Doctoral Alumna Focus | Mary C. H. Weller, DOL '21

Mary C. H. Weller

"Hood College’s DOL program was the right place at the right time for me. When I entered, I had no idea just how important my study at Hood College would be!"

Mary C. H. Weller, DOL '21

Program

  • Organizational Leadership (DOL)
  • Business Administration (DBA)

Department

  • The George B. Delaplaine Jr. School of Business
  • Education

Hood alumna, Mary C. H. Weller, DOL, graduated with a doctorate in organizational leadership (DOL) in 2021. Mary is currently the Coordinator for Science at the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE). Before this, she served as the Coordinator for Secondary Science in the Howard County Public School System for over a decade. Mary also worked as a Science Resource Teacher in the central office at Carroll County Public Schools and as a high school physics and chemistry teacher in Carroll County, Augusta County, and Charlottesville, VA. She is also a member of the National Science Teaching Association and the Maryland Association of Science Teachers.

We spoke with Mary about her time in the DOL program and how her experiences helped in her career.

Why did you choose Hood College?

Hood College’sDOL program was the right place at the right time for me. When I entered, I had no idea just how important my study at Hood College would be!

Initially, I was enticed by the DOL program's goal to “Prepare Leaders and Transform Communities.” Like so many people at that time, I was astonished to be witnessing in real-time the devastating impacts of mis-leadership all around us.

I wanted to act, but it was not clear precisely how I could act. Serendipitously, I encountered the DOL program. I learned that the program would equip me to critically examine and practically hone my leadership to the benefit of people around me. I would have the opportunity to examine theories of leadership deeply while practicing the hard work applying those theories.

The program’s structure and the superb faculty were the icing on the cake. Class meetings were concentrated on Saturdays; the cohort consisted of individuals from a variety of professional contexts; and the work thoughtfully mixed the theoretical and practical aspects of leadership right from the start. Faculty members with whom I spoke clearly put students at the center of their efforts. I was hooked.

How has the DOL program helped your career?

I am a different leader now than when I entered the program. I am a more mindful leader. I think more systematically. I operate more systematically. I more effectively prioritize people, programs, and resources.

The DOL program has helped me clearly define my leadership “north star” and to act in ways that allow me to progress in that direction. I am equipped for and committed to leadership that serves the people and supports the systems of educational equity.

In my current role as Coordinator of Science at MSDE, I am honored to serve the people of Maryland and am committed to nurturing scientific and environmental literacy within all students. My team at MSDE and I work each day to inspire and empower educators and to align and enhance systems of instruction and assessment so that all students are seen and fully supported to grow their scientific and environmental literacy. 

Too often in the past, science education has had an exclusive air; resources and opportunities were reserved for only some students. In 2021, however, climate change serves effectively as just one concrete example highlighting the imperative that all young people deserve the highest quality science learning experiences.

Each day, we see the impact of climate change around the world. Maryland is no exception as the frequency of nuisance flooding due to sea level rise increases. Additionally, we cannot ignore the fact that the impacts of climate change are experienced differently across racial and socio-economic groups.

We cannot delay redesigning science education so that it is both more inclusive and socially just. It is my intent to apply my Hood College experiences to support all people connected to science education in Maryland so that, together, we can abolish historical inequities and empower all students as leaders today and tomorrow.

 

What did you enjoy about Hood College?

There are so many aspects of Hood College that stand out to me. Certainly, working with the faculty has been a highlight. Learning alongside my cohort members has also been amazing. The environment has also been a plus.

I have to admit that I really loved holding our class meetings in the library on Saturdays. Hanging out in a library…all day…on Saturday. How cool is that?!

Do you have a favorite Hood memory?

There are many memories that stand out for me too. In keeping with my “geeking out” in the library on Saturdays, I have to mention the thrill of arriving for the first day of a class at the start of a new semester to find my textbooks waiting for me.

There is a certain excitement to embarking on new learning as symbolized by new texts. Once the spines of those books were cracked, the learning journey continued to be exciting, but there’s a certain thrill that comes with the moment of launch.

Any other information you would like to add?

Theoretically, the Doctor of Organizational Leadership degree is a terminal degree. Terminal typically means the end. Yet, earning the DOL degree from Hood does not mark an end. Instead, it is a waypoint in my journey. I am excited to move forward in my career to implement my learning as a scholar-practitioner to transform my community…and to keep learning.

Inspired by Mary's story to #GOFURTHER in your educational & career pursuits? Learn more about Hood College’s Doctorate of Organizational Leadership by clicking here.