Central Piedmont student writer’s work featured in Teen Vogue
Central Piedmont student Michael-Michelle Pratt, a student in the college’s Associate in Arts degree program, recently had an op-ed piece featured in the June issue of Teen Vogue called, “Growing Up Black Between Trayvon Martin and George Floyd Has My Generation at a Boiling Point.”
When Pratt began sharing her thoughts on systemic racism and the Black Lives Matter movement on Twitter earlier this year, she had no idea her comments would attract the attention of the political editor at Teen Vogue, who began following her online.
In her online musings, Pratt discussed that while the recent death of George Floyd was causing a resurgence in the Black Lives Matter movement, no one was talking about how the tragedy had impacted her generation — Generation Z, a segment of the population that had largely grown up between the deaths of Trayvon Martin in 2012 and George Floyd in 2020. She pitched the article topic to the editor at Teen Vogue, and they accepted.
“I wanted my article to explain to readers that the events of Trayvon Martin, George Floyd and others are not isolated incidents that happened in a bubble,” said Pratt. “I wanted to explain that everything that is happening today is a combination of past and present frustration — that it has all built up to this critical moment, a boiling point that we’re about to see spill over.”
In the op-ed, Pratt discusses first learning about the Trayvon Martin shooting; the impact it had on her adolescence/family; how the incident inspired her to begin following strong female, African-American writers (Toni Morrison, Audre Lorde, Alice Walker); and how it propelled her to seek out leadership opportunities that would allow her to not only fight back against oppression, but to also find her voice.
Thankfully, Pratt has discovered an outlet for her voice at Central Piedmont’s Levine Campus in Matthews, NC, where she participates in the campus’s Student Writers Assembles Guild (SWAG), a student creative writing club formed in 2016 that provides individuals with a creative space to write poetry, short stories, articles, screenplays and more.
“Michael-Michelle is a talented writer and poet,” said Elizabeth West, an associate instructor and faculty advisor for Central Piedmont’s SWAG.“She has a strong voice and is brave enough to use it to enact change in our community. She has a sweet, quiet demeanor in person, but her words ring loud and strong on the page. She is a wonderful SWAG member and we are all so proud of her accomplishments.”
Pratt plans to graduate from Central Piedmont in August 2021 and pursue a career in journalism or film to become a director/screenwriter. “While I love being able to discuss my opinions on the cultural climate in which we all live in articles, I love being able to create my own world in a screenplay,” said Pratt.
PNC Foundation $25,000 grant supports college’s Single Stop program, Emergency Fund
The PNC Foundation has awarded Central Piedmont Community College a $25,000 grant to support the college’s Single Stop program, an initiative that connects students to the support services they need to succeed in college and administers the college’s Emergency Fund.
“Our entire community has been affected by COVID-19, and the pandemic has been particularly difficult for students who have lost employment and income ― and who depend on campus resources for access to learning and technology,” said Weston Andress, PNC regional president for Western Carolinas and a Central Piedmont Foundation board member. “During this challenging time, we want the Central Piedmont student community to know that we understand and are committed to helping address some of the hardships they are facing.”
Since 2016, Central Piedmont’s Single Stop program has served as a free, on-campus resource, removing barriers for students with critical needs by connecting them with resources to help them flourish academically, obtain good jobs and achieve financial stability ― through one-on-one meetings with experts representing the financial, tax and legal fields.
In addition to matching qualifying students with specific tools to help fuel upward mobility in their lives, Single Stop administers monies available through the college’s Emergency Fund, which provides one-time support of up to $500 for students who have emergency needs related to housing, utilities, medical expenses, food, technology and more.
The PNC Foundation’s gift is timely. The college will use the grant to help purchase the following items, which have been identified as students’ most pressing needs during the coronavirus pandemic:
- Grocery/food gift cards. These items will allow students to purchase food, medicine and other essential products.
- Technology access (laptops and Wi-Fi hotspots). The college has witnessed a surge in students needing laptops and Wi-Fi hotspots since it moved much of its course instruction online.
- Resources for budgeting during a crisis. Single Stop's financial counselors are implementing and delivering online and virtual sessions for individuals and groups who need crisis budgeting assistance. Each emergency grant recipient is contacted by a financial counselor with tips on dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic from a financial perspective.
“As a result of the pandemic, the college has witnessed an increase in the number of students needing resources to sustain their everyday lives in addition to their studies,” said Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, president of Central Piedmont. “Many agencies in the Charlotte area have had to close temporarily, limiting the resources students can turn to for emergency crisis assistance. The PNC Foundation’s gift will help us streamline the connectivity process, ensuring resources such as nutrition assistance, technology support and financial aid reach the students who need them most in a critical time of need.”
Learn more about Central Piedmont’s Single Stop program. If interested in supporting the college’s Emergency Fund, visit https://secure.cpccfoundation.org/donation/.
- Grocery/food gift cards. These items will allow students to purchase food, medicine and other essential products.
Central Piedmont to offer expanded evening, Friday and Saturday courses at three campuses
Beginning this fall, Central Piedmont Community College will offer expanded course offerings of some of its most in-demand classes on weekday evenings, Fridays, and Saturdays at its Central, Harris, and Levine campuses. The added course sections give students more options so they can complete a two-year, college transfer degree more quickly.
Central Piedmont’s new course offerings are comprised of more than 70 class sections of 20 high-demand, general education college transfer courses. The classes will be offered in sequential order and focus on a variety of subjects, ranging from biology and public speaking, to psychology and business.
“We’re excited about our new course offerings and how they will have a positive impact on our students’ lives,” said Edith McElroy, dean of Central Piedmont’s Levine Campus. “By offering more courses in the evenings, and on Fridays and Saturdays, we’re able to better accommodate our students’ busy schedules, setting them up for success both inside and outside of the classroom.”
This is the first time the college’s Harris Campus has offered high-demand college transfer classes to residents, giving individuals more options to complete an associate degree. In the past, its course offerings were specific to an academic program, such as baking & pastry arts, dental assisting, early childhood education, and others.
In addition to offering more high-demand classes at Harris Campus, Central Piedmont will boast Saturday-only courses for students interested in earning a general Associate in Arts degree or an Associate in Arts degree in business administration in two years. Students seeking either of these degrees will be placed on a learning track that will require them to complete two to three courses, every eight weeks.
The additional courses and weekend accessibility will also give residents the opportunity to experience Central Piedmont — a college that believes in providing individuals with an affordable, hands-on education that will prepare them for the real world so they can make a difference in their community and beyond.
To learn more about Central Piedmont’s expanded weekday evening, Friday, and Saturday classes, please visit our transfer degree page or contact Suzanne Marcoux at 704.330.4278 or email@example.com.
College launches 'community' ad campaign
Central Piedmont understands there are so many traditional age students and adults in Mecklenburg County with questions about the future. “Will they be able to go back to or start college?” “Is it time to make a career change to something with greater consistency and stability?”
With this in mind, the college’s Communications, Marketing, & Public Relations team worked with the Charlotte marketing and advertising agency, Mythic, to produce 60-second, 30-second, and 15-second “community” commercial spots.
The team asked faculty, staff, and students to submit content showing how they were coming together while apart during this unprecedented time.
Communications, Marketing, & Public Relations received a number of responses and submissions, which were incorporated into the ads that will run across Charlotte, on network and cable tv, as well as on digital/streaming platforms, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook.
The ad's message is simple. It highlights Central Piedmont’s sense of community, and that when a student chooses to attend Central Piedmont, they immediately become a part of something bigger – an institution, a community, that will help them conquer possibility.
$15,000 AT&T grant to support Central Piedmont’s Emergency Fund
AT&T has awarded the Central Piedmont Community College Foundation a $15,000 grant in support of the college’s Emergency Fund to provide immediate, short-term, financial support to students and employees who have emergency financial needs related to housing, utilities, medical expenses, food, technology and more.
“Thanks to AT&T’s gift, the college is better positioned to respond to the growing financial needs of its internal community during this unprecedented time in our history,” said Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, president of Central Piedmont. “This gift will help us purchase the technology our students, faculty, and staff need to successfully learn and work remotely and provide them with the financial assistance they need for tuition, books, child care, transportation, medical care, and other needs.”
Given the extraordinary disruptions created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the college has seen an increase in requests for assistance from students facing a variety of pressing challenges. The pandemic has significantly exacerbated these challenges. AT&T’s support expands the college’s ability to help students in need at this critical time.
“Just as all our lives have been impacted by COVID-19, everyone can play a part in helping neighbors and communities through these days,” said Kathleen Evans, regional director of external affairs for AT&T. “We are pleased to be able to support Central Piedmont in making a difference for students and their families.”
Individuals interested in making a gift to Central Piedmont’s Emergency Fund can visit cpccfoundation.org/donation.
Small Business Center to launch 'Small Business Rebound Program’
Central Piedmont Community College’s Small Business Center is excited to announce it has launched a new initiative — the Small Business Rebound Program — to connect small business owners impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic with Master in Business Administration (MBA) students from top universities and colleges located across the United States. The program will be available May 11–July 3, 2020.
The program will provide business owners with exclusive access to business advisors, studying for their MBAs at some of the country’s most elite universities, including Stanford University, Duke University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Advisors will conduct virtual counseling sessions with participants, helping small business owners identify and apply for loan opportunities, redesign their business models, evaluate their budget, and analyze their cash management process.
“Growing up in Charlotte, I saw how small businesses defined the character of our community,” said Ladd Hamrick, a Stanford University MBA student. “Our team of MBAs hopes to help by offering what we’ve learned in the classroom, from financial planning and marketing to crisis leadership.”
One of the many perks of the Small Business Rebound Program is some participants may be eligible for a professional service grant. The MBA business advisors will work with small business owners to help assess and/or gather the information needed to help them apply for the grant.
If awarded funding, eligible small business owners would have the opportunity to receive four hours of counseling from a Small Business Center Network-affiliated certified public accountant (CPA), digital marketing strategists, human resource expert, or attorney (a $1,200 or $1,500 value), depending on their area of need. Potential services include establishing a financial chart of accounts, developing social media accounts/a Google Business page, creating HR policies, and more.
“The goal of this program is to help provide small business owners with the sounding board they need to analyze the current state of their business,” said Renee Hode, executive director of Central Piedmont’s Small Business Center. “Advisors will provide guidance, helping each small business owner sustain their business practices during this challenging time in the marketplace.”
To learn more, visit the Small Business Rebound Program.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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