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The Commuter Connection

Commuters flocked to the Whitaker Campus Center patio for the annual Spring Commuter Celebration last week, taking full advantage of the beautiful weather to get together for some good food and fun. There were lawn games, raffles for gift cards to local eateries and businesses, pizza and more. Students could purchase commuter student-designed T-shirts and tie dye them to create unique pieces of wearable art.

These events are a great way for commuter students to get to know the commuter council officers as well as each other, and to just hang out. In addition to Commuter Celebrations held at the beginning of the fall and at the end of the spring semesters, a holiday party is scheduled each December and themed booths, designed to cater to commuters and their interests, are set up around campus each month.

Commuter students such as seniors Ashley Ortiz and Jessica Manuel (pictured above) are an integral part of the Hood community. They bring a diverse perspective to the social, cultural and academic life on campus. We celebrate the eclectic mix that is Hood College.

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Natalie Hernandez. Hood College Sophomore Communications Major

Scene at Hood: Take Three

I’m really enjoying my second year here. I’m making more friends, and I’m really more involved in things. I chose communication arts as a major because there are so many fields I can go into. I want to concentrate on digital media, and I’m really into advertising and design.”

~Natalie Hernandez, sophomore, communication arts major

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Honors Convocation

It’s an annual tradition for the campus community to gather together in the spring to celebrate student, faculty and staff achievements during the past year. Yesterday, in Coffman Chapel, 107 students were honored for excellence, some earning awards in several categories. Six staff members were recognized by their peers and students for service and leadership. Oney Smith, associate professor of biology, walked away with three awards—outstanding contributions to his profession and the College through scholarship and service, exceptional advising and inspirational teaching—well deserved! In all, 93 prizes were awarded to 114 people.

Stephanie Taylor (above, with President Volpe), a senior from Huntingtown, Md., was a recipient of The Biology Faculty Award. She has distinguished herself as a researcher extraordinaire—she completed a bioinformatics internship in parasite genomics at the J. Craig Venter Institute in Rockville, Md., and conducted research on genotyping patients with chronic kidney disease at the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research at Fort Detrick. Wow!

We applaud Hood students, faculty and staff for their accomplishments.

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Trevor Baldwin, Hood College Junior Economics Major

Scene at Hood: Take Two

When I first looked at colleges, I was looking for the biggest parties, the biggest sports events and things. Hood has elements of that, but what really sets it apart is the kind of help you get from the professors, and the relationships you develop are way more profound than you’re going to find at really big schools.”

~Trevor Baldwin, junior, economics major

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The Stage was Alive with Avenue Q

Each of the four Avenue Q performances this past weekend played to sold-out crowds. Kudos to senior Ashley Birdsell, director and choreographer, and to all the actors, stage managers, set designers and builders, technicians and musicians!

Clearly, the cast members enjoyed themselves on stage Saturday night—the singing and somewhat bawdy dialog and lyrics were delivered with panache. The set was simple yet realistic and the stage direction was flawless. It is a story to which nearly everyone can relate.

Avenue Q, raunchy though it may be, is a show with heart,” wrote Birdsell in the show’s playbill. “We connect to these puppets on multiple levels: first and foremost there is pure nostalgia for our bygone Sesame Street days. But as we ready ourselves to face life after Hood, we empathize with Princeton, who is just trying to find his purpose in life. We connect with Kate, who maintains her sense of self while looking for love; and Rod, who is trying to make peace with who he really is.”

Co-founded by Birdsell and senior Billy Lewis in 2010, the troupe has known a number of successes—Spelling Bee, Making Noise and Broadway 101. A primarily student-run company, HCSMT relies on the support of faculty and staff, the SGA and donations from theater-goers.

Check out HCSMT’s next production; you won’t be disappointed.

Pictured: Senior Jahtay Teh and Princeton had lead roles in HCSMT’s production of Avenue Q

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The Peeps Have It

Once again, the Hood community entered the Peeps Contest with enthusiasm and finesse. The competition challenged individuals or groups to create a diorama that illustrated an expression or saying, a movie or play, a book or any other topic of choice by using marshmallow peeps. Clearly, Hood students are very clever and creative!

While The Avengers garnered the most votes, scenes from The Lion King, Pulp Fiction, Stand and Deliver, Alien and Willy Wonka had a respectable showing. Seniors Krysta Wagner and Heidi Gunzelman took top honors; even the math department submitted an entry. They’re now on display on the second floor of the Whitaker Campus Center.

The big question is, how many more peeps were eaten than made it into the dioramas?

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Stress Buster 101

Exams are approaching. Papers are due. Group presentations are looming. And seemingly, there aren’t enough hours in the day, or night, to accomplish it all. The solution? Bring in the dogs!

Recognizing that this is a stressful time of the semester for most students, the counseling center arranged, through Wags for Hope, for volunteers and their pets to come to campus to interact with students and provide a much-needed relief from the many end-of-the year responsibilities. Wags for Hope is a nonprofit group whose volunteers and their dogs “bring joy to the lives of others.”

The dogs were definitely a draw, and large crowds of students gathered to play and cuddle with them for a couple of hours on the residential quad. Big and small, Dalmatians and mutts, fur balls and short-haired—the dogs certainly enjoyed all the attention. It was a win-win for everyone!

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Brigid Ayer, Hood College Sophomore

Scene at Hood: Take One

I wanted to try something like a pin-up, but slightly more modern. I’ve taken Darkroom Photography, Photo 1, Photo 2 and Photojournalism. I’m learning different things in each class. My teacher helped me a lot with the studio lights because I’d never used them before.”

~Brigid Ayer, sophomore

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Alternative Spring Break Trips

Students have just returned from spring break and many, along with Hood faculty, staff and alumni, spent their time making a difference for hundreds of people in Alabama, Frederick and Haiti.

In Haiti, five students were joined by Michael Coon, assistant professor of economics; Provost Kate Conway-Turner and her daughter Jameela; and Frederick dentist and 1981 alumnus Peter Cha and his wife, Sandy, a dental hygienist, who provided much needed dental services to 94 Haitians, many of whom had never been to a dentist! Read the Frederick News Post’s story about how the Chas have made a difference for people in need in Haiti and in other communities.

Hood students—Drake Halpern, Elaheh Eghbal, Jessica Morales, Greg Eyler and Fabiola Jean-Louis—spent the week learning about this complex and struggling country, and engaged in service projects to aid the residents of Borgne, a mountainous community in the northern part of the island nation where the majority of families are scattered in clusters within the mountains that surround the city.  They painted a mural for an elementary classroom, engaged in an enrichment project for children in an early education program, traveled into the mountains to help set up a mobile clinic and visited a number of sites to observe how residents cope with poor roads, few jobs, inadequate fresh water, no electricity and a host of social issues.

An eye-opening experience, to be sure.

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Scene at Hood

Introducing “Scene at Hood”

Scene at Hood is a photo project launched in February 2013. Our photographer, Kurt Holter ’76, tried to capture the many personalities and places on campus that are distinctively Hood College, from the unique to the traditional. Some of the sites and people pictured in this series will remind alums of their time here and some exemplify the character of today’s campus culture. We hope you enjoy the images of contemporary Hood College.

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