Graduate School Highlights

Tea Bowl Carving Workshop Oct. 8-11

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Tea bowls by Kristin Muller

Tea bowls by Kristin Muller

Experienced potters and collectors interested in Japanese Tea Ceremony will enjoy making summer and winter tea bowls with faculty member Kristin Muller during this three-day workshop, Oct. 8-11, 2015.

Topics include the aesthetic principles of tea, the differences between the seasonal bowl forms, clay bodies and glazes. Students will work on forming winter tea bowls.

This is a graduate-level course. The fee is $300; participants may earn two graduate credits. Non-tuition students may register at Learn more about Hood’s Ceramic Arts programs at

Grad Spreads the Word About Watershed Issues

Posted by | Environmental Biology, Geographic Information Systems, Graduate School Highlights | No Comments

ENV Renee BourassaIn 2009, when she started her graduate work at Hood, Renee Bourassa was working as a loan processor for a small mortgage company. The job allowed her the flexibility to take classes at night in order to work towards a new career in environmental science. Later she chose the internship option to complete the program, leaving her day job to pursue an internship at a local organic farm called Fox Haven Farm.

That summer, Renee says, “I worked through the practical applications of the environmental principles I had learned in class, including the importance of riparian buffers, soil conservation and other foundations of organic farming. My master’s project involved testing nutrient management practices to see how they changed nutrient levels in the soil.” As the internship came to a close, Renee took a position at the farm’s education center where she “did a little bit of everything” –  including designing and implementing educational programs for all ages geared towards living a healthier, environmentally-focused life.

These days Renee can be found at the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin where her job is to inform the public of issues concerning the Potomac watershed. “My education at Hood College gave me the background in science and the understanding of ecological systems to translate our work at ICPRB into terms the general public can understand and relate to,” Renee says.

In addition to a master’s in Environmental Biology (2014), Renee earned a GIS Certificate (2013) and a B.A. in Law and Society (2007) from Hood . She and her husband now make their home in Boyds, Maryland.  They expect their first child in January 2016.

Alum Finalist for Maryland Teacher of the Year

Posted by | Curriculum and Instruction, Educational Leadership, Graduate School Highlights | No Comments

Amanda Portner
Photo courtesy FCPS

Hood Graduate School alum and Frederick County Public Schools Teacher of the Year Amanda Portner has learned that she one of seven finalists for the 2015 Maryland Teacher of the Year Award.

A literacy specialist at Thurmont Middle School, Maryland, Amanda holds both a master’s in Curriculum and Instruction and a certificate in Educational Leadership from Hood. A panel of judges from key Maryland education organizations selected the seven finalists from among the state’s 24 district Teacher of Year recipients. Read more here.


Muller Joint Project Featured in American Craft Magazine

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Ceramics Craft-school-experience Muller

SOFA exhibit.
Photo by Jeremy Witteveen.

Kristin Muller is one of a team of five craft school directors who have launched the Craft School Experience, a campaign designed to promote the educational benefits of craft schools. The campaign was featured in the August/September issue of American Craft Magazine.

In addition to directing Peters Valley School of Craft in New Jersey, Kristin is currently an adjunct instructor at Hood College Graduate School, where she earned a certificate in Ceramic Arts in 2012.

The 2014 Craft School Experience exhibition at SOFA Chicago showcased the work of artists who have participated in programs at two or more of the member craft schools; the exhibit is shown at left.

Gaddie Wins Sculpture Commission

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Gaddie CA 2“I feel so prepared to face the world as a professional artist because of the many things I have learned at Hood College.” That’s what Matthew Gaddie emailed Ceramic Arts program director Joyce Michaud just after he landed a commission from the historic Four Roses Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. Matthew has an M.A. in Ceramic Arts and is currently working toward his MFA from Hood.

He tells his most recent professional victory story like this: “Yesterday, with last minute notice, I was asked to meet with Four Roses Distillery about a wall project. I quickly put together a slide presentation, a bio, an artist statement, a few letters of recommendations and press release…. all items already on hand because of Hood. I went into a meeting room confident in my work and my presentation, and BOOM, I landed a huge commission for next year. I will be making a series of seven sculptures to go into their visitors center. The pieces will be used to educate the public about the processes involved in producing bourbon (a topic already close to my heart).”

Learn more about Matthew and his art at The Meadows Pottery.

Former FBI Thanatologist Teaching at Hood

Posted by | Graduate School Highlights, Thanatology | No Comments

Kathleen D Hall Photo (2)

Kathleen D. Hall has utilized her M.A. in Thanatology from Hood College to assist victims of complex, high-profile crimes, disasters and tragedies across the country and to educate special agents and law enforcement about victim assistance. Now retired from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, where she was hired as the Bureau’s first Thanatologist, she is supporting Hood College as a member of the new Thanatology Advisory Council in addition to her role as an adjunct professor in the Psychology/Thanatology program.

In 2004, Kathleen served as a disaster cadre member for FEMA, assisting victims devastated by four hurricanes in Florida. She then joined the Federal Bureau of Investigation, serving as Victim Assistance Program Specialist, Unit Chief and Deputy Program Director for the FBI’s Office for Victim Assistance in Washington, DC.

Representing the FBI, the Department of Justice and the Department of State, Kathleen traveled internationally to speak about victim assistance and assist local law enforcement with start-up victim assistance efforts.  In 2011, as the Bureau’s first Line of Duty Death Liaison, Kathleen developed and implemented the FBI Line of Duty Death protocol, for which she received the FBI Knowledge Award for innovation and excellence.

Kathleen received the FBI Director’s Award Distinguished Service to Victims of Federal Crime, the Bureau’s highest award, for her exemplary assistance to victims, families and survivors of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting in Newtown, CT, and the U.S. Department of Justice Federal Service Award for her coordination of services to the Boston Marathon Bombing victims.  In 2014, Kathleen was asked to lead and develop an FBI National Law Enforcement Victim Assistance Training and Certification Program to promote the need for Victim Specialists within local, state and federal law-enforcement agencies throughout the country.

Kathleen retired from the FBI in 2015, but she continues to serve in a number of capacities within law enforcement, hospital and educational environments to communicate the need to expand victim assistance and death education.

Director of Galleries Featured at Northern Clay Center

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Soda-fired colander by Lisa York

Soda-fired colander by Lisa York

Lisa York, adjunct instructor and gallery director at Hood College, was a featured artist at the Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis this summer. Invited to submit 40 pieces, Lisa was one of just six recent college graduates nominated for the exhibition by instructors in college ceramic programs in Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota.

Lisa, who is from the Washington, D.C. area, completed her graduate studies at University of North Dakota and her Master Certificate at Hood College. Her work has been exhibited throughout the United States and internationally in Canada, Russia, Hungary and China. Her ceramic pieces are currently included in the Plain Arts Museum collection in Fargo, North Dorth Dakota. She has completed residencies at the Sanbao Ceramic Art Institute in Jingdezhen, China and the International Ceramics Studio in Kecskemet, Hungary.

Learn more about Lisa, and discover Hood’s ceramic arts MFA, MA and certificate programs.

Thanatology Program Announces Advisory Board

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The Hood College Graduate School recently welcomed the first Advisory Board for the Thanatology program. The group’s mission is to provide advice, guidance and recommendations regarding program and goal development, marketing and program implementation to ensure the program’s future success.

The new Board includes experts in the fields of thanatology, hospice care, gerontology and funeral administration:

  • RaeAnn Butler, Administrator, Edenton Retirement Community
  • Laurel A. Cucchi, Executive Director, Hospice of Frederick County
  • Gary Fink, Vice President of Spiritual Care and Volunteer Services, Montgomery Hospice
  • Kathleen D. Hall, Program Specialist, FBI Victim’s Assistance Program
  • Jarred Harrington, Vice President of Operations, Alden-Harrington Funeral Home and Thanatology student
  • Jacqui Kreh, Maryland Licensed Funeral Director/Mortician and Certified Funeral Celebrant, Stauffer Funeral Homes
  • Suzanne Morris, Chaplain, Homewood Retirement Center of Frederick
  • Rebecca S. Morse, adjunct professor at George Mason University, University of Maryland at Shady Grove, Marian University and Hood College
  • Donna Mowry, Pastoral Counseling Program Candidate at Loyola University
  • Carolyn True, Director, Frederick County Department of Aging

The Board also includes program alumni and students and, as ex officio members, Thanatology program faculty representatives, the Dean of the Graduate School and the Provost.

At its inaugural August 6, 2015, meeting, Advisory Board members were asked to submit responses by September 1 to three questions: (1)   Given the larger program developments at Hood College and elsewhere, who should be Hood’s audience for the Thanatology degree today?; ( 2)  Do the program’s learning outcomes address the needs of today’s audience?; and ( 3)  How can Hood better market its Thanatology program?  The program director, Dr. Elizabeth MacDougall, will in turn present the feedback to the Dean of the Graduate School for consideration.  

Hood Alum Presents at Prestigious Toxicology Conference

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Emma Bowers

Emma Bowers

Hood College Graduate School alum Emma Bowers recently presented a talk and poster at the prestigious Gordon Research Conference on Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of Toxicity. Now a doctoral student in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Curriculum in Toxicology (CiT) program, Emma earned her master’s in Environmental Biology from Hood in 2012. She presented her doctoral research on the proinflammatory adaptive response to ozone and the differences in inflammatory response between acute and chronic exposures in a poster titled “Modeling ozone adaption in vitro: Inter-individual variation and epigenetic contributions.”

Emma has tailored her research toward filling a perceived knowledge gap in epigenetics: “I am working to build a model for the role of the epigenome in the susceptibility to the adverse effects of air pollution exposure. Once we identify crucial markers associated with susceptibility, we can then collaborate with scientists in other fields . . . to identify risk factors and susceptible populations.”

Her advisor at UNC-Chapel Hill says that Emma’s research will have broad implications in epigenetics and environmental research methodology: “Her work is going to be extremely informative in both understanding how we will respond chronically to pollutants and also understanding who is susceptible and how we can identify these people.”

Published with permission from EPA’s Office of Research and Development’s (ORD) National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory (NHEERL. Author: Tess Liebersohn, contracted writer for NHEERL/ORD. Photo courtesy of UNC. 

MBA Awards Go to Sardella and Vasilev

Posted by | Accounting, Business Administration, Financial Management, Graduate School Highlights, Organizational Management | No Comments
Citation Sardella

Jessica Sardella with David Gurzick, director of the MBA program, and Ron Volpe, Hood College presidenet

MBA faculty presented two awards to exceptional students this spring.

The first — the Fred and Lenora Dietzel MBA Award,established in honor of Dr. Anita Jose for the best student in the MBA Management Policy capstone course — went to Veselin Vasilev. A Hood alum, Veselin returned to his Alma mater and achieved the highest score in a very competitive class on his MBA capstone project.  He is the owner of the VNV Group, a residential services management company that operates in Frederick, Montgomery and Washington counties. Always the scholar, he is continuing his education and is currently a level 1 candidate as a Chartered Financial Analyst.

The second award is the MBA Director’s Award given to a graduating MBA student who personifies academic excellence, high aspirations and great work ethic. This year, the award went to Jessica Sardella.  Jessica maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA through the program.  She is the Senior Associate Director of Annual Giving at Hood College where she is responsible for securing funding of over $1.6 million for academic support, scholarships, financial aid, athletics and more. She specializes in crowdfunding campaigns and is interested in how innovative technology is changing philanthropy. A member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, in her free time Jessica is head coach and director of social media for the Frederick Stars Girl’s Lacrosse Club.