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Mentor-Connect names 2018 Mentor Fellows

on Tuesday, 24 October 2017. Posted in News, Education, Local News

Mentor-Connect names 2018 Mentor Fellows

A new initiative that prepares the next generation of mentors to assist perspective grantees for the National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education (NSF ATE) Program has named three Mentor Fellows for 2018. The Mentor-Connect Project provides mentoring and technical assistance to help two-year colleges learn to prepare and submit competitive grant proposals to the NSF ATE Program. Mentor Fellows ensures that well prepared mentors are available for this work.

Mentor-Connect is based at Florence-Darlington Technical College and is funded by the National Science Foundation, grant numbers 1204463 and 1501183. From a national pool of well-qualified candidates, the following three experienced NSF ATE Principal Investigators have been selected for a year-long fellowship: Diane Dostie, (Dean of Corporate & Community Services, Central Maine Community College, Auburn, ME-retired), Dr. Edgar E. Troudt, (Assistant Dean for Research and Strategic Partnerships, Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus, Brooklyn, NY), and Danine Alderete-Tomlin (Executive Director, Automotive Manufacturing Technology Education Center (AMTEC), Kentucky Community and Technical College System, Versailles, KY).

Mentor Fellows receive financial support and guidance as they shadow experienced Mentor-Connect Mentors and engage in a variety of learning activities throughout the year that prepares them to be Mentor-Connect mentors for potential ATE grantees. Mentor Fellows learn the specifics of NSF ATE grant proposal development and expand their own leadership skills as they observe and participate in the Mentor-Connect system that stimulates leadership development among the STEM faculty who participate as teams in a Mentor-Connect cohort. Mentor-Connect typically works with 20 new-to-ATE colleges each year.

The Mentor Fellows experience, which begins in January 2018, is one facet of the Mentor-Connect regenerative leadership development effort. The main thrust of Mentor-Connect, an ATE project of the South Carolina Advanced Technological Education (SCATE) Center, is to broaden the impact of the NSF ATE Program by diversifying the pool of two-year colleges and educators who receive ATE grant awards. Mentor-Connect mentees are faculty from two-year, associate-degree-granting institutions that are eligible for Small Grants for Institutions New to ATE. Mentor Fellows is a multi-year initiative.

The next application date will be Sept. 28, 2018. The application and details about the next fellowship opportunity will be available at

Selected Mentor Fellow, Diane Dostie believes her “experience could be helpful to another college interested in embarking on an NSF ATE journey.” Ms. Dostie served as principal investigator for two NSF ATE advanced manufacturing projects, the Virtual Ideation Platform (VIP) and the Regional Advanced Machining Partnership (RAMP), and as Co-Principal Investigator for RapidTech, an ATE project in additive manufacturing. The projects involved research, curriculum development, collaboration with faculty across several institutions and dissemination of the results.

Selected Mentor Fellow Danine Alderete-Tomlin wants to help future ATE partners learn lessons that will enable them to move forward with successful grant applications. Ms. Tomlin has been involved with AMTEC since 2005, first working with an original partner college of AMTEC, and since 2013 as Executive Director of the AMTEC National ATE Center.

Selected Mentor Fellow, Dr. Edgar E. Troudt, has served as Co-Principal Investigator for numerous NSF ATE funded grants at the intersection of STEM and Entrepreneurship, and he has held progressively responsible positions as both an academic administrator and as a faculty member.

Elaine Craft, Principal Investigator of the SCATE Center of Excellence and the Mentor-Connect project, notes that “knowledge transfer is key to the long-term success of the NSF ATE Program and the advancement of technician education. Those who have worked in the ATE Program, which is now nearly 25 years old, feel a strong sense of community and desire to give back.

Mentor-Connect puts structure to the knowledge sharing and mentoring that has been an informal process in the ATE Program since its inception. The Mentor Fellows initiative is accelerating the creation of a regenerative mentoring system for ATE where the more experienced help those who have less experience, leaders are developed, and the ATE Program is diversified geographically and demographically.”

About Mentor-Connect:

Mentor-Connect: A Leadership Development and Outreach Initiative for ATE is an initiative of the South Carolina Advanced Technological Education Center of Excellence (SCATE) at Florence-Darlington Technical College designed to actively engage more two-year technical and community colleges in the improvement of technician education.

Mentor-Connect works in partnership with the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) to help STEM faculty teams from participating institutions apply for grant funding from the National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education Program (NSF ATE).

Potential grantees are assisted in developing grant writing skills and leadership skills. Mentoring is used for knowledge transfer. Those with many years of experience with NSF ATE funded projects serve as mentors to those who are new to the program.

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