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National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 "to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense…" With an annual budget of $7.3 billion (FY 2015), NSF is the funding source for approximately 24 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities. In many fields such as mathematics, computer science and the social sciences, NSF is the major source of federal backing.

NSF fulfills its mission each year by issuing limited-term grants -- currently about 11,000 new awards per year, with an average duration of three years -- to fund specific research proposals that have been judged the most promising by a rigorous and objective merit-review system. Most of these awards go to individuals or small groups of investigators. Others provide funding for research centers, instruments and facilities that allow scientists, engineers and students to work at the outermost frontiers of knowledge.

In a continued effort to encourage students to go into Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) related fields, NSF awarded the Community College of Baltimore County $1,345,578 million in funding for the Generating Excitement and Training for Engineering Technology (GET ET) and the Math and Computer Inspired Scholars (MCIS) programs.

With the GET ET program, CCBC will be able to replicate its successful model for aligning The International Technology and Engineering Education Association's proven Engineering by Design (EbD) high school engineering technology curriculum - specifically Advanced Design Applications (ADA) and Engineering Design (EngD) - between high school systems and local community colleges. In the course of the three-year grant period, a total of 9 trainers will be trained, and modified EbD courses will be implemented at 60 high schools throughout Maryland and Illinois.

“The work we have done has already had national impact as the curriculum changes made to better align the EbD courses with our Introduction to Engineering Technology class have been incorporated into the core material being taught by all ADA teachers,” explains Laura LeMire, Acting Engineering Department Chair for CCBC. “Having other colleges and school systems replicate our work and develop connections is very gratifying and ground breaking as well.”

As the need for engineering technicians in the United States is expected to grow for the next decade, both GET ET and MCIS programs will create a pathway to broaden participation in engineering technology careers by creating a more seamless and efficient pathway starting from high school into technician jobs requiring an Associate’s Degree; which will help to increase the number of engineering technicians in the state of Maryland and throughout the country.
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