Ms. Cushwa attended Hood College in Frederick, Maryland, receiving a Bachelor’s degree in History, and a Master’s degree in Contemporary Government.
She was appointed to the Maryland State Board of Education in 1989, and later that year was appointed to the Maryland State Senate to complete her late husband’s term in office. From 1990 to 1997, Ms. Cushwa joined the adjunct faculty at Hagerstown Community College, teaching courses in State and Local Government, American Government, and American History. In 1997, Ms. Cushwa was appointed to the Maryland Parole Commission, and later that year became the first woman to be appointed Chair of that commission.
Ms. Cushwa was first appointed to the Hagerstown Community College Board of Trustees on July 1, 2003, and has been re-appointed to subsequent six year terms. She has served as Vice-Chair since July 1, 2012 and is currently serving her second year as Chair.