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.

Engineering Technology Degree Lays Pathway for High School Students to Get Industry Certified

Industry certifications occupy an important role in validating relevant skills-set of employees across various industries. The Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC) is an industry-led, training, assessment and certification system focused on core skills and knowledge needed by the nation’s front-line production workers (Source: MSSC USA). FLATE recognizes the importance of industry aligned programs, and has embedded the MSSC Certified Production Technician (CPT) certification as part of the technical core for the two year A.S./A.A.S degree in engineering technology (ET).

The FLATE-created ET degree has served as a vehicle for students as well as incumbent workers across Florida to get industry certified. Since the implementation of the ET degree in 2007, 461 high school and technical school students, as well as community college and incumbent workers have been MSSC certified. Additionally, between 2011-2012, ninety three students at Lakewood Ranch High School (LRHS) in Bradenton, FL, took at least one of the modules of the MSSC Certification test. Out of the 93 students, 79 students earned at least one certification in either safety, or manufacturing; 64 students earned at least one certification in safety and manufacturing; 64 students earned at least two certifications in safety and manufacturing. Thirteen students took all four tests, passed it and earned their CPT certification.

Michelle Todoroff, career advisor and industry certification coordinator at LRHS says “industry certifications not only help prepare students for careers,” but also add an additional skill set to a student’s resume which ultimately makes him/her more marketable. To date 30 LRHS students have taken all four MSSC modules. Out of these, 15 (two in 2011; 13 in 2012) have earned their CPT certification.

Marion Technical Institute (MTI) in Ocala, FL is yet another high school that offers MSSC CPT to its
 students. To date, 150 students enrolled in the Production Design Academy have attempted at least one module of the MSSC CPT certification. Most have passed the safety module, with four earning their MSSC CPT certification in 2011-2012, and five more students expected to earn their CPT next year. Dale Toney, production and design teacher at MTI says “these certifications are huge for secondary students as it puts them in a really advantageous position of having college credits right out of high school.”

Other high schools in Florida that have taken the lead on getting students industry certified include Manatee Technical Institute in Bradenton (MATI), East Lake High School (ELHS) in Tarpon Springs, and Treasure Coast High (TCHS) School in Port St. Lucie. To date, 91 students from MATI, 29 from TCHS and 13 from ELHS have earned their MSSC CPT certification. Given the considerable edge it gives to high school students, the MSSC certification has the potential to certify millions of production workers with industry recognized standards/credentials. Under this system, new and incumbent workers who pass the four manufacturing-related modules (manufacturing processes and production; quality assurance; maintenance awareness, and safety) can be awarded the CPT certification.

The MSSC CPT certification is also embedded into the FLATE-created engineering technology A.S./A.A.S technical core that allows students to earn 18 credit hours that can be applied towards a four year degree in engineering technology. The certification combined with FLATE’s ET degree and Automation Production Technician program for high school students ensures Florida has a high-skilled workforce prepared to work in advanced manufacturing and high-tech industries. For more information on MSSC certification and/or FLATE’s ET degree contact Dr. Marilyn Barger, executive director of FLATE at 813.259.6578/ You can also visit, and

Regional Manufacturers Association Scholarships Support Student Success & Technician Education in Florida

Regional Manufacturers Associations (RMAs) play a vital role in supporting postsecondary education and technical training in Florida. Each year RMAs across Florida award numerous scholarships to outstanding high school and college students whose summer are defined by at least two big successes—graduating from high school and winning a RMA scholarship. Indeed, RMA scholarships have gone a long way in helping students like Danielle Marie Larson realize their ambitions and dream to succeed.

Larson was the recipient of the 2012 Bay Area Manufacturers Association (BAMA) scholarship. Larson who recently graduated from Dunedin High School in Pinellas County with a 3.7 GPA says she is “no longer skeptical to pursue an engineering degree at the University of Florida due to financial reasons.” She was chosen from a pool of 20 applicants, and is planning to pursue a degree in biomedical engineering at the University of Florida.

For over 20 years, BAMA has provided scholarships to local high school seniors continuing their education  in a manufacturing related field. In addition to the $1000 scholarship awarded to Larson, as part of its partnership with FLATE, the National Science Foundation Center of Excellence at Hillsborough Community College in Brandon, BAMA gave another $1,500 to support FLATE’s state-of-the-art robotics camp for middle and high school students. Cliff Csulik, director at Jabil Circuit and president of BAMA says the organization “takes pride in supporting quality educational and STEM based programs” that strengthen its commitment to manufacturing across the state.

South Florida Manufacturers Association (SFMA) is yet another RMA that remains committed to supporting student success. The organization currently serves as a leading advocate for manufacturing initiatives in Broward, Dade, Palm Beach, Indian River, Monroe and Okeechobee counties in Florida, and is dedicated to promoting growth and success of manufacturing in its targeted region. SFMA recently awarded scholarships to three high school students, Adam Garey, Jessica Wilbo and Devin Brown, to pursue higher education at Florida State University.

Brown, Garey and Wilbo are high achievers, and beacons of academic achievement. Brown who is a resident of Hollywood, FL holds a current GPA of 4.48, received high honor roll, and was part of the national honors society throughout his junior and senior years in high school. Adam is an Eagle Scout, a member of the National Technical Honor Soceity, and a 2012 Communications Pathfinder nominee. Jessica Wilbor too has maintained a high GPA throughout her term in high school, and is member of several honors societies that include the Entrepreneurial Business Academy, the Spanish River High School National Business Honor Society, and DECA Business Program. She served as president of “No Place for Hate” club for two consecutive years, and was part of the girls varsity lacrosse team.

Scholarships continue making a positive impact in the lives of students across the nation, and serve as an effective mechanism in capturing fresh talent. The award amount, criteria and number of scholarships varies by each institution, nevertheless, to a large extent, is determined by candidates’ interest in pursuing a technical and/or manufacturing related program. Other RMAs who will tentatively be offering scholarships and/or announcing winners in the coming academic year include the Sarasota Manatee Manufacturers Association and the Marion Regional Manufacturers Association.

For more information on scholarships, deadline, criteria for application visit, contact an RMA in your area, or contact Dr. Marilyn Barger, executive director of FLATE at

Puzzle #29 (Answer): Vapor Composition Mixtures of Two Secret Perfume Liquids

Points for discussion

The mixture of two pure liquids creates a third liquid as well as a unique vapor that is generated by that liquid. These binary liquid diagrams are great for really showing students how to read multiple information graphs. The common error when reading this diagram is the presumption that the answer is obtained at the ordinate value intersection with the abscissa at 50%. The actual vapor content is obtained by reading up at 50 % “Essence of Pearl” line until it intersects with the Bubble-point curve for the boiling point of that mixture and then read along the horizontal line at that temperature to determine the % “Essence of Pearl” in the vapor about that boiling liquid mixture at the Dew-point curve intersection. This puzzle is a great way to end a discussion about mole fractions of mixtures. It is also a way to emphasis that just because the liquid is 50% of each of its two liquid components, the vapor of that mixture is not also 50% of each component. The fact that a liquid mixture can be 50% of each type of liquid but the vapor has much more of one of the liquids molecules is a hard idea for students to accept but a critical concept in understanding distillation.

1) A boiling liquid made from a 50% mixture of both liquid ingredient produced a perfume that has a vapor that contains 50% “Essence of Skunk” and 50% “Essence of Pearl”. Answer: NO

Engineering Technology Degree: A Powerhouse in Preparing Students for High-Tech Careers

The statewide, award-winning A.S. degree in engineering technology (ET) has been a key player in educating the next generation of high-skilled workers, and in supporting Florida’s growing need for a high-tech manufacturing workforce. The ET degree is a cohesive, comprehensive program that offers a variety of technical specializations to support a wide range of industries. Its common technical core aligns with the national Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC) Certified Production Technician (CPT) certification, and is one of the components in the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) endorsed Stackable Certification System.

Given its industry centric focus, the ET degree is considered a powerhouse in equipping students with
educational tools that ensure their success in high-tech career fields. Burton Bellamy, who recently earned an A.S. degree in engineering technology from Hillsborough Community College says he really enjoyed the program. He says the program made him a “strong contender while looking for an engineering-related job.” Bellamy currently works at Doosan Hydro Technology a global company based in Tampa, Fl specializing in water purification systems and related infrastructure services. Bellamy sees a direct correlation between what he learned in school and what he does at work on a daily basis. “The degree has helped me in so many areas” Bellamy said. For example, the materials class helped him decide “what type of materials to use for certain parts,” the measurements and instrumentations class helped in the precision of parts, while his training on the PLC machines he says helped him design and operate programs that “ultimately contributes to making a better final product.”

Bellamy is not alone in reaping benefits from the engineering technology program. Emilio Sanchez, another graduate who earned his A.S. degree in engineering technology in May 2012 says the program has greatly helped him improve his chances for a better life. Sanchez who is currently serving in the coast guard says the ET degree has given him the building blocks, or the tools to help him find a job. He says his favorite part of the program was also the PLC station where he learned how to write and design codes to operate machines. Sanchez views engineering as a puzzle where there is always something that needs to be taken apart, or put together. “Problem solving is never tedious, it’s always fun” says Sanchez. “The job opportunities that are available upon graduation are exciting as it opens all sorts of doors.” With an A.S. degree in engineering technology in hand, Emilio has recently started his new assignment for the United States Coast Guard in New Jersey where he will work as a technician on many of their fleet vessels.

The Engineering Technology degree program was developed by the Florida Advanced Technological Education (FLATE) Center with close partnership with the Florida Department of Education Division of Workforce Education, and community colleges and industries across the state. All ET Associate in Science (A.S.) degree holders can transfer seamlessly to a number of Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.S.) degrees offered in Florida’s universities, state and community colleges, and articulate to the B.S.A.S. in operations management at University of South Florida Polytechnic in Lakeland, FL. The degree is also a gateway to post baccalaureate degrees, and is currently offered in 13 community and state colleges across Florida.

You can watch a short video about Emilio and read about other ET students across the state at For more information on the ET degree, or information on establishing articulation agreement contact Dr. Marilyn Barger, P.I. and executive director of FLATE at, or visit

Watch Emilio's Journey to Success

Beth Shields Middle School Students Get a Taste of Renewable Energy Technologies

Search and research for renewable and alternative energy sources are at an all-time high. Now more than ever there is a widespread need not only to educate, but be educated about renewable and alternate energy sources, and its long term impact on our environment. As part a coalition to help Florida meet its 2020 energy strategy, FLATE—the National Science Foundation Regional Center of Excellence in high-tech Manufacturing—has developed a number of initiatives to educate and train students as well as educators at the local level about energy production and consumption.

Most recently, FLATE in conjunction with Hillsborough Community College South Shore campus in Ruskin, FL, hosted its second energy camp. During the camp, 25 students from Beth Shields Middle School in Ruskin, currently enrolled in Hillsborough County’s AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program learned about renewable energy technologies and its application in our everyday lives. Students learned about fossil fuels, their environmental impact, and the science of electricity generation. They also learned about solar cells, solar thermal energy, wind energy, environmental care, fuel-cells, home efficiency and ocean energy.

According to Nina Stokes, camp coordinator and project manager for FESC (Florida Energy Systems Consortium) “the activities brought complex concepts to life in a fun and exciting way, and helped campers get excited about science, technology, engineering and mathematics.” Hands-on activities included constructing and testing windmills for electricity generation, building solar cookers and hydrogen fuel cars. . The activities were fun, yet challenging, and were geared to enable students to make real-life connections. “As the production of renewable energy continues to grow, camps like this help educate tomorrow’s citizens about issues that will directly impact them/their environment in the future" Stokes said

Indeed, campers as well as educators raved about their experience. Nearly 70% of the campers strongly agreed they liked the camp, and 75% strongly agreed they learned new things about energy at the camp. "I like science," said Emely Ramirez. She added "we get to make things that help us understand better. It's interesting and makes me think I might want to be a scientist." Brian Sanchez, another camper agreed. He said he likes technology as it is something that will prepare him for college.

FLATE’s energy camp is part of a network of energy camps that were offered simultaneously at Tallahassee Community College, Florida State College at Jacksonville, and Brevard Community College. The camps were made possible through a partnership between FLATE and FESC which is a consortium of Florida universities established by the Florida Legislature. FLATE and FESC also collaborated with the National Science Foundation-funded Energy Systems Technology Technicians (EST²) project team to design a new specialization for the engineering technology degree and associated college credit certificate. The EST² project team comprised of individuals from Brevard Community College, Florida State College at Jacksonville, Tallahassee Community College and Hillsborough Community College.

Dr. Marilyn Barger, executive director of FLATE says “FLATE’s partnership with FESC is part of a statewide initiative to support industries in the existing and emerging energy sectors by defining the knowledge and skills required for their technician workforce.” With support from industry and partnerships with the Florida Department of Education, and the Banner Centers for Energy, Alternative Energy, Manufacturing and Construction, Barger hopes “to build a comprehensive and cohesive educational and industry pathway that will lay down Florida’s future in renewable energy.” For more information on the energy camp contact Nina Stokes at 813.259.6587/, or view a news clip of the camp that was aired on Bay News 9 in Tampa, FL. For information on FESC contact Dr. Marilyn Barger at 813.259.6578/

Watch a news clip about FLATE's energy camp that was part of the evening news cast on Bay News 9

Time to Nominate an Educator or Industry Partner for a FLATE Award is NOW!

Time is running out for you to nominate someone for a 2012 FLATE award. August 31 is the deadline for all nominations. Every year we present awards to two of our Florida’s best teachers that support manufacturing. The third award recognizes an outstanding industry partners for their role in supporting a manufacturing related program.

Here is the line up again:

• Secondary educator of the year

• Post-secondary educator of the year

• Distinguished Industry Partner of the Year

Check out all of the FLATE award winners since 2007 at I am sure many of you know someone who would make a good candidate for one of the awards – so nominate someone today. A single nomination form is used for all three categories. It requires award category selection, contact information for the nominee, nominator and two references to verify the nominee. You also have to submit a 200-word statement outlining the reasons why the nominee deserves to be selected. The nomination form is simple and takes only a couple minutes. Remember they cannot win, if you do not take time to nominate!

AWARD NOMINATION and form can be found at

Winners in all three categories are selected by FLATE’s Industrial Advisory Committee awards committee in September. Winners will be recognized during the President’s Awards Banquet at the annual MAF Summit & Global Marketplace in December. Student success is often the result of great teachers working with great industry partners. Help us celebrate Florida educators who are making a difference in manufacturing education.