News & updates

News & updates


Learning About the Brain

The human brain remains an unsolved mystery in science. Technology now allows scientists to take pictures of the billions of cells that make up the brain and to see when the cells are working and how the cells change. “Scientists used to think that human brain development was pretty complete by age 10, that a teenage brain was just an adult brain with fewer miles on it.” How does the brain change during adolescence? What does the teenage brain need to grow and thrive? While there is much we do not know about the brain, some things are increasingly clear. High school is an essential time for brain development influenced by sleep, stress, and many other factors.

RU and RTCC students in "The Learning Brain" PBL have been spending time examining and analyzing the mysteries of the human brain this fall, as well as developing a video to showcase their work.

The students interviewed peers and teachers about learning, analyzed the data, and edited a video to capture the highlights. Members of the class include Logan Ballou, Zach Bingham, Riley Browder, Alliyah Gartner, Angel Gaulin, Emily Kelley, Bri McLlarky, Sam Pickett, Alexia Russell, Kaylee Thayer, and Ada White."

Watch the Video Here

Panel Discusses Construction Careers at Tech Center

construction management students

Story and photo by Zoë Newmarco, courtesy of The Herald, Nov 18, 2018.

A panel of construction workers from Engelberth Construction, Inc., of Colchester, and a mechanical engineer from Vermont Heating and Ventilation Company of Winooski addressed students studying building trades and construction management at Randolph Technical Career Center, on Friday.

Six out of seven panelists were women, however they were quick to acknowledge that at Engelberth only 17 of 150 employees are female. Director of Human Resources Gina Catanzarita said that of those 17, none are in leadership positions in the field. She’s hopeful that will change as more young women begin to pursue careers in the construction.

Construction Management instructor Tim Murphy noted that currently six of fourteen (40%) of his students are female—the highest percentage of young women ever enrolled in his class. Murphy pointed out that he had put together the day’s panel with an eye toward inspiring the young women in his class.

The panelists held a variety of construction-related job titles, including field worker, estimator, director of safety and training, and CFO, and came from a variety of professional backgrounds.

“I went to high school, same as you guys did, to a tech school,” said Michelle Lussier, an estimator at Engelberth. Lussier noted that she didn’t pursue a college degree, but rather learned many of her skills on the job—first at a plastics company, and eventually at Engelberth.

Mallory Fischer, of VHV, studied architectural engineering at Vermont Technical College. Her interest in construction stemmed from working on construction projects with her grandfather throughout her childhood.

Audience Questions

Students asked many questions, on topics ranging from the kind of qualifications they would need to work for a commercial construction company, to what sort of harassment or discrimination employees experience in the workplace.

Alison Lamagna of Vermont Works for Women and Jay Ramsey, the state’s director of technical career education, came to ask the panel questions as well. They prompted discussion on topics such as maternity leave options for construction workers, and how technology changes the field. Lamagna asked female students what had drawn them to the building trades class, to gauge how construction companies can begin to attract more young women.

“I’ve always known that I wanted to do some sort of trade … that I wanted to work with my hands,” shared Em Scherbatskoy.

Murphy gave each panelist a wooden cutting board, handmade by the students.
He noted that the cutting boards required each student to work in a team, to use 12 different tools, and to identify several different types of wood. Before the course is over, he added, the students will use those same skills to build furniture.
Students in Diversified Agriculture
Diversified AG - What's THAT all about?

Ever wonder what students in"Diversified Agriculture" do?  Aren't they really just studying to be farmers? Maybe it's time to take a second look at what's going on in today's Ag industry. It's more than you might ever have imagined!

Take a moment and view this quick slideshow, developed and presented by students at a recent Diversified Ag Challenge Day.
What (and Who) is Diversified AG?

Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies: What's it all About Anyway?
From a Recent Blog on the Massachusetss Business Educators Association Website by Business Administration Professor Wayne Goulet

On 17 September 2018, the Randolph Technical Career Center (RTCC) Business Management Program in Randolph, Vermont hosted Roger Glovsky and Ryan Munn as guest speakers, two local blockchain/cryptocurrency experts. Roger Glovsky writes a daily blog on, commenting on the past, current, and future performance of the cryptocurrency market. His blogs frequently track Bitcoin, the largest and most recognized cryptocurrency today. Ryan Munn is the Founder of Interchain, LLC, a business advisory and consulting rm actively educating Vermont and the surrounding community about the implementation of blockchain and other emerging technologies.

Speaking to not only Business Management but Criminal Justice and Advanced Manufacturing students as well, Glovsky and Munn began their presentation by discussing the concept behind money. Specically, what gives currency its value? Read the whole article here: Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies.

‘Opportunity Fest’ Showcases Local Professionals
rtcc fest
Story and photo by Zoë Newmarco, courtesy of The Herald, May 24, 2018

Randolph Technical Career Center (RTCC) hosted its second annual “Opportunity Fest” last Friday, showcasing local employers and highlighting professional opportunities for high school students or soon-to-be graduates.
Jason Finley, RTCC’s work-based learning coordinator, noted that last year the format of the Opportunity Fest had been comparable to a typical job fair, but that this year the school had organized several panels with professionals from many local businesses.

“We wanted to encourage more dialogue between professionals and students,” Finley explained.
Students were encouraged to attend at least two of the six available panels, which covered topics including farm businesses, working with people, and transportation systems.
“The necessity of being able to successfully navigate the technology that’s pertinent to your field isn’t news, but it’s so important it’s worth reiterating,” said Chris Dutton, a dairy farmer and former chair of Vermont Technical College’s dairy management program.

Dutton’s sentiment was echoed throughout the panels, regardless of the profession under discussion.
Each panel was moderated by an RTCC staff or faculty member, and panelists talked about opportunities for internships or entry level positions in their industries, as well as skills looked for by employers.
Finley mentioned that next year all students will be required to shadow a professional in the field they’re interested in, and that the Opportunity Fest was intended to be a networking opportunity for students, as well as an inspiration to them.

“We’re not just trying to get students to their high school diploma,” said Finley, “we’re really trying to get them set on their life-long pathway, and this is one way for them to see what they need to do to build their employability skills.”

Business Planning "101"
Students learn the fundamentals of business planning and execution

For two consecutive Wednesdays this past April, nine Randolph Technical Career Center students, representing six programs, chose to spend their days learning how to create and pitch a business idea of their own design, while discussing the power of entrepreneurship. 
rtcc business planning
The special “hands-on” entrepreneurial offering for students ranged from idea generation, how to view problems as opportunities, building financials, to pitching their ideas using a 3 minute pitch deck.  Students were introduced to the “Business Model Canvas”, goal setting, SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) both personally and for their businesses, cash flow projections, sales and marketing, and much more.

The program was presented by Laurel Butler, VtSBDC Start-up Business Advisor/Student Entrepreneur Specialist and Tamie-Jo Dickinson, CVU Union High School Business/Entrepreneur Faculty/FBLA Advisor under a special offering with VBEC – Vermont Business Education Corp, VtSBDC and RTCC.

Some of the student’s proposed business ideas included: developing a child learning and day care center; an all farm supply and equipment store; a legislative lobbying company; an auto and repair shop as well as culinary delight bakeries. 

When asked what the students thought of the two day immersion coming up with business ideas and then pitching them, a few of the comments indicated:  “loved creating the cash flow statements”; “had a lot of fun and learned some new skills”; “really liked the financials”; “I want to learn more of this so I can take over our family farm one day”; and “it was fun to put my business idea out into the world”.

Whether a student’s goals are centered on future college success, preparation for the workforce, or enhancing their career technical experience, learning to think like an entrepreneur has value for all.  There is a business side to every career pathway: visual film and graphic arts, culinary arts, environmental management, auto and diesel technology, building trades, education social services, criminal justice, health care, engineering, technology, agriculture, and all other areas; the skills and confidence one gains from learning about and creating an “entrepreneurial mindset” will help them succeed now and into the future.
This was the second year the mini-entrepreneurial program was offered at RTCC.  The Center’s Director, Jason Gingold plans on providing the program again next spring 2019; it’s open to all students attending the Career Center.  

For additional information about the program and other similar entrepreneurial trainings for students and/or teachers in all disciplines contact: Laurel Butler, VtSBDC  -

Construction Trade Management Students in Touch with Snow Season


Students in the Construction Trades program came up with something unusual and just right for the season recently: toboggans.

Students built th forms the steamer and milled materials from rough stock purhasd from Don Carbino of South Royalton. Through the process, the class studied methods of steaming wood, working in teams to produce 11 new sleds.

"This is the first time we have covered "steaming", which involves changing the cell structures in wood said Program Director Tim Murphy. "We had our challenges, but we were successful."

Construction Trades students have now turned their attention and focus to a furniture builidng unit, and later this spring, will cut a timber frame in the shop.

RTCC’s New College and Career Lab

Helping students prepare for college and careersbuilding trades

The new College and Career Lab at RTCC is up and running, with workshops, visitors, and presentations geared to helping students plan for a successful future.

According to Work Based Learning Coordinator Jason Finley, here is just a sample of what’s been going on over the past few weeks:

  • Paul Otenti from Vermont Tech’s Fire Science program gave a workshop on "Principles of Building Construction & Fire Protection" for the Criminal Justice program.
  • The Building Trades program has been offering a weekly speaker series, inviting a wide range of contractors to talk with students about career opportunities
  • Counselors from RUHS presented a workshop on the Common App and using Naviance
  • Every Monday, Finley teaches a Career Readiness course for students in the Business Management, Criminal Justice, Education & Social Services, and Building Trades programs.
  • Members of the Admissions staff of Manchester Community College came to talk with seniors about course offerings at the school.
  • Students have come in for one-on-one assistance in resume building, as well as exercises on how to make phone calls to potential employers, creating cover letters, and how to research a company prior to an interview or job shadow.
  • Snap-On tools recently gave a safety training to the Auto and Diesel programs.
  • Military recruiters will be coming by to give presentations and answer questions about military service and offerings
  • The Vt Department of Labor will be coming in to speak to students on high-pay, high growth careers here in Vermont over the coming decade