An interview with Derrion May, newly named GSA President.

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Derrion May Summer 20171. Derrion, why did you decide to apply for the GSA President position?
When I first came to Hood, I was interested in ways I could informally get involved with other graduate students. I was new to the area so I wanted to meet people that I would more than likely see on campus. After hearing about GSA at Fall Orientation, I thought this would be a great group to be a part of. After attending a few GSA events, I knew I could see myself getting more involved, however, the idea of me being the president didn’t come to mind. After Mir (Wasay, the former GSA President) reached out to me in regards to the opening, I decided I would move forward with applying.

2. What do you like about GSA?
This may be obvious, but Hood College is relatively small. I personally have enjoyed my experience attending two small liberal arts colleges for both undergraduate and graduate school due to the opportunity to forge strong connections among a small student population. At a school such as Hood, GSA is a great resource to meet other graduate students, especially if you live off campus and don’t interact with students outside of class. GSA allowed me to form some great friendships last year and I hope I can extend that relationship to others, and can help facilitate to other students.

3. How did GSA help you in your graduate experience?
GSA is very informal, which made it easy for me to take a few hours from studying to grab pizza or to meet new people. The last event I attended with GSA was laser tag, which occurred when I was trying to wrap up the semester. I was hesitant about taking a few hours away from my work, but it’s amazing what a few hours of friendly competition can do for your health. After the laser tag event, I was still able to complete my work while having had the experience of a unique study break.

4. What will you do differently and what new things will you implement in the upcoming semester?
One thing I would like to do differently this upcoming year is branch out to neighboring colleges or organizations to expand the potential type of events GSA could experience. Frederick offers multiple unique opportunities to network or to attend free workshops that would benefit the student body. I would say that anyone who is interested in any upcoming networks events should keep an eye on our social media pages, or let me know if you see anything worthwhile.

5. Is there a message you would like to send to our current students?
I would like to let current students know that I want this to be their organization. Although I have been assigned to a leadership position, I want current students to look forward to upcoming GSA events and be comfortable reaching out to me if they have any suggestions for future programs.

Mir Abdul Wasay – Graduate Student Association President graduating

Posted by | Graduate School Highlights, GSA, International Students, Uncategorized | No Comments

20180519_144007Mir Abdul Wasay served as the officially elected president of the Hood College Graduate Student Association (GSA) during the 2017-2018 academic year. With the help of GSA members, Mir organized a variety of cultural, professional and fun activities on campus and in the community. Events included: an educational and interactive panel for spouses, and an evening at a local bowling alley. “The most fun thing about GSA is the GSA itself – meeting so many new and interesting people was very special to me,” says Mir. He believes that GSA allowed him not only to learn more about American culture but many other cultures around the world, as active GSA members are from Asia, Africa and Europe as well as the US. The association is open to all graduate students, who can provide input or simply enjoy the activities and meet new people on campus.

When asked Why Hood?, Mir says that the small community, campus and the Information Technology program itself attracted him to the college. He was never a fan of “urban jungles” and Hood was exactly what he had in mind when coming from India to further his education. “Hood’s IT Program is comprehensive and consists of a variety of topics, such as system engineering, management, and cybersecurity, and you are able to focus on what you like best.” Mir says the small student-teacher ratio makes one feel connected to the professors, which may not be easy at bigger schools.

During his two years at Hood, Mir was also involved with Hood TV broadcasting, volunteered for Frederick Fire and Rescue and was an active member of Hood’s Cybersecurity Club.

After graduating in July, Mir is planning to work on his startup company, which he began at Hood. “The idea is to simplify network security solutions and make them available and affordable by applying open source technologies.” Mir will utilize the opportunity of Optional Practical Training (OPT) for the next 3 years, and will work on developing his security solutions business. For the longer run, Mir says he would like to stay in the US, but the world is big and he is not sure where he may end up.

What Will You Remember?

Posted by | Clinical Counseling, Environmental Biology, Graduate School Highlights, GSA, Information Technology, Reading Specialization | No Comments

D7R_3305It’s time to celebrate those completing their Hood College Graduate School degrees! We wanted to know what they celebrated about Hood. Throughout their time here, what was their favorite memory? From their professors to experiences that will help them in their fields and the friends that they made, all of the graduates had great memories to share…


Kevin Stanfield, who is receiving his M.S. in Environmental Biology, enjoys remembering the antics of some of his favorite professors, like “watching Dr. (Eric) Annis describe an ecological niche considering n variables in an n-dimensional hyperspace using interpretive dance” and how “Dr. (Eric) Kindahl can deliver riveting two-hour lectures without saying ‘um’ or ‘ah’ or misspeaking even if you intentionally try to derail him.”


M. S. in Reading Specialization recipients Megan Ramsburg and Emily Sikora talked about the reading clinic as their favorite memory. Megan said “this might sound silly, but Summer Reading Clinic may be my favorite (and hardest) memory of the program. It is amazing how much we were able to help these struggling readers in only 6 weeks. Plus, I enjoyed my time with the other clinicians immensely. They really made this experience my favorite memory. We became a family who were able to provide emotional, instructional, and motivational support to each other on a constant basis. The experience truly tested us in so many ways and yet, provided us with the skills and confidence in ourselves that we (some days) didn’t know we had.” Emily agrees, saying “I was able to see how the application of the skills that I learned had an impact on the students I was working with. During this time, I also developed a close friendship with the other clinicians. We supported each other to analyze the data and provide prescriptive instruction to the students.”


For M. S. in Counseling graduate Merrideth Wile, her favorite memory is all about her relationship with her fellow students. She explains “this is not a specific memory, but I cherish the friends I’ve made.” Mia Zimnik, another Environmental Biology graduate, agrees when she said “after my first round of finals myself and the rest of my cohort went out downtown to celebrate. We were all so happy to be done with our first exams of grad school, so proud of ourselves, and were all feeling very relieved! We continued this tradition up until this past round of finals, and it really helped get us through the exams.”


Mir Abdul Wasay, who will receive his M.S. in Information Technology and is the outgoing president of Graduate Student Association (GSA), said that “I’m going to miss the GSA events. They are sweet memories for rest of my life and I will not forget trip to New York with some amazing friends and colleagues.”


Lois Johnson-Mead, who is also a graduate in the Environmental Biology program, chose a memory that connected her learning with hands-on experience and a chance to practice her skills. She explains that being “invited to travel down the Potomac River to assess the health of the Chesapeake Bay oyster population on a historic buyboat for a marine ecology course was one of the favorite, all-encompassing memories I have as an ENV graduate student. Being a part of a discovery team showed me the potential of my graduate degree and connected me with real world issues and possible solutions.”


Stay tuned to hear about our graduate’s future plans!

Cotton Speaker Series Launches the Cybersecurity Master’s Degree at Hood

Posted by | Cybersecurity, Graduate School Highlights, GSA, Information Technology, Uncategorized | No Comments

29261699_10155019431981261_2321211411516096512_oOn April 5th, Hood College will present the first lecture in the John C. and Janet Hobbs Cotton Cybersecurity Endowed Lecture Series. Janet Hobbs Cotton ’59 and husband, John Cotton have provided the college’s new cybersecurity master’s program with a generous gift by establishing the lecture series, which will bring nationally and internationally recognized leaders in cybersecurity to campus.

“My husband and I believe that funding a cybersecurity lecture series will be a unique way to promote Hood as it moves forward with the master’s program in this field,” said Janet. “It will give students a more in-depth understanding of the climate surrounding cybersecurity problems in the world. Members of the Washington, Baltimore and Frederick communities will be encouraged to participate and become more aware of the issues our society faces today.”

The first lecture, slated for 7 p.m. in Hodson Auditorium in Rosenstock Hall, will feature retired four-star general Keith Alexander and mark the official launch of Hood’s Cybersecurity Master’s Program. The importance of establishing a new cybersecurity program is especially emphasized in this time of “the global cybercrime epidemic”, predicted to cost the world $6 trillion annually by 2021 and creating an unprecedented shortage of cybersecurity workers, according to Cybersecurity Business Report.

More specifically, a shortage of 3.5 million cybersecurity workers is being predicted by 2021, with a cybersecurity unemployment rate of 0 percent (zero!) in 2016. This astonishing figure is predicted to stay constant till 2021, as there are currently two job openings for every one qualified professional. This lack of cybersecurity talent is obvious in both the US and abroad. The National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) recently predicted that India alone will require one million cybersecurity experts due to its expanding economy. Despite having the largest IT talent pool in the world, it is highly unlikely that India will be able to produce an adequate number of professionals to meet the demand.

Upper level management positions related to this field are also in a pattern of steady growth. Approximately 65 percent of large U.S. companies have a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) position, up from 50 percent in 2016, according to ISACA, an independent, nonprofit, global association. Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that all large companies in the world will have a CISO position by 2021. With all these astonishing predictions and numbers being generated in the last several years, the Hood Graduate School is proud to continue its leadership in the field with the establishment of the new Cybersecurity Masters of Science Program.


For more information about the John C. and Janet Hobbs Cotton Cybersecurity Endowed Lecture Series, please click here.

About the GSA

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PURPOSE: The objectives of the GSA shall be to:

a. Promote better communication among graduate students, the faculty, and the administration.
b. Provide Graduate students with an official and representative forum in which to raise Graduate student concerns.
c. Provide funding for the purposes of Graduate student societies, research projects, and educational conferences.
d. Provide activities and services which will assist students in their graduate and post-graduate work.
e. Provide social and networking opportunities for Graduate students.
f. Strengthen the Hood community and bridge the relationships between the College and its Graduates.


All students enrolled in graduate studies or students presenting a statement by their department(s) certifying them to be graduate students shall automatically be eligible to become members of the Graduate Student Association.
a. Active membership of the Graduate Student Association shall be chosen without discrimination on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, creed, age, religion, color, political affiliation or ideology, or national or ethnic origin
b. Active membership requires that the members be a full or part time Graduate Student at Hood College.
c. Full and Part-time Graduate students retain full privileges within the Graduate Student Association with the right to hold office and vote.
d. The Graduate Student Association recognizes various Graduate Societies.
e. The Graduate School at Hood College recognizes various academic disciplines.

Types of Events:

Café B4 Class: Get a coffee and a snack before your class. Feel free to mingle with us and other graduate students or dash to your next class!
Mixers: Meet grad students in other departments or even someone who is in your class that you haven’t met yet! Mixers are great for meeting new friends and networking.

List of Upcoming Events:

Café B4 Class March 8th 5 – 6:30pm Whitaker Atrium
Career and Internship Fair March 21st 3:30 – 6:30pm BB&T
Café B4 Class March 22nd 5 – 6:30pm Whitaker Atrium
GSA Mixer March 23rd 7:45 – 9:30pm Hodson Atrium
First Saturday in Downtown Frederick April 1st 3 – 7pm Meet in Whitaker Atrium
Café B4 Class April 5th 5 – 6:30pm Whitaker Atrium
Café B4 Class April 19th 5 – 6:30pm Whitaker Atrium
Café B4 Class May 3rd 5 – 6:30pm Whitaker Atrium

Get on the GSA member list:

Getting Involved:

We know graduate students can be very busy, from family life to working full time jobs, so you can be as involved as you’d like. If you would like to help us plan events or if you only have time to help spread the word of upcoming events and activities to your fellow classmates we would love to have you join. If you want more information about the GSA or you wish to join the GSA please email

GSA Bios

Jorden – Social Media Outreach Coordinator
I am currently in my second semester at Hood College in the Biomedical Sciences program. I currently work full time in cancer research. I grew up in Iowa and moved to Maryland after I graduated from Iowa State University with a B.S. in genetics. My favorite thing about Hood is the smaller class sizes. Having gone to a state school my classes were very large and I find that the smaller class size of Hood allows me the opportunity to get more involved in my classes. In my free time I love to travel, learn about new cultures, read, and try new foods.

Lois Johnson-Mead
Lois Johnson-MeadI am in my final semester at Hood College pursuing a master’s degree in Environmental Biology. I have really enjoyed my science program at Hood: it has pushed me to think in new ways, is very flexible, allows me to acquire relevant skills, and is a friendly intimate community. I have been an educator and senior administrator with experience in science instruction, professional development, and research. In 2015, I was given a chance to combine my science knowledge with education when I was selected for the Fish and Wildlife Service Directorate Fellow Program (DFP). I had skills in GIS I acquired at Hood which with my education background which benefitted me tremendously. As a DFP, I conducted risk assessments of invasive aquatic species and assisted on a marketing initiative to create a social media platform targeting educational audiences. I am working towards graduation in the Fall of 2017 after conducting an independent internship project on prey delivery for a breeding bald eagle pair. I am ready to start a new phase of life combining education and conservation. When I am not romping through the trails of MD state parks with my family and dog, Thor, you can find me organic gardening or searching for new places to get a good slice of pizza!