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Maryland Independent: St. Mary's College, Indian Head sign agreement for STEM internships, research opportunities

Website: Maryland Independent: St. Mary's College, Indian Head sign agreement for STEM internships, research opportunities (opens in a new window)
Published: 30 Mar 2018
Contributor: Jacqui Atkielski

Executive Director Bonnie Green was quoted in an covering the signing of an educational partnership agreement between St. Mary's College, Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head, and The Patuxent Partnership. The article by Jacqui Atkielski appeared in the Maryland Independent on March 30, 2018.

View the article on the Maryland Independent website. 

College students and staff will have more STEM internships and research opportunities to explore now that St. Mary’s College of Maryland signed an agreement Friday with a national defense representative in Indian Head.

Tuajuanda Jordan, the college’s president, signed the five-year agreement with Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division representatives Commanding Officer Capt. Scott Kraft and Technical Director Ashley Johnson, as well as Bonnie Green, executive director of the nonprofit organization The Patuxent Partnership.

The college signed a similar agreement with Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division at Naval Air Station Patuxent River and The Patuxent Partnership in 2011.

Sabine Dillingham, college director of research and sponsored programs, said in an email Monday that college staff are not sure of how many students will benefit from the agreement, but that it’s an “incredible opportunity, especially for our STEM students so we assume the interest will be high.”

She said staff “already have several students working on projects at Indian Head that started before this [educational partnership agreement] was finalized.”

College senior Michael Mellinger said after the signing that he’s been able to complete his St. Mary’s Project, or senior thesis, while working at Indian Head.

Currently majoring in chemistry, he said he’s started his internship at Indian Head’s EOD technology division in August and hopes to work there after graduating. Mellinger said he also has “a military background” as a combat nurse in the U.S. Army Reserve.

Mellinger said he hopes to continue his education in chemical engineering with a focus in physical chemistry.

He said the agreement between representatives at Indian Head’s EOD technology division and the college helps “broaden the knowledge” the two organizations have and fill in gaps at each institute.

“It adds color to the black-and-white ideas of the specific kinds of chemistry jobs out there,” he said.

Kraft said his organization is excited about partnering with the college “while attracting top-notch potential employees.”

“It’s a new beginning,” he said.

The agreement will also help “boost our capabilities, products and services to the warfighter,” Kraft said, adding that it’s “evidence of the goodness of this partnership” and will “hone our commitment” in the Southern Maryland region.

Jordan said during the signing “success is determined by the connections we make and the partnerships we establish.” Students will be able to “gain practical, hands-on skills that will give them a competitive edge in the marketplace,” she said.

Johnson said “this partnership is just another example of how we can leverage the knowledge around us in Southern Maryland” while supporting the Navy.

He said having the St. Mary’s College community offer a different perspective to projects “and problems significant to the Navy and the nation … is wonderful.”

Green said the agreement will help “support the recruitment process and strengthen STEM workforce development.”

Students and staff will have “additional opportunities … to conduct research, work as interns, and pursue potential career opportunities,” she said.

The Patuxent Partnership, a nonprofit organization focused on connecting with government, industry and education partners for STEM education and workforce development, will also foster these connections, Green said.

Dillingham said college faculty will serve as mentors to students doing research and internships at Indian Head, and she will serve as the college’s “contact to facilitate research opportunities for faculty under this” agreement.

Kate Shirey, director of career development, and Adam Malisch, research administrator, will facilitate internship and research opportunities for students under this agreement, Dillingham said.



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