STEM education and community outreach merge at Capitol College’s Center for Space Science Education and Public Outreach

Capitol College has established the Center for Space Science Education and Public Outreach (SSEPO) as a component of recent strategic initiatives within the space science and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields, building upon the Emerging Leaders Program announced in June 2009. The mission for the Center is to provide hands-on educational and workforce development experiences for K-12, community college and college students, and those who support them in achieving leadership careers in the STEM fields.

Haden Land, vice president, chief technology officer and chief information officer for Lockheed Martin IS&GS-Civil Product Line, officially presented the college with seed funding from the company’s foundation Sept. 2 to augment the immediate growth of the initiative.

“Initial financial support from Lockheed Martin and other grants will enable the Center’s mission and supplement the college’s current outreach efforts,” said Capitol College president Michael Wood. “We look forward to the development and cultivation of new partnerships with external organizations through the Center, as well as continuing to support Capitol’s Space Operations Institute’s and our Innovation and Leadership Institute’s educational objectives.”

Dr. Michael Gibbs, vice president for advancement, will lead the new Center. Interns from the Space Operations Institute will be invited to serve as mentors to K-12 and community college students, providing both leadership and mentorship roles while helping them to develop leadership and project management skills in addition to the technical skills they develop in their classrooms. Several Capitol College faculty and staff will also assist in conducting the Center’s educational programs in conjunction with others from the community who support the college’s STEM efforts.

“The Center’s vision is to assist in educating and developing the future leaders of the STEM career fields through utilizing space science, astronomy and other related areas of study at Capitol College to engage students of all ages,” commented Dr. Gibbs. “The Center is a welcome addition to the Capitol community and builds on our strategic objectives.”

The SSEPO will also support the Innovation and Leadership Institute by creating new ways to improve and expand STEM education.

Capitol College is the only independent college in Maryland dedicated to engineering, computer science, information technology and business. Founded in 1927, Capitol is an accredited institution offering associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees, as well as professional development training and certificates, and partnerships with government and industry. Capitol is designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security. The college is located in Laurel, Md., a suburban setting midway between Washington, DC and Baltimore. Capitol and is committed to providing a quality education that is technology-driven, accessible, affordable and practical especially during these challenging economic times.

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