PCC gets $2 million to create mentor programs for women studying tech and manufacturing

Photos and Story by | 26 comments

At the Sylvania Campus, the RETA project will aid Electronic Engineering Technology, Civil and Mechanical Engineering Technology, and Machine Manufacturing Technology students.

At the Sylvania Campus, the RETA project will aid Electronic Engineering Technology, Civil and Mechanical Engineering Technology, and Machine Manufacturing Technology students.

Thanks to two large federal grants, Portland Community College is doing its part to address the issue of increasing access to the sciences for underrepresented students.

This fall, the college has won nearly $2 million in grants from the National Science Foundation’s Scholarships Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (S-STEM) program. The money will help PCC grow the educational opportunities for area low-income women and minority students in targeted programs. PCC was awarded $879,337 for its Mentoring in Manufacturing Technology Program (MeMT), and earned an additional $997,253 for the Realizing Engineering Technology Achievement (RETA) Project. Both five-year grants are focused on retention and success for these students, and help them pursue high-tech degrees and employment.

Having the same college get two of these grants from the NSF is a huge accomplishment.

“When it was announced, I was thrilled for our students,” said Dorina Cornea-Hasegan, who will run the MeMT project and serve as the coordinator of the new Rock Creek Campus Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) Lab. “Not many of these proposals get funded across the nation, so PCC really won the lottery twice in 2016.”

Campuses at PCC have a tradition of engaging women and minorities in the world of STEM.

Campuses at PCC have a tradition of engaging women and minorities in the world of STEM.

Grants Target Women, Minorities

The MeMT project at Rock Creek (17705 NW Springville Road) is targeting students interested in the Microelectronics Technology, Solar Voltaic Manufacturing Technology and Automated Manufacturing Technology programs. At the Sylvania Campus (12000 SW 49th Ave.), the RETA project will aid Electronic Engineering Technology, Civil and Mechanical Engineering Technology, and Machine Manufacturing Technology students.

Both campus projects will supply scholarships, provide intensive advising, use industry personnel and alumni as mentors, and create guided pathways to degrees in these fields. The result of these grants is to boost the number of qualified workers, and to improve the diversity of the workforce within these fields.

“We’ll implement some best practices in these programs and share with faculty on ways to support women and students of color,” said Tara Nelson, RETA project lead and chair of the Civil and Mechanical Engineering Technology Program at Sylvania. “There will be training for faculty, an improvement in our marketing material and web site, increased tutoring, and development of hands-on activities in the classroom.”
Nelson’s project, which started last September, is in the process of awarding a total of 104 one-year scholarships to students. An additional six one-year scholarships will go to graduates who enroll at Oregon Institute of Technology.

Looking to Increase Student Numbers

At Rock Creek, Cornea-Hasegan’s project started in early December. The MeMT project will provide 80 one-year scholarships to students completing an associate degree in Microelectronics Technology, with an additional eight one-year scholarships going to graduates transferring to OIT.

Dorina Cornea-Hasegan will run the MeMT project and serve as the coordinator of the new Rock Creek Campus Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) Lab.

Dorina Cornea-Hasegan will run the MeMT project and serve as the coordinator of the new Rock Creek Campus Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) Lab.

Cornea-Hasegan said her program aims to increase the percentage of females enrolled in microelectronics from 18 to 25 percent over the next five years. Other benchmarks include increasing the percentage of minorities from 25 to 35 percent, retaining more than 90 percent of the scholars in the program to completion of the microelectronics degree, and ensuring employment for all of the graduates in the semiconductor industry.

In addition, Rock Creek’s project will implement a successful mentoring model that is based on scholar, faculty, alumni and industry participation adapted from the University of Maryland- Baltimore County’s Center for Women in Technology.

“That is the whole purpose of these grants – to encourage enrollment, and improve retention and graduation rates for these student populations in fields that are traditionally less attractive to women and minorities,” said Cornea-Hasegan. “We’ll concentrate on strategies that have proven successful across the country and we’ll add to the knowledge base of what works here at PCC.”

For information on the Sylvania Campus programs, call (971) 722-8087, and for Rock Creek call (971) 722-7626.

STEAM Lab Invitation

Rock Creek’s STEAM Lab (Room 102, Building 2) is hosting an open house to introduce its services and programs to the community between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 25. The public and college community are invited.

About James Hill

James G. Hill, an award-winning journalist and public relations writer, has been the Communications Specialist for the Office of Public Affairs at Portland Community College since November of 1999. A graduate of Portland State University, J... more »

Poppe with speech bubble


There are 26 comment for this article. If you see something that doesn't belong, please click the x and report it.

x by Narce Rodriguez 10 months ago

This is amazing opportunity for our students. Dorina, thank you so much for your leadership regarding STEAM.


x by Narce Rodriguez 10 months ago

This is an amazing opportunity for our students. Dorina, thank you so much for your leadership regarding STEAM.


x by Josephine Pino 10 months ago

Congratulations to all the faculty and staff who made this happen for our PCC students! What amazing opportunities!!

x by Kelly 10 months ago

Will there other opportunities like this one to visit the Lab in the future?

x by Starlyn Robinson 10 months ago

So amazing thank you dorina this means a lot for woman of color still trying to work toward stem degrees it has been challenging! This is great news! This does make me not want to give up.

x by Aldo 10 months ago

This grant has helped me financially to stay enrolled in the MT program to pursue my goals. Thank you to Dorina, and the rest of the MT faculty for this amazing opportunity!

x by Beau C 10 months ago

Going back to school and pursuing a degree in the MT program has been life changing. Being awarded the STEM scholarship is an amazing benefit to my life and has inspired confidence in me to try my best to finish strong as I come into my last two terms of study. This not only helps me but also my family. I originally joined the program for the great job options and high percentage of graduates who receive employment with a good salary, but I also learned a lot about myself and have met some great professors, students, and people within the industry. Thank you to everyone involved.

x by Christian Lee 10 months ago

As a female who has graduated from the microelectronics program and who now works at Intel (thanks to PCC and the amazing support of Dorina) I am very excited to hear about this amazing opportunity for women! I was one of the few females enrolled in the program, and I’d love to see that change! I love my job, and I couldn’t be happier!

x by Paco 10 months ago

Bravo, and congratulations MT department!

I am a recent graduate from this program, and also a recent scholar from the Oregon National Foundation scholarship. I am very proud to see that that many more students have the opportunity to graduate in this department. You will be able to gain multiple opportunities once the degree has been obtained. Students are very fortunate in having an such wonder Instructors like Dorina; who will help you from the day you start until your graduation, Thank you Dorina

As for current students of the MT degree I am a employee at Intel and if you need a reference please feel free to contact me for whatever reason via Dorina.

To all of you again, congratulations!


x by Kelly stearns 10 months ago

I am so thankful to hear this news! I was apart of intel program for microelectronics… and if it was for Dorina.. I would not be the women I am now.. she taught not just the subject but also being a women of knowledge is priceless! Way to go PCC and to my dear Dorina!

x by Rebekah Van Dyke 10 months ago

Is any of this grant going to CIS or CS students? Also, is Microelectronics Technology the only class that leads to an Intel or “good” job? I know EET doesn’t really lead to anything unless you have either more education or prior experience.

x by James Hill 9 months ago

@Rebekah, please call the project coordinator at (971) 722-8087 for all the details.

x by Matt Brehm 9 months ago

Amazing work getting everything organized, Dorina. Very proud to help support this important work.

x by Jennifer L. 9 months ago

As a female, I am enjoying to study high technology in this program. I encourage more women should join Microelectronic Technology program too. Thanks to Dorina and Nation Science Foundation’s Scholarship Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (S-STEM) gives us this opportunity.

x by Mary McLean 9 months ago

Guaranteed that these grants will be used very well. I have known Dorina Cornea-Hasegan for almost 13 years. She is an inspirational mentor, leader, and role model for women, minorities, and generally everyone entering the program. I speak from experience; I entered the PCC Microelectronic Technology program in 2004, and Dorina invited me to meet with her before classes even started. She was encouraging and supportive, and she also knew how to push me to reach my potential. I knew she would be there for me throughout the program, but I never could have expected that she would be such a great ongoing mentor for years to come. The MT program is based on a challenging, hands-on curriculum that teaches theory as well as the nitty-gritty details of the industry. I remember working on a team to create a laser-gun machine from scratch, building a DC power supply, and taking apart and putting back together a wet etch tool donated by the industry. The program fully prepared me to excel in the industry, and it also opened doors to further educational opportunities. Thank you, PCC Microelectronics Technology program, and thank you Dorina!

x by Linda Browning 9 months ago

Congratulations, Dorina! We in EET and CMET are very happy for you and look forward to working together. You are amazing!

x by Tremell Doyle 9 months ago

My decision to attain my AAS in Microelectronics was a life changing decision. Since I completed the program, I have never been without a good paying job. Congrats Professor Cornea on your grant. I am excited for the new MT students.

x by Tremell Doyle 9 months ago

Completing my AAS degree in Microelectronics was a life changing event. Since then, I have never gone without a good paying job. Congrats Professor Cornea on the grant! I am very excited for new MT students.

x by c. louis butts, jr. 9 months ago

like to see more programs of this wonderful stem initiative @ the CASCADE & SE campuses, too!.. after all these’re the careers of the future!… the fiber optics link w/ these techs should be down @ the swan island campus as well!… they all are supportive concurrent techs in this interconnective world of innovation…politics shouldn’t be obstructing unique tech job amalgamations that can open up new worlds of advancement in stem!!!

x by Desiree Forcier 9 months ago

This is an amazing opportunity for PCC students – I am beyond excited to see the program grow! I have never regretted joining the MT program and already have my foot in the door for my future career thanks to the support, dedication, and amazing resources given to me by the PCC faculty. I cannot thank Dorina enough for her encouragement and all the hard work she puts into making these opportunities happen for her students. Congratulations and THANK YOU to everyone who made this possible!

x by Bernard Goah 9 months ago

Thanks a million Dorina and all those that were involved in accomplishing such an Amazing work. This is indeed a great news!!!!
As a minority myself, this brings great joy to my soul.

Bernard Goah

x by Lisa Begg 9 months ago

This is an amazing accomplishment, many thanks to all those involved who helped the school obtain the funding for STEM fields!!

Is there any way some of the courses required for these programs can be offered at some of the other campuses? (i.e. Southeast Campus, etc). This would really be beneficial to those who live in Portland!!

Thank you again for all your hard-work!! It is really nice to see PCC expanding and progressing with technical fields and disciplines!

x by Margo Gonzalez Brooks 9 months ago

When I began the AAS microelectronics program, I was fulfiling a life long dream of mine. I know attending college is a priviledge for me because it’s taken me years, and several hard knocks to get to this point. I cannot say in words how grateful I am for the S-Steam scholarship I received and I cannot thank everyone enough that made that possible; I espeically thank Dorina. I am encouraged evertime I walk into her class. I know I will realize my dream soon with hard work and Dorina’s patience. As a minority and a female, to use the empowermening skills attained while enrolled in this program is huge for me. It is positively life changing.

x by Margo Gonzalez Brooks 9 months ago

I was fullfilling a life long dream of mine when I enrolled into the microelectronics program. I know going to college is a priviledge for me because it’s taken years and several hard knocks to get here. I wasn’t sure how I was going to complete my venture but, I was going to try to begin with. I cannot express in words the appreciation I have for the S-STEM scholarship I received and I cannot thank everyone responsible for the scholarship enough; I’m especially grateful for Dorina. I am encouraged everytime I walk into her class. As a Native American female, the empowering skills to be attained in this program is huge and impactful. It’s positively life changing with the scholarship becuase I know I will be able to continue on with my life long dream.

x by Nilesh Bahir 9 months ago

This program seems to be a great opportunity to fellow women aspirants in the tech world. Professor Dorina Cornea-Hasegan and others work so hard every day to make students feel welcome and make the learning process as easy as it can possibly be. Everyone in the the faculty and staff is diligently working to provide you tools and guidance for success and find a rewarding career in the field you chose to study. MT program at PCC Rock Creek has strong ties with Intel and other semiconductor industry and Intel strongly focuses on diversity, especially by encouraging women in STEM field to become part of its work force. I am overall impressed at the smartly designed curriculum that will benefit anyone who has desire to have career in STEM but is hesitant to take that first step. I encourage you all who are interested to come see Dorina or other faculty and discuss how this program can help you attain your career goals.

x by Cynthia Butterworth 9 months ago


I am a prospective student and aspire to become an Engineer or study Computer Science. However, I live in Portland and it is too time consuming to commute to classes in Hillsboro and Tigard.

Will any of the scholarship funds go to campuses in Portland (i.e. Cascade or SE Campuses?)

For the school being called Portland Community College, it is frustrating that the bulk of the the STEM main courses and prerequisites are rarely actually offered at Portland campuses. Thank you for hearing my concern.

Add to the discussion

PCC offers this limited open forum as an extension of the respectful, well-reasoned discourse we expect in our classroom discussions. As such, we welcome all viewpoints, but monitor comments to be sure they stick to the topic and contribute to the conversation. We will remove them if they contain or link to abusive material, personal attacks, profanity, off-topic items, or spam. This is the same behavior we require in our hallways and classrooms. Our online spaces are no different.


Email Subscriptions

Enter your email address to follow PCC News and recieve notifications of new posts by email.

What's Hot?


Search PCC News