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

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When It’s Okay to Walk in Someone Else’s Shadow

Happy third day of fall! Although we’ve moved on to another season, I can’t help but make my very first post about this past summer. It’s better late than never, right?

The highlight of my summer was probably sitting on a beach in Costa Rica with some close friends, on my birthday, sipping a margarita. The “lowlight” was coming back home to Maryland and realizing that I had just finished my first year of pharmacy school, yet still had no idea what I wanted to do after graduating with a PharmD degree! Even scarier, I was doubting that pharmacy was still the right career choice for me.

So as confused as ever about my future, I decided to take action. I asked to shadow three of my professors in their respective practice settings, in the hopes of gaining a better idea of what clinical pharmacists do on a day to day basis and coming to some sort of decision about my future career. Luckily for me, all three professors were more than happy to have me tag along for a day.

  • I started out with Dr. Leah Sera at MedStar Mongtomery Medical Center. Dr. Sera is the pharmacist in a palliative care consulting group that also comprises a physician, a nurse practitioner, and a social worker. I got a glimpse of Dr. Sera’s involvement with helping seriously ill patients and their families make tough, end of life decisions.
  • Next, I shadowed Dr. Ashlee Mattingly at Mercy Health Clinic, which provides free services to low income adults in Montgomery County. Here, I had the opportunity to see Dr. Mattingly in action, conducting a medication therapy management session for a patient.
  • Finally, I spent a day at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. I followed fourth year rotation students, Jesse and Leslie, as they worked up patient cases, went on rounds, performed medication reconciliation, and made drug recommendations. I also got to see my professor, Dr. Amy Ives, review patient cases with Jesse and Leslie and quiz them about drug-drug interactions!

For me, it wasn’t enough to sit in class and learn about what clinical pharmacists can do. I had to see for myself what it’s actually like to be there as a pharmacist in the hospital or outpatient setting. Do I know exactly what I want to do after graduating pharmacy school now? Nope! But I did learn so much during those three days and my desire to work directly with patients in optimizing their medication regimens has been reaffirmed.

Sometimes, it’s perfectly fine to walk in someone else’s shadow! And if you can fit it into your own schedule, I highly encourage you to seek out shadowing opportunities either from your professors at USG or anyone else. Trust me, you’ll be so glad that you did!

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USG’s Great Wall


Have you heard about the Great Wall of Universities at Shady Grove? If not check this out. We call it the USG OPEN WALL. It is situated on “the west side of the library foyer opposite the circulation desk. You cannot possibly miss it unless you have been writing on it the whole semester got tired of seeing it or it is exam period, so your kind of putting your priorities first. The Priddy Library librarians with their good and kind heart decided to dedicate a place for student to “share ideas, thoughts, opinions and comments”. It’s purpose is very simple and direct, “Promote and encourages everyone, students, faculty and staff to express themselves on topics, issues, trends, news events, or challenges of general interest, or that affect their campus life.” In other words, any student with any concern can just come and let his/her mind speak. It is in some instances the suggestion “box,” but instead of a box it is a wall. All subjects are welcome. It can be range from personal, business, informative, showcase of talent, best writings skills, or simply best handwriting.img_20160922_210912

Life at USG is pretty short, meaning students at school, are already busy with their own life, job, looking for an internship, or just too shy to stay on campus. The Wall gives a voice to the students to express what they can not express out loud or because they don’t have time. Truly, I tell you, stuff that I see on that Wall are simply amazing and informative about the population we have on campus.

Working at the library I have to see the wall everyday. But what is mostly amazing about the Wall is not the wall itself, it is the face of the student or faculty after writing something on it. It is priceless!!

Next time you come in the library please don’t be a stranger , say “hi” to me at the desk and check out the wall. It is our wall, our corner, our world, be expressive, and allow the wall to free you from your worries.


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Welcome 2 USG!


USG Building 3

Hi guys! Welcome to USG!

I know it must be tough adjusting back to school after a long, exciting summer! But that doesn’t mean you cannot do it!

For new or returning students, you might have forgotten about the services that the Universities at Shady Grove offer. I want to talk about the different SAS services, that can help you with your academic and professional goals.

The SAS suite provides services to help students! They can help you with financial aid, resume writing, finding internships, the list goes on.

SAS has different sections of services, divided up by the types of services:

  • Center for Academic Success (CAS) – This center helps students with their academics. They can help you with writing assignments, essays, proofreading your work and anything that involves student homework
  • Office of Student Services (OSS) – This center offers a variety of assistance, including financial aid, admissions, ID cards, and anything involving student life (I work as an office assistant for OSS, so feel free to stop by and say hi!)
  • Center for Counseling and Consultation (CCC) –  Last but not least, the CCC offers free counseling to students and faculty. They offer individual or group counseling, and help out students with stress, anxiety and emotional issues.

Now that you guys have a more understanding of the services provided by USG, take advantage of them! Hopefully these services will help you achieve your academic and professional goals!

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Ola a Todos Desde Brasil!

I’m very excited to be blogging for you guys from Brazil. This year is going to be an adventure for us all!


Salvador Elevator

I want to start with a brief introduction; I am a senior Public Health student with University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP). This semester I am living in Salvador, Brazil studying Public Health, Race, and Human Rights in the context of contemporary Brazil.

I LOVE the start of each semester because there is a certain level of excitement and apprehension that fills me, similar to an adrenaline rush. For some of you this is your first semester at Universities at Shady Grove (USG) and for others this semester may be your last. Either way each semester marks the beginning of a new adventure: education. Every semester presents itself with new challenges, successes, and failures some are in the classrooms others are personal. Whichever is the case, I urge you to learn and grow from every experience.

Today, marks 23 days since I arrived in Brazil and I have learned so much, not just about public health in Brazil but about myself. As a minority student studying abroad I have come to appreciate the privilege that higher education is within the United States and I want to commend all my fellow classmates on this achievement. For me this semester is one of the most terrifying because not only am I in a new country learning a new language, in a few short weeks I will be working within an organization while conducting research. I know I will encounter many challenges during this semester and I hope to share these experiences with you all.

Even though you won’t find me on campus this semester, feel free to share with me your challenges and your successes!


Mercado Modelo



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A Look Back at Summer 2016

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Welcome (back) USG students!

If you all do not know me yet, my name is Menaza Fernando. I am an accounting major going into my senior year wondering the same thing you might be thinking: where did summer go? For my first blog post of the new semester, I’d love to share with you all about what I had on my summer agenda!


This summer I completed an internship at Aronson, a public accounting firm, where I completed rotations in both tax and audit. During the tax rotation, I prepared federal and state tax returns for corporations and high net worth individuals. On the audit side, I visited client sites to conduct cash and A/R testing as part of annual audits as well as revise financial statements.

Case Competition

In August, I had the opportunity to represent the University of Maryland in a National Case Study Competition sponsored by KPMG, a Big 4 accounting firm. The competition was held at the ALPFA National Convention in Dallas, Texas. The experience included late night practices, lack of sleep, and early morning presentations. It also included opportunities to socialize with students from all over the country, networking events, a fancy gala, and much more. Best of all: it was an all expense paid trip to fly to Texas and stay at the Gaylord Texan Resort for a week!


While summer was mostly work, I made sure to prioritize some travel fun. One of my travel goals is to visit 25 states by the time I am 25, or in short “25n25.” As of right now, my state count is at 11. This summer, I was able to add 3 more to my list. First was Texas for the competition. Then I flew to Massachusetts and toured around Boston and Cambridge. After staying a night in Boston, I left the city life and drove up to Vermont for a few days to enjoy the mountain views. The last stop was back to the city: New York City. Although I’ve been to NYC before, I have come to the realization that there is always a new area to explore during each visit.

Overall, it was an incredibly busy but amazing summer. Now that I’ve shared about my summer, tell me about yours. If you see me around campus, don’t be shy. Feel free to introduce yourself and say hi!

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Gaylord Texan Resort

“Summer should get a speeding ticket!” – Unknown

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My Favorite Thing About School: Rewarding & Educational Trips

Welcome back, Current Students!  Welcome, New Students! 

I am so happy to be back to school and begin blogging again. I especially appreciate the opportunity to share about my experiences and interests with you all. First and foremost, I am a Master of Public Health (MPH) student with University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP) at the Universities at Shady Grove (USG). After that, you will come to know me as a traveler and community service enthusiast. I’m looking forward to what this school year will have in store for me!

I’m sure you all are as excited as I am about this new school year. New school years always feels like the beginning of the next chapter of your life, don’t they?

I’m starting my new school year by thinking about my upcoming school breaks already. Since I love to travel and since this is my last year of graduate school, I want to go on as many educational and rewarding trips as I can before I graduate. I really want to share these opportunities with you too, especially if you are a UMCP student!

I just applied for Alternative Breaks (AB) last week for Winter Break, and I am in the process of applying for a Short Term Study Abroad (SA) trip for Spring Break. Being at USG sometimes makes it hard to keep in touch with our home campuses, but by being a part of SA and AB programs in the past, it has brought me so much closer. Check out my trips to the Bahamas and Guatemala from previous years. I absolutely loved it, and that is why my personal mission at USG is to help bring the campuses together by promoting about events that USG students can take part in with their home campuses.

I am hosting an informational event on Short Term Study Abroad and Alternative Breaks this coming Wednesday (Sep 21, 2016). If you’re a UMCP student and if you’re interested, swing by! Please see the flyer below for more information.



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Volunteering (Posted on behalf of Zoha)

As a pre-medical student, one aspect that pre-medical advisors encourage students to have on their application is volunteer experience. This includes volunteer experience in a clinical setting but also volunteer experiences in other settings. Volunteer experience is valuable for not only pre-med students but students of all majors.

USG specifically encourages students to engage in volunteer experience in their own local community. The USG Career and Internship services center provides students with volunteer opportunities through career connector.

Register for Career connector at https://shadygrove.umd.edu/campus-services/career-services/usgcareerconnector

Clubs on campus are given the responsibility of engaging in community service as well. Last year, Student Event board engaged in holding a drive on campus to give toiletry items to the homeless (also supported by Student Council and the Muslim Student Association).

Volunteer internships are also an option available that helps students give back to their community as well as develop skills that may be important in obtaining a career later on in life. The career connector website is also great resource for finding these internships!

So why are medical schools interested in students that have volunteer experience? It helps develop leadership skills, skills of interacting with different populations, communication skills, and the list goes on. All these skills are vital in order to become a physician and for a range of other professions as well! Volunteering is not just great for potential employers and graduate school admissions though. It gives you a chance to give back. It also allows you to meet people that could potentially be your friends for life.

If you are looking for potential volunteer experiences in the Montgomery county area, also try looking through the Montgomery County Volunteer Center’s website at http://www.montgomeryserves.org/

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Study Breaks (Posted on behalf of John Arthur)

With exams now, you’ve probably been spending a lot of time in the Priddy Library studying. You’ve probably realized that you haven’t gotten up for the last few hours and need a change of location.

I personally like to move around campus every so often to make myself more productive. Studying indoors can make you feel like a vampire, and it’s nice to see people going about their daily business outside to give you perspective. There is life after school is done. The SG III building actually has some great views if you know where to look. If you go high enough up the stairs on the west side of the building, you can get a nice skyline view, with the Human Genome Sciences building reflecting the daytime sky. The green roof garden is also visible from the stairway landings. A change of scenery can break up the monotony of student life.

When you find your mind slipping away from your studies, take a break. When the notes on the page begin to run into each other, and when you’ve reread that sentence maybe five times, it’s time to stop and take a deep breath. It’s not only good to step back and gather your thoughts, it’s also good for your health.

In fact, research has shown that an excess amount of sitting can lead to many different disease states. Dr. James A Levine of the Mayo Clinic has noted that there may be a link between sitting, insulin sensitivity, metabolic dysfunction, and cancer. (Levine JA. Sick of sitting. Diabetologia. 2015 May 24; 58: 1751-1758).

So put down that work. Spare a few minutes to take a walk around campus. Go outside and breathe in some fresh air and help oxygenate your brain. It’s too cold outside, you say? Take a jacket. I’m sure you didn’t drive to campus in shorts and a t-shirt. Have you ever seen photos of Russians and Eastern Europeans who practice naked ice swimming? If they can do it, your five minute clothed romp should be absolutely refreshing.

And while you’re out there, see if you can look to the sky and take in some stargazing.

From Canis Major in summer to Orion and his fancy belt in winter, there is always something to see in the night sky. Often times, the first star you see in the night sky is actually a planet. Venus, Mars, and Jupiter are frequently visible throughout the year and often at sunrise or sunset. Use the publicly funded Stardate website, courtesy of The University of Texas McDonald Observatory, to get a heads up on astrological events that are happening through the week.

So, study hard, take breaks, and good luck on your exams!

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Same Faces | New Experiences (Posted on behalf of Menaza Fernando)

One day, I was walking around Building III in the search of finding an empty classroom when I noticed a familiar face. It was a girl whom I had seen before at Montgomery College. She seemed to recognize me as well and proceeded to greet me.

I decided to sit down with her and strike up a conversation. Before I knew it, we were talking and laughing with the realization of how similar we were. From our personality types to the most random preferences, we realized we had so much in common.

One of the amazing things about attending USG is the ability to develop and continue relationships when interacting in a smaller environment. As opposed to attending a large university where I might meet someone fascinating only to never see him or her again, at USG, the chance of that is much lower.

In fact, you start to feel as if you know the people you don’t even know. You can recognize the guy in your class that you might have never spoken a word to. You can instantly spot a student that comes into your class from a different assigned section (imagine trying to do that in a lecture with 200+ students). You’ll even remember the girl that always sits in the same table in the Green Grove Cafe.

So whether it is recognizing familiar faces from prior events or institutions, or simply moving from class to class with the same students in your respective program, this might be your chance to go from being acquaintances to life-long friends.

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Stress (Posted on behalf of Dilani)

Ugh. That word alone makes me let out a sigh. There is no one on this planet that is immune to stress.

As a public health student, I hear about the importance of being physically healthy all the time. There are tips anywhere and everywhere on fitting exercise into a busy schedule, meal prepping, and getting maximum gains.

But today, I’d like to focus on mental health. Sure, exercise can help you wind down and blow off some steam, but sometimes, you need a little more help.

That’s what the Center for Counseling and Consultation (CCC) is for. Any student that is registered for classes at the Universities at Shady Grove can visit the CCC for a variety of services. If you’re stressed out and need someone to talk to, you should definitely stop by, or make an appointment. If you’re having a having feeling overwhelmed, and don’t know what you want to do with your life, try career/major counseling. If you’re having relationship troubles, there’s even couples counseling.

As a UMD student at USG, I’m glad I don’t have to take on my problems by myself. No one at this campus should ever feel alone. There is always someone to talk to, and someone willing to support you and anyone else in the USG community.

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