Advanced Technological Education ·

Welcome to the ATE Central Connection! Published the first Monday of each month, the ATE Central Connection is meant to disseminate information to and about ATE centers and projects, providing you with up-to-date ATE news, events, reminders, as well as highlighting new centers, projects, and resources. In addition, we will also highlight an educational topic with complementary resources found within ATE Central to help illustrate how ATE resources can be used in the classroom.

We want the ATE Central Connection to be a valuable tool; please e-mail with any suggestions about how to make the ATE Central Connection more useful for you or to suggest any information you would like to see in an upcoming issue.

In This Issue

Featured Resources in Renewable Energy

From From Center for Renewable Energy Advanced Technological Education Support Center (CREATE-SC):

CREATE International Renewable Energy Education Project 2016 ASEE Presentation

These slides, from the Center for Renewable Energy Advanced Technological Education Support Center (CREATE-SC), were presented at the 2016 American Society for Engineering Education conference. These presentation slides provide information about two international learning exchanges that were focused on renewable energy education and expanding awareness of the global renewable energy sector. Project participants met technical educators, visited teaching labs, reviewed industry partnerships, and met policy makers and government representatives in Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, and Germany.

These presentation slides include information on project objectives; site visit goals; sites visited; the education systems and national energy policies of New Zealand, Australia, and Germany; learning activities; study design; results analysis; key findings, lasting impacts on teaching practice and professional development, and more. 

From Journal of Sustainability Education:

Preparing the Future Sustainable Energy Workforce and The Center for Renewable Energy Advanced Technological Education

This report, by Kenneth A. Walz and Joel B. Shoemaker, examines recent milestones and possible future projects in the renewable energy sector. "Faculty development and educational programs will play a key role in preparing the next generation of renewable energy professionals. This report highlights the impact of one such initiative." The following sections are included: Introduction, Preparing the Renewable Energy Workforce, Renewable Energy Academies, Results of the RE Academies, Looking Ahead, Conclusion, Acknowledgements, and References.

From Advanced Technology Environmental and Energy Center (ATEEC):

Regional Energy Conversations Careers Chart (2010)

This chart is provided by the Advanced Technology Environmental and Energy Center (ATEEC) and includes a view of energy technology careers at the technician level. It shows the fastest growing energy jobs by regions in the United States. ATEEC has collected information from expert practitioners and educators in the field to generate the 2010 Regional Energy Conversations report. This report provides an overview of a wide range of occupations in the energy technology field, including technician occupations, job functions, and future trends. The report is available to view separately. The chart from this report is provided as a quick reference to the energy technology field for students, technicians, employers, and educators.

Community Connection

An Interview with Dr. Celeste Carter

ATE Central recently had the opportunity to interview Dr. Celeste Carter, who is a Lead Program Director for NSF’s Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program. We were interested to learn more about her involvement in the ATE program as well as how she thinks the program has changed and evolved over its tenure. Dr. Carter also discusses the challenges of proposal writing, as well as three things she recommends every new grantee should do once they receive their funding.

ATE Central: You've been involved with NSF’s ATE program at a number of levels - initially as a grantee and now, of course, as a Lead Program Director. Can you describe your history with ATE for us?

Dr. Carter: I started as an ATE PI with an award made in fiscal year 1997. The project developed case studies with associated laboratory activities around the structure of a biopharmaceutical company. It was not only a very fun and challenging project, but it also introduced me to the ATE community. I was wrapping up that project when one of the Program Officers in NSF’s Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE) left for a job on the House Science Committee. Elaine Johnson, PI of the ATE-funded Bio-Link Center called me at my home institution and told me I needed to call Duncan McBride at NSF. Elaine explained that she thought I would be a great Program Officer and she had told Duncan (her Program Officer for Bio-Link) about me. I did call, and Duncan had me fly to Arlington to interview. They offered me a position as a rotator (a non-permanent Program Officer) in the DUE. I worked in DUE from 2001-2003, surviving 9/11, the Anthrax threat, and the snipers – I did have many people asking me why I stayed! I returned to my home institution in California only to be asked back again as a rotator. That rotation lasted only a year as Liz Teles informed me that she would be retiring and she thought I should apply for a permanent position at NSF and take over the ATE program. That is exactly what happened, and this October marks 8 years for me with the NSF as DUE Lead Program Director for the ATE program.

ATE Central: How do you think the program has changed over the last 24 years?

Dr. Carter: The mission of the ATE program hasn’t changed at all – it is still focused on educating a highly-skilled technical workforce for the advanced technology industries that keep the US globally competitive. But the program has changed over the years in response to industry needs, educator needs, and congressional queries and requests. I think one of the program’s strengths is that educators create ongoing partnerships with industry that can help define the new emerging technical areas. The partnerships are also critical for developing curricular resources responsive to industry needs, supporting students in internships and apprenticeships, and supporting a diverse set of pedagogical strategies to impact the students in the most effective learning modality. This last outcome has supported “just in time” modules, hybrid programs, programs with flexible time schedules, case-based and project-based learning, the development of student-run companies, and contract research and manufacturing organizations with student “employees.”

The most recent impact on ATE has been the slowing growth of the program budget in response to economic stresses, but the program is weathering this change and is still adding new opportunities for prospective PIs. In the most recent program solicitation two new project areas are presented: “Adaptation and Implementation,” as well as “Instrumentation with Curricular Revisions.”

ATE Central: Is there anything you'd like to share with us about future directions for the program?

Dr. Carter: As I mentioned, industry plays a critical role in determining future directions for the program. As industry defines their workforce needs five to ten years out, the educator/industry partners can work towards changing technologies and the theoretical background around the new technologies. Government also plays a role in future directions. Currently, ATE PIs have the opportunity to partner with Manufacturing USA’s Manufacturing Innovation Institutes that were established under the Obama administration and continue under the new administration. Each institute partners education and industry in new emerging areas, and each institute has to develop a workforce plan. Many of the partner industries are looking for the skilled technical workforce, and the ATE community has more than two decades of experience in this area.

Visit ATE@20: An Interview With Dr. Celeste Carter to read the full interview.

ATE Success Tips: Social Media

Many ATE projects and centers have a social media presence with various platforms – but what about those hashtags? If you want to be successful with your social media plan, use a good hashtag to tie all of the pieces of your campaign together. Use a hashtag that is easy to spell and easy to remember. To make sure your hashtag isn’t already being used for something else, check for it on social media channels prior to using it for your campaign.

Once you create your hashtag, follow and join the conversation! For example, consider networking with the ATE Community during the PI Conference by using the official 2017 ATE PI Conference hashtag with social media posts - #ATEPI2017.

The ATE Outreach Kit provides a thorough overview of the different social media platforms most commonly used and ways to share out the latest news about your project.

Did You Know?

Electricians and plumbers are among the most popular apprenticeship careers. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, in 2016 there were 41,489 people who held apprenticeships as electricians, while 23,094 people held apprenticeships in plumbing, pipefitting, and steamfitting.

Select STEM Education Resources

A few online STEM resources from outside of ATE, that you may find of interest:

Chemistry Explained

What is a globular protein? How did eighteenth century theologian Joseph Priestley contribute to the the field of chemistry? How are disposable diapers made, and what impact do they have on the environment? Readers can learn the answers to all of these questions and more via Chemistry Explained, an interactive encyclopedia of all things chemistry. Created by Advameg, a U.S. company that primarily develops reference websites, Chemistry Explained is organized alphabetically and features explanations of chemical compounds, genetic science terms, environmental science issues, and more. In addition, Chemistry Explained features a separate encyclopedia of chemical elements, providing diagrams and extensive information about each element's discovery, uses, ions, health effects, and more. This website provides a welcome resource for any science classroom as it enables learners to independently locate accessible and concise explanations while working on research or laboratory projects. Chemistry Explained also provides a useful study guide for students to use outside of the classroom and several resources to aid members of the general public in their understanding of new scientific developments and research. 

Biology Corner: Ecology Lesson Plans

From biology teacher Shannon Muskopf's extensive website for biology teachers and students, Biology Corner, comes this collection of lesson plans, classroom activities, and PowerPoint presentations related to Ecology and Environmental Issues. Guided by a student-centered pedagogy, many of these lessons include in-class simulations or online virtual labs. For example, in the lesson Estimating Population Size, students learn how biologists capture and mark select animals in order to gauge their population via an online Biology Corner simulation or by simulating the measurement process using beans, beads, or pennies. Meanwhile, another classroom activity uses cards to help students evaluate how predator and prey relationships shift over time. Other topics addressed in these lessons and activities include biomes, random sampling, "designer" dogs, and human population growth. These lessons can be easily downloaded as PDFs and incorporated into life science or biology classrooms or in community-based learning settings.

USGS: 27 Ideas for Teaching with Topographic Maps

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) publishes about 57,000 topographic maps, many of which can be downloaded for free. These maps may be used in a variety of science, math, geography, and history classroom settings, from elementary to college level. Here, educators looking for inspiration can check out a number of ideas about how to utilize these maps as a lesson or classroom activity. These ideas range from activities that introduce and engage students with the basics of mapping (such as latitude and longitude, coordinate systems, and projecting) to activities that facilitate exploration of what topographic maps can reveal about geographic and social change over time and the relationships between humans and land. In addition, this page includes links to three full K-12 lesson plans and a printable Topographic Map Symbols guide.

ATE Events

Upcoming Events
Eng 2017 AAPA Convention Long Beach, California
Info Drone World Expo 2017 San Jose Convention Center, CA
Mfg Lasers in Manufacturing Symposium Ottumwa, IA
Info TAG Fall Tech Conference Bellingham, WA
Gen CAE Virtual Career Fair Online
Eng SPIE Optifab Rochester, NY
Eng The SPIE Optifab 2017 Exhibition Rochester, New York
Eng National Coalition of Advanced Technology Center (NCATC) Fall Conference 2017 Portland, Oregon
Mfg 2017 ATE Conference Washington, DC
Info Commercial UAV Expo 2017 Las Vegas, NV
Eng National Career Pathways Network Conference 2017 St. Louis, Missouri
Gen Writing in the Disciplines Workshop in Jacksonville, FL Jacksonville, FL
Gen Promoting Student Success in Math at NCSD Morganton, NC
Gen Writing in the Disciplines workshop at NCSD Morganton, NC
Gen Project Access and Writing in the Disciplines All-Day workshop in Jacksonville, FL Jacksonville, FL
Gen Writing in the Disciplines Workshop in Florida Daytona Beach Shores, FL
Gen Writing in the Disciplines Workshop in Jacksonville, Fl Jacksonville, FL
Eng M-STEM 2017 Hampton, VA
Mfg FABTECH Show 2017 Chicago, Illinois
Info Challenging the Status Quo: Building a Robust and Sustainable Cybersecurity Ecosystem Dayton, OH
Info NICE Conference & Expo 2017 Dayton, OH
Gen National Association of Biology Teachers 2017 Conference St. Louis, MO
Info GeoFest 2017 - Celebrating The Empire State Rochester, NY
Gen National Technical Honor Society (NTHS) State Leadership Conference Owasso, OK
Eng Pacific Marine Expo Seattle, WA
Mfg Auto STEAM Days Warren, MI
Gen ACTE'S Career Tech Vision 2017 Nashville, TN
Gen Winter Working Connections 2017 Online

For more events, please visit the ATE Central Events page or, if you have any upcoming events that you would like posted on ATE Central or in the ATE Central Connection, please submit them online.

To add a continuously-updated list of ATE and STEM education events to your website, use the ATE Event Widget.

News & Reminders

Nominate a Project for the 2018-19 ATE Impacts Book!

The newest version of the very popular ATE Impacts Book will be published in 2018 and will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the ATE program, as well as highlighting the amazing work of the ATE community.  And, along with providing information about the ATE centers, this next version of the publication will also include information about 24 ATE projects and their impacts.

How will the featured projects be chosen?  We're glad you asked!

We are currently accepting nominations for projects from the community–this means that you can nominate yourself or another project that you think is doing innovative and exemplary work.  Please download a copy of the ATE Impacts Project Nomination Form that explains what we need in order to consider a project for inclusion in the 2018-19 book.  Please fill out the nomination form and return it to us (along with the required materials) by October 13th at Please keep in mind that in order to be included, nominated projects must be funded through at least part of 2018. So put your thinking caps on and don't hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions – email us at

Would you like more copies of the ATE@20 book?

We are sending out one more round of ATE@20: Two Decades of Advancing Technological Education. Book orders and general inquiries can be emailed to

Archiving your deliverables with ATE Central is now easier than ever!

Upload your curriculum, professional development materials, or other deliverables created with ATE funding directly to the ATE Central resource portal via the new archive submission form.

Can CWIS software help support your project goals?

CWIS is open source software, created with NSF funding, that can help your project or center showcase resources online. It's free and very easy to use. The latest version (CWIS 4.0.1) was released on and is available for download on the Scout site. Please email if you have any questions or would like a quick tour of its features!

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