Advanced Technological Education .

Welcome to the ATE Central Connection! Published the first Tuesday 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: Manufacturing and Engineering Technologies

From Central Virginia Advanced Manufacturing Initiative:

Relay and El Extravaganza - PCB Manufacturing Module

This resource, provided by Central Virginia Advanced Manufacturing Initiative at Piedmont Virginia Community College, includes files from a project-based learning module that has "students build a small relay board that can trigger another device with varying voltage from a low voltage microcontroller. The current board can be milled or etched by hand and easily connects with common parts found online." Files include schematics, code, images, and a shopping list.

From Work-based Learning: Preparing Incumbent Workers for Advanced Manufacturing Careers:

Work-Based Courses Toolkit: Bringing College to the Production Line

This 175-page toolkit provides guidance to community college administrators and faculty who are interested in bringing the work-based learning model to college courses. "Work-based courses are community college courses that have been redesigned in partnership with employers so that competencies are taught not only in the classroom or lab, but also through the job itself." This toolkit contains teaching tips that introduce the six steps of implementation, as well as related tools and resources for in-depth support for program design and implementation process.

This toolkit includes the following sections:
Section 1: Assessing Whether Work-Based Courses are Right for Your College
Section 2: Building a Team and Institutional Support
Section 3: Designing the Course and Curriculum
Section 4: Training Employer Supervisors and Mentors
Section 5: Delivering the Work-Based Course
Section 6: Connecting Workers to College

From Building an Academic Pathway for Industrial Engineering Operations Technicians:

Community Connection

I Am ATE: Tynisha S. Ferguson, MA

ATE Central is pleased to announce a new feature in both the ATE Impacts blog and here in our monthly Connection newsletter called "I Am ATE," which showcases an ATE PI, staff member, industry partner, or other ATE stakeholder. We are excited to help spread the word about the wonderful people who are at the core of the ATE community and the innovative work everyone is doing.

Name: Tynisha S. Ferguson, MA
Title: Communication & Technology Specialist
Institution: Florence-Darlington Technical College
Center name: SCATE Center/Mentor-Connect
URL: and

ATE Central: How did you become involved with ATE?

Ferguson: After I completed my service as an AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America), I realized I wanted to continue a career in public service. I wanted to work within the grant world and work within a program that would give me national exposure to various industries, initiatives, and projects. I am also extremely good at utilizing technology and had previous experience covering STEM-related topics, and from the time I was in high school have loved all things communications. Because of my background and interests, I felt inclined to apply for the Communication & Technology Specialist position at the South Carolina Advanced Technological Education (SCATE) Center of Excellence. Prior to this, I had no knowledge of the Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program or the National Science Foundation (NSF), but after only a few months, I was really impressed by how much the ATE program has essentially impacted almost every industry with its research projects.

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

Ferguson: I work for SCATE Center, located on the campus of Florence-Darlington Technical College in the Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology facility in Florence, SC. My center has various initiatives that have been implemented and sustained, such as the Mentor-Connect, Teaching Technicians, and Build Your Own (BYO) Video initiatives. Each initiative has their own goals. However, the main goal of the SCATE Center is to expand excellence in technician education locally, regionally, and nationally by working alongside students, educators, and industry leaders to promote quality education that prepares workforce-ready technicians in advanced technologies that drive the American economy.

Mentor-Connect is our biggest initiative and our overall goal is to offer transformational professional development experiences for two-year college STEM faculty. Mentor-Connect offers one-on-one STEM faculty team mentoring, curated technical resources, and instruction to help two-year college faculty prepare competitive proposals to the National Science Foundation's Advanced Technological Education (NSF ATE) program. Mentor-Connect recently begin offering Second Chance Mentoring and Moving up Mentoring along with the New-to-ATE mentoring for STEM Faculty. To learn more about the SCATE Center and its initiatives, click here.

To read the rest of the interview in full, visit the ATE Impacts blog.

ATE Success Tips: Websites

Alt Text

Alternative text, or alt text, is a descriptive word or phrase associated with an image. In situations where the image is not available to the reader, this text serves the same purpose and conveys the same essential information as the image. The alt text appears in a box that would normally contain the image and is most useful when users have turned off images in their web browser, are using a screen reader due to a visual impairment, or when an image link is not available due to a broken or changed URL.

Alt text is a great place to insert relevant keywords to improve your website's search engine optimization (SEO). Consider your words carefully - be descriptive but stay on target with the words you use and don't overdue it with unrelated words or phrases!

To read more about why alt text is important to your website's SEO and to see examples of good and bad alt text, check out this article by HubSpot.

Did You Know?

States are still the largest single revenue source for community colleges. Read the informative pdf here.

Select STEM Education Resources

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

Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation: World Reef Map

Healthy coral reefs are some of the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet, leading some to call reefs the rainforests of the sea. Coral reefs are also threatened by ocean acidification caused by climate change, pollution, overfishing, and more. To aid conservation work, the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation (LOF) has created this wonderful interactive atlas of coral reefs in remote locations around the world. Visitors can explore the map by selecting a pin or using the menu to choose a location, then zoom into a specific island area within that location to view a colorful detailed map of its reefs different habitat areas, many of which are accompanied by underwater videos. This online map, which accompanies an April 2019 research article published in the journal Coral Reefs, was created using remote sensing and field observations as part of LOF's Global Reef Expedition, a ten-year project surveying the world's remotest reefs. In addition to its visual appeal, the map also includes GIS tools enabling users to measure and analyze specific reef habitats. These and other features are explained in the map's useful help section.

The Great Sunflower Project

In recent years, scientific studies have led to concern about the health of honeybee and native pollinator populations. Launched in 2008, the Great Sunflower Project is a citizen science project that began "as a way to gather information about our urban, suburban and rural bee populations and to give you the tools to learn about what is happening with the pollinators in your yard." While this US-based program initially focused on pollinator visits to Lemon Queen Sunflowers, it has since expanded so that people throughout the country can participate by counting and reporting pollinators they observe visiting any type of plant. Those curious about what this project has revealed thus far will find maps and graphs in the explore section, as well as information on pollinators and resources for teachers. Readers interested in participating can register for free online and a quick start guide and instructions for counting can be found under the site's about section. To aid in identifying the different kinds of bees and other pollinators, a number of downloadable identification guides are also available as are printable data sheets. The Great Sunflower Project is directed by ecologist and conservation biologist Gretchen LeBuhn, a professor of biology at San Francisco State University. .

The Barcode of Life Data System

In recent years, DNA barcoding has emerged as a new way for scientists to identify unique species and protect the Earth's biodiversity. Readers interested in this field of research may want to check out the Barcode of Life Data System (BOLD). Launched in 2005 and currently in its fourth iteration, BOLD describes itself as "an online workbench and database that supports the assembly and use of DNA barcode data [..., as well as] a collaborative hub for the scientific community and a public resource for citizens at large." Visitors can search its public data portal by scientific name, geography, name of the depository holding the specimen, and other fields. For example, a search for "Wisconsin" reveals that over 2,500 specimens representing 800 species have been collected in the state and sequenced. As of this write-up, BOLD contains more than 7.1 million barcodes from roughly 300,000 species. Instructors interested in using BOLD in the classroom should visit the Education Portal, available from the main page. BOLD is led by Paul Hebert, a professor of integrative biology at the University of Guelph and the director of the Center for Biodiversity Genomics (CBG); and by Sujeevan Ratnasingham, CBG's associate director of informatics.

Do you have some great STEM resources you'd like to share with ATE Central? Email us with your ideas at

ATE Events

Upcoming Events
Nano NPDP Hands-On-Site Workshop Salt Lake City, UT
Bio/Chem BIO International Convention 2019 Philadelphia, PA
Ag/Env Wine Sensory Analysis Workshop Traverse City, MI
Mfg ALL Girls Intro FLATE Robotics & Engineering Camp Tampa, FL
Ag/Env Wine Chemistry Workshop Traverse City, MI
Gen AACC Advocates in Action Washington, DC
Eng Laser Material Processing Workshop Ottumwa, IA
Info 12th Annual GeoEd Conference Louisville, KY
Mfg 2019 STEM Guitar Building Institute Phoenix, AZ
Eng Laser Materials Processing Workshop Ottumwa, IA
Info Professional Development Hands-on Seminars - Getting Started with Spatial Data Batesville, AR
Mfg Girls & Boys Intro FLATE Robotics & Engineering Camp Tampa, FL
Gen Designing for Accessibility with POUR Online
Bio/Chem NBC2 miniBIOMAN Conferences - Design of Experiments for Biomanufacturing Oceanside, CA
Ag/Env Drinking Water and Wastewater Laboratory Workshop Fall River, MA
Info Professional Development Hands-on Seminars - Advanced Spatial Data and Analysis Batesville, AR
Mfg Classroom Teaching Opportunities for Experienced Manufactures Farmington, CT
Gen AACC Future Presidents Institute Washington, DC
Gen AACC John E. Roueche Future Leaders Institute Washington, DC
Info Professional Development Hands-on Seminars - Getting Started with Spatial Data Morrilton, AR
Mfg Girls & Boys Intermed Robotic Camp Tampa, FL
Eng RCNET Meeting in Conjunction with Decommissioning Strategy Forum Nashville, TN
Info Hands-on Seminar Offerings for EAST Facilitators - EAST Training Facility (Little Rock, AR) Little Rock, AR
Mfg 2019 STEM Guitar Building Institute Houston, TX
Mfg Summer 2019 Electric Guitar Institutes Fort Wayne, IN
Ag/Env Summer Energy Educator Series (SEES) Eugene, Oregon
Mfg Girls & Boys HS Eng Tech Robotic Camp Tampa, FL
Mfg National Association for Workforce Improvement Conference Palos Hills, IL
Info Professional Development Hands-on Seminars - Advanced Spatial Data and Analysis Morrilton, AR
Info NGTC Workshops: Introduction to ArcGIS Pro Newark, DE
Info CCNA 1 Instructor Certification (CCSI) for Teachers Madison, WI
Ag/Env Wisconsin STEM Educator Solar Institute Madison, WI
Eng Underwater Robotics & Engineering Design Arizona Project WET and MATE Tucson, Tucson
Gen WomenTech Educators Online Bootcamp Online
Gen WomenTech Educators Online Bootcamp: Boost Female Enrollment in STEM & CTE Online
Gen Presidents Academy Summer Institute Atlanta, GA
Mfg Summer 2019 Electric Guitar Institutes New York, NY
Info NGTC Workshops: ArcGIS with Anita Palmer, Roger Palmer, gisetc. San Diego, CA
Bio/Chem NBC2 miniBIOMAN Conferences - Quality in Biomanufacturing Blue Bell, PA
Info Professional Development Hands-on Seminars - Getting Started with Spatial Data Stuttgart, AR
Gen HI-TEC: A National Conference on Advanced Technological Education St. Louis, MO
Eng Intermediate Underwater Robotics: The TriggerFish ROV Tucson, AZ
Info Hands-on Seminar: Introduction to Facilitating GIS (Stuttgart, AR) Stuttgart, AR
Eng Technology in Marine Science: ROV Building Tucson, AZ
Eng Automated and Connected Vehicles Summer Conference Dayton, OH
Info Professional Development Hands-on Seminars - Getting Started with Spatial Data De Queen, AR
Info Community College Cyber Summit (3CS) Bossier City, LA
Info NGTC of Excellence Regional Workshops Huntington, WV
Ag/Env Summer Energy Educator Series (SEES) Normal, IL
Info NGTC Workshops: Getting Started with UAVs and FAA Part 107 Certification Champaign, IL
Mfg AWS SENSE High School Teacher Welding Workshop Monroe, MI
Nano NPDP Hands-On-Site Workshop University Park, PA
Eng Underwater Robotics & Engineering Design: The TriggerFish ROV Newport, OR
Eng Fundamentals of Photonics Workshop Ottumwa, IA
Eng CAR Management Briefing Seminar Acme, MI
Ag/Env Delaware STEM Educator Energy Institute Dover, DE
Nano NPDP Hands-On-Site Workshop Williamsville, NY
Info NGTC Workshops: ArcGIS with Ann Johnson and Nicole Ernst Eugene, OR
Ag/Env Washington STEM Educator Solar Institute Shoreline, WA
Eng Autonomous Vehicles Detroit Program Novi, MI

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

Webinar: Designing for Accessibility with POUR

Monday, June 10 from 12:00-1:30 pm CDT

Hone your accessibility expertise with this webinar designed to assist in developing classroom materials that meet the core principles of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines(WCAG).

The hour-and-a-half program uses revision of a course syllabus as a context to explore these WCAG elements, which can be summed up under the acronym POUR (Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust), as well as offering easily implementable tips and techniques. Participants will walk away with practical knowledge on creating course materials that "are accessible and work for all learners from the start, by design."

The webinar runs Monday, June 10 from 12:00-1:30 pm CDT and is presented by the NSF- ATE-funded AccessATE project and the National AEM Center at CAST. For more information, visit ATE Central's event listing. Register to participate in the webinar here.

MentorLinks is accepting proposals for colleges and applications for mentors! Please read below for details about each.

Request for Proposals: MentorLinks Colleges
The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) is pleased to announce a national grant competition for the MentorLinks: Advancing Technological Education program, developed with the support of the National Science Foundation. MentorLinks is designed for community colleges seeking to improve technician education programs in the science, technology, engineering, or mathematics fields. Colleges should be interested in working with an experienced community college mentor who has successfully planned and implemented a major change in a high-technology program. MentorLinks colleges will receive $20,000 for the 2-year grant period and travel support for the project director to attend three project meetings. The grant's primary emphasis is on valuable networking, and rich opportunities for technical assistance and professional development. The grant period runs October 1, 2019–November 30, 2021. For complete information and to apply by the deadline of June 7, 2019, please go to

Request for Applications: MentorLinks Mentors
The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) is pleased to announce a national call for applications for the MentorLinks: Advancing Technological Education program, developed with the support of the National Science Foundation. AACC seeks applications from 2-year college professionals who are interested in serving as mentors to work with a college whose faculty and administration want to develop or strengthen a certificate or degree program for technicians in a science, technology, engineering, and/or mathematics field. MentorLinks colleges will be selected in a separate request for proposal process and assigned to a mentor. Up to ten institutions will be selected as MentorLinks colleges and up to ten individual mentors will be named to the MentorLinks Mentor Team for a 2-year grant period beginning October 1, 2019, and ending November 30, 2021. Mentors will receive an honorarium and travel support to attend a mentor training and orientation meeting, three national project meetings, and to conduct college site visits. For complete information and to apply by the deadline of June 7, 2019, please go to

At HI-TEC 2019: Entrepreneurial Approaches to Sustaining and Scaling Educational Innovations Workshop

This workshop, which will be held at HI-TEC this July, kicks off a two-week course that guides participants through the process of exploring innovative ways to solve problems that address the needs of your intended audience and/or market in the education sector.

This course is especially relevant to ATE PIs who are interested in learning how to sustain and scale educational innovations and network with education industry professionals. The kick-off workshop will be held at HI-TEC on July 22 with all subsequent courses held online throughout August 2019.

Those who participate in the course will learn how to explore project opportunities beyond federal funding, work through ideas while receiving direct feedback from instructors, and learn how to effectively network with the ATE community, among many other benefits.

For more information about the workshop and to register, check out the workshop's informational flier and visit the HI-TEC registration site.

Would you like copies of the ATE Impacts book?

Book orders and general inquiries about ATE Impacts 2018-2019: Twenty-Five Years of Advancing Technician Education 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 4.1.1) 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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