Sonia Kovalevsky Day

Hood Hosts 13th Annual SK Math Day

Students and teachers from nine area high schools attended Hood College’s 13th annual Sonia Kovalevsky Math Day for high school girls Oct. 11.

The event honors Sonia Kovalevsky, the first woman to earn a doctorate in mathematics. The event has been held at colleges and universities all around the country for approximately two decades.

SK Day was organized by the Hood College Department of Mathematics and generously supported by the continued funding from PNC Bank and Frederick County Public Schools. Visiting students met with Hood faculty and students for a day of mathematics workshops and to hear from a panel of women who use math everyday in their careers.

“We are so pleased to be continuing our relationship with both PNC Bank and FCPS in planning this event,” said Jill Tysse, Ph.D., assistant professor of mathematics. “PNC Bank has supported SK Math Day for the past four events, and FCPS has enthusiastically supported the event from the beginning.”

Hood 1989 graduate Stacey Collins was there to represent PNC Bank. Hood alumni Casey Rogers ’97, from Middletown High School; Darrin Drum, M.S.’13, from Walkersville High School; and Scott Trexler, M.S.’13, from Frederick High School, all attended this year’s event with their students.

The day started off with a welcome from President Andrea Chapdelaine, Ph.D.

“Although we have made great progress, the gender gap in mathematics remains,” she said. “Sonia Kovalevsky’s persistence in studying math despite significant barriers and lack of support is an inspiration to all female students interested in mathematics and related professions. I am proud that Hood, along with PNC Bank and FCPS, is able to share Sonia’s story with these high school students and provide them an opportunity to learn more about mathematics.”

Over the course of the day, the students attended several mathematics workshops led by Hood faculty. Gwyn Whieldon, Ph.D., assistant professor of mathematics, ran a workshop called “Mathe-magic!” where she showed students how to use the mathematics of permutations, modular arithmetic and other algebraic topics to perform tricks involving numbers, coins, cards and more.

Sara Malec, Ph.D., assistant professor of mathematics, led an “Anamorphic Art” workshop that showed students the math behind different kinds of anamorphosis—an artistic technique used to produce art that must be viewed from a specific angle to be seen.

Taking a break from workshops, during lunch, the high school students heard Hood seniors Sarah Hood and Karina Stetsyuk present a talk on the life of Sonia Kovalevsky.

Following lunch, there was a career panel during which students had the opportunity to hear from women who use mathematics in their careers. Hood 2015 graduate Megan Mercer, a software engineer from iNovex Information Systems; Heather King, a statistician with the United States Census Bureau; and Amanda Forster, a materials research engineer with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, all explained how they use math daily in their work.

16_Tatem Dedication

Tatem Arts Center Renovation

The $5.5 million, two-year renovation of Hood College’s Tatem Arts Center is complete. The project added office space and several state-of-the-art classrooms.

Price Auditorium and the attic were reconfigured to add an extra 7,000 square feet of space to the building. The psychology and counseling programs have moved to the third floor, and the moot courtroom has been constructed for the law and criminal justice program. A new, handicapped-accessible entrance and an elevator have been added to the east side of the building.

“The renovations to this building have expanded its use to accommodate several different academic programs,” said Debbie Ricker, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “We are so excited to be able to offer the new features of this facility to our students and faculty.”

The addition of the moot courtroom follows the College’s addition of the Department of Law and Criminal Justice. It is a continuation of Hood’s emphasis on experiential learning and a critical feature of the law and criminal justice major. Students prepare and deliver oral arguments, draft legal briefs and learn courtroom decorum.

“Every class held in the moot courtroom uses simulations that give students opportunities to take part in both trial and appellate advocacy by assuming the role of attorney, witness, judge or jury,” said Teresa Bean, assistant professor of law and criminal justice. “Students are actively engaged in the lesson and know they can be called on at any time to take a side or be the judge. The students in the courtroom are building on core competencies including legal analysis and reasoning, problem solving, and negotiation, while also utilizing soft skills such as oral advocacy and communication skills, collaboration, and exercising sound legal judgment.”

Bean and Janis Judson, professor of political science, teach all of their classes in the courtroom. The teaching podium swivels so they can address the classroom in the gallery seating while teaching, and students can address the mock court during a jury or trial session.

“Using this state-of-the-art courtroom bridges the gap between theory and practice,” Bean said.

The financial supporters for the moot court are: Virginia Procino Hartmann ’72 and Thomas W. Hartmann; Mary Alice Peeling ’76, Esq.; Ellen S. Sacks ’70, Esq., and Henry J. Widmaier; Christina Monroe Smith ’71, Esq., and Anthony J. Smith; and Marcia Heister Wilcox ’78, Esq., and Alfred H. Wilcox.

Hartmann is a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force who is currently working alongside her attorney husband, Tom, as a paralegal at the Hartmann Law Firm. Peeling is the head of outreach services at Widener University School of Law Library. Sacks is an attorney with the Legal Aid Society in Brooklyn, New York. Smith is a former attorney with Lieblich & Grimes and retired attorney of the Pentagon Army and Air Force Legal Assistance Office. Her gift was made in memory of her father, the Honorable Donald H. Monroe and her mother, Mary Kinsman Monroe, who graduated from Hood in 1947. Wilcox is a former corporate attorney and is now enjoying a second career in executive coaching through her company Halyard Coaching.

This renovation would not have been possible without the help and foresight of several members of the Hood community.

“I would like to thank Ron Volpe (president emeritus) for his leadership in beginning this project and Chuck Mann (vice president for finance and treasurer) for shepherding this project so well over the last two years,” President Andrea Chapdelaine said. “I would also like to thank Jim Thomas, director of facilities; Cale Christensen with Whiting-Turner (the construction company that renovated the building); and Natalie Brown, project manager, along with the faculty who helped guide and advise on this project to ensure we would meet our students’ needs.”

Pictured above: Debbie Ricker, Ph.D., provost and vice president for academic affairs; Ingrid Farreras, Ph.D., professor of psychology and chair of the Department of Psychology; Roser Caminals-Heath, Ph.D., professor of Spanish; President Andrea E. Chapdelaine, Ph.D.; Hanna Martinez, Class of 2017; Sam Wells, vice president of Whiting-Turner and member of the Hood College Board of Trustees; Janis Judson, Ph.D., professor of political science; Michael Proffett, architect, member of the Hood College Board of Associates; Judy Sherman, Ed.D., assistant professor of education, chair of the Department of Education; Mark Friis, member of the Hood College Board of Trustees, chair of the facilities committee; Phil Berkheimer, chair of the Board of Trustees; Jennifer Ross, Ph.D., professor of art and archaeology.


Homecoming and Fall Family Weekend

The campus was alive with students, families, friends and alumni during Hood’s Homecoming and Fall Family Weekend Oct. 21-22. It was great to see so many members of the Hood community here enjoying activities and each other’s company.

The festivities began Friday evening with a President’s Club reception to honor and recognize those who have donated to Hood. Hypnotist Marshall Manlove performed, and the Homecoming Late Night Extravaganza included a taco bar, dancing and activities.

Saturday opened with Hood’s second annual Presidential Fun Run 5K for those who were eager to wake up early and brave the chilly fall weather. All proceeds went toward the Blue and Grey Club, which supports Hood Athletics. The run raised more than $1,000!

A Legacy Brunch was held for students and alumni who have family members who also attended Hood in honor of their family’s history at the College. A number of drop-in academic presentations were available so students could introduce their families to faculty and show them some of Hood’s new and exciting spaces, including the Virginia Munson Hammell ’67 Trading Room in Rosenstock Hall and the moot courtroom in the Tatem Arts Center.

Events also included a homecoming festival and tailgating, a women’s field hockey and men’s and women’s soccer games, and an evening showing of summer blockbuster “Finding Dory.” Due to windy conditions, activities and vendors were moved from the residential quad to Coblentz Hall and the Ronald J. Volpe Athletic Center.

Students and guests enjoyed lunch, student organization activities, face painting and live music from local band Secondhand Ramblers.

It was a busy weekend, and everyone had a blast—we’re ready for next year!

#HoodHomecoming photos are posted on Facebook. Please share and tag yourselves and friends!

Kristen Portalea

Student Capstone Explains Use of Math in Car Crash Reconstruction

Kristen Portalea, a recent Master of Science graduate from the mathematics education program, completed a capstone project called “The Mathematics of Driving” in which she created a series of lesson plans for Algebra I students to learn skills in the context of car crash reconstruction.

“It included lesson plans that math teachers could use in the classroom that would be relevant to students and connect to the curriculum,” Portalea said.

She chose this project after talking with a police officer friend about classes he had taken in collision reconstruction and the math that was involved, especially the Pythagorean theorem, which she was teaching at the time.

Her five lessons were motivated by her desire to help students realize the meaning behind mathematics. Portalea wrote in her paper, “Students’ qualms about practical uses of their mathematical knowledge can be eased by highlighting the many careers that use mathematics to solve real-world problems.”

Lesson one requires students to find the rate of change between two points on a graph, then apply that to the Federal Highway Administration manual to decide which signs need to be placed on a roadway in order to properly warn drivers.

In lesson two, students build a version of a drag sled that is used by crash reconstructionists to determine the friction on the road surface. This, along with tire marks on the road, helps determine the speed and stopping distance of the driver.

Lesson three, she said, “helps students recognize the importance of solving literal equations—equations with many variables—as well as using algebraic properties to solve equations.”

Lesson four has students develop a formula to calculate the maximum speed a vehicle can go around a curve without losing control. Finally, lesson five combines their skills to work through an accident report as a police officer.

Her research will be published in the spring 2017 issue of “Banneker Banner,” the official journal of the Maryland Council of Teachers of Mathematics. The Montgomery County Police Department also plans to use the research in its trainings.

“My friend and the police department helped me a lot throughout this project, so I am grateful that my lessons may be useful to the police department,” said Portalea. “Our society drives so frequently that everybody can relate to this application of math.”

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Korva Coleman Kicks Off Passion and Profession Series

NPR newscaster Korva Coleman recently kicked off Hood’s new “Passion and Profession” speaker series with a talk about experiences that guided her through her career, including reflections on the gifts of failure.

Coleman is best known for her role delivering national newscasts airing during NPR’s news magazines All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Weekend Edition. She said she has always been drawn to radio, majoring in journalism at Howard University and working as a newscaster before moving to Washington, D.C. However, she didn’t immediately recognize radio as her passion.

“I’m passionate about what I am doing because it took some trial and error to discover what I wanted and what I actually needed to do,” she told the audience. “Radio was one of my absolute first loves and has remained so all of my life.”

Before Coleman’s career took off at WAMU, Washington, D.C.’s local NPR station, she was enrolled at Georgetown University Law Center with ambitions of being a lawyer or running for office. Unable to keep her grades up and shake the feeling that law school wasn’t what she was meant to do, Coleman dropped out and jumped on an opportunity to give radio a try. She called the experience “very serendipitous” and credits her failure with allowing her to discover her true passion.

She prodded the audience to ask themselves, “Are you happy with your choices?” and encouraged students to think of Hood College as their safe space to try new things, consider different ways of thinking, and discover their own true passions.

“Take up the mental exercise of trying to take a world view that is different from the one you are accustomed to believing,” she said. “You may ultimately decide that this is not a world view that you want to keep, but how are you going to know this if you haven’t tried it?”

Before her public talk, Coleman also spoke to a class of communication arts and English majors, many with aspirations to work in journalism themselves. As the mother of two college students, she said she knows making choices that will chart the path for the rest of one’s life is scary.

“Go ahead and be afraid, but do it anyway. Whatever that may be,” she advised students. “If you’re not willing to try, you certainly won’t succeed and you’ll never know, and that would be the greatest loss of all.”

She said college is the place students get to test drive all the things they might want to be, and failing, whether that’s changing majors or taking a completely new path than originally intended, can be a great gift.

“Ask yourself, ‘Why am I here? What do I secretly really want to try to do? What would I most regret that I failed to try to do?’” she said to students.

“Remember the purpose of a liberal arts education is to help you answer these questions about yourself,” Coleman continued. “It’s to help you realize your humanity. It is to help you learn to accept the gift of failure and to take the precious lessons from that shortcoming. Don’t miss this chance. Don’t lose this gift.”

The “Passion and Profession” series, created by the Catherine Filene Shouse Career Center and Office of Service Learning and the Office of the Dean of the Chapel, will feature a speaker each semester whose career is based in a particular set of personal values that connect to a current social justice issue. The mission of the series is to introduce students to a variety of professions, to hear the stories of successful individuals and their preparation for and practice of a profession, as well as to understand how a liberal arts education has contributed to their personal and professional development.

Watch Coleman’s complete talk and a video interview below.

Writing the Wrong

Writing the Wrong Initiative Focuses On Advancement of Women

Molly Masterson ’17 and Logan Samuels ’17 launched an initiative called “Writing the Wrong” in the summer 2015, focused on women’s equality, advancement and empowerment, as well as the encouragement of leadership, all in the hopes of attaining peace over prejudice.

They were able to start the program thanks to a Davis Projects for Peace grant, which is awarded to college students who want to create and execute their ideas for building peace and understanding throughout the world. This summer, they were able to continue the program with money they were awarded through a Volpe Scholarship, a prestigious Hood College scholarship that provides funds for exceptional students to take part in unique, experiential learning opportunities.

Masterson, an archaeology and Spanish double major, and Samuels, a communication arts and English double major with a leadership minor, wanted to combine their academic interests and skills to help Spanish-speaking girls learn new English speaking and writing skills. They considered taking their program abroad but decided there was a need in the local community. The pair delved into local English Language Learner programs and used the money from the Davis Projects for Peace grant to implement a five-week after-school program at Frederick High School for immigrant girls from Latin-American countries with a basic to limited understanding of the English language.

“We knew that we wanted to work with young women as we are both passionate about women’s rights, equality and leadership, and we wanted to instill that in a younger generation,” said Samuels.

The goal of the project was to provide an outlet that allowed the girls to express the difficulties they have faced in a healthy and creative way to find peace in their new lives. Masterson and Samuels led the production of a literary journal titled “Palabras de Amor para Zarpar,” or “Words of Love to Set Sail,” which included contemporary issues, editorials, future objectives and goals, prose, artwork and photographs by the girls. The participants learned the fundamentals behind creating a piece of literary work and the important steps of peer revision, and they increased their writing abilities. They also gained knowledge of the cultural and gender intolerances that their societies still face and ways in which they can combat them.

“From there, we got such positive feedback from the participants and the community that we decided to reach more students and focus on a new crowd of girls,” said Masterson.

With the money from the Volpe Scholars award, Masterson and Samuels led a five-week program for middle school girls at West Frederick and Monocacy middle schools that culminated in a published newspaper, called “Writing the Wrong: La Ilumninación,” or “Writing the Wrong: Enlightenment.” The students learned about current events and issues that have an impact on their daily lives, and they learned journalism skills including writing development and editing. They were split into beat groups of global news, local news, editorial and lifestyle. The program also included two field trips: one to visit the Newseum in Washington, D.C., to put the goals of the project in perspective, and one to Hood’s campus to get exposure to the world of higher education.

“Professionally, this project has prepared us for anything,” said Samuels. “We have learned to juggle the unexpected and are able to adjust a syllabus, our schedule or even our mentality to a completely new situation. We have now worked with around 20 students and have been introduced to so many different backgrounds, stories and abilities and have learned how to work with each one as an individual and cater to their needs.”

Through this program, Masterson and Samuels have learned a lot from their students and have become even more motivated to continue their service.

“Both of our academic backgrounds have provided us with the tools to communicate with the girls in both English and Spanish,” said Masterson. “More than that, we have been able to connect with these girls in a way unlike any other and have learned lessons from the students. We have shared our values, aspirations and goals with them and have increased their confidence in themselves and their writing. These girls have taught us how lucky we are and that we have so many opportunities that others do not possess. They have humbled us and inspired us to be better and do more outside of our own personal wants and needs.”

Masterson and Samuels are now trying to establish Writing the Wrong as a nonprofit and find new leaders to carry on the programs. They also hope to start several initiatives focused on education, women’s empowerment and leadership to help past and future members of their program pursue education or projects.

For more information on Writing the Wrong and to see online versions of the program publications, visit

Pictured above: Masterson and Samuels with their students at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

Alex Janrnot

Senior Alex Jarnot Completes NASA Internship

Alexander Jarnot is a senior chemistry major who participated in NASA’s Student Airborne Research Program (SARP) during the summer. He spent eight weeks in California learning about atmospheric science.

According to the program’s website, students get hands-on research experience in all aspects of a major scientific campaign, from detailed planning on how to achieve mission objectives to formal presentation of results and conclusions to peers and others.

“I applied for this internship because I am interested in working for an agency like NASA for my future career, and by interning for one, I knew it would grow my network and give me access to recommendation letters that would be valuable when I went to find a job and apply to graduate school,” Jarnot said.

The internship included flying in the NASA DC-8 research plane, riding in the chase car during an ER-2 research plane takeoff, tours of NASA laboratories, lectures from prominent scientists and the opportunity to work with top scientists in airborne research.

The NASA DC-8 research plane trip was a six-hour flight through the San Joaquin Valley. The plane flew at about 1,000 feet most of the time but reached a maximum altitude of 40,000 feet during an air column spiral. To prepare for the flight, Jarnot and his colleagues took a tour of the NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center hangar and underwent a flight safety briefing where a variety of safety equipment was demonstrated.

“During the flight, my research partner and I collected air samples using the Whole Air Sampler, which uses a bellows pump to suck air in from outside the plane and into vacuum canisters stored on the plane,” Jarnot said. “These canisters were then transported to the Rowland-Blake lab at University of California, Irvine where my research group and I analyzed them for 99 trace gases using a wide array of gas chromatography instruments.”

Jarnot also took tours of NASA laboratories such as the Dryden Flight Research Center, the Palomar Observatory and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, as well as universities such as the California Institute of Technology and the University of California, Irvine. Some prominent scientists he heard speak were Mike Brown, the man who “killed” Pluto, and Kirsten Siebach who works with the Mars Curiosity Rover.

In addition to this, he had the experience of meeting some of the top airborne research scientists, including Bruce Doddridge, Barry Lefer and Jim Crawford of NASA Langley; Emily Schaller of the National Suborbital Education Research Center; Don Blake from the University of California, Irvine; Sally Pusede from the University of Virginia; Dar Roberts from the University of California, Santa Barbara; Raphael Kudela of the University of California, Santa Cruz; Randy Albertson, deputy director of the NASA Airborne Science Program; and Henry Fuelberg from Florida State University.

“I had the pleasure of getting to know these people as professionals, as well as in casual settings,” Jarnot said. “I also had the pleasure of meeting 31 other brilliant students from all over the United States and getting to know each and every one of them.”

Jarnot credited his Hood College academics and the career center for preparing him for this internship.

“I could not have gotten into this internship without the education and experience I have received at Hood,” Jarnot said. “I utilized my chemistry background from my courses and prior internship here at Hood in order to complete my research project at SARP. I also called upon my math education from Hood in order to analyze and organize the raw data from the canister samples in order to discover meaningful results.”

Jarnot said he used the skills he learned from the career center to more effectively network with the scientists and NASA management that he met at SARP, and he has already sent his résumé to a hiring manager from General Atomics who he met during the internship.

To view a video of Alex Jarnot presenting research findings during the program, visit

Pictured above: Alex Jarnot with a member of his research group, Julia Black of Scripps College, during the DC-8 flight

Dinking Ceremony

Opening Convocation 2016

Hood College marked the start of its 124th academic year with its annual Convocation ceremony Monday morning in the Hodson Outdoor Theater on campus.

The morning began with the traditional dinking ceremony during which the incoming class received their dinks, blue for their class color. The students and faculty then processed into the Hodson Outdoor Theater.

Bill Brown, vice president for enrollment management, introduced the incoming class to the campus community; President Andrea E. Chapdelaine, Ph.D., and Logan Samuels, president of the Student Government Association, welcomed new and returning students to campus; Debbie Ricker, Ph.D., new provost and vice president for academic affairs, recognized outstanding student achievements; Karen Hoffman, Ph.D., associate professor of philosophy and chair of the department of philosophy and religious studies, delivered the keynote address; and Joy Miller Beveridge ’82 shared greetings from alumni and her fond memories of her time as a student.

Hoffman told the students: “My hope is not just that you look back on today as the start of an exciting new academic year, but that you look back on all your college years as the start of a life-long love of learning, a passionate engagement with the world and the beings that inhabit it, a compassionate commitment to improving the lives of others, and a deeper understanding of who you are, who you want to become and how you can make a difference.”

This year’s group of new students includes 221 new first-year students and 103 new transfer students. Members of the Class of 2020 come from 15 states, the District of Columbia and three foreign countries. There are 259 new graduate students. Hood’s total student population is 2,106.

The graduate school will begin two new programs this fall, a Master of Science in bioinformatics and a doctoral program that includes a Doctorate of Organizational Leadership and a Doctorate of Business Administration.

“Students, you are the focus of everything we do at Hood,” President Chapdelaine said. “You are our raison d’être—our reason for being. We are all committed to helping you not only to succeed, but to exceed: to discover and realize capacities, goals and dreams you may not yet even yet know you have.”

During the summer, first-year students read Paige Rawl’s book “Positive: A Memoir” for small-group discussions about the themes, issues and conflicts raised in the book. Specially trained Hood faculty, staff and students co-facilitate these discussions. Rawl was born HIV-positive, and her book discusses the bullying she received throughout her childhood because of that diagnosis and how she overcame that bullying. Rawl will visit campus Oct. 19 for a public lecture and book signing.

Samuels reflected on the book and told students to remember: “You have the power to make a difference. There is always someone cheering you on. You have nothing to hide or be ashamed of. If you come across a new challenge, do not give up, but instead, vow to learn more. You’ve got a lot of light within you.”

For photos from Convocation, visit

The Thanh Xuan Peace Village is one of 11 peace villages in Vietnam, which are home to many children afflicted by Agent Orange.
Nguyen with some of the children at the Thanh Xuan Peace Village.
Nguyen with a group of volunteers.
Nguyen holds hands with two children on a field trip to the Ho Chi Minh museum.
More than 130 lbs of fiber threads were purchased for sewing and weaving to improve the childrens' mechanical skills.
By the end of the program, each of the children had completed a booklet about themselves, which Nguyen brought back to the U.S. to share with the community.

Le Nguyen ’17, who earned a $10,000 Davis Projects for Peace grant, was in her home country of Vietnam this summer working with victims of Agent Orange.

The initiative was part of the Davis United World College Scholars Program that provides grants each summer for students to complete a project that advances or develops peaceful initiatives throughout the world. Nguyen’s “Foundation of Hope” project was geared toward helping children with developmental disabilities caused by Agent Orange, a chemical that was used by the U.S. military during the Vietnam conflict to defoliate forests, which is still having detrimental effects on people there.

An estimated 19 million gallons of the chemical were sprayed aerially between 1961 and 1972 over forests and crops that provided cover and food for North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops. The U.S. at the time was unaware that the chemical would be found to be the cause of serious health problems, including cancer, birth defects, tumors and psychological symptoms to the Vietnamese population and U.S. troops who were exposed.

Nguyen and other volunteers went to the Thanh Xuan Peace Village in Hanoi, Vietnam, which is home to many children afflicted by the chemical, to spend time with and help children who have been affected. The four-week project Nguyen designed ran from late May to late June and included educational lessons, field trips, crafts and other activities. The three main objectives of the project were to improve the childrens’ education, show love and support to the victims and promote awareness about Agent Orange in the Vietnamese and U.S. communities.

“It was very difficult to interact with the children as all of them have severe mental disabilities and some have physical disabilities that prohibit them from moving around as easily as others,” she said. “It was one of the greatest challenges I have ever faced.”

Initially, Nguyen had planned to use part of the grant to purchase 10 computers for the village so that they could have better access to educational tools and information. She instead bought air conditioners, televisions and fiber threads as she learned that those things were most essential to the village. Now, the children there will be able to attend school even during the extremely hot and humid summer months, and televisions will be used as display tools in classrooms. The children in the village are also taught to weave and sew, and Nguyen’s purchase will provide them with the necessary materials for a long time.

“I have grown as a leader and as a person thanks to this project,” Nguyen said. “It has changed my life in so many different ways, and it will always be a big achievement that I will never forget.” She added: “Despite all of the temporary stress and anxiety that I faced, I would do it all over again, and I would work even harder because I realized that I would do almost anything to see those children happy.”

Ten of the 18 volunteers who Nguyen worked with over the summer are staying in Hanoi and will continue to visit the children at the peace village. She appointed three leaders to guide the group and to recruit more volunteers. They’ve already recruited 30 more, for a total of 40 volunteers. Next summer, Nguyen plans to make adjustments to the project and carry it out again with the funding and support of the Rotary Club of Carroll Creek.

“After next summer, I am hoping that the group will grow bigger and stronger and the volunteers will take initiative in fundraising to keep the project alive as I can only help as much as I can from the other side of the planet,” she said.

Nguyen is majoring in business administration with a concentration in marketing and minors in web development and economics. She plans to share more about her experience in a presentation to the campus community—details will be available soon. Learn more about Nguyen and her Foundation of Hope project at

Culler Lake Rendering

Center for Coastal and Watershed Studies Helps Restore Culler Lake

The Center for Coastal and Watershed Studies at Hood College has partnered with Friends of Baker Park to help plan a complete renovation of Culler Lake in Baker Park.

According to Peter Brehm, president of Friends of Baker Park and a services and support specialist in the Hood College Office of Information Technology, Culler Lake was constructed in the late 1930s and is a de facto storm water containment pond. Due to budget restrictions, it has not been properly maintained since at least 1980. As a result, more than 1,000 dump trucks of silt accumulated in the lake, deteriorating water quality and the lake’s aquatic environment. In addition, the lake’s central fountain was crumbling along with the lake’s retaining wall on its eastern edge.

The renovation project includes building three gravel wetlands to remove excess nutrients from the water and allow sediment to settle, two of which will include boardwalks to allow lake visitors to see storm water mitigation at work; rebuilding the central fountain and the eastern retaining wall; and installing an upstream hydrodynamic separator that uses centripetal force to remove solids and sediment from storm water flowing into the lake.

The project will be completed in two phases. Phase I, improving the quality of the water in the lake, is currently underway and involves draining, dredging and re-contouring the lake to include a shelf around the lake’s edge that will be planted with native aquatic plants. The shelf, required by state law, creates a shallow area along the lake edge to help prevent people from drowning if they fall into the lake. Also, the gravel wetlands will be installed with plants to help remove excess nutrients and allow sediment to settle out of the water. Water flows into the lake through the wetlands. Because of the pervious rock walls surrounding the wetlands, the water becomes calmer, allowing sediment to settle out into the gravel bottom of the wetlands. In parallel, plants in the wetlands also act to soak up and remove excess phosphorous and nitrogen nutrients.

Phase II focuses on the lake’s educational, recreational, and transportation components. Explanatory signage will be added, and there will be lighting and possibly a boardwalk added on the lake’s northern edge plus a lake pavilion on the lake’s western edge. The mixed-use path along the south side of Culler Lake that eventually connects the western and eastern edges of Frederick City will also be widened and rebuilt, connecting to a new entrance plaza to be built at the West College Terrace entrance.

Drew Ferrier, director of the Center for Coastal and Watershed Studies, said the center has been involved with this project since 2014 when members of the center started collecting data and analyzing water quality. The center will also be raising native fish to stock the lake and is giving advice and support on the project. In addition, experts from the center are helping to determine which plants to put in the lake and providing GIS mapping for the lake’s entrance plaza design. The center will continue monitoring Culler Lake water quality after construction is complete.

Hood College has been installing tools to comply with best management practices on campus that will be instrumental to the success of the Culler Lake Renaissance. The most recent addition is the rain garden constructed at the base of the Whitaker Campus Center parking lot. About half of Hood College drains into Culler Lake. The infrastructure that Hood has installed holds back water from immediately entering storm sewers, resulting in a decrease in sediment, solids and nutrient-filled run off entering the lake. This will decrease the sediment and nutrient burden that the lake will need to accommodate, ultimately leading to a healthier lake water environment.

The lake restoration project was made possible with funds from several grants and donations: $2.1 million from the City of Frederick, $300,000 in state bond funds, more than $100,000 from individual donors, approximately $75,000 from the Chesapeake Bay Trust and contributions from the Community Foundation of Frederick County, Delaplaine Foundation Inc., the Baker Foundation and several Frederick garden clubs. Members of the Center for Coastal and Watershed Studies also collaborated with Friends of Baker Park in writing the grant proposals for the Chesapeake Trust and state bond funds.

Pictured above: an original rendering of the completed Culler Lake project.