CECD Supports New Social Entrepreneurship Program at the College of Southern Maryland

The Center for Engineering Concepts Development (CECD) partnered with the College of Southern Maryland (CSM) this spring to support the first annual Entrepreneurship in Southern Maryland Challenge. The challenge—in which five student teams competed for two top prizes—is part of a new project at CSM that asks students to identify problems within their community, and provide solutions that work towards solving them.

CAPTION: Winning teams Life Planning Curriculum (left) and Planting Hope (right) pose with their Neilom Foundation awards and foundation director Davinder K. Anand (center left) and communication director Dylan Hazelwood (center right). The Life Planning Curriculum team is on the left and the Planting Hope team is on the right. Photo source: Darwin Weigel, Southern Maryland News

The course came as a spinoff of the University of Maryland's (UMD) Department of Mechanical Engineering’s own ENME 467 class, Engineering for Social Change (ESC). The class, established in the spring of 2015, introduces students to the ideas of social change and entrepreneurship through the intersection of concepts from both engineering and public policy. Students evaluate projects in engineering that have a philanthropic purpose, and through a proposal solicitation and analysis process, choose an organization that exemplifies these concepts.

While UMD's ESC course is founded in engineering practices, CSM’s course covers the principles of business management and entrepreneurship. According to an article published in Southern Maryland News, the College of Southern Maryland is hoping to continue the social entrepreneurship challenge next year.

In addition to funds provided from CECD to develop and offer the course, the challenge was also sponsored by the Neilom Foundation. CECD provided seed funds of $250 to each team, while also helping to cover expenses for student tuition and textbook rental. The Neilom Foundation sponsored the prizes, which included a $1500 grant for first place and $500 for second place.

The winning team's “Life Planning Curriculum Project” set out to address the problem of poverty and reduced access to education for low-income families in their area. The team of five aimed to create a curriculum that incorporates numerous life skills and planning practices throughout the school year for low-income children and their families. The team said they planned to continue their project and relationship with St. Mary’s school system after the end of the class and competition.

Other projects proposed philanthropic solutions to various problems in the Southern Maryland region such as child hunger, homelessness, and cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay.

Members of both CECD and the College of Southern Maryland, as well as Maryland Senator and CSM alumnus Thomas “Mac” Middleton (D-Charles County), attended the Southern Maryland Social Entrepreneurship Challenge final presentation event to support the teams and listen to their projects.

“I’ve been in the legislature for 22 years now and I see more problems in Maryland and Southern Maryland than any other time,” said Middleton in a story by Southern Maryland News. “We need young people working on these problems.”

Additionally, UMD Professor Emeritus and Director of CECD Davinder Anand, who developed the Engineering for Social Change course at the University of Maryland (UMD), presented the award to the winning teams on behalf of the Neilom Foundation, named in honor of his late son Dilip Anil “Neil” Anand.

Assistant Director of CECD Dylan Hazelwood trusts the center will continue to support these kind of philanthropic ventures in the future.

“We look forward to expanding our involvement with CSM in the area of social entrepreneurship," Hazelwood said of the partnership. "The level of engagement both from class instructor Dr. Mary Beth Klinger and her students showed us that this is a successful long term strategy for harnessing the power of young people to create positive social change in the Southern Maryland region.”


Published June 22, 2016