CSM Appoints Timothy R. Fenner as Director of Educational Talent Search

Timothy R. Fenner joins CSM as the director of the Educational Talent Search for Charles County

            The College of Southern Maryland announces the appointment of Timothy R. Fenner as director of Educational Talent Search (ETS) for Charles County. The ETS program assists students ages 11 through 27 from all backgrounds in Charles County who have the potential to succeed in higher education. Students enrolled in the ETS program receive college and career assistance through tutoring, test preparation, counseling, financial aid application guidance, college admission preparation, and career exploration and assessment.

            “Tim Fenner’s extensive experience working with young people, helping and guiding them toward lifelong learning is an asset not only to the Educational Talent Search program but also to families in Charles County. His life’s work has been in helping students break through the mystery of college and seeing themselves on campus realizing their dreams,” said CSM President Dr. Brad Gottfried.

            Prior to coming to CSM, Fenner was the college access coordinator for the Philadelphia Education Fund serving 480 students from kindergarten through 12th grade at an area target school. Fenner directed the Talent Search Program for Eternal Cares, Inc., of Chester, Pa., from 2005 to 2011 and was coordinator of student development services for Kent State University’s Upward Bound Program from 1999 through 2005.

“I found my niche years ago when I was in high school and I worked for the Urban League with underprivileged students. During summer breaks in college I worked for the National Youth Sports Program with kids from families who had no experience with college. We provided sports activities and life skills such as goal setting, peer conflict and problem solving. So, basically, I’ve been doing this kind of work since I was 16,” said Fenner. “I share with students my experiences and I tell them the real deal: what I saw when I first walked on campus and the mistakes I made when I didn’t study and communicate with my professor. I tell students about considering the choices they make and how those choices orchestrate our lives.”

            ETS is funded through a federal grant based on the population of the community it serves. For Charles County, the program funds 874 students in middle school, high school and also about 25 qualifying adults who are looking for help in navigating the college admissions process. To qualify for the program, students need to come from low income households or be the first from their family to go to college. This program has been offered at CSM since 1992.

 “My idea for our middle and high school students is to get them to understand that there’s a way, a pathway we can guide them down toward college,” said Fenner. “Our efforts are going to be doubly focused on middle schoolers this year because we believe that children in sixth through eighth grades are ready to begin thinking about college. We bring them on campus so they can see what a college is all about,” Fenner said.

CSM’s two outreach counselors visit the target schools every month. Students meet during the school day to work on projects together, attend workshops or go on field trips. The year-round program includes week-long summer camps where students learn about writing college essays, hone skills needed for standardized tests and tour nearby college campuses.

“We follow the participants after they graduate from high school through at least two years of college and often through their college graduation,” Fenner said.

            Fenner received a master of public administration from University of Akron and a bachelor’s degree in communication studies from Kent State University.

In his role as director of ETS, Fenner will oversee the development, implementation and operation of CSM’s ETS program and report activities to the U.S. Department of Education.

CSM is an open-admission, comprehensive regional community college that fosters academic excellence and enhances lives in Southern Maryland. CSM meets the diverse needs of students and the community by providing accessible, accredited, affordable, and quality learning opportunities for intellectual development, career enhancement, and personal growth. The college embraces lifelong learning and service, providing a variety of personal enrichment and cultural programs in a safe and welcoming environment. For information, visit www.csmd.edu.

For information on Educational Talent Search, visit http://www.csmd.edu/educationaltalentsearch/.