Florida Tech, Stone Middle School Join in “GETSMART” for Second Year

– The week of June 16, Florida Tech, in partnership with Stone Middle School, will host middle school-age students for GETSMART, a program designed to
energize the engineers of tomorrow. The students will attend “hands-on” workshops dedicated to the basics of aerospace, civil, mechanical, electrical and
ocean engineering. In addition, they will take part in a workshop presented by NASA.

GETSMART is open to 40 students from any Brevard County middle school who have completed the 7th or 8th grades by Spring 2003.

Dr. Maria Pozo de Fernandez, assistant professor of chemical engineering, is the program initiator and director. She believes these studies come at a
crucial time in the students’ development.

“The seventh and eighth grades are critical years for making choices in math and science,” she said. “If they don’t decide at this age to start taking the
proper classes, it will be more difficult later on to become an engineer.”

Pozo de Fernandez also hopes that students will view Florida Tech faculty as role models. “We want the students to connect with the engineering faculty.
Most middle school students don’t know what engineers do or how they do it. We hope that as a result of this program, they’ll learn engineering is a viable
career option.”

Such self-awareness is critical to the engineering industry. The lack of American engineers is reaching crisis proportions, according to Florida Tech
College of Engineering Dean Ron Bailey. He said the GETSMART program is one way Florida Tech can correct this problem in its own back yard.

GETSMART stands for Gateway to Engineering Technology Science Math And Resources for Tomorrow. The program is made possible by grants from the Economic
Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast and the Florida High Tech Corridor Council. In addition to the weeklong program for students, the funding
covers a six-week program for Brevard County teachers.

The cost for the week of $100 covers enrollment, lunches, snacks and field trip transportation. For more information, contact Dee Bonilla, program
coordinator, at 674-8068.

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