Core4STEM Expo

Analisa Garza
Guest Blogger

Last week the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce teamed up with representatives from Fortune 500 companies, governmental agencies, universities and colleges, and local high schools to host the third annual CORE4STEM EXPO at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. The EXPO is part of the Chamber’s STEM initiative to encourage students by increasing awareness and interest in college and career goals with a long term effect of attracting higher paying jobs to San Antonio thus strengthening and increasing the cities prosperity (“Core 4 stem,” 2012).

Approximately 2,000 7th and 8th graders had the opportunity to broaden their understanding of STEM college and career goals by participating in hands-on activities, viewing demonstrations, and hearing from guest speakers including Jose Hernandez, the first Latino astronaut.

Thanks to the coordinating efforts of Helen Torres, SAC Director of Partnerships and Extended Services, and her staff, San Antonio College had the opportunity to participate in the EXPO by hosting hundreds of students with learner-centered hands-on sessions in STEM fields.

Students were introduced to the world of “Polyhedron and OCTA-TETRA Models” by Dan Suttin, SAC Math Lab tutor, where they learned the connections between these shapes and their applications to careers in architecture, engineering, design, art and mathematics.They were able to apply cyber security principles through simulated programs led by Troy Touchette, chair of Computer Information Systems, where they defended computers from hackers.

They also visited five activity tables led by SAC STEM students where they were introduced to multiple engineering careers including Bio Engineering using equipment provided by the SAC Biology Department and Geothermal Engineering using models provided by Adelante Tejas. Following these activities the students participated in Q&A sessions with Dr. Dan Dimitriu, Program Coordinator of SAC Engineering, and current SAC engineering students Kat Bently and Christopher Woods.

At the completion of each session the SAC College Connections team distributed buttons, backpacks, T-shirts, and information regarding the STEM programs available to their age group on our campus.

This event was a great success for our city and due to the collaborative efforts of all the STEM affiliated departments on our campus; it was a wonderful representation of the opportunities available to students through San Antonio College.

 

Analisa Garza is the MESA Center Coordinator.

Changing nursing, changing healthcare

Dr. Roswitha Davies 
Guest Blogger

What comes to your mind when you hear the word “nurse?” Do you think of a person who

Dr. Roswitha Davies, Nursing Dept.

Dr. Roswitha Davies

takes care of sick people in a hospital? Do you think of a person who works in a doctor’s office or a clinic who give pills and shots?  Most students who apply to the Nursing program at San Antonio College have an idea of what it means to be a nurse.

When looking at nursing on a broader level of a profession, however, our image is not as clear. Within nursing, we have licensed vocational nurses (LVN) and registered nurses (RN). Both levels are licensed to practice by the state upon completion of their programs, but the amount of training is different. Licensed vocational nurses receive one year of training and a certificate upon completion. Registered nurses may receive their training at a two-year community college and receive an associate degree or at a four-year university where they receive a bachelor’s degree. Registered nurses may further their education at a master’s or doctorate level.

Licensing ensures that all nurses are safe to practice in their jobs, and institutions that hire nurses ensure that the nurse’s job responsibilities do not exceed the level of training the nurse received. However, some research is finding that nurses at the bachelor’s level or higher can better deal with the evolving and complex healthcare system of the future.

In 2008, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Institute of Medicine undertook an initiative for the purpose of making recommendations for the future of nursing. A report, released in 2010 was titled “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health.”  Regarding nursing education, the report recommended that “nurses should achieve higher levels of education and training through an improved education system that promotes seamless academic progression.” The report further recommended that by 2020, the proportion of nurses with a bachelor’s degree should increase from 50 percent to 80 percent.

The ability to progress to the next level of education is not new in nursing. Mobility programs have been in existence for many years for LVNs to further their education and become registered nurses. Programs are also available for registered nurses with associate degrees to obtain bachelor’s degrees. Many of RN- to-BSN programs are available but currently only about 17 percent  of nurses with associate degrees continue to a bachelor’s degree. From this report, an idea was born in Texas to reduce barriers in the state that hinder successful academic progression from an associate to a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

This initiative became the Consortium for the Advancement of Baccalaureate Nursing Education in Texas (CABNET). San Antonio College is among 45 community colleges and 16 universities that have expressed interest in participating. In addition to reducing transfer and financial barriers to educational progression, CABNET has taken on a broader goal of revising the way nursing education is taught. Content taught in the various nursing programs would build from basic knowledge and skill taught at community college level to deeper learning at the university level. This common curriculum would eliminate duplication of courses and re-teaching of content that currently exists.

The CABNET plan allows for all required general education courses to be taken at the community colleges that would further reduce tuition costs. Finally, the CABNET plan still allows for the student, upon completion of the associate degree requirements, to become licensed and enter the workforce as a registered nurse. The CABNET initiative is moving into its development phase with the plan to begin implementation in Fall 2013.

Dr. Roswitha Davies is an associate professor in the Nursing Department  @ SAC.

Getting an early start in technology

Troy Touchette
Guest Blogger

Getting prepared for a career in Information Technology can be a challenge. It is essential to have both experience and training for this industry. Training can be expensive and building experience can be difficult.

The training provided in San Antonio College’s Computer Information Systems Department is probably one of the most economical sources in the area. It is top-notch training at a reasonable cost. For those willing to start early, the deal is even better.

The Alamo Academies Information Technology and Security Academy (ITSA) allows area students to take dual-credit courses during their last two years of high school and earn more than 30 hours of college credit at no cost to the student.

The training in this program is provided by San Antonio College and includes the same college level courses taught on the main campus and includes the course ware certified by the National Security Agency to meet the Committee on National Security Systems Standards.

During the summer of their first year ITSA students work in an internship program that gives them valuable experience in the industry. Many of the students continued to work for the organizations after the summer internship  ended. After finishing at ITSA, students can complete an Associate’s Degree in Information Security and Assurance and ultimately can transfer into a Bachelor’s degree at a four-year university.

It’s a very good way to get an early start for those interested in a career in Cyber Security.

Troy Touchette is the new chair of Computer Information Systems:  Alamo.edu/sac/cis
For more information about the Alamo Academies,  www.alamo.edu/academies/

How San Antonio College fits in City Mission

Helen Torres
Guest Blogger

San Antonio College is participating in the upcoming STEM Expo Nov. 8-9 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. This Expo aims to reach out to middle school students in five school districts: Edgewood, Southwest, South San, San Antonio and Harlandale.

Helen Torres

Helen Torres

Among the interactive sessions will be various SAC departments. These include: Dr. Dan Dimitriu, Engineering; Dan Suttin, math tutor; and Troy Touchette, Computer Information Services. Touchette will be accompanied by students from the Information and Technology and Security Academy. They took top honors in March at the CyberPatriot IV-The National High School Cyber Defense Competition in Washington, D.C.

The interactive sessions are designed to spark student interest in STEM careers at an early age. The overall goal of the college, businesses and city is to encourage engineers and scientists in San Antonio and keep the brainpower here. If we grow our city’s workforce in the STEM areas, San Antonio will attract strong business and industries that will pay competitive wages and raise income levels in San Antonio.

San Antonio College faculty have stepped up again to support community initiatives, the Mayor’s Educational 2020 goals, and support SAC’s goals of improved student success.

This partnership is a win-win for future SAC students who are being exposed to STEM careers early, and for the future workforce of the City of San Antonio.

Helen Torres, SAC’s Director of Partnerships & Extended Services, serves on the Hispanic Chamber Education Committee, and is responsible for forging college partnerships like this one with the Hispanic Chamber, UTSA, and area school districts.

Transfer success: SAC to TAMUSA

By Zach Havins
Guest Blogger      

Being an “undecided student” can be nerve wracking. There are life altering decisions you must make based on the degree you want to pursue. Luckily, I found the bachelor’s degree I want to pursue with the help of advisers at San Antonio College (SAC) and Texas A & M University at San Antonio (TAMUSA). I chose to pursue a degree in a STEM field of study, Bachelor of Business Administration(BBA) in Computer Information Systems (CIS) with a concentration in Information Assurance and Security at TAMUSA.

Choosing a STEM field of study that easily transfers from SAC or surrounding Alamo colleges to TAMUSA, offered a variety of benefits. The obvious advantages of is the low-cost tuition and the multiple locations across San Antonio. SAC  was only a few short miles from my apartment, saving me money on gas and allowing me to focus more on my education rather than my expenses.

What I enjoyed most  were the interchangeable courses TAMUSA allows as substitutions. My degree requires a literature course, but I wasn’t interested in taking British Literature, Philosophy or any of the standard literature courses. TAMUSA advisers mentioned that I can take a foreign language class to substitute and that also includes American Sign Language (ASL). That  sounded like a fun and easy “blow off” class to me. Surprise –  I discovered this to be one of the hardest classes I ever enrolled in and one of the most enjoyable and enlightening. Instructor John Cage  gave me great awareness and knowledge about the deaf community and culture. I can now communicate using basic sign language with any of the estimated 116,000 hearing-impaired people in San Antonio.

Concurrent enrollment was the official name of my enrollment status during my first semester at TAMUSA, meaning I was enrolled in both lower-level courses at SAC and upper-level courses at TAMUSA. I found this both convenient and  spectacular. TAMUSA is a new, but fast growing university.   The student-to-teacher ratio is almost identical to SAC, allowing for you to receive extensive help from professors and improved class lectures. There is   room for students to get involved.  This summer,  I was elected Vice-President of the Cyber Security Athenaeum (CSA) club at TAMUSA.

I arrived at TAMUSA with little experience on working with computers or servers, running an operating system other than  Microsoft Windows. Less than two years later and spending countless hours in the lab, preparing and competing in the last four cyber competitions, I have gained a surplus  of knowledge in the Computer Security field and feel confident I will find a job with ease and be highly successful upon graduation.

Zach Havins is currently a student at Texas A & M University-San Antonio.

When advising matters, faculty is there

Dr. Teanna Staggs
Guest blogger

With new limitations on the length of time that students are eligible for financial aid, never before has advising been so important. In 2009, the San Antonio College Biology Department embarked on a process that has now become a college-wide endeavor. We decided that student advising for our discipline was best placed in the hands of the faculty who specialize in a plethora of Biology sub-specialties.

A self-contained advising system was developed with the help of a talented programmer. Today, almost the entire department is trained on the system. In conjunction with the new Alamo GPS software and six newly revised degree plans, every faculty advisor now carries an advising load of students.
Here’s how it works: Students sign up for advising in the department by providing us with vital information that is entered into the system. Once entered, students are sorted by their chosen degree plan. For example, if the student is pursuing an AS in Nutrition, he will be paired with a nutrition professor. If a student is pursuing a pre-med or other professional degree, she will be paired with one of our pre-medical advisors. At that point the professor will email the student to set up an appointment for advising.

It is important the student brings copies of transcripts for any coursework not currently showing up in the ACES or GPS transcript. Our program will capture all coursework from the ACES transcript and populate a one-page spreadsheet to create a degree audit. The program also identifies any missing coursework the student needs to complete the degree. This is why the transcripts are important. If the courses are not in ACES, we can manually enter those courses and provide Admissions and Records with proof of course equivalency where appropriate.

At that point, we track our students by meeting with them at least once per semester to update their progress and make sure they are following the most efficient path toward graduation. Upon completion of the path, we complete the graduation paperwork and submit it for the student.

Students: Do you know the difference between the AS in Biology with a Pre-Nursing emphasis and the AAS in Nursing? We do.
Do you know which pre-requisite courses are shared among all Texas medical, dental and veterinary schools? We do.
Do you know which universities absolutely will not accept chemistry courses taken during a summer session? We do.

Dr. Teanna Staggs is the chair of San Antonio College Natural Sciences Department, which includes Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry and Earth Science programs.

T-STEM Scholarships will award $170,000

There is a huge problem in this country with students NOT choosing majors within the sciences. Because of a grant which provides students with scholarship money, SAC is making it a little bit easier for students to award students for majoring in STEM.

Through the T-STEM grant, San Antonio College aims to award 68 students with a scholarship valued at $2,500 each for a whopping grand total of $170,000 just for SAC students! Currently, about 35 SAC students have applied for the scholarships. “We’ll go until we give them all out,” said Angela Stewart, T-STEM liaison. She continued to explain, “If the other four Alamo Colleges don’t award every one of their 68 scholarships, we stand ready to find an eligible SAC student that can use the money.”

Stewart also said, “The most important step in the application process is to provide an official high school transcript.” Remember, if you don’t apply, you don’t even have a shot. Eligible students are encouraged to apply at www.secure.alamo.edu/scholarship/application.aspx, but if a student already completed an Alamo Colleges Scholarship Application then he/she will be automatically considered.

Alamo Colleges and SAC faculty and staff go above and beyond to find opportunities for students to be successful. It is important to us that we give our students a push in the right direction. If this scholarship money can make all the difference for even one student, then it is worth all the time and effort. 

Any current or incoming student who has declared a major in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) instructional program or specific Allied Health program, and has a minimum GPA of 3.0 in high school math and science courses is eligible to apply.

The student must agree to complete 30 hours in the 2012-2013 academic year (Fall, Spring, Summer), and must complete 80 percent of coursework per semester. Additionally, males between the ages of 18 and 25 must be registered with the Selective Service System.

So, if you know anyone that should apply, tell them to get on the ball! And, if you are a student yourself, DOOOOOOO IT already! A list of eligible majors is below.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Eligible majors include:

Astronomy

Biology (including Biology/Pre-nursing, Pre-Med, Pre-Dental, Pre-Pharmacy, Pre-Veterinary)

Computer Programmer

Computer Support Specialist

Computer Database Specialist

Information Security and Assurance

CADD Civil Design

Chemistry

Cisco Certified Network Associate

Computer Desktop Support Technician

Computer Forensic

Computer programing intermediate

Computer support specialist

Drafting/design engineering technologies

Information Technology and Security academy (ITSA)

Dental Assisting/Assistant

Dental Laboratory Technology/Technician

Emergency Medical Technician

Engineering: All types…Chemical Engineering, Aerospace, Architectural, Civil, Computer, Mechanical, etc.

Engineering Technology

Geological and Earth Sciences

Mathematics

Medical Assisting

Physical Sciences

Physics

(*Note: Nursing is NOT an eligible major for T-STEM Scholarships).