Frostburg State University’s presence goes beyond Allegany County.
The B.S. in engineering with a concentration in electrical engineering [because there is a difference between that and an electrical engineering B.S.] is housed at the Arundel Mills Regional Higher Education. If you shop at Arundel Mills Mall in Hanover, Md., you’ve seen it across the parking lot from the CineMark theaters.
The program has its special challenges to promote. It’s a transfer program, so students already have to be on track to be in the program from the get-go to have the best success. It’s even better if you earn your associate’s degree before you transfer because of the scholarships involved.
And it’s also in a dedicated office building that not many people would realize there are several colleges housing programs there.
However, the advantages easily outweigh those challenges. The location near Fort Meade and the Goddard Space Flight Center and the course projects have you working with experts from NASA and the Department of Defense. Plus, you will make a handsome salary working with one of the many defense contractors or government agencies.
Sounds great, but we didn’t have content beyond informational brochures. I was tasked with coming up with a few items.
The program needed something immediately to get show students considering registering late.
Here’s the 35-second video I clipped together using:
- Supplied footage and photos that needed to be touched up and cropped
- Photos I previously shot of engineering students at FSU
- Video recording of Google Earth fly-by of the Regional Higher Ed Center
- NASA b-roll
- A graphic title card designed by me, using a circuit design created by FSU graphic artist Joni Smith
- The voice of WFWM station director Chuck Dicken
Then, we had time for a longer video that was less commercial and more storytelling.
- I traveled to the Regional Higher Education building to meet with the program’s recruiter and two students who were enrolled in the program and interviewed them all on camera
- I used the same voiceover by Chuck Dicken and added a line
- I gained access to an incredible GoPro video taken by the students on a weather balloon launched on FSU’s campus (better late than never) that shows FSU and the region from the edge of Earth.
- Added a logo showing the accreditation of the program and logos of community colleges FSU has partnerships with
- B-roll from Textron with permission
- More b-roll from NASA and the Department of Defense
For the finale, I created a print story outlining the programs that was shared with the partner universities to share with their students each year.
Something For Everyone at FSU’s Engineering Program at Arundel Mills
Aug. 25, 2015
From music lovers to part-time electricians, students come from all sorts of backgrounds in Frostburg State University’s electrical engineering program in Hanover, Md.
FSU offers a bachelor’s of science degree in engineering with an electrical engineering concentration through a partnership at the Arundel Mills Regional Higher Education Center, located across from the Arundel Mills shopping center.
Vernon Lipscomb of Pasadena has some knowledge of the field thanks to his dad, who is an electrician. Now Lipscomb is carving a similar path for himself, wanting to build his own circuit boards and program chips and robotics.
“We got to program Arduino Uno boards and Raspberry Pi,” he said. “We built software and hardware components from scratch using basic circuitry components.”
The Frostburg program at Arundel Mills opened his eyes to opportunities to work with radio signals, engineering drawings or work for the federal government.
“I was able to get an internship with the United States Department of Defense,” Lipscomb said, enabling him to also obtain a security clearance. “I get to work with my hands doing actual engineering.”
Lipscomb came to Frostburg’s Arundel Mills program as a transfer student. He seamlessly transferred his credits from Anne Arundel Community College after receiving his associate degree. The convenient location, affordable education and having the program accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET all attracted Lipscomb to FSU.
“My No. 1 goal was to graduate debt-free, so I wanted to find a college that was affordable, yet provided a quality education,” Lipscomb said. “Affordability was definitely the first on the list and the second was if I was getting my degree from an ABET-accredited university.”
Frostburg has articulation agreements with Anne Arundel Community College, Baltimore City Community College, Community College of Baltimore County, Howard Community College and Montgomery College to transfer course credits for the engineering program. Agreements with additional Maryland community colleges are in the works.
Lipscomb also qualified for an Associate Degree Scholarship, available to transfer students from Maryland community colleges. The scholarship is available to students with an A.A., A.S., A.S.E., or A.A.T. degree and a 3.0 GPA. The $2,500 annual award ($1,250 per semester) is renewable as long as the student maintains a 3.0 GPA at Frostburg State, earns 24 credits per year and registers as a full-time student.
Dr. Marjorie Rawhouser, a Navy veteran, has years of experience in the medical device industry, complementing a staff of full- and part-time faculty who have industry experience.
“Frostburg is a student-focused university,” said Rawhouser, a joint faculty member in the Department of Physics and Engineering at Arundel Mills. “We have a very high faculty-to-student ratio where the students get a lot of attention from faculty members and get to know their fellow students more.”
Jessica Anderson of Severn loved the intimate environment that fostered attention to detail.
“There was a really significant investment of time and resources by all the faculty members in each student, and that was really cool to see,” said Anderson, a 2015 alumna.
Anderson took a different route to engineering after receiving her music degree from Florida State University. She knew she wanted a second degree, but pulling off a double major with a music degree wasn’t in the cards at the time.
“I did it back-to-back instead. The program was awesome for that because it’s really affordable, and it’s local. I think it gave me a great background.”
Her music experience gave her a leg up when she had to analyze sound files for class assignments.
“Suddenly my physics teacher would be talking about standing waves in a string, and I’m sitting there playing my violin, thinking about my violin strings,” Anderson said, laughing. “I’m like, ‘I got this.’”
Anderson went from studying the space of sound to studying outer space, working with NASA’s Goddard Flight Center in Greenbelt on her senior capstone project. Anderson and her classmates had to develop a satellite model using the high-speed LTE communications standard used by cell phones.
“We were trying to see if cell phone-compliant technology would work to communicate with satellites,” Anderson said. “That was way cool. We thought, ‘How could we possibly do this?’ But at the end of the semester we had something that might have helped.”
Exposure to Key Employers
Denise Traynor, program manager specialist, brings in guest speakers from top firms in the area that complete contract work for the federal government, as well as speakers from NASA, NSA, the Naval Research Laboratory and others. Some of these firms and agencies work with students as part of their senior capstone project to simulate real-world scenarios, plus these firms offer internships.
“Students have been employed by Northrop Grumman, NASA and NSA, and those are just a few,” Traynor said.
Anderson’s experience has her thinking about exploring a career with NASA now that she has graduated. Consider Anderson impressed with what she’s gained from Frostburg.
“The quality of instruction is really high for a small program,” Anderson said.
To learn more about Frostburg’s B.S. in Engineering, Electrical Concentration, at the Arundel Mills Regional Higher Education Center, call 410-777-1363 or visit www.frostburg.edu/engr-arundel-mills.
Situated in the mountains of Allegany County, Frostburg State University is one of the 12 institutions of the University System of Maryland. FSU is a comprehensive, residential regional university and serves as an educational and cultural center for Western Maryland. For more information, visit www.frostburg.edu or facebook.com/frostburgstateuniversity. Follow FSU on Twitter @frostburgstate.
— By Charles Schelle