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Guest Post: Sasha Stone, UMUC Cybersecurity Graduate Student


Alexander “Sasha” Stone

Information Technology, otherwise known as “IT,” is an amazing field that has grown exponentially over the past decade. I can remember like it was yesterday when Facebook came out and changed the way we communicate with one another. Today I can chat, post, and stream anything from my smartphone. I realized that with all of this technology at my fingertips it is important to know how to secure my information.

It was with this realization that I decided to pursue a degree in Cybersecurity.  I started my educational journey at Montgomery College and then transferred to the University of Maryland University College (UMUC) at the Universities of Shady Grove (USG).  I decided to stay at UMUC and pursue my graduate degree in Cybersecurity as well.

The biggest challenge in my Cybersecurity program has been keeping up with the ever- evolving and changing technology. As soon as you get one technology down, it is completely changed the next day. In the field of Cybersecurity, the one phase that is always said by my professors is “cybersecurity is a moving target.” That said, we can never truly get a “fit all” approach to computer security. It is important to understand that it takes not only cybersecurity professionals, but also individual users to fight against the growing number of cyber threats.

The U.S.A. alone gets hit with more than 5,000 cyber attacks every hour and more than 1 million malware threats are released every day worldwide. Check out this map that shows real-time cyber attacks in action. One helpful tip I have learned over the past few years regarding what users can do to reduce their chances of falling victim to cyber threats is to delete any emails from someone you don’t know or looks suspicious.

The growing field of Cybersecurity will continue to evolve and I can only dream of what the future holds for us in the next 10 years!

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Dr. Heather Congdon Returns from Global Interprofessional Conference in UK

heatherDr. Heather Congdon, Assistant Dean for the University of Maryland Baltimore (UMB) School of Pharmacy at the Universities at Shady Grove, and Co-Director for the UMB Center for Interprofessional Education, recently presented at the All Together Better Health (ATBH) VIII conference in Oxford, UK. This conference is a global interprofessional practice and education conference which brings together providers, health systems executives, educators, policymakers, and healthcare industry leaders with the goal of advancing interprofessionalism locally, regionally, and worldwide.

The conference was held from September 6-9, 2016. Dr. Congdon presented three posters: Characterization of Curricular Implementation at Universities across the United States with an Established IPE InfrastructureDevelopment and Integration of an IPE CARE Clinic Visit Flow Sheet for Students , and Implementation of an Interprofessional Education (IPE) Clinical Experience into a SafetyNet Primary Care Clinic. These posters focused on the assessment of interdisciplinary education (IPE) activities, scheduling, curriculum mapping, outcomes assessments, clinic visit efficiency, and developing IPE clinical training sites for health care profession students.

Author(s) of Each Poster:

Characterization of Curricular Implementation at Universities across the United States with an Established IPE Infrastructure

  • Heather Brennan Congdon, PharmD, BCPS, CDE, Assistant Dean, UMB School of Pharmacy at the Universities at Shady Grove, and Co-Director, UMB Center for Interprofessional Education

Development and Integration of an Interprofessional Education (IPE) Clinic Visit Flow Sheet for Students

  • Heather Brennan Congdon, PharmD, BCPS, CDE, Assistant Dean, UMB School of Pharmacy at the Universities at Shady Grove, and Co-Director, UMB Center for Interprofessional Education
  • Kimberly Cate, Masters of Social Work Student, UMB School of Social Work
  • Talia Gimeno, LCSW-C, Care Manager, Mercy Health Clinic, Primary Care Coalition of Montgomery County
  • Crystal DeVance-Wilson, MS, MBA, PHCNS-BC, Clinical Instructor, UMB School of Nursing
  • Jana Goodwin PhD, RN, CNE, Assistant Professor, UMB School of Nursing at the Universities at Shady Grove

Implementation of an Interprofessional Education (IPE) Clinical Experience into a SafetyNet Primary Care Clinic

  • Heather Brennan Congdon, PharmD, BCPS, CDE, Assistant Dean, UMB School of Pharmacy at Universities at Shady Grove, and Co-Director, UMB Center for Interprofessional Education
  • Jana Goodwin PhD, RN, CNE, Assistant Professor, UMB School of Nursing at the Universities at Shady Grove
  • Talia Gimeno, LCSW-C, Care Manager, Mercy Health Clinic, Primary Care Coalition of Montgomery County
  • Katherine J. Morris, LCSW-C, Program Director, UMBC Social Work at the Universities at Shady Grove
  • Joan Pittman, PhD, MSW, LCSW-C, Director of UMB School of Social Work MSW Program at the Universities at Shady Grove
  • Mary Lang, MBA, Chief Strategy Officer, Universities at Shady Grove
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The Changing Face of Higher Education


On Thursday, September 22, 2016, Universities at Shady Grove Executive Director Stewart Edelstein and UMBC student and USG Student Council President Faith Kamei joined an esteemed group of policymakers, educators and higher education experts at “The Changing Face of Higher Education,” a national forum sponsored by The Atlantic and Next America.

“USG provides the platform, the infrastructure [and] the connectivity to the school system, to the community college and to the business community, and a wide array of services that are provided by USG and each of our university partners,” Edelstein noted, when asked by panel moderator and Atlantic editor Alia Wong to sum up the value of the USG approach.

In light of an article The Atlantic published in May, “Bringing College to Students Who Can’t Leave Home,” Edelstein and Kamei were invited to share their insights on USG as a “case study” for the future of postsecondary education in the United States.

Other event participants included U.S. Representative and House Committee on Education and the Workforce Chairman John Kline (R-MN); Hillary for America Surrogate and Education Policy Expert James Kvaal; Excelencia in Education President Sarita Brown; U.S. Chamber of Commerce Vice President of Education Policy Cheryl Oldham; President of Northern Virginia Community College Scott Ralls; and President of Paul Quinn College Michael Sorrell.

Click here to view the full event online.

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Guest Post: Tony Li, University of Maryland School of Nursing Student

From Villages Abroad to My Local Community


My parents immigrated to New York from China in 1980 with little money and support. Both of my parents did not finish post-secondary school or spoke any English so their job prospects were limited. My father worked in the restaurant business while my mother worked as a seamstress in the Big Apple. I was born a little more than a year later and from the very beginning my parents had high expectations of me. So growing up I was well behaved and always did what I was told partly because I felt my parents had gone through a lot in their life and I didn’t want to bring misery to our family by being a troubled child.

As the first born in my family there was a tremendous amount of pressure for me to go to college and be “successful.” Success was defined as a career in Medicine, Law or Engineering. I choose the engineering route and enrolled at Drexel University. My plan was to work in pharmaceutical research. But during my final semester, I heard one of my classmate’s mention that he was serving a two-year mission as a member of the Mormon Church somewhere in the United States.  He would not be paid and it was all voluntary. I remember calculating the loss earning potential and wondering why he was stalling his career. He explained to me that he could always make money later, but he felt at this time he needed to volunteer his time to “spread the word” in communities around the country. This sounded good to me, I wanted to travel overseas and help others without converting them to a specific religion. After much research during my final semester, I decided to join Peace Corps. I would serve for two years and get to travel and help those in need, especially the underserved. My parents, however, did not approve and it would be the first thing I’ve ever done in my life that was contrary to their expectations of me.

Immediately after graduating from Drexel with a chemical engineering degree, I was stationed in Vanuatu where I was assigned to teach math and science at a boarding school for two years. The prospect of volunteering overseas in a resource poor country was appealing to me even though I knew there were plenty of communities, including my community in the United States, that equally needed assistance. Besides teaching full-time I also learned about how the healthcare system works in Vanuatu and how communities come together to help each other when someone becomes sick. Some examples include, one community raised money for a plane ticket so the patient could fly into the city for treatment and in another example a community came together to help a temporarily disabled farmer till and plant his entire garden. What was supposed to be a two year service turned out to be four years, and I realized that I wanted to go back to school to study public health.

After returning from Vanuatu I spent two years at Tulane University in Louisiana where I earned my Master’s degree in Public Health. I wanted to work in international development and public health was a good fit. I was fortunate enough to find work with a non-governmental organization (NGO), the Carter Center, based in South Sudan. Similar to Vanuatu, access to quality healthcare was difficult in this country. Poor infrastructure was and still is impeding progress with delivering medical supplies to the field, but sadly the current political unrest has downgraded the priority of access to healthcare in this country.

During my time at Tulane I had met my wife, who had been offered a job at the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. So it made sense that we relocate to the greater D.C. area. After returning from South Sudan I realized I wanted a clinical degree and planned on going to nursing school. I looked at several schools in the area but ultimately decided that the University of Maryland School of Nursing at USG was the best option for me.

dhhs-students-groupMy plan was to work overseas again after graduation. However, I was offered the opportunity to participate in the 2016 Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Montgomery County fellowship. I was excited to learn more about the different resources Montgomery County Health Department had to offer for those that needed assistance. The DHHS fellowship allowed my cohort of multidisciplinary professions to gain insight into the financial, social and educational services available in Montgomery County. We visited detention centers, women/children/men’s shelters, and health centers. At the end of the fellowship my cohort presented to the Montgomery County DHHS and our respective universities about interprofessional collaboration from different organizations.

It was through this fellowship that I was reminded that there are several communities throughout the United States and specifically the one I now call home, Montgomery County, that need my help. Upon graduation, I would like to work with community health, which would combine my public health experiences and nursing background.

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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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