My Summer RISE Experience, by Wootton High School Senior Ian Wolfe


Wootton High School senior Ian Wolfe, Summer RISE Intern at USG

Hello, my name is Ian Wolfe, and I am a rising senior at Wootton High School. I had the fortunate opportunity this summer to intern at the Universities at Shady Grove (USG) through Summer RISE (Real Interesting Summer Experience), a unique way for students to experience the workforce in order to make decisions about their future. I was interested in marketing and communications, and was placed within that department at USG. I thought this would be a great way to experience the day-to-day life of this industry in a professional setting. While school can teach you technical skills, the only way to learn how to function in an office is to actually work in one.

When I first walked through the building I was intimidated by the idea of being in an office, having never worked in that type of environment before. Nevertheless, these three weeks have flown by. Everybody I met has been extremely nice and welcoming, always saying hello or good morning with a smile. My manager and the other members of the marketing team answered any questions I had, and went in depth about their daily tasks and what it’s like to work in marketing and communications. I was given a wide range of projects so I could fully experience all aspects of marketing like market research, planning and filming videos, interviewing, and writing (check out my previous blog post here). The area of marketing that I like the most is the creative input that you are able to add to your work. As a creative guy it was cool to flex those muscles and make the work feel more personal.

Additionally, as a future college student, it was very interesting to draw back the curtain on all of the small details and tools that are used to target prospective students. From the font on the title of a poster to the music in the background of a video, there are so many factors that can influence someone to click on your website or like a social media post.

Barely a high school senior in an adult’s world, I expected to be isolated in a cubicle to work on my projects with the occasional walk down the hall for a question here and there. However as I would come to find out this was not the case. From taking part in meetings, I was able to feel included in the team which really helped me feel more comfortable around the office. Through giving a presentation, I was able to practice my public speaking. While I was nervous the entire time, I noticed that the ‘fake it till you make it’ mantra is actually real. Even if you’re nervous, speaking with confidence will change your mindset, and sell your idea better as well. To my surprise, I had the amazing chance during my second week to tour the new BSE building still under construction (scheduled to open the fall). With modern classrooms, advanced science labs, and a full dental clinic, it made me wonder what college may be like for my kids, or grandkids.

All in all, I had an amazing experience interning at USG, and would recommend every high school junior or senior to apply for Summer RISE. This type of program over the summer can be really influential for college, in that if you think you’ve already decided your major it can really cement that decision for you. In my case, this has cemented my decision to major in marketing as I really enjoyed all of the projects I worked on. Before this summer, I only knew USG as the place where I took my AP exams. But after this memorable episode I will remember it for much more.


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Have You Heard the Buzz about Patti Wong’s Interesting Hob-bee?!

By: Ian Wolfe, Summer RISE student intern, Wootton High School

Patti with beesPatti Wong puts on a suit everyday to prepare financial reports, assist with budgeting, and manage scholarship funds. But during her lunch break, the senior accountant at the Universities at Shady Grove puts on a different suit — a beekeeping suit. When she worked at the University of Maryland, College Park, she took advantage of tuition remission and took agricultural classes. She decided to take a class about bees because she thought it was an easy “A” and because her grandfather had colonies as well. As a result, her natural interest grew and she immersed herself in the world of bees. This has caused her to become more environmentally conscious, as over the past several years the bee population has declined rapidly. More specifically, a report by the Bee Informed Partnership reveals that from April 1, 2018, to April 1, 2019, the managed bee population decreased by 40.7%.

Bee colonyThis unfortunate situation has been made even worse as the U.S. Department of Agriculture has temporarily suspended data collection for its honeybee colony report due to federal budget cuts. Critics of the move contend that it was motivated by the Trump administration’s plan to lift the ban on certain pesticides that was implemented under the Obama administration.

Extracting honeyWhile necessary for pollination, as their name suggests, honey bees, are also required for producing honey. Under ideal conditions, a good hive can make 200-250 pounds of honey according to Ms. Wong. Nectar, a sugary fluid, is secreted by flowers. Bees sense the negative electric signal created by the flower which tells them if the flower is worth visiting. Once bee scouts find the source of nectar, they go back to the hive and communicate to the others where it is, in a unique method called the Waggle Dance. The direction the bee moves in relation to the hive indicates the direction, while the duration of the waggle signifies the distance. The nectar is taken by bees back to the hive, injected with enzymes, and dehydrated before being stored into wax-like cells until they are less than 18% moisture. As a result of its low moisture level, honey will never ferment or expire unless more moisture is added.

There are many other jobs in the hive other than a scout notes Ms. Wong, like housekeeping bees that make sure the hive is organized, the queen’s attendants which groom the queen, and guard bees which are the ones that sting you if you come too close to the hive.

flower candleIn addition to harvesting honey, Ms. Wong then uses the beeswax to make all kinds of other products like candles, lip balm, hand lotion, and tiger balm, a medical ointment. This year the Universities at Shady Grove hosted the Montgomery County Beekeeping Association for their extraction day. They used the Marriott Teaching kitchen as a space for new beekeepers to come and harvest their honey and honeycombs. Approximately 20 members attended and together they extracted more than 760 bottles of honey!

Bees are a necessary factor for commercial agriculture. Without their presence, the strain on the agricultural industry would be immense due to the need for commercial pollination, in which companies use trucks to haul in thousands of hives of bees to pollinate their crops. In Bee truckFebruary, 60% of colonies go to California to start pollinating almonds, then to Florida and the South for citrus and berries, before finally moving up to the northeast for apples and lowbush blueberries. Their importance may seem obvious to some, but many Americans are still afraid of bees and believe they wouldn’t lose any sleep if bees disappeared. Ms. Wong counters that everybody needs to be properly educated, as most people don’t like bees because they think they’re allergic from the swelling after a sting. However, bee stings are actually highly beneficial, as the venom Patti sweeping beesboosts your immune system. Ms. Wong claims she hasn’t been sick in over 10 years because of regularly being stung while handling her bees. Sting therapy has also been created to help with arthritis, MS (Multiple Sclerosis), and other medical conditions. Although honey bees get most of the press, there are plenty of wild bees that pollinate and need to be protected the same way honey bees are.

When asked her favorite part about keeping bees, Ms. Wong answered that while at first it was the goods that are reaped, now it is the humility of constantly learning new aspects of beekeeping. She recounted that this past year she had 10 hives, some Russian, some Italian, and some Canadian, and learned a lot about how to be a better beekeeper. The EAS (Eastern Apicultural Society) educates the public on bees and hosts many meetings and seminars about bees and beekeeping. They will even certify you to become a ‘master beekeeper’ after you have passed a test and completed all other prerequisites. As 40% of colonies were lost this past year, Ms. Wong hopes for a future with better, more natural practices, and an educated public that is actively aware of the impact that bees have on the environment. This will allow us to preserve these ecosystems so future generations can appreciate the tasty benefits of nature at work.

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Students & Alumni: The Priddy Library is Here to Help You! Guest Post: Franklin Ofsthun, Library Services Specialist


Franklin Ofsthun

Congratulations grads! As you transition between your life as a student and your life as a graduate, you will be saying many goodbyes. There will be some relieving goodbyes–goodbye to cramming for exams, agonizing over papers, and organizing group projects. There will be more difficult goodbyes as well–to good professors, to helpful staff, and to friendships forged through challenging classes. You are facing big changes in your day to day activities and lifestyle, but the end of your coursework does not have to be the end of your relationship with Priddy Library!

The utility of a library extends beyond the close of gradebooks. We hope that you continue to feel welcomed here as you journey into the professional world. Consider the following resources that will still be available after you walk off stage with your diploma in hand:

  • Use our space. Priddy Library is open to the public. You are always welcome to come and spend time here during our open hours.
  • Browse our collection. All of our print collection is available for public browsing. Feel free to browse our stacks and read any books you find in-house.
  • Scan and send digital copies. Use our Bookeye scanner on any of our books or your own documents free of charge.
  • Use our desktop computers. Show any photo ID to the student at the service desk and receive a temporary guest login to access our computers and all the resources available on them.
  • Access specialized computer programs. Your guest login will allow you to use all the programs on our dual-monitor col-lab computers including ArcGIS, Microsoft Visual C++, SPSS, Microsoft Office products (Word, Excel, etc), and Adobe Suite products (Photoshop, Illustrator, etc)
  • Print. If you still have money left on your student account, you will be able to transfer any leftover money to a new guest printing account with help from OIT.
  • Attend workshops & events. Everyone in the USG community is welcome to attend our informational workshops on subjects such as Zotero, Research Posters, PowerPoint presentations, and Microsoft Excel. To learn about upcoming events each semester, feel free to like or follow Priddy Library on one of our various social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

Library 2.jpg

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Graduation Celebration! Guest Post: Alexa Brown ’17 UMCP alumna and CSEF team member


Alexa Brown

It’s that time of year again, when one chapter closes and another opens! New adventures and new experiences are on the horizon. You have finished all your assignments, took all the tests, and presented all the definitely not last minute powerpoints. That’s right, it is graduation time!

Congratulations to all our graduating students and hardworking staff/faculty that helped them along the way. This year was a whirlwind of memories and moments like Welcome Week, International Night, and USG’s Got Talent. There were highs and there were lows, late nights and early mornings, but you prevailed. All your efforts should be celebrated, which is why you are invited to our Spring 2019 Graduation Celebration! The celebration will take place on Thursday, May 9 from 6:30-8:30pm.

Take a walk down memory lane while reflecting on all the accomplishments you made while attending USG. Enjoy fun polaroid inspired photobooths, nostalgic candy, and yummy food. This is your moment and you deserve it all!


Honorable Nancy Navarro

We will be having a Keynote address by The Honorable Nancy Navarro, who is the President of the Montgomery County Council. In October 2011, President Barack Obama appointed Nancy to the President’s Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, where she serves on the Early Childhood Education Committee. Nancy has received numerous awards and recognitions, including: the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Montgomery County’s Leadership Award and the Maryland State Department of Education’s Women Who Dare Leadership Award.

Shufaa Picture

Shufaa Missana

We will also have an inspiring Student Keynote address by Shufaa Missana who is one of the University of Maryland, College Park’s Public Health Science graduates and our first Graduation Celebration speaker from that program! Shufaa is on the USG Student Council as a At-Large Representative and a part of the Care Package Club. The USG Student Council will present the senior class gift to leave their mark on campus from the Class of 2018-2019. Hope to see you there! Make sure to RSVP!

Grad Celebration flyer

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History—Join us. Resistance is Feudal. Guest Post: Andrew Nolan, UMBC History Program Director


Dr. Andrew Nolan, UMBC History Program Director

Hello! Thanks for reading this blog post. My name is Andrew Nolan, and I am writing to recruit you. I’m the UMBC History Program Director at the Universities at Shady Grove (USG), and I really think you should become a history major here. Why? Because you like history. You know you do.

I know what you’re thinking. “Who is this person,” you say, “and who does he think he is, telling me I like history?”

But it’s easy to see the signs. Maybe it’s the way you dressed up as a medieval warrior for Halloween, or maybe it was the way you talked your A/V club into showing that movie about Apollo 13. Maybe it was the time you bugged all your friends about the book you read on the life of a Japanese shogun, or maybe it was the stories your grandmother told you about working as a nurse in Vietnam. Whatever it was, you’re hooked. And that’s the problem. It’s okay to like history. But let’s be practical. You need to find a career, settle down, and pay the bills. (After all, the internet isn’t as cheap as it used to be). How will History help you get that rewarding job?

Well, I have good news, history lovers! Studying history will give you the skills you need not only to make a living, but to make a life. Let me explain. When you come to the UMBC History Program at USG, you’ll work with award-winning faculty in a dynamic learning environment. You’ll immerse yourself in the rich pageant of the human past, and not just in the classroom. Dr. Melissa Blair coordinates our minor in Public History, a field which brings historians together with partners and audiences to engage in productive conversations about the critical importance of the past in public spaces. As part of this program, Dr. Blair could help you land intriguing internships that give you a chance to acquire practical experience and to test drive your historical skills.

You will also acquire several practical and eminently marketable skills: thinking critically, writing persuasively, and researching intensively.  These abilities —studying the past to develop creative solutions to contemporary problems, using words to sway audiences from the classroom to the boardroom, and plumbing ancient archives and cutting-edge digital resources to build solid answers to difficult questions—will serve you well in any career you choose. But don’t take my word for it. Listen to our students! They have pursued careers as lawyers, business professionals, community activists, professional writers, entrepreneurs, public historians, defense workers, contractors, educators, journalists, information specialists, and policy makers, just to name several careers.

Take a look at the following video, and hear our students explain in their own words the benefits of earning a B.A. in History from UMBC at USG.

History Video

We made this video to celebrate our first 10 years at USG. Come help make your mark in our second decade. From the performing arts through the liberal arts and on to the “art of the deal,” history majors from UMBC have the background and the training to make history on their own!

Andrew Nolan works as the History Program Director for the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) at the Universities at Shady Grove (USG). He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Illinois, where it was very flat, and he is happy to be back among the rolling hills of the mid-Atlantic.


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Your Community. Your Experience. Your GSA. Guest Post: Shelby Speer, Graduate Student Services Coordinator

shelby photo 11-14-16

Shelby Speer

Did you know that we have more than 30 graduate and professional programs at the Universities at Shady Grove (USG)? My name is Shelby Speer, and I have the pleasure of being the Graduate Student Services Coordinator in the Center for Student Engagement and Financial Resources. A significant part of my role is to ensure that graduate and professional students at USG have the resources that they need to be successful. As chair of the USG Graduate Student Association, we work hard to make sure that grad students have a voice on campus as well as unique opportunities for engagement!

Earth Day posterThe first week of April, we held our annual Graduate and Professional Student Appreciation Week, which featured many fun activities and free stuff! New this year, we will be co-hosting USG Celebrates Earth Day April 22-24, which features lots of earth-friendly events and a stainless steel straw giveaway. If you need a finals de-streser, check out our “Make Your Own Trail Mix” station on May 13 as part of USG De-Stress Lounge week!

The largest event of the year for graduate students is the Graduation Gala, which is a celebratory party for all graduating graduate and professional students at USG. The keynote speaker will be Dr. Annica Wayman, the Associate Dean of Shady Grove Affairs for CNMS. Other event features include: the awarding of the Academic and Community Excellence Awards, presentation of the Graduate Student Association class gift, free food and drinks, and photo booths.

GSA Elections 2019Will you be a graduate student at USG next year? Do you want to get involved in planning events and initiatives, as well as gathering feedback from your peers? Applications for next year’s Graduate Student Association are currently open! The early deadline is April 30: apply today!

Grad students are strongly encourage to get involved in life at USG: we hope to see you at some of the spring events and maybe on next year’s GSA executive board!

Grad Gala Invite Final front

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Guest Post: Obioma Akaigwe, Campus Rec Center Coordinator

Campus Rec Center

Have you checked out the newly renovated Campus Rec Center (CRC)? We invite you to come and take a  look. There’s been a major upgrade, we have added new recreation and fitness equipment, which includes a rock wall, Stairmaster, row machine, squat machine, treadmills and many more.

CRC is here to help you with your health and wellness! We have group classes and personal training services all led by certified instructors; lockers and showers for your convenience. Membership is free for students with a valid USG ID. We also have competitive membership packages for staff and faculty. But don’t take our word for it, come and see for yourself, we are located on the 2nd floor of Building-III, above the cafe. We look forward to seeing you. For more information or have questions, please stop by the CRC or contact me at

Mobile Market Mondays at USG

USG has implemented several initiatives to encourage health and wellness on campus. Mobile Market Mondays at USG is a program supported by the Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB), who provides fresh seasonal fruits, vegetables, and other food items at zero cost for distribution to the campus and community. All you need to do is stop by Lot 5 (visitor’s parking lot), bring your grocery bags and pick up some food.
The market runs solely on volunteer labor; we welcome all volunteers, please sign up here. For more information on the Mobile Market Mondays contact me at:

USG Upcoming  Mobile Market days (11am-1pm):

April  22nd
May 20th

USG Grover Essentials

We also have the USG Grover Essentials food pantry. USG has a partnership with Manna Food Distribution Center, where they provide an ongoing supply of shelf safe items on a weekly basis. Grover Essentials includes items such as cereal, cooking staples (salt, sugar, beans), peanut butter, jelly, cereal, dry pasta, canned veggies, and fruits. In addition, we have a rotating supply of baby and toiletry items. Grover Essentials is located in Building III, SAS suite and is open to students, staff, and faculty with a valid USG ID.
We are excited about these programs and hope it will help in the effort to promote wellness and healthy living in our community.
USG Mobile Market Poster Final Version 1

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