CSM graduate Cedrick Hawkins finds success as an author, podcaster and elementary school teacher

College of Southern Maryland (CSM) alum Cedrick Hawkins, 20, is pursuing his dream of becoming a teacher, author and polished podcaster – professions and callings he said he didn’t know he had until until he is attending his first semester as a CSM student.

Hawkins shared that when he first came to CSM, he wasn’t clear on what he wanted to do with his life. The Calvert County resident knew he wanted to stay close to his family while attending CSM and working toward a transfer to Bowie State University, but he had no idea what that path would be like.

And then something happened during one of his first classes at CSM that planted a seed. A public speaking assignment in Professor Sarah Merranko’s Communications 101 class instilled her confidence in the power of her voice and her ability to think on her feet. When students returned home for remote learning in 2020 during the early days of COVID-19 and just before Hawkins graduated from CSM, that seed began to take root. Eventually, that turned into her decision to start her podcast.

“At first it was really hard to reach out and be vulnerable, so it took me about a month to start,” he said. “I made a list of 10 people who had agreed to be on my podcast. Now I’m at 117 episodes.

The podcast, titled CedTalks, covers many topics, from discussing self-improvement and mental health to offering tools and resources that listeners can use to get through tough times. In his latest podcast, Hawkins sat down with Calvert County Public School’s new superintendent, Dr. Andrae Townsel. He spoke about the importance of perseverance and offered tips for prioritizing his mental health.

Hawkins shared that working hard in school, on the podcast, and writing poetry helped him learn more about other people’s lives and made him think for himself. His two published books poetry are another way he shares his journey and aims to inspire readers to introspect, take action, and “reach the top of your mountain.” He said his next project is to write a children’s book that he hopes will give young readers the same confidence he discovered and gained at the CSM.

Now, as he prepares to earn an elementary education degree from Bowie State while working as a student teacher at Sunderland Elementary in a kindergarten classroom, he said he uses the skills of listening and empathy which he perfects by interacting with his guests for a relationship with his young students.

“I try to be humble about it, but it’s kind of cool to have those accomplishments in my name,” he said.

Hawkins also said the encouragement from his family and friends was instrumental in his success and helped him achieve his lofty goals. His accomplishments and hard work since graduating from CSM have earned him support through the Federal Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) grant program, which provides professional development, mentoring, and a paid internship. to future teachers. Hawkins was recently featured in an NBC 4 story about how this program is helping our region combat a worsening teacher shortage. Listen to his interview in the video below.

Looking back on his time at CSM, Hawkins said he felt “nothing but nostalgia” and knew it was the right place at the right time for him.

“Participating in CSM gave me time to grow in my maturity while saving money,” he said. “The biggest positive for me was the connections I made with the teachers while I was there. They guided me, eased my transition into four-year college, and helped me find my passion in life.

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