Why did you choose to pursue a graduate degree?
I have known for a long time that I wanted to get a doctorate in biology, but I was unsure what particular field of biology would suit me. A master’s degree made it possible for me to define my interests and hone my skills as a researcher. In Hood’s master’s program, I was able to work directly with faculty, and received individualized attention to my education and research, something that would have been far more difficult to attain if I had gone directly into a doctoral program. I am now confident in my ability to thrive in a doctoral program because of my time here at Hood.
Why did you choose Hood College Graduate School?
I came from a small liberal arts undergraduate college and know how invaluable that type of environment can be, especially in science. I wanted a program that focused on the individual, and not be a number lost in the masses. The environmental biology classes are engaging and challenging, and the skills I developed in my coursework directly apply to my thesis work and future career goals.
What do you value most about your relationships with your professors?
My professors were absolutely central to my graduate experience both in my coursework and research. The environmental biology faculty is very dedicated to their students and their passion for research is inspirational. My committee members were essential to the success of my research, and provided the guidance I needed to design and execute my thesis. They are very active scholars, enjoy talking to students about their work and keep graduates informed about potential internships, jobs and academic positions in environmental biology.
What was your most rewarding class or academic experience at Hood? Why?
My most rewarding class at Hood was the Tropical Marine Ecology summer course. It was a three-week intensive field course in San Salvador, The Bahamas. We spent the first week at Hood studying various ecological aspects of the tropical environment, and two weeks in the Bahamas. We were able to dive the coral reefs and see spectacular tropical species and conduct group research projects. It was such a rewarding experience to live in a research station and learn about the variety of organisms in Bahamian waters.
How do you manage your many other obligations such as work and family with the demands of graduate school?
I was very fortunate to work and attend school at the same institution. I am a graduate teaching assistant in the biology department during the day and go to graduate classes in the evening. I find the best way to prepare for class is to dedicate at least an hour and a half to coursework every day. The review keeps the material fresh in my mind, which makes preparing for the exams an easier process.
Can you offer any tips to prospective students?
You know you are in the right master’s program when you can dedicate hour upon hour to your graduate work and want to keep going. Environmental biology is my passion, and for me it is such an enjoyable pursuit that it never feels like work!
When you aren’t in class, what is your favorite thing to do in your spare time?
I am an avid hunter/jumper horseback rider, and nothing relaxes me more than trail riding along the C&O canal.