Exploring Utopia

Exploring Utopia

Heather Mitchell-Buck was recently named an Apple Distinguished Educator, recognizing her as one of the most innovative educators in the world, for her use of technology in the classroom.

Mitchell-Buck, Ph.D., assistant professor of English, uses technology, specifically the iPad, to challenge students to be more active in the learning experience by using digital and online resources such as e-books, apps, the college’s course management system, blogs and online class projects. She also encourages students to continue discussions outside class time using their devices. Her students enhance their work and research using the varied media available on their tablets, including images, sound, text and video.

In her ENG 364 Exploring Utopia class in the spring, students used Twitter to communicate outside of class by raising concerns, asking questions or live-Tweeting books or films.

“Every week, students were required either to initiate a conversation or respond to some of their colleagues’ thoughts outside of class,” said Mitchell-Buck. “We used our special class hashtag, #Utopia364, to keep up with each other. It’s been really beneficial.”

The innovative style of teaching caters to a wide variety of students.

“The way she teaches class, using the more informal blogging and Twitter assignments, really provides the opportunity for any type of student to succeed,” said Sara Eckard ’16, biology major and member of the Honors program.

Zach Willis ’15, an English major, enjoys the sway that the students have in the discussion topics.

“Dr. Mitchell-Buck helps facilitate and designs the syllabus, but as a whole, the students get to steer the discussion,” he said. “It’s cool that in a utopia class, she kind of mimics the structure of a utopia. That’s different and makes it way more enjoyable.”

As the class progressed, Mitchell-Buck said the topics expanded from talking just about the texts the class was reading to having related discussions about the real world.

“It’s truly a liberal arts class,” said Logan Samuels ’17, an English major. There’s a lot that comes up in class that I see in my other courses. There are a lot of overlapping themes and topics. We get to talk about things that are relevant in today’s society and compare them to what we’ve seen in literature.”

Mitchell-Buck will teach the class again during the 2016-17 academic year.

Michél Lavarn

Biology Student Makes Impact

For many students, schoolwork consists of going to class, studying and completing homework assignments. For others, it includes fieldwork, summer research and discovering new areas of interest.

Michél Lavarn, a student in the Honors program who graduated May 16, was active in Hood’s biology department throughout her academic career. She earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental science and policy with a concentration in environmental biology and a minor in coastal studies.

She first developed an interest for coastal studies during her entomology class, which was taught by Professor Ron Albaugh, coordinator of the Coastal Studies Semester. With a little encouragement, she enrolled the following year in that program. Albaugh was her professor in her Coastal Oceanography and Coastal Research Practicum classes.

“When I took coastal studies, I decided to be an environmental studies major,” said Lavarn. “I love it. The professors really like what they’re teaching, and that comes across and makes it fun to learn.”

Participants in the Coastal Studies Semester earn 16 to 17 hours of academic credit by taking block courses specifically designed for them. Lavarn took full advantage of the opportunity.

“Throughout her experience, Michél was always enthusiastic, energetic and exceptionally well-organized,” said Albaugh. “Academically, Michél never deviates from an A average.”

During the 2013 January term, Albaugh coordinated the Hood portion of a Neotropical Natural History course at the La Suerte Biological Field Station in Costa Rica. Lavarn, along with 11 additional Hood students, enrolled in this two-week field course.

In the summer of 2013, Lavarn assisted Albaugh with a native pollinator research project on Albaugh’s farm in northern Frederick County.

“It required tedious data collecting for many long hours under a variety of sometimes extreme weather conditions,” said Albaugh. “She completed every task, and at no time did I ever hear her complain.”

Lavarn later prepared a poster demonstrating the results of the research, which she presented at the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Ecological Society of America.

During the senior year, she worked with the Center for Coastal and Watershed Studies on numerous hands-on projects, including water quality monitoring and analysis of Culler Lake, Carroll Creek Linear Park and Lake Linganore. She has also assisted with Project BOOST, which involves raising rainbow trout in high school classrooms and releasing them in local streams.

Now that she has graduated, Lavarn plans to teach English in Costa Rica for six months. Upon her return, she plans to continue teaching and researching.

Hood College MSL

Hood Delegation Wins Awards

Hood College’s delegation of the Maryland Student Legislature won the most outstanding delegation for the third time in six years at the 26th Annual Session May 1-3 in Annapolis, Md.

Kristen Geatz, Tyler Graham and Caitlin Battey stood out for Hood, each winning individual awards. Geatz, Hood’s delegation chairwoman, earned the William Troy Simmons award for distinguished career of service. She has held leadership roles in Hood’s delegation for three consecutive years, one as vice chair and two as chair. Graham received the award for most outstanding act, and Battey received the award for most outstanding senator. The MSL board of directors selects the recipient for the distinguished career of service award; student peers vote on the other awards.

Hood students Sharifa Clark, Helena Hammond, Samuel Kebede, Melissa Lopez, Brice McAndrew, Ayomide Sekiteri, Elliot Tombs, Emma Ward, Derrick Wood and Dylan Wood also participated in the events.

The MSL is a nonprofit that allows college and university students opportunities to experience Maryland state government and legislative processes and gather to write and debate public policy. Each year during its annual session, members experience the legislative process of the actual House of Delegates and senate chambers.

The MSL includes delegations from Frederick Community College; Hood College; McDaniel College; Mount St. Mary’s University; St. Mary’s College of Maryland; University of Maryland, Baltimore County; University of Maryland, College Park; and Washington College.

Photo of the Hood delegation: From left—Brice McAndrew, Ayomide Sekiteri, Kristen Geatz, Elliot Tombs, Samuel Kebede, Melissa Lopez, Tyler Graham, Helena Hammond, Sharifa Clark, Emma Ward, Dylan Wood, Derrick Wood.

Commencement 2015

Commencement 2015

Hood’s undergraduate and graduate Commencement ceremonies took place May 16. The morning’s 118th undergraduate ceremony saw 352 students earn bachelor’s degrees in front of the College’s largest-ever undergraduate Commencement audience. The afternoon’s 42nd graduate ceremony included 239 graduates.

These Commencement exercises were President Ronald J. Volpe’s 14th and final at Hood. He received an honorary degree at the undergraduate ceremony and the status of president emeritus at the graduate ceremony. President Volpe has awarded 6,705 academic degrees at Hood.

Frederick Mayor Randy McClement, the undergraduate ceremony speaker, received an honorary degree. Currently serving his second term as mayor, McClement has been an active member of the Frederick community for more than a decade. He has served on a number of boards and commissions that have given him an impressive breadth and depth of knowledge about the city of Frederick.

Thomas Geisbert, a 1988 Hood graduate whose recent research into the Ebola virus has earned him international notoriety, was the graduate ceremony speaker and also received an honorary degree. Geisbert is a professor in the department of microbiology and immunology at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and the Galveston National Laboratory. He earned his doctorate in molecular pathobiology from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md., and he was one of the Ebola fighters named collectively as Time magazine’s “Person of the Year” for 2014.

Members of the undergraduate Class of 2015 hailed from 16 states, the District of Columbia and six countries. One hundred twenty-nine completed internships. Many will continue their education, while others will begin their careers.

Paula Miller Dennis, a nursing major from Hagerstown, Md., and Alisha Marie Dunkle, an early childhood education major from Watertown, N.Y., were awarded the Hood College Academic Achievement Prize for the highest academic records in the Class of 2015.

Senior Class President Jada Burton asked that the 2015 class “please continue to take care of each other” and recognized that Hood students made lifelong friends and learned important life lessons in addition to their academics.

During the undergraduate ceremony, President Volpe awarded presidential excellence awards to Purnima Bhatt, Gary Gillard and Al Weinberg, who all retired after a combined 91 years of service.

During the graduate ceremony, Tony Miller, a social studies teacher at Linganore High, was presented with the annual Charles E. Tressler Distinguished Teacher Award. Given jointly by Hood and Frederick County Public Schools, the award acknowledged his passion for teaching in the classroom as well as on the field as a lacrosse, softball and field hockey coach. Miller has taught at Linganore High since 1979. He earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary social studies from Shepherd College in 1979 and completed his master’s degree in secondary education curriculum and instruction at Hood in 1987. He has also earned 30 credits beyond his master’s degree at Hood.

For full Commencement coverage, visit Hood’s Commencement webpage. Congratulations to the Class of 2015!

Pictured: Class of 2015 graduates Meg DePanise and Zari DeMesme

Heather Mitchell-Buck

Hood Professor Named Apple Distinguished Educator

Heather Mitchell-Buck, Hood assistant professor of English, has been named an Apple Distinguished Educator for bringing innovative technology and techniques to her classroom.

In spring of 2012 Prof. Mitchell-Buck taught one of Hood’s first iPad pilot courses, Vampires in Folklore, Fiction, and Film, and she has been challenging students to make the most of digital resources and be more active in their learning ever since.

Distinguished educators are education leaders recognized for being innovative with Apple technology in and out of the classroom, through the exploration of new ideas and opportunities, working with each other and with Apple. There are more than 2,000 ADEs worldwide who gather every year at ADE Institutes and education events around the world, as well as online in the ADE community, to collaborate on solutions to the global challenges facing education.

“The most recent survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers tells us that to be successful, graduating seniors need to be able to make decisions and solve problems, communicate effectively and work well with others, make plans and prioritize and have good technology skills,” Mitchell-Buck said. “The iPad has helped my students be successful in all of these areas.”

Mitchell-Buck has redesigned projects and even entire courses to include more digital and online resources such as e-books, apps, the college’s course management system, blogs and online class projects. She also encourages students to continue discussions outside class time using their devices and social media platforms such as Twitter.

Her students enhance their work and research by creating multimedia projects on their tablets that include images, sound, text and video. “All of my syllabi now include at least two multimedia projects that were much more challenging, if not impossible, before my students had iPads,” she said.

“Many students think of reading books and watching films as passive activities, but the iPad has helped me encourage my students to make their encounters with texts more active,” Mitchell-Buck noted. She has encouraged her students to take advantage of the highlighting and note features in e-book apps that make it easy for students to annotate their readings and join in class discussions.

This year, in her History of the English Language course, students made videos using iMovie to present their Middle English pronunciation. Students in Mitchell-Buck’s Exploring Utopia class created travel brochures and videos to showcase their own versions of Utopia.

Mitchell-Buck said that, although some say that today’s college students are “digital natives,” she believes that good technology skills should be practiced in the classroom. “Using technology well—so that it is an effective and an efficient tool—is a skill,” she said. “Like writing, public speaking or calculus, it’s something that must be taught not just in terms of how to do it but also why it’s important.”

Model UN

Model UN Represents Timor-Leste in NYC

The Hood College Model United Nations attended the National Model United Nations conference in New York City March 22-26.

The delegation from Hood consisted of 12 students, accompanied by Kiran Chadda, Ph.D., director of multicultural affairs and international student programs. They represented Timor-Leste (East Timor) in six committees: the First, Second and Third committees of the U.N. General Assembly; the Special Committee on Peacekeeping (C-34), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP); and the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference (NPT RevCon). During the conference, the Hood group visited the United Nations Headquarters and the Permanent Mission of Timor-Leste to the U.N., where they were briefed by the Timorese diplomats on their work within the U.N.

The Hood students on the trip were Chad Allen, Andela Golemac, Kyle Oakes, Abigail Jines, Lydia Jines, Léa Marot, Marko Petric, Nailah Russell, Tyler Shuck, Sophie Smith, Ivana Soce and Maja Tavra.

The Hood Model U.N. meets on a biweekly basis during the fall semester and on a weekly basis during the spring semester. Occasionally, Model U.N. is offered as a class taught by Chadda and faculty adviser Paige Eager, Ph.D., associate professor of political science and chair of the department.

For more information, contact Marko Petric, president of Hood’s Model U.N., at mp17@hood.edu. Also visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/hoodcollegemun.


Men’s Lacrosse Team Gives Back

The men’s lacrosse team, coached by Brad Barber, MBA ’13, are all about giving back to the Frederick community. Earlier this week they presented a check for $2,000 to the FMH Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund, raised through its fall lacrosse tournament entry fees, donations and T-shirt sales. The 40-member team also assisted at last October’s Annual Pink Ribbon Fun 5K Run/Walk, held to raise awareness and funds for the FMH Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund.

A Hood education encompasses more than just academic knowledge. Students graduate from the College with a strong sense of community and are prepared for lives of responsibility and leadership. Clearly the men’s lacrosse team members live up to this ideal!

Pictured: Ken Coffey, vice president and chief development officer at Frederick Memorial Hospital; Mike Russo, assistant coach; Barber; Patty Hurwitz, fund founder along with her husband, Jeff, and chair of the Pink ribbon committee; President Volpe; Sade Wolf, development officer at FMH; Olivia White, dean of students and vice president for student life.


Alternative Spring Break

Students, faculty and staff once again took devoted their spring breaks to community service. Five students, accompanied by faculty and staff chaperones, returned for the sixth year to the Franklinton Center at Bricks in Whitakers, N.C., a former slave plantation that once served as a junior college for freed slaves. Today it functions as a justice advocacy center run by the United Church of Christ.

There students learned about the history and lasting effects of slavery in the U.S., worked with local school children on reading and math literacy skills and visited other community organizations in the area. The College’s math club supported this trip by organizing a school supplies drive for schools in North Carolina.

Twenty-four other students volunteered at organizations in Frederick, Baltimore and the Washington, D.C., area. They removed invasive species from Rock Creek in Bethesda, Md.; worked with the fair trade craft market SERRV and the Brethren Disaster Relief Center in New Windsor, Md.; learned about sexual trafficking with the staff at Samaritan Women in Baltimore; worked at Frederick Community Action Agency’s food bank and soup kitchen; and assisted the 4-H Therapeutic Riding Center in Thurmont, Md., prepare for their spring classes.

“I learned a lot during this trip,” said Shanayah Braithwaite, a second-time participant in the ASB Frederick initiative. “Community service allows you to help people and appreciate everyday things that we easily overlook, like having clean waterways and feeling safe in your surroundings.”

Pictured: Hood volunteers assisted the Rock Creek Conservancy invasive species removal team. 



High school girls attend Sonia Kovalevsky Day event

Every other year Hood’s math department hosts Sonia Kovalevsky Day for area high school girls. Named for the first woman to earn a doctorate in mathematics, the event gives students an opportunity to participate in workshops, learn about careers in mathematics fields and meet Hood math students.

This year the girls could choose from four workshops: Optimization, or using math to find the best solution to real-world situations; game theory and behavior modeling, or using economics and math to predict how individuals will behave in specific situations; cryptography and cryptanalysis, or how math is used to break and make codes and ciphers; and building 3-D objects called Platonic solids, observing their mathematical properties and searching for patterns associated with them.

The students also met with three Hood alumnae and a mathematician from the National Security Agency to learn about careers in mathematics and hear testimonies about how Hood prepared them for their careers.

The program was facilitated by Hood math and economics professors and student volunteers, and made possible through the generous support of PNC Bank and Frederick County Public Schools.


Pictured, above: High school students built triangular solids out of Tinkertoys, dipped them in a soapy solution, made predictions about what the bubbles created by the structures would look like and then observed if their predictions were true.


What’s in a Label?

Students in Professor Jones’ Biology of Food and Nutrition class learn firsthand about nutrition labeling on packaged foods, and how to calculate and measure proteins, complex and simple carbohydrates found in everyday foods. The abstract concepts learned in the lectures—what proteins are actually doing, for example—become clear in the lab when students can actually see the proteins working. Students use this information to optimize bread and yogurt recipes by adjusting a variable—an ingredient or the fermentation process—to create a better product.

Pictured: Meagan Huyett ’18 and Tyler Shuck ’17.