Graduate School Highlights

From Education to Biomedical Science

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

SUTThnOz_400x400For Hood College Biomedical (BMS) Alum, Dan Kordella, starting the BMS degree was not a straightforward decision. After graduating from high school in 1991, Dan’s journey led him to a year in college, joining army, resuming his studies several years later and graduating with a BS in Biology in 2005. Afterwards, he decided to become a full-time biology teacher. Taking a few teaching theory and psychology classes made him decide to forego the chance to earn a Master’s degree in Education as he “realized that teaching science was never going to be as satisfying to me as I imagined it would”. Ultimately, Dan decided to come to Hood College and start his BMS degree in part time capacity. As someone who had family, full time teaching job and wanted a high-quality education – Hood’s Graduate School was a perfect choice. Also, “Hood’s tuition was very manageable, even with Fairfax County’s austere tuition reimbursement and my teacher’s salary”, adds Dan.

Even though Dan was the only person in his classes who did not have a lab-related job, and was still not familiar with all of the technologies and associated jargon, he started to adapt quickly. In 2012, Dan attended a presentation on HIV at Hood College, and found it very intriguing. The presentation was given by Hood Alum, Mary Kearney, and Dan managed to connect with her and begun volunteering in Mary’s lab at the National Cancer Institute that summer. In 2016, Dan started his current position at the Vaccine Research Center in cell line development, “…screening for a handful of cell lines producing acceptable titers of high quality monoclonal antibodies from an initial pool of millions of cells that I transfected.” Dan group’s work also extends to potentially immunogenic proteins and virus-like particles as well as work with automation and flow cytometry.

Dan’s advice for Hood students: “going part time can be a grind, perhaps more for those not currently working in a lab and especially for those that are pursuing the mock grant instead of the thesis option.” With the mock grant, and the additional number of lab credits that must be earned, finding the will and enthusiasm to stay current in your studies and be motivated for exams, can indeed become challenging. Dan’s advice is not to take time off but to get through your core classes as quickly as you can. “Stretching a potential 2.5 year program into a seven years is emotionally and intellectually exhausting”, says Dan. Even though the mock grant project took a lot of time and effort, the final presentation (defense) to the committee was one of the proudest accomplishments in Dan’s career.

Leading as Coaches and Teachers

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

Educational leadership isn’t just for the classroom. For Kevin Kendro, Shawn Baker, and Kevin Pirri it extends to the field as well. All three are employed by Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS), Kendro as the Supervisor of Athletics and Extracurricular Activities and Baker and Pirri as head coaches as well as teachers. Beyond teaching and coaching, what do all three have in common? All are using Hood College’s M.S. in Educational Leadership to support their careers and goals. Kendro is a 2007 graduate of the program, which he credits with helping him make connections and get the degree that he needed for his current position. For Pirri and Baker, who entered the program in the spring of 2018, the program was highly recommended from their peers and administration, including Kendro.


Kevin Kendro 1Kevin Kendro is a Frederick native, who graduated from Governor Thomas Johnson High School is 1997. While at TJ he played in the 1997 All-State Baseball game at Camden Yards. He played baseball at Shepherd University, where he got his B. A. in Secondary Education – Health and Physical Education in 2001. After graduating, he returned to FCPS where he worked as teacher, varsity coach, and school athletic director, attaining his current position in 2013. At the same time, he came to Hood for his Educational Leadership degree. He chose Hood not just because of its proximity to home and work, but because of “strong recommendations.” While in the program, “I enjoyed the personal connections with my professors who I felt really cared about me and my growth as an educational leader. I also enjoyed having FCPS administrators teaching some of my courses.” His wife, Jenn Kendro, followed him in the program and earned her Hood Educational Leadership degree in 2011. Kevin and Jenn live in Frederick County with their two children and he enjoys swimming (at Hood!) and supporting his favorite baseball team, the New York Yankees.


BakerFor Shawn Baker, Kendro’s recommendation was a major reason he came to Hood. One of Baker’s eventual goals is to follow Kendro into the position of Athletic Director. He is currently a Physical Education teacher at Brunswick Elementary and the varsity soccer coach at Brunswick High as well as an assistant coach for two FC Frederick soccer teams. A native of Brunswick who went to the schools he now teaches and coaches at, Shawn says “being back at Brunswick teaching and coaching has been such an amazing experience over the past 4 years.” He attended Frostburg State University, where he got his B.A. in Health and Physical Education and played soccer. Baker came to Hood for his M.S. because of recommendation from Kendro, as well as Baker’s own family members, several of which have degrees from the college. Like Kendro, Baker has “enjoyed working with current and former FCPS employees and administrators, working with the staff and current students at Hood that have first-hand experience of Frederick County, I know they will be preparing the best they can for my future as an FCPS employee.” Baker also plays on a semi-pro soccer team for FC Frederick and enjoys having home games on the Hood campus!


PirriUnlike Kendro and Baker, Kevin Pirri is not a native of Frederick. He grew up in Pennsylvania and attended Millersville University in Lancaster where he played two years of college football and got his B.A. in Technology Education with a minor in Athletic Coaching. In 2013, he moved to Frederick and started working at Thomas Johnson Middle School. He then switched to Frederick High School, where he currently teaches Woodworking, Architectural Engineering and Design, and Foundations of Technology. He’s been the head football at FHS since 2015. He came to Hood both because of recommendations from colleagues and the options offered. Pirri explains “as a Masters programs, Educational Leadership offers a lot of opportunities which allow me to have some open options when I complete the program”. As someone who is not a Frederick native, he feels that “coming from out of state for a job is not easy, and in coaching and teaching you need to know people for personal and professional growth. Through Hood I have already had several conversations and created relationships in my short time that will help me with my future.” He lives in Frederick with his wife Lauren and one-year old son Logan and looks forward to more opportunities.


For Baker and Pirri, becoming head coaches at their relatively young ages is quite an accomplishment. Kendro is proud of both and feels they both have bright futures in the classroom and on the field. We look forward to seeing all of them as part of the FCPS and Hood communities!

Doctoral Student Spreading Knowledge to Others

Posted by | Doctorates, Graduate School Highlights | No Comments

ColeyThe members of Hood College’s doctoral program not only want to learn more for themselves, but are now in the position to really help others. For some, like elementary school principal DeVeda Coley, this includes opportunities to present to others. As she explains “Dr. Jennifer Cuddapah, a Hood doctoral professor, encouraged all in our cohort to present at conferences on our topic as we are working on our capstone project.  Dr. Cuddapah shared that presenting at conferences helps to keep us on target and motivated to continue to read and research our topic of interest.” Coley recently presented at the 2018 National Title I Conference in Philadelphia.

Teaching at Title I schools (schools designated for extra support due to being in low income communities) is a key part of DeVeda’s experience. Of her 25 years as an educator at Frederick County Public Schools, 20 have been in such schools. As a product of FCPS herself, Coley is proud to have continued being a part of that community. She earned her undergraduate degree from Mount St. Mary’s, where she is currently an adjunct professor, and her Master’s degree from Hood, where she is a member of the college’s first doctoral cohort. She is currently the principal at FCPS’s North Frederick Elementary School.


When the opportunity to present at the conference came up, Coley was encouraged by Dr. Pattie Hosfelt, a Hood Professor, FCPS principal and friend. DeVeda was excited to present at this particular conference because “I love the challenges, ability to think out of the box, and flexibility that one has when leading Title 1 schools. I am passionate about ensuring that every child gets the best education, no matter their home circumstances. It was an honor to share some of the great things that we do in Frederick County.” Her presentation, entitled ‘Strategic Use of Staff, Budget, and Time to Provide Effective Professional Development’, shared ideas on the importance of job-embedded professional development, different ways to make PD job-embedded and how to creatively use staff, budget, and time to provide quality professional development. It was an interactive workshop where participants shared ideas and reflected on things they could adjust in their buildings. She was able to include information from class research projects in the presentation, received positive feedback, and was thrilled it went well.


Reflecting on her experiences, Coley explains “our Hood classes have forced us to research topics and reflect upon them in our current leadership roles. Professional development and strategic leadership are two areas that I have reflected upon in my classes. The doctoral program promotes ongoing reflection of our leadership styles, actions and tactics. I look to continue to be grow as an authentic leader in Frederick County. In the far future, I hope to be a consultant for Title 1 schools and hopefully come back and teach some classes for the Hood Doctoral program.  I feel blessed and honored to be a part of it.”

Great Teaching Creates Great Teachers

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

HarrigerMichelle Harriger still remembers her favorite teachers as a child and is working to be one of those memorable teachers for her students. A native of Montgomery County, she went to a small private school and still remembers two teachers: Mrs. Murtaugh, who taught English, and Mr. Peer, who taught math and physics. Michelle pursued becoming a math teacher, starting with her B.S. in Mathematics and Secondary Mathematics Education from the University of Maryland, and her M.S. in Secondary Mathematics Education from Hood College in 2017. Michelle is now in her 14th year of teaching at Sherwood High School in Olney and can’t imagine teaching anywhere else.


For Michelle, going to grad school was a way to continue to learn as a teacher, not to move into a different career path. As she explains, “when searching for a graduate program, it seemed as though many colleges’ evening programs were directed towards those trying to move into administration, rather than on improving their instruction. I love being a teacher. Hood was one of only a handful of places that would help me provide more effective instruction without putting my career on hold.” Timing also worked out perfectly for her as she started at Hood the same year that the rollout of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) began. She thinks that “my Hood courses, particularly Teaching Algebra and Teaching Geometry, helped me to understand the motivation and rationale behind the CCSS, which greatly improved my instruction.  My instructors also encouraged plenty of reflection and revision, both of which helped me achieve National Board certification.” Not only did Michelle enjoy her time at Hood, one of her co-workers followed her lead and is now pursuing her Masters at Hood! We wish them both the best!


Understanding Human Behavior

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

Kristin Trible - headshotFor Hood College graduate student Kristin Trible, life is all about learning. Whether working for the government, running for office, or working with a nonprofit, her experiences led to her starting her graduate degree, which is already helping her work. As part of a graduate school whose students have diverse backgrounds and life experiences, she discounts the terminology of ‘non-traditional student,’ saying “we should all strive to be lifelong learners, so why would such a term even exist?” She loves taking tests and explains “I find myself sitting down to a test excited to see if I’ve learned everything necessary. Give me a paper to write, and I’m beyond thrilled.”

Originally from Florida, Trible earned her B. A. in psychology from Duke University. She worked in Annapolis for a state legislator, survived a stint in insurance industry management, and thrived in the Federal Government. She became an educational advocate after volunteering at her children’s school, eventually running for a seat on the Montgomery County Board of Education. While unsuccessful, she loved every minute of engaging with voters and discussing education issues. She has spent the last five years building a mentoring program for Future Link, a nonprofit that provides education and career supports to first generation college students.

After dithering for several years over when and where to earn a master’s degree, Kristin found Hood and the Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Behavior (ISHB) Master’s Program. After considering programs in Education, Law, Public Policy, and Counseling, she decided that the ISHB program was the perfect way to combine those areas. “From Civil Liberties to Social Gerontology to Human Development, I have enjoyed learning and, more importantly, applying what I’ve learned to life and work… I’ve now developed a workshop on supporting first generation college students that I recently presented to staff at Montgomery College. As I improve the Future Link curriculum, I’m constantly drawing on all that I’ve learned in the past year and a half. It’s been a terrific experience!”

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.”

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.”