Betsy Diehl '10

Why did you choose to pursue a graduate degree?
I realized that it would be a great benefit to me professionally in advancing in my career. I kept seeing “master’s degree preferred” in job announcements for positions in which I was interested in so I figured I’d better get one!

Why did you choose Hood College Graduate School?
First, the Humanities program was the right program for me and one in which I could have a role in designing my course of study. I liked the idea of being in the classroom at the place where I worked. It gave me a broader insight into the College.

How did your degree help you further your professional or personal life?
The research I did regarding philanthropy, especially focused on women and philanthropy, had a profound impact on my fund-raising abilities and my overall approach to development. I literally would learn something one day from my research and put it into practice the next in some cases. When the time came to pursue the next step in my career, I am sure that my academic experience studying philanthropy equipped me with a fairly unique and relevant set of skills that gave me an edge in a competitive field. Two years after finishing my capstone, I continue to share my expertise through presentations and articles, so I feel that my degree “keeps on giving” so to speak.

Who is your favorite faculty member and why?
This is a tough question because I honestly loved every faculty member I had. But if I had to pick one, it would probably be Emilie Amt because she had an overarching influence on my entire academic experience at Hood even though I had her for only one class, very early in my graduate school career. In that class, she set the bar very high for academic performance—it was pretty intimidating at first. But she also demonstrated a great sense of fairness, and gave us the tools necessary to help us excel if we wanted to. While she demanded a lot, she did so in a way that made me feel that I could do it (with a lot of hard work). She gave us a rubric that listed out the characteristics of “A” work, “B” work, “C” work, etc., and I made a conscious decision to adhere to the “A” plan. I consulted that document constantly, not only for my assignments in Emilie’s class, but also in every course I took thereafter, including my Capstone. I wanted to be assured that I was doing “A” work for every paper and assignment in every class I took. I knew that if my work met Emilie Amt’s high standards for an “A,” then it had to be good. That is largely why I asked her to be a reader on my Capstone committee—I knew that she would hold my Capstone to the very highest standards, and I kept that in mind, like an academic compass, throughout the process. Emilie inspired me to do excellent work, and this no doubt enhanced my academic experience all around.

What would you share with prospective students about your graduate experience at Hood?
It was a great experience, and I would share the advice that I was given by Kathleen Bands, then dean of the graduate school, when I was deciding about enrolling. She recommended that I choose a program that excited me. Graduate school is hard work, so if you are enrolled in a program that features courses that interest and excite you, the hard work will pale in comparison to the enjoyment you get out of the courses. I was glad I took her advice— my program was surprisingly relevant to my career field, and I got a lot of personal and professional fulfillment out of my academic experience.