Kristina Babinski, 29, of Pomfret is reaping the benefits of pursuing a STEM-related education at the College of Southern Maryland (CSM).
Babinski graduates this month with an associate degree in electrical engineering. In addition to that credential, she is graduating with professional experience she gained last summer interning with the University of Maryland’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Site along with two other CSM engineering students
This new graduate was given half a dozen chances to expand her professional experience even further this coming summer as she had the luxury of choosing among six internships. Babinski was offered an internship with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), U.S. Department of Defense (Army), U.S. Navy Naval Air Systems Command, Maryland Space Grant Consortium, Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Aviation Administration.
Babinski selected the internship with the Army, so she will be working at the Army Geospatial Center through August. “I plan to explore the many facets of electrical engineering until I find the most fulfilling,” she said, explaining her eclectic choice of internship positions.
In the fall, Babinski will continue her education at the University of Maryland College Park. She plans to complete her bachelor’s degree there and then pursue her master’s.
While all this might seem like smooth sailing that occurs for any in-demand engineering student, Babinski said she started at CSM a little unsure of herself. She and her husband had moved to the area about two years ago when Babinski was looking to leave her culinary career and pursue something different. She attended the CSM Night of Engineering, an informational open house about CSM engineering programs, in 2016. The experience sold her on the college and on an engineering career. But it wasn’t always easy.
“When I began the engineering program [at CSM] I felt like the ‘odd man’ for a couple of reasons,” Babinski said. “First, the program is predominantly men. But, to deal with that, I started up the Women in STEM Club and met an incredible group of women in similar situations. At the beginning of the program I also felt like I was a step behind my peers. Most had been on an engineering track in high school, while I had just left my career in the culinary world. I was able to study hard, put in the hours and catch up to my classmates.”
Babinski especially appreciated working with CSM Professor Sandra Poinsett, who served as the Women in STEM club faculty adviser. Babinski also took some of her critical math courses, Differential Equations and Calculus III.
“Her classes are tough, but fair,” Babinski said. “It’s great seeing a female mathematician, who really knows these complicated theorems inside and out, command a classroom. She works hard to prepare us for classes at a university level and later in the real world by not going easy on us.”
Babinski says she appreciates all that CSM offered and provided her. “One of the most important things I learned at CSM was how to effectively research and find information. I now have this toolbox of Calculus, Physics, and technical knowledge that I can tap into when needed,” she said. “All of the faculty at CSM really helped me grow, and I made sure to utilize every type of adviser CSM had to offer. It was a great experience that offered a lot of one-on-one time with professors.”
For information on engineering studies at CSM, visit https://www.csmd.edu/programs-courses/credit/academic-divisions/mth/.