Title: Project Manager, DynPort Vaccine Company
How has your Hood education benefited you?
The connections I made during my career at Hood have allowed me to continue to grow in my career. Hood is a school that definitely challenges you and encourages its students to reach their best potential. I took classes that seemed out of my league only to discover I could handle them. The Hood education taught me to never settle and always reach for something higher.
What were your extracurricular experiences?
I held many leadership positions during my career at Hood. Serving as vice president of the Mortar Board honor society and president of the service association allowed me to grow my skills as a leader and interact with many members of the Frederick community.
Did you decide your major right away?
I knew before I came to Hood I wanted to study biology. Actually, the biology major was the main reason I choose Hood. I knew the program and its professors had a really strong connection to the local Frederick biotech community, mainly Fort Detrick. It had always been a dream of mine to work at the United Army Medical Institute of Infectious Disease and the connections I made through the biology program at Hood allowed that to happen.
What is your favorite memory of Hood?
It is hard to pick just one. Looking back now, I definitely enjoyed those late nights doing research in Hodson and of course spring parties weekend was always a blast. One time during organic chemistry my mom called and Professor Ensel picked up and talked to her. I thought that was hilarious and not something you would find at most schools. Overall though, the people really make Hood. No matter which school you choose you are sure to have a moment where you wonder if you made the right decision. I met so many amazing people with whom I will be friends for the rest of my life.
Who were your mentors at Hood?
I owe a huge portion of my success after Hood to the opportunities Professor Craig Laufer provided me. I approached Professor Laufer after taking one of his classes freshman year about the possibility of doing research in his lab. It just so happened he had won a National Science Foundation grant to perform work on developing novel enzymes for use in bio-fuel production and was looking for student research assistants. I spent almost the next two years in his lab working on some truly novel ideas. I remember talking to my friends at other schools and they were blown away with the type of research and work I was doing compared to their experiences. Professor Laufer then helped me accomplish a goal I had before coming to Hood, an internship at USAMRIID. While at USAMRIID I worked in the integrated toxicology and molecular biology division performing research on small molecule inhibitors for the Botulinum Neurotoxin. The internship at USAMRIID led to a full-time job after graduation at Dynport Vaccine Company as a project manager on the U.S. Department of Defense's recombinant botulinum vaccine development contract. I was particularly lucky to land this position at the height of the recession when I graduated in 2009. I can honestly say if it were not for the opportunities that Professor Laufer provided I would not be in the position I am now. The professors at Hood are more than just teachers, they are all mentors who are willing to help you accomplish whatever goals you set for yourself.
What is your opinion on the value of a Hood education?
I graduated with three years of research experience, two internships and a job offer. You can't beat that! Hood allowed me to become a well-rounded candidate for any position or goal I choose.
What is your opinion on the value of a liberal arts education?
The liberal arts education teaches one to look not only at their area of interest but also how other disciplines can connect. It provides students with the opportunity to be come well rounded in whatever path they take. A liberal arts education teaches students to be creative no matter what field they choose.
What would you say to students applying to Hood?
It was amazing. I had the ability to do things and meet people I never thought I would.
Why did you choose to attend Hood College?
I knew the small liberal arts atmosphere would provide me with an opportunity to make many connections to help attain the goals I set for myself.