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

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The art of effective class presentation

131192_e733_3Presentations are an essential part of graduate school as well as life after school! Most of our future careers may involve presenting in front of parents, schools, clients, governing bodies, institutions, etc. Therefore, presentations in graduate school should not be frowned upon. It may be helpful to view graduate presentations as a training platform for the future.

This semester has by far been the most presentation heavy semester thus far. I have had a couple of classmates from both of my classes stop me and commend me for effective class presentations. I typically smile and modestly say, “Thank you!”. Most of my classmates believe that it came naturally and without any effort. I tell you, this is far from the truth.

I am a reserved individual, and I have always been comfortable around people I know, not large crowds. My desire to improve my public speaking came when I presented in a research hospital, and I realized that I needed more practice. I joined a club at work that offered employees the opportunity to practice public speaking. The audience at the club provided critic on how to improve on my presentations. This made me hone my strengths and try to diminish my weaknesses.

If there is any piece of advice I would give to students at USG is practice! There are so many activities that are on campus as well as in class. Make sure you take every presentation that you are provided seriously. Also, try to keep improving. Do not see the class presentation as a chore or just a task you want to “get over and done with.” It is likely that in our line of work, you will be called upon to take the stand. Well, let us not only take the stand- but also let us own it!


Future world class speaker!

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Suicide Prevention Awareness

True or False?

  • Among 10-24 year olds in the U.S., suicide is the second leading cause of death.
  • The rates of suicide attempts and deaths from suicide can be described by the phrase “girls try, boys die”.
  • In talking to someone contemplating suicide, it is important not to lecture them on the value of life or debate with them about whether suicide is right or wrong.
  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is free, confidential, and available 24/7 to those in need of emotional support.

As Shady Grove Liaison for my school’s chapter of the College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists (CPNP), I am collaborating  with USG’s Center for Counseling and Consultation (CCC) and the Culture of Care Network (CCN) to organize a four day event on suicide prevention, a topic that is near and dear to my heart.

On Monday 4/30 through Wednesday 5/1 from 1-2 PM, pharmacy and nursing student volunteers will be tabling in Building III to educate the USG community on suicide facts and figures, warning signs, ways to ask someone who may be contemplating suicide, what to do when you know someone who plans to commit suicide, and helpful resources. If you answered true to all of the statements at the beginning of this post, you are already quite knowledgeable about suicide.

Then, on Thursday 5/3 at 1PM, we will be having a short Suicide Prevention Awareness Walk that goes around the Courtyard and ends at the Garden of Unity and Peace. Participants will all receive a “Be the Voice” T-shirt, and a ribbon to tie around the Arch as a visual statement of the extent to which suicide affects our community and how we can all take an action, no matter how small, to help prevent suicide.

The Garden, funded by a grant awarded to CCC by the Maryland Suicide Prevention and Early Intervention Network (MD-SPIN), will at this time be officially dedicated as a place for reflection, expression, education, and community. There will be several speakers at the Dedication, including the USG Executive Director, Dr. Stewart Edelstein.

My hope is that this event will help to close some gaps in knowledge about suicide and promote a commitment among the USG community to prevent suicide. If you’re interested in helping with either tabling or the Walk/Dedication, please sign-up here and see the flyer for more details. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions – I look forward to seeing many of you there!

Walk-Dedication Flyer

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Nursing Convention Part Deux

Ok, so I strayed a bit on my blog about convention last time. It’s all in the getting there, right? So, let’s really review the convention and make the case for why you should go to a conference that reflects your interests. Here goes…


From left to right: Me, Karmen Hice, our fearless advisor, Emile El Ghandour and Alexandra Shepherd rockin’ the stage.

I was honored to go the the NSNA (National Student Nurses Association) in Nashville in early April representing UMANS (University of Maryland Association of Nursing Students). We came together with 3000 students, faculty and potential employers as well as schools offering online continuing education (think Nurse Practitioner, Masters degree in Nursing and PhD). All at the Gaylord, which is a hotel with shopping, restaurants and a convention center all hermetically sealed under a transparent biodome. You never have to leave! Here are some things we saw and did:

  • NCLEX Mini Review Course to practice our test taking skills;
  • Became certified to be an American Red Cross Disaster Relief volunteer;
  • Learned about Emergency Nursing (including flight nursing—yes, that’s right, flying in a helicopter and being the first responder for accidents and disasters);
  • We saw ways nurses can work with our wounded troops. We love our military!
  • Alex was a delegate (I was an alternate delegate—kind of like the first runner up in the Miss America pageant…or not) so she got to vote on resolutions put forth by nursing students from all over the country. We are planning on writing one or two to present next year. Exciting!
  • Was introduced to Innovation in Nursing, an initiative for nurses to embrace their entrepreneurial spirit and come up with ideas to improve patient care. See what landed Melissa Gersin, RN on Shark Tank!
  • Learned about how healthcare providers can be on the lookout for signs of human trafficking from the McCain Institute’s initiative to combat modern slavery;
  • Were taught about how a great nursing job is taking care of incarcerated patients…in actual prisons!
  • A nurse spoke to us about her worldwide travels with Operation Smile, helping to surgically correct children and adults born with cleft lips and palettes;
  • And last but not least, was a break-out session called “What to Do with Things You Can’t Control—Like Nursing School!”

Before we left to come home, we made sure to gather up lots of SWAG from the vendor area so we could share some of the magic with our cohorts. (Emile even broke her suitcase stuffing it full of personalized pens, pencils, shopping bags, highlighters, nursing books and brochures!). As I leave you this week, enjoy our madness as we entered the vendor inner sanctum…




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Final Countdown

The final countdown has begun, as much as I hate to admit it, and the realities of being a graduating senior have sunk in. I’m pretty sure I am ready, however, how can I possibly be prepared to begin a new chapter of life that will take me away from the Universities at Shady Grove (USG)? I have spent the last three years here (yes, I took the “scenic” route) It’s hard to believe. Where did the time go? But after speaking with other graduating seniors, I learned that these are some of the realities being faced. However, it is time to celebrate, and USG is offering the following to help with meeting some of the realities of being a graduating senior.

Jitters/Minor Panic Attacks

Last evening I spent endless hours researching graduate school programs instead of working on my blog post for today. I’m weeks away from the end of my program, but I still can’t help but feel as though I am far from finishing my educational pursuits. I mean I have been going to school my whole life. Literally, my entire life because I grew up believing that education was crucial to being successful.

I grew up in a small community with limited access to life’s basic needs such as running water or a toilet. Where I was raised by my mother and two older sisters. I watched as they struggled every day to put food on the table, clothes on our backs and shelter over our heads. The opportunity to go to school was a privilege I was afforded because of their many sacrifices. I remember going to bed hungry and walking to school with my plastic bag with the one notebook I had for all the subjects at school. And even though I got teased many times for the holes in my shirt or my off-brand school shoes, I enjoyed going to school because I knew education would be my way out. So quite frankly, I don’t know what things look like after school.

My research on graduate school programs landed me right back to the USG campus, and I couldn’t help but reminisce about how I first got here and the experiences I have gained on the USG campus.  I loved it here at USG. I loved it here. In spite of it not being easy. It wasn’t easy to spend three years here instead of two. It wasn’t easy to pay for more classes as an international student whose tuition rate is three times higher. It wasn’t easy to park in the Shady Grove garage and walk that 10 minutes to my class in building 3. But USG showed me that if something was easy, it was probably not worth it. And now USG comes to the rescue again with this great event slated for Thursday, May 3rd, see flyer below for details.



So, if you are graduating soon, join for an interactive event led by alumni speakers and USG’s Career and Internship Services Center. Listen to advice on one of life’s most essential transitions- Stepping out into the “real” world after college and enjoy the refreshments. Register for the event using the link here.



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Come Out Tonight!

Happy Wednesday! I love having my blogs scheduled on a Wednesday. It’s right in the middle and it reminds me that Friday is only getting closer. The end of the semester is quickly approaching and I know you must all be so busy with assignments. There are also tons of events we are holding here on our campus!

Today, I wanted to invite you all to the USG Talent Show tonight at 6:00 pm in Building II- MPR. Whether you are a student, faculty, staff, or even just looking for a good time in the community; tonight will be a perfect time to do just that! Students, faculty, and staff will be showcasing there talent so you definitely won’t want to miss it. From dancing to singing to poetry to cracking jokes, I have no doubt in my mind that tonight will be one for the books!

I mean why say no to food, entertainment, with a side of a good time? Maybe you’ll find out some of your very own classmates have this hidden talent or see one of your favorite professors put on a show! I know they’ve worked hard to entertain and deliver.

It’ll be a perfect time to connect and take a break from the various assignments we all have due. I’ll be there for sure and I hope to see a good turnout tonight!

Thanks for reading! As always, ‘til next time! 🙂

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Upcoming Events


Good morning everyone. It’s mid-April! That’s good news. That means it’s the final stretch to the end of the semester. Make sure you are utilizing all the services open to you!

Speaking of services, in the upcoming weeks there are numerous events to look forward to, so mark your calendars!

For starters, there is the Spring Soccer Tournament held by the Rec Center this Wednesday at 3:30 pm. The tournament will be located in the soccer field behind the construction site. Great way to exercise while still having fun! If you have time, you should check it out!

Do you have talent that you would like to share? Have a skill that makes you unique? The USG Talent Show is the place for you! This Wednesday at 6pm, students will show off their unique talents in front of an audience. If you do not wish to participate, you are more than welcome to spectate. You might end up seeing a friend or two up on the stage.

On Tuesday, April 24th there is Student Research Day. Held in the MPR from 4pm – 6pm, students participating will be presenting research they’ve conducted, to a group of spectators. If you have a project that you are proud of and would like to share it, this event is a good opportunity to do so.

Do you enjoy free food? Then you don’t want to miss USG’s Annual Student Appreciation Cookout! This event, occurring Thursday, April 26th from 5pm to 7pm, is dedicated to YOU, the students! There will be games, free food, music and more! Make sure to bring your USG ID – you will need it to check in to the event.

During that same week, the USG Student Council will be open for voting. You can vote for the next student council members to represent you. Remember, voting  is from April 25th until May 2!

On Thursday May 3rd, from 1pm until 2pm USG will have a Suicide Prevention Walk. This event is very important, because it acknowledges the impact suicidal behavior has on our lives. It’s also the time of the grand opening of the Garden of Unity and Peace.

There are lots more events that I have not posted. I will leave that information for you to find out. Here are some ways you can find out:

-Check out the Center for Student Engagement & Financial Resources for upcoming Student Life events.

-Check the various bulletin boards around campus for news and updates.

-Ask faculty or staff if they know of any events coming up.

-If you haven’t done so, sign up for the USG Weekly to get an update of all the weekly events.

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Do Something You Love

We often hear this phrase in the context of the working world. We are told to “do something we love” so that work doesn’t really feel like work. I do believe that’s true, but I’m actually talking about an aspect of our lives that gets put to the back burner as we get older: our personal lives.

A friend of mine asked me, “have you thought about what you’ll do once you’re finished with school? I feel like I will have all of this free time, and you will too…what things would you do?” (recall I work full-time and am in graduate school classes in the evening). I have thought about this, and I’m happy to say that I am not waiting until graduation to do it.


Spring 2017 Championship Game

I have written about playing soccer before; about how being with my team and playing hard-fought games is 90 minutes well spent. This past year I had a five month break from soccer, November – April, and while I was excited to start up again I don’t think I remembered just how important of a role soccer plays in my life.

The reason I am advising you to do something you love (something fun) is because it gives you something to look forward to and it makes you feel great. We are all busy studying, some of us working or taking care of our families, but what about just 90 minutes spending your time doing something for you? On my way to my first game (and after it was over) I couldn’t begin to describe the feelings I felt. I felt smart, valuable, confident – everything we should all feel all the time. This is vital to our happiness and well-being as humans.

USG is a great place to experiment and identify a club or organization where you feel the same way I feel when I play soccer. You can even start your own organization at USG! Moral of this post…take time to find something you truly enjoy doing (for fun). Find a way to make time because you feeling good about yourself is you doing something you love.

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Good Ways to Relax

Good Ways to Relax


What do you do when you work hard for too long and are in risk of being burned out? Whether because of school or work, sometimes our stress becomes too much for us to deal with and we need to recharge our batteries for another go. In one word: relax.


What does it mean “to relax” for you? Does it mean reading a good book? Sleeping? Listening to your favorite music? Exercising? Relaxing means different things for everyone. For instance, I love to relax by watching YouTube, playing video games, playing with my puppy, and checking things off of my to-do list. With finals coming up I feel that it’s important that we all take a breather and give ourselves a chance to recharge.


Taking advantage of the weather is a nice place to start relaxing. You can do many things such as go on a hike, go for a walk, go fishing, camp, bike,  jog, or even just sightsee. Some nice parks near USG include;



  • Rock Creek National ParkRock Creek'


(U.S. National Park Service)


  • Cabin John Regional ParkCabin John




  • Wheaton Regional ParkWheaton




  • Brookside Gardens  Brookside


(Brookside Gardens, M-NCPP)


Beyond parks, don’t forget that we are relatively close to Washington D.C. which offers many beautiful and wonderful museums and attractions, most of them free!! While this crazy weather may not always be nice, you can always find some way to relax. Thing about what makes you happy and be sure to make time for that after work sessions. Make these goals for you to work towards.

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Drones Are Changing The World

Something super cool I got to do last week was to try out flying a drone! I had the DJI Mavic Pro Platinum, and it was incredible. I rented this drone to test out the capabilities before I bought one myself.

This model gets 4/5 stars in my book. It is super light and compact, making traveling with it super easy. It captures video in 4K and have a 3-axis gimbal. I was worried that I wouldn’t have the ability to fly it but, it turned out to be super easy, responsive, and fun!

Drones are changing the way we create videos and take photos. We are able to capture scenery from angles we never were able to see before. Insurance companies are even using drones now to inspect roofs on houses for damage. Real estate companies are now including drone footage of large properties to better capture size. How cool is that?

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Joy Can Be Found in All Moments

As I previously told everyone, I am a Kendall Scholar. My story was one of my posts on here. As you may also know, Mr. Clifford Kendall passed away a couple weeks ago. Mr. Kendall was a very kind and generous man. He not only helped many students financially, but he was inspiring as a person. I got the chance to see him and speak with him about three times. But every time I did speak to him, it was like talking to my own grandfather. He was always interested in how school was going, what I was doing with clubs and organizations on campus, how I was helping the community. He would take that time to speak to everyone and really make that conversation. He was one of the very first people to believe in me, then became one of the first people to help me achieve my dreams. Little did I know the last time I saw him, was going to actually be the last time I got to thank him. So I will take my time here to do so.

Thank you, Mr. Kendall. I know you are gone, but your helpful, generous, kind, silly, loving personality is still here. The USG community will always be grateful to have gotten to know you. I will always be grateful to you. You have made such a difference in my life and the lives of hundreds of other students. You have started something with each and every one of us, as scholars and students. I hope that one day I can be just as amazing as you were.


The first time I got to met Mr. Kendall

The Joy of Giving Back is tonight. This is going to be my first one, and I was looking forward to seeing Mr. and Mrs. Kendall, and be able to have that full experience of giving back. Now, in addition to giving back to our community, we will make sure to give back to Mr. Kendall and his family. This will be a joyous occasion where we will celebrate his life, and acknowledge and appreciate everything he has done for us.

So I know I can speak for everyone at USG, and say this once more.

Thank you for everything, Mr. Clifford Kendall. You will always be a part of our family here at USG.


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