National Science Foundation awards $763K for community college nanotechnology project

(Nanowerk News) Northwest Vista College’s Advanced Materials Technology (nanotechnology) program is one of only three nanotechnology associate degree programs at a Texas community college. And now thanks to a recent National Science Foundation grant totaling $763,000 for three years, it will establish the NVC program and San Antonio as a hub for companies needing employees skilled in micro-nano-bio technologies.
Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20) made the grant announcement Aug. 25 and said it will address Texas’ critical nanotechnology workforce development needs that the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board identified in its recent “Nanotechnology Forecast” report.

“Nanotechnology may be science conducted on an extremely small scale, but the field’s impact on our lives is momentous,” said Rep. Castro. “Thanks to nanotechnology, our mobile devices are smaller and faster, our medical treatments are more effective, and our energy resources are used more efficiently.”

NVC President Dr. Ric Baser recently said in a Texas Public Radio interview that Texas has the fourth largest number of nanotechnology companies in the U.S.

“(This grant) will help us address the urgent workforce needs for specialized, skilled professionals in advanced materials technologies, which, in turn, will revolutionize the transportation, aerospace, biotechnology, healthcare and manufacturing industries.”

NVC currently awards an Associate of Applied Science in Advanced Materials Technology and an Advanced Technical Certificate in Nanotechnology.
This grant - titled The Alamo Institute for Materials Technology – will enhance and expand NVC’s current program by adding stackable Level-1 Certificates in Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology and Nanobiotechnology. Some of the objectives of this grant include:
  • Substantially enhancing the existing curriculum technical competencies and student-learning outcomes to provide graduates with multiple career options in cross-cutting fields of micro-, bio-, and nanotechnologies;
  • Creating dual credit pathways for high school students in collaboration with five local school districts;
  • Facilitating seamless transition of college students to pursue four-year degree and/or enter workforce through a comprehensive curriculum with strong scientific and technical components;
  • Increasing public knowledge of the impact of these advanced technologies through innovative, informal outreach programs;
  • Introducing over a 1,000 middle- and high school students to nanotechnology through a mobile “nano-to-go” lab;
  • Creating a Student Nano Ambassadors Scholarship Program (10 students will receive $500 per semester) to encourage mentorship among the student community;
  • Improving the enrollment and graduation rates of students majoring in Advanced Materials Technology, with an emphasis on increasing underrepresented students in STEM fields.
  • This grant will also help NVC’s Advanced Materials Technology program serve as a role model for other two-year programs to lead a network of educational institutions, National Science Foundation ATE Centers, and industry partners to meet regional company needs.
    NVC Advanced Materials Technology Program Coordinator and the Principal Investigator of this project, Dr. Barti Subramaniasiva said that, “This grant will help NVC educate and train skilled workers in nanotechnology and related fields, including electronic and semiconductor fabrication technology, micro-technology labs, material science labs, chemical technology, biotechnology, biopharmaceutical technology, and environmental science, positioning San Antonio as a hub for advanced materials technology education.”
    Source: Northwest Vista College