Category Archives: STEM

Ashlynn Norris poses, wearing a Richland College lanyard and a NASA t-shirt. Richland College Student Accepted Into NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars Program

Reaching for the stars is a normal part of life for Richland College honors student Ashlynn Norris, who was recently chosen as a NASA Community College Aerospace Scholar. This hardworking young woman joined other community college STEM students from across the country in getting an authentic NASA experience.

“I felt breathlessly excited when I found out I was chosen as an NCAS,” said Norris. “I have always dreamed of being involved in a NASA program, but I generally believed that it wasn’t attainable. Seeing that email was a confirmation that I could maybe have a chance to pursue things I always believed were out of reach.”

As an NCAS student, Norris had the opportunity to engage in research and learning opportunities with NASA during a five-week online course that ended July 3. During the course, students learned about NASA’s past, present and future missions, as well as the science, technology and engineering that happen behind the scenes.

“In the last five years, we’ve only had one other NASA Community College Aerospace Scholar,” said Kathleen Stephens, Richland College Honors Program coordinator. “It is a very competitive program that requires an application and letters of recommendation. As we seek to increase the number of women in STEM fields, I’m particularly excited for Ashlynn to have this opportunity.”

Norris and the other students heard from NASA subject matter experts, including Stu McClung, project planning manager for the Orion program; Trent Smith, project manager for VEGGIE, the in-orbit garden on the ISS; and Lisa Spence, a manager in NASA’s Human Research Project.

“These talks have been wonderful because neither Stu nor Trent were linear, normal students,” said Norris. “They both had a very interesting road to NASA and offered a lot of hope and wisdom to those who aren’t standard students, showing that anyone can participate in NASA if they work for it.”

Upon course completion, qualifying students are invited to tour a NASA facility and work with NASA scientists and engineers on-site. The students will visit NASA space center nearest them and participate in a four-day on-site study of the current Moon to Mars campaign. During this trip, students will attend lectures with current engineers, research tasks and complete challenges.

“I am most excited about the opportunities that this experience can give me,” added Norris. “I am blown away with how welcoming, enthusiastic and driven every single NASA employee I’ve interacted with is, and they’ve made a point to tell everyone that there is a place for anyone here, making sure that we understand we’re welcome. Being an NCAS student comes with opportunities down the line as well.”

Norris told her Richland College Honors Program advisors about a project some former NCAS student researchers spearheaded, in which a payload of micro-algae was sent to the International Space Station for a week to see how the plant would respond under stress. The plant produces a powerful antioxidant that NASA believes may be able to help fight the heavy strain on astronauts’ bodies while in micro-gravity. NASA has agreed to ship samples of this algae to Richland College’s biology department to be studied by students to see how micro-algae grown in space differs structurally.

“Ashlynn is new to the Honors Program, but she has already excitedly shared a way to enrich the program by giving us information about space algae that could potentially be used in an honors science classroom and for the science boot camp led by Dr. Dwight Randle,” said Stephens.

Upon graduating Richland College, Norris plans to transfer to UT Dallas to pursue a bachelor’s degree in software engineering. She has always been intrigued by artificial intelligence and the advancement of the exploration of space, and she hopes to have the opportunity to work with NASA one day.

“No one should give up on themselves just because they may be a non-linear, busy or working student,” said Norris. “It is never too late to pursue things that you love, and Richland College and NCAS have done a wonderful job of reminding me of that.”

The Richland College Honors Program provides highly qualified students with an enriched and challenging academic community where they develop the capabilities necessary to excel in their educational and career goals. In May 2019, 24 students with the Richland Honors Scholar designation and 24 additional students with the Richland Honors Certificate designation graduated from Richland College. Learn more about the Richland College Honors Program at https://www.richlandcollege.edu/cd/instruct-divisions/rlc/mshp/honors-program/pages/default.aspx.

NCAS gives community college STEM students an authentic NASA experience and encourages them to finish their degrees and eventually pursue a NASA-related career. Eligible students must be U.S. citizens, high school graduates or equivalent, at least 18-years-old, registered at a U.S. community college, have concurrent enrollment or completion of 9 or more hours of STEM coursework and able to commit to a five-week online session. More information is available at nas.okstate.edu/ncas/.


Richland College Works with Girls Inc. to Prepare Young Women for College and STEM Careers

For the sixth year in a row, Richland College partnered with Girls Inc. of Metropolitan Dallas, a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring all girls to be strong, smart and bold, to host part of a four-week summer camp for young women focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers. The girls were at Richland June 10-14.

“The girls are living proof that the whole is bigger than the sum of its parts,” said Simona Farcasiu, with the School of Engineering and Technology. “It takes a community to encourage girls to overcome challenges and pursue degrees and careers in STEM fields, and it was a great joy to watch the returning group of girls act as mentors to the rookies.”

This year, Richland College hosted two groups of girls – rookie eight graders and returning ninth graders. The returning group participated in biology/chemistry camp led by Libiya Shah and Becki Williams, where they learned about the water cycle and tested various water samples. The eighth graders participated in engineering/math camp, led by Simona Farcasiu and Praveena Dhayanithy, where they learned how math concepts are applied in engineering. Some applications included resistor color codes as applications of exponents and measuring sine waves as applications of trig.

In addition, both groups participated in a digital literacy camp led by Melinda Andrews, where they investigated their digital footprint and online safety. Also, the girls utilized their special reasoning skills when building lamps in art camp, led by Vicki Mayhan. Finally, both groups performed a beautiful dance routine symbolic of the Gestalt theory, “the whole is bigger than the sum of its parts,” led by Gina Sawyer.

Guests speakers during the camp included Martha Hogan, former executive dean for the School of Engineering and Technology, who spoke about the importance of education and addressed various pathways for achieving a degree and moving into a career in STEM. Sparsula Simmons, PMP, CSM manager at State Farm, led the girls into explorations of what it takes to be successful in a career and reminded the girls that they have the keys to success. Two Richland College police officers, Corporal Brooks and Officer Lopez, led a discussion with the girls about various issues. 

“Throughout the camp, the girls impressed us with their depth of thought, openness to new ideas and support for each other,” added Simona.

Girls Inc. of Metropolitan Dallas serves a diverse population of 1,000 girls, ages 6 to 18, in the Greater Dallas area. The organization focuses on the development of the whole girl through a combination of long-lasting mentoring relationships, a pro-girl environment and research-based programming that equips girls to lead fulfilling and productive lives, break the cycle of poverty and become role models in their communities. For more information, visit https://girlsincdallas.org

Thanks to everyone who helped make this event another success!  


vials of vaccines Richland College to Host Annual Health Professions Information Days Mar. 25-28

Richland College will host its annual Health Professions Information Days, an opportunity for students to learn about various health professions careers, Mar. 25-28.

Participants will learn about various health professions careers, including nursing, medicine, dentistry and more. More than 40 guest speakers will be presenting and available to answer questions, including practicing doctors, health occupations advisors and recruiters and more.

Health Professions Information Days will take place on the Richland College campus, located at 12800 Abrams Rd. in Dallas. Sessions will take place in Sabine Hall unless otherwise noted on the schedule. The schedule of events is as follows:

Monday, Mar. 25:
10-11 a.m., room SH118: Russell Canham, M.D., “The Path to Medicine: Getting Accepted into Medical Field of Dreams” Dr. Canham is a cardiologist, practicing in the Methodist Healthcare System of Hospitals.

11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m., room SH118: Dr. Scott Wright, “The Basics of Admission to Medical or Dental School.” Dr. Wright is the executive director of Texas Medical & Dental Schools Application Service, and he will answer the following questions: What is the timeline for applying and getting admitted to medical or dental school? Who gets admitted? What are their GPAs? Their MCAT or DAT scores?

12:45-2:05 p.m., room SH118: “Transferring into 4 year schools & for future entry into medical, dental and other health professions graduate programs”
Health occupations advisors:
University of Texas at Dallas – Dr. Karen De Olivares, Director of Health Professions Advising
University of North Texas – Dr. Debrah Beck, Health Professions Director
Dallas Baptist University – Dr. Curtis Lee, Professor of Biology & HP Advisor
SMU – Pamela McNulty, MS, MT(ASCP), Director, Office of Pre-Health Advising

Tuesday, Mar. 26:
11 a.m.-12:20 p.m., room SH118: “Focus on Careers in Nursing”
Associate degree in nursing (A.D.N.):
Brookhaven College – Dr. Mark Meyer, Dean of Nursing, Brookhaven College
Collin College – Cathleen Rangel, Nursing Retention Recruiter

Bachelor of Science degree in nursing (B.S.N)
Texas Women’s University – Rekha Nair, Academic Adviser for Nursing
U.T. Tyler – Kleanthe Caruso, R.N., nursing faculty
U.T. Arlington – Courtney Jackson, Academic Advisor for nursing Baylor University (Dallas) – Elaine Lark, Coordinator of Recruitment and Enrollment

12:30-2 p.m., room SH118: Kassidy James, M.P.A.S, Assistant Professor in Physician Assistant Studies, and Veronica Coleman, M.P.A.S, PA-C, Assoc. Clinical Coordinator/Admissions Co-Chair UT Southwestern School of Health Professions, ”Being an Outstanding Applicant in Competitive Health Professions Programs.” How you present yourself in an interview or in a personal essay might affect your chances of getting into a program. Learn how to compete with other applicants effectively.

2:15-3:15 p.m., room SH118: Medical, Osteopathic and Dental Schools Panel
UT Southwestern Medical School – Leah Schouten, Associate Director of Student Recruitment Services
UNT/College of Osteopathic Medicine – Dr. Mike Kennedy, Director of Admissions
Texas A & M College of Dentistry – Dr. Barbara Miller, Executive Director & Assoc. Professor
Texas A & M Health Science Center, College of Medicine – Filo Maldonado, Assistant Professor and Assoc. Dean of Admissions, Texas A&M Health Science Center Medical School
UNT Health Science Center – Dr. Patricia A. Gwirtz, Associate Dean & Professor, Graduate School of Biomedical Science

5:40-7 p.m., room SH118: Dr. Eddie Mercado, Pharm. D., “The World of Pharmacy–Choices in Occupations.” Dr. Mercado is a clinical pharmacist at Children’s Hospital in the emergency department.

Wednesday, Mar. 27:
10-11:15 a.m., room SH117: Panel: The Diversity of Health Professions
Prosthetics & Orthotics – Miguel Mojica, C.P.O., L.P.O., UT Southwestern Medical Center
Intra-operative Neuromonitoring – Laura Parsons, B.S., C.N.I.M., Director of Corporate Strategy and Business Development for Texas Intra-operative Monitoring, Inc.
Public Health – Beth Hargrove, Director of Admissions, UNT Health Science Center
Respiratory Therapy – Jennifer De la Garza, RRT, Clinical Coordinator, El Centro College

10-11:15 a.m., Crocket Hall, room C110: Clinical Nutrition & Dental Hygiene
UT Southwestern – Lona Sandon, Director of the Master of Clinical Nutrition Coordinated Program, Assistant Professor in Dietetics
Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Dentistry – Leigh Ann Wyatt, BSDH, MA, MS, Clinical Associate Professor, Program Director

10-11:15 a.m., SH118: Physician Assistant Vic Holmes, MPAS, CPC, PA-C, UNT Health Science Center, instructor in PA Studies program

11:15 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Student Panel Discussion: Students and graduates from various health professions programs in the DFW area will talk about their respective occupational fields.

12:45-2 p.m., room SH117: Panel: The Diversity of Health Professions
Emergency Medical Tech/Paramedic – David Diaz, EMT-Paramedic, Dallas Fire-Rescue
Clinical Lab Sciences – Dr. LeAnn Hutson, MLS (ASCP), Asst. Professor & Director of Medical Laboratory Sciences, Tarleton state University
Nurse midwifery – Jennifer Woo, PhD, CNM, WHNP, Clinical Assistant Professor in the Louise Harrington School of Nursing, Baylor Nurse Midwifery Program

12:45-2 p.m., Crockett Hall, room C110: Occupational therapy and Physical Therapy
UT Southwestern – Dr. Beth Deschenes, PT, DPT, OCS, Vice-Chair/Head of Admissions Committee
Mountainview College – Dr. Candice Freeman, OTD, MOT, OTR, Director of Occupational Therapy Assistant Program

12:45-2 p.m., room SH118: Imaging Technology Fields
Brookhaven College, Radiologic Technology – Sharon Watson, R.T., faculty
UT Southwestern Medical Center, Radiation Therapy – DeAnn Klein, faculty
El Centro College, Sonography – Pam Crawford, RDMS, RT, Clinical Coordinator/Faculty El Centro College – Joan A. Becker, ARRT(R)(MR), MRI Program Coordinator/Faculty

Thursday, Mar. 28:
9:30-10:50 a.m., room SH117: Samer Ismail, “Standardized Tests for the Health Professions” (PCAT, MCAT, GRE, DAT, OAT, NCLEX). Ismail is a Kaplan presenter and content developer for MCAT 2015.

11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., room SH117: Pharmacy
UNT College of Pharmacy – Casandra Castillo Luna, Recruitment/Admissions Pharmacy School
UT Tyler – Jenny Engel Nelson, Graduate Program Representative for College of Pharmacy
Texas Tech Univ. Health Science Center – Sara Innis, Assistant. Director of Recruitment. School of Pharmacy
Richland Pharmacy Technician Program – Tiffani Neubal Johnson, Director of College Programs in Allied Health

For more information, call 972-238-6248.


Girls Inc. “Eureka!” campers pose with Richland College speech communication faculty member Sherry Dean during the 2017 camp. Richland College and Girls Inc. Empower and Prepare Young Women for College and S.T.E.M. Careers at ‘Eureka!’ Summer Camp

For the fifth year in a row, Richland College is partnering with Girls Inc. of Metropolitan Dallas, a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring all girls to be strong, smart and bold, to host the first half of a four-week summer camp for young women focusing on science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers. The camp begins June 4 is one portion of the Girls Inc. “Eureka!” model program.

This year’s camp is comprised of a new cohort of campers entering 8th grade who have committed to the “Eureka!” program through their senior year of high school.

The Girls Inc. “Eureka!” program exposes girls to opportunities and experiences where they can see themselves as important parts of the STEM workforce of the future. While at Richland College, the girls will participate in STEM and arts sessions, including robotics, programming, clay art, printmaking, dance and digital literacy.

“The focus of the camp is to expose the girls to engineering topics and lab experiences designed to encourage them to choose careers in STEM fields,” said Simona Farcasiu, Richland College electronics faculty member and lead faculty for the Richland College portion of the camp. “Through exposure to a group of female role models from both industry and Richland College, we hope these girls will feel inspired to break through barriers.”

During the digital literacy session, the campers will learn about online searches, online scams, cyberbullying, safe online talk, how to present oneself online and more, with the goal being to provide the girls with necessary tools to keep themselves safe and conduct themselves appropriately in an increasingly digital world.

Along with STEM career awareness, college awareness is another important part of “Eureka!”. Not only does the program initiate the campers’ exposure to STEM fields, but while at Richland College it gives them a feel for college life as they interact with college students, faculty and staff.

“This joint camp with Girls Inc. is an excellent way to empower young women to pursue careers in STEM fields, while also allowing us to share the wonderful opportunities Richland College has to offer and the value of a higher education,” said Shannon Cunningham, executive vice president of academic affairs and student success at Richland College.

“Richland College is an integral partner for the Girls Inc. of Metropolitan Dallas ‘Eureka!’ program,” said Erin Chupka, vice president of program services for Girls Inc. of Metropolitan Dallas. “During the two weeks Girls Inc. girls spend at the Richland campus, they have the opportunity to participate in STEM workshops with dedicated and engaging Richland faculty and are exposed to life on a college campus. Richland does an exceptional job with our young girls, and they leave excited about college and career opportunities in STEM. As each group of girls move through the five-year program, the ‘Girls Inc. Experience’ equips them to navigate gender, economic and social barriers and to grow into healthy, educated and independent women. We are grateful for the support of our incredible partners like Richland in helping to change the face of STEM and improve economic mobility for our girls and their families.”

Richland College’s portion of the camp is sponsored in part by a $15,000 grant from State Farm. Upon completing their two weeks of camp at Richland College, the girls will be hosted for one week each at the University of North Texas at Dallas and Cedar Valley College.

The girls participating in the “Eureka!” program will spend their first two summers being exposed to higher education and STEM careers at Richland College and other nearby colleges before spending their third summer in externships that will provide more focused hands-on learning in several STEM career areas. Year four will be about college and career preparation, during which campers will receive assistance on how to navigate the college application process, from studying for standardized tests to writing admissions essays and applying for financial aid. In their final summer in the program, taking place prior to the start of their senior year of high school, the young women will each be placed into a paid internship in a STEM industry in which they have expressed interest.

In conjunction with the summer camp component of “Eureka!”, all cohorts meet approximately once per month throughout the school year to participate in STEM-related field trips, workshops, career panels and more.

Richland College offers a variety of STEM-related programs, including both traditional two-year degree programs and workforce-ready certificates designed for immediate employment, through its School of Mathematics, Science and Health Professions and the School of Engineering and Technology. Richland College’s science building, Sabine Hall, features cutting-edge science labs and equipment and is a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Platinum-certified building for its minimal impact to the environment and eco-friendly design. Richland College also houses the Technology, Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing Center, a space fully equipped with up-to-date, industry-quality technology that allows engineering and manufacturing students to gain relevant, hands-on experience and career-focused training.

Girls Inc. of Metropolitan Dallas serves a diverse population of 1,000 girls, ages 6 to 18, in the greater Dallas area. The organization focuses on the development of the whole girl through a combination of long-lasting mentoring relationships, a pro-girl environment and research-based programming that equips girls to lead fulfilling and productive lives, break the cycle of poverty and become role models in their communities.


The anatomage table is shown with the image of a male figure on his back on the display. Richland College ‘Anatomage Table’ Helping Students Learn Anatomy Digitally

Science and technology have merged in the anatomy and physiology classes at Richland College, and health professions students are taking advantage of the opportunity to perform digital dissections on an Anatomage Table.

The Anatomage Table is a 6-foot-long 3-D visualization tool that is fully interactive and features the most accurate human anatomy and patient data of any technology currently available. Its touch-screen display allows students to use a finger like a scalpel to make an “incision” anywhere on the “cadaver” to examine its physiological structures. To create realistic images, CT and MRI scans were taken every few millimeters on four cadavers, two men and two women, whose bodies had been donated for this project.

“The Anatomage Table is great for identification of bones, muscle, blood vessels and more,” said Jackie Reynolds, professor of biology at Richland College. “It also shows spatial relationships among organs. In addition, it is great for case studies because it allows students to see the MRI or CT scan and the 3-D image that has been produced from the scans side by side.”

Richland College students have been using the table in classes for approximately two years, and Reynolds has already received many positive responses to the machine from students, many who can see the real-life value of learning on the table.

Kassandra Agundizandmy has been working with the Anatomage Table for two semesters and has found it a useful tool as she prepares for a nursing degree.

“The Anatomage Table has been beneficial for me as the 3-D images with different views give me a better understanding of the anatomy of the human body,” said Agundizandmy. “This table has helped prepare me for my future, as it allows me to view positions of organs, vessels bones and more. My most memorable experience was when we did a case study about a man who was shot in the head and were able to learn about him through the Anatomage Table. I felt like I was a real forensic pathologist examining the skull of the man.”

Experiences like Agundizandmy’s showcase the value of offering digital dissection as an option to health professions students because it allows them to learn about unique conditions or abnormal structures that may not be available on standard cadavers. It also allows students instantly to compare the abnormalities to a normal example.

“Students really enjoy using the Anatomage table,” said Reynolds. “We don’t have real cadavers in a classroom, but this is as close as you can get. It makes studying anatomy and physiology more fun. Having this machine makes Richland College more advanced than some four-year universities in the area that don’t have the same technology as we do.”

Mildred Garcia is also pursuing a nursing degree and has worked with the Anatomage Table for two semesters. “I really find the Anatomage Table beneficial,” Garcia said. “We get to see an entire body from skin to blood vessels, bones and organs. I think it’s a great for everyone to use, especially visual learners.”

The Anatomage Table provides a multi-faceted learning experience for students with a variety of tools allowing users to visualize structures of the body. The virtual cadaver can be peeled back in layers for users to learn about muscles, organs and bones, or students can study individual systems such as the cardiovascular or nervous systems. The cadaver can be viewed and worked on from any angle, such as on its back or sitting up, to simulate potential positions a patient may be in. Specific body parts can be highlighted or removed from view, and more than 1,400 pathology images are also available on the table for students to examine. By allowing students also to revert to a previous view of the structure, layer or system on which they are working, it also gives students the chance to approach their learning from an angle of discovery and curiosity without the threat of costly mistakes such as an accidental cut.

As part of the setup for the Anatomage Table at Richland College, a double screen was added to the wall of the anatomy and physiology lab classroom to ensure that all students in a class would be able to view the work being done by peers at the table.

Anatomage is a medical device company that has been developing creative, leading-edge products for the medical and dental industries since 2004. For more information about the Anatomage table, visit anatomage.com. For more information about the health professions programs at Richland College, visit richlandcollege.edu/cd/instruct-divisions/rlc/mshp/hp/pages/default.aspx.


Richland College Looks Back at Accomplishments from $3.25 Million U.S. Department of Labor Grant

When Richland College was awarded the $3.25 million Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant from the U.S. Department of Labor in Sept. 2014, the potential impact on local industry was evident. The funds from this grant, along with multiple partnerships with employers in Dallas, Richardson and Garland, would equip Richland College with the tools and technology needed to train local veterans and others seeking to enter or re-enter the high-demand technology job market. In turn, local companies would receive qualified employees ready for immediate employment and trained on industry-recognized equipment.

Richland College’s Technology, Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing (TEAM) Center is a very tangible result of the TAACCCT grant funds. The space is fully equipped with leading edge, industry-quality technology that allows engineering and manufacturing students to have relevant, hands-on experience and career-focused training. It features an advanced manufacturing center, electronics engineering equipment, a robotics training lab and multiple classrooms for additional technology training.

It is in this innovative, technologically advanced place that the other tangible results of the grant have been taking shape as students prepare to enter the workforce.

Cisco Iturbe is an electrical engineering technology student at Richland College and a U.S. Marine Corps veteran. He has been attending Richland College for several semesters and is looking forward to graduating soon with one course remaining. His immediate goal is to get a job in the electrical engineering field, and he hopes eventually to own his own business.

After completing four years of active duty and two years in the reserves, Iturbe came to Richland College because of the equipment he saw set up in the labs, which he felt allowed students the opportunity to learn in an industry-standard environment and gain vital hands-on experience. As a student, the variety of equipment available has also provided Iturbe the opportunity to enhance his electronics technology education with experience in other areas that may help him in the future, such hydraulics, manufacturing and robotics.

“For me, doing things hands-on is very important,” said Iturbe. “Once you get your hands on something, it makes a world of difference because if you’ve never touched it, you don’t know what it feels like or what it does. If you don’t know that, then how are you going to do anything with it? So Richland College gives me the opportunity to learn and embed it as a muscle memory, not just an educational memory.”

“I would recommend Richland because of the different areas they teach you,” said Iturbe. “I’m here for electronics, but I’ve learned a few other things that have helped. Richland is here to help in a lot of ways—so many people want to help you. The staff is really uplifting, and the professors really know their stuff.”

According to Garth Clayton, Ph. D., Richland College’s dean of resource development, Iturbe is one of approximately 50 veterans who are now involved in the advanced manufacturing or electronics technology programs in the TEAM Center.

“One of the things we offer here is the replication of the real experience,” said Clayton. “We have invested a great deal of our resources in offering different brands of the same equipment that people use in real life. And what happens is that [the students] learn to do everything here to walk into the job, able to work with whatever the employer provides. So they are hitting the ground running whenever they obtain one of our degrees or certificates.”

Advanced manufacturing student Monica Lee has watched the TEAM Center develop around her and become a thriving learning space as she has studied at Richland College during the past three years.

“I was looking to do something with 3D modeling and design, things like AutoCAD and industrial design. I live here in Dallas, and I was doing research and saw that Richland had those classes offered here,” said Lee. “I came down and checked out the campus and was really impressed with what was available. Even though the lab wasn’t finished when I started, I got to see it come to fruition, and it’s just an amazing facility.”

To prepare Lee and other advanced manufacturing students, the program at Richland College teaches them each step of the process, starting with designing a part on a computer that will later be manufactured. From there, students design how the machine will cut the part, and once that is complete, they simply walk down the hall to the lab and actually create what they designed, cutting the metal and setting up the machines themselves. Lee describes this start-to-finish education as hands-on support to what students learn in the classroom, which to her is key to understanding what goes into the technical requirements of manufacturing.

Lee will graduate this May with not only her class experience, but also on-the-job training through an internship obtained via Richland’s corporate partnership with Raytheon Precision Manufacturing, where she hopes to continue working and growing in her career after graduating with an associate degree.

“All the technology at this internship was the same, and all the skills that I learned here [at Richland College] were immediately used from day one,” said Lee. “It helped me be able to shine in the job because I knew firsthand what was going on. So it was actually really seamless to go from Richland to my internship.”

While Iturbe and Lee are studying in different programs and have different goals, both of them, along with many other students, have benefited from the TAAACCCT grant and Richland College’s TEAM Center.

“Cisco [Iturbe] is a great example of someone who likes our program and can see a future for himself in it, and Monica [Lee] is also an example of the way that our students are able to transition into the workforce very quickly and very easily,” said Clayton. “As part of this community, which includes a very vibrant advanced manufacturing and electronics technology group of corporations and shops, we are pleased to be able to support them in this way.”

As a direct result of the grant, Richland College’s accomplishments to date include: 14,500 square feet of renovated space; $1.3 million worth of capital equipment and $400,000 worth of minor equipment, all installed and now operating since 2016; three additional faculty members and three additional staff members hired; two credit certificate and one continuing education certificate offerings added; 37 Associate of Applied Science degrees and 39 certificates in electronics and manufacturing awarded; 32 Associate of Applied Science degrees and 136 certificates in computer information technology awarded since that program’s inclusion in the grant; 292 students enrolled in electronics and manufacturing programs and 464 students in computer information technology programs in the 2018 spring semester; and 277 passed NIMS credentials in eight different credential exams. In addition, Richland College has also completed a cognitive task analysis and received new courseware for wire EDM, another common manufacturing process.

Even though the grant has ended, Richland College will continue to offer the curricula that were promised in the grant; offer credit for prior learning; add and replace additional equipment such as hydraulics, motor controls, modular assembly systems and programmable logic controllers; and will be adding new automation courses for aerospace, defense and communication needs.

Prior to installing the new equipment in the TEAM Center, Richland College donated all its previous, usable equipment to the Richardson Independent School District and the Garland Independent School District. Richland College also has technology-based early college high school programs with Dallas Independent School District’s Hillcrest High School and Emmett J. Conrad High School, giving high school students the opportunity to earn both their high school diploma and an Associate of Applied Science degree in just four years.

A recent event at Richland College celebrated these accomplishments and the student success that came as a direct result of the TAACCCT grant funds. At the event, Richardson mayor Paul Voelker spoke about the impact the grant had upon Richland College, and as a direct result, the impact of those workforce-ready students entering the local job force, specifically in Richardson’s Telecom Corridor.

“I’m keenly aware of what you’re doing here and the value added,” Voelker told the crowd. “It’s so important today that our employers know that their talent is here, and if it’s not here, we can create it here, or we can reinvent it here because we are always constantly learning.”

“Coming full-circle and seeing the advanced manufacturing capabilities that we can do right here, not only in the USA, but in north Texas, is pretty cool. We can compete with anybody in the world, at any level, because we have the talent and what it takes to make those businesses successful.”

For more information about Richland College’s School of Engineering and Technology or the TEAM Center, visit richlandcollege.edu/et.


Headshot of Kay Eggleston Richland College President Honored at Richardson State of the City Address

Richland College and its president Kathryn K. Eggleston, Ph.D., were honored by Richardson mayor Paul Voelker during his Jan. 31 State of the City address as examples of the quality of education available locally in the Richardson area.

“[Eggleston] was one of 19 campus executives in the U.S. awarded last year’s Shirley B. Gordon Award of Distinction from Phi Theta Kappa, the world’s largest and most prestigious honor society for two-year colleges,” said Voelker. “The award recognizes educators who advance the goals of academic scholarship, leadership and service.”

This distinguished higher education award is named for the late Dr. Shirley B. Gordon, Phi Theta Kappa’s longest-serving Board of Directors chair. College presidents and campus CEOs are selected for this award based on outstanding efforts in promoting the goals of Phi Theta Kappa at their institutions. Nominees must have served as president at least five years at the current institution and demonstrated a strong level of support for Phi Theta Kappa during their tenure.

Along with Eggleston, Richland College was also recognized for being awarded more than $2 million in workforce training grants to support Richardson-based companies RealPage and Associa in delivering training programs to their employees. In addition, in support of Richardson’s “Telecom Corridor” legacy, Richland was credited for its exceptional science, technology, engineering, digital arts and math (STEAM) programs, particularly its partnership with Girls Inc. for an annual summer camp focused on young women to encourage them to pursue careers in robotics, digital arts and other STEAM-based programs. Also mentioned was Richland College’s vital role in college degree completion through its focused work with local primary and secondary school students and its dual credit course delivery in local high schools, which was expanded last year to include a study abroad program in China.


Richland College and Girls Inc. Prepare Middle and High School Girls for College and S.T.E.A.M. Careers at 4th Annual Summer Camp
Young girls pose with a professor.

Girls Inc. campers pose with Richland College professor Dr. Sherry Dean on the Richland College campus. Photograph by Paul Knudsen.

For the fourth year in a row, Richland College partnered with Girls Inc. of Metropolitan Dallas, a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring all girls to be strong, smart and bold, to host the first segment of a four-week summer camp for girls in grades 8-12.

While the camp originally started for middle schoolers, it has expanded to allow girls the opportunity to return for up to five years to continue their educational journey and to encourage college and career awareness among young women.

The Girls Inc. “Eureka!” camp empowers campers to see themselves as important parts of the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) workforce of the future. Richland College hosted the first week June 5-9, during which the focus was on robotics each morning and art, dance and personal development each afternoon.

Upon completing their first week of camp at Richland College, the girls are being hosted by Imagine Science, followed by the University of North Texas at Dallas. The camp concludes at Cedar Valley College.

The camp is sponsored in part by High Tech High Heels, SAP Labs, ExxonMobil, Lockheed Martin, Program for Excellence and a grant from State Farm that is specifically funding the first week of camp at Richland College.


Texas A&M Engineering Partnership with El Centro College Expanding to Include Richland College

The Texas A&M-Chevron Engineering Academy at El Centro College is expanding to become the Texas A&M-Chevron Engineering Academy at El Centro College and Richland College.

Texas A&M-Chevron Engineering Academies are innovative co-enrollment partnerships developed to address the state’s growing need for engineers. Qualified students will be admitted to the Texas A&M University College of Engineering, complete the first two years of coursework at El Centro or Richland and finish their engineering degrees in College Station. All A&M engineering classes for students enrolled in this academy will take place on the campus of El Centro College in downtown Dallas.

“We are excited about offering our unique pathway to an Aggie engineering degree to even more Dallas-area students by expanding the Engineering Academy at El Centro to include Richland,” said Dr. Cindy Lawley, Texas A&M Engineering assistant vice chancellor for academic and outreach programs. “The Texas A&M-Chevron Engineering Academy program is the only engineering transition program of its kind in the United States, and students admitted to this academy are part of the Texas A&M College of Engineering from day one.“

Richland College president Dr. Kathryn K. Eggleston said the partnership strengthens an already strong engineering transfer program.

“This partnership expands Richland College’s strong transfer engineering focus by offering greater accessibility and a structured pathway to a bachelor’s degree with guaranteed admission to tier-one Texas A&M University,” she said. “We are grateful for the support of Chevron toward this important student success initiative.”

The expanded academy is one of five Texas A&M-Chevron Academies across Texas. Texas A&M-Chevron Academies at Austin Community College, Houston Community College and Texas Southmost College in Brownsville are currently accepting student applications, and Alamo Colleges in San Antonio will begin in fall 2018. Texas A&M also has successful engineering academies at the Blinn College campuses in Brenham and Bryan.

“Chevron is excited to be able to continue our longstanding relationship with Texas A&M through support of the engineering academy initiative, which will help provide opportunities in the field of engineering for many underrepresented and first-generation college students,” said Shariq Yosufzai, Chevron vice president of diversity, ombuds and university partnerships. “Partnering with Texas A&M, a top source of engineering hires for Chevron, to help provide opportunities in the field of engineering will support our efforts to help build the diverse workforce of tomorrow that will be required to meet the energy needs of the future.”

A 2012 report by the President’s Advisory Council on Science and Technology projected that 1 million more STEM degrees would be needed in the next decade. In Texas alone, the projected need for engineers in the workforce is 62,000 by 2022. To meet this need, universities and two-year colleges will need to work together to bridge the gap, and attract and retain students who are interested in STEM fields.

“Successfully transitioning from a two-year to four-year institution can be a daunting experience for students,” said Dr. Greg Morris, vice president of academic affairs at El Centro College. “This academy eliminates that barrier for our students—increasing their likelihood of completing a four-year engineering degree.

“The need for innovative STEM pathways that lead to high-paying engineering careers is vital to the Texas economy. The Texas A&M-Chevron Engineering Academy at El Centro College and Richland College blends accessibility with academic rigor and helps chart a path toward student success in the fields of engineering, Morris said.”

By enrolling in the academies, students can save up to $15,600 in tuition and fees over two years while still being taught by Texas A&M faculty on the El Centro campus.

“El Centro and Richland students admitted to the Texas A&M-Chevron Engineering Academy can take their freshman and sophomore engineering classes right here in downtown Dallas, and the classes are taught 100 percent by Texas A&M faculty. It’s a win-win for our students,” said Morris.

The partnership with El Centro College began admitting students in 2016, and several of the students in the program are looking forward to attending the Texas A&M campus in College Station. Luis Gonzales, one of the academy students who was also recently selected as one of NASA’s Community College Aerospace Scholars, is the first member of his family to go to college.

“I chose to apply for the engineering academy because it was an affordable option for me and my family,” he said. “I was accepted into the engineering program at Texas A&M in College Station and at other big universities, but I chose to go with the more affordable option.”

(Release courtesy of Texas A&M University Engineering)


Richland College and Girls Inc. Prepare Middle and High School Girls for College and S.T.E.A.M. Careers at Annual Summer Camp
Campers standing in a group.

Girls Inc. campers pose in Sabine Hall on the Richland College campus. Photograph by Paul Knudsen.

For the third year in a row, Richland College is partnering with Girls Inc. of Metropolitan Dallas, a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring all girls to be strong, smart and bold, to host the first portion of a four-week summer camp for girls in grades 8-12.

While the camp originally started for middle schoolers, it was expanded to allow girls the opportunity to return for up to five years to continue their educational journey and to encourage college and career awareness among young women.

The Girls Inc. “Eureka!” camp empowers campers to see themselves as an important part of the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) workforce of the future. Richland College is hosting the first week, June 13-17, which focuses on “Chemistry: Properties of Water” each morning and “Art: Developing Spatial Reasoning through Geometric Nets” each afternoon. After collecting water samples from the lakes, water fountains and laboratories at Richland College, the girls are employing chemistry techniques to reveal unique qualities of water. In the afternoons, the girls are investigating various geometric nets and their forms through lecture and experimentation. After developing their unique nets, the girls will attach them together to create a non-representational sculpture focusing on design form, space and light.

“We are delighted to partner again with Girls Inc. of Metropolitan Dallas and State Farm in Girls Inc. “Eureka!” at Richland College,” said Sherry Dean, Ph.D., Richland College professor of speech communication. “Two cohorts of 8th and 9th grade girls will participate in a fun and challenging week of STEAM activities at Richland. The girls will use math, chemistry and biology concepts to learn about the unique properties of water; they will code and create personalized webpages; they will learn to manage wisely personal digital spaces; they will contribute to an art installation related to the sex trafficking of minors in Dallas; and they will participate in Zumba and hip hop dance classes. Each of these activities aligns with the mission of Girls Inc. of Dallas to develop smart, strong and bold young women preparing for successful futures.”

Upon completing their first week of camp at Richland College, the girls will go to the University of Texas at Dallas, followed by the University of North Texas at Dallas. The camp concludes at Cedar Valley College.

The camp is sponsored in part by SAP Labs, ExxonMobil, Lockheed Martin, Program for Excellence and a grant from State Farm that is specifically funding the first week of camp at Richland College.