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Destination College Introduces Elementary School Students to Endless Possibilities at CSM

May 9, 2023

Patuxent Appeal Elementary School Campus fifth graders Alora Anderson, Lyla Culbert and Laila Johnson watch oysters work to filter a tank of brackish water during Destination College at CSM’s Prince Frederick Campus.

More than 800 of the region’s fifth-grade students from Charles and Calvert County Public School Systems spent time on College of Southern Maryland (CSM) campuses this spring to participate in Destination College – an interactive experience that allows area youth to be a college student for the day.

Through Destination College, the participants spend the day moving through the biology and environmental labs to perform “lumpy liquid’ chemistry experiments or learning how to research water quality and the impact of oysters. The students also try their hand at coding, learn tips about “How to Start your Own Business” or play ‘College Lingo Bingo’ to familiarize themselves with college terms.

The initiative ensures that elementary-aged students – all from Title I schools – have access to the proper resources that will prepare them for careers in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) field.

“The students are always excited to be on our campuses and experience college student life, and we are always excited to host them,” shared CSM Director of Admissions Shelby Potts. “For some students, it is the first time they’ve been exposed to the idea of college or any type of higher education. Programs like this open student’s eyes to the possibility that all things are achievable, and helps understand what their community college is all about.”

Community partners often join CSM faculty and staff to teach the students. For example, Oysters: Benefits, Harvesting, and Restoration, which was taught by Amanda Knobloch, Ph.D, Environmental Education Coordinator with Patuxent Environmental and Aquatic Research Laboratory (PEARL), at Morgan State University. During a February session at the Prince Frederick Campus, staff from Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum led students in a hands-on class called Discovering Archaeology.

“We are grateful for all of our community partners who join us in our classrooms to engage Destination College’s young scholars in support of the program’s mission,” said CSM Assistant Director of Admissions Kevin Cotton.    

At the day’s end, all elementary school students received a certificate that grants them acceptance to CSM upon completion of high school requirements.


Patuxent Appeal Elementary School Campus fifth graders from left Madison Kinnison and Mariah Allegra ready to experiment with ‘Lumpy Liquids’ in the chemistry lab at CSM’s Prince Frederick Campus.



Patuxent Appeal Elementary School Campus fifth graders from left Allen Pfannenstein and Zaiden Thacker think the “Lumpy Liquid” experiment is “pretty cool” during Destination College at CSM’s Prince Frederick Campus.



Patuxent Appeal Elementary School Campus fifth grader Dylan Mackall stamps away during ‘College Lingo Bingo’ hoping to get the winning prize of ‘Smarties’ candy during Destination College at CSM’s Prince Frederick Campus.



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