“Programmed for Success” Offers Information about Robotics and High-Tech Careers

Career and technical education occupy a central role in steering global leadership and innovation. Given this integral role, FLATE hosted an informational session for middle school students who attended the LEGO robotics camps this year and their parents about educational/career pathways in various high-tech fields. Central to the event was its focus on providing current/relevant information about robotics, jobs in various emerging technologies, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics)-based resources available within the School District of Hillsborough County.

Rob Weinberg speaks to parents and students 
about the importance of STEM

During the fast-paced, one hour program attendees received an overview of the statewide engineering technology degree created by FLATE, particularly the advanced manufacturing program offered at Hillsborough Community College in Brandon. Indeed the session provided a broad overview of the resources available at the local level. Rob Weinburg, district resource teacher for career and technical education curriculum and STEM initiatives at the School District of Hillsborough County in Florida says there is a pressing need to educate students about the importance of STEM-related subjects. Weinburg who was one of the speakers for the evening underlined the importance of getting students intricately involved in STEM through “exploration and witnessing applications that are geared to develop knowledge and skills in STEM-related areas.”

Dave Gula with door prize winner

Students and parents also got an opportunity to tour the manufacturing lab at HCC, and were encouraged to take advantage of the resources available on the “Made in Florida” website. Response from parents as well as campers was overwhelmingly positive. Chip Meyer who attended the intro camp last year and the advanced camp this year said the camp helped him develop an interest in science and mathematics. “The programming gave me a first-hand knowledge/helped me understand STEM concepts better” Meyer said. His father, David Meyer, described the session as a validation of his own beliefs in the importance of STEM. “I want him to see the practical application of what he is learning in the classroom. I believe information sessions like these can show a young person the available options and will motivate them to consider careers in high-tech or STEM-related fields.” Jacob Cunningham another camper who attended the SouthShore camp this year agrees the experience sharpened his interest in science and math. “I used to like those subjects a little bit, but now I like them a lot” Cunningham said.

For more information about the robotics camps please call or email FLATE’s Outreach Manager, David Gula at 813.259.6581/gula@fl-ate.org, or visit http://www.madeinflorida.org/.