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University System of Maryland at Hagerstown grads celebrate achievement

May 22, 2012|By JULIE E. GREENE | julieg@herald-mail.com
  • Breanna Sowder of Martinsburg, W.Va., photographs her sister and USMH graduate Danielle Donovan of Hagerstown during a graduation celebration Tuesday at the school's downtown Hagerstown campus.
By Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

Celebrating her graduation from a psychology program at the University System of Maryland at Hagerstown on Tuesday, Danielle Donovan said she liked the university’s “small-town feel” and affordability.

Donovan, 23, a Williamsport High and Hagerstown Community College graduate, said she considered attending Shepherd College, but found the West Virginia school too expensive and its classes too sporadic.

Studying psychology through the Frostburg State University program offered at the downtown Hagerstown USMH campus allowed her to live at home and work two part-time jobs, including one at Brook Lane Health Services that gave her practical experience, Donovan said.

Donovan was one of 149 students set to graduate from USMH, USMH spokeswoman Jamie Bushong said.

While the students were to be called up to receive a gift and recognition, Tuesday’s celebration in a large white tent in the campus courtyard was not the actual graduation ceremony, Bushong said.

Students could attend the graduation ceremonies held at the home university that provided their study program.

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USMH offers more than 20 programs from six universities, according to a news release.

Hagerstown resident Justin Karras was celebrating receiving his master’s degree in teaching for elementary education through Frostburg State University.

Karras, 29, earned the degree in one calendar year after working as a chef.

“I knew it would be intense, but I thought it would be an ideal situation,” Karras said of the program.

“I needed to start making money again,” said Karras, who is married and has a young daughter.

All graduating students were recognized during this event, and some were recognized for additional awards.

The Student Academic Achievement Award recognized outstanding graduates for their excellence in academics and contributions to their academic program of study. The following students received that award:

  • Robin Bond of Walkersville, Bachelor of Science in sociology, Frostburg State University.
  • Anne Chestnut of Smithsburg, Bachelor of Science in social science, University of Maryland University College.
  • Jelena Jokic of Hagerstown, Bachelor of Science in business administration, Frostburg State University.
  • Justin Karras of Hagerstown, Master of Arts in teaching- elementary, Frostburg State University.
  • Katie Miller of Frederick, Master of Science in social work, Salisbury University.
  • Joseph Rose of Sharpsburg, Bachelor of Science in investigative forensics, University of Maryland University College.
  • Holly Weiland of Hagerstown, Bachelor of Science in criminal justice, University of Maryland University College.
  • Cristina Young of Hagerstown, Bachelor of Science in psychology, Frostburg State University.
The Student Leadership and Service Award recognized graduates for their leadership service, involvement and dedication to the student experience and community at USMH. The following students received that award:
  • Megan Cox of Hagerstown, Bachelor of Science in nursing, Towson University.
  • Mike Pittinger of Hagerstown, Bachelor of Science in nursing, Towson University.
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