Doctoral Student Focus | Richard Stonebraker

Richard Stonebraker

"The program’s principles of Preparing Leaders and Transforming Communities really resonated with me. Diving into a program where I could be an instrument to create effective change in the community where I live was important."

Richard Stonebraker, DOL

Program

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

Department

  • Education

Hood graduate student, Richard Stonebraker, is completing his doctorate in Organizational Leadership. Richard has been an agricultural teacher for Frederick County Public Schools at Frederick High School since 2018, and he was recently appointed as the new Chair of the Board of Directors for the Frederick Center.

Please tell us about your background. Include any general background that you would like to share, as well as your educational and career background.

In 2012, I earned a Bachelor of Science in General Agriculture from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, then completed a Master of Education in Adult Education and Training from the University of Phoenix in 2015. I’m currently a doctoral student at Hood in Organizational Leadership.

I have been an agricultural teacher for Frederick County Public Schools at Frederick High School since 2018. I also serve as the Maryland Agricultural Teachers Association Membership Director, President of the New Market Grange No. 362, and Chair of the Board of Directors for The Frederick Center.

Before I became a teacher, I was a Microbiologist for The United States Department of Agriculture and also worked as an Accreditation Officer for the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation. 
 

Why did you choose Hood College Graduate School and the doctorate of Organizational Leadership program in particular? 

I chose Hood College because Hood had always been one of the colleges I dreamt of attending. When I was pursuing my lower degrees, my program of choice (agriculture mainly) wasn’t available at Hood and there were also some financial constraints.

Once I decided to pursue my doctorate degree, I turned to Hood College. Hood's doctorate of Organizational Leadership Program aligned with the values and principles I live by each day.

The program’s principles of Preparing Leaders and Transforming Communities really resonated with me. Diving into a program where I could be an instrument to create effective change in the community where I live was important.

After meeting the faculty and seeing their passion for the program, I knew that Hood was where I wanted to be. 

What do you enjoy most about Hood College? 

Hood College truly has the feeling of "home." The faculty and staff are always there for students. You are more than a number, you matter. I am also a huge history buff and just being able to be part of the historical fabric at Hood drew me in. 

How do you think obtaining your doctoral degree will benefit you in your career/life? 

I was the first person in my immediate family to go to college. My mother was very instrumental in making sure I took full advantage of opportunities to further my education.

When I graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, a desire to continue my educational studies was ignited. Once I received my master's degree, I knew that I wanted to eventually become “Dr. Stonebraker.”

A doctoral degree will benefit my life in so many ways, both personally and professionally. It will serve as a continual reminder that I can face challenges with hard work and passion.

You're the new Chair of the Board of Directors for The Frederick Center. Tell us how that came about and why you've chosen to devote your time to this organization.

I have served on the Board of Directors of The Frederick Center since 2017. I first started off as the Marketing Committee Chair and then moved on to serve as the Resource Development Committee Chair. Those two committees were highlights for me as they taught valuable lessons in marketing an organization as well as bringing the funds in to support the organization.

As with any board, as members time-out, new members come on board and shifts occur. When that happened, I became Vice Chair of the Center. My duty was to help support the organization and to serve in the absence of the Chair.

When the current board chair's time ended, elections were held and I was fortunate enough to be selected to serve as the next Chair of the Board. 

The Frederick Center exists to support and advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) people and our families so we thrive, are accepted and affirmed, in the broader Frederick community. I firmly believe in our mission and the work that we do.

In the grand scheme of things, we are still a very young organization, yet we have had numerous accomplishments in and around our community. We are an all-volunteer board and have no paid staff, so it becomes quite a tedious balancing act to manage.

The doctoral program at Hood has been a saving grace as I continue to navigate the waters of serving as board chair.
 

Is there any other information or fun facts you would like to add?

I have been very blessed to participate in such a wide range of activities over the years and I am often asked, “is there anything you can’t do?” My reply is, “I cannot sit still.” I have ADHD and have learned to use it over the years for the better.

I often bring this up because my students sometimes struggle with the same issue, and they worry that they will not be able to accomplish the things in life that they dream of. By sharing my story with them, I can help them to understand that its possible to harness the power of something often perceived as a negative and channel it in a beneficial way.

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