Bronx Community College has been awarded funds to increase research and training in environmentally friendly energy and technology.
BCC has been approved for a $9 million CUNY 2020 Challenge Grant to update three existing facilities on its University Heights campus.
The majority of the grant money will be split between expanding the Preston Garage for the Automotive Technology Program and adding a new lab to the Center of Sustainable Energy. Butler Hall will also be updated to better serve as an instructional and hands-on training space for high school students interested in STEM careers.
“Bronx Community College is already involved in cutting edge research and training in clean energy and technology,” said BCC president Carole Berotte Joseph. “With this grant, we will equip our students with the know-how needed for tomorrow’s careers and provide a prosperous and healthy green future for our borough and our city. “
Automotive Technology program
The renovated and expanded Preston Garage will provide a new, 6,000 square foot space equipped with the latest technology, said program director Clement Drummond.
The automotive technology program is the only one of its kinds within the CUNY system, he said, and 260 students from around the city are enrolled in the two-year degree or one-year certificate program.
“This will compliment our existing program and allow us to grow,” he said about the expanded garage.
Drummond said the program is affordable and aligns well with industry. The program offers a track in diesel technology, which Drummond said is an expanding field, as well as a class in hybrid/electric vehicles. Drummond said many students get placed through internships in automotives, but for those who would rather work in another field, their coursework forms a foundation for other careers in mechanics, hydraulics or electrical work.
“The students have a strong foundation to succeed,” he said.
Center for Sustainable Energy
The grant will also establish a brand new Laboratory for the Center for Sustainable Energy.
While the core of the center is the certificate program for solar panel installation and repair, said director Aaron Socha, the new lab, with state-of-the-art equipment, will allow for expanded research of uses for the waste streams of biofuels.
“It’ll allow for the training of students in emerging disciplines,” said Socha.
The new analytical equipment, provided by a matching grant of $400,000 from Shimadzu Corporation, will also allow for the lab to become a third-party testing site for biofuels, as well as a potential entrepreneurial incubator.
“We’re really excited,” said Socha.