Highlights

The Graduate School at Hood College

Hood Student Advocates for Victims and Witnesses

Posted by | Graduate School Highlights, Human Sciences | No Comments

WalterHood13Walter Hood, a Master’s candidate in Hood College’s Human Sciences program, serves as a victim/witness coordinator with the Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Office.  In the position for about a year, he primarily works in the District Court as one of six people responsible for acclimating witnesses to the legal system and assuring they are comfortable throughout their contact with the courts.

Hood and his colleagues prepare witnesses for trial, often walking them through what questions they can expect to hear on the stand. He coaches them to always tell the truth, and goes over relevant reports with them to refresh their memories.

“In district court, our prosecutors are extremely busy,” Frederick County State’s Attorney Charlie Smith said. “Without people like Walter, we wouldn’t really be able to give that personal contact that I feel is extremely important to victims and witnesses of crime.”

For Hood, a Montgomery County resident, the position is an ideal way to blend his interest in law and his love of working with people. He got his start in the legal field at a bankruptcy firm in Bethesda, but he didn’t like working on behalf of big banks. “They didn’t put value on people,” he said. He considered going to law school, but decided against it after many of the lawyers at the firm said, if they had the chance to do it over again, they would not go back to law school.

Hood’s background is not typical for the position, Smith said. Most victim/witness coordinators have a background in criminal justice, not civil businesses cases. Hood’s people skills were impressive, though. “When we hired Walter, he wasn’t your prototypical victim witness coordinator,” Smith said. “We took a gamble on it, and it has worked out tremendously.”

Hood said “I applied for the victim/witness coordinator position because it would let me work more closely with people while still being a part of the court system.”

Assistant State’s Attorney Mike Moore said Hood’s people skills have served him well over the past few weeks as he trained to assist Moore on the domestic violence docket. Hood helped convince a victim of domestic violence to testify against her abuser, which can be a challenge.  Walter has also had to help people in unexpected ways. He recently led a woman with visual impairment around the courthouse by the hand and called her a taxi to make sure she made it back home safely.

Working with people in stressful situations can be emotional. Hood is often moved by drug cases, where he has seen how addiction can affect an entire family. “It can be pretty tough to watch a mother and a father crying in court … because this one family member is deciding to use drugs.”

Walter Hood loves what he is doing and the energy follows him. He says “The master’s program at Hood College really helped me identify and sharpen the strategic tools that I need to be successful in my day-to-day work. The Human Sciences Master’s program is extremely relevant when it comes to understanding and working with people, especially those in crisis situations, so it is a huge advantage to be able to incorporate the valuable information from the classroom and bring it to the workplace.”

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Hood Biomedical Sciences student shares his field project experience

Posted by | Biomedical Science, Graduate School Highlights | No Comments

Tarl Spangler, a Master of Science candidate in Biomedical Sciences with a concentration in Regulatory Compliance works as a Scientist in the BioDefense Division of Emergent BioSolutions Inc. Here’s what he has to say about his experience at Hood.

Background 

I am a currently enrolled at Hood College for a Master’s in Biomedical Sciences with a concentration in the Regulatory Compliance (graduating in Fall 2016).

I have worked in the biotech field since graduating with my Bachelor’s degree in Biology (Frostburg State University, 1997). My main field of expertise is vaccinology. I serve as a Study Director with a group working on next generation anthrax vaccines.

My career goals include applying my newly acquired knowledge of regulatory compliance within my current career path. I hope to transition into Regulatory Affairs after obtaining my Regulatory Affairs Certification (RAC).

Why Hood College?

My decision to attend Hood College was multifaceted. I had familiarity with Hood College from when I took a pre-college topics biology class from Frederick High School. My biology teacher at the time encouraged me to take a class that was offered at Hood College to high school students. I also live in Frederick, MD; therefore, the proximity of the school to my home was appealing. Finally, Hood College had a program that was catered to exactly what I was looking for in a Master’s program (Regulatory Compliance)! And, the fact that Hood College just finished building an impressive sciences building (Hodson) was nothing to sneeze at either.

What have you enjoyed most about your time at Hood?

Life is all about the relationships you build. The people who come into your life and leave an impression upon you are who nurture you into the person you choose to become. I have enjoyed the relationships that I have made with my peers the most. Students and professors alike!

Why did you decide to do a field project?

I felt that a field work project was the more difficult way to graduate over taking a test at the end. I wanted to challenge myself. I also wanted to make a meaningful impact to my field through my field work project and have something to show for it… have something to be proud of.

What was your field work project about? What were the highlights of that experience?

My field work project was entitled “Methodology for Justifying the Reduction in the Use of Laboratory Animals Needed for Release and Stability Testing Purposes”. I used computer simulation techniques to suggest a 25% reduction in the number of animals required to calculate release and stability indicating relative potency values for anthrax vaccines. This required long hours after work in front of the computer learning how to write simulation programs using statistical analysis software (SAS®) with my friend, and biostatistician, Dr. Sweeney, who also served on my reading committee. The biggest highlight was my successful oral defense and approval of my project!

What advice would you give future graduate students about Hood and about your program?

My bits of advice for students who are choosing to take the thesis/field work project path toward graduation would be:

  1. Start thinking about your theism/field work project topic when you begin your program!
  2. Use the information you get from your classes to find a topic you are “passionate” about. THIS is majorly important!

Don’t wait until the end of the program to come up with your topic. Although I am graduating, I waited late in the game to decide upon my field work project topic. The final class in the thesis/field work project path toward graduation is BMS 580/585. This class helps you develop your topic into a “pre-proposal” which is required to be submitted to the graduate school. I did not have my topic locked down at this point. The topic I chose during the class, I ended up not being passionate about. It was not until halfway through the class that I realized that fact and I had to develop a new topic rather quickly. This experience made me wish I had started working on my project MUCH earlier!

It’s NEVER too early to start on your topic. Bounce your ideas off of your peers and professors. This is also a great way to start finding professors who could possibly serve on your reading committee.

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Hood College receives ABET accreditation

Posted by | Computer Science, Cybersecurity, Graduate School Highlights, Information Technology, Management of Information Technology | No Comments

Hood College’s Bachelor of Science program in computer science recently received the ABET accreditation which is a demonstration of its commitment to providing students quality education. The ABET accreditation is a voluntary peer-review process that requires programs to undergo comprehensive, periodic evaluations. The evaluations focus on program curriculum, faculty, facilities and institutional support and are conducted by teams of professionals from industry, academia and government with expertise in the ABET disciplines of applied science, computing, engineering and engineering technology.

This accreditation is noteworthy for students in our graduate programs who pay their way through school via tuition reimbursement from their employers. Several employers are only willing to reimburse students who enroll in schools with ABET accreditation. These employers see the accreditation as a measure of the quality of the programs at a school.

According to Xinlian Liu, Ph.D., co-chair of the Department of Computer Science and Information Technology, “this accreditation is expected to attract a lot more students to our programs, especially with our proximity to the I-270 technology corridor. We hope to see a lot more interest in our programs going forward”.

Find out more about the computer science department and programs, visit cs.hood.edu.

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Bioinformatics Program Director Named

Posted by | Bioinformatics, Graduate School Highlights | No Comments

The Hood College bioinformatics master’s program is pleased to introduce a new program director who has more than a decade of experience in conducting research, teaching and directing educational programs.

Miranda Darby, Ph.D., is an expert in molecular biology and computing. She comes to Hood after working since September 2012 as a postdoctoral fellow in the Stanley Division of Developmental Neurovirology in the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where she developed and implemented bioinformatics tools to study the genome. Prior to that, she completed thesis research at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, examining the mechanisms that regulate gene transcription.

Keep reading.

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Alumna Working on Anti-Cancer Therapies

Posted by | Biomedical Science, Graduate School Highlights | No Comments

Lung cancer is the deadliest form of the disease, claiming approximately 158,000 American lives and accounting for around 27 percent of all cancer deaths. One Hood College alumna is researching drug therapies to fight it.

Bhairavi (Vivi) Tolani is working with a three-person group studying anti-cancer targeted therapies for lung cancer. They are trying to find ways to shut down the rapid growth of the cancerous cells through a variety of drug combinations.

Keep reading.

Dedicated to Microbiology – With a Master’s Degree from Hood

Posted by | Biomedical Science, Graduate School Highlights | No Comments

FawazPicFawaz Mohammed Almufarriji, Biomedical Science M.S. candidate, has been working as a full time research assistant on a volunteer basis in Dr. Michael Otto’s lab, in the Laboratory of Bacteriology (LB) at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in the National Institute of health (NIH). He is particularly conducting research in antibiotics resistant bacterium Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

Fawaz says “ In August 2014, I began to work toward my master’s in the Biomedical Science program at Hood College, where I took advantage of the highly qualified full-time faculty, and benefited from the knowledge and expertise of adjunct professors who are leaders in the laboratories of the National Cancer Institute’s Frederick Cancer Research Facility, the U.S. Army Research Institute on Infectious Diseases, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and other neighboring biomedical and biotechnology facilities. Being a student in a program adjacent to such facilities provides me with a broad knowledge of the current research in multiple areas, from cancer to antibiotic-resistant bacteria. In addition, the program provides me with extensive lab skills and scientific knowledge in molecular biology and genetics. After two years of searching and overcoming immigration regulation obstacles, I independently arranged to work in one of the best biomedical research centers in the world where I started working in Dr. Michael Otto’s lab, LB/NIAID/NIH, as his research assistant for nearly a year.

While working in Dr. Otto’s lab, Fawaz was writing a mock grant proposal in which he intended to silence the expression of some essential genes in MRSA using Peptide Nucleic Acid (PNA) as an antisense. The proposal’s ultimate goal is to identify essential genes in MRSA that can be inhibited with a minimum inhibitory effect of PNAs and minimum off-target effect. This novel therapy not only can eradicate MRSA but maybe all antibiotics resistant bacteria.

What are Fawaz’s goals?  “My short-term goal is to conduct doctoral research in fighting antibiotics-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. My long-term goal is to teach at the university level and conduct research in the field of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria, especially in finding a therapy that is an alternative to antibiotics and eradicating the infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria in Saudi Arabia.

After earning a scholarship to Shaqra University in Saudi Arabia where he worked as a teacher assistant since 2011, Fawaz came to Hood for his master’s, which he will complete in January, 2017.He looks forward to his doctoral studies at the University of Leeds.

Fawaz is a member of the American Society of Microbiology (ASM) and has built a coalition of scientific collaborators from around the world, who are interested in fighting MRSA. His continued studies in the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Leeds will enable him to reach both his short and long term goals.

MBA Graduate Wins “40 Under 40” Award

Posted by | Business Administration, Graduate School Highlights | No Comments

00JaBette Lozupone2Ja’Bette Lozupone, an alumna of Hood’s MBA program and undergraduate communications program, has been honored by the American Association for Women in Community Colleges with the “40 Under 40” award! The award is presented to 40 up-and-coming women under the age of 40, who work in community colleges across the nation. The honorees demonstrate high potential for success in leadership roles and a strong commitment to the mission of community colleges. She was recognized for her contributions to the College and to the community and one who will represent the next generation of community college leadership.

Lozupone is Director of Montgomery College’s “Achieving the Promise” Initiatives and oversees the Achieving the Promise Academy. The ATPA is a multifaceted endeavor with the goal of increasing the retention, persistence, graduation, and completion rates of “at-promise” students, especially African-American and Latino students. The mission of ATPA is to prepare students for success in college through academic coaching, tutoring, and the creation of Learning Success Cohort Communities. She is also a member, and the former president of the Montgomery College Rising Professionals Association (MCRPA).

A fierce advocate for education, Lozupone experienced firsthand the barriers to degree completion many students encounter during their academic career. She says “I credit my persistence to coaches and mentors at Hood such as Olivia White, vice president and dean of students, and the extraordinary support, encouragement, and advocacy of the faculty and staff at Hood.”

Vanguard Teacher Program – Leadership Development

Posted by | Educational Leadership, Graduate School Highlights | No Comments

 

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Hood College and Frederick County Public Schools have partnered to offer the Vanguard Teacher Program, a leadership development program that aims to develop competency-based teacher leadership in public schools across the county.

The program focuses on four areas of teaching competencies: mindset, instructional technology, teaching practices, and professional learning and networking.

Mindset competencies include the core values or beliefs that guide a teacher’s thinking, behaviors, and actions, and which also help them shift toward new forms of teaching and learning.

Instructional technology skills help educators utilize technology to enrich their lessons. The goal is to transform learning experiences so they result in higher levels of achievement for students.

Teaching practice competencies are personal characteristics and patterns of behavior that help educators make the transition to new ways of teaching and learning. These qualities include integrating digital content, small group instruction, opportunities for student reflection and data-driven decision making.

Professional learning and networking skills are a more general set of skills that apply across roles and subject areas. These include collaboration and problem solving and are complex; they help practitioners tackle new tasks or develop solutions in situations that require organizational learning and innovation.

The Vanguard Teacher Program aims to develop competency-based, teacher leadership in public schools across the county. Vanguard Program candidates will be able to earn credits toward a related master’s degree in education at Hood while completing the program. Hood will provide up to nine graduate credits to participants who desire the graduate credits, provided they apply and are accepted to Hood College’s Graduate School as non-degree seeking students. Classes will take place in FCPS facilities.

Roger Stenersen, the Program Director of the Educational Leadership programs at Hood College, believes that the Vanguard Teacher Program constitutes an important addition to the FCPS-Hood partnership.  Stenersen said, “This new dimension incentivizes teacher growth toward system-identified priorities by providing a pathway to teacher salary increases as well as the option for teachers to earn graduate credits which can be counted toward a master’s degree at Hood.”

Hood College Thanatology Graduate to direct health services in Manatee County, Florida

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Joshua Barnett 8Joshua T. Barnett, an alumnus of Hood College’s Master of Arts in Thanatology program, has been hired by Manatee County, Florida as the county’s new health services manager.  Barnett joins the county’s Human Services Division to lead Manatee’s “Community Health Care Initiative” and to serve as the county’s staff liaison to the Health Care Advisory Board.

Barnett has spent his career managing public mental health, substance use and physical health treatment services for private, nonprofit and state government entities. For the past three-plus years he served as a consultant to a settlement agreement between the Justice Department and the state of Delaware, monitoring quality and treatment outcomes of community-based supportive services within the substance abuse and mental health division of the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services.

“Joshua joins our team with a broad range of needed attributes and skills,” deputy county administrator Karen Windon said in a statement on Friday. “His background in behavioral health and experience integrating primary care into that setting is exactly what we need in our community. That focus, coupled with his experience in data analytics and quality as they relate to the Institute for Healthcare Improvement Triple Aim, will place Manatee County on a positive path.”

Barnett said in a statement: “I am thrilled for the opportunity to return to my home state of Florida, to work with community shareholders on a collaborative agenda to enhance the use of Manatee County’s public health resources in the areas of prevention, intervention, care coordination, and treatment outcomes.”

He has served on boards throughout the Mid-Atlantic area focusing primarily on public awareness related to health care policy, improving mental health and substance use disorder screenings and grief awareness.

Barnett has a master’s of health science degree from The Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore and a bachelor’s of science in psychology from Florida State University. He also is a certified psychiatric rehabilitation practitioner and is an internationally certified co-occurring disorders professional.

Hood’s Thanatology program is one of the few in the United States and the only one of this type available in Maryland. Both the certificate and master’s coursework specifically prepares individuals to work with the terminally ill and the bereaved and to provide death education.

Hood College is Launching a New M.S. Program in Mathematics Education

Posted by | Graduate School Highlights, Mathematics Education and Leadership | No Comments

Hood College is officially launching its Master of Science in Mathematics Instructional Leadership on November 17th at 6 pm in the Whitaker Campus Center Commons, during the 8th Annual Mathematics Education Lecture.  The lecture, “Lesson Study and Beyond: Collaborative Reflection Cycles for Improving Mathematics Teaching” will be presented by Drs. Jennifer Bergner and Randall Groth from Salisbury University. The event, sponsored by Hood College’s Graduate School and the Maryland Council of Teachers of Mathematics, is free and open to the public. A light dinner will be served. RSVP to Christy Graybeal at graybeal@hood.edu by Nov.10.

Maryland’s adoption of the Mathematics Instructional Leadership (M.I.L.) endorsement is aligned with many professional organizations’ recommendations and a nationwide movement to advocate that every elementary school has access to a mathematics leader. Thus, it is likely that the need for Mathematics Instructional Leaders will grow in the coming years.

The Math Instructional Leadership program offers a pathway for currently certified teachers to meet the requirements of the Maryland State Department of Education Mathematics Instructional Leadership endorsement in either grades Pre-K-6 or grades 4-9 while also earning a master’s degree. Evening and summer courses accommodate working teachers. Many program courses are offered partially online, and courses may be taken in a variety of sequences.