Thank you for visiting DiscoverUSG, the official news blog for The Universities at Shady Grove.

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Executive Director’s Welcome Message and Video

Dr. Stewart Edelstein

Dr. Stewart Edelstein

Dear USG Community,

A warm welcome to students, faculty, and staff and especially those new to USG! There’s a remarkable energy here.  It comes from the enthusiasm of our students, the close interaction between students and faculty, and a supportive staff.

We pride ourselves on the full range of academic and student services we offer and the many activities available to enrich a students’ educational experience and assist in their personal and career development.  I encourage all students to participate in the Town Hall meetings of our Student Council and Graduate Student Advisory Council. Your experiences and feedback only make us stronger.

Keep up-to-date with all of the news and activities happening around USG on our website, the USG Mobile phone app, USG Weekly e-newsletter, and on social media. Check out what students are saying by reading the Around the Grove student blog. We also have a news blog, DiscoverUSG, where we feature guest bloggers (faculty, staff and students). If you have an interesting story to share, please let us know. There’s nothing more that I love than hearing from students on our campus.

I hope that you find your experience at USG to be a rewarding and enriching one. I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible throughout the semester.

Here’s to a wonderful year!


Stewart Edelstein, Ph.D.
Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, USM
Executive Director, USG


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Guest Post: Rommel Pazmino, UMD Criminology & Criminal Justice student

Rommel photo

Rommel Pazmino

My name is Rommel Pazmino and I’m a junior studying Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Maryland, College Park at the Universities at Shady Grove. This summer I decided  to study abroad in Italy to better understand the vulnerabilities associated with being a refugee in Italy. As a Criminology and Criminal Justice major, I have a passion to help and assist people who are in need of help. However, before you can help others you need to know their individual stories to be able to help them. In the news we hear a lot about immigration policy changes, undocumented people being deported, kids being separated from their families and we are too busy thinking about what is happening here that we forget about the rest of the world.

The truth is that today, the world has a migration and immigration crisis and it’s not just a problem in the U.S or Europe. Other countries in Latin America and in the Middle East are going through the same thing. Unfortunately, this crisis makes immigrants, migrants, and refugees very susceptible to human trafficking due to their vulnerabilities. Human trafficking is the second largest criminal industry and it’s considered a form of modern slavery. This criminal industry exploits millions of children and adults every day. This is a topic that many people don’t know about.

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During my trip, I developed an understanding of the reactions to human trafficking, both by the government as well as non-profit organizations. I also participated in activities in a non-profit setting in order to understand the challenges faced by both the organization and the people it serves. LESS, the non-profit that I visited in the city of Naples, was a wonderful well-organized institution that has dedicated 19 years to the growing migrant population in Italy. LESS provides activities and projects that are part of an integrated support system for social inclusion to prevent failure of integration, inequality, marginalization, and discrimination against migrants. Some of their programs and activities include psychological support ( for victims of human trafficking), legal advice and support, writing center (for resumes), ELICA (program with integration activities in the community), WIU (art classes for adolescents), IARA-AIDA (programs that provide Italian lessons, internships, job opportunities, counseling, food and shelter). Overall, LESS “emphasizes the importance of building a community in which refugees are socially integrated with the public.”

Rommel Italy 3Marco, a member at LESS, said that politicians and the media in Europe portray migrants as a flood, invasion or swarm, when in reality migrants benefit the community and economy. The truth is that “people who flee crises are seeds, scattered by a storm. When too many seeds are stuffed into one farm’s soil, few germinate and everyone loses. If farmers fear this outcome enough, those fears can become self-fulfilling. As each farmer pushes the seeds downhill onto someone else’s land, they pile up and become a burden. Alternatively, farmers share the seeds and all reap a rich harvest” – Michael A. Clemens.

Rommel GroupThis experience changed my worldview and I was able to feel a connection with the refugees because even though my story is different I’m also a migrant. I’m glad that there are places like LESS that truly care for people in need. Italy is a beautiful country with warm people that made me feel like I was home. I am thankful for the adventures I had, for the people I met, the culture I was exposed to, and the lifelong memories I’ve made. My study abroad experience will forever hold a special place in my heart. Finito, allora andiamo!

Rommel Italy 1

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Guest Post: Davina Whyte, Summer R.I.S.E. Intern at USG

Davina Whyte

Davina Whyte

Hello, my name is Davina Whyte. I am a rising senior at Northwood High School. This summer I had the opportunity to participate in the Summer R.I.S.E. program. Summer R.I.S.E. (Real Interesting Summer Experience) is a unique opportunity for Montgomery County High School students to explore potential careers and for local businesses to participate in developing a talent pipeline. I thought the Summer R.I.S.E. program would be a great opportunity for me to experience the workfield.

During my first week as an intern for the marketing and communications department at The Universities at Shady Grove (USG), I was able to experience what it is like to work in a professional setting. When I first found out I was assigned to USG, I was afraid I wouldn’t fit in because I am a high school student working with adults and I didn’t know much about marketing and communications. The staff at USG were inviting and my coordinators, Laura and Kristen, were able to teach me everything I needed to know and helped me with my projects that I had to complete. I knew that if I had a question I could just ask them and that is a very comforting feeling being in a new environment where I didn’t know anyone. Working with marketing and communications really helped me gain a better understanding of what really happens behind the scenes of getting the USG message out there.

While working on my project I learned how to plan and take notes. I’ve also learned how to conduct focus groups and become more comfortable with public speaking. Attending meetings has taught me that taking other people’s opinions into consideration is also important. Another big thing that I learned was that not everything you do is perfect the first time. Most things take multiple tries and you will sometimes need help along the way and that’s where teamwork comes into play. With marketing and communications, they have a lot of things to do and by them coming together to show how much progress they have made and what they need to work on is an important part to working in a professional setting.

Now that I have spent these three weeks here, I am definitely going to miss all the people that I have met. Luckily, I plan on attending the University of Maryland, College Park at USG and majoring in Communications. All in all, my experience at USG has been a great one. I would encourage other students who are looking for a way to gain experience in a business setting to participate in the Summer R.I.S.E. program and look for an internship opportunity at USG.

Summer RISE students

Summer R.I.S.E. intern students at USG (left to right): Briana Flores Ramirez, Davina Whyte and Arianna Carr (Kevin Liu not pictured).

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Alumni Ambassadors at USG

Pedro Branco

Pedro Branco, Alumni Relations and Community Engagement Coordinator

My name is Pedro Branco and I am the Alumni Relations and Community Engagement Coordinator at USG. I graduated from UMBC at USG in 2017 and am currently enrolled in the UMBC Industrial Organizational Psychology Graduate program. A few months prior to graduating from UMBC at USG, I was wondering what my next step in life would be. Where would I work? How will I be able to sustain myself financially? How was I supposed to succeed in my post-academic career?

As the Alumni Relations and Community Engagement Coordinator, I am able to alleviate some of the stress that comes with life-after-graduation. I have the ability to collaborate with our nine university partners to provide resources and support to alumni as they navigate their professional lives and aspirations.

So…What is an Alumni Ambassador at USG?

Having attended your program on the USG campus, I understand that you had a unique college experience. Through excitement of recent alumni eager to stay connected both to their alma mater and to the campus they’ve come to know and love, the Alumni Ambassadors at USG was born. It has become our goal to keep alumni of our nine partner universities engaged through regional alumni events, professional development initiatives and to broaden your professional network through various networking opportunities.

As you move forward into your career, we hope that you will remember your time at USG and be inspired to make a difference in the lives of future students. As alumni of one of our nine partner universities, here’s how you can remain a part of the community long after graduation:

Volunteer to mentor a student

Your experience as a graduate of a program at USG is invaluable for future students at USG. By mentoring a student, you will be able to offer insight and knowledge of your time at USG and as a graduate of your respective program.

Attend USG community and partner institutions alumni events

As we develop new programming and events tailored to your experience at USG, we hope that you will be able to come back to campus and local venues to network and meet like-minded alumni.

Be considered for USG and partner institutions program speaking engagements

As you move forward in your professional career, we hope that you consider assisting USG and your respective institution by speaking or presenting on a topic of choice to current students/alumni at USG or your home institution.

Utilize on-campus career services

You are still eligible to utilize on-campus resources, such as: career services, our Center for Academic Success, library and most of the facilities at USG. Whether you need help writing your resume, having a fresh pair of eyes look at your cover letter, or searching for job/internship opportunities, USG is here to help you succeed!

As we expand our communication efforts, we ask that you follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn to stay updated on all the exciting things happening at USG. Sign-up to become an Alumni Ambassador at USG: http://bit.ly/AlumniAmbassadorsatUSG. Welcome to the Community!

For more information on how to stay connected to USG, please contact:

Pedro Branco
(301) 738-6128

Edited Alumni Ambassadors Palm Card 4x6-1

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We Can’t Wait to Celebrate With You on May 10th!

Grad photo

The home stretch is here! Undergraduate seniors — you’ve almost made it. The year has flown by and has been filled with studying, classes, and hopefully some fun with events such as USGFEST, Cultural Tea Times, and USG Got Talent #LifeAtUSG.

Congrats! Those of us at USG and in the Center for Student Engagement and Financial Resources can’t wait to celebrate all of your hard work and accomplishments.  We commend you for those late night study sessions in the Priddy Library and for all those papers you’ve written with the help of the Center for Academic Success.  You’ve tapped into perseverance and overcome challenges in order to bring you to this point. And to celebrate, USG invites you to the Graduation Celebration on Thursday, May 10th from 6:30-8:30pm to revel in your success surrounded by your peers, faculty and staff. And as an added bonus all Fall 2017 graduates and Spring 2018 graduation candidates are invited to bring two guests with them. Photobooths, food, fun, and memories will be made at the annual Graduation Celebration and you won’t want to miss it!  Don’t forget, you must RSVP by Friday, May 4th #USGSuccess.

This year’s theme will be all about making you feel like the Hollywood Star you are for completing your degree! Governor Larry Hogan will be joining us to give the keynote speech.  Additionally, we’ll hear a heartfelt personal story from one of Towson University’s Early Childhood Education graduates, Kathy Pham. The USG Student Council will present the senior class gift to leave their mark on campus from the Class of 2017-2018. Hope to see you there!

Grad poster

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It’s Awesome to be a Grad Student at USG!

shelby photo 11-14-16

Shelby Speer

Did you know that there are over 1,000 graduate students taking classes at the Universities at Shady Grove (USG)? My name is Shelby Speer, and I am the Graduate Student Services Coordinator in the Center for Student Engagement and Financial Resources. My main role is to enhance programming, engagement, and support for this wonderful population.

You may be aware that we hosted our second annual Graduate and Professional Student Appreciation Week earlier this month. I am proud to announce that we were even more successful than last year, as we had 234 total interactions! As part of the week’s activities, students made their own trail mix, planted flowers, gave feedback to Dr. Edelstein, played board games, enjoyed a networking happy hour, and challenged undergraduates to Family Feud! By popular demand, we will be having an encore of the trail mix/flower planting during De-Stress Week on May 7th from 5:30-7:00pm in the Student Lounge, which will be open to all students!

Our next big event is Graduation Gala on May 11th. This is a celebration for graduating graduate and professional students and their families. The event will feature food and drinks, keynote and graduating student speakers, recognition of the Academic and Community Excellence Award recipients, photo booths, gifts, a string quartet, and more. We are looking forward to celebrating with everyone!

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USG Graduate Student Association

Finally, all these accomplishments would certainly not have come to fruition without the amazing support of the USG Graduate Student Association. New this year, the GSA has been instrumental in programming and support of our graduate student population. In addition to Grad Student Appreciation Week, we have hosted fundraisers; participated in #USGFest, the Involvement Fair, and International Night; held Coffee Days with the GSA; and ran activities during CSEF Saturdays, just to name a few. If you are a continuing graduate student, or will be joining the grad student community next year, please keep your eye open for board member applications in late August. In addition to paid positions, there is also the opportunity to become a general member.

I encourage all grad students to check out what USG has to offer. Please be sure to periodically visit the Graduate Student Resources webpage for lists of upcoming events and announcements, as well as to subscribe to the GSA Monthly Newsletter. Feel free to reach out to me with any ideas on how to improve the graduate student experience at USG. See you around the Grove!

Grad Gala Spring 2018 Front 03-16-183

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From Caring About my Grades to Caring for Other People

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Andrew Richardson

Andrew always knew that he wanted to be a nurse. When the time came to pick a college, he looked all around the mid-Atlantic to find nursing programs that were the right fit. Then, he learned about the University of Maryland School of Nursing program offered at the Universities at Shady Grove (USG). It quickly rose to the top of his list, not just because the top-rated program was right in his backyard, but because of the high marks it received from his friends who were already on campus. They told him that the classes were smaller than a typical main campus, and as a result, they got to know their professors and colleagues.

“I was concerned about choosing a school with a good student to teacher ratio, and that personal touch from the professors was one the golden nuggets – something that stood out from other schools – that helped me make my decision,” says Andrew.

“When I came across the Universities at Shady Grove, I realized they had exactly what I needed, right here in my backyard.”

Once on campus, Andrew discovered that the professors were just as invested in their students’ success as his friends described. The close-knit cohorts and direct contact with the faculty provided the perfect environment for Andrew to learn and grow. “USG had a personal touch unlike any other campus,” Andrew says.

It wasn’t just his professors that were invested in Andrew’s success: staff at the Career & Internship Services Center taught him how to talk with recruiters and network in the professional field; the Center for Academic Success provided support for writing resumes and papers; and the Center for Student Engagement & Financial Services helped him navigate the scholarship application process. Everywhere Andrew turned on campus, there was someone ready to help him pursue his goal of becoming a nurse.

But, Andrew says that the number one thing that stood out to him upon coming USG was seeing that there were 9 universities, on 1 campus. “I think the beauty of USG is that you have 9 different universities to collaborate with,” says Andrew. “I think that’s a very unique aspect of this campus; I mean, where else can you find that?”

USG’s unique structure fostered a sense of camaraderie on campus, where each student had the ability to interact with students from different majors and universities. In fact, Andrew and his nursing peers frequently worked with the students in the Doctor of Pharmacy and Masters of Social Work programs. Together, they learned how they could work as a team in a clinical setting to help patients, just as they would when they graduated.

“I loved studying at USG because it gave me all the avenues I needed to be successful, and it was a one-stop-shop to achieving the career that I wanted – becoming a nurse,” Andrew says. One of the mandatory requirements for all University of Maryland School of Nursing students is participation in clinicals, and Andrew started his at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. Using both the technical and networking skills that he learned at USG, Andrew excelled in his position and connected with the right people, who helped him land his current full-time job as a clinical nurse at the University of Maryland Medical Center right after graduation.

“To have a goal written on paper, then get into the dream school that you wanted to get in to, then walk across that graduation stage, and to now be working in the field that I always believed I belonged in, is just amazing,” says Andrew. “And that’s all thanks to USG.”

To learn more about the power of 9, visit powerof9.org


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