The Graduate School

Chevalier Named Outstanding Curriculum and Instruction Student

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ChavalierHood College’s Outstanding Graduate Student in Curriculum and Instruction for 2018 is Jaime Chevalier. Jamie not only graduated with a 4.0 GPA, she did it while being an exceptional teacher and growing her family, having a baby shortly before graduating!


Jaime started her teaching path by earning her B.A. in Early Childhood Education from Hood in 2011. As a senior, she received the Park-Dorff Award, given to the senior who appears most promising in the field of early childhood education. She taught Kindergarten for six years before moving to 3rd grade, which she currently teaches at Frederick County Public School’s Whittier Elementary. At Whittier, she has served as a mentor for new hires as well as a grade-level team leader. For the 2015-2016 school year, she was a Teacher of the Year nominee and named an ‘All Star’ employee.


As a graduate student, she showed skills with both academic concepts and application of those concepts to students. Jamie completed an action research study on how varied writing conferences impact student performance for Kindergarten and 3rd grade students. She shared the study’s success with the school community, providing strategies to assist students.


Hood would like to thank Janet Nunn, who provided the award in honor of her daughter
Jenny E. Nunn (M.S. ’06, C ’00).


The Outstanding Computer Science Student Award

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

anwar 1Hood College presented The Outstanding Computer Science Student Award Anwar Husain at this year’s Graduate Degree Recipient Reception on May 16th.

Anwar, who already has an M.D./Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Toxicology, graduated with an M.S. in Computer Science from Hood. His interest and goals are to use his advanced work in computer science to complement his prior background, as he ventures towards a career in Bioinformatics. Anwar decided on the Bioinformatics field as it melds together the areas of medicine and computer science, his previous background and his current degree. Anwar has worked on developing an efficient machine learning-based model to best assess network intrusion data in predicting attack types. Currently, Anwar is a post-doctoral research fellow in bioinformatics at The Johns Hopkins University.

The Outstanding Computer Science Award is funded anonymously in memory of Bryce Blackwell Beecham, whose husband David Blackwell was present at the Award Recipient Reception. Mr. Blackwell along with Dr. George Dimitoglou, Director of the Center for Computer Security and Information Assurance, congratulated Anwar on his accomplishments and presented him with the award. We wish Anwar all the best in his future endeavors!

Outstanding Humanities Student Tara Scibelli

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ScibelliEvery year, faculty in each of Hood College’s graduate programs honor a particularly outstanding student to honor. This year’s recipient of the Lisa Ann Sullivan Outstanding Humanities Student is Tara Scibelli. Thanks to Lisa Ann Sullivan for funding this award.

Tara’s three years at Hood have been exciting and varied. She traveled internationally to view works of art and historical sites she learned about in the program, and her thesis, a series of poems on contemporary topics entitled The Fact of Whiteness: Female, showcased her creative writing. With graduation, Tara plans to enjoy her grandson – who inspired some of her poetry – and to continue with her writing.

Before coming to Hood, Tara worked for a conservation non-profit as well as an organization which advocated for keeping the arts in Maryland’s public school systems. Her daughter, Ariel Grove, graduated from Hood in 2012, making Tara a ‘reverse legacy.’ For Tara, the best part of being in the Humanities program was “discussing the readings in class, and especially hearing the points of view of the international students.” While she thought that all the professors were ‘excellent,’ her favorite was Dr. Corey Campion, who “showed genuine concern for all the students in the program and was also an excellent lecturer.” We congratulate her on her outstanding work and wish all the best in her future endeavors!

Megan Lamm awarded Biomedical Science Achievement Award

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Megan Lamm was presented with Hood College’s Biomedical Science Student Achievement Award at the 2018 Graduate Degree Recipient Reception on May 16th.

Megan LammMegan works for In Vitro Sciences, a non-profit laboratory focusing on advancing animal welfare through alternative assays to replace animal testing. Megan and her colleagues develop, validate, and commercialize in vitro toxicology assays and promote these methods through education and outreach. She is a study director and toxicologist focusing on in vitro and in chemico skin allergy and ocular irritation assessments. Megan has presented her thesis project at the Society of Toxicology, the Pan American Conference for Alternative Methods, and the American Society for Cellular and Computational Toxicology. Megan’s project was shortlisted for the Lush Prize for Supporting Animal Free Testing in the Young Researcher category and has been turned into a commercial testing program.

Megan started at In Vitro Sciences 4.5 years ago as a laboratory biologist. She was soon promoted to a laboratory team leader and last October, to Study Director/ Toxicologist I. Megan has led assay R&D, instrument validation, and worked with regulators from many different countries to teach in vitro methods. She was recently an invited speaker at the annual Society of Toxicology Meeting to present on flow cytometry in a regulatory setting.

Congratulations to Megan on all her accomplishments and we wish her lots of success in the future endeavors!

Shauwney Anderson – Excellence in All She Does

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AndersonHood College prides itself on a strong sense of community with not just students and faculty, but all who work behind the scenes. This year, the Graduate School recognized Shauwney Anderson as the recipient of the Staff Excellence Award. Shauwney, Student Accounts Manager in Hood’s Accounting Department, works with third-party billing and is the liaison for many groups, including the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission (SACM), various corporate and government partners, Veterans Benefit Students, Doctoral Program Students and Educational Leadership Programs in Montgomery, Carroll, Berkeley and Washington County Public Schools. She has helped many students navigate the financial maze of graduate school and is always available for students and staff.


Although Shauwney has worked in accounting for 24 years, she has her Bachelor’s Degree in Automotive Technology. She met her husband working at an automotive dealership, and, after starting a family, decided to change career paths. She worked in accounting for several different companies before coming to Hood in 2011. The entire accounting team was impressed with her knowledge and work ethic, and was she was promoted to her current position in 2015. We are thrilled to have her at Hood!

Hood Community Celebrates Holi

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One of the strengths of Hood College’s Graduate School is the diversity and inclusiveness of its community. People from many and varied backgrounds come together to celebrate a wide range of cultures and traditions. One such celebration was the recent Holi and Nepali New Year Celebration. Elyas Abubakr, Hood’s Primary Designated School Official and the staff member who coordinates such events, explains that “the recent Holi and Nepali New Year was a celebration of cross-cultures showcasing beautiful colors, food and exotic music and dance from India and Nepal.” Nepali New Year is based on a solar calendar, and the year 2075 coincides with the month of April with the coming of spring, bringing families, friends and the community together in thankful celebration. Holi is a global event celebrated on the Indian subcontinent, and brings alive a festival of colors to welcome spring.


Hood student leaders organized the event, and their heart is clearly in recognizing some of the unique cultures represented on campus. For Rinka Chatterjee this was the first event she helped organize and she looks forward to helping organize others. “By celebrating our own country’s event, international students don’t miss their family and friends who are miles away.” Chiranjibi Ghimire, a Hood student who has been involved with previous events, explains that “We, the Nepali students and community, are very happy and thankful to Hood College for sponsoring the Nepali New Year and Holi celebration event. All International students, think of Hood as a second home. We were missing the moments of celebrations back home, but Hood helps us remember.”


009For both Rinka and Chiranjibi, the event was about more than traditional celebrations, but also about sharing their cultures and getting to celebrate with other members of the Hood community. Rinka believes that “the fun and the acceptance around this event not only came from our own Indian community friends, but the participation of friends from different countries too.” Chiranjibi agrees, saying “It is the opportunity to exchange the culture and promote the Nepali tourism among our American colleagues. Lots of Americans participated and enjoyed the Nepalese and Indian food. This is the one of the great takeaways after the events”

Elyas, Rinka, and Chiranjibi want to thank Hood College and Graduate School Dean April Boulton for hosting the celebration. As Elyas states, “Hood College is the proud sponsor of such events and will continue to be the privileged host for international students, and support and celebrate diversity. For Hood College international students, home is where they are.”

Graduate School Honors Outstanding Faculty

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BoydIf you ask Hood College Graduate students what their favorite thing is about Hood, many speak of their professors. Faculty who understand both the academic background and practical application of their content area form the backbone of the college. Each year the Graduate School asks students for nominations of outstanding professors. This year’s recipient of the Teaching Excellence Award is Dr. Ann Boyd while Dr. Laura Jones was honored with the Adjunct Teaching Excellence Award.

Dr. Ann Boyd is a professor of Biology, who came to Hood in 1982. She was the Program Director for Biomedical Science from 1982-1993 and was the Dean of the Graduate School from 1993-2002. Prior to Hood, she was a research scientist for the National Cancer Institute and has worked as a consultant for Glaxo, BioFisher, and SAIC. She is on the ethics review boards for several organizations and serves as a grant reviewer for others.


Student nominations said that Dr. Boyd “creates meetings to solve educational issues. She gives advice to me like my closest relative and gives me more ways to improve my weaknesses. She found a place to do my internship to improve my skills.” She also “keeps the class entertaining, yet very informative. She gives one on one help during office hours, is always available for questions, and teaches life lessons in addition to teaching to course.”


JonesDr. Laura Jones is no stranger to awards. In 2016 she was invited to a celebration at the White House after being named the Maryland School Counselor Association’s “Counselor of the Year” and was recognized as their 2018 Counselor Educator of the Year for her work with Hood students. Dr. Jones just completed her 23rd year as an Elementary School Counselor, and with a doctoral dissertation on the psychological benefits of laughter, she works to incorporate joy in the lives of both her elementary and graduate students.


When nominating Dr. Jones, students said that she is a “role model for us in the counseling programs.” One student said that “after an extremely disheartening and challenging semester, Dr. Jones has re-instilled my conviction to keep moving forward to reach the goal of clinical mental health counselor. She taps into her student’s strengths and encourages them despite their feelings of trepidation.”  Others said that “Dr. Jones mentors us by showing examples of how she handles difficult situations,” and that “Hood is so lucky to have Dr. Jones on staff. She is a terrific mentor to her students.”

What Are Your Plans After Graduation?

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Douglas ViaOne of the most dreaded questions for an undergraduate student is “What are you doing after graduation?” It is usually not as stressful for the graduate students, and we spoke to graduates from several Master’s programs and here is what they shared…

Tara Scibelli, who received her M.A. in Humanities, says she will most likely continue to pursue creative writing of some sort as her thesis was a creative writing poetry project. She has many other plans, but the one she is looking forward to the most is to continue to enjoy her new grandson, who was born last year and was an inspiration for some of her writing.
Lois Johnson-Mead, Environmental Biology graduate, came to Hood College as a science educator with experience working with U.S. Fish & Wildlife researchers in raptor conservation. “I wanted to enhance my conservation expertise and to be equipped to help my students address climate change challenges,” adds Lois, who plans to explore opportunities in STEM administration or programs in wildlife restoration and outreach education.

Another Environmental Biology graduate, Kevin Stanfield, looks forward to an internship for the National Park Service through the American Conservation Experience.
Emily Sikora, who earned her M.S. in Reading Specialization, will continue teaching second grade at Urbana Elementary School. In the future, Emily would like to pursue a role as a Literacy Specialist at an elementary school.
Abdul Wasay Mir, an M.S. graduate in Information Technology, wants to keep working on his startup company, providing cybersecurity services. Abdul Wasay is also planning to pursue Ph.D. at a later point in life.
Mia Zimnik has a very straightforward goal as she uses her M.S. in Environmental Biology – Job search! “I’ve been applying to jobs for the past few months, but have yet to find the perfect fit.” Mia plans to pursue a career in either wildlife biology or environmental education, whichever path finds her first!

Congratulations once again to all our graduates and hope all your dreams and plans come true!

Dr. Liz Chang – 46 Years of Service

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

Liz ChangDr. Elizabeth “Liz” Chang was honored with a Years in Service Award by the Hood College Graduate School at the recent Graduate Degree Recipient Reception. Retiring from Hood after 46 years, Dr. Chang has made invaluable contributions and served our students and the institution with unparalleled dedication, commitment and distinction. “Her contributions to the College are too many to enumerate fully,” emphasized Dr. April Boulton, Dean of the Graduate School, at the ceremony. Professor Chang came to Hood in 1972 to teach in the Department of Mathematics where she taught at all levels of the curriculum. Always academically curious and energetic, she became interested in an emerging field, computer science, and working with another mathematics professor, she spearheaded curricular innovations that introduced the first programming course at Hood.

Fast forward several years later, when, while teaching hundreds of students in mathematics and developing several new courses in computing, she created the Computer Science program. The growth and interest in the program was such that in the early 2000s the college established the Department of Computer Science. Professor Chang switched her focus and taught exclusively in the new department, where she served for many years as the department chairperson, designed the Web minor, helped develop master’s programs and served as a graduate program director for many years on different occasions for most of our programs. Dr. Chang was active and resourceful in bringing only the best to her students. For instance, in 2015, Dr. Chang was awarded an Academic Innovation Grant with her proposal to develop “Flipped Classroom” materials for Web Development classes, when she created materials that allowed students to explore technical content before practicing it in class and to review it after class.

Professor Chang has taught across virtually all of our undergraduate and graduate programs including courses in mathematics, the core curriculum and the First Year Seminar. Even now, her students from decades ago remember her courses fondly and never miss an opportunity to express the impact her teaching had on their lives and professional careers. Her service to the College spans more than four decades of continuous leadership and innovation. Congratulations to Dr. Liz Chang for an outstanding 46 years of service, and we wish her a very happy and interesting retirement!!

Hood’s Third Annual Three-Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition

Posted by | Curriculum and Instruction, Environmental Biology, Graduate School Highlights, International Students, Uncategorized | No Comments

IMG_6897Kelly Cunningham, a Master of Science candidate in Environmental Biology, is Hood College’s 2018 Three-Minute Thesis (3MT) competition winner. Kelly’s thesis is entitled Identifying Locations in the Greater Washington D.C. Area Most at Risk from Future Development, on the risk to the environment of development in our local area. Kelly presented a technical problem in a non-technical way and was awarded the $600 first-place prize from Hood’s Graduate School.

Members of the audience selected two People’s Choice winners, each of whom was awarded $200. Winners were Kamal Saran Rangavajhula, an M.S Candidate in Management of Information Systems (MIS), presented his semester-long research Detection of Unauthorized Usage of User Accounts through Mouse Dynamics. Kemal conducted this research with the help of professors Dr. Carol Jim and Dr. Ahmed Salem. Jessica McClain, an M.S candidate in Curriculum and Instruction, won with The Effects of Metacognitive Reading Strategies on French L2 Vocabulary Acquisition.

Internationally recognized and valued by employers, the 3MT competition is a way for graduate students to relay their capstone, advanced project, thesis or internship to a non-technical audience. 14 Hood Graduate students gained valuable experience in developing academic, presentation and communication skills. Applicants from seven Master’s Programs — MBA, Environmental Biology, Biomedical Science, Bioinformatics, Curriculum and Instruction, Management Information Systems, and Thanatology, and two 2 Doctoral programs — Doctorate of Organizational Leadership and Doctorate in Business Administration participated. This was Hood’s third year of 3MT sponsorship and The Graduate School hopes to continue this fun and educational tradition in years to come.
Congratulations once again to our winners!