CSM Welcomes Inaugural Energetics Program Class


Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Scholars Begin Program

The College of Southern Maryland’s Energetics Program’s inaugural year started this fall semester for 22 scholarship recipients from Charles, St. Mary’s and Calvert counties.

The Energetics Program is part of a new initiative by CSM directed at recent local high school graduates interested in pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

“This program looks to locally grow STEM majors to fill jobs in Southern Maryland,” said Robert Farinelli, associate vice president of academic affairs at CSM. In the next ten years the need for engineers, scientists, computer analysts and other technology jobs within Southern Maryland are estimated to increase by 25 to 30 percent according to the Economic Development Office of Charles County.

Funded through a grant from the Energetics Technology Center (ETC) in Charles County, CSM’s energetics program will give science and technology majors $500 each semester for four semesters as part of a $500,000, five-year program.

“We are hoping that this is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Robert Kavetsky, Chief Executive Officer of ETC, a private non-profit organization with a focus on workforce development.

A hallmark of the Energetics Program, according to Farinelli, is the inclusion of a mentorship that will pair each student with a local scientist or engineer who works in the student’s area of study. “We feel that what sets this program apart is the opportunity students will have to explore their chosen fields through ongoing relationships they build with their mentors,” Farinelli said.

“We were thoroughly impressed with the quality and quantity of applicants,” said Farinelli who commended the local high schools for their efforts in promoting the new program. “This first year we relied heavily on guidance counselors at the high schools to help guide interested students to us,” he said.

Two of the scholarship recipients came to the program in just that way. Matthew Clodfelter of Hughesville and Brent Roberts of Waldorf are best friends who heard about the program through their guidance counselor at Thomas Stone High School last spring.

“I had always considered CSM my first choice,” said Clodfelter. “It made sense to start at CSM and then transfer to a four-year program.”

His parents Billie and Terri Clodfelter agreed, “We are thrilled he has this opportunity.” Clodfelter plans to study information services technology, a field he had the opportunity to explore while interning at the Charles County Sheriff’s Office.

The students beginning this September will work through the program together as a ‘cohort’ with half attending classes in La Plata and half at the Leonardtown campus, according to Farinelli.

“The scholarship recipients all scored well during the application process,” said Bronwyn Chisholm, ETC Program Coordinator at CSM. “By grouping them together we are hoping to build social supports and social networking—and a little competition—to keep them in the program. The foundational support of mentorship and peer support, we feel, will keep this group working together,” she added. The group first gathered at a picnic this spring. They met again just before the semester started and received backpacks filled with items useful to their studies as well as an invitation to apply for one of 20 paid part-time positions working with middle school students on the Robotics Challenge.

The program also has funding for supplemental instruction, help in securing year round co-op work and summer internships, and assistance in transferring to a four-year school of the student’s choice.

For information on the College of Southern Maryland Energetics Program contact Chisholm at 301-934-7747 or 301-870-2309, Ext. 7747 for Charles County; 240-725-5499, Ext. 7747 for St. Mary’s County, or 443-550-6199 Ext. 7747 for Calvert County or email bchisholm@csmd.edu. The College of Southern Maryland Energetics Program is still in need of engineers, scientists, and mathematicians from the community to serve as mentors.  Please contact CSM for more information.

For information on Energetics Technology Center contact Ken McCreedy, Workforce and Economic Development, 107 Centennial Street, Suite 201, La Plata, Md. 20646, 301-934-0385 ext. 702 or email kmccreedy@etcmd.org.