From the Executive Director's Desk: FLATE’s Industrial Advisory Committee Explores the Ins and Out of Internships

Please join us on January 18, 2017, when FLATE will host an Internship Panel as the featured presentation of our Industrial Advisory Committee meeting, hosted by Pinellas Technical College’s Clearwater campus. Developing effective and efficient mechanisms and partnerships to support internship programs is an important objective for building the region's technical workforce. The meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. (The college will provide an optional tour of the manufacturing related programs that starts at 4:30 p.m.). We hope to see you there as we all start planning for seeking, providing, and facilitating summer internships for our Tampa Bay students in various high school and post-secondary manufacturing programs. There are several great resources in our area to help students and companies find each other and get involved in student internships. All attendees will be able to join in the lively discussion and Q & A sessions to share experiences, bring new (and old) internship opportunities to light as we learn what is available locally to help support our students smoothly transition from education to the workforce.

Here are a few benefits of hosting an intern:

  • Help expose students to the workplace environment 
  • Helps students determine where they will best fit in the industry workforce 
  • Provides a “no obligation” period for employers and students to determine if the match is a good fit for both 
  • Offers help at low cost and for short, temporary period 
  • Supports the overall development of the next generation workforce 

Thank You & Good Luck to Tina Brudnicki 

In addition to the Internship Panel and tour of PTEC, we will be honoring Tina Brudnicki as she steps down as current Chair of the FLATE IAC, a position she has held since 2010. Tina had already been supporting FLATE as an IAC committee member since our very first meeting in 2005. Our IAC chair also represents that committee on the National Visiting Committee which meets annually to provide a status report directly to the National Science Foundation (NSF) program that funds FLATE. Tina has worked tirelessly not only for FLATE, but for all local manufacturing organizations to build partnerships, outreach opportunities to the community, and promote recognition of students and others in the manufacturing community. She commits her time and energy to review applicants for scholarships, participate in program curriculum reviews, sits on and leads college program advisory committees, serves in officer posts in regional manufacturing organizations, and so much more. Please come to celebrate and honor Tina Brudnicki as she retires from our IAC and transitions her professional career to one that directly supporting others.

I now invite you to read the rest of the stories in this inaugural edition of the 2017 FLATE Focus. We also have a special highlight about the manufacturing programs at PTEC including the machining apprentice program which is posted under the Announcements section in this edition of the FLATE Focus. Do send us your thoughts by jotting down a few comments below each blog post, or connect with us through our social networking platforms on LinkedIn, Facebook, and @Made_InFlorida on Twitter. From all of us at FLATE, Happy and Prosperous 2017!

Send In Your Nominations for The 2017 FLATE Awards

FLATE, the Florida-based National Science Foundation Regional Center of Excellence and the Florida Association for
Career and Technical Education (FACTE), are working together to coordinate the 2017 FLATE Awards and recognition program. FLATE Awards are geared to recognize secondary and postsecondary educators, and industry professionals for their outstanding contributions to promote and support technology education and career awareness in manufacturing. Awardees are recognized under three separate categories and includes individuals in any manufacturing area including economic development, industry, education and administration.

FLATE award winners are selected from nominations submitted from all across the state. Nominees are judged by an Awards Committee made up of industry representatives from FLATE’s Industrial Advisory Committee and FACTE. The Awards Committee reserves the right to select award recipients that do not meet FACTE’s membership requirements.

2017 FLATE Distinguished Manufacturing Secondary Educator-of-the-Year Award
2017 FLATE Distinguished Manufacturing Post-Secondary Educator-of-the-Year Award
2017 FLATE Distinguished Partner Manufacturing Service Award

Awards Timeline
January 1, 2017: Awards criteria published at
April 15, 2017:    Online Nomination form I.  To be completed by nominators
May 1, 2017:       Online Nomination form II. To be completed by nominees
May 1, 2017:       Nominations close
May 31, 2017      Award selections are made by FLATE’s IAC-FACTE Awards Committee
June 5, 2017:     Award recipients and principal nominators are notified of their selection
July 17-19, 2017: Awards presented during the 51st Annual FACTE Conference & Trade Show

To submit a nomination visit the FLATE Awards page at, and on the FACTE’S Award page. You can also contact Executive Director of FLATE, Dr. Marilyn Barger at

2016 FLATE Awardees

Spotlight on Pinellas Technical College’s Manufacturing Programs

The Tampa Bay Region is rife with manufacturing, and Pinellas Technical College (PTC), one of FLATE’s educational
partners in Pinellas County, FL, has several programs that are geared to help meet local/regional manufacturers’ demand for skilled technicians. PTC offers an array of full time certificate programs, apprenticeships and short term courses at its St. Petersburg and Clearwater campuses. Assistant Director, Eric McClendon says the programs offered at PTC are geared to provide quality educational opportunities that meet students’ educational needs as well as the skillset requirement of local businesses and industries. “We offer a problem-solving atmosphere that allows students to learn and be excited about their chosen field of study” McClendon said.

The hallmark of PTC’s Manufacturing programs is defined by its emphasis on real-world, employable skills that can be applied across an array of technical areas and industries. The Automation and Production Technology (APT) program, Digital Design, Machining, and Welding Technologies program are six to 15 month programs that prepare students for entry level jobs in various capacities within the manufacturing industry. Current student enrollment figures in all of these manufacturing programs, that include APT, machining, welding and digital design, is 99 with 34 students in the machining program, 54 in the welding program and 11 in the digital design program. Upon graduation, graduates from the APT program can use their credits to earn an A.S degree in electronics engineering technology and/or digital design, graduates from the digital design program can earn an A.S in statewide graphics technology, while graduates from the Machining and Welding programs can transfer credits to earn an A.S degree in industrial management technology.
Central to PTC’s manufacturing programs is also the opportunity for students to earn industry certifications. “Industry recognizes and values certifications. It also increases compensation and employability opportunities” said McClendon. Graduates from the APT program can earn the MSSC CPT certificate, Digital Design program can earn an Adobe Certified Associate certificate in InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop. Graduates from the welding program have the opportunity to earn the American Welding Society (AWS) Certification.

PTC has been offering the machining apprentice program since the mid 90’s. For students enrolled in the machining program, the machining program offers diverse hands-on opportunities to work with the latest CNC equipment beginning with the basics on manual lathes and mills. Training includes manufacturing, using safe and efficient work practices including shop math, layout, blueprint reading, and inspecting parts to blueprint specifications and tolerances, computer literacy and employability skills.
Students can earn the NIMS certified machinist apprenticeship, NIMS CNC set-up programmer—milling and turning apprenticeships, NIMS certified tool & die maker apprenticeship to name a few. The NIMS program is competency based which means completion of the program can be attained in as little as two years, or can take four years depending on the number of certifications a student chooses to earn. “The NIMS system affords maximum flexibility for trainees and employers alike.” The system enables trainees to advance at their own pace in defined career ladders throughout the metalworking industry. On the other hand, “using attained competencies in lieu of a rigid set of hours, employers are able to effectively monitor and measure progress and reward individual initiative” McClendon said.

Given its industry-driven career and technical programs, PTC has enjoyed a longstanding partnership with statewide organizations like FLATE that are committed to excellence in technician education and training. PTC participated on the planning committee that submitted the proposal to NSF for the FLATE Center, and provided input and support towards a very successful end result. “FLATE has done an outstanding job providing a means for all educational institutions to share, develop and leverage resources to meet the demands of the modern manufacturing employers of Florida” said McClendon. This partnership and support of educational partners like PTC has also enabled FLATE to formulate strategic outreach programs that showcase manufacturing and career pathways available to students across Florida. In 2016 PTC hosted an open house during Manufacturing Day/Month and has been doing so for the past few years. Pinellas Technical College’s Clearwater campus will also serve as the host site for the upcoming FLATE Industrial Advisory Committee meeting. Details about the upcoming meeting on January 19 are posted at

For more information on PTC’s manufacturing programs, apprenticeships and related industry certifications contact Director, Jake Prokop at and Assistant Director, Eric McClendon at ext. 2097, or visit For information on FLATE’s career and technical education resources visit the Made in Florida website at and FLATE’s Wiki at, or contact Executive Director of FLATE, Dr. Marilyn Barger at

Answer to sTEm-at-Work Puzzle #57: Special North Pole Edition

Analysis: Rudolf was playing pawball and bumped his nose. The elf biomedical tech made an LED based red nose glove and installed a red LED based on the information in the graph. Since the wave number is described in cycles per unit distance or (radians per unit distance.), the number of waves that exist in a specified distance means a high wave number value. This implies a lot of waves in that reference distance. For the same wave this also means a high number of wave cycles per unit time. Thus, wave number is directly proportional to frequency and LED-5-b-NP is the lowest frequency red light available. Unfortunately, recalling last year’s Rudolf dilemma, in order to meet the new FAA minimal glow reindeer drone specification, the other LED in the red frequency band, LED 5-z-NP, is the proper selection.

Question: From the 4 possibilities shown in the graph, which LED did the Tech select for Rudolf’s nose glove?

Answer: LED-5-z-NP    


NEWS FLASH! 2017 Robotics and Engineering Summer Camps

FLATE is offering several robotics and engineering camps for middle and high school students this summer. The five day camps are a challenging, but fun way for students to explore and learn about robotics and STEM in a high-tech manufacturing context. Each camp presents students with hands-on activities that are geared to develop real-world skills in programming, learning about 3D modeling and printing, and how each of these concepts are applied in everyday manufacturing operations.

Local camps in the Tampa Bay area will be held at the Engineering Tech Labs and FLATE offices at Hillsborough Community College in Brandon. Cost for the intro and intermediate camp is $175 per week; cost for the high school engineering and technology camp is $200 a week.

This year’s schedule and list of camps include:
June 12-16:                 Introductory EV3 Robotics Camp for Middle School GIRLS ONLY!
June 19-23:                 Introductory EV3 Robotics Camp for ALL Middle School students
June 26-30:                 Intermediate I EV3 Robotics Camp for ALL Middle School students
July 10-14:                  Intermediate II EV3 Robotics Camp for ALL Middle School students
July 17-21:                  Engineering Technology Camp I for High School Students
July 24-28:                  Engineering Technology Camp II for High School Students (New)

Scholarships are available for campers with preference given to girls enrolled in the All Girls camp. The Suncoast Credit Union Foundation is once again partnering with FLATE to provide scholarships for girls from low-income families to attend the All Girls camp. Thanks to a grant from Hillsborough County, scholarships are also available for students interested in enrolling in the high school camp. Students from low income families, and/or those participating in a free and reduced lunch program are eligible to apply for the high school camp scholarship. A camp T-shirt, company tour, supplies and curriculum will be provided for all students and is included in the registration fee. More information on the high school camps, applications and scholarship are posted online on the FLATE Camps website.

This year as in last year, FLATE will once again work closely with Hillsborough Community College to provide before and after care for campers who are interested in this option. FLATE is also working with HCC and Hillsborough County School District to provide free breakfast options for campers. More details for signing up for either/or option will be posted on the FLATE Campwebsite, so stay tuned. Interested in hosting your own Lego Mindstorm camp this summer? FLATE has published and posted its robot camp curriculum and its newly updated EV3 robotics camp guide. For more information visit the FLATE Made in Florida website for the summer camp curriculum, or the Best Practices page for the FLATE Robotics Camp Survival kit. Application forms, dates and additional details about the 2017 robotics camps will be posted shortly on the FLATE camps page at You can also contact Dr. Marilyn Barger at, and Janice Mukhia at  

DL Jamerson Elementary Hosts First K-5 STEAM Conference

DL Jamerson (DLJ) Elementary School in St. Petersburg, Fla., is recognized as a leader in elementary engineering education. The school prides itself in designing enriching and engaging curriculum that takes students on a “learning adventure” focused on applying key engineering skills that are critical to problem-solving and developing higher order thinking skills. Part of DLJ’s success can be attributed to its successful strategy in formulating industry-education partnerships with FLATE (the Florida-based National Science Foundation Regional Center of Excellence for technological education), the University of South Florida’s School of Engineering, IBM and local industry and professional organizations. These strategic alliances mark enhanced educational opportunities for students, and has enabled DLJ to position itself as a leader in STEM education.

To support some of its STEM based initiatives, D L Jamerson recently partnered with FLATE and Magnet Schools of America to host its FIRST STEAM Conference for K-5 teachers, school administrative leaders/administrators, district school choice leaders and college students. The idea, according to Lukas Hefty, Magnet Program Coordinator at the Center for Mathematics and Engineering, is to bring together elementary school administrators and educators from across Florida who are in the process of implementing engineering centric STEM content that integrates the language and performing arts into their programs. The initiative is also; supports DLJ’s annual engineering day and expo which is attended by numerous local/regional schools;, markets its successful magnet program and more importantly; builds a network of support for elementary educators.

This year's one day conference provided a sneak peek into DLJ’s K-5 engineering artifacts, student-led exhibits, and a schoolwide engineering design challenge. A total of 120 students, educators and administrators from nine school districts and five colleges and universities attended the conference. There were also representatives from private and charter schools. Conference presenters and speakers included faculty and administrators from DLJ as well as those from across the state. Some of the attention grabbing sessions included a presentation by Susan Carney, STEM Coach at Sutherland Elementary School. Carney’s presentation centered on a favorite childhood story about the “Three Billy Goats” and their attempts in building the best bridge from an engineering perspective. Margaret Giunta and Nichole LeGrant STEM teachers at DL Jamerson also built upon a similar theme of Goldilocks as an Engineer. Their presentation was geared to showcase how innovative curricula can be used to implement phenomena-based and question driven instruction.

Dr. Marilyn Barger and Dr. Richard Gilbert, Principal Investigators of FLATE, who have played a leading role in mentoring DLJ in formulating STEM-based curriculum since its inception, delivered the keynote address. Guided campus tours represented a unique highlight as it gave Conference attendees a chance to see “classrooms in action.” The Engineering 101 class, led by Dr. Gilbert and Dr. Barger also gave attendees a “small taste of the content knowledge needed for successful curriculum development starting at the elementary level” Hefty said.

DL Jamerson Elementary School shares a longstanding partnership with FLATE on various STEM projects. The school provides an exemplary and leading role in bringing industry/real-world experience into the classroom by inviting industry partners to tour the campus on a regular basis. Dr. Barger and Dr. Gilbert have provided and continue to provide professional development for DLJ teachers, including a full day workshop in 2015. “These workshops have been key in the development of teachers who are fairly new to our program” Lukas stated. Looking to the future, Lukas hopes to partner with FLATE in expanding DLJ’s community outreach through events like the STEAM Conference, USF Engineering Expo, and presentations at conferences and to industry partners.

Following the Conference, DLJ received overwhelming feedback from attendees. In a post event survey, 100% of respondents stated they would attend the next Conference in 2018. Approximately 90% rated the overall experience as excellent, with the remaining 10% rating it as very good. The highest rated breakout session was "Goldilocks, an Engineer?" One hundred percent of attendees rated the session as Excellent.

The next STEAM Conference is scheduled for May 10-11, 2018. Registration and requests for proposals will open in Fall 2017, so stay tuned, or contact Lukas Hefty at, and visit For information on FLATE’s STEM focused programs for K-14 students and educators visit and, or contact Dr. Marilyn Barger, Executive Director of FLATE at

Spring Sizzles with Local/Regional STEM Events

Spring is rife with STEM and robotics competitions for middle and high school students across the state. The competitions serve as hotspots for developing students’ interest and love for STEM and robotics, and also gives them a chance to work in teams and develop soft skills that are equally important in the current marketplace. Dr. Marilyn Barger, Executive Director of FLATE says the competitions serve as launch pads for students to develop and test their skills as they prepare for STEM based, and hopefully manufacturing related careers of the future. Barger notes, robotics, automated systems and their control are more and more important in the manufacturing industry. Students that get hooked on robotics can get good high wage jobs with the right training and education like the engineering technology programs at our Florida State and Community Colleges. Through the years FLATE has actively supported local/regional teams in various capacities to ensure as many students that want to get to participate.

Outlined below are a snapshot of upcoming events:

Season Kick Off
Organizational Overview
January 7
For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology. FIRST is an international youth organization, founded in 1989 that operates robotics competitions nationally and internationally. FIRST Robotics (FRC), is FIRST’s premiere robotics program for high school students
May 2017-18: May

Kick-off: September

FIRST Tech Challenge, FTC, is designed for students grades 7–12 to compete head to head, using a sports model. Teams are responsible for designing, building, and programming their robots in a 10-week build period to compete in an alliance format against other teams. 

Florida FTC Teams:
Season underway
FIRST® LEGO® League, one of four STEM-learning programs from FIRST®, immerses kids in real-world science and technology challenges. Teams of kids ages 9 to 14 are challenged to design their own solution to current scientific problems, then build LEGO® robots that perform autonomous "missions." In the process, they develop valuable life skills and discover exciting career possibilities in science and technology. They even discover that they, too, can make positive contributions to society.

or email:
Desh Bagley
FLL Junior League
Showcase discoveries at the Trinkle Center on January 28, and at LEGO Land on May 20, 2017.
FIRST LEGO League (FLL) junior program for kids K-4th

April 24
SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry representatives working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. SkillsUSA helps each student to excel. SkillsUSA is a national organization serving teachers and high school and college students who are preparing for careers in technical, skilled and service occupations, including health occupations and for further education. SkillsUSA was formerly known as VICA (the Vocational Industrial Clubs of America).
Technology Student Association is a national, non-profit organization of middle and high school students who are engaged in STEM. Almost 4,000,000 student members have participated through challenging competitions, leadership opportunities and community service.
Regional Science & STEM Fairs
Ongoing throughout Spring

The State Science and Engineering Fair of Florida is a three-day display of science project exhibits prepared by aspiring scientists and engineers in grades six through twelve. More than 900 Finalists display projects illustrating their research in competition of awards.

In addition to the regional/statewide robotics competitions, FLATE will also be hosting six robotics camps for middle and high school students this year. Details on dates and registration will be posted on the FLATE summer camps website, and also highlighted in a subsequent story in this edition of the FLATE Focus. For more information on the camps email Dr. Marilyn Barger, Executive Director of FLATE at and Janice Mukhia, Outreach/Project Manager at