CSM stu­dents present prob­lem solv­ing projects, earn awards

En­trepreneur­ship chal­lenge was part of course at L-town cam­pus

Maryland Independent - - Business - By DAR­WIN WEIGEL dweigel@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @somd_bized­i­tor

The Col­lege of South­ern Mary­land held its first South­ern Mary­land So­cial En­trepreneur­ship Chal­lenge pre­sen­ta­tion Thurs­day at its La Plata cam­pus. Five stu­dent teams com­peted to earn a $1,500 first place prize and $500 check for sec­ond place.

The chal­lenge, which asked teams of stu­dents to iden­tify and solve a community prob­lem, was part of the prin­ci­ples of man­age­ment course (BAD 1210) taught at the school’s Leonard­town cam­pus by Mary Beth Klinger. The com­pe­ti­tion came about as a spinoff of a sim­i­lar “so­cial engi­neer­ing” chal­lenge at Univer­sity of Mary­land’s Cen­ter for Engi­neer­ing Con­cepts Devel­op­ment, which is in the De­part­ment of Me­chan­i­cal Engi­neer­ing, with fund­ing from the Neilom Foun­da­tion.

The foun­da­tion, which payed for tu­ition and books for the stu­dents and pro­vided the award money, is named af­ter CECD Di­rec­tor Davin­der K. Anand’s late son, Dilip Anil “Neil” Anand. Ac­cord­ing to its web­site, its “mis­sion is to en­gage in char­i­ta­ble ac­tiv­i­ties work­ing at the in­ter­sec­tion of education and tech­nol­ogy to im­prove the lives of young peo­ple” and was founded in 2013 fol­low­ing his sud­den death at the age of 48.

The top team was the first to pitch its idea to a group of three judges.

The team’s Life Plan­ning Cur­ricu­lum Project cen­tered around in­cor­po­rat­ing life skills and plan­ning into the school cur­ricu­lum for poor chil­dren and their fam­i­lies.

The team’s lead speaker, Paige King of Cal­i­for­nia, Md., said the team plans to pur­sue the project fur­ther even with the com­pe­ti­tion over. “It was a real honor,” she said of par­tic­i­pat­ing in the chal­lenge and earn­ing the top prize. “We hope we can con­tinue work­ing with the [St. Mary’s] school sys­tem to con­tinue help­ing the community.”

The other team mem­bers were: AnnaBelle San­ders of Lex­ing­ton Park; Gail Perry of Wal­dorf; and Pam Toye of Hol­ly­wood.

The sec­ond place team tack­led child hunger in South­ern Mary­land through its Plant­ing Hope project in which team mem­bers have been es­tab­lish­ing the “Seeds of Hope Gar­den” for the South­ern Mary­land Food Bank and has started ag­i­tat­ing for a stu­dent/vol­un­teer run gar­den plot at CSM’s new, still-un­der-con­struc­tion Hugh­esville cam­pus.

“We are con­tin­u­ing the project,” said lead speaker Rachel Dorsey of Cal­i­for­nia af­ter the team re­ceived its award. “We’re go­ing to sup­port the [South­ern Mary­land] Food Bank to make sure the gar­den reaches its fullest po­ten­tial.”

The other team mem­bers were: Erica Martin of Patux­ent River; Me­lana Kriv­it­sky of Ch­e­sa­peake Beach; Erik Ea­ton of Cal­i­for­nia; and Lisa Dix­son of Lusby. The team de­cided to do­nate the $500 prize to the food bank gar­den.

The other three projects in­cluded one that fo­cused on the home­less in Charles County and an­other call­ing for fully paid col­lege tu­ition for dis­ad­van­taged teens to keep them out of low-wage jobs and off the streets. The last pro­posed an “oys­ter buy­out” to clean up the bay. That one raised a few eye­brows in the room when the team pro­posed buy­ing out 65 oys­ter dredg­ing li­censes — sim­i­lar to the to­bacco buy­out — and pay­ing water­man for five years to go into oys­ter farm­ing in­stead.

The col­lege is hop­ing to con­tinue the so­cial en­trepreneur­ship chal­lenge next year and will be look­ing for out­side fund­ing sources to re­place the one-time grant it re­ceived this year.

“We’re hop­ing we can con­tinue do­ing this ev­ery year,” said Eileen Abel, the col­lege’s vice pres­i­dent for aca­demic af­fairs and one of the judges. “We’re hop­ing to find the money to sup­port this in the fu­ture.”

Mary­land Sen. Thomas “Mac” Mid­dle­ton (D-Charles County), who grad­u­ated 50 years ago this year from Charles County Ju­nior Col­lege which is now CSM, told the au­di­ence of stu­dents, fam­ily and ad­min­is­tra­tors that he couldn’t think of a bet­ter time to pro­mote prob­lem solv­ing in the state.

“I’ve been in the leg­is­la­ture for 22 years now and I see more prob­lems in Mary­land and South­ern Mary­land than any other time,” he said. “We need young peo­ple work­ing on th­ese prob­lems.”

CSM Pres­i­dent Bradley Got­tfried took a mo­ment af­ter the pre­sen­ta­tions be­fore the win­ners were an­nounced to thank his friend Davin­der Anand and the var­i­ous peo­ple who put the chal­lenge to­gether, in­clud­ing course in­struc­tor Mary Beth Klinger. But then he summed up what the chal­lenge and the re­sult­ing awards were about.

“We’re cel­e­brat­ing our stu­dents and their cre­ativ­ity,” he said.

The Life Plan­ning Cur­ricu­lum Project team holds the $1,500 check for first place with the Neilom Foun­da­tion’s Dy­lan Hazel­wood, far left, and Davin­der K. Anand. At right is busi­ness in­struc­tor Mary Beth Klinger.

STAFF PHOTOS BY DAR­WIN WEIGEL

The Plant­ing Hope team holds the $500 check for sec­ond place with the Neilom Foun­da­tion’s Dy­lan Hazel­wood, far left, and Davin­der K. Anand.

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