Richard Prestopnik, Professor of Electrical and Computer Technology at FM, is also an author, project manager, and an inventor. In his latest initiative, he worked with FM administration in the development of a Center for Engineering and Technology and in writing a proposal which, through the efforts of Congressman Paul Tonko, secured $435,000 for the Center. The funding was used to enhance the college’s labs as well as to construct a demonstration clean room in which students will prepare for careers in the nanotechnology and semiconductor industry. On September 27, 2010, the clean room was unveiled with an official ribbon cutting.
“The clean room is the future for our students,” says Rich. “It’s exciting that faculty & students at the college will use the clean room instruments to explore the very essence of nature, learn about the unusual properties of materials at the nanoscale, and understand how it’s possible to build billions of transistors simultaneously in an area so small it’s invisible to the human eye. Students will work in the same environment used every day by professionals in the semiconductor, nanotechnology, and biotechnology industries.”
Also in September 2010, FM received word of another $626,000 grant award from the National Science Foundation for its Technological Education Pathways Partnership (TEPP) project with HFM BOCES, of which Rich is the Principal Investigator. TEPP will provide a technician-career pathway between high school and college.
Rich earned an A.A.S. in Electrical Technology from Mohawk Valley Community College, a Bachelor of Engineering Technology degree from Rochester Institute of Technology, and a Master of Computer Engineering degree from Syracuse University. Rich’s career has included work as a Senior Associate Engineer with IBM, Dean of Business and Technology at FM, and author of six textbooks, the most recent released in February 2009. As a Faculty Fellow with NASA, Rich forged a partnership between NASA and FMCC, resulting in the creation of FM’s Spatial Information Technology Center and the Fulton-Montgomery Education Initiative consortium. Rich has been named Outstanding Educator of the St. Lawrence Section of the American Society of Engineering Educators, and, in 2003, received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Scholarship and Creative Activities and a second Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service in 2011.