FLATE Supports Advanced Technology & Manufacturing Career Awareness through STEM Fairs

The Florida Advanced Technological Education Center (FLATE) continues its longstanding commitment to supporting and stimulating student, teacher, and public interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). These student fairs and competitions encourage STEM hands-on explorations, creative thinking, engagement with industry professionals, and communication skills development. They provide an avenue for students to learn outside the more traditional classroom experiences which might be all they need to start a love for STEM.

This year, Danielly Orozco-Cole, Career and Technical Education Program Manager for FLATE, was part of the Tampa Bay Manufacturing Association (BAMA) team of volunteers who had the opportunity to review, interview, and judge some of the best engineering-manufacturing related K-12 projects during the Annual Pinellas and Hillsborough STEM Fair, held at the Countryside High School in Clearwater on February 4th and at the Tampa Convention Center on February 28th. During these events, more than 600 STEM professionals around the Tampa Bay area served as regional judges reviewing 1,000+ elementary-senior students’ projects.

FLATE thanks the sponsors as well as all judges and volunteers who assisted during the STEM Fair. Regional winners in middle and high school will compete in the State Science and Engineering Fair of Florida on April 4-6, 2023 at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland in Lakeland. Winners of the BAMA award will receive a certificate and cash prize at the Annual Awards Banquet on June 15th, 2023 at the Bryan Glazier JCC.

FLATE was also proud to participate again in the Florida Technology Student Association (TSA) state conference this year. The event was held on February 22-25, 2023, in Orlando, Florida. The TSA is a national organization of students engaged in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). The event showcase technology education programs, build confidence and provide extra-curricular and leadership skills for students. Thousands of students attended the conference. 

Ernie Friend, Executive Director of FLATE, had the opportunity to interact with many students’ parents and teachers at the event. It was amazing to see all the young Our appreciation goes out to all the parents and teachers who helped and encouraged their students to participate. This event truly highlights the state of Florida’s education system's effort to prepare our young people for high-paying careers. FLATE looks forward to attending and supporting the event next year. 

 TSA is always looking for volunteers to assist in event management and judging. Please consider attending next year if you are available by visiting their website at https://floridatsa.org.

For more information about FLATE and its educational resources to inspire the next generation of hi-tech skilled workforce, visit FLATE.org and MadeinFLorida.org.

North Florida College Helps Develop Manufacturing Career Pipeline through Lego Competitions

Bill Eustace, Program Instructor for North Florida College’s Certified Production Technology (CPT) Program, hosted the annual North Florida College (NFC) Robotics Camp for middle school students and the NFC Mechatronics Camp for high school students, where groups engage in hands-on learning of robotics and software programming. The camps end with a final competition of their completed robots. 

“Playful competitions like the LEGO event and the summer camps build student skills to explore related training and careers." -Eustace

On January 23, 2023, young contestants of the Suwannee River Regional Library LEGO Club Extravaganza were in a competition to be the first to build, program, and race LEGO Mindstorms EV3 robots. While fun was a major theme of this event, participants learned elements of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

“Toys like LEGOs can open doors to creative design thought,” said Eustace. “Fun and competitive experiences in subject areas such as STEM are the foundation to engineering and manufacturing.”

Students who decide to enter the workforce after completing the CPT program may quickly become Supervisors of Production, Industrial Production Managers, and more. CPT is also a building block for key NFC programs such as Industrial Machinery Maintenance coming Fall 2023.

For more information on the Certified Production Technology program or summer camps, contact Bill Eustace at 850-973-1670 or email eustaceb@nfc.edu.

North Florida College is a member of the Florida College System and accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. NFC proudly serves the distinct educational needs of its six-county district, including Hamilton, Jefferson, Lafayette, Madison, Suwannee and Taylor counties, and beyond. For more information on NFC, contact news@nfc.edu or call 850.973.1613.

Building Bridges to Healthcare with Hands-on Electronics Kits for Biomed

For years, Dr. Brian Bell, Biomedical Engineering Technology Faculty at St. Petersburg College, worked with students in engineering technology applied to healthcare. The field of study is called biomedical engineering technology. Recently, he has implemented new hands-on labs using electronics kits designed for students to learn how to:
  • Build biomedical devices
  • Test electronic circuits for healthcare environments
  • Learn about the applications of healthcare technology
Dr. Bell says, “these hands-on projects are the best way students are exploring technology, manufacturing, and engineering of healthcare devices”

First, students learn to the correct way to solder using video training https://youtu.be/6zKaAvYJZvA. Next students apply the concepts learned of heat, corrosion, and thermal conductivity to create a good solder joint.

St. Pete College students soldering their ECG Reader kit are able to learn a skill as they assemble a device that measures their hearts electrical activity. Finally, once students build and assemble their kit, they are able to analyze their own hearts electrocardiograph.

What students learn

 St. Pete College students learn about electrocardiography (ECG and by using the free educational resources from HTM workshop they learn how to connect patients to an electrocardiogram, set patient alarms, and identify common ECG artifacts. 

Students then have to answer questions about the electronics and the healthcare side of technology such as:
  • Describe one type of digital filter used in patient monitors and why.
  • Calculate the gain of the TLC272 by measuring the change in voltage between pins 1 and 6 on the chip.
In addition to building their own electrocardiography devices students get to create their own ECG simulator to test patient monitors and build on their electrical safety testing knowledge.

ECG Reader device assembled and connected to the computer. SPC students analyzing their own heart rate and simulated ECG waveforms using their assembled ECG Reader kit.

The ECG Simulator project was an excellent addition to the course” – Biomed Student

More information on the hands-on lab kits developed by Dr. Bell can be found at HTM-Workshop.com.  

CTE programs can generate knowledge and innovation to spark economic growth!

On February 1, 2023, Governor Ron DeSantis and Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. designated February as Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month. 

CTE serves as the backbone of a strong, well-educated workforce, offers lifelong learning opportunities, and contributes to Florida's leadership in the national and international marketplace. With the help of partners in education, business and industry, and trade associations, CTE prepares both youth and adults for a wide range of careers in the 21st-century economy, helping students experience the academic and technical skills required to be successful in today’s economy. These careers may require varying levels of education—from high school and postsecondary certificates to two- and four-year college degrees.

In Florida, secondary schools in all 67 school districts, 28 Florida colleges, and 48 technical colleges and centers offer high-quality CTE coursework, certifications, skills-based education, degrees. Currently, there are 17 career clusters throughout the state. The manufacturing career cluster incorporates six career pathways to include:

1) Production,

2) Manufacturing Production Process Development,

3) Maintenance, Installation & Repair,

4) Quality Assurance,

5) Logistics & Inventory Control, and

6) Health, Safety & Environmental Assurance.

With Florida’s Perkins V-Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century implementation plan, approved by the US. Department of Education in June 2020, Florida students have now, more than ever, the opportunity to participate in quality CTE programs.

FLATE with the support of the Florida Department of Educations and FloridaMakes continues to strengthen quality CTE programs, providing resources for educators, students, and industry. Educational resources are intended to increase students’ awareness of and interest in careers in the field of manufacturing. Resources are designed to engage students with fun, but real, hands-on scenarios relevant to manufacturers in Florida, integrating the academic and technical skills required in today’s high-technology manufacturing.

For more information about educational resources visit FLATE.orgMadeinFlorida.org, and FLDOE.org/CareerTechEdu.