On Tuesday April 21, former U.S. Secretary of State and presumptive Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton toured the Advanced Manufacturing and Robotics labs at NHTI, and held a round table discussion about education and the future of manufacturing. Here she is pictured (center) with the participants in that discussion:
Shaunna Babcock, director of NHTI's Child and Family Development Center, has recently received a number of awards and recognitions.
The Campus Compact for New Hampshire, among other activities, seeks to improve the quality of teaching and learning throughout NH institutions of higher education. This year, Shaunna was the recipient of the Good Steward Award, because, “her exemplary leadership has translated into a lasting impact on the community”.
Early Learning NH, a non-profit organization committed to raising awareness about the importance of the early years, recently designated Shaunna an Early Learning NH Champion for her work with the NH Child Care Advisory Council, for “outstanding and inspiring leadership on behalf of New Hampshire’s youngest citizens.”
Finally, Shaunna and her fellow members of the NH Early Learning Standards Taskforce recently received the Mary Stuart Gile Award, which is given annually “to a group of individuals in recognition of their commitment to the next generation of early childhood professionals.”
The CFDC and NHTI are better organizations because of Shaunna’s innovative and inspiring leadership qualities. Congratulations, Shaunna, on your many accomplishments!
A few quick updates about our NHTI Job Board:
Employers are focused on hiring graduating seniors this time of year, along with seasonal staff and more. We expect to see an increase in postings both this month and next.
Last summer, NHTI Natural Science Prof. Tracey Lesser won a $10,000 grant from NH EPSCoR, the state branch of a National Science Foundation program, to help fund original research by students in the Sycamore Garden adjacent to campus. Over the next two years, NHTI's environmental science students -- partnering with students from Colby Sawyer College -- will analyze the garden's soil and make recommendations for its improvement.
Though open to all comers, the Sycamore Garden has been embraced by Concord’s substantial refugee community, and now provides plots to more than 130 refugee families who have resettled here. The gardeners come from Nepal, Bhutan, and a variety of African nations, and each brings a distinctive style of gardening and a preferred range of plants to the garden.
Last week, a small army of NHTI and Colby Sawyer students fanned out over the garden with shovels, trowels and plastic bags to take soil samples. Primarily directed by NHTI Environmental Science major Ashley Barr, who has made the Sycamore Garden study her Senior Capstone Project, the group took samples from pre-selected plots representing a range of ethnic groups.
NHTI's Ashley Barr and Carson Natali prepare soil sample packets for some of the Colby Sawyer students.
“The Sycamore Garden was established on land that was previously used for growing corn,” says Lesser, "which depleted certain nutrients from the soil. Current use patterns vary greatly depending on the cultures of the gardeners. Some may be growing legumes, which might be helping to restore the missing nutrients. Others may be growing corn, which would only make the problem worse."
NHTI's Tom Swenson (left) and Mitch Ensinger take a soil sample as Prof. Tracey Lesser looks on.
Half the soil samples taken by the students will be sent to outside labs for analysis. Matching samples from the same plots will be analyzed by the students themselves. If the students are able to obtain the same results as the professional labs, the project will rely on students alone in the future.
Back in the lab, NHTI chemistry students Corey Randlett and Thomas Hall test the moisture content of a soil sample.
The ultimate goal is to formulate a plan to improve the garden, which would probably require the periodic application of soil additives. This is not something the grant would pay for, but Tracey is hoping that community supporters might step forward -- a garden supply company, or "even a farmer with a load of manure."
The point of the project, says Lesser, is to show that community college students can do meaningful research with low-cost equipment that can be of genuine benefit to the community. Hopefully, monitoring the soil in the Sycamore Garden will become a standard lab for NHTI's environmental studies and chemistry students, and the gardeners will reap the benefits of their work for years to come.