STEM in MoCo: UMD Cyber-Physical Systems Engineering Promotes Engineering for All Ages (sponsored)

by MCS Staff

While it is a relatively new major offered by the University of Maryland, College Park, A. James Clark School of Engineering, the Cyber-Physical Systems Engineering Program at the Universities at Shady Grove has fully embraced community outreach through its commitment to strengthen STEM engagement in and around MoCo. CPSE Program Director, Dr. Romel Gomez, is a staunch supporter of community outreach because he believes “engineering is a practice where creativity is highly valued. Offering hands-on activities promotes creativity, resourcefulness and the satisfaction of seeing ideas come to life”.  Over the last year, CPSE has committed to more than a dozen outreach events and has even created a yearly summer program designed to provide training and resources to high school and community college students interested in Cyber-Physical Systems.  Dr. Gomez stated, “Summer programs like ours provide the opportunity to identify and train the next generation of talented engineers and thinkers”.  This CPSE program has a strong history of outreach and throughout this article, you will find a few highlights of their efforts.

On Sunday, April 23rd, 2023, the Cyber-Physical Systems Engineering team traveled from their campus to Montgomery College to serve as an exhibitor at the 2023 Rockville Science Day.  Here, program representatives met and talked with local children, parents, and community members, while providing multiple demonstrations using technology in CPSE such as a wireless EEG display, a transforming robot, sensor-reliant drones, autonomous luggage, and even a game where visitors challenged an autonomous “rock, paper, scissors” 3-D printed mechanical hand to a friendly duel.  This type of engagement is something that CPSE has done before and does often.

On March 10th, 2023, the Cyber-Physical Systems Engineering program at USG hosted Poolesville High School students on their campus during a field trip in which UMD’s CPSE provided live demonstrations of embedded systems and the Internet of things. Visitors on this field trip included Poolesville High School’s “Project Lead the Way” students and staff.  The CPSE program prepared a very hands-on and engaging presentation and took questions while sharing engineering opportunities with this group in an effort to spark and cultivate student interest in STEM at the high school level.

On January 27th, 2023, the CPSE program team provided a campus tour and a meet and greet with inquisitive middle and high school MCPS students.  These students were part of teams “Equilibrium.exe” and “Supernova.exe” which are comprised of sixteen middle and high schoolers who attend Frost MS, Hoover MS, Cabin John MS, Ridgeview MS, Churchill HS, Wootton HS, Poolesville HS, Richard Montgomery HS, and Quince Orchard HS.  Additionally, they are involved in participating in the non-profit, Rockville Robotics.  Equilibrium.exe is currently ranked #1 with the highest-scoring robot in the Chesapeake Region.  During this event, CPSE faculty and staff collaborated with students and mentors while introducing them to the CPSE curriculum and answered questions about embedded systems and technology.

On January 14th, 2023, CPSE presented in front of 50-100 Maryland High School Science Bowl students at their competition at Montgomery College.  This presentation, similar to others, was meant to spark engagement and interest in engineering/STEM.  After this presentation, CPSE was invited to speak in front of hundreds of students, parents, and professionals, at this year’s annual RISE conference hosted in March by Centennial High School in Howard County.

Lastly, on May 21st-22nd 2022, CPSE was invited to present at the KID Museum grand opening and VIP events.  At these events, CPSE introduced elementary and middle school students to the exciting possibilities that the field of CPSE has to offer.  CPSE also supported the KID Museum initiatives at engineering events in June and August 2022 which helped promote STEM education and involvement in the community.  CPSE is scheduled to attend the KID Museum’s upcoming “Invent the Future Celebration” in June 2023.

From elementary to high school, the UMD Cyber-Physical Systems Engineering program in Rockville, Maryland, will most certainly continue their public engagement initiatives and do everything they can to inspire others about STEM.

This program is a great option for Montgomery College graduates looking to transfer but if you or someone you know is interested, whether they’re looking for a job in industry or to further their education, the CPSE program provides the knowledge and skills they’ll need to succeed.

Interested in learning more? Visit: and find them on social media @umdcpse


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