November 15, 2018

Student Reaps Benefits of STEM Education

STEM Education
CSM graduate Kristina Babinski, right, especially appreciated working with CSM professor Sandra Poinsett, who served as the Women in STEM club faculty adviser.

Kristina Babinski, 29, of Pomfret graduated in May with an associate degree in electrical engineering. The real benefit of her STEM Education at College of Southern Maryland, however, is the professional experience she gained last summer interning with the University of Maryland’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Site along with two other CSM engineering students.

The new graduate had half a dozen offers to expand her professional experience even more this summer, with the unique luxury of choosing from six internships. Ms. Babinski was offered an internship with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, US Department of Defense, Maryland Space Grant Consortium, US Navy Naval Air Systems Command, Federal Communications Commission, and the Federal Aviation Administration.

Ms. Babinski chose the internship with the Army, so she is now working at the Army Geospatial Center through August. “I plan to explore the many facets of electrical engineering until I find the most fulfilling,” she said.

This fall, Ms. Babinski will keep working on her education at the University of Maryland College Park. She will complete her bachelor’s degree there and then pursue a master’s.

While her story might seem like smooth sailing that occurs for any in-demand engineering student, Ms. Babinski said she started at the college a little unsure of herself. She and her husband moved to Southern Maryland about two years ago when she was looking to leave her culinary career and pursue something different. She went to the CSM Night of Engineering, an informational open house about CSM engineering programs, in 2016. The event sold her on the college and on a career in engineering, but it wasn’t always easy.

“When I began the engineering program [at CSM] I felt like the ‘odd man’ for a couple of reasons,” Ms. Babinski said. “First, the program is predominantly men. But, to deal with that, I started up the Women in STEM Club and met an incredible group of women in similar situations. At the beginning of the program I also felt like I was a step behind my peers. Most had been on an engineering track in high school, while I had just left my career in the culinary world. I was able to study hard, put in the hours and catch up to my classmates.”

Ms. Babinski said she especially appreciated working with professor Sandra Poinsett, the Women in STEM club faculty adviser. Ms. Babinski also took some of Ms. Poinsett’s critical math courses, Differential Equations and Calculus III.

“Her classes are tough, but fair,” Ms. Babinski said. “It’s great seeing a female mathematician, who really knows these complicated theorems inside and out, command a classroom. She works hard to prepare us for classes at a university level and later in the real world by not going easy on us.”

For information on engineering studies at CSM, visit the college’s programs and courses site.

For more about the College of Southern Maryland, visit its Leader member page.

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