From the Executive Director's Desk: Become a Mentor. Join the Million Women Mentors Initiative

Million Women Mentors (MWM) is a collaboration of more than 58 partners, 30 sponsors with 30+ state leadership teams.The Million
Photo Courtesy: Muller Elem Magnet (Twitter Feed)
Women Mentors Leadership Council is chaired by Cisco, PepsiCo, Sodexo, and Tata Consultancy Services. To date, over 300,000 pledges to mentor girls and women in STEM have been made on their website ( The program is reaching over 30 million girls and women across the U. S. MWM supports the engagement of one million science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) mentors (male and female) to increase the interest and confidence of girls and women to persist and succeed in STEM programs and careers.

In August, Florida joined the ranks of the leadership teams when Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS) pledged to mentor 500 young girls in the district schools. The plan is to mentor five girls at the 100 schools who signed up to support the project. Each Tampa mentor will spend 20 hours with its mentee/s either in person at the school, online, or however they work out.  Other recommended methods of mentoring include paid internships and apprenticeships, workplace mentoring at a company, and through sponsorships. Anyone interested in mentoring can connect through the MWM web portal directly with a MWM partner including HCPS. It’s simple to sign up and simple to report your effort. One volunteer mentor at a time, HCPS hopes to start changing lives of young girls and women by providing guidance, examples, experience, and enthusiasm for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Mentoring can help build confidence in young women to know their capabilities and be proud and strong so they will persist in careers that are often male-dominated.

MWM, together with the Manufacturing Institute’s STEP Ahead Award program (Science, Technology, Engineering and Production) are
Photo Courtesy: MWM Facebook Page
just two of many important programs
focused on improving the numbers of women in STEM careers. Both use role models as a key ingredient and both are founded on building community, and building relationships. FLATE strongly supports both programs by encouraging companies to nominate their female employee(s) for the STEP Ahead awards, celebrating those Florida STEP awardees, providing its own resources for supporting girls in STEM, and encouraging all its stakeholders, male and female, young and old to be engaged in these, highly visible ongoing programs that provide young girls encouragement and confidence to pursue the rewarding careers and lifestyles of STEM professionals.

Sign up to become a mentor at, or email Dr. Marilyn Barger at and Julie Kantor at

I now invite you to read the rest of the stories in the September edition of the FLATE Focus. This edition is heavily focused on our statewide efforts and engagement with Manufacturing Day 2015. Do read the story and get involved in whatever way you can. In this edition we also highlight some of our partners’ and their successes in different capacities….do reach out and send them your kudos too. To wrap up 2015 summer robotics camp season, we also have a story about the statewide camps that took place earlier this summer and the impact it had on all the campers across the state.

These and many more stories in this edition of the FLATE Focus. Send us your thoughts, comments, questions at, or tweet us @Made_InFlorida using the official hastag of the month #MFGday2015.

Florida Plans for the Biggest Manufacturing DAY/Month Celebration in October

FLATE, the Florida-based, National Science Foundation Regional Center of Excellence in Manufacturing, and its statewide partners 
that include Regional Manufacturers Associations (RMAs), Florida TRADE, and the Manufacturers Association of Florida  are working together to plan for the biggest Manufacturing DAY/Manufacturing Month ever which will kick start on October 2. As part of the fourth, annual Manufacturing Day/Month celebrations, FLATE along with its network of statewide partners will launch a multi-faceted, statewide outreach campaign that is poised to once again position Florida as a national leader for hosting and organizing Manufacturing Day industry tours and events. As part of this effort, middle and high school students and educators across Florida will participate in Made in Florida industry tours that are designed to showcase, educate and heighten students’, educators’ and the community’s knowledge about educational opportunities and high-skill careers in high-tech manufacturing.

Majority of the Made in Florida industry tours for Manufacturing Day will take place across Florida on October 2 with additional industry tours planned throughout October. Additionally, FLATE will once again take the lead in surveying statewide industry hosts, educators and students who participate in the Made in Florida industry tours. Post event survey results will be tabulated by FLATE and shared with statewide partners and stakeholders. FLATE will also help connect regional groups together, and will design as well as distribute shirts, provide educator resources, write/publish/distribute and report on MFG Day/month related news, and compile all student, educator, host survey data.

There are several ways and opportunities for industry, RMAs, school districts, educators, students and the community to get involved/engaged in #MFGDay2015. Typically, school districts provide bus transportation; identify programs/classes to attend tours. Regional Manufacturers Associations (RMAs) recruit companies to host student tours on MFG DAY (Oct 2, 2015), or any day in October. Either the school district, or the RMAs, or both – assign schools to tour hosts; set bus schedules; align communications between schools, companies, buses. Local manufacturers host tours and/or provide lunch. Organizations, companies, community groups, individuals, friends of manufacturing etc. help sponsor student MFG DAY t-shirts. To purchase a 2015 Manufacturing Day T Shirt email Dr. Marilyn Barger at, or visit

Dr. Marilyn Barger, executive director of FLATE says Manufacturing Day 2015 is geared to stir interest and/or change perceptions 
about manufacturing on a national level, and also build in-roads and sustainable partnerships between manufacturers, RMAs, educators, and students. FLATE’s strategy has successfully and consistently placed Florida at the top spot for hosting/coordinating Manufacturing Day events in the nation. “The Center’s ongoing efforts have focused on leveraging the promotion of the national organization and its efforts through best practices implemented in Florida, and create a common platform that has encouraged a steady increase in statewide participation for Manufacturing Day” said Barger.  FLATE hopes the initiative will serve as a vehicle in educating students, educators and the community about high-tech manufacturing/STEM-related careers, and also boost the overall effectiveness of Manufacturing Day through “Made in Florida” industry tours.

Anyone interested in participating in MFG Day/Month activities can contact FLATE directly and/or the regional manufacturers association. For information on regionally coordinated Manufacturing Day 2015 news and events, visit the Made in Florida page at and the Manufacturing Month page on the Manufacturers Association of Florida Center for Advanced Manufacturing Excellence website. For information on national manufacturing day events and tours visit You can also email Dr. Marilyn Barger, executive director of FLATE at  and Nina Stokes, FLATE project manager at . For press related information/coverage contact Janice Mukhia, communications manager for FLATE at and Amanda Bowen, director of communications for MAF at

Statewide Industry Tours & Events Planned for 2015 Manufacturing Day/Month

Manufacturing Day is set to make a prominent mark in state and national headlines, with Florida once again poised to take the lead in
organizing and hosting Manufacturing Day/Month events in the country. Starting October 1, 2015, students, parents, teachers are set to tour high-tech industry sites across Florida as part of “Made in Florida” industry tours for 2015 Manufacturing Day/Month. Counties across the state are also set to issue proclamations marking October 1 & 2 as the official kick-off dates for 2015 Manufacturing Day/Month. Additionally, several colleges and manufacturers will be hosting open houses on site, with screening of the “Made in Florida” video and other statewide events planned to celebrate manufacturing across Florida. Indeed Manufacturing Day/Month is sure to impact Florida in a big way!

This year FLATE and its statewide partners, that include the Manufacturers Association of Florida, Florida TRADE and Regional Manufacturers Associations, are taking the lead in hosting Manufacturing Day/Month events. FLATE’s manufacturing day strategy and cohesive partnerships with regional organizations across the state have successfully helped build an effective model that has made a positive impact on a state/national level. It has enabled greater involvement and statewide participation, and has empowered regional manufacturers associations to take a leading role in implementing a customized, regional strategy for manufacturing day/month. It has also helped strengthen industry-education ties that are a critical component in enhancing workforce education on a statewide level.

2015 sets a new precedent for Florida in once again assuming a leading role in the sheer volume and statewide participation in hosting manufacturing day/month events. Outlined below is an in-depth list of industry tours that have been finalized so far, with many regions still in the process of setting up their “Made in Florida” tours for Manufacturing Day/Month. FLATE will be updating this list on the new Manufacturing Day website at and on the Made in Florida site at So stay tuned about news and updates on tours and events in your region!

Following up on the successful model that FLATE has established over the years, FLATE will once again take the lead in surveying statewide industry hosts, educators and students who participate in this year’s “Made in Florida” industry tours for 2015 Manufacturing Day/Month. Post event surveys will be tabulated by FLATE and shared with statewide partners and stakeholders. FLATE will also help connect regional groups together, and will design/distribute shirts, provide educator resources, write/publish/distribute and report on MFG Day/month related news, and compile all student, educator, host survey data. FLATE will also work with regional partners to help connect schools with companies, and has compiled a complete press kit that regional partners can use as part of their media relations/outreach strategy.

To support students’ and educators’ learning and engagement in manufacturing, FLATE has also developed an extensive array of
resources specifically designed for educators to use as part of the Manufacturing Day/Month curriculum. These comprehensive resources are lesson plans that provide a quick overview of “what is manufacturing?” and can be taught as one-day lesson plans, or as in-depth, multi-day lessons that merge manufacturing-related technical content with the language skills of common core. There is even a 2015 Manufacturing Day in Florida poster that teachers can use as a curriculum tool and/or to decorate their classroom. To access these resources, visit the FLATE’s Wiki at: and

If you would like to be connected with a regional manufacturers’ association to discuss additional outreach activities for students in your community, contact Dr. Marilyn Barger at, or visit For information on tours for Hillsborough & Pinellas counties contact Nina Stokes, FLATE project manager at For tours in Sarasota and Manatee counties and “Made in Florida” lesson plans for manufacturing day contact Danielly Orozco, FLATE curriculum coordinator at

Robotics Camps Opens Pathways for Students Across Florida to Explore STEM and Robotics

Summer camp season may have concluded, but we still have some exciting highlights to report on from camps that were held across the state earlier this summer. This year as in the past few years a number of schools and organizations partnered with FLATE to once again offer invigorating robotics camps to middle and high school students across Florida.  Robotics camps were held at the: Florida Institute for Human & Machine Cognition located in Ocala; Palm Beach State College in Palm Beach, FLL, and Lake Sumter State College in Leesburg, FL. Each of these camps were modeled after FLATE’s robotics camps and served as a mechanism to reach out to a broader range of students across the state. The camps also proved to be a sustainable and effective mechanism to get middle and high school aged students from all socio-economic backgrounds interested in STEM and robotics education and related career pathways.

It was the first time Lake Sumter State College (LSSC) offered an engineering robotics camp for middle and high school students. A total
of 19 students (15 male, 4 female) from five schools attended the three week camp at LSSC. The students were in grades six to twelve, and were from Leesburg High School, Carver and Oak Park middle schools, Lake Preparatory Academy, including some who are homeschooled. Sara Corvill, STEM program manager at LSSC who took a leading role in hosting the camp said the overarching idea for the camps was to provide students “a space to cultivate a deeper interest in robotics and engineering for the youth in the community” and also to “provide an avenue for students to gain knowledge/confidence in designing, building and programming a robot.”

During the three week camp students were paired into groups of two and four, and received an overview of the design process of a VEX robot. “We wanted students to have an unforgettable experience—one that would open their eyes to possible careers they could pursue in future” said Corvill.  Each group received an Engineering Notebook where they documented the design process, and learned how to build and program the robot to solve challenges in the design competition. Corvill hopes this experience at the camp will inspire students to gain more knowledge about robotics, learn the value/importance of teamwork and how local colleges like LSSC can help students get started on their higher education pursuits.

In addition to the camp at LSSC, Withlacoochee Technical College (WTC) also partnered with FLATE to offer two introductory level robotics camp. This was the second year WTC offered the camps, one of which was an ‘All Girls’ camp. Laurie Newkirk, automation &
production technology instructor at WTC, who served as the director said the camps allowed students to build, program and operate robots, but more importantly gave them, especially the girls, “an opportunity to engage in hands-on STEM activities and projects led by women working in the STEM field.” Newkirk hopes the camps will expand and increase students’ interest in STEM and its applications in high-tech manufacturing. “There was a bit of fear and reluctance when we first started building & programming the robots,” but soon many were ready to start challenges and even went above and beyond the scope of the lesson plans and challenges, said Newkirk. 

As is the case with both onsite and offsite robotics camps, camp  challenges are deemed the most fun part of their overall experience by students’ as they got to work on hands-on projects, explore their creativity and apply their knowledge and skills in real-world settings. At WTC the most fun part of the camp was the bumper challenge whereby bumpers were placed on the front and rear of the robots, with students being challenged to knock down as many as bottles as possible. Both teachers and students brainstormed ideas on designing the track and placement of bottles/objects for the robot to knock down. “The participants enjoyed the activity” said Newkirk, as they also got to design and make their own cell phone accessory, create a marketing presentation, and present their ideas to fellow campers and their parents. They also enjoyed using the joystick to maneuver the robot through a course in an effort to deliver their product to the customer as quickly as possible.

All camp hosts hope to offer similar camps next year and perhaps even expand it. WTC hopes to offer more weeks of camp and an advanced camp in 2016 for students who attended this summer. Newkirk also hopes to expand the partnership with FLATE to include ideas for camp activities, assistance with media coverage and possible funding assistance.

For more information on these camps visit, or email Dr. Marilyn Barger, executive director of FLATE at

Answer to sTEm–at-Work #50: Membrane Technology Decision

A technician is involved with the purification step for a drug that uses a membrane to separate the drug from its reaction by-products. The tech understands that the separation is diffusion driven. Thus, after the tech installs the equipment and it begins to operate she knows there will be no drug in the pure liquid at the instant the equipment is turned on.  The process has a sensor in the pure liquid that only monitors the increase in the number of drug molecules as a function of time.  The tech observed the data shown (in the graph below) immediately after the equipment was turned on for the first time.

Usually, the puzzles have a clear yes, or no answer expectation. This is one puzzle that someone can have a Yes answer if the values on the time axis (puzzles usually do not have values on either axis to drive students into "bigger picture" thought processes) are in hours, then a yes argument can be made. However, if we assign a shorter time frame, then the concentration went up way too fast. (There was a hole, or holes in the membrane, or it was not installed properly are better explanations why the "Amount of drug in the pure liquid" is so high so quickly.)  Either way, this a good example of a class time closer where a quick discussion can set the stage to think both ways.                                             

Question: Did the Tech allow the equipment to keep running.  Yes or NO                                                                                                                                                 
Answer: NO

Persistence Pays: D L Jamerson Elementary School’s Road to Success

FLATE would like to share an impressive engineering technology curriculum success story right here in Tampa Bay.  D. L. Jamerson, Jr. Elementary School (DLJ) in St. Petersburg, FL, opened its doors in 2004 as a U.S. Department of Education neighborhood Magnet School Center for Mathematics and Engineering. The core teachers and school leadership met regularly for six months prior to opening in the fall of 2004 working hard to define their engineering theme and its total integration into every part of the school: the kindergarten classroom, the media center, to the PE fields, the music and art rooms, and, of course, the engineering science lab. With funding from their magnet program grant, the DLJ community went to work designing and developing its integrated curriculum, developing its on-campus outside classrooms, building partnerships and traditions, and screaming the theme of “engineering is everywhere.” Big hurdles for implementation included: the lack of engineering and strong math backgrounds of the teachers; recruiting students from outside the neighborhood; finding the right materials to support the elementary engineering challenges; building laboratory capacity, and learning how to integrate language, math, social sciences, reading with the engineering projects. 
However, we all knew it should work.  Learning in a non-competitive, hands-on contextualized environment is a positive experience for students of all ages.  The total integration of the K-5 curriculum and strong alignment between grade levels are key elements of Jamerson’s students’ success.  What success?  It's amazing – just take a look!  
 (Note a Level 5 score means the student is performing two levels above their current grade level)
Why do these 5th grade science scores speak to the success of the DLJ integrated engineering education approach?  Science requires both verbal and mathematical skills as well as creative thinking. Linking an engineering challenge to the underlying science and math concepts that govern the principles behind that challenge help students “own” the whole concept—including the math.  Add in the practical aspect that “things don’t always work right so we have to ‘redo’,” using the best of what is available to fix something, starts students down the road to logical thinking, systematic and orderly troubleshooting and defining root causes.  And best of all – it’s habit forming!

Students use the same Jamerson created Engineering Design Process (Plan, Design, Check and Share) from the first day of kindergarten through the last days of 5th grade.  This approach provides a stable problem solving strategy that students can continue to use with deeper and more complex interpretations as their knowledge of math, science, and language increases over the years.  Mixing in the ‘How, Who, and What’ questions about the impact of a potential new bridge rounds out the engineering of that DLJ 5th grade design project and slides social sciences, reading, and writing into this total learning experience.

Great scores in 5th grade science are also reflective in the school's “grade”.  DLJ’s State of Florida designated school grade for 2006-07 (two years after DLJ opened their doors) was a "C".  The 2014-15 academic year marked the 4th year straight that DLJ earned an "A" rating from the state. Add this academic success to the fact that D.L. Jamerson Elementary school has also won a number of magnet school awards as well as had visitors from over 20 other states coming to see and experience this extraordinary elementary school underlines the bottom line message that Persistence pays off and an integrated engineering education approach works. 

The secret is to: keep and continuously improve the strongly integrated hands-on, engineering focused curriculum; continuous
professional development for teachers; weave in new district and state requirements without losing the core content, and strive for success for every child.  D.L. Jamerson does this with no exceptions and that has made Jamerson a great place for learning. FLATE is proud to be part of their warm and nurturing Community of Practice.

Feel free to contact us if you want more information.  Or better still, check out their website, and then contact Lucas Hefty at, and tell him Marilyn and Richard said to get in touch.

Students at Suncoast Technical College Earn NIMS Credentials

Industry certifications serve as a validation of an individual’s skills set and is a valuable component of one’s professional portfolio. This
Spring students at Suncoast Technical College in Sarasota got a tremendous boost to their educational and professional credentials as they earned their National Institute of Metalworking Skills, or the NIMS credential. NIMS certifies individual skills against the national standards. The NIMS credentialing program requires that the candidate meet both performance and theory requirements, both of which are industry designed and industry-piloted. (Source: NIMS)

The class of 2015 at STC earned 88 NIMS credentials, most of which was in CNC machining. “Our goal is to have every graduate complete six NIMS industry credentials” said Ed Doherty, precision machining and CNC instructor at STC. Doherty hopes to be able to keep up the same great record next year as he stated the certification “will help an apprentice to achieve better jobs and better pay in the manufacturing industry.”

This year STC also received a one year grant for free testing from the Gene Haas Foundation. The grant has helped students earn industry
certification that is considered valuable in the precision machining and metalworking industry, at no cost to the students. STC also recently received the National NIMS accreditation and will fully utilize the power of testing and credentialing to improve students’ apprentice skills. The school also had 19 students, who graduated from the machining program and the FAST Track CNC program at night (for experienced machinists).

Looking ahead, STC plans to include MasterCam Cad-Cam evening training along with an introduction to Solid-works for industry.  “Our goal would be to achieve Associate level credentials for MasterCam” said Doherty. Since the inception of the program two years ago, STC has had 100% employment of students, with local job opening and offerings exceeding the number of graduates from the program.

Classes for 2015-2016 semester started on August 24. For more information about enrolling into the program, or for scholarship opportunities visit, or contact Ed Doherty at, or 941.924.1365. In the upcoming month(s) we will bring you additional stories from Nature Coast High School and North Florida Community College that also boast of high student success in earning the MSSC CPT certification. Do stay tuned for those stories in the upcoming editions of the FLATE Focus. 

Big Bend Power Station: Site of a Big Win for Education

For these students, the power of education adds up to far more than 1,700 megawatts. That’s because along with the up-close look at how
Tampa Electric powers the community with reliable, affordable electricity generated at Big Bend Power Station, they also saw a multitude of career possibilities to pursue. The more than two dozen middle-school students came to TECO on July 1 as part of a program administered by the Florida Advanced Technological Education Center housed at Hillsborough Community College’s Brandon Campus.  Donning their bright orange hard hats at the power station, they had Senior Consulting Engineer Tim Conway as their guide.

“These are middle-school school kids who don’t often get a chance to see something like Big Bend Power Station except off in the
distance, like most people do,” he said. “There’s some pretty cool stuff here; the students are in utter awe on the tour.”Nina Stokes, Florida Energy Systems Consortium  FLATE  Project Manager, praised the opportunity Tampa Electric gave the students – the third such visit in recent years. “These students are from the Ruskin area, so many of them can see Big Bend from their homes,” she said. “TECO seemed like the perfect setting to show them a host of career opportunities.”

Best of all, the students agreed. A sampling of feedback they provided after the visit:

“I learned that many people work at TECO and enjoy working there.”

“The best part of the tour was going to all the units and learning that our lives depend on TECO to live the way we live.”

“I learned a lot of things about transformers and the big machinery inside the building was cool as well as the turbines. It was a fun experience.”

Stokes said that this year’s group of students was the program’s biggest yet. “The TECO tour is an integral component of the camp as it helps students see real-life applications of energy concepts they are learning about in the classroom,” she added. “The tour experience had a significant positive impact.”

For Conway, with his longtime tenure as a youth football coach, the visit was like a game-winning touchdown in the name of education and commitment to the community – even if these students have plenty of time left on the clock to learn, grow … and perhaps find their way to a career at TECO?

Based on his experience, that seems entirely possible. “The kids love it every time,” Conway said of the tours. “I always get raves.” For more information about the FLATE energy camp read our blog story that was posted in the July edition of the FLATE Focus. 

(This story is a reprint from Tampa Electric's Power Blog and was written by Brian Lott, senior coordinator for marketing & customer communications).

Tampa Bay STEM Network is Official!

We are happy to announce that the "Tampa Bay STEM Network" is official!  Together with 26 other communities around the nation we
committed to supporting all students in STEM education.  Anchored by HCPS, Tampa Bay STEM Network (TBSN) partners will work over the upcoming year to improve lines of communication and layers of support for our kids.  We are the only recognized STEM ecosystem in Florida (and the entire southeast).  Larry Plank, director of K-12 Science, Technology Engineering & Mathematics Education will lead this exciting opportunity.

In addition to FLATE at Hillsborough Community College in Brandon, other local partners include MOSI, Jeff Vinik and the Tampa Bay Lightning, The Alliance for Public Schools,  USF College of Education, The Florida Aquarium, The Coalition for Science Literacy, Hillsborough Education Foundation, Tampa Bay Technology Forum and TechStart. Vinik has pledged funding in our effort to secure a matching grant from the STEM Funders Network as a component of our initial plan. “Through the Tampa Bay STEM Network we will continue to prepare our students for life and in the process augment Tampa Bay's STEM portfolio, improving opportunities for business and ultimately improving the lives of those who live, work and play in Tampa Bay” said Vinik.

The initial Community of Practice (CoP) cohort, will meet in Washington D.C. on November 11-12, and will include a kickoff event at the White House! For more information email Dr. Marilyn Barger, executive director of FLATE at, and visit