New UMBC partnership will increase STEM opportunities for Howard County Public School students

A new partnership between UMBC and the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) will increase opportunities for HCPSS students in STEM, with a focus on computing, engineering, and information technology fields.

Through the collaboration, UMBC faculty and staff will serve as guest speakers in HCPSS high school classes and attend HCPSS professional development programs for computer science and technology educators. UMBC representatives will also inform Howard County students about engineering and information technology programs UMBC offers for both high school and college students. UMBC’s Center for Women in Technology, for example, offers programs for high school girls who are interested in pursuing engineering and information technology majors and careers.

Anupam Joshi, chair and professor of computer science and electrical engineering, hopes to engage more HCPSS students in the field of computing through the collaboration. “Nationwide, high schools have not traditionally thought of computing as a core STEM area, so many students have not had a chance to explore  it as a potential STEM career path,” he explained. “Our partnership with HCPSS will help change that perception.”

One  focus of the partnership is promoting STEM education and careers to students in underrepresented groups. “We’ll work together with HCPSS to expand and diversify the pipeline of students going into the computing discipline,” said Joshi.

The collaboration will also strengthen initiatives at both UMBC and HCPSS that work to eliminate achievement gaps among students, providing equal access to quality STEM educational opportunities for all students.

UMBC’s Antonio Moreira, vice provost for academic affairs, and Julie Ross, dean of the College of Engineering and Information Technology, joined Joshi in signing the partnership agreement on September 1. HCPSS representatives included Howard County Board of Education Vice Chairman Ellen Flynn Giles, board member Sandra French, HCPSS Executive Director of School Improvement and Administration Frank Eastham, and Career and Technology Education Coordinator Sharon Kramer.

Image: UMBC and HCPSS faculty and staff at the signing of the UMBC-HCPSS partnership agreement. Photo courtesy of HCPSS Partnerships Office.