HI-TEC is pleased to announce the winners of the 2020 awards. Congratulations to our 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.
Michael Qaissaunee has a long history of collaboration with the NSF ATE program and its principal investigators. Under Michael’s leadership, the NSF ATE project E-MATE 2.0: Building Capacity for Interactive Teaching and Learning has developed instructional materials and assessment instruments designed to support STEM programs. STEM instructors were asked to identify topics and concepts their students had the most difficulty in mastering. Michael's team storyboarded those concepts and constructed animations to illustrate them.
The E-MATE project advances the creation and adoption of interactive instructional materials within the ATE community while providing students with engaging, interactive content. Through this project, educators have access to a free library of activities ranging from cybersecurity to chemistry.
E-MATE addresses inequities created by the soaring cost of textbooks and classroom instructional materials. The E-MATE concept is based on the creation of self-contained, interactive instructional content that can be easily and freely disseminated. The activities include content, interaction with the student, and embedded assessment, giving the student an opportunity to demonstrate the knowledge and skills addressed in the activities.
E-MATE positively impacts teaching and learning by infusing interactivity with new and emerging concepts, technologies, and products. The interactive E-MATE materials help students grasp difficult concepts and increase the number of students successfully completing STEM programs. Significant efforts are ongoing to engage faculty and institutions that serve underrepresented populations. E-MATE content was featured last year at the Association of Computer and Information Science/Engineering Departments at Minority Institutions (ADMI).
Michael’s willingness to collaborate with other NSF centers and projects has resulted in a significant multidisciplinary library of content. Michael is always willing to share the team’s work and assist educators interested in employing the content.
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.
The Connecticut College of Technology (COT) is a 2+2+2 career pathway program that provides technical education and prepares graduates for continuing their education seamlessly at partner institutions. Its unique governing structure, the COT Council, led by Dr. Karen Wosczyna-Birch, includes representatives from all twelve CT community colleges, nine universities, the technical high schools, and industry.
The two core programs of the COT are (1) Engineering Science (theoretical, calculus-based); and (2) Technology Studies (hands-on, problem-based). In 2004 the COT received the first of three NSF ATE awards to establish the Regional Center for Next Generation Manufacturing (RCNGM), an NSF Center of Excellence whose activities include summer externships for faculty and hands-on experiences in community college technical labs for high school counselors. The COT has developed video profiles of students and alumni in technician careers with an emphasis on underrepresented populations and veterans, resulting in significant increases in diversity enrollment.
The most widely distributed of the COT’s RCNGM materials is the DVD titled “You Belong: Women in Manufacturing.” The RCNGM’s best practices for underrepresented populations in STEM have been disseminated at conferences nationally and internationally. In 2019 the COT-RCNGM partnered with AARP of Connecticut to create initiatives to “recareer” the state’s 50+ population.
In 2010 the COT-RCNGM received NSF funding to create an international program in which COT students and faculty collaborate with counterparts in Germany. In 2017 the French Embassy provided the COT with funding to support student mobility between the two countries and joint research projects involving the COT and France’s two-year institutions. In 2019 the COT-RCNGM received NSF ATE International funding for faculty and student travel to France, and a 14-day advanced manufacturing bootcamp in France is planned for 2020.
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.
Cal Couillard, a self-described “crazy inventor guy,” is currently leading his fifth business, Speed Solar Inc., a Midwest distributor of solar photovoltaic panels and hardware. In Cal’s words, he has “invented his way through multiple businesses to reach his true passion—designing solar solutions to address global warming and climate change.” He hopes to transform the energy marketplace by promoting wide-scale adoption of solar photovoltaics and electric vehicles.
While most solar products are designed for the largest solar markets in sunny, temperate locations like California, Arizona, and Colorado, Cal and Speed Solar have a keen interest in promoting solar in northern latitudes, where partially cloudy skies and cold winter conditions predominate. Speed Solar has carved out a niche bringing bifacial solar panels into the Upper Midwest market that are capable of producing electricity from both front and back sides of the solar modules.
Cal and his company have worked with Madison College and others to conduct field trials of bifacial solar panels. Speed Solar donated, and Cal personally delivered, nearly 20 kW of solar panels to Madison College. The trials have provided a fantastic learning experience for students and provided data that has been shared with Sandia and the National Renewable Energy Laboratories to help advance research on solar performance in snowy climates.
Cal and his wife, Laurie, are passionate about reversing the negative impacts of greenhouse gases. They have made it their mission to invest in the Couillard Solar Foundation to foster the growth of the solar market and to promote solar education. The Couillard Solar Foundation has provided funding for the Solar on Schools grant program, which provides free solar panels and technical advice to public schools seeking to install solar photovoltaic systems.