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High School Students Visit UMSOM For Insight Into Future Careers In STEM

March 20, 2019

Katherine Coburn, MD/PhD student

MSTP Student Organizes School Visit For Students From Baltimore County

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in occupations related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is projected to grow to more than nine million by 2022. STEM education has been proven to bridge the ethnic and gender gaps often found in math and science fields. The University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) is committed to both the education and training of our medical and science students and its civic responsibility to bring high-quality STEM content and experiences to students in our neighboring communities. Both faculty and students are involved in this effort to foster awareness and increase diversity in the STEM pipeline.

On March 13, Katherine Colburn, a MD/PhD student at the UMSOM, led a campus visit for high school juniors from Sollers Point Technical High School. Ms. Colburn is currently in her fourth year of the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) and said strategic outreach opportunities like these can help demystify fears associated with STEM and expose students to more exciting aspects of science.

“Early and consistent exposures in the STEM fields will create access points for a broader population in the STEM world,” she said. “Opportunities like these can help students who already have interest in STEM develop a high sense of belonging in the profession.

Based in Dundalk, MD, Sollers Point Technical is the only half-day regional magnet school within Baltimore County Public Schools. With beginnings dating back to 1948, the high school provides students with technical programs in concentrations including communications technologies; health and human services; and engineering, construction, and transportation. Every Sollers Point Technical high school student will complete a career and technical program and earn an industry certification or license upon graduation.

Sollers Point Technical High School students with teachers and Ms. Coburn

Gregory B. Carey, PhD“While many of our education outreach efforts are specifically targeted towards our students in West Baltimore, our resources and influence are also reaching students from Dundalk—who are just as hungry for interactions, exposure and opportunities!” said Greg Carey, PhD, Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology and Director of Student Research and Community Outreach.

The campus visit began with a tour of the School of Medicine, followed by presentations from UMSOM faculty and staff, and a student panel with graduate and professional school students.

Bret A. Hassel, PhDAmong the speakers were Dr. Carey, Bret Hassel, PhD, Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology and Director of the Graduate Program in Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, and Jennifer Aumiller, MEd, Director of Pre & Postdoctoral Career Development. The speakers expanded on career and educational options in STEM, while the student panelists discussed how to find funding sources and flexible STEM pathways to prepare students for postsecondary education.

“A biomedical workforce made of individuals with diverse perspectives and backgrounds provides the innovation and productivity required to advance medical research and treatment,” said Dr. Hassel. “Exposing high school students like those from Sollers Point to STEM subjects and career paths helps them to make informed choices as they progress in their education.”

About the University of Maryland School of Medicine

Now in its third century, the University of Maryland School of Medicine was chartered in 1807 as the first public medical school in the United States. It continues today as one of the fastest growing, top-tier biomedical research enterprises in the world -- with 43 academic departments, centers, institutes, and programs; and a faculty of more than 3,000 physicians, scientists, and allied health professionals, including members of the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences, and a distinguished recipient of the Albert E. Lasker Award in Medical Research.  With an operating budget of more than $1 billion, the School of Medicine works closely in partnership with the University of Maryland Medical Center and Medical System to provide research-intensive, academic and clinically based care for more than 1.2 million patients each year. The School has over 2,500 students, residents, and fellows, and more than $530 million in extramural funding, with most of its academic departments highly ranked among all medical schools in the nation in research funding. As one of the seven professional schools that make up the University of Maryland, Baltimore campus, the School of Medicine has a total workforce of nearly 7,000 individuals. The combined School and Medical System (“University of Maryland Medicine”) has an annual budget of nearly $6 billion and an economic impact more than $15 billion on the state and local community. The School of Medicine faculty, which ranks as the 8th highest among public medical schools in research productivity, is an innovator in translational medicine, with 600 active patents and 24 start-up companies. Th School works locally, nationally, and globally, with research and treatment facilities in 36 countries around the world. Visit

Sollers Point Technical High School Students Gallery


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