Maryland Applied Graduate Engineering Staff


George Syrmos

2105 JM Patterson, College Park, MD 20742
301-405-3633 |




College: B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB); M.S. in ECE, UCSB; Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering, University of Maryland

Works with: Directs Maryland Applied Graduate Engineering (MAGE) addressing the continuing education needs of working engineers and technical professionals by providing quality graduate engineering programs while promoting the visibility of the A. James Clark School of Engineering and UMD.

Profile: George joined UMD in 1990 as an adjunct faculty in the ECE Department. In 1996, he was appointed as the Education Coordinator to the Army Research Laboratory's Federated Laboratory Program. In 1999, he was appointed Director of the Professional Master of Engineering Program. In 2006, he was promoted to Executive Director of the Office of Advanced Engineering Education (OAEE), the predecessor of MAGE, and in 2019, he was promoted to Assistant Dean for Continuing Education.


Director of Admissions, Marketing and Communications

Vinette Brown-Darlington

2213 JM Patterson, College Park, MD 20742
301-405-1098 |





ASSOCIATE Director for Academic Affairs

Sonja Dietrich

2105 JM Patterson, College Park, MD 20742
301-405-1101 |




College: B.S. in Government (major) and Asian Studies (minor), Franklin and Marshall College; M.S.Ed. in Higher Education Administration, University of Pennsylvania

Works with:  Current students in the Master of Engineering and Graduate Certificate in Engineering programs regarding any escalating academic difficulties, course issues, or faculty issues; ENPM Course Instructors regarding course scheduling and development and ENPM Faculty Content Advisors regarding program curriculum development.

Profile: Sonja has been with MAGE since 2014, after originally starting her work at UMD College Park in 2012 as the Graduate Student Life Coordinator in The Stamp Student Union. Prior to that, she worked with M.S. and Ph.D. students in Engineering at the University of California Irvine and in undergraduate admissions at Thomas Jefferson University. Outside of work, she spends most of her time wrangling her kids to and from their various extracurricular activities or exploring new restaurants and activities in the DMV area!


Assistant Director for Business Affairs

Ciara Diaz

2105 JM Patterson, College Park, MD 20742
301-405-2355 |




College: B.S. in Communication Arts, Austin Peay State University; M.S. in Management, University of Maryland Global Campus

Works with: Ensuring financial direction within MAGE by providing fiscal leadership and expense management. Ciara is responsible for day to day business operations, fiscal reporting, as well as departmental forecasting and budget management. Ciara is the MAGE human resource contact, and provides HR advising and policy determinations related to hiring and other HR matters. 

Profile: Ciara joined MAGE in 2021 from Facilities Management, where she worked for four years in business management supporting athletic facilities on campus. Prior to coming to the University of Maryland, College Park, Ciara spent her career managing class A multi-family properties in Maryland and Virginia, including fiscal operations and human resource management. Ciara is originally from Dutchess County in New York state, and has lived in Baltimore with her husband and two dogs since 2014. Ciara enjoys cooking, walking her dogs and vacationing in the Shenandoah Valley.


Program Manager for admission and recruitment

Caitlin Gover

2105 JM Patterson, College Park, MD 20742
301-405-7712 |




College: B.S. in Biological Sciences, University of Maryland; M.B.A., University of Maryland Global Campus 

Works with: Students interested in the Master of Engineering and Graduate Certificate in Engineering programs. Specifically, works with those interested in a professional degree in aerospace engineering, chemical & biomolecular engineering, civil & environmental engineering, cybersecurity, electronic packaging, fire protection engineering, materials science & engineering, project management, and reliability engineering.

Profile: Caitlin joined the admissions team in 2018 with 3 years of prior experience in higher education admissions. Her previous professional experience includes working with military and veteran applicants at University of Maryland Global Campus, and working in Graduate Admissions at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire. Caitlin grew up in New Hampshire and returned to the state after finishing her bachelor's program, but she moved back to Maryland in 2016. She loves spending time with her dog and 2 cats, going to the beach and concerts, and learning new line dances.


Senior Academic Advisor

Qyana Richardson

2105 JM Patterson, College Park, MD 20742
301-314-2196 |



College: B.S. in Psychology, Bowie State University; Master of Social Work, University of Maryland, Baltimore. 

Works with: Current students in the Master of Engineering and Graduate Certificate in Engineering programs by assisting them with their matriculation through their program plan of study. She is the first point of contact for all questions and concerns from admitted and current students and will be able to best assist or point them in the right direction!

Profile: Qyana joined the Academic Affairs team in 2021 with 9 years of prior experience in higher education. Her previous professional experience includes working with students in the capacity of providing academic advisement, career coaching, internship placement, and instruction. Qyana is a native of the DMV area and enjoys spending time with her family and friends.



Gerardo Nájera

2105 JM Patterson, College Park, MD 20742
301-405-0336 |




College: B.A. in Spanish Literature, University of Maryland

Works with: Admitted students in the Master of Engineering and Graduate Certificate in Engineering programs. He handles all non-academic questions from students, specifically international students who need assistance in transitioning to the UMD campus. Creates events for MAGE students throughout the academic year, test proctoring and submits graduation paperwork for all candidates.

Profile: Gerardo joined the Academic Affairs team in June 2018. Having worked in the education field for over ten years, from high school to currently graduate students. Previously, working as an academic advisor at the University of the District of Columbia Community College. Gerardo is a native from Prince George’s County and continues to live in the area. He enjoys fitness, playing basketball and is an avid sports fan for local teams. He has two dogs, Gucci and Shanel.



John Schell

2213 JM Patterson, College Park, MD 20742
301-405-8596 |




College: B.A. in English, University of Mary Washington; M.A. in English, Virginia Commonwealth University; M.Ed in Instructional Design and Technology, George Mason University

Works with: MAGE Faculty

Profile: John joined MAGE in 2019. Prior to joining MAGE, he worked as an instructional designer and technical writer for four years in government contracting. He has worked for the Department of Transportation and the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Additionally, John has three years of experience working in higher education as an instructor and as a teaching assistant. John grew up locally in northern Virginia, and he lives with his wife Johannah and dog Lucy in Falls Church.



Anne Bongermino

2213 JM Patterson, College Park, MD 20742
301-300-4839 |



College: B.S. in Communication Management and Design (major) with a concentration in Instructional Technologies, Business Administration (minor), and Psychology (minor), Ithaca College

Works with: MAGE Faculty to optimize course design and technology

Profile: Anne joined MAGE in November 2021. Prior to joining MAGE, she spent five years working as an instructional designer at a healthcare technology and services startup company creating new hire and client-facing training materials and facilitating in-person and virtual learning. She also has experience working in the online learning department of Clarkson Graduate School supporting faculty in their course delivery. Anne grew up in Upstate New York and moved to the DMV in 2016. She plays Roller Derby and enjoys spending time with her husband and two cats.


Coordinator for Admission and Recruitment

Sam Chaplin

2105 JM Patterson, College Park, MD 20742
301-405-7200  |




College: B.A. in History, Roanoke College

Works with: Students interested in the Master of Engineering and Graduate Certificate in Engineering programs. Specifically, works with students interested in pursuing a program in Additive Manufacturing, Bioengineering, Electrical & Computer Engineering, Energy Systems Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Robotics, Software Engineering, and Systems Engineering.

Profile: Sam joined MAGE in May of 2021 after working in undergraduate admissions at Towson University for three years. He developed a passion for admissions working as a tour guide at his alma mater and thoroughly enjoys conversing with prospective students. Sam moved to Maryland after growing up and attending college in Virginia, and enjoys taking advantage of city life and staying active as much as he can in his free time.



Heather Markle

2213 JM Patterson, College Park, MD 20742
301-405-6824  |




College: B.A. in English, University of Maryland; M.A. in Publications Design, University of Baltimore

Works with: MAGE and Clark School staff and faculty to promote our programs to potential students and communicate MAGE news, updates and policies to current students, faculty and staff. Works with the MAGE website, social media channels, digital marketing and print pieces.

Profile: Heather has been working in marketing and communications at the University of Maryland since 2013, first for the Department of Physics and then for the College of Arts & Humanities, joining MAGE in 2021. Her background includes writing, editing, print production and project management for businesses in Baltimore and D.C. When she was a student at UMD, Heather worked at the climbing wall and the Writing Center, but that was many years ago now! In her free time, Heather runs and hikes and cares for her two dogs, cat and husband.