Female Engineering Student to Serve as Role Model & Mentor at the ALL Girls Robotics Camp

FLATE the National Science Foundation Center of Excellence in Florida has served as a leading resource in 
formulating strategic STEM strategies for engaging and retaining girls in STEM.  “Women engineers serve as great role models for younger students aspiring to pursue STEM related education and careers” said Dr. Marilyn Barger, executive director of FLATE. Barger’s thoughts are also relayed in an article published in the Journal of Higher Education which carries similar overtones of female role models and mentors as powerful tools in increasing female interest in STEM. Given the need for women mentors and role models, FLATE is partnering with the Ibero-American Science and Technology Education Consortium (ISTEC) to offer a volunteer robotics technologist position for an international student from Santo Tomas University in Bogota, Colombia.

The Ibero-American Science & Technology Education Consortium fosters R&D collaboration between industry and academia, and serves as a catalyst for socio-economic growth throughout the Ibero-American region. ISTEC’s projects design and improve curricula, professional development, accreditation, on-site training, web-based distance learning, and double degree programs using the most current learning technologies. More at www.istec.org.

Ivonne Pinzon who worked in the
All Girls Camp in 2012
As part of the engineering exchange experience, Sandra Milena Madero Zuluaga will serve as a mentor for campers who will be attending FLATE All Girls Camp (Intro EV3 Camp) in June. Sandra will help trouble shoot problems with robots, the software, and help expand campers’ basic understanding of programming. In addition to the above responsibilities, Sandra will also get a chance to visit the College of Engineering at the University of South Florida. “It is with great honor to have Sandra Milena Madero Zuluaga who is also an ISTEC Member, to contribute to this event, by serving as a role model and spokesperson in the campaign to attract more young women into STEM professions” said Wilfrido Moreno, Ph.D..  Moreno who is the professor and ISTEC R&D directors says “Zuluaga will also bring a rich cross-cultural perspective to this important dialogue.” All expenses for her trip will be covered by the ISTEC chapter at USF.

This is the third year in a row FLATE has partnered with ISTEC to extend this opportunity to an international student. Previous ISTEC students who have volunteered and worked with campers include Diana Vargas Martinez and Ivonne Pinzon, both electrical engineering students at Santo Tomas University. Pinzon and Vargas not only helped expand campers' knowledge about STEM and programming, but said the experience broadened their own understanding of robotics and improved their proficiency in English.

For more informaiton on the ISTEC program contact Dr. Wilfrido Moreno at wmoreno@usf.edu, or visit www.istec.org. To enroll in FLATE's ALL NEW robotics camps which be offering campers an opportunity to learn/operate the latest and greatest EV3 software, contact Desh Bagley at camps@fl-ate.or, or Dr. Marilyn Barger at barger@fl-ate.org. You can also download the camp forms at www.madeinflorida.org and www.fl-ate.org.