In this feature ATE Central continues our "I Am ATE" series, 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: Dr. Elodie Billionniere
Title: Associate Professor
Institution: Miami Dade College (MDC)
Project Name: Dade Enterprise Cloud Computing Initiative (DECCI)
ATE Central: How did you become involved with ATE?
Billionniere: At the time, I was following hi-tech trends and the latest report was about cloud literacy as an absolute must-have skill to acquire for upskilling or reskilling. Although I am already familiar with the concept of web services, I attended an immersion day on Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud technology and I recognized, immediately, an opportunity for an academia-industry partnership. After further discussion with AWS Academy leadership, we reached a common goal: to prepare underrepresented minorities for the multitude of cloud industry careers emerging in the computing and information technology fields. As I was having these conversations with AWS, the NSF ATE solicitation was forwarded to me by my department chair. The stars lined up in my mind and I moved forward with great confidence in my grant proposal idea. With ATE, I could solidify an industry partnership with the leading cloud provider, while providing resources, funds, and support to build today's talent with future skills. This project would not have been possible otherwise.
ATE Central: Tell us about the goals of your project.
Billionniere: The program is designed to provide fast-track cloud training for students and professionals in Miami-Dade County, while strengthening existing career pathway programs at Miami Dade College.As such the project aims to (1) provide faculty professional development to certify faculty members in cloud technology utilizing project-based learning methodology; (2) create an academic pathway in partnership with industry cloud leaders that aligns a college credit certificate in Enterprise Cloud Computing to associate and baccalaureate degrees in information systems technology; (3) increase recruitment, retention, and graduation of students in the newly developed certificate program; (4) develop a K-16 pipeline by offering a Cloud 101 summer high school bootcamp for traditionally underrepresented populations that will result in industry certification and dual enrollment pathways; and (5) advance knowledge about student success and degree attainment in technology fields to improve retention of (STEM) students at Hispanic-serving institutions.
ATE Central: What makes the work of your project/center unique?
Billionniere: My project has the potential to build future-ready workforce pipelines by increasing the number of certified cloud computing graduates from underrepresented minority groups to meet local and national workforce needs.
ATE Central: Do you have any advice for new ATE grantees?
Billionniere: I recommend attending the pre-workshop(s) at the annual ATE PI conference. This is particularly helpful the first year of your grant, to get you started with the project implementation and familiarize yourself with the required administrative tasks/processes. Also, I strongly recommend that your evaluator attends the conference as well, because the assessment and evaluation of the project is not as simple as it seems if you plan to have publications associated with your project. Through EvaluATE there are a few conference travel funding opportunities available for evaluators to take advantage of.
ATE Central: What's the best part about your work with ATE?
Billionniere: The best part is to create opportunities to the entire MDC community. Initially, my work was intended for my campus (Padrón). However, it became a collegewide sensation overnight with my ATE award. Hence, my project is implemented across four campuses: Homestead, Kendall, Padrón and Wolfson. As such, it brings together more students, faculty and staff. Furthermore, the network support and available resources from the ATE online community have been extreme valuable, as have the workshops at the annual ATE PI conference.
ATE Central: What's your favorite dish or type of food?
Billionniere: My favorite dish is kimchi, which is a traditional Korean fermented vegetable side dish. The more spicy it is, the better it tastes! I have a preference for cabbage kimchi, cucumber kimchi and radish kimchi.
ATE Central: Is there something that people might be surprised to learn about you, or something else you'd like to share?
Billionniere: I’ve run a marathon on all seven continents and completed Abbott World Major Marathons (Tokyo Marathon, Boston Marathon, Virgin Money London Marathon, BMW Berlin Marathon, Bank of America Chicago Marathon and TCS New York City Marathon). Also, I have run 88 half marathons so far using the motto "my race, my pace." In light of the coronavirus pandemic, my pursuit of completing my 100th half marathon by the end of the year has been halted. C'est la vie! Stay Safe, Stay at Home.