News and Features

What's going on in the Central Piedmont community and what Central Piedmont is doing in the community.

  • Two Central Piedmont students to matriculate to Ivy League schools in fall 2020

    Central Piedmont Community College is excited that two of its 2020 graduates — Koichi Takara and Christopher St. Hilaire — will matriculate to Ivy League schools in fall 2020. Both Takara and St. Hilaire overcame a number of obstacles to reach this milestone in their academic journey.

    Koichi Takara

    After living in Japan for the majority of his childhood, Takara moved to California and graduated from one of their highest-rated public high schools. His résumé was padded with an outstanding SAT score, 4.2 GPA, and an abundance of extracurricular activities. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough, as he was rejected from six of his top seven college choices. To make matters worse, he could not afford the one school that accepted him. As a result, he moved to Huntersville, NC, and enrolled at Central Piedmont where he flourished. During his time at Central Piedmont, he served as president of the Student Government Association and was an active member of the college’s Rotaract, Phi Theta Kappa chapter, and the NC Scholars of Global Distinction. After graduating from Central Piedmont on May 14, Takara plans to attend Cornell University as a junior on a full scholarship. He’ll major in industrial labor relations. Says Takara, “coming to Central Piedmont was the best decision of my life.”

    Christopher St. Hilaire

    St. Hilaire felt isolated in high school and dropped out at just 15 years of age. He later completed his studies, earning his GED from Central Piedmont in 2015. He immediately joined the workforce, working as a server at Ballantyne Country Club. A club member recognized St. Hilaire’s potential and urged him to go back to school. Thankfully, St. Hilaire heeded his friend’s advice and enrolled where he was most familiar: Central Piedmont. Back on campus, St. Hilaire decided to be a part of everything the college community had to offer – Student Government Association, Rotaract, Model UN, and Phi Theta Kappa. He excelled at Central Piedmont, and will graduate this week with an associate (transfer) degree. This fall, St. Hilaire will move to New Jersey, where he will study philosophy at Princeton University on a full scholarship as one of only 13 community college students in the country to be admitted to the Ivy League school for the fall term. “Central Piedmont welcomed me back with open arms and getting involved in its many student life and leadership activities made it all worthwhile,” says St. Hilaire.

    For more Central Piedmont student success stories, please visit the college’s Facebook page.

  • PNC Foundation grants to support college's early childhood education program

    The PNC Foundation has awarded Central Piedmont Community College two grants totaling $500,000 to support the college’s early childhood education program and help train more pre-K teachers as Mecklenburg County works to provide more pre-K opportunities for local children.

    “As our communities face the serious health and economic challenges presented by the current crisis, it’s important to acknowledge that pre-K education is essential to helping today’s children and tomorrow’s workforce achieve economic mobility,” said Weston Andress, PNC regional president for Western Carolinas and a Central Piedmont Foundation board member. “These grants will help train and develop the pre-K educators who will be integral to the growth, quality and resilience of pre-K education in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.”

    The first grant of $255,000, awarded over five years, will enable the college to hire an early childhood education recruiter/academic coach. With a focus on Charlotte-Mecklenburg's Title 1 high schools and low-income students from other area high schools, the recruiter/academic coach will promote the program in schools and youth programs such as Junior Achievement of Central Carolinas and the City of Charlotte Mayor's Youth Employment Program. Upon identification of interested students, the recruiter will work with students and families to assist with enrollment and registration. Once students are enrolled, the recruiter will serve as an academic coach, shepherding them along their chosen career pathway.

    The college will use the second five-year grant of $245,000 to provide scholarships and other assistance to incumbent child care workers in need of additional college classes and credits to earn an associate degree in early childhood education. Specifically, early childhood education students participating in the Reinforced Instruction for Student Excellence (RISE) developmental math and English program at Central Piedmont will have access to:

    • online tutoring service through Smart Thinking available 24 hours a day/seven days a week;
    • peer mentors;
    • on-site, face-to-face tutors;
    • an academic coach/career navigator; and
    • laptop computers to aid out-of-class learning, for those with demonstrated financial need.

    “The college is grateful to PNC for its generous support of Central Piedmont’s early childhood education program,” said Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, Central Piedmont president. “Providing opportunities for more Mecklenburg County children to attend pre-K school is an important economic mobility initiative in the county. The success of this effort will depend in large part on having enough Pre-K teachers.

    “PNC is a true partner with the college and Mecklenburg County as we endeavor to ensure all children have the education they need to pursue their academic and life goals,” Deitemeyer said.

  • Engineering students help develop face shield prototype for healthcare workers’ use

    Dr. Jacob Garbini, chair of Central Piedmont’s engineering program, continues to produce components for healthcare workers’ face shields, using the 3D printers in Central Campus’s Advanced Technology Center.

    Dr. Garbini received more 3D printing material on April 20, and, since that time, he has printed approx. 1,000 face shield parts. He delivered the parts to Charlotte MEDI on April 28.

    While dropping off the parts, he learned from one of Charlotte MEDI’s representatives and a few healthcare workers, that an issue with the current design of the face shields is cutting into the heads of users. Considering a nurse’s shift is 12+ hours, this was unacceptable to Dr. Garbini.

    As a solution, Dr. Garbini suggested he design his own face shields/masks, independently of Charlotte MEDI’s design, using only Central Piedmont equipment in the engineering lab. His design would address the practical nature of the shield. His request was approved!

    Beginning this week, Dr. Garbini will work virtually with a design team, consisting of five personally-selected Associate in Engineering students studying civil, mechanical, and electrical engineering. They are: Alexander Stephenson, Bailen Huggins, Lauran Echols, Laurick Amadi, and Luke Sewing.

    The design team will meet virtually to develop a prototype based on utility, which includes comfort, cleaning, and assembly, by May 1. It will be tested by Atrium Main Hospital nurses by the end of the week so the team can receive feedback on its design/fit and make any necessary adjustments before Dr. Garbini mass produces the units in the college’s Engineering Lab.

    One of the student volunteers, Lauran Echols, also serves as president of Central Piedmont’s Society of Women Engineers. She and her peers are on standby, waiting to contribute to the effort as well.

    Dr. Garbini will need the assistance of as many individuals as possible as he strives to meet the demand created by in-need Atrium Main Hospital oncology nurses, local dental hygiene clinics, SC hospitals, and the Medical University of South Carolina.

    “It's exciting to think about the number of people we are helping with our innovation, effort, and collaboration — especially in this time of need,” said Dr. Garbini.

    Learn more about Central Piedmont’s STEM programs.

  • Grant to support robotics, automation, cybersecurity work at college and partner institutions

    The National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education Program has awarded the North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership, located at North Carolina State University, in collaboration with community college partners the North Carolina Community College System, Central Piedmont Community College, Wake Technical College and Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, a $443,619 grant to establish a Robotics/Automation and Cybersecurity Knowledge Sharing Coordination Network (TRACKS-CN).

    The TRACKS-CN project is anticipated to take three years to complete, with a projected timeline of July 1, 2020–June 30, 2023.

    TRACKS-CN will focus on workforce development efforts at the intersection of robotics/automation and cybersecurity, bringing together organizations and expertise with a focus on workforce development and improving manufacturing in the United States, including community colleges, Manufacturing Extension Partnerships and Manufacturing USA Institutes.

    Thanks to Central Piedmont’s past work on a U.S. Department of Transportation’s TAACCT-funded project, which focused on mechatronics (Mechatronics Re-Envisioned), the college was identified as having the subject matter expertise and capacity to serve as a community college partner on this project.

    As a result, Central Piedmont’s Jami Dale, chair of the Mechatronics Engineering Technology Program, has been identified as the subject matter expert and will serve as co-Principal Investigator (co-PI) on the three-year project. A portion of the grant fuds will support Dale’s role, which includes participating on quarterly partnership calls with TRACKS-CN participants, attending two annual workshop meetings and working on Advanced Technological Education projects that focus on robotics/automation to ensure they align with the work and goals of the TRACKS-CN.

    “The network this grant establishes couldn't be more timely,” said Dale. “As learning environments transition to needing an increased catalog of online technical engineering training materials for college instructors, it’s important our partners in education and industry work together to encourage and facilitate the creation and distribution of educational materials for use in North Carolina and beyond.”

    Dale was a natural choice to fill the project’s co-PI role. Central Piedmont has operated a mechatronics engineering technology program since 2005. Robust automation content is woven throughout the college’s curriculum and aligns with the goals of the TRACKS-CN. In addition, the college has a strong cybersecurity education program and is exploring the links between these two technology areas as a contributor to the TRACKS-CN.

    For more information about STEM programs of study at Central Piedmont and STEM career fields, see cpcc.edu/stem, or contact Chris Paynter, Central Piedmont dean of STEM, at chris.paynter@cpcc.edu or at 704.330.6531.

     

  • College donates gloves, masks, and gowns to Atrium Health and Novant Health

    Central Piedmont Health Professions and Human Services donated more than 30,000 pairs of gloves, 670 N95 masks, 350 isolation gowns, 250 level 3 masks, and 400 bouffant caps to Atrium Health and Novant Health.

    All of our health programs and Environmental Health and Safety offered their supplies to meet the community's needs. Faculty from all of the college's Health Careers areas wanted to come in and help pack but we wanted to limit the number of faculty involved to just a few. They were:

    • Karen Summers, Interim Dean ,Health Professions and Human Services
    • Eileen Clark, Dental Hygiene
    • Cathy Flores, Medical Assisting
    • Mel Angelisanti, Surgical Technology​

    Learn more about Central Piedmont's Healthcare programs.

  • Central Piedmont employees use 3D printers to make face shield parts

    Central Piedmont’s Dr. Adam Harris, chair of the computer engineering technology, electrical engineering technology and electronics engineering technology programs, and Dr. Jacob Garbini, chair of the engineering program, are partnering with Charlotte Latin to produce the parts needed for CharlotteMEDI to make face shields for area hospital personnel during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    As instructors, Dr. Harris and Dr. Garbini regularly work in the college’s FabLab, home to 10 3D printers, which the duo has been visiting tirelessly, sometimes twice a day, to manufacture the headbands and bottom clips needed to complete the assembly of CharlotteMEDI’s face shields.

    To date, the Central Piedmont team has made approximately 300 3D printed parts, such as bottom clips and headbands.

    But, according to Dr. Garbini, that’s only the beginning.

    Once the team receives more filament — the material used to produce the parts — and services a couple of the machines to get them all working at 100 percent capacity, Dr. Garbini anticipates being able to print approximately 160 clips a day going forward.

    However, productivity isn’t his only concern, so is safety. “I’ve sectioned off the lab in the building to prohibit the parts from being exposed to any external germs or elements before they are shipped,” adds Dr. Garbini. “At the end of the day, Adam and I are grateful to be given the opportunity to use our college’s equipment to contribute to a community need. Any support we can offer to our healthcare providers during this critical time is extremely important — both for their safety and the well-being of the greater Charlotte community.”

    Dr. Garbini delivered the face shield parts he and Dr. Harris produced to an approved CharlotteMEDI drop-off location on April 8. The parts will immediately be assembled into face shields, to later be shared with healthcare personnel working at area hospitals throughout Charlotte.

  • Anonymous donor gives to college’s Emergency Fund, issues matching-gift challenge

    Central Piedmont Community College Foundation is proud to announce an anonymous donor has made a generous and timely commitment that will match all gifts made to the college’s Emergency Fund on a dollar-for-dollar basis up to $100,000.

    Central Piedmont’s Emergency Fund provides short-term financial support to students and employees experiencing financial emergencies.

    “This amazing gift, and the community’s response to our donor’s matching-gift challenge, will enable us to better respond to the growing financial needs of our students, faculty, and staff during the coronavirus outbreak,” said Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, president of Central Piedmont. “These needs include access to the technology needed for remote learning and scholarships for tuition and books, as well as resources for food, housing, child care, transportation, and medical care.”

    If you’re a member of the community who would like to make a gift to Central Piedmont’s Emergency Fund, and participate in the matching gift challenge, visit cpccfoundation.org/donation. Your support for the Central Piedmont family will be of enormous assistance as the college works together to meet the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    Students with financial and other needs are invited to email singlestop@cpcc.edu, while Central Piedmont employees can email wecare@cpcc.edu for assistance.

  • Central Piedmont, community partners help package food for residents in need

    Central Piedmont Community College’s hospitality education program partnered with Sysco Foods and the Piedmont Culinary Guild on March 25 to package and deliver 500 boxes of food to local restaurant employees who have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

    Sysco Foods donated 250 cases of food to the community outreach project. The cases consisted of frozen chicken, produce, fresh fruits and vegetables, and dairy products, such as milk and butter.

    Representatives from Central Piedmont, Sysco Foods, and the Piedmont Culinary Guild were on site at Central Piedmont’s Culinary Arts Center to receive the cases of food, sort and package the individual boxes, and deliver them to 25–30 restaurants located in Mecklenburg County and beyond.

    Each box included three to four major food group items, providing local restaurant workers with a nutritious meal for their family during this unprecedented time. Restaurants needing employee assistance signed up to participate in the community outreach project online through the Piedmont Culinary Guild’s website.

    Thanks are extended to Central Piedmont's Richard Kugelmann, division director of the college's hospitality education division; Ross Howard, director of business resources and marketing for Sysco Foods; and Kris Reid, co-founder of the Piedmont Culinary Guild for spearheading the initiative.

    View WSOC-TV's coverage of the community outreach project.

  • College loans Chromebooks, WiFi hotspots to students and employees in need

    Recognizing not everyone has access to technology while they learn and work remotely during this unprecedented time, Central Piedmont has loaned a limited number of Chromebooks and WiFi hotspots — at no cost — to approximately 250 students and employees in need. A distribution point, staffed by Central Piedmont employees, has been set up behind the North Classroom building, located on the college’s Central Campus.

    In the weeks and months ahead, students in need will be able to use their assigned device as long as they are enrolled in classes and until the college is able to resume traditional, in-person classes. At that point, computer labs will reopen. Employees will be able to use their loaned equipment until they are able to return to on-campus work.

    “Our internal community is our top priority, we understand that everyone may not have the technology needed to complete their studies or work,” said Dena Shonts, associate dean for student engagement at Central Piedmont. “Our job is to help them succeed and providing them with the tools to do that is essential.”

    To be considered for the program, students and employees had to apply online or call the college’s Single Stop office.

  • Central Piedmont Engineering Students Place Third at Siemens Engineers' Week

    Congratulations to seven Central Piedmont Associate in Engineering students who placed third out of six teams at Siemens' Engineers' Week. The Central Piedmont group was the only educational institution represented at the competition.

    The students were given one week to collaborate on a given objective, assign tasks, and build their machine before presenting their work at Siemens on Feb. 21. Their objective was to "create a device that will deliver payloads of ping pong balls into the targeted cups and score more points than your opponent in a head-to-head competition."

    Great work, Central Piedmont students Carlos Anzola, John Dale Ardiosa, Timer Colen, Stefan Johansson, Mark Khodan, Jairen Propst, Eslam Shaalia, and Chancellor Toledo!

    group of Central Piedmont engineering students who placed third at Siemens Engineers' Week holding their project and their trophies

    The college's Associate in Engineering program will help these students transfer to a four-year school to pursue their interests in electrical, computer, mechanical, civil, or systems engineering.