Degree: Middle Eastern studies with a minor in global studies
Current position: I’m part of the marketing team at Zerion Software, a Virginia-based company that works with teams around the world to improve the way they work with their data. Within the marketing team, I do a bit of web management, a bit of event and conference management, and a bit of everything else such as contributing to content, design, office fun or whatever other feedback people may need.
Responsibilities (What does your “typical” day look like?): I’ll usually get to work around 10 a.m. and do the things most of us do: check email, get some coffee, chat with coworkers, etc. Once that’s done, I’ll either work with one of the many web pages that need to be created or will work on prepping for an upcoming conference. Between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., I’ll bounce between whatever may come up—product development meetings, weekly meetings, website pages, events, giving feedback to our graphic designer, chatting with my coworker’s kids who come to the office after school, and so much more.
What do you like most about your current job? The flexibility! Beyond being able to work remotely as needed, the ability to think freely and creatively is one of my favorite parts of Zerion. We’re a flat structure and are encouraged to speak up, take charge and find what motivates us.
Where did you live as a student? I was in Memorial Hall my freshman year (and yes, we did win Policies that year) and then was a resident assistant in Coblentz, Memorial and Sunset Apartments the following three years.
Favorite class and/or professor at Hood: The class that stands out the most to me is Cultures of the Middle East, which was taught by Dr. Wright. Sophomore year I declared a major in psychology with a double minor in Middle Eastern studies and global studies. When I took Cultures of the Middle East my junior year, I was so captivated by the depth of the cultures and the region that I decided to make Middle Eastern studies my major. It was such an interesting course and gave me a new appreciation for the nuances between the different cultures in the Middle East.
What made you decide to attend Hood? My dad was familiar with Hood long before I was ready to look at colleges. When it was time for me to start my search, he encouraged me to look into the institution. Being a teenager with that high school mentality, I was resistant to go to a school called “Hood” but was open to visiting campus. So we visited…and visited about five more times after that. Somewhere around the third visit, I started to recognize familiar faces and, more importantly, they started to remember me. Knowing that I wasn’t just another face coming to campus made me realize that I would be able to forge my own path with the support and guidance that is so critical for a college student. Short answer: my dad and the admission office (specifically some of the STARs, Biz and Dean White) made me decide to attend Hood.
How did your experience at Hood influence or shape your career? This is an interesting question. If you didn’t notice above, my major doesn’t have anything to do with my current work. I’ve always had an interest in helping people and bettering the world; my senior year of college I was approached by Monique Sledd ’11 who was the AmeriCorps VISTA coordinator in the career center. She encouraged me to apply for the position as she was going to be leaving that summer to attend graduate school in Colorado. I applied, interviewed, was offered the position and began a month and a half after graduation. In the role, I ended up taking on a number of marketing responsibilities. When my term was up a year later, I moved to D.C. and a few months after that was looking for a new job. My coworker from my time in the career center knew someone who was looking for a marketer/content creator, introduced us and the rest is history; I’ve been at Zerion since then! Hood allowed me to make connections with people, which ultimately shaped my career. Looking back, marketing has always been part of my life. Had I not made connections with students, faculty and staff, I may not have ended up in the career center or in my current position. You never know where a “Hello!” will lead you!
What is your fondest memory of your time at Hood? Wow—it’s hard to pick one. A few that stand out are:
• Becoming SGA student life chairperson my senior year and leading a committee
• Having my dear friend and fellow SGA Exec Board member, Ethan Weidman ’13, give me the Female Student Leader of the Year award at Honors Convocation at the end of senior year; he and the entire SGA board kept it from me for months!
• Both of the Alternative Spring Break trips I went on—traveling to Whitakers, N.C. and Haiti
• The many afternoons I spent with friends on the quad, either taking a break between classes, digesting food after dinner or simply just spending time. (I’m looking forward to doing this again during Reunion Weekend in June—can’t believe it’s been five years!)
Describe Hood in one word: Nourishing.
Define your most successful moment: There are two that come to mind:
• Receiving 100/100 on a final paper for a course I struggled in
• Reflecting on my college experience during April/May of my senior year. Junior and senior year I came out of my shell and got more involved in all kinds of things. My senior year, I was stage manager for the campus production of Avenue Q, Commencement/Baccalaureate chairperson, SGA student life chairperson and a resident assistant. Although I was involved in campus clubs from the beginning, it took me a few years to get comfortable pushing myself to take on more responsibilities within the organizations and get comfortable joining the organizations that I thought were out of reach.
Advice to current students:
1. Keep the Hood Hello alive beyond campus! One of my favorite parts about Hood is the way we would greet fellow students, staff, faculty and campus visitors. Take that off campus, too! Grocery store employees, gas station cashiers, person on the phone when you call for support, or anyone else who crosses your path should also be greeted in a friendly, respectful manner. Not only is this good karma for the world, it also may be a connection that can help you later. You never know where a “Hello!” will lead you.
2. Persevere. There are moments in life that will always be challenging—especially the first few years post-college. Keep going. Try new things, lean on those you trust for support and talk to your friends who may be going through similar experiences.
3. Take advantage of all of the amazing things that are happening on campus! There are always stimulating talks, engaging performances and fascinating events to attend on campus for free…do it! Soak up as much knowledge and gain as many experiences as possible.
Degree: Middle Eastern studies with a minor in global studies
Janet Hobbs Cotton ’59 and her husband, John, have given the new cybersecurity master’s program a generous gift by establishing the John C. and Janet Hobbs Cotton ’59 Cybersecurity Lecture Series, which will bring nationally and internationally recognized leaders in cybersecurity to campus to speak. On April 5, in conjunction with the launch of the master’s degree in cybersecurity, General Keith Alexander came to campus to speak about his extensive experience in cyber security.
General Alexander is a retired four-star general with 40 years in the military, culminating in the director role at the National Security Agency and chief of the Central Security Service. He holds the distinction of serving in this role longer than any other director. While serving as the NSA director, he was appointed by Congress to be the first commander to lead the U.S. Cyber Command, establishing and defining how our nation is protected against cyber attacks. General Alexander is the recipient of the 2016 United States Military Academy Distinguished Graduate Award. He holds four master’s degrees: a master’s in national security strategy from the National Defense University, degrees in systems technology and physics from the Naval Post Graduate School, and a Master of Science in Business Administration from Boston University. After his years of service, General Alexander founded IronNet Cybersecurity, a company focused on cybersecurity solutions for the commercial sector to make networks safe.
The next lecture is slated for Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. in Hodson Auditorium in Rosenstock Hall at Hood College. More information to follow.
Lynn Pasquerella, president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, Special Guest Lecture
Please join us Friday, June 8 at 2 p.m. to welcome Lynn Pasquerella, president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, as she speaks as the special guest lecturer during this year’s Reunion Weekend. Lynn has served as the president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities since July 2016. After earning degrees from Quinebaug Valley Community College, Mount Holyoke College and Brown University, in 1985 Lynn became a faculty member of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Rhode Island. Throughout her time at the University of Rhode Island, Lynn also served as vice provost for research, vice provost for academic affairs and dean of the graduate school. In 2008, she became provost of the University of Hartford, and just two years later, was appointed the 18th president of Mount Holyoke College. She currently serves as the senator and vice president of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, a member of the boards of the Lingnan Foundation and the National Humanities Alliance, and is on the advisory board of the Newman’s Own Foundation. Lynn also hosts the Academic Minute, a public radio show. She has received honorary doctorates from Elizabethtown College and Bishop’s University and has extensive experience writing on the topics of medical ethics, metaphysics, public policy and the philosophy of law. Lynn’s lecture will be in the Hodson Science and Technology Center, Room 131.
Commencement will be held on the residential quadrangle Saturday, May 19 at 10 a.m. This year, the undergraduate and graduate ceremonies will be combined. During the ceremony, doctoral degrees will be awarded first, followed by master’s degrees and bachelor’s degrees.
The Commencement speaker this year is Carla Hayden, the first African American and first woman to be Librarian of Congress.
Carla earned a bachelor’s degree from Roosevelt University and a master’s and doctoral degree from the Graduate Library School of the University of Chicago. Before being nominated as Librarian of Congress by President Barack Obama in 2016, Carla served as the CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Maryland, for 23 years. In 1995, she became the first African American to receive the Library Journal’s Librarian of the Year Award.
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