Dr. Lumpkin’s goals during her time at UMBC were to excel in all areas of academic life including research, teaching and service. She balanced the many competing demands of her family and professional life, and successfully established a nationally-recognized research program in biochemical engineering, while also compiling a long list of teaching awards. Dr. Lumpkin served as an outstanding role model for the campus community, and will be most remembered at the University for her deep commitment and concern for students and for inspiring women and minorities to pursue studies in science and engineering.
Dr. Lumpkin received her undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and obtained master’s and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. After working for five years as an engineer at the Standard Oil Company of Ohio (Sohio), she left industry for UMBC to pursue her true passion of teaching. Much of this passion stemmed from the lack of African-American teachers during her own 20 years of education.
In 1991, Dr. Lumpkin began to pursue her research interests at UMBC. She is well known in the technical community for her research contributions, particularly in the area of stability of therapeutic biomolecules. These studies are very important for the pharmaceutical industry because many therapeutic products are susceptible to stability problems, leading to dangerous side-effects. Dr. Lumpkin applied her strength in mathematics to develop a model to predict protein degradation. Her research attracted considerable attention in the academic and industrial communities, and Dr. Lumpkin was often invited to present lectures on her work. Her research was supported by various funding agencies such as the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and the Whitaker Foundation.
Dr. Lumpkin enjoyed teaching above all of her other duties. She maintained high academic standards while offering assistance and encouragement to her students. She was one of the most popular professors on campus and was voted by the students as the Outstanding Teacher for the College of Engineering for three years in a row. Her string of awards was only broken when she was on maternity leave and did not teach for a semester. More remarkable was that she received these awards even though she was teaching two of the most rigorous and demanding courses in the Chemical and Biochemical Engineering Department: Thermodynamics and Reaction Kinetics.
Dr. Lumpkin was also committed to helping students outside the classroom. She was the departmental advisor to the Meyerhoff Scholars Program, and was a regular speaker for the Meyerhoff Scholars recruiting weekend. Officials in the program state that Dr. Lumpkin’s annual presentation of cutting-edge engineering research and careers in engineering contributed significantly to UMBC’s success in attracting high-achieving engineering students to the campus. For her work with the program, Dr. Lumpkin received a Certificate of Appreciation for Outstanding and Dedicated Service to UMBC by the Black Faculty/Staff Association. She was also very successful in personally advising graduate students, and many of her students have expressed their appreciation for her guidance.
Near the beginning of her time at UMBC, Dr. Lumpkin was asked by the Dean of Engineering to advise the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). When she began this process, the small group of interested students was not nationally chartered or even recognized officially on campus. In less than two years, SWE was a recognized campus activity and nationally chartered. She continued to serve as the faculty advisor for about four years and received the College of Engineering Extra Mile Award for these efforts.
Dr. Lumpkin was instrumental in revising the curriculum in both the Chemical and Biochemical Engineering Department and in the College of Engineering. She initiated the departmental Undergraduate Curriculum Committee and chaired it for several years. Her leadership led to a highly favorable national accreditation review, resulting in accreditation in record time.
Dr. Lumpkin’s interest in education was not confined to college students. She gave talks, served on panels and conducted demonstrations for elementary, middle and high school students to increase their awareness of careers in engineering. She also had the unique opportunity to chair the Science and Mathematics Curriculum Committee for a new private elementary school, Long Reach Church of God Christian Academy. Because of her interest in school science education for K-12 students, Dr. Lumpkin served for three years on the Scientific Advisory Board for the United States Department of Education.
Dr. Lumpkin was, above all, an exceptional educator who inspired both her students and colleagues. She will always be fondly remembered by all who knew her.