Graduate School Highlights

Hood College MFA graduate designs Kentucky Governor’s Commemorative Award

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Recipients of the 2016 Kentucky Governor’s Awards in the Arts, the state’s highest arts honors, will each receive a handmade platter created by Kentucky Crafted artist Matthew Gaddie of Bardstown. Gaddie said “I am grateful to be connected to continuing Kentucky’s cultural traditions and proud to be a practicing craftsman in our Commonwealth.”

Gaddie, who completed his Master of Fine Arts in Studio Ceramics at Hood in 2016, owns and operates The Meadows Pottery on his 315-acre family farm in Nelson County, approximately 60 miles west of Lexington.  He has been a full-time studio ceramic artist since 2007 and was an adjunct professor of art at St. Catharine College in Springfield from 2007 until its recent closing. In 2003, he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ceramics from the University of Evansville. He earned his Hood degree by making the 10-hour commute several times each year.

“In a time of mass produced uniformity, my ultimate goal is to create works that are unique, each piece having faithfully recorded its own tale of creation, of struggle, of success, of failure, of imperfection and of hope. A human tale told in clay and preserved through fire,” Gaddie said. “I am deeply honored to be a part of this award ceremony. I am grateful to be connected to continuing Kentucky’s cultural traditions and proud to be a practicing craftsman in our Commonwealth.”

The Governor’s Awards in the Arts are coordinated by the Kentucky Arts Council and honor those who have made significant contributions and achievements in the arts throughout the Commonwealth. Each year, the arts council commissions an artist to create a piece of original artwork to be presented to the recipients during the awards ceremony.

The 2016 Governor’s Awards in the Arts were presented on Friday, Oct. 21st, 2016. For more information about the awards ceremony, visit Governor’s Awards in the Arts

Hood alumnus begins new job at World Wildlife Fund (WWF)

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

Brad GoodmanBrad Goodman, an alumnus of Hood College’s Masters in Environmental Biology program, recently started a position with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in Washington DC. Brad graduated from the University of Delaware in 2008 with a B.A. in History, which he says was his favorite subject.

After graduation Brad served in the Peace Corps from 2008–10 and again in 2012. In the entire time he was with the Corps, he served in the Andes Mounts in Peru. He has this to say about that experience- “In addition to assisting local governments, villagers, and non-profits in implementing projects that increased local quality of life while preserving the environment, I was extremely lucky to live in a fantastically beautiful area at 12,000 feet above sea level. Seeing the great work being accomplished in conditions that were not always ideal, usually by very inspiring locals and Peace Corps volunteers, I became hooked. From that point on I decided my work in the environmental sector should turn into a career.

He tells us a more about his Hood experience and career goals.

Why did you choose Hood?
I chose the Environmental Biology Master’s program at Hood because it is a very flexible program in terms of the courses you can take. It is also the only program I could find in the Mid-Atlantic that accepted students who didn’t have a major in science or who were looking to change careers. The location close to Washington, DC and to home in Delaware also helped.

What did you enjoy most about your time at Hood?
Honestly, I had no idea where Frederick, Maryland even was when I applied. However, the more I got to know the downtown area and its cafes (especially the cafes!), the more I appreciated the beauty and surprising liveliness of the town. I really enjoyed taking a break to walk around Frederick, especially during the fall time of the year.

What project did you work on while at Hood?
I did a final project while working for Frederick County Government’s Office of Sustainability and Environmental Resources. There I helped develop the County’s first watershed restoration plan. My focus was on identifying management practices that lowered the total count of E. coli bacteria in waterways and on calculating the change in counts with these practices.

How did your experience at Hood contribute towards landing the position at WWF?
The hiring team told me that the most important thing is that the candidate demonstrates a passion and understanding of conservation work, since that is an indicator of someone who will be happy and work towards World Wildlife Fund’s goals. My Master’s degree demonstrated this, as it helped me understand the projects being done with WWF and shows my long-term commitment to conservation and sustainable development.

Tell us a little about your new position
As Project Coordinator, I’ll be assisting grantees and consultants in processing their project proposals for WWF. This is a great opportunity for me to learn about the many projects going on in all goal areas (such as climate, forests, food, etc.) and regions (Latin American and Caribbean, Africa, etc.). It is also a great opportunity to meet the many inspiring people working to protect wildlife and to promote a better way of living for human beings.

CPT/OPT Information Session

Posted by | Biomedical Science, Business Administration, Computer Science, Environmental Biology, Graduate School Highlights, Information Technology, International Students, Management of Information Technology | No Comments

IMG_20161003_153242Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT) are two important components of the academic experience for most F1 international students.  These programs allow students to gain valuable experience and earn money while working on or off campus during the academic year (CPT) or during the summer (OPT).  As part of the Graduate School’s efforts to empower students with resources that will contribute towards a successful graduate experience, an information session was held recently in partnership with the International Student Services Office and the Career Center.

This event provided an overview of the CPT/OPT process and also provided the opportunity for students to ask questions and receive immediate answers from Dr. Kiran Chadda, Director of International Student Services, Dean of the Graduate School, Dr. April Boulton and Lana Veres  of the Career Center.

The presentations covered areas such as employment options available to F1 international students, procedures for obtaining employment authorization, late stage CPT and internships as well a demo of the GoinGlobal website for job search. Students were also treated to pizza and drinks.

To view the resources shared at the session, visit this link.

New Graduate Ambassadors Program

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ambThe Graduate School recently launched a program that recruits our brightest and most talented students to serve as Graduate School Ambassadors.

After many interviews, the graduate school staff unanimously selected Arzu Ozcan and ‘Dami Okuneye, who immediately began hitting the road to attend various recruitment events.  They are also posting daily updates on social media and blogs on behalf of The Graduate School.

For their efforts, Arzu and ‘Dami receive tuition waivers for two courses, plus a stipend. These are just two of many ways we support our graduate students here at Hood College!

Arzu is an international student from Turkey. She graduated from Middle East Technical University in Ankara with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and is enrolled in Hood’s MBA program. She brings 19 years of managerial experience in finance to her studies. Arzu chose Hood because of the great reputation of its classes and professors, diverse demographics and small, close-knit community. After she earns her MBA, she would like to work in data analysis.

Arzu became an ambassador because she wants to share her enthusiasm about studying at Hood College with prospective students and use her experience to help those who are planning to enroll in a graduate program at Hood. She says, “All the resources are here at Hood to make students’ lives better and easier.”

“Dami is an international student from Nigeria. He graduated from Lagos State University, Nigeria with a bachelor’s degree in electronics/computer engineering and is working toward his Master of Science in Information Technology at Hood. He brings several years of experience as a software developer to his graduate studies and chose Hood’s MIT program because of the small classes, the chance to interact with top faculty and a culturally diverse student body, and the experiential learning opportunities. His passion is to use technology to solve business problems and he plans to explore opportunities in emerging areas in IT upon graduation.

‘Dami joined the ambassador program because he is “excited about the opportunity to show and sell the uniqueness of the Hood College Graduate School.” He believes Hood College is a hidden gem that many have yet to discover, and says that the College has changed his life and can do that for many more people.

In their brief time with us, Arzu and Dami have proven to be great additions to the graduate school team and we are all excited about working with them over the course of the academic year.

MFA Candidate recognized by CCSA

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Bre-Kathman-11-15-edited-150x150Bre Kathman, an alumna of Hood’s Master of Arts in Ceramic Arts program was honored with three awards at the 2016 Contemporary Ceramics Studio Association (CCSA) National convention, held September 9-12 in Charleston, South Carolina. Bre won awards for-

  1. Best Individual Support
  2. Best Individual Educational Instructor
  3. Best Individual Industry Contributor

In addition, Bre was also voted to the Supplier seat on the CCSA Board of Directors for a 2 year term.

Bre is a traditional potter by trade and she currently works as an Education Specialist at Chesapeake Ceramics where she gets to spend a lot of time with schools and teachers.

Fall 2016 Computer Science and Information Technology Department Events

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

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.

MBA Student Assists with Cancer Cure

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MJ Swicegood

MJ Swicegood

Martha “MJ” Swicegood, Hood MBA candidate, has recently worked on manufacturing the cancer drug Keytruda, which has helped save the lives of many people, including former President Jimmy Carter.

MJ explains “Cancer cells are basically your own cells, so your immune system isn’t aware that they’re an issue.  Keytruda is an immunological drug that helps the human body understand that cancer cells are what you want to attack.  The drug comes in, attaches to a receptor on the cancer, and acts like a flag so your body comes in and attacks it.  Instead of working like chemotherapy, which is very detrimental to your body, Keytruda works with your immune system and knocks the cancer out without the danger of radiation. “

Former President Carter says Keytruda helped stall advanced melanoma that had spread to his brain, while oncologists tell us it has helped about 40 percent of similar patients survive for as long as three years post-diagnosis.  Keytruda takes a new approach to treating cancer by stopping tumor cells from cloaking themselves against the normal, healthy immune system response.

Swicegood is working at a vaccine pilot plant now, where she helps manufacturing vaccines that go to topical studies all over the world, which may lead to new researches for new drugs to cure many others.

For further information about Keytruda please refer to

Hood Computer Science student interns at CISCO

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Yashraj Sinha

Yashraj Sinha

Yashraj Sinha, a student in Hood’s Master in Computer Science program, completed an internship with Cisco Inc. this summer. Yashraj is an international student from India, where he worked for Bosch and Cisco prior to starting his graduate studies at Hood. Here’s what he had to say about his experience:

How did you land the position?

I updated my profile on the main job boards—LinkedIn, Dice, Monster and CareerBuilder. I also visited the career pages of all major companies in the Embedded Systems domain and submitted applications for as many relevant opportunities as possible. I found this specific opportunity on the Cisco Career portal. The interview was a two round process but I had a head start since I had already worked for Cisco back in India.

What were your responsibilities and achievements?

My main task was to develop Hardware Diagnostic Software for next generation Terabit speed routers—the first routers of that speed category in the world.

My major achievement was building a bootable Linux ISO image containing Diagnostic Software for the routers. I was also able to take full responsibility for the task and worked independently most of the time.

Any advice for students interested in interning?             

Start applying early, as early as five months before your target start date. Remember that it’s a numbers game. The more jobs you apply to, the higher your chances of landing an offer.

Yashraj is hopeful that this experience particularly his achievements and the professional connections he made will serve as a launchpad for post-graduate career success.

Thank you, Yashraj!

Student earns scholarship award for summer internship project

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

Jared Tomlin, C’16, a Master of Science candidate in environmental biology, was presented with a scholarship award from Science Systems and Applications, Inc. at a recent event held at the NASA headquarters.  He worked with NASA this summer on a project focused on ecological forecasting. This video gives an overview of the project.

Jared is back at Hood to start work on his thesis, which will examine the effect of riparian zones on flooding in the Shenandoah Watershed.