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AFCEA Bethesda has awarded a donation of $15,000 to the Montgomery College Foundation to support students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) this year — $3,000 for a STEM scholarship and $12,000 to meet costs for our Sonya Kovalevsky Program for middle school girls.

Altogether, the Bethesda chapter of AFCEA has announced that it awarded $66,000 in donations providing scholarships to students in STEM programs at higher education institutions in Maryland, as well as funding programs to increase STEM awareness among middle and high school students.

“Through AFCEA Bethesda’s Scholarship Program, today’s youth have a unique opportunity to become STEM leaders who will solve tomorrow’s complex challenges,” said Naina Leo, President, AFCEA Bethesda. “We are pleased to join our partners in creating a comprehensive, structured educational pathway in STEM to support our next generation workforce.”

AFCEA Bethesda’s partnership with the Montgomery College Foundation supports the Sonya Kovalevsky Program, which provides engineering, computer science, and cybersecurity training for more than 60 middle school girls annually.

“AFCEA Bethesda’s annual investments in our Sonya Kovalevsky Program for middle school girls are well-placed,” said Margaret Latimer, Vice President and Provost of the Collegewide STEM Unit and the Germantown Campus at Montgomery College. “Research indicates that many young people’s views of what careers are possible for them are shaped at a young age and middle school is a critical time for girls to see themselves in STEM.”

Through the AFCEA Bethesda Chapter Scholars program, the chapter provides scholarships to students in computer science, engineering and other STEM-related majors at Montgomery College and the Universities at Shady Grove, and to engineering majors at the University of Maryland. The chapter also encourages scholarship recipients to engage with chapter members by attending AFCEA Bethesda events throughout the year at no cost, gaining exposure to opportunities in government and industry for STEM graduates.

For more information about AFCEA Bethesda’s Scholarship Program, contact Debbie Opiekun, Vice President for Education at


AFCEA BETHESDA is a non-profit organization encouraging dialogue and partnership between the Federal Government and industry to solve today’s most critical IT challenges. Through our widely attended events, we strive to foster better inter-agency communication, share best practices, identify mission-critical issues and management approaches, and increase engagement with industry IT solution and service providers. AFCEA Bethesda has enjoyed great success over the years in engaging the Federal civilian space, making us the premier civilian chapter for AFCEA International. On average each year, we engage more than 250, primarily civilian, senior government executives who participate as speakers and moderators for our widely attended annual events (e.g., Monthly Breakfast Series, IT Days, Technology Symposia, and Senior Executive Dinners). Our Chapter proceeds are entirely donated to academic scholarships and non-profit community organizations.

Montgomery College is a public, open admissions community college with campuses in Germantown, Rockville, and Takoma Park/Silver Spring, plus workforce development/continuing education centers and off-site programs throughout Montgomery County, Md. The College serves nearly 54,000 students a year, through both credit and noncredit programs, in more than 100 areas of study.

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