High Impact Technology Exchange Conference
Preparing America's Skilled Technical Workforce
2022 Award Winners
This award represents HI-TEC’s commitment to recognize community college faculty who make significant contributions to the education and training of today’s technology workforce. Nominees for the award must have had a demonstrated broader impact on technology education on both a local and national level. The Educator-of-the-Year Award recognizes a community college educator for outstanding contributions to advanced technological education.
Lawrence McWherter, Assistant Professor, Information Systems Technology Department, Columbus State Community College
To close the skills gap, the U.S. needs a cybersecurity workforce increase of 62 percent, according to the 2019 (ISC)2 Cybersecurity Workforce Study. Col. Lawrence McWherter has devoted his career to keeping the U.S. safe, primarily through educating the next generation of cybersecurity professionals and diversifying the discipline.
Larry joined Columbus State Community College as an instructor for Information Systems Technology in Autumn 2016. As the Principal Investigator on the Ohio Region Cybersecurity Technician Training Pipeline project (NSF ATE Grant No. 1501194), he established and maintains a new, in-demand program leading to a Cybersecurity AAS degree.
“Columbus State is very fortunate to have Larry McWherter among our faculty,” says Dr. David Harrison, President of the College. “His extensive military experience has been invaluable in his ability to advance our Cybersecurity program. Under Larry’s leadership, the program has attracted external funding, has earned national recognition, and has become a destination program for students and employers in this rapidly growing field.”
Larry currently serves as the PI on the Information Technology Pathways through a Flexible Apprenticeship Model project (NSF ATE Grant No. 1902211). With the innovative goal of integrating structured earn-and-learn opportunities across Columbus State’s Information Systems Technology programs, the project bridges postsecondary education and industry. This initiative led to the award of a $3.8 million U.S. Department of Labor Scaling Apprenticeship grant focusing on Software Development, Cybersecurity, and Data Analytics programs.
Industry Recognition Award
This award represents HI-TEC’s commitment to recognize industry colleagues who make significant contributions to the education and training of today’s technology workforce. Nominees for the award must have had a demonstrated broader impact on technology education on both a local and national level. The Industry Recognition Award recognizes key industry personnel for outstanding contributions to promote advanced technological education.
Todd Christenson, Past President of the Micro and Nanotechnology Commercialization Education Foundation (MANCEF)
Todd Christenson has been advocating for technical education programs in the micro and nano technologies for over ten years. As the President of the Micro and Nanotechnology Commercialization Education Foundation (MANCEF), a conglomerate of MNT companies, he supported the MNT ATE program and organized participation in the COMS World Conference and provided the platform to share MNT programs throughout the United States.
Todd has also been a strong mentor to students. Over the past three years, he has mentored a team of Pasadena City College students in the AACC Innovation Challenge and provided his expertise in developing education modules for our community. He consistently provides community college students access to his clean room at his company HT Micro, and spends hours answering questions on MEMS manufacturing and on starting a business.
Todd’s most important work is his commitment in attending, but more importantly recruiting more industry partners to the Micro Nano Technology Education Center’s Business Industry Leadership Team (BILT). During BILT meetings Todd clearly defines the knowledge, skills, and abilities we need to teach in our MNT community college program, and during the trends meeting leads the discussion on the emerging technology that MNT programs need to be aware of and prepare to teach in the future. Todd’s guidance has been instrumental in the development of MNT workforce development programs at community colleges in the US.
Innovative Program Award
This award represents HI-TEC’s commitment to recognize innovation in advanced technology education. The Innovative Program Award is designed to recognize a team of advanced technology education professionals that has designed and implemented a significant innovation, which has led to a positive impact on student enrollment, retention, and/or advanced technological education.
HSI ATE HUB Initiative
The innovative Hispanic Serving Institution Advanced Technological Education Hub (HSI ATE Hub) is engaged in proactively addressing the unique challenges facing two-year college HSI institutions and supporting technician educators who teach increasingly diverse student populations. Community colleges enroll a higher percentage of Hispanic students than any other sector of higher education, and each year additional two-year colleges become HSIs. The HSI ATE Hub, with funding support from multiple National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education (NSF ATE) grants, is unique in its focus on needs of HSI two-year colleges and technician educators. HSI ATE Hub partners have assisted 78 HSI colleges in securing NSF ATE grants to fund improvements in technician education programs, facilitated community building and sharing of best practices among HSI ATE grantees, and curated a library of HSI-specific research and related information. Currently, the initiative is producing a faculty development program for culturally responsive technician education. This program is being developed and pilot-tested with 2-year college HSI faculty and in partnership with industry. Receiving the award are Juan Rodriguez, Principal Investigator, Westchester Community College, and Sarah Belknap, Co-PI, Westchester Community College.