Making Real-Life Connections with the World of Renewable Energy

FLATE (Florida Advanced Technological Education Center) in conjunction with Hillsborough Community College (HCC) south shore campus is organizing its third, annual summer energy camp. The camp will be held July 8-11 at HCC-South Shore Campus in Ruskin, FL. During the camp, 25 students from Beth Shields Middle School in Ruskin, currently enrolled in Hillsborough County’s AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program, will participate in fun, yet challenging, hands-on activities targeted to make real-life connections to the world of renewable energy. Students will engage in a variety of hands-on activities that will introduce them to energy concepts including fossil fuels, their environmental impact, and the science of electricity generation. They will also learn about solar cells, wind energy, environmental care, fuel-cells, home efficiency and ocean energy.

FLATE’s energy camp is part of a network of energy camps being offered simultaneously at Tallahassee Community College, Florida State College at Jacksonville, and Brevard Community College. Nina Stokes, camp coordinator and project manager for FESC (Florida Energy Systems Consortium) says "the camps focus on fun, yet challenging, hands-on activities that enable students to make real-life connections to world of renewable energy technologies.” Stokes says “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."

The energy camps are made possible through a partnership between FLATE, HCC, the University of South Florida and FESC (Florida Energy Systems Consortium) which is a consortium of Florida universities established by the Florida Legislature. FLATE and FESC have worked in collaboration 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 in alternate/renewable energy. The EST² project team comprises 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, Barger hopes “to build a comprehensive and cohesive educational and industry pathway for Florida’s new energy.” For more information on the energy camp contact Nina Stokes at 813.259.6587/ For information on FESC contact Dr. Marilyn Barger at 813.259.6578/, or visit

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