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 and American Government. In 1992, Ms. Cushwa was appointed to the Maryland Parole Commission, and in 1997 became the first woman to be appointed Chair of that full-time commission. She was appointed to the United States Parole Commission in 2004 and currently serves as Vice Chairman.
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 served as Vice-Chair from July 1, 2012 and served two years as Chair, until September 2017. Her community activities included Chair of the Washington County Judicial Nominating Commission for Trial Court Judges, a gubernatorial appointment, and she co-founded CASA (Citizens’ Assisting and Sheltering the Abused). She also served on the first Board for Charter Home Rule in Washington County and served a four year elected term on the Williamsport Town Council.
Ms. Cushwa resides in Williamsport, Md. and proudly claims the title of “River Rat.”