Erica Varesko, of Leonardtown, attended the College of Southern Maryland Career Starters Open House to learn more about the college’s carpentry program and after speaking with Electrical Instructor Lenny Lewis, she enrolled in CSM’s electrical boot camp through the Center for Trades and Energy Training. As one of five siblings in a single-parent household Varesko didn’t have a lot of money for college so she needed a program that would give her the biggest bang for her buck. She found that and more. “Lenny was an awesome teacher and he really taught me a lot of what I know today,” Varesko said. Through her connection with Lewis, Varesko learned of electrical helper position openings at NAVFAC (Naval Facilities Command) and with his encouragement, she applied. “I’ve been with NAVFAC for a year now and it is the best thing that ever happened to me,” she said. She is taking classes toward her journeyman’s license two evenings a week, and she is taking classes toward an associate’s degree in electrical engineering. The best part, according to Varesko, is that the Navy is paying for training at CTET and she has received scholarships to help with tuition costs.
College of Southern Maryland sophomore John Jones, of Waldorf, is a biotechnology major who chose CSM for its location, its seamless transfer opportunities and, most importantly to him, for the opportunity to restart his collegiate career in a more personal learning environment. Jones applied for CSM’s STEM Scholars Program and received a scholarship and a support group of faculty and peers. “This program has been a life-changing experience for me as I have been able to develop relationships with other like-minded individuals in the STEM fields. The access to support staff and the monthly STEM activities are the largest benefit aside from the peace of mind of having my tuition paid in full. I have spent time developing interview skills, learned how to study and have been inspired by many speakers who have come to the college and enlightened me on subjects such as grad school, future studies and maximizing transfer opportunities,” Jones said. With the support he is receiving through CSM, Jones is working to realize his goal to be a researcher of infectious diseases with USAMRIID at Fort Detrick. “I plan on working with other scientists to study diseases, create vaccines and develop drugs to protect our U.S. military servicemen and women.”