Round of Applause for Student Success from FLATE's Executive Director!

It’s hard to believe that summer is almost over. Here at FLATE we just completed five amazing weeks of  robotics camps at the Hillsborough Community College (HCC) Brandon campus, and three equally awesome weeks at the Institute of Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) in Ocala, captivating the minds and hearts of middle and high school students, and providing them with the tools they need to start building their dreams. We hope many of them will be STEM dreams and STEM futures. Some of those will eventually find their way into great jobs supporting manufacturing companies in Florida.

Regardless of their individual career choices, a STEM-oriented summer camp experience is a great place to start planting some of the seeds needed for student success. Encouraging and supporting exploration, creativity, perseverance, problem-solving strategic thinking, teamwork, and healthy competition in the context of “STEM technologies made friendly” is what FLATE’s robotics camps are all about. One smile, one “yes!” can melt hearts as well as tell us that we are on a right track. What could be better than this?

The foundation of student success can be fragile. It might start in a single class with a dynamite teacher, a meaningful mentor, nurturing family, inspiring role model, or personal drive. Our jobs, as “responsible” adults, parents and community leaders, are to try to provide as many opportunities for our children to be inspired and awed by something in the world they live in. We never know when, where, or what will be ‘the’ spark that’ll inspire them to reach for a strong, meaningful and healthy future. To that effect the camps gave each participant a chance by supporting their interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

In this issue of our FLATE Focus, we want to celebrate student success in just a few of its many forms: large or small, public or personal, individual or team-based. Each marks success and each one deserves our applause. Our Regional Manufacturers Associations (RMAs) support student success by raising money every year to support post-secondary education scholarships for students going into manufacturing career pathways. Fund-raising is not always easy, but these organizations—some big, some small—work very hard to support education. We applaud the RMAs along with their scholarship winners across the state in an article this month. The article highlights scholarship winners’ plans and dreams for their STEM futures that will support modern manufacturing in Florida. Graduation is a notable “success” milestone, and you can check in on two of our spring 2012 engineering technology degree graduates who are now ready and eager to go to work for our manufacturing stakeholders and partners.

We certainly celebrate our Florida high school students who have worked incredibly hard to earn their MSSC (Manufacturing Skill Standards Council) Certified Production Technician (CPT) credential. It’s an incredible feat for young high school students. It is also speaks volumes about their teachers who place high premium on this industry validated credential and have taken the extra time to prepare students for this success. The MSSC CPT—says out loud that they are “ready-for-work” in manufacturing companies. A big YES goes to their success.

On a smaller scale, we have over 100 middle and high school students “successfully” completing robotics challenges in FLATE summer camps. We are hoping that some of them discovered their spark and are now motivated to pursue a STEM career pathway. Switching gears, you can measure your own success by checking your answer to last month’s STEM puzzle. Were you successful? Regardless, no matter your geographical location, I’d like to thank all educators for encouraging and acknowledging student success.

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