Access and Opportunity
Collaboration for an Educated Workforce:
The Center for Science and Engineering Education
One major purpose of the Center is to develop new relationships and partnerships with the scientific and industrial communities.”
-Mary Anne Celenza, Ph.D., Dean of the Division of Math, Science and Health Careers
Fewer students are pursuing science and engineering degrees at a time when occupations are growing more dependent upon skills taught in these areas. Some studies predict students will not have the appropriate skills for several types of jobs when they seek employment, and the lack of interest in these subjects will cause a shortage of workers in critical areas. Reversing this trend is just one of the issues being addressed by the new Center for Science and Engineering Education, led by members of the Biology, Chemistry and Physics departments.
The Centerís multifaceted approach to keeping students up-to-date with science-related fields and career prospects includes developing seminars, conferences and forums about the impact of science and technology; identifying possible student internship and research opportunities; seeking federal and state grants for educational projects; and coordinating efforts and resources with area community colleges. In support of these goals for students, the Center will provide professional development opportunities for faculty, and science departments will work together more frequently to improve offerings and curricula. Additionally, the Center will partner with other College departments and divisions as needed to identify opportunities and strengthen efforts to educate students about science and technology.
Externally, continuing to involve area business leaders in discussions about what training future employees will need remains crucial to creating relevant programs.
“One major purpose of the Center is to develop new relationships and partnerships with the scientific and industrial communities,” said Mary Anne Celenza, Ph.D., dean of the Division of Math, Science and Health Careers. “These individuals will keep us informed of emerging trends and needs, connecting the workplace to faculty and students.” In the development of the new Applied Science and Engineering Technology degree, the College partnered with several area organizations involved in the life sciences industry, including Life Science Career Alliance, The Wistar Institute and Delaware Valley Industry Resource Center. Several companies helped the College assess workforce needs and trends, including Sunoco, Philadelphia Gas Works, Tengion, Centocor and Tasty Baking Company.
One of the upcoming tasks of Center members will be determining what additional certificate programs may be investigated for future implementation as part of the Applied Science and Engineering Technology program, which commenced this fall. “A Green Technology certificate will probably be developed in the future,” said Celenza.
Science and Engineering Scholarships at the College
The College offers support to students pursuing science, engineering or technology with the following scholarships:
The R.D. Robertson Award for Excellence in Engineering or Science is awarded annually to up to two students who show outstanding scholarship in the fields of engineering or science. The award was established in 1993 and named for the founding member of the College’s Physics department, R.D. Robertson, who served as head of the department for 11 of his 28 years of service to the College.
A student graduating from the College with an associate’s degree in a Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) field and pursuing a bachelor’s degree in a STEM field at a four-year institution may apply for the Ryan L. Thorne Technical Achievement Scholarship. Robin S. Thorne, a second-generation graduate of the College, established the scholarship. Thorne was a single mother on public assistance when she began studying for her degree in Engineering Science. Upon her graduation from the College, Thorne earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering at Drexel University and has worked in the field for more than a decade.
The College also offers scholarships in mathematics and the sciences. For a complete list, visit www.ccp.edu/site/current/scholarships/listing.php.
For more information, contact Scholarship Manager Patti Conroy at email@example.com or 215-751-8214.
Increasing Underrepresented Students in Science Careers
Two programs at Community College of Philadelphia are successfully working to increase the number of African-American, Latino and Native American students in science careers.
Alliance for Minority Participation (AMP) started at the College in 1995 and is funded by the National Science Foundation. Through symposia, research opportunities and faculty support, students are introduced to several areas within the sciences and are able to make connections with industry professionals. Students also receive book stipends if they maintain a 2.5 grade point average. Graduates have earned degrees in Psychology, Neuroscience, Chemistry, Pharmacy, Engineering, Microbiology and Immunity, and most stay in the Philadelphia area. Students working toward an Architecture or Interior Design degree are also eligible for AMP. Currently, there are more than 70 students in the program.
"AMP is increasing the skilled scientific workforce in the region,” said Linda Powell, M.D., program coordinator for AMP and head of the Biology department. “These students are in demand in this area."
The Bridges to Baccalaureate program gives research opportunities, tutoring and support to students pursuing a career in medical, engineering or other science fields. The College collaborates with Temple University for this grant, which is funded by the National Institutes of Health.
Program coordinator Rayvon Sneed, M.D., assistant professor of Chemistry, recruits students according to College placement test scores in math and English. The summer before starting at the College, program participants perform research and learn laboratory basics four days a week for four weeks. This group then spends another four weeks in the lab at Temple University, where they complete assignments and perform experiments. For each four-week session, stipends cover books, a transit pass and pay $400 to every student. During the fall semester, participants must complete 10 hours of lab time each week at Temple University. Only full-time students are eligible for the program, which presently has about 35 students.
In addition to scientific and laboratory knowledge, students learn how to work in a team and how to present findings to their classmates. "We're trying to make the transition from high school to college, then to a four-year college or university, smooth so they can go on and be successful," said Sneed.