Welcome to Around the Grove, the official student blog of
The Universities at Shady Grove!

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Summer Kick-Off!

It’s a bit weird to write this post because my summer hasn’t officially started yet (us UMBC retrievers are still working away at finals!) But I am very excited to kick off our Around the Grove summer posts by giving you a brief introduction to the fellowship program I’m going to be participating in this June, July, and August!

Starting in mid-June, I will be one of a group of six undergraduate students working in Historic Deerfield’s 61st Summer Fellowship Program in early American material culture studies. During my time as a history major at Shady Grove, I was introduced to the concept of material culture studies, which is basically the process of looking at historic objects to learn about the past that documents might not tell us.

Historic Deerfield is a small town in Massachusetts filled with houses built in the 1700s and 1800s. Some of the houses are now privately owned homes while others are historic house museums open to the public to visit…basically it’s a history nerd’s paradise! I’ve never been to Historic Deerfield, so I’m excited to experience living in a different place for nine weeks. Thankfully, the fellowship program provides me with housing. In fact, I’ll get to live in one of the historic houses with the other fellows, right in the historic district! (Don’t worry – there are bathrooms and A/C units…)

dwight house

Dwight House in Historic Deerfield, framed by New England’s famous fall foliage! Courtesy of Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism Flickr 

Taking summer internships and fellowships away from home can be an awesome way to explore a different region to see if it would be a good fit for you to live there after graduating. It’s also nice to just get a change of scenery for a while (especially for those of us commuters living at home…#realtalk.) An awesome thing about museum internships is that they sometimes offer housing for interns because they own multiple properties, which can be a big help for us poor college students who can’t afford to relocate.

And here’s a pro-tip: Museum internships aren’t just for history majors! Museums need graphic design, marketing, business, administration, visitor services, management, retail, writing, social media, gardening, and education interns…and sometimes more! They welcome people with different skill sets from the traditional history major, so if history or art interest you, consider that as another potential area to look for internships (or even careers) in.


Wells-Thorn House at Historic Deerfield…Aren’t you excited?! No? Okay, maybe it’s just me… Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons – Penny Leveritt for Historic Deerfield

Anyways, I’m psyched for the chance to push myself in terms of building skills and growing as a person, but also to meet new people, explore a new place, and continue to pursue my passion of studying unique historic topics using unorthodox source material. My main tasks this summer will be writing a 25-page paper (ahhh!) about items in the museum’s archives as well as giving tours to visitors. I’ll also get the chance to participate in seminars, workshops, and field trips (whoo-hoo!) with my fellow fellows as we learn more about museum work and material culture.

Ultimately, I’m so grateful that my time at the Universities at Shady Grove allowed me to learn about new developments in my field of study and connect with my passion – material culture. Since then, school has been so much more interesting and I’ve taken ownership of my education.

Stay tuned throughout this summer to hear every Monday from myself and two of our other incredible Around the Grove bloggers – Joel and Christine – as we keep you updated on our summer adventures…Good luck and safe travels on all of your own endeavors!

Posted in Academics, Uncategorized, Work Experience | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Finishing Strong!

Good morning everyone,

I am writing this blog to congratulate the graduates (both Undergrad and Grad)! They put everything they had into finishing strong. In honor of the occasion, graduates enjoyed 2 separate celebrations – one for undergraduate students and one for graduate students.

The graduates were greeted with a video, displaying many students’ accomplishments over the course of their time here. Here is the video:

Although this is only my Junior year, I had the pleasure to meet and work with some of the graduates. Each one of them has a promising future, and will go on to do great things!

Students that are continuing their studies in the fall will undoubtedly reach the point of their graduations. I know it will happen sooner than you realize!

I am sorry for the short post, but I wanted to acknowledge the graduating students, and congratulate them. In the coming weeks, I will make sure to write more for you viewers!

Posted in Academics, Life at USG | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Never stop moving forward. Your life depends on it

In 2008, while I was still active serving in the Navy, I decided that if I was ever going to leave the service and work a regular job that I should get a college degree. Now, it’s nearly a decade later, and after moving five times, changing jobs twice, getting married, buying a house, starting a business, and taking up bicycle touring, I’m done. With this step. Tomorrow is my commencement ceremony. In the next couple of days, I’ll complete my application to the MBA program at Hood College in Frederick MD.

Maybe you’re just thinking about going to college. Or maybe you’re taking a semester because you didn’t have a job lined up and your parents told you that you needed to go to school if you want to live at home. Or maybe you’re a senior, and you’ve got it all figured out, and you’re working towards a degree in supply chain management or public policy.

Whatever your goals are, whatever your motivations, reach for them. And even if you have to take a day off, or the details of your plans change because you meet the love of your life, keep reaching. Keep coming back. Keep walking forward. Only you can prevent you from achieving your goals.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What happened at Graduation

First of, I will like to say congratulations to my peers who will be graduating with me this Spring. It was rough, it was tough, but it was all worth it and I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

Now that the formalities are done, oh my God!!! My whole being is still vibrating from what I have seen and witnessed. I really thought I was ready or that it would not be that big of a deal but I stand corrected.

The Graduation Celebration started at six o’clock with a little “aperitif.” People were bonding, the conversation was varied, from the incessant rain, to appreciating each other attire, congratulating each others achievements, and showing how proud and happy they were to be there. All this around a well garnished table.

Around seven, everyone was invited into the MPR where the ceremony started.
Dr. Stewart Edelstein DJ skills woke up the crowd but I think that is an understatement actually. Instead, I would say he electrified the crowd and sprayed his good vibrant personality across the room. The energy continued throughout the program. The panel of speakers were amazing starting with my homegirl much appreciated and respected Jessica Fuentes who slayed the national anthem like there was no tomorrow!

However, she was not the only star. The student speaker Menaza Fernando also showed us that life is always a knot and through hard work and motivation we can make it. Her story was heartfelt and edifying. She shared a part of her soul with us and a lot of us graduates related to her and was able to reminisce on all the time we had to sacrifice and the sweat and tears that came with every semester. Yet, she reminded us that, that although we struggle we must stay focused and remember from where we came.

Faith Kamei, President of the Student Council then introduced Dr. Freeman A. Hrabowski, III President of UMBC. It was as if he embodied Dr. Stewart Edelstein, Jessica Fuentes, Menaza Fernando, Faith Kamei, Sara Manfredi in one body. It was vibrant! His speech was anchoring and soul touching yet, it had a relaxed and humorous tone. He was not the uptight type I had thought a president of a university would be like. Instead, he brought with him a time machine. He took us throughout time, through the struggles we have forgotten, and reminded us that within each of us lays a story. That we have just finished writing a chapter and now beginning a new one.

Dr. Hrabowski was like a teacher giving his last lecture to his class. It still amazes me to know that he graduated with a Math Degree! If I was so lucky to have him as a math teacher during my formidable years I would have probably pursued working in NASA.

Lastly, Sara Manferdi, Vice President of the Student Council, introduced the class gift to the crowd and proceeded to show how influential the council is and presented a video that showed all the accomplishments students made during the year. The atmosphere was full with joy and reverence.

Posted in Academics, Campus Activities, Faculty & Staff, Fitness & Wellness, Life at USG, Uncategorized, Work Experience | Leave a comment


Today Thursday 11th May is the Universities at Shady Grove’s (USG) Undergrad Graduation Celebration, my final exam for the semester and also my last day of blogging for USG Around The Grove. Today, is also the day that the rain has decided that it will send showers our way all day. To be honest, I wasn’t ready for all this.

Rain, rain go away.

I did that thing where you draw your breath in quickly because you don’t know what else to do. Mumbled something to myself about how it is going to be alright, you will make new friends after your senior class graduates, you will find stuff to do during summer break to occupy your time so as to not miss being in school, and you will write mad papers next semester so won’t miss blogging. But actually, I don’t really know if I believe all of that, I’m not ready for this.

I thought to myself that it was impossible for me to be the only one feeling this way. I reached out to some of my fellow classmates that are graduating this semester to find out if they were ready for life after USG. To my surprise, it turned out that I was the only one feeling not ready.Ready

My classmates all acknowledged that life after USG will no doubt be one of the hardest transitions they have ever had to make. However, their time at USG has prepared them for life ahead. They all took the decision to stay local and attend college at the USG campus. However, there are no feelings of missed opportunities that attending a standard live in university may have provided. While attending USG, they gained many skills such as time management, money management, teamwork, multitasking and communication skills. And while they are without a doubt saddened that they will not be seeing me every week, they are confident that the skills learned and experienced gained at USG have made them ready for life ahead.

After speaking with them, I am now ready to leap into whatever is next. So with my new found confidence, I am spreading joy and well wishes today. To the graduates, congratulations on this significant milestone. The past few years may have gone by in just a blink of an eye, but you have your whole life ahead. You are brilliant, able and ambitious! Congratulations and well done. To the continuing students that have now completed another successful semester, as you cherish the fruits of your hard work, I wish that success keeps following you in everything that you do. Have a safe and enjoyable summer break and see you around campus in Fall 2017.

The USG Undergrad celebrations will go on despite the rain today, so be sure to attend!il_340x270.1108755332_t1if

Posted in Academics, Campus Activities, Faculty & Staff, Fitness & Wellness, Life at USG, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Endings and Beginnings

It’s mind-blowing to think about, but this will, sadly, be my last blog of the 2016-17 school year here on Around the Grove. Ending the school year is always bittersweet – there’s the relief that you can finally relax, the sense of accomplishment, but also the overwhelming realization that you might not get to see people again. As classes wrap up, I’ve been reflecting a lot on my time at the Universities at Shady Grove and how honestly grateful I am that I was able to come here.

I never expected to go to school at Shady Grove. I spent three years at another school out-of-state and I thought it would be the perfect place for me. But circumstances led my to a crossroads in life where I realized I needed to move back home and change schools. It was really tough to make such a huge change, especially when I just had a year left at my old school, but as I wrap up here at USG, I realize I would have missed out on so many important experiences if I hadn’t ever ended up here.


For anyone considering Shady Grove, here are some of the greatest parts of the USG campus and community:

  • Small campus. USG is a tight-knit community. You usually know everyone in your program and it’s much easier to get to know your professors.
  • Opportunities for leadership. Because the campus is so small, it’s easier to get involved in campus activities and have the opportunity to take leadership roles. I’ve had the chance to build my resume, self-confidence, and skill set through these opportunities that I didn’t have had the chance to participate in elsewhere.
  • Great staff. From the first time I set foot on USG’s campus, I was so impressed with how helpful the staff members were in making sure I had a smooth transition to a new school. When I had issues with credits transferring, a UMBC staff member here at USG spent hours calling other administrators to get help for me.
  • Student services. USG has so many great services for students – the Counseling Center, Career Services, Academic and Student services, summer GRE prep classes – and the staff are always very attentive and friendly.

USG is such a great concept, allowing people who are working or who need to live at home to have the chance to get an education in a way that fits their needs. This is so important in a society where changing careers is becoming more common and people need more and more higher education to get a job.

USG provides the individualized support you need to succeed and fills an important niche that has been overlooked. It can be very lonely being a commuter at a traditional university, so it’s refreshing to attend school where everyone is in the same boat as you.

I’ve learned so much from my fellow students and professors, and been so encouraged by the support of USG’s staff as well as the opportunities I’ve had here to grow and be involved. So I’d like to extend a thank you to the entire USG community. You guys are great and will always have a special place in my heart!

This summer, I am excited to have the chance to continue writing here on Around the Grove about a fellowship I will be working at. Stay tuned and best of luck with finals!

Posted in Academics, Campus Activities, Faculty & Staff, Life at USG, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Therapy Dogs At USG Today…and Tomorrow!

Are you a crazy dog person? Do you stop your friends and family members just to detour your path and pet the cute dog you spotted across the street? Dogs make us feel great..don’t they?

As part of De-Stress Lounge week, USG is hosting Pause for Paws! The purpose of this is to give students the time to relax and play with therapy dogs. Finals can be a stressful time, but we should all take small breaks to do things we enjoy…whether that’s working out, cooking, or petting a friendly dog. Happy studying!

2017-05-09 08_58_34-De-Stress Lounge & Graduation events - farzin.melissa@gmail.com - Gmail

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

USG Thank you

USG Staff thank you for everything!


This will be my last post but I wanted to take the time and say thank you for all the great opportunities with USG Blogging and USG ambassadors. It has been great to be able to meet the great people of USG and the staff. It was great opportunity to be able to have the chance to be involved with the school. The more I became involved with the school the more I learned about the great opportunities that USG had to offer. If I could give new and current students is get involved with the school make your invest count. Also network as much as possible because you never know who knows who! I had to share some of my business mindset (Sorry). USG has been great to me and I happy that I decided to come to this campus. If you have the chance to join the USG ambassadors or USG Bloggers take it because it offers you great opportunities to meet some people that might help you and also attend some great events. USG staff thank you and thank you to the founders of USG for making a great invest in the students and future of Maryland.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Quynh-Nhu Nguyen, ½ PharmD

At 9:41 a.m. today, I submitted my LAST exam of the year. Assuming that I passed all my classes this semester, I am officially a P3 and 50% pharmacist!

This morning, one of my friends posted on Facebook a “self-reflection rant”. Five paragraphs long, it described the challenges she faced this year related to exams, meetings, deadlines, event planning, etc., but served primarily to recognize the amazing friends, family, and classmates who helped her get through it all. I am so glad she posted this because it’s really something I (and many of my peers, I’m sure) can relate to. This academic year has honestly been the most difficult I’ve ever experienced – even beating out those semesters in undergrad with organic chemistry, physics, and advanced genomics!

As with many professional and graduate programs, the pace at which we zip through material in the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy PharmD program is mind-blowing. While the struggle was definitely real this year, I’m proud of all that I was able to accomplish. I’m glad that it’s over for now, though, and am looking forward to sweet summertime. For those of you who are in the midst of studying for upcoming exams, May the 6th be with you! Below are just a few things that I’ve completely (or almost completely) pushed aside due to the stress of school, and am more than ready to make up for:

  1. SLEEP. Not 4-5 hours of sleep like I’ve been getting this past month… a normal, healthy amount of sleep.
  2. Family time. I’ve been neglecting the most important people in my life! I’ve even missed three family birthday celebrations :/
  3. Exercise. So excited to resume my morning jogs!
  4. Current events. I miss my lazy mornings with coffee and theSkimm. It’s time to catch up on the world beyond my bubble, starting with Trumpcare.
  5. Organization. My bedroom literally looks like a tornado just hit. Clothes, paper, random materials from all the events I’ve been involved with scattered everywhere. Starting tomorrow, I’ll be snapping my fingers and singing “A Spoonful of Sugar”.
  6. FUN. While executing events, studying therapeutics, and attending banquets are “fun”, I’m ready for fun in the conventional sense!

That’s all for now — have a fantastic summer everyone! Best of luck on internships, rotations, jobs, and summer classes. Please don’t forget to relax, have fun, be adventurous, and most importantly — make time for those who matter most to you.


Me (all the way in the back) with some of my USG classmates celebrating the end of P2 year at Ted’s Bulletin

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Share Your Work!

Hello everyone,

We are almost done with the semester! That means final exams and projects. For many of you, these next few weeks will be entirely stressful. Make sure you stop by the destress lounge, from Monday May 8 until Thursday May 11 for some rest & relaxation.

Today, I want to talk to you guys about Student Research Day that happened yesterday, May 3rd. Students got to present some projects they have created or research they conducted. I took part of Research Day, and I want to share what the experience was like.

Opening Presentation

To kick off the event, students from the criminal justice program shared a presentation that talked about the poverty in Montgomery County. They raised awareness of the causes of poverty, and ways Montgomery County is taking action.

Poster Presentations

After the opening presentation, attendees walked around the room, and checked out the various posters. I saw a wide variety of posters, ranging from historical events to computer gaming.



Normandy RememberedIMG_0737

These students’ presentation discussed the historical events in Normandy. Their presentation informed viewers about some background information. They also included videos, and discussed the differences between them. For example, some directors focused their videos on the invasion while other directors focused on the journey American soldiers went through.

While some presentations focused on the past, other presentations focused on the present. Some of my fellow classmates presented their capstone projects. They brought laptops so people could play test their games.


While I am not entirely sure what kind of game it is, I can say it looks pretty interesting.

Although this video doesn’t show you much of the gameplay, it hints at what the game offers. From what I could tell, it is a first person explorer game, located in a library. The goal is to explore the area to pick up hints. These hints eventually get you pass codes that can open up doors.

Since I also took part of the event, I wanted to share with you what I presented.

Interior Environment


During this semester, I am taking a 3D modeling course. One of the projects I made in this course was a group project. It was an interior environment that showed remnants of a struggle. I was proud to present it with my group members (who are not in this picture), and people were interested to hear about it.


I had a really good time seeing different projects from various students. I even met some students from Montgomery College who had great presentations. If any of you are looking for an outlet to share your work, start planning for the Research Day during the fall semester! I am looking forward to seeing you there.

Posted in Academics, Campus Activities | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment