Fall Conferences Highlight Importance of STEM & Advanced Technological Education

FLATE participates in a number of conference venues every October to disseminate our work, share our
expertise, and celebrate advanced technological education. Part of our mission is to share the good work of our partners and stakeholders, and mentor others looking for guidance. The October conferences we participated in as part of the NSF ATE Centers joint dissemination efforts include the National Career Pathway Network (NCPN, www.ncpn.info),  National Collation of Advanced Technology Center (NCATC, www.ncatc.org) , the National Council for Workforce Education NCWE, www.ncwe.org), the National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education Principle Investigator Conference (NSF ATE PI, www.aacc.nche.edu).  Each venue serves a unique collection of stakeholders and provides valuable opportunities for professional growth, networking, dissemination, partnership and fellowship. This fall I presented on various aspects of our Engineering Technology degree program including the details of its flexible structure and the FLDOE frameworks that define the program and its alignment to MSSC CPT that provides an accelerated completion pathway. I also presented a Toothpick Factory workshop to over 50 technical educators eager to learn new active techniques to help students learn and adopt the subtle intricacies of teamwork. 

In Washington, at the NSF ATE PI conference, FLATE had its Center showcase display as well as two
student displays for Mercedes Ramirez from Hillsborough Community College and Afrad Mahamed from Polk State College. Mercedes’s showcase focused on her work with our FLATE Summer Robotics Camps and its alignment to our Engineering Technology technical courses. Afrad shared the story of our Iberian Partnership program from his student participant point of view and how much the experience impacted him at many levels. Conference participants were very impressed by both students. NSF ATE recognized both as outstanding ATE student/alumni at an awards breakfast, where they networked with 60 other ATE students and alumni from around the country. 

Aside from the student activities and showcases FLATE co-led a panel on mechatronics highlighting our
partnership with SCTE, the Supply Chain Technology Education Center (Dr. Ned Young of Sinclair Community College) with two of our business partners. The panel discussion focused on comments and questions from our partner and NVC member, Bill Mazurek, director of continuous improvement at Conmed Linvatec in Largo and SCTE’s partner, Gary Forger, senior vice president of professional development, materials handling institute. Our industry partners engaged forty-nine participants including Dr. Celeste Carter, lead program director for the NSF ATE program. The common skills supporting manufacturing and supply chain (and many technologies) epitomized the work that many of our ATE graduates are and will be engaged in. There is more work to do to better the jobs that support these technologies.  Additionally, FLATE was highlighted in Dr. Will Tyson’s PathTech presentation about its important research project studying pathways between high school programs and our ET degree.

In Florida, Dr. Boyette was presented a Best Practice Award at the Florida Career Pathways Network
Symposium (FCPN, http://www.ftpn.org) for her presentation on FLATE’s strategies for professional development. Earlier in the month, Nina Stokes, FLATE’s FESC project manager, shared our curriculum work on the industrial energy efficiency technology with attendees of the Florida Energy Summit in conjunction with our FESC partners. 

Catch up with more news with November stories that check in with one participant of our Recruiting Girls for STEM Pathways workshop last June, Christine Danger, who has already put strategies learned at the event into play; get up to speed with biotechnology program at Palm Beach State College; make sure you and your industry partners are signed up for our machining education workshop; step into the final STEM puzzle of 2013; and, last, but not least, meet our 2013 FLATE Awardees: Roy Sweatman, Alex Anzalone, and Dale Toney.