The Graduate School

What Makes a Doctoral Candidate?

Posted by | Doctorates, Graduate School Highlights | No Comments

doctoral cohortLooking at the second cohort in Hood College’s Doctoral Program, it is clear that the one thing the candidates have in common is their drive and academic motivation. The program, in its second year, offers candidates the opportunity to earn a Doctorate of Organizational Leadership (DOL) or Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA). This year’s cohort has participants of varied ages, careers, and backgrounds, all with very different reasons for entering the program.

Ebony-Nicole Kelly is an instructional specialist and National Board Certified Teacher for Montgomery County Public Schools who has taught internationally in Istanbul, Turkey. A single mother, she wants to be an example for her son and hopes to use her degree as a springboard to a career in international consultancy, specializing in cultural competency. She loves the setup of the program, with a cohort who will stay together and has great leadership.

Gayle Bach-Watson, a pastor at a church in West Virginia, wants to gain more skills to help with the leadership of her church. After a cancer diagnosis in 2015, she re-evaluated and decided that the DOL program was the way to help her expand her resources and goals.

Philip Brown is a native of England and spent 11 years in the British Royal Navy. He moved to the US in 2005 to become the CEO of Phoenix Mecano after working for the company in England. With a fulfilling career, he wants to use the program to help other businesses and contribute to the community. Earning a DBA has been a long-time goal, and when he saw a brochure for Hood’s program he decided to go for it. With several children in college, he is enjoying being back in school as well. As he explains, “Education doesn’t stop when you’re 22!”

Essence Jones has two degrees from Hood (BA, Sociology & Psychology, ’04, and MA, Human Behavior, ’07). She works with at-risk youths and adults who are struggling and wants to continue to help them. She makes the commute from Washington D.C. to Hood because of its family feel and that she knows that the staff care and have a personal investment in the students. She says that the “friendship and education that I’ve gotten here, I don’t think I could have gotten anywhere else.”

Kathie Dao is a Human Resources manager. When Hood presented at her company to promote the start of the program, she decided that it was a great opportunity. She wants to learn to “be that change agent.”

Ebony-Nicole, Gayle, Philip, Essence, and Kathie are just a few of the nineteen talented members of our second cohort. Others work for the military, higher education, non-profit organizations, and more! To learn about these and the other participants, read their Doctoral Biographies on the Hood website!


One Man, Many Roles

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

Keith HarrisHood College is a small school and a tight-knit community. We pride ourselves on that, and love that we have members of the community who fill many roles. One such person is Dr. Keith Harris, who has been a student, professor, mentor, supporter, and even the sponsor of an award her at Hood. Outside of the college, he has worked in education for 26 years, including teaching and leadership positions in public school, higher education, and community settings. With such a breadth and depth of experience, he has brought so much to us!

Dr. Harris’ connection to Hood came before he even started here. His wife, Sylvia Freeman-Harris, ’90, sister Lisa Harris-Watts, ’93 and several friends all attended Hood. He came to Hood for his Masters of Science in Educational Leadership because of the quality of the staff. As he explains, “at the time I enrolled, the graduate program was run by two recently retired Maryland Superintendents.  If anyone knew what leaders needed to know and be able to do as administrators, these superintendents, both from high performing school districts, would. Several other professors also made learning practical and relevant to the work I would eventually have to do.” Several years after attaining his degree, he returned to Hood as a professor.

Keith also helped develop several of our graduate programs, including the cohort concept for the Educational Leadership program. He describes working to create the cohort –  a rigorous, accelerated program for receiving the M.S. or certificate in Educational Leadership –  as “one of the highlights” of his career at Hood. He also was one of the original forces working to start our doctoral program. He states that “I recognized that there was no program easily accessible for the many students who would like to have taken advantage of a doctoral program. I also recalled my experience of having to travel to Virginia every week to take my doctoral classes, and travel to different parts of the United States during the summers for three years in order to complete other requirements. Surely, Hood could create as quality a program as many of the other institutions offering degrees throughout Maryland, DC and Virginia. Years later, more conversations were had and other Hood staff took the lead in making this a reality.”   Another proud moment for Dr. Harris was in 2014, when he was selected as the Hood College Graduate School Commencement Speaker and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate Degree. He reflects, “anyone with the mental capacity and effort can earn a degree, but not everyone is honored with one.  I continue to be humbled by this honor.”

Currently, Dr. Harris works for Frederick County Public Schools as the Executive Director of Accelerating Achievement and Equity, overseeing several departments. He also is an executive and teaching pastor for his church. Due to his professional and community engagements, he is no longer able to teach classes at Hood, but is still a part of our community. He works with doctoral candidates and sponsors the Keith R Harris Outstanding Educational Leadership Award, which is given to a selected graduating student during the graduation ceremonies each year. “I am grateful for the investment Hood has put in me.  And as long as I am able, I will continue to return the investment into the students at Hood.”

The Role of an Artist and Teacher

Posted by | Ceramics, Graduate School Highlights, Uncategorized | No Comments

MullerA great strength of Hood College lies in its faculty. With professors who are knowledgeable and experienced in their fields, students get more than just basic information. One such accomplished professor is Kristin Müller, adjunct instructor in the Ceramics program. Müller has lived around the globe, worked as a professor and a curator, helped start a group that works to promote craft schools, and is the author of several books. A Master of Fine Arts graduate from Hood in 2014, she became an instructor after graduation. As she explains, “I thoroughly enjoy my teaching at Hood because the students are committed, intelligent and talented and the new facilities are world class”.

Müller was born in Panama and moved back and forth between the United States, Argentina, and Chile. After completing high school in Chile and Connecticut, she got her undergraduate degree in studio arts from Southern Connecticut State University, where one of her professors, Ruth Crespi, was a Hood alumna. Crespi introduced her Joyce Michaud, who had just developed the Hood Ceramics program from a certificate program to the MFA. Müller was able to complete the MFA while working several jobs as a single mother.

As an instructor, Müller explains her philosophy as “(being) committed to nurturing every student’s potential…The most rewarding is helping individuals to connect their own specific human experience to their work, beyond the body knowledge they develop through the process of making works in clay. I have a deep interest in facilitating people to connect to their ‘inner voice’ as it relates to our greater human experience, to develop their body of work while developing their critical thinking”

Müller specializes in wood fired ceramics and maintains a studio with an Anagama hybrid kiln in Pennsylvania. She exhibits her work nationally and is the Executive Director of Peters Valley School of Craft in Layton, New Jersey. Prior to her tenure at Peters Valley she taught ceramics at two colleges, was education director of Brookfield Craft Center and also served as curator and ceramics instructor of the Bignell Exhibition Gallery. Kristin is also a writer who contributes to ceramics and fine craft publications and blogs. She authored “The Potter’s Studio Handbook: A Guide to Hand Built and Wheel-Thrown Ceramics” (2007) and is co-author of both “The Potter’s Complete Studio Handbook: The Essential, Start-to-Finish Guide for Ceramic Artists” with Jeff Zamek (2011), and most recently “Making Good: An Inspirational Guide to Being an Artist Craftsman,” with Hood Studio Arts Manager Jacklyn Scott and Tommy Simpson

. We are proud to have such an experienced instructor in our program!


Celebrating International Computer Science Education Week & Grace Hopper Week

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

GraceHopper-MastheadFrom December 4 – 10 Hood College is celebrating International Computer Science Education Week. Since the Computer Science department celebrates computer science education year-round, they decided not to host any special campus activities but “Instead, computer science faculty along with undergraduate and graduate students from our programs, will share the joy and beauty of computing by visiting local schools to work with teachers and students during several Hour of Code school events.”, said Dr. George Dimitoglou, Associate Professor of Computer Science.

Hood celebrates Grace Hopper Week with an Essay Contest in her honor. Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, Ph.D. visited Hood College several times in the 1980′s, giving a departmental lecture, receiving an Honorary degree in 1983 and serving as the Commencement speaker in 1984 — inspiring women to pursue careers in the sciences. Dr. Hopper was a pioneer computer scientist, often referred to by her nickname, “Amazing Grace” due to her scientific and professional achievements. A fun fact shared by Dr. Dimitoglou – “The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing – the world’s largest gathering of women technologists – and a U.S. Navy destroyer, the 500-foot, 7,000-ton U.S.S. Hopper, are named in her honor.” How cool is that?
If you know any high school students interested in learning and writing more about science, computing or historical figures, please encourage them to participate in our Grace Hopper Essay Contest ( Hood’s Department of Computer Science offers exciting prizes!

From Thanatology to Counseling and Beyond

Posted by | Clinical Counseling, Graduate School Highlights, Thanatology | No Comments

WeinsteinElsie Weinstein was thrilled when Hood College developed its Counseling program, which she enrolled in as part of the first class in 2015. Born in Miami, Florida, Elsie has lived everywhere from Laramie, Wyoming to Richmond, Atlanta, New York City, and the Greek island of Corfu. She was accepted to Hood out of high school – she still has her original acceptance letter – but circumstances prevented her from attending. For most of her career, she worked as a paralegal for several law firms in Montgomery County. She was also active with the Maryland Land Title Association, helping to develop ongoing continuing education classes within the residential real estate world. She noticed that much of her energies were going towards counseling others, something that she had always been interested in, but hadn’t wanted to pursue due to policy and politics.

In 2013, Elsie got earned her Master of Arts degree in Thanatology at Hood and then came back for her counseling degree. She currently works for the Housing Opportunities Commission of Montgomery County. Elsie loves to travel and take photographs. She maintains a small side business, making note cards and matted prints of her photography and being hired to document small events; sometimes earning enough to pay those expenses. She looks forward to being able to apply what she is learning at Hood in a private practice. She plans to use her degrees in Thanatology and Counseling to help people dealing with grief and to help them move forward in a life that changes drastically from what one knows and believes. Elsie is a three-time cancer survivor and has volunteered for the American Cancer Society, Montgomery Hospice, Frederick County Hospice, and 4H Therapeutic Riding Center in Thurmont. She recently attended the American Counseling Association conference in San Francisco as a volunteer representing Hood College.

With two graduate degrees from Hood, we know great things lie ahead!

Graduate Student lands internship with The Executive Office of the President

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

charlieHood College Environmental Biology student Charlie Cheul – Woo Kwak has been accepted to The White House Internship Program. According to the official website: “The President, First Lady, and White House staff are committed to providing young leaders an opportunity to develop their leadership skills and serve their country through the White House Internship Program. This program was developed to provide hands-on experience and cultivate meaningful skills.”

Some of the application requirements of The White House Internship were two recommendation letters, as well as answering application questions such as “Who is your favorite President, and why?” and “What characteristics are most valuable in a leader, and how do you demonstrate those characteristics?” In order to apply for the position, you must be an undergraduate or graduate student and have US citizenship. One of the primary reasons Charlie applied is because he wants to learn more about how science translates into environmental regulations. “To that end, I want to secure a Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship in 2019. In order to get the competitive edge over other applicants for the fellowship, I needed an experience at D.C. in a field related to policy. “

Charlie’s assignment at the White House is not yet determined. There are many departments within the White House and he has applied to some of them specifically. We are sure his internship will be interesting and informative just by hearing some of his duties “…I will conduct research, manage incoming inquiries, attend meetings, write memos, staff events, and participate in service projects and non-profit organizations in Washington D.C. I’ll also attend speaker series and small group meetings exploring different policy aspects within the Executive Office of the President.”
Charlie found about the internship in the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) newsletter, as he has interned for USFWS and was previously featured in our Graduate Highlights: Charlie points out how everything is connected: “I wouldn’t have heard about this internship were it not for my internship at Guam with USFWS. I would never have heard of USFWS unless I attended Hood.”

Adding Up Degrees

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

dunkleWhen Alisha Dunkle learned that Hood College had created an Master of Science in Mathematics Instructional Leadership, she knew that she was coming back! Alisha graduated from Hood in 2015 with a degree in early childhood education and a minor in mathematics education. After teaching in Frederick County Public Schools for several years, Alisha knew she need to get her Master’s degree. With a goal of becoming an elementary school math specialist, she searched for a program that fit. With classes that focus on both math content skills and how to teach them, and course scheduling in the evenings and summer, the instructional leadership program meets the needs of working teachers. Alisha chose the PreK-6th grade concentration. A 4th-9th grade concentration is also available.

Alisha started the program last January, and is enjoying both the classes and the people she met. Talking about her professors and classes, she says “I’ve been very lucky to have great professors who are respectful, funny, and passionate about what they’re teaching. Being at Hood has given me the tools I need to take my career in a new direction.” She loves being a student and being in school — probably why she became a teacher — and explains that while working full time and being in grad school is exhausting, she still loves to learn and knows that it is absolutely worth it!

Hood Graduate Student presents research at ESA and ECN Conferences

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

IMG_1600Jennifer Erin Pierce, a 2017 graduate of Hood College’s MS program in Environmental Biology, recently published research she has been working on as a part of her Internship with the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (NMNH). “Braconidae of Plummers Island and Comparison of the Fauna in Canopy and Understory”, was presented at this year’s Entomological Society of America (ESA) Conference and the Entomological Collections Network (ECN), both in Denver CO.

Plummers Island is a 12-acre Potomac River island in Montgomery County, Maryland, about nine miles upriver from Washington, D.C., and is the most scientifically studied island in North America. The goal of the study was to determine species richness between the canopy and understory of Braconidae, important parasitoid wasps used for biocontrol, in eastern deciduous forests, and to understand if stratification occurs. “My job was to chemically dehydrate the specimens, point mount them, label them, and then identify all of the Braconids to their genus and then separate them into their different species.” Jennifer is currently working on naming the specimens, which can be difficult because not all genera have species keys. Once the species were separated, Jennifer and her team found out that they would need around 1600 specimens from the canopy and the understory individually before they reached species saturation, indicating that there are potentially a lot more species to be found on Plummers Island. They also found that species richness and abundance is higher for the understory compared to the canopy. Jennifer is hoping to get back to Plummers Island this summer for more sampling.

Jennifer was assisted in her research by Dr. Bob Kula, a research entomologist for the USDA Systematic Entomology Laboratory in Beltsville, MD. She has only words of praise for her mentor. “He’s been a great mentor for this project and has encouraged me every step of the way.” Jennifer was also assisted by Dr. Michal Parak, a researcher at the Institute of Forest Ecology in Slovakia who helped with the statistics on the project and often collaborates with Dr. Kula.

Jennifer’s Hood experience provided the background knowledge needed for this project. “A lot of the courses I’ve taken for this program are ecology-based which has helped me understand why stratification of Braconidae could be occurring on Plummers.” Jennifer also gained writing skills through her coursework which has been a big help, along with the interpretation of statistical results. She mentioned in particular Dr. April Boulton’s Insect Ecology course, which provided helpful background knowledge on the subject.
According to Jennifer, among the essential things for a student is to go out there and make contacts. “I’ve learned that networking is an important part of research because scientists are always collaborating with one another. Whether it’s through internships or volunteering, go out there and meet some scientists!”

Hood Community Celebrates Diwali

Posted by | Graduate School Highlights, International Students | No Comments

041The Hood College community goes beyond just academics – we love to celebrate our students, our diversity, and give everyone a chance to share their culture and explore others. Hood students from India and Nepal recently organized a celebration of Diwali, the festival of light celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains across the globe. The holiday, which coincides with Hindu New Year, is a celebration of new beginnings and the triumph of light over darkness.

At Hood, we are proud of our diverse student body, and thrilled that students were able to plan and organize this celebration. It was important to our organizers that the people who attended were both those who normally celebrate Diwali and people from many other cultures. As Elyas Abubakr, Hood’s Primary Designated School Officer and one of the organizers, explained “It gave us an opportunity to tell [international] students we value your presence here and we appreciate you as part of the Hood community. You have a family here. The Hood community is your home away from home. It [also] drew a new bridge between domestic and international students at Hood College.”

The celebration featured traditional rass-garba dance, madal drum performances, live music, rangoli paintings, and Indian food. Rangoli paintings are traditional artwork done for Hindu holidays and festivals, featuring symbolic shapes and curved lines. For our celebration, attendees created images on campus walkways using chalk. Inside, both experienced dancers and people learning these dances for the first time had a great time! Experience some of the music and dance in this clip! You will see student Chiranjibi Ghimire playing the traditional madal drums. As a celebrant, organizer, and a performer, Chiranjibi is one of those for whom this event was both supportive and personal. As he explains, “The Diwali celebration is the one of the way we can maintain our home culture and introduce our different culture to an American friends and community. Obviously, international students are very happy and pleased to the Hood College to helping and sponsoring events like Diwali.” We can’t wait for next year!

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Hood College Graduate School launches new MS Program in Cybersecurity

Posted by | Cybersecurity, Graduate School Highlights | No Comments


Interview with Dr. George Dimitoglou; Cybersecurity Program Director and Director of the Center for Computer Security and Information Assurance


How will this program serve the region’s cybersecurity needs?
The regional needs for properly trained cybersecurity professionals is staggering. There are over 60,000 unfilled positions in the two major metropolitan Mid-Atlantic areas (Baltimore, DC) alone. Our goal is for graduates of our MS in Cybersecurity program to fill as many of these positions as possible at all levels, depending on their interests: from the highly technical to the managerial.

Can you tell us more about creating the Cybersecurity degree?
The MS in Cybersecurity was created to address the growing regional needs for cybersecurity professionals. Creating the degree did not start from scratch. The Department of Computer Science & Information Technology has been offering a graduate Certificate in Cybersecurity for over seven years and it became our foundation for our master’s program. But we wanted to make sure that we adhere to the state of the art in cybersecurity education so we build the new program.

What are the strengths of the program?
The most important aspects of the program are the hands-on, experiential learning component and the Capstone experience. While we are committed to providing all the necessary theoretical background, cybersecurity is an applied field, so our courses have a heavy hands-on, laboratory component to reinforce the lecture material and sharpen student skills. The Capstone is unique because it is the culmination of what our students learn during the program, applied to a regional organization. Our students become “embedded” to an organization and work on real-life cybersecurity projects. Students that already work in the industry have the option to work one-on-one with faculty and an industry mentor on a significant research project.

What is unique about this program?
There are several courses that are really interesting — our Forensics course provides students with hands-on lab experience using state of the art forensic analysis tools (think of CSI but solving computer and network hacking incidents). Our Ethical Hacking course is training students how to think like hackers to better protect computers and networks. We are constantly introducing interesting topics and my top priority is to recruit and retain the best faculty to teach in our classes.

Who will be teaching the classes?
Aside from our regular, full-time faculty we always bring in highly qualified industry professionals — for example, our Cryptography course is taught by a former US Army code breaker.

What can you tell us about current interests of and from students?
Students are very interested in system and network security because it is the foundation of skills and knowledge in this area. We see a lot of interest in forensics and ethical hacking.
The program was approved by the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) in late August and within weeks we had a full class of students in the new program. We are now accepting applications for the spring semester.