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Mount Donates Refurbished Laptops to Area Schools as Part of Service Learning Effort

laptop and candy canes

In addition to the refurbished laptops, Mount staff delivered cards for the Rosemont students who attended the Mount College Experience Camp.

Over the last week, Mount St. Mary’s University has donated 30 refurbished and retrofitted laptop computers to three area schools with which it has relationships: Rosemont Elementary/Middle School and St. Frances Academy, both in Baltimore, and Mother Seton School in Emmitsburg. The pilot program, guided by the Mount’s Chief Transformation Officer Simon Blackwell, is expected to expand.

Working with Professor Athar Rafiq, students majoring in computer science, cybersecurity and math completed a service learning project to retrofit electronically and physically clean and test the laptop computers, which had been replaced after being in use at the Mount for three years.

“I would venture to say that the Mount is perhaps the only higher education institution on the East Coast that has such a service learning model,” Rafiq said. “Our goal in the first year was to prototype and test how the department can provide additional opportunities for a three-way win situation while enhancing the students’ learning experience that is unique to the Mount.”

Not only do Mount students receive valuable technical, and more importantly, service-oriented learning experience, but the K-12 schools’ students and teachers benefit in their teaching and learning initiatives from these laptops, which the Mount students converted to operate like Chromebooks. The sustainability initiative also avoids the cost of piling these laptops in landfills. The students who devoted the most effort to this initiative are Chandler Bankos, Vu Do, Eric Fierro, Christian Hill, Danny Stanley, J’Dan Vaughn and Sergio Villafane.

rosemont.jpgRosemont Principal Dwayne T. Wheeler thanked the Mount administrators, faculty and students for the laptops, which will be used by both teachers and students. During the visit to Rosemont, the Mount team caught up with the middle school- students who came to the university last summer for the Mount College Experience Camp, sponsored by Under Armour and run by Professors Corinne Farneti, Tim Wolfe and Bill Prudden. The students reported, and Principal Wheeler affirmed, that they are focused on their pathway to college and are earning higher grades this year.

st-frances.jpgAt St. Frances, Principal Curtis Turner, Ed.D., also expressed gratitude for the donation to the independent Catholic high school and discussed the schools’ work several years ago on a strategic plan with the Center for Catholic School Excellence, housed in the Mount’s Division of Education. The plan has helped the school transform its leadership structure as well as invest in science and technology resources as evidenced by the new science lab. The pillars of the plan—faith, scholarship, opportunity, character—appear on banners throughout the school. Dean of the Division of Education Barbara Marinak, Ph.D., and Center for Catholic School Excellence Director Elizabeth Monahan were impressed with the school’s success in implementing the plan.

mother-seton-laptop.jpgIn thanking the Mount for the laptops, Mother Seton School Principal Sister Brenda Monahan, D.C., conveyed her delight that the laptops had been converted to the Chrome operating system. Several Mount education students are completing their internships at Mother Seton, and Mount students occasionally volunteer at the nearby school for students in preschool through eighth grade.

The Mount plans to enlarge this prototype program by working with a national organization, other colleges and corporations to help even more students learn voraciously. “There’s no reason that every student in the United States shouldn't have access to a refurbished laptop,” Blackwell said.

Pictured at Rosemont from left to right are MSMU Center for Catholic School Excellence Director Elizabeth Monahan; MSMU Vice President for Advancement Bob Brennan; Rosemont Principal Dwayne T. Wheeler; Rosemont Technology Officer and Athletic Director Samuel Coffey; MSMU Dean of the Division of Education Barbara Marinak, Ph.D.; and  MSMU Chief Transformation Officer Simon Blackwell.  

Pictured at St. Frances from left to right are Simon Blackwell, Elizabeth Monahan, St. Frances Technology Coordinator Karae Mosley, St. Frances Principal Curtis Turner, Ed.D., and Barbara Marinak.

Pictured at Mother Seton from left to right are Mother Seton Principal Sister Brenda Monahan, D.C., Simon Blackwell, Donna Schisler, technology teacher at Mother Seton, Barbara Marinak and Mother Seton Vice Principal Sister Joan Corcoran, D.C.