The Hood College Graduate School

Hood College Graduate School student presents talk and poster at HIV research conference

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

AndrewMusick

Andrew Musick, a student in Hood College’s Master’s program in Biomedical Science, recently presented a themed discussion talk and poster at the 2017 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI), held February 13-16 in Seattle, WA. The annual conference brings together top basic, translational, and clinical researchers to share the latest studies, important developments, and best research methods in the ongoing battle against HIV/AIDS and related infectious diseases.  Approximately 4,000 scientists from around the world attended this year’s conference.

Andrew earned his degree in Biological Chemistry from Hood in 2015. Thereafter, he joined the HIV Dynamics and Replication Program working as a post baccalaureate in the Translational Research Unit headed by Dr. Mary Kearney at the National Cancer Institute, Fort Detrick. He is enrolled in the Biomedical Science Master’s Program at Hood with a concentration in Virology, and is working on his thesis project in Dr. Kearney’s lab. He plans to continue in HIV research after he graduates.  Dr. Kearney also presented at the CROI conference.

Andrew was awarded the CROI Young Investigator Scholarship to attend the conference and said of his entire experience “The conference allowed me the opportunity to present my work, answer questions, and expand my knowledge about the HIV research field, and network with many well-known scientists. The knowledge I gained from attending will help me in continuing my education in the Biomedical Science program. It was an amazing opportunity to hear the lab’s work being shared.  Presenting at meetings such as CROI assists the community in furthering research towards an HIV cure.”

Links

Slides and audio from panel discussion: http://www.croiwebcasts.org/console/player/33501?mediaType=audio&

Electronic poster: http://www.croiconference.org/sessions/small-fraction-proviruses-expanded-clones-express-unspliced-hiv-rna-vivo-0

Hood Alum shares career success

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

Photo2Yashraj Sinha is a recent alumnus of Hood’s Masters in Computer Science program.  An international student from India, Yashraj completed an internship with Cisco Inc. last summer, an experience which he credits as being instrumental in landing a fulltime position after graduation. We caught up with Yashraj and he shared the highlights of his Hood experience with us. The full text of our chat is below.

How would you describe your time at Hood and in Frederick in general?

It has been one of my best experiences in life so far. Coming to Hood was the first time I traveled outside my country. I also experienced snow for the first time in Frederick.

How did the Graduate School help you? What resources did it provide you?

The Graduate School was supportive at all stages of my learning by providing me with the flexibility in coursework and allowing me to undergo an independent study in order to explore the field of study I was interested in.

What informed the decision to do an independent study?

I was interested in developing a software which could perform diagnosis of hardware. And this was made possible by the help of my supervisor, Dr. Xinlian Liu.

What did you achieve from the independent study?

It was a great experience learning and exploring new areas. It also contributed towards securing my new job.

How did you become a part of Hood’s Computer Science Advisory Board?

My prior industry experience at leading global organizations like Bosch and Cisco afforded me with the opportunity to contribute to serve as a graduate student representative on the advisory board. I was given the chance to present my ideas to industry leaders. And this ultimately helped in landing a summer internship.

How did your internship experience contribute to your job search success?

Having internship experience in a US organization is a major boost to your profile since it sends the message that one understands the American work culture. Thus, it separates you from the crowd of fresh graduates.

What is the new position?

I received offers from a number of leading organizations, but I am joining Cisco Systems.

What career/job search tips will you offer to international graduate students?

It’s a numbers game. Apply to as many open positions as possible. The more positions you apply to, the greater your chance to succeed. Until you are getting at least three responses daily (either rejects or interview calls), you should keep applying for jobs. Focus on applying at the career portals of your target companies and the popular job boards. Invest sufficient time to prepare your resume and cover letter and strive to perform better at each interview.

Hood College hosts Humanities Conference

Posted by | Graduate School Highlights, Humanities | No Comments

This fall, Hood College will host its first-ever student research conference in humanities.  The conference, “Discovering Humanities at Hood”, is designed to highlight the exciting work of students in humanities-related programs.  The conference is set for September 16th.

Dr. Corey Campion, director of the MA in Humanities program and co-organizer of the conference says, “The conference has two objectives. First, and most importantly, we wanted to give students a chance to share and receive feedback on their work in the humanities in a conference setting without the expense of a regular academic conference.  For many of our undergraduate and graduate students, attending an academic conference is not an option for a variety of reasons, from work schedules to financial concerns.  Not wanting our students to miss out on the rich intellectual exchange that can take place at such conferences, we decided to host one here at Hood. Second, we want the conference to serve as a celebration of the humanities and the students and faculty in this discipline.”

Student participants will have the opportunity to present their research to a panel and obtain feedback on their work. They will also hear about work done by their colleagues and have the chance to connect and network with others in the humanities. Plans are also underway for an exhibit of visual art projects.

Participation at the conference is open to any student who has written a paper for a humanities course at Hood or other area schools.  Submissions must be emailed to angello@hood.edu and are due by 5pm on May 5, 2017.

For more information contact Dr. Corey Campion at 301-696-3227 or campion@hood.edu.

A Hood student and her independent research experience

Posted by | Environmental Biology, Graduate School Highlights | No Comments

Marie Ott

Marie Ott-Smith, a Master of Science candidate in Environmental Biology at Hood, is working on an independent research project in partnership with Dr. Drew Ferrier. Her research is focused on the effects of road salt runoff on a local ecosystem. We recently caught up with Marie and the full text of our chat is below.

Background

I majored in Biology at Albright College in Reading, Pennsylvania and graduated in 2010. I was hired the same year at an environmental consulting firm performing Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) for Real Estate and Telecommunications and I have been with them since as a Project Scientist. My interests have always centered on marine and freshwater aquatic environments and the biota that inhabit them.

Why did you choose Hood?

I chose Hood because the programs here are geared towards working professionals. Considering I work full time from home in Harrisburg, PA (a little under 1.5 hours away) while also traveling via airplane at least once a week from the Baltimore airport, I needed a flexible program. The long drive for class and my research have been totally worth it.

What have you enjoyed most about your time at Hood?

Honestly, it’s just nice to be back in a classroom enhancing the knowledge i acquired during my undergraduate education. The variety of class topics I had to choose from made it exciting to see what was going to be available each semester.

Why did you decide on an independent research project?

I chose the independent research track for the hands on experience that I can use in my current job and future career.

What is your independent research focused on?

In 2015, I partnered with Dr. Drew Ferrier and began my Independent Research Project (ENV 579) which focuses on how road salt runoff affects a local ecosystem. I grew algae in Carroll Creek in Baker Park near the Hood campus. In the lab I then exposed the algae to different salinities to determine how the stress affects their photosynthetic ability using a tool called Pam Fluorometry.

Any advice for future graduate students about Hood and about the Environmental Biology program?

Take as many classes as you can to experience all that this program has to offer. Also, do not get disappointed if it takes you longer to complete your program than you envisioned. What is most important is that you will eventually finish. There is no timeline for learning- anyone can enhance their knowledge at any stage of their life.

Hood Faculty and Alums “Making Good”

Posted by | Ceramics, Graduate School Highlights | No Comments

making-good-cover
Two members of the Hood community – Jacklyn Scott and Kristin Müller – are among four co-authors of a forthcoming book- “Making Good: An Inspirational Guide to Being an Artist Craftsman”. The book will be released on April 28th.

Jacklyn is completing her degree in the MFA in Ceramic Arts program and also works as Hood’s studio arts manager while Kristin is a Hood alumna (MFA, 2008) and adjunct faculty in Ceramic Arts.  Their co-authors are Tommy Simpson and Stuart Kestenbaum.

The book is a collection of interviews with forty one artists accompanied by more than 260 photos showing the artists, their work spaces, and their creations. According to Jacklyn, one of the authors’ main goals was that “the book serve as a primer for inspiration to motivate young, middle aged and senior individuals who may be looking for guidance and ways to respond to their inner voice, to take risks and take action with their artistic practice.”

The full text of our chat with Jacklyn is below.

How did you get the idea to do a collection of interviews instead of a full-length book?

We wanted to feature the stories of various artists in different craft-mediums to cover a wide range of experiences. Someone who grew up knowing they were going to be an artist will have a very different experience than someone who went to school to be a doctor and then changed directions mid-career to become an artist. We wanted to represent as many of these instances to make sure the book is relatable. The concept of the book is simple, to present forty one makers/artists who have pursued their passion of making art and making a living with illustrations and personal narrative about how they have made their way in the art world.  We prompted the featured artists to address specific opportunities and challenges that have shaped their careers asking them to specify pivotal moments, influential people and opportunities that spurred them on.

What goals did you have for this guide when you set out to write it and did you achieve them?

Our hope is that the book will serve as a primer for inspiration to motivate young, to middle aged and senior individuals who may be looking for guidance and ways to respond to their inner voice, to take risks and take action with their artistic practice. The book is visually engaging, a sort of window into the lives of makers, their practice and the interesting ways in which their creative practice takes form and reaches others.

How did you meet your co-authors?

Kristin Muller is my mother and I met Tommy Simpson when I was very young and he was collaborating with my mother in the clay studio. Now, we are colleagues in the art world. He is a force of nature, moving through various media including clay, rugs, wood, and printmaking.

What key message did you set out to pass across by writing this book?

We hope that our readers will find inspiration to set forth on their own creative journeys and to take risks in their own practices.

How long did it take and how were you able to balance this alongside work and other commitments?

I am working towards my MFA in Ceramic Arts, but thankfully the program is mostly weekend intensive. So after work, if I wasn’t in the clay studio, I was camped out at Starbucks over-caffeinating myself. I also drove home 8 hours every weekend so Kristin and I could meet with artists to interview them, or have conference calls with those that were further away.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?

The hardest part of the writing the book was trying to capture the spirit of the artist in a few succinct paragraphs. Some of the artists gave us hours of content, and others we needed to probe a bit more for the interesting tidbits of their history and process.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Gosh, I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to talk to these forty one artists who have so much wisdom and charisma!

Any memorable moments while writing the book?

I met so many talented artists in the process.

Who are your target audience?

Our target audience are those who are just beginning their careers in art, looking to transition into being an artist mid-career, artists who need a push.

Any plans for a sequel?

Not yet… but we have talked about putting together an exhibition of work from the artists involved in the book.
Click to order Making Good: An Inspirational Guide to Being an Artist Craftsman on Amazon.com

TarlSpangler

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.

16_ABET-Accreditation

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.

New R Programming course to be offered in Spring 2017

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

Hood College’s Graduate School is offering a new course focused on R programming this spring. The course, Advanced Data Analytics with R, is being offered by the Computer Science and Information Technology department.

According to Dr. Stephen Penn, program director of the Masters in Management Information Technology program and one of the faculty members who worked on developing the course, the course is being introduced to address the rise of job postings requiring R proficiency.  Also, the R programming language is gaining in popularity according to several websites, especially KDNuggets.

Students who take this course will receive an introduction to R, become familiar with the use of R in solving problems in statistics, and by the end of the semester be able to continue to learn about R packages and advanced functionality.  Students will use R to develop decision trees, neural networks, and regression models.

Penn added that the department plans to offer the course at least once a year in the spring semester. However, initial feedback about the course has been very high and the department is considering offering the course again in the fall.

Student shares his Hood experience

Posted by | Environmental Biology, Graduate School Highlights | No Comments

Curtis RogersCurtis Rogers, a Master of Science candidate in Environmental Biology works with the USDA Bee Research Lab in Beltsville, MD. A position he says he was able to get due to the guidance and support of professors at Hood. He has this to say about his experience at Hood.

Why did you choose to pursue a graduate degree?

I chose to pursue a graduate degree in order to open more doors directly related to my interests in the job market, and to hone in on specific areas of study important to my future goals.

Why did you choose Hood College graduate school?

I chose Hood College due to its intimate classroom settings and knowledgeable instructors. The programs offered also piqued my interests, as did the proximity to both my home and relatable career opportunities.

What do you value about your relationship with your professors?        

During my years at Hood, I was afforded the opportunity to develop great relationships with my many professors, including professors that I did not even have classes with. I feel as if the relationships I formed with them will transcend my years at Hood, and will extend into my future endeavors. Dr. April Boulton, my thesis advisor, has proven especially integral in my educational and professional pursuits. Without her guidance, I could not have attained what I have. Her faith in me directly led me to my current employment with the USDA Bee Research Lab in Beltsville, MD. This job is VERY rewarding and has furthered my education and experience immensely.

What is the most rewarding class or academic experience at Hood?

I greatly enjoyed all of my classes at Hood, and all of my professors pushed me towards excellence. The coursework that I completed in the insect sciences especially led me towards my main interests.

How do you manage your many other obligations?

Several weeks into Biostatistics, my first class at Hood, my daughter was born. The professor, Dr. Michael Alavanja, was extremely helpful and gave me a few extensions on some coursework. After she was born, balancing family and school was easy for me. During my first three years at Hood I worked on my family farm, so I cannot attest to scheduling related to a more common work routine.

Tips for prospective students

My main tip to prospective students wishing to enroll in Hood College’s graduate school would be to take time getting to know your professors and peers. Both can be very valuable resources to help you solve problems and learn efficiently.

What do you do in your spare time?

In my spare time, I spend time with my family mostly. Presently, my job is keeping me busy during the week, and finishing my thesis is keeping me busy on weekends. Once my thesis is completed, I hope to enjoy my weekends with friends and family a bit more.

Student makes career switch to teaching

Posted by | Graduate School Highlights, Humanities, Multidisciplinary Studies in Education | No Comments

Patrick CassidyPatrick Cassidy, a Hood College Master of Arts in Humanities candidate with a concentration in Geography, is a General Science Teacher of 7th graders at Wynn Middle School in Tewksbury, MA. Patrick graduated from The Catholic University of America where he majored in Interdisciplinary Studies. Prior to his career switch to teaching, he worked as an officer with the United States Capitol Police. Here’s what he has to say about his time at Hood and career motivations.

Why did you choose Hood?

I chose Hood because I enjoy interdisciplinary studies and the Humanities program embraces such an approach.  I took several courses in undergrad in which I was introduced to the Humanities and I was hooked.  Also, Hood is cost effective for graduate students and is in a great location.

What have you enjoyed most about your time at Hood?

I thoroughly enjoyed meeting and working with other Hood students and with faculty members.  One of the things I miss, now that I am not in the classroom at Hood, is the classroom discussions and conversations with fellow students.

What’s your thesis topic?

My thesis topic is the legacy of exploration in the 20th Century.  I am looking at the long-lasting resonance of exploration and how such achievements become the crowning achievements for the nations represented by the explorers.  I am questioning what it is about exploration that makes it so captivating to an audience.

How has your experience at Hood contributed towards the change in career path?

My experiences at Hood helped me develop an appreciation for the impact which great teaching can have.  Also, my classes at Hood were eye-opening concerning environmental science.  Discovering new and interesting topics and issues in environmental science promoted a desire to enlighten other students in these areas.  This line of thought eventually led to my career change.

What do you love most about being a science teacher?

Opening students’ eyes to the world around them.  I have found the greatest satisfaction when students begin making observations about their surroundings.  They are getting their heads out of their cell phones and seeing some of the things we are discussing in the classroom at work in their daily lives. Admittedly, this does not happen all the time, but when it does, it’s rewarding.