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When I was on my epic college search, my sister told me she knew the perfect one for me - UMBC. I visited with my parents, receiving the typical tour and geeking out way too much over the library. I visited with my now brother-in-law and attended a WWII history course taught by Dr. Clay Laurie and I truly felt a connection I had been missing at other schools. When I was accepted and asked to join the Honors College, I decided to head to UMBC in the fall of 2006.

After 4 years at UMBC making the best friends a girl could have and experiencing all the things, I decided to stay for a little bit longer and completed my Master's in Historical Studies, concentrating on public history. I loved the program and felt so supported by my fellow students and the History Department faculty.

I secured a position as a Research Archivist at the Maryland State Archives upon completion of the program after having interned for them over the summer. I work on the Study of the Legacy of Slavery in Maryland Program under the direction of Christopher Haley (nephew of famed author of Roots) and Emily Oland Squires (who is actually a UMBC alumna too!) It has been 4 years since I finished my Master's and 6 since I finished undergraduate, but I still maintain connections to the school that I am very proud of. I have worked with Dr. McDonough, Dr. Kars, and Dr. Meringolo in the History Department to help students understand archives and more easily access the records within them. I find great joy in being a keeper of records and paying it forward, helping students understand what's in these records and how important they are. It's been a pleasure to stay in contact with my former professors and I thank them for such a positive experience at UMBC. I am also thankful everyday that I get to "DO" history...it is one of the joys of my life.

I currently live in Baltimore and absolutely love this city. In a lot of ways, I feel like it's difficult to talk about what I've accomplished so far, but my hope is to continue to use my education and career in ways that help city residents, particularly teachers and students.

(Also thanks to Marylana Demond Max Cole for photographing and interviewing me in an issue of the UMBC Magazine about public history at work).

with — Marlayna D. '11
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Richard B. '86

Thank you, Allison! Terrific story!