From the Executive Director's Desk

The High Impact Technology Exchange (HI-TEC) conference is sponsored by a number of NSF ATE Centers, and will be held July 26-29 at the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate. FLATE and SpaceTEC are sponsoring a Florida welcome session featuring a broad array of high technology sectors with a panel of industry professionals from around the state. Additionally all Florida community and/or state colleges attending the conference will be displaying information on various high-tech programs available at each of the individual colleges, and will be a great opportunity to collaborate with our industry partners to showcase our signature programs to technician educators from across the country. In addition to this special session, there are many pre-conference tours, workshops, regular conference sessions as well as a technology showcase.

Florida faculty in high technology programs including –biotechnology, aerospace, optics and photonics, advanced manufacturing, nano and micro technologies, alternative and renewable energy systems, information technology, and others- have the opportunity to apply for a fellowship from FLATE. The deadline to apply has been extended to May 15. The fellowship includes full conference registration plus 2 nights at the conference hotel. Information can be found on the FLATE website ( I look forward to seeing many of you there.

On another note, thank you all for your ideas and suggestions in our recent FLATE Focus survey. You will experience some changes reflecting stakeholder input in this and future issues. We appreciate all of your input, and hope everyone feels free to send us comments and suggestions either as remarks on the FLATE Focus newsletter blog, or via email at

Congratulations also to all graduating students, including the CASS students graduating from the HCC Engineering Technology program. In this issue, you can learn more about this group, their studies, their preparation for summer internships, and plans for the future in their home countries in Central and South America. Read about our upcoming summer teacher camp, and if you are a teacher please consider joining this free professional development opportunity, or take advantage of other teacher resources highlighted in a video you can access from this newsletter. If you missed the ET Forum, a few highlights are captured on the sidebar.

The CASS Program at HCC: Shaping the Future of students from Latin America and the Caribbean

The Cooperative Association of States for Scholarships (CASS) program at Hillsborough Community College has been an effective vehicle in reaching out to gifted young adults from socio-economically challenged countries. The program is part of a federally funded initiative, and represents a joint effort between the United States Agency for International Development, Georgetown University’s Center for Intercultural Education in Washington, D.C., and several educational institutions across the country.

Mery Young, CASS project manager at HCC-Brandon says the program has played a defining role in “training international students in the United States to become effective leaders, and agents of change for development of their economy/community.” Besides giving them an opportunity to sharpen interpersonal, technical, professional, and leadership skills, the program has given CASS participants an opportunity to learn English, an extensive training in their chosen field of study, as well as experience participating in miscellaneous community, education and cultural programs.

Since the establishment of the program in 2001, the program has played a pivotal role in shaping the future of students from a number of countries like the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In 2008, HCC welcomed its newest batch of CASS scholars. This two-year program has also given students an opportunity to earn an internationally recognized, college credit certificate in Manufacturing Engineering Technology.

Ruth Navia and Sonia Matamors are among the group of 20 CASS students who are currently enrolled in the two-year engineering technology program developed by FLATE and offered at HCC-Brandon. To qualify for the program both Ruth and Sonia had to undergo a competitive process—a process which nevertheless, has given both students an opportunity to experience people from different cultures, and enlarge their network of acquaintances.

Ruth points to the CASS program as a key enabler in facilitating an opportunity to attend college. On a similar token, Sonia points to the scholarship as a vehicle to help her country in the long run. Besides their cultural experiences, both Ruth and Sonia are animated about their coursework. They state their curiosity to know “how stuff works” combined with their interest “to build things” is what endears them to manufacturing. Sonia is particularly interested in quality control. She “likes to check if all the processes are working, and if everything has been installed correctly.”

Given the interest of most students, classes are very hands-on, have a broad scope, and are geared to prepare them for entry-level careers in engineering technology. Students are introduced to a wide array of concepts that are highly applicable in today’s high-tech manufacturing environment. Ruth states the classes serve as a base for starting out in any career. “For example the hydraulics and pneumatics teach you how a machine works. Production and inventory control teaches you how to produce high quality products.” She points to lean and six sigma as the keys to the success of any organization. “They are the roots of any company, and can help identify any problem spots in the production process.”

As part of an effort to enrich their practical and theoretical knowledge, the final component of the CASS program requires students to participate in internships. Students are expected to complete a one-month internship at a local company in the greater Tampa bay area. Sonia says she would like to work for a textile manufacturer. Ruth on the other hand wants to work for a food production company like Pepsi or Coca Cola. She adds “I don’t want to make coffee over there. I want to work the machines and apply the skills that I have gained throughout the semester.”

For more information about the CASS program at HCC, contact CASS Project Manager Mery Young at 813.259.6594. For information on FLATE’s Engineering Technology degree visit, or contact Dr. Marilyn Barger at

sTEm-at-Work Puzzle #7: Electronic Systems Tech

The operational status of a robotic arm that does precision welding for Tampa Armature Company is evaluated by the relationship between the voltage applied across the arm's control circuit and the current that flows through that control circuit. In one part of the test procedure, the current signal and the voltage signal are supposed to be 45 degrees out of phase. The two signals are in phase when they go up and down together, and 180 degrees out of phase when one is at its maximum value and the other is at its lowest value. The cartoon below is an attempt to imitate the voltage and current signals measured during this part of the test procedure.

Is the robot arm operating as expected? (Yes or No). Submit your answers at

A “Summer Camp Style” In-Service Workshop for Teachers at Hillsborough Community College

FLATE has a number of resources designed for industry, students, and educators that are geared to equip the next generation of high-tech manufacturers. In keeping with its efforts to make a positive impact on the local and state level, FLATE is hosting a summer camp style in-service workshop exclusively for teachers.

This week-long, out-of-district event will be held June 28-July 1 at Hillsborough Community College in Brandon, and will focus primarily on STEM curriculum and resources. Educator exercises will combine face-to-face and online experiences that are targeted to develop a deeper understanding of manufacturing from the local-to-global perspective. During the workshop, participants will get an opportunity to explore and observe various facets of robotics, and gain insight on how it can be used within a classroom setting. Participants will be updated on latest technology applications, and get information on developing soft skills needed to operate in the diverse 21st century classroom. Moreover, teachers can add resources and content developed by engineers and curriculum experts to their teaching toolbox, as they explore STEM curriculum, links to nanotechnology, robotics, curriculum challenges and much more.

The workshop has a broad scope, and is set to provide a multitude of resources. Courses will be taught by leading experts in curriculum and instruction, engineering, and engineering technologies. Dr. Marie Boyette, associate director for FLATE says “the expectation is for teachers to gain additional tools that will allow them to effectively use and apply STEM concepts in school curriculum.” Upon successful completion of the workshop, teachers will receive a certificate, agenda, and syllabus to submit to their schools for credit. Teachers will also receive a copy of FLATE’s state-of-the-art “Toothpick Factory” teambuilding kit, online STEM learning objects, and access to lesson plans.

For more information, or to register for the workshop contact Dr. Marie Boyette at

The "New" MIF Challenges Video: A visual resource for educators

FLATE has designed and created a “new” video that captures pertinent information on curriculum and professional development resources for students and educators alike. The video highlights the “Made in Florida Learning Challenges” which are special activities and lesson plans designed to give students a real-world view of Florida’s high-tech manufacturers. Each challenge is complete with lessons plans, student handouts, career and education planning activities that are quick, easy, fun and effective way to get students thinking about career options in modern manufacturing.

Jodi Sutton, curriculum coordinator for FLATE says the video serves as a visual component in understanding the crux behind the MIF challenges. It also serves as an effective tool in providing teachers with activities that require students to use higher level of science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills. “Our goal is to make them fun, hands-on, and something students can relate to” Sutton said.

The MIF Learning Challenges are aligned with Florida’s Sunshine State Standards for Science, Mathematics and the curriculum framework for technology education. They are geared to sharpen students’ ability to work within a team environment, and is an extension of FLATE’s “Made in Florida” outreach campaign targeted to promote high-skill, high-wage technical careers in Florida. Since its implementation in 2006, the MIF challenges have been presented to over 200 teachers and educators across the nation, and have served as an “educational best-practices” model in several conferences.

For more information visit,, or contact Jodi Sutton at

Watch the Video