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HCC hosts mentoring conference

November 05, 2009

Hagerstown Community College this week hosted nine community colleges from across the country for a two-day conference to share their experiences with a college mentoring program funded by the U.S. Department of Education: Community Colleges CAN (C3), Showcasing and Replicating Community College Programs.

Each project team has been focused for a year on one of three specific projects: Career Pathways, P-20 Educational Partnerships, and Innovations in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

The conference was an opportunity to share their projects with the other teams, develop action plans for another year, discuss strategies for future collaboration and build networks of practice.

"Schools selected to participate in this program are ones that have been doing things well," program facilitator Russ Hamm said in a prepared release. "The program encourages a collaborative approach where schools are matched to share information and ideas on similar projects, grow their individual programs and build community."

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HCC was chosen for the Innovations in STEM team in the fall of 2008 and was matched with Salt Lake Community College (Utah) as its mentor college.

Other mentee colleges on the Innovations in STEM project are Miami-Dade College (Fla.) and Jamestown Community College (N.Y.).

For HCC, the primary focus of the initiative has been to learn from the InnovaBio internship program at SLCC, which is open to both high school and college students working toward careers in biotechnology, the release said.

Through this collaboration, faculty and staff in HCC's biotechnology program have recently established InnovaBio-MD, a program modeled after the Salt Lake program, the release says.

This contract research organization is on the HCC campus in two laboratories within the wet labs facility in the Technology Innovation Center and equipped with funds from the National Science Foundation.

Qualified students from Washington County high schools, HCC and Frostburg University are eligible to apply for positions as research technicians and gain hands-on experience. Two students are participating in the pilot semester.

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