CSM Engineering Club Students Get to Chat with NAVAIR Aeronautical Engineer and NASA Astronaut

CSM Engineering Club students Joan Popoola, Emily Depew, Alexandra Walker, Glory Sebulime, Julia Czecha and Club Advisor Jehnae Linkins pose while touring the University of Maryland College Park.

When members of the College of Southern Maryland (CSM) Engineering Club aren’t too busy sharing their passion about engineering with other students and area Boy and Girl Scouts, they get busy hearing from extraordinary guests both on campus and on the road.

Recently, the club hosted Naval Systems Air Command (NAVAIR) Aeronautical Engineer Theresa Shafer, PhD. Shafer shared exciting internship opportunities available at NAVAIR Patuxent River and discussed her career path with the military.

Fifth from right, NAVAIR Aeronautical Engineer Theresa Shafer, PhD. spoke about internships opportunities with members of the CSM Engineering Club during her recent visit.

“Theresa provided an awesome opportunity for students to learn about the internships and partnerships available to them,” said Pre-Engineering Program Coordinator and Engineering Club Adviser Jehnell Linkins. “Students learned that they are able to garner wonderful skills, excellent education and hands-on internship experiences right here in Southern Maryland thanks to CSM.”

On Nov. 25, the club got on the road and headed to University of Maryland College Park (UMD) to tour labs in the mechanical engineering department and attend a meet and greet lecture with NASA astronaut and engineer Jeanette Epps.

“The field trip was amazing,” said Glory Sebulime, a club student who is studying electrical engineering at CSM. “One thing I learned out of our visit is that engineering is a job that requires team work regardless of which branch of engineering you are in. Meeting the astronaut was my favorite part. She inspired me a lot. She made me realize that it doesn’t matter whether you’re black or female you can do it. The sky is the limit.”

Astronaut Jeanette Epps

Fellow CSM electrical engineering student Emily DePew agreed.

“I personally loved when Astronaut Jeanette Epps talked about all the hard work she went through to accomplish her dreams and the different types of training she had to do to push her body,” DePew said. “My favorite part was the cave training – her and her team spent a certain amount of time in a cave with no light in extreme conditions. The opportunity [to meet her] was amazing.”

CSM Engineering Club Student President Julia Czecha explained that she was grateful for the experience.

“I enjoyed touring the fab labs at UMD the most,” Czecha said. “One of the major reasons anyone goes into any form of engineering is to be able to apply math and physical sciences to building and creating. The University of Maryland gives students the opportunity to not only design and create in theory, but also to bring those theories to life through the technology and resources made available in the fab labs.”

CSM engineering students have the opportunity to participate in a mechanical and electrical engineering partnership with the UMD and the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) at Patuxent River Naval Air Station. Students in the program can earn a valuable degree while incurring little to no debt, gain practical internship experience and have a two-year commitment of service with the NAVAIR.

“The University System of Maryland at Southern Maryland Partnership is an awesome opportunity,” Linkins said.

Students in the partnership program can take the majority of their classes in Southern Maryland at CSM and then, once they have earned their associate degree, take classes at the University System of Maryland at Southern Maryland (USMSM), formerly known as the Southern Maryland Higher Education Center, to complete their junior and senior classes with UMD. Students enrolled in this program will typically have three classes per semester at USMSM and one class at UMD’s College Park Campus. An additional class may be taken online or through an electronically based distance education service. In support of this partnership program, NAWCAD and UMD have established a state-of-the-art engineering laboratory at USMSM that is dedicated to support junior- and senior-level engineering courses.

CSM students following this program have also had the opportunity to do internships with NAWCAD, with a possible employment opportunity upon successful graduation and completion of all Guided Pathway program requirements.

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