Why did you choose Hood College?
I stumbled upon Hood College by mistake on my way to another Maryland school and I decided that I wanted to purchase a Hood hoodie sweatshirt. Little did I know that I would end up with a private tour and interview, and that Hood would become the perfect place for me. I chose Hood because of its downtown environment, small class sizes, generous scholarships and grants and opportunities for learning and leadership. I loved how gregarious, personable and outgoing all the students and staff were.
Have you participated in an internship or leadership opportunity in the local area or on campus?
I serve as the president of the Student Government Association and have been involved with several leadership opportunities on campus through organizations and honor societies. I was also lucky enough to take a wonderful course with Dr. Bands: Dynamics of Leadership. I thoroughly enjoyed the course and was selected to be her teaching assistant for a first-year seminar: Developing Leadership Potential. I have had two internships in the local area. I have worked at The Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Office and for the Mayor’s Office at City Hall, both conveniently within walking distance downtown.
If so, what did you gain from that experience?
These positions and opportunities have showed me what kind of a leader I am on campus and how I can apply that to graduate school, a career and the world beyond. I’d always been involved with leadership, but I had been hesitant in the past to present my own ideas or be the first to volunteer to participate. These experiences have allowed me to embrace my full potential as a leader and help other people who aspire to lead. I have become more familiar with my leadership style and have learned how to use and encourage several leadership methods with my peers.
What is your most memorable experience at Hood?
My most memorable experience at Hood happened very early into my freshman year. I will always remember getting “dinked.” Every freshman receives their dink in their class color at the end of orientation and for me, getting that dink was symbolic of beginning a new chapter of my life. I had survived orientation and I was officially part of the class of 2017. I truly felt like a member of the Hood community. Dinks have been a tradition at Hood for decades and it is so heartwarming to be a part of those years and years of tradition. I wore it proudly on my head at Convocation and I will bring it into my dorm to showcase it every year until it is time to wear it for the last time at Baccalaureate senior year. I absolutely love the symbolism and tradition sewn into the threads of my dink and I will always cherish it.
What do you value most about your relationships with your professors?
I always had this fear that I would just be another face in the sea of faces in a giant lecture hall and that the professor would never know my name. Luckily, Hood has a unique environment that makes this a distant fear. The small class sizes allow for a great Socratic seminar setup that lets the professor contribute to the conversation as much as each student. We receive presentations and lectures, but it never feels like your professor is talking at you. I value that my professors are so involved in the learning process and take the time to connect with each student. It’s so extraordinary to be able to dine with a professor in the dining hall or wave to them on campus. I don’t think we realize how lucky we are to have such close relationships with our professors. Not only do they teach, but they invest their heart and soul into the success of every student. I have had professors go out of their way to suggest amazing travel opportunities, internships, graduate schools, jobs, etc. to me just because they felt I would be a perfect fit, even without me prompting them to look around.
What is something that surprised you about Hood?
Something that surprised me about Hood was how small it is. I was reluctant at first, since my graduating college class would be almost a third of the size of my high school graduating class. However, I have learned in my short time here that the size is one of the biggest benefits about the school. I never feel lost in a classroom or feel that there is no one around to help me. The small class sizes provide a better learning atmosphere and more time with the professors and the small student population allows those professors to meet with you outside the classroom. It’s so easy to schedule appointments with professors, coaches, advisors, etc. In a big school, I might never have the opportunity to sit down with my advisor one on one to formulate the perfect schedule. I was sure that I would dislike how small the school was, but it makes for a great learning environment and allows you to get involved in as many things as you desire.
What was your most rewarding class or academic experience at Hood? Why?
I have loved all of my classes and experiences, but the most rewarding class would have to be Communications Law with Professor Bertazzoni. I have really liked the Communications classes I have taken, but this was the one that finally helped push me onto my career path. My brain sort of clicked and I realized that I didn’t want to be a journalist; I wanted to practice law, but with a twist. This class combined my academic skills and passions and helped morph them into a single profession. We studied actual cases through the years and tried our hand at analyzing a few. It was rigorous, but most certainly rewarding. I finished the semester with a hop in my step and just knew that this is what I had always wanted to do.
When you aren’t in class what is your favorite thing to do in your spare time?
Most of my free time outside of class is dedicated to organizations because I love to be involved on campus. I’m involved with newspaper, dance ensemble, the honors program, several honor societies, Wisteria literary magazine, student government and a few other clubs. Outside of class, clubs and work, I love having downtime with my friends seeing what events the Campus Activities Board has to offer like bus trips to skating, bowling and more. I also like to explore downtown Frederick where there is always something to do; You can take a walk in Baker Park, go shopping, eat at a number of restaurants, catch a show or a concert or go to a street fair. The possibilities are endless. Hood is also the perfect distance away from Washington D.C. or Baltimore, and there are plenty of other colleges in the surrounding areas to catch up with old friends or make some more new ones!
What is your favorite campus event?
There are tons of great events on campus. Some happen weekly like Whitaker Wednesdays that include fun game nights, trivia and prizes and others only come around once a year. The most popular big event seems to be May Madness due to the outdoor booths, games and rides, and of course, Crab Feast! However, my favorite event was Give Your Heart to Hood Day. I love the philosophy that we take a day to clean up Hood and plant flowers in order to give back to the campus that gives us so much. I think it’s one of the best examples of tradition here and I am proud to take part in it. It’s an event that literally allows you to get your hands dirty and beautify campus by leaving your mark.
How has the honors program benefitted you?
I have always loved to be challenged inside the classroom. In high school, I was always looking for that extra assignment or that bonus lesson material that would push me beyond what other students were doing and I craved the same from college. The Honors Program has given me a separate core requirement to fulfill on top of the core curriculum, my two majors and my minor. However, all of the classes are inter-disciplinary and are usually quite different from ones in your major. The program has allowed me to delve beyond my majors and explore unique courses that I would never have the chance to take elsewhere like Pharaohs of the Sun or Investigating Serial Killers. It has also provided me with a body of students who all strive to be challenged, have excellent work ethic and yearn to always be communicating, learning and growing in some way.
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? The program has absolutely taught me balance and has pushed me to step outside my comfort zone. It’s easy to excel in a class in your own major, but when you’re thrown into something completely new, college becomes a whole new challenge, but an exciting one. It has made me well-rounded and has absolutely showcased just what exactly a liberal arts education should be. I have learned from a variety of different professors, met a multitude of highly intelligent people and discovered endless information about my skills, passions and academic capabilities. I feel prepared for my own career track, but I also feel ready to tackle any project that comes up because I know that I’ve been out of my comfort zone before and not only know how to tackle it, but how to thrive because of this program.
How has the program improved your experience as a Hood student?
My experience as a student has improved because I had a unit of relationships within the Honors program. It brings together various people of different backgrounds and majors, but we all have the same work ethic and passion for academia that is encouraging and inspirational. It has allowed me the opportunity to live in honors housing amongst some of these great individuals and it has ensured that I am taking accelerated courses that are different from the ones in my major, but are vital for life skills and becoming well rounded.
What special academic, co-curricular, social and enrichment opportunities does the Honors Program provide (perhaps that you might not have otherwise)?
Honors students have access to the Marx Center, which includes a computer room, printers, a full (stocked!) kitchen, and a study lounge that is purely for honors students to use. They also host several events like holiday dinners and trivia nights to bring students together. Students who are in the program also have the chance to block out some of their core curriculum classes because honors courses fulfill them. They also have the unique opportunity to apply for honors housing: two apartments on campus that are the same cost as dorms but only house students in the honors program. There are also plenty of Honors student-run events, which in the past have included: ice cream socials, murder mystery dinners, movie nights, pumpkin carving, cookie decorating, etc.
What is the best/most distinctive/most memorable part of Hood’s Honors Program?
The most memorable part of the program for me was my very first honors class. All first-year honors program students will be placed in Honors 101, which is a seminar on Evil. It’s a sampler class of sorts and lets you learn under the instruction of three professors. I had the chance to be taught by Dr. Zaki, History and Political Science, Dr. Hoffman, Philosophy and Dr. Dodman, English. It allowed the great opportunity to see three different teaching styles and different approaches to the same topic. It also provided the chance to get to know all the other students in the program.
What’s your advice to future Honors Program students?
Use the Honors Program to your advantage. Don’t think of it as another checklist you have to work your way through. Take the class that scares you or the one that gets you excited. Take classes with professors outside your major. Use the program to explore all that Hood has to offer and know that this program will make you an amazing scholar who embodies the principles and philosophies that Hood stands for.