$45,000 From Energy Company to Increase STEM Awareness at College
The College of Southern Maryland Foundation has received a $45,000 grant from the Dominion Foundation to upgrade equipment in CSM’s electronics laboratories. The college believes the new additions to the labs will help attract more students into its engineering, engineering technology, nuclear engineering technology and computer science programs.
Dominion Foundation’s Higher Educational Partnership Grant was presented Sept. 12 at CSM’s Leonardtown Campus.
The foundation, the philanthropic arm of Dominion, is dedicated to improving the well-being of the communities served by Dominion companies. This year the foundation expects to award $1 million in grants to schools and educational institutions in 11 states. Last year, the educational partnership program awarded 40 college and post-secondary schools up to $50,000 each to underwrite projects in energy, environmental studies, engineering and workforce development.
“This year’s grants will support a variety of innovative programs encouraging young people to learn the essential skills needed to tackle real-world issues,” said Hunter A. Applewhite, president of the Dominion Foundation. “They will help students gain knowledge and experience with technologies that are leading the way to a greener future.”
Dominion is one of the nation’s largest producers and transporters of energy, and it operates Dominion Cove Point LNG in Calvert County. Since 2002, the Dominion Foundation has provided nearly $2.3 million in grants within the state of Maryland.
“Education shapes the future of America by preparing students to meet the changing needs of the workplace,” said Mike Frederick, vice president of LNG operations at Dominion Cove Point LNG. “This grant will help the College of Southern Maryland acquire the computer equipment that is vital to the educational programs provided by the college.”
The Dominion Foundation grant will fund the necessary materials needed for the electronics program. These materials include electronic test equipment such as digital oscilloscopes, sweep generators, digital multi-meters and spectrum analyzers, breadboards for building electronic circuits, soldering equipment, programmable logic controllers (PLC), work benches, and consumables to include electronic components, soldering supplies and kits, components to build PLC circuits and other miscellaneous materials. The new equipment the college will purchase is expected to enhance current programs.
“CSM’s engineering and computer science programs are designed to bring together partner resources, technical expertise and diverse initiatives into a regional approach to address local workforce needs. Through this partnership with the Dominion Foundation, CSM will now be able to fund state-of-the-art equipment for our electronics program that will allow us to better prepare students for employment in a high-technology industrial environment,” said CSM President Dr. Brad Gottfried.
The college will upgrade the electronic labs on all three campuses with the majority of the upgrades taking place at the Leonardtown Campus.
The upgraded labs will be used for engineering, engineering technology, nuclear engineering technology and computer science but also would give an opportunity for the general physics and engineering physics classes to get some hands-on experience using general test equipment and other electronic lab equipment.
“CSM hopes to increase the number of students who enroll in these programs; increase student retention by enhancing support services to address the unique and social needs of the students; and increase engagement of the region’s employers in recruiting, retaining and hiring our graduates,” said Bernice Brezina, interim chair of CSM’s Business and Technology Division.
She said she receives frequent requests from area employers looking for drafting students and, recently, robotics technicians.
“Some employers already have made offers to our students,” Brezina said. “These students are on track for jobs that pay $55,000 to start, and this is before they have earned their degrees. Employers want workers with certain skills, and they know that when students leave CSM they have the desired training. We’re teaching the skills the employers want them to have.”
CSM students are getting more than a degree; they are getting a head start in their career field, Brezina said.
For information on the Business and Technology Division and its course offerings, visit http://www.csmd.edu/programs-courses/credit/academic-divisions/bat/. For more information, contact Brezina at 301-934-7556 or BerniceB@csmd.edu.