Seattle, Washington, USA is one of the leading American cities when it comes to world-class tech company growth. Home to companies like Amazon, Boeing, Google, Microsoft, and Expedia, the city of Seattle and its surrounding areas make a popular home-base for any aspiring student interested in taking charge of their career in technology, including STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics)-related jobs that result from increased technological growth.
Josue Ortega is one of those students. For Josue, a cyber-security student from Costa Rica, studying at Edmonds College has given him a great start in his student journey toward a degree and a future competitive job in his chosen field.
“I had five to six options to attend college, and my first choice was Edmonds because I knew that if I wanted to study technology, it was the right place to go. Their choice in investing in this area tells me that they truly understand what the future looks like, and that they care about giving students more and better resources.”
To help students like Josue, Edmonds College plays a critical role in educating and training students for the increasing number of high-wage STEM jobs. Located 30 minutes from the rapidly growing tech hub city of Seattle, Edmonds College is responding by welcoming the construction of a new STEM building that will accommodate spaces for health, physics, chemistry, engineering, math, robotics, and cybersecurity classes.
This $54-million-dollar, 70,0000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility will engage students with high-tech simulation laboratories and digitally enriched environments, encouraging active learning and research. This building is also home to the biology, chemistry, physics, and nursing and allied health programs.
To help support more students like Josue, the facility incorporates the newest architectural innovations to foster collaboration and teamwork while helping students develop their interpersonal, social, and communication skills. Josue can also join the RiSE program (a support program offering personalized college-to-career and community-building skills) that
provides access to faculty mentors, field trips to universities, academic and transfer workshops, and career exploration events.
In addition to free tutoring, the STEM building provides a study room with whiteboard tables, LCD screens, textbooks, headphones, Chromebooks for in-room use, and free snacks for STEM students.
Over the past years, Edmonds has received numerous grants totaling more than $50 million in support of STEM education from the National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Labor,
U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and other public and private sources. This allows students the opportunities to participate in undergraduate research projects like the NASA-funded project on plasma jet technology.
“We’ve worked hard in the Biology Department in recent years to provide real undergraduate research opportunities for our students,” Edmonds Microbiology instructor Jonathan Miller said, “and it’s been great being able to support this type of work with an outside grant from NASA.”
Edmonds STEM students have transferred to top universities such as UC Berkeley, University of Minnesota, Purdue, and more. Alumna Tina Rajabi said Edmonds’s STEM programs and faculty prepared her to successfully transfer to the University of Washington in Seattle. She noted that the new STEM building will play a key role in future students’ academic success.
“Edmonds’s new STEM building will serve the region’s increasing demand for employees who are trained in STEM and nursing,” said Edmonds President Dr. Amit B. Singh. “Our students will have access to a state-of-the-art facility and top-quality STEM education that meets industry needs.”
By 2024, Snohomish County companies will have more than 20,000 projected job openings in the STEM-related and healthcare fields. By prioritizing this STEM building, Edmonds College is taking on the challenge to build a strong workforce to meet this need. “We prepare engineering students for transfer to a four-year university. If you start at Edmonds first, your degree will cost less, you will have more access to laboratory equipment, and you will have more contacts with industry,” commented Will Hamp, Ph.D. who is on the Edmonds College Engineering faculty.
It is faculty like Dr. Hamp who play a critical and active role in supporting STEM students. Current student Brianna Hall says, “The faculty support at Edmonds is wonderful. Everybody I’ve talked to and interacted with has wanted me to succeed, has pushed me to take the classes I need to take to get ahead in university. The variety of choices here at Edmonds in areas of study and potential personal projects is so vast that you really can’t go wrong.”
Dr. Hamp is a prime example of faculty working hard to support students in their academic endeavors in STEM. He recently posted a congratulatory comment to one of his students, Beatrix Teng, for being accepted to the Washington NASA Space Grant Consortium at the University of Washington. Read the post here.
Flexible classroom space to support rapid adoption of new technologies and advanced teaching methodologies will enable the college to be responsive to changes in market needs and technology field requirements to ensure students will be well-equipped to join the workforce into the future. For example, an Edmonds student and faculty collaborative project was recently featured in a project with STEM students to help the community fight the COVID pandemic. Read the article here.
The STEM building inauguration marks a point of pride for Edmonds College, as it moves forward for students’ goals to study in an exciting, collaborative, yet competitive environment; bringing them into the future prepared to take on professional lives of success.