Greg Alexander


Opening doors for women in science

Baltimore Sun, November 23, 2008

There are many benefits of attending a small, liberal arts college – small class size, one-on-one interaction with faculty, a litany of interesting and though-provoking courses and an intimate, leafy campus, to name a few. Laboratory science majors at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland, however, have a unique opportunity to combine these small school benefits with world-class research work through a new partnership with the school and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, a partnership that also encourages more women to look to the sciences as enticing career paths.

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Combining interests, passions

Baltimore Sun, September 14, 2008

Choosing a major can be tough for many students, not to mention meeting all the requirements of that degree curriculum. But what if you can’t find your exact program tract or you discover your senior year that you don’t want to be an accounting major anymore? In these cases, for some it meant either transferring schools or switching majors and losing lots of credits, meaning that your four-year college plan was out the window, and you were looking at a six- or seven-year plan. Luckily, many schools offer a solution – interdisciplinary studies, a program where student can in essence create their own major or simply combine two disciplines – say business and psychology – to create a hybrid degree, one that not only allows them to explore two academic passions but also create a degree that utilizes prior courses taken to stay on path to graduation.

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The pen’s mightier than the sword

Baltimore Sun, July 2008

Although I knew I wanted to be a writer since the second grade, when I formally declared my major in newspaper journalism, it was meant with some skepticism, as friends and family feared I would be a desolate person on the street trying to sell my writing. Even today, when asked what I do for a living, the common response is, “You can make a living off that?” While journalism may be a tough field to make it in, the obstacles facing those in the creative writing and creative nonfiction world may be even greater. However, the Baltimore area is home to some of the finest undergraduate and master’s level programs in these fields, teaching students not only how to become great writers, but also published writers.

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Diverse hospitality industry leads to varied management tracks

Baltimore Sun, April 13, 2008

Almost daily, everybody has contact with those employed in the hospitality industry. Going through everyday tasks, you’re bound to order lunch from a waitress in a restaurant or a tall latte from a barista at Starbucks, receive a bill from the registration desk employee at a hotel or coordinate a working lunch by relying on a catering company. And, the economic impact of the hospitality industry on Maryland is significant. According to a 2007 report by the Governor’s Workforce Investment Board Hospitality and Tourism Industry Initiative, the hospitality and tourism industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the state. The industry had a 7.2 percent employment increase between 2001 and 2004, more than four times the rate for total private sector employment, and the report showed that the industry will experience an estimated 1,068,525 openings through 2012. Like many other industries, there is a projected shortfall of employees to fill these positions, but luckily, several local colleges offer hospitality management programs, leading to myriad career tracks.

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Taking time out to expand horizons

Baltimore Sun, February 17, 2008

In today’s competitive job market, many college curriculums are being shaped with students’ career goals in mind, in that courses are being developed to respond to workplace needs, increasing students’ odds of landing a great job immediately following graduation. However, the benefits of encouraging students to expand their horizons by taking unorthodox classes and those with no relation to their major has not been lost on area schools. In fact, many schools have a specific academic term for such classes – the intersession.

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Schools helping schools

Baltimore Sun, November 25, 2007

The college experience offers many ways to learn beyond the classroom, many of which can be found on campus. However, sometimes college students may need to leave the ivy-covered walls of campus and explore the “real world.” Many local college students have done just that and – through different means – are tackling one of the greatest challenges in Baltimore: the public school system.

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Balancing work with school earns dividends

Baltimore Sun, September 16, 2007

The job market has been increasingly tough over the years, mandating that college students position and market themselves to help land that dream job after graduation. Whereas good grades and a resume outlining some extra-curricular activities performed during four years on campus used to be adequate material to ensure garnering a good job – and avoid the dreaded move back home with the folks – times have changed. Employers are looking for more from job seekers than just performing well in the classroom, and colleges can help in this area by providing real world experience through on-campus jobs, internships and co-op jobs.

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A Whole New Digital World

Baltimore Sun, July 8, 2007

Inevitably, in most students’ collegiate experience, they will take a class where the same syllabus, textbook and coursework has been used for years and the subject matter is based on well-tested theories. However, with the advent of an ever-changing digital world, some innovative programs at area schools present the opportunity to take courses where the subject matter changes daily and coursework is decided in “real time,” many times in a collaborative manner between faculty and students. Programs focused on interactive media, digital media arts and digital entertainment allow students – and faculty – to be pioneers in these areas of education, while discovering new career paths.

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Filling a critical need

Baltimore Sun, April 15, 2007

It’s amazing how much the math and science lessons we’re taught in middle and high school affect us well after graduation. From determining the appropriate tip to leave a restaurant server to adjusting your diet to incorporate the basic food groups, math and science are permanent fixtures in our lives. However, studies show that the United States is lagging behind other world powers in producing top-notch graduates in these subjects, decreasing the country’s competitive stance. Buoyed by a national educational initiative – the National Science Board Commission on 21st Century Education in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) – local universities are tackling these concerns by focusing on producing exceptional teachers in these areas, as well as partnering with local middle and high schools to better prepare students before they reach college.

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Psychometricians pass the test

Baltimore Sun, April 15, 2007

Tests. Whether it was a simple “pop quiz” in a junior high school history class or a crucial SAT exam that would greatly influence your future, tests have always been a source of anxiety, stress and nervousness. Tests are used in every facet of our lives – from early education to standardized placement testing to qualification tests used in the workplace – and while we’ve all been aware of the importance of doing well on these tests, few have actually considered the methodology and thought process behind the structure and content of tests. And most people may be surprised to learn that there is an entire branch of science dedicated to the study of the makeup of tests.

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The next generation of journalists

Baltimore Sun, September 19, 2006

It seems as though that each quarter some disheartening news comes from the newspaper industry about declining revenue and circulation numbers due to increased competition from online and cable news outlets and the realization that some Americans simply think that they do not have enough time to read a newspaper every day. Luckily, there still remains a need for print journalism, and pursuing a career in the field is still a wise choice for college students. Competition for these jobs after graduation is increasingly tough, and those with experience working on a college newspaper staff and with real “clips” to showcase their work definitely have a leg up on the competition.

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Hunting for sunken treasures

Baltimore Sun, July 9, 2006

When you’ve lived in the Mid-Atlantic for a while, it’s easy to take the Chesapeake Bay for granted. Sans for an occasional trip to Annapolis or St. Michaels or a look down while crossing the Bay Bridge on the way to one of the beach resorts, it’s possible to forget about the Bay and not realize its enormous influence on our area – not to mention its intriguing history. However, for those who are captivated by the past and don’t mind getting a little wet, there’s a growing, interesting field for you.

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High-tech communications

Education, December 2005

High-tech jobs are as varied as they are bountiful in the Baltimore metropolitan area. The term “high-tech” encompasses everything from computers to Web development and design, telecommunications, engineering and networking. High-tech education and training is available through several area colleges and training centers to help prepare students for jobs in the growing high-tech industry, including an array of programs at Anne Arundel Community College (AACC), where students can opt for one of many different career tracks – all with an intense hands-on approach.

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It’s never too late for medical school

Baltimore Sun, February 2005

Few undergraduates have a firm grasp when they begin college on what career path they will choose. Hence, many undergraduates change majors a few times until they find the right fit. However, medicine seems to have a calling for those who are dedicated enough to survive the rigorous coursework of a premedical major, and these individuals have a vision early in life for their career path. But what happens if you graduate with a bachelor’s degree in history, English, economics or political science and then realize that medicine is your passion? Will you be required to return to college and tackle another undergraduate degree – this time in premed – that could take two years?

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Training wheels for area businesses

Baltimore Sun, November 2004

In these economic times, businesses are looking for new ways to increase employee productivity while still trying to reduce costs. Some businesses are restructuring due to economic woes or simply a need to “shake things up.” Some companies may look to their current employees to increase their skill sets, obtain new knowledge of technology and become more productive. Conversely, many employees are looking for new ways to market themselves as indispensable to their current employers or obtain new skills to look for a better job. In all of these scenarios, community colleges play a key role as the source for continuing education and training.

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Cuba: so close, yet so far

Baltimore Sun, September 2004

Cuba. A mysterious island nation just 90 miles off the coast of Key West, Fla., that has captivated and challenged Americans for decades. A country for years that has been “off limits” for American tourists, sans for limited access for Cuban-Americans visiting relatives in Cuba and academic/cultural excursions for college students and cultural groups. American college students majoring in anything from political science to history to Spanish have ventured to Cuba through university exchange programs to learn more about our neighbor. However, newly imposed travel restrictions by the Bush Administration have left many of these programs in jeopardy and have local colleges scrambling for alternatives.

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Discovering ancient dynasties

Baltimore Sun, February 2004

One of the many benefits of a college education is the opportunity to transport oneself to far away lands through the magic of books, films, slideshows and lectures. Reading and hearing about exotic lands allows you to close your eyes and visualize yourself walking on the Great Wall of China or taking part in an African Safari. However, a few lucky Johns Hopkins University students will do more than just visualize traveling to an exotic location — they will actually be there.

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Addressing the needs of a growing field

Baltimore Sun, February 2004

Maryland is home to many booming industries; however, few have exploded as much as the field of biotechnology, a field that has experienced tremendous growth nationally and particularly here in Maryland where the influx of new businesses has catapulted the state into one of the top five concentrations of biotech companies. Graduates in the various areas of biotechnology are in high demand with many new graduates fielding multiple job offers as they near commencement.

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