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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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  • agriculture
  • education
  • science
  • technology

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From the Archive: Attracting Veterans to Your ATE Program

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Are you looking to expand your outreach efforts? Have you considered creating new promotional materials that appeal to underserved populations? Most ATE grantees welcome the opportunity to work with female students, persons with disabilities, Veterans, and underrepresented minorities, though reaching these and other underserved populations is not always easy.

In this month’s From the Archive blog post, we are highlighting materials that may aid you in your efforts to reach one such underserved group: service members and Veterans. Our first resource describes how to customize three-fold and four-fold brochures to appeal to every branch of military service, while the second is a more overarching approach to Veteran outreach. Our final resource provides some helpful tips and best practices in reaching your desired audience. Even if your ATE program differs from those described in these resources, you may well be able to adapt OP-TEC’s InDesign files, find useful facts or photos to re-purpose, or discover inspiration to design your own brochure.

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  • education

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Zoom Meeting Continues Conversations Started at CC Undergraduate Research Experience Summit

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Christina Lee, a Pasadena City College student, completed biotechnology tasks at Oak Crest Institute of Science.

Jared Ashcroft was so excited about the Community College Undergraduate Research Experience (URE) Summit that he attended in November, that he has set up a Zoom meeting on January 8 to continue the conversations about expanding research opportunities for community college students.

The Zoom meeting 6373293038 (https://cccconfer.zoom.us/j/6373293038) begins at 12 p.m. Pacific Standard Time (3 p.m. Eastern Standard Time) on Wednesday, January 8.

It is open to anyone interested in the topic. Ashcroft says that whether three or 100 people attend, he hopes the meeting will lead to other conversations and, perhaps eventually, other in-person meetings.

 “To me it’s more of a national conversation—like how do we support each other at community colleges? How can we maybe leverage different [undergraduate research] programs that are really successful?”

Ashcroft was one of a dozen educators affiliated with Advanced Technological Education projects and centers who participated in the URE Summit on November 20-22, 2019, in Washington, D.C. He is a chemistry professor at Pasadena City College where he and Veronica Jaramillo, an instructor of natural  sciences, mentor the Early Career Undergraduate Research Experience (eCURE) program.

The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) convened the summit of 130 thought leaders—community college and university educators, students and graduates, as well as representatives of government agencies and non-profit organizations—to examine the role of community colleges in building, implementing, and sustaining undergraduate research experiences in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and workforce preparation. The summit was organized with support from the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education (NSF ATE) program.

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  • education
  • science
  • technology

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I Am ATE: Diego Tibaquirá

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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: Diego Tibaquirá
Title: Professor
Institution: Miami Dade College
Project Name: Cybersecurity Opportunities and Methods that Promote Access and Student Success (COMPASS)
URL:
 http://www.mdc.edu/entec/

 

ATE Central: How did you become involved with ATE?

Tibaquirá: We saw a need to increase and help balance the diversity of students entering the cybersecurity workforce. We wanted to increase the number of underrepresented minorities by helping them get into our programs and, once in the programs, stay and complete degrees. We realized that, through ATE, we could furnish the funds to help us create, invigorate, support and deliver great programs for our students and at the same time help us provide assistance to those of our students who would not otherwise be able to attend and participate. We saw a need (in our students and workforce) and we saw an opportunity (in ATE). We moved forward to help and maximize on both. 
 
ATE Central: Tell us about the goals of your project/center.

Tibaquirá: The program aims to (1) improve the understanding and evidence base regarding learning approaches and their impact on retention and completion of underrepresented students; (2) improve industry engagement through involvement with curriculum development; (3) increase the knowledge base on the effects of competency-based summer camps that result in industry certification and continuation into a cybersecurity-related degree program; (4) increase recruitment, retention, and completion of underrepresented students in cybersecurity programs; (5) increase the number of students who complete a College Credit Certificate and/or an AS in cybersecurity who are employed in industry; and (6) create dual enrollment pathways that retain cybersecurity majors from high school to two-year colleges.

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  • education
  • software
  • technology

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Pew Center Report: Experts Optimistic About the Next 50 Years of Digital Life

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This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of “the first host-to-host internet connection,” an innovation that has impacted millions around the world since its 1969 creation. To mark this momentous event, the Pew Research Center and the Imaging the Internet Center at Elon University surveyed 530 experts, scholars, policymakers, and other technology innovators about what to expect from “the evolution of the internet over the next 50 years.”

Visions of the technological future from internet pioneers suggest “smart prosthetics” and driverless cars will be commonplace. Some also envision space travel “beyond Mars,” or brain-computer interfaces. Overall, respondents were optimistic, with 72 percent agreeing that things will improve. 

Categories:
  • science
  • software
  • technology

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College Team Names Cobot “Osa” as Tribute to Mentor-Connect Mentor

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Students at Northern Iowa Area Community College are learning to program cobots the college recently purchased with its NextGen Technicians ATE project grant from the National Science Foundation.

When the first collaborative robot or cobot arrived at Northern Iowa Area Community College (NIACC), the NextGen Technician project team members named it “Osa” in honor of their Mentor-Connect mentor Osa Brand.

“She’s just a really good educator,” Robert Franken said of Brand. Franken is the industrial systems technology instructor and principal investigator of the NextGen Technicians: Addressing Industry Demand for Robotics project that began in June 2019 when NIACC received its first Advanced Technological Education grant (Award 1901957) from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

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  • education
  • technology

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From the Archive: Games in Education

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A special thanks to Molly Blake for contributing to this month’s From the Archive blog post. Molly is a recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison iSchool.

Games and gamification have a variety of applications in higher education, including as a component of blended learning experiences. Through fun and interactive games, educators can introduce new concepts, engage students with different learning styles, review course materials, or spark lively class discussion. In this month’s From the Archive blog post, we highlight educational games created by ATE projects and centers—a board game on career pathways, a computer game on mathematics, and three Jeopardy-style quiz games. 

Maritime Life Board Game

The Southeast Maritime and Transportation (SMART) Center offers a variety of materials designed to introduce middle school and high school students to maritime career pathways. Below is one such resource, a game that was created by an educator who partook in the annual SMART Maritime and Transportation Institute. 

Kelsey Warren, a participant of the 2016 institute, designed the Maritime Life Board Game. In this board game—similar to the popular board game Life—each student starts by selecting either a college card or a career card and learns about a variety of maritime careers and educational programs throughout the game. The Maritime Life Board Game includes all materials needed to play the game (including a game board, game pieces, and detailed instructions), as well as an accompanying pre-assessment and post-assessment. 

For more archived resources by the SMART Center, visit the ATE Central Archive.

Categories:
  • education
  • science
  • technology

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I Am ATE Interview with Lyssa Wilson Becho

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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: Lyssa Wilson Becho
Title: Training and ATE Survey Coordinator
Institution: Western Michigan University
Center Name: EvaluATE
URL: 
www.evalu-ate.org


ATE Central: How did you become involved with ATE?

Becho: I started working with the ATE Survey in 2015 while working at The Evaluation Center at Western Michigan University. At first, I mainly analyzed data and created data visualizations. I continued to work with the survey and increased my role with EvaluATE to other training aspects, such as giving conference presentations, creating resources, and designing webinars. 

ATE Central: Tell us about the goals of your center.

Becho: EvaluATE is the evaluation hub for the ATE program. We aim to advance evaluation in the ATE Program through workshops, webinars, resource materials, research on evaluation, networking, and technical assistance. Through these activities, EvaluATE strives to support improvements in the conduct and use of evaluation, increase professional exchange, strengthen connections among ATE evaluation stakeholders, and expand the evidence base for effective STEM education evaluation practices. 

Categories:
  • editorial
  • education
  • science

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PathTech LISTEN Researchers Share Early Findings

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Researchers conducting PathTech LISTEN (NSF #1801163) interviews have found that most of those who completed technician education programs are “extremely pleased” with the education they received and have found their training to be “100%” relevant to their jobs.

The PathTech LISTEN project is a mixed methods, longitudinal investigation of post-college experiences of alumni from AS/AAS degree, certificate, and license programs. It grew out of PathTech LIFE: A National Survey of LIFE (Learning, Interests, Family, and Employment) Experiences Influencing Pathways into Advanced Technologies (#1501999). Will Tyson, associate professor of sociology at the University of South Florida, is the principal investigator (PI) of both of these Advanced Technological Education (ATE) targeted research projects. The Florida Advanced Technological Education Center (FLATE) is a PathTech partner.

More “early findings” from PathTech LISTEN will be shared at the 2020 ATE Principal Investigators Conference. The theme of this year’s conference is Innovation and Impact: ATE for the Future. The significant role that ATE projects and centers play in creating and implementing successful career pathways will be the focus of most sessions. For more information visit the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC)'s ATE PI Conference pages.

During the PathTech Listen session at 10 a.m., on October 24, Tyson hopes to generate discussions with ATE principal investigators that will lead to them staying in touch with the researchers and using PathTech findings.   

Categories:
  • education
  • engineering
  • technology

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