Most of my week was spent at the National Science Foundation (NSF) Advanced Technical Education Principal Investigators conference and AACC MentorLinks conference in Washington, DC. I spent a significant amount of time watching how our students, Brandon Young, Megan McDonald and Tasha Spencer, fielded questions from principal investigators and evaluators from NSF. These three students are remarkable, and demonstrated professional maturity, leadership and intellectual acumen. Their instructors and mentors who also attended the conference, Dr. Penny Starkey and Dr. Travis Mills, lead the Saint Paul College Mentor Connect grant in the Science Technician program. All represented Saint Paul College extraordinarily well during this national conference, and I’m particularly proud of these students and what they achieved this week.
As I returned to campus on Wednesday evening, I was greeted warmly by individual students, faculty and staff that I ran into as I walked around campus. Saint Paul College truly feels like a home away from home to me, and all members of our college community are like family to me. It’s always good to be back on campus!
I am thankful to our faculty and staff who provide our students the opportunity to shine. After all,
if we do not take care of our students and our community who will?
Here’s a short recap of my week:
Advanced Technical Education (ATE) Principal Investigators Conference – The
American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), with the support of the
National Science Foundation, held the
24th National ATE Principal Investigators Conference Washington, DC, which I attended, accompanied by two Saint Paul College STEM faculty and three students (see above). The conference brings together approximately 900 people from community colleges, business and industry, secondary school systems, four-year colleges, and research and development centers, to focus on the critical issues related to advanced technological education. Projects cover a wide variety of areas including information technology, engineering technology, micro- and nanotechnologies, chemical technology, biotechnology, and others. This year’s theme was “Hands-on, Minds-on, Pathways to Highly Skilled U.S. Workforce.”
AACC MentorLinks Conference - I also attended the
MentorLinks conference in Washington, DC. I serve as the master mentor for the mentors in the MentorLinks program/projects. Supported by the NSF, the
MentorLinks Advancing Technological Education program is designed to help colleges develop or strengthen technician training programs in STEM fields through mentoring, professional development opportunities, and technical assistance; to establish connections for colleges to identify new ideas and relationships through networking opportunities, and to help colleges gain insight about support for building and sustaining new programs.
Increasing Student Civic Engagement and Voting – In partnership with LeadMN, the organization representing more than 180,000 two-year college students in Minnesota, we met to promote student civic engagement and voting throughout our two-year colleges. Having the privilege to vote is significant in protecting our democracy and constitutional rights, and must not be taken lightly. With LeadMN, we hope to connect with students and help them transform their lives and their communities through civic engagement.
Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood – I attended a
Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood Board of Directors meeting to discuss how we can apply for the new Promise Neighborhood federal grant.
Saint Paul College Music Series – the Thursday evening performance,
The Blending of Ancient Souls from Syria and China, by Syrian oud master Issam Rafea and Chinese pipa master Gao Hong was a wonderful addition to our Music Series events, which are open and free to the public. Rafea and Hong performed separately and joined together in playing several improvisations. I want to thank the Liberal Arts and Fine Arts division and dean for hosting this splendid evening.
Metro Area High School Counselors and Principals Breakfast - Metro area high school counselors and principals were invited to campus to explore potential partnerships to promote student success and intentional pathways. Our faculty and staff welcomed this group, and made presentations about pathway advising, one-stop admissions processes and programs available to prospective students. Our guests were taken on tours to see all the state-of-the-art program labs and classrooms, as well as the new SIM center, and were impressed by our campus.
District Energy St. Paul and Ever-Green Energy – I attended the
Ever-Green Energy and
District Energy St. Paul board meeting and we discussed strategic planning and financial planning and their visions for the future. In the district energy field, District Energy St. Paul is considered the most notable in the United States for its use of renewable energy sources and implementation of energy conservation measures.
Minnesota Philanthropy Partners Board Meeting – I met with The Saint Paul Foundation vice president of strategy and communication to devise the meeting agenda in preparation for the Governance Committee meeting.
Strategic Planning for Advanced Manufacturing Pathways – In anticipation of seeking strategic funding from the 3M Foundation to promote Advanced Manufacturing Pathways partnerships, a team from Saint Paul College, Saint Paul Public Schools, and I met to discuss how we can create accessible and affordable pathways for diverse students in STEM and the trades. 3M and the generous community-centered 3M Foundation are intentional partners and supporters of Saint Paul College.
Baha’i Community Celebration Event – Last Saturday I attended the Baha’i Community of St. Paul event which was held on our campus. Their event celebrated the 200th Anniversary of the Birth of Baha’Ullah: “Celebrating unity in diversity” and was free and open to the public. The program consisted of art, music, and dance, reflecting Baha’u’llah’s teaching that “the earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens. For more go to:
In the News:
I would like to draw your attention to this article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune:
Growing manufacturers are trying to interest more high school students in careers. It features Graco, Inc., an intentional partner of the College. Graco is a company that hires many of our machining program graduates. For more info on our robust, state-of-the-art technology and manufacturing programs, go to
I want to share with you this great new video about our Health Science programs. Also, here’s a link to our Health Science programs:
Twin Cities Live Interview
I was interviewed by Twin Cities Live reporter Emily Enberg about the colleges and universities of Minnesota State waiving application fees and the influence of our colleges contributing to the strength of Minnesota’s workforce. You can read a recap and view the interview on the Twin Cities Live website:
St. Croix Valley Magazine
Photo courtesy of Tate Carlson,
St. Croix Valley Magazine
There is a great article in the October 2017 issue of St. Croix Valley Magazine: Local Chefs Provide Sustainable Menus for Community Homestead Known for their community outreach, working with students on sustainability and service learning projects, and dedication to healthy and accessible food for all in the community, (l-r) Chef instructors Sean Jones, Sara Johannes and Nathan Sartain were featured in this great article about the special fundraiser held for Community Homestead, an Osceola, Wis.-based living and working community for people with disabilities that’s centered on an organic and sustainable farm.
Congratulations to Dr. Tracy Wilson
Congratulations to Dr. Tracy Wilson who completed the 2017 Leadership Saint Paul program of the Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce. As part of leadership development at the College, she was nominated as a member of our Leadership Team to attend the leadership development training. Only 50 applicants from private, public, and nonprofit sectors of the community are accepted to participate in the ten-month program for Leadership Saint Paul (LSP). It is the premier program in the Twin Cities for emerging and current civic and business and prepares, challenges and engages participants to strengthen the Saint Paul/East Metro region. For more info, go to:
Our faculty, staff, and students truly rock. I am appreciative of everyone for their efforts and contributions.
I wish you a relaxing weekend.
Rassoul Dastmozd, PhD
Saint Paul College