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 - Career Readiness

From InnovATEBIO National Biotechnology Education Center:

Webinar 4: Exploring Biotech Careers in the Time of Coronavirus

This webinar is part of the Spring 2020 Teaching Biotech from a Distance webinar series provided by InnovATEBio National Biotechnology Education Center. This webinar presents, a career website with a biotech company database, that educators can share with students to explore job opportunities in biotechnology during the Coronavirus pandemic. The presentation also discusses how biotechnology companies are shifting their operations to work on COVID-19, and how this impacts their hiring strategies. Presenters include Dr. Sandra Porter and Dr. Todd Smith from InnovATEBio, and Dr. Katie Leung from City College of San Francisco. Links are provided to the Exploring Biotech Careers Online blog post and to This webinar runs 0:51:36 minutes in length. Additional webinars in the series are available to view separately.

From Collaborative Proposal: Pathways for Learners to Engineering Technology Employment:

Industry Spotlight Presentations

These presentations, from Louisiana Delta Community College, were part of a high school basic electronics course from Project COMPLETE (Controlling, Operating, and Measuring: Pathways for Learners to Engineering Technology Employment). The course is intended for use in a project-based learning environment. These presentations provide information about potential careers with four of Project Complete's industry partners: Benteler, Union Pacific Railroad, PCI, and Setpoint Integrated Solutions.

Four individual presentations are included, one for each industry partner. For orientation purposes the Benteler Industry Spotlight 191106.pdf is included as a separate attachment and offers a sample of the type of material included in this unit.

From Building Pathways to Innovation in Skilled Technical Workforce Education Through Strategic Employer Engagement:

Implementing the BILT Model of Business Engagement

This 16-page resource, provided by the Center for Occupational Research and Development (U.S.), is a guide for implementing the BILT Model of Business Engagement. "The Business & Industry Leadership Team (BILT) model ... puts businesses in a co-leadership role for college technical programs so they have direct input into the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) that program graduates should possess 12-36 months into the future ultimately producing candidates the businesses are much more likely to hire."

This guide includes background information about the BILT model and the following sections: Benefits of a BILT, Essential Elements of a BILT, Identifying the Right BILT Members, Approaches for Beginning Work with a BILT, Preparing for Your First BILT Meeting, Typical Agenda for Virtual Meetings, Leadership of the BILT, Preparing for a KSA Meeting, and more.

Community Connection

Attending and Presenting at Summer Conferences Remotely

Due to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, many summer conferences and events are taking place virtually, including the AACC Digital events throughout May and the annual HI-TEC Conference in July. ATE community members are well-versed in collaborating and networking at conferences and meetings. However remote events present unique challenges – these tips will help you plan ahead and navigate virtual events smoothly whether you’re presenting or attending:

  • Test technology ahead of time. When presenting at a conference, whether in-person or online, it is always a good idea to schedule a practice run. Before the day of the event, be sure to test all streaming technology and make sure you have a backup plan in case any elements of video conferencing or screen sharing go awry. Identify the event’s tech support team in advance and be ready to contact them if necessary. If you are unfamiliar with the conference platform, review guides in advance such as this one on best practices for using Zoom.
  • Sign on early and be flexible. Despite the many remote events of the last year, organizing a virtual event can still present many challenges. Remember to conduct yourself professionally and be patient with other participants as they navigate technological challenges. Presenters should also be ready to step in if the moderator is sidelined due to technical issues. Know the order of presenters and be ready to go when it is your turn to speak. And even if you are not presenting, it’s always a good idea to log on to the conference platform early to make sure your technology is working as expected.
  • Consider accessibility when creating materials. In order to reach a wide audience, design your presentation materials to offer the most widely-accessible experience possible. If distributing digital conference or meeting packets, make sure they follow W3C Accessibility Standards and consult guides such as this one from the AEM Center on creating accessible documents and AccessATE’s tip sheet on creating accessible PDFs. Conference organizers may offer accessibility options such as live-captioning presentations, or adding captions to asynchronous conference material. For additional information, check out AccessATE’s tip sheets on creating accessible videos and creating accessible presentations.
  • Take a break when you need one. Virtual conferences are still social and professional events, combined with added technological challenges. The same way you would when attending an in-person conference or meeting, you should plan to take a break from digital events. Schedule your breaks ahead of time. This will help you select sessions to attend around other work and life responsibilities.

For more guidance on planning and attending remote events, check out the ATE Impacts Blog post on the subject.

ATE Success Tips: Social Media

Networking During Remote Conferences with Social Media

As many events move online in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, social media has become a vital arena for networking during remote conferences.

  • Set aside time for social media and networking. As with in-person conferences, the time in between sessions is perfect for forging professional connections. Plan to check and post on social media throughout the event. It is also helpful to identify the conference hashtag and social media accounts in advance, so that you are ready to go when the proceedings begin.
  • Consider accessibility when you post. Accessibility ensures that your social media content will reach the widest possible audience. This is especially important for networking, since the goal is to bring new individuals and organizations into your professional circle. Before the conference begins, familiarize yourself with social media accessibility best practices such as using alternative text with images, using accessible hashtags, and adding captions to videos (for guidance check out Facebook's captions guide and LinkedIn's help page on captions).
  • Engage with others’ posts and expand your digital network. Networking is not a one-way street. Showing interest in others’ prior work and goals will ensure your networking efforts pay off in the big picture by creating lasting professional relationships. Start by engaging with potential connections’ social media posts to show interest and build a rapport, then transition to direct messages. Make sure your initial message is brief and personalized, so that it doesn’t read like a form letter.
  • Continue connecting offline. Ideally, your new professional connections will grow into true collaborations over time. Social media can serve as a first point of contact, but it is important to follow up. A great way to do so is by showing interest in a concrete aspect of your new connection’s on-going work, such as materials they are developing or a report on their research findings. As many people continue to work remotely, including attending virtual conferences, your networking efforts may suffer from “Zoom fatigue” and related digital burnout. Remember to be patient and flexible as you build these collaborative relationships.

For additional guidance on building your organization’s social media presence, check out the ATE Central Outreach Kit’s social media section.

Did You Know?

A new study from the Pew Research Center finds that, despite making up 17% and 11% of the U.S. workforce, respectively, Hispanic and Black workers only hold 8% and 9% of STEM positions. Despite the racial inequality, this represents progress from 2016, when Hispanic workers only held 1% of STEM positions. However, “there has been no change in the share of Black workers in STEM jobs since 2016.”

The study breaks down patterns in STEM education by race, as well as exploring gender patterns in STEM employment. In addition, readers will find information about pay disparities and information about patterns in particular STEM fields.

To learn more about gender and race in STEM education and employment, read the full STEM Jobs See Uneven Progress in Increasing Gender, Racial and Ethnic Diversity report.

Select STEM Education Resources

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

Space Station Explorers

Educators seeking lesson plans should check out Space Station Explorers. In collaboration with several partner organizations, including the International Space Station (ISS) National Lab, Space Station Explorers collects the best space-based activities from across the web. Content can be sorted by grade, subject, and learning environment (the various "learn at home" activities are perfect for caregivers and virtual classrooms). Readers can also use the search bar to find a specific subject matter (e.g., a search for "gravity" reveals five lesson options including "Ants in Space" and "Invisible Forces"). The lesson plans vary greatly, both in topic and design. For example, educators can check out the "Plants in Space" curriculum, an in-depth exploration of plant systems divided between multiple chapters. Alternatively, educators looking for a shorter option may enjoy the "Bag of Bones" activity, an individual lesson plan that combines life sciences, snacks, and space exploration.

We Use Math

Perhaps readers have heard someone struggling with a math problem and grumbling, "When will I ever use this?" Perhaps, readers have said this themselves. We Use Math provides an answer (several answers, in fact). The site is a resource for mathematics educators and learners, and the content focuses on highlighting "careers in math" and "careers using math." A quick browse of either section makes it clear that math is foundational in a wide range of jobs. While some may be obvious (e.g., software engineers and data scientists), others may surprise readers. For example, those interested in a career that combines STEM subjects with various mediums can learn about math's role in animation, architecture, and urban planning. In addition to the career information, readers can stock up on relevant fun facts in the Math Tidbits section or explore additional content in the Blog section (including more great connections between math and multimedia, such as a link to a fascinating photo essay on the art within mathematics chalkboards). Educators will also want to check out the Resources for Teachers tab, which includes curriculum ideas, activities, classroom decor, and more. We Use Math is sponsored by Brigham Young University's Mathematics Department.


Lifelong learners will want to bookmark this resource. Alison is highly regarded as "one of the world's largest free learning platforms for education and skills training." Launched in Galway, Ireland in 2007, the platform has grown and garnered a worldwide base, with more than 18 million learners across 195 countries. Users should click the green "Sign Up" button in the top-right corner to get started. Then, readers can search for courses by category or type, or try the job-based search engine to find learning opportunities relevant to the user's career goals. Learners can expand vocational skill sets with the health and safety and project management courses, build their business's brand with social media marketing lessons, and explore different interest areas with a broad array of offerings across humanities and STEM disciplines. Though the courses are free, users have paid subscription options that unlock additional features. The website can be viewed in five languages. To switch the default language, click the globe icon in the top-right corner.

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
Info Military Spouses in Cybersecurity 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
Eng Introduction to SkillsUSA Drone Competition Webinar Online
Gen What Gets Measured Gets Done Online
Info Introduction to Imagery and Geospatial Analysis Online
Gen Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion Online
Info GeoEd'21 Online
Eng STEM Drones in K-12 Education Workshop Thief River Falls, MN
Bio/Chem Biomedical Emerging Technology Applications Online
Eng STEM Drones in K-12 Education Workshop Thief River Falls, MN
Bio/Chem NSF S-STEM Grant Proposal Workshop Online
Eng STEM Drones in K-12 Education Workshop Thief River Falls, MN
Gen Evaluator Procurement Online
Bio/Chem Cyberbiosecurity "Where Bio and Cybersecurity Worlds Intersect" Online
Bio/Chem ASM Conference for Undergraduate Educators (ASMCUE) 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

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 develop or strengthen STEM technician education programs.

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 project meetings and national conferences (as permissible).

The grant’s primary emphasis is on valuable networking, and opportunities for technical assistance and professional development. The grant period runs October 1, 2021–November 30, 2023. For complete information and to apply by the deadline of June 24, 2021, 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 STEM 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, 2021, and ending November 30, 2023. Mentors will receive an honorarium and travel support to attend national project meetings and to conduct college site visits (as permissible). For complete information and to apply by the deadline of June 24, 2021, please go to

AACC Announces New MentorLinks Opportunity for 2021-2023 Cohort

If you aren't familiar with MentorLinks, it is an ATE funded project designed for community college programs that do not already have NSF ATE funding and who are looking to develop or strengthen STEM technician education programs. Based at the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), MentorLinks is currently seeking community colleges and individual mentors to participate. For complete information and to apply by the deadline of June 24, 2021, please go to Feel free to push this information out to others you think might be interested – and if you have any questions, please email the team at AACC.

New ATE Impacts Book: Project Nominations Wanted

Work is beginning on the next ATE Impacts book, which will be published next February. The book features both ATE centers and select ATE projects, and we would appreciate your help in finding projects that have been doing particularly interesting and innovative work, to feature in the new book. (You can nominate your own project.)

You can see some of the projects that were included in the 2020-2021 edition here:

To nominate a project to be featured, please use the following form:

For those of you involved with an ATE center, please note that you will be hearing from our project coordinator Ray Perry soon, as we start collecting your information for the next edition. Input from the community is key to making the book successful, and we look forward to your project nominations and participation as we put together the new publication.

Please don't hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions. Thank you in advance for your help with this!

AccessATE Tip Sheet: Creating Accessible Presentations

During the pandemic, those of us in the ATE community find ourselves needing to give a lot of these presentations online, which adds its own set of technical challenges on top of those we already face when we present. Regardless of the content or platform, it’s important that our efforts be made accessible, in order to reach as many people as possible. This helpful tip sheet from the National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) and AccessATE offers guidance on creating accessible presentations.

This tip sheet covers accessibility in the process of crafting presentations, as well as delivering talks and best practices for accessibility following the event. To find additional resources that will help your team ensure accessibility, read the AccessATE blog post on Creating Accessible Presentations.

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.

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.

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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