Engineering Expo Heightens Interest in STEM

Engineering enthusiasts in Tampa had an educationally enriching and fun-filled day at the 41st Annual Engineering Expo at the University of South Florida (USF), learning about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). More than 19,000 students, parents, educators and industry experts flocked to the two-day open house event showcasing the USF College of Engineering, academic departments, research laboratories from various campuses, student organizations and local engineering firms. Expo demonstrations like the chemistry magic show, the laser light show and an electrathon race among other attractions piqued visitors’ interest and showcased applications of STEM in everyday life.

Robyn Lynn Medicielo, a seventh grader at Williams IB school in Tampa was among the thousands of students who attended the expo this year. Medicielo who likes “making and finding solutions to things” said she was at the expo hoping to expand her knowledge about engineering-related topics. Medicielo has set her aspirations high. In that she hopes to attend Harvard, and one day become a software engineer working possibly for software giant Google.

Indeed the expo offered numerous avenues for students and parents alike to engage in activities designed to foster a love for STEM. Teresa Boudrea said she brought her daughter Logan to the expo in hopes of inculcating an excitement and love for engineering. “It is the future and key to building so many great things” Boudreau said. Dr. Nykowanna Sloan, assistant principal of a high school in Orange County, FL plans to develop a STEM based lesson plans for her students. Her son, Sam Sloan, a 6th grader at Ocee Middle School, loves to build a robot, and someday hopes to build a remote controlled robot.

As a mark of support for STEM-based local programs FLATE, the National Science Foundation Center of Excellence in manufacturing, was one of the event sponsors and hosted an informational booth for visitors seeking more information about STEM and high-tech manufacturing related educational and career pathways. Danielly Orozco, curriculum coordinator for FLATE who attended the expo notes how the event has greatly expanded and grown in popularity over the years. Orozco, who holds an engineering degree from USF agrees “the expo is a great way to promote engineering and appreciate latest advancements in technological innovations.”

Visitors at the FLATE booth got a first-hand look at solar powered bugs, assembled real circuits, and tried their luck in winning a prize by answering trivia-type questions regarding manufacturers and manufacturing operations in Florida. Students and visitors alike also got to see and meet Brandon—FLATER’s cute cousin who wowed the crowd with his robotic charm. “I hope we helped enhance awareness of STEM fields to the next generation of engineers, technicians & manufacturers” Orozco said.

For more information on the engineering expo visit http://expo.eng.usf.edu. For information on local engineering technology programs at the high school and two/four year colleges visit www.madeinflorida.org/engineering-technology-degree, or contact Dr. Marilyn Barger at barger@fl-ate.org.


Kudos to the HCC Engineering Club!
On another note, a big shout out and congratulations to the engineering society at Hillsborough Community College for winning the electrathon race at the 2013 USF Engineering Expo. The Electric Llama Hawks representing the engineering team at HCC competed with five teams and placed first among all college and high school teams. The overall score was 130 laps, 68 seconds in the first and 62 in the second.  HCC engineering society students have been working on their invention at the FLATE’s manufacturing laboratory at HCC-Brandon since spring of 2011, and have competed in several races in the past few years. 

For more information on the engineering club and various innovative projects visit the HCC Engineering Society page on Facebook, or contact Dr. Marilyn Barger at barger@fl-ate.org. For information on Electrathon of Tampa bay www.ectrathonoftampabay.org.