Why did you choose Hood College?
As soon as I walked into Hodson I knew that this was where I wanted to go. The building is so beautiful and you can see all the lab equipment through the big glass windows. I loved that the undergraduate students could use all the instruments Hood has available.
Have you participated in an internship or leadership opportunity in the local area or on campus?
Yes, I worked with Dr. Ensel and one other student here at Hood over this past summer. We worked on an organic chemistry project involving the synthesis of inhibitors for botulinum neurotoxin.
If so, what did you can from that experience?
Dr. Ensel helped me realize that not everything in science is as easy as it is in lab class. Hardly anything works the first time in real research, and it requires a lot of patience and even more luck. This experience also allowed me to have better personal and professional relationships with my professors and the other students that had summer research on campus.
What is your most memorable experience at Hood?
The most memorable experience I’ve had here at Hood would have to be the Murder Mystery Dinner that the Honors Program held last year. It was so much fun! We all got characters that we had to play with back stories and clues to figure out who the murderer was. Then at the end we all voted as to who we thought was the murderer. Although I was not the murderer, my character was incredibly fun to play. Plus, free food!
What do you value most about your relationships with your professors?
Because I have managed to culminate such good relationships with my professors, I am able to get a lot of extra help in class as well as general life advice. When things are hard, all my professors are so caring and willing to help me out in any way that they can. I’ve literally sat in some of my professor’s offices for hours just talking about how life is going. It makes everything a lot easier if your teachers understand what you’re going through and are willing to help you through it.
What is something that surprised you about Hood?
It surprised me that the language classes have TAs. So far, I have not had any other classes that have teaching assistants apart from the languages. Although the language classes are still small, the lower levels have quite a few sections and they meet every day. However, as a small school, with small class sizes it was strange to find out that one of my classes still had a TA.
What was your most rewarding class or academic experience at Hood? Why?
As a transfer student into Hood, I had felt very out of place my first semester. However, I was still a strong student and this caught the attention of my professors. Organic Chemistry is hard, as anyone who has taken it will tell you, but I worked incredibly hard to do well in that class. It was very stressful and frustrating at times but I never gave up. I frequently went to the professor for reassurance and assistance with some of the concepts. I sat in the front of class, took good notes and asked lots of questions. Halfway through the first semester Dr. Ensel asked me what my plans were for the summer. I was brand new and she didn’t know me from Adam, but she still chose me as one of the two students to work with her over the summer. Because I worked hard and clearly wanted to learn, I was singled out by one of my favorite professors for a great opportunity. This was an amazing feeling.
When you aren’t in class, what is your favorite thing to do in your spare time?
When I have spare time, I like to read comics. I am a huge Marvel nerd along with my dad. We have gone to Baltimore Comic Con for 6 years as a family and we dress up in costume every year. My favorite character is X-23, the female clone of Wolverine, and I have managed to collect just about every comic she has ever been in, including her first appearance. As a result, I have over 700 comics and counting.
What is your favorite campus event?
I love the crab feast that happens during May Madness. It’s so much fun to see everybody comes together and make a mess of some crabs! All the teachers come and serve the crabs and it always gets a little ridiculous. The crabs are also delicious.
How has the Honors Program benefitted you?
The Honors Program has allowed me to have a lot of classes outside of my major. Although I love math and science, it’s nice to get a break from that and to be able to read a book about Serial Killers, or Music, or History instead. It has also allowed me to have some amazing professors that I would have otherwise missed out on because they don’t teach any classes in my major.
How do you think the program will benefit you in the future? What kinds of things has the program helped prepare you to do in the future?
I believe that it has benefited me because of the way that the Honors classes are formatted: it is mostly discussion. This requires you to think about world topics that you may not have considered and form an opinion on them. On top of that, it forces you to hear opposing viewpoints and take them into account. This is a skill not everyone has and it is an important one when going out into the real world. In the future, you will be faced with people who don’t share your opinions. It’s necessary to be able to talk to that person and discuss your viewpoints without making it an argument. You must be able to listen to what that person has to say and consider their opinion thoughtfully, but you also have to be able to intelligently gather your thoughts into a response. I think that the Honors classes definitely give students a lot of practice with both of those.
How has the program improved your experience as a Hood student?
The Honors Program was the first group that made me feel like I belonged. As a transfer student, I found it very difficult to find my niche at Hood. I frequently felt excluded because everyone else was already friends with each other since Freshman year. Because the Honors classes are so interactive, instead of sitting in class quietly never talking to the people around me, I made friends with everyone in my class through discussion. Two of my closest friends here at Hood are both also transfer Honors students.
What special academic, co-curricular, social and enrichment opportunities does the Honors Program provide (perhaps that your might not have otherwise)?
There are lots of events that the Honors Program holds. There’s a Welcome Back Dinner and a Holiday Dinner every year with amazing food. There are also several stream cleanups throughout the year to give back to the community, which are followed by picnics where Dr. Laufer barbecues for everyone. We also frequently take field trips to DC and New York to see performances. These events are all only open to Honors students.
What’s the best/most distinctive/most memorable part of Hood’s Honors Program?
I was a part of the Honors Scholarship Committee last year. This means that I was in charge of interviewing various applicants for the Honors Program. I loved reading all the different essays from people that apply to the program. It’s so cool to see the variety of backgrounds that people come from. So many people with different histories and they all ended up making the same decisions. They all chose to apply to Hood and to the Honors Program.
What’s your advice to future Honors Program students?
Although these classes are fun, they are also a lot of work. You need to learn to manage your time wisely. Make a schedule for yourself, not a To-Do list. This will force you to get things done a little at a time rather than cramming it all in at the last minute and stressing yourself out.