BSAST Degree FAQ: The Answer to the Second Degree Policy You’ve Always Wanted to Ask

Posted Tuesday, July 29, 2014

By Donald S. Cucuzzella, Assistant Director
School of Applied Science and Technology

I often receive emails from students asking if they can earn a nuclear energy degree and a nuclear energy engineering technology degree under our second-degree policy, particularly if they are enrolled in one of these degree programs already. This is a great question that needs a Thomas Edison State College history lesson to answer, so to help you and all those with a similar burning curiosity, I’m happy to further explain.


I read on the College website that a student can earn a degree in Nuclear Engineering and Nuclear Energy Engineering, after satisfying the Nuclear Engineering degree requirements. My question is, am I eligible to receive the Nuclear Engineering degree if I’m already pursuing the Nuclear Energy Engineering Technology degree?



No. If you are currently in the Nuclear Energy Engineering Technology degree program, there is no second degree program to earn the Nuclear Engineering Technology degree. If you want to further your career in this field, you can always pursue your education and enroll in the College’s Master of Science in Applied Science and Technology in Nuclear Energy Technology Management.

Since the 1980s, the College has offered a Bachelor of Science in Applied Science and Technology (BSAST) in Nuclear Engineering Technology (NET). This degree was popular amongst our military students who had gone through the U.S. Navy’s Nuclear Power School and received college credit toward this degree for their training. In 2011, the College’s School of Applied Science and Technology created a new version of this degree, a Bachelor of Science in Nuclear Energy Engineering Technology (NEET). In 2012, we received accreditation for the new degree from the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET. This accreditation status was made retroactive as of October 2010, so any students who started the Nuclear Energy Engineering degree by that date, and then graduated, had an ABET accredited degree.

But what about the graduates from the Nuclear Engineering Technology degree who now want an ABET accredited degree? Glad you asked!

For these students, the College created the Second Degree Program in Nuclear Energy Engineering Technology. To complete this program, students are required to take a minimum of 24 new credits at the College. If you are a student currently enrolled in the Nuclear Engineering Technology degree and think that an ABET accredited degree is more beneficial for your career, you can change to the Nuclear Energy Engineering Technology degree. By switching now, you can save yourself the time and money required to complete 24 new credits, and possibly even more credits should there be any curriculum changes since you first enrolled at the College.

As always, I’m happy to help answer any additional questions about degree programs at the School of Applied Science and Technology. You can email me directly at [email protected], and you might even see your question become the new topic on our blog!


Tags: School of Applied Science and Technology

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5 Surprising Ways Technology Has Changed Since Your Traditional School Days

Posted Wednesday, July 23, 2014



Technology has undoubtedly transformed our lives. Our everyday gadgets now turn tedious actions into the simplest of tasks. Gone are late nights finding and fixing typos on a typewriter. Maps, watches and fax machines seem practically obsolete. And forget forgetting – you can now locate research, set alerts and reminders, and track your digital history – on one handheld device.

Today’s technological advancements have changed the way we work, function, and, ultimately, learn. And, like anything new, these technologies may fascinate, confuse or comfort us. But the impact they have had on education is obvious: the learner now has a clear advantage.

Here are some ways technology has changed since your traditional school days, so you can take every opportunity to learn where, when and how you want.


Spending hours at the library combing through card catalogs, only to find the book you need has been taken out, is now a thing of the past. A simple Google search can yield thousands of results on whatever topic you are searching for. If you are looking for scholarly resources to write a paper, you can access online databases and digital collections from around the world, remotely. Find subject and research guides, ask a librarian and discover “how to” do anything, in a seconds. With access to the world’s research only a click or tap away, you can now research projects and complete assignments easier than ever before, and never worry about what time your library (today, better known as your dining room table) closes.   


Whether your preference lies with the traditional textbook or with an e-book version, the textbook landscape, and how you get them, has drastically changed from their bookstore days. Do you purchase your textbooks online, via MBS Direct? You can find out what books are required for your courses after inputting your course information. Or you can find your textbooks using the Thomas Edison State College Textbook Swap located in myEdison®, a forum designed to help students swap or sell textbooks for the College’s courses and exams. Perhaps you prefer to have a digitized textbook, and download the e-book right then and there, without experiencing any shipping time. With so many textbook format options, the days of “I forgot my book” are long gone.


No more scheduling traditional tutoring sessions that fit everyone else’s schedules - but yours. Through services like, available for free to enrolled Thomas Edison State College students, you can connect to live tutors from any computer with Internet access 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Get one-on-one help as you complete assignments or prepare for exams. Watch as your tutor demonstrates how to solve a complicated math problem, using a live, real-time virtual white boards. Submit writing assignments for feedback and suggestions, and receive detailed, personalized critiques focusing on content, thesis development and grammar. Online tutors, like, can help you learn and understand any subject, wherever and whenever you need it.

Test Taking

The days of paper and pencil tests are over. While this method of testing is still an option, it does pose restrictions upon test-takers, not the least of which are time constraints, distractions and uncomfortable surroundings. Now, using a high-speed Internet connection and a webcam, online proctoring services like ProctorU allow you take tests in any comfortable location, at a time most convenient for you. When you schedule an exam, connect with a real person that will walk you through the exam process and help if you run into any technical issues. Exams are stressful enough, but with ProctorU’s seven-days-a-week service, they get better.

Writing Assignments

If you’ve ever spent long periods of time writing a paper, you may have experienced that after awhile, your focus wanes and your words just seem to blend together. And forget reviewing what you wrote – how can you, when you can’t even think straight? But what if you missed an important citation and accidentally plagiarized, or failed to identify a revision that could potentially impact your grade? Writing services like let you submit papers online and receive a generated report identifying any areas of concern, grammatical errors or potential plagiarism. You can then use that feedback to make the suggested changes to your work, after your focus has returned, of course, and thereby improve your skills to become a better writer.


What learning technologies have you seen develop over the past several years?

Tags: Going Back to College , Online Tools and Resources , Student Services

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What You Can Learn From Your Mentor Outside the Discussion Board

Posted Friday, July 11, 2014

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”

More than 250 years later, Benjamin Franklin’s words still ring true when it comes to the academic relationship between student and mentor. It’s a common misconception that a mentor and teacher are one in the same. While both work with students and grade assignments, teachers focus on instruction and presenting information. A mentor’s role is to facilitate your learning and assist you on the path to earning your degree.

But how might they do that? And why? Glad you asked!

They may ask you to explain your reasoning, provide feedback on your latest assignment or encourage you to pursue a research topic you are passionate about. They inspire and motivate you to take responsibility of your education. And usually, what your mentor teaches you offline, can be just as important as what you learn online.


Mentors can be a valuable networking source.

With their academic background and professional experience, mentors can be the connection you need to advance your career. Dr. Dwayne Hodges, mentor in the School of Applied Science and Technology, recognizes that course mentors are industry practitioners and experts. He believes students should take advantage of their mentors’ knowledge and expertise to cultivate relationships and build a network of contacts for future opportunities. When a student is ready and willing to learn, he makes every effort to help them reach both their course and personal learning objectives, often meeting students in-person to discuss the subject matter over coffee or connect with students on LinkedIn. So maximize every chance to avoid “just being a name” and stand out in your courses, because your mentor could very well provide the best endorsement of your work ethic, skills and strengths. 


Mentors empower you to take responsibility of your learning.

When it comes to your coursework, how you choose to apply that information is up to you. In other words, no one is telling you that you have to write an essay detailing the circumstances of a historical event or complete a math worksheet of long division problems, characteristic of a childhood education. As an adult, your mentor will provide you with the opportunity to use your existing experience and knowledge, and apply it to a project or assignment. Or you may decide to use your coursework as a chance to develop a work-related interest. In the end, the more active and hands-on your learning experience, the more memorable (and fun) your education will be.


Mentors encourage your critical thinking skills.

“I can guide students to useful information,” says Dr. Mark Kassup, mentor in the Heavin School of Arts and Sciences. “And I can challenge them to move beyond simple answers and partial solutions.” In other words, there’s a reason your mentor asks you to try again; he is fostering your ability to think through questions and offer strong responses, both necessary skills for your professional and career development.

How have your mentors helped shape your academic or career development?

Tags: Career , Mentors , School of Applied Science and Technology , Taking Courses

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9 Critical Factors You Need to Consider Before Choosing a Study Space

Posted Thursday, July 03, 2014

Your surroundings make a huge impact on how efficient and effective you are. They can affect your mood, energy and concentration, and your study space is no different. Consider the place you finish most of your schoolwork:

Are you in an office with constant commotion?

Is it in a coffee shop with dim lighting?

Do you sit on the back porch watching your kids laugh and play?

Whatever the atmosphere of your study space, though it be homey and comfortable, it may actually be hurting your studies. So, to get down to school business and actually accomplish something on time (and yes, even early!), make sure your ideal study space meets these 9 critical factors:

1. A Writing Surface

Although there isn’t much your computer can’t do, there are times when you just need to write things down. Notes and math problems may be easier to understand when written on paper. Or you may be the type of learner that needs to draw and diagram the information. Your study space should make it easy for you to write and jot down any ideas to save them for later.


2. Seating

A chair can make all the difference between focusing on your work and falling asleep in the middle of a chapter. Choose a chair that is comfortable, but not so comfortable you want to take a nap in it. Oftentimes, a dining room chair works best. Whatever chairs you choose, make sure that it allows you to focus on your schoolwork and can accommodate your writing area.


3. Lighting

Having sun filter through your windows can be just as important to your studies as to your home décor. Small daily doses of sunlight can help you sleep better and increase your mood, which will improve your focus and creativity. If natural sunlight is a no-go for you, position yourself so that any main source of light shines on your side and that of your computer screen to reduce glare and eye strain, and prevent squinting.


4. Storage

Clutter can cause stress, and stress can cause poor grades. When you have a clean workspace, you are less likely to get distracted. So your study space should be organized so that you can find what you are looking for, whenever you are looking for it. Pick out storage that addresses your needs; are you a packrat? Get some filing cabinets. Do you print every piece of paper related to your course? Perhaps a binder is more effective for you. The right storage can stop messes and piles from forming, and save you your sanity.


5. Access to Outlets

It’s 2 a.m. and you are almost finished with your final term paper. You’ve ignored the notifications from your laptop signaling that your battery is getting very very low. Just a couple more sentences and… the screen turns black. Panic sets in. What happened to all your work? Was it AutoSaved? Has this ever happened to you? Avoid such a situation and make sure you have access to an outlet close to your study space; enough so connecting your laptop to a power source won’t interrupt your focus.


6. Personalization

Yes, your study space should be reserved for completing work, but allow for a few subtle personal touches to make it your own and motivate you. Hang a corkboard on the wall to display family photos or funny quotes, and double as a place to post course reminders and deadlines. These personal touches can serve as a powerful inspiration to finish your schoolwork, and ultimately, your degree.


7. Temperature

Your mind and body should be in sync when you study; too warm and you’ll fall asleep. Too cold, and your clarity will wane, thus making studying that much harder. While there’s no “right” temperature to study, the best one for you should increase your productivity.


8. Distractions

Without distractions, think of everything you could accomplish! And today, the interruptions never seem to stop, whether they are family or phone calls. Choose a study space that has limited noise and little to no distractions, that means closing the door for quiet time, setting aside your phone or blocking your favorite websites. The more distractions you actively reduce, the easier it will be to avoid any temptations.


9. BONUS: Coffee!

Whether it is coffee, chewing gum, exercise or water, there’s bound to be something that stimulates and re-energizes you. Anticipate what it is before you study, so you can incorporate it into your breaks to refresh and refocus.



What does your study space have that keeps you productive and focused?

Tags: Study Tips , Time Management , Work-Life Balance

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