Life after Hood for Coastal Studies Alumnus, Shane Simms


" Anyone who is going back and forth about their major… trust your gut and don’t be afraid to try new things and open up to people… you never know where they can take you."

ENSP Alumnus Spotlight: Shane Simms

Graduation Year



  • Coastal Studies Program
  • Environmental Science & Policy (B.A.)
  • Biology (B.A.)


Sparrows Point, MD


  • Biology


Bachelor of Art

I am a recent alum of Hood College, as I graduated in January 2023. As I write this, I am a month into post-graduation life and I already miss my professors and classes (weird.. I know). I enjoyed my time at Hood, but what made my college experience worth every second, was the Center for Coastal & Watershed Studies professors and classes. Moving from a small town right on the Chesapeake Bay to a large city in the mountains made me nervous at first, but Hood College is a small, tight-knit school where I felt right at home for the next 4.5 years. Ever since I was a child, I spent all my summers at the beach. My mother passed down a North America identification book to me, as I always asked questions about the living world around me, and ever since then I have had a love for animals and plants that I didn’t even know existed. Once I got old enough, I began to think about using this love towards a future career. When I first visited Hood College, I was interested in the nursing program, as well as Environmental Science. I assumed they were “close enough” and job security seemed better with applying to the nursing program. As I began my college experience as a nursing student, I quickly learned that my passion was in environmental science. Once beginning my ENSP and BIO courses, I knew that this was the right choice for me and my future.  

The Coastal Studies Semester gave me the opportunity to get out of the classroom for hands-on field and lab experience. In my Coastal Studies Semester, there were a total of eleven students and a handful of professors that traveled throughout Maryland and Virginia together. This experience allowed all students to learn about the different career paths and places our major could possibly take us when we graduate. I did not expect to bond with professors and my classmates so fast. It is an incredible feeling to be able to have professors that know who you are as a person, as well as a student, and being able to assist you in your future plans, whether it be next semester's classes or a new job. I also did not expect to meet so many different people and getting to hear their stories about their love for their jobs and how they got to where they are today. I loved the Coastal Semester, but it was challenging at times. Finding a balance between sports and academics is always hard on a student, but add in traveling Monday-Friday a few weeks in the semester and the work seems to pile up fast. I used a lot of my “free time” to study and finish assignments ahead of time to ensure my grades stayed high and I might have been tired and stressed some days, but looking back I would do it all again. The trips, professors, and classmates meant the world to me and was the best semester I had at Hood College.  

Those experiences allowed me to become more comfortable with the person I am and my career choices. Many places we visited opened my eyes to new career paths, but one stood out to me the most. Our cohort visited Horn Point Oyster Hatchery while on the Eastern Shore, and after getting a tour of the entire space and learning about the production and hands-on learning of the Virginia Oyster, I knew I found something special. A few months go by after our tour and I am walking back in as a summer intern. I would not have given an oyster hatchery any thought without the help of the Coastal Semester professors. 

Now that I have officially graduated from Hood College, I am starting within the next month or so with the Horn Point Oyster Hatchery again! The friends and connections I have made through the hatchery have been ones that will stay in my heart forever, and I hope everyone gets the opportunity to find the passion and love for their career as I did. I believe the confidence in my knowledge and finding a job perfectly suited for me is because of the encouragement and knowledge my peers and professors allowed me to obtain through this experience. Anyone who is going back and forth about their major… trust your gut and don’t be afraid to try new things and open up to people… you never know where they can take you.