‘CSM Is the Best Decision I Ever Made’

Noah Schaeffer, 20, of Dentsville is a relative newcomer to Southern Maryland, moving here with his family after graduating from Neshaminy High School in Langhorne, Pennsylvania. However, once he registered at the College of Southern Maryland (CSM), Schaeffer took full advantage of the college’s connections to government labs and bases and quickly established himself in the work of the region.

Schaeffer graduates from CSM May 24 with an associate degree in engineering as well as experience he gained through a local internship and an all-inclusive U.S. Department of Defense SMART Scholarship that will fund the rest of his undergraduate degree.

This graduate credits his contacts at CSM with connecting him to these opportunities. He is particularly grateful to Pre-Engineering Coordinator Shadei Jones, he said. “Every engineering student at CSM should establish an educational relationship with her, as she always looks out for the best interests of her students,” Schaeffer said. “I met Ms. Jones during a CSM open house before I started at CSM. From the beginning, she has always been able to help me with any roadblocks I have faced. Ms. Jones also helped me create a strong resume that was instrumental in me obtaining an internship [and] the SMART Scholarship at NSWC Indian Head. Ms. Jones is always informing us of scholarships/internship opportunities whenever they arise.”

In addition, Schaeffer said he benefited from studying under Dr. Fawaz Roumani. “I have had a class with Dr. Roumani every semester since I started in the fall of 2016. Dr. Roumani is always encouraging his students to think outside the box, while helping us secure internships … take advantage of the great opportunities given to us. He is the most approachable professor I have had. He encourages you to ask questions, no matter how simple.”

Studying engineering at CSM taught Schaeffer how to thoroughly document all the steps in creating something, he said. “CSM professors stressed the phrase ‘clear, concise, neat and complete.’ I believe this helped shape me to become a better student.”

After graduation, Schaeffer will return to an internship position at Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division (NSWC IHEODTD) for the summer. He will continue his education with the University of Maryland College Park through the CSM-Navy Southern Maryland Program, a partnership that will allow him to take most of his classes locally at the Southern Maryland Higher Education Center in California.

Once he earns his bachelor’s degree, Schaeffer said his goal is to create or help design something that will benefit society. “I never want to stop acquiring knowledge,” he said.

“I chose CSM because CSM provides a high quality education at a low price. I was able to complete the first two years of my mechanical engineering degree at a fraction of the price of University of Maryland. CSM also introduced me to members of local government engineering facilities. CSM is the reason why I was able to obtain an internship after my freshman year of college. They are also the reason why I was able to earn the SMART Scholarship. I will forever be grateful and appreciate for the experiences and opportunities CSM has given me. If anyone ever doubts attending CSM, I would tell them that CSM is the best decision I ever made,” Schaeffer said.