FLATE’s Executive Director Celebrates #GirlsLoveSTEM Month!

Welcome to the May issue of the FLATE Focus, our blog newsletter where we share our work, announce events we
are involved in, and highlight great programs and people across the state who are working hard to enhance and grow manufacturing education in the state.  For the past few years, we have used the May issue of the Focus to celebrate and promote women in Manufacturing. No matter how you slice and dice the data, there remains a significant gap between the number of women vs. men across all aspects of many manufacturing companies. The story in Florida mirrors the national picture. Where are the girls in manufacturing?

Of course, there are the historical, societal reasons and analyzing them is important to develop strategies that can be successfully implemented. Before delving into the ‘why,’ we have to answer two questions. How do we get them into manufacturing?  And, how do we keep them there? We sometimes think we know what to do, or know what can attract and retain women in these fields, but it’s good to get these perspectives from experts who can help pinpoint solutions.

A 2015 report, “Solving the Equation,” the Variables for Women’s Success in Engineering and Computing, published by the American Association of University Women (http://aauw.org/) finds that “women are making significant contributions to the fields of engineering and computing, yet are still a distinct minority in these fields”. Furthermore, the report concludes that “stereotypes and biases lie at the core of the challenges facing women in engineering and computing.” Educational and workplace environments are therefore dissuading women who might otherwise succeed in these fields. Increasing the number of women in engineering and computing will require focused attention by employers, educational institutions, policy makers and individuals to create welcoming work environments for women.

Some targeted actions suggested in the report can be used for all STEM disciplines including manufacturing to:
  • Combat stereotypes and biases
  • Emphasize social relevance
  • Cultivate a sense of belonging in colleges and workplaces
  • Change the environment in colleges and workplaces
The work has to be fun, exciting and challenging. It also has to be socially relevant, including how
manufactured goods help people, our society, or our environment. Work and college environments have to respect and honor everyone equally as well as being enriching and supportive. Sometimes, we can artificially create a respectful and supportive space and place with mentoring programs for young women in STEM fields. This can work well until they get grounded and confident and/or their numbers rise in colleges and in work places. It will take all of us to attract and retain women in manufacturing careers. It will most likely take some training of the current workforce, and it will take a lot of persistence. Using your own version of the strategies above let’s all start helping some young woman today.

Please celebrate with us as we share some great stories about women and girls making their mark in manufacturing and STEM careers. Read about the ‘all girls’ electrathon team at Middleton High School who are out there competing in a predominantly male dominated student competition. We also have stories of two programs one at St. Augustine in St. Johns County, the other right here in our backyard at the University of South Florida in Tampa that focuses on getting at-risk and underrepresented students, particularly girls, interested in STEM. 

Wanting to focus on getting more young girls into your programs? Join us on May 27 at 3 p.m. EST for the Recruiting Girls: Practitioners Perspectives webinar where we learn about successful programs from local K-12 instructors (and more!). Register today at http://www.matecnetworks.org/webreg/?client=1011We’ve cracked the answer to last month’s sTEm puzzle, so give yourself a pat if you got it right!

Congratulations also to all the Florida Manufacturing STEP awardees. By promoting this high profile honor for women from all ranks of manufacturing companies, FLATE hopes to be providing strong, successful role models for the next generation of female manufacturers. Stay tuned for additional stories in upcoming editions of the FLATE Focus. Big kudos to all ET students who recently graduated including two FLATERS who earned their cap & gown this Spring. 

34th Forum on Engineering Technology Supports a Growing ET Community of Practice

From pirates, poets, and presidents to troupes, tramps, and tourists, Key West is always a gracious host. Earlier this
April,Florida Keys Community College (FKCC) welcomed the 34th Florida Forum on Engineering Technology. Representatives from 20 state and community colleges, the Department of Education, technical sales representatives, and local industry attended and participated in this year’s spring Forum. This was the largest college participation in the history of the ET Forums. What made this Forum so special was the National Science Foundation (NSF) Advanced Technological Education (ATE) support for Florida’s Engineering Technology Community of Practice of centers and projects.

The ET Forum selected the Florida Keys Community College for its meeting to help support FKCC's efforts to provide education options that lead to lucrative high tech careers. The NSF-ATE Program also supports the Florida Advanced Technological Education Center (FLATE), the National Science Foundation Regional Center of Excellence that supports all of the colleges in the Florida State College System that provide A.S. degrees in Engineering Technology. FLATE is working with FKCC to build their ET degree program to expand the College's commitment to meet the needs of the Key's technical community.

The session on ET Community of Practice began with the interaction with the National Science Foundation on-line
presentation from Dr. David Campbell, the NSF/ATE Program Co- Lead, from Washington D.C. Dave provided an overview of the ATE program explaining the application and grant processes for the Projects, ATE Centers, and the Targeted Research on Technician Education. The NSF/ATE round robin session included NSF Centers and projects from state and community colleges as well as the Connecticut College of Technology. This session provided the information and exposure to other Florida colleges the opportunity to get involved with the NSF for projects and collaborate with other centers. This setting provided the best format to have the state NSF grant recipients highlight their work.

Phil Centonze, Principal, Pos-Impact, conducted a hands on workshop titled: Building Quality Programs that focused on Lean Process Management. Phil explained the principles and benefits of Lean to eliminate waste in a working environment. Phil Centonze, Principal, Pos-Impact, conducted a hands on workshop titled: Building Quality Programs that focused on Lean Process Management. Centonze explained the principles and benefits of Lean to eliminate waste in a working environment. The exercise provided the participants an opportunity to deploy the Lean Process in ‘Manufacturing a Boat.’

In-depth information on presentations, workshops and sessions can be accessed on FLATE’s wiki.

The Forum also served as a co-host for FLATE’s professional development workshop for faculty in the Associate of
Science technical degree programs in Florida. The workshop was an interactive career exploration exercise that would enable the creation of a user-friendly internet-based toolbox that enables students, teachers, parents, guardians and school counselors to understand the value of an engineering technology degree. This combined NSF ATE Workshop and Florida ET Forum brought Florida State College System faculty together to share various curriculum, courses, and recruitment strategies needed to optimize advanced technological education in Florida. Over 50 faculty and program administers as well as representatives from all the major suppliers of technology educational training equipment attended the workshop and discussed curriculum frameworks and new ET colleges and programs.

Seventy-five attendees returning post workshop surveys rated their overall professional development value at 4.5 on a 5.0 scale. The interaction with NSF proved to the highlight of the pre-ET Forum workshop as reflected by
combined participant satisfaction score of 4.4 out of 5.0. “I anticipate applying for an ATE project grant as a result of the interaction with NSF in the Community of Practice pre-ET Forum workshop,” stated a participant in a survey conducted by FLATE. Of the returned surveys 100% stated they would use the information presented at the workshop(s) and would recommend them to others. “Attending the ET Forum provided a good way to network with others for further discussions” shared another attendee.

The fall 2015 Forum has been tentatively scheduled for September 24-25, 2015 at Valencia College in Orlando. For more information on the statewide Engineering Technology Forum visit http://fl-ate.org/programs/e-t-forum, or like the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/etforumflorida.

Web Album (Forum on Engineering Technology April 2015)





Recruiting Girls to STEM Webinar: Register NOW!

There are numerous strategies, resources and success stories which work for recruiting girls to STEM
programs, yet overall recruitment numbers for girls in STEM subjects and careers still lag behind the interest and enrollment boys show for STEM programs. The Recruiting Girls to STEM webinar hosted by FLATE in partnership with MATEC (Maricopa Advanced Technology Education Center) looks at “what works” from the unique perspective of teachers in the field at progressive levels of education: Elementary, Middle, High School, and College programs and outcomes.  This one hour webinar will be held May 27 at 3 p.m., and will focus on successful strategies designed and currently implemented by STEM professionals to engage girls in STEM. Anyone interested can register at http://www.matecnetworks.org/webreg/?client=1011

Webinar panelists and guest presenters include a distinguished group of STEM professionals who will discuss tried and tested methodologies that have proven highly effective in recruiting and retaining girls in STEM.
Christine Angel Danger, coordinator of math and science partnerships for the School District of Hillsborough County will discuss the H.O.T (Higher Order Thinking) Girls initiative, an ‘all girls’ club targeted to help girls sharpen mathematical understanding.  Elizabeth Simpson, lead technology education teacher at Greco Pre-Engineering STEM Academy in Tampa, will highlight strategies for getting middle school students interested in STEM programs. Not to leave male educators out of the recruitment efforts, Jeff Kaloostian, Chair of the career & technical education department and aerospace technology teacher at Robinson High School in Tampa will highlight the aerospace technology program at Robinson High School, and share challenges and successes his program has faced in getting girls engaged and enrolled in the STEM program.

Outside of the educators’ first hand perspectives, Dr. Marilyn Barger, executive director and Dr. Marie Boyette, associate director of FLATE will share data trends related to enrollment in technology programs at STEM academies and at the post-secondary level. They will also highlight key statistics related to female enrollment and completion of the two year A.S degree in engineering technology currently offered at 15 state and community colleges across Florida. Panelists will also learn about existing gaps in the educational and social structure that inhibit girls from pursuing STEM related programs, and determine tools, or access free curriculum resources developed by FLATE to help educators address/fill preexisting gaps.

You can register for this webinar at http://www.matecnetworks.org/webreg/?client=1011. You can also email Dr. Marilyn Barger and Dr. Marie Boyetter at barger@fl-ate.org and Boyette@fl-ate.org , or visit www.fl-ate.org and www.madeinflorida.org for more information. 

All Girls Electrathon Team at Middleton High School Redefines Link Between STEM & Car Racing

When you think of racing, you often think of Formula 1 not electric vehicles, Go-Karts and certainly not science, or technology, engineering or mathematics, or what is commonly referred to as STEM. Turns out there are many links between STEM and electric cars that are redefining what’s cool not only about racing but about STEM in general. Electrathon, the racing of a custom-built three or four wheeled electric vehicle, has gotten students here in Florida and across the nation fired up not just about pumping adrenaline levels, but STEM concepts involved in the mechanics and/or building of an electric-powered race car.

The Tampa Bay area serves as a hub for many Electrathon teams including an All Girls electrathon team at
Middleton High School. The team at Middleton comprises of eight, high school seniors and is the first all girls team in Florida. Kyle Thompson, lead teacher and coach for the Electrathon team at Middleton High School says the program is truly a “student driven program” that got started in 2014 when Thompson was brainstorming ideas with another colleague to get girls excited and engaged in the Electrathon project.

Since the project took off earlier last year the girls have taken the driver’s seat in terms of cruising ahead in statewide competitions and scoring some big wins. “For me it’s all about the logic as I am a logical thinker” said Katelyn Allan. Paolo Rioja, another team member whose interests also lie in technology and engineering says she got interested in joining the team as it helps her get hands-on knowledge about engineering concepts. Then too the most ‘fun’ part of the project for all the girls has been racing of course, and also building the actual car itself. Working as a team they developed a battery gauging tool to monitor how the batteries are doing during the race, and also used electronics and mechanical engineering concepts while wiring and building the car itself. “In the classroom you learn mainly theoretical concepts” said Katelyn Allan, but working on the electrathon competition helped make a connection with the real world and how some of the STEM concepts learned in class are applied in real world settings.

Besides building the car and racing, students also learned some key business skills. To raise funds to buy tools
and parts, students reached out to car manufacturers like TESLA and Mazda and in the process honed their problem-solving skills. “The learning becomes intrinsic where students are deeply engaged not only in hands-on learning, but also researching about components, parts, angles and rotations” said Thompson. Creative thinking and problem solving also helped students gain in-depth perspective about mechanics and engineering of a car.

The ‘All Girls’ team competed and won many accolades in the past year in state and regional competitions. Their very first race they placed first. For the second race they shared a car with the boys and came in second (where the boys placed third) competing with eight teams across the region including boys. The team hit the ground running whereas “the boys have never placed first” said Thompson. What got them the big wins was sheer determination, a methodical approach that included color coding wire connections, labeling equipment, and staying committed as a team. “It’s really incredible to see them work through all the steps to get to where they want to be” Thompson noted.

The project has not only ignited overall participation, but has helped “put girls and STEM” on the map. Britney Gray who wants to join the navy as a mechanical engineer says there is always hesitation on the part of girls to join an engineering team, but talking to other students about her individual experiences at open houses and school related events has helped generate peer interest. Thompson agrees “girls can do anything boys can do, even better”. Having an ‘all girls’ team at Middleton has enabled the girls to explore STEM programs and look into STEM based careers from a different perspective and envision more opportunities beyond high school.  “I am really excited for what they are doing and they are even more excited and committed than I am” Thompson said.

For more information on the Electrathon team at Middleton High School visit http://middleton.mysdhc.org/Electrathon, or email Kyle Thompson at kylegthompson@gmail.com. To join the ‘All girls’ team visit and trace them at the 2016-2017 races at http://middletontigers.org


Answer to sTEm–at-Work Puzzle #46: Valve selection documentation

sTEm–at-Work Puzzle #46: Valve selection documentation

Analysis
Although these sTEm- at-work puzzles are intended to connect linear graphics to teaching technician
responsibilities, this puzzle can lead to a practical discussion of the simplest non-linear plots to real valve performance. In this situation the Tech reviewed the valve documentation with the knowledge that the actual value in service, Valve 34-a, (in the pipe) is a "Decreasing Sensitivity" valve type.  

Another word for slope is sensitivity.  (High sensitivity means there is a large change in “y” as “x” changes (high slope value)). Valves with initial high sensitivity are also called "Quick Action" valves.  In a "Decreasing Sensitivity" type of valve, the change in the “y” value is high at low values of “x”, (the valve is just opening). When the valve is almost open, “x” is large , the change in the “y” is not as great. For Valve 34-a, the slope value of the plot is not changing much (if at all).  Thus, the chemical processing tech understands that for "Decreasing Sensitivity valves the change in flow rate compared to the change in the valve position (stem motion) decreases as the valve becomes closer to being wide open. The tech also knows that Valve 34-b is a Linear Response type.  


A comparison of "y" for the linear response, y = mx +b, and the "y" for the decreasing sensitivity response, y = k(x)1/2 +b, with b= 0 in both models, emphasizes the sharp increase in slope in the red part of Valve 34-a flow response as compared to the small fraction, green abscissa value, in the value opening. The largest slope change (the red part) of the curve occurs before the valve is open (green part of abscissa) 20%.


Question
The Tech decided that the valve installed in the flow stream is correctly labeled as Valve 34-a. Yes or No

Answer: Yes




St. Johns Tech Gives At-Risk Girls & Boys Opportunity to Train for Skilled Manufacturing Positions

They say it takes a village to raise a child. In the case of St. Johns Technical High School (SJTHS) this is not a
mere statement; students are living it each day as teachers, school administrators and local industry have joined efforts to give at-risk students a new hope by introducing them to manufacturing careers and engaging them in skilled manufacturing positions. SJTHS is a Title 1 school in St. Augustine, FL. Prior to 2010 the school catered mainly to over age and/or students performing at below grade level, and a large ESE population with many receiving remediation and/or grade recovery.

Today the school has turned around, significantly, thanks in part to the efforts of school administrators and the staff who have played a critical role in transforming the school to a CHOICE program within a period of five years. As part of its transformation, the school currently offers smaller class sizes and intensive math and reading classes which has enabled the school to rehabilitate a cohort of students, bringing them up to speed in terms of their overall academic performance.

Linda Krepp, career specialist at SJTH says a core part of SJTHS’s success lies in the implementation of several successful strategies one of which has been to reach out and connect with students at the elementary school level and build a pipeline of students who can matriculate to high school. Krepp, who has worked closely with school administrators and local industry partners, says another successful component also lies in its strategic community partnership with Carlisle Interconnect Technologies (CIT) in building a manufacturing internship program for junior and senior students at SJTHS. CIT, located in St. Augustine, FL, is a global company that designs, manufactures and markets high-performance wire and cable, including optical fiber. (More info at http://www.carlisleit.com). The CIT internship program is geared to introduce students to various facets of manufacturing technology through hands-on classroom instruction. The program has been critical in preparing graduates for job opportunities at CIT and outside employment as well.

The CIT program is divided into two tiers. Tier I into Tier II is more about orientation where they learn about
different processes of manufacturing, how to be a good employee, get acquainted with Carlisle’s values. They also learn about the different aspects of a business from sales, engineering, quality control in manufacturing, lean manufacturing, and OSHA safety guidelines. Tier III, the paid portion of the internship, is where students are on the manufacturing floor with a Carlisle mentor on a one-to-one basis which in a full year is six, four-week rotations on the manufacturing floor which gives them a more in-depth and hands-on experience about the manufacturing processes.


There are currently 11 students, both juniors and seniors, doing the internship. In 2014, there were 13 students enrolled in the program, and 9 in 2013. Krepp underlines the internship’s role as incentivizing students to attend school, become more engaged and committed, and see first-hand practical applications of what they are learning in real-world settings. It has also served as a vehicle to hone math skills which is a top requirement to qualify for the Carlisle internship program.

The strategy to build a partnership between the high school and local manufacturers has been mutually beneficial for the school and CIT. The internship program was earmarked as a best practice in manufacturing education on a statewide level. The STEM program at SJHS is an excellent program with 40% of students in the academy being female students. “Being a girl should not hinder students from entering the world of manufacturing” says Krepp who uses herself as an example of how women can excel in a particularly male dominated industry/profession.

Besides the CIT internship program, St. Johns Technical High School also offers a myriad of other opportunities. For girls the school offers a “Women in IT” session that is offered by Citigroup to middle and high school students where female students learn about careers in IT, and the need to break the mold about IT being a predominantly male dominated field. The Cold Stone Water Resources Academy is another STEM-focused program at SJTHS that teaches students about environmental science, water treatment, waste water management treatment and distribution. The Academy is yet another example where students can see female engineers at work at the water treatment facility, and offers an opportunity for students to earn the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Water Treatment Plant Operators level C Certification.  “We are getting our first two students ready to take the Class E industry certification exam in 2015-2016” noted Krepp.

At SJHS it is not enough for students to graduate from high school. Gov. Rick Scott recognized the program and one of its graduates (Ashleigh Pasquerello) who was among the first batch of students who graduated from SJTHS and got hired at Carlisle. “It’s a win-win for us, the society, and for manufacturers as they have a ready-to-work pipeline of students” said Krepp. She notes that it is also important for students to acquire skills that are transferable across industries. “We have to build that bridge from high school to the real world and this program has been phenomenal in doing that” Krepp said.

Looking to the future, Krepp hopes to build in-roads between the school and local industry as well as expand partnership with statewide organizations like FLATE to promote manufacturing especially to girls. The school is looking to start a LEGO robotics program in 2016-2017, similar to the one hosted by FLATE for high school students. Krepp is also exploring opportunities to expose students to SolidWORKS and possibly offer a related industry certification as well. Krepp also looks forward to strengthening SJTHS’ partnership with local manufacturers association like FCMA to continue its engagement in Manufacturing Day activities for the current and next academic year. “These kids need us to build a bridge that helps them understand the world at large,” and at the same time “build a pipeline of skilled workers for local industry as well” Krepp said.

For more information on St. Johns Technical High School contact Linda Krepp, Career Specialist at (904) 547-8130. For information on FLATE’s statewide outreach and curriculum for high school students as well as high school robotics camps for 2015 visit www.fl-ate.org and www.madeinflorida.org. You can also email Dr. Marilyn Barger at barger@fl-ate.org.