Hood College Graduate School launches new MS Program in Cybersecurity

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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.

Hood’s Graduate School at the CyberMaryland conference

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CyberMDHood College Professors Ahmed Salem and George Dimitoglou attended the 2017 CyberMaryland conference October 11 & 12 in Baltimore. Titled “Leading the Cyber Generation”, the conference included opening remarks by Governor Larry Hogan, Senator Chris Van Hollen, and talks by several nationally recognized speakers and thought leaders from Maryland’s cybersecurity sector, and panelists on cyber and technology innovations. The Hood Graduate School also participated in the Cyber Maryland Industry Showcase with an exhibitor space, joining today’s top cybersecurity companies and organizations while showcasing Hood’s educational offerings, including the new MS in Cybersecurity, set to officially begin with the spring, 2018 semester. The conference promoted Maryland as a nationally and internationally recognized cybersecurity leader, with the development of cybersecurity experts, education and training programs, technology, products, systems and infrastructure. Such development is crucial, as the United States is at risk with over 10 million cyber hacks a day resulting in an annual worldwide cost of over $100 billion.

CyberMaryland was a place to talk about the tens of millions of Americans who have had their identities and bank accounts threatened or compromised. The conference’s website states: “Ensuring that our nation has the workforce, technology and resources to protect our citizens, businesses, infrastructure, intellectual property and more is of paramount importance. Maryland continues to be a leader on this front”.

​Dr. Dimitoglou says that there is a significant regional need for qualified cybersecurity professionals. “Hood College is in one of the most exciting states in the US for cybersecurity, as there are over 60,000 unfilled positions in the two major metropolitan Mid-Atlantic areas of Baltimore and DC alone. We are really in the heart of where everything happens.”

Graduate Women in Science Establishes Local Chapter at Hood College

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FREDERICK, Md. — An international organization dedicated to empowering women in science is launching its 25th United States chapter Jan. 23.

The Greater Maryland Chapter of Graduate Women in Science (GWIS) will launch at 6 p.m. in the Whitaker Campus Center Commons at Hood College. The event begins with an informal mixer followed by a lecture by featured speaker Col. Andrea Stahl, deputy commander of USAMRIID at Fort Detrick. Afterward, there will be a business meeting to discuss upcoming events for this new chapter.

The GWIS mission is “to build a global community to inspire, support, recognize and empower women in science. The organization strives to build a powerful international network of women scientists, mentor the leaders of today so that they can inspire the leaders of tomorrow and empower women scientists to excel in their careers.”

The event is free and open to the public. For more information about GWIS, visit For more information about the launch event, contact April Boulton, Dean of Hood College’s Graduate School and Associate Professor of Biology, and co-founding member of the new chapter, at 301-696-3600 or


Hood College receives ABET accreditation

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Hood College’s Bachelor of Science program in computer science recently received the ABET accreditation which is a demonstration of its commitment to providing students quality education. The ABET accreditation is a voluntary peer-review process that requires programs to undergo comprehensive, periodic evaluations. The evaluations focus on program curriculum, faculty, facilities and institutional support and are conducted by teams of professionals from industry, academia and government with expertise in the ABET disciplines of applied science, computing, engineering and engineering technology.

This accreditation is noteworthy for students in our graduate programs who pay their way through school via tuition reimbursement from their employers. Several employers are only willing to reimburse students who enroll in schools with ABET accreditation. These employers see the accreditation as a measure of the quality of the programs at a school.

According to Xinlian Liu, Ph.D., co-chair of the Department of Computer Science and Information Technology, “this accreditation is expected to attract a lot more students to our programs, especially with our proximity to the I-270 technology corridor. We hope to see a lot more interest in our programs going forward”.

Find out more about the computer science department and programs, visit

Fall 2016 Computer Science and Information Technology Department Events

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This fall, the Computer Science and Information Technology Department at Hood will be co-hosting a number of exciting events here on campus. All students, faculty and staff are welcome.

Python Frederick- 2nd Wednesday Talk – Jupyter Notebook
Whitaker Commons
Thursday, September 14
6:30 p.m.

Python Frederick has a talk the second Wednesday of each month. This month:
Jupyter Notebooks ( are helpful tools for anyone working with data. Popular with scientists of all types, Jupyter Notebooks let you work with Python right from your web browser! You can easily graph data and share your findings with others.
You’ll learn how to use Jupyter Notebooks so you can learn to supercharge any research you’re involved in.

Python Frederick – 3rd Saturday Open Workshop – Python Serverless Microframework for AWS
Coblentz Hall Seminar Room
Saturday, September 17
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Python Frederick has an open workshop the 3rd Saturday of each month. You can work on a common project selected for the day or bring your own project and enlist the help of others.

Hack Frederick Hackathon
Coblentz Hall Seminar Room
Saturday, October 8
10:00 a.m.

Registration is required to attend this event. Additional information is available at Interested students should contact Dr. George Dimitoglou at to form teams.

Python Frederick- 2nd Wednesday Talk – pygame
Whitaker Commons
Wednesday, October 12
6:30 p.m.

Python Frederick’s Second Wednesday talk for October will talk gaming!  We’ll discuss pygame, a Python library for making video games, with the Frederick Game Development meetup.

Meet Program Directors at Virtual Open Houses

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Can’t make it to campus but want to talk with top faculty about Graduate School programs?  Six virtual open houses in November 2015 provide online opportunities to do just that.

Meet directors of the Biomedical Science, Environmental Biology, MBA, Management of Information Technology and Information Technology masters programs and the GIS and Cybersecurity certificate programs. Ask questions and get answers straight from the source. Go to the Visit Us page to register for your choice of sessions.

Grad Student’s Internship Leads to Bioinformatics Job

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Danny Watson

Danny Watson

Daniel Watson, who proudly hails from “the tropical paradise of Barbados in the Caribbean,” discovered the Graduate School by way of his cousin, a past international undergraduate student who “highly recommended me to apply because of her very positive experience.”

While working toward his master’s degree in Computer Science, Danny was selected for appointment to the Student Research Participation Program at the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC) at Fort Detrick. The CPT (Curricular Practical Training) internship working with the bioinformatics team will lead to a position after he graduates in December 2015 as a bioinformatics analyst, a role in which he will continue develop new technologies for the analysis and interactive visualization of biomedical and genomic data.

Danny gives much credit for this career-launching opportunity to Dr. Xinlian Liu—his “primary mentor” and instructor in operating system design and algorithms —as well as Hood’s relationship with Fort Detrick’s Advanced Biomedical Computing Center. Professors George Dimitoglou and Ahmed Salem are among other “major influences” at the Graduate School.

Danny was delighted to “give back to the Hood College community” through a workship at Hood’s Center for Academic Achievement and Retention.

Obama’s SOTU: Careers for Tomorrow

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Obama“T]he best scientists in the world are all telling us that our activities are changing the climate, and if we don’t act forcefully, we’ll continue to see rising oceans, longer, hotter heat waves, dangerous droughts and floods, and massive disruptions that can trigger greater migration and conflict and hunger around the globe. The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security. We should act like it.”

These words from President Barack Obama’s January 2015 State of the Union Address point up the societal value and career potential of Master’s and certificate programs like Environmental Biology and Cybersecurity. Both programs are offered at the Hood Graduate School. Check them out!

Reception for All New Students: August 20

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All students who are new to the Hood Graduate School for the Fall 2014 semester are invited to an orientation on Wednesday, August 20, 5:30-7:30 p.m. The informal welcome reception, to be held at Whitaker Campus Center, will provide an opportunity to meet faculty, staff and fellow students.

The agenda includes a campus tour, introduction to the bookstore and Apple computer lab, a welcome from Graduate School Dean Dr. Maria Green Cowles, and dinner with the program directors. Get the complete agenda and then RSVP here 

Grad Students and Faculty on Arabic-Language News

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AlhurraSeveral Cybersecurity and Information Technology graduate students and faculty appeared in a recent news show on the Alhurra TV station. The students, all from Saudi Arabia, are studying in the US with full scholarships administered through the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission.

Alhurra is a United States-based, Arabic-language satellite TV channel that broadcasts news and current affairs programming to audiences in the Middle East and North Africa. Its mission is “to provide objective, accurate, and relevant news and information to the people of the Middle East about the region, the world, and the United States. Alhurra supports democratic values by expanding the spectrum of ideas, opinions, and perspectives available in the region’s media.”

The Hood segment appeared on the Al Youm show. Al Youm (Arabic for Today), is a live three-hour daily news magazine that originates simultaneously from five countries in three continents including Dubai, Beirut, Cairo, Jerusalem and Alhurra’s headquarters in Springfield, Va.