Innovation underway at Atlantic Cape with new esports and cybersecurity education hub
MAYS LANDING – Construction is in progress on the new Innovation Center at Atlantic Cape Community College, which will offer esports and cybersecurity programs in a state-of-the-art facility on the Mays Landing campus in the fall.
The Innovation Center will replace the existing Boyer Hall, one of the oldest buildings at the college, constructed in 1967. Funding for the project was provided through a $4 million New Jersey’s Securing Our Children’s Future Bond Act grant and $1.33 million from Atlantic County.
“Atlantic Cape Community College will transform a dated facility into a state-of-the-art building for instruction in the fast-growing industries of esports and cybersecurity, positioning Atlantic Cape as the region’s leading resource for esports and cybersecurity career advancement,” said Dr. Josette Katz, senior vice president of academics at Atlantic Cape. “Our students will have a significant advantage in two of the most in-demand fields currently.”
The esports industry complements the region’s largest industry, hospitality/casinos, and the Atlantic County Economic Alliance has highlighted its significant growth potential. In addition, cybersecurity is one of the nation’s highest in-demand fields, including in New Jersey, and the Atlantic County cohort of the South Jersey STEM & Innovation Partnership has emphasized the need for Career and Technical Education training capacity for cybersecurity.
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Professor Otto Hernandez is developing the esports and cybersecurity technical programming, working with Associate Professor Karl Giulian, who is developing business programming specifically related to esports.
“Employers are looking to fill cybersecurity positions everywhere in the world. Students trained in this field can work for private companies, they can work for the government; any place that has computer systems with data that needs to be protected has a demand for cybersecurity professionals,” Hernandez said.
“Esports a multi-billion-dollar industry that is taking off like gangbusters. Businesses and institutions will have tournaments and leagues – which is going to mean facilities and employees and marketing. Our students will be on the ground floor,” Giulian said. “If you want to be in a dynamic growing industry, this is it.”
The professors also noted that both fields offer significant earning potential.
In the fall, Atlantic Cape students that enroll in these programs can learn how to create computer games, obtain business skills for success in the esports industry, learn information technology skills focused on computer forensics, and more.
Under the renovations, Boyer Hall will be reconfigured with an esports lounge and new computer labs; Richards Hall with new classrooms; and Morse Hall with faculty offices. The buildings will become a smart hub for forward-thinking, technology-laden curriculum.
Specifically, students will be able to earn an Associate of Applied Science in Computer Programming with a Game Design and Development option. Students working toward an Associate of Applied Science in Business Administration can add an Esports option to their degree.
Students can also select a Cybersecurity option for an Associate of Applied Science in Computer Systems Support. After completing their coursework, students who chose the Cybersecurity option will be able to sit for industry certifications including CompTIA Network+, CompTIA Security+, CompTIA Linux+, TestOut Ethical Hacker Pro, and CompTIA SySA+.
Hernandez said that there are also plans for an esports club in the future.
In addition to the Innovation Center, Atlantic Cape is also constructing a Wind Training Center at the Worthington Atlantic City campus.
The 1,700-square-foot addition is funded through a nearly $3 million New Jersey Offshore Wind Safety Training Challenge grant, awarded to the college in July 2021 and administered by the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education with the support of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.
The Wind Training Center will house an industry-recognized Global Wind Organization safety training program and facility to prepare New Jersey workers for jobs in the state’s growing offshore wind industry, as well as establish a Sea Survival module at Gardner’s Basin.
The college’s GWO-certified partners are Arcon Training Center, AIS Training and 3t Energy Group.
The Wind Training Center is expected to open this fall.
For information, visit atlantic.edu.
Holocaust class a family tradition for three generations at Stockton University
GALLOWAY – When Michael Ofsanko signed up for Gail Rosenthal’s Holocaust and Genocide Education class at Stockton University, he had no idea he was following in a family tradition.
“I needed a W2 (writing) elective and I like history,” said Ofsanko, a biology major from Lacey Township who plans to become a physical therapist. “After I registered, my mom looked and said she had taken that class. She said her father had also taken the class and had gone to Israel. So, I called my grandfather and he said yes, the class was with Gail Rosenthal.”
Ofsanko’s grandfather, John Dominy of Lanoka Harbor, joined Ofsanko for a reunion with Rosenthal, director of the Sara and Sam Schoffer Holocaust Resource Center at Stockton, to reminisce about the course and its relevance today. Dominy brought along a scrapbook of photos he saved from the Stockton Study Tour to Israel in 1999.
Dominy enrolled at Stockton in 1994 after dropping out of college as a young man. He graduated in 1999. His daughter, and Michael’s mother, Sharon Ofsanko, also graduated from Stockton.
“Both of my parents died, and when my mom died, I put my high school ring in her casket and promised her I would finish college,” Dominy said. “I had started at University of Pittsburgh, then came to Stockton when I was 55.”
Dominy said he took Rosenthal’s course because he had always been interested in World War II and the Holocaust, and the course included the opportunity to travel to Israel, a trip that made a huge impact.
“I remember talking to survivors here and in Jerusalem,” Dominy said. “There was Ruth Brand, who had climbed out of a pit and survived when others were shot, and Hannah Pick Goslar, who was a friend of Anne Frank.”
The trips have been temporarily put on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Rosenthal said she tries to connect real-life experiences to the lessons of the Holocaust.
Associate Professor of History Michael Hayse, who also went on the trip to Israel, said study tours have a huge impact on students. “It gets them out of the American bubble to see other parts of the world,” he said.
“Travel really shows students how other cultures live,” Rosenthal said.
Ofsanko said the topics of the course are difficult, but important. He is surprised at how many people his age don’t know that six million Jews died in the Holocaust, or even who Emmett Till was and his importance to the civil rights era.
“I taught a friend about Emmett Till,” said Ofsanko. “To me, the lesson is what ignorance can lead to. What is the impact of indifference?”
Dominy said he still remembers the Holocaust theme of “never forget” and how relevant it remains today. He and Hayse looked at his scrapbook of the trip, remembering where they were and who they met.
Rosenthal said it is important to link events from the past to the present and to the students’ own histories.
“I try to relate students to their own personal past and what is part of our American history,” Rosenthal said. “It is crucial that we keep sharing these lessons with future generations.”
Children’s Wellness Fair planned in Hammonton
HAMMONTON – In recognition of Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day, the Atlantic County Children’s Inter-Agency Coordinating Council will host a Children’s Wellness Fair from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 7, rain or shine, outside of the Family Success Center at 310 Bellevue Ave.
The event will feature information booths, a hands-on planting activity for children, and free Mother’s Day flowers, while supplies last.
Representatives of area agencies that provide counseling, therapeutic and supportive services will be available to meet parents, caregivers and children. The CIACC hopes to gain valuable information about the experiences of parents and caregivers in accessing mental and behavioral health services so it can work to build and improve available resources.
The Atlantic County CIACC service representatives currently provide more than 2,000 youth with access to counseling and supportive services to help those who may be struggling with self-image, relationships, academic achievement and self-confidence. Other programs promote the benefits of socialization and physical activity, teach leadership skills and encourage creativity.
The Atlantic County CIACC is an advisory group comprised of community agency representatives whose programs support children, youth and young adults.
CIACC seeks interested parents and caregivers to join and participate in local meetings.
For information, call Kathryn Saxton-Granato at (609) 645-7700, ext. 4507, or email granato_kathryn @aclink.org.
ACUA to host Household Hazardous Waste Drop-Off events
EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP – Atlantic County Utilities Authority will host a Household Hazardous Waste Drop-Off from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 7 at 6700 Delilah Road. Events are also scheduled for 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 4, July 9, Sept. 10 and Nov. 5.
Atlantic County residents, proof of residency required, can drop off hazardous materials including insecticides, fertilizer, paint thinners, furniture polish, weed killers, pool chemicals, rat poison, rechargeable batteries, car and boat batteries, auto care products, gasoline, rust remover and oven cleaners.
For information, call (609) 272-6950 or visit www.acua.com.
Renault Winery hosts the 2022 Bloom Market Festival
Renault Winery and Asbury Fresh will present the 2022 Bloom Market Festival from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 7 and 8.
Visitors are invited to shop from the event’s curated collection of 20 local makers, and sample champagne and wine from one of the oldest vineyards in the U.S.
The winery is at 72 N. Bremen Ave., in Egg Harbor City.
For information, call (609) 739-7670 or visit www.renaultwinery.com.
Stockton gala returns to Hard Rock
ATLANTIC CITY – The Stockton University Foundation’s annual Scholarship Benefit Gala will return to the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City at 6:30 p.m. May 14. Following the successful virtual gala in 2020 and Benefit on the Boardwalk event in 2021, the gala is back!
“It’s been two years since we’ve been able to hold our benefit gala, which is the foundation’s largest fundraising event,” said Dan Nugent, chief development officer and executive director of the Stockton Foundation. “It would be an understatement to say we’re thrilled to once again welcome our dedicated donors and friends back to Hard Rock to enjoy an evening, that is always a favorite in the region, while serving our students.”
Building on Stockton’s tradition of featuring outstanding live entertainment, guests are invited to enjoy performances by the Symphony Gold Jazz Trio, DJ Ahmed Kahn, a Stockton a capella group, Stockapella, and a headline show by Live And Let Die, the music of Paul McCartney, featuring Tony Kishman.
The event will also feature some highlights of Stockton’s history and academic programs. As the university celebrates its first 50 years of teaching, a series of displays will guide visitors through Stockton’s journey from founding to current day. Student research will also be featured, and the evening’s menu will include produce from the campus sustainable farm and maple syrup from campus trees.
Guests can also stop by a photo booth, buy a ticket for the 50/50 raffle and try their luck at an interactive punchboard to win gifts valued up to $1,000. Top prizes include a three-night stay at the ICONA Avalon, a private Atlantic City Tiki Boat party, Phillies tickets, overnight stays in Cape May and other local areas, gift cards and more.
The evening will include a top-shelf cocktail reception with hors d’oeuvres, carving stations, a raw bar and desserts. There will also be Stockton-inspired cocktails in the Osprey signature lounge.
Net proceeds benefit scholarships for Stockton students.
Many businesses and individuals have signed on to support the gala.
Tickets are $250. Sponsorship opportunities and tickets are available at stockton.edu/gala.
For information, call (609) 652-4861.
If you are unable to attend but would like to make a donation, visit stockton.edu/give.
Hope One hosts Spring Fling
ATLANTIC CITY – Hope One Atlantic County will host a Spring Fling from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 10 at City Center Park at 1201 Bacharach Blvd.
The event will feature food, giveaways, snacks and an opportunity to learn about available social services.
For information, email Cirillo_lindsey@aclink.org.
Don’t eat all that candy at once Brennen!
EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP – The Egg Harbor Township branch of the Atlantic County Library System held a Spring Candy Counting Contest in April open to children ages 7 to 12.
A wide-range of numbers were guessed, but Brennan Meyer, 9, of Egg Harbor Township guessed the exact number correctly to win the jar of candy.
The library is at 1 Swift Ave.
For information, call (609) 927-8664 or visit atlanticlibrary.org.
Stockton to offer African American Cultural Heritage short course
ATLANTIC CITY – Stockton University will host its second African American Cultural Heritage Short Course, sponsored by the university’s Office of Continuing Studies, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 7 at the campus at 3711 Atlantic Ave.
This year’s theme is “Migration and Movement,” and the event will feature seminars, arts, culture and films. Educators and social workers can earn professional development credits.
Henrietta Shelton, founder of the Chicken Bone Beach Foundation and Jazz School, will offer the keynote speech at 10 a.m.
Plus an African American Book and Media Fair will be open from noon to 3 p.m. It will feature works of African American authors and artists.
Attendees will have a choice of workshops, including:
- Turiya S.A. Raheem, author of “Growing up in the Other Atlantic City: Wash’s and the Northside,” discussion of growing up in the Northside, plus screening of his film, “Our Side: The Other Atlantic City.”
- Nelson Johnson, author and retired judge, discussion of his book, “The Northside: African Americans and the Creation of Atlantic City.”
- Hope Gaines, Center for Community Arts, discussion of Cape May oral histories included in a new book.
- Linda Williamson Nelson, discussion of “African American English: Legitimate Language, Legitimate History.”
- Lester Muhammad and Kaleem Shabazz, film screening and discussion of the history of the Muslim community at Atlantic City’s Muhammad Temple #10 from the 1940s to today.
- Paige Vaccaro from C.R.O.P.S., discussion of how they are helping communities come together through urban gardening.
- Dr. Richlyn Goddard, “History of Sons & Daughters of the Island in Atlantic City,” based on her research on descendants of early West Indians in Atlantic City.
- Christina Noble, hands-on workshop on the stories of Atlantic City, allowing participants to consider their own experiences with migration and movement.
- Cheryl Woodruff Brooks, discussion of the history of Chicken Bone Beach, featuring historical research and pictorial archives.
Also, an Atlantic City Mural and Northside Shuttle Tour will be offered from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. led by Zach Katzen and Levi Fox.
A closing reflection featuring an interfaith panel of Atlantic City religious leaders will end the program from 4 to 5 p.m. with a discussion led by Blanche White-Toole on how religious groups are involved in the city.
Tickets are $45.
To register or for information, call (609) 652-4227 or visit stockton.edu/aachsc.
Shore Medical Center announces April Employee of the Month
SOMERS POINT – Shore Medical Center recently announced that John Alleman of Smithville, an operating room anesthesia technician, is the April Employee of the Month.
Alleman joined the Shore team in 1991.
Ronald Vrabel, clinical supervisor for the operating room, said, “John has been an asset to both the anesthesia department and the operating room. He takes care of all of the anesthesia equipment not only in the operating room but also in obstetrics, endoscopy and cardiovascular institute.”
“He has been very helpful with our new Omnicell drug dispenser,” Vrabel said. “John helped to set them up, stock them and he has helped the anesthesia staff operate them. John is a great employee, but beyond that, he is truly a great friend to all.”
Registration is open for Kids College at Atlantic Cape
MAYS LANDING – Parents looking for fun activities and educational experiences for their children this summer can look to Atlantic Cape Community College.
Kids College returns starting July 11 with weeklong classes for children and teens ages 7 to 15, including cartooning, mosaics, science exploration, comic book development, cooking and digital photography.
These unique, hands-on experiences are a great opportunity for young people to try new things, make new friends, and explore new horizons.
Some examples are:
- Video Game Programming, teens ages 13 to 15, will create a video game in 2-D.
- Cakes and Cake Decorating for children and teens ages 10 to 15, a culinary expert will guide the students in creating various types of cakes and decorating them. Students will take home treats and recipes.
- Exploring Earth’s Animals, kids ages 7 to 9 will experience firsthand what it takes to work with animals as a career in partnership with the Cape May County Zoo.
Classes run in one-week sessions, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
Weekly fees range from $259 to $289 and programs are available at Atlantic Cape’s Mays Landing, Atlantic City and Cape May County campuses.
Space is limited.
To view the full listing of courses and to register, visit www.atlantic.edu/kidscollege.
For information, including help registering, call (609) 343-5655.
American Red Cross announces area blood drives
The American Red Cross Penn-Jersey Blood Services Region has issued an appeal for blood donors. All blood types are needed, but especially O positive, O negative, B negative and A negative in order to meet patient demand and prevent a blood shortage.
The following blood drives are scheduled in Atlantic County:
- 2 to 7 p.m. May 5, Harvey D. Johnson American Legion Post 295, 232 W. Mill Road, Northfield.
- 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 6, Atlantic City Moose Lodge No. 216, 3900 W. End Ave., Atlantic City.
- 2 to 7 p.m. May 9, Harvey D. Johnson American Legion Post 295, 232 W. Mill Road, Northfield.
- 3 to 8 p.m. May 13, Jersey Shore Baptist Church, 216 S. Wrangleboro Road, Galloway.
- 2 to 7 p.m. May 16, Central United Methodist Church, 5 Marvin Ave., Linwood.
- 2 to 7 p.m. May 16, Harvey D. Johnson American Legion Post 295, 232 W. Mill Road, Northfield.
- 3:15 to 8:15 p.m. May 17, Charles L. Spragg Elementary School, 601 Buffalo Ave., Egg Harbor City.
To make an appointment, call (800) GIVE-LIFE or visit www.redcrossblood.org.
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