Catalyst Magazine

Meet UMB’s Student of the Year Emily Smith

Photo by Matthew D’Agostino

Emily M. Smith
Graduate School

About Emily Smith

Smith is a PhD candidate in the Graduate Program in Life Sciences in Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, with a concentration in bacterial pathogenesis. She arrived at UMB in 2016 after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in biology from James Madison University. She has been active in the Graduate Student Association (GSA) since 2017, first as a program representative, then vice president, and president from May 2020 to June 2021.


Smith works in the laboratory of Eileen Barry, PhD, in the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health, where she has developed strong research skills to complement her undergraduate and postbaccalaureate experiences. As GSA president, she worked to support students coping with hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. She also helped to write student policy documents on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and advocated for hiring a chief DEI officer within the Graduate School and at the University level.


“Engaging in research brings together my passions for science and caring for people. Instead of treating patients directly, I want to be a scientist who contributes to infectious disease research and helps to create lifesaving therapeutics or vaccines.” — Smith

“Emily’s leadership in response to the challenges of COVID-19 was instrumental in sustaining student well-being and productivity that allowed them to successfully navigate a seemingly endless series of personal and educational pivots.” — Barry

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Lou Cortina

Lou Cortina is director of editorial services in the Office of Communications and Public Affairs at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

CATALYST magazine

Executive Board

Lynne Henry, Laura Kozak, Larry Kushner, Jennifer Litchman, Thomas Sullivan, Kate Ostrowski


Lynne Henry

Managing Editor

Chris Zang

Assistant Editor

Kate Ostrowski

Photography Director

Matthew D’Agostino


Michelle Baffuto

Web Director

Amir Chamsaz

Marketing Manager

Kristi McGuire