“Summer Is All About STEM-based Outreach”…..so says FLATE’s Executive Director!

Dr. Marilyn Barger & Danielly Orozco at Añarbe dam in Spain. 
Summer is a prime time for outreach – students and teachers are out of school and ready to relax, renew, and reinvigorate themselves. Cleared of the day-to-day stress of meeting classroom and school deadlines, most are eager to explore new topics and dig deeper into those that interest them in anticipation of the new school year.  Since dissemination, outreach, professional development are core to supporting our FLATE technician mission, summertime finds us busy working with both students and teachers across the state providing stimulation and excitement for students and educators for manufacturing through various STEM activities. Working together, building on our partnerships, FLATE reaches out into many of our Florida communities to build a strong next generation STEM, specific in terms of the manufacturing workforce. We are always looking for and welcome new industry partners to help us better impress upon educators and students the awesome opportunities in manufacturing based STEM careers.
             
The Regional Manufacturers Associations (RMA's) in Florida and manufacturers within their regions are partnering with FLATE, local schools, and community groups for various manufacturing and STEM outreach activities. Building on the momentum of ideas developed during the FLATE outreach workshop in February at Harris Corporation, the Volusia Manufacturers Association (VMA) and the First Coast Manufacturers Association's (FCMA) in Jacksonville have partnered with FLATE for educator and student outreach in their regions. You can read all about their planned activities in this issue of the FLATE FOCUS. Upon request, FLATE is also developing new materials for the Jacksonville area to use in their efforts starting this summer. South Florida Manufacturers Association (SFMA) and FLATE are also developing plans for summer outreach activities. The new Center for Advanced Manufacturing Excellence (CAME) is also partnering with FLATE to develop guidelines and best practices for partnerships between schools and industries as well as recognition programs for such partnerships through its Dream It! Do It! Campaign.
            
In the College of Central Florida (CF) service area working with the Marion Regional Manufacturers Association (MRMA), FLATE ambassador, Sara Lefils and others continue the outreach legwork. Sara is addressing K-12 students about manufacturing careers and educational pathways. In a separate effort in Ocala, Dr. “Row” Rogacki of the Florida Human and Machine Cognition Institute (IHMC), College of Central Florida, and Betty Hackmyer teamed up with FLATE to implement FLATE robotics camps at the impressive IHMC (www.ihmc.org) facility in Ocala. Sixty lucky Ocala area middle schoolers will be engaged in one of three Lego Robotics 1 week camps this month, adding 60 additional students to the over 100 young people who will be attending FLATE robotic summer camps on the HCC Brandon Campus.
            
Shifting gears, it is with great pride and pleasure that I get to share with you that Brad Jenkins, director of  engineering technology at St. Petersburg College and Co-PI of FLATE since 2001 will receive the NSF supported HI-TEC Conference Educator of the Year award.  He will receive this competitive award at the HI-TEC Conference in Denver next month. All of us in Florida technical education have always recognized Brad's contributions to technician education, are very lucky for Brad’s many years of dedicated service to engineering technology education in Florida, and are ecstatic that he is receiving national recognition for his work. He continues to be the mastermind of the Florida Forum for Engineering Technology. Congratulations Brad, on behalf of all FLATE stakeholders and staff!  For our readers, this is also a reminder that you too can recognize a Florida educator by nominating someone for the FLATE educator of the year awards. Nominations are open through August, and can be submitted online at www.fl-ate.org.
            
Enjoy our June issue of the FLATE FOCUS where the central focus is on manufacturing outreach across the state, and providing a glimpse of its varied manifestations. If you are inspired to pursue similar activities with your organization, and would like to engage in some local events please contact me at 813.259.6578/barger@fl-ate.org. For a different approach to outreach, check out the ideas for professional development for educators in one of the articles this month. Lastly, don’t forget to check your answer to STEM Puzzle # 28 titled “Which essence, skunk or pearl, is more volatile?”