ABC 7/WJLA News Features CSM Alums’ Success Stories After College Earns Second, Nearly $950K NSF Grant to Provide 96 Scholarships

CSM Alumna Dr. Syria Wesley was recently interviewed by ABC/WJLA 7 Education Reporter Kellye Lynn for a story on CSM being awarded a nearly $1 million grant by the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S-STEM) program. A recipient of an earlier NSF S-STEM grant, Wesley was able to attend CSM full time in 2012 and successfully transfer to Notre Dame of Maryland University's School of Pharmacy. The story aired on WJLA April 15, 2019.
CSM Math Professor Sandy Poinsett, left, will welcome back her former student, CSM Alumna Dr. Syria Wesley, right, as the keynote speaker at CSM’s Annual Women in STEM Conference, May 3.

ABC 7/WJLA Education Reporter Kellye Lynn recently put her ‘Education Spotlight’ on the College of Southern Maryland (CSM) after the college received a nearly $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to provide scholarships to 96 students studying Science Technology Engineering or Math (STEM)-related fields.

During her interview, which aired April 15, Lynn spoke with CSM Math Professor Sandra Poinsett and Poinsett’s former students Dr. Syria Wesley and Rodrigo Arce. The CSM alums were recipients of an earlier NSF S-STEM grant while at CSM and they both credit their time at the college with their continued success. [Watch Kellye Lynn’s story by clicking on the link below]

When Arce began at CSM, he was learning English and in remedial math as a Peruvian immigrant in 2012. After receiving the NSF S-STEM grant, Arce earned his associate degree from CSM and today is wrapping up his second year at University of Maryland in College Park with plans to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. Arce, who became a U.S. citizen six months ago, describes becoming a NSF STEM Scholar “just priceless.”

Wesley will return to CSM’s La Plata Campus to offer the keynote speech at the college’s annual Women in STEM Conference May 3. The Maurice J. McDonough High School graduate said her time at CSM transformed her life and put her on a STEM career path to become a pharmacist with a doctorate degree.

“When I was awarded the S-STEM scholarship from 2012-2014, I was able to attend college full time and graduate with honors,” Wesley explained. “I was able to utilize so many resources thanks to CSM and that grant. We had tutors; networking; we went to [Naval Air Station] Pax River; anything you needed to excel, CSM and the NSF scholarship provided.

“There is a support system at CSM that was so beneficial and makes us close-knit here,” Wesley continued. “That is the benefit of attending a community college. And I can’t wait to come back and encourage young girls to chase STEM careers.”

Women in  STEM

The May 3 Women in STEM event will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the CSM La Plata Campus, Center for Building and Industry (BI Building) Room 113, 8730 Mitchell Road in La Plata. The conference is open to young women ages 13 and older as well as high school math teachers and parents. Please RSVP and register at

For additional information, contact Poinsett at 301-934-7808 or by email or CSM Math Division Chair Dr. Stephanie MsCaslin 301-934-7803.


The window to apply for the NSF S-STEM scholarship remains open. The $953,243 grant not only covers scholarships. It also covers support services like field trips, guest speakers, supplies and tutoring.

Students who qualify as academically talented, with demonstrated financial need and who have declared a STEM major, including programs in applied science and technology, biological sciences, computer information systems, computer science, engineering, engineering technology, information services technology, information systems, cybersecurity and physical sciences can apply for the S-STEM NSF grant. Students must also provide a one-page essay explaining why they have chosen a STEM career major. NSF will distribute the funds to CSM through Dec. 31, 2023. Visit for more information.


CSM Women in STEM. 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. May 3. College of Southern Maryland, La Plata Campus, Center for Building and Industry (BI Building), Room 113, 8730 Mitchell Road, La Plata. This one-day event features workshops, presentations and discussions designed to inform young women STEM-related careers. Open to young women 13 and older as well as high school math teachers and parents. Free. 301-934-7808, Please RSVP and register at