Articles in Category: News

ATE Centers Directors Collaboration

Elaine Craft, Mentor-Connect & SCATE PI presented a paper with CA2VES and two other ATE Centers in February.

Elaine Craft, Mentor-Connect & SCATE PI presented a paper with CA2VES and two other ATE Centers in February at the Conference on Industry and Education Collaboration in Jacksonville, FL. Craft’s role was to address the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) initiative. She had previously represented ATE as a speaker at the IMCP 2016 National Summit in D.C. The National Network for Manufacturing Innovation is a federal interagency effort supporting the development of Manufacturing Innovation Institutes (MIIs). Each NNMI has a unique area of concentration, but one common goal across the MIIs is building a workforce pipeline to support advanced manufacturing. A second interagency effort is the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) initiative, which is part of a comprehensive economic development strategy that includes supporting or developing a qualified workforce for the industries. The National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program is supporting the development of a highly qualified entry-level workforce for both the NNMI and IMCP initiatives through education, industry, and government partnerships between both MIIs and IMCPs and ATE Centers and projects.

SCATE Center Partners with CORD

The SCATE Center has partnered with the Center for Occupational Research and Development (CORD)

SCATE Center Partners with CORD

The SCATE Center has partnered with the Center for Occupational Research and Development (CORD) and two other NSF Advanced Technological Education (ATE) centers — the Center for Systems Security and Information Assurance (CSSIA), the Florida Advanced Technological Education Center (FLATE) as well as employers in cybersecurity and mechatronics across the country.  The Necessary Skills Now (NSN) project has developed and begun to pilot instructional curriculum that integrates sector-specific technical skills and employability skills within a continuum of coursework, from foundational to advanced specialty courses in associate degree programs within cybersecurity and mechatronics disciplines.  Teams of identified faculty and employer partners have developed six integrated curriculum projects for each sector (cybersecurity and mechatronics), using a common instructional design template.  Each of the 12 integrated projects is currently being piloted by community colleges across the country.  A common evaluation rubric will be used to provide feedback to the project team, which will then revise the curricula.  This approach of integrating employability skills across a whole program of study is novel.  The SCATE Center is proud of our involvement on the Necessary Skills Now project team that will help contribute to the embedding of employability skills within curricula in advanced technology. For more information about the project, visit necessaryskillsnow.org.

BYO on the Road

SCATE National Resource Center and Pellet Productions, Inc. presented a “Build Your Own” Recruitment Video workshop for thirty faculty and staff of Blue Ridge Community College and area K-12 institutions in Weyers Cave, Virginia on Friday, March 4, 2017.

SCATE National Resource Center and Pellet Productions, Inc. presented a “Build Your Own” Recruitment Video workshop for thirty faculty and staff of Blue Ridge Community College and area K-12 institutions in Weyers Cave, Virginia on Friday, March 4, 2017.

Participants learned methods of attracting students into technician education have evolved over time and traditional approaches are not enough to maintain a competitive advantage.

Participants learned production basics ranging from video storytelling to audio recording to interview tips. Participants were taught how to use the YouTube video editor, the platform that houses the BYO micro content videos. The workshop concluded by the teams putting together a video of their own using the tools they had acquired. The winning participant video is featured above.

Build Your Own (BYO) Recruitment Video is an easy to use tool that gives access to our collection of micro content technician education videos available through Pellet Productions ATETV to tell your “story” in a visible and memorable way. The digital archive also includes music and other effects that add polished touches to the finished videos.

If you want to show prospective students what your college is all about, why not try the BYO Recruitment Video tool to find today’s talent for tomorrow’s success! We offer BYO onsite training just call 843-676-8541 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. any inquiries or questions. You may also visit our website, www.teachingtechnicians.org to learn more.

2016-17 Mentor-Connect NSF ATE Awardees

The Mentor-Connect project worked with Cohort 4 college teams who submitted grant proposals to NSF ATE.

The Mentor-Connect project worked with Cohort 4 college teams who submitted grant proposals to NSF ATE in October 2016. These colleges were working through the NSF award process and 8 new awards were awarded in early to mid-spring. The project currently has 48 cohort colleges who have been awarded to-date. 

Also, effective January 30, 2017, NSF has a new Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG)  that should be followed.

Congratulations to all of the colleges that were funded in 2016 and 2017 (Cohorts 3 and 4).

Mentor-Connect is currently accepting applications for Cohort 6 via www.mentorconnect.org. Applications will be due October 13. Stay tuned for more information regarding the application process.

FDTC Students Travel to Nation’s Capital

Two Florence-Darlington Technical College students traveled to Washington D.C.

Two Florence-Darlington Technical College students traveled to Washington D.C. to represent the college at the 2016 National Science Foundation ATE Principal Investigators’ Conference. South Carolina Advanced Technological Education Center facilitated their participation. Michael Davis, second-year FDTC Mechanical Engineering Technology student and Ivy Wilson, second-year FDTC Civil Engineering Technology student, were nominated by their lead instructor and chosen by the American Association of Community Colleges as ATE Student Scholarship recipients to attend the Washington D.C. conference, October 26 -28, 2016.

Each student showcased a project.  Michael’s project was entitled “Additive Manufacturing from SiMT and MakerSpace,” and Ivy’s was entitled “Solid Works Render to 3D print.” The showcase sessions at the conference were attended by nearly 900 attendees representing education, industry and government. “For me, David Edwards helped me out a lot,” Wilson said about the FDTC Engineering Technology Instructor. “He helped me come up with a solid works project for my presentation. It was really cool to go because I had never been to Washington, D.C. before.”

Michael Davis said, “The experience helped give me a better understanding of what everyone else is doing, and it helped me become better rounded. It allowed me to take from what we learned here with 3D printing and additive manufacturing and compare it to related fields and what other colleges were doing.”

The ATE Student participant conference schedule included showcasing their projects and participating in several roundtable discussions with fellow student participants. Indus-try Speed Networking was a unique student activity at the conference designed to facilitate introductions between business/industry representatives and the student participants.

An ATE Student Recognition Breakfast was held on Thursday, where each individual student was recognized by National Science Foundation officials for their outstanding accomplishments in ATE programs. An ATE Student Breakfast networking session provided an informational setting for ATE students to network with one an-other and share their educational and professional experiences.  They were also treated to a complimentary tour of the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum and given an opportunity to see some of the city’s important landmarks.

In addition to the student-focused sessions, Michael and Ivy attended the plenary sessions featuring keynote speakers on the following topics:  Better Skills, Better Jobs, and Better Lives, Preparing Technicians for the 21st Century Workforce, and Leadership in the World Today.  They also attended showcase sessions where ATE-funded projects and centers shared the purposes and products of their work. The overall conference theme was Growing Leaders; Leading Change.

Two FDTC Students Visit Washington, D.C.

FDTC students travel to nation's capital

Two Florence-Darlington Technical College (FDTC) students recently traveled to Washington, D.C. for the 24th National Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Principal Investigators (PI) Conference at the Omni Shoreham Hotel on October 23-25, 2017. 

 
Selected students, Alyssa Ward and Josh Wos, both in their second year studying Civil Engineering Technology (CET), were nominated by Department Chair, Kamil Zakhour to attend the Washington D.C. conference as ATE Student Scholarship recipients. 
 
The students developed and showcased their “Solar Walkway Project.” Their showcase consisted of a presentation of their proposal design for the construction of a covered walk-way for students, staff, and faculty between major ends of the FDTC campus. The project outlined the required area of the walkway, construction design of solar roof joints, and the land survey for accuracy. Their showcase also included detailed drawings of the project and the calculations used in design. 
 
The conference was hosted by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) with the support of the National Science Foundation (NSF). The South Carolina Advanced Technological Education (SCATE) Center coordinated and facilitated their participation. 
 
The conference brought together approximately 850 people to focus on the critical issues related to advanced technological education. Key people working on ATE projects from across the country participated in the conference. Attendees of the conference represented community colleges, business and industry, secondary school systems, and four-year colleges covering projects in a wide variety of areas such as: information technology, engineering technology, microand nanotechnologies, chemical technology, biotechnology, and others.

NSF’s National Science Board to hold next skilled technical workforce listening session in South Carolina

Board 'listening sessions' designed to understand educational gaps in building next generation of skilled, technical workforce

NSF’s National Science Board to hold next skilled technical workforce listening session in South Carolina

September 12, 2018

The National Science Board (NSB) will hold its next “listening session” at Florence-Darlington Technical College in Florence, South Carolina. Board members will hear the insights of the local community on challenges and opportunities related to the skilled technical workforce--individuals who use STEM capabilities in their jobs but do not have a bachelor’s degree.

The goal for this event is to add to the Board’s broader understanding about an issue of great interest to the National Science Foundation (NSF) as well as to Congress, the Administration, the science and engineering community, and other stakeholders.

“These listening sessions give the Board a chance to learn about different types of community colleges that serve diverse populations and industries across America,” said James Jackson, chair of NSB’s External Engagement Committee and psychology professor at the University of Michigan. “Learning from a range of individuals gives us valuable insights that inform the Board’s thinking about how to foster growth and development of the nation’s skilled technical workforce.”

NSB is NSF’s governing board and advises Congress and the President on science policy issues. NSF is the only federal agency to support fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering.

According to NSF’s Science & Engineering Indicators 2018 report, South Carolina has a slightly lower percentage of people working in technical occupations -- about 1.2 percent -- compared to the national average of 1.4 percent. South Carolina is one of 14 states plus the District of Columbia that performs between $1-$5 billion per year in research and development (R&D). Annual state performance in R&D varies considerably, from $253 million in Wyoming to $125 billion in California. R&D spending is a driver of innovation. Investing in science and technology today has ripple-effect benefits throughout the economy over the long term.

“NSF has invested in the basic research, assisted in the commercialization of technological inventions, and fostered growth to a point that NSF is now involved in thinking about and helping to shape, the education of the workforce needed to evolve these industries,” said Victor McCrary, chair of NSB’s Skilled Technical Workforce Task Force and a member of the NSB. “These nationwide listening sessions help the Board learn about which partnerships work between business and educational institutions and where the Board can bridge the educational gap to help fill in-demand, high-paying, skilled, technical jobs across the country.”

Florence-Darlington Technical College is a publicly funded and community-based higher education institution and home to the NSF-funded South Carolina Advanced Technological Education (SCATE) National Resource Center, dedicated to expanding excellence in technical education. It is one of 42 Advanced Technological Education Centers in the United States.

In conjunction with NSB’s listening session, SCATE along with the SC Department of Commerce’s Department of Innovation will host a 3Phase workshop and convening the following day at the Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SiMT). The workshop will focus on funding opportunities for small business through the Small Business Innovation and Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.  Board members will have the opportunity to engage with start-up entrepreneurs and local government officials working to provide an environment that fosters growth and success among small tech business community in South Carolina. Consortium participants include the regional industry, South Carolina Department of Commerce, the South Carolina Research Authority, and the technology incubator community at FTDC.

WHAT: An event seeking local insights into workforce issues to catalyze and inform discussions about essential components of the nation's economy.  

WHEN: Wednesday, September 26th at 1:30 p.m. (NSB Listening Session)

            Thursday, September 27th at 8:00 a.m. (SBIR/STTR workshop)

WHERE: Florence-Darlington Technical College, SiMT in Florence, South Carolina

WHO: NSB members and business leaders are among a diverse group of stakeholders, spanning industry, chambers of commerce, local and state government, educational institutions and students

CONTACT: Interested media should contact Ivy Kupec at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (703) 292-8796 to schedule an interview with organizers.

About NSB
The National Science Board and the National Science Foundation director jointly head NSF. NSB identifies issues critical to NSF's future and establishes the Foundation's policies. The NSB also provides the President and Congress with Science and Engineering Indicators, a biennial report on U.S. progress in science and technology. Members are appointed by the President for six-year terms and selected for their eminence in research, education and records of distinguished service.

About SCATE
SCATE, a National ATE Center for Expanding Excellence in Technician Education since 1994, is a well-established and widely connected NSF-funded initiative housed at Florence-Darlington Technical College. Its resources support the development of a highly skilled technician workforce in engineering, manufacturing, and industrial technologies via faculty development and mentoring, problem-based learning, research, evaluation, and student scholarships and internships. SCATE provides the nation’s only online service that proactively connects educators to relevant professional development. For more information see SCATE websites: https://www.scate.org/, http://www.teachingtechnicians.org/, and http://www.mentor-connect.org/.  

About SiMT

The mission of the Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SiMT) at Florence-Darlington Technical College is to support our students' and college's future through development of exceptional business solutions for our clients in a timely, efficient manner by providing leading subject matter experts, effective communication, personal attention and unparalleled service to our customers. We provides access to emerging technologies for everyone from a startup in the Business Incubator, to tier one suppliers for Boeing, to major industries and corporations such as Otis Elevator and Honda Manufacturing of South Carolina.

###

To download PDF version of this press release, click here

SCATE Center reaffirms partnership

The SCATE Center reaffirms its working collaboration with the Center for Occupational Research and Development by the awarding of grant for the Necessary Skills Now Network, an ATE Coordination Network to CORD.

Hope Cotner, President and CEO of CORD speaking to a participant at the 2018 ATE PI Conference
The SCATE Center reaffirms its working collaboration with the Center for Occupational Research and Development by the awarding of grant for the Necessary Skills Now Network, an ATE Coordination Network to CORD. Hope Cotner, President and CEO of CORD announced the aim of the Network “is to advance community college faculty and their respective industry partners’ awareness of, access to, and ability to collaborate around employability skills development in support of technician education across the STEM disciplines.”

The Network’s formation is in response to demands from employers across the U.S. for colleges to address the lack of employability or “soft” skills among entry-level technicians in a broad range of high-technology fields. The Network will assist community and technical colleges in sharing resources, exploring new teaching methods, and collaborating with local employers to help students improve their mastery of essential workplace skills such as teamwork, problem-solving, communication, and dependability.

The SCATE Center will serve as liaison to other Advanced Technological Education centers and projects and to ATE Central, SCATE will assist in coordination of dissemination activities and listening sessions and Co-PI Rick Roberts will serve as a moderator for the Research to Practice forum as best practices are developed by the Network. The SCATE Center is proud of this continuing partnership and collaboration with CORD.

NSF's National Science Board held one of four skilled technical workforce listening sessions in South Carolina

On Wednesday, September 26th , members from NSB and NSF visited FDTC’s SiMT to hold one of four Skilled Technical Workforce Listening Sessions.

IMG 1921On Wednesday, September 26th , members from the National Science Board (NSB) and the National Science Foundation visited Florence-Darlington Technical college (FDTC)’s Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SiMT) to hold one of four Skilled Technical Workforce Listening Sessions. Board 'listening sessions' are designed to understand educational gaps in building the next generation of skilled, technical workforce. Prior to having this listening session in South Carolina, NSB held three other listening sessions on the Skilled Technical Workforce in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Warren, Michigan; and Alexandria, Virginia.

The goal for this event was to add to the Board’s broader understanding about an issue of great interest to the National Science Foundation (NSF) as well as to Congress, the Administration, the science and engineering community, and other stakeholders.

IMG 1952Members of the NSB conducted the listening session to gain insights and perceptions around the following areas: 1) The stigma and lack of awareness that currently exists around community colleges and technical training. 2) The skills gap of students. 3) Human resource practices that often exclude qualified skilled workers. 4) The socio-economic barriers that many community college students still face. 5) The lack of racial and gender diversity that is also common in technical fields.   

As a part of the event, members from the NSB and NSF toured the SiMT Building as well. The tour included the Additive Manufacturing and Advanced Machining areas, the Social Media Listening Center, the Gould Business Incubator, and the Interactive Production Studio. “For National Science Board members and staff alike, touring the SiMT facility was one of the highlights of our visit to Florence-Darlington Technical College,” said Victor McCrary, chair of NSB’s Skilled Technical Workforce Task Force and a member of the NSB.  “We especially appreciated the opportunity to interact with, and learn from the students, faculty, and staff in the different technical program areas offered at the SiMT.”

In addition to the tour, members from NSB and NSF also heard several presentations from local industry partners. Those included hearing overviews about Francis Marion University Industrial Engineering and FDTC 2+2 Program and the South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA) and SC Launch program.

Dr. Derek Jokisch FMU Dept. Chair Physics and Industrial Engineering

Following the NSB Facilitated Listening Session on the Skilled Technical Workforce, the South Carolina Advanced Technical Education (SCATE) Center of Excellence along with the SC Department of Commerce’s Department of Innovation hosted a 3Phase workshop that convened the following day. The workshop focused on funding opportunities for small businesses through the Small Business Innovation and Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.

Board members had an opportunity to engage with start-up entrepreneurs and local government officials working to provide an environment that fosters growth and success among small tech businesses in South Carolina. Consortium participants included the regional industry, South Carolina Department of Commerce, the South Carolina Research Authority, and the technology incubator community at FTDC.

According to Rick Roberts, managing director for the SCATE Center of Excellence at FDTC “Growing the nation’s science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce through pathways to technology is critical for our national economy and overall competitiveness.  The NSB and the NSF are catalysts for this growth, so it was very important for the Board to hear from what is happening in our region to address the industry need for a skilled technical workforce.” NSB is NSF’s governing board and advises Congress and the President on science policy issues. NSF is also the only federal agency to support fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering.

Elizabeth Hawthorne Explains 2 On-ramps to ATE Program

Union County College Professor Elizabeth K. Hawthorne explained Mentor-Connect and MentorLinks to participants of the Equity and Inclusion STEM Thought Leaders’ Summit held in conjunction with the 2018 ATE Principal Investigators Conference.

Union County College Professor Elizabeth K. Hawthorne explained Mentor-Connect and MentorLinks to participants of the Equity and Inclusion STEM Thought Leaders’ Summit held in conjunction with the 2018 ATE Principal Investigators Conference

As a Mentor-Connect mentee in 2015 and a current MentorLinks mentor Hawthorne is the perfect person to explain these two on-ramps to the Advanced Technological Education program.

“If it wasn’t for Mentor-Connect, Union County College wouldn’t have its new degree in cyberforensics,” she said.

Prior to being selected for Mentor-Connect, Hawthorn explained that she and colleagues at Union College had tried for two years to obtain an ATE grant. “We failed miserably,” she said during the Thought Leaders’ Summit session that was also attended by MentorLinks participants prior to the 2018 ATE Principal Investigators Conference.

The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), a Mentor-Connect partner piloted the STEM Thought Leaders’ Summit this year. AACC has offered MentorLinks since 1999 and has also organized the ATE Principal Investigators Conference since 1994 with ATE grant support. Mentor-Connect is a project of the South Carolina Advanced Technological Education Center at Florence-Darlington Technical College

While the three outreach initiatives aim to broaden and increase participation in the ATE program, they work in distinct ways with teams of faculty and administrators:

  • · The STEM Thought Leaders’ Summit was a two-day workshop to help faculty from minority-serving or rural institutions develop STEM technician education action plans that consider equity and inclusion.
  • · MentorLinks provides a STEM education expert to work with colleges for two years while they improve an existing technician education program or start a new one.
  • · Mentor-Connect provides technical resources and a mentor who offers advice over a nine-month period on colleges’ ATE grant proposals.    

“The most helpful thing Mentor-Connect provided was a mentor [Casey W. O’Brien] who matched our evaluation needs to an experienced external evaluator,” Hawthorne explained in an email. O’Brien is the executive director and principal investigator of the National CyberWatch Center.

As the principal investigator of the Cyber Service! Interdisciplinary & Experiential Education for Cyber Forensics Technicians project (#1601060) Hawthorne continues to use Mentor-Connect’s digital resources.

During her presentation she demonstrated how she used the keyword search function within Mentor-Connect’s online library to learn how to draw down funds from Union County College’s  $199,987 NSF award and account for her time and effort on the grant. These and other post-award tasks are her responsibility as the project’s principal investigator because the one person in the college’s grants office focuses on helping faculty prepare grant proposals.

During this fall, the degree program’s first semester, 18 students are taking the Digital Forensics Essentials and Linux Fundamentals courses, two of the courses that were developed with ATE grant support. The grant also covered the cost of digital forensics software and hardware tools in a dedicated classroom at the New Jersey college.

Fourteen community partners, including the state police and two universities, have agreed to serve as sites for the service-learning experience students must complete in a capstone course during their final semester. The program prepares students for careers as digital forensics technicians, digital forensics and eDiscovery associates, cyberforensics examiners, and cybersecurity incident handlers.

[Leading Photo: Elizabeth K. Hawthorne in Union County College lab]

[Secondary Photo: Elizabeth K. Hawthorne, who received Mentor-Connect mentoring in 2015, shared information about her Cyber Service! project during a showcase session at the 2018 Advanced Technological Education Principal Investigators Conference.]

 

Mentor-Connect Mentee Jay Olsen Speaks at STEM Thought Leaders’ Summit

Jay Olsen, a Mentor-Connect project mentee in 2015, was a featured speaker at the Equity and Inclusion STEM Thought Leaders’ Summit where he shared information about the successful agriculture systems program that Snow College created.

Florence, S.C. (November, 2018) – Jay Olsen, a Mentor-Connect project mentee in 2015, was a featured speaker at the Equity and Inclusion STEM Thought Leaders’ Summit where he shared information about the successful agriculture systems program that Snow College created with its first Advanced Technological Education grant.

“Don’t get discouraged,” was a key message he shared with the 15 teams of instructors and administrators who are from either minority-serving institutions or rural community colleges. The summit was held October 23 and 24 in conjunction with the 2018 ATE Principal Investigators Conference in Washington, D.C. The American Association of Community Colleges received ATE grant support from the National Science Foundation for this pilot project to broaden and increase participation in the ATE program.

During their panel presentation Olsen, Agribusiness and Agriculture director at Snow College in Ephraim, Utah, and H. Scott Halliday, Digital Technology Center coordinator at Navajo Technical University, in Crownpoint, New Mexico, offered practical suggestions for attracting faculty and students to STEM programs at rural colleges.

Snow College, for instance, has used part of its $198.671 ATE grant (#1601397) to hire a recent Snow College graduate as a program “ambassador” who visits Utah high schools and interacts with Future Farmers of America chapters. His efforts have yielded a list of 400 students interested in the program and contact information for teachers throughout the state who are willing to work with the project.

ATE grant funds were also used to purchase equipment and provide release time for Snow College faculty as they developed the curriculum. Courses for the agricultural technology and mechanics AAS degree include traditional agriculture mechanics with instruction in advanced technologies such as those used in the GPS-controlled valves on pivot irrigation systems and drones that help monitor livestock.

Olsen credits questions from Osa Brand, the college’s Mentor-Connect mentor, with helping him and Michael P. Medley, the dean of Business and Applied Technologies, clarify their thinking as they wrote their first ATE grant proposal. Prior to applying for Mentor-Connect they had aligned a revitalization of the agriculture program, which had only a few dozen majors in 2011, with the college’s strategic plan.

Brand’s questions about the region’s hydrology and the economic impact of increasing demand for water from residential and business developments helped them shape the agricultural technology and mechanics degree program. The program prepares technicians with skills they can use for careers with commercial equipment companies and on family farms.

Because the STEM Thought Summit participants have not had ATE grants, Olsen offered this advice:

“Don’t write a grant that creates work for you. Find a grant that does what you’re already doing that will just enhance what you are doing, add to it—take you to the next level. You don’t want to get off on a tangent some place because a grant takes you that way and then you don’t succeed in what you’re currently doing and you don’t succeed with your grant work.

“First thing is surface the idea, talk about it, collaborate with others both on campus as well as off campus … have the courage to ask if somebody will be willing to share what they’ve done.”

Both Olsen and Halliday said clear writing that makes a strong case for one’s ideas is the key to successful grant writing. “Develop your story and learn how to tell it,” Olsen advised.

About Mentor-Connect:
Mentor-Connect: A Leadership Development and Outreach Initiative for ATE is an initiative of the South Carolina Advanced Technological Education Center of Excellence (SCATE) at Florence-Darlington Technical College (FDTC) designed to actively engage more two-year technical and community colleges in the improvement of technician education. Mentor-Connect works in partnership with the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) to help STEM faculty teams from participating institutions apply for grant funding from the National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education Program (NSF ATE). Potential grantees are assisted in developing grant writing skills and leadership skills. Mentoring is used for knowledge transfer. Those with many years of experience with NSF ATE funded projects serve as mentors to those who are new to the program. The project itself is also funded through work supported by the NSF under grant numbers 1501183 & 1840856. 

###

[Leading Photo: Jay Olsen on right]

[cutline]

Jay Olsen, right, listens while H. Scott Halliday makes a point during their panel discussion at the Equity and Inclusion STEM Thought Leaders’ Summit. Olsen, a 2015 Mentor-Connect mentee, is Agribusiness and Agriculture director at Snow College in Ephraim, Utah; Halliday is coordinator of the Digital Technology Center at Navajo Technical University in Crownpoint, New Mexico.

To find out more information contact:
Jay Olsen, Snow College 435-283-7335 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tynisha Ferguson, SCATE at 843-676-8576 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Lively Discussions at Synergy Session Launch HSI ATE Hub

Lively discussions and expressions of excitement about new resources to address the students’ needs at Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) filled the room at the Synergy Session on HSI Strategies and Challenges at the 2018 ATE PI Conference.

Washington, D.C. (January, 2019) – Lively discussions and expressions of excitement about new resources to address the students’ needs at Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) filled the room at the Synergy Session on HSI Strategies and Challenges at the 2018 Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Principal Investigators Conference.

The session to explore opportunities and share promising practices among the HSIs within the ATE program was the first formal convening of the HSI ATE Hub, a recently funded ATE project co-led by Mentor-Connect and Science Foundation Arizona HSI KickStarter. (DUE# 1800678 and DUE# 1800615.)

These initiatives support community and technical colleges in learning about funding opportunities in relevant STEM programs at the National Science Foundation (NSF), and mentor institutional teams (faculty and administrators) in developing their project ideas, crafting a proposal, and submitting to the program of interest. To date, the two programs have collectively served 45 HSIs in nine states, with student enrollments ranging from 400 to 40,000 and Hispanic enrollment percentages ranging from 27% to 97%.

The HSI ATE Hub project’s mission is to improve STEM and technician education programs at community college HSIs; increase the capacity of HSIs to obtain NSF grants; grow the HSI ATE community; and enable leadership and scholarship among the STEM faculty at HSIs.

As the project increases the capacity of community college HSIs to develop competitive ATE grant proposals its leaders anticipate that technician education programs at these institutions will help drive economic development in the communities they serve.

HSI photo 2
Approximately 25 people at the session engaged in small group discussions about the demographics of their colleges’ students and faculty; the challenges that students at HSIs face and institutional responses to them; and resources that would address unmet needs.

Information about a new NSF initiative for HSIs and long-standing HSI programs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of Education elicited enthusiastic comments. As people around the tables learned that their institutions shared similar challenges despite their locations in disparate parts of the country and different-sized enrollments, participants shared more details about successes and impediments they had encountered in building STEM technician programs on their campuses.

The groups identified the following strategies for positive project outcomes:

  • Develop a sustainability plan in advance.
  • Bring relevant business and industry people onto advisory teams while planning an initiative.
  • Involve advisory board members in internships, mentoring and other experiential programs that introduce students to career paths.
  • Make sure students have financial aid in addition to Pell grants as well as non-academic support options.

A representative of Palo Alto College in Texas, emphasized that finding out students’ needs and then providing academic and non-academic services to address them is also critical to their retention and perseverance in programs.

In a college survey Palo Alto students identified their challenges as food insecurity, housing and auto expense emergencies, and stress management. College leaders responded by creating an advocacy center with a food pantry and closet with business-attire clothing. It staffed the center with a mental health counselor and a case worker. The case worker helps students apply for low-cost loans or grants up to $300 for emergency expenses, and works with students to address issues that threaten to derail their academic plans. Additional information about what institutions can do to support students’ success in STEM programs can be found here

A representative of Norco College in California shared that workshops that inform guidance counselors about the growing opportunities in the STEM technical workforce are raising community awareness and boosting enrollment. She also reported that word-of-mouth endorsements from the parents and spouses of people who earned supply chain technician certificates during a Department of Labor program have helped student recruitment at the college.

The issue of STEM faculty members not reflecting the demographics of their student populations bubbled up in numerous discussions; it was cited by one group as a major problem. Building trust with students can alleviate racial, ethnic, and gender gaps, according to Selvum Pillay, professor and chairman of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

“You are not going to change the demographics of your faculty overnight, but what you can change is your [faculty’s] cultural understanding of student populations. When you try to develop that and your faculty’s understanding of that, you will have more success recruiting students irrespective of gender and race,” he said.

Currently, the NSF is seeking proposals for its Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI Program).The full solicitation (NSF 19-540) is at https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2019/nsf19540/nsf19540.htm. Proposals are due March 6, 2019 and September 18, 2019. For additional information about this current HSI Funding Opportunity, click here

About Mentor-Connect:
Mentor-Connect: A Leadership Development and Outreach Initiative for ATE is an initiative of the South Carolina Advanced Technological Education Center of Excellence (SCATE) at Florence-Darlington Technical College designed to engage more two-year technical and community colleges in the improvement of technician education. Mentor-Connect works in partnership with the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) to help STEM faculty teams from participating institutions apply for grant funding from the National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education program (NSF ATE). Mentor-Connect participants are assisted in developing grant-writing skills and leadership skills by mentors with many years of experience with NSF ATE funded projects. It is funded through NSF grant numbers 1204463 and 1501183. 

About SCATE:
South Carolina Advanced Technological Education Center of Excellence (SCATE), a National ATE Center for Expanding Excellence in Technician Education since 1994, is a well established and widely connected NSF-funded initiative housed at Florence-Darlington Technical College. Its resources support the development of a highly skilled technician workforce in engineering, manufacturing, and industrial technologies via faculty development and mentoring, problem-based learning, research, evaluation, and student scholarships and internships. SCATE provides the nation’s only online service that proactively connects educators to relevant professional development. For more information see SCATE websites: www.scate.org, https://www.teachingtechnicians.org/, http://www.mentor-connect.org/.

About Science Foundation Arizona:|
The Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz) Center for STEM at Arizona State University (ASU) provides services to Maximize the Educational and Economic Impact of STEM, particularly through working with faculty and students in community colleges – rural and Hispanic Serving. The SFAz Center for STEM provides the tools, resources, mentoring, and guidance to effectively assess STEM capabilities, develop STEM plans, and implement programs to support these plans. Formerly the STEM Education arm of Science Foundation Arizona, a 501(c)(3) non-profit,  the SFAz Center for STEM operates out of the ASU Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development (OKED), and is located at ASU SkySong, ASU’s Scottsdale Innovation Center and home to a diverse business community that links technology, research, education and entrepreneurship to position ASU and Greater Phoenix as global leaders in the knowledge economy.  For more information see www.sfaz.org/kickstarter and stem.sfaz.org

###

[Photos: HSI Synergy Session]

[cutline]

During the Synergy Session on HSI Strategies and Challenges participants engaged in small group discussions about the challenges that students at HSIs face and how colleges are responding to them. 

Congratulations to the four selected 2019 Mentor Fellows

Meet the 2019 Mentor Fellows - The Mentor Fellows internship program is an activity of the Mentor-Connect: Leadership Development and Outreach for ATE-2 project (DUE #1501183).

The Mentor Fellows internship program is an activity of the Mentor-Connect: Leadership Development and Outreach for ATE-2 project (DUE #1501183). Internship prepares new mentors to help new-to-ATE college faculty learn to develop competitive ATE grant proposals and grow as leaders. Program also supports a purposeful turnover of mentors over time. Previous mentors transition to become special-purpose Mentors for other aspects of mentoring within the Mentor-Connect project. Mentor Fellows facilitates the involvement of more members of the ATE Community, promotes an infusion of new ideas, and engages new talent for this important work. Those selected as Mentor Fellows have experience working within the NSF ATE community of programs and projects. Internships last approximately one year. Travel expenses and a stipend are paid to those who participate. Fellows commit to mentor shadowing by attending Mentor-Connect’s winter workshop to be held in New Orleans, LA; February 5-8, 2019 and the summer workshop to be held in St. Louis, MO; July 23-25 2019, as well as bi-monthly mentor interviews, technical assistance webinars, and study of Mentor-Connect resources, the NSF ATE proposal solicitation, and components of the PAPPG.

Ann Johnson

Ann JohnsonMs. Ann Johnson is an Associate Director of the National Geospatial Technology Center of Excellence (GeoTech Center). GeoTech is a NSF funded grant hosted at Jefferson Community and Technical College in Louisville, KY. The GeoTech Center supports community college geospatial programs nationally. She is also Co-PI on the iGETT NSF grant to provide faculty education in remote sensing and has also been a co-Principal Investigator on several ATE projects. When asked about her interest in serving as a Mentor Fellow and possibly moving into a Mentor-Connect mentor role and willingness to dedicate time to this work, she responded the “NSF ATE program has provided [her] with the opportunity to work with many faculty and colleges across the nation interested in creating programs for students that help them enter or advance in their careers.” She also noted she attributes much of her career success to beginning her education at a community college and “without that opportunity [she] would not have had the career [she has] enjoyed so much. [She] would like to give back to others by helping them become part of the ATE family.”

Director of the National Geospatial Technology Center of Excellence and Professor of Physics, Astronomy, and GIS Vincent A. Dinoto, Jr., GISP recommended Johnson. Dinoto believes Johnson “would make an outstanding mentor for the Mentor Connect program” because she has overseen the development of curriculum (model courses), development of certification exam preparation material, developed the idea of concept modules and created the first five modules, and she has kept the course content tool relevant instrument.” According to DiNoto, Johnson has also presented numerous papers and workshops on geospatial technologies at both regional and national meetings as well as worked with individual colleges in program development and improvement as part of her work with the Geo Tech Center.

CEO & Senior Partner of Rose Group Int’l Dr. Rachel MK Headley, PHP also recommended Johnson on the basis that she has known Johnson for over ten years and has observed Johnson as one who “understands how to work in a team, how to organize goals and objectives into project plans, and then can pull off the work as promised.” Headley also believes Johnson’s “deep experience in leading and participating in grant work sets her up to be an outstanding Mentor Connect mentor.”

Doug Laven

Doug LavenMr. Doug Laven works for South Central College as the Director of Mechatronics in North Mankato, MN. He has a Master of Business Administration in Technology Management from the University of Phoenix, a Bachelor of Science degree in Open Studies with a Technical Education concentration from Minnesota State University, Mankato, and a 2-Year Certification in Electronics Technology from South Central College. When asked about his interest in serving as a Mentor Fellow and possibly moving into a Mentor-Connect mentor role and willingness to dedicate time to this work, he responded, “primarily because of my teaching career at South Central College, I have a desire to help others succeed by building on their strengths.” He also said, “When I embarked on my first grant, I received assistance from individuals with grant experience and remember their wealth of knowledge that helped me to submit a successful proposal. He stated that he “wanted to share the knowledge gained over the past years with others by assisting them in preparing their first grant proposal.”

Mr. Christopher Lewis, Professor and Mechatronics Department Chair at Clark College recommended Laven saying that, “he brings with him knowledge, rapport, congeniality, and leadership, all desirable attributes for the Mentor Fellow opportunity he seeks.” Lewis also noted “he believes there is great potential just waiting to be released!”

Ms. Nancy Louwagie, of Normandale Community College located in Bloomington, MN is the Engineering Technology Programs Chair for the Engineering Technology Programs. She is also the PI for the Distance Education and Learning in Vacuum technology for Employment Readiness (DELIVER) program at Normandale Community College. She recommended Laven because he has “demonstrated his ability to effectively utilize NSF funded resources to create an innovative curriculum which features and emphasizes hands-on learning and pair curriculum delivery with distant learning models.” She goes on to say that “as a result, [Laven] managed the project to a highly successful outcome: the creation of a curriculum in Mechatronics which leads to a credential in Mechatronics Technology that is highly valued by regional employers.” She also noted Laven “combines two elements [she believes] are key for a good mentor: he is gifted in his technical craft AND he is approachable and supportive!”

Program Head of Mechatronics at Virginia Western Community College, Mr. Dan Horine, ME, also recommended Laven saying Laven has “a proven record of mentoring faculty, including [himself] through the [half-day PLC workshops at the HI-TEC Conference]. His ability to reach the faculty is unparalleled.”

Ken Mays

Ken MaysKen Mays works for Central Oregon Community College as an Automotive Technology Program Director. When asked about his interest in serving as a Mentor Fellow and possibly moving into a Mentor-Connect mentor role and willingness to dedicate time to this work, he responded “Mentor Connect is a solid program that opens opportunities to community colleges. My team has been a recipient of great coaching from the leaders of Mentor Connect. Being the recipient of an NSF Grant was groundbreaking for our community college - not having a grant culture in previous years.” He also noted, “I entered into the process with zero experience or awareness of what an NSF grant could do for our college or region and our team worked with our Mentor for several months, trying to understand how to process a concept and turn it into a full proposal. It worked.” Mays continued that he is still learning as opportunities continue to expand and he “would like to work with new applicants to the NSF community in the future.”

Mary Ann Asson-Batres, PhD Former Rotating Program Director, NSF/BIO/IOS-2012-2015 and current Grants Sub-Contractor for COCC recommended Mays saying, “the most important thing [she] can say about Ken is that he finds time to do what needs to be done to create excellence in everything he is involved in, be that encouraging a woman to find her place in a career in automotive service and technology, developing new curriculum and sharing it with other institutions, working with industry to create and institute new standards for emerging technologies, or spending time with his children when they need him most."

Robert W. Feldmaier, Director for the Center for Advanced Automotive Technology Macomb Community College in Warren, MI, who also recommended Mays said, [Mays] has excellent communication skills that compliment his technical and educator knowledge. He would perform very well as a Mentor-Fellow for Mentor Connect.”

Matthew Swenson 

Mathew Swenson Photo lg 002Matt Swenson works as a Grants Director at Green River College in Auburn, WA. Matt has a Master of Business Administration in Not-for-Profit Leadership, a Bachelor of Arts in East Asian Studies, and a Professional certificate in Advanced Fundraising Management. He was highly recommended by five of his colleagues who have worked extensively with him over the years. When asked about his interest in serving as a Mentor Fellow and possibly moving into a Mentor-Connect mentor role and willingness to dedicate time to this work, he responded, “I've significantly contributed to multiple ATE projects over the past five years. I have found myself increasingly being asked for advice on ATE proposals, from my colleagues and from my counterparts at other community and technical colleges. I greatly enjoy supporting their efforts. I believe that being a Mentor will help me to continue this work, and ensure that the advice which I provide is accurate and useful. Last {but not least!), I deeply respect the Mentor Connect program's importance to the ATE community, having participated in several Mentor Connect webinars and used its resources many times.”

Kendrick Hang, Information Technology & Computer Science Instructor said, “Matthew's communication skills, follow-through, and organizational skills are best-in-class as proposals require assembling a team of people across campus, and the proposal development effort is often deadline driven.” Hang also noted that Swenson “has been a critical team member in the development of both NSF ATE projects that [they] have been involved in (EXCEL-IT and AppConnectNW.)

Mel Cossette, Executive Director and Principal Investigator of the National Resource Center for Materials Technology Education in Lynnwood, WA said, “Matthew has accumulated a wealth of knowledge and experience that will be invaluable to mentees including: grant writing requirements, budgeting, working with an evaluator and navigating the ATE community.” Cossette also noted, “His guidance and assistance is sought after, not only by colleges in Washington State, but also on a national level.”

Ken Mays, Former Mentor-Connect Mentee, Becomes Mentor Fellow

Mays is the first Mentor-Connect mentee to participate in the internship program that prepares people to became mentors for Mentor-Connect, the ATE project that helped his first National Science Foundation (NSF) grant.

The regenerative leadership development aspect of Mentor-Connect began a new phase in 2019 with Ken Mays’s addition to the corps of mentor fellows.

Mays is the first Mentor-Connect mentee to participate in the internship program that prepares people to became mentors for Mentor-Connect, the ATE project that helped his first National Science Foundation (NSF) grant. It was the first awarded to Central Oregon Community College (COCC) as well.

Since 2014 Mays has gone from observing at a distance the emergence of a new automotive technology to leading the national effort to develop the first skill standards for technicians who work on hybrid electric vehicles. 

Mays, who is COCC’s director of automotive technology, is one of four Mentor-Connect mentor fellows who will shadow Mentor-Connect’s most experienced mentors during 2019. This process helps the fellows and Mentor-Connect leaders determine if formally mentoring faculty from colleges that are new-to-the-ATE program is a good fit for them. The three other mentor fellows have been involved in multiple ATE grants, but did not receive mentoring from Mentor-Connect. 

Mays did. When asked about the results of his Mentor-Connect experience, his initial “Oh, Geez” response was followed by a long pause as he silently tallied the positive things that have occurred since January 2014 when he and Bruce Emerson, COCC physics professor, arrived at their first Mentor-Connect workshop session “without a clue” about the ATE program.

At the time they had a bare sketch of a plan for combining instruction in hybrid electric vehicle technologies, which Mays considers the most exciting new automotive technology, with open badge credentials that Emerson was then testing for alternative certification of skills.

“We met with our mentor by phone every week,” Mays said of their process for writing the grant proposal and helping the college set up the systems for handling an NSF grant if their ideas received a grant award.     

Deborah Boisvert “was very patient with us,” Mays said of their mentor who was then principal investigator of Broadening Area Technological Education Connections (BATEC) at the University of Massachusetts Boston. The proposal for the Northwest Engineering Vehicle Exchange (NEVTEX) that Mays and Emerson submitted in October 2014 received a grant in the Small Grants for Institutions New to ATE track in May 2015

Mays credits Mentor-Connect with facilitating NEVTEX’s improvements to the automotive technology program at COCC and at partner colleges in the region; instigating the non-profit Advanced Vehicle Training Group Northwest that continues to offer educational opportunities for instructors and advanced automotive technicians; and preparing him for his second successful ATE grant proposal. That project—NEVTEX2—is a partnership with another 2014 Mentor-Connect mentee, John Frala of Rio Hondo College.

Automakers have noticed and have visited COCC to see what students are learning in the latticed curriculum that awards badges, five certificates, and an AAS degree in Automotive Technology in Electronics and Diagnostics.

The first NEVTEX grant supported the creation of five advanced automotive courses that are part of the college’s offerings. “Emerson established a mechanism to promote digital badging for two of the courses,” Mays said referring to the Hybrid Electric I and Hybrid Battery Systems courses.  

Mays, Emerson, and Frala have presented information about their ATE-funded work at national industry and education conferences.

Mays hopes the skill standards that NEVTEX2 is developing with industry advisors will provide the basis for new curricula that other colleges will adopt to teach the technicians who maintain electric-drive vehicles.

2019 Mentors Fellows pictured from left to right Matthew Swenson, Doug Laven, Ann Johnson, and Ken Mays

As he recounted his ATE journey at the end of his first day as a mentor fellow, Mays said he is ready to serve in any way that Mentor-Connect’s leaders deem helpful. Referring to the “fabulous ideas” of the 2019 mentees, Mays said he hopes to be a source of encouragement and guidance to them. “I want to see each college that comes in the door here succeed,” he said. 

843.676.8547

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DUE-1003733. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Copyright © SCATE Center of Excellence. All rights reserved. All material on this website is provided at no-cost under the Creative Commons License, “Attribution—Non-Commercial—Share Alike"