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Amarillo College to launch new degree programs

Amarillo College
By Joe Wyatt

The Amarillo College Board of Regents has given its consent to launch three new academic programs later this year – associate of science (A.S.) degrees in biotechnology and data science, and an associate of applied science (A.A.S.) degree in diesel transportation technician.

Pending necessary final approval from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, AC anticipates offering all three programs in the fall semester of 2019.

A little about each of the new programs:

Biotechnology was developed in response to a grant received in 2016 from the U.S. Department of Education, which funded construction of the STEM Research Center and greenhouse at AC.

Biotechnology is technology based on biology that harnesses cellular and molecular processes to develop products that help improve the health of humans. It provides breakthrough tools to combat diseases, increase crop yields, and develop cleaner energy sources.

AC’s degree is designed for students who are interested in transferring to a university and earning bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degrees.

The program will equip AC students with essential skills and practical experience, laying the groundwork for potential careers in biochemical engineering, fermentation technology, food processing technology, enzymology, bioreactors and many other lab-related pathways.

Data Science is a degree devised by Collin Witherspoon, AC’s executive director of decision analytics and institutional research, to meet the data-analysis needs of the business community.

Graduates of the program can expect to be equipped with a sound data-science foundation, preparing them to analyze and interpret data to help businesses make informed and optimal decisions.

The new program will offer students the option of immediately entering the local workforce or transferring to a university in pursuit of a four-year degree.

“Students who complete the associate degree will be able find local jobs right away, the need for these graduates is real,” said Penelope Davies, department chair for math, sciences and engineering. “Businesses in the modern world have mounds of data, but they need to discern how to use it to their best advantage.”

The Diesel Transportation Technician degree combines basic diesel technology and logistics training with a commercial driver’s license (CDL).

This particular pathway also allows students for the first time to apply federal financial aid to their pursuit of a CDL.

Career opportunities will be more robust for both diesel mechanics who possess a CDL, and for commercial drivers who acquire diesel technology acumen. The program also will appeal to those who aspire to become owner/operators and hope to handle their own maintenance and repairs.

Program graduates will be versatile, adaptable and highly employable.

For more information about any of these new program, please call AskAC at 806-371-5000.

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