Engineering Expo “Sparks” Students' Interest & Gets them Excited about STEM

Students from across Florida got an up-close view of the world of engineering at the University of South Florida’s
(USF) annual Engineering Expo, held at USF’s College of Engineering in Tampa, February 13- 14. The Expo is now in its 43rd year and is designed to get kids excited about STEM subjects, as well as educate and inform them about the engineering world and the many opportunities it offers. The Expo is a free, two-day open house event that last year hosted more than 14,000 students, youth groups, and families. Many local engineering firms and companies such as TECO, NASA, Honeywell, Raytheon, Sypris Electronics, and Lockheed Martin have hands-on demonstration tables and shows. The event also showcases the College of Engineering, USF academic departments, research labs from across campus, and student organizations. Part of the Expo’s mission is to “provide safe, entertaining, and educational exhibits to our visitors, so that they might become more passionate and more involved in engineering and to show them how STEM affects the world around them.”

Walking around the Expo, it was clear that its mission was being achieved – groups of excited, interested students everywhere – asking lots of questions, touring exhibits, taking part in interactive activities and contests. FLATE’s table this year featured our very own “mini-manufacturing station”, manned by Nina Stokes, FESC Project Manager. The badge making activity proved to be hugely popular and students formed a constant line to take part. Students were given the opportunity to manufacture their own FLATE buttons and it was great to see the looks on their faces when they saw the finished product they had just made.

Brandon was as usual, the star of the FLATE show and wowed students with his talents. Desh Bagley, Outreach
Manager showed students how to write simple programs and use them to control Brandon’s movements, using a laptop at the table. Students also had a lot of fun posing with Brandon for selfie shots! 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.