains both nocturnal and diurnal members, many of which are remarkable for their visual adaptations. Noor is conducting her research as a postdoctoral fellow in the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health, and is a research associate at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History.
Debbi Mack ('02 MS, Library Science) is the New York Times bestselling author of the Sam McRae Mystery Series, featuring Maryland lawyer-sleuth Stephanie Ann “Sam” McRae. She’s published an award-winning young adult novel, Invisible Me, and her latest book is a thriller called The Planck Factor. Debbi is currently at work on a new mystery with the working title Damaged Goods. She’s also written and published several short stories, and is a nominee for the Derringer award for short mystery fiction. Debbi has also written a feature film screenplay that made the semi-finals in the 2016 Scriptapalooza contest. Her first novel, Identity Crisis, has been optioned by a Maryland producer, and Debbi adapted the novel into the first draft of the screenplay. A Queens, NY native, Debbi is a non-practicing lawyer, who has also worked as a journalist, librarian, and freelance writer/researcher. She lives in Columbia, MD, with her husband and their cats. Debbi enjoys walking, reading, travel, movies, and espresso—not necessarily in that order.