The Hood College Graduate School

ARTS 507- Plates and Platters

Posted by | Ceramics, Graduate School Highlights | No Comments

One of the course offerings from the Hood College Ceramic Arts graduate program is entitled Plates and Platters. The college catalog states “Plates and Platters is an in-depth study of the throwing and finishing of plates and large platters, including structural strength concepts for low open forms, methods for centering, a variety of throwing techniques, information on trimming, finishing, firing and composition.”


Plates and platters are a difficult form to create successfully, with many problems showing up in the final firing. Students learn to use a variety of procedures for throwing, shaping and trimming plates, platters and low open forms, with specific emphasis on problem solving and aesthetics. The focus of the one credit class is skill building and problem solving, which resulted in the creation of beautiful forms, which now line the shelves in the wheel studio.


Spring 2017 saw thirteen students enroll in the course with instructor Kristin Muller, an MFA graduate of Hood. Kristin is a wood fire potter who well versed in the creation of platters that survive wood fire.

One of the participants, Jafar Alhamar, expressed his desire to learn to create large platters due to the tradition of meals served from a large platter in the center of the table in his home country, Kuwait. Proof of his success in the class is the large platter he created.


Professor Muller adds, “It is always a pleasure to teach such a dedicated and focused group of students.  The keys to successful skill building are developing excellent basic core skills through repetition upon which more advanced skills can developed.  The program at Hood has clearly articulated techniques and concepts coupled with high-level design principles that are the foundation for every course. This allows students to build their skills incrementally and instructors to point out specific areas for improvement. The immersive 3-day course format facilitates this growth to happen rather quickly because everyone is focused for several days at a time.  It was a joy to see so many examples of their success!”

Donor Gives $30,000 to Ceramic Arts Graduate Scholarship

Posted by | Ceramics, Graduate School Highlights | No Comments
Matthew Gaddie, Tea Bowls, MFA ‘16

Matthew Gaddie, Tea Bowls, MFA ‘16

Fleur Bresler, a long-time collector and supporter of the arts, recently made a generous contribution of $30, 000 to Hood College’s Ceramic Arts and Technology Graduate Scholarship, launched to attract talented students to the school’s Master of Fine Arts program.  One $10,000 award will be made for each of the next three years, which will enable one new MFA candidate to fund their first year of full-time enrollment.

The application deadline is July 15, 2017 and the recipient will be announced at the end of July.  To qualify for this award, applicants must be accepted as a full time MFA candidate, submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to Hood’s Office of  Financial Aid.

For a scholarship application or information on the MFA program, contact the Hood College Graduate School at 301-696-3600 or

Hood College hosts Death Cafe – Frederick

Posted by | Graduate School Highlights, Thanatology | No Comments

death cafe

Hood College will host the 2017 edition of Death Cafe – Frederick, from 2 – 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 6 in the Whitaker Center Commons.

Death Cafe is an international movement where people gather to eat cake, drink tea, and discuss death with the intention of increasing awareness so people make the most of their lives. It is a group directed discussion with no agenda, but not a grief support group or counseling session.

Last year’s Death Cafe recorded an impressive turnout. According to Kaili van Waveren, this year’s co-organizer, “I attended the event and was blown away by how eager people were to actually talk about death, and how supportive and validating people were to each other. Everyone I spoke with said that they were very impressed, and a number of the RSVPs I have received mentioned that they attended last year and were excited to participate in another Death Cafe.”

She added; “We believe that talking about death is important: mindfulness of one’s mortality can inspire rich and purposeful living. We also know that talking about death can be scary and sad and Death Cafe provides a supportive and fun environment in which people can discuss their fears and feelings. We hope that many students will join, but also see this as a service to community and a great opportunity for outreach.”

Attendees should expect a low-key and upbeat atmosphere in which they can talk about death and meet like-minded people while enjoying delicious baked goods!

Hood College Ceramic Arts students join with collectors in campus art exhibition

Posted by | Ceramics, Graduate School Highlights | No Comments

Graduate students in Hood College’s ceramic arts programs recently participated in a campus exhibition, “Collectors’ Voices in Ceramic Art: A Leading Edge Exhibition.”  The students were enrolled in ARTS 543, History of Ceramic Arts and completed the exhibition as part of the class.  Students were paired with a regional art collector to research and present on collected ceramic artwork.

Professor Joyce Michaud, Hood’s Program Director for Ceramic Arts, had this to say about the exhibition.

How did you decide to stage this exhibition? 

Eric Serritella Tea potMarc Grainer, a member of our advisory proposed the exhibition and the advisory council voted in favor of its staging. The exhibition and the accompanying lectures are a part of our yearlong colloquium and is sponsored by the Humanities Council and Ceramic Arts Program.  ARTS 543 places special emphasis on broadening the knowledge and experience of students through personal involvement in researching and encountering historic work.  This exhibition brought together a breadth of ceramic history, especially in the up close and personal experience provided by our collectors, who welcomed students into their homes to talk about their collections and the motivations behind their collecting.  These people have knowledge and passion for ceramics, both contemporary and historic.



How did you decide on which pieces to display? 

Jenna Gianni, Director of the Galleries, and I, along with members of the advisory council, visited collector’s homes.  The collectors then honed in on a unique piece that they were willing to loan to Hood College for the month long exhibition.

How did the collections in this exhibition differ from the works showcased at prior exhibitions? 

The value of this exhibition was extremely high.  Being able to see these pieces in the beautiful Hood College Whitaker Gallery was a real treat.  The intermingling of historic and contemporary work in one gallery/exhibition was a rare experience.  The ages intermingling provided an eclectic conversation both human and ceramic.

What were the high points of the exhibition?

Collector and former Advisory Council member David Rehfuss wrote to a friend after attending the exhibition opening reception.  “I visited the Hood College Collectors Voices in Ceramic Arts: A Leading Edge Exhibition yesterday and was impressed. The array and diversity of the 22 ceramics there made for good viewing and good conversation between the visitors”.


What were the outcomes for the students that participated in this exhibition?

The students were exposed to a wide range of historic and contemporary ceramic art to which many had not yet been exposed.  Additionally, they developed personal relationships with the collectors, learning more about building and maintaining a collection, as well as the periods in the history of ceramic art with an emphasis on how ceramic arts fit into the contemporary art world.

Also, the students were brought into the real world of their own passions and career choices that may rely on the collectors to provide and support, including primary research and integrating the history of the work, the stories of the collecting, and the legacy that will last beyond the collectors themselves.

Are there plans to hold a similar exhibition soon? 

The 2018-2019 gallery calendar offers great opportunities for another exciting exhibition and the conversations have already begun!

Hood College Graduate School’s Human Sciences program undergoes name change

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

In 1971, Hood College’s Graduate School began with one program, the Master of Arts in Human Sciences. The program has had a variety of concentrations throughout the past 40+ years, including education, environmental biology, public affairs, nursing, counseling, special education, and management. To reflect its housing within the Psychology & Counseling Department, as well as the interdisciplinary approach of the curriculum, the program has been renamed “Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Behavior”.

Many of Hood’s current graduate programs started out as tracks of the degree, as it was initially developed for the human service occupations.

According to Dr. Jason Trent, Director of the program, “The decision to change the name of the program came after careful consideration by faculty of the Psychology & Counseling department in order to better reflect its current curriculum and focus.  Not only will this better reflect what the program has emphasized for the past several years, but it is also more descriptive. A variety of people have asked, ‘What is Human Sciences?’, and we believe this ambiguity may hinder the success of our students after graduating. Changing the name to Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Behavior will make it clearer to potential students and to potential employers of former students as to what this degree offers.”

Visit the Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Behavior program website for more information.

Hood College Master of Fine Arts in Ceramics candidate featured in campus exhibition

Posted by | Ceramics, Graduate School Highlights | No Comments

PR PicMeg Lau is a Hood College Master of Fine Arts in Ceramics candidate who will be exhibiting on campus this April as part of her thesis.  “The Past is Present” will run from April 12 to 30 at the Whitaker Campus Center Gallery. Meg will also present a gallery talk and host an opening reception scheduled April 14from 4:30 to 7 p.m. The on display at the exhibition include large smoke fired urns ranging from sixteen to thirty-two inches tall and smaller urn forms ranging from six to twelve inches, all created for the containment of personal and communal memories of loved ones. They all have the physical potential to contain relics, memorabilia, or cremation ashes for one or more family members.  The urns celebrate the past and, will be cherished in the future. The exhibition speaks to the history of ceramics and the relationships that have existed between women, family, spirituality and the vessel. The urns in this exhibit represent life, both past and present.

Meg shares her Hood experience with us below.


Meg is from Strasburg, Pennsylvania and teaches high school ceramics in the Lampeter-Strasburg School District.  She earned her Bachelor of Science in Art Education from Millersville University and her Master’s in Art Education from Kutztown University. She will complete her Masters of Fine Arts in Ceramic Arts this spring at Hood.

Hood College experience

My experience at Hood has been amazing.  The MFA Ceramic Arts program is very holistic, as it offers students a very strong foundation for technique, aesthetics, history, critical analysis, as well as marketing strategies for the artist.  Additionally, this program has allowed me to meet other artists/students from all over the country.  We have been able to work with one another collaboratively using Hood’s fabulous facilities.

Hood 145

Impact of the MFA program on your career

As a teacher I have had the opportunity to bring to my students everything that this program has given to me. Professor Joyce Michaud and all of the teachers at Hood have modeled such dedication to their students, which has allowed me to bring an abundant amount of technical, historical and critical knowledge directly back to my classroom.

Sources of inspiration

I am inspired by the history of ceramics as well as by my family.

Hood College Graduate School student receives Boren Fellowship award

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

Nicole EaselyNicole Easley, a student in Hood College Graduate School’s Masters in Biomedical Science program recently received the National Security Education Program’s Boren Fellowship Award. Nicole will travel to Brazil to learn Portuguese while simultaneously conducting infectious disease research. Nicole says she owes this accomplishment wholly to Hood College. Read her story below.

I’m a native of Denver, Colorado but grew up in Montgomery County, MD. I graduated from Colorado State University in 2006 with a BS in Microbiology. As an undergraduate, I did a work-study in a tuberculosis research lab in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology. I was able to get summer research fellowships through the American Society of Microbiology, Leadership Alliance, and the Ronald E. McNair Fellowship.

After completing my undergraduate degree, I moved back to the DC area and worked at the National Institutes of Health in the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases for Dr. Susan Buchanan in the Laboratory of Molecular Biology doing structural biology research and x-ray crystallography. My research there contributed to two publications in the top-tier science journal Nature and one in the Journal of Molecular Biology.

After teaching English in Brazil, I returned to the States and began Hood’s Biomedical Science Program in spring 2015, and worked as a Lab Technician for an Immunohistochemistry Lab at Covance. My second year at Hood I took a full-time course load since I knew that I wanted to study abroad for one year before I finished the Master’s program.

In January 2016 I applied for the Boren Fellowship Award. The fellowship provides funding for U.S. graduate students to study less commonly taught languages in world regions critical to U.S. interests, if the student commits to working in the federal government for at least one year after graduation.

My proposal was for a program proposal tied to US national security. Specifically, going to Brazil to learn Portuguese and researching infectious disease research as Ebola and Zika viruses are threats to US national security, as threats to public health and the economy. I utilized the contacts I made through my career, networks I made while in Brazil as an English teacher, and the BMS faculty at Hood College to help design a research proposal.

I was accepted in February and had to start my program in Brazil by March 15th. The BMS faculty at Hood has been most helpful in allowing me to accept this fellowship award in the middle of the semester.

For big opportunities like this, don’t psyche yourself out before you get started. Go for it! Talk to the faculty in your program ask them for recommendations, referrals and research project ideas. Look at the topic you’d like to research and understand the current events and how it applies to national security. Networking is key. Start the application process early. Make your application stand out from the thousands that apply.

Hood College is the reason I got this fellowship. I’m so thankful I chose the Masters in Biomedical Science program at Hood.

Hood college graduate school students featured in ceramic arts exhibit

Posted by | Ceramics, Graduate School Highlights | No Comments

Students from Hood College Graduate School programs in ceramic arts are featured in an exhibit on campus.

“Collectors’ Voices in Ceramic Art: A Leading Edge Exhibition,” runs from March 2-April 2 in the Whitaker Campus Center Gallery. Collectors have loaned pieces of their personal collections to Hood for a show that features historical and contemporary ceramics from 19 major regional collectors, many affiliated with the James Renwick Alliance, a nonprofit organization that celebrates America’s craft artists. The pieces are from around the globe.

Ceramic arts graduate students were paired with a collector and researched the collected ceramic artwork and interviewed the collectors, researching the history of the work and the stories surrounding the acquisition of the pieces. During the exhibition, two presentations, “History and Legacy: A Conversation with Collectors,” will feature the students and the collectors as they present their research. The presentations will take place March 11 and March 25 from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Whitaker Campus Center Commons.

The Whitaker Gallery is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The opening reception is March 5 from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. in Whitaker Commons. The project is co-sponsored by the Hood College Humanities Council’s 2016-17 NEH colloquium series, “Narrative at the Edge of the World,” and the Ceramic Arts graduate program. All events are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Jenna Gianni at or 301-696-3285.



Hood College Graduate School Student set to present at graduate student conference

Posted by | Bioinformatics, Graduate School Highlights | No Comments

Suraj Pant

Suraj Pant, a student in Hood College’s Master’s program in Bioinformatics, will be presenting his research at the 11th Annual Graduate Student Conference at the University of Rhode Island. The conference is scheduled for April 8, 2017. Suraj, an international student from Nepal, holds a Bachelor of Public Health (BPH) degree from Pokhara University, Nepal. As part of the degree requirements, he carried out research on the knowledge and practice of meat hygiene among the slaughter house workers in the Pokhara sub-metropolitan of Nepal.

He will be presenting the findings of that research at the conference. Suraj credits his academic advisor and program director of the Master’s program in Bioinformatics, Dr. Miranda Darby, with helping him ensure a successful abstract submission.

Hood College Graduate School introduces new courses in Musical Computing

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

Last summer the Graduate School at Hood College introduced a course centered on Musical Computing. Offered by the Computer Science and Information Technology department, the course was developed in line with the graduate school’s commitment to offer the best in science and technology while maintaining Hood’s reputation in the Humanities.  It affords students with the chance to expand and improve their programming skills, and to open new career possibilities, both academic and commercial (games, film etc.).

The course was taught by Professor Rick Roth who holds master’s degrees in both musical composition and computer science from Johns Hopkins University and currently works as a cybersecurity professional while doubling as a choral director, pianist, organist, and composer.

Professor Roth said of the new course “Students who complete this course will gain an understanding of the historical context behind Musical Computing, and learn about current trends in the field. In addition, they will learn how to use the structural components of a computer program as structural components for musical composition.  For example, basic building blocks of programming like arrays and loops can be used to create the rhythmic and harmonic elements of a composition. Function calls, threads, decisions, and other elements that control the flow of program, can also be used to control the flow of a musical composition. The course is also a valuable step toward more advanced study, or work in the fields of music programming and sound design.”

All students who completed the course last summer participated in a final concert and lecture that allowed them to demonstrate their newly-developed expertise to the college community (a video presentation is available is available here).

The department plans to offer the course again this summer in addition to a follow-up course titled “Sound and Music for Embedded Systems”.  This new course will focus on combining principles of human-computer interaction (HCI), artificial intelligence (AI), mechatronics and robotics with principles of music theory and music performance.