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The Universities at Shady Grove Receives $50,000 Grant To Help Underrepresented Students Achieve Financial Stability, Grow Regional Workforce

Funds to support students through college, earn academic credentials and develop workplace skills necessary to succeed in high demand careers

The Universities at Shady Grove (USG) has received a $50,000 grant from the Meyer Foundation to support two programs designed to help build a diverse, highly skilled workforce, support the local business community, and enable deserving youth to realize their potential and achieve financial stability.

The Universities at Shady Grove Achieving Collegiate Excellence and Success (ACES) and Career Experience Opportunities (CEO) programs are designed to introduce students to career options, prepare them for the workforce and connect them to employment. To date, the program has enabled nearly 2,000 students to experience these opportunities.

“Through CEO and ACES, we are able to dramatically increase the number of nontraditional students staying in school, earning degrees, and being well prepared to join and succeed in the workforce,” said Stewart Edelstein, executive director of the Universities at Shady Grove. “Ultimately CEO and ACES diversify and expand the pool of candidates with 21st century workforce skills in our region.”

The ACES program provides educational pathways and support structures from high school to college completion for low-income, first generation, and other underrepresented students. Using a case management approach, ACES engages students, parents, teachers, and staff to achieve success. The CEO program is a five-year partnership with Montgomery County Public Schools and Montgomery College that guides students from their senior year in high school through the completion of their bachelor’s degree. It combines classroom studies and work skills development with career experiences like job shadowing and internships.

Julian A. Haynes, Program Officer at the Meyer Foundation, praised the program for its approach involving businesses, public schools, the community college and the Universities at Shady Grove to help young people prepare for the workforce and obtain family-sustaining careers. “By using collective action to support an intentional pathway, it fills a critical need in our community to provide workforce skills to young people who lack professional networks or exposure to the careers that will provide a pathway to economic security.”

“These programs enable our students to graduate with experiences and skills so they can compete and be successful in the high demand fields in our region,” added Edelstein. “This grant from the Meyer Foundation will enable us to form more partnerships with local businesses and to mobilize the resources of public schools and community colleges to help create opportunity and a level playing field for our students.”

The Meyer Foundation grant joins approximately $1 million in pledges from Hess Construction, Health Care Initiative, MedImmune, Westat and other funders to support the ACES and CEO programs. The Meyer Foundation grant announced today will also help USG build partnerships with more businesses to expand the programs.


About the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation

Established in 1944, the Meyer Foundation is one of the Washington area’s oldest and largest locally-focused philanthropies. In December 2015, the Foundation adopted a new strategic plan and mission statement: to pursue and invest in solutions that build an equitable Greater Washington community in which economically vulnerable people thrive.

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From College to Career: Recent Graduates Share Their Stories

The Universities at Shady Grove

By Comcast Creative

Comcast Creative proudly presents a video featuring three recent graduates sharing their stories about finishing college and starting their careers. Click here or the image below to watch the video.

Comcast Video II

A unique kind of learning community, USG is designed for students who are professionally focused and want to fast track their degree. Everything about USG is aimed at helping students complete their degree and advance their career. With degree and certificate programs available on a flexible full-time, part-time, evening and weekend basis, USG students are able to complete their education in a cost-effective and timely manner close to home.

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USG featured on WJLA News

Universities at Shady Grove offer Maryland students unique benefits

By Kellye Lynn, Reporter at ABC 7 News

Kellye Lynn, a reporter at WJLA, spent a few hours on campus speaking with students about their experiences and taking a tour of USG. She compiled an in-depth look at USG’s model and the success it offers so many in our state. 


Maryland college students benefit from nine universities in one location.

Twenty-two-year-old Allison Hishmeh is about to start a new chapter in life now that she’s graduated from the University of Maryland College Park. Even though she recently received a marketing degree from the school, Hishmeh rarely stepped foot on campus.

“We have a library, recreation center. We have our Office of Student Services. It’s all here. So I don’t need to go to main campus for anything,” she told ABC7 News.

Everything she needed she found at the Universities at Shady Grove. The Rockville campus represents nine schools in the University of Maryland system including Salisbury University, Towson, Bowie State and the University of Baltimore. Degrees are offered in fields such as business, psychology, nursing, pharmacy, and biology.

Visit WJLA to view the full story.

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USG featured in The Washington Post

Nine universities on one small campus? It’s real. It’s here. And it could be higher ed’s future.

In May, Washington Post Education Reporter Danielle Douglas-Gabriel spent a few hours on our campus, speaking with students about their experiences and getting a tour of our facilities. She compiled an in-depth look at USG’s model and the success it offers so many in our state. Take a read below.

USG Campus

It would be easy to mistake the Universities at Shady Grove as a flagship public school, with its red-brick buildings and its state-of-the-art labs, library and fitness center.But Shady Grove is a program unlike any other, with nine state universities converging at the Rockville, Md., campus, part of an effort that began 16 years ago to reduce college costs, produce an educated workforce and encourage college completion among populations that traditionally struggle to get their ­degrees.

Public universities and colleges are grappling with how to serve a growing population of students with limited resources in the face of paltry state investment in higher education. ­Cooperative programs, such as the one at Shady Grove, draw on the strengths of regional colleges and respond to demands for workforce development.“It’s a very innovative model,” said Barmak Nassirian, director of federal relations and policy analysis for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. “You have a public institution responding to market conditions in a way that expands access.”Shady Grove offers a way for community college students to transfer into undergraduate programs at nine of the 12 schools in the University System of Maryland, including the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Bowie State, Towson and the state flagship in College Park.

All classes are held in Rockville and taught by professors from the partner schools, so a student seeking a bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Maryland Baltimore County can earn the degree without ever setting foot in ­Catonsville.

That kind of convenience was appealing to Nyenpu Faith Kamei, 21, a Germantown resident getting a degree in social work and psychology from UMBC. Staying close to home was important for Kamei because of the money she could save by living with her parents.

Click here to continue to read the full article.

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USG featured in The Atlantic

Bringing College to Students Who Can’t Leave Home

More people are earning degrees from far-away schools through regional campuses.

By: Emily DeRuy, Senior Associate Editor at The Atlantic

Just a few days after USG’s 15th graduation celebration, Emily DeRuy, senior associate editor for The Atlantic, spent time speaking with students and USG’s Executive Director Stew Edelstein and learning about our regional campus. She penned a feature on USG’s innovative model, the benefits it offers students, and the impact it has on Maryland’s regional businesses.

Grad pic

As more students stay close to home for college, universities face the challenge of rethinking not only the education they offer, but how they deliver it to an increasingly diverse student body.

In a paper published earlier this year, researchers from the University of Wisconsin at Madison noted that most new students now attend college nearby. For reasons both financial and cultural, this is especially true for poor students and those of color, who make up a growing segment of college-goers. Where there are good options, staying local works just fine. But where there aren’t quality choices, students—and local economies—lose out.

A few decades ago, Montgomery County, Maryland, found itself hurting for quality four-year college options. Business, particularly the science and tech sectors, was booming and companies were hiring. And they were increasingly looking for people with bachelor’s degrees. Montgomery County had a good community college, but no public university where locals could get a four-year degree. So kids from families who could swing it went away. But the county’s demographics were also shifting. Schools were filling with more poor children from families unfamiliar with college, who were less likely to pack up and head elsewhere for school.

“You look at what’s happening in the school system and you look at what the needs in the workforce are, and you see an immediate disconnect,” said Stewart Edelstein, the executive director of what would ultimately become something of a solution: The Universities at Shady Grove (USG). Created in 2000, USG essentially lets Montgomery County residents earn bachelor’s and even master’s degrees from nine of the 12 schools that make up the state’s university system all at one stand-alone campus 20 miles northwest of Washington, D.C., in Montgomery County. Most students go to local community colleges and then apply to a school (Towson University or the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, for instance) for the final half of a bachelor’s degree or for a graduate degree, specifying that they want to enroll at the USG campus. The individual universities hire their own faculty, and students’ diplomas don’t bear any mark of USG. Graduates are, for all intents and purposes, earning a degree from Towson or a degree from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. But they don’t have to move to do it. And local businesses, from Marriott to Lockheed Martin, know they’ve got college graduates nearby who are already committed to staying in the area.

Visit The Atlantic to read the full story.

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Guest Post: Nickolas Falk, Acquisitions & Administration Librarian

With the spread of Zika virus reaching a highpoint on February 1, 2016 when it was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the World Health Organization (WHO) for its association with microcephaly and other neurological disorders, the Priddy Library here at the Universities of Shady Grove (USG) decided we needed to do something. As librarians, we are in a position that allows us to provide access to timely and accurate information. So in addition to a small exhibit created to cover the current information on the Zika virus, we reached out to the University of Maryland (UMD), College Park Public Health Sciences program and to the Office of the Executive Director to plan a panel discussion hosted by the Priddy Library. The panel discussion featured experts who shared their knowledge on the Zika virus and detailed the efforts taken by Montgomery County to fight the spread of the virus to our area.

The panel began with two UMD Public Health Science professors, Dr. Jessica O’Hara and Dr. Gretchen De Silva, who described the Zika virus’s virology and epidemiology, respectfully. Some of the important points Dr. O’Hara provided were on Guillain-Barré syndrome and Microcephaly. Interestingly, although Guillain-Barré syndrome affects adult’s nervous system, some individuals can fully recover. Dr. O’Hara also explained that microcephaly can be identified in utero near the end of the 2nd trimester and no reports have been made of transmission from mothers to infants through breastfeeding. After Dr. De Silva traced the history and exposure of the virus, she explained noteworthy numbers on the confirmed cases in the United States and defining elements of the infections; local and imported.

The panel also included Debra Aplan from the Montgomery County Office of Disease Control & Immunization and Dr. Earl Stoddard from the Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management & Homeland Security. Aplan and Dr. Stoddard each spoke on the actions being taken by the county to protect people from being infected with the virus, explaining how the county is raising awareness and supplying protection kits for county residents as summer approaches and the risk of being bitten by mosquito’s increases. Montgomery County has also created a website on Zika virus prevention and awareness.

Zika Pic

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Graduate Spotlight: Dollye McClain ’16

Dollye_webthumbnail_circleMeet Dollye! In May 2016, Dollye will be graduating from Bowie State University with an Ed.D. in Education. Dollye has been employed with Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) for 27 years and is currently the Assistant Principal at Paint Branch High School. Learn about her journey and her experiences at USG.

Starting from when you began your program at USG, what steps did you take to get to where you are today in your career?

I have been employed with Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) for 27 years. A few years ago a friend and I were talking about our own educational paths. We got the crazy idea to go enter a doctoral program. We made a bet with each other to see who would actually go through with and stick with it, and from there, we each enrolled in different schools at the same time. In January 2011, I enrolled at Bowie State University in their Ed.D. in Education program. It has been an arduous journey, but now I will finally be graduating in May. My career with MCPS, especially now as the Assistant Principal of Paint Branch High School, has been wonderful. It will be really nice have “Dr. McClain” on my door.

What do you do at your current job?

As an Assistant Principal of Paint Branch High School each day varies. Most days start with morning duty in the halls and once all of the students are in class, I meet with parents of students who may be having issues in school. After talking with our security team and our School Resource Officer I typically meet with the student and the parent together. Then I have lunch duty. I usually get to sit down and eat my lunch around 1:00pm. After lunch I usually have several Special Education (SPED) meetings. Throughout the day I meet with department chairpersons concerning teachers. And, on a few occasions I make a home visit with our Pupil Personnel Worker (PPW).


I work under the direction of the Principal, which consists of assisting with administration and supervision of the total school program and providing educational leadership for students and staff members in an effort to be consistent with the educational goals of the community. One of my jobs includes establishing a climate conducive to learning, planning, and coordinating programs, affecting change, and decision making along with discipline. I prepare a variety of written reports and correspondence — anything from memos about testing, to college recommendations for students. I also assume responsibility for operation of the school in the absence of the Principal.

How did your time at USG prepare you for your career?

As a doctoral student I had to complete an externship. I decided to work with Dr. Genevieve Floyd in the Department of Career and Postsecondary Partnerships. I realized that Dr. Floyd has a small staff but is responsible for many different programs including partnerships with businesses, higher education institutions and Maryland Career and Technology Education career clusters. These clusters include:

  • Arts, Humanities, Media and Communication
  • Business Management and Finance
  • Human and Consumer Services, Hospitality and Tourism
  • Education, Training, and Child Studies
  • College Awareness, Readiness and Preparation: Accuplacer, GED Prep; JROTC, etc.

It was really interesting completing my externship with Dr. Floyd and one where I was able to gain a lot of experience in several diverse areas of education. It also got me thinking about what I would like to pursue in the next chapter of my career.

What was your most memorable experience at USG?

My favorite memory about USG was the library. I spent a lot of time doing research there and found the staff very accommodating and helpful. The late hours the library was open was especially useful around final exam time. The library also has a lot of wonderful technology — the One-Button Studio is great for recording presentations. There is also the MediaScape where students can collaborate on a document or project. Everyone can connect simultaneously and switch between users to share notes, media and websites. I also used the Bookeye, which is a super scanner that can scan any item and be saved on a flash drive. I hope more students realize and use all the wonderful resources the library offers.

In 140 characters or less, what message would you give to future graduates?

USG is a “hidden jewel.” USG offers amazing resources that allow students to stay in the area and THRIVE academically and professionally.

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