The College of Southern Maryland (CSM) celebrated 2021 National Engineers Week by accepting proclamations from the Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s counties’ Boards of County Commissioners (BOCC) and the Southern Maryland Delegation. A recognition founded in 1951, National Engineers Week – also known as ‘EWeek’ – is dedicated to ensuring a diverse and well-educated future engineering workforce by increasing understanding of, and interest in, engineering and technology careers.
“EWeek promotes recognition among parents, teachers and students of the importance of a technical education and a high level of math, science and technology literacy, and motivates youth to pursue engineering careers in order to provide a diverse and vigorous engineering workforce,” stated the proclamations presented virtually to various CSM faculty and staff during the BOCC’s weekly public meetings Feb. 23.
“Engineering has been called the invisible or stealth profession because everything around us and things we use every day have been engineered in some way, yet we may not see the engineers behind the scenes or know much about engineering,” said St. Mary’s County Commissioner Todd Morgan, who went on to proclaim Feb. 21-27 to be National Engineers Week in St. Mary’s County.
CSM School of Professional and Technical Studies Acting Dean Bernice Brezina was on hand to thank the Calvert County commissioners for recognizing the role of engineering in every day life.
“I was born and raised in Southern Maryland, and am a CSM alumna who went on to the University of Maryland to get my Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering,” Brezina shared. “Thank you for recognizing the important role of engineers.”
What are STEM Careers?
STEM – which stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics – doesn’t “necessarily involve working in a laboratory or having a fancy degree,” confirmed U.S. News and World Report in its January 2021 listing of Best STEM jobs.
“The STEM careers on our list are diverse, including jobs like psychologist, software developer, civil engineer and statistician,” the magazine published, adding the STEM jobs have low unemployment and are in high demand. “STEM jobs are often referred to as the jobs of the future, so as this sector continues to grow, take a look at what the STEM industry really looks like.”
“Want to know the top reason why Engineering is cool?” asked CSM Pre-Engineering Coordinator and Adjunct Faculty Jehnell Linkins. “It’s fun. It’s creative. Engineers earn big salaries and their work touches every aspect of our economy and well-being.”
Linkins and her daughter CSM Alumna Jehnae Linkins have worked together in recent years to sponsor CSM’s “Engineer Like a Girl” summer programs for high school students and serve as advisors for the college’s various Engineering clubs – among them the nation’s newest National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) chartered at CSM in December. In January, Jehnell Linkins and CSM Instructor Judith Moore also started CSM’s new Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Club.
CSM offers a broad list of courses, certificates and stackable credentials to help students – and professionals – excel in their STEM careers. The college also offers a number of STEM transfer programs to four-year colleges and universities, including the local partnership with the University of Maryland (UMD).
In the UMD partnership, students are offered a seamless pathway to a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering or Electrical Engineering in which they earn their Associate of Science Engineering Degree at CSM and then transfer with junior status to earn a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering at UMD. Students also have the opportunity to do an internship with the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD), a division of NAVAIR, with a possible employment opportunity upon successful graduation and completion of all Pathway Program requirements. Students can take all the classes in Southern Maryland at CSM and then at the Southern Maryland Higher Education Center (SMHEC) to complete their junior and senior classes with UMD.
CSM has a financial way forward for students seeking careers in those fields thanks to a $953,243 award from the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Scholarships in STEM (S-STEM) program, and a second NSF grant for $257,912 to help students pursue degrees in cybersecurity.
“It is so important for our students and communities facing such difficult times right now to realize that CSM is here to help them achieve their education and stay on course – or start a new career – in positions that are meaningful, important and will always be considered essential,” CSM Mathematics Professor Sandra Poinsett recently shared. Poinsett is a lead on the NSF S-STEM grant. “The NSF grants we received in 2019 provide tuition support to students who are pursuing STEM degrees or certificates in applied science and technology, biological sciences, computer information systems, computer science, engineering, engineering technology, information services technology, information systems, cybersecurity and physical sciences.”
The window to apply for the NSF S-STEM scholarship remains open. The grant monies not only cover tuition, it also covers support services like field trips, guest speakers, supplies and tutoring. Visit https://www.csmd.edu/apply-register/credit/scholars-programs/stem-scholars/ for more information.
Other CSM Engineering Events this Week
Coming up this week, the public is invited to attend CSM’s free Virtual Night of Cybersecurity Feb. 24 at 6:30 p.m. to learn more about CSM’s Cybersecurity programs and the many career opportunities available in our region. Attendees will also learn why CSM’s Cybersecurity program has been designated as a Center of Academic Excellence for two-year schools (CAE-2Y) by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The Washington, DC area (including northern Virginia and southern Maryland) recently posted the most open jobs for technologists, topping Silicon Valley and San Francisco, according to a Feb. 4 report on the insights.dice.com website. RSVPs are required to access Zoom information for this free event. https://www.csmd.edu/calendar/student-services/Virtual-Night-of-Cyber.
The public is also invited to join CSM staff and faculty for ‘Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day®,’ also known as Girl Day on Thursday evening, Feb. 25 at 6:30 p.m. Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day provides a virtual opportunity for girls to experience engineering by interacting and engaging with female engineers, educators and role models. RSVPs are required to access Zoom information for this free event. https://www.csmd.edu/calendar/community-events/2021-02-25-Introduce-a-Girl-to-Engineering-Day.