Director's Message to UMIACS

Tradition would normally dictate that I write an end-of-year message highlighting our successes.

But 2021 has been anything but traditional. We started the new year amid a global pandemic that showed no signs of abating. Twelve months later we remain in a similar predicament—uncertainty on seeing the proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel” as it relates to normalcy in our professional and personal lives.

Yet the University of Maryland, like scores of other organizations worldwide, has returned to a more normal routine. We’re almost finished with our fall semester that saw classes and research labs return to 100% capacity.

Through careful planning by university administration and cooperation and adherence to safety protocols by our academic community, there has not been a dramatic uptick in COVID-19 cases on campus.

And the good news we normally would talk about at year’s end? It’s right here in a listing of newsworthy items focused on our UMIACS research enterprise.

Large multidisciplinary research grants? Check. Prestigious recognition of our faculty? Check. Outstanding research and scholarship by our graduate students? Check. Outreach and volunteerism so that others, particularly those underrepresented in computing and technology, can gain a hands-on research experience? Check.

Underlying all of these important accolades is a simple, common denominator: people.

It’s the people in UMIACS—all of us working together—that drive our success. I’d like to offer a heartfelt “thank you” to my colleagues that have worked so very hard over the past 12 months.

To our Help Desk student workers and technical staff that provided invaluable assistance to our community under the most challenging of conditions: Thank you.

To our graduate students who steadfastly continued with their education and training, while having to bypass in-person conferences and workshops that offer new knowledge and networking opportunities: Thank you.

To our administrative staff who never ceases to amaze me with their professionalism in everything they do to keep UMIACS running smoothly: Thank you.

And to my fellow faculty members who continue to advance new discoveries that can positively impact both science and society: Thank you.

I'm proud to call all of you colleagues. Together, we’ve accomplished much.

I wish all of you a safe and restful winter break. Enjoy time with family and loved ones, and I look forward to working with you again in 2022.

Mihai Pop, UMIACS Director