Workshops

The AOK Library offers a variety of workshops for students, faculty, and staff at UMBC.

If you are interested in a topic but cannot attend our scheduled workshops, UMBC librarians will schedule and customize workshops to meet the needs of small groups. Request a Workshop here.



Workshops spotlights


Library Services for Graduate Student Success: Everything is AOK!

Presenter: Erin Durham

Explore resources and services the library has to offer for graduate students, including online databases, library study space reservations, Interlibrary loan, workshops, and research assistance. This is a workshop for UMBC grad students, based on recommendations from fellow grad students!

Series: Lights on Learning (LoL)
Modality: Synchronous
Date: Wednesday, August 31st
Time: 12pm-12:45pm
Register

Link to join meeting
ID: 26214569403
Password: 7nhUH9wbrm8

How to Write a STEM Literature Review (Advanced)

Presenter: Semhar Yohannes

Is writing the literature review a stumbling block? This workshop will help you to learn how to begin and advance your literature review, and how to connect your ideas to the literature in the field.

Series: Lights on Learning (LoL)
Modality: Synchronous
Date: Wednesday, September, 14th 2022
Time: 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Register

Writing Wednesday Workshop: Research 101

Presenters: Jasmine Shumaker & Writing Tutor

Are you confused between Google Searching and database searching? This workshop is designed to give you an overview of how to begin the searching process, with an introduction to the AOK Library’s searching tools. Attendees will also learn about how the Writing Center can help in the writing process. Feel free to bring questions and an appetite to learn!

Series: Lights on Learning (LoL)
Modality: Synchronous
Date: Wednesday, September 14, 2022
Time: 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Register

Join the Webex meeting
ID: 26240241580
Password: CPk7dveGD72

How to write a Social Science/Humanities Literature Review

Presenter: Erin Durham

This workshop is recommended for graduate students. What are some of the best strategies and tips for writing a literature review? Whether you are just starting out with your research or have been involved in your project for a while, this workshop is for you. Note: This workshop is developed specifically for graduate students.

Series: Lights on Learning (LoL)
Modality: Synchronous
Date: Wednesday, September 14th
Time: 5:00pm - 6:00pm
Register

Link to join meeting
ID: 26249777818
Password: kZMJUtXT387

How to use Zotero for citation management

Presenter: Erin Durham

Have you ever wondered if there is a better way to organize your citations? Have you used citation software in the past but have some lingering questions? This workshop provides an overview of setting up a free Zotero account, adding sources to your Zotero library, and generating a bibliography. This will be a practical, hands-on workshop. Note: This workshop is developed specifically for graduate students.

Series: Lights on Learning (LoL)
Modality: Synchronous
Date: Monday, September 19th
Time: 4:00-5:00pm
Register

Link to join meeting
ID: 26200705525
Password: Nq5sFbHe4F5

How to Write a STEM Literature Review (Introduction)

Presenter: Semhar Yohannes

Is writing the literature review a stumbling block? This workshop will help you to learn how to begin and advance your literature review, and how to connect your ideas to the literature in the field.

Modality: Synchronous
Series: Lights on Learning (LoL)
Date: Tuesday, September 20th
Time: 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Register

How to Use EndNote Online for Citation Management

Presenter: Katy Sullivan

Learn how to utilize the full range of features included in the web-accessible citation manager. This hands-on workshop will focus on setting up an account, importing and transferring references, sharing references, and accessing your references in Microsoft Word.

Series: Lights on Learning (LoL) Modality: Synchronous
Date: Thursday, September 22, 2022
Time: 4:00pm-5:00pm
Register

Writing Wednesday Workshop: Stepping up your Research Game: Searching Strategically

Presenters: Beck Hertl & Writing Tutor TBD

Have you ever wondered how to maximize your research time? Have you wished that you could magically wake up to a perfect Works Cited page? This workshop is designed to save you research time and make it easier for you to find sources for your papers and projects. Feel free to bring in a research assignment that you are working on- this workshop features practical research strategies that you can use right away!

Series: Lights on Learning (LoL)
Modality: Synchronous
Date: Wednesday, October 5th
Time: 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Register

Creating an Academic Research Poster Using PowerPoint

Presenter: Semhar Yohannes & Jasmine Shumaker

An academic research poster is a visual communication tool that allows you to present your research in a clear, concise, graphic format. Learn how to create a poster that stands out. In this workshop, learn the design principles and guidelines that will help you create an effective and aesthetically pleasing poster using PowerPoint. We’ll discuss layout, fonts, colors, graphics and more.

Series: Lights on Learning (LoL) Modality: Synchronous
Date: Wednesday, October 12th
Time: 12:00pm-1:00pm
Register

Writing Wednesday Workshop: How to Cite Sources for your Research & Writing

Presenters: Erin Durham & Writing Tutor

Do you have questions about how to cite and incorporate sources in your writing assignments? Avoid accidental plagiarism by learning how to properly cite your sources and show your skill as an academic writer & researcher.

Series: Lights on Learning (LoL) Modality: Synchronous
Date: Wednesday, November 2nd
Time: 4:00pm-5:00pm
Register

Link to Webex meeting
Meeting number (access code): 2621 706 0359
Host key: 534136
Password: ckZSYU9ct75

Writing Wednesday Workshop: Finding Your Flow: Navigating Final Papers

Presenters: Elaine MacDougall & Writing Tutor TBD

Ready to write your final paper but not sure where to start? Gather what you’ve got so far (even if it’s just the assignment description), and join us for this workshop where we will offer plenty of tips and tricks to get you motivated and excited to find your flow for your final paper!
Writing Wednesday Workshops are a collaboration between the Library and the Writing Center. All workshops are co-facilitated by a staff/faculty member and a Writing Center tutor.

Series: Lights on Learning (LoL)
Modality: Synchronous
Date: Wednesday, December 7
Time: 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Register

Understanding MATLAB

Presenter: Semhar Yohannes

MATLAB is a popular mathematical software package that combines efficient linear algebra operations and powerful graphics with an intuitive, interactive user interface. MATLAB can be useful for a wide range of applications from basic matrix and vector manipulations to full-color 2-D and 3-D visualization. The Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Consulting (CIRC) has created the following videos to get you familiar with MATLAB. Click the link below for demo videos and associated files.

Series: Lights on Learning (LoL)
Modality: asynchronous
Date: asynchronous

Understanding R

Presenter: Semhar Yohannes

R is a powerful open source software system for statistical computing. It has become immensely popular due to its intuitive programming language, built-in support for statistical procedures, and ability to produce beautiful graphics. R is extensible through a package system, and numerous contributions from its user community are freely available. R is available on Windows, Macintosh, and Linux platforms. The Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Consulting (CIRC) has created the following videos to get you familiar with R. Click the link below for demo videos and associated files.

Series: Lights on Learning (LoL)
Modality: asynchronous
Date: asynchronous

Some older workshops can be viewed on our archive page.


For the Fall 2022 semester, the Spotlight! Guest Instructor Workshop Series will be hosting a Prison State Symposium on prison incarnation. The aim of this interdisciplinary symposium is to examine the regional and pervasive impact of prison incarceration and the current debate around prison abolition. Specifically, the symposium would like to engage in the conversation of prison abolition, reform, youth incarnation, cumulative trauma, rights of formerly incarcerated citizens, etc. Simultaneously, the Library will be hosting a Gallery exhibit called Prison Nation to coincide with the Symposium.

Imagining Otherwise: Strategies for Teaching and Learning Abolition

Presenter: Kate Drabinski

The logics of crime and punishment are so deeply embedded for most of us that it is hard to think of any alternatives. Carceral logics shape everything from the attendance and late policies on our syllabi to our responses to fear and harm. How do we learn to imagine otherwise? In this presentation Dr. Kate Drabinski will share strategies from her teaching about prisons, prison abolition, and social movements that build toward that horizon. She will also raise questions about how we might start building anti-carceral logics into our classes to nurture this work on a wider scale.

Bio: Dr. Kate Drabinski is Principal Lecturer of Gender, Women's, + Sexuality Studies and Director of the WILL+ Program at UMBC. Her teaching and research interests include transgender studies, histories and theories of social change, and intersectional histories in Baltimore City. She has been teaching and learning about abolition for a very long time, and she's still always learning new things.

Series: Spotlight (S)
Modality: Gallery + Online
Date: Friday, 9/30/2022
Time: 12:00pm - 1:00pm

The Librarian Who Spent Years Behind Bars

Presenter: Glennor Shirley, Retired Prison Librarian

We will discuss the alarmingly high rate of incarceration in the United States and in Maryland, as well as racial discrimination resulting in incarceration. We’ll dive into how prison librarians encourage inmates to use their libraries in preparation for successful re-entry.

Bio:Born in Jamaica and immigrating to the United States in 1984, Glennor Shirley’s love of libraries knows no borders. After earning her MLIS from the University of Maryland, College Park, Glennor started working in public libraries. She took an evening job working with those who were arrested and housed before being transferred to prison, based on the degree of crime committed. Her works in prisons includes being the Coordinator of Correctional Education Libraries via the Maryland State Department of Education, where she was responsible for governance of all aspects of library services for 19 Maryland State prisons.

Series: Spotlight (S)
Modality: Gallery + Online
Date: Monday, 10/10/2022
Time: 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Register

No Prospect for Relief: Community Activism and the Politics of Prison Siting in Maryland, 1970-1987

Presenter: Kevin Muhitch, UMBC Alum, Morgan, Angel & Associates, Research Associate

This talk examines community struggles against the expansion of Maryland’s prison system in the 1970s and 1980s. In doing so, it illustrates how an eclectic group of activists in Baltimore helped to make prison projects in the city untenable. While state actors pursued several sites in Baltimore, such as docking a “prison ship” in the Baltimore harbor, city residents successfully organized to prevent them from being built. By the 1980s, state officials resumed prison expansion efforts in rural Somerset County, where they found a political system more willing to accept the ramifications of mass incarceration. In tracing the politics of prison siting, this talk illustrates the contested ways urban activism, and the decisions of state actors, shaped the geography of mass incarceration.

Bio: Kevin Muhitch received his M.A. in history from UMBC in 2020, where his research examined mass incarceration in Maryland by tracing debates over prison siting in the late-twentieth century. He formerly served as a Research Fellow at the Sentencing Project, where he focused on voting rights, extreme sentencing, and racial disparities in the U.S. criminal legal system. He also worked as a Research Assistant on Dr. G. Derek Musgrove’s historical mapping project “Black Power in Washington, D.C.” Currently, he serves as a Research Associate at Morgan, Angel & Associates in Washington, D.C, where he primarily conducts historical research for litigation involving Superfund sites.

Series: Spotlight (S)
Modality: Online Only
Date: Wednesday, 10/19/2022
Time: 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Register

Exploring the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program for Baltimore Area College Students, Inside and Out

Presenter: Elaine MacDougall (Grad student)

During June of 2022, I took part in Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program Training, which is a “National pedagogical project offering semester-long, college-level classes behind bars to groups of students” (Davis, 2011, p. 204). From its original model as a program for criminal justice majors, the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program has evolved to include courses across many disciplines, including creative writing and literature courses. This program gives incarcerated students a connection to the outside world and an opportunity to have a voice in a system which historically has not listened. This talk will focus on things I learned from the training as I work towards designing my own curriculum for an empowering writing program and/or college level course geared towards the needs of incarcerated women.

Bio: Elaine MacDougall is a Lecturer in the English department, Assistant Director of the Writing Center, and Coordinator of the Writing Fellows Program at UMBC. She is currently working towards her doctoral degree in the Language, Literacy, and Culture Program at UMBC. Elaine's current research interests include incarcerated women and identity, as well as anti-racist practices and linguistic justice in college writing centers. She also teaches and practices yoga and mindfulness.

Series: Spotlight (S)
Modality: Online Only
Date: 10/26/2022
Time: 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Register

People Over Profit: What it will take to end the war on marijuana and achieve police accountability

Presenter: Yanet Amanuel, ACLU, Director of Public Policy

The discussion will focus on the intersection of the war on drugs, mass incarceration, and police reform. I will explain how as more states begin to legalize marijuana in an effort to" end the war on drugs," what ends up happening is there are more racial disparities in arrests than prior to decriminalization and legalization. Mainly due to the failure to expand redress efforts to "violent offenses" and reform police practices (and the failure to achieve community control of policing). I will share examples of the work and legislation we are working on in Maryland to address these issues and the challenges we continue to face.

Bio: Yanet Amanuel is the director of public policy at the ACLU of Maryland. Yanet has served as public policy advocate and interim public policy director twice before becoming the director. Yanet Amanuel began her advocacy career as a student at the University of Maryland, College Park, where she received her B.A. in Sociology. She continued to pursue her passion for advocacy and organizing in several roles, including as Chief of Staff for a Prince George’s County delegate, Region 7 (Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia) Adult Representative on the NAACP National Youth Works Committee, Young Adult Chair of the Prince George’s County NAACP and as a Policy Advocate at Job Opportunities Task Force. Most recently, ACLU-MD Policy Advocate, Yanet co-led the Maryland Coalition for Justice and Police Accountability and led the ACLU’s legislative advocacy efforts to repeal the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights, reform the Maryland Public Information Act to allow public disclosure of police misconduct records, and remove the Governor from the parole process for Marylanders serving life with parole sentences.

Series: Spotlight (S)
Modality: Online Only
Date: Friday, 10/28/2022
Time: 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Register<

Drug Decriminalization from a Reparations Perspective

Presenter: Lawrence Grandpre, Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle, Director of Research

2021 had the highest rate of death by overdose in American history, with over 100,000 Americans dead. In opposition to the "Just Say No" ideology of the 80's and 90's - harm reduction rejects abstinence-only dogma and promotes "any positive change" toward more healthy and more controlled substance use. Yet in the Black community, which has faced decades of addiction struggle - some have raised issues with harm reduction apparently "libertarian" and "permissive" attitude toward drug use. This talk focuses on the role of the war on drug/ drug criminalization in Maryland in hollowing out the capacity of communities to support healthy functioning. Specifically, this talk will discuss how patterns of drug war incarceration hinder the production of social capital in targeted communities necessary to build institutions. This is why community-centered reparations are an essential component to drug decriminalization.

Bio: Lawrence Grandpre is Director of Research for Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle. His focuses include drug policy, criminal justice, police accountability, and community-based economic/educational development. He is the co-author of “The Black Book” and his work has been featured in The Guardian, The Baltimore Sun, Time Magazine and Black Agenda Report. He is also the co-host of the In Search of Black Power Podcast.

Series: Spotlight (S)
Modality: Gallery + Online
Date: 11/2/2022
Time: 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Register

Policing Jim Crow Baltimore: Archival Insights

Presenter: Michael Casiano, UMBC

In this talk, Mike Casiano will provide an overview of how policing shaped urban governance in Baltimore during the post-Civil War Era. Specifically, he will focus on the institutions that emerged, including the City Jail, various police bureaus, and reform groups, to discuss how nineteenth century investments in reframing local governance resulted in the bureaucratized structures of the twentieth century that continue to define city functions. He will also foreground the various archival sources he has used to narrate this history from the perspective of everyday people's lived experiences.

Bio: Mike Casiano is an assistant professor of American Studies and a core faculty member in the Public Humanities Minor. He is completing his book manuscript, which is entitled Let Us Alone: Race and Police Power in Baltimore, 1857-1929. This talk draws on the book's key sources and arguments.

Series: Spotlight (S)
Modality: Online
Date: 11/9/2022
Time: 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Register

Maryland’s Pathway to Reducing Juvenile Incarceration

Presenter: Betsy Fox Tolentino, Deputy Secretary/ Community Operations/ Department of Juvenile

Over the past decade many strategies have been implemented resulting in more than an 80% reduction in juvenile incarceration. Participants will explore how alternatives to detention, agency policies and practices, the COVID19 pandemic, and Maryland’s newest juvenile justice reform laws impact how young people experience our state juvenile justice system. Moreover, the presentation will focus on applying a race equity lens to reform, advocacy and essential partnerships to increase system fairness and effectiveness.

Bio: A graduate of Southern Oregon University and Widener University School of Law, Tolentino's career has focused extensively on criminal and juvenile justice advocacy, and policy development aimed at improving and building systems to meet the diverse needs of our communities. Tolentino's experience includes representing and advocating for criminal defendants and children in Maryland's foster care and juvenile justice systems before trial courts, the Maryland General Assembly, and system stakeholders. Betsy most recently served as the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services’ Deputy Secretary of Community Operations where she focused on: changing the way young people, families, and stakeholders experience justice system interventions; mitigating racial disparities and developing a fair and equitable approach to reform; and empowering opportunities for shared innovation with partners to become a catalyst for change. In addition to her current role as the Managing Director of the Roca Impact Institute, Betsy volunteers with community based organizations, serves on the Mentor MD/DC Board of Directors, and is an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

Series: Spotlight (S)
Modality: Gallery + Online
Date: 11/16/2022
Time: 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Register

A New Normal or Old Status Quo: Youth Justice in a Post-Pandemic World

Presenter: Nathaniel R. Balis, Director Juvenile Justice Strategy Group, The Annie E. Casey Foundation

Over the last quarter century, America’s juvenile justice system has changed in profound ways. While politicians in the 1990s fretted about the since-debunked myth of the “juvenile super-predator” and responded with harsher laws for kids in virtually every state in the country, youth crime had already started its steady and sometimes sharp decline. Prior to the pandemic, youth arrests and youth confinement had plummeted, all while research offered practitioners and policymakers a wealth of information about the adolescent brain and what works in supporting young people, and yet racial disparities only got worse, with Black youth bearing the brunt of the system’s punitive practices. In the early months of the pandemic, youth confinement dropped much further, hinting at a more permanent shift in the size and scope of the juvenile justice system, but that has changed swiftly over the last year, and racial disparities are much worse today than they were prior to Covid-19 and the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. So it begs the question going forward: can we achieve a much-needed new normal in youth justice or are we backsliding to the old status quo?

Bio: Nate Balis is the director of the Juvenile Justice Strategy Group at the Annie E. Casey Foundation. He leads the JDAI® network of juvenile justice practitioners in 40 states and over 300 counties that is working to build a better and more equitable youth justice system. Through his leadership, the Foundation has launched several youth justice projects and initiatives, including transforming juvenile probation, ending the youth prison model and JDAIconnect, an online community that accelerates youth justice reform across and beyond the JDAI network through peer-to-peer learning, training and resources. Maryland’s governor appointed Nate to the state’s Juvenile Justice Reform Council for a two-year term in 2019. Prior to his time at Casey, he was research manager for Washington, D.C.’s Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services. A native of Maryland, Nate earned a master’s degree in public policy from Georgetown University and a bachelor’s degree from Franklin & Marshall College.

Series: Spotlight (S)
Modality: Gallery + Online
Date: 12/2/2022
Time: 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Register

View the Fall 2021 Spotlight! Symposium archive here.