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Bank of America continues support of SJC program

Written by InsideDP.com staff. Posted in Schools

sjc logoeditedThe San Jacinto College’s Energy Education and Career Corps program, facilitated through the San Jacinto College engineering design graphics department, recently received a $20,000 workforce development and education grant from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation for the 2016-2017 academic year.

Approaching its fourth year, the EECC was developed in 2013 to provide technical STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) college students paid real-time workforce training with an energy or energy-related company. Each year, 12 students in the College’s engineering design graphics program are selected to participate in the EECC program, which includes undergoing an internship with a local engineering drafting design firm, financial education training provided by Bank of America and career preparation classes covering job search strategies, employer networking, business etiquette, resume building and career counseling. The grant supports the internship stipends the students receive during their participation in the EECC program. To date, the EECC has seen 36 students complete the program.

“This is an opportunity of a lifetime for these students since for most, it’s their first job in the drafting profession,” said Mary Ann Blake, San Jacinto College engineering design graphics professor. “The industry partnerships that develop between the employers and the College also create an invaluable perspective on the skills being sought by industry.”

Getting hands-on, real world experience made the program worthwhile to student Juan Carlos Morales. “While working as an estimating and design intern for AHI Supply, I have learned additional skills which have taken me to a new level of experience that I am confident I will apply in a prospective position,” said Morales. “I am looking forward to a brighter future in the drafting industry where I can apply everything I’ve been learning in class and the experience I had in the EECC internship program.”

For EDG student Alan Campos, who graduated in spring, the EECC internship not only helped further his industry experience, but also helped ease some of the financial strain his family is experiencing. “With the current downturn in the oil industry, my employer has cut down our working hours from 40 to 32 hours per week for at least six months,” said Campos. “In February my wife and I became parents to twin boys, so this stipend has helped me cover tuition and some medical bills, which I could not be more grateful for.”

The one-on-one industry training students receive at their internship site remains the greatest advantage to programs like the EECC. Students are given an inside look at industry and employer expectations and the work environment itself, which will become an advantage once they begin their job search or apply to university programs after completing the EDG program.

“For the past four years, Bank of America has supported San Jacinto College’s Energy Education and Career Corps Program to help students acquire the necessary skills to garner energy-related jobs in one of Houston’s largest industries through a combination of expert training, education, support and mentorship,” said Hong Ogle, Bank of America Houston president. “We are committed to San Jacinto College’s mission because we believe that we must arm our students with the right skills training for long-term success and assist in the creation of greater opportunities to foster a strong, capable and diverse workforce in Houston - and San Jacinto College’s efforts are doing just that.”

For more information on the San Jacinto College engineering design graphics program, visit sanjac.edu/career/engineering-design-graphics-drafting.

Study abroad teaches diverse techniques, ideas to UHCL art students

Written by InsideDP.com staff. Posted in Schools

UHCL abroadUniversity of Houston-Clear Lake art students and faculty explored Mexico this spring in a short study abroad trip that allowed them to learn about local history, culture and art education, and included an anthropology museum. Photo provided by UHCL.

University of Houston-Clear Lake art students and faculty experienced a taste of another culture and a feast of new ideas through a recent International Arts Consortium trip to Mexico during the spring semester.

Eight students and three faculty members traveled to Xalapa in Veracruz, Mexico to learn from faculty and students at Universidad de Veracruzana, a partner with UHCL in the International Arts Consortium.

UHCL Professor of Art Sandria Hu led the trip during UHCL’s spring break in March. The consortium’s mission is to foster collaboration through foreign exchange workshops, lectures, exhibitions and study. Hu said one of the most valuable aspects of the trips are the experiences students gain.

“If you are inside a pyramid touching and examining a wall, you learn something that can’t be taught in a classroom – something that can only be experienced,” she said.

Art and design senior Rosa Valdovinos called the trip “motivational,” a reflection of her goal of being engaged and involved in her college experience.

“In college, it’s important to surround yourself with the kind of people you want to be, the kind of energy you want to be a part of,” she said. “It’s so important to grasp and absorb everything.”

Students studied under local faculty and artists in a variety of mediums that ranged from printmaking and ceramics to sketching and photography. Valdovinos, who focuses on drawing and painting in her own work, said creating art in other styles was a worthwhile challenge.

“If you stay in your comfort zone, that’s not how you learn,” she said. “You have to be exposed to different mediums, different artists and different minds in order to grow.”

An experience that stood out to her was creating a book from scratch, then using her hand-made book to record sketches during the trip.

“The book-making was a challenge. I enjoyed it so much because of the process,” she said.

Meeting and interacting with local students and artists was a key focus of the trip – UHCL students often mingled with about 20 local art students between workshops. In addition to the hands-on experiences, the UHCL group also toured local art museums, anthropology museums and, of course, the local food scene.

Hu, who has led many similar trips of student artists throughout the world, said the variety of experiences on the trip was key to its success.

“This was one of the best trips ever we’ve had in Mexico because of the places we were able to visit and experience. We took the students on some archaeological tours that included to the pyramids. We also visited a ceramic factory,” she said. “Everyone on the trip gained information about cultural differences and about creating art from a different perspective. Students not only looked at art from an academic point of view, but also from a creative one.”

The consortium was created in 2003 and now includes UHCL, Universidad de Veracruzana; University of West Bohemia in Plzen, Czech Republic; University of Arts, Faculty of Fine Arts, in Belgrade, Serbia; Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava, Slovakia; and Kherson Educational-Aesthetic Complex in Kherson, Ukraine.

The International Arts Consortium fosters the exchange of artists and ideas throughout the world. In fall 2016, UHCL faculty and students will collaborate with faculty and students at the University of West Bohemia when they travel to Plzen, Czech Republic, to attend and present at workshops as part of the consortium. To find out more about the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at UHCL or the UHCL International Arts Consortium, visit http://www.uhcl.edu/hsh, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 281-283-3334.

Process tech program earns Texas association’s first Award of Excellence

Written by InsideDP.com staff. Posted in Schools

SJC ProcessTechThe San Jacinto College process technology program has been awarded the Texas Association of College Technical Educators (TACTE) Award of Excellence. (left to right) Kevin Adams, process technology program director; Cheryl Stewart, process technology instructor; Joseph Zwiercan, department chair of petrochemical/energy training programs; and Gregory Smith, Darryl Reeves, and Kenneth Jackson, process technology instructors. Photo credit: Jeannie Peng-Armao, San Jacinto College marketing, public relations, and government affairs department.

The process technology program at San Jacinto College has been declared as Texas’ best, capturing the very first Award of Excellence by the Texas Association of College Technical Educators (TACTE).

TACTE is a professional organization serving workforce education in Texas community and technical colleges. The San Jacinto College process technology program received the Award of Excellence based on its reputation for preparing process operators for jobs in the largest petrochemical manufacturing area in the United States. The program is ranked second in the nation for process technology graduates and has received visits from U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez; U.S. Sen. John Cornyn; U.S. Congressman Gene Green, 29th Congressional District; and Congressman Rubén Hinojosa, 15th Congressional District; as well as many additional state and local elected officials.

“This award belongs to everyone whose efforts helped us achieve this level of recognition,” said Joseph Zwiercan, department chair of petrochemical/energy training programs at San Jacinto College. “The TACTE Award of Excellence means our process technology program is recognized as an exemplary and innovative program in the state of Texas.”

San Jacinto College offers both a process technology associate degree and certificate of technology. The program holds strong partnerships throughout the local petrochemical industry, benefitting both students and graduates. The program enjoys a high job placement rate with many students obtaining internships that ultimately result in full-time employment upon graduation. Industry partners serve on the San Jacinto College process technology advisory board and the Chancellor’s Petrochemical Advisory Council. These industry leaders provide input in the development and updating of curriculum to ensure job placement upon graduation. They are also contributing to the design of the new Center for Petrochemical, Energy and Technology, the first project to be built as a result of the 2015 bond referendum.

“Our process technology program is an industry-driven program,” said Kevin Adams, San Jacinto College process technology program director. “It really is second to none with the goal to deliver exactly what industry needs. We prepare our students to enter lucrative careers in the manufacturing of products, and this is not slowing down as everyone depends on petroleum-derived products.”

The Center for Petrochemical, Energy and Technology will house the latest instructional labs for the process technology, instrumentation, non-destructive testing, electrical technology and fire protection programs. This facility will provide training that begins with high school dual credit classes, continues through industry certifications and associate degrees, and advances to provide cutting-edge training in partnership with companies that want to upskill their workers.

For more information about San Jacinto College process technology training, visit sanjac.edu/career/process-technology.

SJC partnership to expand training nationally, internationally

Written by InsideDP.com staff. Posted in Schools

The San Jacinto College Continuing and Professional Development (CPD) division is expanding its workforce training beyond Texas as a partner of the Global Corporate College (GCC).

The Global Corporate College includes a network of community colleges and universities in the United States and has partnerships in more than 30 countries. It provides employers with access to education programs and facilities. This is where Continuing and Professional Development at San Jacinto College comes in.

“This partnership will help more companies train their employees with the same curriculum at all of their locations, wherever that may be,” said Jerelyn Hughes-Glenn, director of computers/IT training with the CPD division at San Jacinto College. “For example, if we work with a company that wants leadership training for its employees, we can deliver the same training curriculum to all of their locations, thanks to the network we now have through the Global Corporate College.”

The CPD division provides workforce training for both current and future employees in the professional and technical job sectors that include applied technology and trades, computer/IT, advanced manufacturing, health occupations, business and professions, and maritime. The San Jacinto College CPD division will deliver leadership training and craft trades curriculum through the GCC before expanding its offerings in the near future.

"We are excited to partner with Global Corporate College to bring the training courses that have benefited so much of our local workforce to others across the nation and beyond," said Dr. Sarah Janes, associate vice chancellor for Continuing and Professional Development at San Jacinto College.

Companies interested in having San Jacinto College workforce training courses delivered to their national and international locations should email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

2 DPISD robotics teams crowned champions at state

Written by Holly Galvan. Posted in Schools

robotics 2016Three Deer Park ISD teams went to the state robotics competition and two of those teams brought home the first place prize. Photo by Shaib Alagily.Three teams from Deer Park ISD presented ideas for the futures at this year’s state robotics competition.

Deepwater Junior High’s invention team, Automatic Tank Wheelchair Corp. won first place by designing a wheelchair that will climb stairs. Members of that team were Andres Cano, Herbert Lopez and Cesar Cardenas.

Lopez said their invention would help disabled people be able to get up and down stairs.

“Putting in the gyro sensor was the hardest part. It is a little box that will control the wheelchair and make it stable so the person will be safer in the chair,” said Lopez.

Cano said the difference between their robot and others is that theirs could potentially change the world.

“We just knew we had made first. Sometimes I got myself nervous that we weren’t going to be in first place but then it just turned out to be a miracle or something,” he said.

Deer Park High School had two robotics invention teams advance to the state competition, with one team placing first. Debora Mroczek, Erin Taylor, Chase Moen and James York designed and built a CPR robot that earned the state’s top spot.

Mroczek said the team came up with the idea for the robot because they wanted a robot that could help people.

“After some brainstorming, we thought of how seniors have to learn CPR to graduate now. This could potentially help students like us,” said Taylor.

Taylor said the hardest part of building their robot was making it stable.

“We had to come up with a design which is a prototype. It would fall apart very easily. We had to think of a lot of different ways to make the robots stable,” said Taylor.

It took the DPHS robotics team seven months to conceptualize and build the robot and design a marketing plan.

“[The Robotics teams] accomplishment would not have been possible without our student’s commitment and determination to be the best and without the support and commitment of our [Chief Technoloy Officer] and [the] Technology department to the Robotics program,” said DPHS Robotics teacher Shaib Alagily.

Seventh-grade students Alex Mendoza, Brennon Landry, Greg Ortega from Bonnette Junior High also competed at state robotics competition. They tied for 16th place with a robot that would mow and water people's yards.

Landry said the hardest part of the process for their team was building the robot.

“It took a while to be built. Setting up how the robot was going to be laid out took time. Deciding which parts are [going to] be where because it was such a big robot,” said Landry.