Joshua Williams '16

Why did you choose Hood College?

I was at a college fair at Frederick Community College and at first I avoided the Hood College booth because I already looked up the “sticker price” of the school and felt it was out of my budget. The girls at the table stopped me as I tried to walk by and when I mentioned why Hood was out of my price range, they told me about all the grants that are available and I should apply and see what I get before making a decision. I did that, and to my surprise I was able to get enough grant money to make it affordable to go to Hood. Originally either Towson or UMCP would have been my first two choices, but looking back I feel I made the best decision going to Hood.

What is your most memorable experience at Hood?

I had many memorable experiences at Hood, one in particular was quite funny. My friend Tom and I were up all night working on a paper, and we went straight to class afterwards, without any sleep. We were unable to stay awake in class, and when Tom fell asleep he knocked over his coffee which startled me and I woke up. I said “Oh, just Tom,” and laid my head back down on the keyboard while he went to get napkins. We still laugh about that to this day and this happened two years ago. It was a very funny and memorable moment.

What is something that surprised you about Hood?

I was really surprised about how approachable the professors were and how easy it is to go talk to them. Even when I wasn’t taking a class that semester with a particular professor they would still stop what they’re doing to help me or guide me in the right direction when I had a question about something. Even when the topic was not directly related to school work. It wasn’t something I had envisioned when I think of a four-year school and it was a very pleasant surprise.

What opportunity were you most grateful for?

First and foremost I was very grateful for the opportunity to attend Hood College, because the semester I started the acceptance rate was 1 in 7, which meant for me to be here 6 other people could not. So I’m grateful I was accepted. Second, which is close second is I was grateful for the internship I was privileged to attend due to Dr. Liu recommending me at Ft. Detrick. It was a wonderful opportunity, which also lead to a job after graduation.

What was your most rewarding class or academic experience at Hood? Why?

So hard to choose one class as the most rewarding but I would have to say that Algorithm Analysis with Dr. Dimitoglou was the most rewarding in the sense that it prepared me the most for a career in computer science. Not that the other classes didn’t, but this class teaches all the different ways of “thinking” through and analyzing a problem and the tools to be able to tackle different problems. I felt this was an excellent class in preparing me for my career.

What is your favorite campus event?

My favorite campus event was the career fair day, which is when potential employers would come and meet with students. It helped me talk with potential employers about possible future jobs and internships. I always tried to make it to these events, because it would help me with employment once I graduate.

What are your goals for the near and distant future?

Due to the internship, I will be working full time at Fort Detrick very soon, right after graduation as a web application developer. Which a goal of mine was to get a coding job after school, so that goal will soon be accomplished. Also, I plan to attend graduate studies at Hood to work towards a M.S. in Bioinformatics. Since I will be doing a great deal of work in the bioinformatics field, it would be best to continue my studies in that area to help further both my knowledge and career. One of my passions is in robotics, so I look forward to also taking the class in robotics, and possibly taking some physics courses at Hood to be able to learn more about what I’m passionate about.

How has your Hood education benefited you?

There’s really not enough time to say all the ways my Hood education has benefited me and helped me grow but I can highlight a few areas. It helped me with learning the skills to be a better programmer, think more critically and analytically on problems and problem solving techniques. The cumulative knowledge from all the courses has helped me develop better programming skills. I also learned so much more than I thought I would and learned more about different subjects than I originally thought I was interested in. I benefited from all the different projects and assignments, and when the professors challenged me to think “outside the box” and pushed me this really helped open my mind up to new goals in life. Through my Hood education I was inspired to create and think of new tools to develop and use. Having my professors’ support and encouragement to do more has been overwhelmingly helpful.

What would you say to students applying to Hood?

I would say to approach your professors as often as possible. They have a wealth of knowledge and not to let it go to waste. It’s such a privilege to attend Hood, so take advantage of the amazing professors, faculty and staff that you have at your finger tips. I’ve had such a good experience with my professors, and being able to go to them and talk to them about ideas, concerns or anything has been invaluable. I couldn’t stress it enough to just be a sponge and absorb everything, be thirsty for more and be creative. You would be doing yourself a disservice to do so otherwise, and selling yourself short. Good luck!