Summer did not mean the end of learning for area high school/middle school students and teachers who decided to participate in free programming at Asnuntuck Community College.


They took advantage of exploring health and manufacturing programs offered at the college. The programming was partially funded through Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education federal dollars awarded to Asnuntuck.


“Asnuntuck Community College is so thankful for the Perkins support that we received,” said Asnuntuck Chief Executive Officer Michelle Coach. “Through this funding we have been able to provide engaging and informative training to high school students, middle school students, and middle school teachers.” She added, “Not only have we been able to educate our future workforce and develop interest in career fields, but we have also been able to work with those that help educate alongside us.”


Middle School students were afforded the opportunity to spend five ½ days on campus to learn about additive manufacturing. They were all scanned and watched images of themselves created on 3D printers. They had hands-on opportunities and used Solidworks software to create other items, and the week was topped off by launching their own 3D printed rocket at the college.


Twin brothers, Willard and Peter Davis, participated in the middle school program. Willard shared his feedback about the week by saying, “I would say that my experience at Asnuntuck was very educational. I was taught how to use Solidworks and we got a tour of the college. On the final day we had our heads scanned and 3D printed with a giant 3D printer.” He added, “I loved my time at Asnuntuck I would say it was fun and quick and I would gladly go again.” His brother Peter was also enthusiastic about his experience and said, “My time at Asnuntuck was extremely fun. I learned how to make logos on Solidworks and 3D print them. I got to fire a 3D printed rocket over 500 feet in the air and I learned the basics of using a CNC router.” He added, “Asnuntuck was a wonderful experience for me and I hope to go back next year.”


High School students participated in a free, three-credit college level Intro to Manufacturing course. This course allowed students to survey all of the programs offered at the college, including welding, electronics, metrology, additive manufacturing and robotics. It was a hands-on three-week course, where students were able to print 3D rockets and design the control box and wiring needed to launch their own rockets. Many students who participated, will enroll at the college in the Fall or participate in Asnuntuck’s College Connections high school Advanced Manufacturing program.


Interim Dean of Advanced Manufacturing at Asnuntuck Mary Bidwell said, “Being able to offer middle and high school students as well as teachers the

opportunity to attend classes and workshops at Asnuntuck’s Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center is really beneficial for everyone involved.”

She continued, “The opportunity for young people and teachers to learn about Advanced Manufacturing and the opportunities available in this career

field is so needed. It was wonderful that through Perkins funding we were able to provide this experience to students and we are looking forward to

continuing to do more in the future.”


The boys’ older sister, Ana, enrolled in the 3-week Intro to Manufacturing course cohort for high school students this summer. “My experience at Asnuntuck’s high school program allowed me to explore some of the vast industries in the manufacturing field.  From understanding the importance of safety protocols to collaborating with other students as a team to produce a final product, this enriching program has left me with basic skills that I will carry on into my future career path.” She added, “I am very appreciative of my talented instructors’ time and dedication to helping kids like me open up our eyes to future careers in manufacturing!”


Peter Davis, the father of the three students was appreciative of the opportunity offered to his children. “As a parent, and a CTE Teacher, I am grateful for the programs that you provided to my three children this summer.” He continued, “At a time when our hometown has cut STEM Education classes from the middle school curriculum, ACC has stepped up with an experience that was timely, engaging, and exciting for all levels of middle and high school. Each of my children came back to the car with smiles every day and eager stories of the day’s activities.”


Interim Dean of Academic Affairs Dr. Teresa Foley said, “The summer programing for high school students made available through the Perkins funds

provides interested high school students with great opportunities to learn about and develop skills needed for future career opportunities. It helps to open doors to new ideas and career possibilities.”


Perkins funding made it possible for the college to offer high school students an opportunity to enroll in a free four-credit Clinical Medical Assisting course. This is the first time the college has offered a free summer course in the health field for high school students. The students learned to take vital signs and measurements. They were taught how to document medical histories, chart pertinent findings, along with assisting during exams.


Coordinator of Allied Health and Associate Professor Michele Howard-Swan said, “It was wonderful to train the students this summer and start off their healthcare career.” She added, “This is an incredible opportunity for students interested in healthcare to take advantage of.”


Amy Thibodeau, adjunct Professor in Allied Health and Clinical Laboratory Assistant at Asnuntuck, also taught the students. She said, “It was such an honor and pleasure to be a part of the high school student’s first step into their medical education.  What a fantastic way to start their college career!”


North-West Regional President Dr. James Lombella said, “I am very pleased that Asnuntuck was able to provide these important career exploration

opportunities to the participating youth.” He added, “It is never too early to expose students to different career pathways that are available to them.” He

continued, “Asnuntuck has an array of programs in high demand industries including healthcare and manufacturing. We are proud to prepare the

workforce of today and tomorrow.”