PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Northern Maine Community College students are benefiting from state-of-the-art equipment despite state cutbacks in funding to educational institutions.
The NMCC Foundation, a nonprofit organization, raises and manages student scholarship funds and other special initiatives that help students receive postsecondary degrees at the college.
The foundation’s Investing in Innovation Fund was created during its first-ever major gifts campaign in 2007, the “Campaign for the County’s College.”
Two projects recently were financed through the innovation fund, according to Jason Parent, director of development and college relations and executive director of the NMCC Foundation.
Students in the Nursing and Allied Health Department will benefit from a grant of more than $650 that was allocated to purchase an IV training kit and IV arm that will allow students in the nursing, emergency medical services and medical assisting programs practice administering intravenous therapy.
Paula Flora, NMCC nursing instructor, said recently that the materials allow students to learn “essential skills in intravenous therapy.”
Flora was among the faculty members in the nursing, emergency medical services and medical assisting programs to collaborate on writing the proposal.
“The training arms are used in a variety of lab courses,” she said. “Ninety-five percent of hospitalized clients have an intravenous device in place, and it is imperative that students practice and gain proficiency on a training device prior to performing these skills on clients.”
According to Flora, this year alone the training arms will benefit approximately 70 nursing students, 44 emergency medical students and 28 medical assisting students.
The fund also contributed more than $900 for the purchase of a microscope and 10 sets of 12 microbiology slides. The microscope, which was needed to replace one that could not be repaired, will be used by students in human biology, anatomy and physiology courses.
Greg Thompson, NMCC life sciences instructor, said the bacteria slides also would be used by the second-year nursing students in a microbiology course.
“The slides, which feature different bacteria, will allow the students to see what these bacteria look like as a standard reference for when they culture the bacteria in our laboratory class,” he explained.
The Investing in Innovation Fund was developed to address a need to train County people to use technology now — and soon to be — in use in area businesses. The fund also addresses challenges in the area of funding instructional technology spurred by budget cutbacks and the rising cost of energy.
The “Campaign for the County’s College” was a success for both NMCC and the NMCC Foundation, bringing in more than $2.5 million in 2008, $518,855 more than originally sought. Money generated through the campaign has financed the establishment of the Business Technology Center, which is based on a business train-ing facility at MMG Insurance. The campaign also helped establish the Allied Health Simulation Center, a first-of-its-kind simulation center for nursing and health students and medical professionals in the northern part of the state.
The center includes technologies such as human patient simulators and computer equipment with instruction space.
The foundation also has endowed scholarships and awards and helped the college to launch new curricula.
Last year, the NMCC Foundation saw a 60 percent growth in donations and 29.5 percent increase in fundraising revenue in the fiscal year, which ran from July 1, 2008, through June 30, 2009, compared with the previous year.