International Students

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.

Hood Community Celebrates Holi

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One of the strengths of Hood College’s Graduate School is the diversity and inclusiveness of its community. People from many and varied backgrounds come together to celebrate a wide range of cultures and traditions. One such celebration was the recent Holi and Nepali New Year Celebration. Elyas Abubakr, Hood’s Primary Designated School Official and the staff member who coordinates such events, explains that “the recent Holi and Nepali New Year was a celebration of cross-cultures showcasing beautiful colors, food and exotic music and dance from India and Nepal.” Nepali New Year is based on a solar calendar, and the year 2075 coincides with the month of April with the coming of spring, bringing families, friends and the community together in thankful celebration. Holi is a global event celebrated on the Indian subcontinent, and brings alive a festival of colors to welcome spring.


Hood student leaders organized the event, and their heart is clearly in recognizing some of the unique cultures represented on campus. For Rinka Chatterjee this was the first event she helped organize and she looks forward to helping organize others. “By celebrating our own country’s event, international students don’t miss their family and friends who are miles away.” Chiranjibi Ghimire, a Hood student who has been involved with previous events, explains that “We, the Nepali students and community, are very happy and thankful to Hood College for sponsoring the Nepali New Year and Holi celebration event. All International students, think of Hood as a second home. We were missing the moments of celebrations back home, but Hood helps us remember.”


009For both Rinka and Chiranjibi, the event was about more than traditional celebrations, but also about sharing their cultures and getting to celebrate with other members of the Hood community. Rinka believes that “the fun and the acceptance around this event not only came from our own Indian community friends, but the participation of friends from different countries too.” Chiranjibi agrees, saying “It is the opportunity to exchange the culture and promote the Nepali tourism among our American colleagues. Lots of Americans participated and enjoyed the Nepalese and Indian food. This is the one of the great takeaways after the events”

Elyas, Rinka, and Chiranjibi want to thank Hood College and Graduate School Dean April Boulton for hosting the celebration. As Elyas states, “Hood College is the proud sponsor of such events and will continue to be the privileged host for international students, and support and celebrate diversity. For Hood College international students, home is where they are.”

Hood’s Third Annual Three-Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition

Posted by | Curriculum and Instruction, Environmental Biology, Graduate School Highlights, International Students, Uncategorized | No Comments

IMG_6897Kelly Cunningham, a Master of Science candidate in Environmental Biology, is Hood College’s 2018 Three-Minute Thesis (3MT) competition winner. Kelly’s thesis is entitled Identifying Locations in the Greater Washington D.C. Area Most at Risk from Future Development, on the risk to the environment of development in our local area. Kelly presented a technical problem in a non-technical way and was awarded the $600 first-place prize from Hood’s Graduate School.

Members of the audience selected two People’s Choice winners, each of whom was awarded $200. Winners were Kamal Saran Rangavajhula, an M.S Candidate in Management of Information Systems (MIS), presented his semester-long research Detection of Unauthorized Usage of User Accounts through Mouse Dynamics. Kemal conducted this research with the help of professors Dr. Carol Jim and Dr. Ahmed Salem. Jessica McClain, an M.S candidate in Curriculum and Instruction, won with The Effects of Metacognitive Reading Strategies on French L2 Vocabulary Acquisition.

Internationally recognized and valued by employers, the 3MT competition is a way for graduate students to relay their capstone, advanced project, thesis or internship to a non-technical audience. 14 Hood Graduate students gained valuable experience in developing academic, presentation and communication skills. Applicants from seven Master’s Programs — MBA, Environmental Biology, Biomedical Science, Bioinformatics, Curriculum and Instruction, Management Information Systems, and Thanatology, and two 2 Doctoral programs — Doctorate of Organizational Leadership and Doctorate in Business Administration participated. This was Hood’s third year of 3MT sponsorship and The Graduate School hopes to continue this fun and educational tradition in years to come.
Congratulations once again to our winners!

Student Profile – Kamal Saran Rangavajhula

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photo latestKamal Saran Rangavajhula received his Bachelor’s degree in Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering from Andhra University at Vizag in India, and decided to continue his education at Hood College by enrolling in the college’s Master of Science in Management of Information Systems (MIS). Kamal says he was not too familiar with the campus and the department but the praise he heard from an uncle, a Frederick resident, was more than enough to decide to come to Hood.

Kamal chose Hood’s MIS program because it has a cluster of science and management courses, and both are essential. “Coming from a science background I have the interest to know about Management.” Therefore, Kamal was exploring either the pursuit of MBA or MIS courses. “I didn’t really want to leave science.”, he says. By choosing the program which incorporated both IT and management classes, was a great decision and finally gave him a peace of mind.

Kamal is currently working on a research project with Dr. Carol Jim and Dr. Ahmed Salem, with the title Detection of Unauthorized Usage of User Accounts through Mouse Dynamics. This research is in the last stage, as Kamal is writing a paper on it. He believes that the knowledge he received in his classes at Hood is definitely current. “The projects that I did in my telecommunications and data analytics classes are real-time projects that we did in the class,” says Kamal. Moreover, the concept of group project gives him a head start when starting to work in an organization.

Kamal believes the MIS program is high quality as there a vast number of research projects to do in the field and the program teaches you about current, essential job markets. It is also interesting as the atmosphere rapidly changes between the management and IT classes one takes, and the program is one he would recommend to others.

“UnSeen” Field trip to the National Portrait Gallery

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IMG_20180412_135650372EAP 500; Advanced English for Academic Purposes, is one of the most important base classes designed solely for the international students at Hood College. Taught by Dr. Donald Wright, Associate Professor of French and Arabic, Director of Middle Eastern Studies and Chair of Global Languages and Cultures Department, the course has been developed to strengthen English language skills of international students, who come to Hood with varied language and career backgrounds. Dr. Wright believes this class is useful for most international students, and he has created meaningful writing assignments that deal with current events and are based in American culture.

IMG_20180412_133356866Like many classes at Hood, EAP 500 reaches beyond the walls of the classroom, as Dr. Wright and the class recently visited The National Portrait Gallery. They toured and viewed the exhibit UnSeen, which “highlights the work of two leading contemporary artists who grapple with the under- and misrepresentation of certain minorities in portraiture and American history.” Each student had to select a portrait from the exhibit, explain why they picked it, how it spoke to them and what it’s historical or cultural significance was. Back in class, students will continue their discussion about the portraits and will write the biographies of the subjects as part of their assignment. Dr. Wright thought the field trip and exhibition were fantastic and would recommend it to everyone. “We were lucky, we only set off the alarm once and got into an argument a two or three times maybe (about actual ideas – which is a good thing of course)”, he added jokingly.

IMG_20180412_134849194The class and these kind of entertaining field trips are a few of the many opportunities offered to our international students. All are designed to get to know American culture better, while learning and strengthening their English proficiency. And the fun they get by doing it is a bonus!

Hood Community Celebrates Diwali

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041The Hood College community goes beyond just academics – we love to celebrate our students, our diversity, and give everyone a chance to share their culture and explore others. Hood students from India and Nepal recently organized a celebration of Diwali, the festival of light celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains across the globe. The holiday, which coincides with Hindu New Year, is a celebration of new beginnings and the triumph of light over darkness.

At Hood, we are proud of our diverse student body, and thrilled that students were able to plan and organize this celebration. It was important to our organizers that the people who attended were both those who normally celebrate Diwali and people from many other cultures. As Elyas Abubakr, Hood’s Primary Designated School Officer and one of the organizers, explained “It gave us an opportunity to tell [international] students we value your presence here and we appreciate you as part of the Hood community. You have a family here. The Hood community is your home away from home. It [also] drew a new bridge between domestic and international students at Hood College.”

The celebration featured traditional rass-garba dance, madal drum performances, live music, rangoli paintings, and Indian food. Rangoli paintings are traditional artwork done for Hindu holidays and festivals, featuring symbolic shapes and curved lines. For our celebration, attendees created images on campus walkways using chalk. Inside, both experienced dancers and people learning these dances for the first time had a great time! Experience some of the music and dance in this clip! You will see student Chiranjibi Ghimire playing the traditional madal drums. As a celebrant, organizer, and a performer, Chiranjibi is one of those for whom this event was both supportive and personal. As he explains, “The Diwali celebration is the one of the way we can maintain our home culture and introduce our different culture to an American friends and community. Obviously, international students are very happy and pleased to the Hood College to helping and sponsoring events like Diwali.” We can’t wait for next year!

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Organizing and Celebrating Saudi Arabia National Day

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IMG_20170923_184031468 The Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia hosted a celebration of Saudi Arabia’s 87th National Day on September 28th. The celebration was held at the National Building Museum, which was completely decorated in green for the occasion. Mohammed Alyahyawi, a Hood College Graduate Student in Computer Science, was part of the organizing team. Mohammed heard of the event and was interested, so he sent his CV to the Embassy and was invited to assist in organizing the notable gathering.
According to Mohammed, the event hosted over 5000 people and was a representation of Saudi food, drinks, dances and traditions, presented for people of all nationalities. Guests also enjoyed a virtual reality boot, which offered a visual experience and hands-on look into Saudi society. The government’s Vision 2030 project was also presented along with the Kingdom’s potential future plans.

A Path to English Proficiency for International Students

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qweryuuOne of the best ways for Hood College’s international students to perfect their English, besides conversing with their friends and colleagues, is to enroll in EAP 500; Advanced English for Academic Purposes. Professor Donald Wright, who is teaching the course during the fall, 2017 semester, says: “It is a course of English as a second language, in which students learn reading, writing and oral language skills; many international students tend to be more advanced at listening and speaking so the course focuses more on grammar and proper writing for future professional success.” Wright emphasizes that the course is designed so students can discuss different areas of interest that may be useful for them in various fields. The class is divided into several topics, including creating and writing a CV and cover letter, practicing reported speech in an essay about a faculty member, discussing controversial topics and using persuasive speech.

IMG_20171016_145123485 While the class is designed solely for international students, not all are required to take it. It is offered for those who want to strengthen their language skills, and students in a variety of academic programs are mixed together. Dr. Wright believes this class is useful for most international students as the writing assignments are meaningful since they deal with current events and are based in American culture.Like many other classes at Hood, this class reaches beyond the walls of the classroom, as Dr. Wright and the class recently visited the Museum of Civil War Medicine in downtown Frederick. “To coordinate with the field trip we are talking about medical innovations.” The students will then write a proposal outlining the problems of the opioid addiction in the US today and present hypothetical solutions, enabling them to connect theoretical knowledge with their field experience.”

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.

Apply Now for New Doctoral Program

Posted by | Accounting, Bioinformatics, Biomedical Science, Business Administration, Curriculum and Instruction, Educational Leadership, Financial Management, Graduate School Highlights, Information Technology, International Students, Management of Information Technology, Organizational Management | No Comments

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Hood College is now accepting applications for a new organizational leadership doctoral program. The 60-credit, three-year experience leads to a choice of two degrees: (1) Doctorate of Organizational Leadership (DOL) – For those in public and private education, the non-profit sector, training and development, government or military. (2) Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA) – For those employed in business and industry who hold business and related graduate degrees.

The multidisciplinary program is structured by cohort. Both DOL and DBA candidates advance together through core and research courses. They then begin to differentiate their degree pursuit—DOL or DBA—by specializing in business, psychology and counseling or education courses. Finally, they complete their capstone work.

Classes are held on the college’s Frederick, Md., campus on a schedule that accommodates working professionals. The application period for the first cohort closes May 15, 2016. Learn more.