Students, Educators Look to Future with Spotlight on STEM

The College of Southern Maryland (CSM) will host "Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day" Thursday, Feb. 21 with a goal of introducing area girls to the many and varied career opportunities in the fields of science and engineering.

Thousands at CSM for April Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Events

Shining a bright spotlight on exciting and rewarding career possibilities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) was the goal of the College of Southern Maryland’s Spotlight on STEM events during the month of April.

“We wanted to show students of all ages the incredible opportunities that exist—and the exciting life you can lead—when you study STEM subjects in school. When students have strong math and science skills—anything is possible,” said CSM STEM Institute Director Robert Farinelli.

Preparing students to fulfill the high-paying technical jobs of the future is a top priority for CSM which has expanded its STEM focus to include a wider variety of events for students and educators. The events included a LEGO Robotics Challenge for elementary and middle school students, Destination College for middle school students, Women + Math Workshop for girls 13-21, Career and College Readiness for high school students and educators, and Student Success Mid-Atlantic Conference for K-12 and college educators and administrators, as well as students in teacher education programs. Off-campus, the college’s robotics team, the Talons, competed in the VEX World Championship in Anaheim, Calif.

Helping educators understand student needs and best practices was another component of the college’s effort. Educators had opportunities to hear from experts in STEM education during several of the Spotlight events. During the Regional Conference participants heard from Anne Arundel County’s North County High School Principal Dr. William Heiser and his student, Jack Andraka, who at the age of 15 received a patent and $75,000 Intel Science Fair scholarship for a device for early detection of pancreatic cancer. “I learned that the best thing I could do for Jack Andraka was to just get out of his way,” said Heiser.

Claudia Morrell, chief operations officer for the National Alliance for Partnership and Equity (NAPE), spoke about the impact harsh or gender-biased language can have on students in her lecture, “Improving Diverse Student Outcomes in STEM Classrooms: Addressing the Missing Link.”

The ninth annual Women + Math Workshop was attended by more than 100 girls who chose among 19 STEM fields that they were curious about. Presenters were professionals in fields that draw heavily on math such as healthcare, computer science, architecture, engineering, physics, meteorology and cyber security fields. Attendees heard from BAE Systems electrical engineer Jillian Warner and Amanda Purnell, a CSM alumna who is a computer science major at the University of Maryland University College.   

            Spotlight on STEM is sponsored by PNC Foundation, Diamond Sponsor; BAE Systems, Gold Sponsor; and Silver Sponsors Lockheed Martin Foundation, SAIC and Wyle.

For information or STEM and CSM programs in science, technology, engineering and math, visit

For more on the LEGO Robotics Challenge, visit

For more the Women + Math Workshop, visit

For more on the Student Success Mid-Atlantic Conference, visit

For more on the Talons’ trip to the VEX World Championship, visit