Graduate School Highlights

2016 MA Candidate Honored by CCSA

Posted by | Ceramics, Graduate School Highlights | No Comments

Bre Kathman 11-15  editedAfter finishing her Ceramic Arts Certificate requirements, Bre Kathman returned to Hood Graduate School to pursue her MA. She has just passed her comps and is excited to be graduating in May 2016. Bre says she chose Hood for her graduate studies because in addition to the art of ceramics, the program enabled her “to learn the science behind how clay worked.”

In September the Iowa native received the 2015 Best Individual Support Award from CCSA (Contemporary Ceramic Studios Association) in recognition of superb support and technical knowledge in  clay, glaze, glass and canvas painting. Bre is an education specialist with Chesapeake Ceramics, an international company that supplies bisque and other ceramics supplies to businesses around the world. In her role there, she travels around the country teaching ceramic and glass classes to other companies and also instructs teachers in clay and glass best practices.

Hood Hosts High School Girls for Day of Math Exploration

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

SK Day FinalHood’s Department of Mathematics recently hosted its 10th annual Sonia Kovalevsky Mathematics Day (SK Day) for high school girls. Students and teachers from Frederick County public high schools and St John’s Catholic Prep came for a day of mathematical exploration.

Hood mathematics education alumnae attending included Brittany Beresford M.S.’15, of Brunswick High School; Darrin Drum M.S.’13, of Walkersville High School; and Casey Rogers ‘97, mathematics teacher at Middletown High School.

After a welcome from Olivia White, vice president of student life and dean of students, SK Day participants engaged in workshops led by Hood faculty members Jill Tysse, assistant professor of mathematics; Martha Meadows, senior lecturer of mathematics; Georgette Jones, assistant professor of biology; and Erin George, assistant professor of economics.

Hood mathematics students Sienna Bronson ’16 and Lew Dean ’16 spoke about the life of Sonia Kovalevsky, the first woman to earn a doctorate in mathematics. Hood alumnae composed a mathematics career panel: Robin Winkler-Pickett ’84, M.S.’07, scientific operations manager of the Cancer and Inflammation Program at the National Cancer Institute; Abisola Abolude ’09, research analyst at IMPAQ International; and Alison Schuetz ’15, business analyst at Thermo Fisher Scientific. Amanda Forster, materials research engineer at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, rounded out the panel.

SK Day was supported by PNC Bank through the Community Foundation of Frederick and by Frederick County Public Schools.

Meet Program Directors at Virtual Open Houses

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

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.

Program Director Advances Cancer Research

Posted by | Biomedical Science, Graduate School Highlights | No Comments
Dr. Rachel Bagni (photo courtesy Frederick News-Post)

Dr. Rachel Bagni
(photo courtesy Frederick News-Post)

Dr. Rachel Bagni  leads a team that is part of the RAS Initiative, in which National Cancer Institute and Frederick National Lab for Cancer Research scientists focus on oncogenes–or genes that could potentially cause cancer.  The Frederick News-Post recently featured a story about her role in this important research, specifically with the K-Ras gene, which is associated with lung, pancreatic, colorectal and other cancers.

Dr. Bagni is a Hood alum and director of the Graduate School’s Biomedical Science program. She has worked at NCI for 16 years, rising through the ranks from intern to her current position.

MFA Alum Advocates for Ceramics Education

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Denise Joyal, Hood MFA ’14, recently advocated eloquently in favor of keeping the ceramic arts program at Grinnell College. Letters to the college from Denise and other artists like her no doubt influenced Grinnell’s ultimate decision not to remove the program from the curriculum. Facebook members may read Denise’s post on the NCECA post here

Denise, who also holds a certificate in ceramic arts from the Hood Graduate School, is in her ninth year teaching ceramic arts at Wilson College in Chambersburg, PA. She also teaches at the Frederick Clay Studio in Frederick, MD, and owns Kiln Joy Ceramics.


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.