A-B Tech Awarded National Science Foundation Grant to Increase Participation in STEM Careers

Pam Silvers assists students at Women in Technology meeting
July 18, 2018
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A-B Tech Community College has received a $331,650 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) through its Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Program. The grant, which is the third awarded to the college by NSF, will further support A-B Tech's efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in all careers. The newly funded grant, entitled Skilled Workers Get Jobs 2.1: High School Engagement, focuses on developing programs in conjunction with local high schools.

A-B Tech will use the grant to address two primary goals: (1) Improve the understanding and perception of Technology and Engineering careers and educational opportunities in targeted programs; and (2) Increase number and diversity of technicians available for the workforce.

A-B Tech will collaborate with high schools in the city of Asheville and Buncombe and Madison counties to provide professional development opportunities for educators to increase recruitment of local high school students into targeted STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) programs at A-B Tech, including: Computer Engineering Technology, Information Technology: Information Systems, Electronics Engineering Technology, Information Technology: Systems Security, Mechanical Engineering Technology, Information Technology: Network Management, Geomatics Technology and Environmental Engineering Technology.

Pamela Silvers, an instructor in the Computer Technologies department, serves as Principal Investigator for the new grant, as she did for two previous NSF grants totaling more than $1.2 million. Co-Principal Investigators for the grant are Jim Sullivan (Chair, Civil Engineering and Environmental Technology), Rachael Tipton (Instructor, Computer Integrated Machining) and Amanda Whitt (Instructor, Mathematics).

Silvers, who held a kickoff meeting for the current project on July 17, said that while grant

activities will focus on the eight identified STEM programs, it will have a "ripple effect" for other programs throughout the college.

"This grant provides an exciting opportunity to build on the existing relationships with our local high schools," Silvers said. "We are looking forward to working with the high schools to share information about new and changing career choices. A-B Tech will be offering workshops and events at both the high schools and A-B Tech campus."

Silvers has administered two other NSF grants that achieved significant results, including increased female enrollment in A-B Tech STEM programs, a STEM scholarship, a Women in Technology group, and numerous STEM events. She also has been selected to present results of A-B Tech's NSF grant projects at national conferences.

For more information, contact Pamela Silvers (pamelajsilvers@abtech.edu or 828-398-7249).

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