The Graduate School

From Crisis to Classroom

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

DaileyWhen Dr. Stephanie Dailey came to Hood College as an Assistant Professor, she brought with her a wealth of experience and knowledge. Beyond her extensive academic experience, she has chaired several Presidential Task Forces and committees for the American Counseling Association (ACA), serves as the ACA liaison to the American Red Cross Disaster Mental Health Partners, and is an expert on disaster mental health and ethics for counselors. In fact, when teaching this semester, she found herself cited in the updated version of the textbook her class was using.

Stephanie started as community crisis mental health counselor, working mostly with adults diagnosed with severe mental illness and complex trauma. Her interest in the ethical boundaries for counselors started when she “found that ethics codes didn’t cover many situations.” She currently specializes in crisis/trauma and disaster mental health. As the liaison between the ACA and the Red Cross, she works to find counselors for people impacted by large-scale disasters. She is the former co-chair of the ACA ethics committee and past president of the Association of Spiritual, Ethical, and Religious Issues in Counseling(ASERIC) and co-chaired their ethics committee. Stephanie is also the main author of the DSM-5 Learning Companion for Counselors. She has done research on shelter in place, crisis intervention and ethics, and is currently researching trauma and the Boston Bombing. On average, she presents at five conferences a year, mostly on ethical issues in and for counseling.

Dr. Dailey started her higher education journey at Argosy University, where she earned her Ed.D (Doctor of Education) in Counseling in 2011 and served as Director of Training in the counseling program for six years. As a professor, she likes to “build on what students know is language and experiences, using examples and learning styles that make sense for them.” She tries to gauge their response and structure her teaching based on the students in the class.

Dailey started at Hood this past August but already loves the small liberal arts feel and community. “I feel like even though I may not know everyone yet, I recognize people and this is a community. I have two small children and this is such a family friendly place. I feel like they will grow up here and I love that. Dailey was initially attracted to Hood because of “the growing program. This [counseling] program has truly been set up very well to succeed.” As she spends more time here, she has realized that Hood has “great administrative support. Students are fantastic and excited to be here. Hood is definitely a teaching institution.”

Dr. Eckart Bindewald – from Heidelberg to Hood

Posted by | Bioinformatics, Graduate School Highlights | No Comments

22b2500Dr. Eckart Bindewald, an Adjunct Professor of Bioinformatics at Hood College, teaches Biomedical Web Applications and Data Visualization in the two-year-old program. He earned his Master’s and Ph.D. in physics from the University of Heidelberg in Germany. Since moving to Frederick from the Bioinformatics Center of Excellence at the University at Buffalo in 2004, Dr. Bindewald has been working on computational RNA research at Leidos Biomedical Research and the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research. “I was involved in computationally designing a variety of RNA nanostructures (RNAs with unusual designed shapes like cubes, triangles or hexagons). Some of these structures were later confirmed experimentally and were shown to be able to down-regulate target genes.” Dr. Bindewald keeps a busy schedule, as he is also an associate editor of the journal DNA and RNA Nanotechnology and adjunct faculty in the Department of Mathematics at Frederick Community College.

In his opinion, Dr. Miranda Darby has done an incredible job managing the program created by Dr. Rachel Beyer. The scope of the program is comprehensive; ranging from computer science and programming skills to DNA and RNA sequence analysis to 3D modelling of biomolecules and – as mentioned – web technologies and data visualization pertaining to biomedical data.

Bindewald would recommend the program for a variety of reasons. Primarily, Bioinformatics is a fast-moving field, and as a beginner one may be overwhelmed trying to learn a spectrum of skills that are both relevant and modern. “That is the reason why learning alongside renowned experts in the field is extremely helpful, he adds. The offering of small-sized evening classes is particularly accommodating to the working professional. Moreover, Hood’s proximity to top government and industrial R&D facilities which aids in the ability to obtain internships and improve career prospects. “The “big picture” is that 90% of the world’s data has been created in the last two years. Biomedical data is now created at an ever accelerating pace, and experts with skills in data science and biology are needed who can develop new approaches to make sense of this data. It’s an exciting time to get into this field.”

Adding Up To A Great Teacher

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

ThereaultFor Christine Thereault, teaching is all about being relevant, whether teaching elementary school students or other teachers. With 26 years of teaching experience in elementary and middle schools, she has been a classroom teacher, a special education teacher and a mathematics specialist. Christine works as the teacher specialist for mathematics at Windsor Knolls Middle School.

Thereault recently presented at the Maryland Council of Teachers of Mathematics (MCTM) conference, where her ‘Helping Students to Persevere When All They Want to do is Throw in the Towel’ was one of the most popular sessions. She is also an instructor in graduate program at Hood College, teaching courses in the M.S. in Mathematics Education and M.S. in Mathematics Instructional Leadership programs. That Hood has an instructional leadership program is key to Thereault, who is thrilled that “Hood has both these certifications, so teachers can develop their content knowledge and their leadership.” Her own certification is an M.S. in Math Education from Western Maryland (now McDaniel) College and Educational Leadership Certification from Hood.  Thereault 2


Thereault was asked to teach at Hood after attending a workshop with several professors, including Christy Graybeal, Director of the Math Education Graduate Program. With Graybeal on maternity leave, Thereault substituted for her, and subsequently was recruited. As a professor, she thinks it is key for her students to not only learn about the latest research, but to be able to apply it. She also wants them to understand that “the best thing is that nothing has to be original, but you have to decipher if things are worthwhile or fluff”. There are so many resources available for teachers, and it’s great to use them, but they must be meaningful. That’s why Christine enjoys Hood’s emphasis on “the content knowledge, the depth and understanding of the math standards so teachers realize what they are building and where they are going.” She looks forward to co-teaching EDMA 530, Math Educational Leadership, with Dr. Graybeal and thinks that they can really help students by capitalizing on their “different areas of expertise”.

Lizzy Terrell’s Journey – From exemplary student to a great career

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

picLizzy’s Journey

Elizabeth ‘Lizzy’ Terrell started her Hood College journey in the fall of 2013 in the Biomedical Science Program, and was an exemplary student and classroom leader. Lizzy graduated in 2017 and is now working at the National Institute of Health (NIH), where she started working in 2012 in the Cancer Research Training Award (CRTA) and Intramural Research Training Award (IRTA) program. The Post-Baccalaureate IRTA/CRTA program is designed to provide recent college graduates an opportunity to spend a year doing biomedical research in the resource-rich environment of the NIH. Lizzy has worked in Dr. Deborah Morrison’s lab for five years and has focused on studying proteins involved in cancer-related cell-signaling.


Lizzy’s Perspective on Hood

Lizzy feels that “coming from a larger undergraduate institution, the best thing about Hood was the smaller class size.” She also loved the fact that she was able to take classes at night/after work, and that those classes were directly applicable to her current job. The entire process of drafting, writing, and defending her thesis was invaluable. “The classwork helped to shape my writing skills, and the faculty on my thesis committee were incredibly supportive, encouraging, and helpful in refining the (very) rough drafts into the final product.” Although the thesis track/writing process is a long and labor intensive process, it has proven to be the most valuable part of her degree by developing a wide range of skills for independent research and writing. Lizzy mentions how successfully defending her thesis was by far the best and most memorable moment! Among her other notable accomplishments were receiving Hood’s “Outstanding Student in Biomedical Science” award and winning the school’s “3-Minute Thesis” competition.

Advice for Other Students

If Lizzy were to do one thing different from the beginning, it would be to explore more job options. “I was pretty lucky to end up in a job I love, but it could have turned out a lot different!” In retrospect, she believes it would have been best to sit down and think through what was most important for her in a job, then actively seek it out, and be more assertive in obtaining it.

When asked what she would like to share with other students in similar programs, Lizzie instantly mentions the importance of a goalpost. “Think about where you want your degree to take you and what you want out of the program; what skills you hope to gain or what career are you aiming for. Enroll in classes specifically tailored towards your individual goals.” Lizzy also believes it is important to have a timeline. When do you want your degree to be finished? Work backward from there and set smaller, short-term goals to stay on track. “The faculty want you to succeed, and are incredibly useful resources for both career advice and timeline guidance.”

The Specter and Meltdown Vulnerabilities: a CPU/Architecture Perspective

Posted by | Computer Science, Cybersecurity, Information Technology, Management of Information Technology | No Comments

SpecterMeltdown-Pierce-HoodCSSpecter and Meltdown, names given to a recently discovered vulnerability that affects almost every computer chip manufactured in the last 20 years. If exploited, attackers could gain access to data previously considered completely protected. The Specter and Meltdown flaws work by exploiting two important techniques used to make CPU chips execute faster, called speculative execution and caching.

Speculative execution allows a CPU to attempt to predict the future to work faster. For example, if the chip determines that a program contains multiple logical branches, it will start calculating the values for all of the branches before the program decides which branch to take. When the correct branch is determined, the CPU has already produced the values for that branch. If the CPU sees that the same function is frequently used, it might use idle time to compute that function so it has what it thinks the answer will be ready if needed.

Caching is used to speed up memory access. Random access memory (RAM) is located on separate chips and it takes a relatively long time for the CPU to access data in the RAM. There is a special small amount of memory storage called CPU cache that is built on the CPU chip itself that can be accessed very quickly. This cache memory gets filled with data that the CPU will need soon or often. Data that is produced by such speculative execution is often stored in the cache, which contributes to making it a speed booster. The problem arises when caching and speculative execution start circumventing protected memory.

Protected memory is a foundational concept underlying computer security. It allows a program to keep some of its data private from some of its users, and allows the operating system to prevent one program from seeing data belonging to another. In order to access data, a process needs to undergo a privilege check, which determines whether or not it’s allowed to see that data.

A privilege check can take a relatively long time. Due to speculative execution, while the CPU is waiting to find out if a process is allowed to access that data, it starts working with that data even before it receives permission to do so. The problem arises because the protected data is stored in CPU cache even if the process never receives permission to access it. Because CPU cache memory can be accessed more quickly than regular memory and due to the long latency associated with privilege checks, the process can potentially access certain memory locations that it shouldn’t be allowed to access. As this problem exists in the hardware there is no direct way to correct it. Software patches have been offered to mitigate the exposure but have led to some degradation in performance of the CPU. In many cases, the software patch is targeted at a specific product and installing the wrong patch can severely impact system operation.

The most immediate action security teams and users can take to protect computer systems is to prevent execution of unauthorized software and avoid access to untrusted websites. Security policies must be are in place to prevent unauthorized access to systems and the introduction of unapproved software or software updates.

Bill Pierce

*Prof. Bill Pierce, the author of this article, is an Assistant Professor of computer science at the Department of Computer Science & Information Technology at Hood College in Frederick, Maryland. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Computer Architecture, Digital Logic and Switching Theory, Digital Signal Processing and Musical Computing.*

Hood College Alum named President and CEO of Jennersville Hospital

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

Ursin-RonnieDr. Ronnie Ursin, DNP, MBA, NEA-BC, FACHE, has been named President and CEO of Jennersville Hospital in West Grove, Pennsylvania. He began his duties January 2nd. Dr. Ursin received his Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from Hood College in 2012, and holds other degrees that include; a Doctor of Nursing Practice with a focus in Executive Leadership, a Master of Science with a focus in Health Services Leadership and Management, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and a Bachelor of Science with a focus in Public Health – Administration. When asked “Why Hood College?,” Dr. Ursin pointed out that Hood’s MBA program offered exactly what he desired; “The program was offered in a traditional manner, the location was suitable for my travels to and from work, the faculty were highly regarded professionals with a vast array of experience in practice, Hood College had a very good reputation, and tuition was affordable.”

Dr. Ursin says all of his programs were exceptional and invaluable to his growth in the nursing and healthcare industry, but Hood’s MBA helped him to truly become well-rounded in healthcare leadership. “The MBA gave me a much broader perspective of business knowledge related to management, economies of scale, marketing, leadership, finance, investments, and more. I have been able to utilize the knowledge gained in the MBA program as a nurse leader, non-profit board member, and now a CEO.” Dr. Ursin has also been able to capitalize on his financial expertise to leverage growth and financial stability in his responsibilities as a hospital executive. For instance, he managed to reduce labor cost related to contracted labor by more than 90% in one year.

Dr. Ursin’s advice to current MBA students is to stay focused and never take any MBA lesson for granted. “Most of the concepts, including financial analysis, valuation, reporting, market analysis, project evaluation and risk-management, will be valuable to you in any role you acquire as an expert in business administration.” For example, Dr. Ursin did not fully understand the fundamentals of investments until he completed the program’s investment course. Today, he has multiple investment accounts and the knowledge to manage those accounts without paying others to do it for him. Professors are also a great resource every student should utilize. He gave special mention to Dr. Anita Jose, Professor of Management, who he described as instrumental in his academic success. “Lastly, I encourage each MBA student to market and tell someone else of the quality of education received at Hood College and the MBA program.”

Reading is the Key

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

HelineAraceli Henline’s journey is all about how to help her students. An English Language Learner (ELL) teacher with 22 years of experience, working with students with all levels of English is her passion. From newcomers with almost no English to those who are learning to expand their grasp of English grammar and vocabulary, Araceli is there for them all. Born in Texas and raised in Colorado and part of a Spanish speaking family, she feels that “being an ELL student myself, (students) need teachers who are like them to empathize with them. They need to be challenged by someone who understands yet can show rising above the barriers of language to become a positive contributor to our community is possible.” Outside of teaching, she loves the outdoors, which she learned to appreciate growing up in Denver. Along with hiking, camping, and fishing, she runs half marathons and is considering running a full marathon in the future. She is happily married with 2 children and enjoys the support that her family gives her.

Henline is enrolled in Hood College’s M.S. in Reading Specialization program, which certifies teachers to become reading/literacy specialists, a position which works with students, teachers, and administration to help students learn to read, write, and comprehend. Araceli is already certified as elementary and ELL teacher but wants more for herself and her students. Now in her 6th year teaching at Frederick County Public Schools’ Hillcrest Elementary, a Title I school with a high ELL population, she doesn’t have any plans to leave the classroom soon, but “would consider becoming a reading interventionist with a similar population of ELLs because that is where my heart is.” More important for her is to “prepare my students to become better readers as I become more knowledgeable with this specialization. Reading is so important. I realize the success of my ELL students greatly depends on their ability to not only speak the English language, but to be strong readers and writers. They come to us 5-7 years behind and we need to catch them up with their peers and level the playing field. I realize that reading is a vehicle to my students’ success in the future. It’s exciting to implement the reading strategies I learn at Hood with my students now.”

Araceli is enjoying her time at Hood. While teaching full time, having a family, and being in classes is challenging, she enjoys the small classes and knowledgeable professors. As she gets ready to do her clinical experience this summer, working with elementary and secondary students over the break, she is using everything she learned through the program. She will earn her certification next year but is already using what she has learned to help her students. We wish her all the best!

An Environmental Biology student in action

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

IMG_8423Mia Zimnik, a Hood College Environmental Biology student, says she chose this path because she was “tired of working with animals in captivity, and would rather work in preserving wild populations of those same animals.” Mia spent the spring, summer and fall of 2017 working as an avian research technician for Patuxent Wildlife Research Center under the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and Dr. Diann Prosser. The project was focusing on the breeding population of common and least terns on Poplar Island in the Chesapeake Bay. “It was an incredible experience, and despite being the hardest job I’ve ever had, I would do it again in a heartbeat.” Mia is using data she gathered for her Master’s independent research project, which is measuring egg survivability of the common tern in relation to proximity to nearest nest.

Currently employed as an Environmental Specialist for Angler Environmental/Resource Environmental Solutions, Mia surveys local construction sites, making sure there is no sediment-laden water leaving the site and washing into the waterways, which would eventually get to the Chesapeake Bay. Mia learned about her current job from her department’s professors. “This program has been incredible for my professional development. I really value how the professors here have such rich real-world experience, and want the students to do as well as we can.” Mia also points out she has never felt as if she is “annoying” professors by asking for professional help outside of school, and that she has always had great relationship with her peers. For Mia, Hood is a really supportive community that only wants success for everyone who is a part of it.

Mia’s tips for the current graduate students? Always be organized and to push for what you want. She also mentions that it is crucial not to burn bridges, as well as to make lasting personal and professional connections while you are in the graduate school. “Nobody will work as hard for your future as you will, so put yourself and your dreams first.”

Looking to the Future of the Humanities

Posted by | Graduate School Highlights, Humanities | No Comments

DSC_9453-croppedFor Dr. Corey Campion, teaching is a “passion and privilege” and interdisciplinary learning is key. As the head of Hood College’s Master of Arts in Humanities program, he feels strongly about the role of the humanities in higher education. In fact, he feels so strongly that he has just published “Whither the Humanities – Reinventing the Relevance of an Essential and Embattled Field.” Published in the journal Arts & Humanities in Higher Education, the article looks at some of the struggles of many humanities programs along with why they are still incredibly valuable along with ways to help strengthen them.

Dr. Campion himself has a diverse background which he carries into his teaching and writing. In his own education, he trained as a student of language and culture before turning to foreign affairs and then history in graduate school. He says “along the way, I have enjoyed drawing on my training in various fields to explore a variety of topics from European history, to the history of food, the meaning of vacations, and the current crisis in honeybee populations.” He lives what he teaches, from sharing his experiences living in France and Germany (he speaks French, German, and Spanish) to being a beekeeper with his own apiary. He gives his students real background to their theoretical knowledge. He wants those students to know “how interdisciplinary work can enhance their own learning in a given discipline and to understand better the world in which they live”.

In his article, Campion explains his thoughts on many current humanities programs, and lays out many of the struggles that humanities programs in higher education are experiencing. These include the perceptions of many people that the humanities are “nice, but not necessary” since they don’t teach specific skills aimed at a certain career as a math or science degree might. Humanities teaches not only analytical and critical thinking skills, but empathy and communication, which are key for many careers. Campion believes that one of the stumbling blocks for these programs is stagnation – that many are still doing things the same way, and may be “committed to teaching models that support faculty rather than student needs.” For many graduate students, whose careers may not be in academia, but in other fields where an understanding of people as well as content is key, an interdisciplinary approach which teaches how to be a humanist along with the content may be the best approach.

Campion’s article sets out his ideas for how humanities programs can best serve colleges, students, and communities. “While humanities faculty should not abandon their traditional mission to attain and impart a deeper understanding of the human condition through the study of history, literature, and art, they should also establish their classrooms as a place where all students engage those questions of politics, economics, medicine, and the environment that are so relevant to contemporary society.” He sees the opportunities for interdisciplinary teaching and learning at Hood as “exciting, and I share the College’s convictions with respect to the value of the liberal arts in the twenty-first century.” The college is also excited about his contributions to Hood and the higher education community at large!

How a “Whim” Led to a Job and Degree

Posted by | Uncategorized | No Comments

YountWhitney Yount is a native of Frederick, and after earning her degree in Strategic Communication and Marketing from High Point University in North Carolina, she wasn’t planning on coming back. She applied for – and received – a position as an Admissions Counselor at Hood College “on a whim,” but quickly fell in love with the Hood community. She knew that she wanted a job that was “education-adjacent,” working with education but not actually teaching. She feels that Hood chose her, and not the other way around.

Whitney loved her undergraduate time at High Point, but wishes the school had emphasized community and traditions more. “Luckily, Hood has those things!” Hood’s small size gives “a lot of great opportunities to get involved – as a student and a staff member. I feel like I’ve really been able to pursue my interests and do things that wouldn’t be possible if I was at a larger school.”

While working here, Whitney decided to work toward a Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Behavior (ISHB). She explains, “The ISHB program focuses primarily on Psychology, but in the interest of being well-rounded, students are required to take a few outside classes. I took Economics and Statistics for my ‘outside’ classes because they’re both subjects that I wasn’t able to take during undergrad, but I feel like they’re important to know.” She is thrilled to be getting her degree in something that interests her and will help her career, as “I think coming out of a program that focused so heavily on human behavior and interaction will help me in any career path that I pursue, particularly because I feel like even if I eventually change careers, I’ll definitely still be working where interacting with people is an essential part of my job.” That blend of psychology and business options in one degree is what intrigued Whitney and others in the program. We are thrilled that Whitney is both student and staff at Hood, and can’t wait to see what her future holds!