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UMass Lowell this Week: Panel Eyes Justice Issues, Concert Showcases Orchestra

Story and Source Ideas for Journalists

University Orchestra
The University Orchestra will perform a free concert for the public on Friday, Feb. 15 at 8 p.m. in Durgin Hall.


Contact:Nancy Cicco: 978-934-4944, and Christine Gillette: 978-934-2209,

This is a notice of upcoming events, photo opportunities and story ideas at UMass Lowell. In case of inclement weather, call UMass Lowell’s weather hotline at 978-934-2121; if the university is closed, events are canceled. For more, visit

Sources of the week 
UMass Lowell faculty experts are available to discuss:
  • The potential for another government shutdown this week if Congress and President Trump can’t work out a deal on border security by Friday;
  • With Valentine’s Day this week, how parents can help teens weather breakups and failed crushes.
 Contact UMass Lowell media relations if you need an expert source on any subject.

Plea-Bargain Reform is Topic of Expert Panel  

When and where: Wednesday, Feb. 13, 5 to 7 p.m. University Crossing, 220 Pawtucket St., Lowell

What: “Let’s Make A Deal: How the System Failed Kalief Browder,” a free panel discussion for the campus and public, will examine ways to reform the plea-bargain process. At age 16, Browder was charged with theft, maintained his innocence and refused to take a plea deal. As a result, he was imprisoned for three years while awaiting trial. Later, he committed suicide after the prosecutor declined to pursue the case. Panelists will include Yusef Salaam, a falsely accused defendant whose conviction was ultimately vacated for an assault on a Central Park jogger in 1989. Salaam also refused a plea deal and spent seven years in prison before he was exonerated. UMass Lowell’s Miko Wilford, a psychology professor who researches how and why innocent defendants accept plea deals in order to avoid trial, will also offer her insights on these issues. 

Legal Issues Behind Starting a Business Explored at Program

When and where: Wednesday, Feb. 13, 5:30 p.m. UMass Lowell Innovation Hub, 2 Merrimack St., Haverhill

What: The legal considerations behind launching a business will be covered at a free program for the public at UMass Lowell’s Innovation Hub in Haverhill. Partners from the law firm of Foley & Lardner LLP of Boston will discuss the best practices to follow and traps to avoid when facing intellectual property concerns, hiring, drawing up contracts and more. The iHub is located at UMass Lowell’s Haverhill campus in the heart of the city’s downtown, a short walk from the MBTA commuter rail and public parking. Members of the public interested in attending should register in advance at or email

University Orchestra Strikes Up Free Concert 

When and where: Friday, Feb. 15, 8 p.m. Durgin Hall, South Campus, 35 Wilder St., Lowell

What: The University Orchestra, comprised of musicians who are UMass Lowell students, faculty and members of the community, will stage its free spring concert for the public. Works by Russian composers Dmitry Kabalevsky, Camille Saint-Saens and Antonin Dvorak will be among the works performed. The ensemble is conducted by Music Department faculty member Mark Latham. Tickets are not required for admission and free parking is available in the Wilder Lot nearby the venue. 

Medical Device Innovators to Pitch Next-Generation Ideas at Event 

When and where: Deadline for contest submissions – Tuesday, Feb. 19 
Pitch competition – Wednesday, March 27, 6 p.m. University Crossing, 220 Pawtucket St., Lowell  

What: Entrepreneurs with ideas for next-generation devices for the medical and biotech industries will pitch their concepts to expert judges at the 2019 Massachusetts Medical Device Development Center (M2D2) $200K Challenge. Up to 20 contest winners will share in a purse of sponsor-provided, in-kind assistance, including lab and office space, engineering, product development, legal, clinical and business services. M2D2 is a partnership between UMass Lowell and UMass Medical School in Worcester. Members of the public who would like more information should visit or email

Kids Week Workshops to Teach Skills, History 

Where: Tsongas Industrial History Center, Boott Cotton Mills Museum, 115 John St., Lowell

What: Children and teens age 6 to 17 will hone their creativity and analytical skills while learning about local history at free workshops presented as part of Lowell Kids Week, a festival of family events organized by Lowell National Historical Park and community collaborators. The following events are presented by the Tsongas Industrial History Center, a partnership between UMass Lowell’s College of Education and the national park that educates thousands of schoolchildren and teachers annually about the American Industrial Revolution. Members of the public who would like to attend should register in advance by calling 978-970-5000. Programs include:

  • O ld Tyme Art – Learn how to write with a quill pen and ink and design a journal, while also making silhouettes, an art form popular in the early 1800s. Tuesday, Feb. 19, noon to 1 p.m.
  • Creation Stations – Paint on marble, make paper crafts and enjoy a variety of other activities. Wednesday, Feb. 20, 9 to 10 a.m.
  • Weaving Workshops – Learn how cloth is designed, patterned and made. Identical sessions will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2 p.m., and Friday, Feb. 22, 3 p.m.
  • Waterpower Workshop – Design, build and operate a model of a canal system to learn about the energy that water can create and how it ties into Lowell’s history. 
  • Engineer It! – Design a model of a vehicle that can carry goods. Thursday, Feb. 21, 2 to 3 p.m.