ATE Central is pleased to announce a new feature in both the ATE Impacts blog and the ATE Central Connection (our monthly newsletter) called "I Am ATE," which showcases an ATE PI, staff member, industry partner, or other ATE stakeholder. We are excited to help spread the word about the wonderful people who are at the core of the ATE community and the innovative work everyone is doing.
Name: Tynisha S. Ferguson, MA
Title: Communication & Technology Specialist
Institution: Florence-Darlington Technical College
Center name: SCATE Center/Mentor-Connect
URL: https://www.scate.org and http://www.mentor-connect.org
ATE Central: How did you become involved with ATE?
Ferguson: After I completed my service as an AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America), I realized I wanted to continue a career in public service. I wanted to work within the grant world and work within a program that would give me national exposure to various industries, initiatives, and projects. I am also extremely good at utilizing technology and had previous experience covering STEM-related topics, and from the time I was in high school have loved all things communications. Because of my background and interests, I felt inclined to apply for the Communication & Technology Specialist position at the South Carolina Advanced Technological Education (SCATE) Center of Excellence. Prior to this, I had no knowledge of the Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program or the National Science Foundation (NSF), but after only a few months, I was really impressed by how much the ATE program has essentially impacted almost every industry with its research projects.
ATE Central: Tell us about the goals of your project or center.
Ferguson: I work for SCATE Center, located on the campus of Florence-Darlington Technical College in the Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology facility in Florence, SC. My center has various initiatives that have been implemented and sustained, such as the Mentor-Connect, Teaching Technicians, and Build Your Own (BYO) Video initiatives. Each initiative has their own goals. However, the main goal of the SCATE Center is to expand excellence in technician education locally, regionally, and nationally by working alongside students, educators, and industry leaders to promote quality education that prepares workforce-ready technicians in advanced technologies that drive the American economy.
Mentor-Connect is our biggest initiative and our overall goal is to offer transformational professional development experiences for two-year college STEM faculty. Mentor-Connect offers one-on-one STEM faculty team mentoring, curated technical resources, and instruction to help two-year college faculty prepare competitive proposals to the National Science Foundation's Advanced Technological Education (NSF ATE) program. Mentor-Connect recently begin offering Second Chance Mentoring and Moving up Mentoring along with the New-to-ATE mentoring for STEM Faculty. To learn more about the SCATE Center and its initiatives, click here.
ATE Central: What are some of the most valuable partnerships you've engaged in as part of your ATE-related work?
Ferguson: Some of the most valuable partnerships I have been engaged in are working with EvaluATE (webinar collaboration), Internet Scout (assisting with maintaining our resource collection), Luka Partners (being the technology expert in webinar production), and Pellet Productions (assisting with visual storytelling methods and video creation). I have also built great relationships with a few people who I have worked with more consistently, such as Dave Hata (on-site photographer), Madeline Patton (consulting writer and editor), and Laura Floyd (Mentor-Connect's resource collection cataloger).
These partnerships have helped me grow professionally, allowed me to learn new skills and methods of doing things, and helped inform my ATE communications-related work for the center. Partnerships with these organizations have also given me lots of support for many of my work-related projects and have allowed for more time to focus on being innovative and creative in my work with SCATE. Particularly, I've been able to hone my talents in consistently and clearly disseminating the SCATE Center's message through the web, our social media channels, and in the form of graphics at the national conferences and workshops that we attend each year.
ATE Central: Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Ferguson: I'm from Branchville, SC, currently living and working in Florence, SC, but have dreams of working in marketing communications on a national project at a director level. In my spare time, I love to travel, go geocaching, volunteer, and read. I also have a Master of Arts degree in New-Media Journalism from Full Sail University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English-Writing with a minor in Social Sciences from Winthrop University. My favorite food is just about anything that includes seafood mixed in the dish! I would love an opportunity to continue to connect and network with others in the ATE community.