Policy Papers + Capstone Projects



GSIP and MDOT Policy Papers

With the support of the MPSS program at The University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), GSIP and MDOT students prepare group policy proposals and policy papers, and present them to leaders in the Governor’s Office (GSIP) or MDOT policymakers (MDOT) during the closing celebrations.


GSIP Policy Papers

Building Blocks: Reshaping Childcare for Maryland’s Families and Workers

Megan Condon, Noah Gentry, Helen Matia, William Polen, Angela Tracy

Maryland faces a critical shortage of accessible and affordable childcare. An understaffed workforce, rife with low wages and high turnover, limits the supply and capacity of childcare centers within the state. High sticker costs and ineffectual social programs also limit the accessibility of, and demand for, childcare for many guardians, who often must leave the workforce to care for children themselves at the expense of their careers. It is clear that childcare will only be effective in Maryland if it is available. Thus, this paper aims to more closely align Maryland’s childcare industry with the price that families can pay by increasing workforce training, gradually off-ramping and clarifying social programs like benefits cliffs and the Child Care Subsidy, and advocating for pertinent federal legislation.

Equitable solutions for Gun Violence in Maryland

Akshay Kapilashrami, Delaney Kramer, Jac’ey Wynn-Ogunbode, Natalie Smith 

Gun violence is riddling America nationwide. Maryland is not exempt even with current efforts, there’s still a problem of mass shootings and unregulated firearms. Our proposal dives into policy alternatives such as increased regulation for rifles and shotguns, increasing the 30-day period when purchasing multiple weapons, mental health accessibility, and combating gun trafficking through the iron pipeline.

Strengthening Maryland’s Response to the Opioid Crisis

Charlotte Fleckenstein, Jacob Hawthorne, Lian Peach, Kaitlyn Zhou

The opioid crisis in Maryland has been a longstanding issue that has gained attention in recent years. Opioid and fentanyl overdoses nearly double all other drug deaths in Maryland in 2021, and data from the Maryland Department of Health demonstrates that 90% of intoxication fatalities in 2020 were opioid-related. Despite the establishment of the Opioid Overdose Command Center and services such as the Syringe Services Program (SSP), massive gaps remain. This proposal recommends the State of Maryland consider expansion of both mobile medication units and general telehealth services in order to increase accessibility and effectiveness of substance use disorder (SUD) treatment. These services should be available to all underserved communities to fill treatment gaps and relieve overwhelmed brick-and-mortar opioid treatment program (OTP) centers.

Structuring Mental Health Care in Maryland High Schools | Expanding Mental Health Measures for Maryland High School Students

Bee Cigna, Alexis Faison, Nandika Mahesh, Margaret Staudenmaier

Accessing mental health support for high school students is not linear, nor easy. Between wait times of six to nine months to a lack of structuralized pathways to take intricate steps for specific supports, Maryland high schools need a form of reference for educators, Behavioral Health Coordinators, and advocates to provide the most effective care possible for students: an Early Warning System. A system will ensure that each and every student is being assessed, supported, and given an individualized approach to accessing resources in a timely, efficient manner.


Curtis Antonucci, Evelyn Yuen, Samuel Patterson, Zoe Smith
Urban heat islands intensify naturally higher temperatures in urban areas due to increased population density and man-made infrastructure. In Baltimore, the hottest neighborhoods can be up to sixteen degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the coolest neighborhoods. Extreme temperatures have major negative health impacts on people in urban areas, as well as contribute to numerous other social, environmental, and economic concerns. We recommend that efforts be focused on subsidizing the implementation of cool and green roofs, as those are the easiest to implement and are the most cost-effective solution to immediately lower high temperatures in Baltimore.
Stuart Holton, Jervonne Agard, Benjamin Maier, Abigail Jackson
Infrastructure is collapsing in Maryland schools because of poor management practices, unsustainable planning, and insecure funding. This paper puts forward a variety of reforms: electronic reform, green public-private partnerships, and a sustainable suggestion. While there may be challenges working with local agencies, Maryland students deserve quality schools to learn, grow, and thrive.
Aubrey Gerhardt, Devin Peart, Elizabeth Schwab, William Onofre
Violence in schools blocks Maryland students’ ability to learn and feel safe. To combat this perpetuating problem that plagues the education system all over America we suggest the implementation of trauma-informed certifications to be mandated for teachers, administrators, school resource officers, and other school officials that interact with students on a daily basis. The implementation of a system in which school officials have to be trauma-informed would bolster resources for students making them feel safer and making education more beneficial.
Bethany Richardson, Clarence Snuggs, Nicholas Grempler
This proposal will address the financial burden to patients associated with ambulance/EMS fees. Currently, most counties in the State participate in a soft-billing program where insurance companies are asked to pay a certain amount in an effort of recoupment of funds. If the cost is left unpaid by the company or if the person does not have insurance, it is waived. This proposal suggests passing of legislation, making it mandatory that all counties and private ambulance companies operating in the State participate in a soft billing program, as well as the implementation of a sub-committee that oversees and facilitates these services.

Advancing Hispanic representation in institutions of higher education to address systemically perpetuated roadblocks to upward mobility and economic opportunity
Joshua Gray, Jessia Avila, Michael Tiburzi
There is a low rate of Maryland Hispanic students enrolling in institutions of higher education following the completion of their secondary studies. To ameliorate this issue, policy recommendations have been conceived to address the cultural, systematic, socioeconomic, linguistic, legal, and familial barriers Hispanic students face when navigating the college admissions and enrollment process. Ultimately, our policy proposal advocates for the establishment of a diverse network of interculturally competent advisors and fostering a college-going environment through collaborative partnerships.

Reducing the School to Prison Pipeline in Maryland
Dakota Cromer, Maia Moses, Halle Gordon, Delharty Manson, and Angel Young
Our paper addresses the background of the school-to-prison pipeline in Maryland, current efforts to interrupt the connection between school disciplinary measures and prison populations, and a policy recommendation to further stop the perpetuation of the school-to-prison pipeline. Our policy recommendation suggests that taking actions to eliminate “zero-tolerance” policies will best limit the impact of the school-to-prison pipeline in Maryland. We are proposing a change in disciplinary actions for K-12 students across the state of Maryland that we believe will keep children in school and out of prison.

Increasing Broadband Access to Underserved and Rural parts of Maryland
Canal Clayton, Michael Concepcion, Will Schubert, and Alexander Rauda
A digital broadband divide is clear and present in the State of Maryland. Poverty stricken, rural communities, especially in Western Maryland and on the Eastern Shore, lack access to stable and affordable broadband, especially in comparison to their more suburban and urban neighbors. To address this issue, we propose the execution of a new voucher program in synergy with public-private partnerships in Western MD and on the Eastern Shore. The Voucher Program will enable citizens to sign up for discounted/free broadband internet connections, whereas the public-private partnerships will bring those broadband connections to underserved areas lacking reliable internet. In combination, these two programmes will eliminate the affordability issue (Voucher Program) and the availability issue (public-private partnerships), allowing rural Marylanders access to the broadband internet connections they deserve.

Equity and Excellence in Education for English Learners
Haleemat Adekoya, Lily Klam, Rachel Robin, Julianna Roman
While Maryland finds itself consistently ranked among the high-achieving states in academics, this achievement is not reflected in the growing population of English Learners (ELs) within the student body. To address this issue, the policy alternatives that are presented in this paper include a plan for professional development opportunities for teachers, adjusting Maryland’s equity COMAR, and removing harmful accountability measures for EL students who take longer to graduate. Ultimately, teacher training and professional development should be first priority in better serving the English Learners of the Maryland public school system, because it is cost effective and would have the greatest impact on students in need.

Expanding Maryland Adolescents’ Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health Care
Emma Schreier, Jamie Roa, Kelly Stone, Jessica Nguyen
Rising STI transmission rates, unintended teen pregnancies, and high-risk, unprotected sexual behavior among Maryland youth all point to a widespread lack of access to adequate reproductive and sexual health care and education.
This paper proposes and analyzes three policy alternatives to expand information and/or access to reproductive and sexual healthcare services for Maryland youth, including a comprehensive statewide web campaign, the expansion of care at existing school based health centers to include reproductive and sexual health care, and the expansion of certain sexual health services in all high school nurses’ offices. Of the three proposals, we ultimately recommend for the State of Maryland to move forward with expanding sexual health services in all high school nurses’ offices, which entails a two-fold mandate requiring the provision of safer sex supplies and the “I Want the Kit” self-STI testing program at each nurse’s office.

Addressing Legal Knowledge and Counsel Deficiencies in Maryland Rent Court Eviction Proceedings

Randall Ainsworth, Graham Bos, Emma Riggs, Madeline Ross

Many public and private resources currently exist to aid tenant defendants in Maryland Rent Court eviction proceedings – including pro-bono legal counsel as well as online and physical educational materials. However, deficiencies remain in tenants’ knowledge about the rent court eviction process and their rights, and this can result in violations of tenants’ rights. Our policy paper seeks to address this discrepancy by recommending the systematic distribution of an informational flier detailing the rights of the parties, with all court summons in eviction cases in rent court.

Addressing Youth Opioid Abuse through the Method of Education

Olivia Lubarsky, Liam Nahill, Sydney Nemphos, and Daniel Pletcher
Maryland communities are threatened by the rapidly increasing prevalence of addiction. Opioid addiction is a problem that is currently plaguing Maryland, and it is one that has been prioritized since Governor Hogan declared a State of Emergency; Maryland is ranked among the top five states displaying the highest rates of opioid-related overdose deaths. In particular, opioid addiction, abuse, and overdoses are affecting our youth, and it is critical that we address the problem. Current efforts include the Student Assistance Program and the Before It’s Too Late campaign. Our policy recommendations, such as narcan education for youth, Medication Assisted Treatment training for school nurses and professionals, and education and promotion for school safe stations all expand upon previously existing policies. These policy recommendations would provide for a more comprehensive opioid abuse and addiction defense, starting with the future of Maryland.

Addressing Intimate Partner Violence Among Women In Maryland

Jennifer Escobar Guevara, Christelle Mbah, Margaret Owens, Sophia Ross

Intimate Partner Violence impacts thousands of women in the United States daily, causing major mental and physical damage and harm which may have lasting effects over their entire lifetimes. Intimate Partner Violence impacts all women in every state regardless of their identities, race, or sexuality. The rates of Intimate Partner Violence among women in Maryland emphasizes the significance of this issue, and the important role of the Hogan administration in furthering their efforts to reduce and prevent Intimate Partner Violence. In order for such actions to have a lasting impact on Intimate Partner Violence rates among women in Maryland this paper proposes implementation of Intimate Partner Violence prevention and reduction policies and programs focused on education, abuser intervention, and mandating screening for IPV in healthcare settings. Successfully executing these actions will make Maryland an example for all states in reducing Intimate Partner Violence.

Foster Care and Unaccompanied Homeless Youth – Lasting Solutions

Ethan Hennessy, Grace Kelly, Ewaoluwa Ogundana, Madeline Wodaski

Foster care and unaccompanied homeless youth are vulnerable individuals who lack a traditional family support system and place to call home. With unstable homes and constant transitions, the education of these youth fall through the cracks. Though Maryland strongly values education, foster care and unaccompanied homeless youth still fall behind in statistics compared to the general population of Maryland students. Current efforts provide a plethora of resources to these youth, but they lack a focus on post-secondary achievement. Our policy recommendations address this disconnect and focus on increasing access to post high school opportunities such as job access and higher education. With our recommendations, we will be fulfilling the educational needs of thousands of youth and ultimately preparing them to reach their full potential as Maryland residents and global citizens.

Making it Possible: Solutions for Increasing Maryland College Completion

Diego Gomez, Amber Stanford, and Christopher Sung

The health of higher education remains an important policy interest for thousands of Marylanders. However, not all is well with post-secondary learning in the Old Line State. Despite some promising gains in aggregate college graduation rates at state-funded institutions, Maryland continues to fall behind its neighbors in terms of undergraduate completion statistics. In our paper, we analyze the factors hampering the percentages of timely graduation at Maryland’s public institutions and argue that government action is both urgently required and entirely reasonable. We outline a multi-faceted policy solution that would not only target state entities, but also include the federal government. Ultimately, through our research, we hope to challenge the notion that simply augmenting existing financial aid programs effectively supports disadvantaged students; we hope to demonstrate that increasingly high living costs not covered by any monetary packages constitute the new barriers to college completion.

Addressing Personnel Shortages and Low Retention Rates among Correctional Officers in the Maryland Division of Corrections


Employee burnout, excessive mandatory overtime, and disconnects between management and line staff, have made for dangerous working conditions within correctional facilities in Maryland. Our policy proposal involves complimenting the Hogan Administration’s current efforts to address correctional officer shortages, as well as implementing strategies to increase employee retention through recommendations involving a public imaging campaign, financial incentivizing, adjustments to the hiring process, and increased opportunities for professional development and organizational commitment.

EARN Maryland: Marketing Strategy Enhancements


The purpose of this policy report is to address the issues of unemployment and underemployment in Maryland through a comprehensive review of the marketing strategy of the EARN Maryland program. The creation of an EARN online database, enhanced utilization of the American Job Centers, and a strategic marketing and branding campaign, are three strategies that could increase the number of underserved Marylanders impacted by EARN’s career training opportunities.

A Greener Tomorrow: Reducing Food Waste In Maryland K-12 Schools


Our policy proposal focuses on the reduction of food waste in Maryland’s K-12 schools as a method to alleviate food inequities, prevent environmental degradation, and educate the next generation as environmentally-conscious citizens. We present three policy options: 1) A “Green Cafeterias” certification program supported by a state-wide study, 2) A program to encourage schools to audit their food waste, and 3) A program to divert uneaten and unspoiled food to in-school pantries, which are stocked and staffed by high school students as a job opportunity. After careful analysis, the group recommends the certification and study option, as it has the greatest potential to reduce food waste at the source and to incorporate ongoing student education.

Mental Health in Maryland: The Future of Mental Well-Being in the State


The goal for this paper is to examine how mental health is approached from an educational perspective in Maryland’s public school system. It looks at what Maryland has done in promoting the importance of mental health and examines what other states and the national government have done in addressing the importance of mental health. It then proposes three additional and alternative policies to promote the importance of mental health in Maryland; a K-12 educational mandate based off of New York’s 2016 legislative approach, a civic engagement platform to encourage participation and public knowledge, and the encouragement of yoga as a coping technique.

Vacant Properties in Baltimore City: Practical Solutions to City Revitalization


Economic, political, and socioeconomic divisions within Baltimore City’s residents contribute to the rise in vacant properties. Our analysis focuses on increasing interagency communication regarding current vacant property policy, establishing stronger nonprofit-private partnerships, and recommending the future trajectory of the Hogan Administration’s Project C.O.R.E. initiative.


Gateway to the Bay: Restoring the Chesapeake Bay Oyster Population

Brittany Day, Noah Jaques, Marguerite Madden, and Victor Mercogliano

The Chesapeake Bay’s oyster population today has dwindled to just 1 percent of historic levels, as overharvesting, habitat loss and disease have taken their toll. Current oyster restoration efforts such as the Marylanders Grow Oysters Program give testimony to the persistence of Marylanders to positively impact their environment. Our policy recommendations such as an environmental outreach grant, a bridge-the-gap program, and a lucrative incentive program look to build upon the success of these current efforts. The Native Americans way of life, which allowed for the environment and people to thrive cohesively, inspired our group to dedicate our efforts towards restoring the Bay. Our policy recommendations would renew that eco-friendly management and allow Maryland to serve as the leading model for environmental salvation.

Paving the Way: Strengthening Maryland’s Rural Transportation Networks

Carrie Cook, Daniel Griffin, Olivia Healey, and Jane Lyons

Lack of connectivity to essential local amenities has led to a decrease in quality of life and health outcomes for rural residents. To alleviate these discrepancies, Maryland should enact policies which increase availability of transportation and enhance community connectivity in rural areas. After evaluating three policy alternatives, we recommend Maryland to create rural transit-oriented development designations within a half-mile of rural bus stops, giving local transit authorities the ability to acquire land to bid out for mixed-use development.

Reducing Homicide in Baltimore

Cameron Edsall, Kyle Maxey, Daniel Nicolaus, and Andrea Salizzoni

For our policy analysis we are focusing on attempting to reduce the number of homicides in Baltimore city. Our threepolicy recommendations include a revitalization of Project EXILE, a mentoring program between returning citizens and at-risk youth, and a behavioral threat assessment program in conjunction with mental health counseling for students at Baltimore City Public Schools. Of these three recommendations, the best alternative is Project EXILE as it remains the most effective in reducing violent crime throughout the city by targeting violent repeat offenders while protecting citizens of Baltimore as they become actively engaged in the fight against senseless violence.

Mending Broken Trust – Improving Community-Police Relations in Maryland

Mohamed El-Zein, Thomas Mathews, and Yamilex Peña

Over the past few years, the nation as a whole has witnessed the death of many innocent people under police custody, which has generated a plethora of conversations of injustice in the country. Maryland is no stranger to these conversations and outcries for justice and reconciliation. This paper examines the origins of distrust between communities and police officers, and identifies recommendations towards restoring these relationships through policies, such as, youth mentorship programs, sensitivity training, and an adoption of community policing programs. In an era of frustration and distrust, these recommendations can initiate engagement between the community and law enforcement.

Maryland’s Quest for Improving College: Accessibility & Affordability

Alex Aiosa, Ben reichard Sydney Rossetti, and Leah Rowell

Improving college accessibility and affordability has continually posed a significant challenge nationwide. In Maryland, our economy demands a highly skilled workforce – yet college costs continue to rise, making a degree increasingly expensive to acquire. This forces students to either rely on student loans or postpone their pursuit of a post-secondary education. In order to combat these obstacles, our proposal recommends protecting the funding of guidance counselors as a means to improve college accessibility, primarily for first-generation and underserved students.

Affordable Housing

Ciana Creighton, Nolan O’Toole, Alana Quint, and Samantha Yates

We have identified that exorbitantly priced rental houses, largely in Baltimore City but also statewide, and lack of affordable housing to be a significant issue that requires legislative attention. Having considered various solution options such as rent controls, inclusionary housing, and a housing anti-discrimination law, we have determined that the least costly and most effective method of solving such an issue would be passing a housing anti-discrimination law. This will allow individuals to utilize the successful existing Housing Choice (Section 8) Federal Housing Voucher System without any inhibitors from landlords who would discriminate against tenants based on their method of paying the rent.

Coming Home: Reducing Recidivism in Maryland Beyond the Justice Reinvestment Act

Vanessa Barksdale, Patrick DuBoyce, Paula Del Valle Torres, Daniel Ingham

Recidivism poses a significant challenge to the state of Maryland, as it results in billions of dollars for correctional center expenses, capital loss, and general opportunity costs for individuals who would otherwise be contributing to the health and wellness of the state. In order to increase the state of Maryland’s rates of desistance to address, this, it is important to consider social barriers that inhibit ex-offenders from successfully reintegrating into society. Many solutions are available, including the development of transitional housing programs, continuing education, and an investment in preventative education.

Preventing Opioid Abuse

Brian Cadden, Caleb Ulrich, Andrew Bradshaw and Zachary Atran

Our project details the scale and scope of the growing opioid abuse problem within the State of Maryland, recognizes what is already being done to combat the problem, and offers four additional policy alternatives. These recommendations, in order of priority, include: 1. Creating a social impact bond program targeting opioid abuse, 2. Maryland joining the interstate corrections compact, and 3. Instituting various new abuse preventative and post-overdose treatment programs. The report concludes that while much is already being done to combat the opioid problem in the state, these policies could further contribute to alleviating the damage opioid abuse poses on the health and economic well being of Maryland.

Reducing the Achievement Gap for English Language Learners

Rebecca Goodridge, Manisha Vepa, Patrick Mascio, Aidan DeLisle

The achievement gap between English-speakers and non-English speakers affects not only achievement in language classes but also overall academic achievement. The solution to this issue has been an enigma for decades due to the large amount of time and effort involved in second language learning. In order to reduce the language barrier and improve overall academic achievement, the state of Maryland may consider solutions such as local programs; dual immersion, integration, and magnet schools; and stipends for English as a Second Language teachers.

Reducing Recidivism and Eliminating Barriers to Successful Re-Entry

Lauren Cahalan, Natalie Clements, Emma Craig, Sarah LeBarron

Maryland has a recidivism rate of about 40%. The collateral costs of recidivism cause damage to the individual, taxpayers, whole communities and future generations. The Justice Reinvestment Act aims to tackle the factors that influence recidivism. This proposal recommends providing a pre-release program and portfolio to strengthen the goal of the Justice Reinvestment Act and address the barriers to successful reentry for ex-offenders.

Taking the Lead on Lead Poisoning: Policy Proposals to Further Maryland’s Goal of Eradicating Childhood Lead Poisoning
Bradley Beard (Loyola), Anthony DeCaprio (Loyola), Amy Hoffman (UMBC), Evan Leiter-Mason (UMBC)

Though great strides have been made in fighting lead exposure in Maryland, new strategies are necessary to reach children who are left behind by current policy. To make further progress in mitigating lead exposure, we advocate for universal lead testing of Maryland children, more funding for environmental assessments, stricter requirements on property owners for lead abatement, and increased education efforts. These policy changes will better equip the state in its efforts to eradicate lead poisoning, particularly for Maryland’s most disadvantaged children.

The PARCC Assessment in Maryland: Alternatives to a Failing National Test
Jeremy Matthews (UMBC), Caroline Faux (UNC-Chapel Hill), Abigail Thielemann (Davidson)

Maryland is in the process of implementing a new standardized testing system (the PARCC) and has joined a consortium of states to create tests which coincide with Common Core State Standards. Though noble in theory, the PARCC assessment has failed in both design and implementation: it has proven to be difficult to administer, excessively long, lacking in incentives for students and teachers, and no longer qualifies as a national standard, which defeats the purpose of its implementation altogether. Based on the criteria of time, accountability, cost, technical constraints, and national recognition, we have determined that the ACT Aspire, or a similar test, is superior to PARCC.

Proportionate and Purposeful Options for High Risk Probationers in Baltimore’s Western District
Erika Calderon (Loyola), Molly Cioffi (Loyola), Madeline Jonz (Loyola), Mariyah Wright (Morgan), and Ellis Zapas (UMBC)

We are proposing a pilot project in response to a need for creative alternatives for high-risk probationers, a group with high numbers of drug addicted offenders who are disproportionately likely to re-offend and increase the already crowded prison population. Our proposal includes a sanctions matrix created using best practices from other states, research on behavioral therapy and deterrence theory practices, the current matrix used by the Department of Parole and Probation for VPI (Violence Prevention Initiative) and high-risk offenders, as well as the matrix used for probationers with designated status as substance abusers. This policy suggestion is a place based experiment in Baltimore City’s Western District that can be implemented at little cost to no cost to the State with cooperative partnership between local law enforcement, judges, and probation officers.

Where Do You Draw the Line? A Look at Maryland’s Redistricting Policy
Erin Chase (St. Mary’s), Carly Hviding (Quinnipiac), Nevin Hall (St. Mary’s), and Nicholas Shenton (Syracuse)

Congressional redistricting has become a political and partisan process, and Maryland is no exception.  Home to one of the most gerrymandered districts in the nation, Maryland’s current redistricting policy leaves voters discouraged, undermines principles of democracy, and allows politicians to pick their voters.  In an attempt to combat gerrymandering, we propose redistricting reform with the creation of a redistricting commission in the State. It is our hope that the establishment of a commission would lead to districts that better represent the State’s demographics, create more competitive elections, and restore a sense of efficacy to Maryland’s voters.

Abroad Initiative in Maryland
Katherine Southall (Gettysburg), Nicolas Anstett (Washington), Lily McFeeters (Towson), and Elizabeth Tran (Notre Dame)

The Abroad Initiative for Maryland (AIM) is designed to assist Maryland students in covering the cost of studying abroad during college.  By studying abroad, students gain invaluable skills and knowledge that has been proven to assist them in their academic, professional, and personal goals.  AIM is a scholarship which provides students with up to $1,500 for extra study abroad expenses in return for which students must provide a ten to fifteen page paper detailing how their host country deals with an issue similar to one affecting Maryland.  This program is designed to reach over 100,000 students and showcase Maryland as a progressive, globally conscious state.

Incentivizing Energy Efficiency in State Buildings

Katelynne Cowart, Cody Knipfer, Ian Colrick, Jamie Grasing

This policy will give agencies a portion of their savings realized by energy efficiency projects. This savings retention will serve as an incentive for agencies not normally doing energy efficiency projects to invest in smaller projects in their buildings.

Freedom is Free, Labor Isn’t: Bringing Awareness to Labor Trafficking

Brenna Dames, Louis Saint-Felix, Diana Parks, Ufuoma Agarin

Labor trafficking is an underaddressed and underreported issue that impacts Maryland greatly. We believe that a better informed community is the best asset to preventing and combating labor trafficking. It is our hope that, through a public awareness campaign, Maryland will become one of the leading states in combatting this grave and urgent global concern.

Disparities in Education: Using Multi-Tiered Systems of Support to Address the Emotional and Psychological Needs of Students in Maryland

Valarie Austin, Kimberly Brewer, Ricci Conley, DaShante Smith, Cristina Fiorentino

‪In Maryland, the focal point of education dialogue at the state, local, and personal level is on academic learning, meaning that inadequate attention is warranted to the psychological well-being of the school community as a whole. Our recommendation is to expand the use of Multi-Tiered Systems of Support on a broader scale throughout the state. Namely, we recommend Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) as Maryland currently has 62% PBIS schools and could easily expand.

Wireless Telecommunications Towers: Improving Secondary Land Use Leasing Contracts for an Expanding Future

Amy Castignetti, Jennifer Guthrie, Christopher Frye

The continuous advancement of wireless telecommunications technology opens the door to exciting economic growth opportunities for the State of Maryland.  While the State of Maryland was previously unprepared for such rapid expansion, there is a serious need for future preparation in order to address important safety, liability, environmental and other community concerns associated with wireless telecommunications equipment and facilities while capitalizing on revenue.  To solve these growing concerns to protect the State, the public and the environment, we recommend the formation of an intermodal telecommunications committee to create a new contract, classified as a Wireless Telecommunications Master Licensing Agreement, which every wireless telecommunications carrier, with interest in leasing on Maryland Department of Transportation property, must adhere to.

Community Gardens: Local Growth for a Sustainable Maryland

Ryan Belcher, Kerry Darragh, Kelly Gross, Mayhah Suri

In order to encourage the development and sustainability of community gardens and urban agriculture in Maryland, we propose the Governor’s Commission on Community Gardening (GCCG). GCCG will be an advocate for community agriculture in the state and will bring national attention to the work of Maryland’s gardens. GCCG will do this by creating resource guides, giving small grants, providing technical assistance, and other activities to strengthen and promote community gardening and agriculture.



MDOT Policy Papers

Achieving Fiscal Sustainability for Baltimore Area Transit

Antonio Luna, Travis Martin, Kerstyn Myers

Our policy topic explores the lack of profitability of Baltimore’s transit systems that stem from system underuse and lack of adaptability. Our goals for the presentation would be to offer possible solutions, such as allowing for inflationary fare fee adjustments, an increase of security in and around transit vehicles, and better public awareness of the benefits of using transit. These increases in revenue and creating a better sense of safety may help sustain funding to relieve the ever-growing budgetary needs of Baltimore transit.


The Future of Work Zone Safety

Anna Miller, Cherry Masarat, Patricia Cain

Work Zone Safety is a prominent issue. Workers working on roadsides are at risk each day to harm from irresponsible drivers who may not be paying attention to the road. Roads and construction simply can’t be ignored. However, what can be changed is work zone safety initiatives and traffic management throughout said work zones.

Creating Transit Equity in Maryland’s Transportation System
Jabrea Jones, Claire Przybocki, Mahelate Solomon, Joseph Maruschak
This paper will analyze structural racism and inequity within the Maryland transportation system and suggest policy alternatives to combat the failures to connect individuals with fundamental resources and opportunities. The research process consisted of consulting the states previous transportation equity studies, and comparing strategies used by transportation departments across the nation. Additionally, research was gathered on the history of Maryland’s transportation system as well as the history of urban planners. A large part of our research consisted of analyzing maps and determining stagnant divides in transit routes compared to what other departments had done. These maps revealed what parts of Maryland did not receive accessible transportation options. Our conclusions are that Maryland does not currently have an equitable transit system and also that adequate funding has not been allocated to the study of equitable transit. Historically, Maryland, more specifically Baltimore, transit systems continue to fail to provide transportation to all that need it.

Improving Connectivity of Public Transportation In Maryland
Tahreem Haq, Michael Amwoga, and Devan Kapoor
Our main objective in our policy paper is to talk about the necessity of improving and expanding the connectivity routes and spaces to multiple areas of the state, especially those that lack proper transportation access. Although efforts have been made by the state to attempt to mitigate this issue, there is still more work to be done on this front, and our hope is that we can aid in moving forward in helping this issue.

From Devastating Flooding to a Resilient Maryland Transportation System
Mary Marc, Nick Kurtz, Dylan Gerrity, and Lauren Russell
The issue we are trying to address in our policy project is storm water management and flooding. This has been a big issue in Maryland due to our geographic location and worsening climate conditions. We wanted to address this issue using more environmentally friendly storm water management infrastructure. Our options were adding continuous monitoring adaptive control (CMAC) to existing MDOT storm water retention ponds, updating the IDF curve, or adding more efficient urban tree planting infrastructures. After research, our final recommendation was a combination of adding the CMAC technology to existing ponds and siting areas that need more trees using GIS technology. This recommendation will address Maryland’s flooding problems, increase water quality, and ease the urban heat island effect.

Eliminationg CO2 Emissions in the Transportation Sector: Transitioning Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) into LEED Certification and setting an example for the rest of the state
Bhawana Pradhan, Diego Soto, & Patrice Williams
Reducing pollution from the transportation sector is one of the most vital steps in tackling the CO2 emissions emergency and should be the top priority of leaders today. LEED Certifications, Micromobilities, and offering incentives for people to ride public transportation are essential measures to decrease CO2 emissions throughout the transportation sector within the State of Maryland. Converting buildings throughout the state via LEED Certification is a proven method to clean our environment and win back our quality of life.



RISE Policy Papers





SNLP Design Projects

With the support of the MPSS program at The University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), and nonprofit consultants, SNLP fellows engage in a capstone project to practice and apply the design and planning skills introduced in the seminar portion of their fellowship. Fellows presented their proposed projects to a panel of nonprofit leaders and funders.


Baltimore Community Building
Layla Garcia, Elisabeth Schuler, Luis Perez, Madison Brown

Baltimore Community Building (BCB) will focus on providing temporary housing to those in need by repurposing vacant properties in Baltimore City and providing community support services and resources. We will facilitate ownership of vacant properties to help restore these buildings into livable homes. By prioritizing the wants and needs of the community, we will incorporate their input to determine what type of buildings to provide. Through collaboration with local government, nonprofits, and private industries, we plan to connect those we serve to community resources and equitable home prices.

Bettering Baltimore and Beyond: Creating a Trust to Eliminate Homelessness in the Greater Baltimore Area
Nile Campbell, Dani Diaz-Etchevehere, Njideka Onyekwere, Ailinn Santos

We plan to create a grantmaking organization by putting this $10 billion into a trust and creating several programs that Baltimore area organizations would be able to apply to. The organization’s primary focus would be on creating affordable housing in low income communities in Baltimore City. Rather than reinventing the wheel by creating a new organization that would divert funds for housing development in a top-down, paternalistic approach, we trust that there are already many existing nonprofits and other organizations in Baltimore City that would know how to allocate these funds. Our organization would exist to vet projects, help organizations execute their projects, and provide other expertise.

Creating Accessible Resources for Residents
Rebecca Angin, Ashlynn Burrows, Caitlin Cumerma, Rachael Michalski

Education has long been a privilege for the social and economic elite. Despite great strides made in accessibility of education, the communities already failed by social systems are often left out of these opportunities. Individuals cannot afford to pursue education when they are preoccupied with work or childcare. CARR proposes a guaranteed income for select students, those in the most disadvantaged zip codes, that attend BCCC, which already grants free cost of attendance. Past pilot studies in other cities provide an insight on the potential effects this program could have, lifting vulnerable recipients into educated, employed residents.