FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 16, 2021
Contact: Martha M. Parham, Ed.D.
National initiative brings together community colleges, mentors to advance STEM technician education programs
Washington, DC — The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) announced a new cohort for the MentorLinks: Advancing Technological Education program with funding from the National Science Foundation.
The MentorLinks initiative pairs experienced community college mentors with extensive experience in planning and implementing advanced technology programs with colleges seeking support to build, strengthen, and sustain new or existing science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) technician education programs. Grants to the colleges total $20,000 in seed monies for the two-year grant period plus additional travel support to attend national meetings and events. The program’s primary emphasis is on valuable networking and rich opportunities for technical assistance and professional development that link the cohort with the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education (ATE) national conference and grant community.
A team of eight community colleges and eight individual mentors were selected through a competitive peer review process and represent innovative projects in advanced manufacturing, engineering technology, chemical technology, information technologies, agricultural technology, and biotechnology. Mentors will work closely with their college teams on activities such as curriculum development or redesign, industry engagement, faculty development, and student recruitment and retention.
AACC has managed the small, yet transformational MentorLinks project since 2002. Assistance to 65 colleges has resulted in the creation of more than 170 new courses, 39 new associate degrees, and 43 new certificates; development of several industry partnerships and internship sites; reported STEM program enrollment increases ranging from 14% to 350%; and the leveraging of more than $10 million in additional grant funding.
The program is also aimed at offering opportunities for smaller and rural colleges that often do not have the resources to apply for grant funding and to build or strengthen their STEM programs. Forty-nine percent of colleges receiving a MentorLinks award are from rural areas.
The eight selected mentee colleges for the 2021-2023 MentorLinks initiative are Community College of Baltimore County (MD); Itawamba Community College (MS); Nebraska Indian Community College (NE); Prince George’s Community College (MD); South Puget Sound Community College (WA); Tarrant County College (TX); Wake Technical Community College (NC); and Waubonsee Community College (IL).
The eight individual mentors selected to serve the MentorLinks Mentor Team are: David Brown, Principal, Nine Twenty-Four Strategies and Co-Principal Investigator, Project Vision (CA); Vince DiNoto, PI, National GeoTech Center (KY); James Hyder, Lead Adjust Faculty STEM Department and Professional Consultant, Rio Salado College (AZ); Greg Kepner, Educational Consultant and Co-Principal Investigator, MNT-EC Center (IA); Bridgette Kirkpatrick, Professor and Coordinator of Biotechnology, Collin College (TX); Louis Franklin McIntyre, Director, Grants Evaluation and Consulting, McIntrye Leadership Group (NC); Davina Pruitt-Mentle, Lead for Academic Engagement, National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (MD); and Linda Rehfuss, Professor Emeritus of Biology and Biotechnology, Bucks County Community College (PA).
As the voice of the nation’s community colleges, the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), delivers educational and economic opportunity for nearly 12 million diverse students in search of the American Dream. Uniquely dedicated to access and success for all students, AACC’s member colleges provide an on-ramp to degree attainment, skilled careers, and family-supporting wages. Located in Washington, D.C., AACC advocates for these not-for-profit, public-serving institutions to ensure they have the resources and support they need to deliver on the mission of increasing economic mobility for all. https://www.aacc.nche.edu/
The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2021 budget of $8.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.