ATE Impacts

NSF Investments & Significant Partnerships Help SBCC Offer Micro- & Nanotechnology Boot Camp


SBCC faculty gain semiconductor manufacturing experience at the California NanoSystems Institute at UCSB.

Santa Barbara City College’s (SBCC) development of a micro- and nanotechnology training boot camp, has benefited from  

“The building of the relationships—of the connections with industry—that would not have happened if we didn't have that existing connection to UCSB ... having worked with them for a long time and then getting that connection to the NanoFab, which is the location where the industry partners come,” Jens-Uwe Kuhn explained in an interview. He noted that many of the 45 high-tech companies in SBCC’s service area with employees working at the micro- and nanoscale  rent space at times in UCSB’s facilities, which were built with support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and other entities.

Kuhn is the dean of Math and Sciences at SBCC and principal investigator of the Central Coast Partnership for Regional Industry Focused Micro/Nanotechnology Education (CC-PRIME),  an Advanced Technological Education (ATE) project funded by NSF.

In the Journal of Advanced Technological Education article “Building a Micro/Nanotechnology Cleanroom Training,” Kuhn and Demis D. John, process scientist manager at UCSB, report on SBCC’s development of training for semiconductor manufacturing technicians without the community college having its own cleanroom. It is a challenge other colleges face because of the cost of building and running such facilities. CC-PRIME is also featured in ATE Impacts 2024-2025.

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Enhancing Accessibility at Conferences: A Guide for Presenters


A woman using American Sign Language in a video conference

Summer conference season is upon us, including our own HI-TEC Conference which is just around the corner. Presenters play a crucial role in ensuring that these events are accessible and informative for all attendees. With the goal of making every presentation as inclusive as possible, ATE Impacts has compiled some essential tips and resources to help you prepare your materials.

Accessible Presentation Planning

Getting Organized
Start by outlining your presentation and organizing your thoughts. Consider your audience and their diverse needs. Collect supporting documents and ensure your goals are clear. As you create your presentation, keep accessibility at the forefront. Remember, successful sessions are those that are relevant across different fields, industries, and professional roles.

Timing Your Presentation
Practice makes perfect. Fine-tune your presentation to fit within the 45-minute session length, including time for questions and answers. Keep in mind that real-time at the conference may move faster, so add a buffer of a few extra minutes.

Preparing for Questions
Anticipate potential questions from your audience. Have someone review your presentation and pose questions to you. Think through your responses and have additional resources ready to share.

Delivering an Accessible Presentation

Arriving Early
Be considerate of the presenters before you and use the 15-minute break between sessions to set up. Ensure all HI-TEC-provided cables and equipment remain for the next presenter.

Tracking Your Time
If you have co-presenters, designate someone to keep track of time. If you're presenting solo, set reminders or cues in your slides to stay on schedule. Be courteous by ending on time and allowing the next presenter to set up.

Ensuring Accessibility

  • Caption Videos: Ensure all embedded videos are captioned.
  • Clear Audio: Make sure audio is clear and descriptive.
  • Describe Visuals: Describe any images or photos and explain their relevance.
  • Read Slides Aloud: Verbally share all information on your slides.
  • Use Microphones: Speak clearly and use the microphone if available.
  • Simple Slides: Avoid overcrowding slides with too much information.

Sharing Contact Information
Many attendees may want to connect with you post-session. Share your contact information verbally and include it on your slides. Providing an email address or other contact methods can facilitate further discussions.

Sharing Your Slides
Sharing your slides is optional but recommended. Use services like Apple iCloud, Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, or Microsoft OneDrive to create a shareable link. A QR code can also be a convenient way to share this link.

Accessibility Resources
To further enhance your presentation’s accessibility, consider the following resources:

  • W3C WAI: Making Events Accessible: A comprehensive checklist for making your materials and presentations accessible.
  • Creating Accessible Presentations: Tips for creating accessible presentations before, during, and after your session.
  • Microsoft, Adobe, Apple, Google, and Prezi: Each offers guides on making documents and presentations accessible on their platforms.

If you have other resources you’d like to share out related to making conferences and presentations more accessible we’re happy to help - send them along to us at  By working together we can ensure that our educational conferences are  accessible and impactful for everyone. Learn more about HI-TEC 2024 at the conference site and visit AccessATE and CAST for more information about accessibility

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GEOBRIDGES Aims to Expand & Diversify the Geospatial Workforce


GEOBRIDGES combines classroom instruction with research and monitoring internships in the Wind River Mountains.


GEOBRIDGES at Central Wyoming College is gaining momentum in its second summer of using Advanced Technological Education grant funds to provide stipends for students to assist with applied geospatial science and technology (GIST) research and monitoring in the Wind River Mountains.

In 2023, 20 students participated; 30% were Native Americans. There are Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribal communities in the service area of the college, which is a Native American-Serving Non-Tribal Institution.

This summer there is a waiting list for GEOBRIDGES, which teaches geospatial information science (GIS) and other skills ranging from first aid to data analysis in credit courses that apply toward CWC's Expedition Science certificate and associate degree. This credential qualifies students for entry-level technician roles with the U.S. Forest Service, local tribes, and private employers. The condensed format also accelerates associate degree completion.

“We're putting the capstone first in a sense. They're getting these amazing opportunities that are usually for advanced undergraduates and graduate students. And as they're doing these projects, they're going to conferences and presenting. They're writing hypotheses. They're doing scientific research projects,” Jacki Klancher said during a recent interview. Klancher is the director of Research and Innovation at CWC’s Alpine Science Institute, an environmental health and science professor, and principal investigator of GEOBRIDGES.

Aside from the significant knowledge boost, the GEOBRIDGES project (National Science Foundation Award 2202230) provides students with comprehensive access to expensive wilderness learning experiences that are usually out of reach for individuals who have to work summer jobs or who have expended their financial aid during fall and spring semesters. CWC and other funders (listed at the end of the article) cover participants’ tuition for their summer courses and expedition-related expenses.

In the ATE Impacts Video featuring GEOBRIDGES, Klancher says, “I’m really proud to be able to offer something that’s so practical that you can apply it with a two-year degree or you can build on it and take it where you want to. I feel great satisfaction that when they leave at the end of the summer, their pockets won’t be empty and their minds will be full.”

The ATE Impacts Video series at added four videos in May in conjunction with the release of the book ATE Impacts 2024-2025: 30 Years of Advancing Technician Education. The cinematic videos were created by Vox Television in partnership with the Internet Scout Research Group, part of the Computer Sciences Department of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Both the book and the videos feature ATE community members—students, industry partners, instructors, and administrators—explaining the ATE program’s positive impact on their lives and the people served by the NSF grant-funded programs across the United States. The book and video series were prepared with NSF support under grant 2033738.

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From the Archive: Teaching with Snack Foods - Engage. Educate. Enjoy!


A photo of a person using flour in a baking scenario

Who said teaching complex STEM concepts couldn't be as easy as pie—or perhaps as crumbly as a cookie?  Within the ATE community, some inventive educators have transformed everyday snack foods into meaningful learning opportunities. By utilizing everyday pantry treats, they present scientific and mathematical principles in ways that are not only more approachable for students but also delightfully delicious.

In this month's From the Archive blog post, we highlight three ATE projects and centers that have creatively used common confections as educational tools. First, a marshmallow becomes the focal point of a lesson on measurement and calculations. Next, chocolate chip cookies serve as a model for understanding the process and impact of surface mining and land reclamation. Finally, we delve into the practical and experimental aspects of candy making, discovering melting point, temperature, and emulsions. Each resource is crafted to engage, educate, and, of course, entertain.

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ATE PI Eric N. Wooldridge Earns the National Science Board’s Science and Society Award


Somerset Community College Professor and ATE PI Eric Wooldridge received the NSB’s 2024 Science and Society Award.

Eric N. Wooldridge, principal investigator (PI) of four Advanced Technological Education (ATE) grants at Somerset Community College in Kentucky, received  the Science and Society Award from the National Science Board (NSB) on May 1 with Sheri McGuffin, the STEM coordinator at AdvanceKentucky, an initiative of the Kentucky Science Technology Corporation.

Wooldridge and McGuffin were honored for their work since 2020 spreading high impact and accessible additive manufacturing education to community colleges and high schools across Kentucky. The award recognizes “their successful effort to support and encourage people in Kentucky to join the STEM workforce.”

During a panel discussion with NSB members and other award winners on May 2, McGuffin reported that their AdvanceKentucky Influencer Model had trained 201 community college, secondary, and elementary school educators and introduced 3D printing concepts to 5,000 students. Their collaboration has also resulted in the first state-endorsed career and technical education pathway for additive manufacturing.  

In response to follow-up questions from NSB members, Wooldridge suggested the model could be replicated to help the nation grow its semiconductor fabrication workforce, especially given the advancements in low-cost virtual reality technologies. This is the focus of one of his current ATE grants.

“Community colleges are truly nexus points that have the power to directly affect K-12 educators, students, and even the economic profile of a region,” Wooldridge said. (See his comments and McGuffin’s to the NSB at 1:08 of this recording of the board's meeting on May 2.)

The National Science Board advises the president and Congress and sets the policies of the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), the independent science agency. NSF’s largest investment in two-year colleges is the ATE program, which focuses on improving technician education.  

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Maximizing Conference Impact with Greg Kepner


A photo of the inside of a conference center, with booths and people milling about

Having a strong presence at conferences can make a big impact on your project and center work – helping support your outreach efforts, connecting you with colleagues, and creating partnership opportunities. In this blog post, Greg Kepner, PI of the ATE Collaborative Outreach and Engagement Project (ACOE), shares his insights for creating a memorable conference booth.

As part of the ACOE during 2022-23, Greg hosted the ATE Community Exhibit Booth at 28 national, regional, or state conferences and gave presentations, hosted roundtable discussions, or poster sessions at 17 conferences. As a follow up to the ACOE project, the NavigATE project was recently awarded to continue hosting the ATE Community exhibit to increase awareness and visibility of the ATE program, the ATE centers and projects, mentoring initiatives, and educational materials and resources developed through the program. Greg is also the Co-PI of the ATE-funded Micro Nano Technology Education Center(MNT-EC) with over 30 years of experience as a faculty member and administrator at Indian Hills Community College. His expertise spans Robotics, Automation, Control Systems, Electronics, CAD, and more.

Crafting an Attention-Grabbing Booth Setup

Greg emphasizes the importance of visually appealing booth setups. "The key elements for an attention-grabbing booth setup include interesting images and text on banner stands or backdrops," he says. Offering practical items like pens, USB flash drives, and even candy can also enhance the booth's draw.

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Needed Math Framework Helps Tech Educators Add Workplace Problems to Lessons


Needed Math Logo with NSF grant number 2100062

From its identification of 40 important math skills for manufacturing technicians to know, the Needed Math Project has developed a framework for instructional scenarios. The team hopes that technical educators will use the framework with their local industry advisors to create scenarios that teach math skills in the contexts of the advanced technology workplaces where their students are likely to work.

The project website ( also has nine sample scenarios. However, at conferences and in journal articles this year the team is directing attention to the open-ended framework.

During a lively Zoom interview for the ATE Impacts Blog, Principal Investigator Dr. Michael Hacker and the project’s four co-principal investigators shared their hope that community college educators will use the framework for conversations with industry advisors in order to inform lessons.

This emphasis on the framework is also because the team members have found during their collective decades of professional experience that educators are more likely to adjust what and how they teach if they are involved in developing the instructional materials.

Hacker put it this way in comments that referenced the work of Dr. Gerhard Salinger, co-principal of the Needed Math project and former co-lead program director of the Advanced Technological Education program at the National Science Foundation (NSF):

“Gerhard led for years the instructional materials development program at NSF, and so much good stuff came out of that. But, you know, some turned into shelf ware ... without a lot of sustained promotion, a lot of professional development work, much of this good curriculum,  much of this great stuff that really is well-conceived, pedagogically brilliant, sits on shelves. It just does not get translated. And what teachers want to do is they want to develop their own stuff for their own students—that fits their own interests, in their own communities.

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ATE Impacts Book Promotes Technical Education and Celebrates 30 Years


The graphic cover of the new ATE Impacts book

We are excited to inform you about the upcoming release of the new ATE Impacts 2024-2025 book! You can order copies of the ATE Impacts book online  - and digital copies of the book can be accessed once available on the ATE Impacts site as well. The digital copies will be viewable across all devices via any web browser.

The ATE Impacts 2024-2025 book showcases the work of the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education Community. This edition includes a foreword from National Science Foundation Director, Sethuraman Panchanathan, and features the work of 24 centers and 35 projects across the seven ATE areas, as well as applied research.

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MNVP’s Community College-Research University Partnerships Bring Veterans into Nanotech Workforce


Students acquire characterization data in a Georgia Institute of Technology cleanroom.

The Microelectronics and Nanomanufacturing Veterans Partnership (MNVP) project utilizes the knowledge and resources developed over the past 25 years by other Advanced Technological Education projects funded by the National Science Foundation at Penn State University to bring military veterans into the nanotechnology workforce.

By pairing four community colleges with research universities near them, the project also builds on the strengths of each institution. Sixty veterans have participated during the first three semesters of the program offered at Rio Salado College and Arizona State University in Arizona; Southwestern College and University of California, San Diego in California; Georgia Piedmont Technical College and Georgia Institute of Technology in Georgia; and Tidewater Community College and Norfolk State University in Virginia.

Promising results have led to plans to expand the project at Tompkins Cortland Community College and Cornell University in New York; at Columbus State Community College and Ohio State University in Ohio; and at Tarrant County College and University of Texas at Arlington in Texas. MNVP classes will begin in fall 2024 in these regions where semiconductor manufacturing and related industries are growing. 

“The community colleges go out into the community—because they have that sense of community—and they recruit these veterans into the program. But what they don't have is these state-of-the-art cleanrooms required to do the training for the veterans. So the research universities come in there and they open up the doors to their facilities,” said Zachary Gray, managing director of the Center for Nanotechnology Education and Utilization (CNEU) at Penn State.

“Without the community colleges it wouldn't be possible. Without the research universities it wouldn't be possible,” Gray added.

Gray knows well the benefits of cross-sector collaborations. He is a 2007 graduate of the nanofabrication associate degree program that the National Center for Nanotechnology Applications and Career Knowledge (NACK), an ATE center, developed in partnership with Pennsylvania community colleges.

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Connecting with ATE Central’s Outreach Kit


Whether you're starting out on your first grant proposal or have already secured funding from the National Science Foundation's Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program, outreach and dissemination activities are pivotal to the success of your project or center. Our blog post explores the significance of outreach and dissemination in the ATE program and introduces a valuable resource – the re-vamped Outreach Kit and accompanying Template – designed to guide you and your project/center through the process of developing a strategic outreach plan.

Understanding the Importance of Outreach and Dissemination:
NSF mandates that grantees demonstrate the broader impacts of their work, aligning with the mission to advance science, national health, prosperity, and welfare. Outreach and dissemination play a crucial role in meeting these broader impact requirements while achieving the specific goals outlined in your ATE grant.

In the ATE program, outreach and dissemination encompass activities like knowledge sharing, community building, recruitment, and knowledge transfer. These activities should be thoughtfully designed to serve the goals and objectives of your project or center.

Introducing the Outreach Kit and Template:
To assist ATE projects and centers in their outreach endeavors, ATE Central developed an Outreach Kit and accompanying Templates. Our resources aim to guide you through a comprehensive process, considering core ideas, primary audiences, stakeholders, partners, resources, and issues like branding and messaging.

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