Programs Offered in Robotics, American Music, Personal Finance, Cybersecurity and Environmental Science

Summer Scholars class
Maxwell Stine, front left, and Joshua Hoffman work on a puzzle along with Student Assistant Lakisha Ferebee and Garret Crownover at the second table, with Jacob Beardmore observing during last year’s CSM’s Summers Scholars Academy.

The College of Southern Maryland (CSM) will hold its Summer Scholar Academy again this year, giving high school students the opportunity to take an in-depth look at an area of interest while earning college credit. Designed for rising junior and senior high school students, the program is an opportunity for outstanding high school students to take a three-credit college course that blends traditional on-campus classes with extended learning activities that are designed to prepare participants for college success.

The program offers five different academies from which to choose. Robotics, American Music and Personal Finance academies will be held from July 9-26. Cybersecurity and Environmental Science academies are scheduled for July 30-Aug. 16. Applications are now being accepted.

“The academies are designed to spark interest in students and help them decide if these areas are something they would like to do for a career,” said CSM Assistant Director of Admissions-Recruitment Shelby Potts. “The Summer Scholars Academy gives high school students the chance to get a taste of college and the chance to try on an area of study before they commit to a college or education path.”

Students in the Summer Scholars Academy last year described some of the ways they benefited. “It’s been fun. It’s been challenging,” said Josh Hoffman of Mechanicsville. “The professor is really good. Overall, I really liked the program, and I would recommend it to any student looking into the field or wanting to explore it.”

“I am kind of on the fence between engineering or cybersecurity,” said Clayton Crownover of Mechanicsville said of his future career path. “This camp really helped clarify. It was definitely a lot of material. But it was manageable…. I think it’s a pretty good program.”

“Content-wise, it’s everything. It’s really good … It is time-intensive, and it is a lot of work, said Brandon Durham of Waldorf.

CSM increased the academies being offered this year, including the addition of the Environmental Science Academy. CSM Chair of Biology and Physical Sciences Jean Russ said the academy is designed to provide an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the environment and related issues.

“A serious student interested in the environment and the human role in environmental conditions would enjoy the academy and take away some valuable experience,” Russ said. “Environmental issues exist in a context of politics, society, nature and economics. To understand the issues we need to understand the context in which they occur. So the academy will focus on context and research to begin to understand the nature of the issues that confront us. If learning is fun, if research is interesting, then, this is your course.”

The American Music Academy will give area high school students an opportunity to make an intensive study of the broad history of American music from colonial times to the rise of rock and roll and contemporary styles. “I am particularly excited that the students will be exposed to a variety of musical styles important to the history of the United States, such as jazz, gospel, blues, country music, Latin-American music and Native American music,” said CSM Chair of the Division of Communication, Arts, and Humanities Dr. Stephen Johnson.

Students will also have the opportunity to learn about careers pioneered by Americans such as songwriting, sound recording, performing and music criticism from guest speakers in those fields. “This course will be of interest to both those interested in pursuing their interests in music and those who simply would like to learn more about the fascinating history of American music,” Johnson said.

The Cybersecurity Academy introduces students to the CSM cybersecurity degree program at CSM, essentially replicating the first course in the degree, according to CSM Chair of the Business and Technology Division Professor Bernice Brezina. “Students will work hands-on in the computer lab as they work on computer hardware, tackle operating systems, security and network connectivity issues and troubleshoot computer systems,” Brezina said.

Students who are considering a business career may want to consider the Personal Finance Academy, which is designed for students to gain financial literacy and learn how to make money management decisions. It may apply as an elective course in the Accounting or Business degree programs,” Brezina said. “Students will gain a broad, practical overview of personal financial skills including budgeting, banking, credit, taxation, investments, insurance and estate planning,” she said.

The Robotics Academy is designed to appeal to both newcomers to the subject as well as students who have a background in robotics, according to Assistant Professor Byron Brezina. “The Robotics Academy will give students the opportunity to learn the basics of robotics or expand their existing skills in a hands-on summer camp environment,” he said.

To apply for the CSM Summer Scholars Academy, students must complete and submit the online application and provide their high school transcript and a letter of recommendation from a high school teacher. An academic average of 3.0 or better is required. Admission is competitive and contingent upon space availability.

For information on CSM’s Summer Scholars Academy, visit