Graduate Student Spotlight | Kim Longfellow
"The interdisciplinary nature of this master’s program appealed to my curiosity about a program range of academic disciplines and allowed me to customize the program to further fit my interests and professional goals"
Kim Longfellow, Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Behavior
- Psychology & Counseling
Hood graduate student, Kim Longfellow, is enrolled in the Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Behavior M.A. program. She currently works as a Program Coordinator at Gettysburg College’s Center for Global Education, advising students on study abroad experiences that fulfill their academic, professional, and personal goals.
Please tell us about your background.
I received my bachelor’s degree from Gettysburg College, majoring in Sociology and German Studies. I’ve always had a wide range of interests and hobbies, ranging from history, to drawing and painting, to languages and literature. Attending a liberal arts school allowed me to pursue those many interests, appreciate a wide variety of disciplinary lenses, and see the connections between seemingly disparate academic fields.
During my undergraduate career, I also spent a semester studying abroad at the Universität Heidelberg in Germany, where I enrolled directly in German-taught courses with degree-seeking students.
Following my graduation from Gettysburg, I received a Fulbright grant and returned to Germany to work as an English Teaching Assistant at the Landrat-Lucas Gymnasium in Leverkusen, Germany. During this time, I facilitated a pen-pal letter exchange between my students and middle school students in Kentucky, and started a weekly English conversation where I designed interactive lessons on American history, politics, and customs.
When I returned to the U.S. in 2017, I was hired back at my alma mater, first as an intern and then as a Program Coordinator at Gettysburg College’s Center for Global Education. As a Program Coordinator, I advise undergraduate students on over 100 affiliated semester-length study abroad experiences, helping students to select programs that fulfill their academic, professional, and personal goals. I also regularly plan and facilitate site visits for Gettysburg College faculty to help them learn about opportunities for our students and connect with international counterparts.
After several years working in the international education field, I knew that a master’s degree would be a key step to progress further in my career. I was accepted into Hood’s M.A in Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Behavior program and began my graduate studies in the summer of 2019.
What made you choose Hood Graduate school and your program of study in particular?
I sought a program that would support my advising work with students. Although my role is not that of an official counselor, preparing a student for study abroad requires supporting students holistically and includes discussions about mental health and wellbeing, navigating culture shock and homesickness, and more.
Hood’s Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Behavior program was an excellent fit. With a core foundation in the Psychology and Counseling departments, it has helped me establish that foundation. Having attended a liberal arts college for my undergraduate degree, the interdisciplinary nature of this master’s program appealed to my curiosity about a program range of academic disciplines and allowed me to customize the program to further fit my interests and professional goals.
In addition to the subject matter of the program, I also chose to study at Hood because the Graduate School is flexible and intentionally designed so that I could continue working full-time while earning my degree. The evening and weekend classes meant that my coursework never conflicted with my regular work hours. My professors have been extremely sensitive to the diverse professional and personal responsibilities of their students.
As a liberal arts school, I felt right at home on Hood’s campus when I visited, and I knew that I would be able to work closely with faculty and get to know the other students in my cohort. When I met with Diane Graves, P.h.D, at Hood’s Graduate Open House, she took the time to learn more about my goals for my degree, and helped me customize my academic plan to support my professional interests as well as to meet my timeline for completing the degree.
How has your graduate degree coursework helped further your career and/or your life?
Even though I have not completed my degree, I have already been able to incorporate what I’ve learned through my courses into my professional and personal life. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, people are experiencing higher levels of stress.
This includes the students I work with as a study abroad advisor, as well as my friends, my family members, and myself. My psychology courses have helped me better understand the various social and internal mechanisms that shape individuals’ perceptions and responses to stress and grief.
Likewise, my counseling courses have helped me to mindfully and intentionally adjust my own behavior and actions to better support those around me. I’ve been able to use some of the counseling techniques I’ve learned on myself, being a little kinder and more patient with myself.
What have you enjoyed about Hood College so far? Do you have a favorite memory so far?
I have really enjoyed getting to know the other students in my cohort and my professors. Before starting the Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Behavior program, I knew I would be commuting to campus, and because I live further away from campus than others might, I came into my first semester resigned to the idea that it might be difficult to feel like a part of campus.
I’m happy that this has not been the case at all. Hood College has been really creative in their outreach and inclusion of commuting students and faculty and staff have consistently been supportive and attuned to the needs of commuting students.
Some of my favorite memories have been from the very first classes I took in the summer of 2019. Right away, the other students in my class introduced themselves and gave me tips on restaurants to try out in Frederick. Courses during the summer terms only last six weeks, but we really bonded as classmates over this short amount of time. In the final class, we all coordinated to bring in doughnuts and other treats to celebrate a fellow student’s birthday and the end of the term.
Despite my initial concerns, I feel very much a part of the Hood campus community, and whenever I start a new semester, it has been fun seeing familiar faces in my classes.
What are your interests outside of your professional and educational pursuits?
When I’m not involved in work or my studies, I really enjoy cooking, baking, and gardening. I also enjoy any excuse to get outside and I enjoy hiking in particular. Prior to COVID-19 restrictions on travel, I’ve had the opportunity to go backpacking along the West Highland Way in Scotland and co-lead a backpacking trip above the Arctic Circle in Norway.