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CSM and Community Celebrate Engineers Week, Extend “Welcome to the Future”

February 19, 2024
e week
From left are Calvert County Commissioner Mike Hart; Commissioner Catherine Grasso (Vice President); Brian Warnecke; Lillian Duckett; Kyle Nielsen; Anthony Olekson; Commissioner Mark Cox Sr.; Commissioner Earl F. “Buddy” Hance (President); Commissioner Todd Ireland.

“Welcome to the Future” is the theme for 2024 National Engineers Week, or E-Week, which runs through Feb. 25 and is dedicated to ensuring a diverse and well-educated future engineering workforce by increasing understanding of, and interest in, engineering and technology careers. This month, local county governments again joined in the efforts to recognize E-week and the College of Southern Maryland (CSM), where the next generation of engineers can affordably access engineering programs that will help launch their STEM careers and meet the needs of tomorrow's workforce.

For student Kyle Neilsen, a sophomore electrical engineering student, that means participating in the Democratizing Research and Experiential Education for Microelectronics (DREEM) program, a new three-year, $300,000 NSF grant through which CSM can offer project-based, experiential learning to sophomore community college students interested in microelectronics. The grant increases research and career readiness and addresses systemic barriers that prevent underrepresented populations from accessing these lucrative positions.

Neilsen shared his experiences with the Calvert County Board of Commissioners Feb. 13 when he accepted a proclamation declaring Feb. 18-24 to be Engineering Week in Calvert County. He was joined by CSM Associate Professor of Engineering and Computer Science Brian Warnecke and his classmate Lillian Duckett.

“It has been an experiential program, I’ve learned a lot, and I’m really happy to be a part of it,” Neilsen said, sharing that he is currently working on a sensor that can digitally monitor organic cells to assist with medical research.

Duckett, who is studying aerospace engineering, told the commissioners about her participation on the Talons, CSM’s VEX robotics team. She said that the Talons have been the top-ranked community college robotics team in the country for the past three years and are seeking to defend that title at competitions this spring – including one in West Virginia this past weekend, where the Talons went 5-3 before falling to Fairmont State in elimination rounds, and one at Salisbury University next week..

“Whereas, engineers around the world aid in shaping the structures of society; preserving, supporting and advancing the needs of our civilization; and whereas, engineers help solve some of our greatest technological challenges and innovative feats — conceptualizing new ideas that save lives and structural solutions that help solve significant problems; and whereas, Calvert County recognizes and supports engineer week as an economic equalizer crucial to the long-term growth of local communities, the State, and the Nation; and whereas, National Engineer Week provides Calvert County an opportunity to celebrate and support engineers within our community. Now, therefore, be it proclaimed by the Board of County Commissioners of Calvert County that the week of Feb. 18-24, 2024, be known as Engineers Week in Calvert County,” read the proclamation presented to the students.

The Charles County Board of Commissioners also presented CSM students and faculty with a proclamation at its Feb. 7 meeting.

“On behalf of the Board of County Commissioners, we encourage all citizens to recognize the importance of engineers to our daily lives,” said Commissioner B.J. Bowling.  He was joined by CSM students Michael Douglas and Keith Davenport and Math and Engineering Chair Joseph Bowling for the ceremony.

St. Mary's County also proclaimed this week as Engineering Week at their Feb. 13 meeting.

“By pursuing a path in engineering, I find the week of engineering to be a celebration of all innovations that have come from engineers and how the field strives to forever move forward and make further leaps forward in countless fields,” said CSM engineering student Jonathan Gross. “Due to the amazing work of inventors and innovators in the engineering field, we work to propel the human civilization forward to new heights and push us in ways that were thought impossible.”

Founded by the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) in 1951, E-Week is a formal coalition of more than 70 engineering, education, and cultural societies, and more than 50 corporations and government agencies 

At CSM’s winter commencement exercises Jan. 12, graduate Jordan Riggs shared his experiences (view video below) studying engineering at CSM, from first learning about the program at one of CSM’s “Night of Engineering” events when he was in high school, to getting the support he needed when his confidence faltered, to serving as the president of the National Society of Black Engineers.

CSM will host another “Night of Engineering” April 25, where students can learn about the engineering program at CSM, transfer pathways to four-year engineering schools, and the opportunity for students pursuing mechanical or electrical engineering to complete their bachelor’s degree right in Southern Maryland.

CSM offers three different two-year associate of science degrees to accommodate students who are interested in mechanical, electrical, civil, chemical, computer, or aerospace engineering, as well as many other engineering disciplines. After completing their associate degree, students may transfer to a four-year engineering school, many of whom with CSM has formal transfer agreements.

CSM’s signature engineering transfer pathway, the Southern Maryland Engineering Partnership, allows mechanical and electrical engineering students to transfer to the University of Maryland’s A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University System of Maryland at Southern Maryland in California, MD.  These students also may have the opportunity for an internship with the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD), a division of the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), with a potential full-time employment opportunity upon graduation.

CSM also offers a financial way forward for students seeking careers in those fields thanks to the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Scholarships in STEM (S-STEM) program, which provides up to $10,000 in support for students majoring in any of the following content areas: Bioinformatics, Biotechnology, Computer Science, Life Sciences, Engineering, Environmental Science, Information Technology, Physical Sciences, and Mathematics.

For more information, visit CSM online at https://www.csmd.edu/programs-courses/pathways/stem/index.html.


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