USG Day of Service by Kari Mason

Starting off the spring semester in the spirit of service, the Universities at Shady Grove (USG) hosted Day(s) of Service. Allowing employees to participate in volunteerism by giving back to their local community. Creating a culture of volunteerism at USG not only helps our local community, but it strengthens our community here on campus. From January through February, USG employees had the opportunity to engage in a number of exceptional non-profit organizations in our area. Photos from the various service projects can be seen in the slideshow below.

Campus Kitchens, located on USG’s campus, is a community service organization created by the University of Maryland Easter Shore (UMES). Their organization prepares meals for numerous families in need. Our volunteers were able to help prepare meals for the community. A special thank you to John Brandt (Public Safety and Security), Andrea Milo (CSEFR), Alexa Brown (CSEFR), Katie Nguyen (CSEFR), Gloria Kalotra (CSEFR), and Campus Kitchens for your service.

Manna Food Center, located in Gaithersburg, fights to end hunger in Montgomery County through food distribution, education, and advocacy. Volunteers presorted foods at Manna’s distribution center. A special thank you to Nick Kozak (Facilities), Brian Woods (Facilities), Mike Badostain (Facilities), Brandon Mose (Facilities), Jessica Nardi (Administration), Erin Ward (Administration), Brigitte Bard (CAS), Chuck Carter (Facilities), Larry Isenburg (Facilities), Mary Gallagher (CAS), Lawrence Goldberg (Facilities), Annie Ahmed (CAS), Jane Briggs (Facilities), Tom Clifford (Advancement and Community Engagement), Julia Rader (CISC), Ilona Faulks (SAS), Kaitlin Mills (CAS), and Parisa Meisami (CAS) for your service.

Community Ministries of Rockville seeks to improve the quality of life for the most vulnerable of Montgomery County residents by providing housing, healthcare, homecare, education, and emergency assistance. Volunteers re-painted rooms in the Rockland House providing permanent supportive housing for women. A special thank you to Kari Mason (Administration), Erin Fernandez (Administration), and Taishan Gary (CES) for your service.

The USG Mobile Market, located on USG’s campus, promotes health and wellness through a partnership with the Capital Area Food Bank, by providing fresh vegetables, fruits, and other food items to the campus and local community, at no cost. A special thank you to Jana Goodwin (UMB Nursing), Karen Clark (UMB Nursing), Sharon Cannon (Copy Center), Sonia Sarangthem (OIT), Bilky Okoh (Business Office), Patti Wong (Business Office), Chhaya Lagowala (CES), Adam Binkley (CAS), Steven Thompson (CES), Paul Jackson (Facilities), Vsev Horodyskyj (OIT), Julia Rader (CIS), Ilona Faulks (SAS), and Justin Edgar (CRTA) for your service.

Thank you to all of those who served the community with us. Please look out for more opportunities in the Spring and Summer.

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Kari Mason is a student in the University of Baltimore’s Integrated Design graduate program and a Graduate Student Assistant for Administration and Talent Management.
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Grammar Day by Victoria Whitten

Grammar DayAre you the type of person who delights in finding typos in your textbook? Does it make you cringe when ur frndz txt u lk this? Do you want your writing to become clearer, more concise, and stronger? Then come join the Center for Academic Success as we celebrate USG’s 8th annual Grammar Day on Monday March 4th from 12pm-2pm in the rec. center lounge located on the second floor of Building III.

National Grammar Day (historically held on March 4th) was created by author Martha Brockenbrough in 2008. Brockenbrough, the author of Things That Make Us [Sic] and founder of the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar (SPOGG), explained that she founded the day to help her students with their grammar in a lighthearted, fun way. So why March 4th? Brockenbrough states, “Language is something to be celebrated, and March 4 is the perfect day to do it. It’s not only a date, it’s an imperative: March forth on March 4 to speak well, write well, and help others do the same!”

So march forth this March 4th with help from CAS! Enjoy some free food while you take part in our Grammar Games where you can brush up on your grammar skills, while winning cool prizes and a chance to enter our raffle. If games aren’t your style, attend one (or all) of our Workshop Wonders being held in Building III, room 2230. Beginning at 12:30pm, each workshop is only 20 minutes long and designed to help you improve your academic writing. Attend “It’s Just a Phrase” to learn how to make your modifiers mightier; “Sentences and Sensibilities” will help you avoid fragments, run-on sentences, and comma splices for crisp, attention-capturing sentences; “Gotta Catch’em All” will empower you to employ self-editing strategies in your own writing.

Have a class you can’t miss? Don’t worry! Join us for Grammar After Dark from 5pm-6pm in the Building III café where you can visit our grammar game tables and sharpen your skills. In the meantime, visit the below sites to start getting hyped up for the USG celebration of National Grammar Day:

Some of our favorite resources:

  • Purdue OWL for citation styles and writing mechanics
  • APA Academic Writer for APA citation assistance
  • Grammarly for that extra layer of grammatical safety when you’re emailing your boss or writing a paper

Just for fun:

Grammar Day 2019 Poster (1)

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Library Workshops! Guest Post: Franklin Ofsthun, Library Services Specialist


Franklin Ofsthun

Are you looking to sharpen your marketable skills? Or learn about tools & technology that will help you succeed in your classes and beyond? Join us at the library for one of our six workshops this February!

Our librarians offer workshops that are designed to teach you the latest and greatest in Doing Data and Communication & Technology. Each of these workshops are an hour long and held in the library col-lab (to the right of the front entrance). You can register for all these in advance, or walk in on the day of!

On Tuesday, February 19th, from 5:00-6:00pm, learn about Visualizing Data with Tableau, a data discovery and business intelligence tool. Tableau can be used to create graphics that will make your data clear and appealing.

Many computers


Stop by Wednesday, February 20th, from 5:30-6:30pm, to learn about the paper-writing resource, Academic Writer (formerly known as APA Style Central). Academic Writer can help you learn to develop a research topic, organize your sources, write a group paper, and manage your citations.



Interested in learning about photo editing? Join us for our workshop on Adobe Photoshop on Thursday, February 21st, from 11:30am-12:30pm. Learn fundamentals on the world’s best imaging and graphic design software at this workshop.

Photoshop screenshot


Learn how to use Zotero on Tuesday, February 26th from 12:30-1:30pm. Zotero is a free tool that helps you collect sources, create citations, and share research.

Library screenshot


Just in time for your presentation, come check out our workshop on PowerPoint Presentations on Wednesday, February 27th from 4:00-5:00pm. Reduce your presentation anxiety by learning how to create an effective and appealing PowerPoint presentation.



Are you completing a systematic review this semester? Search Strategies Design for Systematic Reviews on Thursday, February 28th, from 5:30-6:30pm, can help you succeed. A librarian will help you master your search terms to get the results you need!

We offer plenty more workshops throughout the semester. If you have any idea for workshops that would help you and your classmates succeed, you can fill out a Workshop on Demand request form. Our librarians would love to help!

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Food is Opportunity

Come one, come all, to our Food is Opportunity Day that we’ll be hosting in partnership with the Montgomery County Food Council on Tuesday, February 12th!

Food is Opportunity Day will be a multi-part event, including two educational panels — a “Food Careers Panel” and a “Scaling a Food Business Panel” — as well as an expo featuring product samples from Montgomery County food and beverage businesses, and information tables hosted by USG programs and local food system partner organizations. Learn about the diverse opportunities available within the food system, including unexpected career paths, current job openings with local food businesses, improved food access through on-campus initiatives, and more! Please use this link to sign-up for the event and to volunteer.

Event Schedule: Three sessions, described below, will be held in the Rockville/Potomac Ballroom in Building II at USG.

Session 1: Food Careers Panel (12-1pm, open to all students)

  • Students will have the opportunity to jump start their food system careers by learning about professional opportunities beyond the kitchen: from local food artisans, to social entrepreneurs, to nonprofit leaders. Q&A to follow.
  • This panel will feature Sophia Maroon, Founder of Dress it Up Dressing, Jackie DeCarlo, CEO of Manna Food Center, and Ryan Walter, Co-Founder of Compost Crew.

Session 2: Food and Beverage Expo (Students are encouraged to attend from 1-2pm)

  • At the Expo, local food and beverage producers will be hosting tables to connect their business with retail and wholesale buyers and provide samples of their products.
  • Additional organizations/businesses representing a wide variety of food resources and programs in the County will also be exhibiting, including Community Food Rescue, Crossroads Community Food Network, Manna Food Center, and the Montgomery County Office of Agriculture.

Student Networking with Businesses and Organizations (2-2:30PM)

  • During this time, students can network with and learn from local producers, entrepreneurs and nonprofit organization representatives and inquire about volunteer/internship/job opportunities.
  • Students will receive information prior to the event on which participating businesses have internship/job openings.

Session 3: Scaling a Food Business Panel (2:30-3:30pm, open to all students)

  • In growing your food business it’s necessary to understand the moving parts of your regional ecosystem — from business development resources available to sales and distribution channels to policy and regulations knowledge.
  • This panel will feature Judy Stephenson, the MoCo Small Business Navigator, Kelly Dudeck with Grown Fortify, and Bart Yablonsky, Owner of Dawson’s Market.
  • Students attending this panel will also have the opportunity to taste a dish created by CulinArt during the expo.

Please visit the Montgomery County Food Council’s website to learn more. We hope to see you there!

Food is Opportunity Day-1

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A Shift in Performance Appraisal. Guest Post: Dr. Elliot Lasson, UMBC Program Director and Professor, M.P.S. I/O Psychology

Elliot D. Lasson Headshot

Dr. Elliot D. Lasson, UMBC Program Director and Professor, M.P.S. I/O Psychology

Performance reviews have been part of the annual Human Resource (HR) cycle for many years.  In theory, they represent an opportunity for management to discuss the performance of employees on an ongoing basis.  However, performance reviews have been notoriously an event which evoke anxiety in employees and a certain level of discomfort for managers.  Because of this, they have been something which are subject to avoidance and procrastination.  HR often ends up playing the role of “performance appraisal police” to ensure managerial compliance in performing this annual ritual.

There are three basic functions which appraisals play in the performance management process.  First, they are a basis for administrative decisions such as bonuses, promotions, and raises on one hand, and discipline and termination on the other.  Since these decisions are often difficult, it is no wonder why these uneasy conversations are prone to being put off.  From the manager’s perspective, it is uncomfortable to evaluate others.  Even if the evaluation is satisfactory or positive, from the employee’s perspective, it might not be good enough especially when a bonus might be riding on the outcome.  Plus, it is uncomfortable hearing others point out our deficiencies.  When management does not have sufficient training in conveying feedback, then it might not be delivered in the most tactful or constructive manner.

The second function of performance appraisal is for employee development.  This is an opportunity for a manager to sit down with an employee to discuss performance.  This might include if any additional resources might be provided or impediments removed.  It might also be a way of identifying training or other professional development opportunities that might support the employee.

The third purpose of performance appraisal is to serve as a data metric to assess how well the organization’s selection decisions have been faring.  For example, if those who had been selected based on a high interview score ultimately perform on the job at high levels, that demonstrates that hiring decisions have been by and large effective.

Elliot teaching

Dr. Lasson teaching class

Based on reasons most linked to the challenges associated the first function mentioned above, some notable organizations like Netflix, Adobe, and Deloitte have reinvented their performance management system.  A recent article published by the Society for Human Resource Management describes this recent paradigm shift and the reasons for it.  One of the other premises behind this is the evolution of work.  To think of performance as adhering to a static annual period after which an evaluation is recorded represents a certain disconnect.  If an appraisal takes place every year in December, situations which happen in January may not be able to wait until the end of that year.  In addition, communication in life and in organizations is shorter and constant.  So, it makes sense that the performance management process is indicative of that reality.  For these reasons, many organizations have shifted to more periodic check-ins.  In a sense, this places more of a short-term responsibility on managers.  But, in the long run, it might make the end-of-year conversations to be less fraught with surprises.

As an HR professional and professor of UMBC’s Masters of I/O Psychology at USG, I was asked to discuss the evolution of the performance appraisal on Maryland Public Television. In my interview I discuss how HR needs to shift from a “transactional” emphasis toward one of “talent management.” HR should be seen less as a gatekeeper for functions like payroll and benefits and more of a facilitator for career development and workforce planning. Watch the video to learn more.

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Welcome Back Message from Dr. Edelstein

Dr. Stewart EdelsteinDear USG Students, Faculty and Staff:

Welcome back! We hope you’re as excited as we are about the start of a new semester.  As always, we want to thank each and every one of you for being such a vital part of our campus community. USG is firmly dedicated to our mission of supporting student success. Whenever you step on this campus, we want you to feel welcome, inspired, challenged and supported in all of your endeavors. As the semester begins, I wanted to share with you a few highlights of what’s ahead in 2019.


When the Dust Settles…

Our construction team is making great progress on the spectacular new Biomedical Sciences and Engineering Education (BSE) Facility, the fourth and largest building on the growing USG campus. As of now, the project is right on track for its scheduled opening in fall 2019. We know that everyone will be thrilled when “the dust finally settles” and we can fully benefit from the opportunities that the BSE’s opening will bring for our students and the greater community.

BSEJan.2019The BSE will provide state-of-the-art science and engineering laboratories, clinical training facilities, active learning classrooms, academic offices, and an expanded level of student services necessary to support the growing number of students who enroll in degree programs on campus.

We’re working with our partner universities to bring in additional academic programs and we’ll be inviting an array of elected officials, university colleagues, and business and community leaders to learn more about the BSE in the months ahead. We also look forward to working with our state legislators and with our Student Government and our Board of Advisors, as we prepare for the legislative session in Annapolis.

­­Stay Connected…

There are several ways you can stay connected to what is happening around campus. The USG Mobile app provides notifications for special announcements and events on campus, the ability to schedule appointments and view the weekly dining menu, and more. Follow USG on social media and sign up for USG Alerts to receive information on news and events, as well as campus closings (especially with the weather this time of year).

You can find out what students are doing around campus on USG’s student blog, Around the Grove, and read interesting guest blog posts on DiscoverUSG.  We invite you to participate in the Town Hall meetings of our Student Council and Graduate Student Association. Each of their advocacy efforts help to benefit the USG community. I would encourage you to get involved and be a part of campus life.

Around the Campus…

USG staff are working to strengthen our campus services today and into the future. The Priddy Library is currently developing a strategic plan, which will serve as a guide for it to continue providing high quality services and resources in the most efficient manner. The library team is seeking input from many stakeholders through focus groups and individual interviews. If you are interested in participating, please contact Eileen Harrington at

Have you heard about Mobile Market Mondays at USG? The Campus Rec Center has partnered with the Capital Area Food Bank to provide fresh seasonal fruits, vegetables, and other food items at no cost for distribution to the campus and community. Those in need are invited to bring their grocery bags to campus on the fourth Monday of every month to Parking Lot 5 (visitor’s parking lot), to pick up some free food.

Several events and activities are planned throughout the semester by our partner universities as well as our Student and Academic Services centers. I encourage you to subscribe and read the USG Weekly which highlights upcoming events and activities each week.

USGInternationalNightThe Center for Student Engagement and Financial Resources has some exciting upcoming events. All are invited to International Night on Thursday, February 21st, from 5-8pm. in the Multipurpose Room (MPR) in Building II. Enjoy delicious cuisine from around the world and witness the pride in our diverse student body.

The next USG Civic Engagement event will be on Thursday, March 28th. The topic is #Transthriving, which will explore transgender visibility and support in the community.

And, if you are graduating this year, make sure you mark your calendars for the Graduation Celebration and the Graduate Gala on May 9th and May 10th, respectively.

Thanks to all of you for helping to make USG such a great community! I look forward to seeing you around campus.


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From Student to Alumni Ambassador. Guest Post: Katie Webber ’18, UMD Communication


Alumni Ambassador, Katie Webber ’18, UMD Communication at USG

Season’s greetings to my friends at USG! My name is Katie Webber and I am a graduate from the University of Maryland College Park Communication program at USG. While attending classes at USG I served as a student blogger for Around the Grove and as a Student Ambassador. Now I am honored to be the first alumni blogger!

Since I graduated in May 2018, many things have happened in my life. The largest life change happened about two weeks after graduation; I was offered a full-time position as a Marketing Coordinator for an architecture firm in Rockville. I began my job at the beginning of June and have been loving it ever since. Main responsibilities of my job include creating proposals, organizing and planning events, writing website posts, executing photography shoots, and updating data entries.

One of the things I like most about my job is my ability to impact my community and the State of Maryland. My firm works with designing public K-12 schools across Maryland. Some days are spent in the office while others are spent on job sites for meetings or at new schools for photography shoots. I work in Adobe Creative Suite every day at my job, so my Communication classes prepped me very well for this role. I had no problem jumping into InDesign or Photoshop on my first day.

Gaining experience as a student blogger also helped me prepare to write evolution posts for my company’s website on a regular basis. Serving as a Student Ambassador on campus was also a great experience to prep me for planning large-scale corporate events. As I’m writing this, I’m in the midst of planning a huge open house/retirement party at my firm. Having Jen (Cohen) Riehl as a mentor for my two years at USG really helped me gain experience in event coordination and planning. Shout out to you Jen! Although I have sprouted many grey hairs in the past seven months from stress in my new position, I’ve gained a lot of experience working in marketing and the architecture/engineering/construction field.

I love being able to stay connected to everything happening at USG and especially being in the Alumni Ambassadors group. Overall, I think the Alumni Ambassadors is a great initiative that provides opportunities for continual professional growth for students who have graduated from programs offered at USG. Finding a job after graduation was stressful and tedious but attending alumni networking opportunities can help with the process. So I encourage you all to stay connected, engaged and active members of the USG community long after you graduate! You can follow the Alumni Ambassadors on Facebook and LinkedIn, and make sure your contact information is current. This way you will receive Alumni Ambassador communications in a bi-monthly e-newsletter and emails about upcoming events and other fun happenings at USG. I look forward to seeing you at an upcoming event in the New Year!

Katie webber Discover USG

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