ATE Impacts

EdQuantum PI Hopes for Wide Use of 3 Quantum Technician Courses


An Indian River State College student demonstrates a quantum eraser at a community event.

As he develops three quantum technology courses—that he thinks will be the first formal curriculum for quantum workforce technicians—Mo Hasanovic is recruiting students and encouraging community colleges to “jump on the train much earlier” than they have previously with emerging technologies and add quantum technology programs as soon as possible.

Hasanovic is associate professor and chair of the Electrical Engineering Technology Department at Indian River State College (Florida) and principal investigator of EdQuantum, an ATE project.

The general public may not be aware of it, but advances in quantum computing, quantum networking, and quantum sensing have the potential for enormous, disruptive effects that are making attainment of quantum supremacy a strategic priority for the U.S. government.

“It’s almost like a patriotic duty to move the technology forward as an entire nation so we can continue to be a global leader in democracy in these technologies,” Hasanovic said.

The first quantum revolution began in the twentieth century and led to the development of lasers, LEDs, MRIs, solar cells, and Lidar.  Quantum Revolution 2.0, as Hasanovic refers to the commercialization of quantum research-enabled products, is expected in the next five to 10 years. There are predictions that the immense processing power of new quantum computers could put all passwords at risk while advances in quantum networking could make internet communications 100% secure.

Hasanovic said there are quantum sensing devices under development that will be so sensitive they can measure gravitational force underground, which will remotely differentiate between different minerals.

“The quantum is important,” he says emphatically.

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Four Newly Funded Projects


The logo for the National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation (NSF) annually funds approximately 12,000 new awards, with an average funding duration of three years. Each year some of those new awards are supported by the ATE Program, which focuses on improving and expanding educational programs for skilled workers in high-tech STEM fields. ATE grantees concentrate on a range of fields, including advanced manufacturing, agriculture and environment, bio and chemical, information and security, and micro and nanotechnologies and are based primarily at two-year institutions across the nation. This year we celebrate our new grantees by highlighting four newly funded projects from the 2023 funding cycle. 

Integrating Data Science and Hands-on Experience into the Community College Biotechnology Classroom with Applications to Antibody Engineering

This project aims to integrate antibody engineering into Kapi'olani Community College's biotechnology curriculum, focusing on practical skills for students to enter the biotechnology workforce. With a particular emphasis on data science and artificial intelligence, the project seeks to enhance the undergraduate experience and showcase the importance of these disciplines in biotechnology and biomanufacturing. By introducing antibody design, production, and characterization using the Design-Build-Test approach, the project will expand the capabilities of the Monoclonal Antibody Service Facility and Training Center (MASFTC). The project's goals include creating educational modules for hands-on learning, developing data science components with a web-based interface, and establishing a database to document student and faculty activities within the KCC-Antibody Center of Excellence (KCC-ACE), ultimately contributing to workforce development, economic diversification, and increased diversity in STEM fields in Hawaii and beyond.

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Enrollment Growth from Mechatronics Grant Leads to Creative Approach to Add Faculty


Adjunct Instructor Brad Fitzgerald demonstrates concepts he taught in class while students tour Fleet Laboratories.

Central Virginia Community College Assistant Professor Marcella Gale is working with manufacturing and telecommunications companies to ease people with industry knowledge into teaching mechatronics at the college in Lynchburg, Virginia.

During their first semesters teaching, the adjunct instructors from industry contribute to the course content and share teaching and administrative tasks with a full-time instructor. This “on-boarding” arrangement allows the adjuncts’ expertise to shine with students as they learn college classroom management from a full-time faculty member.

This experiment at the core of Gale’s Manufacturing, Adjuncts, Partnerships, and Students (MAPS) project began in summer 2022, and by May 2023 five people with manufacturing experience had become newly minted adjunct instructors.

Gale describes the co-teaching model as “really working out great,” and adds that it’s happening because industry has “come along side us as a true partner.”

CVCC needs additional instructors because of the high demand for graduates from the mechatronics program that Gale’s first ATE grant improved with an enhanced focus on programmable logic controllers (PLCs).  That project, Improving Mechatronics Technician Training for the Advanced Manufacturing Industry, has resulted in braided manufacturing and information technology (IT) courses that count toward multiple stackable certificates and two associate degrees. Both programs prepare students for Rockwell Automation industry certification exams as well.

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I AM ATE: Sarah Belknap


A headshot of mathematics instructor Sarah Belknap

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: Sarah Belknap     
Title: Professor of Mathematics     
Institution: Westchester Community College 
Project/Center Name: HSI ATE Hub 2: Professional Development for Culturally Responsive Technician Education

Tell us about the goals of your project or center.

This faculty development project is guiding educators in translating and applying theory and research on culturally responsive education to implement effective practices that are guided by knowledge, skills, values, and attitudes to improve the diversity of the STEM technical workforce. Cultural responsiveness validates, affirms and acknowledges students’ diverse heritages.

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Project Builds Data Science Skills among Queensborough Community College Students & Faculty


Nine students who participated in the 2022 UCTDDAS boot camp with Yildirim, standing far left, and Danisman, far right.

The Using Cloud Technologies to Develop the Data Analysis Skills of Community College Students (UCTDDAS) project at Queensborough Community College (QCC) develops community college students’ data science/analysis and cloud computing skills to help them begin careers in finance, health care, or other high-tech fields.

During two joint interviews this spring via Zoom, Principal Investigator Monica Trujillo and Maria Mercedes Franco, key personnel for the Advanced Technological Education project, summarized what they and their colleagues—Esma Yildirim, co-principal investigator, and Yusuf Danisman, key personnel for the project—learned from the first cohort of 16 students. Trujillo is a professor in QCC’s Biological Sciences and Geology Department. Franco is a professor in QCC’s Department of Mathematics and Computer Sciences. Yildirim and Danisman are assistant professors in QCC’s Department of Mathematics and Computer Sciences.

The four QCC faculty members hope the information they learn through the project will provide ground work for starting an associate degree program in data science.

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From the Archive: Expanding the Data Analytics Technician Pipeline


A graphic of shapes and colors in a vortex

Data analytics is a growing discipline in the area of information technology, enabling organizations to gain valuable insights from vast amounts of data and make data-driven decisions. The demand for skilled data analytics professionals continues to rise as a broad range of industries recognize the potential of harnessing data to improve their products, services, organizational practices, and more.

In this From the Archive blog post, we delve into the realm of data analytics and explore various resources that contribute to expanding the pipeline of data analytics technicians. Our first collection of resources look at data management and utilization, and how five companies in Ohio use data to improve their services. Next, we highlight a video about the key benefits of Splunk’s Academic Alliances partnership program. Finally, we offer up a summary of the Data Analytics - Analysis and Visualization AAS degree program at Columbus State Community College, which provides high school students with the opportunity to earn college credit while gaining practical experience in the field of information technology.


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ATE Included in Study of Organization-focused Change Networks


OCN researchers identified intersecting aspects of organization-focused change networks as levers of systemic change.

The Advanced Technological Education program is one of six postsecondary education networks that National Science Foundation-funded researchers have studied to understand how institutional change occurs to improve teaching.    

Of the six organizations in the Organizational Change Networks study, ATE is the only one that solely targets associate-degree-granting institutions. Other aspects of ATE that attracted the researchers’ attention are the inter- and cross-discipline collaborations within the program, its projects to mentor new STEM education leaders, and its built-in partnerships with employers in multiple industry sectors.

“That’s why it’s so fascinating,” said Susan Rundell Singer, co-principal investigator. She added, “It’s more than a network of networks. It’s got these really deep relationships and overlapping types of networks, and that’s why we were fascinated by it.”

The study is led by Ann E. Austin, interim vice provost for Faculty and Academic Staff Affairs as well as University Distinguished Professor at Michigan State University, and Singer, who became president of St. Olaf College on June 1. Singer had been vice president for Academic Affairs and provost at Rollins College since 2016.

During a Zoom interview Austin and Singer shared their hope that the framework and their other findings will help educators who are forming or managing networks plan their responses to challenges. Adam Grimm, a postdoctoral research associate at Michigan State, also participated in the interview.

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Support for Women and STEM Recruiting Efforts


A woman works on her laptop in an office

This special series of posts is being created in collaboration with Donna Milgram from the National Institute for Women in Trades, Technology & Science (IWITTS) to provide a series of practical strategies that can enhance your recruiting efforts and help increase your student enrollment numbers. While the focus of IWITTS is on increasing female enrolment, data from the project indicates that overall enrollment for both female and male students increase for those educators who employ the techniques espoused by IWITTS.  

In fact, Fayetteville Technical Community College (FTCC) shared data that showed that after participating in an IWITTS WomenTech Training they increased female enrollment in the introductory courses in their Cybersecurity AS Program by 20 female students from 12 to 32 women in five months. They also increased male enrollment from 58 to 101 men.  

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PI & Co-PI Enjoy National Honors


Marilyn Barger is the only community college educator among the 122 inductees to AIMBE’s College of Fellows in 2023.

Marvelous things happened this spring to the principal investigator and co-principal investigator of Industry 4.0 Skills for Manufacturing Technicians (NSF Award 2148138)—both won national accolades for their work as community college engineering technology educators.

Marilyn Barger, principal investigator (PI) of the Industry 4.0 Advanced Technological Education (ATE) project and senior educational advisor to the Florida Advanced Technological Education Center (FLATE) that she led for 17 years, was inducted into the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) College of Fellows.

The honor recognizes her work as a registered environmental engineer, inventor of a reverse osmosis membrane, and her influence on improvements to engineering technology programs. She was the only community college educator among this year’s 122 AIMBE inductees who were from industry or research universities.

Husam “Sam” Ajlani, co-PI on the Industry 4.0 ATE project and associate professor of engineering technology at the College of Central Florida, received the Dale P. Parnell Faculty Distinction from the American Association of Community Colleges. He was one of 42 community college educators to receive the 2023 recognition for “instructors who go above and beyond to help their students find academic success.”

Ajlani, who worked in industry for nearly 30 years before becoming a full-time community college educator, says he loves teaching. “It’s one of my favorite things to do. I see more impact in this than I did as an engineer … You can see impact daily. I mean somebody ‘gets it.’  You know some concept. The look on their face—the excitement they get when they understand something—is wonderful,” he said during a Zoom interview.

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HI-TEC Registration Now Open


An image of the HI-TEC Logo for the upcoming conference

The registration for the annual HI-TEC conference is now open! HI-TEC is an annual event that focuses on advancing technical education and promoting the development of a skilled workforce in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields. This year, the conference will be held from July 24-27, 2023 at the Omni Atlanta Hotel at CNN Center, in Atlanta, Georgia. 

Attendees for this year's conference will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of sessions, Special Interest Groups (SIG), tours, workshops, and keynote speeches, all aimed at providing the latest information and resources in STEM education. There will be over 95 sessions and workshops covering topics such as cybersecurity, robotics, data analytics, and more. Attendees will have the opportunity to network with peers and learn from experts in their field. 

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