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Montgomery College Foundation Awarded $225,000 Grant from AFCEA Bethesda for STEM Education

Association Makes Investment in Future of Regional IT Community

The Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) Bethesda Chapter will collaborate with five Maryland educational institutions to create a pathway for local children and college students interested in pursuing a career in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). AFCEA Bethesda has brought together Montgomery College, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), the Bullis School, the University of Maryland (UMD), and the Universities at Shady Grove (USG) to create a comprehensive, structured pathway from primary to higher education and beyond, with a focus on girls and minorities. AFCEA Bethesda has pledged a total of $950,000 over the next five years to enhance STEM educational opportunities.

The Montgomery College Foundation will receive $225,000 over five years to continue supporting scholarships for students studying computer science, computer gaming and simulation, cyber security and engineering. The grant funds also will support the College’s Sonya Kovalevsky Program, which serves more than 60 middle school girls annually and seeks to increase their interest, confidence and competence in STEM subjects. The year-long program has the additional collaboration and support from higher education partners, UMD and USG, and area chapters of the American Association of University Women (AAUW).

“The contributions made by AFCEA Bethesda and its education partners represent a decade long investment in the local community,” said Michael Priddy, Board of Trustees member at Montgomery College and former Vice President of Education for AFCEA Bethesda and former Chair of the Universities at Shady Grove’s Board of Advisors. “Providing an educational pathway for these kids will benefit them as they enter a job market where STEM workers are in high demand, especially by the private and public organizations concentrated in the Washington, D.C. region.”

AFCEA Bethesda’s strong commitment to the Montgomery College Foundation has resulted in $460,000 in donations since 2008 for STEM education. Scholarships have been awarded to 68 Montgomery College students and at least 40 of those students have since graduated with associate’s degrees and/or transferred to four-year schools (24 transferred to UMD).

“AFCEA Bethesda’s incredibly generous support is not only inspiring STEM interest in students of all ages but it is helping educational partners to work together to leverage resources and grant dollars so we can be more effective in preparing tomorrow’s workforce,” said DeRionne Pollard, Montgomery College President. “I thank Michael Priddy and all the members of AFCEA Bethesda for their generosity, vision, and leadership in collaborating with our region’s educational institutions.”

The remaining $725,000 in AFCEA Bethesda grants has been awarded to the following institutions to support the pathway to STEM program:

s A contribution of $75,000 to the Bullis School over a period of four years to fund a multiyear collaborative leadership initiative seeking to understand best practices in increasing the regional K-12 to higher education pipeline of successful STEM students. The results of this report, Exemplary STEM: A Study of K-12 Best Practices for Engaging Success, will lead the effort to integrate best practices into Independent Schools in the Washington, DC region.

s A five-year pledge to provide $100,000 to the Universities at Shady Grove and the University System of Maryland Foundation, Inc. to be used for scholarships.

s A new five-year pledge to donate a total of $425,000 to the University of Maryland to support the AFCEA Bethesda Scholarship Program and Computer Science Connect – a three-year outreach initiative that encourages young women and minorities to explore computer science and develop computing skills in a supportive environment.

s A commitment to provide $25,000 annually to AFCEA International Education Foundation for STEM Teacher Scholarships. These scholarships are designed to enhance the capacity to teach STEM in local Maryland schools.

“We are privileged to be working with such high caliber educational institutions as we fight to correct the representational disparity of women and minorities in the STEM field,” said Leslie Steele, president of AFCEA Bethesda. “AFCEA Bethesda will be eagerly following the promise of these young students as their talent and ambition will shape the next generation of government IT.”

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