ATE Impacts

Select STEM Education Resources for Accessibility

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Image of a student writing in a notepad next to a laptop.

Equitable access to information and technology is a basic human right, and accessibility is a core tenant of ATE’s mission. This blog post highlights resources that will assist ATE community members in continuing to create materials that are accessible to all. Do you have some favorite STEM sites or online resources you’d like to share with the ATE community? We’d love to help – email us at info@atecentral.net!

Develop accessible lesson plans with the National Center on Accessible Educational Materials.

The National Center on Accessible Educational Materials (AEM Center) is a nonprofit initiative that provides resources and technical assistance for “educators, parents, students, publishers, conversion houses, accessible media producers, and others interested in learning more about AEM.” Here, instructors will find a wealth of well-organized information and resources for accessible education. The Supporting Learners section categorizes this information by age group, including higher education and workforce development resources, and contains a directory of AEM contacts for each state. Educators who create their own resources may want to explore the Creating AEM section, which includes information on the Best Practices for Educators & Instructors.

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ATE Grant Facilitates Award-winning Project & Wider Use of Additive Manufacturing

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Even before graduating in May, Rick Heuer’s formula for success was featured in CVTC ads.

Rick Heuer has been welding, reading blueprints, and sketching designs for tools since he was a kid. After 30 years of self-employment in a physically taxing line of work he enrolled in 2018 at age 58 in Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC) in Eau Claire, WI, to learn how to leverage his mechanical ingenuity for a new career.

In his two years as a full time CVTC student, Heuer has been part of two teams that took first place awards (each with a $1,500 prize) in the American Technical Education Association 3-D Futures Competition.

“When I compare his first day when he joined the program and now, it’s amazing. He’s very fast, very efficient,” Mahmood Lahroodi, mechanical design instructor and coach of the two teams, said of Heuer. Heuer’s academic success and competition victories have made him a campus celebrity. He is featured in college marketing and was to speak at the spring graduation. Unfortunately, the in-person ceremony was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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From the Archive: Workplace-Based Learning in the ATE Fields

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Image of two hands shaking.

In the 2017 ATE Annual Survey conducted by EvaluATE, supplemental questions submitted by the Working Partners Project inquired about industry/college partnerships within the ATE community. Data showed that 11 percent of respondents employed workplace-based learning models at their respective institutions. Other more common partnership models included the use of advisory boards (26 percent), curricular development and review (17 percent), program support (14 percent), and instructional support (13 percent).

For those programs that offered internships, apprenticeships, co-op learning, job shadowing, and other workplace-based learning opportunities, respondents reported a variety of benefits, including better preparedness of graduates as they transition into the workplace and more meaningful ties with industry partners. For this reason, this month’s From the Archive blog post calls attention to some of ATE Central’s archival materials surrounding workplace-based learning within ATE. 

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Report Suggests Ways to Expand Undergraduate Research Experiences; Supplemental ATE Grants Available

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Community College Undergraduate Research Experience Summit Report Cover

The proceedings report from the Community College Undergraduate Research Experience Summit is now available on the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) website. http://www.aacc.nche.edu/URESummit The report contains recommendations for scaling and sustaining undergraduate research experiences (UREs) at two-year colleges, developing partnerships for UREs, ensuring equitable access to UREs in STEM, and measuring the impact of UREs.

The summit’s planning committee defined UREs as experiences that use the scientific method and/or the engineering design process to promote student learning by investigating a problem where the solution is unknown to students or faculty. Examples of UREs currently offered by community colleges include course-based research, internships, STEM design challenges, independent studies, honor projects, competitions that blend technical academic and technical skills, and mentored research that is part of a larger project.

The recommendations were developed during facilitated small group discussions and a deliberative process that involved the 120 thought leaders in attendance at the summit, which was convened by AACC with support from the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program on November 20 to 22, 2019, in Washington, D.C.

In March 2020, ATE announced new funding for novel UREs developed by principal investigators of active ATE grants.  Proposals for supplemental funding are due May 15.

The report also features the stories of six individuals whose research experiences as community college students profoundly influenced their STEM career paths.   

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I Am ATE: Elodie Billionniere

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Image of Elodie Billionniere

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)

URL: https://www.mdc.edu/cloudcomputingcenter/

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. 

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Mentor-Connect Offers Second-Chance and Moving-Up Mentoring

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http://mentor-connect.org

Mentor-Connect has expanded its mentoring services to help faculty whose first Advanced Technological Education (ATE) proposals were declined and to assist any principal investigator of a New-to-ATE small grant who is preparing a larger ATE project proposal.

May 1 is the deadline to apply for free Second-Chance Mentoring and Moving-Up Mentoring.

Both mentoring programs give faculty the opportunity to write proposals with guidance from educators who have years of experience developing ATE grants. All Mentor-Connect mentors “have a real sense for what should go into a proposal. We can communicate that to the people who have less experience and don’t really know the kinds of things that reviewers would be looking for,” said Osa Brand, the Mentor-Connect senior staffer who leads the two new initiatives.

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Select STEM Education Resources for Earth Day

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Image of the Earth from space.

April 22, 2020 will mark the 50th anniversary of Earth day, which was founded in 1970 to combat climate dangers and catalyze “a new way forward for our planet.” In honor of this celebration we thought we’d share some earth and environmental sciences resources that may be of interest to ATE PIs and staff seeking to create interactive, environment-centered curriculum and educational activities. Do you have some favorite STEM sites or online resources you’d like to share with the ATE community?  We’d love to help – email us at info@atecentral.net!

Calculate and compare carbon intensity with electricityMap.

This open-source, interactive map compiles electricity data to show the carbon intensity of electricity consumption in different regions based on how that electricity was produced. Users can toggle the map to show the real-time wind and solar energy potentials around the world and to account for electricity imports and exports, and they can select individual regions to see more detailed information about each region's electricity sources and carbon emissions. This map provides an excellent visual aid for discussions on energy production and sustainable fuels, and  instructors may use the resource to propel student discussions on the differences in energy production and consumption indexes around the world. 

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Erika Cuellar Finds Happiness in Manufacturing

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Erika Cuellar demonstrated her manufacturing skills at the 2019 ATE Principal Investigators’ Conference.

Less than a year after earning a Machine Technician Level II certificate from Housatonic Community College, Erika Cuellar happily declares, “I live, breathe, and die manufacturing.”

Cuellar is so positive about the advanced manufacturing program at Housatonic, she has persuaded her sister to enroll in it. Cuellar’s husband was the first in the family to go through the accelerated nine-month certificate program. He is now a manufacturing engineer who specializes in making prototypes. “You leave that program, and you have a career,” she said.

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I Am ATE: Thomas C. Tubon, Jr.

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Image of Thomas C. Tubon, Jr.

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: Thomas C. Tubon, Jr.

Title: Faculty, Biotechnology Program / PI, NSF ATE Cell & Tissue Manufacturing Coordination Network / Co-PI, NSF ATE InnovATEBIO National Center

Institution: Madison Area Technical College

Center Name: NSF ATE InnovATEBIO Center

URL: https://innovatebio.org/

 

 

ATE Central: How did you become involved with ATE?

Tubon: In 2009, I started my position at Madison College as a faculty member in the Biotechnology Program. Under the mentorship of emeritus faculty and seasoned NSF ATE Grant PIs Dr. Lisa Seidman and Dr. Jeanette Mowery, I was given the opportunity to learn about NSF and the ATE programs by way of the NSF Bio-Link National Center for Biotechnology. My first experience with the NSF ATE came shortly after I was on-boarded at Madison College, with an opportunity to work on an NSF-funded project to support workforce education for post-baccalaureate students in Biotechnology. The following year, we were awarded funding from NSF ATE to develop a related program in Stem Cell Technologies, which I served as a Co-PI and subsequently transitioned to PI during the course of the grant term (DUE 1104210). This success of this project was followed by a second funded proposal in 2015 to disseminate our education and workforce development curriculum in Stem Cell Technologies nationwide (DUE 1501553).  I currently serve as the Principal Investigator for the NSF ATE Coordination Network Consortium for Advanced Manufacturing of Cell and Tissue-based Products, which was funded in 2018 (DUE 1801123). This October, our team was awarded funding for the NSF ATE InnovATEBIO National Center for Biotechnology, headed by Dr. Linnea Fletcher at Austin Community College.

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Farm Manager Uses Prior Teaching Experience to Bring Applied Research into Classrooms

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As farm manager Rob Thomas uses his recently acquired advanced agriculture technology knowledge and teaching skills.

Rob Thomas was a high school technology teacher for nearly five years when he decided he missed working year round on his family’s Western Pennsylvania hobby farm.

To switch careers to agriculture Thomas knew he would need more specialized knowledge. So he searched nationally for an associate degree agronomy program; he did not want to earn another bachelor’s degree. He enrolled at Northeast Community College (Northeast) in Norfolk, Nebraska, in 2017, he said, because it “had one of the best curriculums I saw in the country.”

His next two years of learning were punctuated with stints as a summer intern on the college’s 500-acre farm and part-time work as a teaching assistant and agriculture tutor. His plan had been to look for an agronomy job in Pennsylvania and work on his family’s farm on weekends.

But in May 2019—the day before he graduated from Northeast with two associate of applied science degrees in agronomy and precision agriculture—Thomas was hired as the college’s farm manager. It’s a job that amazingly matches his skills and interests.

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