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Partner Colleges

The following colleges are affiliated with the Nano-Link consortium:

Dakota County Technical College (DCTC) is the lead institution for the Nano-Link Center and is located in Rosemount, Minnesota. DCTC serves over 5000 students within nearby communities, and also hosts students from countries around the world. The majority of students work toward degrees and diplomas in 53 different career options with 127 award outcomes preparing them for employment. The general education department provides courses that are included in the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum. DCTC has become a leader in delivering sustainable technologies, service-learning opportunities, and community engagement into the curricula of most programs.

The 72 credit, AAS degree Nanoscience Technician Program began in 2004 and has graduated over 100 students from the program. Approximately 40% of the students continue their education either as a full time student or while working. Program graduates are employees at companies such as 3M, Boston Scientific, Optomec, RJA Dispersions, Hysitron, Nanocopoeia, Polar Fab, Infinite Graphics, University of Minnesota and many others. The need for nano aware technicians exceeds the number of program graduates.

The Nano Program at DCTC is multi-disciplinary and includes nanoelectronics, nanomaterials and nanobiotechnology. The University of Minnesota, in partnership with DCTC provides the course content for the fourth semester of the program. In the first three semesters at DCTC students encounter aspects of nanoscience in ten nano specific lecture and lab courses.

To learn more about the DCTC AAS degree Nanoscience Technician program contact Deb Newberry at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The University of Minnesota is the state’s flagship institution of higher education. The UofM was established in Minneapolis as a land grant university in 1851, and has since grown to include campuses in St. Paul, Crookston, Morris, and Rochester. It is the premier research institution in the state and ranks among the top ten research universities in the United States.

For the past decade, the University of Minnesota has partnered with Nano-Link and with Dakota County Technical College to offer formal classes and lab training in the science and engineering of nanotechnology. Teachers from colleges in the Nano-Link network have taken part in workshops offered by the University’s Nano Center to learn more about nanoscale fabrication and characterization techniques; workshop topics have included thin film deposition, optical lithography, electron microscopy, and Raman spectroscopy techniques. The Minnesota Nano Center has also worked with Nano-Link to develop new educational modules and teaching labs in areas of applied nanoscience.

Arapahoe Community College is just outside Denver in Littleton Colorado where the only Introduction to Nanotechnology course in the state has been offered numerous times since 2005. The college has been a pioneer in efforts to bring Nanotechnology education to the state. Colorado was ranked 3rd in the nation for its ability to develop their economy through nanotechnology according to the Lux Research January 2005 report “Benchmarking U.S. States for Economic Development from Nanotechnology.” Among the criteria assessed were: level of nanotech activity, existence of a formal nanotech initiative, companies active in nanotech, in-state nanotech patents, nanotech R&D, size of science and technology workforce, and regulatory and corporate taxation. Anchored by the presence of NREL and NIST, Colorado ranks third in the U.S. in nanotechnology research. Universities and private sector research and development activities benefit from NREL’s Incubator Alliance and access to state-of-the-art nanofabrication facilities and nanomeasurement tools. Nano-Link members are supporting Arapahoe Community College as we work to assess and define student and industry needs in Colorado in order to implement a plan for Nanotechnology education in the state.

Northcentral Technical College (NTC) is one of 16 colleges in the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS). NTC offers over 150 associate degree, technical diploma and short-term certificate programs, as well as high school completion programs, basic skills education and continuing education opportunities. The NTC district includes 6 campuses and covers a distance of 5,900 square miles. The district is exclusively rural, with the exception of Wausau, which qualifies as a metropolitan statistical area.

NTC’s Nano certificate comprises of Nanotechnology I and II courses which are both 3 credit. The courses incorporate formative assessments with multiple learning plan exams and laboratory reports as well as a summative assessment with a final exam. In addition to these core Nanotechnology Certificate courses, a General Studies course that corresponds with the students program track at NTC is required. These include one of the following: General Biology (4 cr), General Chemistry (4cr), General Physics (4 cr), General Anatomy and Physiology (4cr), College Physics I (3 cr) or College Physics II (3cr). As a result, the Nanotechnology Certificate encompasses 10 to 12 credits of coursework over 2 to 3 semesters.

NTC is also an affiliate member of the Nano Link consortium. Our goal is to provide well qualified science and engineering graduates to our local businesses and industry. We intend to develop various partnerships with our local industry that currently use nanotechnology or wish to explore nanotechnology applications in our Nano-Science laboratory.

To learn more about the NTC’s Nano Certificate program contact Frank Fernandes at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Foothill College’s nanotechnology program prepares transfer students for engineering programs that include advanced materials engineering, and incumbent and transitional workers for advancing their careers, and/or securing employment in high technology. Specific skills emphasized within the program include materials characterization, fabrication, and supporting process engineering and advanced manufacturing. Local industry in Silicon Valley includes advanced materials such as thin films, nanomaterials used in transportation, clean energy and biomaterials, as well as foundational and emerging sectors of electronics, biomedical devices, and cleantech. Silicon Valley is home to well known commercial analytical laboratories (Evans Analytical Group and Nanolab Technologies) as well as Exponent, formerly Failure Analysis Associates. Cleantech firms include Tesla, Bloom Energy, and Enervault. Biomedical devices, especially cardiac therapy and diagnostics, and genomics tools and services. Magnetic storage includes world leaders Seagate and Western Digital.

Specific jobs that Foothill College students occupy and/or train for include process development, failure analysis, characterization (microscopy) and advanced materials development. Our student cohorts span entry level college students to post doctoral candidates. Partners UCSC and NASA host advanced instrumentation where our students both develop and polish their skills, and learn design of experiments, data analysis, and working with small high tech entrepreneurs.

Oakton Community College, an affiliate Nano-Link member, serves more than 23,000 credit and noncredit students each semester at its two campuses in Des Plaines and Skokie, Illinois. A diverse community of faculty, staff, and students, the College offers over 100 degree and certificate programs in 40 subject areas, including a 31-credit-hour Nanotechnology Certificate that provides students with the content and laboratory skills they need to work as entry-level technicians in companies that use nanotechnology. The certificate incorporates the fundamentals of biology, chemistry, and physics at the nanoscale, and gives students hands-on experience at Oakton's state-of-the-art nanotechnology lab in Skokie’s Illinois Science + Technology Park. Available equipment includes atomic force, scanning tunneling, scanning electron, and fluorescence microscopes; and ultraviolet-visible spectroscopes.

Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC) is a Nano-Link institution located in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. CVTC serves over 14000 students within an eleven county area with an FTE (Full Time Equivalency) of nearly 5000. Sixty-four degree programs offer students a wide range of careers, from business management, to health-care, and high-tech manufacturing. The general education department provides courses that automatically transfer to the University of Wisconsin system for students planning to continue their education. Many CVTC students take one or two classes to improve their skill sets rather than enroll in a formal program, or earn certificates in specific areas such as truck driving or 3D modeling.

The 67-68 credit, AAS degree Nano Engineering Technology Program began in 2005 and has graduated 59 students from the program. Approximately 40% of the students continue their education either as a full time student or while working. Program graduates are employees at companies ranging from semi-conductor fabrication, to biotechnology, and other high tech industries.

The Nano Engineering Technology Program at CVTC is multi-disciplinary and includes nano-electronics, nano-materials and nano-biotechnology. The program is one of three engineering programs which share a common first year, the others being Manufacturing Engineering with an emphasis on design and processes and Industrial Engineering with food industry specific courses. The three engineering programs provides local industry with graduates whose training supports their needs.

To learn more about the CVTC AAS degree Nano Engineering Technology program contact John Wagner at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The National Resource Center for Materials Technology Education (MatEd) is an NSF funded resource center focused on materials science. A key goal of the center was to identify and validate core competencies needed by materials technicians and general technicians. A complete report as well as a summary can be found on the MatEd website. MatEd’s Mission is to advance materials technology education nationally. MatEd’s Vision is to be the focal point where industry, education and community collaborate to meet materials technology workforce needs.

The National Resource Center for Materials Technology Education (MatEd) is headquartered at Edmonds CC. The Resource Center provides curriculum resources for materials technology program enhancement and improvement at community and technical colleges nationwide. MatEd and EdCC collaborated to develop an 11,000sqft advanced technology lab which houses the only two year materials science degree in Washington state.

Bio-Link is the Next Generation National Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Center of Excellence for Biotechnology and Life Sciences. Bio-Link originated in late 1998 with a grant from the National Science Foundation as a National ATE Center for Biotechnology. The ATE program was created to improve and expand educational programs that prepare skilled technicians to work in the high-tech fields that drive the U.S. economy.

Bio-Link enhances biotechnology education programs by providing cutting edge professional development for instructors, by improving curriculum, by making use of technologies and by creating a system for sharing of information. The Bio-Link National Center is at City College of San Francisco with office space at the University of California San Francisco. Regional Bio-Link Centers across the country were once active and located in Seattle, WA; Shoreline, WA; Fairfield, CA; San Diego, CA; San Francisco, CA; Austin, TX; Madison, WI; Graham, NC; and Portsmouth, NH. The concept of Regional Centers was dissolved when the new grant was funded in 2009 to give way to a broader program designed to include more individuals in leadership roles called "Leader Links".

The Regional Centers’ main focus and goals was to connect with local industry and educational institutions including community colleges, baccalaureate institutions, and high schools. In addition, each Regional Center spearheaded a different element of the program.

Bio-Link continues to support a cadre of well-trained instructors and is increasing the number and quality of biotechnology programs for students. Bio-Link brings a wide range of underrepresented students to biotechnology who have the knowledge and skills essential to the field as well as the ability to continue with more advanced education in math, science and engineering.

The National Center for Optics and Photonics Education, OP-TEC, is a consortium of two-year colleges, high schools, universities, national laboratories, industry partners, and professional societies funded by the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program. The participating entities of OP-TEC have joined forces to create a secondary-to-postsecondary “pipeline” of highly qualified and strongly motivated students and to empower high schools and community colleges to meet the urgent need for technicians in optics and photonics.

Headquartered in Waco, Texas, OP-TEC serves secondary STEM programs and postsecondary programs devoted to lasers, optics, and photonics technology or technologies enabled by optics and photonics. In addition, OP-TEC provides support through curriculum, instructional materials, assessment, faculty development, recruiting, and support for institutional reform. OP-TEC serves as a national clearinghouse for teaching materials; encourages more schools and colleges to offer programs, courses, and career information; and helps high school teachers and community and technical college faculty members develop programs and labs to teach technical content.

OP-TEC has established a national infrastructure for developing and supporting widely-disseminated educational programs in cutting-edge, high-demand technologies that require photonics. This infrastructure encompasses both the secondary and postsecondary levels and involves collaboration between educators and industry personnel. OP-TEC is also bridging the gap in the participation of women and minorities in technology, breaking down geographical and socioeconomic barriers, and making the study of technology more widely accessible. By providing career pathways in which students begin the pursuit of technical careers early and transition seamlessly into postsecondary programs, OP-TEC enables students to acquire the skills necessary to compete in the global marketplace.

Valley City State University (VCSU) is located in Valley City a short hour west of Fargo, North Dakota. VCSU is distinguished by its production of high quality teachers through its elementary education program, an online Master of Education, and via STEM certificates for teachers at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.  Another successful program is a four year Career and Technical Education program designed to prepare teachers in trade, industry, technical, and health service areas including automotive technology, construction technology, electronics, health careers, and welding.  Bachelor programs in Health Science, Fisheries and Wildlife, and Software Engineering are among a number of STEM disciplines hosted in Valley City.

VCSU’s Great Plains STEM Education Center (GPSEC) provides leadership in the implementation of integrative STEM practices in K-12 schools through high quality educator workshops it provides to its school district partners throughout North Dakota.  The GPSEC also hosts K-12 student events which have themes on engineering design, inquiry, collaborative problem solving and cultural relevance, working well within the Tribal communities in North Dakota, most directly on the Standing Rock Reservation in a partnership with Sitting Bull College. Staff at the GPSEC partner with Nano-Link to host educator workshops, student events, and the development of curriculum at all levels that embodies STEM pedagogies, Next Generation Science Standards, and Common Core State Standards.

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