‘Bridging Historias’ Program to Enhance Humanities Courses

by Diane VanDyke

By participating in a two-year “Bridging Historias” program funded by a National Endowment for the Humanities grant, Montgomery County Community College’s Dean of Arts and Humanities Michele Cuomo serves as the administrative lead for the grant, and in doing so, will have the opportunity to provide resources to faculty to expand Latino/a studies in humanities courses offered at the College.

“Latino history and culture is an extremely important part of American history and culture. ‘Bridging Historias’ provides faculty and administrators with an opportunity to learn more on the subject from leading historians, which will in turn provide greater student access to this important and compelling area of study,” says Cuomo.

“Bridging Historias” is a faculty and curriculum development program directed by the American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning in partnership with Queensborough Community College. The program addresses the importance of Latino/a culture in American history and is designed to expand the teaching of this topic across the humanities disciplines.

The program started in September 2013 at the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center, with 42 selected community college faculty and administrators from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and eastern Pennsylvania. The program includes six full-day seminars with guest lecturers at CUNY. Participants also use an online program for reading, discussion and further development of programs to incorporate the Latino/a perspective.

Montgomery County Community College celebrates all diversity and is committed to building and supporting a diverse community and maintaining a campus climate that embraces differences.

According to 2010 census results reported on Montgomery County Planning Commission’s Data Portel at http://www.montcopa.org, Montgomery County’s growing Latino/a population has more than doubled since 2000, increasing by 18,991 for a total of 34,233 persons. This growing segment comprises 4.3 percent of the County’s total population of 799,874 in 2010.

First Student Graduates from Gateway to College Program

by Diane VanDyke

Brittany Harding of Hatboro-Horsham School District completed her high school requirements and received her diploma.

Brittany Harding of Hatboro-Horsham School District completed her high school requirements and received her diploma.

Montgomery County Community College’s Gateway to College Program hosted its first Awards and Graduation Ceremony recently at its Central Campus in Blue Bell.

After participating in the Gateway to College program for the fall semester, Brittany Harding completed her high school requirements and received her diploma from Director of Curriculum Dr. David Weber on behalf of the Hatboro-Horsham School District. It was a proud moment for Harding and her family.

“After I became a mother, people told me I would not be able to finish school,” Harding said. “But, my daughter inspired me. I want the best future for her, which means I have to finish my education and get a steady job. . . Making the decision to follow my dream is one I will never regret.”

Now that she has completed this first milestone in her educational journey, Harding looks forward to taking college courses during the 2014 Spring semester at Montgomery County Community College. She plans to get her associate’s degree in Mathematics and then get her bachelor’s degree so she can be a math teacher.

Harding is one of 21 students in MCCC’s first Gateway class that started in September 2013. MCCC is only 1 of only 43 higher education institutions in the country (and one of only two in the state) selected to participate in this program, which offers at-risk high school students a second chance to earn their diplomas and pursue college degrees. To date, 13 school districts and the Workforce Investment Board have partnered with MCCC, creating one of the largest collaborations in the Gateway program.

“My Gateway students are some of the most resilient and capable young people I have had the pleasure of supporting on their academic journey. Many are faced with incredibly difficult life circumstances yet they consistently attend school, participate in a rigorous learning environment and meet the expectations of the program. While this program is designed for students who are at-risk of not completing high school, my students prove that if given the opportunity to excel they can and will rise to the occasion. They are dreamers who have found a dreaming space at the MCCC GtC program,” said Keima Sheriff, MCCC’s Gateway program director.

In addition to celebrating Harding’s milestone achievement, Sheriff, along with Gateway Resource Specialists Lori Davidson and Esau Collins and MCCC Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Kathrine Swanson, recognized students for their achievements. Fourteen students completed the Foundation Semester portion of the program and will now transition as mainstreamed college students and continue taking classes while learning to work more independently.

The students with the highest GPAs were Brittany Harding (Hatboro-Horsham School District) and Dejah McMillan (Pottsgrove School District).  Carlas Rich (Phoenixville Area School District) and Khary Harris (Norristown Area School District) earned the Most Improved (GPA, attendance and attitude) awards.  Marcus Gordon (Pottsgrove School District) and Rosemary Lux (Norristown Area School District) received The Most Determined awards.  Isaiah Heverly (Phoenixville Area School District) and Peter Edwards (Norristown Area School District) received The Change of Heart (improved approach to learning). Anthony Hall (Phoenixville Area School District) and Amber Keys (Norristown Area School District) earned The Most Courageous awards. The Perfect Attendance award was presented to Dejah McMillan.  The overall Gateway to College award (GPA, attendance and participation) was presented to Rachel Voltz (Upper Merion School District).

Several students were recognized as Gateway Achievers (average GPA of 2.5 or higher):  Dejah McMillan, Faith Owens, Anthony Hall, Marcus Gordon, Rachel Voltz, Rosemary Lux, Amber Keys, Khary Harris, Brittany Harding and Yasmin Rich. The 14 students who completed the Foundation Semester and are transitioning to mainstream college courses are: Khary Harris, Amber Keys, Rosemary Lux, Yasmin Rich, Michael Sharky, Nicole Snyder, Rachel Voltz, Marcus Gordon, Anthony Hall, Isaiah Heverly, Alexandra Johns, Dejah McMillan, Faith Owens and Carlas Rich.

Recipients of the Gateway to College Achiever Awards included (front row, from left) Dejah McMillan, Faith Owens and Brittany Harding and (back row, from left) Rosemary Lux, Khary Harris, Anthony Hall, and Rachel Voltz. Standing with the group are MCCC Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Kathrine Swanson (left) and Gateway Program Director Keima Sheriff (right). Missing from the photo are Marcus Gordon, Amber Keys and Yasmin Rich.

Recipients of the Gateway to College Achiever Awards included (front row, from left) Dejah McMillan, Faith Owens and Brittany Harding and (back row, from left) Rosemary Lux, Khary Harris, Anthony Hall, and Rachel Voltz. Standing with the group are MCCC Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Kathrine Swanson (left) and Gateway Program Director Keima Sheriff (right). Missing from the photo are Marcus Gordon, Amber Keys and Yasmin Rich.

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Montgomery County Community College hosted its first graduation and awards ceremony for its Gateway to College program on Dec. 19, 2013. Photos by Sandi Yanisko

Innovative Program Makes ‘POWERful’ Impact on Individuals in Recovery

by Alana J. Mauger

Montgomery County Community College celebrated the journey of 28 individuals who successfully completed its innovative Partnership on Work Enrichment and Readiness (POWER) Program during a December ceremony at the Central Campus in Blue Bell.

The POWER Program helps individuals in mental health recovery to successfully develop and reach their education and career goals through a two-credit college course that focuses on time management, basic computer skills, study skills, public speaking, college success skills, career assessment, resume writing and professionalism.

For the graduates, the POWER Program gives them the confidence and skills they need to take the next steps in their lives. Several participants reflected on their journeys during the ceremony.

“The POWER Program has allowed me to experience how to interview and write a resume, and I want to continue my studies and work toward obtaining a better job,” shared Jordon Giraldi, who was diagnosed with autism at age three. “I look forward to trying new things.”

Recent high school graduate Lea Lavelle aspires to start a foundation that partners sick children with animal companions – a passion that developed from her own experiences with Pets for Companionship following multiple surgeries for a brain tumor.

“I want a career where I help animals because they have helped me so much,” she shared. “I want to earn my associate’s degree [at MCCC] and then transfer.”

Michael Soder shared his journey to the POWER Program, which led through addiction, incarceration and, now, recovery.

“The POWER Program helped me gain confidence, and now I know I will amount to something,” he said. “The most important thing is the friendships I made.”

Paul Sirianni shared excerpts from journal entries he wrote while incarcerated as a teen.

“One thing people can’t take away from you – it’s hope,” said the creative writer, encouraging his classmates to push themselves past their “mental walls.”

As part of the ceremony, 14 students were recognized for their achievements through the POWER Plus Program. These students are attending college classes or are currently employed as a result of their participation in the POWER Program.

“When I completed the POWER Program last year, I had a sense of purpose,” shared POWER Plus participant Jacob Reeder. “Now, I am a support to those around me, and I look forward to getting my degree [from MCCC].”

The POWER team includes Director/Faculty Diane Haar, Program Coordinator/Advisor Lisa Barbiero, Community Liaison/Advisor Lori Schreiber, Peer Mentor George Rohde, Administrative Coordinator Dianne Johnson, Faculty Byron Goldstein, and Dean of Social Sciences Dr. Aaron Shatzman.

Montgomery County Community College and the Office of Montgomery County Behavioral Health/Development Disabilities provide funding for POWER and POWER Plus Programs, which also receive support from the Huston Foundation, Patricia Kind Foundation, the OddFellows of Philadelphia and other private foundations. However, the programs are in need of funding to continue next year.

Individuals interested in the POWER program may obtain a referral from their mental health or school provider or may self-refer.  For more information, contact Community Liaison Lori Schreiber at 215-461-1151 or lschreib@mc3.edu or Program Advisor Lisa Barbiero at 215-641-6425 or lbarbier@mc3.edu.

POWER and POWER Plus Program participants from December 2013 graduation ceremony.  Photo by Sandi Yanisko

POWER and POWER Plus Program participants from December 2013 graduation ceremony. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

Waste Management Donates $5,000 to Support Gateway to College Students

by Diane VanDyke

Waste Management recently donated $5,000 through the Pennsylvania Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) Program to Montgomery County Community College to help support the high school students participating in the College’s Gateway to College program.

The Gateway to College program was created by Portland Community College in 2000 to support students who are at risk of not completing or have disengaged from their high school education. Through the program, students complete their high school diploma requirements while simultaneously earning college credits at a community or technical college.

For Norristown students, Khary Harris and Rosemary Lux, the Gateway program has provided life-changing opportunities for them.

“I used to think there was no way I could go college,” said Harris, who wants to be an entrepreneur and own a construction business. “Gateway gave me the chance to attend college and be something other than a high-school dropout.”

Similarly, Lux says the program provides the support she needs to successfully complete her classes and focus on her dream of becoming a nurse.

“It is so rewarding to meet hard-working students like Khary and Rosemary, who are benefiting from the Gateway to College program.  Waste Management has been a corporate participant in the EITC Program since its inception, and through the program, has invested more than $9 million dollars in the future of Pennsylvania youth. We are truly pleased to be the inaugural EITC grantor to Montgomery County Community College and their Gateway to College program,” said Patty Barthel, Public Affairs, Waste Management.

Montgomery County Community College is one of 43 institutions in the country selected to participate in the Gateway to College National Network (GCNN) and received a $325,000 four-year contract from GCNN to implement the program starting in September 2013. Currently, 21 students are enrolled at each of the campuses located in Blue Bell and Pottstown.

“This generous donation from Waste Management will help students with gap expenses, including meals and other items, not covered by their school districts or the Gateway to College program,” said Dr. Karen A. Stout, Montgomery County Community College president. “Your gift means a lot to our students.”

The state Department of Community and Economic Development recently approved the College’s Dual Enrollment program as an innovative educational program that is eligible to receive funding through EITC. Dual Enrollment allows students to earn both high school and college credits for successfully completing college courses. State-approved businesses are eligible for tax credits when they make donations through EITC.

“The EITC Program partners business with educational facilities to provide a quality educational opportunity for students to better prepare to enter and be a positive influence in the workplace,” said state Senator John Rafferty, who attended the check presentation.

State Rep. Mary Jo Daley also attended the presentation and praised the benefits of dual enrollment programs for students.

“Dual Enrollment programs provide great value and opportunity to students, and Montgomery County Community College’s Gateway to College Program is no different. This is a great use of EITC funds and I thank Waste Management for their generosity and support of these students,” said state Rep. Daley.

For more information about Montgomery County Community College and/or the Gateway to College program, visit mc3.edu.

Waste Management, based in Houston, Texas, is the leading provider of comprehensive waste management services in North America. Its subsidiaries provide collection, transfer, recycling and resource recovery, and disposal services. It is the largest residential recycler and also a leading developer, operator and owner of waste-to-energy and landfill-gas-to-energy facilities in the United States. Customers include residential, commercial, industrial and municipal customers throughout North America. To learn more visit wm.com.

Waste Management recently presented a $5,000 donation to Montgomery County Community College to help support students in the College’s Gateway to College program. From left, State Senator John C. Rafferty, Jr.; Dr. Karen A. Stout, MCCC President; Khary Harris, student; Patty Barthel, Public Affairs, Waste Management; Keima Sheriff, Gateway to College Director;  Rosemary Lux, student; and State Rep. Mary Jo Daley. Photograph by Sandi Yanisko

Waste Management recently presented a $5,000 donation to Montgomery County Community College to help support students in the College’s Gateway to College program. From left,
State Senator John C. Rafferty, Jr.; Dr. Karen A. Stout, MCCC President; Khary Harris, student; Patty Barthel, Public Affairs, Waste Management; Keima Sheriff, Gateway to College Director; Rosemary Lux, student; and State Rep. Mary Jo Daley. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

TD Charitable Foundation Supports G-STEM Program for Pottstown Area Youth

by Diane VanDyke

The TD Charitable Foundation, the charitable giving arm of TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank®, recently donated $12,500, as part of the bank’s commitment to giving back to the community, to Montgomery County Community College in support of its G-STEM (Green-Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) summer program.

MCCC launched the G-STEM program in 2011 as the result of a $10,000 grant received from the TD Charitable Foundation. Since its inception, approximately 60 Pottstown area youth have attended the science program taught at the MCCC’s West Campus in Pottstown. Because of the ongoing support of the TD Charitable Foundation, MCCC can offer this program again for the fourth consecutive year.

“Thanks to TD Bank, students who never had such an opportunity before now have a chance to participate in the program. As a result, they acquire dreams, which they realize they now can fulfill,” said Biology Associate Professor Dr. David Gonzales, who serves as the G-STEM program director.

During the five-day program, 20 students are introduced to the basic concepts of scientific methodology and data analysis through hands-on activities and experiments, which include field trips to the nearby Manatawny Creek and Schuylkill River. Each activity focuses on an environmental issue relevant to the local community, and the students present their findings using PowerPoint at the conclusion of the program to the faculty, parents and guests.

Throughout the process, students work closely with MCCC faculty, including Biology Associate Professor Dr. David Gonzales, Geology Professor Robert Kuhlman, Microbiology Instructor Dr. James Bretz, Assistant Chemistry Professor Dr. Janet Graden, Biology Instructor David Whalen, and Assistant Mathematics Professor Stephanie Isaac. Additionally, several MCCC students have the opportunity to help as teaching assistants and expand their experience.

The program’s objective, through the engaging activities in a college setting, is to encourage youth to learn more about science and explore careers in this high-demand field.

Montgomery County Community College offers nationally recognized, competitive STEM transfer programs, in addition to career-track and certification programs. Students receive an affordable, high-caliber education that enables them to reach their goals, including seamless transfer into one of the College’s many partner institutions or entry into the workforce. For more information about the College’s STEM programs, visit mc3.edu.

A staunch commitment to active involvement in the local community is a vital element of the TD Bank philosophy. TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank® and the TD Charitable Foundation provide support to affordable housing, financial literacy and education, and environmental initiatives, many of which focus on improving the welfare of children and families.

Pictured at the check presentation (from left) are:  MCCC Interim Dean of STEM Suzanne Holloman, TD Bank Vice President/Relationship Manager Christina Caracciolo, TD Bank Regional Vice President Geoffrey Brandon, MCCC Microbiology Instructor James Bretz, MCCC Biology Associate Professor/Program Director Dr. David Gonzales and TD Vice President/Store Manager David P. Rink. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

Pictured at the check presentation (from left) are: MCCC Interim Dean of STEM Suzanne Holloman, TD Bank Vice President/Relationship Manager Christina Caracciolo, TD Bank Regional Vice President Geoffrey Brandon, MCCC Microbiology Instructor James Bretz, MCCC Biology Associate Professor/Program Director Dr. David Gonzales and TD Vice President/Store Manager David P. Rink. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

The William Penn Foundation Awards Grant for Lively Arts Series

by Diane VanDyke

The William Penn Foundation in Philadelphia recently awarded a 31-month grant to the Montgomery County Community College Foundation in the amount of $140,000 in support of programming for the College’s Lively Arts Series in 2015 and 2016.

The grant award will enable the College’s Cultural Affairs Office, led by Director Helen Haynes, to continue to provide performances in jazz, folk and world music genres and showcase a diverse selection of both established and emerging artists as part of its Lively Arts Series.

“We present an array of music, dance and theater that exposes the community to new styles and genres and promotes lifelong cultural learning,” Haynes said. “The performances are held in an intimate setting, where the audience feels close to the artists and will get the opportunity to meet and talk with them after the shows.

“We are grateful for the ongoing, generous support of The William Penn Foundation, which allows the College to provide these high-caliber performances, meet-the-artist receptions and educational experiences for area residents and our campus community,” she said.

Additionally, the Lively Arts Series will continue its residency activities, including master classes and workshops with renowned artists. And, through the Young Arts Explorers series, the College introduces and encourages multi-cultural experiences for children during special programming held during the day.

Montgomery County Community College values and supports the arts as part of its mission and philosophy since its founding in 1964. Throughout the decades, the College has strived to become a cultural destination through its Lively Arts Series in offering a global perspective to the community by presenting artists and performances from a multitude of cultures with the support of its funding partners, including The William Penn Foundation. For more information about the Lively Arts Series, visit mc3.edu/livelyarts.

The William Penn Foundation, founded in 1945 by Otto and Phoebe Haas, works to close the achievement gap for low-income children, ensure a sustainable environment, foster creativity that enhances civic life, and advance philanthropy in the Philadelphia region. With assets of nearly $2 billion, the Foundation distributes approximately $80 million in grants annually. Learn more about the Foundation at williampennfoundation.org.

Quaker Chemical Foundation Awards Grant for STEM Scholarships

by Diane VanDyke

The trustees of The Quaker Chemical Foundation, Conshohocken, recently awarded a grant to Montgomery County Community College for scholarships for students pursuing higher education in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). 

The grant award will provide scholarships for high-achieving, financially challenged students from the Plymouth-Whitemarsh School District. The scholarships will enable students to pursue careers in high-demand STEM fields. According to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in professional, scientific, and technical services is projected to grow by approximately 29 percent, which will add about 2.1 million new jobs by 2020. 

MCCC’s STEM division offers nationally recognized, competitive transfer programs, as well as career-track programs. Students completing the transfer programs continue their education at local and regional colleges and universities, including Temple, West Chester, Gywnedd-Mercy, and Chestnut Hill, as well as Rowan, Widener, Thomas Jefferson, Cornell, and the University of Pennsylvania. Individual courses are widely accepted at regional universities and beyond. 

The Quaker Chemical Foundation was established more than 50 years ago to support qualified non-profit organizations through corporate contributions. The Foundation’s purpose is to demonstrate the values of Quaker Chemical Corporation, particularly as they relate to Quaker associates and the local communities in which the company operates. Through its grant program, matching gift program, and scholarship program (for children of associates), the Foundation makes a positive impact in Quaker’s local communities, supports the personal giving activities of associates, and advances the educational aspirations of associates’ children.

46 Graduates Complete Accelerated GED Program

Student speaker Vanessa Perry addresses her fellow graduates. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

Student speaker Vanessa Perry addresses her fellow graduates. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

by Alana J. Mauger

Forty-six students earned their General Education Diplomas (GED) during Montgomery County Community College’s semi-annual graduation ceremony on Oct. 16 at the West Campus in Pottstown.

The graduates were part of the College’s rigorous five-week program that is among the most accelerated in the state. According to GED Program Coordinator /Instructor Raymond Ricketts, 828 students have completed the program since its inception in 2006 – an 84 percent graduation rate.

The Montgomery County Workforce Investment Board (WIB) funds the program, which is free to Montgomery County residents. The fee for out-of-county students is $100 and includes the course and GED exam.

During the ceremony, MCCC alumnus and Alumni Hall of Fame inductee Scott Rau, Pottstown, provided the keynote address. He encouraged graduates to “make a commitment to self,” ask for help when needed, and give back, noting that “the most valuable resource you can give is your time.”

“You don’t have to stop. Everything is a milestone; everything is a step forward,” said Rau, who is senior vice president and director of mobile payments with Chase, and is also a member of the College’s Foundation Board of Directors.

Providing the student address, graduate Vanessa Perry, Pottstown, explained how a “fighting spirit” helped her to persist through the program in spite of obstacles that included her husband’s death.

“I’ve been trying to earn my GED since 2002,” shared Perry, who is already enrolled in MCCC classes this semester. “No matter what people say and what challenges come your way, only you can change your future.”

Marisol Lezcano, executive director of the Montgomery County WIB and deputy director of commerce, closed the ceremony by challenging graduates to “be daring” and go after their dreams.

“Success always comes when preparation meets opportunity,” she said.

To learn more about the GED program or GED testing services, visit mc3.edu/adm-fin-aid/ged.

GED graduates stand with faculty, staff and community supporters. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

GED graduates stand with faculty, staff and community supporters. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

Green Tree Community Health Foundation Grant Supports Dental Care for Norristown Children

by Diane VanDyke

The Green Tree Community Health Foundation recently awarded a $2,500 grant to Montgomery County Community College in support of a fluoride varnish program for children in select Head Start programs in Norristown.

Administered by the College’s Dental Hygiene Program, the fluoride program will provide direct oral health care services to approximately 75 children, ages 3-5 years of age, to reduce the chances of tooth decay. Services will include dental examinations and education for children and parents that demonstrates the importance of good oral health as well as the need to begin dental visits at an early age. According to the American Dental Association, dental decay is the most common chronic childhood disease with more than 16 million kids suffering from untreated tooth decay in the U.S.

Since 1973, the College’s Dental Hygiene Clinic has been providing the public with comprehensive preventive dental hygiene services. Services are provided at the Central Campus’ dental hygiene facility in Blue Bell utilizing modern equipment and the latest technological advances. All treatment procedures are supervised by licensed dentists and dental hygiene faculty.

A community health advocate, the Green Tree Community Health Foundation is a not-for-profit public charity that identifies the areas of vulnerability in the communities of Northwest Philadelphia and Eastern Montgomery County and provides funding to organizations whose work addresses these needs. The Foundation seeks to have a positive impact on current and emerging health issues and risks, empowering residents to access health services and value, embrace and maintain their health.

Biotech Educators Collaborate at NSF BIOMAN Conference

by Diane VanDyke

: The conference included hands-on workshops featuring quality control microbiology, bioethanol production and immunology. Photo by Diane VanDyke

The conference included hands-on workshops featuring quality control microbiology, bioethanol production and immunology. Photo by Diane VanDyke

Science educators from across the country recently converged at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell to engage in hands-on lab work involving stem cells, biofuels and biochemistry as part of the Eighth Annual National Science Foundation (NSF) Biomanufacturing Center and Collaborative (NBC2) BIOMAN Conference.

This annual conference is designed to keep biotechnology and biomanufacturing faculty up to date on the latest techniques, training and education for technicians entering the industry. Thirty-eight community college and eight high school science faculty participated in the event held July 15-18.

MCCC Assistant Professor of Biotechnology and Co-Principal Investigator of NBC2, Dr. Margaret Bryans, coordinated and led the conference in collaboration with Sonia Wallman, NBC2 Principal Investigator, as well as Jennifer Imbesi, Sheila Byrne and Tim Kull, all also of NBC2.

Participants represented a range of expertise and experience, from first-time attendees like Jeremy Carreiro, a laboratory technician from Community College of Rhode Island, to Professor William H. Woodruff, Biotechnology Department Head at Alamance Community College, Graham, N.C.

“This has been a great experience for me,” said Carreiro, who plans to include the material he learned in the Microalgae to Biodiesel hands-on workshop in the program at Rhode Island. “I hope to attend every year.”

“As a presenter at this conference in the past, I thoroughly enjoy sharing new things to help others upgrade and improve their programs,” Woodruff said. “As a participant, I always learn something new to take back to the program.”

In three keynote presentations, scientists from local pharmaceutical companies talked about new and longstanding initiatives and the training required for the workforce. Tours of three local companies, GlaxoSmithKline, Janssen and Merck, allowed participants to see processes firsthand and speak directly to the scientists.

Additionally, the conference’s hands-on workshops were designed and presented as a module that the faculty could insert into their existing programs. The workshops were divided into three tracks. The beginners track allowed less experienced participants to mimic the biomanufacturing process by cloning and expressing the taq polymerase gene in E coli. In the intermediate track, participants grew microalgae in photobioreactors for the production and extraction of biodiesel. In the advanced track, participants isolated adult stem cells and differentiated mouse stem cells into various cell types.

Other workshops included quality control microbiology, bioethanol production and an immunology workshop.

These topics are directly related to courses taught at Montgomery County Community College in the Biotechnology, Biomanufacturing and Molecular Techniques degree programs. Several of the workshop modules will be incorporated into the courses in the coming year.

For the fall 2013 semester, two biotechnology courses are offered: Introduction to Biotechnology (BIT120) and Basic Techniques and Instrumentation in Biotechnology (BIT123). Both an Applied Associate in Science and an Associate in Science degree program are offered.  Additionally, a certificate program in biotechnology and biomanufacturing is currently being developed.

According to the U.S. Department Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job prospects for biological technicians is expected to grow by 14 percent through 2020, and the prospects for biochemists and biophysicists is expected to increase by 31 percent.

For more information about Montgomery County Community College’s Biotechnology program or to schedule a visit to see the biotechnology labs, contact Dr. Margaret Bryans, Program Coordinator, at mbryans@mc3.edu.

Thirty-eight community college and eight high school science faculty from across the country participated in the three-day Eighth Annual National Science Foundation Biomanufacturing Center and Collaborative BIOMAN Conference hosted by Montgomery County Community College. Photo by Diane VanDyke

Thirty-eight community college and eight high school science faculty from across the country participated in the three-day Eighth Annual National Science Foundation Biomanufacturing Center and Collaborative BIOMAN Conference hosted by Montgomery County Community College. Photo by Diane VanDyke