The story you are about to hear is my story, my journey that has led me to this point in my life. My name is Derek and I like to say that I am from Frederick because it is the one place where I have decidedly put down my roots. A son of a military officer in the Air Force, my father’s career had my family bouncing around the U.S. and even overseas to Italy for eight years. In high school I attended three different schools: a department of defense school in Naples, Italy, a private boarding school in Rome, and finally my senior year I graduated from Fort Walton Beach High School in Florida. I made the decision to attend Florida State University after high school because it was the most reasonable thing to do at the time, but I neither had the desire nor drive to be a good student. My time there was short lived.
Picking up the pieces after abandoning college, the romantic idea of charting off for Europe and living under the Mediterranean sun was a perfect escape to a better life. I set course for Madrid, Spain that summer. Inspired by Hemmingway’s novels, I was enchanted with the country known for bullfighting and flamenco dancing and was willing to take the risk to experience this fascinating Spanish culture and lifestyle for myself. I received my degree for teaching English as a foreign language and quickly found work. During my career as a teacher my clients included CEOs and employees of major financial institutions, through our acquaintance I became inspired to become a business professional. Motivated, I returned to Frederick, Maryland and enrolled to the local community college.
I was 27 years old when I enrolled to Frederick Community College. “Better late than never,” I like to say. From the very beginning I was adamant about attending the Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP). I knew where Terp’s call home and College Park was going to be, no doubt, my next destination. Alas, serendipity would dash my plans. The chance encounter that brought me to the Universities at Shady Grove (USG) occurred in the cafeteria of Frederick Community College over a year ago. At a long white table, Jennifer Cohen, Recruitment Coordinator for USG, sat facing the main entrance of the building offering pamphlets and information about attending UMCP at USG. I had only once heard of the campus in Rockville and always wondered about the place. During our brief exchange she presented me another prospect, an opportunity to achieve my goals in a campus environment more conducive to learning and better located for the transferring student. After exchanging contacts she encouraged me to write Luke Glasgow, UMCP Program Director of Business, about my prospects for admissions, which were a concern for me. I cannot express in writing how happy I was to receive my acceptance letter. I obviously chose the Shady Grove campus. It is with pleasure I am writing you today about the good fortune I have had thus far, and I hope that through my journey you will see for yourself what a great decision it is to attend The Universities at Shady Grove.