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Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Dorchester County STEM Students Visit SU

SALISBURY, MD---“Maryland ranks first in the nation in per capita research and development expenditures, and has burgeoning biotech and cyber-security industries,” Salisbury University Dean Karen Olmstead recently explained to a group of Dorchester high school students.  SU offers pathways to careers in these areas and in the growing fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), she added.

Josh Hyde (left)During a recent campus visit, the juniors explored majors in the Henson School of Science and Technology that interested them, including biology, chemistry, computer science, geography and geosciences, mathematics and physics.  Olmstead also told them about the need for college graduates who are prepared for jobs in high-tech industries, health care and even education, as science teachers.

Trey Mills, who teaches chemistry at Cambridge-South Dorchester High, said the students, who are enrolled in the school system’s STEM track, learned a lot about academic programs and college life:  “It gave them the chance to see the University and the resources that are available to them only a half hour away.” 

Kermit Hines, principal of the Dorchester Career and Technology Center, and Dan Hortert, science teacher at North Dorchester High, echoed appreciation for what their students saw on their first visit to a four-year college.

Josh Hyde (right)One of those students, Amanda Robbins, said she liked the campus and wants to apply to SU’s nursing program.  Josh Hyde, a fellow student, also envisions himself at SU.  “I want to be an engineer and I asked questions and they talked about how I could come to SU and major in physics and mathematics.”

During the visit, the students split into groups and visited SU classes, hearing from faculty about majors and careers.  Drs. Edward Senkbeil (biochemistry), Seth Friese (chemistry) and Matt Bailey (physics) offered lab demonstration.  Dr. Alex Aguilar spoke about GIS and Geography, while Drs. Kathleen Shannon and Lee May explored math.  Maryland Science Olympiad State Director Al Causey was also available to discuss opportunities for students, including the Eastern Shore regional tournament which will be held at SU on Saturday, March 12.

The visit was made possible through SU’s $996,303 National Science Foundation grant designed to increase the number of graduates in STEM disciplines.  The grant is focused on recruiting more high school and transfer students who are interested in studying STEM fields, and increasing retention and graduation rates in STEM programs.

SU is also welcoming high school juniors and seniors from Wicomico and Worcester counties for Science Nights throughout the academic year.  That series features presentations on research and career options in the fields of earth science, chemistry, physics, computer science, engineering, atmospheric science, math and biology.

For more information, call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU STEM Web site at http://www.salisbury.edu/henson/STEM/.



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