BCC to Participate in Berkshire STEM Week

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PITTSFIELD, Mass — Berkshire Community College (BCC) will offer a range of virtual and hands-on activities as part of the fourth annual Berkshire STEM Week, Monday–Saturday, October 18–23, 2021. 
Included in the activities are a series of panels, workshops, speakers, tours, a job fair and information about career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in the Berkshires and beyond. 
The event is presented by the Berkshire County STEM Network in partnership with the Executive Office of Education and the Massachusetts STEM Advisory Council. The Berkshire STEM Network, one of nine regional STEM networks across the Commonwealth, connects regional schools and businesses to improve STEM education and workforce development within our community. The Berkshire County STEM Network is based in the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) Feigenbaum Center for Science and Innovation. 
Berkshire STEM Week themes include food, farming and sustainability; careers in STEM; STEM in business; STEM in education; STEM in the world; and STEM at the Berkshire Museum.
The schedule of BCC events is as follows:
Tuesday, October 19:
12 pm: Instructional Design Technology (held on PCTV). Learn about this field with Tattiya Maruco, BCC Coordinator of Instructional Technology and Design/Adjunct Faculty, Communications.  
5–6 pm: General Dynamics Internship and Job Opportunities (via Zoom). BCC and MCLA students, alumni and faculty are invited to a panel discussion led by Charlotte Lotz, BCC Senior Special Programs Coordinator – Experiential Learning and Career Services. Lotz will outline how to access internship opportunities. Pre-registration required.
Thursday, October 21:
11:30 am – 1 pm: STEM Café (in-person, held in the Connector). BCC students, faculty and staff are invited to learn more about STEM opportunities at BCC. Join in hands-on activities, watch demos, and learn about career and transfer opportunities as well as details about the STEM Starter Academy. Food, fun and prizes included. 
1 pm: Virtual Tour of BCC’s Science and Engineering Labs (held on PCTV). Take a virtual tour of the labs and learn about state-of-the art equipment used in STEM research fields.
1 pm: What is the STEM Starter Academy at BCC? (held on PCTV). In this video session, learn about the STEM Starter Academy, an exciting statewide initiative funded through a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education. The Academy provides an amazing opportunity for students to explore cutting-edge careers, gain college classroom experience, and focus on important success skills in a supportive environment.
3 pm: College Students in STEM (held on PCTV). Join a panel discussion with STEM majors from BCC, MCLA and Williams College. Includes BCC STEM starter students Alessandra Carranza and Carlos Vizcardo- Benites.
Friday, October 22:
1 pm: STEM Education Panel: Teaching & Learning in the Field (live Zoom session at the Berkshire Innovation Center). STEM professors, students and professionals present a lively panel discussion on STEM teaching and learning. Panelists include BCC Environmental Professor Thomas Tyning; BCC Environmental Science student Alessandra Carranza; MCLA Education Department Chair Nick Stroud; and Experiential Education, Diversity and Inclusion Consultant Rachel Hailey.
For a full schedule and links to programming, including Pittsfield Community Television (PCTV) links, visit www.mcla.edu/stemweek.

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Pittsfield Picks Veteran Employees as ARPA Fund Managers

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Two familiar faces will be serving as the city's special projects managers for the $41 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.

Director of Community Development Deanna Ruffer and former Director of Public Health Gina Armstrong will share the one full-time position as co-managers.

Mayor Linda Tyer on Monday informed the City Council by email that Ruffer would be resigning from her current post in early to mid-February to take on this new role.

Rather than a resignation, Ruffer sees this as a transition. Armstrong resigned from her position in September, citing a need for more balance in her life and to spend more time with her family.

In the fall, the special projects manager position was created to oversee the city's allocation of ARPA funding. It will likely only be in place over the next five years, until the spending deadline in 2026, and will be paid in full through the ARPA funds.

"I am very excited to transition from the city's Community Development Director Position to co-special project manager for the City's American Rescue Plan program. This opportunity coincides with a personal desire to adjust my work-life balance to allow me to spend more time with family and pursuing personal interests," Ruffer wrote to iBerkshires in an email.

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