Exploring Baltimore

I have to admit that it wasn’t until recently that I truly started to take advantage of the multitude of activities and attractions Baltimore offers…

I have been trying to get off campus and find out for myself if the phrase that many of the benches in the city have engraved on them, “Baltimore: Greatest City in America,” is true.


Now that the warm weather is *officially* here, it seems like the perfect time to do some exploring before I am completely swamped with final exams and end of semester commitments and work.

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An Open Letter to All High School Seniors


These may be some of the emotions you’ve experienced this school year, first as college acceptance letters start to roll in… then as you started visiting campuses… and especially now, as you prepare to make “the big decision” and enroll.

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My Light City Experience

Light City took place last week in Baltimore.

This week-long festival of art, lights, and innovation included live performances, tons of public art and light installations, and opportunities for the community to learn more about local art, music, architecture, and initiatives taking place in our city.

This is the kind of festival that puts the “charm” in Charm City.

My first stop on the Light City tour was the neighborhood of Hampden…

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Celebrating Light and Life in Baltimore

We got off the bus, not really knowing what to expect, and as we walked towards the Inner Harbor, we were overwhelmed by the crowd, the music, and the lights.


My friends and I trekked down to the Harbor for Light City on Thursday night, so we weren’t expecting too many people. It was a school night and a work night, after all. We thought we might bump into some other Loyola students, since it was “Loyola Night.”

To our surprise, there were thousands of people walking around the Inner Harbor enjoying the festival. I’ve never been so happy to see so many people in one place, all celebrating Baltimore…

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Baltimore: Capital of Social Innovation

Last week, I was lucky enough to experience Light City Baltimore, a week-long showcase of light, art, and technology.

But what many people don’t realize is that beyond the amazing performances and public art exhibits that transformed the Inner Harbor and other neighborhoods throughout the city, Light City also hosted four different conferences on Social, Health, Sustainability, and Creativity Innovation.26090982661_812f7654fb_z

I attended the Light City U Social Innovation Conference. This two-day conference jam-packed with innovators in social enterprise, education, community development, social justice, philanthropy, and policy to explore solutions to problems faced by societies throughout the world. The speakers ranged in age, gender, race, discipline, and skill, but had one important thing in common: They all are working to make Baltimore a better city.

“There is no time to be a victim, there is power in community… even children can be empowered.” —Freeman Hrabowski, Ph.D., President of University of Maryland, Baltimore County

The stereotype for Baltimore is disheartening: a city tarnished by crime and poverty. The Light City conferences and speakers, particularly the Social Innovation Conference, wanted to shine light on the incredible potential that is right here in our city, untapped and underutilized.

The days were filled with intense discussions about how we can build a more equitable and responsible city if we work together. 

“You can’t go around Baltimore and not see how you’re needed. You see clearly every day that your participation is necessary.” —Wes Moore, Founder & CEO of BridgeEDU and Loyola’s 2016 Commencement Speaker

There were many inspiring and eye-opening anecdotes and people who shared their work and their vision during the conference…

One of the many groups that presented was Innovation Village, a startup nest in West Baltimore. With all startups and economics centers located in East Baltimore, the depth of the gap is astonishing. This emerging tech and innovation center hopes to promote growth, development, and life in West Baltimore. The group wants to invest in its own people instead of investing in outsiders to come in.

As a college student trying to find her way in the world, one panelist really spoke to me: A social innovator, CEO of two companies, and all-around awesome guy, Aaron Hurst spoke specifically on finding success in our work.

For Hurst, as is the case for many who attended and presented at the Light City U conferences, success is not defined by money, but by something much more valuable.

To determine whether or not you are truly succeeding, Hurst talked about the need to focus on three things:

  1. Relationships: Your connections with others are vital to your ability to succeed.
  2. Doing Something Greater than Yourself: On the fast road to success, we often forget to make serving others a daily priority. Hurst says that doing good cannot be a “every so often” type of thing; it needs to a daily priority in our immediate world.
  3. Personal Growth: Putting yourself out of your comfort zone is key to growth.

Although the groups who presented at the conference spanned many sectors and fields, ranging from education to infrastructure, technology, and personal achievement, all of them had one thing in common: prioritizing investment in the people of Baltimore.

“If you view Baltimore as a collection of stats, you’re looking at it wrong. It’s a collection of opportunities… The people closest to the problem are closest to the solution.”  —Fagan Harris, President & CEO of Baltimore Corps

Baltimore, of course, has its fair share of problems. They are deep-seated and complex. But this is not unique to Baltimore. Most cities face challenges that are greater than eliminating crime and improving schools.


As much as that is the truth, so is the fact that the people of Baltimore have the skills, the power, and the heart to solve its problems.

Baltimore isn’t a place just for others to come and fix and leave. It is a place to invest in, live in, and love.

“Baltimore is more well-positioned than any other city I’ve seen.” Andrew Yang, Founder & CEO of Venture for America, on the city’s startup community and entrepreneurial spirit

The Light City U Social Innovation Conference did not just showcase the incredible work happening today in Baltimore; it represented a catalyst for a change in the perception of Baltimore.

This is not a broken city, this is not a city that needs to be fixed. This is a city of incredible talent and beauty. Baltimore is a diamond in the rough; its people need only the chance to shine.

P.S. More about the Light City U conferences.

My Journey to Auschwitz-Birkenau in Photographs


In March, I traveled with my camera to Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland.

As I arrived on the grounds, I felt like I was on a movie set. As my mind slowly comprehended the reality of what happened here, a place of unspeakable pain, I felt the deepest emptiness in my heart that I have ever experienced.

As my boots crunched the same frozen ground where millions of individuals once stood, questions and anger flooded my mind, the shocked silence of human suffering ran through my body.

My eyes gazed on a place where over 1.1 million men, women, and children perished during the Holocaust. Barren trees, witnesses of the past, bordered the camp. Brick remnants stood in the distance, once the shelter of the helpless.

I wandered towards the train tracks. I stood in the exact spot where hundreds were separated from their families. I attempted to imagine this scenario… arriving by train like animals; exhausted, hungry, cold, terrified, to be sorted away from my four siblings and parents. I cannot imagine their fear and vulnerability. The magnitude of evil and reality of human suffering was palpable.

The complex emotions stirred by this memorial and museum serve as lessons for the world. Immersing myself in the experiences of individuals from the past forced me to think about the present. Human suffering will always exist in our world. Human rights are continuously being violated. There are millions of suffering refugees around the globe right this minute.

It is up to all of us to diminishing the suffering of our fellow human beings.

Photography tells the story of the past. I decided to photograph the empty spaces of Auschwitz-Birkenau while walking around these hallowed grounds to reflect human vulnerability, past and present. I will always carry with me the lessons I learned from this day.

Margaret Wroblewski Photography Margaret Wroblewski Photography Margaret Wroblewski Photography Margaret Wroblewski Photography Margaret Wroblewski Photography Margaret Wroblewski Photography Margaret Wroblewski Photography Margaret Wroblewski Photography

Good Food Friday

Easter. A time when Catholics around the world celebrate Jesus’ Resurrection and eventual Heaven. A time of religious and commercial fervor, especially as families meet to celebrate.

In almost every family I’ve ever met, there’s some tradition associated with whatever major holidays they celebrate. My family is no different.

Every Good Friday, the women on my mother’s side of the family get together to make Fiadone, an Italian ricotta-filled pastry.


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How I Landed My Amazing Internship

Last semester, I attended Loyola’s bi-annual Career Fair where, armed with multiple copies of my résumé, I joined many of my peers in visiting tables, talking to recruiters, networking with local and regional employers, seeking a good fit for a paid internship for the second semester of my senior year at Loyola.

One of the tables I stopped at was Power Plant Live!, Baltimore’s downtown entertainment district in the Inner Harbor. I knew I was interested in having an internship second semester, so I mentioned that to the recruiter.

Following the Career Fair, I followed up with an email to the recruiter thanking her for her time and consideration… and a few days later, I received an email from two women who work for The Cordish Companies.

I work on the 6 and a half floor of the Power Plant Building, just below the giant guitar.

I work on the 6 and a half floor of the Power Plant Building, just below the giant Hard Rock Cafe guitar.

The Cordish Companies are a global leader in real estate development headquartered right here in Baltimore.

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Becoming a Marylander

Never in my life have I been told I have an accent.

It was not until recently that I began developing a regional dialect—but not from my native Long Island, New York. No, I think, slowly but surely, I am developing a Baltimore accent.

I’ll be honest. Having a Baltimore accent is something that I would be proud of!

Baltimore has become my home away from home, and there are a lot of really endearing things about this state that I am adopting in my own life.

First off, Marylanders say “Bawlmer.” It’s two syllables, and there is no ‘t.’

They also have a slight obsession with their flag. When you’re from Maryland, you hang a GIANT Maryland in your dorm room. IMG_5254

You proudly wear Maryland flag-printed clothing.

md socks

Marylanders love their Old Bay seasoning. And make no mistake, it’s not just for crabs.

When you go to a restaurant, it is flat-out wrong to get an order of fries without Old Bay (or better yet, being handed a shaker so you can apply your own amount to your liking). Marylanders enjoy Old Bay wings, Old Bay chips, Old Bay on corn on the cob, Old Bay popcorn. The Charmery in Hamden makes an Old Bay-caramel ice cream. Living in Maryland means embracing Old Bay.

old bay

Lacrosse is a huge part of Maryland culture (despite that its not the state sport which is jousting). Keep in mind, I am from New York. Marylanders’ love of this sport is on a different level than where I grew up.IMG_5244

Personally, I love the state pride that Marylanders exhibit and some of the quirkier things that make this state and the city of Baltimore one of a kind.

And speaking of state pride, Maryland Day is this month. Maryland Day is celebrated on March 25, the day the first European settlers landed in Maryland, the third English colony to be settled by the British in North America.

Maryland Day also has a Jesuit connection. Of the 150 or so settlers aboard the ship that landed in what is now St. Mary’s County were three Jesuit priests and other Catholics seeking religious freedom.


It was these people who built the Baltimore Basilica, America’s first cathedral, which is less than two miles down Charles Street from Loyola’s campus and a beautiful place to visit.

Taking a Stab at Honoring History

Each year, Loyola’s Classics students celebrate the Ides of March (March 15) by stabbing Julius Caesar on the Quad.


Well, not quite. We reenact scenes from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar in an attempt to remember this major turning point in Roman sociopolitical history, while also reaching out to the larger Loyola community.

Let me make very clear that no one gets stabbed during this reenactment (although there was a bruised knee this year).

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