TNCC Dean Honored at National Conference for Technology Education Professionals


Published: August 31, 2011

Thomas Nelson Community College’s (TNCC) Dean of Science, Engineering and Allied Health Patricia Taylor received an Innovative Program Award during the High Impact Technology Exchange (HI-TEC) Conference held July 27-28 in San Francisco. She received the award along with Stewart Harris Jr., NASA Langley Research Center’s Deputy Director for Technical Services, Engineering Directorate. The pair also conducted a presentation about TNCC’s and NASA’s partnership during the two-day conference.

The award recognizes teams of advanced technology education professionals who have designed and implemented significant innovations that have led to a positive impact on student enrollment, retention and/or advanced technology education, according to HI-TEC. “It is a privilege to represent the team of TNCC faculty and NASA technicians and engineers who mentor students throughout their college experience and prepare them for the SpaceTEC certification exam and careers at NASA Langley,” said Taylor.

Over the past four years, Taylor and Harris have been instrumental in developing a pipeline to train future aerospace employees using key components of technical education and mentoring. They fostered a relationship between TNCC and NASA that includes secondary partners, national certification, state apprenticeship and Old Dominion University.

“The HI-TEC award acknowledges the success of that partnership and its positive impact on advanced technology education.

I am truly honored to be recognized by the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Advanced Technology Education program, NSF’s community college program that ‘educates technicians for America’s cutting-edge industries’ and ‘strengthens the nation’s workforce through partnerships,’” she added.

In addition to creating an aerospace careers pipeline, TNCC and NASA are both partners in the Governor’s Academy for Innovation, Technology and Engineering (GAITE). Taylor said TNCC is one of three hosts for GAITE Exploratory Saturdays which expose middle and high school students to technology applications such as modeling and simulation, smart materials, and computer aided design and drafting. TNCC also partners with the Virginia Space Grant Consortium to offer college credit to high school students across Virginia for an online course, Introduction to Aerospace. The students also earn additional credits while participating in a summer project-based activity at NASA Langley.

Having joined TNCC in 1990, Taylor has seen the College’s Engineering, Science and Allied Health division grow steadily. The division’s degree programs and labs have been updated to include new courses in fiber optics, modeling and simulation, composites, alternative energy, solar, wind and direct digital controls. Plus, TNCC has articulation and guaranteed admission agreements in place for Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Technology, a first for the applied technical degrees, she noted.

Taylor has a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from the College of William and Mary and a Master’s degree in Mathematics Education from Virginia Commonwealth University.

For more information about TNCC’s Engineering, Science and Allied Health offerings, visit www.tncc.edu.

 



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