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: Engineering Technologies - General Engineering

From National Center for Autonomous Technologies (NCAT):

National Center for Autonomous Technologies Videos

The National Center for Autonomous Technologies (NCAT) supports the education and training of the autonomous technologies workforce. NCAT offers a selection of video resources including informational videos on topics like the Robotic Aerial Drone Competition and Workshop Recordings. These videos are all available for viewing on the NCAT website.

From Critical Environments Engineering Technology Program:

Introduction to Basic Controls and Automation Presentation

This presentation, made available by Manhattan Area Technical College, provides an introduction to basic controls. Topics covered include: sensors, automated devices, process, control loop, control strategies, and controller hardware. The presentation also discusses how these components can be built into a basic control loop to control a process. Also included with the presentation is a course outline with the following sections: Course Description, Prerequisite(s), Purpose of Course, Required Materials, Optional Resources, Learning Outcomes, and more.

From Integrating Interdisciplinary Design Thinking: Developing High Demand Workforce Skills at the Intersection of Art and Industry:

Design Thinking Curriculum

This collection includes all components of the Fall 2020 Integrated Design Thinking curriculum developed by NorthWest Arkansas Community College (NWACC). "Design Thinking begins as a framework for discovering and developing solutions that can be applied to a variety of problems." NWAX's approach to Design Thinking attempts to "... guide designers through established stages and tools to expose them to the Design Thinking framework." The stages include: Human Centered Design, Creating Project Definition, Generating Ideas, Rapid Prototyping, and Integrating.

Community Connection

Sustainability in the ATE Community: An Interview with Nancy Maron of BlueSky to BluePrint

For those of us in the ATE community sustainability is a topic woven into our projects and centers from the start. Anyone who writes an ATE proposal has to include a section about how they hope to sustain at least some portion of their activities and resources. As work progresses, the PI and team considers how best to sustain project or center deliverables—a summer institute, industry tours, a faculty professional development series—beyond NSF funding. Particularly for those new to ATE, the concept of sustainability can be a bit confusing and feel like a daunting task. Thankfully there are ATE peers and outside experts who can help all of us think through strategies and lean on practices that have been successful for others.

Nancy Maron, founder of BlueSky to BluePrint, has been working with ATE Central and the ATE community for almost a decade, providing guidance and support in this critical area. Nancy always has great advice and thoughtful examples of sustainability from those in, and beyond, ATE. Recently Nancy was kind enough to answer a few questions about her own background and provide some thoughts on sustainability.

ATE Central: Can you tell us a bit about your own background and work and how you came to launch your business BlueSky to BluePrint?

Maron: The idea for my company evolved over time, as my professional interests drew me into fields that to an outsider might not seem related! I started off in trade publishing, as a marketing and salesperson back when the national chains were just taking hold, so I got to learn the nuts and bolts of how sales and distribution channels work. I continued studying “cultural diffusion” in graduate school, by exploring the early years of mass media culture in France. When I returned to publishing, I wanted to be somewhere where I could see and understand the big picture of the digital transformations taking hold, and the not-for-profit think-tank Ithaka S+R (parent organization of JSTOR) was the perfect place to pursue those interests. While there, I led several research projects focused specifically on understanding how innovative digital initiatives in the academic and cultural sectors have found creative ways develop and grow beyond their initial grant funding.

My company, BlueSky to BluePrint, grew out of all those experiences. Today, we help project leaders and their teams develop strategies to transition from academic projects into longer-term sustainable businesses or organizations. Getting to make use of my interests and experiences to support impactful projects and their creative leaders—across all fields—has been a real pleasure.

ATE Central: Can you share your definition of sustainability?

Maron: I am glad you asked! Some people shorthand “sustainability” as being just about finding funding for your project. But there is no easy way to just flip a switch and go from funded project to business. For me, sustainability is a logic that describes a cycle of investment and ongoing growth, to permit the project to keep delivering value to users over time. Coming up with a diverse portfolio of funding sources is part of it, but not all. To be “sustainable” in the quickly evolving world we live in means evolving. Sustainable initiatives are actually quite dynamic, focus on the value users gain from it, and are always on the lookout for new ways to respond to change.

Want to learn more about sustainability and hear more from Nancy? Read the full interview with her on the ATE Impacts Blog and check out ATE Central's Sustainability section to review past webinars, dig into research and resource materials, and watch a series of videos focused on sustainability created by the American Association of Community Colleges that features ATE PIs, NSF's Celeste Carter, and of course, Nancy Maron.

ATE Success Tips: Outreach

Data Visualization for Outreach

Many ATE community members know the value of outreach as a tool that helps demonstrate the required broader impacts of their work. Data visualization can help demonstrate outreach and dissemination impact, as well as contribute to the effectiveness of your project’s or center’s outreach efforts. By adding a visual component, data visualization helps clearly communicate your project’s or center’s achievements in a way that is both attractive and informative. Visualizations are also useful for your outreach team, helping to identify trends and show opportunities for growth. With the following tools, your project or center can use data visualization to your best advantage:

Learn more about reader interpretation of data visualization with Seeing Data.

Seeing Data describes itself as "a group of research projects which aim to understand the place of data visualizations in society." The Developing Visualization Literacy section of the site offers seven readily digestible mini-modules that give a basic overview of how to understand visualizations the public may encounter in news reports or online. To learn more about how the public responds to and engages with data visualizations, check out the Original Seeing Data Research section, which addresses how the Seeing Data project conducted its initial research into these questions and includes a lengthy list of journal publications, blog posts, and other outputs from this research.

Select a perfect color scheme with Data Viz Palette Generator.

This palette generator is a handy online tool that quickly creates a set of colors especially designed to make any data visualization, such as pie charts, bar charts, and maps, more effective. Users can select criteria, quickly generate a set of colors, and then either copy the color hexcodes or export as SVG for use in a project. Options include palettes, single hue, and divergent, with three to eight colors. It is also possible to click into the color blocks presented and change the range of colors. Unlike some other color pickers, Data Viz lets users see what their colors look like on a dark or light background. However, the platform does not check for accessibility and users should be careful about the potential to generate a color palette lacking contrast that might be difficult for some viewers to perceive. Other online tools, such as web accessibility contrast checkers, can help out there.

Make your own visualizations with Tableau.

This free data visualization suite can import and process data from a wide variety of sources, including online sources like Google Sheets or sites that provide Web Data Connectors. Users are able to share their visualizations via email, over social media, or embedded in a website. When embedded in a website, these visualizations can be both interactive and dynamic. Users can configure visualizations to update in real time as new data is published and allow audiences to filter and explore the data that is displayed. Get started with Tableau’s short beginner's guide, which offers links to resources for numerous examples of data visualization in action, a list of visualization types to indicate the wide variety of available possibilities, and links to Tableau's recommended learning resources, including their favorite data visualization blogs, books on theory and practice, and free training videos offered by Tableau. Tableau Public is available for Windows and macOS.

It's a great idea to involve your evaluator as you consider how to use data you (or they) have collected – check out the EvaluATE’s Basic Principles of Data Visualization. For additional outreach and dissemination resources, check out ATE Central’s Outreach Kit.

Did You Know?

According to a new study by the Community College Research Center (CCRC), the average enrollment gaps for dual enrollment (DE) program participation were 4.7 percentage points between white and Black students and 4.2 percentage points between white and Hispanic students. For Advanced Placement (AP) program participation, school districts averaged gaps of 9.8 percentage points between white and Black students and 6.9 percentage points between white and Hispanic students.

The study focuses on “several thousand school districts and metropolitan areas in the United States,” and draws on multiple sources of data, including the CRDC (Civil Rights Data Collection) biennial survey of all public schools and school districts, ACS (American Community Survey) annual national survey, and the CCD (Common Core of Data) annual survey of all public elementary and secondary schools in the U.S. Findings are broken down geographically, discussing the unique impacts by state and in metro areas.

To learn more about racial enrollment gaps, read the full College Acceleration for All? Mapping Racial/Ethnic Gaps in Advanced Placement and Dual Enrollment Participation working paper.

Select STEM Education Resources

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

Artful Maths

Math is everywhere, from architecture, to decor, to other art mediums. The emergence of STEAM principles (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) brought some attention to the relationship between math and more "traditionally" creative disciplines. Readers looking for inspiration to further explore this connection may enjoy Artful Maths. A project of Clarissa Grandi, a math educator and STEAM enthusiast, the blog and curriculum center supplies lesson plans (with handouts and presentations) and other valuable materials, freely available under a Creative Commons license. For example, the Resources page offers decor printouts and examples to brighten up math classrooms. On the Origami page, readers will find a gallery and guide to the paper folding art practice that incorporates geometric concepts. Of course, those outside of educational settings can still try out these fun and challenging art projects. Visitors will find even more ideas on the Blog, as well as the Puzzle Games page, which maintains a running list of "creative problem-solving" apps. Readers should note that some of these external apps are free, while others require a fee to download.

STEM Everyday Podcast

Since its launch six years ago, the STEM Everydayi podcast has produced nearly 200 episodes packed full of useful resources for STEM educators. Hosted by Chris Woods, a high school math teacher, education presenter, and author, the show "provides practical help for teachers to build a STEM culture," by highlighting knowledge from innovative members of the STEM community. Woods is driven by the principle that "STEM is everywhere," and this comes to life on the show thanks to guests from all backgrounds. The podcast may be particularly useful for educators looking for unique ways to get "non-science" oriented students interested in the vast possibilities that STEM subjects can create. For example, guests explore the STEM principles inherent to esports (Episode 162) and makerspaces (Episode 155). As the makerspaces expert, Liz Gallo, emphasizes: "a good STEM education teacher helps connect making and doing and creating and playing to real content." The show is also special in that it shares expertise from educators at all grade levels, from university professors to kindergarten teachers. Most episodes are approximately 30 minutes, and this brevity, combined with Woods's conversational tone, make STEM Everyday an easy and enjoyable listen. In addition to the link above, readers can tune in on most popular podcast platforms.

Personal Genetics Education Project

The Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School launched pgEd in 2006, largely in response to the expanding role of genetics in all aspects of society. The pgEd team empowers people with genetics knowledge so that they can make informed decisions in whatever ways the field affects them. Users may want to begin with the What is Personal Genetics? tab, where they will find background information about the discipline and links to relevant news articles. Educators will want to check out the trove of lesson plans found under the Teacher Corner tab. Here, readers will find comprehensive lesson plans covering scientific, legal, social, and ethical aspects of the field. In addition to traditional lesson plans, pgEd released a collection of Educational Resources for Distance Learning modules tailored to virtual environments. The site also hosts a Blog and maintains a running list of Events. Readers can keep in touch with the organization by following the various social media channels (linked in the top-right corner) or signing up for the newsletter (under the Stay in touch! tab).

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 Atomic Force Microscopy and Nanopatterning with a Scanning Probe Online
Eng WCX Digital Summit Online
Nano Deposition Series 2: Sputtering and Nucleation of the Deposited Material Online
Ag/Env Energy & The Power Grid Online
Nano Guide for Educators with a Desire to Reach and Work with Industry Online
Nano Deposition Series 3: Chemical Vapor Deposition Online
Ag/Env Wind Energy Fundamentals Online
Gen Evaluation Reporting Online
Nano Deposition Series 4: Atomic Layer Deposition and Thermal Oxidation Online
Gen AACC Digital Online
Eng Intro to Problem Based Learning Online
Nano Wave-Particle Interaction Characterization 1: Confocal Microscopy Online
Bio/Chem ARIS Summit Online
Gen Tips and Tricks: Step by Step NSF ATE Proposal Forms Preparation Online
Info Impact Conference [POSTPONE] Chantilly, VA
Gen Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion 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

AccessATE Tip Sheet: Creating Accessible Websites

The quantity and quality of online content is ever-increasing in most areas, including education. Taking extra steps to ensure your website and webpages are accessible, as this tip sheet on Creating Accessible Websites from AccessATE and NCAM describes, can make your content stand out and get it used more often by more people.

This tip sheet covers how to use headings to keep your website organized, tips for writing descriptive link text and button labels, testing websites for accessibility, and more! The sheet also links to additional resources that will help your team ensure accessibility. To learn more, read the AccessATE blog post about the Creating Accessible Websites tip sheet.

AccessATE supports the work of the NSF-funded Advanced Technological Education (ATE) projects and centers in making the materials and activities they develop more accessible for all students and faculty, including those with disabilities. The project aims to increase awareness and understanding of accessibility requirements and provide guidance, tools, and support that offers solutions and helps achieve compliance with accessibility standards.

CA2VES Webinar Recording: Fundamentals of Qualitative Research

This webinar, which took place on March 17, 2021 guides viewers through the essential topics in qualitative research. This includes the definition of qualitative research and the most common methods and analysis techniques. This webinar is intended to provide an introduction for researchers new to qualitative research. Those interested in viewing the webinar recording can find it on the CA2VES Webinar Series page, along with other past webinar videos.

AccessATE Tip Sheet: Creating Accessible Videos

We use videos in so many ways in the ATE community; as part of classroom and lab instruction, for recruiting students, and as part of our outreach efforts to various stakeholders. And as we all use Zoom and other online platforms for meetings and conferences, we often record those events, creating more recorded video content. So how do we ensure that everyone can utilize this great content? By considering accessibility from the beginning, which is what this helpful tip sheet from the National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) and AccessATE is all about!

This tip sheet covers best practices for creating accessible videos, from captioning to creating descriptive narration to selecting accessible video players. The tip sheet also includes links to related resources. To learn more, read the AccessATE blog post about the Creating Accessible Videos tip sheet.

AccessATE supports the work of the NSF-funded Advanced Technological Education (ATE) projects and centers in making the materials and activities they develop more accessible for all students and faculty, including those with disabilities. The project aims to increase awareness and understanding of accessibility requirements and provide guidance, tools, and support that offers solutions and helps achieve compliance with accessibility standards.

AACC 2021 Community College Innovation Challenge

Do you know a student with an entrepreneurial spirit and an interest in STEM? AACC, in partnership with the National Science Foundation, is inviting community college students to participate in the 2021 Community College Innovation Challenge (CCIC).

The CCIC is a national competition where community college student teams, working with a faculty or administrator team mentor, use science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to innovate solutions to real-world problems, attend a Virtual Innovation Boot Camp, and compete for cash awards.

The Virtual Innovation Boot Camp provides professional development, mentoring, and coaching designed to build strategic communication and entrepreneurial skills to help students advance their innovations in both the public and private sectors. The Boot Camp culminates in a virtual poster session and engagement opportunity with STEM leaders and Congressional stakeholders, and a pitch presentation in front of a panel of industry professionals to determine the first, second, and third place winning teams.

Diverse and interdisciplinary teams that include students in STEM, business, humanities, and other fields are encouraged to apply. Submissions are due by April 20, 2021.

Webinar: Tips and Tricks: Step by Step NSF ATE Proposal Forms Preparation

This webinar focuses on the various forms associated with NSF ATE grant proposals. Forms can make up 2/3 of a final proposal submission and impact the quality and accuracy of a proposal. The webinar will cover knowing the purpose of various forms associated with NSF ATE proposals, knowing what data to enter into each form associated with NSF ATE proposal, learning the importance of providing consistent information on forms and other components of a proposal, and recognizing common errors that can be avoided.

This event will take place on May 12, 2021 at 1:00 pm ET. Those interested in participating should register to attend.

EvaluATE Webchats

EvaluATE webchats are an opportunity for small groups of ATE evaluation community members to come together to share and learn from each other in real time. Anyone interested in evaluation is welcome to attend. Participants are encouraged to turn on their webcams and join in the conversation, offering a great opportunity to network.

Upcoming webchats will cover a variety of subjects including:

Those interested in attending can resgister at the links included above. A full schedule of the 2021 webchats is avilable on the EvaluATE website's Webchats page. All webchats are held virtually from 1:00 – 2:00 pm ET on the dates listed.

ATE Impacts 2020-2021 Book Now Available

Free print copies of the ATE Impacts book, to distribute on your campus, to your industry partners, or elsewhere can be obtained via the book request form. Interactive flipbook and electronic (PDF) versions of the ATE Impacts book are also available for viewing and download on the ATE Impacts website. Feel free to distribute copies of the virtual ATE Impacts book to campus colleagues, to your industry partners, or to other stakeholders.

ATE Central Social Media Directory

Looking to jump-start your project’s or center’s outreach efforts? Take some inspiration from others in the ATE community!

The ATE Central Social Media Directory offers an online compilation of all the ATE projects and centers who have social media profiles, as well as some ATE partners and collaborators. This resource provides an easy way to learn best social media practices, forge professional connections, and stay in touch with the ATE community.

For additional guidance on outreach and building a social media presence, check out the ATE Outreach Kit.

Mentor-Connect Coffee Breaks

A new Mentor-Connect resource for prospective grantees is now available. These short tidbits of guidance and advice are called “Coffee Breaks.”

Mentor Connect Coffee Breaks provide quick answers to frequently asked questions that arise while working on and preparing to submit an NSF ATE proposal. Tips for project management are included, too, such as preparing reports for NSF. Each presentation is less than 10 minutes and addresses a specific topic or question you may have. Coffee Break advice is available in the Mentor-Connect Library,

Under Find A Resource, select Webinars, then type “Coffee Break” in the search function at the top of the page.

ATE PI 2020 Conference Resources Available Until June, 2021

The deadline to access this year's ATE PI Conference materials has been extended! All session materials, recordings, and ATE Connects submissions are available for on-demand viewing on demand on the conference platform until June 1, 2021.

If materials for a session were provided, they are linked directly below the session abstract (as well as are available in the Materials box next to the chat window for the Concurrent, Spotlight, and Demonstration sessions).

ATE Connects materials will also remain available on-demand. PDF handouts in this section are downloadable from the site. To download, click on the three dots in the top right of the Adobe frame for the handout, and then click download.

New Student Success Story Videos in the Works

As part of ATE Central's most recent funding we are looking to create a second round of our Student Success Story videos. There will be fifteen new videos in this series and we are actively looking for a diverse set of ATE students with engaging stories and successes to feature.

Do you have a student who you think might fit the bill? Fill out this short survey to tell us about them! Vox Television will be producing these new videos for the community; production will begin in late fall and continue over the next two years.

We look forward to working with you on this exciting project and featuring these and other videos from the whole community on the ATE Central portal. Please don't hesitate to reach out with any questions about the video series or our other tools and services.

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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