News Briefs from The Patuxent Partnership

10th Annual Patuxent Defense Forum, Religion in Civil Society

The 10th Annual Patuxent Defense Forum, Religion in Civil Society: The Impact of Religious Movements on International Relations, will take place on June 4 in Cole Cinema at St. Mary’s College of Maryland from 8:15 am to 5 pm.

The forum is a joint presentation by The Patuxent Partnership and The Center for the Study of Democracy at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

This year’s forum focuses on religious activism and the extent to which religious engagement is integrated into U.S. foreign policy. Recent developments around the world underscore the importance of addressing religious diversity and developing policies that support civil society. Whether it is discord between Sunni and Shia in the Middle East, Christians and Muslims in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, or Palestinian, Jewish and other religious extremists in more secular Western states, this forum will help to better understand the history of these tensions, the impact of U.S. foreign policy approaches to religious diversity, and the role that intergovernmental organizations can play in promoting religious tolerance as a constructive value in building civil societies.

Discussion of these issues is particularly fitting at St. Mary's City, the site of Maryland's first capital, settled by Catholics. Considering this legacy, the forum will contemplate precedents and current policies.

Guest speakers include Dr. Chris Seiple, President of the Institute for Global Engagement, former U.S. Marine Infantry Officer; Timothy Shah, Associate Director of the Religious Freedom Project at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs; J. Mark Brinkmoeller, Director of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Please visit for the full list of speakers and panelists.

Registration is $80 per person for members of The Patuxent Partnership, $95 for non-members. For more information, and to register go to

The Patuxent Partnership works with government, industry and academia on initiatives in science and technology, hosts programs of interest to NAVAIR and the broader DoD community, and supports workforce development including education initiatives and professional development. Visit or call 301-866-1739.

TPP Awards Pathways to Engineering Scholarships

Two graduating seniors from Southern Maryland just moved a lot closer to realizing their dreams of becoming an Engineer. Eudora Tak, of Leonardtown High School and Ryan Evans, of Patuxent High School won the 2015 The Patuxent Partnership’s Pathways to Engineering Scholarships.

The scholarship is designed to encourage students to pursue engineering degrees through a collaborative program between the College of Southern Maryland and University of Maryland. Recipients receive a full scholarship to attend CSM’s Engineering Program. The scholarship covers the cost of tuition, books, and any associated lab fees.

After graduating from the CSM program, students transfer to UMD’s A. James Clark School of Engineering and attend courses taught at the Southern Maryland Higher Education Center.

TPP works with scholarship recipients on intern positions and mentors them during the Pathways to Engineering program. According to Bonnie Green, TPP Executive Director, “Our support for these students goes well beyond financial. We want to set them up for success by making sure they have access to mentors and other resources necessary to maximize their education experience.”

The first two students to complete TPP’s program, Sabrina Paz and Zachary Venables, will graduate from CSM this month. Both have been accepted to the UMD Mechanical Engineering program and will begin classes in the fall at SMHEC.

“Receiving this scholarship has had a tremendous impact on my life … and my future. Not only did the scholarship cover my educational costs during the first two years, but The Patuxent Partnership made sure that I had an engineering mentor and helped me find internships. The entire experience has been a blessing.” said Ms. Paz.

Mr. Venables said, “The Patuxent Partnership Pathways scholarship has helped me immensely both financially and in providing me with the contacts and information for internship positions and other opportunities in Southern Maryland.”

To learn more about the Pathways to Engineering scholarship and other opportunities, visit the St. Mary’s County Business, Education and Community Alliance (BECA) Scholarship page. Calvert students may apply through the Southern Maryland College Access Network (SoMD CAN) program.

To learn more about the Southern Maryland Pathways Program, visit the CSM Engineering page here.

The Patuxent Partnership works with government, industry and academia on initiatives in science and technology, hosts programs of interest to NAVAIR and the broader DoD community, supports workforce development including education initiatives and professional development. Visit the TPP website to learn more.

AVIAN Named TPP Member of the Year

The Patuxent Partnership selected AVIAN LLC as the 2014 Member of the Year. The announcement was made to a sold-out crowd of more than 300 members and guests at the Partnership’s Annual Dinner at Historic St. Mary’s City.

“Every year it is a great pleasure to select one member company who has exemplified commitment to the community and support for Pax River. To be considered for the award, member companies must demonstrate strength in Business Performance, Employee Culture, and Community Affairs / Volunteer Activities. AVIAN has demonstrated excellence in all these areas and we are proud to name them Member of the Year” said Bonnie Green, Executive Director of The Patuxent Partnership.

AVIAN has experienced consistent growth over the past ten years and has ranked on the Inc. 500|5000 list of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies for the past five years. In 2014, AVIAN won two prime contracts supporting the Office of Naval Research, Sea Warfare and Weapons and the Naval Air Systems Command, Airborne Electronic Attack Program Office. They continue to experience growth in their Workforce Development and Training division, created more than 30 customer-unique training courses and instructed over 150 classes to over 3,500 students at 14 client sites.

AVIAN was recognized by the Secretary of Defense for the company’s superior support of its National Guard and Reserve members as a nominee for the Employee Support Freedom Award in 2012 and 2013, and was the recipient of the Above and Beyond Award in 2014.

In 2014, AVIAN supported more than 25 non-profit organizations dedicated to youth development, military and veteran affairs, the arts, health and wellness, recreation, environmental and community enhancement. AVIAN employees are active in the community and can be found volunteering at many schools and community organizations throughout the county.

AVIAN is an example of a flourishing small business in a growing technology region. According to Kevin Switick, President of AVAIAN LLC, “Each activity the company participates in contributes to the future business environment within the Southern Maryland and technical Patuxent River markets.”

The Patuxent Partnership works with government, industry and academia on initiatives in science and technology, hosts programs of interest to NAVAIR and the broader DoD community, supports workforce development including education initiatives and professional development. Visit

Ridge Elementary Robotics Team Represents Maryland

The Ridge Elementary School Robotics Team — RES for short — has made an amazing showing in this year’s worldwide Robotics Competitive season. Their performance drew a school visit early in May from Delegate Deb Rey who presented the 10 team members with Certificates of Achievement.

Delegate Rey presented each member of the Ridge Elementary Robotics team with a certificate and a Maryland Delegation pin. During her remarks she said how proud Maryland was for them to provide such a positive representation of the state at the Worlds robotics tournament.

This is the Ridge Elementary Robotics team’s first year and they whizzed through regional, state and then world competitions. VEX Worlds draws top robotics teams from around the world. Only the top 88 of 2,000 registered teams were invited to Worlds.

To secure an opportunity to compete at VEX Worlds, the Ridge Elementary Robotics won their first competition at the Southern Maryland Regional tournament held in January at Great Mills High School, Great Mills, MD. At the regional level the first-year team took 1st place in programming and robot skills as well as securing the Elementary School Excellence Award, the highest, overall award given.

Their regional win secured the Ridge Elementary School Robotics Team a spot in the state competition held in February in Baltimore, MD. At state, RES demonstrated programming skills that achieved a 3rd place overall ranking. This ranking snagged the team an invitation to Worlds.

During the Worlds April 15 -18, 2015 competition in Louisville, KY, RES Robotics came in 47th overall. The team took 35th in programming and 57th in robot skills.

At the ceremony following their successful efforts at Worlds, team sponsors were thanked: Bonnie Green, Executive Director of The Patuxent Partnership, and Scott Stewart, Northrop Grumman Corporate Lead Executive for the Naval Air Systems Command.

Ms. Green and Mr. Stewart were recognized for their support to the robotics program and their organizations’ educational outreach throughout the Southern Maryland community. The Patuxent Partnership donated equipment for the pilot robotics program at Ridge Elementary School. NGC donated $750 for additional equipment so the school could field three teams for the 2015-2016 competition season.

The students showed their appreciation for the commitment NGC shows to STEM initiatives, giving Mr. Stewart a bunch of “low-fives” as he walked through the rows of students seated in auditorium for the ceremony.

“This year has been a wonderful learning experience for our school,” said Sandra Kerner, principal of Ridge Elementary School. “The team’s journey from initial introduction to an unknown endeavor to competing at the Worlds competition has been amazing. Seeing the students working so closely together on all of the components of the Robotics program was truly heartwarming. They put their individually amazing skills together and became an incredibly cohesive team. The entire school has benefited from this experience as team members carried insights, information, and teamwork into their classrooms. It is evident that the entire culture of the school has been enhanced and will continue to be enhanced as the Robotics program continues and expands.”

TPP STEM Spotlight: Northrop Grumman Corp.

Northrop Grumman Corp. sets the bar high in Southern Maryland’s STEM education and initiatives.

NGC collaborations with St. Mary’s County Public Schools include a myriad of programs designed to provide STEM education and resources to all schools within the county.

Scott Stewart, NGC’s Corporate Lead Executive for the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIRSYSCOM) at Patuxent River, is committed to ensure NGC’s Corporate Citizenship is evident in the Southern Maryland community.

In addition to financial support, NGC employees are involved in mentoring activities. According to Mr. Stewart, “Our employees volunteer and mentor students and engage in community activities whenever possible. It is through this community citizenship that we have the greatest impact.”

You will find NGC employee involvement throughout the region. Whether volunteering at an after school club like robotics or Destination Imagination, or providing direct support in the classroom as Subject Matter Experts, NGC employees are a vital resource to the students they mentor.

According to Mr. Stewart, “Introducing STEM activities in the early stages of the education process help generate interest and engagement and ultimately leads students to pursue higher education and careers in the STEM disciplines.”

On November 25, 2014, Mr. Stewart presented a NGC check to the St. Mary’s County Board of Education in the amount of $4,000, to support several robotics programs in the county. Piney Point Elementary, Ridge Elementary, and Spring Ridge Middle School received funds to put toward the purchase of additional robotics kits to accommodate the expansion of their robotics programs.

In addition to the robotics program, the newly formed Science Fair Mentorship Program was identified to receive a portion of the funds to help with first year start-up costs.

NGC provides support to many other local STEM programs, many of them centrally located at the James A. Forrest Career and Technology Center to provide access to students from across the county. Programs include:

-- Patuxent River Flight Academy is modeled after the National Flight Academy in Pensacola, FL, and contains three flight simulators and various computer workstations. The classroom is designed to replicate the Operations Center aboard an aircraft carrier. This program engages students in advanced mathematical concepts and application as well as providing an opportunity to explore the mechanics of aviation and flight support.

-- Natural Resource Management Program uses the latest in scientific tools and technology to instruct students in physical, biological, and chemical environments. Students use industry standard scientific instrumentation and techniques to gather and analyze data that contribute to the overall health and ecology of the world.

-- Engineering Technology Program prepares students for entry into a two or four year college engineering program. Construction and fabrication of projects will emphasize project management, materials, usage, resources, information processing, and system analysis.

-- Cyber Patriot is the largest high school cyber defense competition in the nation. It was created to inspire high school students toward careers in cybersecurity or other STEM disciplines critical to our Nation’s future. Conceived by the Air Force Association with Northrop Grumman as the presenting sponsor, CyberPatriot is open to all high schools or accredited home school programs around the country.

NGC also provides many scholarships to help local students experience STEM-related programs and events, to include assistance with college tuition. In 2014, students received scholarship funding for a variety of educational outreach programs, including:

-- Space Camp Scholarship program provides tuition to students to attend the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville Alabama.

-- MCAA Scholarship Awards: NGC partners with Marine Corps Aviation Association, John Glenn Squadron at Pax River to award $3,000 in Scholarships to students in Southern Maryland.

-- Engineering Scholars program provides $240,000 in funding (one student from each of Maryland county plus Baltimore City receives $10,000) for students interested in pursuing a degree in an engineering-related field.

-- STEM Scholarship program: NGC partners with BECA to award a total of $10,000 in scholarships to five students in the Southern Maryland area, each student receives a scholarships of $2000.

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