Spirit of Maryland Royalty

Spirit of Maryland Royalty

The Spirit of Maryland Award is presented annually in lieu of a traditional Homecoming King or Queen honoree. The Award is presented to a male or male-identified and female or female-identified member of the senior class who through their achievements has most exemplified the "spirit" of the University of Maryland. Criteria for the award include outstanding scholarship, leadership, campus involvement, community service, and communication skills. A committee of faculty and staff interviews students who are advanced to the final round of the application process. The Spirit of Maryland Award is presented at the halftime of the Homecoming football game on October 13.

Criteria for Award
Criteria for the award include outstanding scholarship, leadership, campus involvement, community service, and communication skills. A committee of faculty and staff interviews the students who are advanced to the final round of the application process. The Spirit of Maryland Award is presented at the halftime of the Homecoming football game.

To be eligible for the Spirit of Maryland Award, a student must:

  • Be recognized by the University as being of senior status
  • Have 90+ academic credits*
  • Have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or above.
  • If the student is expected to graduate by May of the following semester, and does not have the current 90 academic credit senior status, (s)he may still be eligible to apply.

Questions? Email Joe Calizo at jcalizo@umd.edu.


2018 Finalists


Laila Abujuma is a Cell Biology and Genetics and Nutritional Sciences double major. She is from Waldorf, Maryland. Laila has served in leadership positions including being a Group Fitness Instructor at RecWell, a founding member of Phi Delta Upsilon, International Medical Society, and directing wellness efforts in the Muslim Students Association.  

Alexis Amos is a Business Management, Spanish and International Relations major and is from Silver Spring, Maryland. She has been a Lead Facilitator in the Maryland Leadership and Education Development Program, a Resident Assistant, and participated in the College Park Scholars Public Leadership Program.

Elizabeth Arentz is a Biological Sciences major with a focus on Neurobiology and Physiology from Queenstown, Maryland. She serves as Director of Prospective Member Education of Delta Epsilon Mu, Pre-Health Fraternity, Vice President of Intellectual Development of Alpha Chi Omega, and Resident Assistant in the South Campus Commons Community.

Katherine Bemb is a Journalism major from Forest Hill, Maryland. She is the Communications Manager for College Park Scholars, served as an editor for the Diamondback and Stories Beneath the Shell, and published a book on sex trafficking titled Voices Against Slavery in America through the Rawlings Leadership Fellows Program. 

Timothy Chen is a Finance and Computer Science double major from Clarksville, Maryland. He has served in a several leader positions for the Bitcamp and Technica hackathons, as well as the Honors College Student Programming Council. He won the Google Intern Hackathon in 2018.

Bryan Gallion is a Journalism major from Roseland, New Jersey. He has served in a variety of leadership roles in the CIVICUS Living and Learning Community and the Resident Hall Association, and is an Investigative Reporter for the Capitol News Service, a student-run news organization based out of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism. 

Stephanie George is a Geographical Information Systems major from Ellicott City, Maryland. She is a Peer Leader in the College of Letters and Sciences supporting transfer students with their transition into the University, a Learning Assistant for in the Office of Transfer and Off-Campus Student Life, and has been a Consultant in the Oral Communication Center, assisting students with public speaking.

Junellie Gonzalez Quiles is an Astronomy and Physics double major from San Juan, Puerto Rico. She is President of AstroTerps, and a Squad Leader for the Mighty Sound of Maryland Marching Band. She also is a Research Assistant at Johns Hopkins University. 

Kevin Li is a double major in Marketing and Information Systems from Rockville, Maryland. He is the Comedy Director for the Student Entertainment Events student organization, President of the Senior Student Council, and the Director of Events and Lectures of Omicron Delta Kappa, an honorary leadership organization.

Stacey Mannuel is a Bioengineering major with a certificate in LGBT Studies from Jakarta, Indonesia. She is the Principal Investigator on a research experiment involving microgravity and bacterial growth being conducted on the International Space Station.  She is also a researcher at UMD’s Social Identity Lab and the President of the Out in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics student organization.

Jeffrey O’Neal is a Mechanical Engineering student from Ellicott City, Maryland. He is the President of Engineers Without Borders, Treasurer of the Terrapin Triathlon Club and the Vice President of Omicron Delta Kappa, an honorary leadership organization. 

Humzah Yahya is a double major in Accounting and Information Systems from Salisbury, Maryland. He is a member of the University of Maryland Drumline, an Orientation Advisor representing the School of Business, and is also conducting research on metaphysics for the Gemstone Honors Program. 

Spirit of Maryland Nominees and Winners

*denotes Spirit of Maryland award winners

  • 2017
  • Sofia Alsamadi
  • Nicholas Armah
  • Sadie Isakower
  • Jane Lyons*
  • A. J. Pruitt
  • Mitchell Rock
  • Chetachi Ukejianya*
  • Jacob Veitch
  • Samantha Waldenberg
  • Jessica Yau
  • 2016
  • Shabnam Ahmed
  • Adam Berger
  • Kevin Bock *
  • Lauryn Froneberger *
  • Nicolas Holocker
  • Christopher Ma
  • Bryan Pfeffer
  • Katherine Swanson
  • Tessa Trach
  • Kathy Zang
  • 2015
  • Liya Ai
  • Julio Ceron
  • Shannon Clash
  • Chris Frye
  • Malina Howard
  • Ankur Naik
  • Sarah Niezelski *
  • Allison Peters
  • Patrick Ronk
  • Iowis Zhu *
  • 2014
  • Raaheela Ahmed
  • Anthony Belton
  • Fang Cao *
  • Abisola Kusimo *
  • Amara Ndumele
  • Khalil Pettus
  • Michael Sikorski
  • Sree Sinha
  • Austin Trupp
  • Jazmyn White
  • 2013
  • Wendell Alston
  • Anne Collins
  • Jasmine Cruz
  • Gabrielle DeFranceschi
  • Stephanie Graf *
  • Omer Kaufman
  • Vaughn Midder *
  • Christopher Riley
  • Meenu Singh
  • Mohammad Zia
  • 2012
  • Sam Allen
  • Daniel Atlas
  • Starr Chen
  • Angelica Eng
  • Ashley Evangelista
  • Daniel Granot*
  • Sumanth Kuppali
  • Odunola Ojewumi
  • Katherine Rennenkampf *
  • Matthew Popkin
  • 2011
  • Manka Banda
  • Jaison Cooper
  • Lisa Davies *
  • Joshua Finifter
  • Melissa Nathanson
  • Maurice Nick
  • Robert Rosenthal *
  • Katelyn Weeks
  • Kaiyi Xie
  • Rosie Zhang