ATE Impacts

Kendra Joyner Gains Career Foothold through Women in Technology Club

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Positive student club experiences led Kendra Joyner toward an information technology career at A-B Tech.

Kendra Joyner joined the Women in Technology club a few weeks after starting digital media courses at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College (A-B Tech) in Asheville, NC.

It was 2015 and at 40, Joyner, who had previously earned one bachelor’s degree and other postsecondary credentials, was in the midst of a career reset following a divorce.

Talking with other women about their STEM classes, hearing presentations by female technicians, and learning career tips during biweekly Women in Technology meetings became integral to Joyner’s success. It also sparked Joyner’s interest in working for the college, which she has now done for about five years. 

Computer Technologies Instructor Pamela Silvers started Women in Technology as part of her Skilled Workers Get Jobs Advanced Technological Education (ATE) projects that developed strategies to recruit and retain women in STEM careers with support from the National Science Foundation.

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Looking Forward to HI-TEC 2022 with Executive Committee Chair Mary Slowinski

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High Impact Technology Exchange Conference - Educating America

The 2022 High Impact Technology Education Conference (HI-TEC) will be held on July 25-28 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Recently, we asked Mary Slowinski, PhD, Chair of the 2022 HI-TEC Executive Committee, to share what attendees can anticipate about this year’s conference. Dr. Slowinski is PI of Working Partners Project & Workshops at Bellevue College in Washington state.

ATE Central: What is HI-TEC? How does it support the goals of Advanced Technological Education?

Mary Slowinski: HI-TEC (the High Impact Technology Education Conference) has provided a national forum for addressing critical issues in advanced technological education since its inception in 2009. The conference grew out of the NSF-ATE community and is produced by a consortium of ATE centers and projects in collaboration with industry and education partners. The conference is a marvelous gathering of this community, with opportunities for all to present, share and learn from one another and to acquire new skill sets, new understandings of industry needs, and new engagement with questions of diversity and inclusion, as well as gaining practical insights into improving technician education overall.

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ATE Is Part of Kapil Chalil Madathil’s Extraordinary Career Arc

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As a graduate student Kapil Chalil Madathil, center, met ATE Co-Leaders V. Celeste Carter and Gerhard Salinger.

As a graduate student Kapil Chalil Madathil chatted with Gerhard Salinger and V. Celeste Carter after they shook hands during the session of the 2009 ATE Principal Investigators’ Conference where student participants were recognized.

“That was an exciting moment for me,” Chalil Madathil said recently explaining that he treasures the photo that captured his meeting with the two National Science Foundation program directors who then co-led the Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program. He considers the certificate his first student award.

He has since received other accolades including tenure and $20 million in funding for research utilizing virtual and augmented realities in technician education, healthcare, and other domains. His area of expertise is the application of human factors engineering to the design and operation of highly interactive human-computer systems. His work draws on qualitative and quantitative methodologies – including ethnography, contextual inquiry, and controlled behavioral experiments – to understand how humans perceive, make sense of, and interact with human-machine systems.

Chalil Madathil is now the Wilfred P. and Helen S. Tiencken Endowed Associate Professor of Civil and Industrial Engineering, director of technology for the Clemson University Center for Workforce Development, and co-principal investigator of  the Center for Aviation and Automotive Technological Education Using Virtual E-Schools (CA2VES). The principal investigator of CA2VES is Anand K. Gramopadhye, professor and dean of the College of Engineering, Computing, and Applied Sciences at Clemson in South Carolina.

It was Chalil Madathil’s graduate assistantship work at CA2VES that first connected him to the ATE program, which he says remains close to his heart: “NSF ATE paved the way for me to be a successful researcher.”

Chalil Madathil is the rare tenured university professor who began his career as a technician.

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AccessATE Case Studies: Highlighting the Work of Three ATE Projects and Centers

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A student and instructor discuss a textbook in a computer lab

AccessATE creates resources and materials designed to help support the ATE community as they work to make their deliverables and activities more accessible.  The project has a variety of information and events highlighted on their website including three unique case studies that focus on applying the principles of accessibility and Universal Design for Learning (UDL). The case studies highlight ATE projects that collaborated with the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST), a nonprofit education research and development organization. CAST’s specialty is expanding learning opportunities for all through Universal Design for Learning. For those who are not familiar with UDL, it is a framework developed to improve and optimize teaching and learning for all disciplines. It focuses on the why, what, and how brains learn. 

The first case study addresses accessibility in a robotics course. Students from Borough of Manhattan Community College worked together to create a more accessible robotics curriculum, including adding alternative descriptive text for each image. The students went through cycles of receiving feedback, revising the curriculum, and then asking clarifying questions. This case study includes a video of the project PI, Dr. Azhar, explaining the goals of the curriculum and his experience working with CAST to revise the lesson plans in the robotics course.

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ATE Professional Development Laid Groundwork for Emily Greene’s Energy Career Paths

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Emily Greene has focused on measurement and verification of energy efficiency, and regulatory compliance.

About 10 years ago Emily Greene told a guidance counselor at Delaware Technical Community College (Delaware Tech) that she was thinking about an environmental science career because she wanted to make a difference in her home state. The woman suggested she look at the college’s new renewable energy program.  

Greene did a little research and concluded that diving into renewable energy in 2010s would be akin to becoming a computer geek in the 1980s. “The people who got in and learned about computers ahead of the curve, look where they are. That’s what I wanted to do with renewable energy.” And so she has.

In her first job Greene worked as a measurement and verification analyst for a company that helped businesses and school districts in Delaware reduce their consumption by 30%. Then, as an energy planner for the state she wrote Delaware’s regulations for measuring and verifying energy savings. In 2018 she became an energy services manager for Delaware Municipal Electric Corporation (DEMEC) to help businesses and local governments save money by offering an  energy efficiency program. And, in 2021, she became the compliance administrator at DEMEC’s Beasley Power Station, which uses natural gas and fuel oil to generate electricity.

“Being able to apply that technical degree has allowed me to get pretty far, pretty quick in my career,” Greene said.

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New ATE Student Success Story Videos

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Several students receive instruction from a professor in a college classroom.

Exciting news for members of the ATE community: the second series of ATE Student Success Stories are now available to view! These videos are being created collaboratively by ATE Central and Vox Television, a Boston-based media company.

As a reminder, the ATE Student Success Stories are a video series that highlight the struggles and triumphs of a diverse set of students in community and technical college STEM programs. The videos show how the support and guidance of ATE centers and projects has helped students change their lives and careers for the better. Each video documents a unique story, but all share the common theme of demonstrating how technician education has the power to change lives. This second series will ultimately create fifteen new videos which will be made freely available through the ATE Central website. 

In the first four videos of Series Two, viewers will meet five new students whose career trajectories have been changed through ATE programs: Amanda, Danial, James and Mikhail, and Paula. 

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MNT-EC Principal Investigator Is a Fan of the Community College Innovation Challenge

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Jared M. Ashcroft, Pasadena City College assistant professor of natural sciences, mentored the  2021 CCIC champions.

In early 2021 Jared M. Ashcroft opened an email announcing the Community College Innovation Challenge (CCIC) to the Advanced Technological Education community. “Oh, that looks really fun,” was his assessment of the linked website’s description of the national competition that the American Association of Community Colleges offers in partnership with the National Science Foundation.

When he told his chemistry students at Pasadena City College about the contest and the opportunity to win cash prizes for innovative STEM solutions to real-world problems, four students formed a team and asked Ashcroft to be their mentor. Mentoring took his time – an hour or two at a time over several months – but “not a dime” from the budget of the Micro Nano Technology Education Center (MNT-EC) he leads. And, Ashcroft said, the experience was well worth the students’ efforts and his time even if the team had not won first prize.

“If I see an opportunity that looks like I can impact students, I want to do it and figure out a way to support it,” he said.

Ashcroft “loves” the way CCIC teaches teamwork and how to market scientific innovations. This year he has shared information about the 2022 CCIC with the micro and nanotechnology community across the country.

Community college students are encouraged to form two-to-four-person teams now and then begin developing ideas. Each team must explain its innovative solution in a written essay and a 90-second video. Both of these Phase I aspects of the competition are due March 30. For more on how to enter the competition, click here.    

Ashcroft says that the PCC team’s successful experience started when members discussed two ideas with an entrepreneur during CCIC’s idea-vetting webinar. “That’s a great session where you can get advice,” he said. AACC and the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship are offering the interactive online CCIC Application Idea Vetting Session at 2 p.m. (Eastern) February 15. To register, click here

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National Science Foundation “Dear Colleague” Letters

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A black metallic mailbox  with red flag up, with a wooden house in the background.

In addition to program descriptions, announcements, and solicitations, “Dear Colleague” letters (DCLs) are an important category of funding opportunities made available by the National Science Foundation (NSF). According to the most recent Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide, “DCLs are intended to provide general information to the community, clarify or amend an existing policy or document, or inform the NSF community about upcoming opportunities or special competitions for supplements to existing awards.” DCLs are often issued in response to major natural or man-made events, such as recent requests for rapid response research proposals in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, but also are issued to bring attention to focal areas of research or specific types of proposals.

For members of the ATE community, paying attention to DCLs can be a useful way to find new funding or supplement existing research funds. The NSF will issue such letters throughout the year to highlight areas of science or types of proposals that are of particular interest. 

Currently, there are several DCLs that will be relevant to members of the ATE community:

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2021 Successes & New NSF Opportunity Shared During ATE Office Hours

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Working Partners identifies and disseminates core practices of effective industry and college partnerships.

Principal investigators of five Advanced Technological Education initiatives shared information about their successes during the 2021 wrap-up session of ATE Office Hours.

V. Celeste Carter, the lead program director of the ATE program at the National Science Foundation, began the 60-minute virtual session on December 15 by encouraging the 100 people in attendance and the entire ATE community to participate in NSF’s COVID Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Challenge.

“That is something new for everybody to take a look at,” Carter said. 

The challenge, which is segmented for four categories of higher education institutions, requires a three-page description of the evidence-based systemic actions taken to mitigate the negative impacts of the pandemic on diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM. Narratives are due January 30.

“You’ve got time to do this. And colleges do not need to have a grant from NSF to enter the challenge,” Carter said.

In addition to the opportunity to present information about their program at an NSF virtual meeting, institutions in the various categories have the opportunity to win monetary prizes: $25,000 for first place; $15,000 for second place; and $10,000 for third place. Ten honorable mention certificates will also be awarded. 

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I Am ATE: Antonio Delgado

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Photograph of Antonio Delgado

Name: Antonio Delgado

Title: Vice President of Innovation and Technology Partnerships

Institution: Miami Dade College

Project Name: Advancing Strategies in Cybersecurity Education and Career Development (ASCEND)

URL: https://www.mdc.edu/entec/grants/ascend.aspx

ATE Central: How did you become involved with ATE?

Delgado: Back in 2017, faculty and administrators wanted to develop cybersecurity degree programs at Miami Dade College (MDC). Dr. Diego Tibaquira, lead cybersecurity faculty member at MDC, and I, Dean of the School of Engineering and Technology at that time, decided to apply to NSF ATE with the goal to build faculty capacity in cybersecurity, create an advisory board, and develop courses with a focus on supporting minority students. That application was awarded the NSF ATE for small projects. 

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