The Graduate School at Hood College

Graduate Alumni Highlight — Mir Abdul Wasay

Mir Abdul Wasay served as the officially elected president of the Hood College Graduate Student Association (GSA) during the 2017-2018 academic year. With the help of GSA members, Mir organized a variety of cultural, professional and fun activities on campus and in the community. Events included: an educational and interactive panel for spouses, and an evening at a local bowling alley. “The most fun thing about GSA is the GSA itself – meeting so many new and interesting people was very special to me,” says Mir.

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Rowela Silvestre and Mohammed Anas Bricha – Outstanding Student Achievements

Posted by | Business Administration, Information Technology | No Comments

bricharowelaAt the 2018 Hood College Graduate Degree Recipient Reception, Mohammed Anas Bricha received the Information Technology Achievement Award. Anas received his award from Dr. Ahmed Salem, Director of Hood’s Information Technology Program. He started his Hood College journey in the fall of 2016 and works as a Director of System Engineers covering Dell Cloud solutions for the Northeast region where he has worked since 2005. Congratulations to Anas for all his accomplishments!

The MBA Director’s Award is generously funded by Hood MBA alum Chrissy Wheeler and was awarded to Rowela Silvestre. Rowela earned her undergraduate Business Administration degree in from Hood in 2015. As an MBA degree candidate, she concentrated in Finance and Accounting. She serves as a member of the Enactus Advisory Board, the Hood College Staff Council Board, and is chair of the campus Risk Management Committee. She is also a member of the Institute of Management Accountants. Rowela serves as the Assistant to the VP for Finance at Hood. Congratulations Rowela, and good luck in your future endeavors!

The Top MBA Capstone student is Richard Curtis

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

riichardThe Fred and Lenora Ditzel MBA Award, established in honor of Dr. Anita Jose for the top student in her MBA  capstone course, Management Policy, was presented to Richard Curtis at Hood College’s 2018 Graduate Degree Recipient Reception.

Over the course of Richard’s twenty-year career, he served in multiple command and staff positions in the Department of Defense, including: Director of Material Fielding, Rear Detachment Commander, Executive Officer, Task Force Director of Logistics, Chief of Warehousing Operations, and Chief of Inventory Management.

In 2014, Richard joined the 3M team taking on responsibility for 3M Health Care Business Group’s support to the DOD. Later on, he assumed responsibility for support to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Richard is a Certified Material and Resource Professional (CMRP) credentialed through the Association of Healthcare Resource and Material Managers (AHRMM). He also holds a Baccalaureate degree in Political Science from Ohio University, a Master’s degree in Healthcare Administration from Baylor University, and is a Doctorate of Business Administration Candidate at Hood.

On top of all this, Richard volunteers as an officer of the AMSUS Sustaining Members Group and as a member of the Hood College Marketing Research Committee in support of the College’s 2017-2022 strategic plan. Congratulation to Richard on all of his amazing accomplishments!

Terror at the Thought of Secondary Students – Reading Clinic Part 3

Posted by | Graduate School Highlights, Reading Specialization | No Comments

Don’t forget part one and part two, where Emily learned all about clinic and taught an elementary school group! 


20180801_110247When we last left off, I had just finished teaching the elementary part of the Hood Graduate School’s Reading Clinic. The capstone to get my M.S. in Reading Specialization, it had been as crazy, stressful, and beneficial as I had been told. Now I was starting with the secondary clinic, featuring students who would be entering middle or high school in the coming year. I am an elementary teacher by choice – I love my littles, who are so willing to accept me as the authority (my second graders still believed that I could both sing and draw, a happy delusion). What would happen when I taught secondary students, where all the cutesy ideas and tones that motivated my elementary students could be seen with scorn?


The first part of secondary clinic was just understanding how different it would be. Unlike the elementary clinic, where we needed to decorate our classroom, plans were done and approved a week in advance, and we got testing data about our students before we even started, the secondary clinic started with a blank slate. Also, each clinician got two students with distinct needs to work with, instead of students who needed the same skills. To get information on our students, we were given their basic information and phone numbers and asked to call the week before clinic. I20180801_100505 hate talking on the phone and was so nervous about calling the parents, but I got a lot of good information. Luckily for me, the parents of both of my students were knowledgeable about their child’s strengths, needs, and goals, so I was able to use that information to help get ready. I was also able to use the information to connect my instruction to their goals. For instance, one of my students, who wants to be a teacher, was working on reading for a purpose. She prepared a lesson around a picture book, then got a chance to read to and teach students from the elementary clinic.


20180807_100020When the students came in, we started by doing some testing. Since they were so different, instead of doing things together like in elementary clinic, I would work with one while giving the other one a task to do independently. This was how most of the clinic went; although I occasionally did some things with both of my students, mostly I alternated between the two. With older students, they appreciated their independence and a chance to work without me. Occasionally, I would have both working independently while I observed and got a chance to reflect on what we had already done. As an elementary teacher, this more relaxed, less structured, attitude was nice! As a group of clinicians, we fostered that independence through occasional communal STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) projects.


While the overall workload in the secondary clinic was about the same, I found it more evenly spread and less stressful than the elementary clinic, which was unexpected! Instead of having to complete our entire week’s plans on Thursday afternoon, we planned every day for the next day after recording reflections about that day’s instruction. So much of what we worked on was making our learning relevant for our students. We found that when we treated them like young adults and showed them why what they were learning would help them, they bought into it. Being on a college campus gave us so many opportunities! 20180726_111209 smallWhen a sculpture exhibition was going up in the front of the building, the students got to talk to the artist, MFA student Alex Miller. They asked some great questions and he was able to explain some of his process as an artist and exhibitor. We also did a scavenger hunt through the library. When talking about the different ways to research, we came across the microfiche machines. Although I remember doing research using these machines as a child, after almost breaking one trying to get it started, we found a librarian to help us! The students were fascinated and looked at a newspaper from 1894.


We had a great three weeks, and at the end, I decided that teaching secondary students wasn’t too bad. I was lucky since both of my students were motivated and wanted to learn, so I just had to guide them. They both enjoyed strategies that I taught them, and when asked to write a letter to me at the end, gave me some great feedback. The students got to work together to unlock an ‘escape room’, using reading comprehension to decode hints to find keys. For the last day, our lead teacher asked them about their education goals. After saying goodbyes, the clinicians worked together to pack up our classrooms, and many of us went out to lunch to celebrate. I can’t believe that it is over! We’ve been 20180808_112728hearing about clinic since we first started the program. While it is as all-consuming as they said - we thought that working for hours every day after teaching to plan for the next day as an exaggeration – it wasn’t. We got to apply our skills, practice new ones, and became more comfortable with strategies and age groups we hadn’t worked with before!




Thank you so much to Dr. Ellen Koitz, program director of the reading specialization program and head of the elementary clinic, and Casey Day, professor and head of the secondary clinic for preparing us for clinic and supporting us through it! Although I came to you with lots of questions (SO MANY QUESTIONS), you were always ready to help all of us. We would never have learned so much and had such a great experience without you! 20180808_143721

2018 Outstanding Thanatology Student is Kaili Van Waveren

Posted by | Graduate School Highlights, Thanatology | No Comments

Van WaverinThe recipient of the 2018 Outstanding Thanatology Student Award is Kaili Van Waveren. This award is made in memory of Dr. Dana Cable, a long-time Hood faculty member and the first Director of the Thanatology Program. Kaili currently works for Hospice of Frederick County, where she writes content for their website, newsletters, radio ads, and donor letters, often interviewing patients and their families. Along with her work, she serves on several professional boards and volunteers with Camp Jamie, an overnight camp for children dealing with grief.


As a student, Kaili has made several important contributions. Besides maintaining a 4.0 GPA and belonging to several honor societies, she has served as an assistant and TA in the Thanatology program. As part of her academic work, she has done extensive independent research on child and adolescent suicide as well as the phenomenon of ‘suicide contagion.’ She presented that research and lectured on suicide and end-of-life medical ethics at multiple colleges. We are so proud of her contributions to her field and community and wish her all the best!


Thank you Jaqui Kreh for funding this award 

Doctoral Candidate’s Research Leads to First Report of its Kind

Posted by | Doctorates, Graduate School Highlights | No Comments

image002Some of the most knowledgeable people in Hood College’s Doctoral Program are the candidates themselves. The new program has no graduates yet, with the first cohort beginning their third and final year this fall, but participants are already making waves in their wider world. One member of that first cohort, Peggy Dufour, is using her capstone project to make an impact in her industry. She is studying business ethics, specifically for proposal development professionals. As this is a field that she has worked in for 25 years, she is very familiar with it, and its pitfalls. “People in this industry have a lot at stake. One of the proposals I worked on (and won) was worth $22 billion. Ethics challenges arise when the stakes are that high,” said Dufour. She explained that she wanted to study this group and industry in particular because it is her area of expertise and because they, as a group, haven’t been studied in relation to ethics.


Dufour worked with the Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP), an organization with 8,000 members in 40 countries, to distribute a survey on ethics in the profession. The survey, created by Dufour and presented at the APMP National Conference in May, got immediate interest, receiving 1,750 responses. The executive director of APMP supported the project, and members from around the world responded to the survey and its concept. For instance, a member from South Africa who works with the South African Ethics Institute will be using it in his work. Dufour analyzed the data and reported the results to APMP, which released the data as a report. This report, the first one of its kind, had findings that were “equal parts surprising, encouraging, and inspiring.”


The APMP summarized the report with three key takeaways, with some statistics that are encouraging and others that show areas for improvement. Eighty-eight percent of those surveyed felt a strong sense of accomplishment and 87% felt that their opinion is valued. However, 80% also reported some type of “overwork, burnout, or emotional distress in an industry known for its long work hours and demanding schedule”. Nearly 48% of the respondents also believed that there is gender discrimination with pay and/or promotion for women in the bid and proposal area of the industry.

Dufour will also be using the data, particularly those questions which connect to the gender pay gap, for her capstone dissertation. She says that “a lot of research shows that women are paid less than men for the same work. The numbers are real but often used incorrectly. One statistic from the international Glassdoor Survey says that women are paid 76 cents for every dollar a man makes. If all men and women are combined into two groups and their median wages compared, that’s true. But if men and women in the same job with similar experience are compared, the 24-cent difference shrinks to about nine cents. However, the question remains as to why that remaining difference exists. Called the ‘unexplained gender pay gap,’ It is true even for women at the very top of their professions. Why are they being paid less?  We look forward to finding out her results and recommendations!


Above, see Dufour (right) with fellow graduate candidate Kathy Swire

2018 Outstanding Reading Specialization Student Emily Sikora

Posted by | Graduate School Highlights, Reading Specialization | No Comments

SikoraThe 2018 Outstanding Student in Hood’s M. S. in Reading Specialization program is Emily Sikora. An accomplished elementary school teacher, Emily is about to start her 11th year of with Frederick County Public Schools, teaching 2nd grade at Urbana Elementary School. As a student at Hood, Emily conducted action research to look at “the effects of using oral rehearsal on a student’s written elaboration”. Examining whether talking about what they are going to write beforehand helps students to write more, she found applicable data for herself and her peers. One of Emily’s favorite parts of the program was the reading clinic, where she says she “was able to apply my knowledge to support students in a small group setting. Also, I was able to see how the application of the skills that I learned had an impact on the students I was working with. During this time, I also developed a close friendship with the other clinicians. We supported each other to analyze the data and provide prescriptive instruction to the students.”


In the immediate future, Emily plans to stay in the classroom. Eventually, she hopes to pursue a position as an elementary reading specialist. We wish her all the best!


Thank you to Virginia ‘Ginny’ Jones, Hood class of ‘66, provider of the award 

Passing the Torch: Advice From Graduated Students to New Ones

Posted by | Clinical Counseling, Environmental Biology, Graduate School Highlights, Humanities, Information Technology, Reading Specialization | No Comments

D7R_3305As we near the beginning of the 2018-2019 academic school year, the Graduate School at Hood College is excited to welcome all new and returning students! For many, this is their first experience with graduate school. As this is a different experience from undergraduate work, we asked some of our recent graduates for their advice for incoming students.
Lois Johnson-Mead, a recent M.S. in Environmental Biology graduate, thinks that “graduate school is a chance to push boundaries and look inside yourself to find out what you want to explore. I encourage students to try different classes, stretch beyond their normal expectations, join in on events, lectures, and symposiums that can stretch your thinking and potential. Hood College asked me to examine how I think, what I care about, and to discover so much more than I expected. I hope all new graduate students, especially international students, give themselves the chance to embrace those opportunities; after all that’s the Hood Way!”


Merrideth Wile, a graduate of the M.S. in Counseling program, said simply to “pace yourself, and enjoy the process.” Work through classes at the schedule that it right for you and try to get the most out of it.


When asked about what incoming students should know, Tara Scibelli, who earned her M.A. in Humanities, said to “do all the assigned readings to get the most out of your classes.” Everyone gets busy, but the more that you do for the class, the more that you will gain.


Mia Zimnick, another Environmental Biology graduate, explains you should “prioritize your education. It may be easy to get caught up in life outside of school, but while you’re in the program, try to make it your main focus. This includes reaching out to your professors when you need help, forming study groups with your fellow students, and spending a few weekends in the lab. It’ll all be worth it when you’re done.”


Megan Ramsburg, who graduated with an M.S. in Reading Specialization thinks that “it is important to know that you can approach your professors. They are here to help you and can be very accommodating to your needs. Ultimately, they all want to see you succeed in your program.”


Mir Abdul Wasay, the outgoing Graduate Student Association president who completed his M.S. in Information Technology stated, “I personally believe that education neither starts nor ends in the classroom.”


Finally, Environmental Biology graduate Kevin Stanfield advises to “immerse yourself in the experience. You may have recurring dreams about the effects of climate change on an obscure species of owl, but it makes learning easier!”

Hood College and the Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences – Partners in Education

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The Graduate School at Hood College and the Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences (FAES) have agreed to a Memorandum of Understanding to allow students who have completed relevant FAES coursework to transfer credits into Hood’s MBA, Bioinformatics or Biomedical science programs.

Upon acceptance to Hood’s Graduate School, students may submit their FAES transcript for course-transfer review. Each program has pre-approved FAES courses that will transfer, and additional courses may be approved if relevant to the Hood degree. Up to nine credits in the MBA and Bioinformatics program or six credits in the Biomedical Science program can transfer.

Dr. April Boulton, Dean of the Graduate School, noted that “this partnership will provide additional elective options to a variety of our graduate programs, which are taught by top NIH scientists on their Bethesda campus.  Conversely, NIH employees and others completing FAES coursework will be able to apply their FAES credits toward a graduate degree at Hood, making this MOU very beneficial to both parties.”

Dr. Connie Noguchi, dean of the FAES Graduate School, remarked that “FAES is delighted to partner with Hood College in Frederick and thus extend degree pathway opportunities for FAES students. This agreement will also open up opportunities for Hood students to enroll in FAES’s advanced science courses that often cover the latest science discoveries delivered by NIH research scientists.”

Hood and FAES will each have a liaison responsible for ensuring compliance with the agreement. The Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences (FAES) Graduate School at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) operates as a non-degree-granting postsecondary institution on the Bethesda, Maryland campus of the NIH. FAES seeks to foster education and research in the biomedical sciences by providing instruction at the cutting edge of biological sciences and its evolving applications. Taught primarily by NIH research scientists, FAES courses respond to the educational, professional development, and training needs of the NIH community. Courses are academic credit bearing and are held in the evenings to suit the needs of working professionals. FAES courses are open to the NIH community, other federal employees, and the general public.


Classes start soon. Register today!

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Kevin Stanfield – The new age of environmental research and drones

Posted by | Computer Science, Environmental Biology, Geographic Information Systems, Graduate School Highlights, Information Technology | No Comments

IMG_5053Kevin Stanfield just graduated from Hood, with a Master of Science in Environmental Biology, and a certificate in Global Information Systems, and his thesis related to environmental science and the use of drones and computational/remote sensing techniques​.

The thesis, “Developing Methods to Differentiate Species and Estimate Coverage of Benthic Autotrophs in the Potomac Using Digital Imaging,” involved finding a way to use drone imagery to quantify coverage of benthic vegetation in the Potomac River. “When I started my thesis track, I went to each of the professors in the Environmental Biology Department and explained my interest in GIS and riparian ecosystems before asking whether they had any ongoing research in this area.” Dr. Drew Ferrier, Kevin’s advisor, had been looking into quantifying benthic cyanobacteria coverage in the Potomac with digital photography. Dr. George Dimitoglou, Associate Professor in Hood’s Computer Science Department, had been working with Dr. Ferrier on this and other projects and had used drones to look at benthic features in the Potomac the year before. Dr. Dimitoglou was willing to join Kevin’s committee and provide his drones for the project. The committee was rounded out by Dr. Kevin Sellner, a senior scholar at Hood, and a cyanobacteria expert. All three provided an immense amount of feedback and advice for the project. They also brought in many of their friends and professional contacts who provided data, equipment, and input on the research design.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (MD DNR), National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) all lent aid in the form of equipment or data. Kevin presented his research at the Western Maryland GIS Users Conference, hosted by Hood on May 18th, 2018. He presented to the National Park Service in late June. “My thesis took almost two years to complete, from my first meeting to my final revisions. It was a difficult process, but I am very happy to have gone through it,” concludes Kevin.

Before starting his Hood journey, Kevin could not decide between Environmental Biology and Geographic Information Systems. Hood College happened to have a program that combined the two, and was also local and competitively priced. “In the end, the decision was easy”, says Kevin. He believes the Environmental Biology program has prepared him well for this field. The incorporation of GIS into ENV shows that the department has current knowledge of what employers and researchers are looking for in program graduates. Kevin will soon be starting a GIS internship with the National Park Service through the American Conservation Experience. During this 34-week internship, he will be mapping the easements and rights of way which cross the C&O Canal National Park and attaching any legal documentation or relevant information to the spatial data.

What advice does Kevin have for both incoming and current students in the Environmental Biology Program? “I would encourage incoming graduate students to make friends with everyone in their program, both students and professors. Not only do you have similar interests, but these people will soon be your professional peers. This will give you a pool of professionals to reach out to if you are in need of work or workers. I would also encourage students who are pursuing the thesis track to choose research that they will enjoy doing, because it will consume your life for a year or two, and it is a lot easier to make yourself work if you are also having fun.”


Classes start soon! Register today. Learn more about our programs designed for environmental biologists:

Environmental Biology,M.S.

GIS Certificate

Outstanding Student for ISHB is Ron Kelly VanLent

Posted by | Graduate School Highlights, Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Behavior (Previously Human Sciences) | No Comments

VanLentThe 2018 Craig D. Lebo Outstanding Student Award for Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Behavior is Ron Kelly VanLent. A man of many talents, Ron is noted as an outstanding student and teacher. A retired air traffic control specialist, he teaches in the Mathematics Division at Howard Community College. In addition to teaching algebra, he supervises the advanced math students acting as teaching assistants and manages the computer lab portion of the developmental math program which gives students support through lessons, tutoring, and required testing. He was honored as HCC’s Mathematics Division Inspiring Adjunct Instructor for the 2017-2018 academic year. He accomplished this all while completing his degree at Hood and keeping up a 4.0 GPA in the program!