Guest Post: Olufunke Sholola, UMD Criminology & Criminal Justice student

Hunger Banquet

Olufunke Sholola

Olufunke Sholola

The Universities at Shady Grove’s (USG) Annual Hunger Banquet took place on November 13, 2017 with the assistance of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) Campus Kitchens Project, Chef Susan Callahan, Student Council, Graduate Student Association, Office of Student Services, and several volunteers. The Hunger Banquet did an excellent job showcasing the harsh reality of what it is like living below the poverty line.

Students were given a small piece of paper and assigned a role. Students were divided into three classes: upper, medium, and lower. It was quite alarming how this event depicts many people are unsure where their next meal will come from. It was also discouraging to see the large discrepancy of incomes levels. One observation I made included the upper and medium income participants were more likely to engage in the conversations during the questions and answers session. Despite the silence of the lower income participants, their facial expressions revealed sadness and disbelief. Though they were large in numbers many of them felt their voices did not matter.

I had a positive first experience of attending The Hunger Banquet. As a student, I was unaware of how active the UMES students are within the community. Campus Kitchens Project does a phenomenal job in providing food to impoverished families within Montgomery County. I had the pleasure of assisting in the preparation of the meals, setup, and organization for the Hunger Banquet as a member of the USG Student Council. I also served as an MC so I was able to see the students’ interactions based on the income level they were assigned. The students actively witnessed hunger and how it can affect anyone. The students watched a video where a university graduate was living under poverty lines. She was unable to feed herself without government issued food stamps. The Hunger Banquet revealed how many people are one paycheck away from poverty. The guest speaker Jenna Umriac, Director of Programs and Policies at Manna Food Center in Gaithersburg, Maryland shed light on how we can find solutions to the hunger epidemic in Montgomery County and other regions too.

Conversations from USG’s Annual Hunger Banquet are needed in order to end the hunger epidemic in Montgomery County and all over the world. The Hunger Banquet is a vital event, it not only raises awareness but it also offers solutions. I want to thank UMES Campus Kitchens Project, Chef Susan Callahan, Student Council, Graduate Student Association, Office of Student Services, volunteers, and all of the attendees for their involvement of the 2017 Hunger Banquet! Your help is highly appreciated and needed.

Hunger Banquet

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Suite News: It’s APPening at USG!


Rachel Wolohan, Senior Coordinator in the Office of Student Services

One of the most rewarding things about working at the Universities at Shady Grove (USG) is that we are always trying new things to engage and assist students in their educational experience.

As a Senior Coordinator in the Office of Student Services, you can usually find me planning Civic Engagement Series events with students, helping student veterans on campus, or marketing campus-wide events on USG Weekly or USG Highlights elevator signs.  But over the past few months I’ve also been working diligently in collaboration with other groups and departments at USG to bring our new USG Mobile app to life, and I’m super excited to announce that it’s just been made available in the Google Play and Apple Store. It’s no secret that students are constantly on their phones, so what better than to have all the information they need about what’s happening on campus, right at their fingertips! USG Mobile is here, and you won’t want to miss having all the information you need readily available.

The app has so many different features, but I want to highlight my top three favorites:

  1. Weekly Menu – See what’s being served in the cafe each week under the dining tab. So now, you no longer have to walk down to the cafe, you can stay in the library studying, or in Building I without having to walk over in the cold.
  2. Events – Get access to a quick calendar view of ALL the events happening on campus — you can even add them to your personal calendar and share them with your friends.
  3. Push Notifications – Get reminders about big things happening on campus, so you don’t miss out on any of the fun!

And USG Mobile is not just for students! Faculty/Staff will want to know what they can eat for lunch, too!  Winter is coming and USG Mobile also has an easy way to sign-up for the inclement weather alerts when campus has delayed openings or closed. Stay in the know with all the APPenings at USG.

Download USG Mobile today in the Google Play Store or the Apple Store — just search “USG Mobile.” And be sure to stop by the “Appy Hour” tablings on Monday, November 20th or Tuesday, November 21st in the Green Grove Cafe from 11:30am-12:30pm. We will be giving away some free phone accessory swag to those who show us that they have downloaded the app.  #LifeAtUSG #USGMobile


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LinkedIn. Not just Facebook for old people.

Hey all! My name is Eleni, and I’m the Graduate Assistant in the Career & Internship Services Center at USG.


Many times in the career center, I hear students say “Isn’t LinkedIn just for old people?” And I ask “Do I look old?!” which is usually met with chagrin and stammering.

LinkedIn is great tool to promote yourself to potential employers, no matter your age. It requires less upkeep than Snapchat or Twitter, so I guarantee you can find time for it in your busy lives. Worried about getting started? I’ve outlined just five things you can do to make sure your profile catches employers’ eyes…in the right way:

1. Pick a professional picture — You’ve heard it said before, “a picture’s worth a thousand words.” It’s a cliche for a reason, it’s true! This is going to be the first thing a recruiter sees, so no photos with Snapchat filter, funny faces, selfies (especially of the mirrored variety), or cropped group shots — I don’t care how good you look in it, having half of someone’s face or a floating arm wrapped around you does not say professional. You want a clean, professional headshot that clearly shows your face and who you are. Don’t have one? Don’t worry! On LinkedIn Day, we’re going to be offering FREE headshots from 12-6pm on the main staircase landing between the 3rd and 4th floors. Dress professionally and drop by when you have 15 minutes free! Check out our Facebook page for #FashionFridays to see appropriate attire.

2. Write a good headline — Your LinkedIn headline is a short 120 characters of who you are and the cool things you do (or want to do) — think of it as your tagline for your biopic. What is the one thing you want recruiters to remember about you

3. List your experience — List the jobs you’ve held and a brief description or bulleted list of what you did there. Experience doesn’t just mean paid jobs, it also includes unpaid internships and even volunteering. Volunteering is a great addition to your profile because it also gives a recruiter or hiring manager insight into you who are as a person, and what you are passionate about.

4. Build your network — One of the biggest benefits of using LinkedIn is the opportunity to grow your network. Connect with your friends, previous and current managers, even your Mom’s best friend. You never know who might be connected with who. Alumni can also be a great networking tool. Take advantage of the Alumni Tool on LinkedIn, which lets you search for Alumni from your school by where they work, live, and more. Most alumni are happy to respond to a request from a fellow Terp or Retreiver. When you connect with anyone on LinkedIn, it’s more likely to be accepted if you attach a personal message. For example:

I am a current UMD student and see you graduated a few years ago. I admire your career in ________ and hope to pursue a similar path.  Would you be available to talk with me and provide advice as to how to get into the field?

5. Get endorsements and recommendations — This is how you can prove you have the skills you say you do. People who you connect with can ‘endorse’ you for certain skills. Did you just complete a group project where you put together the PowerPoint? Ask your team members to endorse you for Microsoft PowerPoint. This is your network confirming “Yes, they are good at this.” These skills in your profile should include relevant keywords or phrases from job postings that you are interested in. You can also ask people to write longer recommendations that can be added to your profile. Recommendations from direct supervisors or people you worked closely with are especially beneficial. This article has step-by-step instructions on how to ask someone for a recommendation on LinkedIn.

I know this might sound like a lot to start, but I promise, investing a little bit of extra time in setting up your LinkedIn profile will be worth it — it doesn’t matter if you are just starting at USG or about to graduate, LinkedIn can be a huge asset to showcase who you are as a professional, and can greatly enhance your job search and help you build  your business network.

If you want to learn more about LinkedIn, or are just still a little confused about what all the fuss is about, come to Link Up with LinkedIn on November 15th. Throughout the day, CISC will be hosting a variety of events to help you learn how to market your digital self using LinkedIn. Plus, we’re offering FREE professional headshots!

I look forward to seeing you all there! If you have any questions reach out to CISC at 301.738.6338 or

LinkedIn Event Agenda.jpg


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Guest Post: Francine Baker, UMD Public Health Science student

The Good, The Bad, and The Resistant: Antibiotics & Microbes

Francine Baker 1

Francine Baker

Collaboration, not only across disciplines but across universities, is among the best experience of being a student on the Universities at Shady Grove (USG) campus. Twice now, I’ve had the privilege of coordinating a Civic Engagement Event with students from various programs at USG. This semester’s event The Good, The Bad, and The Resistant: Antibiotics & Microbes was a collaboration between Pharmacy and Nursing students from the University of Maryland, Baltimore  and students from the University of Maryland, College Park’s Biological Science and Public Health programs. A true labor of love, this event was designed to (1) educate attendees on what microbes are (2) introduce the concept of antibiotic stewardship and (3) raise awareness regarding an overlooked, yet serious public health threat — antibiotic resistance. To achieve this, we called upon a panel of experts to share with the community the role they play with antibiotics and microbes. Among our experts were:

  • Katie Richards, an Improvement Consultant with Health Quality Innovators, the CMS Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organization for Maryland and Virginia, and an epidemiologist specializing in healthcare associated infections and antibiotic stewardship.
  • Daniel Nelson, an Associate Professor and Head of the Laboratory of Antimicrobial Discovery at the University of Maryland.
  • Adrienne Ma, a clinical Pharmacy Specialist at MedStar Montgomery Medical Center where she heads the antimicrobial stewardship committee and serves as a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland for fourth year advanced practice infectious disease rotations.
  • Wendy Henderson, Chief of the Digestive Disorders Unit within NINR’s Division of Intramural Research and served as a faculty member, nurse practitioner, and research coordinator at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, Pediatric Gastroenterology Department.

To round out the event, there were several hands-on activities for attendees to get up close and personal with different microbes, find out their microbe personality, learn proper handwashing, the right way to use antibiotics, and the benefits of probiotics. When attendees left the event, we wanted them to not only have a better understanding of what microbes are, but also realize their importance and why it’s necessary to be good stewards of antibiotics.

As a student, I can’t think of a better way to learn ones’ profession than practicing the skills being taught. This is why I love coordinating civic engagement events. Not only do I get to learn the art of multidisciplinary collaboration, but I also had the opportunity to work on conflict resolution, project and time management, public speaking, health literacy, program planning, and most importantly health education and promotion. These are all important skills of public health professionals. No matter how many lectures I sit in on, it is the hands-on, labor of love that I will remember and will take with me as I start my career.

Francine Baker


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Suite News: I’m throwing a party and you’re invited!

Jen headshot 1

Jennifer Riehl, Senior Coordinator, Center for Recruitment & Transfer Access

I’ve always loved hosting family and friends for special events. From setting out handmade place cards at the Thanksgiving dinner table when I was a kid, to creating elaborate birthday party themes as a teenager, and to most recently planning my own wedding — I get a special joy from seeing my visions come to life in a way that benefits all those in attendance. It’s lucky then, that as the Senior Recruitment Coordinator in the Center for Recruitment and Transfer Access, one of my main duties is planning USG’s tri-annual Undergraduate Open House events!

Open Houses allow prospective students the chance to check out our campus, learn more about their programs of interest, and mingle with staff and Student Ambassadors — and hopefully leave with a greater understanding of and appreciation for USG as a whole. When I first took this job nearly five years ago and was expected to run my first Open House a month later, I simply tried to mimic what I was told about the most recent event. But after seeing a few in action, I began having visions about how to make the day better, bigger, and even more useful to prospective students, and to that end, along the way we’ve added student panels, application labs, sessions specifically for high school students, a formal welcome, and more. As I approach planning my 15th (!) Undergraduate Open House, I finally feel all the tweaks have paid off, and I’m really looking forward to welcoming prospective students and their families to campus on Saturday, October 28th!

Ambassadors 1

Jen with several of her wonderful Student Ambassadors after an Undergraduate Open House

Some of the highlights of our upcoming Undergraduate Open House that you won’t want to miss:

  • The chance to meet with program representatives from all undergraduate majors offered by our university partners at the Shady Grove campus. Bring your unofficial transcript, as most will review it with you on-site!
  • Tours of the whole campus and of special locations such as the Priddy Library, Marriott Teaching Kitchen, Exercise Science labs, and Campus Rec Center.
  • A presentation and student panel for high school families about the MCPS-MC-USG Pathway.
  • Sessions on how to write the perfect scholarship and application essays, conducted by my colleagues in the Center for Academic Success, as well as ones on how to map your career path led by our Career & Internship Services Center.
  • Information on financial aid and USG-specific scholarships provided by the Office of Student Services.
  • The opportunity for eligible students to apply to join a Transfer Access Program.
  • USG Student Ambassadors from various majors eager to share their stories with you.
  • And NEW to this event, a fun photo booth for you and your friends to pose in! (Be sure to tag your social media photos with #USGOpenHouse!)

    Photo Booth

    Jen and fellow USG staff members, including USG Executive Director Stewart Edelstein, pose in a photo booth last summer

If you are a prospective undergraduate student reading this, I do hope you will register to attend! Or if you are a current student, staff, or community member but know friends or family members who may benefit from learning about USG, please encourage them to come check us out (you may not know it, but you’re a recruiter, too!). If there’s anything I do well, it’s throwing a good party, and the USG Undergraduate Open House is the type of party where you can not only have fun but also leave one step closer to your next degree. I’d say that’s a winning combo!

**Check out the complete schedule of events, learn more, and register here!

open house

See you on October 28th!

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Suite News: Be your best with SAS


Robyn Dinicola-Wagle, USG Chief Student Affairs Officer

Hello everyone! My name is Robyn Dinicola-Wagle and I am the Chief Student Affairs Officer for the Student and Academic Services (SAS) division at the Universities at Shady Grove (USG).

Have you ever sat down in front of a computer screen to approach a writing assignment or some other task and drawn a blank, or been uncertain about where to begin? This was me 18 years ago when I was tasked with building a student affairs operation at USG from the ground up. I was sitting in an empty office in Building II, with a blank sheet of paper in front of me, and a great deal of uncertainty and anxiety about how and where to begin. While the task was a challenging one, I refused to let doubt or uncertainty derail me. I forged ahead with optimism and excitement and tried to remember that I was not alone, that I had resources and support at my disposal. I stayed focused on my goal of ensuring that, through close collaboration with our partner campuses, the students who enrolled in programs at USG, would have a support system in place and opportunities to have a robust college experience at the USG campus.

While there were a few bumps along the way, I am delighted at how far we have come and excited about the services and programs available to students at USG. Students are the heart of what we do and we continue to let your voices guide the development of the student experience at USG.

When SAS opened in 2000, it was staffed with just two people. Today, SAS is comprised of five departments with 40 dedicated, knowledgeable, and professional team members. Our extraordinary team provides services and creates opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to connect, engage, and succeed. We provide numerous opportunities for you to develop your skills and abilities, and to engage in the USG community. The question is . . . will you take advantage of all that USG has to offer you?


There is no shortage of opportunities for you to engage at USG. We offer more than 50 student organizations, and promote an active and diverse community through a variety of programs, events, and activities. Students at USG can develop leadership and organizational skills through involvement in Student Council, Student Ambassadors, Guided Study Session Leaders, Student Event Board, Orientation Leaders, and through a variety of leadership programming, including our newly forming USG Emerging Leader badge and our monthly lunch and lead series. Don’t miss the first event in this series for a discussion on Women in Leadership, happening October 12th.

In SAS, we offer assistance in locating meaningful internships that work with your competing life and school priorities and will assist you in preparing for your transition from school to career. We will help you strengthen your writing abilities and enhance your academic abilities through our expert writing coaches, peer-led guided study sessions and Writing Fellows Program. We provide free counseling and skills workshops as well as opportunities for you to de-stress and have fun. I encourage you to explore the broad range of services, programs and activities we offer through SAS:

Office of Student Services (OSS)
Need to get your USG ID? Stop by OSS! Do you need help with scholarships or financial aid? The OSS team can answer your questions. We also support student organizations, veteran and international student services, and leadership development.

Center for Academic Success (CAS)
Need help with writing papers or study skills? The CAS team can help you by providing academic coaching, writing consultations, disability support, and great workshops to help you achieve your academic goals!

Career & Internship Services Center (CISC)
Looking for a job or internship? CISC staff will provide one-on-one coaching to help improve your resume and cover letter, enhance your job search strategies and even prepare you for interviews!  Find jobs and internships on our USG Career Connector.

Center for Counseling & Consultation (CCC)
Need a safe place where you can talk about some life’s stressors or other personal concerns?  The CCC team has licensed therapists who will provide you free and confidential services; including personal/relationship counseling; career and major counseling and skills workshops.

Student Life
Do you want to get involved and make a difference? The team in OSS provides many ways for you to get involved in the USG community. We provide opportunities for you to develop your leadership skills, to take part in community service and to attend social events on campus.

I encourage you to take advantage of all that USG has to offer. Don’t let feelings of uncertainty or anxiety hold you back! Keep forging ahead and know that we are here to assist you — all you need to do is take the first step and connect with us! Please feel free to call upon me or any member of the Student and Academic Services team for support and assistance. You can find us in the SAS Suite, Building III, first floor for access to our services, or find us on the USG website to make an appointment. And keep an eye out for USG’s first mobile app, which will be available in November!



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