NASA is helping students reach for the stars by awarding a total of $1.4 million to five community colleges through the Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP). The colleges will establish new courses to contribute to the training and development of NASA’s future workforce.
New York’s Bronx Community College received a $300,000 grant to collaborate with Medgar Evers College to engage middle and high school students in hands-on science through workshops, field activities and mentoring from STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) scholars and professionals. The colleges also will train teachers to teach STEM disciplines using NASA Planetary Modeling Platforms and geospatial technology, which turns data from satellites into maps useful to government, business and consumers.
Prince George’s Community College in Maryland will use its $256,000 NASA grant to revitalize engineering curriculum for first- and second-year engineering students so that they are better prepared to enter and complete four-year engineering programs at faster rates and with lower costs.
Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) has received a four-year, $1.1 million grant from the National Science Foundation to enhance STEM programs in Springfield’s public schools. STCC will partner with Smith College and the Springfield Public Schools to design and develop multimedia, story-based engineering curriculum for middle school students. The program will move from Springfield to the national level in a few years.
“Engaging students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics at a young age is critical,” said U.S. Rep. Richard Neal (D-Massachusetts), who presented the grant. “Not only does it allow them to think about a future in STEM, the students are also able to learn skills that transfer to other areas of their education.”
Northwestern Connecticut Community College (NCCC) will work on developing a STEM pathway for young students using a $600,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. The funding supports a project that brings together teachers of grades 7-12, community college professors, students and industry members “to produce a STEM pathway with a focus on technician education that begins in middle school and advances through high school, the community college and into the workforce,” said Sharon Gusky, an NCCC professor and director of the project.
Students will have the opportunity to participate in industry-based externships and workshops, as well as hands-on experiences and STEM summer camps.
Five colleges in the Technical College System of Georgia are receiving $50,000 grants from the Delta Air Lines Foundation to improve aviation maintenance training programs, including Augusta Technical College, Central Georgia Technical College and Savannah Technical College. With the funding, the colleges can enhance curriculum development, projects and material support, increasing students’ knowledge and skills.
Forsyth Technical Community College will use a $10,000 Bank of America Charitable Foundation donation to provide student scholarships for skills development that leads to employment. Through the college’s CareersNOW program, students will develop competencies and confidence for high-demand fields.
HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, can help more at-risk youth get to college thanks to a $25,000 donation from HACC alumni Ivan and Christine “Chris” Sears. They have established the Ivan and Christine Sears Fund for Excellence for the Harrisburg Promise.
The Harrisburg Promise is a partnership between HACC, the city of Harrisburg and the Harrisburg Housing Authority, developed to create pathways to postsecondary education for local at-risk youth in grades 7-12.
Community College of Beaver County (CCBC) has received a $539,987 grant from the National Science Foundation, its second grant from the agency. The funds allow CCBC to enhance its process technology program by converting its current traditional lecture/lab structure to a flexible entry/flexible exit delivery format. That will increase access for nontraditional students and workers from the Appalachian Region interested in an associate degree in process technology.
Montgomery County Community College will use a $25,000 gift from the Colony Club of Ambler for student scholarships.
“We are inspired by Montgomery County Community College students who work so hard to improve their lives through higher education,” Club President Lucille Kelly said. “Our members appreciate that MCCC is here in Montgomery County to help residents and their families reach their education goals and get ahead.”
Four Tennessee community colleges are each receiving a $250,000 state grant to help high school students earn degrees in mechatronics. Chattanooga State, Cleveland State, Motlow State and Roane State Community Colleges will receive the funding. The grants will support the colleges’ Middle College Mechatronics Programs, covering the costs of tuition, fees, textbooks and materials for approximately 300 students.
Southwest Tennessee Community College (SWTCC) will use two grants totaling $100,000 to support adult learners. The college received a $50,000 Talent, Innovation and Equity grant, which is awarded by the Lumina Foundation and administered by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, and a $50,000 grant from the Tennessee Board of Regents.
SWTCC plans to expand its mentoring work. The college will develop the Saluqi Success Mentoring Certificate Program for all professional mentors. It will use prior-learning assessments to determine if previous coursework and experiential learning and work experience translate into course credits for adult learners. Also, Chromebook technology resources will be available to help students access online courses, do internet research and get online student support.