Every year towards the end of October the Regional Center for Next Generation Manufacturing (RCNGM) participates in the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Principal Investigator's Conference held in Washington, DC. Supported by the American Association for Community Colleges, the conference gives opportunities for ATE awardees from around the United States to share the results of their projects with each other as well as with NSF staff.
This year the RCNGM and Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering Technologies Program (MET2), both funded by the NSF, presented during a preconference workshop on incorporating professional skills into technological program curriculum. A concurrent session on professional skills and another on additive manufacturing allowed attendees to share their own experiences with each topic. Connecticut was also represented in a plenary panel by Dr. James Lombella, President of Asnuntuck Community College and Interim President of Tunxis Community College. The panel discussed how community colleges can build America’s skilled technical workforce.
In addition to presentations, the RCNGM and MET2 attendees exhibited during Showcases where NSF staff and other awardees could view and discuss student projects and other results of NSF funding. Maftuna Rakhimova, Manchester Community College; Ronald Silva, Gateway Community College; Lillian Orelup and Austin Ferguson, Northwestern CT Community College; Millie Ramirez, Asnuntuck Community College; and Elena Bolotova, Tunxis Community College were six students from Connecticut who have participated in NSF ATE projects that were selected for the “Advanced Technological Education Student Award for Excellence” with only 65 being chosen nationally. These students were also able to participate in an industry speed-networking event and take a tour of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.