Central Carolina Community College partners with Kenan Fellows to Offer K-12 STEM Teacher Photonics Workshop

April 11th, 2018 by Amneris Solano

LILLINGTON — The Central Carolina Community College (CCCC) Laser and Photonics Technology (LPT) program teamed with LASER-TEC and the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership at N.C. State University to conduct a K-12 STEM Teacher Photonics Workshop on Saturday, March 24.

The Kenan Fellows STEM teachers learned fun hands-on labs, using the LASER-TEC kits, to demonstrate properties of light, such as reflection, refraction, polarization, color mixing, and diffraction. In addition, they also learned how to form various diffraction interference patterns, how to measure the wavelength of light, and how to measure the speed of light. Each participant received a free LASER-TEC kit, funded by the LASER-TEC National Science Foundation (NSE) Advanced Technological Education (ATE) grant. The Kenan Fellows also learned about some of the exciting careers in the high-tech world of photonics, including the fast-growing, high-paying, and rewarding careers in lasers and fiber optics technology.

Gary Beasley, the Lead Instructor of the CCCC LPT program, gave examples of several of his students who are now employed by Fortune 500 companies or prestigious research laboratories living the American Dream.

With the kits, and what they learned, the Kenan Fellows will be able to share this knowledge with their students, encouraging those interested to pursue some of the outstanding careers in the photonics field.

The workshop was held at the CCCC Harnett Main Campus in Lillington, which is home to the LPT program. This provided an opportunity for the Kenan Fellows to tour all of the high-energy laser labs and electronics labs used by the CCCC LPT students during their two-year associate degree journey to a high-tech career. Current CCCC LPT students Isabelle Karis, Michael Kropp, Robert Strickland, Jamie Turner, and Cameron Wiedholz assisted with the workshop, helping Kenan Fellows with experiment set-ups and tours of the high-energy labs. In addition to helping with the hands-on labs, Isabelle Karis also presented at the workshop on topics, including why she selected the CCCC LPT program after graduating from Jack Britt STEM Academy in Fayetteville, and how she looks forward to a career in lasers.

The workshop was led by Dr. Chrys Panayiotou, with Indian Rivers State College as Executive Director and Principal Investigator of LASER-TEC, and Gary Beasley, Lead Instructor of the CCCC LPT program and Co-PI of LASER-TEC.

Lisa Hibler, Associate Director of Program Operations for the Kenan Fellows Program, who oversees the highly-competitive selection process of Fellows and organizes the Professional Development Institutes that Fellows attend as part of the program, worked with Panayiotou and Beasley to fill the workshop seats with eager to learn and talented K-12 STEM educators.

LASER-TEC is the NSF Center for Laser and Fiber Optics Education ATE grant operated by Indian Rivers State College in Fort Pierce, Fla. The mission of LASER-TEC is to develop a sustainable pipeline of qualified laser and fiber optic technicians to meet industry needs in the United States. To learn more about LASER-TEC, visit http://www.laser-tec.org/.

The Kenan Fellows Program is part of the Kenan Institute of Engineering, Technology & Science at N.C. State University. Founded in 2000, the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership addresses the critical need for high-quality professional development for educators and is the largest (science, technology, engineering, and math) STEM-focused teacher leadership program in North Carolina. The Kenan Fellows mission is to advance K-12 STEM education by providing educators with relevant, real-world professional learning and leadership development, through innovative collaborations with partners committed to 21st Century education and workforce preparation.

For information about the CCCC Laser and Photonics Technology program, visit www.cccc.edu/curriculum/majors/lasersphotonics/ or call Gary Beasley at 910-814-8828, or email at gbeasley@cccc.edu.

This press release was re-posted with permission from CCCC.

PHOTO CAPTION

The Central Carolina Community College (CCCC) Laser and Photonics Technology (LPT) program teamed with LASER-TEC and the Kenan Fellows program to conduct a K-12 STEM Teacher Photonics Workshop on Saturday March 24.