The Graduate School

Dogs, Exploring, Plays, and Stress – Reading Clinic Part 2

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

Miss the first blog in the series? Read about how clinic started, from meeting the kids to being observed in one day, and the difference between confidence and overconfidence in Part One!


20180719_101828 editGetting ready for the second week of clinic, I felt a strange combination of nervous and confident. I’d survived the first week without any major disasters and felt like I’d been teaching my three students for a month. The next week, I still had three students, but it wasn’t the same three. After all, this is the summer. Clinicians want to have summer break, and students and their families do too. That means vacations and trips, which all my students went on. In fact, I ended up having all four of my students for the entire day just two days out of the entire session. After going through introductions all over again on Monday, we got right back into it. We explored the beautiful campus - after all, as we told them, they were coming to classes at the college and were college students now - and still got plenty of work done!


20180711_101631 (1)One of the things that I love about teaching elementary students is that they (mostly) want to please and learn. My group were all motivated learners who tried hard to do their best and enjoyed reading. I’m pretty sure that if I asked them to sit down and read a phone book, they would! Of course, we tried to have a little more fun than that. One of everyone’s favorite things is reading to the dogs. I wish I could take credit for it, but they do it every year. Dogs from Wags For Hope come weekly so that the students can read to them. Even shy and hesitant readers will read to dogs! My students told me all about Dixie, the cocker spaniel who would wriggle over next to you while you read, and Thor, the Bernese Mountain Dog who lived to listen and drool. The dogs also serve an important purpose for the teachers – while we sent one or two of our students at a time , they each got to read to the dogs for 15 minutes , we could work with or assess our remaining students.


For me, one of the toughest parts of clinic was balancing the learning and the fun. After all, I only had three weeks to help these kids, but this is three weeks out of their summer, so they needed to enjoy it too! They were engaged by some work with biographies – yes, biographies can be a lot of fun! When we read about Helen Keller, they created braille messages using a pencil to poke through paper. Then, they each got to pick a person to research from a list of books at their level. One of the coolest moments I had in clinic was watching their discussion when they, without any suggestions from me, each decided to pick someone that they had never heard of. They ended up researching Bessie Coleman, Maria Tallchief, and Ramses the Great and then taught everyone about them. They also had a great time working on a reader’s theater play for The Cheetah and the Sloth (it’s a version of The Tortoise and the Hare) and deciding how dramatically to act it out!20180718_112217 (1)


Of course, while all this fun and learning was going on for the students, the clinicians were learning too. We were observed again the second week, this time doing one of our reading lessons. For once, the lesson I was observed on went well. Probably the toughest thing was the last week – not only were we observed during a writing lesson, we had to observe each other AND get observed coaching each other. We were learning lots of things about the teaching, but the concept of coaching was new. We’d done it once before in class, when our teacher gave us (purposefully) awful lessons to teach to each other, then we took turns coaching each other. This time, though, we had to give each other feedback on lessons that we had designed and cared about. Luckily, mine went well, I was able to give the other clinician ideas while staying positive. But I wondered…what would happen in a school situation, with a teacher who didn’t really want my feedback?


Finally, the third week was over. I couldn’t believe I was done with the elementary clinic – I felt like I had been teaching these kids forever, and I wasn’t ready to turn them over to another teacher. We had a great last day, reading a book about the history of chocolate and making mug brownies in the microwave (messy, but fun), before their parents came in to visit and the students got to share all the things that they had learned. It was so great to see their growth in just three weeks, but I knew I would miss them. Plus, now I was switching to the secondary clinic. If teaching in the elementary clinic, which is where I am comfortable, was tough, how would it be teaching students who are little adults?


I wasn’t ready for secondary, are you? Hear about a whole new program, system, and students, coming soon!

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

Curriculum and Instruction, M.S.

Multidisciplinary Studies, M.S.

Reading Specialization, M.S.

Mathematics Instructional Leadership, M.S.


Mathematics Education Outstanding Student

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EducationThe Hood College Graduate School’s Outstanding Mathematics Education Student for 2018 is Katie Berrigan. A 6th grade teacher at Frederick County Public School’s Walkersville Middle, Katie received her M.S. in Mathematics Education in January. Dr. Cristy Danko Graybeal, director of Hood’s graduate mathematics education program, nominated Katie because she “excelled in all aspects of the program.” Her capstone project, titled Implementing Flexible Groups and the Impact on Student Achievement, was particularly impressive! Flexible grouping is a strategy where students work with different groups of classmates depending on the skills and the purpose of each exercise. She explained the theory behind and benefits of flexible grouping, and “explicitly addressed teacher concerns about flexible groups and provided realistic ideas for their implementation.” Katie has become a true leader for mathematics education, and we look forward to seeing her continue to succeed!

Thank you to Antoinette Border (’04) for funding this award!

An interview with Derrion May, newly named GSA President.

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Derrion May Summer 20171. Derrion, why did you decide to apply for the GSA President position?
When I first came to Hood, I was interested in ways I could informally get involved with other graduate students. I was new to the area so I wanted to meet people that I would more than likely see on campus. After hearing about GSA at Fall Orientation, I thought this would be a great group to be a part of. After attending a few GSA events, I knew I could see myself getting more involved, however, the idea of me being the president didn’t come to mind. After Mir (Wasay, the former GSA President) reached out to me in regards to the opening, I decided I would move forward with applying.

2. What do you like about GSA?
This may be obvious, but Hood College is relatively small. I personally have enjoyed my experience attending two small liberal arts colleges for both undergraduate and graduate school due to the opportunity to forge strong connections among a small student population. At a school such as Hood, GSA is a great resource to meet other graduate students, especially if you live off campus and don’t interact with students outside of class. GSA allowed me to form some great friendships last year and I hope I can extend that relationship to others, and can help facilitate to other students.

3. How did GSA help you in your graduate experience?
GSA is very informal, which made it easy for me to take a few hours from studying to grab pizza or to meet new people. The last event I attended with GSA was laser tag, which occurred when I was trying to wrap up the semester. I was hesitant about taking a few hours away from my work, but it’s amazing what a few hours of friendly competition can do for your health. After the laser tag event, I was still able to complete my work while having had the experience of a unique study break.

4. What will you do differently and what new things will you implement in the upcoming semester?
One thing I would like to do differently this upcoming year is branch out to neighboring colleges or organizations to expand the potential type of events GSA could experience. Frederick offers multiple unique opportunities to network or to attend free workshops that would benefit the student body. I would say that anyone who is interested in any upcoming networks events should keep an eye on our social media pages, or let me know if you see anything worthwhile.

5. Is there a message you would like to send to our current students?
I would like to let current students know that I want this to be their organization. Although I have been assigned to a leadership position, I want current students to look forward to upcoming GSA events and be comfortable reaching out to me if they have any suggestions for future programs.

Mir Abdul Wasay – Graduate Student Association President graduating

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

20180519_144007Mir Abdul Wasay served as the officially elected president of the Hood College Graduate Student Association (GSA) during the 2017-2018 academic year. With the help of GSA members, Mir organized a variety of cultural, professional and fun activities on campus and in the community. Events included: an educational and interactive panel for spouses, and an evening at a local bowling alley. “The most fun thing about GSA is the GSA itself – meeting so many new and interesting people was very special to me,” says Mir. He believes that GSA allowed him not only to learn more about American culture but many other cultures around the world, as active GSA members are from Asia, Africa and Europe as well as the US. The association is open to all graduate students, who can provide input or simply enjoy the activities and meet new people on campus.

When asked Why Hood?, Mir says that the small community, campus and the Information Technology program itself attracted him to the college. He was never a fan of “urban jungles” and Hood was exactly what he had in mind when coming from India to further his education. “Hood’s IT Program is comprehensive and consists of a variety of topics, such as system engineering, management, and cybersecurity, and you are able to focus on what you like best.” Mir says the small student-teacher ratio makes one feel connected to the professors, which may not be easy at bigger schools.

During his two years at Hood, Mir was also involved with Hood TV broadcasting, volunteered for Frederick Fire and Rescue and was an active member of Hood’s Cybersecurity Club.

After graduating in July, Mir is planning to work on his startup company, which he began at Hood. “The idea is to simplify network security solutions and make them available and affordable by applying open source technologies.” Mir will utilize the opportunity of Optional Practical Training (OPT) for the next 3 years, and will work on developing his security solutions business. For the longer run, Mir says he would like to stay in the US, but the world is big and he is not sure where he may end up.

The Outstanding Student in Information Technology Award

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The Hood Graduate School awarded its 2017-18 Outstanding Student Award in Information Technology to Michelle Lynne Johnson. She was honored at the College’s Graduate Degree Recipient Reception. Hood thanks Gary Corsar for funding the award.

michelleMichelle graduated Cum Laude from Hood College with a B.A. in Law & Society in 2009 and returned in 2017 for her Master of Science in Information Technology. While an undergraduate student at Hood, Michelle received convocation honors and was inducted into the Lambda Epsilon Chi and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies. Hood was an easy choice for Michelle’s graduate studies, due to its good reputation, perfect size and a well-balanced program with helpful professors. “The atmosphere is welcoming, and the staff and students are friendly. I also enjoy meeting people from different countries” adds Michelle.

Michelle currently works for the State of Maryland’s Judiciary Administrative Office of the Courts/Judicial Information Systems Division as a Systems Software Analyst. She works on state-wide implementation of the Maryland Electronic Courts (MDEC) project. Michelle obtained her current position while working on her Hood Master’s. She previously worked as a District Court Systems Implementation Specialist for MDEC. Michelle has received recognitions for her leadership and technical excellence throughout her professional career.

Congratulations to Michelle and we wish her all the best in her future endeavors!

What’s it Like to be in Reading Clinic? Part 1

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clinic 2A crucial part of most any graduate school program is the capstone project – the project at the end of the program where students get a chance to apply and expand on everything they have learned. At Hood College’s Graduate School, these projects can range from traditional research to poetry, an art exhibition, action research, or teaching. Here’s a firsthand account of such a project, written by Emily Bernstein, one of our own Graduate Ambassadors… 


I’m Emily Bernstein, a student in Hood’s Reading Specialization program, and right now I’m experiencing my capstone project. As a Graduate Ambassador, I normally write about other people and events at the graduate school. This summer, however, I am part of the Hood College Reading Clinic, and it’s my turn to share!


When telling friends about clinic, formally known as the Advanced Clinical Reading Experience, I’ve called it “the graduate version of student teaching”. Really, it’s more like two semesters of teaching, packed into six weeks, and fast forwarded. We already know how to teach, so now we are putting together what we’ve learned about assessment, intervention, strategies, and coaching, and packing it into two three-week sessions. I’m starting with the elementary session, which I’ll do for three weeks, and then switch to the secondary session. The graduate students are the clinicians, working with real elementary and secondary students whose parents signed them up for our clinic. We have three lead teachers, all experienced reading specialists, as well as two directors. They observe and mentor us, and answer our (many, many, many!) questions.


Clinic PhotoWe were off and running from the beginning. We had already done some testing and assessment on the elementary students during pre-clinical class in the spring, when parents brought their children to us after school. As part of that class, we divided the students into groups, trying to place them with peers with similar needs. There’s no way to create perfect groups, so one of the challenges of clinic is to help them all! That also means you may not get the students you tested. In my group of four, I already knew two students, but had not met the others. Our first clinic day was a Monday, and we met without the students. After getting more information about what we were doing, we had the afternoon to finish setting up our classrooms and plan. Working together with Araceli and Theresa, the other teachers sharing the room, we turned a college classroom into a welcoming luau with lots of books.


We had to get ready quickly because the next day we met our kids, got started, and had our first observation during a word study lesson. Dr. Ellen Koitz, our director, came in to watch me teach the students. My plan was clear and thorough, I knew what I was teaching and how to do it, so it had to go perfectly, right? I wish! Unfortunately, one student sailed through the activity, one student struggled, and I tried to compensate by explaining too much. Luckily, Dr. Koitz was there to help with my struggling student. She didn’t think the lesson was as awful as I did, and we came through at the end. One of the great things about clinic is that it’s a time to try new things and push yourself. Our lead teachers keep telling us that, and it’s turning out to be true. Part of what they assess isn’t necessarily how great our lesson was, but whether we were able to reflect on it, notice what didn’t go as smoothly, and figure out how to make it better. Of course, we all tell ourselves that we’re going to be the one whose lesson goes perfectly, it’s a nice dream to have.


The next day was the 4th of July, so we got a day off. Coming back Thursday, we taught our groups for the second day - we were veterans now! - and it went much smoother. As part of the elementary clinic, Thursday is our long day. On Friday, we don’t teach, but individually conference with a lead teacher to go over our plans for the entire next week. That means we must create our detailed plans, including lessons, books, and word sorts, with rationales for why we are picking each strategy, by Friday morning. Thursday afternoon was a LONG afternoon, with many hours picking and planning. Luckily, working with three clinicians in each classroom, we could bounce ideas off each other and share resources. It was a long day, but the greatest thing about it was that it meant after Friday we were done. The weekend was the weekend, since everything was planned, I could take those two days to relax and (try) to prepare myself for the second week!


Hear about my first full week, reading with the dogs, and meeting my new student! Read Part 2.

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

Curriculum and Instruction, M.S.

Multidisciplinary Studies, M.S.

Reading Specialization, M.S.

Mathematics Instructional Leadership, M.S.

The Outstanding MBA Student Award

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

D7L_0069-X2Julie Partridge is Hood College’s 2018 Outstanding Master of Business Administration Student. The award is funded by Amy Kaufman MacLeod ’11 and was presented at this year’s Graduate Degree Recipient Reception. Julie is a two-time Hood graduate, as she graduated summa cum laude in 2006 with a B.A. in Economics and minors in Mathematics and Philosophy.

Julie began her career in federal government as an Economist for the Department of Commerce. She then moved into the contracting field where she has worked for the last decade. As a Contract Specialist for the Department of the Navy, Julie earned several Commanding Officer awards as well as a Civilian of the Quarter and nomination for Civilian of the Year. She then transferred to the Department of Veterans Affairs, working as a Procurement Analyst and a Contract Specialist. Julie ultimately earned an unlimited warrant and was promoted to a Supervisory Contracting Officer and Division Chief, managing an average portfolio of over $50 million in procurements.

Today, Julie works for the Veterans Affairs Acquisition Academy in Frederick, MD, using her subject matter expertise in the field of contracting to develop curriculum and instruct courses in technical, leadership, and supervisory skills. During her career with Veterans Affairs, Julie has received a commendation from the Secretary, numerous Certificates of Appreciation from Senior Executives, and an Employee of the Quarter award. She also has her FAC-C III and FAC-PM I certifications.

Julie also owns Partridge Avenue Design & Events, LLC, an event planning company specializing in weddings. She is an active member of Ebenezer UMC in Sykesville, MD, currently serving as the chair of camping ministries.

Congratulations to Julie on her accomplishments and we wish her all the best luck in the future endeavors!

Working Towards the Right Career

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ACAHood College likes to celebrate the life experiences that our graduate students bring to the table, whether in a program that follows their undergraduate degree, or applying their undergraduate skills to expand in an entirely different area. One such student is Addie Roop, who earned her B.A. in English from Hood and explored other options and interests after graduation. She worked as an IT recruiter, began a career as a personal trainer, and was an assistant volleyball coach at Hood. Addie explains “what I learned from all of these occupations was that I really wanted to help people, whether it was with their jobs or relationships or just finding themselves and helping them build confidence.”


When Addie got the opportunity to be a graduate assistant coach and pursue her M. S. in Counseling, it was a “no brainer.” She remembered all her great experiences as an undergraduate and coach, where “the staff and community are so helpful and make you feel at home…They make it clear that they want you to be your best and it’s exciting to learn from people who love what they do.” With her realization about wanting to help people, Addie knew that the recently started school counseling program would be a great fit. She entered into the program “excited to make an impact on all the kids and families that I’ll be working with. A lot of times kids don’t think they have an adult that accepts or understands them or takes them seriously, so I really wanted to get into school counseling because I believe everyone is worth knowing and worth my time, especially kids who might not have their own voice yet.”


As a graduate student, Addie is excelling. She recently received recognition at an American Counseling Association conference in Atlanta, where she put her English degree to use, entering an essay competition for future school counselor graduate students. Outside of the classroom, Addie calls herself “an avid dabbler,” trying anything sport and outdoor related, the guitar, singing, drawing, and writing poems. She explains that “I’m not exceptionally great at any of them but that’s not always the point.”


Understanding Psychology in Sports

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

MSEA HeadshotHood College graduate students make contributions to their fields even before they graduate! Casey Rudzinski, a student in the M. A. in Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Behavior (ISHB) program, recently worked on a fact sheet for the American Psychological Association (APA) called ‘Fostering Resilience Through Athletics.’ As the publication explains; “while it is not possible to protect youth athletes from the ups and downs inherent in sport (and in life), it is possible to provide them with the tools they need to respond to challenges.”


 Casey is working on his second graduate degree. He has a B.S. from Temple University in Sport and Recreation Management and an M.A. in Sports Management from Mount Saint Mary’s University. Through his background in sports, he began to realize that “coaching is all about psychology…mental wellness needs to be part of the overall health concerns for athletes.” He eventually plans to go for his PhD in Psychology and decided to come to Hood to get more background in psychology. As part of the newly re-designed ISHB program, Casey thinks that its strengths are the wide variety of class choice. It is also “tailored to fit the needs of the students, not to one career or viewpoint.” Outside of graduate school, Casey is already working in the community. He coaches girls’ basketball at Tuscarora High, where he is an Instructional Assistant. He is on the Board of Directors of the Frederick Association for School Staff Employees and is also on the board of the Maryland Basketball Coaches Association.


With his background in sports and psychology, Casey was happy to work with the APA on this project. He explains that it was an overlap between sports and psychology, and writers were trying to make the sports aspect more approachable to people with a psychology background. Most of the people working on the project had the background in psychology, and Casey brought insight from his time in sports. All worked together to create a fact sheet with ideas for parents, coaches, and sports psychology professionals to help youth athletes develop resilience. With practical ideas and theory, Casey and his colleagues created a document that people can really use.

Kelli Green Receives the Outstanding Educational Leadership Award

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 GreenHood College takes pride in preparing new leaders. Kelli Green, this year’s Outstanding Educational Leadership Award recipient, started her Hood career in 2008, studying as an undergraduate student. She graduated in 2011 with her certification in Secondary Education with a concentration in English. Since then, she has been teaching for Frederick County Public Schools at Frederick High School.


Kelli is a teacher leader and is a member of the FCPS Vanguard program, a partnership between FCPS and Hood that includes classes promoting leadership, and focusing on mindset, instructional technology, teaching practices, and professional learning and networking. As a teacher, she excels at integrating technology in a way that benefits students., including being as early adopter of 1:1 classroom technology and blended learning. She is also working at the forefront of FCPS’ Competency Based Education Initiative.

Special thanks to Dr. Keith Harris, M.S. ’99, who funds the Outstanding Educational Leadership award.