Student Spotlight: Pioneering UB’s first dual-degree

By Liz McMahon
Staff Writer

University of Baltimore student Amber Conklin, 20, is a junior. And a senior. At the same time. How? Not without a fight.

Conklin, of Harford County, Maryland, is the first UB student to pursue a dual degree. Unlike a double major, in which a student earns one undergraduate degree with two focuses, a dual degree is actually two separate undergraduate degrees, earned concurrently.

“I fought the school for a year to let me do this,” Conklin says, with a hint of frustration. UB has no policy on obtaining a dual degree, so she had to pressure the administration consistently to make her academic goals a reality.

Conklin decided to push for the dual degree because she is interested in multiple disciplines, and felt that just one major wasn’t enough of a challenge. “It wasn’t good enough,” she says emphatically of her interdisciplinary studies major. She is working toward both a BA in interdisciplinary studies, focusing on business, history and psychology, and a separate BA in psychology.

“I’ve always loved learning,” Conklin shares with a smile. “Many people go to school to further [their] career paths, but that’s not how I think it should be.” Instead, Conklin views education as a chance to pursue as much knowledge as possible. She studies business to improve her communication skills, history so she “knows what she’s talking about,” and psychology to understand issues present in our present day world.

Conklin takes five to six classes a semester, and will have finished both of her degrees in five years time. She also works as a tutor and academic coach, is an active member of psychology
honors society Psi Chi, and participates in UB’s History Club. She is exploring graduate school options, and hopes to intern at the FBI next summer.

UB is currently working on policy to make dual degrees an accessible option for all students. In the meantime, if you’re interested, you might just have to pull an Amber and fight for it.

Student Spotlight: Ope Thomas

New app solves your parking problems at UB.

By Zachary Nelson

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Ope Thomas

Ope Thomas had a problem. When he started at UB, he encountered the same frustration time and time again. Ope lamented, “When I moved here, it was hard to find parking… and if I could find parking, I’d get a ticket.” The frustration festered until he decided to build the first prototype of his real time, street parking app. 39 prototypes later, students of UB are presented with Roadi, the Apple certified mobile application with the slogan, “Helping you park when it matters.”

Many readers have probably seen Roadi’s white booth set up in the foyers of the Student Center and the Merrick School of Business. This month marks the app’s formal introduction to the general population. The most exciting part is that UB students can start using this app on their way to school right now. I already have.

Several months ago, I approached the school with Roadi at my side. To be honest, I was somewhat skeptical that parking was going to be available at the promised location. After all, how could the app possibly know this information? As I turned the corner, I was surprised to find a convenient parking spot, just where Roadi had predicted. Just incredible – and perhaps a little spooky too.

Ope describes Roadi as a, “Mobile application that allows you to know when another user is leaving a parking space – where the best streets are to find parking at the time that you are looking.” Readers may be wondering, “How does the app know where to find the best parking?” Accuracy is insured by combining three layers of data into a cohesive whole: field research, user generated information, and large, publicly available, data files.

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Solid blue lines on the map show the best places to find street parking.

This app exists entirely because of the time and energy invested into the project by the CEO. In our interview, Ope described the 40+ hours he invests into Roadi every week while talking a full course load at UB. He is a member of the Entrepreneurship Fellows Program. This program, directed by Dr. David Lingelbach coaches a select cohort of students to create innovative, scalable business in Baltimore and beyond. Ope is thankful to be a part of this program as it provides the necessary support and encouragement which are so essential for aspiring entrepreneurs. He is also thankful to be a student at a university that hosts frequent business pitch competitions and networking opportunities.

If any of our readers are interested in being a part of the Roadi movement, Ope

 invites you to download his free app on the App Store or Google Play. In addition, Ope is always looking for people to get involved in Roadi’s next steps. Any creative ideas and feedback can be directed to his personal email:
Photos Courtesy of Ope Thomas.