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Admissions Blog

Date: Apr 2019

I’ll be honest, I’m not a city person. In graduate school, I lived in a city. I tried to like it. I desperately tried to embrace and thrive in the city. But the truth is, I like trees. I love the mountains. The color green in nature brings me joy and a sense of safety. So, when I took my job as the Communication Associate, I did hesitate because it meant moving from a small mountain town in Pennsylvania to Baltimore. Not just any city, but Baltimore, where the reputation made a country girl like me scared. But here I am, three and a half years later, and I love Baltimore.

Baltimore has its problems, but every community has problems and struggles. What national media fails to share is what we see in local news and by being involved in the local community. In the City of Neighborhoods (no really, that’s one of our nicknames and there are a lot of neighborhoods) community organizations thrive. The Enoch Pratt Free Library was voted as a top 10 finalist in the Reader’s Digest’s 2018 Nicest Places in America (I wrote a blog about it). Our marathon may not be famous like New York City, Boston or Chicago, but the Baltimore Running Festival aims to get everyone involved with a 5K for all ages, team relay (14 and up), a half marathon, the marathon and for those crazy runners that want to embrace their bit of crazy the BaltiMORON-a-thon that is the 5k and the half-Marathon. Whether in Little Italy with multi-colored strung lights across the street or Butcher’s Hill with easy access to Patterson Park, every community has a defining vibe and community characteristics.

Weekend mornings in Baltimore can be a variety of things, from the Baltimore Farmers’ Market & Bazaar and smaller neighborhood famers’ markets to street festivals like Hon Fest. Every fall the Baltimore Book Festival takes over Federal Hill and this year will be partnering with Light City for the first time. Community gardens are becoming more and more popular throughout the city and offer more opportunities for the people to come together.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still not a city girl, but Baltimore has become a home for me because of the people. Despite what national media coverage on Baltimore would imply, it is a city made up of hardworking, committed individuals who work together to improve city conditions in their communities. It’s a wonderful place to call home.

In the last year, American youth have taken action on gun violence. Following the deadliest high school shooting in U.S. history, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida on February 14, 2018, students across the country came together to advocate against gun violence. However, with limited funding for gun research, finding accurate data and facts to support their cause is a problem for these students. Cassandra Crifasi, PhD’14, MPH, assistant professor with the Center for Gun Policy and Research, along with other center faculty, are removing the barrier preventing these young advocates from finding data and evidence to support their work.

As a part of Coursera, ­­­­an online system offering free and low-cost courses from universities across the country, Crifasi and her colleges will launch the course Reducing Gun Violence in America: Evidence for Change on May 1. The course is tailored specifically for high school and college students. The six-week course will cover mental health, school safety, police-involved shootings and public health interventions and will include moderated discussion forums. Perhaps the most valuable aspect of the class for the young advocates is gaining access to other students and Center for Gun Policy and Research faculty.

Last Friday my friends and I spent the evening downtown. As we were heading out of the city, my friend excitedly suggested we get hot chocolate. As it was a cold night, I too thought this was a lovely idea. What I didn’t know was that she wanted a hot chocolate from Little Italy. My friend and I agreed that a cannoli would be a great dessert to accompany our hot chocolate. We quickly found parking not too far from Little Italy and walked to the Italian bakery.

The Little Italy neighborhood stands out from the surrounding area thanks to the multi colored lights strung across the main street that is filled with authentic Italian restaurants. When we reached Vaccaro’s, we crowded into the long line for a sweet treat. The seated section was already filled with people enjoying meals, pastries and gelato.

Pastry display at Vaccaro's

After the chilly walk, I decided to indulge in a hot chocolate as well as a mini cannoli. This hot chocolate was the best hot chocolate I have ever had. Besides being creamy, each sip burst with smooth chocolate followed by a nutty richness. The cannoli also balanced delicate flavors and is among the best I’ve tasted.

If you’re looking for a quaint neighborhood within Baltimore to live, I highly recommend Little Italy. And if you are simply looking for a sweet treat or someplace to celebrate finishing a project, finals or results from a research study, enjoy the delicacies of Vaccaro’s.

Me with my hot chocolate and cannolis

The following programs have an application deadline of Monday, April 15, 2019.

Berman Institute of Bioethics* - Master of Bioethics
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology* -  MHS
Environmental Health and Engineering* - MHS, MSPH – Full-time programs
Mental Health* - MHS
Molecular Microbiology and Immunology - MHS*, ScM
Population, Family and Reproductive HealthMHS, MHS in Demography, MSPH
Interdepartmental – MA in Public Health Biology*

*Programs have final deadlines that extend beyond the dates listed below. Please refer to the department website for the final deadlines.