Why did you choose to pursue a graduate degree?
I started college as an adult wanting to change my career path from information technology to a field science related pursuit. I knew that to be competitive in that space I would need a graduate degree. I planned my educational career with that in mind and took extra science and math courses as an undergraduate in ensure my success.
Why did you choose Hood College Graduate School?
Hood College’s offering in a graduate level geospatial information systems (GIS) education was a big start. The program has a very strong focus on the applied aspect of GIS and remote sensing specific to the study of biological systems. As I was finishing my B.S. in environmental science, I could see the power of GIS and remote sensing in the future of landscape level ecological studies. The Hood advisors were responsive and motivated to bring me into the fold. Add that to the growing list of successful Hood students working at NASA and other important organizations sealed the deal. I knew I wanted to get my master’s at a campus location and the Hood campus and facilities are unquestionably pleasant.
What do you value most about your relationships with your professors?
The Hood professors have a strong and close interaction with the students. By the time a semester in any class concludes, I feel like I know my professor and they know me and my strengths.
What was your most rewarding class or academic experience at Hood? Why?
So far, my most rewarding experience at Hood has been my internship at NASA Goddard under the NASA DEVELOP program. I participated in a 10 week, dual capacity building internship where I was able to work with other students from around the country as well as NASA scientists under the NASA Applied Science Directorate at the world-renowned Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. I was one of three recipients this year of the Science Systems and Applications Incorporated (SSAI) scholarship for problem solving and teamwork, skills I fostered at Hood.
How do you manage your many other obligations such as work and family with the demands of graduate school?
I am a proud husband and father of three: Lucille, Dorothy and William. The support I receive from them is enormous. The main key to success (as well as the hardest to maintain) I have found is to keep consistent on the work at hand and plan as far ahead as possible. Chipping off a little at a time allows for good planning and overall happiness.
Can you offer any tips to prospective students?
You can do it if you put the work in! Read the material before class and ask lots and lots of questions. Most importantly, work to advance your abilities in networking and as a team member. It may seem silly in class but in the science community, it is the many conversations between collaborators that make the real difference.
When you aren’t in class, what is your favorite thing to do in your spare time?
I love the outdoors and rafting. I have been a river guide for six years and get into it as often as I can. Nature is a big stress reliever (sailing, scuba, hiking, etc.) I also play and record guitar and drums, brew beer and paint and draw. I enjoy volunteering for causes such as the US Army Divers, Audible Eggs Easter Eggs for the Visually Impaired and the Harpers Ferry Outdoor Festival.