Seniors attend STEM breakfast with Superintendent, PEPCO President


Katelyn Burley

Seniors Richard Epperly, Adaly Ascencio, Francis Eseh and Nadia Makmak sit with science resource teacher Matt Reese at the Superintendent’s breakfast.

Katelyn Burley and Grace Edwards

Four seniors were selected to represent Watkins Mill High School at the 2019 MCPS Superintendent’s Breakfast on Friday, September 27 to focus on careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

Each MCPS high school selected four students, including WMHS seniors Adaly Asenjo Veza, Richard Epperly, Francis Eseh and Nadia Makmak, who all excelled in upper level STEM courses, to listen to a discussion between MCPS Superintendent Jack R. Smith and President and CEO of Pepco Holdings David Velazquez. Pre-ACES sophomores Ashley Cruz and Yeymi Hinojosa Cruz also attended. 

Students received the opportunity to ask questions to Velazquez, Smith, and STEM professionals at their table. Smith took note of important questions students had for bettering MCPS. “It showed me how much students do care about STEM,” Makmak said.  “It’s just that sometimes the students who care about these things don’t really have the confidence to speak up about it and I feel like they should be able to.” 

Velazquez spoke about opportunities available in STEM and encouraged students to pursue these opportunities in the future. “I grew up in a neighborhood where there was nobody who had gone to college. Going to college was a big mystery for us,” Velazquez said.

“[Velazquez’s] father is an immigrant. [Velazquez is] Hispanic, the first person to go to college. Yes, he’s older, but to see someone who is very successful with a similar background to some of our students,” science resource teacher Matt Reese said.  “I think is very important.”

“[Having a minority speaker] was inspirational,” Eseh added. “It shows how far we’ve come over the years. It also shows that there are more opportunities for minorities. It shows a representation of the students who are actually in the school system.”  

“They gave good life lessons on what I should do in the future and always try to have an open mind when learning, even [when] I graduate, to keep learning and trying new things,” Epperly said. 

“Spend time exploring possibilities. Don’t be afraid to try something different. Find something you enjoy,” Velazquez added. “You are the future for us, whether it’s Pepco or all other businesses. If you’re trying a new opportunity and you’re not a little bit nervous about whether you can actually do it, you’re probably not stretching yourself beyond your comfort zone.” 

Katelyn Burley
Superintendent Jack Smith discusses STEM opportunities with PEPCO President David Velazquez.
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