Nov 26, 2014

FVCC Foundation Enhancement Grants Fund Google Glass™ for Surgical Technology and Other Innovative Programs

FVCC surgical technology students will soon have a first person view of surgical set-ups, troubleshooting techniques and potentially live streaming when they start wearing Google Glass™ purchased with a grant from the Foundation at Flathead Valley Community College.  Google Glass is a wearable technology device that allows the wearer to access computer applications, record video, take pictures and even stream live footage of what is being seen by the user, all while keeping their hands free.


“With Google Glass, our students will be able to watch and record a first person view of the skills they are practicing in the lab, so that they can critique and improve their performance before they go into the real clinical setting,” said Rob Blackston, surgical technology program director at FVCC. Blackston hopes to share the outcomes of this project with other health science programs at FVCC and other colleges.


The Foundation at Flathead Valley Community College awarded $27,000 to FVCC faculty and staff in November for innovative projects that shift learning experiences for students. The Foundation also awarded student travel grants that enable students to compete or present at national and regional conferences.


Now in its tenth year, the Foundation’s Enhancement Grant program has provided seed money for successful programs including The Culinary Institute of Montana’s Chef’s Table program and The Scholars program at FVCC.  It continues to provide resources for new and entrepreneurial initiatives through proceeds from Festival of Flavors fundraising events.  All the grants are made possible by the generosity of the businesses and individuals who support Foundation events and make donations to programs.


2014 grants also were awarded for the following projects:


  • Center for Business Information and Research, under the direction of Dr. Gregg Davis, Economics Professor and Dr. Brad Eldredge, Executive Director of Institutional Research, Assessment and Planning:

The center will serve the area’s business and government entities in identifying, collecting and analyzing economic data.  Two installments of  “The Flathead in Figures” will be published in 2015.  Students will receive real work experience as research assistants in the center.  “This project will put FVCC students on the forefront of economic research to better understand local and state economies and the underlying influences that predict where each economy is heading,” said Davis.


  • First Annual FVCC BioBlitz presented by FVCC and Glacier High School: The six-hour event will engage biology and natural resources students, faculty and community members in identifying birds, trees, plants and invertebrates using DNA barcoding kits purchased through the grant.  The event is scheduled for April 18, 2015 along the Stillwater River on the FVCC campus. “We are excited to have this opportunity to share the amazing biological diversity found on our campus with the community,” said FVCC Biology Associate Professor Dr. Ruth Wrightsman.


  • Internship Program for Manufacturing Management Students:

The FVCC Montana Manufacturing Center, Small Business Development Center and the college’s occupational trades programs will partner to provide local internship opportunities through a three-credit course for advanced manufacturing students.  “This opportunity will offer manufacturing students experiences beyond the technical aspect of their degree and give them management strategies in finance, lean manufacturing, market research and production cost analysis, launching students into their careers,” said TAACCCT Grant Coordinator Gail Whitney.


  • Vocal Jazz Ensemble Performance Support: 

FVCC’s emerging music program will use grant funds to hire accompanists and tech crews to support student performances for the 2014-15 academic year.  The FVCC Vocal Jazz Ensemble will first use the musical support provided by these funds during Celebrate the Arts Week at FVCC, December 8- 13 featuring visual, theater and musical arts.  “This grant will provide the musical sound and technical support needed to create a professional learning environment for students and to gain recognition for our music program throughout the community and local high schools,” said Nicole Sanford, music faculty.


In addition to grants for projects, travel grants were approved for students in manufacturing, biology/botany, jewelry, business and economics to present or compete at national and regional conferences.


For more information on Enhancement Grants or the FVCC Foundation, contact Colleen Unterreiner at or 756-3914.