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10 to watch: Under 30, changing Baltimore

For b's inaugural "10 People to Watch Under 30" edition, we looked for those who inspired us, challenged traditional thinking, weren't happy with the status quo. What we found were Baltimoreans committed to our city in various arenas, from the arts and sports to education, volunteerism and community activism. Here's our "10 People to Watch" class of 2010.

JEREMY FREDERICK, 26 | Mount Vernon | green-roof guru: If Jeremy Frederick had his way, the Baltimore skyline would be dotted green. Since joining Baltimore-based Floura Teeter Landscape Architects straight out of college four years ago, Frederick has been instrumental around town integrating green-roof technology -- designs that improve air quality, reduce urban heat and lower cooling and heating costs. "As a city that's reinvesting in itself, Baltimore has a chance to rebuild smarter with green roofs," said Frederick, who holds a degree in landscape architecture from Penn State University. Frederick's first green-roof project was Baltimore Station, a substance-abuse treatment center near Federal Hill. Baltimore Convention Center's green roof is under construction, along with a roof on a new library in Hummelstown, Pa. And Frederick and Floura Teeter are working on a design for a roof at Baltimore's District Court downtown. So what would be his favorite place in the city to put a green roof? "My dream green-roof project in Baltimore is always the next green-roof project," he said by e-mail. "The real dream would be to stand on the tallest building in Baltimore and be able to marvel at a vast network of green roofs being used as parks, gardens and eco-rejuvenators." JORDAN BARTEL, B

TAMARA CHUMLEY, 28 | White Marsh | project manager, BaltimoreACTS: Just a few days after Haiti was rocked by January's devastating earthquake, Tamara Chumley found herself in a meeting with co-workers at Feats Inc., an event marketing agency. There, BaltimoreACTS was born. "There's a group of people in the community passionate about making a difference and making change," said Chumley. "This was a way to activate people." BaltimoreACTS' first mission was to be a biggie -- a relief concert at the Meyerhoff that was to feature Mario and Mya (it was postponed in early February because of the massive snowstorm and has not been rescheduled). Chumley said she hopes the organization will also address local issues such as youth education, poverty and crime. Chumley, a Loyola University graduate who grew up in Bel Air, is also a member of Business Volunteers Unlimited Maryland's inaugural GIVE class, which helps young professionals find volunteer opportunities. And she's a wish-granter with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Her role model for giving back: her mother, a breast cancer survivor. "She's one of those very giving people, willing to help anyone else," said Chumley, a mother herself. "Early on, I saw that." JORDAN BARTEL, B

ALESSANDRA MANFRE, 28 | Mount Vernon | Iraqi Student Project board member: Alessandra Manfre has her own mixed views about the Iraq war. But since joining the Iraqi Student Project last February, Manfre has immersed herself in an under-reported consequence of the war: college-aged students in Iraq who are forced to leave their studies and country. ISP's mission: fund young refugees' undergraduate education in America and then return them to help rebuild Iraq. "While [ISP] brings talent to this country, it does serve to bring stability to the country that [it] lacks," said Manfre. Her charge is 18-year-old Ahmed, now a freshman at Goucher, Manfre's alma mater. Goucher is picking up Ahmed's tuition, but Manfre and her support team have a $15,000 annual budget to cover the rest. Manfre finds it difficult to think about what it will be like to say goodbye to Ahmed. "I'll be happy as long as he's happy and contributes in any way, shape or form," she said. "In Iraq, there's a lack of everything now. He'll help make things better." JORDAN BARTEL, B

ADAM JONES, 24 | Baltimore | Baltimore Orioles center fielder/2009 MLB All-Star: In his second season in Baltimore, Adam Jones added some fine accomplishments to his brief but rapidly growing major-league resume. One of the most highly regarded young players in baseball, Jones shined in the outfield at Camden Yards a year ago and batted .277 with 19 home runs and 70 RBIs. His hot start at the plate (he hit .344 in March, April and May) earned him his first trip to the All-Star game. And though Jones faded in the season's second half and suffered a season-ending ankle injury in September, he still became the first Orioles outfielder to win a Gold Glove award since 1975. "I try not to look at the accolades part of that," he said. "I'm playing because of the love I have for playing the game of baseball." But while Orioles brass have targeted 2011 as the year when the talented young squad will seriously compete for the A.L. East title, Jones isn't content with waiting for next season. He wants to win now. And if more individual honors accompany Orioles victories? "It's cool," he said, "but I just want to play ball." MATT VENSEL, B

SCOTT MESSINGER, 26 | West Baltimore | Baltimore City Public Schools teacher: As a first-grade teacher at Harlem Park Elementary School, Scott Messinger spends a lot of time looking over teacher-developed curriculums. A serious amount of time -- some of the shared curriculums take up nearly 200 pages of a headache-inducing Word file. "I thought, 'There has to be something better,'" said Messinger, a teacher since 2006. Messinger's idea: customizing a simple Web site covering curriculums for all types of subjects, where lessons plans and tips can be shared quickly and easily. He hopes Baltimore public schools will use the program and that it could grow nationwide. With business partner Andy Hlavka, Messinger, who previously had no computer programming experience, spent every day last summer developing a prototype that features streamlined links and clearly organized lesson plans. Messinger plans to leave teaching next year to devote more time to curriculum innovation. "Creating this resource is a thrilling thought," he said. "Students get better and teachers enjoy their jobs more." JORDAN BARTEL, B

THRUSHES | Hamilton | Pimlico | Wall-of-Sound indie-pop: To followers of Baltimore's music scene, Anna Conner is the earnest, Stratocaster-wielding lead singer of Thrushes, one of the city's most promising unsigned bands. But to her students at Logan Elementary, she's simply Miss Conner, art teacher. "They're not old enough to be downloading anything on iTunes," Conner, 28, says. "It's just neat [to them] I play guitar and sing. It's a cool thing about Miss Conner. … They like Miley Cyrus, which is fine for them." Give the kids some time -- and a copy of Night Falls, the band's second album (released this month) -- and they might be impressed by their teacher's ability to command delightfully concise indie-pop songs. Along with Rachel Harvey (28), Matt Davis (29) and Casey Harvey (32), Conner matches her sweet (but never twee) vocals to the band's dreamy, garage-rock backdrops. The results are irresistible, especially on Night Falls' lead single, "Trees." Conner says the band plans to tour the East Coast this summer, and that new songs have been written ("We could record an EP"). Good news for the rest of us. WESLEY CASE, B

HEATHER SARKISSIAN, 29 | Fells Point | founder, BmoreSmart: Heather Sarkissian believes in the power of ideas. Ignite Baltimore, the semi-regular presentation program she co-organizes, lets a variety of speakers share their creative passions. And BmoreSmart brings together Baltimore social entrepreneurs to discuss potential growth in the city and throw out new collaborative program ideas. "An individual society is changed if you can bring creative people together to collaborate and support each other," said Sarkissian, who's also the CEO of, a mobile technology pioneer. Any given week, Sarkissian, who modeled BmoreSmart on a program in the Ukraine, where she spent four years in the Peace Corps, hears from people devoted to health care for the homeless, strengthening Baltimore parks and decreasing use of plastic bags in the city. She's particularly excited about the chance to bring Google Fiber, an experimental ultra-high speed broadband network system, to Baltimore. "With any city, its greatest goal should be having innovators with phenomenal ideas who are willing to take risks," Sarkissian said. "My approach is to start small. But I start immediately." JORDAN BARTEL, B

MÜGE PIRTINI, 29 | Downtown | doctoral student, Johns Hopkins' department of medical engineering: The National Cancer Institute estimated that 68,720 new cases of melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer, were reported in the United States in 2009. MÃŒge Pirtini has been working for three years to reverse that trend. Pirtini is one of three co-inventors of a screening process involving a scanning system to detect melanoma, now in the beginning stages of clinical trials. "Some [patients] have melanoma. Some are suspicious they have cancer. Most of them are just really happy we're working with them," she said. Pirtini, who grew up near Istanbul, had never done melanoma research before this project; her previous work mostly involved industrial engineering. The non-invasive infrared scanning system looks for temperature differences between healthy tissues and potential tumors (cancer cells typically release more energy as heat than normal cells). The new scanning system could replace costly and painful biopsy detection. "I always just liked science," said Pirtini, who plans to continue post-doc studies at Hopkins. "It's nice to just do something ... people can appreciate." JORDAN BARTEL, B

CHRIS GOODMAN, 21 | Charles Village | community activist: Earlier this month, as Chris Goodman stood with a group in front of Baltimore's Juvenile Justice Center (aka: "baby booking"), he fully expected to be arrested a fourth time for civil disobedience. Goodman was there to demonstrate against an educational system he feels contributes to the so-called "school-to-prison pipeline." Goodman believes Baltimore too quickly funnels youths out of class and into jail, particularly when the government focuses money on building new juvenile jails. Goodman wasn't arrested that day. Instead, the event exceeded his expectations, with 1,000 participants. "I'd definitely call it a victory," he said. "The message was sent." Goodman, who grew up in East Baltimore around Lake Montebello, first became motivated politically during a 10th-grade trip to major civil rights movement sites in the South. After receiving math tutoring from the Baltimore Algebra Project when he was 14, Goodman has become a tutor himself. And he's added rapper to his resume, performing music with a political bent under the name "Comrade." While he plans to graduate from Morgan State University next spring, he's also focused on short-term moves, this time to talk with representatives in Annapolis about the school-to-prison pipeline. "I never think about, 'What if it doesn't get better?'" he said. "I'm always thinking about just how much longer until things will transform." JORDAN BARTEL, B

J. BUCK JABAILY, 25 | Original Northwood | executive director, Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance: When members of Single Carrot Theatre, then based on Boulder, Colo., were scoping out Baltimore as a prospective adoptive home, J. Buck Jabaily called Nancy Haragan, the founding director of the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance. "She started the conversation with 10 minutes of giving me 50 organizations to talk to about moving here," said Jabaily. Now Jabaily is heading the organization that was the most welcoming to his budding troupe, one that links more than 80 local arts groups and artists. "All organizations work for themselves to a degree; that's how it should be," said Jabaily, who has been stepping away from his duties at Single Carrot since his GBCA appointment in January. "But an arts community really appreciates that a rising tide lifts all boats." Jabaily said he's dedicated to helping artists stay in Baltimore as well as promoting arts programs in public schools. "I think we're the most exciting place on the East Coast to live," he said. "And there's a palpable excitement about our arts community." JORDAN BARTEL, B

Know someone in town who's making a difference? Nominate him or her to be a part of our "10 People to Watch Under 30" class of 2011. E-mail Assistant Editor Jordan Bartel at

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