The trip to Washington, D.C. for the 2017 Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Principal Investigators Conference Oct 23 – 25, 2017 was a wonderful experience for me! Since I newly became a principal investigator for the electronics technology instrumentation program for the NSF grant (#1601442) shortly after I joined Galveston College as the Electrical and Electronics Technology Director in May of 2017, I had some experience under my belt, but there is nothing like hearing from and meeting with fellow peers, evaluators, panelist speakers and mentors who have shaped my mind well during this conference for the upcoming year and years to come.
The conference was held at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. On Monday, October 23, 2017 I attended a workshop called Getting Started and this was phenomenal! This workshop was attended by all new principal investigators so together, we truly learned more about our role as a principal investigator and got a chance to meet some ATE Program Directors who taught us about all the valuable people we would work with throughout the year from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to our evaluators, ATE central – a digital portal where our results of our grants would be archived to opening up our minds about what others were doing with their NSF grants.
Throughout the rest of Monday – Wednesday, I attended several workshops and met many people. Thus, I learned valuable information about connecting with mentors, and learned about how a college in Oregon developed partnerships with industry leaders in their community. This college was able to leverage the help of industry partners to steer their Programmable Logic Controllers electronics curriculum so that students could be trained at a much faster speed due to changing the way they offered their classes! It was refreshing to witness this win-win example of all parties working together for the betterment of the students! Also, I was able to sit with and gain valuable insight from a panelist speaker from Morgan State University who opened my eyes to a new perspective of some of the students I serve. In addition, I discussed the future of electronics technology programs and learned about virtual reality as a way to improve the delivery of curricula.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, I worked with my co-principal investigator, Dr. Laimutis Bytautas, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, to work our booth and to put our best foot forward to show the progress we have made in implementing our instrumentation program so far. I wanted to thank Sandi Smith for helping us put together a booth we were proud of!
I have already begun implementing some of what I learned at this conference and look forward to working with Dr. Bytautas for a highly productive rest of this year on this NSF grant!
Tyree C. Bearden, MS
Program Director, Electrical and Electronics Technology